Friday the 10th of June, 2015 was the day that Umuezeanokulu village in Ukpata, Uzo-Uwani local government area of Enugu State bid the hard final farewell to one of its illustrious sons, Comrade Paul Mbakwe Chiama who was a senior reporter of LEADERSHIP Newspaper until the sad end. Abah Adah was there for LEADERSHIP.
Paul Chiama, as he was popularly known, who was regrettably snatched by the cold hands of the ever marauding enemy of man-death-on Wednesday, 25th May, 2016, was interred for his final rest with his ancestors in tears on this day.
Late Paul Chiama was born first of six (two male and four female) children to late Mr Joseph Chiama in Umuuezeanokulu village. His alive and aging mother is Mrs Caroline Chiama.
According to the youngest sister and last born, Miss Deborah Chiama, who took care of her brother in the course of the ailment after he returned home sick, he was taken for medical check and care at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozara, Enugu State where the diagnoses could not show anything serious at first and they had to return home to manage the condition with some drugs.
“It was later when the condition deteriorated and he began to exhibit some strange behaviour that he was again rushed back to the hospital and was diagnosed of hepatitis,” she said.
The more pathetic side of the story is that Chiama was buried in his father’s compound side by side with his immediate and only younger brother, Elijah Chiama, who was murdered in cold blood sometime in May, 2013 by a group of boys in the town following an altercation that brewed between them.
Recall that Elijah was reported killed then by LEADERSHIP Friday courtesy of his brother, Paul. And since then the body of Elijah has been waiting in the morgue as the case was in court until recently when the family got the permission for burial.
As is the practice of the Catholic Church, which is the dominant religious faith of the people of Umuezeanokulu and its environs, Requiem Mass was said for the deceased brothers at the Church centre before interment which was followed by other burial rites in line with the catholic faith.
Paul Chiama, 35 at the time of his demise, held a Bachelor of Arts (B. A.) Second Class Upper degree in Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano and joined the LEADERSHIP group in 2013 as a senior reporter.
Infant Paul, then, attended Community Primary School, Ukpata, Enugu State where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) in 1989; Community Secondary School, Iheakpu-Akwa, Igbo-Eze South LGA, Enugu State and obtained his SSCE certificate before proceeding to the university.
Chiama held several posts in his university alma-matter where he served as President, Igbo Students Union (ISU) hence the title ‘Comrade’. Immediately after his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) he was employed as a manager at Nardy Mardan Hotel, Kano where he worked for a period of five years. He thereafter left for the banking industry and was employed by Sterling Bank where he worked for several years.
Even at that Chiama was not comfortable with the kind of work he found himself doing because he had long had penchant for journalism, his fundamental reason for going to read Mass Communication at the university. He sought and took up employment at Leadership Newspaper in Abuja as a senior reporter in 2013 and relocated.
While at LEADERSHIP, amiable Paul Chiama maintained a good working relationship with members of staff and would go the extra mile to ensure that his assignments were promptly carried out. His good-naturedness, commitment to work, honesty and resourcefulness will be greatly missed by the LEAERSHIP family.
After the burial, family members spoke their minds about late Paul Chiama to LEADERSHIP.
Chiama’s Uncle, Levinus Chiama, paid tribute to paul. He said Paul was the type that was full of goodwill towards anyone around him. “He is often quiet and friendly,” he confessed, “and does not want any trouble at all. This family misses him a lot.”
The sister Deborah Chiama described Paul as a loving and caring brother who will be greatly missed by her.
His cousin, Kingsley Chiama said “Paul has a very good reputation and is well known in and around this community. He was my mentor and taught me how to write well. This loss is irreparable.”
On his part, Hassan Gimba, the Editor of LEADERSHIP Friday, under whom Chiama worked directly and was mentored, described him as a reliable, dedicated, honest, humble and hardworking journalist, full of respect for his superiors, who carries out assignments given him irrespective of the time of the day without complain.
“On the LEADERSHIP Friday desk, we shall surely miss him. May his gentle soul rest in peace,” he concluded.