By Maureen Chigbo
PROMINENT Nigerians are mourning the death of Rear Admiral Ndubisi Kanu who died on Wednesday, January 13, in a hospital in Lagos, after a brief illness suspected to be from complications from coronavirus infection.
They have also paid tribute to him saying that he served Nigeria well and that his story should be retold for the future generation to learn to live a life of service.
Prof. Anya O. Anya, former director general of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group and member of the 2014 national conference presidential committee, said Kanu’s death was personally devastating for him.
Describing Kanu, who was the former military governor of Imo and Lagos States, as a man of commitment, Anya said that the deceased was constant and committed in his opinion.
“I feel a personal loss. We worked very closely together. May God forgive his sins and grant him eternal rest,” he prayed.
According to John Nnia Nwodo, former president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, late Admiral Kanu was a fearless advocate for the truth. Selfless and altruistic in his advocacy for good governance, he drops everything material to stick by his convictions.
Said Nwodo: “As President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, he was my constant source of advice and inspiration. Oh how wicked and unpredictable death can be. Only last week he called to encourage me to fire on with the transition arrangements. May his soul rest in perfect peace in the bosom of the Lord.”
Describing his death as a passage of a titan, Tola Adeniyi, former managing director of Daily Times Conglomerate and and Jagun Oodua Adimula ll of Yorubaland, said: “I never met His Excellency Ndubuisi Kanu in person but his heroic impact touched me to the marrow.
According to Adeniyi, late Kanu greatness became sterling during the crisis that trailed the annulment of the best, the freest and the fairest election ever held in Nigeria.
“Ndubuisi immediately became the ‘posterboy’ for national resistance as he took a centre stage in the NADECO organization. He gave money, material, logistics and his entire Mind to the struggle to actualise MKO Abiola’s mandate.
“He scaled over the barricades of ethnicity, religion, language and political persuasion in pursuance of what he believed was in the national interest. And he paid dearly for it. Despite his popularity and national acclaim, Kanu lived and died a very simple and humble man. May his gallant soul rest in peace.
On his part, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said his death was a great loss to Ndigbo and Nigeria as a whole.
For Goddy Uwazuruike, former president of Aka Ikenga, an Igbo group based in Lagos, Admiral Kanu was an enigma. “He had a soft voice. Yet he became a commander. Physically, he didn’t look like a military man. What he lacked in physique, he gained in his brainpower. It is therefore not a surprise that he rose to the height of his profession. As the governor of both Imo State and Lagos State, he left his footprint in the sands of time.
“He was a complete Igbo man, very passionate, brooked no nonsense and he never stood on ceremonies. He was the chairman of NADECO and was even manhandled for his membership of the organization. It’s unfortunate that Nigeria continues to lose quite a good number of its finest characters at this difficult times,” Uwazuruike said.
Also, Prof. Femi Mimiko of the Department of Political Science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria, and the fourth vice chancellor, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Ondo State, acknowledged that Admiral Kanu served Nigeria very well.”
Said Mimiko, “He was an accomplished military leader, whose transformation into a committed democrat was as good as they come. He played a critical role in the struggle to validate the June 12, 1993, presidential election; and was harried into exile, where he continued the struggle for democracy.
“As the current experimentation at democratic governance made its debut in 1999, Kanu was back, and continued to serve as a moral leader to the pro-democracy movement until his death earlier today (Wednesday).
“It is important that the stories of patriots like Kanu be told, to the ends of not just the correct historicisation of the nation’s evolution, but in the determined effort we must continue to make to raise the gaze of our youths and future generations of Nigerians on the worthiness of a life of service and commitment to the good of the motherland.”
Similarly, Major General Obi Abel Umahi, president of Ndigbo Lagos, said “this great man, who stood strong in his convictions, left indelible marks on sands of time at all levels of the societal lives of Nigeria and Ndigbo.”
According to Umahi, “The history of Ndigbo Lagos cannot be correctly written without mentioning the numerous contributions of this great legend in the formation and sustainance of the organization.
“I therefore join the Elders Council and indeed the entire membership of Ndigbo Lagos to deeply mourn the departure of our Elder and leader.
“We will take our rightful place and position in the preparations and final rites activities as may be permitted by the family members of our departed elder, leader and friend.
“May the Almighty God grant comfort to all the bereaved and also give eternal rest to the soul of our departed brother and father,” he prayed.
– Jan. 14, 2021 @ 12:25 GMT /