My Sympathy To Ikpeazu Over The Loss Of His Chief of Staff

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Most people think that the significant ones in the society do not need a ‘how are you?’ message from the rest of the population, especially when they are perturbed. There is a false impression pointing that due to how financially muscled they are, they do not need to be cared for and that everything is okay for them.

{Governor Okezie Ikpeazu}

No. They need our care and expression of love outstandingly in their isolation from the public called office they spend most of their time in. It is because they are not above life (even though that some of them feel that they are above life) that I want to extend my expression of commiseration to the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, over the passing away of his Chief of Staff, Chief Chijioke Nwakodo, who died in London, as was transmitted by the media of August 11 2017.

It is not painless to lose a loved one as a Chief of Staff at the age of 56. It would not be uncomplicated to forget such a death even though that heartache helps human beings to overcome and makes the deceased much weighty in the eyes of the living.

We however undergo the death of our loved ones in our lifetimes and the governor should put every mechanism in place to bear the permanent loss. I would not know the emotions the governor might be wearing now, but it will be nice he grieves in his own way without hurting himself. There is no amount of “Be stout!” or “Applaud up!” or “Move on!” that might heal Dr. Ikpeazu.

The governor may be wondering if Nwakodo is actually dead. Many of us had thought this way, when we lost our loved ones. But it is an incredulity that is a reality after we come to our distanced senses. The death of a loved one, keeps us defocused. No doubt. But we heal gradually with time.

Even with the time, our minds send a cluttered message to our hearts and we begin to wonder if there was a way that could have saved the life of the loved one that we didn’t apply or follow. Well, we have to understand that unhappiness is beyond thinking in different directions after death had snatched a loved one or appearing in seclusion.

The deceased, I didn’t know him in person. But I’m somewhat compelled to tell the governor through this means that I could not allow him stay alone or in a lonely mood in this gloomy time. If Nwakodo’s life was something that money or might could redeem, he would not have gone the way of our ancestors. At least, he was in London, where the healthcare is lively, unlike the moribund and on the-deathbed healthcare system in this country.

Let all the people that loved Nwakodo take heart. So, let the governor take heart and be happy that he had a man like Nwakodo who served in his government. Again, all and sundry should take heart.

It may not be easy for Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu to describe the death of his Chief of Staff – Chijioke Nwakodo, but for him to realise that Nwakodo is no more, the better. There is no other time. The time is now!

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet, Writer and Media Consultant based in Rivers State. Tel: +2348057778358. He contributed this piece via:


Father Removes Daughter’s Two Teeth Through Vicious Beating

By Odimegwu Onwumere

I opened the gate and came out, after her voice signaled that she was the one knocking. The time was some minutes to 1PM. The date was August 10 2017.

She sat down on the bench, leaning on the wall. “Oga, my father removed two of my teeth last night,” she told me, gesticulating.

Looking horror-struck, I could not believe her, if not that she opened her mouth. Two of her teeth were really off. They even changed her tonality. I was aghast and inquired of what led to the ordeal.

After narrating an inconsequential story, I flummoxed, asking myself why a father should beat her daughter to the extent that her teeth were pulled out.

I HAD dressed for the day’s transaction when Dimma, the girl of about 18, came to lay her complaint. I was hapless, owing to the fact that my house was no bank to withdraw money instantly and give to her for medications. I did not need a soothsayer to conclude that she would not be taken to a hospital by her parents. This was given that her parents and she were impecunious. I knew about their penniless existence, because they were my neighbour, very near to my house.

I told her that it was a pity. After some words of consolation and encouragement, I started hitting the road. But her predicament took my thoughts, as I voyage: I was not sure if I should characterise what happened to Dimma as child abuse, abuse of women or something. I knew that her hashish-addict dad had conditioned his mind to intimidate the family with a view that he was in control of them. Several times, his children’s voices had roared for help from his horrendous grip. His insolvent wife could not help.

The wife was a graduate of his merciless manhandling. As I learnt, she was the man’s punching bag when they got married new, till her family had to take strong measures against the husband that dimly calmed him.  Now, the children were not living carefree, whenever he was around. His presence was a nightmare, such that children playing in the dark at night encounter.

The grumble in my thought was that Dimma, who could not finish her High School and had no hope of engaging in any handwork or trade except miracle happened, would continue to grow under her brutish dad, while clinging a hope that she would escape his presence and have freedom, when she was married. I could not help myself enough in the situation that Dimma found herself. In my thought, she was well captured in a Laura Davis’s “Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Is a Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse.”

Davis said, “Abuse manipulates and twists a child’s natural sense of trust and love. Her innocent feelings are belittled or mocked and she learns to ignore her feelings. She can’t afford to feel the full range of feelings in her body while she’s being abused—pain, outrage, hate, vengeance, confusion, arousal. So she short-circuits them and goes numb. For many children, any expression of feelings, even a single tear, is cause for more severe abuse. Again, the only recourse is to shut down. Feelings go underground.”

It was certain that Dimma would go underground with her feelings; else, any expression of them, would attract more beatings from the substance-induced-dad. She dared not invite the authorities; else, the community might dissect her. Now, her hope was pain – extreme anxiety. Even, Pain, was an understatement to describe the irresistible pains Dimma was going through.

Maybe, she would take it to ‘God’, as the later was the case in this clime. No one would listen to her, no matter how hard she cried. I knew that the pains would stop in Dimma someday, but the memories of losing her teeth in the hands of her father would linger a life time.

Would loving and trusting her father be there again? I wouldn’t say. However, I found writing about Dimma’s dilemma as a way to heal. Except the authorities, she would not bring her dad’s despicable attitude to book.

Odimegwu Onwumere is an award-winning journalist based in Nigeria. Tell: +2348057778358. He contributed this piece via:

{NB: This is no fiction.}

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{POEM} If Only You Can Hear My Heart

By Odimegwu Onwumere

If only my deepest heart can be heard through words,

If only my heart full of words and imaginations can express itself

Then you will understand how much you have occupied my heart

Than words can possibly express.

My words can be translated into many languages

But you are the one who can translate my heart beat

If only you can listen to my heart beat

You will hear much music crooning in it.

You cannot be expressed my mere words

Even though words can make or mar a coward

Your actions speak of how much I mean to you

And words cannot express the much you have shared.

I no longer see much other than:

Your nose, pointing me to the world,

Your hair, falling all the worries on your shoulder,

Your picture, pointing that you appear the best.

I was bereft of words,

You have made me find one.

If only my deepest heart can be heard through words,

If only my heart full of words and imaginations can express itself

Then you will understand how much you have occupied my heart

Than words can possibly express.

(c) Odimegwu Onwumere; August 3 2017.