Today, we, the members of Government College, Umuahia Class of ’72 tearfully join the family, friends and associates of our sibling, Azu Emuchay, to pay our last respect and bid him farewell as he departs the surly bonds of this earth to find eternal repose in the presence of God. And, we mourn.
The date, August 6, 2020 will go down in obloquy as one of the darkest days in the annals of our class, because on that day our own dear Wazinga left us in abject anguish and without any goodbye to go the way of all mortals.
The news of his sudden demise sent tremors of shock through our individual and collective bodies. We were totally unprepared for it psychologically as there was no hint of life threatening ailment or evidence of terminal illness.
Thus, on that infamous day we were hit as if by the combined forces of tsunami and tornado joined with a hurricane to leave us so utterly devastated and shattered. And, we wept.
Without question, Azu had played a catalytic role in the evolution and growth of our Class reunion and the definition of our mission in the context of the return of our Alma Mater to the Old Boys amid the ongoing efforts of the Government College Umuahia Old Boys Association (GCUOBA) to restore our school to its former glory.
From our maiden structured Reunion/Conference at Owerri in 2016 to our first ever Mini Summit/Fund Raiser in Abuja in 2017, Azu was there to play profound roles. And, we miss him.
And, as we search for him and ask questions of his whereabouts, we hear a distant voice saying Azuwuike is gone; that he has gone home to rest having completed his earthly race. It is now left to those of us who are not about to die to salute his memory, and to carry the torch from where he left it.
We have no choice but to uphold his passion, ideas and ideal for our abiding comradeship and the restoration of GCU. And, as one, we will shine that torch.
But, first we must stop short and pay homage to the memory of this brightest of stars. In our individual hearts and collective memory, we must not make a supernova of Azu, the one who shines brightly but briefly and soon fades from our sights and perishes in our thoughts.
Azu was and should remain what he truly was, a superstar that is constant as the Northern Star. And, he lives on in our hearts.
In his eventful but abbreviated lifetime, Azu was different things to different people. But, the common denominator was that he was a force for good, which positively touched many people and either improving lives or spreading happiness.
For those of us who knew him from our preteen formative years as fresh-faced “Onyos” in Government College, Umuahia and have continued to interact with him over the years and up until his last days on this plane, Azu was an unforgettable man, who cared about others and easily spread mirth, laughter and happiness through a never-ebbing flow of humour which let fly a cascade of rib-cracking jokes at every turn.
This is what earned him the soubriquet of Grandmaster of Humour amongst us. We recall that back then in those halcyon Umuahian days, Azu was gifted with a very fine handwriting which earned him a spot in the Editorial Board of The Beckon (House Magazine of Cozens House) as a Scribe.
He also at a time meritoriously served as the Chief Scribe of the Umuahian News Agency, in the era when news updates and stories were handwritten and posted on the “Newsboard” at the entrance into the Dining Hall.
Many of us still remember his superlative service as a Food Rep- the body of students that were charged with the task of ensuring that the quality and quantum of students meals were of the right standard. And, he remains unforgettable in our thoughts.
Today, we might be in the Winter of despair as we mourn Azu’s sad passing. But, as the Bible in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 teaches us in these words: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope”, we are trustful in God that He will lead us to the Spring of hope, and the Sun will shine again to dispel the dark clouds that foreshadowed Azu’s traumatizing exit. And, we TEARFULLY BID FAREWELL TO AZUWUIKE EMUCHAY.
A Tribute By GCU Class of ’72.