Emma Ezeazu: The passing of a patriot

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IT was on Monday night, that Chidi Odinkalu, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, posted that: “Colleagues, sadly, we’ve just lost Emma Ezeazu, former President of NANS, former National Secretary Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) & founder, Community Action for Popular Participation…” In the wake of that sad announcement, many individuals that knew or had worked with our dear Comrade Emma Ezeazu, wrote very solemn tributes which recognised his commitment to our country’s development.

Ayo Obe, who had headed CLO, was saddened by Emma’s death, adding that the last time she saw him: “it was obvious that he had been seriously ill, but was fairly upbeat, and one hoped that he was on the road to recovery”. She reminded that Emma was “also a stalwart of the activist pro-democracy movement-as well as the CLO and CAPP, he was a leader of the Democratic Alternative political party, as well as the Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE)”. I spoke with Chidi Odinkalu, soon after the postings and he reminded me that Emma had been sick for the past eight years, off and on, and it was testimony to his strength of character and commitment to our country, that he kept a very crowded schedule of work in all those years.

In the immediate aftermath of the announcement of his death, I had posted as follows: “Soon after Emma was elected President of NANS, he was brought by a group of comrades to the radio house in Ilorin. I interviewed him live and he was as passionately militant as most of our PYMN comrades of that generation.

PYMN, the Patriotic Youth Movement of Nigeria, was the umbrella body for all Marxist student organizations on Nigerian campuses and it was actually from its ranks that NANS leaders used to emerge from. Sadly, even PYMN became a victim of the rot that’s eaten our mass progressive movements. Over the years, Emma stayed the course as a patriot whose love for our country was central to his work. By Emma Ezeazu’s death, we have lost a wonderful individual who was committed to the betterment of our country”.

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