By Alex Enumah
President Goodluck Jonathan Friday led other prominent Nigerians to pay tributes to late statesman, Matthew Tawo Mbu, whose remains were committed to mother earth yesterday at his country home Okundi in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State.
In a condolence message to the bereaved family, President Jonathan described the late Mbu as one of the foremost political icons that has come out of the South-south geopolitical zone and contributed his quota to the development of Nigeria.
Represented by Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State, Jonathan said the deceased was an unwavering fighter for attainment of growth, development, equity and justice across the nation.
Jonathan said in every high profile position, which Mbu served even as a very young man, he brought the same characteristic level, uncompromising diligence and commitment to excellence to bear on the discharge of his duties. He said in his later years, he devoted his time and resources to driving the cause of the nation’s peace and stability.
“M.T. Mbu, as he was more popularly known, no doubt leaves behind a rich legacy of selfless service, committed leadership and exemplary love, which should inspire us all to greater commitment to service to God, country, community and fellow man. He was a consummate nationalist and patriot, an astute leader of men, an accomplished diplomat and steadfast defender of unity peace and stability of Nigeria”, he stated.
Governor Imoke in his own funeral oration read by his deputy, Mr. Efiok Cobham, said the loss of a man of Dr. M.T. Mbu’s stature was colossal and gone with him was a huge part of the past which people will never forget, adding, however, that the state was celebrating the good fortune of a selfless man who played a very significant role in the socio-political development of Nigeria.
“It is laudable, albeit, unusual trait that in spite of his national, international experience and exposure, he never lost touch with his root. He attended quite religiously, every annual congregation of Boki people under the auspices of “Ochibe Boki,” a gathering that normally charts the course for the political and socio-cultural advancement of the Boki people, he said.
Tributes also came in from the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher; Governor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi; Governor T.A. Orji of Abia State; Mr. Peter Obi of Amambra; Dr. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State and former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili .
Rev. Father Kekong Bisong, in a homily entitled “this we must remember,” said Mbu handled the rough and difficult times with uncommon serenity and would be remembered for his simplicity, the open mind of true wisdom and the meekness of true strength.
He said he was strong enough to know when he was weak and brave enough to face himself when he was troubled.
The clergy described the deceased as a man, a Christian, a Knight who accomplished all these in life and in death and who will remain a giant in Nigeria and the world.
He said public servants like Mbu do not die, “they live on in the memories of those they have served”.
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