The remains of Deacon Gamaliel Oforitsenere Onosode was yesterday laid to mother earth amid encomiums from associates, friends, clergies and well wishers.
Onosode’s journey home started at about 9am when the hearse conveying his remains arrived the Government College Ughelli premises escorted by old and young mariners marching in double lane.
The remains was later conveyed into the Government College hall by some old boys of the school for a brief lying in state.
President of Government College Old Boys Association, GCOBA, worldwide, Prof. Ogbemi O. Omatete described the late Onosode as a brilliant student of the school, who carried his brilliancy anywhere he went.
He said: “Onosode was a shining example, who served the old boys association in many ways, one of which led to the renovation of the school.”
After the lying in state ceremony, the hearse conveying Onosode’s remains arrived the First Baptist Church, Ughelli at about 11:01am for the funeral service where tributes and encomiums were poured on the late boardroom guru.
In his tribute, Emeka Anyaoku, former Commonwealth Secretary General went back in history on his relationship with Gamaliel Onosode.
He said: “I first met Onosode in 1954 as a student of classics at the University of Ibadan. Our friendship grew over the years with him being my best man during my marriage in 1962. He was an icon and an outstanding patriot of the best of Nigerian value, who used his wealth for the development of his church in Ughelli and Lagos.”
Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa described him as a role model of simplicity and modesty.
“He was a national icon revered as a beacon of excellency and integrity whose brilliance impacted positively in corporate governance. A man who is very meticulous and committed to what he does.
“He was undoubtedly the conscience of the Nigerian nation. A man of substance who is not given to excuses. As a state, we have lost a son whose absence would take us time to fill. The best tribute we can give him is to imbibe his virtues,” he said.
On his part, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, All Progressives Congress, APC, national chairman described Onosode as a man of principle and highest integrity saying, “he was a type of Nigerian that we hope to have.”
Describing the deceased as a pillar, the vice chancellor of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Prof. Rahamon Bello said: “He was the pro-chancellor of the university when the name of the university was about to be changed. He supported the alumni and took it up till the government reversed its decision. It was because of him and his stand that the university remains University of Lagos today.”
On his part, Dr. Nelson Waga, 19th President Nigerian Institute of Management, NIM, said: “Onosode was our 5th President and he was part of those who formed NIM in 1961. He is one of the greatest Nigerian that has ever lived or rather, the best President Nigeria never had. We called him Mr. Integrity and he was a mentor to a generation of managers in this country.”
Speaking on behalf of the Urhobo nation, President General of the Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, Chief Joe Omene said: “The Urhobo nation has lost one of its finest products in the nation. With his exit today, we rejoice for his fulfilled life but at the same time, he would be difficult to replace as reflected in the caliber of persons here today, you would notice that he was an accomplished man. Urhobo people are the chief mourner and indeed we would mourn him for a very long time to come.”
Describing him as a quintessential gentleman, former Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director of Oceanic Bank, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru said: Onosode was a gentleman at home and to his friends. As a friend to my husband, we came from the same local government area, and whenever we had a family occasion, he was always there in person.”
According to former Chief of Staff to the Delta State Government, Prof. Godini G. Darah, “Onosode was a splendid specimen of humanity in all dimensions. He was excellent and we are proud that he is an Urhobo man and a Nigerian at large. We would try to beat his records of excellency in everything.”
On his part, the Delta State Head of Service, Mr. Patrick Origho, described him as a national hero outstanding boardroom guru. He was a hero that every Nigerian would want to emulate.
The Late Gamaliel Onosode’s journey home ended with the interment at about 4pm by close relatives at his Edia r’ Ufuoma country home, at Onosode drive, Ekuigbo, Ughelli.
Other dignitaries at the burial graced the occasion include; Delta State former Deputy Governor, Prof. Amos Utuama, Senators Ighoyota Amori and James Manager, Nduka Obaigbena, publisher ThisDay newspaper, Mr. Pinnick Amaju, NFF President, Prof. Duro Oni, DVC Academics UNILAG, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, Provost College of Medicine, UNILAG, Prof. M. A Ojo, VC BOWEN University, Prof. Ovie Igun, VC Michael & Cecilia Ibru University and a galaxy of old mariners.