Boniface Chikelue Omesuh (1932 – 2015), A Tribute
BORN at Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State, on July 16, 1932, Boniface Chikelue Ejiofor Omesuh (FRICS, FNIQS, PPCO&P, KSM), Omenyi Enugwu Ukwu Na Umunri, was the youngest son of Nwokoye Peter Omesuh Nwankwo of Enu Abomimi village and Nwamgbafor Monica Ilom of Umuorji Abomimi village, both of Enugwu-Ukwu in the Njikoka Local Council Area of Anambra State. He was the fourth child out of five children.
Omesuh, fondly called Chikelue, had his primary education as St. Anthony’s Catholic School, Enugwu-Ukwu. Although he started schooling late at the age of nine years, he turned out the brightest and most intelligent pupil in his class. Owing to his intelligence, he was ultimately invited to take the entrance examination into Christ the King College (CKC), Onitsha, in 1949.
The following year, he commenced studies at CKC with the help of his guardian, Chief I.P.O. Ibik, now of blessed memory. He graduated in 1954.
In 1955, Chikelue, a Cambridge School Certificate holder, left for Ibadan, with a view to gaining admission into the University College Ibadan (UCI). In lieu of that, however, he joined the Moor Plantation, also in Ibadan. In 1956, owing perhaps to the factor of regionalism in vogue at that time, he returned to the Eastern Region and became one of the pioneer students of the School of Agriculture, Umudike, in Umuahia. After one calendar year, following the mass resignation of the entire student body, Chikelue was recruited at Enugu as a Survey Assistant. He thereafter opted to join the Federal Ministry and was deployed to Lagos.
He was later transferred to the Federal School of Survey, Akure. From there, he moved to Okene and Lokoja Province in that order. His training lasted for two years, covering field works in Ondo, Owo, Benue Province, Benin, Kukuruku Hills and so on.
He continued his studies in Land Survey at the Yaba College of Technology and remained there from 1961 to 1963. Destiny and luck suddenly swayed his ambition to good effect, and consequently, his profession changed from Land Survey to Quantity Surveying. This was due largely to the dearth of quantity surveyors in the Ministries of that post-colonial period; and partly because his English expatriate supervisor, Mr. Clement Andrew, had approached him with the novel idea.
Thus, by January 1965, Chikelue travelled to the United Kingdom to study Quantity Surveying at the University of South Bank, London, and passed his exams in record time. He also sat for and passed two professional body examinations: namely, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Institute of Quantity Surveyors (IQS).
On his return to Nigeria, he joined Osigwe Nwogu & Partners in January 1974. Even when the Firm merged with Ekwueme Associates (Architectural), Nwanagu Associates (for Electrical and Mechanical), and Hogan (for Structural, Civil and Allied Engineering), he stayed put on the job. By 1980, after many years of meritorious service with Osigwe Nwogu & Partners, “Chikelue Omesuh & Partners” came into being as a “Consulting Chartered Quantity Surveyors, Project Managers and Construction Cost Consultants”. With its Head Office at Enugu, the new consulting firm recorded many successes in various areas of the country.
Chikelue was joined in holy wedlock to his heartthrob, Sabina lyom (nee Offiah) of Ogbunike on March 12, 1966.
Inherently honest, kind and sociable, Chikelue was virtually everybody’s friend throughout his lifetime. As a result of this, he was decidedly personable, with a penchant for attracting all and sundry to himself. He was never known to harbor any shred of discrimination toward anyone. On the contrary, he treated everybody with both fairness and amiability.
In 1973, on his return to Nigeria, Chikelue joined the prestigious Enugu Sports Club formerly known as European Club. In addition, he joined Lions International Club as well as Enugwu-Ukwu Community Development Union (ECDU), which he was later elected President General (1978 to 1989).
As President General of ECDU, he strove to pull together all the component villages of Enugwu-Ukwu. More than anybody else, he was responsible for the idea of the creation of the town’s Civic Centre. Furthermore, he was robustly involved in the establishment of both the Boys’ and the Girls’ Secondary Schools at Enugwu-Ukwu. He was also behind the presence of Union Bank and a Police post in the town today.
A distinguished philanthropist, Omesuh was given to reaching out to the less privileged. He awarded scholarships, among other incentives, to eligible boys and girls of Enugkwu-Ukwu extraction for tuition from secondary school up to university level. Indeed, he touched many lives.
As President of CKC Old Boys’ Association, Enugu Branch, he inspired the building, in his Alma Mater, of three gigantic classroom blocks.
He was honoured in 1995 by the entire caucus of eminent Umunri Chiefs with the chieftaincy title of Omenyi Umunri. In 2009, the Ozo Enugwu-Ukwu Town stakeholders also decorated him with the title of Omenyilora Enugwu-Ukwu and Umunri.
Chikelue was a devoted Catholic until his death. He was Patron at the Awka Catholic Diocese for several years. In 2002, he became a member of the Knight of St. Mulumba, graduating to the Third Degree by the time of his demise. He passed on peacefully on January 12, 2015.
His remains will be laid to rest on Thursday, March 12, 2015 after a funeral mass at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church Enugwu Ukwu, Anambra State.
He is survived by his wife Iyom Sabina Omesuh, a retired Director of NYSC, and five children and 14 grand children including Mrs. Ogo Aniagoh, based in London; Arch. Chinelo Ofoche of Government House Awka; Mrs. Ifeadi Nkwonta based in the United States of America; Mr. Dilibe Omesuh also based in the U.S.; and Mr. Ejiofor Omesuh, a Lagos based businessman.
May his noble soul rest in perfect peace in the bosom of the Lord. Amen.
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