PENULTIMATE Saturday, the crème de la crème of Nigerian politics and leadership were in Umuodu, Umerum, Ayamelum local council of Anambra State for the funeral of Okafor Ofumelu, in his compound.
The deceased, a community leader who died at 75 attracted a deluge of tributes from an array of mourners who described him in various instances as a brave strong man; an accomplished farmer; mentor of youths and an illusterous community leader.
His first son, the member House of Representative, for Oyi/Ayamelum Federal Constituency, Vincent Ekenedilichukwu Ofumelu, described him as a man who worked very hard and made him “to understand that hard work pays.”
Also known as Igwe Mkpume, the Late Chief Ofumelu who died on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 was also described by his sons Casmir and Emmanuel as their personal adviser.
In his condolence to the family, Governor of Anambra State Dr. Willie M. Obiano, urged the bereaved to accepted the inevitability of Chief Ofumelu’s death not withstanding its painfulness while President of the Senate of Federal Republic of Nigeria Sen. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan described Igwe Mkpume as “a devout Christian who rendered selfless service to God and his community” and mourned that he died at a time his wealth of experience was needed most in his family and community. Minister of Labour, Sen. Chris Ngige appraised the late Ofumelu as a grassroots mobiliser and disciplinarian whose life motivated many young ones in Ayamelum and environ to aspire to higher grounds in their careers while urging the House of Representatives member, Ofumelu to take heart given that his father’s “guide and support as a pillar in” his “political career” is well known.
In his tribute to his late father, the federal legislator, Ofumelu, a lawyer “Papa as I fondly called him was my role model, mentor, associate, friend and confidant.
“As the first fruit of the family papa always reminded me of how he came in one morning from his business trip on the 17th of October 1977, to be welcomed by the cry of a baby boy, in the early hours of the morning, whom he quickly named Ekenedili Chukwu, knowing that God has answered his prayers. Ekenedili Chukwu as he fondly called me, according to him, reminded him of how blessed he had always felt having me as a son.
“I remember with nostalgia my youthful days when he used to take me along on some of his business trips, making me to understand that hard work pays. It is difficult to remember that papa is no more, knowing that we have a lot of unfinished assignments and especially now that his fatherly advice is needed at all times.
“Papa’s demise on Tuesday the 12th of November 2019 at the New Life Hospital and Maternity Home Onitsha, remains an enigma, given that there was no sign of illness as at Sunday the 10th of November 2019 when we had a heart to heart talk over the phone as he continued to encourage me with his fatherly advice.”
In her published tribute, the family recalled his life in nugget thusly: “Late Chief Ofumelu was born in to the family of late Chief Ofumelu Onwalenu and Mrs. Ekutisi Ofumelu of Umunnebo kindred, Umodu Village, Umerum, Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State, on the 26th of June 1944.
“The young lad was nick named (Okafor Ebunu-Nwelude) by his mates and associates, given his brawny nature and agility. He grew to join his father in farming and agro business which has been the main stay of his people’s economy. In his quest to diversify and grow his own business, he later engaged in dredging business which as that time was one of the most rewarding enterprises, and subsequently established his own farm.
“As a successful young man he got married to his heartthrob Virginia Obiananma Ofumelu (Nee Okoye Onuora) in 1976.
“He took it upon himself to mentor the youths of the community on the need for self actualisation through hard work and perseverance, a culture he succeeded in inculcating engagement and personal sacrifices.
His usual show of love for humanity and his doggedness, earned him the chieftaincy title Igwe Mkpume, a name he cherished so much.”
“He will always be remembered for his contributions towards a better society.” He was survived by his wife, nine children, ten grandchildren and a sister.
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