MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
It was an evening of mixed emotions, celebration and sober reflection as Nigerians from various walks of life gathered in a service of songs on Tuesday in Lagos to bid Nigeria’s foremost private security practitioner Dr. Ona Ekhomu farewell.
Ministering at the event which took place in the Shell Hall, Muson Centre, Onikan Lagos, Ven. Tunde Oyediran of St. Saviours Anglican Church, Lagos while describing the late Ekhomu as a God fearing man who was very passionate about Nigeria and security cum safety of persons, condemned what he referred to, as the declining state of genuine Christianity.
According to him, “as Christians are increasing in number, the more lawlessness become paramount.” He reminded all Nigerians especially Christians that the current spate of death across different ages is a serious reminder that the end may be near for everyone.
“Therefore, this is the time to make a paradigm shift by shunning evil in every ramification. The society is increasingly feasting on evil and Christians are shying away from their responsibility. This is not good. Christians should wake up and wage war against evil in the society.”
The Anglican priest recalled his many encounters with Ona Ekhomu as members of the same church and how the late security icon contributed in many ways to help the church and humanity generally in the most humble manner in spite of his education, global exposure and other achievements.
Venerable Oyediran challenged other well placed Nigerians to live humble lives and give attention to the less privileged as “nobody would take away any of his wealth at death, whether it is houses, cars, bank account and so on.”
In their tributes, many Nigerians including former External Affairs Minister, Odein Ajumogobia, Guardian Newspaper Chairperson Lady Maiden Ibru, former boss of Institute of Directors Felix Ijewere, Chief Ainabe, Pastor Itua Ighodalo and many others spoke about the late National President of Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON) in glowing terms.
In the words of Ajumogobia, “Ona was a brilliant man, passionate about his work and Nigeria. It is sad to lose at a time Nigeria needed his expertise on how to curb insecurity in Nigeria. He was an extrovert and prolific writer. I attended public presentation of his books.”
To Chief Ijewere, the late Ekhomu was an embodiment of humility, a man proud of his Ishan extraction and s brand to many people. He loved his people and the people in turn loved him too.”
The Guardian Newspaper chieftain, Maiden Ibru described Ekhomu as “an easy going man who would not fail to say hello to me anytime we saw in church. At some point, I got to know that he was truly a top-rated security practitioner Nigeria has produced.”
The late Ona Ekhomu’s first son Ona Osezua Ekhomu while describing his father as a great Nigerian who was so passionate about Nigeria, challenged other Nigerians to show more love to the country.
According to him, “my father had opportunity of living elsewhere outside Nigeria doing great things but he chose to return to the country and had all his life working to uplift Nigeria. He was restless in his passion to create a better Nigeria. I wish many other Nigerians can emulate my late father,” he said.
The late Dr. Ona Ekhomu while alive was taking the lead in making the private security industry in Nigeria to take a pride of place. Apart from establishing Transworld Security System Limited as provider of guard services, Ekhomu founded the School of Management and Security (SMS) for world class trainings in security operations and management.
The School which is affiliated to such global institutions as the Miami based International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO), America Society for Industrial Security ASIS had provided quality education that led to the acquisition of global certifications like Certified Protection Officers (CPO), Certified Protection Professional (CPP) etc.
Ekhomu, a columnist in several newspapers, was a public analyst on security matters and author of several security related books in use by security students in various institutions.
He would always be remembered by the private security practitioners in Nigeria as one person who helped to change the narrative of security officers no longer being considered as mere gatemen. He in collaboration with some other educated practitioners brought some intellectual coloration into the practice and helped to convince policy makers about the relevance of Industrial security in Nigeria.
As an industrial security trainer, he had traversed the length and breadth of the oil and gas sector and other sectors giving trainings at various times.
The remains of the late security chieftain would be laid to rest on Friday 10th September, 2021 at his home town of Irrua in Edo State. He died at the age of 66 years on August 9, 2021 following a brief illness.