By Job Osazuwa
In order to keep his legacies alive, family members, friends and close associates of the late security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, gathered in Lagos on August 9 for the relaunch of the Dr. Ona Ekhomu Educational Foundation (DOEEF).
The event, as part of activities to mark his one year remembrance, began at Our Saviour’s Church, Anglican Communion, Tafewa Balewa Square, Lagos, where the vicar, Ven. Ife Okupevi, urged the congregation to emulate Ekhomu, whom he said was passionate in ensuring that Nigeria surmounted its security challenges.
In his sermon, taken from the Book of First Thessalonians, chapter four verse 13 to 18, and John 14, verse one to seven, he said the deceased fought a good fight while on earth, using his resources to serve God and humanity.
He prayed to God to watch over his children as His flock. He also asked Him to deliver them from insecurity that is ravaging Nigeria.
He charged the children and other family members he left behind to serve God with passion. He assured the congregants that those who genuinely serve God would not lose their rewards in His kingdom.
The relaunch, which took place shortly after the memorial service, at Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, was also to honour the first chartered security professional in West Africa and former chairman of Transworld Security System, Ekhomu. He died on August 9, 2021, at 66.
On his father’s legacies, his son, Ona Ekhomu Jnr, said his father was a man with a strong will who preached integrity in whatever he did.
“He lived by example. He lived a selfless life. He was not after making so much money but to leave a mark by touching lives. We, as his children, are trying to continue the race from where he stopped.
“He focused on the security industry, where he became an expert for the benefit of his fellow men. He was very passionate about security of life and property in Nigeria.
“I had great memories with him. He was a goal-getter and he carried us along. He never joked with his children and others, particularly the downtrodden,” he said.
Speaking on the foundation, Mrs. Victoria Ekhomu, who is also a security expert, described her late husband as a kind man who believed in her.
She said he every day longed to see people doing better in life and Nigerians sleeping with both eyes closed: “All he wanted was just to be an ordinary man and impact lives, and he fulfilled that dream.
“He started the educational foundation that we are relaunching today. My husband was in the early stage of his life a househelp. When he began to do better as a man, he saw the need to help others and to tell them not to give up in life, no matter how rough the road.
“He focused on those students who were intelligent but indigent. Their gifts shouldn’t be wasted. They had the opportunity through our scholarships to attend school, because education takes you out of poverty. The secondary school students from his community, Iruah, in Edo State, benefited. We did that for years but for about 10 years before his death, he stopped because he wanted to include more schools in the state, but it didn’t work out.
“We also helped a particular guy, Odiase, to attend Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. He is ever grateful and has acknowledged that without the help he got from the scheme he would not have been able to complete his education. He is doing well today having graduated as a lawyer. He would have been here to speak but he travelled out of Nigeria.
“As we relaunch it, we intend to help people in Edo State and later extend to other parts of Nigeria, because my husband was a national figure.”
On how they started as husband and wife, “we had nothing when we started as lovers. But the strong love and his uncommon understanding, we were able to build an empire. A lot of people go through marriages without experiencing love.
“He came into the security sector to change the narrative. Many people that were mere security guards and now managers and owners of security companies. This gladdened his heart even before he passed on.
“He became the first to be certified in this region and I was the fourth. We worked together as colleagues without rancour. A lot of men are not very strong to work with their wives in the same industry but my husband was different. Thank God he prepared me, I wouldn’t know how his company would have survived,” Mrs. Ekhomu said.
Ekhomu, who was a knight in the Anglican church, was revered as a global leader in industrial security. He was also a founding member of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON) International in Nigeria. He was also a founding member of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON) International in Nigeria.
He is the author of the highly acclaimed book on security awareness, Effective Personal and Corporate Security (2009), Kidnap: Face to face with death (2014).
He was also the president of AISSON and the Africa representative of the International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO).