By Bennett Oghifo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the death, this week, of Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (Rtd) depletes the ranks of the nation’s leadership, undoubtedly.
Obasanjo, who stated this in a condolence message, dated January 14, to the wife of the late Rear Admiral, Mrs. Gladys Ndubuisi-Kanu, described her late husband as “a dedicated and resourceful patriot who served the nation in various capacities as a Naval Officer, Community Leader, and Military Governor of Imo State and Lagos State in 1975 and 1977, respectively.”
The former president said he wrote the message with “heavy heart” to commiserate with Mrs. Kanu and members of the family, stating, “Over the years, I had followed and watched, with keen interest, Admiral Kanu’s inspiring career which traversed soldering, public administration, pro-democracy activism and business.”
He noted that in the course of the Admiral’s military service, for more than two decades, “he acquitted himself as a dedicated officer, a gentleman and a real patriot. From the thick of the Nigerian Civil War, where he commanded various regiments and corps to the post-war reorganisation of the military, he distinguished himself as a seasoned military officer, to which, I could bear witness.
“Admiral Kanu was acknowledged as a disciplined, detribalised, transparent and humane public officer with an enviable track record. He left behind an impeccable record of leadership, a legacy of forthrightness, thoroughness and an unwavering commitment to public good. I recall that he was a pillar of trust and an iconic reference point when in 1975, the Murtala/Obasanjo’s regime appointed him as Military Governor of Imo State and also later as Military Governor of Lagos State in 1977. He was, indeed, a great man who wrote for himself an enviable page in history with his service to the nation and humanity.”
He said, in retirement, the late Admiral contributed to national development as a private businessman and provider of employment, and that he also deployed his good offices and goodwill to the attainment of relative peace in the South-Eastern part of the country.
Admiral Kanu, he said was directly involved in the national socio-political scene, proffering solution to various challenges confronting the nation. “Like many of our compatriots who could not cope with the fistic rule of the time, particularly during the regime of General SaniAbacha, he was an active pro-democracy campaigner.
“As one of the respected leaders of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, he refused to be cowed and fought tooth and nail to ensure the enthronement of genuine democracy in Nigeria.”
He recalled that “when some of us were incarcerated in 1995 till 1998, he remained focused, unbowed and committed to the people’s right to choose their leaders as a fundamental right that must not be sacrificed.”
Obasanjo said late Kanu and some of his colleagues have demonstrated that their experience in the Military could be deployed in the stabilisation of democratic rule, adding that “Admiral Kanu is, therefore, being mourned beyond his immediate family and community. I believe the entire nation share your pain and grief for the irreparable loss of a distinguish son of Nigeria indeed. We, however, have cause to thank God that his life was a great success and many of his accomplishments will for long be remembered after him. By dint of hard work, he had immortalised his name long before he died.”