Governor Wike Renames Polytechnic After Elechi Amadi

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From Chris  anucha, Henry Akubuiro, Port Harcourt

The remains of  literary  icon, Captain Elechi Amaechi (retd) who  died  on Wednesday, June 29, 2016,  were  yesterday, interred  in   his compound in  Aluu community,  in  Ikwerre Local Government Area of  Rivers  State,  with  the state Governor, Chief  Ezenwo Nyesom Wike,  describing  him  as a  great, selfless man,  someone  who  de-emphaised  materialism  and  contributed  to  human development.
The burial ceremony  attracted    people  from  all walks  of   life,  both  within and outside the country. They  included  government  officials, lovers of arts, traditionalists, traditional  rulers,  politicians,  members  of  the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), who came to pay their last respect to one  of   the  founding fathers of the association. The  casket,    which  was covered  with  the Nigerian  flag,  and  bearing  the  body  of  the  prolific  author   was  brought   to  the  decorated  platform by  soldiers  at 11:19 am,   thereby setting the stage for  a funeral  service   by   the Anglican Communion,  Diocese  of  Ikwerre about 11:20 am. In his speech, Governor  Wike said  the late Elechi Amadi was not only  an Ikwerre or Rivers  man, but  a national figure whose contributions to the society was  acknowledged  in the country and beyond.  “We, from Ikwerre should  be proud to have a son that Nigerians can talk about,” he said. He charged  his family to live in  peace because  of   the  personality of  Elechi Amadi,  adding that  doing  otherwise  would  make  the deceased unhappy in the great beyond.
As part of the efforts to immortalise the literary giant, the governor  promised  that  the Rivers State Government would complete the Faculty of  Humanities  building  at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT),   established in his name  but yet to  be completed seven years after. He also  renamed   the  Port Harcourt  Polytechnic   after  him.
He said:  “He is everything, and he can be honoured with anything, I wanted to name Ignatius Ajuru University of  Education after him. But if  I do that, some people would  begin to see it as politics. But from today, the Port Harcourt Polytechnic  has been named after him.
“Please, I am calling on the family to unite as one. Captain Elechi Amadi was a man we respect so much, he made a good name and anywhere that name is mentioned, people will respect it. That is why I’m calling on the family to preserve his good name.”
Earlier  in his homily,  Rev.Blessing Enyindah,  Bishop of Ikwerre Dioceses, Anglican communion, extolled the virtues of the late literary icon and used the occasion to  dispel the widely held opinion that the late author was not  a Christian.  Quoting    Elechi Amadi’s book, “Sunset in Biafra”, the bishop  said   he (Elechi Amadi) played  organ  in the church.
He explained  that the occasion was not to mourn, but  to celebrate the life the late writer lived.
He described him as a great Ikwerre man, who was respected  in Rivers, Nigeria  and the world  over.  He revealed how the  late icon contributed to  the translation of  the Holy Bible  in Ikwerre  language, as well as  translating  the  Diocesan anthem  in  Ikwerre language.
The officiating minister,   however, regretted that all the tributes in the social media and the late writer’s biography did not reflect his Christian life.
He further  described  Elechi Amadi as  a man of  humble disposition, good character and simple lifestyle, who shunned materialism.
According to him, the late Amadi was in government,  but  he never used such opportunity to enrich himself, adding that many people today,  who have  the same opportunity  he had are exploiting the people and looting  public funds.
He called on  all present to be conscious  of life after death, instead  of  chasing material things  that would left behind to the mercy of the living, if the person dies.
Noble laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka in his tribute described the late Amadi, as a captive of conscience, human solidarity and justice. He said he cherished the intimate moments he spent in the home of the deceased, after  he was rescued  from the  kidnappers  in 2009. Captain Amadi was born in 1934; he died on Wednesday 29th of June 2016 at the age of 82.

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