Obi: Good night, Okeazu Awka
IT takes great courage to attempt a brief reflections on the life and times of this legend of our time, Chief Chukwuma Anueyiagu whose ten (10) decades on earth is nothing but a study in ruggedness, fulfillments and accomplishments, a life of uncompromising commitment and belief in hardwork and consistency to purpose, a life of total service to humanity in all its ramifications. He was everything a good man should be, a nationalist, politician, journalist, businessman, philanthropist, community leader and family man, all these in description of a single quintessential being, Chief Chukwuma Anuegiagu (Okeazu-Awka). That was the father of one of the greatest beings I have ever met, a wonderful friend, brother and confidant, Dr. Okey Anueyiagu (Odere).
We grew up to meet the challenging examples of this prodigy at a time when mentoring through enviable lifestyle was scarce and when many men were easily consumed in the inferno of trying to survive that they forgot how to live for tomorrow. With strong character that evoked great passion rooted in total surrender to the will of the Almighty, he became a role model that influenced mankind. Through his journalistic ingenuity, he inspired the young and old just as with Zik of Africa, he fought for the emancipation of his fatherland through writings in West African Pilot, Nigeria, Spokesman, Eastern Nigerian Guardian, etc. His skilful exploits as the Editor of the Daily Comet acquainted him with the fearless instinct of men of letters while his detention after one of his hottest articles ‘British Nigeria Police Officer Steals the Sum of Two Hundred Pounds’ shot out the courage in him to expose societal ills no matter whose ox was gored.
Okeazu was born on January 3, 1915 and I am privileged to have been born on that same date, but certainly not the same year. As a result of that, it has become a norm that we celebrate January 3, together each year, which graciously have been organized by my friend, brother and confidant, Okey. Plans have been in top gear for us to celebrate his 100 years but as fate would have it, less than a month to remain unparalleled as he pioneered development projects, as well as used his personal wealth and connections to the advantage of Awka people. The present modern Post Office, became a reality following among others, the personal relationship that existed between Chief Anueyiagu and the former Minister of Communications, Mallam Aminu Kano. The litany of his humanness could go on ad-infinitum. He was indeed, Nnene Onye-Awka!
I, therefore, join this revered family, especially, my bossom friend, brother, and confidant, Dr. Okey Anueyiagu and thousands of men of goodwill to mourn the demise of this Christian with an apostolic zeal, a politician’s politician, a burn fire journalist, successful businessman and a father with a difference. As I pray God to grant eternal rest to Okeazu-Awka, may He also grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
• Senator (High Chief) Dr. Ben Ndi Obi CON, FNIPR is Special Adviser to the President on Inter Party Affairs.