By Bose Adebayo
His ambition was to be a big time farmer and a father-figure among his peers. And while he lived the late The Nation newspaper correspondent, Edo Sule Ugbagwu, nursed and gave expression to the vision to fight and conquer hunger among his people. And this also explained why he always ensured that those around him were well fed.
But this noble dream was cut short last Saturday when he was gruesomely murdered in his sitting room by an armed gang that invaded his home.
The name Ugbagwu in his native dialect suggests the manner which the river responds when stirred.Â IndeedÂ his No. 39 Church Street in Banmeke area of Shasha Akowonjo has continued to play host to numerous friends, well-wishers and other sympathisers since the incident happened that fateful day.
Apart from the fact that he was the first born in the family of seven, his wife Mariam is the only surviving daughter of her late parents, while he also left behind a mother who is yet to comprehend the sudden eclipse of her bread winner. To worsen the situation, Edo Sule, as he was fondly called among relations was yet to father a child before he was murdered in his prime.
This indigene of Benue State started his journalism career with the defunct Comet Newspaper in 1999 before he joined The Vintage Press, publishers of The Nation in 2006.
When Vanguard Metro visited his Ebun Oluwa abode, his widow Mariam who was being consoled by a crowd of sympathisers could not hide her pain and misery as she was confronted by the different newspapers reports of her husbandâ€™s tragic death.
When this reporter asked her to describe the kind of relationship she had with her late husband, she tearfully responded thus: â€œAunty, I knew Edo since 1996 and I love him so much. Whoever it is that shot him and ran away is a wicked soul. We grew up in the same street in Oturkpo, Benue State. He was all I had; I am a complete orphan and the only child of my parents. Who will help me now, who else would I turn to for help?â€.
Asked what she would miss most about her husband, she looked skywards, wiped her face with her wrapper before replying. â€œI have had series of miscarriages and Edo had never allowed me to visit quacks; instead he got me a gynaecologist. I said God, this year, I am not going to lose my pregnancy again O! not knowing Edo would never live to see the dream come true,â€ she wept.
Recounting the good old days with her husband, she described him as a pillar of support, saying in an emotion-laden voice: â€œAnytime I was downcast, he would say, â€˜why do you like to be afraid, Mariam; who will take care of you if Iâ€™m not around? I am your first son, take care of me like your baby. God is going to bless us, whatever you want, I shall get it for youâ€™. He ensured there was food at home and he tells us to avoid junk food. Edo was my lover and the only person that knew my problem. I shall greatly miss himâ€.
Recounting her last moment with the late journalist, the 33-year old naval officer recalled thus: â€œWhen he woke up that day, he said â€˜Mariam, what am I going to eat?â€™ and I prepared his favourite breakfast of egg, moinmoin, with chicken. He enjoyed reading (she pointed to his library). We were taking a stroll before he rushed home after receiving a call on his mobile phoneâ€.
A neighbour, Pastor Fayemi Olayinka said about the late Ugbagwu: â€œHe was always willing to render assistance to others. Sometime last year, I was using my generating set to pump water and it developed a problem, immediately he brought his new generating set to my house to solve the problem. I have a fish pond in my house and he always showed interest in fish farming. He had told me on several occasions he would like to go into fish farming whenever he retires from journalismâ€.