I did not know Michael Anyiam-Osigwe but when I heard about his unfortunate death at the hands of robbers late last month along the Ore-Benin expressway, I was quite saddened. I followed the news reporting online and also sent my condolences.
I later discovered that Michael was a pillar of strength both for his family and Nigeria. He was also respected far and wide by world leaders, and indeed tributes poured in from world leaders also saddened by the news. As Nigerians, we have a long way to go and a lot of work to do. For me, it starts with enforcement of our laws on the books and the Nigerian government ensuring safety for every Nigerian citizen. I was reading last week about a lovely couple from the DMV area here in the States who visited Nigeria a few weeks ago. The two were shot dead by armed robbers. The story was just so sad. Their children are now left orphaned in the US. The couple were probably so happy about reuniting with their families during this holiday season, only to have their lives cut short.
Funeral services for Michael commenced last week with activities scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and a burial on Friday. Michael has now been buried. Prior to the funeral activities, his sister Peace Anyiam Osigwe, founder and former CEO of The Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) shared this moving tribute that was posted on the AMAA Foundation Facebook page about two weeks prior to Michael’s burial ceremonies. May his soul rest in peace.
MICHAEL ANYIAM-OSIGWE: AN EXTRAORDINARY MAN OF PEACE
By Peace Anyiam-Osigwe
When a family and siblings are as close as ours, it is pretty difficult to think that one of us will not be seen again. When our father, my best friend, Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe transcended to the other side after his earthly sojourn it hurt like hell, but I had time to say goodbye to him. But for you my brother, His Excellency Michael Anyiam-Osigwe, the Coordinator General of the Osigwe Anyiam Osigwe Foundation, the Honorary Consul of Republic of Malawi to Nigeria, the backbone of the Africa Movie Academy Award, you did not give me or anyone time to say goodbye.
But how do you say good-bye to a brother who was the epitome of peace, a brother who cares for everyone and was always fussing over every one of us. I have been blessed to have seven brothers, all wonderful in their own ways but Michael was truly special. The last two years have been very trying period in my life health-wise but Michael stood by me and never allowed me to go alone for any doctor’s appointment. He would hold my hands as I screamed with pain, he would call and cross-check all my doctors’ appointments to make sure I didn’t miss any.
He worked behind the scene to ensure we hold Africa Movie Academy Awards since inception. He carried the burden of AMAA to lessen the trouble for our team and he always assured Academy members the best is yet to come. He never wanted us to fight or join issues with anyone because he believed that LIFE is a cycle.
Michael, it is most painful to realise that you died by a gunshot from a deranged armed robber. You were a man of peace and you didn’t deserve such a violent death. As your one and only sister this is one death too much to bear.
I don’t think others whose life you touched in so many ways will ever be able to comprehend this nightmare that we are having right now.
Michael, Nwannenanya , it’s amazing to accept that Papa allowed you to join him so soon but knowing you the way I do, I know that you will want to save the world and not self.
It dawns on me each day I woke up since your transition that it is a reality. Michael, the genius, the caring, understandable and humble brother anyone can ever have. My team and I at the Africa Film Academy, which is under your supervision as the Coordinator General of Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation, cannot bear this loss. You were very important in everything that concerns our work across Africa. Our loss is immense both as an organisation and also individually as your wife, Okiemute remains our ever present partner and colleague and we call her Account General.
Michael, you walked and carried yourself with the poise of a leader. Michael, a man of peace and an embodiment of nobility coupled with the eloquence of a true gentleman. You personify ingenuity and brilliance as a thinker and public intellectual. Like your father, who was an extraordinary man, you understood where others were ignorant of the reality of the world.
You had a profound knowledge base about the truth of existence and the role of man as a manifestation of Divine Intelligence. Michael, you were and will forever remain one of the greatest and proud citizens of this country and the world at large. You have not died; you only transited to a higher realm of existence. Remember, character is personality and personality outlives death.
As I conclude this, I want to call on my brother, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who for many years has been a member of our family to please for the sake of our brother, Michael make the stretch of road between Ore to Benin and indeed all the highways in Nigeria safe for motorists. It is by so doing that Michael’s death will not be in vain. The stretch of road between Okada and Benin has taken so many souls that did not need to be taken. It’s frightening to also hear that the bandits who operated on the road and killed my brother were wearing DSS uniforms. Mr. President, I wonder what your Service Chiefs and Heads of our country’s Security Agencies are doing to help travellers get rid of these men of the underworld who daily terrorise Nigerians. Mr. President, I know you alone cannot save Nigeria but for the sake of Michael, a man who was a Global Goodwill Ambassador for Nigeria and for all Nigerians who travel that road let the safety of our highways be part of your transformation agenda.
I will end with this quote from the Dalai Lama, “Whether you believe in God or not does not matter so much, whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much; as a Buddhist, whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not matter so much. You must lead a good life and a good life does not mean just good food, good clothes, and good shelter. These are not sufficient. A good motivation is what is needed: compassion, without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy; just understanding that others are human, brothers and sisters and respecting their rights and human dignity.’’
Michael spent his short but eventful life pursuing ways and ideas that will make the human society work better and provide for all those who live in it.
Sleep on, in the bosom of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour Michael Chibuzor Anyiam-Osigwe. It is pretty difficult to say goodbye to a great brother like you.
Peace Anyiam-Osigwe MFR