“Ubuntu – ‘I am because we are’. If this holds true, then the man who pulled the trigger twice is because we are — his anger, the injustice of his action, and his violence are because it is mirrored in the world around him. If ‘I am because we are’, then my father’s pain gasping for breath in his last moments is because we as a nation are in pain.
This an excerpt taken from a moving but graciously profound tribute from Chidiogo Akunyili-Parr, daughter to late Chike and Dora Akunyili. Sometimes, I’m confounded by the inner being of some humans. But that exactly is the distinguishing mark of grace, of honour, of dignity and kindness and excellence even in pain, of beauty and love. She is afterall the daughter of two outstanding humans. So like they say, a lion cannot birth a chicken! Chidiogo was sired by the most gracious humans. Her tribute is a testament to the genes in her blood! She is exceptionally calm and looking beyond her loss!🙏🏼
Penultimate week, I watched her interview about her new book on her phenomenal mother. Somehow I like millions have never recovered from her death. But Chidiogo seems a perfect representative! Her grace, her patriotism, her Igboness, her motherhood, her love, her simplicity and everything was so Doraish and Chikeish! She exuded love and beauty and sense of history! “GREAT PEOPLE, GREAT NATION was her mother’s coinage as information minister! She believed in people, she believed in Nigeria. She walked the talk , she is a metaphor for all her mother represented. And she is brilliantly unobtrusive!
And so, her tribute to her father stirs profoundly introspective emotions in me. But we will come back to that. Her father, her friend, her only claim to a living parent just got killed in the most gruesome way ever! On a trip to honour his wife, her mother! But here she is, looking beyond her dead father, looking at Nigeria and Nigerians and telling us to look in the mirror! That is grace…she did not buy it, she inherited it! Good begets good. Who are the parents giving the world pain and anguish?😢
Her diamond parents left six children. They have stories to tell, their hearts are broken in a zillion places for the lose of exemplary parents. For a father with a heart of gold. For a true doctor, a true humane human with exceptional qualities. He did not just give of himself, he gave his wife and children and grandchildren. He was humane and human, kind and compassionate, a true doctor. He had options to abandon a DYSFUNCTIONAL country, they had won the American Visa lottery decades ago but he stayed in a dysfunctional system doing his bit with zeal and passion. He was a good man. His blood was spilled into an earth he had already sacrificed too much into. But hey! That is Nigeria in 2021! That is ala Igbo in 2021, that is Anambra in 2021! Sad, profoundly heart wrenching! Pitiable!😢
And so, Dr Chike is murdered alongside many others on that same day, many had been murdered for years, many were murdered yesterday and might be today. Do they have names? Does the Nigerian state, the states, the constituencies, the Senatorial districts, the wards know their names? Are they mourned as humans? Not really, they are only known to family and friends left to mourn and grieve and ask God why they are in a rudderless Hobbesian country where their lives are not valued, why there is no outrage by those at all levels of leadership because in Igboland , when the land is desecrated by anyone especially spilling of human blood, the people rises to cleanse the land! Today, it seems there is no morning anymore, no thinking, no pity, no igwe bu ike, no onye aghala nwa nne ya, only a subdued outrage!The land is flowing with blood and the air is polluted with gunshots and the erie silence of families and communities.
The land is blood-soaked, the earth is saturated with human blood, Dr Akunyili’s blood shed in the most gruesomely paradoxical manner, a profoundly committed surgeon who had dedicated his life to save others from bleeding to death has had his blood shed by those who are themselves victims without realizing it because they feel that violence fosters peace? How did our society descend into this obnoxious abbys? How did outrage die in our land? How are hands soaked in blood literally and figuratively still able to lift hands to their mouths to feed and live over the corpses littered around? How are religious houses filled daily while no love is in the streets? Who are we worshiping and how?😢🤦♀️
Too much blood 🩸 🩸🩸🩸🩸is drowning our nation and we must at this point be hands on to stop the bleeding. Staying aloof and lamenting cannot be an option! Do the little you can in your corner, Do not point fingers. IGWE BU IKE is the Igbo version of UBUNTU. We are in this together! Many have been killed, many might still be killed if we all fail to do something. Who is next? Today we mourn, a Dr Akunyili is the metaphor today because he chose and has always been a metaphor of love, kindness and patriotism. He would not want to be mourned in isolation because his very life was a sacrifice so others may live. His life and death, oxymoronic as they are must point us to the mirror in our front.
My condolences to his family. But may Chidiogo’s moving tribute mean a thing to us all. May we read beyond her headlines! That is the best way to atone for all the blood that has soaked our nation in ways we cannot lift our shaky feet from the caked blood of all those being killed for just being in Nigeria.
I pray Dr Akunyili finds the peace he could not find in his ancestral state on an Honourable trip to be part of an HONOUR to his late wife, and may his family be comforted.