It is with immense sadness that I received the news of the death of elder statesman and iconic patriot, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife. At 85 years of age, Dr Ezeife lived a relatively long but certainly fulfilled life but even so, it is quite regrettable that he is quitting the stage at a time the entire nation needs him most.
Getting to the peak of his career in the nation’s civil service, Dr. Ezeife, along with a few others, strived to bequeath a public service that would be well equipped to face the challenges of the new millennium. Upon retiring from the service, he took to politics where, as a democratically elected civilian governor, he introduced reforms that drew great impetus from both his immense academic grounding and civil service exposure.
Okwadike, as he was more popularly known, served as governor of Anambra state during the same period as my late boss, Chief Evan Enwerem, who was governor of my home state, Imo – just next to Ezeife’s Anambra. I can state without any fear of contradiction that their class of governors would have laid a solid foundation for the total transformation of our dear country had they been in office for a period even a little longer than was witnessed.
More than three decades later, the challenges that confronted our country then still loom large; the result being that people like Dr. Ezeife, even at the twilight of life, was compelled to remain an activist till death, in pursuit of a better Nigeria.
We owe him no greater honour than to uphold those ideals for which he lived. My family and I join millions of other Nigerians to mourn him and pray the good Lord to give his family the fortitude to bear the big loss.