Nze Sunny Ogbu or Nze as we all fondly called him was a man that God planted on this earth to spread cheer through his many acts of kindness, and through his funny take on life in general. His sense of humour was infectious and being around him for a second was enough to have even the hardest of hearts melt away in joy. You will never in your life think that anybody will ever have it in his or plans to harm such a man, not to talk about pointing a gun at his head and blowing his brains out at close range, all in the name of Nigerian politics. Perhaps, this must have been the reason why Igwe Joe Odenigbo, another close friend of ours had remarked that those who murdered Nze did not know him, for if they did, they would have known that Nze didn’t mean anybody any harm. A jolly good fellow he was in every sense of the word.
Born to the Ogbudibe family in Akpulu, Imo state of Nigeria. Nze was the loving and caring husband of Helen Anyiam Sunny-Ogbu, and father of Chiazokam Ogbu. He was a brother, friend, uncle and associate of many and so it is with heavy hearts that we are all struggling to come to terms with the sad reality that Nze is no more, his dreams and hopes for a better Nigeria brutally and tragically cut short by the bullets of hired assassins on the evening of Sunday, October 24th 2010 in Urualla – Imo state as he was returning to his native Akpulu from a political rally.
Nze will not fit into your bill of a typical Nigerian politician; his philosophy of politics without bitterness was modelled after the late Waziri Ibrahim of GNPP. He never saw politics as a ‘do or die’ affair, believing strongly in his catholic faith that only the will of God will prevail at all times. This much he told the people of his constituency that Saturday, the 8th of August 2010 as we accompanied him on a whistle –stop tour of towns and villages in Ideato North & South federal constituency in Imo state, a day that officially marked the flag- off of his campaign to seek election to represent the good people of Ideato North & South in the federal house of representatives under the platform of the PDP, a position currently being occupied by Rufus Omeire.
In life, Nze represented the true ABU (Aba –Brought- Up) spirit, surviving against the odds. He opened the doors to his heart, wealth, home and office to those in need, friends and family. He was the rallying point for ABUs and Nigerian diasporas that had lived in Israel where he had lived in the nineties before returning back home to settle in Abuja. Having made good, he easily made his platform and resources available to those coming in newly into Nigeria’s capital city mentoring, guiding, advising and supporting. In appreciation of his rare acts of brotherhood and kindness, the entire Ogbu clan during the Ogbu day celebration in December 2008 honoured him with the award of ‘Best Brother’, with the award for ‘Best Sister’ going to Ngozi Ogbu-Nnaji who had lost her daughter (Chidera) in the 2005 Sosoliso plane crash.
Nze was to me what Ndigbo would call Nwanne di na mba (brother from a distant land) or Enyi ka Nwanne (a friend that is more precious than a blood brother).It was Obi Agobua, my classmate at C.I.C Enugu that took me to the family home of the Ogbus for the first time in 1988. Obi had insisted that I meet Nze before the start of the first semester as I prepared to begin my freshman year at the then University of Cross River state (now the University of Uyo) where they had just finished their sophomore years. As I was admitted to study Communication arts, a course Nze had been enrolled on and studied for 2 years, Obi wanted Nze to take me under his wings and ‘show me the way’ around the department. My friendship and brotherhood with Nze and the Ogbus including Nnamdi, Ikenna, Adaobi, Somadina and the rest of them began that day. Through the years, we have shared many triumphs and disappointments, survived a near tragic armed robbery attack in 2007 while preparing for the public presentation of my book – The Long Harmattan Season in Abuja, an event Nze emceed and championed.
Our lives were intertwined. We were business partners and close confidants sharing family moments together. Nze met his wife Helen at George’s (my elder brother) wedding in Aba while I met my wife at Chimezie’s (his younger brother) wedding in Lagos. I will never forget how my brother Nze hurriedly moved out of his rented apartment with his wife and young daughter and moved into their uncompleted personal house in Kubwa, near Abuja so that my fiancée who was having accommodation problems at the time could move in. I cannot begin to recount his many selfless acts towards me and others, none of whom would have imagined that the man we all love and hold in high esteem will be one of the first casualties of Nigeria’s coming elections. This is a heart wrenching tale as my friend and brother has now become the latest addition to the growing list of well-meaning, good natured and good intentioned Nigerian politicians assassinated by desperate and wicked Nigerian politicians.
Saying that Nze had a passion for life would be stating the obvious. God blessed him with great oratory skills, this he applied in fighting the cause of oppressed. He was Igbo leader at the University of Uyo and in Israel during his diaspora days. He was at the forefront fighting the cause of displaced Kubwa residents as Chairman of the Kubwa Landlords Association before the Justice Idris Kuta Senate ad-hoc committee on the Kubwa land crises of 2005.
Nze attended the famous Constitution Crescent Primary School, Aba (Santa Maria), Eziama High School, Aba where he was an active member of the debating society and the University of Uyo where he studied Communication Arts. While at Uyo, he founded a comedy group – Nze and the Idiots which thrilled at major campus events.
Those who knew Nze will testify to his good nature. We may cry, curse and doubt. Our hearts may bleed at the brutal nature of his passing. We may wonder; why Nze Sunny Ogbu? A man that lived his life for his family and for others. His heart was pure, his smile genuine. His kindness was great and legendary; Nze was slow to anger, always seeing the funny and sunny side to life’s many challenges.
Nze blessed and touched us all in many ways. He taught us lessons in friendship, kindness, contentment, hope, sharing, love for family and for the next person. We will forever remember him for the man he was, he will still be that man forever in our hearts, for to live in the hearts of those we love is not to die but to live forever.
May God keep Nze in his bosom and keep us all that he has left behind from harm. Amen.