HE was full of life at the second Igu Aro ceremony of His Majesty Igwe Ralph O. Ekpeh, Eze Enugwu Ukwu na Igwe Umunri on Saturday January 5, 2013. He was dressed in his Ozo regalia as a member of the Igwe’s cabinet, the mmilinaezoluora Enugwu Ukwu na Umunri – benevolent rainfall for the masses.
Later in the evening, we sat together at the reception hosted by my younger brother Barrister Dozie Micah Ekpe who was one of the five personalities honoured with chieftaincy titles that day.
As usual we discussed intimately about family/village matters and politics of the town. In the morning of Saturday January 12, 2013, Engr. Chidozie Chiejina Onwa Iguedo called to inform me that our mutual friend had died in a motor accident in Abuja the previous night. Shock, disbelief, bewilderment.
The sad news later spread throughout Enugwu Ukwu and Enugu where he resided.
Chief Emeka Chukwudi Udemezue was one of the finest gentlemen in our midst.
A catalyst in any group he belonged without any noisemaking, he was a shining example of industry, hardwork and visioner of an ideal society.
Born 59 years ago in Enugwu Ukwu, Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State, Emeka attended St. Luke’s Primary School Ogui Enugu and Colliery Comprehensive Secondary School Ngwo where he passed his West African School Certificate Examination in Grade I in 1975.
He studied Biochemistry at the then University of Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University) from 1975 to 1979 and later obtained Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Port Harcourt 1980-1982.
He did his National Youth Service with the North Brewery Limited, Kano 1979-1980, after which he worked with FGN Okoye and Sons Ltd from 1983 to 1984 as Operations Manager.
He served their sister company International Aviation Services Cargo Airlines (IAS) from 1984 to 1985 as Station Manager and later as Assistant General Manager from 1985-1986.
He left the company at the end of 1986 and established his own firm Aeromine Freight Forwarders Ltd. Aeromine soon became a very reputed company in the industry which cleared and delivered various cargoes imported by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources Abuja as well as those of over 30 Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) projects located in 30 states of Nigeria, sponsored by the various state governments and the World Bank.
He managed the partnership with Agricultural Systems of Australia and Agrivisual United Kingdom in their various procurement activities by International Development Association (World Bank) procedures.
Emeka later founded Christy Daniels Nig Ltd with which he executed several projects for Federal and State governments’ parastatals. Some of these were the Ondo State Afforestation project, National Seeds Service of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and some rural electrification projects in Enugu, Abia and Imo States.
In 2006, he co-founded Konz Consulting with his wife Gozie. Two years later he became the Vice Chairman of the Healing Hearts Widows Support Foundation, an international Charity founded by his wife. His wife and three children, many brothers and sisters survive him.
Uruekwo village, Enugwu Ukwu community and Anambra State will definitely miss this enterprising young man.
When we established the Enugwu Ukwu Friendship Association (EFA) and Ekwo Progressives following the creation of Anambra state in 1991, he was one of the movers. EFA speedily put up the Enugwu Ukwu Sports Club and arranged for the town’s civic centre to be used as the Anambra State House of Assembly for some years before it moved to its present location in Awka. Emeka availed us of his intellectual and financial resources. The political future of Enugwu Ukwu was a cause of concern for him and he was ever ready and willing to use his contacts to do whatever was required to move the town forward.
It is a matter of deep regret that this shining light of Anambra State and Ndigbo was suddenly dimmed on the night of Friday January 11, 2013. Standing at a very safe distance opposite the National War College, Abuja he was knocked down by a drunk? motorist. He died on the spot. And we lost a jewel of inestimable value.
As his remains is interred on Thursday February 7, 2013, the good people of Enugwu Ukwu, his numerous friends and well wishers all over Nigeria can only pray and wish that the good Lord receive his soul.
Mr. SAM EKPE, a media consultant, wrote from Abuja.