Adieu Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife: A statesman par excellence as Anambra State bids you  farewell


 By Christian ABURIME

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones.” – Shannon Alder


Great men are known to move hearts in the same manner that they shake their world with great impact.

That is why, when they pass on, they are celebrated and cannot be forgotten.

Today, the sun sets on a great life well lived, as the sands of time shift to mark the end of an era. As Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, the indomitable Okwadike of Igbo Ukwu and former Governor of Anambra State, embarks on his final earthly journey with final funeral to be attended by Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR, this weekend, he is leaving an ineradicable legacy that will echo through the corridors of history, reflecting on his poignant principles, steadfast courage, and abiding love for his people.

Born into an era still grappling with the aftershocks of colonialism, Dr. Ezeife’s life was a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit.

From humble beginnings, he rose through the ranks, his intellect and determination propelling him to the highest echelons of leadership. Despite lacking formal secondary education, he became a self-made scholar, graduating from the University College, Ibadan and later obtaining his PhD from Harvard.

This intellectual prowess translated into a distinguished public career, rising as a federal permanent secretary to higher callings in his lifetime. 

But it was from being the first civilian Governor of Anambra State (1992-1993) and later becoming a Political Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the Fourth Republic that Okwadike undeniably etched his name in history. He navigated the turbulent waters of the Third Republic with wisdom and foresight, laying the groundwork for the vibrant Anambra State we know today.

His economic policies, informed by his Harvard training and personal vision, were the seeds from which Anambra’s future prosperity sprouted, especially in the areas of education, healthcare and infrastructure.

Yet, Dr. Ezeife’s influence transcended the bounds of mere governance or partisan politics. He was a scholar, a philosopher, and a visionary, his words imbued with the wisdom of ages past and the foresight to shape a better tomorrow.

With a keen understanding of the intricate dynamics that wove together the diversity of Nigerian society, he was a tireless advocate for unity, progress, and the preservation of our rich cultural heritage.

As an ardent and proud Igbo patriot, he was a fearless, relentless fighter for a just cause, always speaking out against social injustice and seeking a better Nigeria built on inclusive governance.  A statesman par excellence, Okwadike’s voice rang loud and clear in the halls of power, a clarion call for justice and equity.

His interventions, often laced with his signature wit, carried weight on the national stage. He was a champion of the downtrodden, a stalwart defender of the oppressed, his every action a demonstration of his stoic belief in the dignity of all people, no matter their tribe, tongue, class or faith.

His memories will always be cherished in the hearts of those whose lives he touched, whose burdens he sought to ease, and whose dreams he ignited with the fire of his impregnable spirit.

Even in retirement in his later years before his sun set last year, Dr. Ezeife remained a guiding light. His pronouncements were imbued with wisdom garnered from a life well-lived.  He was a constant source of inspiration for aspiring politicians, a repository of knowledge for historians, and a model Igbo leader in whose patriotic footsteps others are treading. 

Today, Anambra may be mourning the passage of a great leader but amidst the tears, there is gratitude. We are indebted to Okwadike for his selfless service, his noble vision, and his uncompromising belief in our state and our nation.

As he is laid to rest, we take solace in the knowledge that his legacy will continue to inspire our present and future generations of leaders. In bidding farewell to this colossus among men, Ndi Anambra and Nigerians at large must continue to celebrate the life he lived, the battles he fought, and the ideals he upheld.

For in the lapse of time, the spirit of Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife will live on, his memories will endure, and his life will be remembered as a veritable proof of the resilient strength of the human will, and a reminder that even in the darkest of times, hope may be temporarily dimmed but can never be quenched. 

Christian Aburime, Press Secretary to the Governor of Anambra State, writes from Awka


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