Dr. Mathew Ojong Achigbe, Where Art Thou? BY VICTOR NDOMA-EGBA

In Business, Columnists, Opinion

Your call to me at 11.05 pm on Friday 16 November, 2018 was my last call that day. You said you were in Onitsha for the meeting of your Order, Knights of St. Mulumba of which you were Grand Knight and that you were leaving for Obubra the next day for a meeting you had scheduled with the leadership of Obubra.

When I picked my phone at 11am on Saturday morning my first call was from Barrister Ichire Okim that you had been involved in a motor accident a few minutes before. This was immediately followed by another phone call from Esther Ndifon, your niece,who confirmed the accident and that the worst had happened. Your dear wife Rose now called to say she been receiving calls from people sympathising with her, whether I had any information concerning you.

A few days earlier you were in my office in Abuja and broke the sad news of the demise of your son -in- law Mark. You were planning his burial and you were to brief me as soon as arrangements were concluded. In one fatal stroke of fate both daughter and mother are now widows. If this is not tragedy I wonder else will be.

You were gentle, humane, principled and honest .You did not play with politics with people though you were in politics. You were a true Christian and your life reflected Christian virtues and values in every respect.

As chairman of the APC in Cross River State you brought your solid intellectual strength and your sense of fairness and justice to your dealings. As a friend you were loyal and a friend and brother indeed. As a husband you were devoted and loving. You were hardly seen without your wife Lady Rose. As a father, you were dutiful as is evident from your well brought up children.

The day man unravels the mysteries of life and death that day man becomes Divinity. That day however will certainly not come because life and death remain exclusively within God’s exclusive preserve.

Painful as your death is we are enjoined to give God thanks in everything and that we should not mourn like those who have no hope. As Catholics, we hope for the resurrection and the promise of salvation, a promise confirmed by Christ’s death for us on the cross. We therefore give God thanks even in our pain. We give Him thanks for your life, a life lived for and in Christ, a life of love, sacrifice and service to family, community , humanity and the Almighty in Whose bosom you certainly have earned eternal rest. We give Him thanks for your memory, for the friendship and times shared.

The measure of our lives is not in the length of our years but in the life in those years. You had life in every year of your life. A rounded and grounded academic you were also an astute administrator and politician. An alumnus of the elite National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) you rose to the position of Permanent Secretary in the Government of Cross River State. On retirement from government you took up an academic position with the University of Calabar and ventured into politics. You were a consensus builder. No wonder your emergence as State Chairman of APC was by the consensus of the mainstream.

Though your untimely death is painful we take solace in God’s will and abiding wisdom. You died in the course of God’s work. You therefore translated to eternity to be with your Maker whom you faithfully served while on this mortal plane through the front door. We ask not where art thou? We know you are in Heaven which is home for angels.

Rest in perfect peace my friend, my brother.

Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba OFR, CON, SAN, the leader of the seventh Assembly (Senate) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is the chairman, governing board of the Niger Delta Development Commission and senatorial candidate of the APC in Cross River State central district for the 2019 general elections.

NOTE:Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Victor Ndoma-Egba, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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