Harvest Of Praise For Ex-Presidential Aide As Ibori, Makarfi, Others Attend Autobiography Presentation

Former Governors James Ibori and Ahmed Makarfi

By Braxton Ilobah

It was a glorious day for Chief Clement Ofuani, a one-time Commissioner for Economic Planning in Delta State and later, Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, when two former governors and other dignitaries gathered to publicly present his autobiography on Thursday in Asaba.

Chief Ibori and his former Deputy, Benjamin Elue

Former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori and his Kaduna State counterpart Dr. Ahmed Makarfi led the pack of other well placed personalities to honour Ofuani at the event which held in Orchids Hotel.

(L-R) Ibori, Makarfi, Ofuani and Mrs Ofuani

The book presentation which also featured the celebration of Ofuani’s 60th birthday anniversary was remarkably an occasion for extolling his virtues by several personalities particularly those who crossed parts with him during his public service career.

According to Chief Ibori, his earliest noticeable contact with Ofuani was when he was serving as Special Assistant to the Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning Mr. David Edevbie. “I found him to be a young man with a high degree of courage, integrity and quite articulate in his presentation on behalf of his boss during one of our meetings.’

Continuing, the former Delta Governor said “I commend Ofuani for his dedication and commitment in the service of the state. As he celebrates his 60th birthday, I pray God to give him many more years to celebrate. People like Ofuani would take over the leadership of Nigeria as our own time is gradually going.”

Recalling his earliest days as Governor of Delta State, Ibori remarked “I was a green horn when I was elected Governor but I decided to bring into government the best hands irrespective of their tribe. Incidentally, Ofuani was one of them because he was courageous, intelligent and articulate.”

Former Governor of Kaduna State, Makarfi who was Ofuani’s school mate at the Federal Government College, Enugu some decades ago, while commending the author said he had read the 636-page autobiography and found it intellectually rich. He encouraged Nigerians from different sectors to buy copies of the book.

Commenting on Ofuani’s honesty and tenacity in public service, the incumbent Board Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Mr. Chiedu Ebie lauded Ofuani for what he called his organisational skill particularly when he (Ofuani) was the pioneer Director-General of Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency created by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration.

The harvest of praise for Chief Ofuani continued when Olorogun David Edevbie his immediate boss when he was Special Assistant (SA), disclosed that he recommended Ofuani for employment as his SA because he stood out as the most qualified among the numerous candidates recommended for appointment.

Edevbie who was then serving as Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning under Ibori did not play ethnic card in chosing who would become his Special Assistant.

Both Edevbie and Ofuani worked together as Commissioners in Ibori’s second term before Edevbie was appointed Principal Secretary to former President Yar’Adua. He subsequently facilitated the appointment of Ofuani to work with him at the Presidency as Senior Special Assistant.

Chief presenter of the book, Mr. Austin Awuru, a co-founder of Seplat Petroleum Development Company also paid glowing tribute to Ofuani for his sterling qualities displayed both in private and public sectors. Awuru who opened the floodgate of donations for launching the book encouraged Nigerians to buy and read it as it has so much knowledge information.

The occasion attracted several personalities including some past and serving government officials, Ofuani’s old school mates at the Federal Government College Enugu, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and old colleagues in the finance sector including his political associates.

Some of the personalities were former Deputy Governor of Delta State, Chief Benjamin Elue, Environmentalist Newton Jibunor, former Deputy Chief of Staff, Dr. Emma Ejiofor, one time Commissioner for Information, Victor Ukah and many others.

Earlier in his welcome address, Ofuani while appreciating the guests for honouring him with their presence, noted how fate had brought some personalities he related with his life journey, to play some unique roles in the autobiography project.

First in the pack was Mr. Frank Oshanugor, publisher of the book who was his primary school mate at Ubulu-Okiti Delta State. The second person was ex-governor Ahmed Makarfi who was in the same dormitory with him at Federal Government College Enugu, followed by the book reviewer Barr. Chuma Nwokolo his contemporary at University of Nigeria.

The Chief Presenter Austin Avuru is also an alumnus of University of Nigeria, Nsukka while the Special Guest of Honour, James Ibori gave him the first opportunity in the public service as Special Assistant.

The occasion was well attended and guests were well entertained at the two-in-one event which also featured cutting of cake by Ofuani and his family as part of his 60th birthday celebration.

Written by: Frank Oshanugor

Leave a Reply