By Uche Amunike
I walked into the Fides Newsroom on this particular Tuesday afternoon and there he was, quietly seated with his friend. They were guests of the Editor in Chief, Mr Jude Atupulazi and I quietly settled on my desk after exchanging pleasantries with them. Then, he introduced one of them as the son of the slain PG of Nimo, the Late Chief Frank-Anthony Igboka. My heart went out to him and there and then, I saw his resemblance to his late dad. He was just a chip off the old block. We made light conversation and I settled down to my job. Just as he was about leaving, I told him I would love to have him as a guest here on Frank Talk to talk about his dad's death. He initially declined, saying that the case was still under investigation and he wouldn't want to speak on it. However, I assured him that the interview would be strictly as it concerned their family, how they have been able to keep a clear head and deal with the pain of loss and how much the vacuum he left would affect them as a family and Nimo as a town.
Please read on as I pray that the soul of this great son of Nimo will have eternal rest. Amen!
So, let's meet you
My name is Uchechukwu Igboka. I am the son of the Late Chief Frank-Anthony Igboka.
It's been about two months now, since he was killed. Kindly tell us a little bit about him.
My late father, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Sir Frank- Anthony Igboka was simply a man who lived like a legend. It's hard to find words to describe what he was to our family, to Nimo, to Njikoka Local Government and even to Anambra state. He left a very big vacuum and knowing that he's no more around is most painful. He has been a great source of strength to the family, especially to myself. He was a great motivator. He was everything one could wish for in a father and more. He is greatly missed and our pain is intense. That is life for you. Such a mystery. You take things the way you see them and keep praying for God's grace.
What about your mum and your siblings? How is she taking his death and how has she been coping?
At first, it was a great shock to the family. Everybody was down, but now, I thank God for people's prayers and support. They have really been encouraging. The family has been coping by His grace. We thank God for everything. After the burial, everybody will have to return to their normal life. That is death for you.
How many are you in the family?
We are seven in number, but I am the third child.
How did you get to hear the news of his murder?
Okay, I was in Abuja on that fateful day. It was around 7.30pm that I got a call from a friend. He told me that my dad was shot by unknown men. At first, I thought it was a joke. It was actually in early April, so I wondered if it was an April Fool message coming late. As far as I was concerned, it wasn't possible for the man I know to be shot just like that. Remember he has survived a kidnap attempt before. At first, I thought he was above death. If you know him very well, his character and everything you won’t easily associate him with death. At a point, I had to pick up my phone and call some other people, but the calls just kept on coming in. that was when I knew that it was serious. Then, I said okay, if it's true, he might be rushed to the hospital and will survive it, knowing how full of life he was. I was just hoping and praying. I was so confident that he would survive it. Thereafter, I needed a distraction. So, I had to go to the social media to get my mind off things. Shockingly, when I got online, I saw pictures of him shot in his car. There and then, I realized there was no way he would survive it. I started seeing comments and updates by people that he was shot for more than twenty-five times.
Was that true?
Why would they shoot him for more than twenty-five times?
Well, it was an assassination, so they would want to make sure that he died. If it was like one or two bullets, he would survive it.
So, what happened after you saw the pictures and comments on social media confirming he was indeed dead?
Well, I had to leave the social media because the news and pictures were everywhere on the internet and it was painful seeing and reading all that. For over three days, the comments and pictures took over the internet. So, I had to start calling my family, especially my mum to know how she was doing and how they were all doing. You know, my family heard the gunshots on that fateful night, not knowing that it was my father that was being killed. So, you can imagine the shock this was, for the entire family.
Your dad was the PG of Nimo Town as at the time he was killed. What do you think Nimo will miss about him as their PG?
His impact is already being felt in Nimo. Honestly, like people would rightly say, 'Nimo won't have someone like my dad in the nearest future'. He's everything Nimo could have. He's everywhere in terms of security. He risks his own life to protect the Nimo community. He goes beyond expectations to fight for Nimo. I know Nimo will surely miss him. He did so much for the town in terms of infrastructural projects in Nimo like the Egwegwe Square. He built a police station. He also attracted a lot of governmental and non-governmental organizations to work and to help in all sectors in Nimo. He will certainly be missed.
Give us his brief profile aside from being the Nimo President General.
My late dad was once an honorable member of the House of Assembly. He was once a Local Government Chairman. He was once in charge of Lands in Anambra state: Commissioner in charge of Lands. That was during the tenure of former governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju. He was former Deputy Chairman of the People's Democratic Party, (PDP). He was also the chairman of the PPA political party. Until the time of his death, he was the South East State Commandant from NESO which is an anti-terrorism and anti-insurgency organization. Before then, he had a rental company. He was also an international business man. My late father was an accomplished man even before he became the PG of Nimo.
Are you aware of any of the challenges he faced as PG?
Well, the much I knew about my father, he never saw problems as challenges. He was this type of person that is passionate about achieving whatever he sets his heart to achieve, no matter the so called challenges. So, to me, there was nothing like challenges. He was an achiever.
So, let's go back to his last moments. What do you think was topmost on his mind that point when he realized he was indeed facing his death?
I think that would be his family and Nimo in general. I believe his death was a sacrifice for his family and a town he loved so much. I say this because the circumstances surrounding his death was the same thing he has been fighting for which was to eradicate cultism and all sorts of vices in the community.
So, as a family, what are some of the legacies of your father that you and your family intend to uphold?
His legacies are much but to mention a few, I'll say his Charisma, his strength, his fearless nature. Like I said, he was everything we desired in a father and more. He was a politician and we all loved his style in politics. He was jovial and friendly. He was fun to be with. His presence was felt wherever he found himself. He also had a very forgiving spirit.
Kindly accept our condolences. May his soul rest in peace and may your family be consoled through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Amen. Thank you very much.