The National Consultative Front (NCFront) says it is declaring a seven-day mourning period for the passing of Innocent Chukwuma, a member of the group.
Chukwuma, one of the leaders of the Nigerian civil society movement, died on Saturday during a brief illness, few hours after the spokesperson for Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, also passed away.
The Front said in a statement on Sunday by its national secretary, Che Olawale Okunniyi, that the mourning would run concurrently for both icons of pro-democracy and civil society activism.
“The NCFront shall during the course of this seven-day mourning period open condolence registers in its offices in Abuja and Lagos and shall expect all members of the NCFront as well as Nigerian pro-democracy activists to don a touch of black in their outfit during the period, which runs from Tuesday, 6th April to Monday, 12th April, 2021,” the statement read.
According to the statement, Comrade Chukwuma retired in March 2021 as the Country Director of Ford Foundation after serving the Foundation meritoriously for two terms of four years.
“He was one the finest and most prolific comrades of the pro-democracy movement and the organised civil society of Nigeria, as the Founder of CLEEN Foundation, spending most of his adult life in serving the cause of a just, secure and prosperous Nigeria, and therefore will be greatly missed by the broad civil society constituency in Nigeria.”
“Chukwuma was one of the leaders of the Nigerian civil society, who joined forces with the Olisa Agbakoba-led Civil Liberties Organisation and United Action for Democracy in the 90s to end military rule in Nigeria.
“As fate would have it, just like the case of Yinka Odumakin, he also met his heartthrob and greatest pillar, coincidentally also called Joe, in the course of the struggle which led to the restoration of the present democratic rule in Nigeria,” Okunniyi added.
He said having paid his dues in the pro-democracy community and civil society constituency at large, Innocent Chukwuma’s departure will be mourned and his struggles immortalized by the NCFront and pro-democracy movement at large.
The group commiserated with the deceased family, especially his wife, Josephine, and prayed that God would grant them the grace to bear the huge and irreparable loss.