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Okolis: Wedded Oct 15, Died A Week After

Posted by By Roland Ogbonnaya on 2005/10/26 | Views: 2108 |

Okolis: Wedded Oct 15, Died A Week After

On October 15, parents, friends and relations gathered in Abuja to celebrate with Chukwuemeka and Nkiru Doreen Okoli (Nee Oliugbo) as they took the divine oath to live together as husband and wife till death do them part.

On October 15, parents, friends and relations gathered in Abuja to celebrate with Chukwuemeka and Nkiru Doreen Okoli (Nee Oliugbo) as they took the divine oath to live together as husband and wife till death do them part.

Nkiru a third year political science student of the University of Abuja, a good dancer and jolly young lady danced her heart out with her new heartthrob and husband Chukwuemeka, fondly called Emeka by friends and close relations.

For the couple, they had looked forward to a day like that to exchange vows publicly as husband and wife since they met two years ago. Nkiru was more excited not only that she was getting married to a man after her heart; something many women, even those older than her dream and clamour for, but because what she dreamed and wished for her self has come through.

While in primary school as a kid she had told her elder sister, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwuke that she will like to get married at the age of 21 or 22.  Therefore, one can pardon her excitement on that wedding day. For her, what mattered was that she had fulfilled part of her life ambition: to get married to a man she loved at that young age and as a bright undergraduate student of political science.

Her husband was also excited not only for marying a woman after his heart, but having a friend and confidant. For him, their wedlock was made and sealed in heaven, friends called them love birds and they were not wrong as both loved each other to a fault. Emeka did every thing to please and make his wife happy including a grand wedding which Mrs. Nwuke described as a fairy tale or Cinderella wedding and a honey moon in Accra, Ghana. Every plan had gone well until Saturday October 22 when they returned from Ghana to Lagos, Nigeria.

Emeka and Nkiru flew into the country that Saturday evening and decided to fly straight to Abuja because he was supposed to resume duties in his new office and needed to use Sunday to tidy up the house and also go through their wedding gifts and maybe open some of them and appreciate the people who honoured them. That was the reason they had to board the Bellview flight 210 which crashed near Ifo, Ogun State killing all 117 passengers and crew. For Chukwuemeka and Nkiru Okoli's relations and close friends, their death was more pathetic because they died a week after their wedding, taking with them a six-week pregnancy.

Nkiru virtually grew up with her elder sister Mrs. Nwuke and her husband and was very close to their children. And when she met Emeka two years ago and later agreed to marry, she was still very responsible and a homely girl she had been. Mrs. Nwuke told THISDAY that when the couple came into Nigeria, they only contacted her mother on their intention to fly straight to Abuja that night because they knew very well that if they had contacted her, she would not allow them to go to Abuja that night.

Emeka, who hailed from Akokwa, Imo State was in his 30s and was warming up to conquer his world in the financial sector of the economy. Prior to their wedding, he had resigned his appointment with the National Bank Plc and was to resume work the following Monday at ARM Limited, an asset and financial management company, Abuja. Earlier, he had worked with GT Bank Plc and Access Bank.

Mrs. Nwuke said she got the news of the crash of the Bellview flight 210 on television on Sunday morning like every other person. According to her, she never thought they were in the aircraft because they were fond of flying Virgin Nigeria since the airline's debut in the country. Out of curiosity and fear she now called their home in Abuja to inquire if they arrived Abuja, and the response was negative. It was then it downed on her that something had gone wrong.

With the news that there were about 50 survivors, she believed that if there were survivors, her sister and the husband would be among them, relying on her strong Christian faith. Mrs. Nwuke called up her other sister and together they headed for Ifo, the site of the crash with some food and first aid drugs in case they were alive and needed something to eat and first aid before being taken to the hospital. Instead, what they saw at the crash site was unimaginable and it downed on them that nobody could possibly survive. They were instantly enveloped by grieve and agony.

Speaking to THISDAY amidst welcoming sympathisers at their Muri Okunola, Victoria Island residence, Mrs. Nwuke took solace that Nkiru fulfilled her life dream of going to the university and getting married at the age of 22. "You see" she starts, "Nkiru is God's child. God just gave my mother the young lady to look after and He took her away when He wanted to do so. She must be smiling with her husband wherever they are now. I can see them smiling and very happy, saying 'sister don't worry about us, we are happy."

She also recalled that Nkiru from her years had a vision of her life: grow up fast, go to the university, marry early, have children and grow to become a socialite and public figure which even informed her choice of studying political science. "To an extent she achieved those dreams except that she did not live to become a public figure or have children. Those dreams died with her on that fateful Saturday night at Ifo, Ogun State. For me, it is a bad dream that I wish will despair with time and I see my sister, the baby of the house walk through that door smiling into the house, holding hands and smiling with her husband.

"My heart goes out to my parents and the parents of my sister's husbands. My father is yet to come to terms with the incident. To him, it is still a bad dream that will go away. My mother is stronger and is taking it as it unfolds. But I must tell you that it was a rude shock to the whole family, and it will take a very long time for the family to come out of that shock," Mrs. Nwuke explained, fighting back tears that were just forming in her eyes.

"Nkiru was a charming and sweet girl, very full of life and kind spirited person who was ever smiling the situation she was into. She shone like stars; despite she was the fifth amongst the seven children of my father.

 She radiated charm and this drew people close to her. She had a lot of friends and they never influenced her negatively," Mrs. Nwuke said. She described her sister's death a rose flower that sprouted with the early morning sun, with the fragrance attracting everybody and suddenly withered.
"She did not want to mess around with guys, and immediately she saw a guy of her choice in Emeka, she stuck with him and finally married him at the age she set out for herself and seven days after their wedding they died. My husband and I practically raised her up through primary school to the university. She met her husband from our home," she added.

Nkiru had her nursery and primary education at the Montessori International School, Maryland, Lagos and later proceeded to Federal Government College, Umuahia, Abia State before gaining admission to study political science at the University of Abuja, from where she married Emeka at 300 level two weeks ago. "Nkiru wanted a fairy tale or Cinderella kind of wedding and that was exactly what her wedding was. Even when I advised her to cut down the budget and size of the wedding cake she agreed, but still had her way that day.
"I still remember or hear their laughter ricocheting when I asked them "look you still went ahead with the cake after I advised you against it.' I also remember her coming to me to ask sister how beautiful is the hall'. You should have seen my sister dancing her heart out on her wedding day. My sister loved music and dancing and I watched her dance on her wedding day unknowing to all of us that that was her last dance and that she will never dance again, what an irony," Mrs. Nwuke recollected.

Like Nkiru, she described Emeka as a sweet guy, and a man with a large heart. She said they were in love and it took nobody time to notice that. "May be God wanted two of them to die at the same time, because it would have been terrible if one of them had survived the accident. For me, my sister's death is a broken dream. What will I tell my children who she promised to host during the Christmas holiday, whom she promised to take round Abuja this yuletide, what will I tell the children that their aunty they saw bubbling with life the other week is no more, how would they take it?"

Nkiru's former roommate, Amina Usman, described her as an easy going person who hardly got annoyed. Nkiru I know was full of life and she always told me "Amina don't mess around with men, instead get a sincere guy and get married early in life. We shared a lot of things in common. I regretted not being at her wedding because of the fasting. It pained me because we never saw again before her death."


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