Chuks Onuoha, Aba
Relatives, friends and colleagues have continued to pour glowing tributes on the late Uzoma Akoma, who was the assistant director-general (ADG) of the Department of State Service (DSS). From the testimonies, his career and life revolved around intelligence gathering, securing the people and the country as well as serving humanity.
The Akoma family has been thrown into grief, but they are comforted with the fact that the deceased lived a fulfilled life that positively touched lives.
He died in February at the age of 67. His funeral was held on Friday, October 16, at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Uratta Umuoha Parish, Abia State. The venue was turned to a sort of Mecca as people from all walks of life came to bid him farewell.
Akoma’s wife, Ukachi, said her husband loved his job and added value to it. She described her late husband as a man full of humour. She expressed gratitude to God for the life they spent together as husband and wife.
“You were there for everybody, the rich, poor and the downtrodden, because you hated injustice. You loved your job and added value to it as you carried yourself with dignity and integrity, accompanied with great sense of humour, which you passed on to your family. Sleep on, my love. Goodbye, my darling and a peacemaker. Rest in the bosom of the Lord till we meet to part no more”, she said.
Also extolling the late officer was his son, Alexander Alozie Akoma, who said: “Dad was a candle in the wind that never faded with the sunset. You would ever be remembered for many reasons by those who knew or had an interface with you, officially or privately. You became our father, then, our General, and, towards your last years, our friend and confidant.”
For Obinna Duncan Akoma, his father was a hero, especially as someone anyone could run to whenever there was a problem that required a quick fix.
“All that is no more, hence I have to be more careful when I navigate through the proverbial banana peels. You were a man of uncommon wisdom, oftentimes, I reflected on how you effortlessly managed your relationships with people of different shades, including friends and enemies. Thank you for the light you provided for multitudes as it is still shining on us,” he stated.
Director-general of the DSS, Y.M. Bichi, in his condolence letter, said that Akoma had a very fulfilling and rewarding service that spanned over 31 years, as he rose through the ranks to become the ADG of DSS on July 4, 2004.
“He served in various capacities, and distinguished himself as a person of exemplary character with sense of discipline, commitment and dedication to duty,” he said.
There was also a tribute by the retired directors of the DSS, signed by their chairman, P.S. Egure. The tribute noted that: “Sometimes, one wondered whether you ever had enemies. You were a leader that all could look up to in time of need, no situation confounded you because you took up challenges as if they never existed.”
On his part, the vice-chancellor of Abia State University, Prof. E. Uche Ikonne, described Akoma as one bred and nurtured with the ingredients of developmental education.
Upon completion of his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at Government Secondary School, Gborokiri, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in 1979, he was employed by the then Nigerian Security Organisation (NSO), which has metamorphosed into Department of State Service.
He attended several international and local professional training programmes and bagged the Fellowship of the National War College. As a result of his outstanding performance and attributes, President Musa Yar’Adua, in 2008, honoured him with the national honour, Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).
An author of various publications, articles, and intellectual works, for the service and the intelligence community, Akoma established educational schemes for indigent persons, and facilitated massive employment for youths in private and government establishments. He initiated and realised electricity project in Uratta Umuoha Community in Isialangwa North LGA.
One of the officiating ministers at his funeral, Ven. Udo Obioma, who picked his message from Psalm 90 verses 11 and 12, corroborated the views held by many others that Uzoma Akoma touched many lives positively. Encouraging people to be of good behaviour, the cleric said that when someone dies, he would be remembered through his work on earth, whether positive or negative.
“This is something people do not like to hear, but it must be said on an occasion like this. Every man has a lifespan when it will end. Eating good foods and taking care of oneself cannot save anyone whose time has come to die,” he said.
There were many dignitaries at the event. They included Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, A.C.B. Agbazuere; Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, former speakers of Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. C.O. Enweremadu, and Hon. Chikwendu Kalu, delegates from the Presidency and many others.
He retired in 2010, having played his invaluable part in the development of national intelligence. But retirement could not kill his love for security matters. After his retirement, he established Akoma Security Consult Ltd, where he served as chairman/CEO until his death.