By Benjamin Njoku, Wahab Abdullah & Japhat Alakam
Emotions ran high, yesterday, as the remains of former Arts Editor of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Mcphilips Nwachukwu, were laid to rest at his home town, Umuhu Okwuato, Aboh Mbaise in Imo State.
Nwachukwu died on – 29, September, after suffering from a choking cough. His remains, received with a 21 gun salute, arrived his family house at exactly 10 am. The body laid in state for about 30 minutes before it was taken to the St Gregory Catholic Church, Umuhu, where a church service was held in his honour.
Speaking at the church service, the officiating minister, Rev. Father Chisom Odilanma, admonished Nigerians to learn to live a worthy life, saying death is an inevitable end. According to him, death is not something money can be used to avert, otherwise Mcphilips would have been saved by Vanguard and his colleagues.
He , however, regretted that Mcphilips died at a time when his community needed his service. The Catholic priest took solace in that God will raise another Mcphilips for the community.
”Mcphilips died at a time he would have been useful to community by exposing to the world how their community has been neglected by the state government,” he said.
Mcphilip’s mentor, Professor Osuagwu, who was among the dignitaries that attended the funeral rites, lamented that his death has created a vacuum in his life.
Nze Chima Onyemekwalam, Mcphilips’ uncle, said his death was a rude shock to the family, adding that they did not expect it. Also, he lamented that the deceased died without fulfilling some of his dreams for his immediate family.
Mcphillip’s remains were committed to mother earth at 12.50 pm amid tears.
Those who attended the funeral rites were the deceased’s professional colleagues, friends and well-wishers. Among them were Orji Onoko, who represented the Director of the National Gallery of Art; Shuaibu Hussein represented the Artistic Director of the National Troupe of Nigeria; and Professor Nwachuwku Agbada, Dean, Faculty of Arts, Abia State University. Representing Vanguard were members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, and senior members of staff led by Mr. Victor Omoregie as well as Yushau Ahmed.