Farewell To The Enigma Called Ferdinand: A Tribute By Chris Asoluka 

Oh Ferdy, why did you depart so swiftly, leaving us with hearts heavy and minds bewildered? Did you pause to ponder the weight of your absence, the myriad of tasks left undone, the uncharted paths awaiting your reasoned input and guidance? Or did you simply follow the beckoning call of eternity, leaving us to grapple with the void you’ve left behind? Yet we cannot query His Will.

In your passing, we are forced to confront the enigma of fate, to wrestle with questions that defy easy answers. Yet amidst the turmoil of grief, your memory stands as a beacon of light, illuminating the path you trod with unparalleled intellect, humility, and grace. Yet our purpose is determined and remains part of His Divine plan.

It’s not quite 36 hours since you called me, trailing where I was, how I was recuperating and when I was expected back home. I had grown accustomed to your multiple questions or inquisitions. For a change, I found myself doing more of the talking. Was the call to bid farewell or to sum up your dossier on me? Only He can tell.

For over two decades, our lives intertwined, bound by a shared pursuit of knowledge and understanding, especially in our passion for maritime development. Whether in the corridors of power or in the quiet moments of conversation, your presence was a testament to the depth of your wisdom and the breadth of your erudition. It was always a delight I enjoyed to listen to you talk because you represented deep knowledge, wisdom, and argumentative elegance, such a rare combination in the Nigerian brand of an “orator.”

Ferdo, I will miss your always-refreshing perspectives and insights, whether as a contrarian or an advocate. Whichever position you held, you remained a trove of deep, broad, and current erudition, be it in ancient, medieval, or contemporary scholarship. A polymath and renaissance man combined.

Your legacy, dear Ferdy, extends far beyond the confines of this mortal realm. From your visionary leadership in shaping Nigeria’s maritime industry to your unwavering commitment to serving humanity, your contributions in the public service were vast and immeasurable. Yet, amidst the accolades and achievements, you remained humble, ever mindful of the greater good. Your generosity knew no bounds, your compassion, boundless. You gave of yourself freely, without expectation of reward, leaving an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of knowing you.

Evidence of your remarkable insights lies in your achievements in various spheres of influence, which stand as a testament to your dedication and vision. You saved the National Maritime Administration (NMA) from being scrapped through your initiative in establishing a 13-man Consortium of Maritime Experts, reshaping the trajectory for shipping development in Nigeria.

Your tenure as DG at NMA stoutly aided the Hon. Okey Udeh’s House of Representatives’ Transport Committee in reframing the erstwhile retroactive maritime legislation to a forward-looking Cabotage Act, including the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) derived from your pet Fleet Expansion and Maritime Infrastructure Development (FEMID) Fund initiative. By reimagining financing sources for shipping development and replacing the Ship Acquisition and Shipbuilding Fund (SASBF) with FEMID, you pioneered, promoted, and laid the foundation for sustainable maritime growth, a dream yet to be fully realized some twenty years after.

Your contributions and activities in the Office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (OSGF), the engine-room of the Nigerian Presidency, were outstanding and invaluable. Amongst others, your fingerprints abound in that visionary conceptualization of the 2014 National Conference and subsequent internal reviews reshaped the national discourse, fostering inclusivity and dialogue. You adeptly led and coordinated various committees, monitoring federal projects with diligence and foresight, leaving an indelible mark on Nigeria’s governance landscape.

Within the esteemed Ohanaeze, the apex Sociocultural organization for Ndigbo, you served as the Secretary/Administrator of the Strategy and Contact Committee under Chief Nnia John Presidency. Your astute leadership and administrative acumen guided the organization through strategic challenges, fostering unity and cohesion among Ndigbo.

As we bid farewell to a luminary whose light will forever shine bright in our hearts, let us take comfort in the knowledge that your spirit lives on in the lives you touched and the hearts you uplifted. Though you may have left us too soon, your legacy endures, a testament to the power of a life lived with purpose and passion.

To your beloved wife Ify, four sons, and grandchildren, we extend our deepest condolences. May they find solace in the memories shared, strength in the love you bestowed upon them, and peace in the embrace of divine purpose. May the angels guide you to your eternal rest, dear friend, and may your soul find everlasting peace in the arms of the Almighty.

Adieu Ferdo, until we meet again, rest easy.

Chris Asoluka, Okwuruoha

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