The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has described the late Asagba of Asaba in Delta, His Royal Majesty, Prof Chike Edozien, who passed on at 99 as an “Igbo trail blazer”.
In a statement signed by Dr Alex Ogbonnia, the National Publicity Secretary of the group on Friday in Enugu, it said Edozien led the Asaba people with “unassailable exemplariness, courage, moral rectitude and tenacity”.
It would be recalled that the news of passing away of the traditional ruler and professor of medicine, broke out on Feb. 7.
“Asagba was a rare gem who displayed accomplishments both in his chosen fields of endeavor and also in the cultural and traditional duties imposed on him by the circumstances of his birth.
“In him, was an exceptional blend of the finest Igbo tradition and modernism,” he said.
He said the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, was in a deep sorrow over the death of Edozien at a time his wise counsel was most needed.
“He lamented the rate at which Igbos are losing the finest of the brains that make Ndigbo thick and extolled the unassailable noble character of the late Asagba.
“The memories of Asagba shall always be remembered as a role model worthy of emulation.
“One of the most amazing of the Asagba mystique is the unique capacity to harmonise the diverse interests and ethnic groups that are resident in Asaba, the Delta State capital and the burgeoning Asaba modernity with the cultural values of the ancient Kingdom.
“And above all, his hock with the grassroots in spite of his intellectual zenith, nobility and meritorious public service.
“The above sublime attributes of his Majesty have found full expressions in the serenity and investment-ambience of Asaba since he ascended the throne of his forefathers over 30 years ago.
“His reign has catalyzed the transformation of Asaba into a vibrant social and investment hub in the South- South of Nigeria,” the spokesperson said.
Until his death, Asagba was a member, Presidential Advisory Council of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.
While we look forward to a befitting burial, Iwuanyanwu urges Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori, the Governor of Delta State and President Bola Tinubu, to immortalise Edozien as a veritable source of inspiration to the younger generations.
“The Igbo leader condoles the immediate family of His Majesty, the government and good people of Delta State for this irreparable loss,” Ogbonnia said.
Edozien was born on July 28, 1925 and at a very young age of 37 rose to the enviable rank of a university professor and Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ibadan and subsequently the chairman; Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos.
He was the Foundation scholar, University of Benin; Professor of Nutrition, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA; Head, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health and a Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina, USA; among others.