Remarks At The Service Of Songs For Herbert, Chizoba And Chizi Wigwe

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Praise the Lord! Praise Jesus! To members of the Wigwe and Uwuba families, especially the children, Tochi, David and Ukachi, let me say that I’m very mindful that no amount of words or even actions today can heal your wounded hearts. We can only hope that it helps for you to know that you are not alone in your grief and that this tragedy has broken the hearts of so many.


I’m sure you’ve seen that this is not just a national tragedy, but across Africa and many parts of the world, many are grieving the loss of a true friend, a hope bringer, and a man for whom the future always seemed so imminent. But all across this land and elsewhere, many have been weeping with you.


This tragedy has troubled so many, young and old. Herbert’s, friends, associates, Doreen’s circle of friends and associates of so many years, Chizi’s friends, a deep dark cloud hangs over our hearts. We’ve heard so much about Herbert’s life and times, exemplary life and times. I’ve known him for so many years. I’m not even so sure how many years.


While I was in office for the entire eight years, Herbert called me practically every other month just to say “how are you doing,” never asked a favor. But two months before I left office he called me and said he needed to see me. And I thought, well he must have some issue. And he came with a notebook to see me and I was very surprised because Herbert never ever came with a notebook.


He said he wanted to know what’s for the future after I left office. And after I laughed over it, he insisted, and he took notes very diligently of everything that I said I wanted to do. And thereafter, he visited me at least no less than three or four times before I left office.


The Thursday before he died, that was a week before he died, he called me up, he had called me on Tuesday and said he was coming to see me in Abuja on Thursday and he did. We spent about three hours reviewing practically everything. So many different things; the university, the philanthropies he was involved in, various other things. This for me in particular, made it clear how important friendship and how important our relationships are.


Herbert was someone who walked the talk of brotherhood and friendship. It wasn’t just rhetoric, it wasn’t just talk. He walked that talk. He was there for his friends, there for his associates, and we’ve heard how deeply he cared for his family. This event has confronted me, and I’m sure many of us, with our own mortality – all the plans we make and the future that we envisage.


Well three things that I’d like you to know especially true is that the first is that as far as God is concerned and I’m so happy that Mrs. Awosika mentioned it, the manner of death is not important to God.


John was beheaded as we’ve heard, Stephen was stoned to death, Elisha died of an undisclosed illness. What is important to God is the difference between dying and perishing. There’s a difference between dying and perishing. Everyone will die, every one of us will die and we’ll confront our maker.


But the Word of God says in John 3:16, it says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” The bible did not say “will not die”, but “will not perish.”


Perishing is dying without Christ and the manner of death does not matter as far as whether we die or perish. There’s a scripture that came to my mind as I was asked to speak this morning. That scripture is found in Luke 13. Jesus Christ was confronted by people who had heard that a tower collapsed in Siloam and it killed 18 people. 18 people were killed.


A tower collapsed, fell on the heads of people and the same people who told him this story, said a few days ago, Herod caught some Jews and sliced them into pieces and mixed their blood with sacrifice. Jesus expressed his opinion about the matter and said all those who died, those on whom the tower collapsed and those sliced into pieces,  none of them was worse than any other person, or none was a worse sinner than any other person. They might think the reason why they died in those gruesome circumstances was that they did something wrong, but Jesus said no. He said what was important is that for the living, you must repent, that if you don’t repent, you may perish.


I pray that all of us who are here will consider that as far as God is concerned, the moment and time of our death or the manner is entirely left to Him. What is crucial is our lives eternally. And what matters to Him is our lives eternally.


Finally, I pray with the Word of God which says that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning and I pray that your joy will come very quickly.


God bless you.