OPINION | TRIBUTE: For Nkechi Ikegwuoha Udeagha, My Trusted Friend, It’s Good Night

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By Augustine Osayande

Friendship is beautiful and it is a necessity for a quality life. Friendship is a relationship of mutual trust, understanding, and care. Friendship is a wonderful blessing and the greatest gift to our lives. We all need friends. I am writing this piece with great sadness over the unimaginable loss of Nkechi Ikegwuoha Udeagha, a trusted friend and sister, in whom I was well pleased. It is really hard to refer to you in the past tense.
How did we begin our friendship? As a newly-admitted year one student in the Department of Geography, University of Abuja, I made it a daily duty to check the notice board at the department for any useful information.

On this faithful day, as I was checking the notice board, a young, beautiful lady walked up to me and said: “Good morning. Are you a new student of the department?” I replied: “Yes, I am.” Then she went on: “I am also a year one student of the department.”
Without wasting time, from that moment, we went round together to complete our registration processes, copy lecture plan for the semester and look for other new students of the department to facilitate the commencement of lectures.
That was how our journey began. Yes with Nkechi Ikegwuoha Udeagha there was never a dull moment in the four years we spent in school. The experience started with map works, local and external field works. Yes, we traversed the hilly and dissected terrains of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) including the Jos Plateau and parts of Bauchi State.
With her radiating smiles, taking hydrometer readings and carrying of surveying equipment were easier and interesting. Her definition was an exactitude of simplicity and generosity to everyone, no matter how pathetic you were. She was a peace promoter that would always go out of her way to please others.
Nkechi was a great listener to friends from all walks of life. She was a wonderful friend to me, supporting me for over 23 years with her gentle and caring nature. One of her beliefs in life was the importance of being authentic with people. She was the one that started the concept of “pay for everyone” in the class, “buy for everyone” in the class. She hated examination malpractices and as such she believed the best way to avoid trouble was to answer the questions you knew and leave the examination hall.
NK, as many always called you; your exit remains devastating and incomprehensible. I want you to know that I think of you every day. I want you to know that I miss you more than anything, and I would not mind an opportunity to talk with you one last time. Thank you for being the most influential person I’ve ever met; thanks for accepting and loving everyone, and for being someone that impacted the lives of so many.
I thank you for always being there. I cannot question God but my friend, you were far too young to die. In your hands, O Lord, I humbly entrust her children and the parents. Almighty Father, source of forgiveness and salvation, grant my friend and sister, Nkechi Ikegwuoha Udeagha, eternal rest.
It is difficult to say good night to you in the matter of death that depicts final separation. This is because to die and live in the hearts of those left behind is not to die, to paraphrase Thomas Campbell. Therefore, what should I say other than to wish you farewell in your journey to the bosom of your creator? Fare thee well beautiful soul. May you find restful peace in God’s bosom.
It is well.

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*Osayande Augustine, PhD, wrote in from Abuja, Nigeria‎.

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