Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 7 September 2012 | 5,936 times
“We did our best to save him. We had already gotten a visa to fly him abroad but death struck.”
That was Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State speaking earlier today during the burial of late Commissioner for Sports, Barrister Matthew Onyekachi Ochiobi, who died suddenly on July 11 in Umuahia, the state capital.
The former Chief Whip of Abia State House of Assembly died at the Federal Medical Centre, having suffered a heart attack after receiving the news of the brutal murder of his younger sibling by unknown gunmen at Onitsha where the latter was the head of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Governor Orji had directed that Ochiobi’s burial earlier slated for August 31 be shifted to today to enable him to return from his annual vacation abroad and be physically present to pay his last respect to his trusted lieutenant. Paying tribute to Ochiobi as he was buried in his country home, Umuadiele Amankwo Mbutu in Isiala Mbutu Autonomous Community of Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area, a grieving Orji described his death as a big loss to Abia.
Said the governor: “His death is a big tragedy to the state but death is inevitable. We cannot question God. We loved him very much and we have been working with him since I came to power in 2007 because of his steadfastness, loyalty and reliability.
News Express learnt that all necessary arrangements to fly Ochiobi to India for treatment had been completed but he died the day he paid for the radio announcement of his deceased brother.
Their surviving brother, Barrister Obinna Ochiobi, said in a tribute that Matthew died unexpectedly when the family was actually preparing for a big thanksgiving to celebrate his recovery.
Ochiobi began his homeward journey yesterday when his body was received by the staff and management of Ministry of Sports before it moved to the House of Assembly and then to the State High Court premises, where the legislators and lawyers held valedictory sessions for their fallen colleague.
Thereafter, the body was received at the Michael Okpara Auditorium by the State Executive Council. A football match between Enyimba International FC feeder team and Youth Sports Federation team which Enyimba won 1-0 wrapped up activities lined up to honour the late commissioner before his body was taken to Isiala Ngwa.
The late Ochiobi was born on June 22, 1958. He graduated from Imo State University (now Abia State University) with a degree in Law in 1988.
*Photo shows Governor Orji commiserating with the family of late Commissioner, Hon. Matthew Ochiobi, during the lying in-state at Michael Okpara auditorium, Umuahia. Photo: Ibeabuchi Abarikwu.
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