It was an outpouring of encomiums for the Late Professor Eleazar Uchenna Ikonne at the Colloquium and Day of Tributes organised in his honour as part of activities to mark his final exit.
Speaking at the event held at the Dr. Micheal Okpara Auditorium Umuahia, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu noted that what matters most is the impact one makes in life, describing the Late Professor as a man of great courage with an undisputed capacity for evidence based leadership.
The Governor noted that when the question of whom he will support in the build up to the 2023 elections came up, he took his time to look for an individual who is possessed of clear leadership qualities, hands on administrative experience, courage and above all, the fear of God. He added that he had no difficulty opting for Professor Ikonne and stated that if the same set of circumstances presented themselves again, he would also make the same choice.
He further described him as a great leader who acquitted himself creditably on all fronts and assured his family that he would always be remembered.
Ikpeazu further noted that late Professor Ikonne’s intervention and the need to continue in mainstreaming the training of high and middle cadre manpower in the medical and paramedical sciences, his administration ensured the restoration of the accreditation of the Medical Faculty of the Abia State University.
He maintained that Abia is the only state in South East that has full accreditation for all her Schools of Nursing and Midwifery with the recent being the Okezie School of Midwifery, Abiriba which has received simultaneous accreditation for two streams.
The Governor while thanking the organisers of the programme, consoled the Ikonne family over the loss of Prof Ikonne adding that he would be sorely missed.
In a keynote speech entitled, “Preserving The Abia Dream”, top Legal Practitioner, Chief Mike Ahamba SAN, described the deceased as the best Governor Abia State never had.
Ahamba noted that the Abia Dream captured in the Abia State Anthem which underscores Commerce, Enterprise,Equity and Unity were the ideals for which the deceased lived and worked for it’s attainment and actualization till death.
He recalled that the late Prof Ikonne had great dreams and aspirations for the State which informed his campaign mantra “TIGER” an acronym for Transformational leadership, Institutional strength, Governance excellence, Economic development, and Resource management but regretted that he was wickedly cut off by death.
He called for collective input and participation of every Abian to ensure the realization and preservation of the dreams of the Late Uche Ikonne.
In their separate remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Abia State University Uturu,Prof. Maxwell Ogbulu, the Vice Chancellor, Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture Prof Maduebibisi Iwe,
Vice Chancellor, Imo State University, Prof U.U Chukwumaeze, SAN,Vice Chancellor of the K O Mbadiwe University, Professor I N Dozie, Former Vice Chancellors of the Abia State University, Prof Mkpa Agu Mkpa and Prof Chibuzor Ogbuagu among others said the late Prof Ikonne made indelible marks on the sands of time and would be remembered for his numerous innovation and contributions in the academic environment.
Chairman Colloquium/Day of Tributes Sub Committee and DVC Administration ABSU,Prof Ogbonna Onuoha said the deceased was a man of many parts who left behind outstanding legacies in all the institutions he superintended over adding that he moved the ranking of the Abia State University from 93rd to 27th in the Committee of Universities in Nigeria and attracted special TETFUND Grants for the development of the University.
Prof Onuoha further added that under the late Prof Ikonne ABSU students were adjudged with the status of 2nd best in terms of employability in Nigeria Universities.
Discussants including Chief Theo Nkire, Professor Ngwakwe of the Faculty of Law, Abia State University, Elder Barrister Bob Bob Chiedozie Ogu , Dr. Hagler Okorie, Rector of the Abia State Polytechnic, Professor Dick Uduma and others were all united in their assessment of the Late Professor Ikonne as a true leader and an agent of change.
Deputy Governor Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, State Acting Chief Judge, Honorable Justice Linda Abai, President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Honorable Justice Okey Nwamuo, former Chief Judge, Justice Onuoha Arisa Kalu Ogwe (Rtd) Secretary to Government, Barrister Chris Ezem, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Barrister Emeka Enwereji, State Chairman of the PDP, Rt Hon Asiforo Okere were amongst other top dignitaries that graced the occasion.
Professor Ikonne’s Widow, Lady Barrister Uzoamaka Ikonne, the State Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, her sons, Dr Chike Uche-Ikonne and Dr Okezie Uche Ikonne, her daughter in law, Dr. Winnie Uche Ikonne and members of the Ikonne family were present at the event.
Late Professor Eleazar Uche Ikonne, the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the Abia State University and the former PDP Governorship candidate for the 2023 died after a brief illness before the 2023 elections.
Activities for the final burial are continuing and the funeral service will hold at his hometown, Agburuke Nsulu, Isiala Ngwa North LGA on Friday, 28th April, 2023.
Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor.
25th April, 2023.