First Republic Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, took off on a final flight to eternity early this morning from his hometown of Ukpo, Anambra state.
He was aged 93.
His family announced the death of the nationalist, aka “the boy is good,” today, Tuesday, 1 November 2022.
The announcement was endorsed by his son, Ezeana Tagbo Amechi, in a statement.
“We thank God for the fulfilled life that he lived, the lives that he touched, and his service to God and to country.
“We respectfully ask that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers at this time,” Tagbo said in the statement.
Closing chapters in history
The passage of Mbazulike Amaechi closes many chapters in Nigeria’s history.
He was, for instance, the last remaining member of the nationalist freedom fighters known as the Zikist Movement.
The Zikists were the hot bloods of the Independence struggle in Nigeria. Fired up by the teachings and charisma of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, they impatiently sought to wrest independence from Colonial Britain by force if necessary.
Its members swore to two oaths – never to get married until Nigeria became independent, and never to plead for leniency if their disruptive activities landed any member in court.
Significantly, Chief Amechi was also the last of the First Republic Federal Ministers to go. He manned the Aviation Ministry as its first chief executive.
On his 90th birthday in 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari described Amaechi as a “foremost nationalist” worthy to be emulated.
“Nigeria needs nationalists like Amaechi to constantly remind us of our national history and inspire all Nigerians to embrace the core values of unity and faith, peace and progress,” he said.
Death on All Saints Day
The last man standing from the independence freedom fighters joined the Saints Triumphant today which is observed as All Saints Day.
In the orthodox church tradition, every 1st day of November is reserved to remember and to pray for the dead.
In the Catholic tradition, those who died in the faith are the Saints Triumphant. Amaechi thus joined the Saints Triumphant on their memorial day.
In some other Chistian faiths, 1st day of November is also a day to give thanks for friends and relations who guided others to Christ.
The world observes many traditions linked to All Saints’ Day, which is celebrated in Mexico as a national holiday.
Today’s celebration of Halloween in the United States and Canada was also originally linked to All Saints’ Day.
Amaechi’s life and times
Mbazulike Amaechi (16 June 1929 – 1 November 2022) served as the first Minister of Aviation during Nigeria’s First Republic.
He was also the last man standing in the the independence youth pressure group called Zikist Movement.
When the colonial authorities banned the Movement, he returned to the youth wing of his party, the NCNC, as Secretary General.