During the requiem Mass for the repose of the sole of the erudite scholar of Umuaka extraction, Dr Tim Obiwuru which was held last week in Ibele Umuaka Autonomous Community at the St Peter’s Anglican Church, a lot of activities took place during the church service. Some of the people who spoke and those who extolled the virtues of the departed sole did so in diverse ways but one man made a speech that held the congregation spell bound. When Dr Austin Chidi Agbaahiwe, a frontline Akalite, community leader and brother to Tim Obiwuru was called to make a vote of thanks, he went straight to the alter and clutched the microphone.
It can be recalled that Dr Agbahiwe who is the Managing Director, American Cancer Hospital Nigeria, recently worked tirelessly for the successful burial of his mother in-law after an in-depth and well planned burial organization. As he was about to take a rest, the death of his brother suddenly set in. Against all odds, Agbahiwe managed to be himself while making his speech which held the ears of the congregation spell bound.
According to him, it was impossible for many to separate him from Tim because they did a lot of things together. Agbahiwe told the people that what he is today, the late Dr Tim Obiwuru contributed a great deal of it via capacity building. “He motivated me to read widely, attending 7 universities in and outside Nigeria.”
Dr Agbahiwe further disclosed that Dr Obiwuru was able to achieve this feat through the principle of assimilation which is, “what I am I want you to be.” He further narrated an incident that happened to him in 1985 when he got an admission to the university. Agbahiwe was able to raise the sum of N650 through family sources and embarked on the journey to the university. The money which was a huge amount of money then was in one of the bags he carried alongside with him. His mission was to do his registration, pay school fees and attend to other needs at school. As Phil Collins would put it, “something happened on the way to heaven”: The vehicle the younger Austin Chidi Agbahiwe entered happened to be occupied by armed robbers. As the vehicle moved, they robbed him of the entire cash he had, inflected injuries on him and pushed the poor boy out of the moving vehicle and he sustained more injuries. For him, that was the end of his university education but help came from somewhere at last.
“When Tim heard this, he showed pity on me consoled me and assured me that my academic ambition would still go on. He organized a fundraising party for me and at last a total of N15 was raised and off I took again to pursue my academics.”
The speech by Dr Agbahiwe indeed confirmed to a very large extent the type of person Sir Timmy O was to those who met him while on earth. At the end of his speech, Dr Agbahiwe thanked all the persons who found time to pay homage to the departed sole. He thanked those who came all the way from Lagos, University of Lagos, outside the country and from several parts of the country. He assured them that the legacies of the late academic pundit will never go the way of a candle in the wind.