The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, weekend, expressed shock over the death of one-time Deputy President General of the pan-Igbo group, Dr Sylvanus Olisanye Ebigwei.
Ohanaeze, in a release by its National Publicity Secretary, Alex Ogbonnia, described the deceased as a ‘humanist, erudite scholar, and bridge-builder’.
Our correspondent reports that Dr Ebigwei served as the president of Aka Ikenga, Lagos; and later as the Vice President General (VPG) of Ohanaeze under Chief Nnia Nwodo as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.
According to the release, “Throughout his tenure as the VPG, Chief Ebigwei’s wise counsel, moral authority, audacity of intellect, humility and nobility radiance were irresistible and disarming; and at the NEC meetings, Nwodo would cast a look at Ebigwei to solicit his validation at any critical juncture.”
The statement continued that, “Dr Ebigwei decried the inanity of double standards, identity crises and ethnic ambivalence that have pervaded the Igbo of the South-South extraction of Nigeria.”
The departed had in his book entitled ‘The History of Okpanam People and Culture’ stated that ‘Delta Ñorth, known as Anioma people, are basically Ndi Igbo’.
Ohanaeze wrote, “Ebigwei lamented that the likes of Dennis Osadebay, Col Joe Achuzia, and Ambassador Raph Uwechue were firm about their Igboness; and would turn in their graves over the recent developments, where a split personality with Igbo name, language and culture would prefer to deny his identity for a genealogical rootlessness, porridge mendacity and chameleon mentality.”
Ebigwei, the statement added, regretted that it was “after the civil war in 1970 that many persons from Anioma started to distance themselves from their original ethnic identity for political survival.”
Ogbonnia further stated that, “Ebigwei was an exemplary Anioma who detested wobbling personalities and remained steadfast to his roots until Friday, November 3, 2023 when he departed to meet his ancestors.”
The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, in the release, expressed dismay over the close chain of deaths of some Igbo icons of late, including Chief Joel Kroham, Prof George Obiozor, Prof Joe Irukwu, Prof Ben Nwabueze, Elder Dr UK Kalu and now Dr S. O. Ebigwei.
Born January 8, 1943, Sylvanus Olisanye Ebigwei attended St Patrick’s College, Asaba, and left as the best graduating HSC student in 1966. He proceeded to the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, where he studied dentistry.
He served as the chairman, Governing Council, Nnamdi Azikiwe University University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi; chairman, College of Dental Technology and Therapy, Enugu, and chairman, Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria.
Ohanaeze Mourns Ex-Deputy President General, Ebigwei is first published on The Whistler Newspaper