From John Adams, Minna, Fred Ezeh, Abuja and Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, and his Abia State counterpart, Okezie Ikpeazu, have described the death of the Registrar and Chief Executive of the National Examinations Council (NECO), Professor Godswill Obioma, as a great loss to the nation.
In a statement in Minna by his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel Berje, governor Bello said since the late Obioma assumed office a year ago, he had made his impact felt in the running of the organisation through a well organised examination and prompt release of result.
“The Registrar was an experienced and hardworking personality, our heartfelt sympathy is with the family, and the examination body praying that God grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss as well as grant the deceased soul eternal rest,” he said.
In his own reaction, governor Ikpeazu described Obioma’s death as another blow to the people of Abia State.
Against the back drop of rumours making the rounds that Prof Obioma was assassinated, Ikpeazu stated that the death of the NECO Registrar was due to natural cause.
In a message by his Chief Press Secretary, Onyebuchi Ememanka, Ikpeazu said: “It is profoundly depressing for me to write a death tribute to one of our finest academics from Abia State, just barely one year after I had written him a letter of congratulations on his appointment as NECO Registrar.
“He was always prepared to come down to Abia even at the shortest of notices, once it had to do with the good of Abia State.
“He was one of those we partnered with when we were crafting the pillars of our administration in 2015. He made very solid contributions to our educational road map. He was clearly one of the finest Mathematicians this country has ever produced. I feel a deep and personal sense of loss at his death. It is almost impossible to produce alternatives to men like Professor Obioma.”
Meanwhile, the Niger state police command has dismissed reports that the NECO Registrar, who died on Monday, was assassinated.
Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Wasiu Abiodun, yesterday, in a statement, in Minna, described the story as ‘totally false, untrue and a pure element of fake news.”
The police, in the statement, further stated: “It is important to state, categorically, that on May 31, 2021, Prof Obioma was rushed to National Hospital Abuja by his family members, where he was later confirmed dead, after a brief illness.
“He was said to have returned from Abuja for an official assignment at about 9:00am, in the morning, and was expected before his sudden death.”
While the wife said he died of heart attack, the son in a conflicting report said his father died after a brief illness.
A short message sent by his son to NECO management read: ”Dear Sir, this is to formally inform you that my father, Prof. Godswill Obioma, the Registrar/Chief Executive of NECO passed to eternal glory yesterday, 31/5/2021, after a brief illness.”
Meanwhile, Chief Whip of the Senate and former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has expressed sadness over the demise of Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of National Examinations Council (NECO), Professor Godswill Obioma.
Describing the death of Obioma as a huge loss to the academia, the former governor acknowledged the contributions of the late Professor to nation building in various capacities.
Kalu, while commiserating with the Obioma family, prayed to God to repose the soul of the deceased.
In a condolence message, the Senate Chief Whip said: “The demise of the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of National Examinations Council (NECO), Professor Godswill Obioma, is painful.
“The late Professor contributed immensely to the academia in no small measure. He will be remembered for academic excellence.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with the Obioma family at this period of grief.
“May his gentle soul rest in peace”.
The former governor condoled with the government and people of Abia state, while calling on the Obioma family to take solace in the fact that the deceased lived a remarkable life.