By Chioma Gabriel & Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA—FORMER president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, who passed on Tuesday at the age of 88, was buried yesterday at his Otolo Nnewi country home.
In a condolence message yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari commiserated with the Ikedife family as well as the government and people of Anambra State on the death of their illustrious son.
The President also commiserated with the Pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo on the passing of its former President-General.
He saved many lives —Buhari
The President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina in Abuja said he joined them in mourning the veteran obstetrician and gynaecologist who spent over fifty years of his life as a medical practitioner, working bravely to save many lives in the country and charting new developments in the medical field through research.
“As a medical practitioner, respected community leader and political actor, President Buhari believes that Dr Ikedife will be sorely missed and honoured for his commitment to the development of his community, devotion to his professional calling, zeal for democratic values and passion for the preservation of Igbo ethos and tradition,” he said.
He was selfless —Okorocha
In a related development, Imo State governor and chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Governors Forum, Rochas Okorocha also expressed sadness and shock over the death of the former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
The governor described Ikedife as a selfless leader who made sacrifices in the overall interest of Ndigbo in particular and Nigeria as a nation.
He recalled that when Ikedife was the President-General of Ohanaeze, he demonstrated high dose of exemplary leadership qualities to the acknowledgement and delight of both Igbos and none Igbos alike.
The governor regretted that Dr. Ikedife’s death came at a time his wisdom and wealth of experience both as a leader and as a good Christian are mostly needed.
He extended his condolences to the President of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo and his team, and the family of the late patriarch, praying the good Lord to grant his soul eternal rest.
Also mourning the former Ohanaeze president, the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Obi lamented as truly painful, the passing away of Dr. Dozie Ikedife, whose sad demise happened at his Nnewi residence in Anambra State on December, 12, 2018.
He advanced the Ndigbo cause —Obi
Late Ikedife was described by the former governor of Anambra State as an exemplary leader, who effectively used his firm qualities to advance the cause of the Igbo man and his country.
“His invaluable contributions towards the advancement and development of Nnewi, Anambra State, the South East and Nigeria will forever be remembered with fond memories. He wasn’t just the President-General of Ohanaeze. During my time as governor of Anambra State, he was the chairman of the Elders’ Council that contributed immensely to the successes we recorded in those eight years,” Obi said.
He was a courageous politician —Ngige
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige in his condolence message described Ikedife as a courageous man who would be missed by all.
Ngige said Ikedife was a consummate and courageous politician, who was steadfast and diligent in all his life endeavours, adding that his death had created a very big vacuum in the medical profession and political landscape in the South-East in particular and Nigeria in general.
He said: “A man of tremendous strength and courage, he also exhibited that as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a position he got into when I was governor in Anambra State and we worked together as a very big supporter of my government, to enthrone renaissance and foundation for the new Anambra State.”
Loss to Ndigbo, Nigeria —Ohanaeze
Reacting on Ikedife’s death, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo said it was a loss to the Igbo race and Nigeria as a whole.
Anambra State President of Ohanaeze, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, said Dr. Ikedife died when his ideas were needed most for the oneness and development of Nigeria and hoped that his great works and legacy would continue to speak for him.
Okeke-Ogene said: “He lived for the cause of the poor, widows and youths.” Ikedife died at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi in the early hours of Tuesday. He was, until his death, a member of Nnewi Royal Cabinet and proprietor of Ikedife Specialist Hospital, Nnewi.
He instituted the Dozie Ikedife Annual Medal and Prize for Best Graduating Medical Doctor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and Doctor Dozie Ikedife Annual Prize for Best Student in Community Health at the University Nigeria, Nsukka, 1988.
Vanguard gathered that the decision to bury the late medical doctor and former presidential liaison officer during the second republic twenty four hours after his death was to keep to his wish when he was alive.