Sir Orji got married to his heartthrob, Dr. Elvina Nkemjika Obu, in 1991, and the marriage produced six loving and enterprising children.
Vincent Ukpong Kalu
With the death of Dr. Bernard Obu Orji, the legion of selfless people in Abia State, nay Nigeria, continues to diminish. He was a man of many parts – a humanist, patriot, politician, community leader, devout Christian, a great surgeon and a life-saver.
In the 66 years he sojourned in this humdrum abode, the manner in which he shouldered the burdens of others in various places he traversed etched him in the hearts of such people, and also earned him love and reverence.
From creation, his life was hewed to service and no wonder he chose the medical profession, which gave him unparalleled opportunity to touch lives.
His palm kernel was not cracked for him by a benevolent spirit, but by dint of hard work, and determination. He surmounted the odds and rose to the pinnacle of the medical profession.
Born on October 17, 1951, at Kaduna General Hospital, Kaduna State, Dr. Orji was the fifth child in a family of seven, born to the late Chief Orji Kalu Ogbu of Ndi Obu Compound, Okagwe Ohafia, and Mrs. Rosanna Obu (nee Nweke Opio), who had her ancestral roots in Umueke Ohanze in Obingwa LGA of Abia State.
He had his primary education at the Army Day Primary School, Kaduna, from where he proceeded to Igbo Etiti Secondary School, Nsukka. He studied Medicine at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and obtained an MBBS.
On completion of his National Youth Service in Jamare, Bauchi State, he cut his professional teeth at the Teaching Hospital, Aba, and later had a stint at the General Hospital, Arochukwu. He worked diligently and assiduously in both hospitals and was a darling of his patients.
He cut short his public service in 1982, upon resolution to return to his ancestral home, Ohafia, to establish his private practice as a general practitioner. This was borne out of his knowledge, and belief that his father was disconnected from his ancestral home and rarely visited home, nor did he introduce his children to the language, custom and tradition of his people.
Dr. Orji’s resolve to change this course of events not only led to his determination to set up practice in Ohafia, but also to train all his children in Ohafia, in order to get them accustomed to the language and customs of his people. He was able to accomplish this in his lifetime as he insisted on the education of all his children in Ohafia before leaving for tertiary education outside Ohafia.
His cottage hospital, which he established in 1982, metamorphosed into Mben Health Services, which was a trailblazer in patient management and allied medical services in the entire Ohafia and its environs. His care for patients and especially the down-trodden was exemplary.
Mben Health Services provided life support to most “okada” accident victims within Ohafia and its environs.
Sir Orji got married to his heartthrob, Dr. Elvina Nkemjika Obu, in 1991, and the marriage produced six loving and enterprising children. He was a good family man who spared nothing in providing for his immediate and extended family. He was a pillar and an umbrella of sorts to all who had one relationship or the other with him, and did all he could to attract all his siblings back to Ohafia, their hometown.
There is no doubt that his exit will occasion a monumental loss to his immediate and extended family, as his service, care and love will be sorely missed.
He loved the things of God and was a Christian of the Catholic faith. He was a Knight of the Noble Order of St. Mulumba (1995) and devoted his time to church activities, as often as his active medical practice could permit.
He loved the company of others and equally enjoyed the good things of life, but at most times exhibited courage and fearlessness in the sight of adversity and danger. His passion to help the needy was exemplary and could account for the uncountable number of patients he treated on gratis.
He devoted most of his adult life to the service of Ohafia and was a prominent member of the Emeago Age Grade, Okagwe Ohafia.
Hon. Orji was a great son of Ohafia who left his footprints in the sands of time. His service to humanity was not limited to his family but to the Ohafia community and all who came in contact with him. He found passion in politics, which he used as an avenue to touch more lives and render service to his people. His active participation in politics commenced in 1993, when he joined the then National Republican Convention (NRC). He was elected to represent Ohafia South State Constituency at the Abia State House of Assembly in 1999, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The high point of his political career was his election as majority leader of the Abia State House of Assembly.
At community level, he was president-general of the Ohafia Improvement Union, a position he held till his demise. As PG, he rekindled the Ohafia traits of courage and unity. Within his short period of stewardship, he did all within his power to reunite many warring communities and re-establish the authority of the Ezeogo in the affairs of Ohafia.
He reintroduced scholarship in the affairs of the Ohafia Improvement Union, as exemplified in the yearly lectures and fora that he organised and indeed raised the bar for community service.
Dr. Orji will forever be remembered as an exemplary Ohafia man who laboured to change the fortunes of his people.