By Ray Ugochukwu
If there are people who see things before they happen, Chief Eugene Nweke, former President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), is one of them.
He has demonstrated this in a special poetic eulogy he wrote on the late Maritime Amazon, Chief (Barr) Margaret Orakwusi, who died recently.
In the piece he titled, “The Day Princess Margaret Orakwusi Could No Longer Smile, Speak, Eat Or Walk”, Nweke recounted how in a trance he saw the late Maritime Icon being pulled by some unseen hands yet without losing her signature smiles”.
He wrote, “In a trance, I saw Princess Magret Orakwusi in a last minute of struggle. It was a heavy hand-pull on Da Princess with a clear whispering “follow me, it’s time to let go all, and let’s go”. Da Princess hesitated, but eventually followed, moving gently towards what she had feared most; what she said she saw in dreams past.
“More easily than she had imagined, as the unseen hands pulled her, she realized vanity was the world. She looked back once again, then put up her usual smiles, her inviting eyes filled with tears.
“The force in this hand-pull was so firm; hence, in the joint terrestrial journey before the phase of brown sand, behold a hovering and wandering in lowland, over tall green spartina, on topmost of mountains, upon non-equatorial tress on estuarine waters, a swan in the oceans, a penatration of the storms and tempest, faced the subtropical air, unto a temperate zone, so hovered and wandered the soul”.
Nweke further recounted, “Continuing in her terrestrial experience, was a quick remembrance of her classic and excellence of human physique running from her girlhood – elegance, beauty and intelligence – to this solemn hour. Suprisingly, out of breath, she lightened up her face with her usual smiles again, and took on a faith of necessity to say in low voice, ‘I was blessed, Hosanna in the highest heaven’, then she nodded with a deeper smile. She uttered, “So far, so good, a naked stranger I was and here exit back a stranger”.
“Again, came the flashback of earthly sujourn of life’s events and memories of the industry activities, of finished and unfinished tasks, thoughts of good souls she is leaving behind, of those she called her shipmates. She looked down to behold the ports and the oceans’ beauty but realized that, there was no sign of buoy, boat, building, bridges, noise of people and cranking of those ports’ cargo-handling equipment. Conference halls and meeting rooms all went silent; only then she wondered in realization that there was an unseen hand pulling and she followed”.
He continued, “In a moment of realities, she recounted as she struggled with the realities before her, as common to man, ‘one way I came and exit through another’. She said, ‘If my dead reckoning was right, then my departure is my will, but why am I hesitant to reverse this course? ‘Okay!’ She said. Then, she sighed and brilliantly smiled to herself and retorted, ‘Your will is your will and not my will, let it be done’.
“Orakwusi then, as in holding onto the microphone for the last time, said: ‘O comrades, my pals, come tell the industry story once again; this poor devil down the hall has howled itself out and unwilling to let go my hands. You all remember how it was in the industry, familiar strangers all the way. In this industry spaceship, weightless as it were, just make ready to go outside. I went first, always thought it was someone else’s to go first. I now know the way, but don’t follow me too soon, no not now. More works to be done, do them before the hour”.
Former NAGAFF boss narrated, “I woke from this trance, not knowing whether Princess Margaret Orakwusi has actually departed this restless earth or not. But reading through the industry news headlines as published, it was no longer a rumour. Truly, Ada Diora Nma has embarked on the journey of no return!”
Wishing the late trawler business exponent farewell, Nweke wrote, “Ada Ndigbo, jee nke oma! We’ll see on the resurrection morning of the day of the Lord. The maritime industry greatly misses you. The thought of, no more cracking the Igbo riddles on phone or at gatherings, has left me in shock! Adieu the Maritime Amazon!!