Jonathan, Buhari, Obiano mourn Owelle Chukwuma Azikiwe

Posted by News Express | 13 May 2015 | 4,069 times

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President Goodluck Jonathan has commiserated with the family of Nigeria’s first President, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, over the passing away of his first son, Chief Chukwuma Bamidele Azikiwe.

This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati.

The President also extended his condolences to the Government and people of Anambra State, and the immediate family of the deceased.

“President Jonathan believes that the late Azikiwe, who was also the Owelle of Onitsha, lived a fulfilled life by sustaining the humanitarian and leadership legacies of his father as a mobiliser, leader, philanthropist and a highly respected voice in his community,” the statement said.

Also, the President-elect, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, described the death of Ambassador. Chukwuma Azikiwe as a sad development.

Buhari stated this in a statement signed by Malam Garba Shehu.

The statement added that Azikiwe's death was an exit of a great Nigerian who was brought up in the best tradition of national unity and genuine African values.

He said: “With the demise of Chukwuma Bamidele Azikiwe, a gentleman has left a turbulent world. He was a thoroughbred Nigerian who chose a private life after a distinguished diplomatic career in Nigeria’s Foreign Service.

“There is no doubt that it was his humane and refined qualities that made it possible for him to step into the big traditional shoes of his great father – Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, as the Owelle of Onitsha.”

The statement said Buhari had lost a friend who cared for him and often found the time to visit him at home in Kaduna.

On his part, Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, in the condolence message stated that he was shocked when he got the news of the demise of Chief Chukwuma Azikiwe, a 1964 Harvard Business graduate, whom he described as a political leader in his own right.

Recalling how the deceased joined the Anambra State governorship race in 1991 when he aspired for governorship nomination on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Obiano said that the aspiration was in pursuit of selfless leadership to serve the people.

“It is not how long one lived, but how well. What is important is the courage we bring to bear on life. It is neither easy to come out from the shadows of a great Patriarch, nor for one to succeed in all one’s endeavours. For me, it was enough that the late Chukwuma espoused his own vision of leadership and offered himself for service to the state,” Obiano noted in a statement.

The governor paid tribute to the late Azikiwe’s passion for the traditions and culture of his people which probably informed his selection into the Onitsha royal cabinet. “In a sense then, he was a cultural ambassador of not just Onitsha but the Igbo race as a whole.”

He also conveyed his sympathies to His Royal Majesty, Igwe Nn’emeka Achebe, the deceased’s immediate family, the larger Azikiwe family and the Obi of Onitsha, saying the transition was also “a big loss not only to Onitsha Kingdom and Anambra State, but also Nigeria as a whole.”

Governor Obiano noted that the vicissitudes of his life notwithstanding, the deceased will be remembered as one who tried to play his part in the time and circumstances available to him and prayed God to grant his soul eternal rest.

The Azikiwe Family yesterday at their Onitsha country home, Inosi Onira, formally announced the death of Chief Chukwuma Bamidele Azikiwe. Making the announcement, the head of the Azikiwe family, Nwamulunanma Azikiwe, who spoke through Akunne Arah Azikiwe, told journalists at the Inosi Onira residence of the Owelle that with the announcement, burial arrangements would begin.

The two-paragraph announcement read: “On behalf of the Azikiwe family, we announce the death of the Owelle ofOnitsha, Chukwuma Bamidele Azikiwe, who died in the early hours of Sunday, 10thof May, 2015. “Burial arrangements will begin later.”

A condolence register has been opened and people have been trickling into the compound to sign the register. Among the callers was the Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor on Statistics and Strategic Planning and an in-law to the Azikiwes, Mr. Okey Okiri, who regretted that he was unable to deliver a message the late Owelle gave him for the Governor Rotimi Amechi before his death. “I got the devastating news about the death of the Owelle yesterday (Monday) and was shocked. The late Owelle meant so much to me and I will greatly miss him.  “I spoke with him on Wednesday last week during which he told me that he was sick and I advised him to go to hospital for treatment. He sounded so healthy and I did not know that it was the last time I would speak with him.” Inosi Onira compound which faces the renowned Zik’s roundabout was still as isolated as it has always been in the past except for the few family members from the Onitsha Inland Town who visited on hearing about the demise of the Owelle. Also few workers of the construction company working on the Zik’s Mausoleum, where work has stopped since April, 2014 due to non- payment of work done, were also there, but seemed unaware of the demise of the junior Owelle of Onitsha.

•Photo shows Azikiwe

Source: News Express

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