Emotions flowed freely when about nine months after the tragic passage of Kikaose Ebiye-Onyibe, the siblings, friends and school mates of the 18 years old 2nd year law student at the University of Birmingham, UK who passed away on April 12th 2017, gathered at the Civic Center, Ozumba Mbadiwe Rd, Victoria Island for a candle light memorial service in her honour.
It may be recalled that Kikaose was snatched away from the world by the cold hands of death after a failed surgery to remove her ruptured appendix at Goodcross Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Her remains were interred on April 19th, at Ebony Gardens, Ikoyi at a time that her siblings, schoolmates and friends were in school.
So they could not attend her memorial service hence they decided to organize the candle light memorial on 27th December in her honor during the 2017 end of year holidays period when most of them were home.
Adorned in white T-shirts, with Kikaose’s picture and with the inscription “A woman phenomenal” in the front side and ” Gone but never forgotten”, at the back, the attendees – mainly her school mates from Greenwood House Primary School, Ikoyi, Lagoon Secondary School, Lekki, Bridge House School, Ikoyi and University of Birmingham, UK, gathered in the Civic Center hall to honour their departed friend.
They were eloquent and effusive in their testimonies about the exemplary Christian life that Kikaose lived in her short time on earth. They played back video clips of Kikaose’s activities as a disciple of Christ and a spoken word artist.
Amongst many of the fond memories, they recalled how Kikaose used to brave the cold in the chilly winter weather in Birmingham to go out to feed the homeless.
Pastor (Mrs) Suotan Elihai and Pastor Emmanuel Dania, both youths focused clergies of the Redeemed church, delivered the sermons which were anchored on the need for youths to find God and serve Him as Kikaose confidently did with total commitment.
At the end of the sermon, many youths responded to alter calls by both pastors and made commitments to rededicate their lives to Jesus Christ.
After the protocol of holding up candle lights in memory of Kikaose, the very sober youths left the venue reflecting on how transient life is and why it is in their best interest to make the best of it in deference to God.
Some of the youths then proceeded to Kikaose’s final resting place at Ebony Vaults, Ikoyi where they sang praises to God before releasing 18 helium-filled balloons (signifying Kikaose’s age of 18 ) into the atmosphere.
To a large extent, the process of the candle light memorial enabled the youths have a closure on the painful tragedy.
Apart from Kikaose’s siblings having the opportunity to eulogize their sister, most of the youths who were her friends and schoolmates cried, particularly those who visited Kikaose’s final resting place.
Apparently, that was a cleansing process which they needed to go through.
And the 18 balloons representing Kikaose’s age which were released into the atmosphere also symbolized, to the grieving youths, the release of her soul peacefully from the earth into heaven where she would find rest in the bosom of God.
All said and done, the youths came to the inevitable conclusion that Kikaose has gone to a better place and would never be forgotten.