Bassey Inyang in Calabar
A former Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), has paid tribute to the late former Minister of Transport, Chief Ojo Maduekewe and Mr. James Aniyom, who served as Chief of Staff to Mr. Donald Duke when the latter served as Governor of Cross River State.
Ndoma-Egba also condoled with the family of late Sir Ray Ndoma, a community leader in Ikom Local Government Area of the state.
In his tribute entitled: “As Ojo Maduekwe earns eternal rest,” which was made available to journalists in Calabar yesterday, Ndoma-Egba said the announcement of the demise of the former minister was “shocking and sudden,” adding that with his demise, “the very lean ranks of intellectuals in the murky business of politics in Nigeria has depleted and very badly so, as he was the giant in that thinly populated club.”
Continuing, Ndoma-Egba stated: “Seminal, cultured and gracious, Ojo represented the noble possibilities of politics, expectably that politics and the intellectualism were not necessary incompatible, that rectitude was possible in politics, that politics was a highway to public service, and that public service was edifying. His consistency guaranteed his longevity in politics, making him one of Nigeria’s most durable politicians ever.”
Ndoma-Egba who said he received the news of Maduekwe’s death with “great pain and a sense of personal lost,” disclosed that he had “enjoyed a warm friendship and benefited from the penetrating insights of this iconic lawyer , philosopher, and politician.
“He believed in Nigeria, and her prospects till the very end and had great faith in God and served him faithfully while on this mortal plain. And without doubt, he now rest in his bosom.
“My very sincere condolences to his dear wife whose birthday was to be celebrated on July 1, and which event he returned to supervise and the entire family. It is a painful lost to his family, Nigeria, the global community and indeed humanity. He will be sorely missed,” the former Leader of the Senate stated.
Ndoma-Egba and his family also condoled with the family of Aniyom, through a letter addressed to the wife of the deceased Mrs. Abia James Aniyom.
He stated: “ I received with deep shock and pain the news of the death of your dear husband Mr. James Aniyom, better and fondly known as Jimmy. Jimmy was a quintessential gentleman. I dealt with him both privately and in his official capabilities; first as Chief of Staff to the governor of Cross River State, and latter as a Commissioner for Agriculture.
Whether in his private or official capacities, his honesty and forthrightness were evident. He kept his word in every situation, was humble, assessable, and strongly believed that public service was for service to all regardless of status. Jimmy did not play politics with people.
His stand on every issue was clear, honest and determined by principle. he was large hearted. His death is a big loss not only to you, the immediate and larger families, but also to his very many friends, Cross River State and Nigeria at large.
“He held out promise that rectitude and humility in public life were possible. We had hoped that he will live to realise his potential.
“Matters of life and death are God’s prerogative. We, therefore, cannot question him, but give him thanks in every situation. Even in your grieve give him thanks and be consoled by memories of his life and the happiness he brought to those who knew him.”
In his tribute to Ndoma, the former Leader of the Senate described him as “the teacher’s teacher,” saying: “He moulded several generations of young men and women, including mine and me. He belonged to the earliest generation of teachers from Ikom and taught us in the 1960s in Martins Primary School, Ikom where he and the late Kevin Nsor, and early teacher of Nkume extraction also doubled choir masters.”
Ndoma-Egba stated that the late community leader led an exemplary life and “was very active in the catholic church where he was knighted.
Ndoma-Egba who recalled his personal experience with Ndoma while he was alive stated: “I remember him for the interest he took in me right from my childhood for his encouragement and support ,for his love and the pride he took in my strides.”
Ndoma-Egba urged the children and family of the deceased not to be in a mournful state because their father will be remembered for ages.