By Johnpaul Anih, 4/3/2021
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, on Wednesday, led members of the State Executive Council (EXCO) in a solemn valedictory session honouring the late State Commissioner for Transport, Rt. Hon. Mathias Ekweremadu Jnr, who died on February 4, 2021, while in active service.
Delivering his eulogy, Gov. Ugwuanyi who gave a heart rending narrative of how he received the unsettling news of late Ekweremadu’s sudden health challenge that ensued when he was attending an official engagement at the State House of Assembly, disclosed the swift efforts he (Ugwuanyi) personally made to save his life, including his quick visit to Niger Foundation Hospital, Enugu, to ensure that he received urgent and adequate medical attention.
Pointing out that he prayed that it was a bad dream that would soon be over, the governor narrated with grief: “At the hospital, I beheld Ezeigbo (Ekweremadu) lying motionless amidst tearful supplication to God for his healing by determined Christian brethren, family, friends and staff.
“I sat there in union of prayers for his divine healing. This went on for about two hours before we yielded to the hospital protocol for handling death.
“High-pitched wailing of inconsolable family, brethren, friends and staff rent the air. The reality finally dawned on all of us that Ezeigbo had gone. Anguish overwhelmed me. The rest is history”.
Eulogizing the late Ekweremadu, Gov. Ugwuanyi said: “Today and sadly, I pay my respect to a departed apostle of our administration, a patriot, a formidable politician; bold and audacious and an outstanding Public Servant; former Chairman of Aninri Local Government Council, former Member/Chief Whip of Enugu State House of Assembly, Commissioner for Transport until death, Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), beloved husband, loving father and most importantly, a devout Christian and Knight of Good Shepherd”.
He added that the Transport Commissioner was a public-spirited man who lived for and served others, stressing that “it is on record that he travelled to Nnewe Community of his native Aninri LGA on the morning of that sad day, distributing school lockers and seats to primary schools in that community before leading the State Ministry of Transport to honour the invitation by the State House of Assembly Committee on Transport which became his last engagement in this mundane world”.
Gov. Ugwuanyi who stated that the Enugu State Executive Council, the government and people of the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) family, the people of Aninri LGA, friends and family of the late Ekweremadu, will miss him, said: “Our fortitude rests in our conviction that through the mercy of Almighty God, you have joined the hosts of heaven; praising God and glorifying his Holy name”.
In their separate tributes, members of the State Executive Council, described their late colleague as a man of integrity who displayed passion, character, steadfastness and ingenuity in public service.
The EXCO members who later joined Gov. Ugwuanyi and his deputy, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo to bid late Ekweremadu farewell, expressed grief over his death and beseeched God to grant his gentle soul eternal rest as well as console his family and loved ones.
The event was graced by the wife and children of the late Transport Commissioner, his brothers, Mr. Bright Ekweremadu and Senator Ike Ekweremadu who came with his wife, Dr. Nwanneka, State Chairman of the PDP, Hon. Augustine Nnamani, the Deputy Minority Leader, Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Toby Okechukwu and the member representing Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Dennis Amadi.
Others include the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Dr. Emmannuel Chukwuma, the State Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Emmanuel O. Edeh, the State Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Ndatsu Aliyu, other heads of security agencies in the state, top government functionaries, among others.