BY MUSA ADEDE
Dear Ogugua Augustine Chioke, our paths crossed intimately about 2010 and then we became very close. The news of your sudden transition to the world beyond came as rude shock to me and has brought back great memories of who you are and what you stood for.
You were a man of great vision, who wanted to see your country transformed. I remember how we worked tirelessly together with Adrian Wood, the first Managing Director of MTN Nigeria to see the possibility of effectively managing the now moribund Nitel and Mtel into one of the best local networks connecting the 774 local government areas of Nigeria. We thought at the time government was serious about divesting its interest but that never happened. However, you remained steadfast in fighting and campaigning against various sharp practices especially in the telecom sector where you had acquired a considerable reputation.
Being a lawyer, you were in your time a great fighter for the common good and today I can refer to you as our own younger version of the great Martin Luther and Nelson Mandela rolled into one. I remember vividly when the Lekki (lagos) first toll gate was to be opened and there were no alternative routes provided for those who may not be able to pay the constant toll, as prescribed by the law. You and other Lekki residents matched forward and protested vehemently against that injustice and when the police were called in to stop the protest and they tried to manhandle the protesters by making you and others sit on the bear floor, you put a call through to me. I had to speak with the officers and emphasised the fact that the protesters have a legitimate right to peaceful protest as guaranteed in our constitution.
The essence of this narrative is just to tell our friends, well-wishers and indeed your people of Enugu state and Nigeria at large, what a fine gentleman you were. I can recall most vividly the numerous arguments we had about bad governance in our country and how we both wished things would change for the better. I am sure you are in a better place now with God almighty and will be the best person to convey our sufferings, our hardships and injustices the masses of this country are confronted with to the almighty God. You have fought valiantly and we miss you greatly but we are consoled and comforted that you are with our Lord resting peacefully.
Then of course you and I and Patrick as well as Felix and a host of others will sit down and drink while listening to classical music, jazz music as well as RnB and then you will ask for your favourite bread and sardine. I am sure today, now that you have gone and you are with our Lord, the Angels are feeding you with very lovely bread and very beautiful sardine. From the numerous stories I heard, one very striking one from your lovely wife who told me that you will never stay anywhere in the world even when you are on vacation, if the hotel was not close to a church, because at 6am daily you must go to church. This fact tells the story of your deep faith and devotion to your creator.
The quintessential Chioke that I know was a man who possessed a good sense of humour and in whom there was no guile or hubris. It is said that the good often die young, we take solace that your life was an eventful one full of hope, warmth and love for your fellow man. It was a pleasure knowing you. Rest peacefully in the bosom of our Lord until we meet to part no more.
Adieu my learned friend!
Senator Adede sent this article from Paris, France