His Life



Dr. Augustine Ezenta Ezeilo made his heavenly transition on March 2, 2021 in Enugu, Nigeria. He was born on January 31, 1949 as the third child of Late Mr. Josephat and Mrs. Marcelina Ezeilo of Umudim, Imezi-Owa Ezeagu LGA, Enugu State. While his mother was a homemaker, his father was an Entomology Technician with the Ministry of Health, who was prudent in the pursuit of education for his children. Thus, he received his primary education at St Patrick’s Primary School Enugu from 1954-1961. Then, he completed his secondary school education at the renowned College of Immaculate Conception [CIC] Enugu from 1962-66 and attained a joint West African School Certificate and General Certificate of Education in 1966.  Due to the Nigerian-Biafran Civil war from 1967-1970, there was disruption in all spheres of society in Southeast Nigeria. His father Josephat died shortly thereafter, making him an orphan since he lost his mother Marcelina in late childhood.

In the years after the war, Dr. Ezeilo worked to support himself and younger siblings: he worked as Science Teacher in Kogi State for a year and also spent another year as a teacher in Nsukka, before joining the Audit Department at the Ministry of Finance Enugu. Through this all, he harbored a dream to become a Medical Doctor. Eager for proximity to medicine, he secured a position as a Medical Laboratory Trainee at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu. At this UNTH Lab, his supervisor noticed his intelligent, hardworking and meticulous nature and strongly encouraged him to pursue a higher calling in Medicine. As the saying goes, “luck favors the prepared.” Likewise, he successfully passed the competitive admission exam and was accepted to study Medicine at the University of Nigeria Nsukka [UNN] in 1975.  He graduated from UNN in June 1981with an M.B., B.S. (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) degree; he also became the first doctor from his hometown of Umudim, Imezi-Owa.  

After medical school, Dr. Ezeilo concluded a one-year internship at UNTH in 1982.  Next, he was accepted into the UNTH Residency Training Program, where he trained as a resident doctor in the Department of Anaesthesia from July 1982-Feb 1986. He also contemporaneously fulfilled the requisite National Youth Service Corps from July 1982 – July 1983. Then, he was granted a transfer to the State Civil Service as a Medical Officer with the Ministry of Health, Enugu in March 1986. Subsequently, Dr. Ezeilo became a General Practitioner, who had an illustrious career providing compassionate and competent care to family, friends and serving communities both urban and rural.  Initially, he began as a Medical Officer rounding at different government hospitals including the General Hospital Udi. He rose to the rank of Principial Medical Officer and oversaw the Cottage Hospitals in Egede, Iji-Nike and Olo respectively, all rural communities in Enugu. Concurrent to his civil service, he also operated a private practice “JOMEC Clinic and Maternity” in his old neighborhood of Coal Camp Enugu, where he provided primary care, maternity care and performed surgery. As a true son of the soil, he also held outreach clinics to Iwollo and his home community of Imezi-Owa.  

To further his professional development, Dr. Ezeilo obtained a Master’s in Public Health in 2004 on a WHO scholarship at the School of Post-Graduate Studies at UNN; he also attained a Diploma in Health System Management in 2004 at the Galilee International Management Institute, Israel. Thereafter, he became a Chief Medical Officer and worked primarily in health administration, serving as the Director of Public Health Enugu State from 2001 up until his retirement in 2009. He is fondly remembered by community stakeholders in Enugu as being prompt and efficacious in spear-heading the response to public health concerns throughout the state, whether this was an outbreak of Cholera or Meningitis and the eradication of Polio from Enugu. As a dedicated lifelong learner, he attended many healthcare conferences on far ranging topics for maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS care, improving immunization and poverty alleviation programs. After his retirement from civil service, Dr. Ezeilo returned to full-time clinical practice and also served as the Acting Medical Director of Eastern Nigeria Medical Center.  Despite pulling back from formal clinical practice, he continued to provide medical advice and referrals to both family and friends, who trusted his expertise, integrity and diligence to their health concerns.

Dr. Ezeilo had a professional and classic sense of style, reflected in his choice of suits: he had on a suit and elegant tie for every workday except for the occasional “traditional clothes” Fridays. Even when he visited with Dr. Marius and Mrs. Eunice Mokwe in Chicagoland USA in 2016, he had gone to see an American Ophthalmologist, who took notice and commented on his sharply dressed patient. He also loved to read and learn more about the world at large. His favorite journalist is the internationally acclaimed Christiana Amanpour. He encouraged his three children to listen to the international news and learn about the world. He enjoyed his working trips to Ethiopia, Burkina Faso etc.  While in Israel, he completed a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where he visited Holy Sites central to the history of Christendom. He also enjoyed personal trips to the United Kingdom and the United States of America. He loved music as well and enjoyed listening to the British musician Phil Collins and resonated with the song “To be a Man” by the Nigeria musician Flavour.

Dr Ezeilo was selfless, kind-hearted, honorable, affable and good-natured. Therefore, it is unsurprising that his ancestral hometown of Imezi-Owa bestowed on him the chieftaincy title of “Ezeudo,” which means King of Peace. He was the chairman of Umudim Imezi-Owa Council of Chiefs until his death. He was also an incredibly disciplined and determined man. As a long-time diabetic, he maintained a strict low carbohydrate diet and abstained from alcohol; he also kept a low cholesterol diet, avoiding eggs and meats, for his cardiovascular health. Even in sickness, the Consultant Doctor remarked to Dr. Ezeilo’s oldest daughter said that he had excellent kidney function despite his long history with diabetes and hypertension.  He obviously did not know Ezeudo.  Dr. Ezeilo was a proud alumnus of CIC, an all-boys Catholic School, where he made lifelong friends such as Dr. Chike Akunyili, Engineer Raymond Okenwa, Mr. Emmanuel (Santos) Alor, Pharmacist Theo Ijenwagu, Dr. Uchay and Professor John Ogbazi, just to name a few.  Embodying the CIC college motto of “Semper Fidelis,” these CIC old boys remained “always faithful” to one another. He was active in the CIC old boy’s association.

Dr. Ezeilo championed education to many who were fortunate to know him: firstly, his three younger brothers, then his nephews, his children and innumerable mentees, whom he coached, counseled and gave salient advice. He was a devoted father and extremely involved in the education of his children. He knew most, if not all, of his children’s teachers at their Primary and Secondary Schools in Enugu. Dr. Ezeilo was a talented teacher by nature, so he kept up with his children’s classwork and homework, while emphasizing Math and Sciences at home. He personally tutored them for entrance exams and Junior and Senior WAEC (West African Examination Council) exams respectively. His children were a source of deep pride to him: his son became a Software Engineer; his first daughter an Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon, while his second daughter studied Economics & International Development up to Masters.

Dr. Ezeilo married now Professor Joy Ngozi Ezeilo (Professor of Law) in 1986 and he was a supportive husband throughout their marriage. He was grateful to have a life partner who shared his passion for family and vision for actualizing excellence.  They had three children: Mr. Chidulue Ezeilo, Dr. Nnenna Ezeilo and Ms. Onyinye Ezeilo. He was blessed with two grandchildren - Ezra and Adaeze Ezeilo. He is also survived by his daughter-in-law Alena, sister, two brothers, several nieces and nephews and his cousins. He was pre-deceased by his parents and three brothers.

The family of Dr. Ezeilo would like to express their deepest appreciation for our extended family, relatives, friends, colleagues, associates and well-wishers, who have rallied to their side during this challenging time. While his family are saddened by his sudden departure, we are consoled by the impactful and exemplary life that he led. We will strive to carry on Ezeudo’s great legacy. 

Mr. Chidulue Ezeilo

Dr. Nnenna Ezeilo

Ms. Onyinye Ezeilo

Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo (OON)

Order for the Celebration of Life of Dr. Augustine Ezenta Ezeilo (Ezeudo)

(1) Vigil Mass: Monday, 12 April, 2021 @ 5pm at Holy Ghost Cathedral, Enugu. 
(2) Wake keep on Thursday 15 April @ 5pm at his Umudim residence, Imezi- Owa, Ezeagu LGA. 
(3) Funeral Mass and Internment @ 10:30am on Friday, 16 April, 2021 at his country home. 
(4) Outing Service:  Sunday 18 April, 2021 by 8am at St. Charles Catholic Church, Umudim, Imezi- Owa.