President Mohammadu Buhari

By Ovie Okpare

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday commiserated with the people of Delta State and the family of former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, over the passage of the traditional ruler of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom, HRM Obi Chukuka Okonjo.

Similarly, a former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has also condoled with the people of ancient Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom and the Government of Delta State.

Equally, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, has expressed shock over the death of the monarch, saying the monarch lived a fulfilled life and contributed immensely to the development of society.

Okonjo, a professor of mathematics, university administrator, international consultant and traditional ruler, died recently at the age of 91 in the United States.

The late monarch was also the father of former Minister of Finance, Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

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Buhari condoled with the government and people of Delta State, the academia, the Umu Obi Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Uku, friends and professional colleagues of the scholar who dedicated his life to teaching, research and service of humanity.

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The President affirmed that the traditional ruler contributed immensely to Nigeria’s development with his uncommon wisdom of pursuing knowledge, encouraging his wife and children to follow the same path and sponsoring other people’s children to acquire quality education.

He believed that the wise and fatherly counsels, intellectual depth, and valuable insights of the scholar will be sorely missed by the family and entire nation, assuring that his place in Nigeria’s history is guaranteed.

On his part, former Vice President Atiku, while expressing commiseration to the Okonjo family, said the late monarch left indelible footprints as an academia and a revered traditional ruler who dedicated his life in the service of humanity.

Atiku said, “Obi Prof Chukuka Okonjo, immediate past Obi of Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, was a man of many parts. He left behind indelible footprints. On behalf of my family, I condole with Dr (Mrs) @NOIweala  on the loss of her dear father. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

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However, Governor Okowa, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, eulogized the monarch as a international public servant and accomplished traditional ruler.

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The governor said the departed monarch was a renowned Professor of Mathematics, who devoted his life and time to the promotion of peaceful coexistence and development of education in several parts of the world where he taught as secondary school teacher, university lecturer and international public administrator.

He said, “On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I mourn the passing of a renowned academic, international public servant and traditional ruler of repute.

“Apart from being the King of Ogwashi-Uku, I believe that the late Chukuka Okonjo will be remembered for his role in refocusing tertiary education in Ghana.

“It was in the course of this that he developed the double intake system designed to achieve significant increase in student enrollment rates in Ghana which later earned him the highest civil national award from the Government of Ghana.

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“The award which was conferred on him in 2016 by President John Dramani Mahama was in recognition of his stellar and distinguished contributions to the country’s education system.

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“As Director of the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) at the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Professor Okonjo installed the first African population information network popularly known as the Population Information and Documentation System for Africa (POSA) valued at 350,000 dollars.”

The governor paid tribute to the deceased King’s contribution to peace and development, particularly his significant role in ensuring peaceful co-existence between the people of Ogwashi-Uku and their neighbours.

“My condolences also go to his wife of 66 years, Prof. Kamene Okonjo and former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and her siblings on the passing of their beloved father and renowned academic.

“I pray that Almighty God will comfort the family and grant the deceased eternal rest and reward his good virtues while he lived,” he added.


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