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By Victor Ojeli

The Late Comrade David Chukwudebelu Ojeli was born on 12th December, 1933 to Chief Patrick Ojeli of Umunwoha family of Umuiyasele village, Atani, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State and Mrs Mary Ojeli (Nee Enebeli Ajie) of Ogbe Ukwu Aboh, Ndokwa Local Government Area of Delta State.

He was the first child of the family with seven other siblings. He had his Secondary School Education at Stella Maris College, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He thereafter secured employment with the then Eastern Region. As a Civil Servant, he joined the Civil Service Union as an active member. He thereafter attended several higher institutions both in Africa and Overseas. Amongst other academic qualifications he obtained was a Masters Degree in Industrial Relations and Labour Studies from Hague, Netherlands.

Ojeli was a prolific and consummate writer and had to his credit several titles which include; Financial Problems of Trade Union in Nigeria; The Professional Trade Unionist in Nigeria, Labour Legislation and Administration in the USSR; Workers Organization: Its Role and Activities in the Promotion of Sound Labour Relations, Industrial Relation in English Speaking West African Countries amongst others.

President Tinubu addressing the combined houses of the national lawmakers on the 2024 budget

He was a prominent Trade Unionist. He rose to become the National President of the Nigeria Civil Service Union from 1977 to 1986. He also held the position of Deputy National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress from 1978 to 1986. With his other colleagues he made significant contributions towards better working condition for workers.

Very significant was the issue of abolition of car and housing loan to Federal Workers which was won at the level of Industrial Arbitration Panel. The achievement was a watershed that generations of workers have continued to benefit from. On retirement from the Civil Service, he was appointed Chairman, Labour Transport City Service Yaba, and Lagos between 1995 to 1996. He also served as Special Assistant to the then Governor of Anambra State Chinwoke Mbadinuju.
Comrade was married to Mrs Florence Ojeli whom he lived with until her passage in 1994. He later remarried in the year 2000 to Mrs Ebele Ojeli whom he lived with until his transition
Comrade Ojeli was a devout Catholic and held dearly to his faith. Among his greatest attributes was his forthrightness and speaking truth to every situation. He shunned materialism and material acquisition and pursued what he believed in with all his strength and God-given talent and wisdom.

Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Soludo, on a bike as a passenger while he visits the Orumbanasa community that has no road

He never shied away from any issue that concerned the welfare of workers. Indeed the entire workforce has lost a friend, a brother and a defender of their rights. His life was one of dedication to the wellbeing and welfare of the civil servant and other workers. He was a recipient of an Honourary Citizenship of Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA.

Comrade Ojeli is survived by five children namely: Mrs Nkechi Osakwe, Mr. Victor Ojeli, Mrs. Nwaka Anwasi, Mrs. Uju Ononuju, Mrs Uche Alozie, wife, brothers and sisters, several in-laws, many grandchildren and other relations. His remains will be committed to mother earth in his Umuiyasele village Atani on the 9th of December, 2023 after a Requiem Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Atani.
May his irrepressible spirit have eternal rest in the bosom of his Creator.

Victor is the first son of the late Comrade David Ojeli

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