Gregory Nwokolo (1938-2018): Symbol of peace, integrity
Chief Gregory Nnanwuba Nwokolo (Ichie Ezenwa) died on Saturday, December 15, 2018, at the age of 80. He was born in 1938 into the family of the late Ozo Ndibe Nwokolo (Ozo Ezeoba) and the late Madam Nwakaego Nwokolo of Efulu Village Ugwuoba in Oji River Local Council of Enugu State. He was brought up with the right qualities and character as his mother, the late Madam Nwakaego, ensured that his upbringing was instilled with virtues of honesty, dedication, hard work and independence.
While growing up, he displayed a rare feature of intelligence and brilliance and stood out in every task given to him, both domestically and academically. He had an unusual quest for knowledge and education, which was very rare among his mates at the time. His uncle, the late Chief Clement Onyeka of Umuome, took him to Kaduna in the Northern Nigeria. There, he was enrolled into St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Kaduna, where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1954. He then proceeded to New Bethel College, Onitsha and obtained his West African School Certificate in 1960. He was immediately admitted to Federal Cooperative College, Ibadan where he obtained a Certificate in Cooperative studies.
Upon leaving Ibadan, he was employed by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives as a Cooperative Inspector. At the end of the civil war, he transferred his service to Anambra State Civil Service, which later became Enugu State Ministry of Commerce and Industry at the creation of Enugu State. He was diligent and outstanding in his duties that within a short period of time, he was promoted to Cooperative Officer and later Principal Cooperative Officer. He meticulously rose through the ranks and was at various times, the Divisional Cooperative Officer for Ezza, Isi Uzo, Awka, Awgu and Oji River local councils. During the course of his career, Ezenwa attended several trainings, seminars, conferences that helped him reach his peak. He retired after a glorious 35 years of meritorious service as the Chief Registrar of Cooperative Societies.
Words are not enough to describe Chief Gregory Nnanwuba Nwokolo. He was an open-minded man; a professional to the core; a loving and devoted family man; a man with a vision and a mentor as well as a moulder of destinies. These sterling qualities, acquired and developed over time were observed and recognized with respect by people who have encountered him including the government of Enugu State. No wonder, upon his retirement from public service, the government of Enugu State found him worthy and appointed him the President of Oji River Customary Court, the first Ugwuoba man to occupy such position. He served out his term and played a significant role in the creation of Ugwuoba Customary Court and became its first President. Being the first son of Ozo Ndibe Nwokolo, he was instrumental to the enlightenment, exposure and success of the larger Nwokolo family and relatives.
Nnanwuba, as his late father fondly called him, was married to Nneoma Monica Nwokolo, a virtuous woman in 1969. The union was blessed with seven children, He was a humble man, credible, simple, disciplined and had integrity. These virtues, he also instilled in his children.
He contributed immensely to the development of Efulu community in particular and Ugwuoba Town in general. He was in the Executive of Efulu Improvement Union for many decades and they were instrumental to the development of Efulu Village Hall. He was also a member of the Governing Council of Ugwuoba Boys’ Secondary School. Throughout his lifetime, he manifested a deep sense of discipline. Nwokolo rendered selfless service to the people as a worthy community leader and was a member of Igwe’s cabinet during the glorious era of the late Igwe Michael Adibo (Oranyelugo 1 of Ugwuoba).
He was a devout Catholic, whose character was adorned with Christian grace. He was a staunch member of the Catholic Men Organisation and the Laity Council of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church Oji River.. He was a strict disciplinarian, charismatic and pragmatic father who never spared the rod to spoil the child. In his relationship with people, he was highly principled, exhibited a high degree of patience. Ezenwa was intolerant to violence and corruption.
A peace ambassador! A man of dignity and integrity! A wise and humble man! A gentleman par excellence!
May your gentle soul Rest in perfect peace.
Adieu Ichie Ezenwa, adieu Daddy, till we meet to part no more.