The former President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, the apex pan-Igbo socio-cultural organization worldwide, Ambassador Raphael Chukwu Uwechue, has been laid to rest.
Prior to his death, Ambassador Uwechue played a key role in the peaceful settlement of the decade-long Sierra Leonean civil war, which culminated in peaceful and fair elections in 2002 when he was former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s envoy on conflict resolution in Africa.
Uwhecue also headed the ECOWAS Mission in Cote D’Iviore, charged with coordinating and monitoring peacekeeping operations towards the resolution of the crisis in that country.
At his funeral Mass, held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Ogwashi-Uku, in Aniocha South Local Government Area of the state, where he bagged the prestigeous chieftaincy title of the Ogwuluzame of the Kingdom, presided over by the Bishop of Issele-Uku Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Micheal Elue, his wife, Augusta, children and grand children, wailed his departure.
The Bishop, in his homily, recalled how set apart the late Ambassador was, when he was born on May 13, 1935, the day the Blessed Virgin Mary’s apparition took place in Fatima at Portugal.
Elue said that was “Uwechue’s special devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.”
He said the late Ambassador would not only be remembered for his outstanding academic performance, but for the capacity he brought with his international experience and connections, immense passion for Africa, which he exhibited during his diplomatic assignment to France, Cote D’Ivoire and other countries.
He said: “As a distinguished personality of Africa decent, he held the ‘key and freedom’ of the city of Birmingham, Alabama, USA, in 1992, and in 1992, he also won the ‘Hansib Community Award’ in London – United Kingdom for ‘Commendable Service to Developing Countries’.”
Besides, several tributes were reeled out for the late Ambassador of Peace.
Over 50 goodwill messages, including those from the United Kingdom, African countries, Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Nigeria were showered on him.
The political teeth he displayed as a student leader at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, where he was a member of the Student’s Representative Council and Chairman of Kuti Hall between 1958 and 1959, was called to mind.
Uwechue who born on May 13, 1935.