It was a moment of tributes and commendations, as heads of universities, scholars within and outside Abia State, converged to pay last respect to their late colleague and former Vice Chancellor of the Abia State University,(ABSU), Uturu, Prof Uche Ikonne.
In a Colloquium/ Day of Tributes organised by the Abia State Government, in honour of the Late Prof Uche Ikonne, at the Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia, heads of various higher institutions in Abia, academics, top government functionaries, medical personnels, business associates, as well as, members of the Ngwa High School Old Boys Association, defiled all busy schedules to join in the day two of the week long activity to mark the final exit of the late erudite scholar.
While some described the late Prof Uche Ikonne as forthright and fearless, others said he was a welfarist, humanist and a man of great character.
In an Interview with the Vice Chancellor of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture (MOUAU), Prof Maduebibisi Iwe, who recounted the good times spent with the late Prof Ikonne, said Ikonne was a good friend, with their friendship growing up to family level. He prayed God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss, adding that God has taken what He gave.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration of the Abia State University and the chairman of the Colloquium /Day of Tributes Sub committee, Prof Ogbonnaya Onuoha, in his interaction with newsmen, disclosed that Prof Ikonne was a great man with high intellectual repute and honourable status, adding that with the height he attained, the burial committee couldn’t have organized an ordinary burial for him.
He said the Colloquium and Day of Tributes was put together basically to speak out on some of the ideals and virtues of the late Professor and as well, celebrate his klironomia.
Giving his tribute, Prof Onuoha described the late Prof Ikonne as a huge divine investment, a welfarist and humanist, who motivates people to succeed and derives joy in seeing them succeed.
According to him, the late Ikonne, recognises talents, rewards merit and a patriotic fellow who detest clannishness and villagism.
He noted that the ABSU community would miss him greatly, adding that if things had gone well, he would have become a great Ambassador of the college, with numerous benefits coming to the school.
Equally, the President General of Ngwa High School Old Boys Association (NHSOBA), Chief Mike Ahamba, said the association is in grief, losing one of its active and committed members.He described the death of Prof Ikonne as a terrible loss to the Ngwa High School Old Boys Association.
He stated that Prof Ikonne never joked with his friends and would always tell them the truth without fear or favour, stressing that as a member of the Old Boys Association, he would always come for meetings and was very committed. “We tried to emulate him. But funny enough, when we were growing up, Prof Ikonne was so fragile that we called him ‘Delicate’, but he surprised everyone, he grew up so strong and fearless”.
“He never forgot Ngwa High School, he was always there for us. We will not forget him, as he will be laid to rest on friday, April 28, we’ll all be present to bid him farewell”.
Chief Ahamba added that the members of the Old Boys Association would miss Ikonne’s commitment and forthrightness and prayed God to console the family.
Also, the Chief Executive of Abia State Primary Health Care, Dr Chinagozie Adindu, said it is painful to lose a character such as that of Prof Ikonne and described him as a rare gem, a seasoned Administrator and a celebrated Academician.
He,however, urged the family to be consoled,as well as, take solace in the fact that he lived a good and exemplary life.
Recall that Prof Uche Ikonne was the former governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in Abia state