Events of the Year: Passage

Late Mike Akpan


By Anayo Ezugwu  |

THE year 2014 would be remembered for the death of many prominent personalities around the world. In Nigeria, for instance, Ado Bayero, Emir of Kano, died on June 6, at the age of 84. He was the longest serving Emir of Kano, and spearheaded the construction of many mosques and Islamic schools in the emirate.

The country also lost Olugbenga Ashiru, former minister of foreign affairs and Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa, on November 29. He died in a South African hospital after a long battle with brain tumor. He was 66 years old.

The cold hands of death also caught Dora Akunyili, former minister of information and communications. She died in India on May 11, at the age of 60, where she was receiving treatment for cancer related ailment. The former director general of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, was an internationally renowned pharmacist, pharmacologist, erudite scholar, seasoned administrator, and a visionary leader. Her role in the fight against counterfeit drugs in Nigeria cannot be forgotten in a hurry.


Bamidele Aturu, a legal luminary and human rights activist also died on July 10, at the age of 49. Until his death, aside being a frontline activist, Aturu was a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God.

The media profession also lost many icons this year. Mike Akpan, pioneer editor-in-chief of Realnews, an online investigative general interest weekly magazine published in Lagos and former editor of Newswatch magazine, died on September 30, at the age of 68. Akpan, who is also a fellow of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, NGE, was on admission in Uyo Teaching Hospital in Akwa Ibom State, for a few days before his death. He at various times worked with the Daily Times, The Nigerian Observer, and the Nigerian Chronicle newspapers.


Oluremi Oyo, former managing director of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, first female president, Nigerian Guild of Editors and first female to serve as a president’s spokesperson, died in London, on October 1, of cancer-related ailment. She was 61 years old. On September 6, Dimgba Igwe, vice chairman of The Sun Publishing Limited died. He was 58 years. Igwe was among the pioneers of The Sun Newspaper in 2003.

The year witnessed some air disasters that claimed lives of many Nigerians and the world in general. On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with 227 passengers disappeared while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia to Beijing, China. Its disappearance remains a misery to the world. Also, on September 9, another Malaysia plane MH17crashed in Ukraine. All the passengers in the flight died after the plane crashed in eastern Ukraine to the border with Russia.

On the international arena, Myles Munroe, evangelical pastor, died on November 9, at the age of 60. He died in a plane crash with his wife and other passengers in the aircraft. Munroe and his wife were on their way to the Global Leadership Forum, which was organized by Munroe, and was scheduled to take place from the November 10 through November 13 at the Lucayan Resort Hotel in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

— Jan. 5, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT


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