Emmanuel Ugwu, Umuahia
Political differences were momentarily put aside at the weekend as a huge crowd of Nigeria’s political class of disparate colours and eminent Nigerians converged on Asaga Ohafia in Abia State to bid farewell to the former minister and Ambassador, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, whose remains were laid to rest.
The politicians, who were from both the opposition and ruling parties, profusely extolled the virtues of their fallen colleague whom they described as a true patriot, intellectual and a completely detribalized Nigerian, who left remarkable footprints in his career as lawyer, politician, and administrator.
Members of the Board of Trustee (BoT) of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by the chairman, Senator Wahil Jubril were on hand to pay their last respects to their late party member, who was secretary of the BoT of the opposition party before his demise on June 27, 2016.
Former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, was among the array of dignitaries that included Senate Minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Senators Theodore Orji, Mao Ohuabunwa, Enyinnaya Abaribe, members of the House of Representatives and State Assemblies.
The opposition roll call included Transport Minister, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, Senator Ita Enang, former minister of labor and productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, among others.
Senator Enang, who is the special adviser to the president on National Assembly Matters, said that Chief Maduekwe served the nation without blemish, noting that though the late minister and Ambassador presided over “dollar-spinning agencies he served and came out with his integrity intact”.
Abia state governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who was the only governor at the occasion as his Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo sent their deputies, said that Abia would always hold its head high for having a politician and administrator of Maduekwe’s stature.
“We are profoundly grateful to God and proud of this worthy son of Abia,” he said, adding, “We are proud because he (Maduekwe) lived a life worthy of emulation”.
He said that the nagging question that should tug at the strings of politicians is whether they would be able to shoulder the responsibility of “living according to the tenets of Chief Ojo Maduekwe”, which is replete with “wonderful testimonies”.
According to him, with Maduekwe’s passage “Nigeria has lost a great patriot”, adding that he would liaise with the leadership of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria (PCN) to find ways of realizing the Hope Wadel University Ohafia, which Maduekwe was very passionate about.
The funeral service which was presided over by the Prelate of PCN, Professor Emele Uka, was presented as a moment of sober reflection for Nigeria’s political class, who were accused of destroying the nation with their inordinate greed and power drunkenness.