By LOD Onyeji
In the heartland of Agulu, Anambra State, a poignant ceremony unfolded as former Nigeria Customs Service, Tincan Island Port Command Public Relations Officer, Chief Uche Ejesieme, bid farewell to his patriarch, Chief Alexander Okoye Ejesieme, lovingly known as Okwuotoekeneze 1 Of Agulu. In the quaint village of Ifiteani, the community gathered to pay tribute to a revered businessman and an inspiration to many.
A Community united in farewell of a legend. Agulu came alive with celebration as distinguished Nigerians gathered to honor the life of Chief Alexander Ejesieme. The setting was the St. John De Evangelist Catholic Church Agulu, where Most Rev. Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, presided over the solemn funeral service. The arrival of Chief Ejesieme’s remains, accompanied by a horse-drawn funeral cortège, imbued the atmosphere with solemnity and reverence.
During the service, Most Rev. Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor eloquently praised the virtues of Pa Alexander Ejesieme, recognizing his unwavering commitment to a life dedicated to God. Rev. Ezeokafor underscored that Chief Ejesieme’s greatness transcended material wealth, emphasizing his boundless generosity and kind heart.
The gathering saw the presence of distinguished personalities such as His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Ebele Okpaleke, The Catholic Bishop Of Nnewi Diocese, and Rt. Rev. Dr. Jonas Benson Okoye, Papal Nuncio To Czech Republic Archbishop Thaddeus Okolo, among other religious figures. Notable political figures including former Governor Anambra State, Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, and the current Governor, Chukwuma Soludo, represented by his deputy, Dr. Onyeka Ibezim, joined the assembly. High Court Judges, senior officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, and members of the Nigeria Bar Association Anambra Branch, all paid their respects. Distinguished Senator Victor Umeh and other Members of the National Assembly, along with various other dignitaries, added to the solemnity of the occasion.
The gathering was a testament to Chief Alexander Ejesieme’s far-reaching influence, drawing friends and well-wishers from across Nigeria and the diaspora. Representatives of leading industries, including DONCLIMAX Shipping, Zenith Shipping, Clarion Shipping, Ikoro Bonded Terminals, Ocean Organic Services Ltd, Coscharis Motors, Innoson Motors, and the maritime community, were also present. The event saw participation from cultural and community groups, such as Obi Cubana Group, ObiDIENT, APC, PDP, and various alumni associations, making it a truly grand affair.
Pa Ejesieme, who passed away at the age of 93, was born in 1927 to late Chief & Mrs. Ejesieme Obikwelu of Ifiteani village Agulu in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra state. His life’s journey began in Agulu, where he attended standard school before embarking on an apprenticeship as a metal fabricator under late Mr. Okeke Mgbafor of Ifiteani village Agulu. His exceptional skills and dedication quickly endeared him to his master. As the only son of his parents, he later ventured into the business world, relocating to Onitsha, where he mastered the trade of kitchen utensils (Ọkapị Stainless Knives) at the popular Onitsha Main Market. His proficiency led to the establishment of his own business.
In 1963, he married Chief Mrs. Elizabeth Uzoamaka Ejesieme JP (ADADIORANMA) from Umubiala Village Agulu, and their union blessed them with 9 children, including Chief Alexander Ejesieme Jnr, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, among others.
The highlight of the event was the thanksgiving procession led by Chief Uche Ejesieme and his immediate family members, accompanied by soulful renditions from the St. John De Evangelist Catholic Church choir
Late Chief Alexander Ejesieme was celebrated for his unwavering commitment to honesty, activism, and his impassioned dedication to a united Nigeria. His legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire generations to come. In paying their respects, this community and nation not only said goodbye to a beloved patriarch but also celebrated a life that left an indelible mark on all who had the privilege to know him.