By Charles I Ibeh
Dear beloved Daddy,
Dad 91! Words cannot express the shock I had on hearing the news about your sudden demise. It is difficult to believe. To the glory of God, I owe you my entire life – everything I am today, the credit goes to you for the life and labour of love you offered me in all areas of my life from cradle.
You provided for us and never allowed us to lack anything. You fought gallantly to save my life from those childhood sicknesses. You fought gallantly against my workplace issues with my supervisors, Mr Stan Baran, and Mr West Wilson. You rekindled my hopes in education when people rumoured my world in education had collapsed.
However, Papa! You proved to people that education is a civil right. After I graduated from Enugu State University, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, it occurred to your mind that our village lagged behind in western education, which is very important in every society. You not only advised me, you financed and relocated me to the United States of America to proceed with graduate studies.
You were so excited when I completed my Master’s degree in computer and electrical engineering in Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland.
To our greatest surprise, immediately I graduated from Morgan State University, the US Department of Defence offered me four employment opportunities; two jobs with the US Navy, then another two jobs with the US Army to make a selection.
As a great motivator, and wise counsellor, you captured that Nigeria lacked aviation engineers; you rightly advised that I accept aeronautical engineer position with the Naval Air force US Department of Navy in Jacksonville Florida, and decline other positions. You also advised at the same time that I enrol for a Ph.D. program in System Engineering at the US Naval Graduate University in Montreal, California in the United States of America, and I could not but accept your thoughtful and insightful academic advice.
In addition to that Papa!! the last time I was with you in Nigeria, you said that you were happy that all your children have achieved academic laurels, including my elder brother Engr. Emmanuel Ibeh who bagged his first degree in Mechanical Engineering, and Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and your only daughter, Mrs Charity Mgbeahuruike (Nee Ibeh) for her academic performance in her Bachelor’s study in Food Science and Technology, and Postgraduate study in Financial Management.
You were excited how your last son, Mr Jude Emeka Ibeh graduated from Imo State University where he obtained bachelor’s degree in Micro-Biology. You also expressed delight that you were able to sponsor and train your brother, Mr. Cosmas Ukachukwu “Onwusiama” till he completed his Standard Six for which he received good and quality education.
We can never deny your immense support. You rest assured we are currently enjoying the fruits of your labour. Indeed, you are a great inspiration, and educationist, a father of the fatherless, one out of a million, a philanthropist and humanitarian. The vacuum your death has created is so wide that I do not know how and who can fill it. However, we take solace in the wisdom and uncommon sense, love, kindness, forthrightness, integrity and forbearance, all of which you bequeathed on us.
Papa, when I spoke with you a few weeks ago, little did I know that it was the last time I’ll be hearing from you. Papa! If life is to be a transaction, I will offer to buy and elongate your life once more, but then, death is beyond man. I will really miss you!
Adieu Great Daddy! Adieu My Great Friend!! Adieu My Great Hope Builder!!!
Engr.Charles I Ibeh, B.Sc., CNA, M.Sc.
Naval Air force Engineer
United States Department of Navy,
United States America
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