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Former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, has described the death of his bosom friend and former commissioner for utilities in his government, Emeka Nwankwu, as ‘shocking’ and ‘devastating’, stating that in Nwankwu’s death, a part of him also died.
Mr Obi spoke on Wednesday after the requiem mass for the repose of his soul at St. Mark’s Catholic Church, Abagana.
Obi, who recalled how he got a distress message about Nwankwu’s deteriorating health on December 30, 2019, said that by the time he got to his house, he was already taken to the hospital and eventually he met them while his mortal remains were being deposited in the mortuary.
Reflecting on death, Obi said that each time he encountered mortals that were full of life only to die soon, he was reminded that life was nothing to warrant the abuse some people inflict on themselves and the society.
“As soon as those who got the opportunity to lead others realise that life is too short to warrant inordinate acquisition as mostly witnessed in Africa, the better it would be for humanity,” Obi said.
Recalling how Nwankwu joined his government, Obi said: “When I was the governor, Emeka came to me for something else; I told him I would not grant that to him except he joined the government. When he wanted to raise objections, I told him that I was like somebody trapped in the state and that my only redemption would be proving to the people of the state that we are not cursed but actually the cause of our tribulations. I told him that I needed good and people of proven capacity to assist me.
“This was how he agreed to join us and he delivered as the commissioner for utilities. Today, ask all the towns in the state and they will testify that under him as the commissioner for utilities, they all got transformers, few towns without electricity got it and schools were provided with water.”
Corroborating what Obi said, Joe-Martins Uzodike, who was the commissioner for information, said Nwankwu was noted for timely delivery of all tasks assigned to him. He also described him as a dependable friend.
Obi was accompanied by his wife, Margaret Peter-Obi; daughter, Amaka and all who served in his government as executive council members.