That the demise and the funeral rites of the late President of Ship Owners Forum, Princess Barrister (Mrs.) Margret Nkem Onyema Orakwusi attracted dignitaries from far and near is to say the least. Apart from stakeholders in the maritime industry, prominent Nigerians from all walks of life shelved their very busy schedules to honour the amiable first President, Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association (NITOA). In fact, foes and friends jettisoned their grievances and animosity to grace the various programmes and events earmarked to give a befitting farewell to Orakwusi. Age 68, Orakwusi was until her demise on April 28, 2023 the Founder and Chairman, MORBOD Group. The conglomerate is into seafood processing, import, export, water transportation, logistics, barging, shipping, ship repairs, ship repairs, and jetty.
Against the backdrop that the two days obsequies were on working days, there was no doubt that she was well love by the people, especially her family members, close associates and friends. Indeed, her demise united friends and foes as those who would have ordinarily not gone to where their sworn enemies were also present. At the three main events put in place for the funeral rites, there were seas of heads from across the country and overseas. The obsequies include a service of songs and tributes night which took place on Tuesday June 13, 2023 at Habour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos; funeral mass at the Church of Assumption, Ikoyi, Lagos on Wednesday June 14, 2023; reception at Habour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos as well as an interment at Ikoyi Vaults and Gardens. While some of the dignitaries attended all the events in the two days programme, some participated in one or two.
The roll calls of attendees at the programme include the following:
- Former governor of Anambra State and presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) at the 2023 presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi and his wife, Margret.
- Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.
- Former Minister of Transportation, Right Hon. Rotimi Amaechi
- Immediate past Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo
- Former Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Adebayo Sarumi.
- Pioneer Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and former Secretary General, Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region (Abuja MoU), Mrs. Mfon Ekong Usoro.
- Former Acting Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief (Mrs.) Chinwe F. O. Ezenwa.
- Former Director General, NIMASA, Mr. Temisan Omatseye.
- Shipping magnate and former President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Engr. Greg Ogbeifun.
- President, SOAN, Dr. Mkgeorge Onyung.
- Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Dr. (Mrs.) Magdalene Ajani.
- Former Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello.
- Managing Director, NPA, Mr. Mohammed Koko.
- Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh.
- Executive Secretary/CEO, NSC, Hon. Emmanuel Jime.
- Managing Director, NIWA, Mr. George Moghalu
- Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State, Commodore Emmanuel Duja Effedua (rtd)
- President, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS), Alhaji Aminu Umar.
- Executive Vice Chairman, ENL Consortium and Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association (STOA), Princess Victoria Haastrup
- Vice President, Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Mrs. Jean Chiazor Anishere, SAN.
- The Iyalode of Egba Land and Yoruba Land, Iyalode Alaba Lawson
- Chairman/CEO, Brittania-U Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Uju Ifejika.
- Vice President, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS), Mrs. Ifeanyinwa Anazonwu-Akerele.
- Former President, NCS, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN
- Former Commissioner of Finance, Imo State, Dr. Chris Asoluka.
- Former President, NCS, Mr. Oscar Ibru.
- Director General, NCS, Mrs. Vivian Chimezie-Azubuike.
- Former Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke
- Director, Special Duties, DG Office, NIMASA, Mr. Isiche Osamgbi
- Director, Cabotage Services, NIMASA, Mrs. Rita Urukpa
- Pioneer Transport and Maritime Editor, THISDAY Newspaper and Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Maritime Bits, Rev. John Iwori.
- Founder/CEO, MMS WoFHoF Initiative, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke.
- Managing Director/CEO, Ships and Ports Communication, Dr. Bolaji Akinola.
- Managing Director/CEO, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe.
34: President, NITOA, Mrs. Ben Okonkwo.
- President, Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, Captain Tajudeen Alo.
- Executive Director, Oceandeep Services Limited, Mrs. Rollens Macfoy.
- The Chair, International Chamber of Commerce Nigeria (ICC Nigeria), Mrs. Dorothy Ufot, SAN.
- Board Advisor, GOG Marine Logistics Limited, Mr. Basil Okpara.
- Former, Executive Director, Marine and Operations, NPA, Ms. Elizabeth Aina Egharevba.
- Chairman, Governing Board, NSC, Samaila Lawa Abdullahi.
Besides these eminent personalities, some individuals and organisations also paid their tributes to the deceased.
They include former President Olusegun Obasanjo; the Secretary General, International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr. Kitack Lim; Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun; his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; former Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside; Managing Director/CEO, Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, Haruna Jalo-Waziri; Greenwich Registrars and Data Solutions, Kayode Falowo; Mr. Oluseyi Owoturo; and the Chairman, Inter-Bau Construction Limited, Dr. Nath Okechukwu.
Others were the Institute of Directors (IoD); Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA); Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM); Association of Securities Dealings Houses of Nigeria (ASHON); Nigerian Maritime Law Association (NMLA); Nigeria Shipowners Association; Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange; and the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN).
In the same vein, African Women in Maritime Organisation (WIMA), Nigeria; Women Radio; Septem VII Investment Limited; Karflex Fisheries Limited; Avery Nigeria Limited; CI Leasing Plc; Oshine Resources Ventures Limited; and Priority Insurance Limited.