Tributes Rain in Item as Nigeria’s Insurance Icon, Irukwu Goes Back to Mother Earth

Gov Otti, Ohanaeze Leaders, Other Dignitaries Highlight Prof Irukwu's Accomplishments



The remains of Nigeria’s first professor of insurance and former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Professor Joseph Ogbonnaya Irukwu, SAN, was Saturday laid to rest at his country home in Amokwe Item, Bende Local Government of Abia State.

His internment was preceded by an interdenominational funeral service held at the Jane Egbichi Oteh mini stadium Item .

It was witnessed by dignitaries from all walks of life from across the nation, who converged at the sleepy Item community to pay their last respects to the man who was insurance personified.

Irukwu who passed on in July aged 89, late Prof Irukwu was interred in a rain of tributes from dignitaries across the nation, who variously described him as the doyen of insurance in Nigeria, seasoned administrator, legal luminary and an illustrous Igbo son.

Dignitaries converged at Item to bid Prof Irukwu farewell to eternity.


The dignitaries a the event included Governor Alex Otti of Abia, the immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom, Chief  Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, Wife of former Governor of Oyo state, Mrs Florence Ajumobi, former Vice-president and Treasurer of World Bank, Ms Arunma Oteh.

Others are President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Secretary General,  Ambassador Okey Emuchay, General Ike Nwachukwu (rtd), former Nigeria Ambassador to Augentina, Chief Empire Kanu former Senate President, Chief Adolphus Wabara, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, among a host of other dignitaries.

In his tribute, Governor Otti, lauded the late Prof Irukwu for his outstanding achievements and the huge positive impacts on the society thereby leaving behind enduring legacy.

Otti regretted that Irukwu didn’t live to see the emergence of the new Abia he had craved and campaigned for as his demise occurred barely a month and a half after the present administration was inaugurated.

But he noted with satisfaction that the deceased had left indelible marks in various fields of endeavour, including insurance, law, academics, adding that his leadership of Ohanaeze was remarkable.

He said: “I can tell you that the departure of Dee Ogbo got me with some kind of shock not because I expected he would be here forever.

“But at 90 with the kind of good health that God had blessed him with, the kind of effort he made to see a change in Abia, I thought he would be here for a longer while”.


Gov Otti with former Vice-president and Treasurer of World Bank, Ms Arunma Oteh, who is an accomplished daughter of Item.


The Abia governor underscored the need for people to be close to God irrespective of status in life and the accomplishments attained.

“If you believe you’ve achieved great success in life but have neglected to sit and pray to God, it’s time to reconsider your priorities.”

In a tribute on behalf of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, a former President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Chief Gary Igariwe, described Irukwu an exceptional leader who distinguished himself in service.

The President-General of Item Development Association (IDA), Sir Onwuka Orji, noted that the late Prof Irukwu trained and mentored many Item professionals and captains of industry, who are excelling all over the world.

He regretted that the passage of the illustrious Item-born erudite scholar and insurance guru had created a big vacuum in the community, Abia State and Nigeria in general.

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