THE NATION FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2012
NEWS THE DANA AIR PLANE CRASH
No more shouts of Uncle Tukis
•The late Adobi
Shortly after replying you in expectation that your flight would have arrived, those gory BB messages and pictures started hitting my phone. My bright Sunday afternoon suddenly turned dark, sadness enveloped me. I hate to think you are gone and have asked why severally without an answer
found ourselves a couple of years ago, discussing how we would reunite since I don’t stay local. I was looking
forward to the food you promised preparing for me. I can’t believe this. God knows best, farewell my friend Adaobi till we meet to part no more. Good night.” Writing on the website yesterday, Ejike Iroegbunam said the late Mrs. Mojekwu was a major influence on her life. He said: “You touched our lives in such a wonderful way that you would always live in our hearts!” Mr. Chike Okonyia recalled the good times they had together: The smiles, the jokes and the words of encouragement. He said: “Words cannot express my shock. I must submit to my God and His will for all mankind. I am persuaded that He knows all about this...but it is hard. We had quite a few laughs and good times back then. “ Mrs. Lola Ade-Onojobi said she prayed the name on the manifest turn out to be another person. For five days, she said she was in shock. She said: “I still remember your voice, your laughter, your style and zest for life.”
F there had been one survivor in the ill-fated Dana MD-83 plane, I have no doubt who it would be: Charles Chukwudi Ntuko. Tukis (as close friends call him) was an indefatigable fighter with unquenchable zeal to live, achieve and make lasting impacts. He faced obstacles with great courage and replaced disappointments with hope and new targets. Challenges and obstacles lined up against him early in life, having lost both parents before he left secondary school. Undaunted, Charles did not only gain admission to study one of the most sought after courses (Accounting) in one of the most revered institutions in Nigeria (The University of Nigeria), he went ahead to graduate as the best student in his class. When the National Union of Accounting Students was drifting, Charles was drafted by well-meaning members to contest for presidency of the association and lead a “Salvation Team”. He ran the most extensive and impactful campaign ever witnessed in the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. After achieving landslide victory, Charles and his Salvation Team paid thank you visits to all the halls and sent personally signed letter to all student-voters. This helped to elicit a lot of goodwill and commitment from students for his team. As president of NUASA, his achievements were unprecedented. He got the doyen of Accountancy profession, Chief Akintola Williams and his wife, to host students of the department to a dinner in his Ikoyi residence. He solicited for and received donations from people such as the late Chief MKO Abiola for the department. Several banks, manufacturing companies and accounting firms were persuaded to host NUASA members on industrial tours, accept our students for vacation jobs and make contributions to the departmental projects. As a member of his team, I remember on two occasions, we had meetings with Chief Kalu U. Kalu, former Chairman of Union Bank and partner of Dr. Pius Okigbo in Skoup Consult, on how to mobilise financial support for the Department of Accountancy. Under his leadership, the association became a real partner to management on the issue of development and students’ welfare.
By Okwy Peter Okpala
An avid reader and lover of nature, Charles believed that charity began with a smile, some kind words and comforting gestures. He was always jovial and warm. The bond of friendship and brotherhood we shared was so strong. It is hard to accept that shouts of “Tukis, Uncle Tukis” will no longer reverberate in my house. He was about the closest friend of my wife and the favourite uncle to my children. Whenever situations seemed to overwhelm us, Charles was always there to take us away. Charles was always full of ideas, willing to dare and succeed. Unlike most of his classmates, he did not apply to work for anybody. He set up his own business and developed a wide network for marketing fruit juice, wines and other products. At a point, he ventured into production. He was the Managing Director of Amex Brown Ltd and Hitwave Ltd. Lately, Tukis devoted his life to promoting entrepreneurial development among youths. He carried with great dedication and passion, the vision of motivating and encouraging youths and channeling their youthful zeal, vigor, enthusiasm and stamina towards productive endevours, for the good of the society and to the glory of God. In this mission, which he considered a divine assignment, Charles partnered
•The late Ntuko
notable institutions and NDOs such as Lagos Business School, Sound Minds Initiatives and the FATE Foundations. His last outing was for a collaborative project with FATE Foundations for MTN Nigeria Ltd. He was one of the seven judges for The Budding Entrepreneurs Competition. The Port-Harcourt and Lagos legs of the project were concluded successfully. The final leg was what he concluded in Abuja before boarding the ill-fated plane. When Charles’ body was recovered from the wreckage, there were no scares, no stains, and no stress on his face. His shirt was still neatly tucked in. He must have been the last man standing, fighting to remain alive and hoping help will come. Had help come when it should, Tukis wouldn’t have surrendered to death. Tukis, I know before you surrendered finally you wanted to talk to me. Still speak! I can still hear. What were those assignments you wanted me to complete? We had always agreed that death to men of vision should never mean the death of their vision. May it be so with you Tukis! I have cried, I have wailed but the best way to mourn you is to uphold your vision and complete your project… God help me! Good bye Tukis. Goodnight. • Okpala is of the Department of Accounting,University of Lagos.
Thirty-eight years ago, the late Godwin Abugu was in Ilorin courtesy of a scholarship to attend the Government Secondary School. He died in the Dana Air plane crash. Former Abia State Governor ORJI UZOR KALU pays tribute to them. Excerpts:
•Candle light memorial service for victims By Wale Adepoju
A statement by Ireti Bakare Yussuf on behalf of a group, the Third June Memorials, reads: “The memorial service would be a special service of songs, poetry and readings to mark the loss of our friends, families and fellow citizens who lost their lives in the tragic Dana Air Crash of June 3, 2012 and other tragedies which have cut short the lives of our fellow Nigerians this year. “If you lost loved ones in the crash, please send their names and a picture to email@example.com. so it can be included in the picture memorial during the service. Let us mourn with the families of the departed. May our prayers heal their hearts. Let us bid farewell to the departed, may their memories live on in our hearts forever.”
Good bye, good night Abugu
LASUTH releases victim’s body to family HE Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) yesterday released the body of one of the victims of the Dana Air plane crash to his family. The body, The Nation learnt, was immediately buried in his family house at Lekki, Lagos Island. Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Wale Ahmed said autopsy has been completed on all bodies and have been embalmed. He said DNA samples will be sent abroad soon for analysis. So far, nine bodies have been released. Although 19 of the 43 identifiable bodies are ready to be claimed, some of the families are yet to claim them. A multi-faith candle light memorial service will hold on Sunday at the Muri Okunola Park, Victoria Island in memory of victims of the crash.
Charles believed that charity began with a smile, some kind words and comforting gestures. He was always jovial and warm. The bond of friendship and brotherhood we shared was so strong. It is hard to accept that shouts of “Tukis, Uncle Tukis” will no longer reverberate in my house. He was about the closest friend of my wife and the favourite uncle to my children. Whenever situations seemed to overwhelm us, Charles was always there to take us away
ODWIN Abugu emerged as one of the best ten pupils in the old Eastcentral State and bagged government scholarship with the likes of Chuks Nwosu, Ikechukwu Aporo, Chinaka Obasi and Udensi Okoli in 1973.
The late Ajie Ukpabi Asika having benefitted from Rockefeller scholarship in the U.S. thought it wise to partner with the then Kwara Governor David Lasisi Bamigboye in an exchange programme. The best ten from the East moved to Ilorin,the best ten from Kwara were sent to Enugu. Ezenwa Mojekwu was part of the second set of 1974-1979. Abugu adjusted to life in Ilorin and the five Igbo Boys from Old Biafra also met some senior Igbo boys who were part of the school team, Kwara Academicals champions in the days of school Principal, Mr.Oshatoba. The G. S .S., Ilorin team was good. They had Frank Omenka; yes, the latter day Col. Omenka. He was a Higher School student and actually joined the Army from there. Folorusho Gambari (Gambus), exShooting Star, was in the squad as well as two other Igbo boys, Aniagor and Odiachi. Former NTA sports commentator, Waheed Olagunju
was also a student there. The late Abugu and his mates from the Southeast, back home on holidays, would regale friends with stories about Ilorin. The number of scholars had increased to include more names like Iche Uduma, Emeka Nweze, Ike Anieriobi,Chiedu Chukwueke, among many others. You would hear them talk about Midland Stores, Gambari, Fulani, Alanamu and Ajikobi, which were also houses in their school.You could hear big names like Justice James Adesiyun,Joseph Abu, Anene Ogbeha and James Amego,both Commissioners. Then the high sounding places, with names such as -Ogori Magongo, Lafiagi, Pategi, Ifelodun, Irepodun and Bamigboye’s town OmuAran.They were really proud of the people, relished the opportunity. Abugu left for Russia after school where he bagged a Phd. I hope Kwara would remember him in death.
The Nation June 15, 2012