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A Rare Gem is Gone: A tribute to Ibrahim Lamorde, by Abdulkarim Chukkol

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A Rare Gem is Gone: A tribute to Ibrahim Lamorde, by Abdulkarim Chukkol

Hardly there is anything in life that has a stronger way of unsettling us as a people or as individuals than death. In the face of life’s discomfort, oppression, hunger and other life threatening issues, some individuals remain undaunted. But no mortal man can easily overcome the pain of death.

Shakespeare in (King Richard II) ponders on this so deep that he concludes; ‘On pain of death, no person be so bold’. As the news of the unexpected death of the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), DIG Ibrahim Lamorde (rtd), hit the streets couple of weeks ago, it sent shock waves to the hearts of those who knew him, especially family members, the Nigeria Police, staff of the EFCC and well-wishers within and outside Nigeria.

Like many other close allies of the late Lamorde, I could not withstand the impact of the devastating occurrence and so could not immediately summon the courage to put any tribute together, not only to celebrate the ideals of Lamorde, but to use his death as another opportunity to preach humanity to those of us still alive.

From any angle one chooses to look at it; whether religiously or on a humanitarian scale, Lamorde was indeed a rare gem. As law enforcement officer, Mr. Lamorde truly lived to prove that ‘law enforcement is a calling, a career where you serve humanity and make meaningful impact on the society’, as a Nigerian, he didn’t allow tribal sentiments to dictate his friends, and as EFCC boss, Lamorde put human face to all he did and yet remained resolute and firm in carrying out his professional assignments. Though the face of the foremost anti-corruption agency in the country, Lamorde didn’t allow the position to get into his head and he didn’t see the office as a tool for oppression but rather he used intellectual leadership to impart expertise to officers of the commission.

Our paths first crossed in July 2003 when I started my career with the EFCC. I remembered vividly within the first week I resumed work at our Abuja office, the then Chairman, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, said to me” Chukkol!! you have to go to Lagos and work with Lamorde because that is where the action is”. Our career together with course one colleagues progressed tremendously throughout his sojourn at the EFCC.

As the Director of Operations then, he mentored us and brought clarity to our paths, inspiring us to reach new heights. He was neither vindictive, nor oppressive. He wanted the best for all and he encouraged those working with him to always remain focused, resilient and aim for the best. His unwavering dedication, immense wisdom, and enviable leadership skills have left an indelible mark in our lives. As one of those who worked closely with Lamorde, sometimes, it wowed me how he reconciled his seemingly conflicting interests.

He knew his job and always strived to do his
best on any assignment. With a boss like Lamorde, no dispiriting and no complacency. To him, if the work must be done, it must be done perfectly well with every eye for details. He was indeed a patriotic Nigerian, a disciplined officer, a loyal friend to many and a leading anti-corruption crusader.

Lamorde’s death, like any other unexpected incident, still remains a shock especially to those who were close to him through official and personal relationships. He related very warmly with people, not on account of their status or the level of intimacy with him but as a lifestyle; he treated and addressed people with humility, respect and candour.

Perhaps the first lesson his death taught us was how the news of his death was received by Nigerians. Beyond the tumultuous tributes online and offline that spoke to his strength of character and love for humanity, his death united all; regardless of our differences.

From the humming tones of staff at the EFCC to the grieving lamentations of friends, families and religious leaders at his funeral prayer (Janazah), one is convinced that Ibrahim Lamorde was indeed a rare gem, who had successfully played his role, lived a fulfilled life and was a blessing to many.

The Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, captured the essence of Lamorde’s untimely death when he declared in his tribute that ‘His Footprints Will Remain Indelible’, According to him, Lamorde’s footprints in the Nigeria Police and the EFCC where he spent his most productive years, first as Director of Operations and later as Acting Chairman and Executive Chairman, will remain indelible.”

Lamorde, the third Executive Chairman of the commission, was a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, who was appointed in acting capacity as chairman of the commission on November 23, 2011, following the removal of Farida Waziri by President Goodluck Jonathan. He was confirmed as the third substantive chairman of the commission by the Senate on February 15, 2012. Lamorde, who was born on December 20, 1962 in Mubi, Adamawa State, attended Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology in 1984. He joined the Nigeria Police Force in 1986.

When the EFCC was created in 2003, Lamorde was made the pioneer Director of Operations. In December 2007, he took over as acting chairman in January 2008, holding the position until Waziri was appointed chairperson and confirmed by the Senate in June 2008. In December 2010, Lamorde returned to the EFCC again as Director of Operations to replace Stephen Otitoju, the then Acting Director of Operations.
With the removal of Waziri on November 23, 2011, Lamorde, then an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), was again appointed acting chairman. He was confirmed as substantive chairman of the EFCC on February 15, 2012, a position he held till November 9, 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari replaced him with Ibrahim Magu as the EFCC Chairman in acting capacity.

Our deepest sympathies on the loss of a mentor who brought unparalleled grace, wisdom, and inspiration to our professional lives. His legacy will forever remain etched in our hearts, serving as a perpetual reminder of the indelible impact he made on our careers.

May his soul find eternal peace, and may we honour his memory by continuing to uphold his invaluable teachings and guidance. As the world continue to mourn one of our best and praying fervently to God to help members of his family and friends to bear the fortitude of the irreparable loss, our solace is now in the words of Allah SWT, in the *Quran 3:185, “life of this world is merely enjoyment of delusion” and His promise in *Quran 29:57; “Every soul will taste death.* Then to Us will you be returned” (29:57). May Allah accept Ibrahim Lamorde’s soul into Aljannajatul Firdaus. Ameen.

Abdulkarim Chukkol, fwc, MON, writes this tribute from Abuja.

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