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Ms. / Susan Shambrook Cozzi(Friend)
With great sadness I learned of the passing of my long ago Unieversity of Toronto friend Ogbu.  I celebrate all his many accomplishments and extend my condolences to his family.
Tribute to Prof kalu / Enoh Etuk(Family Friend)
You were friends with my late parents Dr. and Mrs Etuk way back in UNN  in the early 80s before my dad passed on. Even though i was a young child then ,i still have very vivid memories of you, Aunt Willie, Edward and the girls. You had a beautiful smile and aura and i remember how we would wave our hands at each other any time you drove past and i was on our balcony.  You will be greatly missed, no doubt because you were a good man.
May God comfort and be with you,Aunt Willie,Edward and the girls at this time of your grief,amen.
Mr / Isidore Emeka Uzoatu(Student 1980-87)


By Isidore Emeka Uzoatu


The clement elements that paved my progress to Owerri the Imo State capital that mid-January morning portended good news – by Nigerian standards. The construction companies Julius Berger and CCC were busy “meeting” their convergent mandates of turning the infamous track road into a dual carriageway; there were intermittent stops and searches by a permutation of security agencies; more so, the phizog of fellow commuters radiated that selfsame communal augury of good tidings in spite of everything by which we are known. The enthusiasm in me heightened some more as I arrive my destination – the Imo State University – to the serendipitous embrace of Dr Emmanuel Iyama, a classmate I had not set eyes on since our school days close to three decades ago. A lecturer in the institution, Dr Emmanuel gave me three pieces of information in succinct order: that they were on strike, that he had only come around to collect something and that Professor O. U. Kalu died in a United States hospital on the7th of January.

     The minute’s silence that followed was involuntary.

     Professor Kalu was a cynosure of sorts to his students in the Religion Department of the University of Nigeria Nsukka. By 1980 when our set joined the now-truncated queue he was scarcely thirty and in our inchoate eyes already a professor for years! We looked up to him both literally and literarily – as if he gentrified our obscure department with his urbane presence and academic attainments. And he did. All these were to fade to an infinitesimal speck with our cutting of tails and initiation to his amiability.

     His area of specialisation – Church History – easily became the course of choice for the young and dashing amongst us who saw in him what we could become if we tried hard enough. A kind of patron saint, he would often come to class dressed down to just a pair of jean slacks and a matching Cuban beach shirt to our amazement. Untutored, we had imagined that we would end up at the mercy of clerics wearing ankle-length gowns.

     He was to expose us to contemporary issues in the history of the African Church that made the course not just relevant but important. For my first degree thesis he gave me the venturesome task of reviewing Professor Bolaji Idowu’s contribution towards the indigenisation of the Church. After publishing Towards An Indigenous Church, OUP (1965) following his radio talks on the theme in 1961, the eminent scholar and churchman had progressed to become Patriarch of the Methodist Church of Nigeria. Professor Kalu was of the opinion that he was a good case study having passed from scholarship to partisanship. Being a non-Methodist, the research entailed opened my eyes to the nascent field of ecumenism and just what was missing from modern African Christianity.

     Perhaps the time is nigh to study Professor Kalu’s own contributions to this important debate. That is assuming if it has not been. Writing in the academic journal West African Religion Vol. 16 No. 2 in 1975 he had pointed out the need for a shift of emphasis in the protracted debate as denominationalism had bred enough insularity to derail the dream. He called for a redefinition of its goals to make a creative use of the past to domesticate Christianity in the African terrain – which he termed “traditionalisation”. A theme he re-echoed following the abortive moves to unite Nigerian Church. In his Divided People of God: Church Union Movement in Nigeria 1875-1966, NOK Publishers (1978), he chronicled the raised issues in his loud wonder at whether spiritual anger should be allowed to get to the marrow.

     Though my path had crossed with that of Professor Kalu in our undergraduate days, they did not intertwine till I decided to come back for postgraduate studies. Under his tutelage we had been exposed to the rampant themes of Christianity in most African novels dating from the mid 20th century. Though in the ballot for supervisors I was allotted another, Professor Kalu in his spectacular magnanimity stopped at nothing to offer any help he could while I battled the fire that time. Often under the porch of his office in one of the prefabricated stockades that passed for buildings in post civil war UNN, he would deride me for not working hard enough – a ploy that always gingered me to want to outdo myself. Off the cuff he reeled out references from novels I must consult to make any meaningful contribution – Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, John Munonye’s The Only Son, T. Obinkerem Echewa’s The Land’s Lord, Ngugi wa’Thinogo’s The River Between, Ferdinand Oyono’s The Houseboy, Mongo Beti’s The Poor Christ of Bomba

     The field of modern African Church Historiography owes a debt to Professor Kalu as it concerns his fervent belief that the African had to have a say in the reconstruction of his history. More than baptismal and other records of the missions, he believed that everything that had an African imprint had to be reckoned with for the reconstruction of any peoples’ history for that matter – sacred or profane – to be valid. Raised in the days when the canons of history writing excluded the input of Africans on account of literacy, he was in the forefront of the drive to have the sources for African history widened in numerous academic articles to various international journals and successive books he edited: The History of Christianity in West Africa: The Nigerian Story(Ibadan, Daystar Press 1977); The History of Christianity in West Africa( London, Longman 1980).

     Not restricted to his singular field, in 1977 he edited African Cultural Development in the Fourth Dimension Publishers Readings in African Humanities series. Brains are still touched by his contribution to the colloquium segment of the 1988 Ahajioku Lecture titled Under The Eyes of The Gods: Sacralisation and Control of Social Order in Igboland. His apt position of how the gods act as policemen to maintain moral and social order in the enclave was, in deed, professorial.

     Nor were his abilities curtailed by attainment. When he had become everything possible here, he still ventured into new frontiers as visiting professor churning out books and articles. Of note is Power, Poverty and Prayer: The Challenge of Poverty and Pluralism in African Christianity 1960-96 and his most recent opus African Pentecostalism: An Introduction (OU P 2008).
*This tribute was published in The Vanguard on Sunday a Nigerian newspaperon Sunday February 8, 2009. 
Dr / Steven Onofiok(Friend and Fellow Disciple of Jesus)



I saw him, heard him, touched him, smelled him, tasted him, and felt him. But I did not know him then as he was to be known. Together we shared brotherly fellowship, moments of joy, laughter (lots of it), sorrows, difficulties, bafflements, pains of spiritual growth. But I did not know him then as he was meant to be known by our Father who determines all things according to His wise counsel.


But now, he is revealed to me as I ought to have seen, heard, touched, smelled, tasted, and felt him during those few years we shared together as fellow disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ at the Nsukka campus of the University of Nigeria.  Only after he gloriously exited from this side of eternity did I come to know I was privileged to be partnered with a real child of God.


How amazing that the Light shone with an unfading brightness through him, to the joy of what seems to be the whole world, during the last seven years of his sojourn here on earth. Everyone that came in contact and under the influence of that Light in him received some enlightenment and their lives were never to be the same again. Testimonies upon testimonies came as I sat there in the Church in Chicago, during his funeral. It was as expected.


Needless to say, when I heard of Prof’s home-going my initial emotion was that of sadness. But then, immediately, the Holy Spirit witnessed to my spirit that absence from the body is to be present with the Lord. There in His presence, at last, face–to-face with Him. What a wonderful place to be, Akpan Adiaha! In the arms of the One who has loved us with an everlasting love, our ultimate resting place, our Lord Jesus Christ. I heard the Voice, ‘Welcome, my son, rest in your Father’s bosom. Then joy flooded my soul.


Memories, lots of it, came rolling in; memories to encourage and comfort us. Those of us he preceded in going home are graciously blessed by God through these memories. Memories of laughter (lots of it), memories of your humor, his wise counsel, scholarship, his care and unconditional acceptance of all and sundry, his humility, boldness, memories of the tumultuous but joyous times we shared as infant disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Permit me to walk the memory lane a little; a bit of history, please.

I met Prof at the Nsukka campus of the University of Nigeria in 1983, when I joined the University’s Department of Soil Science as a lecturer.  By then Prof was already a full professor in the Department of Religious Studies; an achievement he accomplished only after four years into his teaching career in the University. I recall I often heard people refer to him, then, as the youngest professor on campus, and, of course, he was. Such a brilliant scholar he was and has always been.  I also recall that Prof was among the popular scholars on campus that everyone would want to listen to whenever he gave a talk.


I remember this particular occasion, probably in 1989, when I listen to him preach at the Protestant Church on campus. As an unbeliever, then, I felt very comfortable listening to him because, instead of the usual condemning academic talk I had grown accustomed to hearing from our pulpits, I heard a message of the redeeming love of God through Christ. I also saw in him, that day, the part that I liked most, and that is, radical, practical down-to-earth Christianity. That was when I began to take interest in Prof, but we never met on a relational basis.


By God’s special grace, Prof and I were brought together in the same year, 1989, but this time to begin a life changing relationship at the feet of Jesus Christ. The occasion was a prayer meeting organized by a group of very young (not by age) believers (me included) that were eager to learn and understand the mysteries of their new found faith in Christ.  We started with only five families, all of whom were academics. We began as a Bible Study and prayer fellowship led by a visiting pastor and a group of undergraduate students, including Edward, Prof’s son.


Though more educated in the Christian doctrine than all the members in that group, including the leaders, Prof subjected himself to learning and being discipled by the visiting pastor and his team. Prof never flaunted his numerous degrees in the Theological discipline to assert his spiritual superiority over any member of the group. Rather, he emptied himself of all his academic achievements and related with us as equals. The rest of us followed this example. We all chose to see each other only as Christian brothers and sisters, period. We chose to see Christ only in each other, not our academic achievements. Prof was always insightful and prophetic in his utterances, coupled with a brilliant sense of humor. That was when I began to know this man of God, I mean tapping into his wealth of wisdom and insights in spiritual matters.


During one of our prayer meetings, I gave a word of knowledge through the unction of the Holy Spirit. How excited I was! After the meeting Prof, with his characteristic humor, called me aside and said I had earned the name ‘Saul of Tarsus.’ It was an occasion for a great laughter. Indeed each time I think of Prof, that nickname, Saul of Tarsus, breaks through my soul followed by a huge laughter. By hindsight though, that nickname was prophetic, because I believe Prof saw me not only as Saul of Tarsus but also as Paul, the Apostle. Thank God, today I am following in the footsteps of Paul, the Apostle.


As the Fellowship grew into a Ministry, we saw the need to establish an Advisory Committee. At this time Prof and I shared a mutual nickname – ‘Akpan Adiaha’ (Efik for literally, the first son of the first daughter), which, of course, he initiated. For the Committee, Prof, I meant Akpan Adiaha, was the Chairman and yours truly, the Secretary. Our relationship grew even stronger then because, not only did I serve in this capacity, but I was also appointed into a four-member intercessory team, in which Sister Willie, Akpan Adiaha’s wife, was a member. So I was being discipled from two ends, from Prof. as an administrative genius and from Willie, as a prayer warrior.


For three years we grew in that Ministry. I witnessed the work of the Holy Spirit in all our lives, but especially in the life of Akpan Adiaha. I witnessed his regeneration, the laying off of the old man, and the putting on of the new man in him. The Ministry had its own share of ups and downs, tumultuous times (lots of it).  But it was at that moment God revealed another side of Akpan Adiaha to me. He was as bold as a lion; took on the ministry of a shepherd and will not let the flock be devoured by ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing. I saw the Father’s caring and nurturing heart manifested through him. He protected us from without and within. Those were the most memorable years of my life. I recall those years with a deep sense of nostalgia. They were the planting years of my Christian experience. I could not be happier to share them with any other person than my elder brother, friend, and spiritual adviser, Akpan Adiaha and his family.


My wife and I will forever remain grateful to Prof and his family for the tremendous impact they made on our spiritual growth. We cherish the years and are grateful to God for blessing us with him.


I know, by now, Akpan Adiaha can most certainly tell us that death does not have the last say. Indeed, it is the gateway to eternity with the Lord. We remain encouraged because we are not people who do not have hope. The glorious hope of seeing him again, this time, with glorified bodies, devoid of sin and death and never again to be separated, keeps us joyous, even when the sadness of your absence hits our souls.





Steven Otu E. Onofiok,  M.A. Christian Counseling;  Ph.D. Soil Science

Georgia, U.S.A

February, 2009

Oke Osisi - A clossal tree / Kanayo K. Odeluga

Oke osisi - A tribute to a great Igbo son – Prof. Ogbu Uke Kalu

In the summer month of June, 1942 a seed was sown into the soil of Alaigbo in quiet town of Isiugwu, Ohafia in present day Nigeria. This seed was named Ogbu Uke Kalu by his proud and grateful parents. This seed was nurtured in the cross cultural city of Calabar by his parents who were part of the emerging Igbo elites that spread out to various parts of Nigeria during the colonial era. His father, as an Igbo community organizer was active in the Igbo Union and provided leadership for Ndi Igbo in the City of Calabar. As an unflinching supporter of western style education his father sent him to Ohafia Central for his primary education. He, later attended the great Hope Waddell Training Institute where he came under the tutelage of the great Igbo sage, Dr. Okanu Ibiam as principal, who later became the first premier of Eastern Nigeria. As this seed was nurtured and watered, it grew into a colossal tree (Oke Osisi) with deep roots and widespread branches that bore good fruit. As a tree, his roots were anchored in a deep faith in God, an acceptance of his cultural identity as nwa-afo Igbo and a spirit of excellence in the pursuit of his life work and mission. Many have found shelter and rest through their life journey under this tree. Many have also eaten of the fruit of his life and have been strengthened and refreshed.


On the eve of his departure from Nigeria to travel to Toronto Canada to pursue college education in 1966, he escaped assassination by Nigeria armed forces that were ordered to kill any Igbo person following the murder of General Aguiyi Ironsi. He saw his survival as a sign that God had great plans for his life. While in Canada, he joined the Biafran Student movement serving as secretary. He poured himself into the Biafran cause and helped organized various campaigns to raise money for humanitarian mission to relieve the hunger and suffering of those caught the civil war with his fellow compatriots. At one point, he donated his scholarship money to the humanitarian cause.  


He returned to Nigeria after his education at University of Toronto and Princeton University to teach in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) – a center of Igbo scholarship and learning. Suffice it to say that within a short period, he distinguished himself as a christian, teacher, mentor, reformer, inspiration and change agent within the University community. He became the youngest person to attain professorship in the University when he “out-published the publishers in town”. As a dedicated and hard working academic he was prolific in his writings which were published in several distinguished academic journals, textbooks and magazines. His humility showed in the way he dealt with his colleagues, students and staff of the various departments where he served at UNN. As a scholar, he believes that there is no wall between the ivory tower and the public square or market place. He was comfortable in the citadels of learning, the “Ama” (the Igbo public square), the podiums, pews and pulpits of this world. What he learnt he taught and used to shape public policy, opinions, views of those he comes in contact with so as to seek a better life for humanity. His scholarly advocacy for Ndi Igbo not only runs through his work and writings but can also be seen in the way he immersed himself in the Igbo community activities and politics wherever he is. Many will not forget his invaluable services as one of the leaders of the Igbo Desk at the last Nigerian constitutional conference during the regime of General Abacha under the auspices of Mkpoko Igbo sponsored by Izu Umunna and Aka Ikenga. He gave himself to his community in various projects and activities to promote the welfare of all.

Here in Chicago, he was one of the architects of the annual Igbofest Symposium providing wisdom, advice and support. He gave the inaugural keynote address at the first Ndi Igbo Couples’ Nite. He joined a small group of Africans and African Americans to serve in Elders’ Council of the Department of African and African American Studies of Dominican University in River Forest. It was through his encouragement and support that the Council initiated the Annual African Heritage Lecture. The Council and University were pleased to have Prof Ogbu Kalu as a guest lecturer at the inaugural African Heritage Lecture on November 7, 2007.  He also participated in Igbo Cultural Connection Series organized by Umuigbo Alliance – a group of young Igbo men and women to learn about their cultural heritage. He never hesitated to speak or share his thoughts and knowledge whenever asked by any Igbo organization. Indeed, he was a mentor to many young Igbo intellectuals and professionals within and outside the Chicago Igbo community.


His scholarship is unique. He is a historian with a heart soaked by God’s love and enlightened by the gospel of his Lord Jesus Christ. He viewed history as the story of God’s dealings and interactions with His creation. In his work, he chose to explore the interaction between man, his environment and his worldview, so as to help find solutions to his problems and answers to his questions.   In his writings, he tells the story of his subjects from their perspective – a paradigm shift in African historiography. He is a master in the distinguished Igbo art of story telling.


Within the arena of Church history, Prof Ogbu led the way and distinguished himself as a world renowned authority in African Christianity. In this generation, he has given voice to the Holy Spirit and His work among Africans and people of African descent.  He had a special burden for the African Diaspora and strived to understand their circumstances so as to walk with them in support and solidarity. Following his 2008 visit to Columbia and meeting Afro-Colombians, he expressed to many around him and anyone who cared to listen, how deeply he was touched by their plight and sufferings. He started immediately to mobilize support and funds to help build a Day care Centre in Palanque San Basilio, Bogotá to care for children of widows displaced from rural communities by Colombian rebels and multinational corporations interested in their land for cultivation of coca and maize respectively so that they can pursue work to support their families. He was supposed to visit them early this January with his wife Dr. Willy Kalu but God had a different plan.


Professor Ogbu Kalu:

Oke osisi ka obu.

O di uko na mba.

O di iche.

O dighi eti mmuo a na akwa aka n’azu.


We will never forget him. We will forever eat of the fruit of his life and work here on earth. Today, Prof Ogbu Kalu lives in the bosom of His Father God, in the lives of his wonderful children, in his work and life mission and in our collective memories.

His mantle shall not fall to the ground.  

By Kanayo K Odeluga, MD.MPH MPH.

Good bye Prof / Chinyere Urenna Emole (Family Friend)     Read more
Thank You / Dr. DJ Randle (Friend)     Read more
Farewell A Royal Model / Okeke Innocent (Tribe Man)     Read more
Crossing over / Fronse Pellebon Smith (Church history)     Read more
Prof / Francoise Ugochukwu (former colleague)     Read more
Mr. / Chijioke Echeme Emole (family friend)     Read more
Professor / ISAAC NNAMDI OBASI (One of my Mentors)     Read more
Pastor Emeritus, Trinity UCC / Jeremiah Wright (Friend)     Read more
Associate Pastor of PCC- Chgo. / Elder Lorri E. Baldwin (Sister-in-Christ, Family Friend)     Read more
Mr / George Nwahizu     Read more

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