Educationist and former gubernatorial aspirant in Edo State, Barr. Ken Imansuangbon and his wife, Kate, pay tribute to Sir George Ikechukwu Odabi, an educationist per excellence who would be committed to mother earth today, Friday, January 11, 2019. Mary Nnah writes
“He was a loving father who committed his life to God and humanity. His life was full of passion, not only to his immediate family but the society at large. As a husband, he was loving. As a father he was caring and in the church of God he was committed to His maker and in his community, he was a selfless man whose milk of kindness flew ceaselessly. But death they say it is inevitable. So on November 13, 2018, the universe lost one of its finest beings when Sir George Ikechukwu Odabi, JP, native of Agbor Obi, Delta State bade the world fare well at the age of 84.”
Talking glowingly about the man who became a father figure since his path crossed with his daughter, Kate, over two decades ago, his son-in-law, educationist and former gubernatorial aspirant in Edo State, Barr. Ken Imansuangbon described the late Sir George Odabi as a man of high moral quality; peaceful, tough, gentle but strong.
“He led by example, never judged people and always had something nice to say about everyone. He was generous, visionary and focused. As the founder of Deo Gratias International school, he moulded lives and enlightened young minds for the growth of the society, the nation and the world at large. The school is a living model of the rich legacy he left behind. He is simply a hero with endless impact because his contribution to the education sector is immortal and timeless.
“My father-in-law was head and shoulders above many others. He was a disciplined man with tremendous respect for people and himself. He led his family in the right way and cared for them beyond the ordinary. His outstanding traits of kindness, honesty, diligence, Godliness and love all reflect in my beautiful wife, Kate Imansuangbon. I remain eternally grateful to him for raising such a virtuous woman.”
Speaking further, Imansuangbon said the news of his demise struck him and the world with a mixed feeling of sadness and joy; sadness because a jolly good fellow is gone; joy for the reason that he lived a fulfilled life and his legacy lives on.
“His life is indeed, a didactic piece for all those who knew him. There is no doubt that he is resting in the bosom of God Almighty. We will carry on your struggle to change Nigeria through education. We will not let the candle dim. You had hoped for a better Nigeria. Trust me, we will leave behind a nation you dreamt of. We will miss your peaceful, childlike smiles. Rest on great hero! Till we meet again,” he said.
Speaking about the man who moulded her life to become the woman she is today, one of the deceased’s children and an executive director of Pace Setters Group of School, Abuja, Mrs. Kate Imansuangbon, said her late dad was an epistle seen and read of all men. In an emotional voice she said, “Daddy I certainly believe, we shall meet on the other shore!.”
Extolling the virtue of a man who instilled discipline and good values in all his children, Imansuangbon said “What a life you lived here on earth before you moved on to glory. Glory I say for your life was truly an epistle seen and read of all men.
“Daddy you taught me to forgive before I am even offended. You taught me to love unconditionally. You never recorded people’s mistakes or weaknesses. You saw them all as human frailties! You gave excuses for other people’s wrongs. You taught me never to bear a grudge, keep malice or be easily angered. You were humility personified. You never spoke ill of others, neither did you gossip, slander or bias others about another.
“You had a slogan you believed strongly in and lived by which says ‘Give everyone a feeling of importance and your job is half done’. You kept no record of wrongs. You bridled your tongue and never got yourself involved in arguments or fights. You were a gentleman to the core.
“You usually whispered to anyone of us you found using too many words to “talk less”. You had a special dance you rendered when the days were blue that got us all cracking, making spirits bright again. You had the voice of the nightingale when you sang in your unique mixer tune, you sounded like a host of angel.
“You were a soccer player and fan. You loved long tennis too. You had a very hearty laugh like no other which reflected the beauty of your heart. To my mum, siblings, myself, my husband, children and many others whom you came across, you were a practical Christian, whose lifestyle and actions spoke much louder than words.
“Daddy, you fondly called your wife (my mum) “Mine” and every other woman you kindly referred to as “sister or daughter”, by your lifestyle you demystified the complications life brings and remained a very honourable, simple gentleman.
“Thank you daddy for bearing all the fruits of the Holy Spirit as in Galatians 5:22-23 Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness and Temperance, by doing so you taught me and others that it is humanly possible. I love you so much daddy. May God bless your very gentle soul as we meet again, when the roll is called up yonder. Adieu!”
Activities marking the final burial ceremony began on Monday, January 7, 2019, with a Christian Wake Keep at Odabi Close, Hollywood, Mabuchi, Abuja. On Tuesday January 8, there was a Requiem Mass at Holy Trinity Church, Maitama, Abuja after which his remains left Abuja for his home town in Agbor, Delta State.
On Thursday January 10, there was a Christian Wake Keep at his at Obi Ikechukwu Road, Agbor and today, Friday, January 11, there would be a burial service at St. Columbus Catholic Church, Agbor Obi, Delta State. Entertainment of guests will take place at his Agbor Obi country home.
Sir Odabi who is survived by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren would be sorely missed.