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Shining lights extinguished in 2018

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DEATH is inevitable, a mystery that will continue to puzzle human imagination. Hardly can any mortal reveal when it would beckon and in what fashion it would snatch life. Oftentimes, its encroachment into human lives leaves questions in its trail, more apprehension than answers. The cold hand of death as always, does little to soothe grief, creates a vacuum that speaks only of someone’s legacy.

In 2018, death in its surreptitiousness claimed some notable lives. The Christian world lost famed Christian evangelist, Billy Graham to death. He was one of the most influential Christian leaders of the 20th century and was spiritual adviser to U.S. Presidents from Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president to Barack Obama.

Early in March, the news filtered in from Russia of the death of Sergei Mavrodi, Russian businessman and the co-founder of MMM pyramid scheme, whose company perpetrated one of the world’s largest Ponzi schemes of all time.

MMM acronym was derived from the first letters of the three founders’ surnames, Mavorodi, his brother Vyacheslav Mavrodi, and Olga Melnikova. The company had begun as Office Equipment importer in 1989,  veered into ponzi scheme three years later.

World-renowned British physicist, Professor Stephen Hawkings, passed on in the second week of March. Hawking was best known for his work on black holes, the mysterious infinitely dense regions of compressed matter where the normal laws of physics break down, which dominated the whole of his academic life.

His book, A Brief History of Time appeared on the British Sunday Times best-seller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks. He was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease in 1964 at the age of 22, and given just a few years to live. Hawking passed away peacefully at his home in Cambridge at the age of 76.

One of anti-apartheid flaming fires was extinguished with the death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in early April. Winnie Mandela was former wife of Nelson Mandela.

In the second week of April, death snatched Barbara Bush from the Bush dynasty. She was First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She was married to George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States.

Music faded for Ras Kimono, Nigerian legendary reggae crooner on June 9. Kimono whose music ruled the music airwaves in the 1990s, slumped at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, while waiting to board a flight to the United States, and was rushed to an unnamed hospital in Ikeja and then taken to Lagoon Hospital in Ikoyi, where he gave up the ghost.

Aretha Franklin, American singer, known as ‘The Queen of Soul’ bade the world goodbye in August. Franklin began her career singing gospel songs at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father C. L. Franklin was minister, and switched to secular music at the age of 18.

The world was thrown into mourning with the death of Kofi Annan, the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, the first black person to hold such post and first office holder to be elected from the UN staff. He reformed the United Nations bureaucracy

The gory murder of Jamal Khashoggi shocked the world. Khashoggi, a Saudi born journalist, walked into Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, a living being, came out dismembered with his face skinned by people purported to be agents of the Saudi government on  October 2. The Washington Post columnist was a former ally of the Saudi royal family, until they fell apart, he fled Saudi Arabia in September, 2017 and went into self-imposed exile.

It wasn’t comedy when the death of Moses Olaiya, popularly known as Baba Sala was announced on 7 October. The legendary Yoruba actor who started acting in secondary school and was  regarded as the father of modern Nigerian comedy started show business as a Highlife musician. He was among the dramatists that popularized theater and television acting in Nigeria.  He died at the age of 81,

George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States and father of George W. Bush the 43rd President of the United States died November 30, 2018. He was the United States president from 1989 to 1993.

It was sad news for the Igbo nation with the death of Chief Dozie Ikedife, a prominent Igbo leader in December. He was a onetime President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, a presidential Liaison Officer (1979-1983), a delegate to the Centenary Conference of Nigeria in 2014 and the chair of many Igbo groups. Chief Ikedife died in his Nnewi country home, Anambra State at the age of 86 years.

Anambra Newspapers Printing and Publishing Corporation (ANPC), publishers of National Light Newspaper, Ka Odi Ta and Sportlight Extra Newspapers was thrown into mourning with the death of Sir Obi Nwude, immediate past Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the company. He was instrumental in laying the foundation of what is today’s enviable ANPC group of newspapers.

Earlier in the year gloom had cast on ANPC family with the demise of one of its finest reporters, Mr. Michael Amadi. Amadi was healthy the morning he slumped and died. The conviviality and he brought to the newsroom and his sense of commitment to work was missed.

Nigeria’s ex-Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Salihu Ibrahim, died on 11 December. Lt Gen. Salihu was former Chief of Army Staff, (COAS) from 1990 to 1993. He died in his country home in Kogi State at age of  93.

The death of Mr. Sunday Ajayi, the Anambra State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, shocked most people who had encountered ‘Perfect Gentle’ as they described him. Mr. Ajayi died in a fatal motor accident near Agbor, Delta State, on his way from Kwara state, to Awka Anambra State.

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