Hours after Dr Akunyili was killed by unknown gunmen in Anambara state, his daughter, Chidiogo released a heart wrenching post, devoid of vengeance, a call to the collective conscience of Nigeria as a people.

She wrote,

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 who 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 careful and he assured me that he was, going on to add 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 is us. We can choose a different path… this current one leads to more senseless death and pain for one too many.”

As we celebrate Nigeria’s independence, May this words be a point of sober reflection to all of us.

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