Chidiogo Akunyili spoke to her dad, Chike Akunyili, just hours before the gunman pulled the trigger on him from pointblank range in Nkpor, Idemili North LGA of Anambra State, and snuffed the life off of him.
Read Chidiogo Akunyili's tribute to her father killed by gunmen in Anambra
"My father’s pain gasping for breath in his last moments is because we as a nation are in pain."
Akunyili, a surgeon and widower of ex-Information Minister Dora Akunyili, was killed alongside his orderly, a priest, and about five others.
The killings enraged an entire nation and renewed calls for tighter security measures in Africa's most populous nation, and in a southeastern region that is fast assuming the restiveness that the northeast has become infamous for since 2009.
We've reproduced Chidiogo's tribute to Chike Akunyili below, unedited:
Ubuntu - ‘I am because we are’. If this holds true, then the man who pulled the trigger twice is because we are — his anger, the injustice of his action, and his violence are because it is mirrored in the world around him. If ‘I am because we are’, then my father’s pain gasping for breath in his last moments is because we as a nation are in pain.
I spoke to him on Monday, just a day before another human willfully took his life. We couldn’t have known it would be the last.
We spoke about my mother, about the award being bestowed upon her the next day and how it was a birthday present from her to me. He asked after his newest grandchild whom he had given the name Mmesomma — ‘the one who does only beautiful things’.
And above all, he bemoaned the state of things in the country. As a surgeon, always frontline with the people’s suffering, he shared just how visible the current hardships were. Patients, he said, were no longer able to pay for care.
It didn’t help, he added, that no one was safe. I asked him if he was being safe and he assured me that he was, going on to share that he never went out anymore And was sure to be home by 6. Convinced, I reminded him to be even more careful and to take care of himself.
If Ubuntu holds true, that he is — a son, a beloved father, a loving grandfather, a healer, a papal Knight, Agbalanze of Agulu, a friend, a brother, and so much more — then this is an invitation for us to find the good in us. We can choose a different path... this current one leads to more senseless death and pain for one too many.
The Akunyilis describe the late Chike as "a healer, a passionate surgeon.
"Dr. Chike was the Medical Director at St. Leo's hospital in Enugu for decades. He served countless people, many of whom he cared for and healed at no cost. His one request was always that they paid it forward."
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