By Opeyemi Ajala

“You can achieve anything you put your mind to, the world is here to conquer… DORIS OHANUGO

November graciously stands out as a month of remembrance. The first day is generously dedicated to all departed saints and martyrs as the All Saints’ Day, whilst the second day is the All Souls’ Day devoted as a day of prayer and remembrance to honour their departure, the focus of this piece is the third day in November, the day that coincided with the birthday of my friend, brother, egbon and priest (in that order) Ernest Chukwuadinula Ohanugo who became a Quinquagenarian on Thursday 3rd November 2022. The celebrator is exemplary indeed and in deeds

A relationship that started in 1984 when the family moved into the neighborhood as awon Nwanne simply because majority of kids attended Schools in the premises of ULA (renamed after the Guadalajara based Jalisco stadium in Mexico – the quarter final  venue of the unexpected defeat of Brazil by France at the 1986 World Cup) while it was only the kid sister Nwanne that obeyed that unwritten norm as the 3 brothers pitched their tents for knowledge with the adjacent St John’s Primary School, hence in the neighborhood, Nwanne was the most popular of the siblings.

As kids, we regularly met to play football and mock competitions and it is intrusive that he was an unbiased arbiter as an unbadged referee when called upon as the need arises, it is pertinent to note that this premium on integrity is something that clearly stood him out from the crowd till this day. Suddenly from Ikeja Grammar School we never saw him again except once in a while which is now clear was during school breaks as he had proceeded in the summer of 1985 to FGC Ugwolawo then in Benue State later carved out as part of today’s Kogi State. Unknowingly, I followed his footsteps in October 1986 as I got admitted to the same school and the joy of seeing my street boy in a far-flung place was matchless!

My egbon’s permanent and recurring decimal is integrity. His brilliance is very evidence and little wonder he was a Federal Scholar; this marks his faithful savant – servant lifestyle that has been his lot these 50 years. In the first general election for an association or club in the school, I still remembered how he secured a moonslide victory (apologies to the late Umaru Dikko) to emerge the President of the highly esteemed Press Club in our alma mater in 1990, a position he combined with his stewardship as the Deputy House Captain of Uredo House. In astute testament to his uprightness he was elected as the pioneer Financial Secretary of the Federal Government College Ugwolawo Old Students Association (FGCUOSA) Lagos Chapter where he served the constitutionally allowed two terms before becoming the Treasurer for another two terms.

His zeal for selfless but productive service is matchless, he is a savant and in the last quarter of a century, he has played his significant part in the ICT sector where he is a colossus from his humble beginning as a Trainer in Lexington Computers Limited through Hewlett Packard to his current role with telecommunications heavyweights – Ericsson as the Manager HUB West covering 10 countries after previously heading the operations in the West Africa sub region and later Barbados and 9 other Caribbean countries as the Operations Assurance Head amongst other notable roles, yet in the midst of these, the mantle fell on him as the Chairman of Ericsson Cooperative Society for 4 years where he is currently the Board of Trustee (BOT) Chairperson. This is another feather to his integrity feather! In order not to be left out, his course mates affirmed him as this President for the Lagos Business School (LBS) SMP 41 class.

No man is infallible but I cannot recall him telling lies as he is blunt to tell you how it is or he feels, I could recall when he was getting wedded to his the fiancé – the motherly Doris (now wife), being one of the groomsmen, he gladly notified me about the date being February 14th 2004 and my sharp response was that how could he have fixed the date to coincide with the AFCON final date (as if he had the sole power to fix such date! His mo gba gbe ni (Oh, I forgot) response brought me back to earth.

As it is impossible to take a dive into the popular Ofu river (the popular river from which Ofu Local Government’s name was derived) and not be wet, likewise it is impossible to encounter Ernest (as kids he was Chuks) without being dazed and amazed by the sheer size of his philanthropic heart, he is always willing and ready to go the extra mile for the comfort of others and I need not bore you with details but it is only our good Lord who sees what is done in secret that can reward you as promised in Matthew 6:6, and our God has been faithful to keep.

Like the biblical King David entrusted with the care of the flock as a boy shepherd who later became a king over God’s flock, the celebrator started as a superintendent over chicken without souls (frozen food – courtesy of Mitchel Farms) in Mummy’s shop and now entrusted with the souls of God’s people as the Pastor in Charge of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Mustard Seed Parish in Badore. A devoted family man that is not unaware that he that who does not provide for his home is worse than an infidel, has been faithful in his inherited role as the Diokpala of the Michael Iwebunor Ohanugo Dynasty.

As Pastor Ernest Chukwuadinula Ohanugo celebrates his Golden Jubilee in his emi lokan moment as he joins the Quinquagenarian queue, this is wishing him a more successful second half. I know the story and i am proud of the glory, it is a period to look back and thank God, while looking ahead and trusting God. God bless you and your descendants sir.

Opeyemi Ajala FCA is a

former Presenter – Eagle Sports Hour on Eagle Cable Television

Lagos, Nigeria



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