The remains of a popular human rights activist and acclaimed legal luminary, Barr Uche Wisdom Durueke was last weekend laid to eternal rest at his country home in Umuokwere-Orji Umuduru, in Isiala Mbano local government area amidst encomiums and blames on the federal government and the Enugu Electrical Distribution Company (EEDC) over the untimely death of the reputable lawyer by High Court judges, the Nigeria Bar Association and Civil Society Organizations CSOs who trooped out from all parts of the state and to Isala Mbano to bid farewell to a revered and respected departed colleague.
In her speech during a valedictory session in respect of the departed lawyer held at the High Court complex Owerri, Hon Justice C.A Ononeze Madu presiding on behalf of the state Chief judge, described the sudden death of Wisdom Durueke as one of the most surprising events of the year 2020 very much for the bar and bench.
She queried how else could one explain the news of the death of such a young,strong and energetic lawyer who appeared in a court a few days before his demise without any sign of ill-health.
She observed that Uche Durueke who was an outstanding personality right from his primary school days and in the university as a brilliant and exemplary lawyer, capacious and connoisseur of books, an embodiment of wisdom synonymous with his name would have been a legal iroko but for his untimely death.
The address contended that the man could not have died if the authorities and those concerned had affected regular supply of power in the state as it was reported that the lawyer died in a domestic accident while sourcing power using a generator.
She consoled the Durueke family, the Nigeria Bar Association and civil society organization over the demise of Durueke who she saw as a sportsman, a friendly person, a humble man and fearless advocate.
In their own speech delivered by the chairman of Owerri branch, J.I. Ogamba, the Nigeria Bar Association described the icon as (Enye tunefu) someone who cannot be easily dispensed, often consulted in matters of legal significance especially bordering on human rights.
The association observed that apart from offering free legal aids to several industrial outfits and social welfare organizations, he was the President of Centre of Peace Adviser Borders, Committee for Administration of Justice in Nigeria, Civil Liberty Organization (CLO) and numerous others
About Uche, Ogamba said he monitored elections in Nigeria since 1999. He was the Secretary, United Action for Democracy (UAD) South East, Vice President and later, Legal Adviser of Democratic Alternative. He led the civil society Imo state to oppose the removal of oil subsidy during the nationwide protests against the removal of oil subsidy in Nigeria.
Wisdom’s life was restlessly and relentlessly dedicated to struggles for good governance, human rights, democracy, equality and rule of law. He fought to bequeath a better society to his children, grandchildren and posterity. And like many other freedom fighters, the rot festering in the system that he strived to cleanse foisted on him a premature martyrdom; a death avoidable if there were quality health care facilities and enhanced electricity supply.
He radiated avuncularity, simplicity, empathy, humility and compassion. His appearance was not such that would catch your eyes in a haste, spare in his dress sense, Spartan in manners and looks, clinical in speech and measured in his walk. To his colleagues in the firm , until his demise he was a father, an uncle , a counselor,a mentor and an inspiration. His love for litigation was unmatched. He breathed law, he dined with it, he slept with it and woke on it.
He observed that some have their libraries in the Chambers, some at home but Uche’s moved with his wherever he was; he was a moving, breathing law library.
In their various orations at the grave side, members of the civil organization heaped blames of the death of Comrade on the irregular and inadequate power supply by the Federal government and the Enugu Electricity distribution company.