Encomiums as Fallen PDP Guber candidate,Prof Uche Ikonne buries, April 28.
Come Friday, 28th April,2023, the remains of former Gubernatorial candidate of PDP in Abia state in the 2023 elections, late Professor Uche Eleazar Ikonne will be committed to mother earth amidst avalanche of encomiums poured to the former Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu from scores of dignitaries who came across him in one way or the other.
A veteran Journalist in Abia State, SAM OBINNA IBE, captures the mood of the people.
If Professor Uche Eleazar Ikonne, the immediate past Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu and the former Gubernatorial candidate of PDP in 2023 election were to be alive today, he would probably be amazed to have read of the good testimonies showered on him, about his life and times as perceived by eminent personalities in Abia from all walks of life.
But sadly, this is not to be as mere mortal, the Abia state Gubernatorial candidate of PDP succumbed to the cold hands of death on Wednesday, 25th day of January, 2023 and his remains is slated to be committed to mother earth on Friday, 28th April, 2023 at his Agburuike Nsulu country home, Isiala Ngwa North LGA of Abia State.
With preparations for his final resting place in top gear, it has been one good testimony or the other splashed from avalanche of dignitaries who spoke to this Journalist in Abia State concerning the enduring legacies on what the late Professor of optometry stood for while he lived.
Describing the sudden demise of his immediate past precedessor, the Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu, Professor Onyemachi Maxwell Ogbulu, said that late Professor Uche Eleazar Ikonne left an indelible record in the sands of time at Abia State University, Uturu.
The Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu, Professor Onyemachi Ogbulu noted with satisfaction, “Our story must change, which was the policy thrust of his immediate past predecessor, took the University under his headship to greater heights in terms of academic excellence, Research and Learning, human capital development, infrastrutural development of structures in the university including the over all aesthetic beauty of the state owned University.
He further pointed out that the University will missed his enduring legacies which he brought to bear when he held sway as the Vice Chancellor of God’s own state University.
On his part, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration of Abia State University, Uturu, Professor Ogbonna Onuoha described late Professor Uche Eleazar Ikonne as an enigma of some sorts who did unimaginable things when he held forte as the former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, then later as a former Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration, added that Ikonne was a big asset to the university noting that during his tenure as the Vice Chancellor, he brought the ranking of all the universities in the country from 97th position to 23rd and the university was rated high given the calibre of graduates it was turning out in the employment market.
” Ikonne restored discipline, stopped students exploitation in the hands of lecturers through the sale of textbook and handouts, stopped sexual harassment and local Union of ASUU never embarked on strike through out his tenure due to his managerial prowess” DVC Administration said.
Absu DVC Admins, Prof Ogbonna Onuoha who is a Professor of Linguistics and Igbo said he has been working in Absu for the past 36 years
Whereas, the Rector of Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Associate Professor Hagler Okorie paid glowing terms to the former Vice Chancellor of Abia State University Uturu stating that he, late Professor Uche Eleazar Ikonne was like a father to him,when he was the President of Students Union Government, was everything to him, when he was the VC of ABSU, enjoyed tremendous support, promoted him firstly as a senior lecturer, later as an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law.
The former Commissioner of Youths, Abia state further disclosed that Late Professor Uche Eleazar Ikonne, stating, “if he gave you an assignment and you come with excuses, he will be angry, wants you to come up with results.”
He further said former PDP Gubernatorial candidate hated laziness and encouraged him to write articles and journals that will be published at International journals prompted him to write about 97 articles and journals published in the aforementioned journals.
“As a former Rector of Abia State Polytechnic, Aba,Late Professor Uche Ikonne raised the bar in uplifting the status of the institution than he met it by bringing his wealth of experience to bear as the former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Abia State University, Uturu.” Abia Rector said.
Also speaking, the former member of House of Representatives, Rt Hon Uzor Azubuike who was spokesman of late Prof Uche Ikonne of Ndi Abia campaign Council, said that the sudden death of former Governorship candidate of PDP was a personal loss to him ,that late Prof Uche Ikonne was a friend to him though an elder brother from the same Isiala Ngwa North LGA that there is nothing he did in joy or sadness that Prof Ikonne and his family will not be there for him.
Rt Hon Uzor Azubuike who was the Campaign Spokesman of the PDP Gubernatorial candidate, Prof Uche Ikonne said he left PDP for APC and was playing prominent role in APC but has to return back to PDP because of Professor Ikonne, because of his convintion that he will deliver the goods.
The former House of Representatives member noted that professor Ikonne lived a life of service to humanity, adding that what Abians should missed him for was that he a very bold and courageous man who speaks truth to power, who speaks truth to his friends, one who do not side evil.
“I saw in him the liberation of Abia State, liberation Abians are talking about but unfortunately he died when his services are needed most”, former Abia Deputy Speaker said.
Whereas, immediate past Commissioner for Basic Education, Abia state and currently the Transition Committee Chairman of Bende LGA, Hon Chief Ukwu Rocks Emma, the Spokesperson for Uche Ikonne campaign Organization said that Ikonne was a straight forward person, a workaholic and a practical man who made people to sit up in the campaign team.
Before he declared his intentions to run for Abia governorship race, I knew him from a distance but when i came closer to him,i saw myself as one who has a very strong bond with Ikonne.
Hon Ukwu Rocks Emma who is the Commissioner for Basic Education in Abia state further opined that Ikonne would have cut off Political charlatans who do not have anything meaningfully contribute to his Government in elected to power.
The second term TC Chairman for Bende LGA who regretted what he described as sudden death of PDP flag bearer noting that his party’s candidate was already accepted by everybody, ready to coast home to victory which made some of the members of campaign team approached their tailors for samples of cloth to wear when Ikonne emerges victorious.
Sadly, he noted that nobody envisaged the fact that Ikonne will not even in the ballot paper, talkless of contesting the guber election, which he described as an irony of life.
As for Hon ( Mrs) Blessing Nwagba, PhD, the APC Senatorial candidate for Abia South Senatorial Distrlict in 2023 election said that Professor Ikonne’s death was a personal loss to her, to her family, Ngwa nation, world of academics, the optometrists and to the political world.
APC Senatorial candidate revealed to our reporter that she missed a friend,a brother, an academic friend who called me to come and lecture at Abia State University, Uturu as a PhD holder when he was the Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu.
She added that Ikonne was in PDP and she is in APC, that when she wanted to travel to United States of America for Eye surgery, the former PDP Gubernatorial candidate raised a letter of recommendation to her for the Embassy as an Optometrist not minding the fact that they are not in the same party.
Nwagba, who was a two term member of Abia House of Assembly said they have to console themselves by the legacy he left behind, legacy of simplicity of life, legacy of nice treatment to fellow human beings, legacy of professionalism in his Discipline, legacy of love for Ngwa land.
The SDP 2019 Governorship candidate therefore explained that it will be worth the while that Ngwa nation realizes his contributions to Ngwa land do what they can to immortalize this great man, stressing that Ikonne was a great asset to Ngwa nation .
As for Chief Chinedu Ugwuezi Ugoala, the Transition Committee Chairman for Isiala Ngwa North, home LGA of late Professor Uche Eleazar Ikonne, said that the former Gubernatorial candidate of PDP refused to negotiate with any politician for support to emerge victorious as the next Governor of Abia State insisting that he will not be a stooge to anybody
He further pointed out that Ikonne made it clear even to the incumbent Governor that he was not going to take instructions from anybody if emerged as the next Governor will only be answerable to Abians who elected him to office.
As for Elder (Dr) Sonny Nwosu, the President General of All Ngwa Cultural Organization, ANCO, said that the death of Professor Uche Eleazar Ikonne is a big loss to Ngwa nation, a big loss to Abia state, a big loss to entire nation , noting that he contributed meaningfully to wherever he finds himself while he lived.
President General of All Ngwa Cultural Organization, ANCO further said that the ngwa nation are very grieved by the demise of their illustrious son and entire people of Ngwa are mourning the late Professor who did a lot for his Ngwa people.
He pointed out that it will not be too much a prize for his Ngwa people to immortalize this academic giant who lived,worked and died suddenly when his invaluable services are very much needed in the state as the former Governorship candidate of his party, PDP.
The former TC Chairman, Umuahia South LGA, Barr Randie Ukanwoko, said Prof Uche Ikonne’s demise cost PDP the Governorship victory and other elective positions contested for in the 2023 elections.
He added that if Prof Uche Ikonne did not die, Abia would have become one of the best governed states in Nigeria given his plans through his “Tiger Economy manifesto” he had for the state.
He explained that the death of Prof Uche Ikonne struck him like a thunder bolt as his personal friend of many years standing.
Meanwhile, all is set to commit the remains of the former Gubernatorial candidate for 2023 election, Prof Uche Eleazar Ikonne on Friday,28th April, 2023.