OHANAEZE NDIGBO MOURNS IRUKWU
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worlwide has received with rude shock the sad news on the passing of one of our brightest, an accomplished legal luminary, moral edifice, insurance and risk management wizard, erudite scholar of world renown, Igbo leader and former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Professor Joe Ogbonna Irukwu, SAN, CFR.
Irukwu was elected the President -General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in 2003 and he served meritoriously and bowed out in 2007. During his incumbency, Irukwu added colour, glamour, zest, robust intellect and panache to the Igbo umbrella socio-cultural organization.
One of his works- Nation Building and Ethnic Organization: A Case Study of Ohanaeze in Nigeria, published by Spectrum, is an intellectual Magnus opus that fascinated the scholarly community in 2007 as one of the best sellers. In the same year, before the expiration of his tenure, Irukwu led other Igbo leaders to commission a multi-million naira complex comprising of a 1,500 -seater auditorium, library and conference room which he built single-handedly “as part of his own legacy to the Igbo man’s quest for equitable recognition and accommodation in the Nigerian polity”.
One recalls with nostalgia and immense delight, the social skill, wisdom and organizational acumen that Irukwu displayed in the face of the turbulence which was occasioned by the political intrigues that confronted his tenure as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Professor Joe Ogbonna Irukwu was called to the English Bar in 1962 and enrolled as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the same year. He has held many top positions in both Private and public Sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Irukwu resisted the lure by Dr. M. I Okpara, the then Premier of the Eastern Region, to join partisan politics;. instead, he chose to pursue his dream of applying his knowledge in Law to build an enviable insurance industry in Nigeria.
Irukwu painstakingly achieved his set goals and became a foremost risk management expert, Professor of Insurance, educationist, award winning author and holder of many distinguished fellowships and academic awards.
Above all, Irukwu showed a remarkable patriotism as a delegate at the National Political Reform Conference in 2005.
The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Engr. Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, CFR (Ahaejiagamba) could not withhold his emotions on hearing the sad news of the demise of the great Iroko, a senior advocate of Nigeria and member of his Presidential Advisory Council (PAC). Iwuanyanwu lamented that we have lost a well fulfilled man with a large heart; unassailable friendly finesse and amazing public relations.
He added that Professor Irukwu was a quintessence of courage and character whose legacies in Ohanaeze Ndigbo will always be remembered with deep emotional attachments. He lamented that Irukwu has left him when his wise counsel is most needed.
On behalf the National Executive Committee (NEC) and indeed all the structures of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, we send our condolences to the immediate family, the government and good people of Abia State.
While we ask the Almighty to grant the soul of Professor Joe Ogbonna Irukwu an eternal rest in his bosom, we urge the immediate family to bear the irreparable loss with fortitude and serenity.
Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, the National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide