Onukaba, Eucharia Anunobi’s only child, Tinubu’s son… eight deaths that shook Nigeria in 2017

Onukaba, Eucharia Anunobi’s only child, Tinubu’s son… eight deaths that shook Nigeria in 2017
December 31
09:12 2017

Death is inevitable but humans, being mortals, cannot get used to the news of death, irrespective of the frequency it occurs.

People die every day, but who they are and the circumstances surrounding it, are factors that determine the degree of the effect.

While some deaths are received with relatively less sorrow or grief, others shock people to their bone marrows.

Nigeria had its fair share of deaths in 2017, ranging from the casualties of Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east, to the victims of the clash of herdsmen, to people who died of natural causes.

Below are some of the deaths that shook Nigeria in 2017.


Just like late Nigerian rap artiste, Oladapo Olaonipekun, popularly known as Dagrin, who died after his song titled ‘If I die”, maybe Onukaba saw his death coming, maybe not- but we will never know.

Adinoyi-Ojo Onukaba, seasoned journalist who served as senior special assistant to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, died on March 5.

Onukaba was born on March 9, 1960, in Oboroke-Ihima, Okehi local government area of Kogi state.

In 2015, he ran for office, under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) but lost the ticket to Yahaya Bello, the state governor.

Many had already projected him as the next governor, and possibly the best the state would have seen in two decades — but death came knocking. If he was indeed the right choice, Kogi will also never know.

At a meeting with members of Ebira Council, where he was secretary-general, Onukaba discussed security concerns in the state, and how armed robbers chased out of Kogi were making their way to neighbouring states.

Less than 48 hours later, while he was returning from the birthday of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, he was hit by a car while trying to escape an armed robbery attack.


Florence Onyebuchi Emecheta was a literary gem and scholar. Emecheta authored over 20 books among which are ‘The Joys of Motherhood’ and ‘Second Class Citizen’. Her themes of child slavery, motherhood, female independence and freedom through education won her considerable critical acclaim and honour, though she has refused to be tagged a “feminist”.

“I work toward the liberation of women but I’m not feminist. I’m just a woman,” she had written.

She has been characterised as “the first successful black woman novelist living in Britain after 1948”.

She died on January 5 at the age of 72.


On October 7, Gbemiga Abiodun, better known as DJ Olu, friend to Afropop singer Davido, was found dead in his car.

The DJ’s death came four days after Davido lost another friend, Tagbo Umeike, an associate of actress Caroline Danjuma.

Umeike died on his birthday.

“Two brothers gone in 4 days,” Davido had written on his Snapchat page.

The ‘Omo Baba Olowo’ singer was alleged to have been involved in the demise of his friends.

He has, however, denied the allegations.


Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), lost Jide, his first son, on November 1.
Jide, who was reportedly hale and hearty before his “sudden demise”, was said to have suffered a cardiac arrest.

Speaking on the loss of his son, Tinubu said he wished he could bring him back, admitting that no father would want to be in his shoes.


Forty-eight hours after “thanking Allah for the gift of life,” Moji Olaiya, popular Nollywood actress, embraced the marathon slumber.

The actress, 42, died following a cardiac arrest, two months after she gave birth to her second daughter.

It was alleged that she was poisoned.

The family, however, debunked the claims, saying an autopsy conducted on her showed she died of natural medical cause.

Her remains arrived Nigeria on June 6 and she was laid to rest the following day.


Before his death on April 23, Isiaka Adeleke was the senator representing Osun-west.

He was a two-term senator and first civilian governor of Osun and paternal uncle to Adedeji Adeleke, afropop singer better known as Davido.

The strong advocate for schools in prisons passed on at Biket Hospital in Osogbo, after suffering a heart attack.

Coincidentally, Adeleke’s death happened less than 24 hours after he attended a burial in the Ile-Olugbo area of Osun.

He was 62 years old.


The pain in losing a child is perhaps deeper than the love between a mother and her child. On August 22, Eucharia Anunobi, Nollywood actress turned evangelist, lost her only child, Raymond Ekwu.

The 15-year-old Ekwu suffered from sickle cell anemia from birth, and died from complications associated with the disease.

Three months after his death, his mother penned down an emotional tribute to him on her Instagram page.

Calling his names in full, Anunobi wrote: “Raymond Joshua Chimaobi Chimnonso Ekwu, your mummy is absolutely distraught without you still.

“Our home is so silent now without you. Every time I still peep into your room to see if you’re there.”


Among the lives claimed by the Boko Haram insurgency is that of Aliyu Usman Mani, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID).

Mani was born in Katsina town on April 11, 1957. He died on January 16, when a male suicide bomber detonated a bomb at a mosque in UNIMAID, where he was observing the (Fajr) prayers.

Following his death, Usman Abbas, a younger brother to Mani, wrote to Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Boko Haram sect, describing him as a “dead man waiting to go to hell”.

“Your soul will never smell heaven,” Abbas said to Shekau.

Ibrahim Ismail, a student of Mani, would later  tell TheCable that Mani “was a very religious man and very dedicated to his work.”

“He just had a class after he went to the Mosque to pray when it happened, he was very calm and everyone was happy with him,” Ismail said.

“He was one of the most senior lecturer in his department.”


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