Richard Ginika Izuora
The people and government of Anambra State have expressed condolences to the Ozigbo family of Amesi in Aguata Local Government Area and the Amilo family of Enugwu Ukwu in Njikoka Local Government over the deaths of their patriarchs.
Chief Andrew Ozigbo, 93, father of Valentine Ozigbo, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the November 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra State, died on January 2 while Chief Charles Amilo, a former member of the House of Assembly who was to serve as the Commissioner for Information and Culture between 2003 and 2006, breathed his last on December 31 at 76.
“Both men were distinguished by high principle and strong commitment to the public good”, the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, declared in a statement in Awka, the state capital, today.
“When the soul of Anambra State was at stake, both men acted in accordance with the dictates of their conscience and the undeniable evidence of their own eyes and consequently allowed the supreme will of the people to prevail, regardless of their own personal or partisan interests.
“When the result of the November 6 governorship election came in and it was clear that his son was losing by a wide margin, Chief Ozigbo asked the PDP candidate to accept the outcome of the poll even before the official announcement and congratulate the winner, Professor Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
“Despite his advancement in age, Chief Ozigbo always encouraged his son to play by the rules, eschewing all forms of violence and bitterness and fraud.
“He was always conscious of his role and status as a foremost educationist and a devout Christian who attended the morning mass daily for much of his life.
“Chief Ozigbo represented the typical Anambra spirit: a strong determination to excell. He was, for instance, an elementary school headmaster, which was a big position in those days, yet he was not satisfied with his status in life.
“Through determination, further studies and continuous improvement as well as drive, he ended up a secondary school principal.
“He inculcated strong values in his family of three girls and four boys, including Valentine Ozigbo, his last child.
“It gladdens the heart that he lived up to a ripe age, surviving the calamity of losing his first son, Collin Ozigbo, an engineer with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who died in a plane crash plane crash in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in 2006.”
The state government lauded the memory of Chief Amilo, one of the founding and prominent All Progressives Grand Congress (APC) members in the state, for placing public interest above personal and party considerations.
A man of letters and historian of note, Chief Amilo was reputed for the courage of his convictions.
When the APC failed to conduct a primary election last June 26 to choose its candidate for the November 6 election in Anambra State but some members in a bizarre manner went ahead to allocate humungous votes to Senator Andy Uba and declared him the winner of a phantom election, Chief Amilo wasted no time declaring the entire act sacrilegious.
He, together with men of conscience like Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige, a former governor of this state and Chief George Moghalu, the chief executive of the National Inland Waterways Authority, did everything within their power to correct the anomaly in the overriding interest of their party. They, however, failed.
When the Anambra people overwhelmingly for Professor Soludo in Nigeria’s freest, fairest and most transparent election ever on November 6, these patriotic Nigerians joined such eminent Nigerians as President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as well as all state governors in the country to congratulate Professor Soludo and the Anambra people, with President Buhari declaring his readiness to work with Professor Soludo, a former Central Bank of Nigeria governor who is currently a member of the Presidential Council of Economic Advisers, to work aggressively for the development of not just Anambra State but also the entire Southeast.
History will be kind to great Anambra patriots like Chief Amilo, the Udo Obodo of Enugwu Ukwu na Umunri and Pa Ozigbo, the Omenyili of Amesi for working assiduously for the common good.
Meanwhile, Governor Willie Obiano and Professor Soludo have called both the Ozigbo and Amilo families to condole them over the deaths of their patriarchs, praying that God forgive them and other departed persons of their sins.
They made the calls immediately after they were briefed about the deaths.