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Igboka: Eventful exit of an iroko

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IT was rain, rain, rain, and rain on 13th June, 2019 in Nimo,  Njikoka Local Government area of Anambra State . Yes, this  month is one we expect constant rain and 13th was the day heralding the beginning of the burial rites of the President General (PG) of Nimo, Frank Anthony Igboka, fondly known with his traditional title, Mmilinaezoluora or simply Mmili. That was the day of wake keep at his country home in Nimo .

The constant rain experienced that day, according to speculations by rain makers was to pave way for a sunny 14th day that proper funeral rites and interment for this uncommon, visionary, articulate and selfless leader was billed to take place This was a ploy to reduce the tempo of rain that has gathered thick in high heavens by rain makers in order not to disturb upcoming activities . The Late Chief Frank Anthony Igboka was the incumbent PG of Nimo until the fangs of death snatched him away at the age of 60. Igboka  was gruesomely murdered by assassins believed to be hired on the 16th day of April, 2019, at Oye Nimo Market Square.    This barbaric act was received with shock and sadness by Nimo indigenes and the entire people of the state.

Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano did not relent. He swung  into action and ordered the security forces to carry out full investigation to unravel the mystery and forces behind this dastardly act with monetary inducements promised to anyone that would provide useful information to assist the police carry out their investigation properly. This yielded some positive results as several arrests were made leading to the capture of the kingpin and those behind the act. Nimo people appreciated the efforts of Governor Obiano and the police .  Igboka’ s exploits as PG is innumerable. He assailed and nurtured to good use the community vigilante.

Mmili directed their  actions and sometimes operations against bandits both during the day and night. The outfit will ever remain grateful to him for his leadership acumen.

He brought honour to the boys as a fearless squad ever ready for action. The man, Igboka was the first PG that resided in the community while on duty. Equally, his tenure as PG witnessed the influx of projects which  attracted from the political class.

Mmili restored the community’s confidence on that seat of power and was passionate to deliver dividends of good leadership to the people at the grass root, giving listening ear to every complaint.

Nimo community will continue to be grateful for his zero tolerance for criminals. In addition, Frank Anthony Igboka was a two time legislator in Anambra State and was once a local government chairman.

He was a political strategist and master planner. The pundit was once a state chairman of a political party. Mmili evoked healthy charisma  that attracted crowd around him.

According to a politician from Abagana, Mr Cletus Akuabalu, Igboka was fearless, loving, goal getter and faithful servant. He believed in Gawu, that is people getting results from playing politics and that alone endeared him to the hearts of people”

The man, Frank Anthony Igboka was a carbon copy of his late father, the late Catechist, Vincent Igboka. His smiles were infectious. He had a big Jewish Jaw and intimidating body build up. Igboka dressed casual and when he felt like being corporate, he stepped out in style. The man, Mmili prepared himself to be a fit and strong man early in life with Judo, boxing and wrestling prowess.

At a point, he staged a one man wrestling bout in the 70’s at St Bonaventures  Primary School, Nimo, where  he collected gate fees from people who came to feast their  eyes.

At another point, he engaged a two man bout while making sure the event became  a successful  venue. Indeed Mmili was an interesting human being to watch

Sir Frank Anthony Igboka had a wife, Christy Igboka, six children, Mr Emeka Samuel Igboka, Mr Chibuife Igboka, Mr Uche Michael Igboka, Mr Ikechukwu Igboka, Miss Vincentia Igboka and Mr Chisom Chukwulete. Mmili keeps  his body system in top form, jogging through three neighbouring communities of Nimo, Enugwu Ukwu and Abagana every Wednesday morning

At exactly 8am, the remains of this great man arrived the community’s square, Egwegwe, in a black luxurious ambulance and received a rousing welcome by the monarch, Eze Owelle and his cabinet, Anambra State Association of Town Union (ASATU) members, the association of village councilors in Nimo, Igboka family, friends and associates from Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara, Niger, Ogun States, members of the neighbouring communities and Nimo indigenes. The  remains was received with 21 gun salute which is a significant number in Igbo land.

The significance of the gun salute served as invitation to the ancestors to come and bear witness to the event. Egwegwe is the central square in Nimo where communal events take place.

It also serves as a ground where sons and daughters of the land who have distinguished themselves in state, national

or international disciplines are honored. But Frank  Anthony Igboka received  double honor. One as PG and another as a cabinet member of the monarch.

The community market, Oye Nimo was under lock and key.  No individual had ever received this kind of honor in the history of the ancient town of Nimo, said Mr Ezenwammadu. In  his tribute,  the Onowu (Traditional prime Minister),Justice G.U Ononiba (rtd.) was not economical in eulogizing the PG.  Ononiba  stated clearly that Frank Anthony Igboka as PG changed the political and structural face of Nimo for the better. He described him  as a one man army, adding that he was a home boy, who lived in Nimo, loved Nimo and served Nimo creditably and described his  achievements as unprecedented. “In a nutshell,  Igboka shed his blood for Nimo”, he concluded. Delivering his thought provoking tribute, the national secretary of Nimo Town Development Union (NTDU), Comrade Francis Agu said that the deceased was a simple, accommodating , jovial and hospitable  man, stressing that he distinguished himself in politics, business, administration and described him as an achiever.

The honor was bequeathed to the deceased when the cabinet, ASATU, national officers of NTDU, councilors and local government officials spread on the coffin the national  flag of Nimo bearing  red, white and green colours as mark of the honor. The red cap cabinet members doffed their caps to give him a last respect.

From there, the scene  changed to Assumption Catholic Church, Nimo. This centre is the mother of all Catholic Churches in the community. This church retained its ancient structures with modern touches. The inside was beauty itself with rows of beautiful columns and crucifix centered  on the alter wall as focal point.

The remains was led into the church by members of knights and ladies of St John International which the deceased was a member.   The procession was led by a total of 69 priests. In his homily, the Catholic Bishop of Awka ,Rt Rev Dr Paulinus Ezeokafor  represented by Rt Rev Dr Peter Okpalake reiterated that Nimo people will not appreciate the deceased until they find his replacement difficult, eulogizing late Igboka for driving away criminals and cultists from the community, while urging all to reconcile with God.

Bishop Ezeokafor  revealed that when one  kills another, he or she inherits the sins of the person killed.

In his speech, Anambra State Governor , Chief  Willie Obiano said that Frank Anthony Igboka was an exceptional, devout Christian and political mentor  who played according to rules and honor.

Obiano, represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof Osita Chukwulobelu, thanked the security chiefs in the state for living up to the yearnings of the people of the sate in fighting crime and criminality. He urged the people to change their perception about politicians, stressing that it is not all politicians that  are bad.

Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi expressed sadness about the sad news but pointed out that Igboka will be remembered  as a fine politician and resourceful leader.

In his difficult situation, the brother to the deceased ,Mr John Igboka said that Frank Anthony’s death was the worst thing he has ever experienced in his life time. He lamented that joy has left his being.

Also speaking, a cousin to the deceased  lamented that Igboka Family have lost the  influence and charisma that made them what they are . He confessed  that Mmili had proved to be the only PG who started developing Nimo and brought the town to the level it is today. “The deceased has left a big vacuum in Igboka family and I have been doing my best to consol the wife and children whom I believe are worst hit.

The leader of the village councilors in Nimo, Mr Emeka Michael Okeke said that Frank Anthony Igboka was known as action PG and that his replacement may seem impossible.

\”He was the only PG who fights criminals in company of the vigilante group”.

A market woman at Oye Nimo known as Meghaliaaonu Anako described the deceased as a man of justice. She recounted how the deceased went to the market officials at Ose with one Titi Anako whose shop was being illegally taken away from her and recovered the shop for her, Mmili, according to her is richly blessed. He is intelligent, out spoken, which endears him to people.

From the church, the body was taken to his residence at Lady   Theodora Chinweude villa Nimo where it was finally laid to rest to join his ancestors in the great beyond.

 

 

 

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