Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has said that his preference for the late Professor Uche Ikonne as his successor was because he saw in him the strength of character, zeal and commitment to actualise the dreams of the founding fathers of the state.
Ikpeazu who gave the explanation during a colloquium in honour of the late governorship candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, at the Michael Okpara Auditorium Umuahia, lamented the demise of the late Professor of Optometry.
Professor Ikonne who was the immediate- past Vice Chancellor of the Abia State University Uturu, died on January 25 following an ailment that put him out of circulation for nearly two months.
Gov Ikpeazu who expressed pain over the demise of Ikonne, said he supported his emergence as the PDP flag bearer because he needed a successor “who is courageous and committed to the realization of the dreams of Abia founding fathers.”
The Governor who said he had desired to hand over to a competent successor, said Abia was the biggest loser of Ikonne’s unfortunate death.
” Because I swore I must hand over to someone with these qualities, after a long search, I found from among other aspiring contestants, that late Professor Ikonne was the most qualified.
” By his death, we have lost a rare gem. We shall keep him in our hearts hence he did not die in vain”.
He urged the family and all those affected by his demise to be condoled by his numerous enviable legacies.
Speaking earlier, the Keynote Speaker and Chairman of the late Ikonne’s Ngwa High School Aba Old Students Association, Chief Mike Ahamba, San, described the late Ikonne as a colossus who believed so much in productivity.
Ahamba who spoke on the theme “Preserving the Abia Dream”, said Abia needed selfless and transformational leadership, and said Ikonne was a great achiever.
The legal luminary harped on the need for strong institutions to deepen democracy in the country.
In a remark, Vice Chancellor, of ABSU and late Ikonne’s successor, Professor Onyemachi Ogbulu, registered the condolences of the university community over Ikonne’s death.
He described the late Ikonne as a character moulder, lamenting that his legendary achievements in the university will forever be appreciated.
The colloquium was attended by eminent personalities including members of the academic community.
According to the burial arrangements, the late Professor Ikonne will be buried on Friday in his Agburuke country home, Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area.