Sunday Dec 04, 2022

Archibong Akpochi Egwuagu 1 of Mbaise

My “Great People I Know”collection won’t be complete without Mentioning my Buddy.

There was only one person that could make Ope behave- no matter how tall Ope grew, he could always wrestle him into submission. There’s only one person I know that has his head swimming with J Moss and Tonex Songs. There’s one person that when he’s singing, he can switch from alto to tenor to treble at the speed of….sound (I guess)

There’s this guy that had a head bigger than his body when we were in 100 level. He walked with his legs almost gummed together and hugged his books tight like a girl would do her teddy bear. He wore his glasses almost as low as a Judge in court would.

Guess whose matriculation number (007) was so cool in contrast to his quiet character?

Does that ring a bell? NO?

Okay, he attended Nifes, was in the choir, was a founding member of the LGC and TheFlame/Golgotha/Pentecost/Rock Choir. The one backup singer that any Nifes vocalist would be glad to have. One time he led the choir in an Easter song (while the guy Playing Jesus dragged the cross all the way down the Chapel aisle)!

When I needed to move my stuff to my new place, guess who followed me? Ope and………..? All the times when me and Ope lived prodigiously and needed a lender of last resort, guess who was our Central Bank? Guess who started me on Ted Dekker novels? And guess who forced me to read a Francine Rivers Book (Redeeming Love, I think it was called)?

Guess who was with me and Ope the day grateful cooked okra soup for us, and gave us hot eba to eat (thus causing us to fall asleep?) And guess who we gave serious grief over his alleged romantic affiliation to a certain Yoruba girl who lived in Kano?

Guess who pelted “It is well”against the stark hurt of Carler’s Sudden death?

Guess who taught us a few Taekwondo moves in between rehearsals? Guess who was the driving force behind Intellectual Property group A? The guy who would rally us to finish our assignments against impossible deadlines? I remember one term paper Uncle Weezy gave us to write, about Foreign Direct Investments in Nigeria. We gathered sources, We compiled and typed from 12pm till about 12:10 am. It was hard, tiring work but Dr K.M. Waziri said of that paper,
“This is the best Work i have seen from undergraduate students. If I were to base your exam on this paper, you’ve all scored an A”
Guess who finished his project first among the IP students? Him! CeeJay Submitted first but I remember him having the most succint abstract in the entire group of Dr Waziri’s Supervisees.
Okay, you’re tired of guessing.

Valentine Lewechi Archibong Nwakamma.

A man’s man, a talented writer and singer. A friend and a brother, who was with us all through thick and thin. Valentine’s external hard drive saved my laptop when my CPU fried (overheating of the motherboard). Valentine’s house proved to be a veritable resting ground when I had one or two chores to do in town. I can’t remember how many times we hung out when my car was at the mechanic’s for servicing. Or the day he bought white soup from the local Bukateria (btw Valentine you still owe me 170 naira!!!!!)

I remember valentine always had the latest information on school- project supervisors, caution lists, submission deadlines, even resumption dates when school was on strike. I remember when both our sisters wrote the Post-UME exams for Unibuja and both were denied admission. I remember when Loveth moved in with Kunmi and we had to Act like big brothers around her. I remember some times when she fell sick and valentine would leave everything to go take care of her (or send her home for medical attention). I wished I loved my sister THAT much, and I began to learn (I started calling her like once a month heheheheheheh).

I remember those days of going to Mallam Ismaila to buy bread-and-egg. I remember how he was addicted to Nutri-C (deny it Val, I dare you). I remember how one day he travelled and next thing we saw was a photo of our boy tying wrapper like a woman!!!! That photo is saved permanently in my system, *Lol*

I remember when on my birthday Valentine gave me two books. Those two books kept me from going mad with boredom (and constant office-related reading). Just before that I mentioned to Segun Fiki (my learned Senior at the Bar) that I had not read anything besides law books and he asked me “are you preparing for an exam? Son, that’s just pleasure reading”. The one person I knew among my gang that loved reading novels more than I did was Valentine! Anyway those books made me appreciate the Roman Era and how Christianity was viewed by the pantheist Roman subjects. That Valentine.

I remember how every time news about law school came, Valentine would be the first to know, and call “Have you done this…?”, “have you done that…?” He made sure we knew the deadlines and we did our registration on time. I wasn’t around one day and Ope, Val, Felicity, and Kemi (I think) went to a cafe together. I felt left out, but I knew it wasn’t their fault (I was kind of busy too).

We did not have the fortune of going to the same law school. I ended up in Enugu while my best buddies are all in Abuja (Ugochi’s in Kano). I miss them sorely and there are times I wish they were here. Some times i want to sing “a.p.o.l.o.g.ise” or “Jericho Down” but there’s no Tenor like Valentine’s own.

The wonderful people I knew in my university days made me the person I am. If i am jovial and lively, it is because of the people I spent most of my evenings (and hot saturdays) with. If i make you smile, or make life seem a little easier than it really Is, be grateful to God that I met people like Valentine.

To Valentine Lewechi Archibong Akpochi Maestroval Nwakamma
Happy Birthday
May you see long, Happy, Fruitful Days



2 thoughts on “Archibong Akpochi Egwuagu 1 of Mbaise

  1. nice d same for me on my birthday.

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