Chimdi Maduagwu and Victor Okoronkwo
Death, be not proud though some have called thee mighty and dreadful for thou art not so.
It is the way of this world that people gather, at times like this, to honour someone as those gathered in Owerri, on this day, Friday, April 26 have done to honour Amanze Okechukwu Oparaugo, KSC. People have come from different clans and climes; people who hold one form of affinity or the other with Mr. Amanze Oparaugo. The world calls it last respect. Far from being that, some of us are here not only to fulfill the canon function of “last respect,” but also to renew what seemed to have been a broken connection with a dear friend and compatriot.
We are the class of 197-1977 of the great Government Secondary School Owerri, to which dear Amanze Oparaugo belonged, while he lived. The class of 1973-77 has a communication platform, to which Amanze Oparaugo belonged.
Virtually all members recall with regret, the fair vibrant and intelligent boy, who was form captain (as GSSO recognized class monitors), beginning from form 2 to form 4, when there was reorganization.He was first known as Eusebio, after the famous German footballer and later shot out of much external influences to become essentially known as Cho Cho. After school as OGSSIANS, the 1973-77 class members become like splinters of a great rocket after a great explosion – expo 77.At the University of Maiduguri, Amanze stood out as an undergraduatein social and academic matters.
Socially, he was widely admired and easily became apoint of reference in terms of recognition of the prevalent trends and in the academic arena, he was so distinguished that he became a Federal Government Scholar after his first year examinations. Eventually, he graduated very well and subsequently registered for the M. Sc degree in Economics.
Amanze’s colleagues, friends and relations will remember him for a number of reasons. For some, it is his love for music; for others, his love for perfection and yet for many more, it is his love for orderliness and cleanliness. He was born noble; he was born clean; he was born good-looking; he was born great! He grew strong.
He imbibed humility. He acquired knowledge and inadvertently, was ready to undertake diverse adventures in life. He dared academics and has a higher degree to show for it. He dared politics and made a mark in the political sphere of his constituency and state. He practiced what he studied – Economics, and has broken the grounds there in business organization. In the midst of all these, he solidly maintained an admirable relationship with his kit and kin.
Sir Amanze Oparaugo has achieved a lot in his short life. Apart from his successes in the areas identified, his sojourn in the USA was a healthy experience for him.He loved and feared God and was fortunate to receive an investiture of the Knight of the Order of St. Christopher of the Anglican Church.
Equally, his other activities, whether in politics or commerce were eloquent testimonies to his great ambition and the matching determination to actualize the ambition. Until his death, he operated one of the most reliable electronic businesses in Owerri. There is no doubt that his demise is a great pain to all of us because we love him, but we know that God, who made him and who has also called him home loves him more and knows the answer to our question why?
In our pain, should we roll out the dance? Or do we arrange a Cricket match? Dear God, if we sing (from Ancient and Modern) or hold an emergency House Meeting, where we shall speak both English and Latin, are we going to receive succour? Let the alarm bell toll; let all converge (indeed, evaporate and condense) at the Cricket pitch – from the blue houses of Azikiwe, Erokosima and School House to the Pink Houses, Owerri, Pyke North and New House; and yet to Njemanze and the Letter Houses A,B, & C. Let us search for our dear compatriot Cho Cho. Where are the great 1973-77 boys? Those who changed the landscape of OGSSIAN and who have continued to shake and reinforce the Foundations of High School System in the nation – come, all of you; assemble and hear the news … Oparaugo, A. has embarked on an eternal journey.
The fissure is broad, the meaninglessness is palpable, the grief is cavernous, the pain is excruciating. The dancers can no longer dance, their feet have grown heavy; the drummers can no longer drum, their hands have grown weak; the singers can do no more exploits; their tongues have glued to the cleft of the roof of the mouth. But like the Metaphysical George Herbert I thought I heard a voice “CHILD?” the voice of the unseen Pity:
Be consoled old GSSO!Take heart Chioma and kids.It is well with you the Oha Nelson Oparaugo family.Mashie obi ike, Owerri nchi Ise. The Family of Okoroagbara of Umuayalu Egbu, Condolences!
Maduagwu Ph.D is an African Poet, a Professor of English and Director of the Confucius Institute at University at Lagos, Nigeria and Okoronkwo, Vice President Aiteo Oil.