The death of the Annie Okonkwo, businessman and politician has thrown the people of his community into mourning.
Okonkwo, who hailed from Ojoto community in Idemili South Local Government Area of the state, died in the United States of America on Wednesday.
He was elected senator on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Anambra Central in the National Assembly from 2007 to 2011.
It was gathered that he left the country to the US shortly after this year’s general elections to attend to his health needs.
Okonkwo’s son, Uchenna-Harris, won the 2023 election to represent Idemili North and South Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives on the platform of the Labour Party (LP).
He was billed to grace the inauguration of his son, as House of Representatives member for Idemili North and South Federal Constituency, Anambra.
Obi in a statement on his Twitter handle, recounted how the former lawmaker contributed to his presidential campaign in 2022.
“I was aware that he was sick, but I prayed and hoped for his full recovery. Distinguished Sen. Annie Okonkwo was a veteran of Nigerian politics. Despite not being a member of the Labour Party, he was one of the strongest pillars of support in our journey to a New Nigeria. He provided very invaluable advice and immeasurable support during our vigorous campaigns around the nation.
“He persuaded his son, Hon. Uchenna Okonkwo, who was in another party then, to join the Labour Party, where he contested and eventually won a seat at the Federal House of Representatives. After the elections and the subsequent declarations, which we are challenging in court today.
“Sen. Annie Okonkwo did not relent but remained steadfast in his efforts and commitment towards a New Nigeria. When I heard that he was sick, I travelled to the United States to visit and spend time with him.”
Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, described Okonkwo as a prominent son of the state who had paid “his own dues trying to serve the state.”
Soludo, on behalf of the government and people of the state, commiserated with the family and friends of the deceased over the painful loss, praying “the good Lord grant his soul eternal rest and the family he left behind the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”
Also, former Anambra State governor and immediate past minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Nwabueze Ngige, described the late Senator as a strong and dogged politician with whom he fought many political battles, fierce contests, the most memorable being the three-pitched fight for the Anambra Central Senate seat between himself, the late Senator and late Prof Dora Akunyili in 2011. Ngige praised the late Senator for his sportsmanship saying” even though I won and came to the 7th Senate, Agunechemba as he was fondly called congratulated me and promised not to go to court to contest my victory”. Mr Tony Uche, politician and community leader at Ojoto, described the deceased as a worthy son and philanthropist of repute who touched many lives while he lived.
“Ojoto is in deep mourning. The death is a huge shock like a thunderbolt to the town.
“It’s most tragic and unfortunate. We have lost a great Iroko and Ojoto is grieving.
“We are in rude shock. We wish it was not true because Agunechemba, like we call him, was recently in Ojoto where he participated actively for his son’s campaigns.
“During and after the elections, he socialised freely and attended many functions,” he said.