In the morning of March 20, I was driving past the office of Pharmacist Omezue Anthony Ogbonnia Ekoh situated along the popular and ever busy Water Works Road, Abakaliki when I noticed one thing: the office was unusually locked by 10:00 am. It was an unusual thing; Ogbonnia Ekoh popularly called Ekoh Drugs after his pharmacy company, comes to work by 9:00am every day and closes late in the evening. I was not therefore considering death as a possibility, but my spirit told me something grievous had happened. I pulled by the road side and took out my phone to dial his number, but there was no response. It was when I came to the office that someone told me the reality: he had graciously bowed to the cold hands of death and joined our ancestors in the wee hours of the morning!
Death is a terrible thing; I do not even wish it for my arch enemy. It shatters all there is. It kills the dreams we long cherished. It sets strife in many families and disorganizes harmony in homes. It is a terrible thing which even Christ, the creator of life and death, begged the Father to remove the cup from Him. But how can we place premium on life when there is no death? How can we maintain the ecosystem when there is no coming and going? It is by dying that we live. It is when we die and die to things of the earth that we can be born anew and live anew in the bowers of paradise, heaven by it.
This is not the time to say much or write much, but I know that when the metaphysical poet John Donne said that “every man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind”, he was referring to the pain and void that follows in the wake of such translation. We are pained by Omezue’s death. We are worried by the void his absence at this hour has created. We are diminished by his going but ennobled by the life he lived.
Adieu Anthony Ogbonnia Ekoh, you came to teach us how life should be lived in the service of humanity.