Today, it is with a heavy heart that I join you to mourn our colleague and brother, Hon. Godwin Akwaji, Member representing Obudu State Constituency in the Cross River State House of Assembly.
The greatest pain is not the one received when we are physically hurt. Neither is it the one received when we are down and out. But it is the one received when one so dear and so close is taken away from us. Death is painful and comes with grief. It is in this grief and melancholy that we mourn one of us.
The sudden demise of our brother, friend and colleague, Hon. Godwin Akwaji is traumatic. Each time death occurs, it tinkers with the oneness, corporate spirit, togetherness and love that bond us in this House. Death is inevitable but whenever it occurs, we are taken by surprise.
Although he was a man with exceptional achievements, he never boasted about his achievement and contributions to his community and the society at large. He was a silent achiever who provided succour to many in his community, a gesture that cannot easily be forgotten.
Hon. Akwaji was a lively, calculative and focused person. I can describe him as a man of all seasons who was always confident, vocal and comfortable in any company he found himself. His death was untimely and painful. He left his footprints on the sand of history. He lived a memorable life of a true Christian full of enviable legacies.
As a legislator, we cannot forget his unique voice of courage, boldness, pedantic, brilliant and vibrant contributions to debates in this chamber. Each time he made contributions, he demonstrated patriotism and nationalism. He was a good team player who placed the love for the people above any form of individualistic or parochial interests. He was objective, truthful, sincere, committed and charismatic.
The Cross River State House of Assembly has indeed lost a rare gem, as shown clearly in your testaments. He was a grassroot politician who enjoyed the massive support of his people. Thus, appreciative of him. He served as the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Revenue Matters from 2015 to 2019, before his people elected him into the State House of Assembly on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019.
He was the Chairman of the House Committee on Lands, Housing and New Cities Development. He also served as Vice-Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. He was a great man who used his intellect and professional experience effectively. He co-sponsored several bills and motions in this house. It was easy to see the influence of his profession on the performance of his duties as a legislator; he argued with facts, figures and statistics that easily convinced his colleagues.
It was always a delight to listen to him because the people’s welfare and issues were his uppermost concerns.
You will be dearly missed my dear brother and close confidant. This is not the end of the journey but the beginning. We live to part, but we will meet when we shall part no more. God in his infinite wisdom has a reason for everything and we must believe in Him.
Death is the great reality principle, which smashes the idols of self-sufficiency and omnipotence. Death is the testimony of our creature hood. It is a true test of our faith in God.
Let me conclude with the words of St. Paul who offers guidance for the difficult hours of our lives. We need not be imprisoned in the fear of death. While there is still light and life let us “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.” (1 Cor. 15: 58).
Hon. Godwin Akwaji, fought the good fight. As we await the blessed hope of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, may the peace of the Lord be with him.
Our prayers and thoughts are with his family, his dear wife and children. May Almighty God grant all of us the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.
Adieu my Distinguished colleague, friend and brother.
May his soul rest in peace.
Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams is the speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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