By Chukwuemeka Opara
Abakaliki – Ebonyi Government on Wednesday held a valedictory session for one of the founding fathers of the state, the late Sen. Offia Nwali.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nwali died on May 24, 2016, at the aged of 74 years.
His corpse was found in a pond at the back of his building in his country home, Ameka, Ezza South Local Government Area of Ebonyi.
Nwali was the first black man to obtain a Doctorate Degree (PhD) in Computer and Analytical Studies, from Harvard University, United States of America.
He returned to Nigeria in 1972 and was appointed the Chairman, East Central State School Board.
Nwali represented Abakaliki Senatorial District in the old Anambra at the National Assembly, between 1979—1983, and was the first individual to submit a written request for the creation of Ebonyi on Oct. 10, 1979.
He also tested life’s major vicissitude when he lost his entire family in a Fokker 28-plane crash at the Enugu Airport in 1983.
Gov. David Umahi, who presided over the session held inside the Government House Executive Chambers, described Nwali’s death as a ”monumental loss.”
“His tragic death is a monumental loss to the state, Igbo race and Nigeria as his life was full of mysteries, embodied truth and commitment to the state’s cause.
“The government would do all it can to keep his memory alive as all government officials must attend his wake-keep on Thursday and burial on Friday,” he said.
Dr Kelechi Igwe, the state’s deputy governor, said that the present generation of politicians learnt a lot from Nwali.
The Chief Judge of Ebonyi, Justice Alloy Nwankwo, described Nwali as the father of the state, who offered massive employment to citizens during his tenure as Chairman of the defunct East Central State School Board.
“He was an embodiment of calmness, courage, among other virtues; he was the political pathfinder of the state and quintessential educationist,” he said.
Sen. Obinna Ogba (PDP—Ebonyi Central), said that Nwali was an “epitome of truth, justice and fairness and his memory would linger forever in the minds of Ebonyi people.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Ebonyi House of Assembly had earlier held a valedictory sitting in honour of Nwali.
A public lecture was also organised in his honour on Tuesday, where President of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo delivered a keynote speech.