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Hon Vin: Seldom-cited Star Fades Out


By Chuka Nnabuife 

DEATH must be finding it very difficult to explain some things it does. Maybe those who encounter its actions are not wired to understand why it did some things. Personally, I cannot fathom this particular death of such a person as Hon. Vin; at this severe socio-economic time and in the dire security situation we have currently in Ihiala, Anambra State.

The late Vincent Amaechi Okafor Odikaesieme Nnabuife who died at the age of 64 in December 2023 was an outstanding agriculture expert, farmer and politician. 

A very noble and well-mannered prince of the Nnabuife royal family of Umunwugo, Ubahuogu, Ubuluisiuzo, Ihiala local government area (LGA) Anambra State, the deceased was one of the rare breeds of humans given his rich endowments in strength, creativity and resilience. As his remains get committed to 'mother earth' on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, his ancestors of the departed among the Nnabuifes will welcome a man who worked extremely hard to protect the earth.

A very brilliant professional with many surviving project sites that speak eloquently of his outstanding standard in his field, the man we now bid farewell to was also a political leader of proven integrity. He once served as the head of works unit of Ihiala LGA authority. He was an elected councilor. He represented Ubuluisiuzo Ward in Ihiala local government council executive during Nigeria's Third Republic. As a councilor, he facilitated several water borehole drilling projects in Ubuluisiuzo while as a supervisor of works, he was at the head of teams that resuscitated several local roads, farms and environmentally challenged sites in the LGA. 

He was a very humble man, known for his simple, down-to-earth demeanor and integrity. After his tenure as councilor, in the early 1990s, he was so trusted by his colleagues in politics the he served until his death as their representative in meetings with government. 

Hon. Vin (as he was called) had his secondary school education in Uli Boys High School, Uli and Abbott Boys Secondary School, Ihiala. He studied for his national diploma in agriculture at the former College of Agriculture, Igbariam (now part of the Igbariam Campus of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University), from where he proceeded to the Federal College of Forestry, Jos for his Higher National Diploma. He also worked in several renowned institutions in the field of agriculture such as the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan where he had a remarkable period of internship practice.

Notwithstanding the couple of years when politics took an almost diversionary shine off his agricultural and environmental protection practice, Hon. Vin is well known for his establishment and successful nurturing of several private farms. All over Ihiala LGA and environs such as Nnewi South LGA in Anambra as well as Orsu, Oru and Orlu LGAs in Imo State. His technical prowess in the art of plants was profound. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was common to find curious lads hubble around farms or individuals' compounds he maintained. The boys would enthuse as they beheld very stunt species of oranges, mangoes, pears, palms, coconut among others that were only some months-old but had already had big fruits. He also had a way he grafted one plant on another, like fixing a sucker or sprout into the stem of a standing plant, and in a couple of years, the hybrid would yield crossbreed fruits. In fact, any agriculture enthusiast who visits his home would always have one or two stories to tell.

A visit to such places as the former headquarters of the erstwhile Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (National Light Newspapers) in the Ukwu Oji, Government House area of Awka, capital of Anambra State, where he effectively checked decades-long menace of gully erosion and turned a vast area of forests into a lurch garden with beautiful lawns, grassing and hedges attest to his high aptitude in the field. He did the hitherto intractable job within less than two years without the use of any heavy duty equipment, notwithstanding that many 'experts' with high profiles and big tech facilities had tried there and failed. His approach solved the turbulent situation and saved splurge. Thereafter, he equally maintained the site effectively, against natural and man-made factors that used to cause environmental havoc.

Without doubt, Hon. Vin was 'damn good' in his job. Arguably, the workaholic was one of the best practicing horticulturists and landscape creators of his time. His death, at just 64, strikes harder than a blow. Viewed from the standpoint of tasks waiting for his attention, only death can explain why it took him on December 20, 2023 on a dialysis slab.

He was seldom-seen or heard in public because he somehow upheld a regime of sweating under morning sunlight in farm and toiling through the evening until darkness ever day. He was a bull, bison and stallion rolled in one. He also knew his way of tinkering things when environmental problems emerge. His life of unquestionable love for the earth and plants will surely be missed.

Similarly, his soft-spoken wise counseling which I benefited a lot from. He was my cousin.

But I am still in quandary how circumstances sordid and severe in Ihiala and environ would converge at this odious to rob Hon. Vin of a huge farewell that he deserves.

Good bye, Dede Vin.

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