Tomorrow Saturday December 12, 2020 would in ordinary times call for fanfare, thanksgiving and celebration to mark 59th birthday of an illustrious son of Imo State, an astute, popular and indefatigable citizen of Umuafor Orlu in Orlu Local Government area of Imo State, Hon. Chief Edwin Ihencho- Okuenyeremba of Orlu whose sun has set on, and rather than a celebration of happy birthday on Saturday December 12, 2020 all citizens of Orlu Gedegwum and Imo State at large will in agony and regrets assemble on Wednesday,December 30, 2020 at Ihenacho compound to bid him a tearful final farewell. 

To the revered compatriot, it is with grief stricken hearts that they will watch helplessly at his interment  by 1pm after a requiem mass at Holy Trinity Catherdral Orlu to be officiated by top hierarchy of the clergy and attended by all lovers of peace, truth and progress in Imo and beyond who knew who late Eddy Iheancho was.

Our friend, brother and benefactor, Edwin Ihenacho was born 59 years ago, precisely on December 12, 1961 to the family of Late Chief Nwugwu lhenacho-Ekwueme, a renowned businessman in Orlu, and Late Lolo Felicia Akumiri Iheanacho.  

As this column gathered, “Oku” as fondly called by friends attended Holy Trinity Practicing School, Orlu for his primary education and Bishop Shanahan Secondary School, Orlu for his high school education. After obtaining his West African School Certificate (WASC) in the early 1980s, he arrived the USA in late September 1982 and commenced studies same month at the Los Angeles South West College, Los Angeles, California. There he bagged an Associate Degree in Business Administration in 1984. He later went to California State University and graduated in 1987 in Criminal Justice. Thereafter, he worked with Longbeach, California Police department as a jailer for a few years.  He underwent training to obtain a license to start a private security guard company called “CEED Security Services” which since 1988, has been a flagship organization in security of lives and property in the USA and other parts of the world, including Nigeria. 

His passion, dedication, shrewdness and integrity grew the business so rapidly that it became very popular among Nigerians, particularly Ndigbo in the USA, within record time. He created employment opportunities for well over 8,000 lgbo indigenes in California. 

He did not stop at that. He expanded his business to include importing (CEED brand) air conditioners and electricity generators from China to Nigeria. This new establishment gave him another opportunity to employ about 200 workers in Lagos and Owerri. 

In recognition of his philanthropic gestures and activities to mankind, especially in his hometown, Orlu, Eddy was conferred with his first chieftaincy title in 1999, as the Okuenyeremba of Orlu Gedegwum by the late Igwe of Orlu, His Imperial Majesty, Eze P.I. Acholonu. Eddy, while in the USA, visited Nigeria regularly in the past fifteen years during which he supported some public office seekers whom he considered credible and who he identified to be committed to the paradigm shift in leadership needed in the country. To him, politics is a call to service and an avenue to better the lives of the greater percentage of the populace. 

Today, the doyen, the big iroko is no more. He has bowed to the cold hands of death to join his ancestors and now rests in the sweet abode of his Maker above.

Having played his distinguished, recognized, honourable roles and services to mankind and to the glory of the Almighty God, Late Ihenacho, a sincere man, a patriot, a philanthropist per excellence, a creator of value and a visionary leader, an employer of labour we wish you happy repose in the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ, the great King of Heaven and Universe.  

As we lay him to final rest on December 30th we say to our brother, friend compatriot, adieu! and go thee well and rest peacefully in the bossom of your creator until we all meet to part no more in paradise.

The entire Orlu Gedegwum community has lost an iroko, a philanthropist, a community leader and patriot, and must endeavour to sustain those legacies for which he was recognized and adored by all.

Chief Eddy Iheancho will be missed by many of those whose lives he touched and impacted positively. 

Adieu, Okuenyeremba!