Ike Ekweremadu: My Friend and the Global Leader at 62

By Osita Chidoka

 

 

We met in 1997; you came to pick me up in your Peugeot 505 Salon car. At that time, you were a Local Government Chairman, and I was Personal Assistant to Chief Okete, Minister of State Works and Housing.

Our friendship was on and off as you climbed the ladder of leadership. I saw you as Chief of Staff to the Governor, Secretary to the State Government and Senator.

In 2008, our friendship was renewed, made possible by Olisa Metuh, your classmate. The friendship, this time, blossomed.

You were there when my mother came back from her first cancer surgery.

You were there when I turned 40. You were there in Obosi when my father turned 90.

You were there by 7 am for the surprise praise and worship session when my wife turned 40.

You came to Obosi to see the Thomas Chidoka ICT Centre before its launch in 2016.

Your wife Nwanneka was always by your side and heartily entertained us with that Abacha that I insist she must get a patent for. I particularly respect Anukata etinye ego (as Olisa and I fondly call her) for focusing on her job as a civil servant while you held sway in the Senate—a remarkable woman.

I was there at your birthday events. The picture of you, your wife and myself was your 2019 birthday.

I witnessed your intellectual curiosity never wane, even as you dedicated yourself to public service. Your pursuit of knowledge and your passion for debate, all while maintaining your duties, are traits to be emulated. I escorted you to receive your PhD certificate from the University of Abuja.

You are a loyal friend, a good husband and a great father. I am proud of you, grateful to know you and happy that you prioritised fatherhood.

You live your love of family and pay the price for love.

Today, you mark 62 years. We would have been at your house eating and laughing. We will eat today, but we will not laugh. We will drink, but we will not be raucous because……

To all friends and admirers: Ike and Nwanneka are in good spirits. They know that ….this, too, shall come to pass. Their back may be bent, but their spirits are not broken.

Your legacies are etched in our hearts – those you’ve touched. Though the burdens may weigh heavy, your spirit remains unyielding.

In the face of adversity, you stand tall, a living testament of hope and inspiration to all who know you. Your commitment to family, community, and service is a soulful reminder of and tribute to the power of love and sacrifice.

Your resilience and calm confidence whenever I see you are an enduring testament to your character and doggedness.

Next year in Enugu, with God keeping us, we shall sing the Lord’s song not in a strange land but on the soil ordained by God.

We will celebrate again a friend, a leader, a father and a man whose community and friends acknowledge with one voice as a global leader.

Happy birthday, Ikeoha, okala madu, and husband of Nwanneka.

Osita Chidoka
12 May 2024

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