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Tribute to Nwago Okoronkwo, a man of the people

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Nwago Okoronkwo


It still seems to me like a dream; and the more I try to come to terms with the reality, the more unbelievable it gets. That Mazi Nwago Okoronkwo a man of truth, virtue and humility has passed to the world beyond makes life look like a cruel adventure. To those who knew him, Okoronkwo was a man who only saw the good in other people. He was a friend to everyone. He is a man who cares less about material acquisitions, but put integrity, contentment and love above all other things.

From a modest background, Mazi Okoronkwo recognised early in life that education and hardwork were pivotal to success in life. Upon completion of his primary school, he proceeded to Boys Secondary School, Aba, formerly known as Sacred Heart College, (SAHACO) where he had his secondary education. Thereafter, he went to the University of Port Harcourt and majored in Education and Political Science.

Expectedly, he went into the teaching profession and subsequently taught for many years at Umuaghai Community Secondary School, and Ngwa High School, Aba. He went ahead to become Vice Principal, Principal and Supervisory Principal of Ugwunagbo Local Government Area, Abia State, from where he retired after 35 years of meritorious service.

Given his inclination towards knowledge acquisition, Okoronkwo initiated members of the family into a newspaper-reading culture. His quest for knowledge knew no bounds as he embraced the works of such authors as Elechi Amadi, Chinua Achebe, Flora Nwapa, Buchi Emecheta, John Munonye, and Wole Soyinka, among others. His interest in news analysis and synthesis of issues, events, forecasts and trends was exemplary. He deployed his deep knowledge of human management and welfare in his professional career, family, community and general life issues.

As a brother, he was always there for his siblings, providing moral, financial and social support, all aimed at nudging everyone towards their life goals. Some of us owe our success to his inspiration.

Okoronkwo was born after many ladies, the eldest of five boys from our mother. His coming fulfilled a long desire of our mother for male children in a polygamous home. Although he was sickly for a long period as a child, after he recovered, we never saw him get ill until July 2017 when he was admitted at Abia State Teaching Hospital and was later diagnosed with intestinal cancer at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia.

He was modest, blessed with an indomitable self-confidence, quiet-natured, and had a dignified and noble persona. Not only was he a brother, he was also a friend, teacher and man of high repute. Many may not have understood this man who lived in the city of Aba for over 42 years, the son of a big business baron in the city of Port-Harcourt. Perhaps, this little insight will explain the mystery, the mind and beliefs of this great educationist.

I saw my him in October 2017 when he attended a healing crusade at Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, Port Harcourt, where we discussed for days, prayed and shared memories. I had no premonition that this would be our last encounter. He slept in the Lord, November 23rd, 2017.


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Nwago Okoronkwo
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