By Kennedy Onyema

If Mcphilips Nwachukwu was alive today he would have celebrated his 53 years birthday. But he died at 47, six years ago, precisely, on Sunday, 29 September, 2013, at Golden Cross hospital, FESTAC Town, Lagos. He left behind his dear wife Tina, their children and numerous relations.

•Late McPhilips Nwachukwu

Born on January 7,1966, at Ezuhu, Umuhu Okwuato in Aboh Mbaise local government area of Imo State. Mcphilips attended St. Gregory’s primary school and Mbutu Secondary School Aboh Mbaise. His passion for literature, even though science inclined, took him to study English and Literary studies in the prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka. He graduated in 1995 with a bachelor of Arts degree, upper credit. While in Nsukka he was an editor of the Muse Journal and a beneficiary of the Pius Okigbo prize on Poetry.

Mcphilips later went to the University of Lagos and obtained a Master’s degree in English. But for his untimely death in 2013, Mcphilips would have completed a PhD in Oral literature, a program he has advanced reasonably well before he died.

Nwachukwu was a consummate journalist and a diligent scholar. He published books, especially on poetry, and by dint of hard work,  Mcphilips rose to become the Arts Editor of Vanguard Newspapers,a  position he held till death came knocking.

As Vanguard’s Arts editor, “The Arts Column” became a must read for arts enthusiasts. His masterful exposition of literature, Arts and Culture drew many intellectuals to the page. His devotion to his profession also took him to different countries of the world and endeared him to the high and mighty.

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Mcphilips Nwachukwu will be remembered for many reasons including “So long a Night”, a poetic recollection of his harrowing experiences when he was first diagnosed of a kidney malfunction. Mcphilips also has some unpublished works of poetry to his credit. His family is optimistic that some good spirited Nigerians will help bring the dream of publishing the book to fruition soon.

Most importantly, Mcphilips chose to be remembered by the lucid poetic narrative of his last moments on earth. The poem collection “So Long a Night,” a 71 page book personally scripted by late Mcphilips, was published and later presented to the public during his one year memorial program.

Below is one of the poems titled “Laughter in a Season of Agony”, an excerpt from late Mcphilips book “So Long a Night” P.25:

Vanguard

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