‘GUY IKOKWU: A LAWYER’S LIFE OF IMPACT,’ BY FRANK AGBEDO
In this moving tribute, leading human rights activist and author, CHIEF FRANK AGBEDO describes deceased senior lawyer, Chief Guy Ikokwu as ‘a man of many parts who throughout his earthly sojourn, as a fiery unionist, successful politician, boardroom titan and legal luminary engaged in active private practice for over 61 years, was a golden voice of the voiceless, implacable tormentor of oppressors and indefatigable defender of truth no matter whose ox is gored….’
As shock and disbelief yield to reality; poignant recollections, testimonies and tributes on the life and times of our great Omenife, would at least, serve as a soothing balm to our frayed nerves and diminished humanity. Despite his good old age of 85 at death, Omenife’s demise was still viewed as being too early and too soon because of his incredible and purposeful life of impact and the inexhaustible fountain of his goodness.
This brief tribute is therefore in honour of a man of many parts who throughout his earthly sojourn, as a fiery unionist, successful politician, boardroom titan and legal luminary engaged in active private practice for over 61 years, was a golden voice of the voiceless, implacable tormentor of oppressors and indefatigable defender of truth no matter whose ox is gored, and as an outstanding leader and fearless defender of the Igbo cause, at all levels, was never found wanting. Indeed, for this ubiquitous persona, to fully comb deep and exhibit all his sterling qualities and bundle of achievements is nothing but a tall order, if not a labyrinth in which it is easy to make an ingress but difficult to find one’s way out of the maze.
He was such an engaging communicator. Whenever he stood up to speak at any fora everybody listened with keen interest. In 2020, sixteen leaders of socio-cultural groups from the South and Middle Belt had dragged President Buhari to a Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge the marginalization of their regions in key appointment into the security, paramilitary and strategic agencies of government, in clear and wanton violation of the Federal Character principles, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, amongst other egregious abuse of office and powers, and asking for N50 Billion in compensation against the Federal government. I was drafted by the Otu alongside Mazi Unegbu to represent the Southeast in the case, an assignment that is close to my heart, and in which we are determined to deliver on our mandate.
Chief Ikokwu, a dogged fighter for equity and justice, was in the tick of the action, as the representative of the Southeast region in the case. I recall with deep nostalgia, Omenife’s many self sponsored trips to the FHC at Abuja, to attend the proceedings in the case, registered as E.K.Clark & 15 Ors Vs The President, Federal Republic of Nigeria & 4 Ors in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/595/2020. As aptly rendered in a tribute by Emeka Nwadioke, Esq, the Otu Oka-Iwu Head of Publicity, “ Even in his twilight, he was eagerly in the trenches, waging one battle after another” and I dare to say, with visible positive results.
For all mortal being, death is a necessary end. There is a time to be born and a time to die. High Chief Guy Ikokwu, Great Lawyer, Elder Statesman, Notable Ohaneze Ndigbo Chieftain, Fiery Activist, Past President of Otu Oka-iwu Law Society, etcetera, has finished his race and left his footprints on the sand of time. Omenife will be sorely missed. May God’s perpetual light shine upon him and may his gentle soul rest in peace. Let us all- his immediate family, relations, especially Ezezue Chuks Ikokwu, his beloved brother, Ndi Otu, etc, find solace in his exemplary life and indelible legacies and the hope of a joyous reunion on the resurrection morning.
Adieu, Chief Guy Ikokwu, Omenife Oba. Ojeligbo Ozi. Kachifo
Chief Frank Agbedo, FIMC.
Chairman, Otu Oka-Iwu Public Interest Committee