IT WAS a tribute galore in honour of the late Justice Jude Obunike Okeke, a serving Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Abuja when his entire kinsmen of Nkpor community in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State stood still by his graveside at the weekend as his remains was being committed to mother earth at his Ochudo Villa, Umusiome village, Nkpor.
With his Chieftaincy title of Ochudo-Nkpor (peaceseeker), his kinsmen, both individuals and groups lamented that they had lost a rare gem at an early age of 61, adding that it was regrettable that death had to snatch him at a time he was rapidly rising to the status of a Justice of Court of Appeal.
They however appealed to Anambra State Government to immortalise the late Jurist by constructing the road linking Eke-Nkpor to Umusiome village, passing through Ochudo villa down to the neighboring Umuoji community, as part of the immortalisation process, as according to them, they were very proud of him as a peace ambassador and true son of the soil.
Among the groups and individual kinsmen at the funeral ceremony were the Chairman of Idemili North Local Government Council, Raphael Asha Nnabuife; the Nkpor Indigenous Lawyers Association, NILA led by Frank Molokwu and the Nkpor Development Union, NDU led by Ogbueshi Innocent Mbagha as its President-General
Others who joined in the array of tributes were village heads and branch leaders, including Sir Mike Anigbogu, chairman of Lagos branch of NDU, his Abuja branch counterpart, Chief Okezie Obianyo; Sir Felix Nwanolue, Coordiantor of Nkpor Way Forward Committee, NWFC among others.
In his own tribute, Prof. Peter Emeka Katchy, a Gold Medalist and Chairman of Nigerian Red Cross Society, NRCS, Anambra State branch who led a team of volunteers with First Aid Equipment at the funeral ceremony, described the late Justice Okeke as a jolly good fellow and a school mate who attended the same primary and secondary schools together with him in the early 70s.
In their condolence messages, while the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige recalled that the late jurist displayed an uncommon brilliance in his judgments which had helped to deepen the nations jurisprudence, Archbishop Valerian Okeke, Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, prayed God to reward him abundantly, having put his gifts at the services of God and humanity and in spreading the good news to the end of the earth with his financial and material resources.
Responding, his first son, Divine Chiemelie Jude-Okeke described his late father as a courageous, brilliant and incorruptible man in the temple of justice and pledged to to his legacies and doorsteps to ensure the closure of the vacuum created by his death.
Until his demise in Abuja on Tuesday, August 4, this year at the age of 61, Justice Okeke was a member of the Board of Governors of the Abuja Multi-Door Court House; member panel of Neutrals of the Abuja Multi-Door Court House; Chairman, Human Rights Committee NBA (Abuja Branch); and member FCT High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules Review Committee. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators. In 2007, Jude Okeke was appointed a Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) among numerous positions.