'By Jumoke Owoola
The sleepy town of Ovu-Ojima, Umuojima, Isiala Ngwa in Abia State knows what the late former Nigerian Ambassador to China Victor N. Chibundu meant to it. From yesterday to today, the residents planned a befitting set of activities for the diplomat’s final passage. His remains were scheduled to be buried today at St. Mary Catholic Church, Umuojima, Isala Ngwa.
Aside a book launch in his memory, the Council of Traditional Chiefs to the Eze was billed to pay homage to Chibundu at the palace of Eze Iheukwunmere.
The Chinese Community in Nigeria in recognition of his contributions to the strengthening of closer ties with Nigeria-China bilateral relations and his initiatives for founding Nigeria Friendship Association (NICAF), on July 15 at the China town , Ojota, Lagos celebrated his life and times.
In a beautiful but emotionally laden atmosphere, the Chinese Community in Nigeria led by the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, Deputy Consul General Mr. Lin Yong, trooped in to pay tribute.
“On behalf of the Chinese community in Nigeria, we feel the pain and vacuum, but we want to openly commend his selfless efforts. We will never forget him as a link to the good friendship between China and Nigeria which both countries are enjoying today,” Mr. Lin Yong said.
The President of the Chinese Aids Center, Mr. Sun Guoping contributed to the event.
Also contributing were the Chairman of China Industrial & Commercial Enterprises association; Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos; Chinese Associations in Nigeria; Wood Association; Wig Association; Women’s Federation’ China Fujian Association; the Secretary of West Africa –Chinese and Chinese Overseas Federation, Mr. Xue Xiaoming, Mr. Liu Chang, Head of the Chinese Community in Nigeria, Mr. Sun Ping, Mr. Lu Lu Jackson and a host of other Chinese nationals across Nigeria.
Chibundu’s large family both at home and abroad were fully in attendance at the event that was well attended by many Nigerians and other Nationals who have felt the impact of Ambassador Chibundu, especially in the areas of promotion of Peace, Community and international relations and Education.
Ambassador Oluwole Coker who was also a former Ambassador to China and Ivory Coast said, Chibundu “excelled both at home and abroad. After retiring from the Nigerian Foreign Service in 1990, He still went ahead to improve the ties between Nigeria and China and founded the NICAF in 1994, which is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting exchanges and cooperation between the peoples of the two countries. He also wrote four books on the development of Nigeria- China ties.
The books he wrote have become important reference books for researchers on the Nigerian-China ties,” Coker revealed.
Kate, his widow, said, ”I appreciate the kind gesture of the China community in organising this event, but I am yet to believe that he is truly dead. He was truly a bridge builder and a man of honour. As he wished good for his own family, same good he extended to anyone that came across him. We will sorely miss him.”
His younger brother and a close confidant, M.A.E Chibundu who was still in shock, said that it is good to be good.
“Coming here today is not just to celebrate the contributions of my brother to the Chinese Community both at home and abroad, but for all to know that whatever we do in life has a result. When my brother diligently served the Nigeria and became a good Ambassador in his official abode, he never knew he will be rewarded like this one day. May be he was just being a good Nigerian, a truly son of his father and a worthy representative of the Nigerian government; What honour is more than this ? For a man to be honoured at home and at abroad in his own land by the Foreigners? This is rare. I feel great and I am proud to be a Nigerian and I am proud to share same umbilical cord with Amb. Victor Chibundu”.
Mrs. Edith Udeagu, his eldest child who was a retired Central bank Deputy Director and currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Nigeria Internet Registrant Association, NIRA, the impact of what his father did was what many are enjoying today. “My father was a detribaliased man. He didn’t believe that people are different. His major concern is how to add positive value to life and to individual’s that ever come across him. I could remember many good things he has done, and he will always stressed the fact that we need to do our best and make positive impact no matter how small.”
Mrs. Dorothy Johnson, his second child who is a multi-linguist and Head of Human Resources at Huawei-Nigeria office, the need to be a total Nigerian was one of her father’s attributes.
“He never believed in division. I could remember even when we were still very small, whatever countries he was posted to, he will make sure we remember home. He will tell us to draw Nigerian map and put at least key major capitals and states in it. He was a meticulous man. Rather than building houses all over Nigeria or amassing wealth, he has only one house in Lagos and one in our village.”