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Ndubuisi Kanu: Demise of a gallant soldier, democrat and builder

Last Wednesday the nation was thrown into mourning following the death of former military administrator of Imo and Lagos States, Rear Admiral Ndubisi Kanu.

Kanu, who was 78 years old, died in a hospital after a brief illness. He was born in 1943 in Abia State in Ugwunta in lsuikwuato Local Government. Joining the navy; he went to India for cadet training.

His naval career included positions in Personnel, Logistics and Training. He obtained honorary Doctorate Degrees from the Imo State University and the Federal University of Technology, Owerri

In July 1975 as a lieutenant commander he was appointed a member of Murtala Muhammed’s ruling Cabinet, the Supreme Military Council.

Appointed governor of Imo State in March 1976, he brought in town planners to prepare a plan for Owerri.

Kanu built roads in Owerri metropolis, expanded that number of Local Government Areas to 21 and founded the Imo Broadcasting Service, which went on air in December 1976.

He fought on the Biafran side during the civil war but was reabsorbed into the Nigerian Army.

He was a retired warrior-at-sea, who occupied many command and political offices as part of his military postings, quickly civilianised himself when he retired from service.

He was a member of the pro-democracy group, the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which fought for the revalidation of the late Moshood Abiola’s annulled June 12, 1993, presidential mandate.

Admiral Kanu was a fighter for the core values of a greater Nigeria and devoted his time to bridge the gap between all our ethnic nationalities.

In his tribute, President Muhammadu Buhari, condoled with all professional colleagues of the gallant military officer, adding that he distinguished himself in all positions and responsibilities during service, taking up more daunting, but historically rewarding challenges like speaking up for the weak and vulnerable, and the struggle for the country’s return to democratic government.

Buhari believed Kanu’s credentials in serving the nation, as a career military officer and as an activist with NADECO in actualising the June 12, 1993 mandate, remained commendable and would continue to inspire younger generations on patriotism.

Also, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, described the late Kanu as a complete gentleman and officer, saying the former military administrator contributed immensely to the development of Lagos State during his short tenure of office.

The governor praised the late Rear Admiral Kanu’s contribution to the country’s democracy, especially his fight, alongside the progressive elements in the country during the dark days of the military junta for the enthronement of constitutional democracy in Nigeria.

Sanwo-Olu said the nation would miss the rich experience and knowledge of the late Naval Officer and democrat.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Lagos State, I want to express my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and comrades of late Ndubuisi Kanu as well as the Nigerian Navy, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the country in general.

“As one of Nigeria’s advocates of good governance, restructuring and true federalism, the late Ndubusi Kanu will be sorely missed by the people,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Omenife Guy Ikokwu, Ohanaeze Grand Patron and Senior Citizen of the NBA, eulogised the departed Kanu, saying: “Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu was a fighter for the core values of a greater Nigeria and devoted his time to bridge the gap between all our Ethnic nationalities no matter where they came from. Because of his devotion to our common bondages he was one of the few Nigerians who governed two states Imo and Lagos. He fought for the return of Democracy and Civil Rights of Citizens as a NADECO Leader even when some had chickened out. He was a Frontline Leader of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and supported the stand of the SSMBLF resoluteness for a Restructured template for Governance system and devolution of powers.”

Ikokwu further said: “The Lagos State Government honoured him with the Ndubuisi Kanu Park at Ikeja. His family structure is evidently intertribal. We had consultations with him on ways to diffuse the alarming rate of insecurities and economic degradation with our new rating of the economic capital of the poor!

“When I was unable to speak with him as he was out of Lagos in the last two weeks, I was bewildered and proceeded to Imo State for our Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide Confab to fathom a new template for a resolution of our existential precepts in our Clime. On our return to Lagos State we just found the Calamitous Realities of our New World Order Unraveling Exponentially with his demise and movement to the Galactic World Zones Beyond! We all wish him bon voyage to the infinitesimal zones beyond. May his gentle soul rest in peace.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, in his condolence message expressed sadness over his death, saying that he would be remembered for his commitment to the development of Lagos State and the other state he governed.

Gbajabiamila noted that the deceased was a patriotic Nigerian who played a role in the making of Lagos State, while extending condolences to his late family over the loss, praying God to grant the soul of the departed eternal rest.

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