The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has expressed sadness over the demise of the Asagba of Asaba, HRM Prof Chike Edozien.

Ohanaeze in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary Dr Alex Ogbonnia, described Edozien’s exit as a monumental loss to the Igbo nation.

“The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide mourns an Igbo trail blazer, a reflective intellectual giant, purveyor of superior morals, exemplary royalty, outstanding dogged achiever, harmonizer of diverse interests and a quintessential Igbo, His Majesty, Prof. Obi Joseph Chike Edozien, CFR, the Asagba of Asaba as he passes on at 99.

“The Asagba led the Asaba people with unassailable exemplariness, courage, moral rectitude and tenacity. In spite of all the splendour of aristocracy and the magnificence of monarchy at his disposal, the Asagba carried himself with the profoundest of openness and sincerity. The most ennobling of the Asagba persona is located in his strength of character and unwavering commitment to his modest, inordinate and ethical convictions.

“Asagba was a rare gem who displayed accomplishments both in his chosen fields of endeavor and also in the cultural and traditional duties imposed on him by the circumstances of his birth. In Obi was an exceptional blend of the finest Igbo tradition and modernism.

“The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide Chief Engr. Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, MFR; OFR; CFR; FNICE; FNSE; FNIST; KSG (Ahaejiagamba Ndigbo) is in a deep sorrow over the death of His Majesty at a time his wise counsel is most needed. He lamented the rate at which the Igbo are losing the finest of the brains that make Ndigbo tick. He extolled the unassailable noble character of the late Asagba. The memories of Asagba shall always be remembered as a role model worthy of emulation.

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“The Igbo Leader recalls with nostalgia the hey days of the Asagba; and his full participation in Igbo affairs.”

Ohanaeze said the late Professor Edozien would be remembered for his role in uniting the Igbo communities in Delta State and ensuring harmony between them and other ethnic nationalities in the state.

“One of the most amazing of the Asagba mystique is the unique capacity to harmonise the diverse interests and ethnic groups that are resident in Asaba, the Delta State capital; the burgeoning Asaba modernity with the cultural values of the ancient Kingdom; and above all, his hock with the grassroots in spite of his intellectual zenith, nobility and meritorious public service.

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“The above sublime attributes of his Majesty have found full expressions in the serenity and investment-ambience of Asaba since he ascended the throne of his forefathers over 30 years ago. His reign has catalysed the transformation of Asaba into a vibrant social and investment hub in the South South of Nigeria.”

Born on July 28, 1925, at a very young age of 37, the late monarch rose to the enviable rank of a university Professor and Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ibadan and subsequently the Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos; the Foundation scholar, University of Benin; Professor of Nutrition, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, Cambridge, MA; Head, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health and a Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina, USA; among others.

Until his death, Asagba was a member, Presidential Advisory Council of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.

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“While we look forward to a befitting burial, Ahaejiagamba urges His Excellency, Sheriff Oborevwori, the Governor of Delta State and His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR to immortalise His Majesty, Prof. Obi Joseph Chike Edozien, CFR as a veritable source of inspiration to the younger generations,” the statement added.

Ohanaeze condoled the immediate family of the late monarch, and the Government and good people of Delta State “for this irreparable loss.”