JOE OKIGBO: The death of a Goodman, a Good Brother and my Friend of a Lifetime!

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston

There are deaths every day, across every community all over theworld. Yet, there are deaths which strike very close to home, andvery close to your heart and friendships. We take such deaths verypersonal, even where they have wider community impact or did notoccur in our own biological family. Such deaths affect us because thedead have lived some truths worthy of reflection for us.

In this light, William Hazlitt (1778-1830) the British essayistand author of 'The Spirit of the Age' in 1825 rightly asserted that:"Death cancels everything but truth; and strips a man of everythingbut genius and virtue...." Even with his death, I know that one suchtruth is that Joe IsiomaOkigbo lived a life of virtue and always spoke the truth; especiallyhe spoke his truth with love. The other truth is that Joe lived asone of my best friends and a shining, exemplary role model for thosewho were younger and older than him. There a thousand and numerousother truths about Joe's genius as a financial specialist and hisvirtues as a human being which still make his sudden death a verypainful and traumatic loss for all of us, the Africancommunity and the City of Houston. Joe Okigbo, ezigbo nwa, aptlynamed Isioma, God knew your heart and life of dignity, peace,progress, worthiness, accomplishments and goodness.

Joe, one of our very best abroad and home, a handsome and trulyreliable human being, died on April 15, 2002. He was born on July 2,1960. He resided in Houston, Texas where he worked as an AssistantCity Controller (Audit), as one of the highest ranking Africans inthe 4th largest city in the U.S.

Joe Okigbo was principled, and never cut any corners. He wastrusted and trusting. Joe's death is the passage of a Good man, thetransition of a first-class human being and the finest in what anyrational person would pray and wish for in a friend or brother.

For the 10 years that I've known him, I never saw Joe speak anyword of anger or malice. He never sought to put anyone down.

Joe and former Dr. Nwogo Agbasi were married in September2001.

I'm certain and glad Joe that you saw your wife, the daughter ofthe late F.C.N Agbasi of Nnewi, at her best, as she personified atower of strength and iron-clad commitment amidst your rapid, painfuland utterly unexpected mortal turn to eternity.

Joe served as a contributing editor of USAfrica The Newspaper andThe BlackBusiness Journal (where his financial advisory columnsappeared). A special report, 'He was no Ordinary Joe' and othertributes will appear in next week's print edition of USAfrica TheNewspaper and

Joe Okigbo, we miss you even more when we see those of our folkswho call us, or call each 'brothers' and 'sisters' betray themselvesas nothing more than hollow chambers of perfidy and merchants ofmalice. Where you always saw the good in most of us; some of thosesame charlatans are still on their psychotic demolition derby,championing character assassinations against persons they may neverbe, and struggling foolishly at 'destroying' institutions they cannever build. It's sad you wonder whether we make progress or aremarching in place! But did you have to leave so soon, my Brother andFriend!

Even at that, your life is a source of sincere encouragement. Ican, again, almost see that your ebony handsome and almost cherubicpermanent smile, saying: "don't worry God will see us through. You'renot alone." And, you never fail to say in your proud Igbo language:... O ga di cha nma, inu go... Jisie ike (it will all bealright... stay strong, do your best and hang in there!)

Lest I forget, he always dressed well.

Joe, your September 8, 2001 wedding card announcing the specialevent of your Holy Matrimony - at the Temple Hills Baptist Church inMaryland- with your beautiful and faithful wife, then Dr. Miss NwogoAgbasi is still here.

Why do I recall Nwogo?

I gather she lives and endures only as much as one who truly loveda good man, a very good man would. Yes, she's heart broken.Understandably, so. She remains an almost perfect reminder that truelove does not fold in the face of sudden illness and countdown todeath in the morning of the ululations of your young and faithfulhearts.

As we honor you, we'll remember that among our womenfolk and ourmen, true love still endures! That's despite all the pain and twistsand crises in many of our families. Yes, God is not through with us;not yet!

Your older brother Ben and his wife are running a thousand errandsa day to honor you. Like them, I still wonder why you? Why now? WhyJoe? If ever I had any doubts about the good dying young.... Joe, whyyou?

Let me return to a more personal stuff, Joe. I don't know why butever since you gave me your 2001 wedding card, and even after yourwedding came and was celebrated, I kept that card- the one you alltied with a beautiful burgundy-color ribbon. It still sits in frontof me; the same place it was before your transition, on top of myglass computer stand; above my treasured Apple Mac G4.

Joe Okigbo, ezigbo nwa; Okigbo, in name and deed, I'll alwaysremember, we'll always remember never to forget you: Good Son, GoodBrother and my Friend of a Lifetime. Adieu, ezigbo nwa. Okigbo!
Nwangwu,recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), is Founder andPublisher of (first African-owned U.S.-basedprofessional newspaper to be published on the internet), USAfrica TheNewspaper, NigeriaCentral.comand TheBlack Business Journal. He also serves as anadviser to the Mayor of Houston on international business (Africa)and appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, NPR, CBS News, NBC and ABCnews affiliates.

Contact: Ben Okigbo 713-779-6615. Felix Obidi President,Aniocha-Oshimili Houston 832-215-0943

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