MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
A one-time Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Alexander Ogomudia, Prof. Pat Utomi of the Centre for Value and Leadership and other notable Nigerians on Tuesday paid glowing tributes to the memory of late security icon; Dr. Ona Ekhomu at the one year anniversary of his death.
The event which held at the high brow Civic Centre at Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island Lagos had begun with a memorial service at St. Saviours Anglican Church, Tafawa Balewa Square.
In his speech as Chairman of the occasion, General Ogomudia remarked that “event of the today reminds us of the life and times of Dr. Ona Ekhomu
who was an extremely positive-minded person. Ekhomu was a typical kind of person one would love to have as a friend during his life.”
“He was quite passionate about security in Nigeria and deeply interested in making things work. Due to passion for anything security, he was always in contact with me for sharing of experience.”
The former Chief of Defence Staff who had earlier served Nigeria as Chief of Army Staff extolled the virtues of Ekhomu describing him as a national hero.
In his keynote, Professor Pat Utomi began by trying to explain what life is all about and the immortality of man in relation to activities of his life while on
earth. He noted that a man’s life is immortalised through the legacies of what he bequeathed humanity.
Describing Ona Ekhomu as a Nigerian who did well for humanity while he was alive, posited that the immortality of Ekhomu’s life could be found in many security lectures, books and counsel he gave while alive and generally the patriotic and godly life he lived for humanity.
Prof. Utomi likened Ekhomu to Italian Niccolo Machiavelli who died over 500 years ago but continued to be relevant through his book entitled ‘The Prince’ which was published in 1533 but has continued to make meaning from generation to generation.
Speaking generally on the security situation in Nigeria which Ekhomu so much involved himself while alive, Utomi deplored the escalating state of insecurity which seemed to have defied every solution. He recommended that the country as it is currently, needs a paradigm shift towards evolving what he called national guard system with powers of control not residing with the Federal Government but the states and local governments.
Former Pro-Chancellor of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Chief Lawson Omokhodion in his tribute said Ona Ekhomu was an excellently handsome man who brought some finese in the security space, exuding charm and warmth wherever he went.
Earlier in his welcome address, Ekhomu’s first son, Lieutenant Ona Ekhomu described his late father as an excellent man who lived exemplary life of giving and caring for others.
In the same vein, the deceased’s widow; Dr (Mrs.) Victoria Ekhomu said many people go through life without experiencing love but “I thank God my late husband showed me love and the children he left behind give me the strength to survive. I always see Ona in his children.”
According to Mrs. Ekhomu, she married Ona not for the sake of money about four decades ago because richer suitors were coming to her but for who he was.
He had a likeable and godly personality. Both of us started our business life from the scratch and he took me along in the security profession and helped to make me who I am now.”
Dignitaries from different walks of life attended the memorial anniversary service in the church and reception. They included Channel Television
Chairman, Mr. John Momoh, Chairman, King David Group of Companies, Dr. Davidson Akhimien, Engr. Mustapha Lusty of Kontz Engineering,
Mr. Matthew Ibadin, a security consultant, former Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Matthew Egbadon and many others.
One of the highlights of the occasion was the launching of Dr. Ona Ekhomu Education Foundation Endowment Fund.