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TRIBUTE TO A ROYAL MAJESTY WHOSE LIFE WAS AN INSPIRATION AND MEMORY A BENEDICTION

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story by Omenihu Alfred

Of cause, we know that the glaring reality of death daily and inexplicably stares man in the face for it is the way of every mortal on earth. Everyone must always be ready for this departure without a send-off ceremony to the great beyond.
However, the news of your sudden demise was a huge shock, source of distress and upset to us. Just like Robert Herrick will say, “we weep to see you haste away so soon; as yet the early-rising sun has not attain’d his noon.”
An unknown poet in his poem titled, “Not How Did He Die, But How Did He Live?, reflected upon deep questions as; “Not what did he gain, but what did he give? Not, what was his church, nor what was his creed, but had he befriended those really in need? Was he ever ready, with words of good cheer
to bring back a smile, to banish a tear? According to the author these are the units to measure the worth of a man regardless of birth. We are proud because you were such a great patriot – so strong, bold, jovial, worthy counselor, Courageous leader, integrity driven with a rare larger-than-life kind of character – a pillar that supported so many people. Such a huge loss has definitely created a vacuum.
For likes of you did Bessie Anderson Stanley wrote his poem “A Successful Man”. ‘That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much;
who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of children;
who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had; Whose life was an inspiration and memory a benediction.’
My deepest sympathy goes out to the UNEGBUS and the good people of Lorji autonomous community. May God give you the peace that will ease the pain of this great loss.
HRH Eze (Major) Johnson Nwannaegbulem Unegbu K.SC, J.P Orji II of Lorji was born on 14th day of February 1937 into the humble family of Pa Jacob Iroanya Unegbu Onwumere and his mother Ezinne Ester Ikpejimgbe Unegbu (Mama Eze) in Umuagbede Ndiokwu Lorji. Both parents were farmers and also traders during their productive years. While in Enugu 1959 young Johnson came across the Army selection team and immediately decided to join the army. There and then, Johnson was selected and sent to Zaria for military training. At the end of military training at depot, Nigeria Army Zaria in 1960, Johnson Unegbu emerged the best soldier and was awarded the ‘’best all round recruit medal’’. Eze sir (Major) Johnson held several appointment while in service’’
• Before his commission to Lt. in 1978, he served as non –commissioned officer in several Army Commands/Locations Viz: 3 Div Commando 1970 to 1971. Brigade Aba/ Calabar 1972 to 1973;
• After his Commission to Lieutenant 1978, he served as the Finance Officer, Command Finance Office 1980-1982.
• Finance Officer, Army Rehabilitation Centre, Lagos 1983.
• Administrative Officer, I Mechanized Division 1984-1985.
• Cashier Mechanized Division 1986-1988a and
• Finally Finance Officer 3 Mechanized brigade 1989-1990
On the 17th day of May 1993 the people of Lorji in unity coroneted their new king, HRH Eze (Major) Jonson N. Unegbu. With the fear of God, he administered the affairs of his people as their Eze for 26 solid years. He was blessed by God with wisdom, which he used in maintaining peace and order in Lorji, as he always promoted unity and love amongst his people. He will always sit very patiently to listen, judge and settle every form of dispute amongst his subject. As a man he was also a good philanthropist, even until his death he loved and will always do his best to help put smiles on the face of people as much as he could.
In October 1993, that same year he was crowned king, was Eze’s investiture into the knighthood of the order of St. Christopher by the then bishop of Mbasie Anglican Diocese in the person of late Rt. Rev. Cyril Anyanwu of blessed memory. During the 26 years of his reign as Eze, he occupied so many positions both in the State Council of Traditional rulers and also in the Local Government Council of Ndi Eze. Eze Unegbu represent Ndi Eze Imo State on several occasions in the southeast zone and national levels. Through various appointments and election with his royal colleagues, Eze Unegbu most of the time emerged as either their Financial Secretary or treasure. He was the man they always trusted with their money. Until his demise he was the Chairman Oke Ovoro Royal Council of Ndi Eze. So many awards were given in his honour by almost all Government of Imo state that he worked with throughout his 26 years on the Throne. He was a consistent recipient of awards from Churches, Organizations, Associations and the military where it all started. He was in 1999 appointed Justice of peace (J.P) by the Imo state government under the administration of Chief Dr Achike Udenwa. Eze Unegbu was elected member of Imo state council of Traditional Rulers in 2001, he served as vice Chairman, Mbaise Council of Traditional rulers from 2007-2011, and was also member Aboh Mbaise Council, Peace and Security Committee within the period. He was a founding executive of Royal Stars an Association of Ndi Eze in imo state where he served from the inception until his death as financial secretary/ treasurer and also was awarded as a patron of the association.