Emmanuel Ugwu, Umuahia
It was an avalanche of glowing tributes as the remains of the former Managing Director of Champion Newspapers and of the founding fathers of Abia State, Chief Bob Ogbuagu, were laid to rest on Saturday at his Umukabia Umuagbom country home in Umuahia North Local Government Area.
The public relations guru passed away at the age of 92 after decades of selfless service which spanned the First Republic when he was the managing director of the Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation (ENDC) in the defunct Eastern Regional government.
His funeral service was attended by the Abia state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, his predecessor, Senator Theodore Orji and his wife, Mercy (Osinulo), Senators Mao Ohuabunwa, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah and the Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Hon Chikwendu Kanu as well as public relations practitioners, business associates, and corporate bodies.
Governor Ikpeazu, described Ogbuagu’s death as a loss that was not only for his family members and community but also Abia, Nigeria and humanity given his “life of impact service, honour and distinction.”
According to him Dee Ogbuagu, as he was fondly called, was “nobility personified, an outstanding gentleman, a leader and mentor, who “left gigantic footprints in various spheres of life.”
Ikpeazu reminded the living that it was not how long one lived that mattered but how well, noting that Ogbuagu has left “legacies of character, discipline and piety” adding that these virtues he left behind should be emulated by Nigerians.
In his tribute, Orji described late Ogbuagu as a detribalised nationalist adding that “his fulfilled life marked with great longevity and multiple achievements.”
“Dee Bob as I called him was by all standards a success story. He was one of the last Titans of the independence struggle, a great link in the chains of development in the Eastern Region, a founding father of Abia State, community leader of note, Rotarian of epic proportions and a roundly acknowledged Public Relations Guru. His fame knew no bound as he was popularly known as Dee Bob across the Igbo Nation and Chief Bob Ogbuagu nationally and internationally,” he said.
In his tribute the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Enelamah, described late Ogbuagu as “a man of deep integrity and loyalty,” adding, “he was a man of endless honour.”
The minister, who hails from the same area as the deceased, promised that the people of Ohuhu would continue to remember the contributions made by Ogbuagu to the development of Ohuhu clan.
Earlier in his sermon during the commendation service held at Methodist Church, Umukabia Umuagbom, Ohuhu, the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Most Rev. Samuel Uche, urged Nigerians to turn a new leaf in preparation for eternity.
He regretted that many people still live a life of frivolity and carelessness unlike the deceased who lived a meaningful life and served God and humanity.
The Ogbuagu family in their tribute read by the first son of the deceased and chief mourner, Chief Uche Ogbuagu, said that their father laid a solid foundation for the family to build on and promised that they would not deviate from the right path he had carved out for them.
There were also special tributes from the surviving Founding Fathers of Abia State, including Prof. A.N. Nzeako, Mr. Ezenwa Odumuko and Dr. O. J. Onyike. They expressed sorrow over the demise of their colleague, recalling his immense contribution and leading role during the struggle for the creation of Abia State.
The Old Boy’s Association of Methodist College, Uzuakoli, the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) which he led between 1980-84, and Rotary Club, where he was a major donor, all paid glowing tributes to the man who lived simple but dignified life of service.