In the 1979/80 academic sessions, a team of Federal Government officials came to interview us at University of Ibadan, for employment in the civil service. After the interview, one official with a very friendly mien invited two of us and informed us that we performed excellently and that he would want us to work directly in his office. I thanked him but told him that I would not like to work in Lagos. Later that evening, a townsman, KOD Okonkwo (now Doctor) came to my room( D11 Zik-hall) with a visitor. And behold, it was the same fellow who interviewed me earlier in the day and KOD introduced him as a native of Igboukwu ! It was a pleasantly shocking coincidence and more so when it became obvious that his family was acquainted to my parents all along. That was how I came to know Mr. CMO Ezeh.
Even though I did not work with him in the ministry, we had struck up a lasting relationship. I joined the banking industry and years later, when the industry became troubled; he invited me over to the Gilt Bond Group. I worked with him as the boss and friend but that did not last long because the June 12 crises dealt terribly with the finance house subsector. We agreed I should leave, but there was nowhere to go. Therefore, I decided to start a consultancy outfit. However, I did not have the capital to set up an office. He graciously allowed me to stay in his office. That was how I started Optimal Consultants, using the furniture and facilities until I was in a position to pay for the space I had occupied. I have been in continuous friendly relationship with him since then until his demise on February 2, 2016.
In December 2015, I noticed that not all my calls to his phone went through and most surprisingly, he did not respond to the SMSs. I called his younger brother who informed me he went overseas for treatment. I called the wife who confirmed they were home bound. A few days after their return, I went to see CMO. My greatest sorrow was not just his health challenge, but also that of entire family. Yet, they took it calmly and confidently with faith in God. We discussed briefly and prayed. On February 19, I called and sent an SMS on but there was no luck. I called four times again between 27th and 28th but did not get through. I became restless and that was when I got the bombshell! Another good man has gone. As usual, God has taken another good man, giving the rest of us another opportunity to repent. After all, according to Mignon McLaughlin ‘the death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive — perhaps for some purpose which we ought to re-examine’. I am sure that given the type of life he led, death was indeed, a refuge (Proverbs, 14:32). In any case, there is nothing certain in a man’s life except that he must lose it. (Aeschylus, Agamemnon).
CMO was a good man. He was calm and collected, cheerful, contented, full of concern for others and at peace with the world, and God. He was not desperate for material acquisitions. He devoted time to the gospel and stood by his friends and I am an example of that.
Moe had touched many lives because he did not want his life to be defined by what is etched on a tombstone but by what is etched in the lives and hearts of those, he had touched (Steve Maraboli). My friend, brother and boss is dead but he is alive because ‘death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are we, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life. (Albert Einstein). I believe that he was a righteous man and that his soul is in with God, where he will receive due reward because God had tested and found him worthy (Wisdom, 3:1 & 5). And when we remember that whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord, (Romans14: 8-9) and then we should be able moderate our sorrow.
I commiserate with his resilient and beloved wife, children and the entire family. They gave him love, support and literarily sacrificed that he might live. I pray that affliction shall not rise up the second time in this family (Nahum, 1:9), that his children will be blessed after him (Proverbs, 20:7). God shall wipe away their tears; and there shall be no more death, no more crying and no more pains (Revelation, 21:4).
****Dr. Ik Muo, PhD, FCIB is of Department of Business administration, Olabisi Onabanjo University Iwoye, Ogun State