Ikonne’s Death: Igwe, Abia Assembly, Ibe, Nwankpa, ABSU mourn


From Boniface Okoro, Umuahia

Condolences have continued to pour in for the family of deceased Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship Candidate in Abia State for the 2023 election, late Prof. Eleazar Uche Ikonne.

Ikonne, according to his son, Chikezie, died of multiple cardiac arrest in the early morning of Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at National Hospital, Abuja.

The news of his demise went viral on the social media as soon as it was made public by Chikezie, triggering a deluge of condolence messages with the State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, blazing the trail.

Since Wednesday, the social media has been awash with condolence messages to the family of the late Professor of Optometry, Ikpeazu, the government and people of Abia State, with many opposition governorship candidates announcing suspension of their campaigns in honour of their departed late rival.

He had great ideas and passion for development of Abia -Igwe

In a statement on Thursday, Ikonne’s running mate, Hon. Barr, Okey Igwe, who is yet to come to terms with Ikonne’s sudden exit, expressed shock and disbelief that his boss was no more.

Igwe, who is also the member representing Umunneochi State Constituency in the Abia State House of Assembly, who personally signed his statement, said he was saddened by the unfortunate development.

“I was terribly saddened to learn of the passing of my boss and the PDP Gubernatorial Candidate, erudite Prof. Eleazar Uche Ikonne. 

“It’s still surreal to me that a man so full of energy and unmatched zeal for the Abia project is simply no more. Our mortality is now all too real and life is indeed ‘but a walking shadow.’

‘The man I have come to know and work under these past months had nothing but great ideas buoyed by unabated passion to take Abia to the dawn of a new frontier. He had promises to keep, and miles to go before’ sleeping. Yet, divinity has called him to eternal sleep. 

“My heart goes out to his very amiable wife, his children and all the members of the Ikonne extended family. Adieu boss,” Igwe cried.

It’s a great shock – Elechi, DG, Uche Ndi Abia Campaign Organisation

Also, the Director-General of Uche Ndi Abia Campaign Organisation, the campaign outfit of late Prof. Ikonne, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Elechi, has expressed grief on the shocking passage of his principal.

Elechi, in a terse statement signed and issued on Wednesday in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, condoled with the Ikonne family and prayed for the eternal repose of his soul.

“It is with a heavy heart but with total submission to the will of God that the Uche Ndi Abia Campaign Organisation announce the passing of our Principal and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship Candidate for the 2023 general elections, Prof Eleazar Uchenna Ikonne.

“We condole with the family of our late principal.  May his soul rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing to his family,” Elechi, a former Deputy Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, signed off.

Ikonne’s death is immeasurable loss – Abia House of Assembly

Abia State House of Assembly, also donning the mourning garb, described Ikonne’s passing as “immeasurable loss to Abia”

Expressing shock over the demise of the PDP governorship candidate, the House said Ikonne’s death was “a painful one and an immeasurable loss to Abia State, in particular, and Nigeria in general.”

The Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji (MNSE), in a message he issued on Thursday in Umuahia on behalf of the Leadership and Members of the House, described Prof Eleazar Uche Ikonne as “an illustrious Abian who had devoted a better part of his life to the service of the State” and expressed sadness that the erudite Professor of Optometry “departed at the cusp of a call to higher service to Abia State.”

While paying tribute to the exemplary and impactful life of the late Abia Guber candidate, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji prayed God to grant his soul eternal rest and urged the family, the Governor, government and people of Abia State “to be comforted in the knowledge that Prof. Ikonne was an outstanding achiever who left indelible footprints on the sands of time.”

He assured them of the prayers and support of the Abia State House of Assembly through this difficult period.

All my political activities suspended till further notice – Prof Ibe, Bishop Nwankpa

In the spirit of empathy, the Governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance, Prof Gregory Ikechukwu Ibe, and his Accord party counterpart, Bishop Dr. Emeka Nwankpa, have announced suspension of their campaigns till further notice.

They said they were saddened by Ikonne’s sudden death.

Prof. Ibe, said he received with rude shock, the unfortunate death of Ikonne.

The APGA standard bearer, on behalf of his family, supporters and fans, commiserated with the Ikonne family, especially his beloved wife, Barrister Uzoamaka, and children; as well as with the Abia State Government, especially, Governor Ikpeazu, and the PDP family, for the demise of the erudite scholar and Abia illustrious son.

“Professor Ikonne will be remembered for his numerous transformations in the field of optometry nationwide, as well as his contributions to the development of our dear state, especially in the educational sector.

“As a mark of honour to the late Ikonne who was a fellow governorship candidate and colleague in the academic profession, Professor Ibe has announced immediate suspension of all his political activities, including publication of campaign materials and transmission of radio and TV jingles till further notice,” a statement signed by the Director-General of Prof Gregory Ibe Campaign Organization, Sir. Longman Nwachukwu (Esq), read in part.

 Ibe prayed God to grant Ikonne’s family the fortitude to bear the loss and to also grant his soul eternal repose in heaven.

Similarly, the Accord Party governorship candidate in Abia State, Bishop Dr Emeka Nwankpa, has reacted to the death of Ikonne.

In an emotion-ladden statement in Umuahia he personally signed, Bishop Nwankpa who described Prof Ikonne as a worthy brother, said that his death was a rude shock to him.

“Nothing could be more saddening than the news of the death of Prof. Uche Ikonne. He was a worthy brother and co-contender to the governorship seat. Though we were political opponents, we had mutual respect for each other. I needed him alive to join me in building a new Abia State when I become Governor,” Nwankpa said.

“While I condole with the Abia State Government, the PDP and the Ikonne family, I urge us politicians to realize that the duty we owe God and humanity is to do good at all times. Ikonne has gloriously exited the stage. May the Almighty God grant his soul eternal rest,” he added.

We received news of Ikonne’s death with disbelief – ABSU

Also, authorities of Ikonne’s last place of work, Abia State University, has equally expressed disbelief over the death of their immediate past Vice Chancellor.

In a statement endorsed by ABSU Registrar, Acho Elendu, titled: “Abia State University Community mourns the demise of Professor Eleazar Uchenna Ikonne,  Immediat Past vice Chancellor,” the institution said it received the sad news of Ikonne’s death with disbelief.

The statement read: “The Vice Chancellor, Abia State University, Distinguished Professor Onyemachi M. Ogbulu, on behalf of the Governing Council, Senate, Staff and Students of the University, received with shock and disbelief, the sudden demise of our beloved immediate past vice Chancellor and 2023 Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State, Distingushed Professor Eleazar Uchenna Ikonne, on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.

“We commiserate with the immediate family, the Executive Governor of Abia State and Visitor to Abia State University, His Excellency, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D, and Abians on this unfortunate incident and the Almighty God to grant all of us the strength and disposition to bear this irreplaceable loss. May his soul rest in peace.”  

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