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…ABC Nwosu, Akinsanya, Onuoha, others speak
By Clifford Ndujihe & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THERE were torrents of tributes for Elder statesman, Major General Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu, (retd), as he clocked 80 years today.
Among those who feted Senator Nwachukwu, yesterday were former Health Minister, Professor ABC Nwosu; Former Ambassador to Ethiopia, Otunba Olusegun Akinsanya; former Registrar Abia State University, Ernest Onuoha and Barrister George Etomi, who described Nwachukwu as a mentor and selfless leader, who took special interest in the welfare of people.
He is a leader, gentleman — ABC Nwosu
Saluting Nwachukwu at 80, Professor ABC Nwosu said: “Everybody knows General Ike Nwachukwu as a gentleman and a leader of people. What people don’t know about Ike Nwachukwu which you can guess from his stature, bearing and demeanor is his royalty. If you see him, you will see that he represents everything that is royal in a person.
Three events made me to know him very well, when I served in the Supreme Igbo Committee under late Pius Okigbo at Enugu, a Committee that was set up at the funeral of late C. Obi of Igbo State Union. I was privileged to have been chosen as the Secretary in 1994. Ike Nwachukwu, General Ebitu Ukiwe, late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Professor Ben Nwabueze, Chief C.C Onoh, Godwin Odenigwe, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Dee Sam Mbakwe represented the various South East states. You can see that that is as Supreme as it can be for Igbo and Ike Nwachukwu made tremendous contributions. I recorded everything in a note book. It was that committee that prepared the paper for the Igbo during the National Conference organized by late General Sani Abacha in 1994. If you recall the West had boycotted it because of June 12. The East went with their first eleven, the North came with a powerful and formidable first eleven with late Yar’Adua, Jimeta Gambo, Olusola Saraki, etc.
It was at that conference that the Igbo put their foot down on restructuring into six regions following the paper on six geopolitical zones. Where I admired Ike Nwachukwu was when it came to the organization of the army. The South East was insisting that it would have Area Commands and Regiments rather than a single army where somebody would take a gun and the rest of the country would crumble.
‘‘So, Ike Nwachukwu’s brilliance was there and that was why when it was time for us to go to the 2014 Conference, I was one of those who supported that he should lead us, I was a member of the Igbo delegation. In 1994, I was the head of Igbo Secretariat. Ike Nwachukwu was brilliant in 2014 Conference, he showed that he was a soldier and a diplomat. So things that we thought we wouldn’t get because we were given an impossible condition, seventy/thirty percent for an agreement, he navigated this carefully and he got this devolution of power etc.
And beyond that I found out that once Ike Nwachukwu is your friend, he is your friend, he is not just a friend that you can count on him any time but also he is a friend that you can ‘paddy paddy’ with. That is you will enjoy his company, he will enjoy your company.
“So I can only wish him well. I wish him many more years and I will be happy to give another tribute well not 90, but 100. 100 is possible now and I think he is the kind that will easily make 100.”
Nwachukwu reshaped Nigeria’s foreign policy trust —Amb Akinsanya
On his part, Ambassador Akinsanya, who is the National President of Association of retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria, ACAN, said as External Affairs Minister, Senator Nwachukwu reshaped the country’s foreign policy.
“ Nwachukwu is a great and unique Nigerian in all respects–by his royal birth, by marriage and by his genuine friendship and outreach to family and friends, young and old, across ethnic lines; and a de-tribibalised Nigerian in every sense.
“In public life, he served in many capacities in the military and civilian administrations with national pride, deep commitment, and integrity.
“As a foreign minister that I had the unique opportunity to work closely with on his “pet project, he served with distinction and panache, leaving behind some indelible milestones including “ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY–a foreign policy thrust that promoted Nigeria’s public private sector partnership dubbed (during his time) as “Nigeria incorporated”- taking a cue from PM Mahatir Mohammed’s Malaysia incorporated, PPP experience. “My wife, Yeye Otunba Ajibike Akinsanya, joins me in felicitating with the newest Octogenarian in town, Ike, his amiable wife, Gwendolyn (nee Ejiwunmi), his lovely children, grandchildren, and wishing the celebrant, many more years in good health with God’s divine blessings.”
His indelible footprints are numerous — Onuoha
Writing for the Abia State University, Chief Onuoha described Nwachukwu an illustruious son of the Igbo nation, who “Providence lavishly endowed with enviable mental and physical attributes, so much so that all what he puts his hands on, prospers. His ideas and ideals are pre-eminently lofty. Ike is brilliant above and stable below.
Senator Ike Nwachukwu’s inprints are indelible in his primary constituency; the Military. They are no less in politics, leadership, international diplomacy, governance and his private endeavours.
In the military, Ike Nwachukwu – the Abia State-born exemplary Infantry General, gave the establishment a facelift in service delivery and discipline. While in active service in the army, Ike meritoriously held such command positions as Adjutant – General, Nigerian Army; Provost – Marshal Nigerian Army; GOC, 1st Mechanised Division, Nigerian Army. He remains the second Igbo man to attain the rank of General, after General Aguiyi Ironsi.
In civil life and politics, Ike Nwachukwu is no less distinguished. He has remained an apostle of due process, democratic governance, rule of law, equity and social justice. His politics is down-right decent.
He represented Abia North Senatorial district in the Senate. As military Governor of the old Imo State, he conceived and set in motion the construction of Imo airport. He built Imo State University, now Abia State University.
As a 2-time Foreign Affairs Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Ike Nwachukwu ensured the election of Chief Emeka Anyaoku as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and contributed to end the apathied regimes in Southern Africa. He was also instrumental to the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Nigeria and the State of Israel.
As the Federal Minister of Employment, Labour and Productivity, Ike established the National Directorate of Employment, which greatly alleviated the problems of youth unemployment in Nigeria. The National Productivity Commission was also his brain-child.
In 2014, Ike Nwachukwu led the 76-member South-East delegates to the National Conference convoked by the Goodluck Jonathan administration. The team delivered on its mandate.
“Abia State University Community felicitates with this living legend, elder statesman, the soldiers’ soldier, a diplomat per excellence and great leader on the occasion of his 80th birthday.”
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Source: Vanguard News.