One of the great Roman citizens, Mark Anthony in the popular historical drama by the renowned English Play writer, William Shakespeare, in the book “Julius Caesar” in his funeral oration to the Romans, stated that he had come “to bury the Great Caesar and not to praise him”. He made bold to stare that “the evil that men do lives after them but the good is buried with them”.
Many senior citizens, elder statesmen, educationists, teachers, politicians, religionists and human rights activists in Nigeria, mainly in Imo State including men of the fourth estate of the realm can vividly remember and not forget the man, Dr Basil Nnanna Ukaegbu, from Imerienwe in Ngor Okpala LGA.
From the late 1950’s to mid 80s, Dr B.N Ukaegbu made a name in Ngor Okpala in old Eastern Region, Biafra, Central Eastern State, later East Central, old and present Imo State that his life will make history books.
From his academic excellence and prowess at St. Patricks College (SPC) Calabar, to his exploits in the field of education for it was Dr B.U Nzeribe of Awo Omamma and Dr. B.N Ukaegbu, that established the earliest private co-educational schools in old Eastern Region now Imo State and he was a pioneer in establishing the Terdem University, privately conceived university, the first in the region.
In politics and religions, Ukaegbu can be remembered for many things. He aspired to govern Imo State and during the military era when the soldiers refused to go back to the barracks, he staged a one man protest supported by a hunger strike that attracted attention of the world press. Dr Nnanna Ukaegbu supported by his late wife, Dorothy, made waves, wealth and fame but it seems he did not make a home of peace and lasting comfort.
Dr Basil Ukaegbu died a few years ago precisely 2016 and at the time of this write-up, he is yet to be intered as his corpse is reported to be decomposing in an unknown morgue not as a mark of respect or honour that the citizen deserves, but as a mark of disunity, controversy, greed and disrespect by his highly educated, cerebral off-springs, who seem to have lost touch with our customs, traditions and norms, forgetting that the best you can do for the dead, is to bury him and that in our clime, a man of Dr Ukaegbu’s stature deserves more than 21 gun salute encomium, memorials and great funerals; customarily, socially, politically and religiously for if we are not mistaken, Basil Ukaegbu is a papal-medalist and one of the founders and elders of modern Imo State.
What we read today from the news about this late pioneer, revered and respected elder statesman is neither enviable nor palatable. We do not intend or wish to apportion blames but we want to use this opportunity to appeal to our leaders and other big, rich ,kiths and kins that in their pursuit or quest for wealth, prominence, popularity, fame, position, authority and power, they must remember their beginning and consider their end. God is the Alpha and Omega and the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
The politicians make us believe that the end justifies the means. We are assessed from our roots, our homes and the great Avator, Jesus Christ, queried, “what would it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul”. Name and source to the siblings, it is certain that their father never taught them that, “unity is strength, united we stand and divided we fall”.
This ugly story trends with several known prominent figures of our climes, who have their imprints on the sands of time but do not leave a formidable, reliable and dependable successors to carry on their mission after their exit. It is a lesson for all who struggle for nothing. Dr. Basil Ukaegbu, was not a failure but who will fly his flag.
Let him be buried now!The government, stakeholders, churches should ask questions to avoid setting bad precedents that will encourage Imo children to kidnap their parents at death for ransom.This is the case with Nnanna Ukaegbu.It is a dangerous development in our clime.