The immediate-past Secretary to the Government of Anambra State, a literary icon and a front line contender in the forthcoming governorship election in the state, Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze, has paid a glowing tribute to late Prof. Benedict Ebele Obumselu.
Until his death on March 4, 2017, Prof. Obumselu was an erudite scholar, a quintessential literary critic, key figure in the Biafra war, an influential policy adviser and was very active in the civic space up until his final moments.
Prof. Obumselu was a speech writer to the then Biafra Head of State, General Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu and is well respected for his role in drafting the famous Ahiara Declaration, Biafra Deed of Surrender and several other noteworthy documents. But more essentially, he was best known as a quintessential English teacher.
Eulogising the erudite scholar, at a valedictory event at Paul University Awka, Obaze said, “like most of the great writers and philosophers of this great country, I knew him only by name and by his works before I met him. I met him for a very brief moment. It was as brief as two hours. I sat next to him at a meeting of the Elders’ Council – it was a defining moment. That was my first and also my last physical encounter with him.
“It struck me that in a country like ours, you get to meet people who are well recognised outside the shores of this country – people who added value – who promotes the beauty of human nature – Ben was one of them.”
Continuing, Obaze said, “I have met a lot of people in my life, but very few left a lasting impression on me as Prof. Ben Obumselu. We have lost a gem; Ben was exceptionally cerebral.”
Prof. Obumselu was buried on Friday in his Oba country home after a funeral service at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Oba, Anambra State. The service was attended by Obaze and other dignitaries which include; HE Chief Willie Obiano, the Executive Governor of Anambra State; Chief John Nnia Nwodo, President General of Ohaneneze Ndi Igbo; Admiral Ndubisi Kanu (rtd), Ven. Prof. Chinedu Nebo, former Minister of Power; and Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Governor of Anambra state.
Other dignitaries present are; Dr. Dozie Ikedife, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Prof. Elo Amuchazi, Chief Engr. Chris Okoye, Prince Engr. Ralph Ndigwe, Hon. Engr. Chris Azubogu, Mrs. Sophie Mbakwe, Igwe Peter Anugwu and others.
Obaze concluded by saying that the legacy Prof. Obumselu left behind ought to be emulated by all, especially the younger generation and advised anyone who did not meet Prof. Obumselu in person to research about him and read some of the things he wrote.