Obituary: Professor Ebere Onwudiwe (1952

The demise has been introduced of Professor Ebere Onwudiwe, a famend economist, political scientist, prolific author, promoter of Afro-optimism, and revered public mental. In keeping with household sources, he died on Saturday, January 9, “as a result of…issues of the worldwide pandemic.” He was born on October 10, 1952, and is from Isunjaba in Imo State of Nigeria, the place he held the standard title of Mba 1 of Isunjaba.

Aside from having a doctorate diploma in Political Science, he additionally acquired postgraduate levels in Economics and Worldwide Relations. He held a number of native and worldwide positions in his lifetime, together with serving as professor of behavioural sciences on the Central State College in Wilberforce, Ohio, the place he additionally turned Director of the Centre for African Research and Govt Director of the Centre for Worldwide Research.

The late Professor Onwudiwe was equally a governance advisor on the United Nations Financial Fee for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and, till lately, was a Distinguished Fellow on the Centre for Democracy and Improvement, in addition to the Lagos Enterprise Faculty. Till his demise, Mr Onwudiwe was a daily commentator on up to date points and a well-read columnist with PREMIUM TIMES.

Considered one of his closest associates, together with whom he was a Fellow of the Abuja-based Centre for Democracy and Improvement, Jibrin Ibrahim, might barely include his shock on the reasonably unlucky demise of the famend scholar. For Mr Ibrahim, a professor, “the demise of Prof. Onwudiwe is painful. He was an ideal gentleman, good good friend, dedicated nationalist and high-quality scholar that so many people will miss dearly. He gave up a high-flying tutorial profession in america to contribute his quota to the event of his nation.”

One other shut affiliate, Pat Utomi, the founding father of Centre for Values in Management (CVL), described the late scholar as a passionate mental and afro-optimist, who left indelible marks wherever he labored. Mr Utomi, a professor, recalled their assembly a few years in the past, throughout one of many gatherings that Mr Onwudiwe convened for distinguished African students in America. He additional described the late professor as an individual somebody who took specific curiosity within the problem of Afro-pessimism and intentionally promoted a constructive flip for Africa by means of his quite a few persuasive writings on Afro-optimism.

Nearly two weeks in the past throughout a ceremony in Mr Onwudiwe’s village, veteran journalist Ray Ekpu recalled how he met the late professor a few years in the past in america of America and persuaded him to return residence. This was the decision that he lastly heeded on retirement from energetic instructing within the American college system.

The deceased is survived by a son, MbaMemme; daughters, Chinwe and ObiAwo; spouse; and a lot of different members of the family. Different distinguished Nigerians like Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation and Steve Azaiki of the Home of Representatives responded in shock to the demise of Mr Onwudiwe and prayed to God for the repose of his soul.

Sam Amadi, a former Director Basic of the Nigerian Electrical energy Regulatory Fee (NERC), described Mr Onwudiwe as a quintessential public mental, the information of whose passing is, “very unhappy and shocking.” To Mr Amadi, “COVID19 has now lastly hit residence. It has taken somebody who’s so shut. I’ve recognized Professor Ebere Onwudiwe for greater than 12 years. I met him first at a world convention organised by the Harvard African Regulation Scholar Affiliation and the Human Rights Program at Harvard Regulation Faculty. He was one of many distinguished audio system. As traditional, he was good on his submission on democracy and growth. However he received our hearts along with his attraction and friendliness. He cared a lot about our work as graduate college students and inspired us in our ardour to achieve insights concerning the African predicament.”

Mr Amadi additional noticed that, “not like a number of the African students who’re both pessimistic or unduly optimistic about Africa’s future, Prof. had readability concerning the challenges of growth within the continent however maintained (a) wholesome hope that African students and statesmen have what it takes to resolve these challenges. It was love of nation that made Professor Ebere return to Nigeria to affix different intellectuals and activists within the battle for democracy and growth. Till his demise, he remained a agency believer in the way forward for Nigeria and the African continent, and thru his writings, he promoted human rights primarily based governance.”

“I collaborated with Ebere on many such initiatives to deliver collectively public officers and tutorial researchers to hunt options to Nigeria’s many financial and political crises. I can’t neglect the expertise of touring with Ebere, Professor Jega and plenty of different students and human rights attorneys to all of the Nigerian army institution to advertise concepts about civil-military relations. Professor Onwudiwe was a patriot who believed in the way forward for Nigeria. He belonged to many main suppose tanks and coverage boards within the nation. He constructed formidable partnership with many first fee students and intellectuals throughout ethnic and spiritual divides in Nigeria”,Mr Amadi mentioned.

Additionally, “As an eclectic mental, Ebere synthesised his sturdy Igbo cultural consciousness and his dedication to common values into a powerful ardour for social justice and democratic accountability. I’ll miss him for his solidarity, humility and constructive power as a collaborator in lots of coverage and mental engagements. We had deliberate to ascertain a coverage centre to drive innovation in governance. Now that dream has been shattered. Professor Ebere left too early. He left an enormous void. He left a sore ache.”

Dakuku Peterside, the instant previous Director-Basic of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Company (NIMASA), had this to say: “It’s surprising to listen to of the demise of Ebere Onwudiwe who until lately was Chairman of Governing Board of Improvement and Management Institute (DLI). Prof. Onwudiwe was by each commonplace an excellent thinker and an professional in opening individuals’s minds to see issues from a brand new perspective. He was an completed tutorial and a patriot per excellence who can go to any size to see a extra equitable and extra affluent Nigeria. He was a real international citizen. We will miss certainly one of our absolute best intellectuals”.

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One other ally of the late scholar, who’s presently a Fellow at Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa (FLCA) on the London Faculty of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Uche Igwe, described Mr Onwudiwe as a consummate thinker and prolific author. He recalled their preliminary assembly with one Heiner Woller of the GTZ through the preparatory days of the Niger Delta grasp plan. Mr Igwe recollected their collaboration on a number of initiatives and the way the late professor confirmed exemplary humility by relating freely with individuals who have been far junior to him in age and expertise. In keeping with him, Mr Onwudiwe was an energetic thoughts and unrepentant patriot who understood the Nigerian political panorama deeply and nonetheless had quite a bit to supply to the nation.

As identified by Mr Igwe, though Onwudiwe was Igbo, he was very inclusive in his strategy and magnificence, and extremely cosmopolitan in his outlook. Mr Igwe described Mr Onwudiwe’s demise as a most premature and a devastating loss, because the pandemic has as soon as once more taken away a seminal thoughts, who was extra so an mental bridge builder. He joined others to supply condolences to the Onwudiwe household, alongside buddies and associates grieving his loss presently.

Jerome Okolo, founding father of Safi Africa Power Restricted and Basic Secretary of the Nationwide Suppose Tank acknowledged that Mr Onwudiwe’s demise is the surprising lack of an excellent man, a mild soul, a lucid mind and uncommon sort of particular person, who was strongly dedicated to day by day exertions to make the Nigerian homeland a significantly better, equitable, developed and affluent place. He added that for his work, Mr Onwudiwe was extremely acclaimed internationally; he was stuffed with concepts and power, and by no means handed on any alternative to assist others. Mr Onwudiwe’s perception that charity should start at residence additionally knowledgeable his monumental contributions to his native Isunjaba and the overall Igboland.

Whereas the Canada-based Professor of Criminology, Tope Oriola, thought-about Mr Onwudiwe’s demise as “a large loss”, for the Director of the MacArthur Basis’s Africa Workplace, Kole Shettima, “this can be a very unhappy information. Could his soul relaxation in peace.”

To the Writer of PREMIUM TIMES, Dapo Olorunyomi, the demise of the famous scholar on Afro-optimism is “a very crippling tragedy. Simply renders you numb. Ebere was civil, delicate and first rate in the very best sense of the phrases. A deeply painful loss.”

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