The Anambra State Government has expressed sadness over the death of Dr Linus (Larry) Udorji, former President of the World Igbo Congress, the most famous association of the millions of Igbo-speaking people in the Diaspora.
Dr Udorji, 59, died in the Washington area of the United States after a protracted battle with prostate cancer.
“Larry was relatively young, vibrant, energetic, forward looking and passionate about the living standards of the people at home as he was about the affairs of our people in the United States and elsewhere in the world”, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State said in a message to the current WIC president, Professor Anthony Ejiofor, who was a close friend of the deceased.
In the message released on Friday in Awka to newsmen by Information and Public Enlightenment Commissioner C. Don Adinuba, the governor lamented that the “the government and people of Anambra State have lost a versatile intellectual, entrepreneur, community mobilizer and devotee to the public good whose values were shaped by his several years of training in the seminary in Nigeria and in such secular institutions as Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Howard University in Washington DC and Walden University in Minnesota where he trained in disciplines as diverse as Latin, Philosophy and Clinical Psychology”.
Professor Ejiofor thanked Governor Obiano for his “swift message to the World Igbo Congress”, noting that Obiano “is the first Nigerian governor to condole the WIC leadership following the passage of a worthy predecessor, friend and confidant”.
In a message to the Traditional Ruler of Ihiala, Igwe Thomas Ikenna Obidiegwu, over Dr Udorji’s death, Governor Obiano advised “Ihiala people to take solace in the fact that though your distinguished son left this planet at a rather early age, you should be proud of the fact that he touched many lives deeply and took an active part in the social and cultural affairs of his hometown that enabled him to take the high traditional title of Ichie Ihiala, a town which, according to the Anambra State Ministry of Local Government, Chieftaincy and Town Union Affairs, has a well-established history of monarchy spanning some 700 years”.
Chief Obiano asked the Ihiala people to follow Dr Udorji’s footsteps and embrace the values of peace, reconciliation, forgiveness, progress, service above self and solidarity which is commonly referred to in Igboland as “onye aghana nwanne ya.
“These are the values which drive rapid progress in Igboland, especially Anambra State in the last few years”, the governor said.