Enugu: The nation wide burial train of the late elder statesman, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Rtd berthed at the Enugu Sports Club, on Tuesday, where a Day of Tributes was held in his honour by a committee comprising Igbo activists, Civil Society organizations and other associates of the deceased.
The Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, represented by the Enugu State Commisioner for Information, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh lauded the organizers of the event for finding it necessary to hold the event in Enugu and conferring on him the privilege of hosting the event.
Ugwuanyi extolled the immense achievements of Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu in various capacities in the past, regretting that he died at a time his services were needed most. He therefore expressed the condolence of the Government and people of Enugu State to the family, friends and relatives of Admiral Kanu.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the event, Ozo Dr Ferdinand Anikwe eulogized Adm. Kanu, who he described as a patriot, a nationalist and a staunch advocate of human rights and good Governance.
According to him, he got endeared to Kanu during his exploits in the NADECO days where he proved his mettle as a fearless fighter and lover of humanity.
Also, Anikwe, a former Director General of Centre for Black Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) thanked the organizers of the event for deeming it fit to honour the Igbo icon in Enugu, the political capital of Ndigbo and called on the younger generation of Igbos to emulate the ideals of Admiral Kanu.
The Key note Speaker Prof Chidi Osuagwu in his speech noted that Admiral Kanu “was a man of honour, integrity, empathy and rare humility, recalling how Admiral Kanu stood firm and assertive in the post War years when Igbos were sidelined in the scheme of things.
Excerpts from the speech titled: Admiral Kanu Stood in the gap for Igbo dignity are captured below :
“To pay tribute to a great man to whom the admiring world is paying tribute at the same time is no easy job.
Admiral Kanu was a great man to whom informed Nigerians is paying due tribute as he exits from Earth on the eternal journey to join ancestors. Admiral was a great soldier-statesman who, when it was most dangerous to do so, under the Abacha regime, stood up for democracy in Nigeria as a NADECO chieftain. For that, tribute pours from across Nigeria mourning his death. Today, I stand up to salute his Spirit, for standing up for Igbo dignity when it could cost his life.
Today, a man that stood in the Gap for Igbo dignity, meritedly, steps forth to join the ancestors. A son of Isumisu, whose grandmothers were there in 1929, goes to report to them how he lived and acted their true son. Today, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu sails out on the longest of voyages…to the realm of the Spirits and Ancestors. I salute the Commander-at-sea for standing in the Gap, when it mattered most, for Igbo Dignity.”
In his address, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the event, Comrade Chuks Ibegbu thanked all the guests that found time to honor the event, noting that some of the admirers and well wishers of Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu decided to gather at Enugu, the socio-cultural and political capital of Ndigbo to honour one of the foremost Igbo icons and Ohanaeze chieftain. Ibegbu urged the present and future generation of Igbo youths to emulate the exemplary qualities of this great Igbo son.
In his tribute, Prof Ben Nwabueze, an elder statesman and former Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, represented by Prof Elo Amucheazi regretted and lamented the death of Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, who he described as an epitome of dedication, forthrightness and patriotism. He noted that Ndigbo have lost some of their best minds in recent times, of which Admiral Kanu is one of them. Regretting that he wished that Admiral Kanu ought to be the one reading his (Nwabueze’s) tribute and not the other way round.
His Royal Highness, Igwe (Ambassador) L.O.C Agubuzu, Ogbunechendo 1 of Ezema-Olo, Ezeagu LGA and Chairman, Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council, in his tribute recalled his days in the diplomatic service when he carefully followed the trajectory of the deceased and confirmed that the man was cut out for leadership and service to humanity. He also lauded Admiral Kanu’s roles in Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership, when it mattered most.
Rt. Hon. Chibudom Nwuche, Former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives represented by Prof Nyenke of the Department of Quantity Surveying, Rivers State University of Science & Technology, Port Harcourt in his tribute regretted the death of Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu at a time his guidance and advice was highly needed by Ndigbo and Nigerians. He noted that Admiral Kanu was a detribalized Nigerian, whose ideas and ideals nurtured unity and goodwill between Ndigbo and their neighbors.
Dr Orefo Onochie, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant and former Nigerian Ambassador to Algeria and Phillipines, praised Admiral Kanu for his forthrightness, candour, bravery and humility. He called on Ndigbo to see themselves as one, whether from the East or West of the Niger and collaborate to get their due rights in Nigeria.
In his own tribute, Dr Oluebube Chukwu representing Prof Greg Ibeh, Chancellor, Gregory University, Uturu lamented that Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu died at a time his services were most needed by Ndigbo and Nigeria.
In his tribute, the Executive Chairman, Enugu Sports Club and Host of the event, Barr J. H. C. Nwosu regretted the death of Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu and noted that the club deemed it fit to be associated with the event as a mark of honor to the deceased, based on his unimpeachable contributions to humanity.
In his own tribute, AVM Aliu Mohammed, representing the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Isiaka Oladayo Amao noted that the Nigerian Airforce and other armed forces of Nigeria were shocked to learn about the death of one of Nigeria’s finest military officers, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu.
He as well remarked that as a very junior officer in the past, he benefitted from the hospitality and benevolence of the deceased who was then a military administrator of old Imo State.
In appreciating the organizers of the solemn event, the family of Admiral Kanu represented by Chief Barr. Godwin Okereke, a retired Deputy Commissioner of Police thanked them for the posthumous honor done to their brother, father and mentor. He assured that Kanu’s legacies would remain indelible.
In his vote of thanks, on behalf of the Organizing Committee, Elder Ndukwo Ndukwo Ogbuja, Esq thanked all the special guests, from all walks of life that honored the event, wishing them safe journey back to their various destinations.
Other dignitaries at the event include Dr Joe Nwaorgu, Former Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prince Emeka Onyesoh, Elder Oyibo Chukwu, Lolo Sally Egbogu, Chief Dr H. B. C. Ogboko, Comrade Osmond Ugwu, Mazi Zulu Ofoelue, Provost, ATCOI, College of Education, Enugu.
Highlights of the event included speeches, tributes, musical renditions from the St. Mulumba’s New Haven, Enugu Papal Choir and a video projection of the Life and Times of Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Rtd.