…Eku community, friends, others paid glowing tributes
The Chairman of Nigerian leading airline, Air Peace Limited, Mr. Allen Onyeama said the company will ensure the family of the late Mr. Chris Iwara, the airline’s former Corporate Communication Manager who died on June 5th in a ghastly motor accident at Mangoro area of Dopemu along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway in Lagos is adequately catered for.
Mr. Allen described the death of Chris as one of the saddest day in his life and explained that staff of the airline are finding it hard to come to term with the demise of the ex spokesman whom he described as a consummate lawyer, journalist and cooperate communication expert who worked tirelessly to positively project the image of the airline.
The Air Peace Chairman, while speaking at the burial ceremony of the late Chris in his home town, Eku in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta state on Saturday recounted how he received the sad news from his wife on the fateful day and rushed back to Lagos from his home town in Anambra state to coordinate the medical service been given to his spokesman affirming that the company was planning to immediately to fly Mr. Chris Iwara abroad for further treatment before he gave up the ghost.
In an emotional laden speech, the Air Peace Chairman, who led a delegation of over 50 members of staff of the airline to the burial ceremony said he has lost a dependable ally and disciplined soldier who always stand for justice, fairness and equality among staff irrespectively of tribe, religion and position.
Mr. Allen, who is the Chairman of Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria, said “l am yet to see a young man with the quality of my wonderful late friend, Chris. He is one whom l delegates multiple tasks to and goes to sleep knowing that those assignments are done deals. He exudes passion for whatever you commit into his hands to carry out. He was super intelligent, a hard worker, multi-skilled, extremely dedicated”.
He said “l close from work by 2.am and each time l look through my cameras, l see Chris still moving from one office to the other at such time just to make sure that everything is going according to plan even those outside the purview of his office. If there is one thing l admired most about him, it is his fearlessness, he is a soldier who takes the bullets for the company most times, he looks at me and tells me, Mr. Chairman, with all due respect Sir, l disagree with you on this and this is the way l think we have to do this things and always, his suggestions and advice are right”
According to Mr. Allen, “on that fateful day, l was already preparing to fly Chris oversea for the best medical services he could get anywhere, but God knows best, we cannot question him. I will ensure his family gets the best of support in life and l will lend supports to anything that Chris represents.”
He added that Nigeria has lost an upwardly mobile, fearless and courageous future leader whose interest in championing justice for the oppressed and less privilege and victimized members of the society is legendary.
In his tribute, Editor of Guardian Newspaper Limited, Mr. Abraham Ogbodo said few youth with the sterling quality of the late Chris Iwara exist in Nigeria just as he said he lack words to describe his present feelings.
Mr. Ogbodo, who spoke on behalf of Atamu Social Club of Nigeria, a foremost social cultural group of the Urhobo nation said “the late Chris was a son to me; a bright and shining star has been shot down, the Urhobo nation has just lost one of its brightest rising stars. Eku town has lost its best advocate and defender while the Atamu has been denied a versatile and irreplaceable son and leader”.
He added that “Chris was a Nigerian who fight for and defend the oppressed and a voice for the downtrodden. The Legal profession will miss one of its finest breeds while the media profession; the Baptist church will also miss its best hand, devout and staunch disciple of Christ. But Heaven just gained an Angel and what wisdom and fortitude have mere mortals like us to question the deeds of the Almighty God?
Mr. Ogbodo affirmed that “the late Chris Iwara is a rare breed, an irreplaceable and indescribable genius, a man of many parts. A young man full of life and energy: no one dare make imputations or conjectures to belittle him or infringes his rights or those around him yet he is the most gentle and respectful young man you will ever come across”
The occasion witnessed outpouring of glowing tributes from colleagues at Air Peace, families and members of the Eku community, colleagues in the legal and media professions as well as church members, childhood friends and beneficiaries of scholarship awards the late Chris championed for indigent Urhobo students in various tertiary institutions across Nigeria.
The officiating minister Reverend D Unuse described death as a debt every one owe his or maker and prayed for grace for the Iwara family to bear the lost of their son.
The Air Peace Chairman, the company Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olajide, Chief of Finance and Administration, Mrs. Ejiroghene Eghagha and Head, Transcorp Hilton Group Nigeria, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo in company of the airline staff also paid a condolence visit to the parent of the late Air Peace image maker, Chief Solomon and Mrs. Rose Iwarah in their family compound along the old Sapele road.