TRIBUTE: The Man, Gabriel Chinenye Onyendilefu at 61 – Kennedy Onyenma

In a country where men of honor and rectitude are in short supply, it is easy to identify people like Chief Gabriel Chinenye Onyendilefu (KSC, JP, FCNA), the immediate past Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, former Accountant General of Abia State, a retired Permanent Secretary of Abia State Civil Service, an accomplished bureaucrat, a devoted Christian and a family man.

Born six decades ago into the humble family of Elder Wilson Ahuwa Onyendilefu of Umuwaocha, Ikem Nvosi in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State, Sir Gabriel Chinenye Onyendilefu is the first child in a family of eight. Although he did not enjoy the privilege of luxury while growing up, however, by the divine grace of God laced with diligence and hard work, Chief Onyendilefu rose, through the ranks, to attain enviable heights in his career.

EDUCATION: Chief Gabriel Onyendilefu holds degrees in Business Education, Business Administration and Management as well as Accountancy.

CAREER PATH: Beside paper qualifications, Sir G.C. Onyendilefu has garnered versed experiences in Human and Material Resources Management. He rose through the ranks of the Civil Service to become an Accountant General. Just before he retired he was meritoriously promoted to the coveted position of a Permanent Secretary. By this promotion, Chief Gabriel Chinenye Onyendilefu became the first Accountant General to rise to the position of a Permanent Secretary in Abia State civil service. It is equally on record that Chief G. C. Onyendilefu remains the first and the only Accountant General in Abia State that served two successive Governments.

As an efficacious professional, Chief Gabriel Chinenye Onyendilefu is a member of many professional bodies and a recipient of many awards. For instance, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Government Research and Leadership, Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Nigeria (ICPAN), Chartered Nigeria Accountants, Institute of Public Management and Diplomacy, Association of National Accountant of Nigeria (ANAN). Association of Chartered System Accountants, USA. Member,Institute of Corporate Administrators (MICA) as well as a Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International.

POLITICAL ADVENTURE: For his profundity, especially, on issues of Administration and Financial management, Chief Onyendilefu was encouraged to represent the good people of Isiala Ngwa North/South in the Federal House of Representatives. Although he did not win the Party Primaries he, nevertheless, proved that he was not a political underdog!

Perhaps for his dexterity and proven competence, in and out of service, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, while re-constituting his State Executive Council ,after his second term victory at the polls, graciously appointed Chief Onyendilefu into his cabinet. He served as the Honorable Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs until the cabinet was dissolved on the 23rd of January 2021.

As the Honorable Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief G.C.Onyendilefu, brought his wealth of experience to bear.

Away from public Service, Chief G.C. Onyendilefu is a frontline community leader and a man of proven philanthropy. In recognition of his Community Services and love for humanity, he has bagged many traditional titles across the three geo-political blocs of Abia state. The most recent being the conferment, of a Chieftaincy title, by the 7th Abia State Traditional Rulers Council, under the leadership of His Royal Majesty Eze Eberechi Dick, as the Mmiri na-ezoro Oha 1 of Abia State (the rain that falls for all). The title, like other titles he earlier received, is a succinct testament of the magnanity and deep sense of philanthropy innate in Chief Gabriel Chinenye Onyendilefu.

What more could be said about Gab and his profound love for God and humanity: His community services are evident and unarguable. His generous investments in human capital developments are eloquent. What about his immense contributions to strategic and pro-poor community projects? Not to mention his numerous empowerment schemes for the indigent students and women within and outside his community.

Just recently, Chief G.C. Onyendilefu renovated Ikem Primary School: sunk a borehole, provided reading desks for the pupils and staff, tiled the floors of the classroom and erected a block of building containing the schools’ sick bay.

As part of his contribution to ameliorate the effects of the model Covid-19 pandemic on Abians, he mobilized and hewed overgrown grasses in most of the Government Schools in Abia State. He also bought food items, worth millions of naira, and provided hundreds of bags of fertilizers to farmers. He also bought and distributed so many cartons of covid-19 prevention equipments such as face masks, hand sanitizers and wash hand basins.

In all, Chief Gabriel C. Onyendilefu has earned himself a solid reputation as a charismatic and disciplined public servant. He is also renowned for his creativity and impeccable integrity . He has an enviable record of frugal management of finance . He is equally a thoroughbred administrator.

Like Ralph Waldo Emerson would say, “To be yourself, in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else, is the greatest accomplishment.”

Your greatest accomplishment, therefore, is not the addition to your age, but your tenacity of purpose in service to humanity; your forthright and dogged consistency with the right values.

For those and many more I hereby toast to a longer, healthier and more fruitful life. Happy birthday Mmiri N’ezoro oha 1 of Abia State.

Kennedy Onyenma, a public affairs analyst, writes from Umuahia, Abia State.

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