SWITZERLAND, JANUARY 13 – Rear Admiral (retired) Ndubuisi Godwin Kanu, a former military administrator of Lagos and Imo States, has died from COVID-19 complications, according to media sources.
Kanu, who reportedly died in the early hours of Wednesday, was also a prominent member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO).
His associate and ally, Mrs Joe Okei-Odumakin, confirmed this to The PUNCH on Wednesday.
“I can confirm that he has passed on. This is very sad news. A statement will be issued soon,” she said.
The cause of his death could not be immediately confirmed.
Kanu, who was appointed into the Supreme Military Council headed by the late Head of State, Gen. Murtala Muhammed in 1975, later became a human rights activist after leaving the military.
Ndubuisi Kanu was appointed military governor of Imo State, Nigeria in March 1976 during the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo.
He was the first governor after the decree that established the state from part of the old East Central State. He was transferred to become governor of Lagos State in 1977, leaving office in July 1978.
Ndubuisi Kanu was born in Abia State in 1943 of Igbo origin. Joining the navy, he went to India for cadet training. His naval career included positions in Personnel, Logistics and Training. He obtained honorary Doctorate Degrees from the Imo State University and the Federal University of Technology, Owerri.
In July 1975 as a lieutenant commander he was appointed a member of Murtala Muhammed’s ruling Cabinet, the Supreme Military Council. Appointed governor of Imo State in March 1976, he brought in town planners to prepare a plan for Owerri. Kanu built roads in Owerri metropolis, expanded that number of Local Government Areas to 21 and founded the Imo Broadcasting Service, which went on air in December 1976. He later became Rear Admiral and Naval chief.
After he retired he joined the pro-democracy movement and played a leading role in the agitation for the actualization of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election. He founded and is Chairman of RANGK LTD, a maritime consultancy, is Chairman of the Ohaneze Transition Caretaker Committee (OTC). and was Director of Fidelity Bank PLC. Kanu became a top National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) chieftain and became Chairman of the coalition in 2013.
In May 2008, Kanu called for a return to true federalism in Nigeria. In an interview in November 2008 he attacked what he called Unitarism, the excessive concentration of powers at the centre, and called for fundamental dialog between the different ethnic nationalities of Nigeria.
He attributed the conflict in the Niger Delta to the lack of regional power. In another interview, he pinpointed the second stage of the General Ibrahim Babangida regime as the time when things started to go wrong, with increasingly centralized control.
He was among leaders who spoke in January 2010 at a Lagos rally of the Save Nigeria Group calling for Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan be made acting president during President Umaru Yar’Adua’s illness.
Kanu has been married thrice and has ten children – Simone, Audrey, Kelly, Karen, Paula, Jeffery, Vanessa, Samantha, Laura and Stephen.