RUFUS UNAEGBU EZEOGU (1901- 1983)
The arduous task of doing a proper biographical representation of a man whose world view was as diverse as they were profound was conceived in the mind of the author after the body of the subject was committed to mother earth on that fateful Sunday, 26 June, 1983. Rufus Unaegbu Ezeogu, alias “Master” was a man of a million parts and sundry ennobling values-set. He bestrode the middle stretch of the 20th century like a colossus of sorts with far-reaching impact on his immediate environment and indeed, as far as the creative imagination and cognitive endowments could take a man.
How could any biographer therefore, graphically articulate, structure and present the life and times of a larger-than-life benefactor of hundreds of beneficiaries of large-heartedness, a selfless commitment to the welfare and good of another man no matter their circumstances of birth. Indeed, how could one possibly do justice to chronicling a rare capacity to demonstrate inherent godliness, wisdom and good conscience, affective intelligence and disarming candour, and life of the one who did all these things with the indefatigable courage of the last man standing?
How then can a sincere and comprehensive narrative be executed on such a spectacular personality without adequate access to all the records. That was the burden of a clearly peculiar work.
Rufus Unaegbu Ezeogu had moved in a pressing hurry with a few of his family members who were still in Port Harcourt at the time during the war when the Federal troops approached to take the city. And so, he not only lost those vital records on the most active and productive times of his very meritorious life, he also lost his prized properties, including his houses, to the abandoned property syndrome in Rivers State and other precious and irredeemable earthly possessions. And by his own account, he escaped from Port Harcourt and thankfully arrived in Umuozu Isu with only the shirt on his back and a walking stick.
Those were the most critical challenges of evolving a fitting biographical characterization of a man who once commanded armies of social, cultural, political and economic transformation; a man who stood for the very best and most wholesome in our common humanity; and indeed, a man who aptly represented the quintessential civil servant and a civil service of the good old days we can only dream of today in Nigeria.
Rufus Unaegbu Ezeogu clearly represents a lost treasure. He was the first literate son of Nze Ezeogu Bisike, of Ekitiafo- Umuozu, Nwangele LGA, Imo State, Nigeria.