Nigeria: Muna Obiekwe - I Have Been Living Without Kidney for Three Years - Emma Ugolee
By Ayo Onikoyi
Following the death of Nollywood actor, Muna Obiekwe, last Sunday, after a protracted battle with failing kidney which finally gave in on Sunday, an air of gloom descended on the industry, prompting many to question their lifestyles and warning colleagues to do the same. Tributes began to pour in for the deceased, just as colleagues exchanged messages of love, sharing the loss and embracing in a sombre camaraderie that only could come from losing a dear one.
Amid the tears, the sobs and sheer disbelief is a man who must feel the loss than most people. Not because he is a kin or of same family with the deceased but because he suffers from the same ailment from which his colleague has just passed away. To him, death is never far away. He had come close to seeing it many times but has always won. The man is Emma Ugolee, former on-air-personality.
"Too many phone calls last night only with everyone just checking to see how I was doing. It all made sense when news filtered in that Muna Obiekwe had just died from a disease I've battled for over three years now. The general concern being the psychological impact of being reminded of the likelihood of one's demise owing to the unpredictable and deadly nature of living without a kidney," he recalled his experience a night after Muna's death.
"For closer friends, aware that I had lost 10 associates to this struggle. Three being in the last Three months and that each one lived with issues less complicated than mine. Calling me was like checking up on a pal on death row," he observed somberly.
But Emma Ugolee, as much as he may see himself on death row, isn't sitting helplessly, expecting the hangman to come with the noose. He has hope and he shared it with colleagues:
"Now it was time to return the calls and assure every single one that the unfortunate event is no reason to lose faith," he said
"It's no proof that I must toe a similar line. That I am not holier than those whose journeys have ended and thus wise enough to understand that logic does not explain the sustaining power of grace. The fact that a pattern surrounds you, does not mean your future has been moulded by it. Your faith, your vision, aspiration and motivation must tower above your environment all the time. What around you shakes your faith in you? What around you weakens your resolve to try? What tempts you to want to conform? Nothing, should be the only answer you know," he counselled.