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Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi & Amaka Igwe’s Daughter Pay Tribute to the Filmmaker One year after her Death

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Amaka Igwe - May 2014 - 02 (1)It’s been a year since one of Nigeria’s most distinguished producers and directors Amaka Igwe died at age 51.

Nollywood actress Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi wrote on Instagram & Facebook:

Wow! It’s been a year already? Time waits for no one… It’s also been 19 years since you kick started my professional acting career with the movie – Violated. It was not a major role but it was a special role that set the pace for everything else that has come my way by way of work since then (1996).’ The Figurine and Tinsel actress went further by writing: ‘Thank you for believing in me and my talent. Thanks for the mentorship, words of encouragement and scolding as at when required. You were a Director and Producer to me before becoming a Friend and a Mother. Even when we didn’t see, we exchanged messages via sms and social media. I will forever hold on to your advice as well as cherish the memories of our interaction over the years. Thank you for EVERYTHING, especially for being YOU!! We love you Amaka Igwe but GOD loves you more. Continue to RIP as the Lord continues to protect your family.  #RIP #PeaceAndLove #Thankful#Violated #FilmMaker #Legend #Love #Friendship#God.

Amaka Igwe’s daughter, Ruby Igwe, took to her Facebook page to share a touching tribute.

Dear Mummy,

RE: One Year On.

It’s been one year today since you moved house, moved home, exchanged Earth for eternity. No forwarding address that I can visit and come back from. No quit notice. No forewarning. No explanation. You vanished.

I first thought that like in Scandal, or Hawaii Five-O, you weren’t really gone. I dreamt about your comeback, I borrowed all the scenarios from every action movie. It was going to be epic!

I imagined the explanations, the super-secrecy types, the massive conspiracy that you had to thwart, how sorry-not-sorry you would be because you had to do what you had to do. I prepped how long I would be angry for. (Five minTribute

But you didn’t show up. So far, no comeback.

So. I wonder how you and Mrs. Onwe and Uncle Efere and Buge Rewane and Uncle ‘Tapuluto Otulopo’ Oforbuike and Grandpaand everyone in heaven are gisting by now, if it is still as heavy as your first day.

Tell me Mummy, have you seen Adam and Eve? Or is there, like, a wait list? Please don’t tell Eve I said I would punch her once I get there because she caused childbirth pains et al.

Or maybe you should, so by the time I get there her beef would have diminished.

I wonder how many A-Fests you’ve held, and whether your film villages are threatening God’s cattle on a thousand hills. Have you screened the movie Aunty Ireti was talking about yet? Do you have a million series being produced at once?

Are there football leagues? Like, a Heaven Premiership? Is Jesus always Man of the Match? I wonder if you’ve played so much football like the good old days that you dribble with your legs in your sleep. I wonder if you sleep.

Does Angel Michael now wear Ankara? I wonder if the angels have now started speaking Wawa, and if the smell of the ogiri you and Mrs. Onwe must be putting in soups has chased the people who own mansions next to you.

Are you going to have an anniversary party? One year in heaven? Or if a thousand years are like a day, have you spent… forget it. The math is beyond me. Are you going to have a party though? Since heaven is a permanent turn up?

You know, Mummy, if not for God your death would have taken me with it. If not for God I would foolishly think to follow you. I know that you ran your race and you’re through. And I am forever proud.

After my denial, my kwata was that you left me here. You, my bestie, my bosom buddy. You left and left me reeling. I could not understand why. At first I thought you didn’t know. You couldn’t have known. Abi? Who knows these things?

But what was the context of the conversation we had the night before that night that lasted nearly two hours? Why did you stress more than usual how much you loved me and were proud of me?

Why did you sound like you were saying goodbye? How can I rationalize that you didn’t know? So, then I figured you knew. Maybe God whispered it to you and told you not to tell anyone.

But if you knew, what was the point of all our plans? All our tactile, possible plans? For you to do the law degree that eluded you back in your day, so we would graduate at the same time next year?

To practice law for half of the year in our ‘law shop’ and make movies and content all around the world for the other half? Plans for all the business ideas we’d think up and write down for later, with very little effort?

Plans for my wedding, and all the visions and thoughts you had, with the fresh flowers and the non-fussy dress and the non-generic vows? Plans to one day kidnap all your grandchildren over Christmas and vanish to Turkey?

For you to die at 85, nko? What happened to that plan? What happened to three score and ten, at least? What’s this, reverse African time? If you knew, why did we even make any plans?

If you knew, why was the very last thing you said to me ‘I’ll call you back?’ Or is there network in heaven? I didn’t get the memo. Are you that private number that I never manage to pick up in time? Ah no, I couldn’t think that you knew either.

You see, I’ve cycled through enough stages of grief to win the Tour de France.

Yet. Yet. Yet.

God is. And that is enough for me, enough to settle all of these questions in my head. He is faithful. He is present. He is sure. It is still well. These plans now foregone will find their way into the context of my life one way or another.

Either in a book or a series or a play or a movie or in my future reality. Or maybe just as memories, documented here and now. I trust Him; and I miss you. Words can’t even truly encapsulate the depth.

It’s been one year and I miss you as hard as if it was last night. I don’t think I will ever stop. But that’s fine. I don’t want to ever stop missing you. To stop would be to negate all those incredible memories we’ve got together.

Memories plentiful, strong and vivid enough to make me laugh for hours on end. Memories to inspire me, and move me. I remain so proud of you and astounded by you. I look at how much of a legacy you have left behind.

A legacy of talent, a legacy of dedication, discipline, self-determination, integrity, strength, loyalty and humility. And a legacy of people. Thank you. I celebrate you. I’m so glad I had you as my mother, and as my friend, my very best friend.

You showed me practically, love with great intensity, and day on day I learn about God’s even more infinitely intense love for me. The love I have to give becomes ever more refined as a result.

How am I? Awesome. Busy, very busy. Living, learning, and growing. There is a lot to do. I don’t have a blueprint of how my life is going to go. I thought I did. I just have the assurance that it’s going to be the definition of epic.

It is hard to not have you here to see me see this, and experience that. But I cannot be crippled by my grief, or consumed by it. My race still requires me to run. I need to finish strong. I definitely will not grieve like someone who has no hope.

We grieve with hope.

At your tribute on the 9th of June last year I said ‘know that I am coming’. Coming to God, more and more on earth and in full in heaven, coming to you, when I get there, and coming to the world.

That is still true. It is still well. And I am still coming.

You keep doing you in heaven. I’ll see you when I see you.

I love you. I love you. I love you.

Until forever.

– Ruby Igwe. The six-term lawyer & Barrister-to-be. Etc


Amaka Igwe

There is to be a remembrance service held in honour of Amaka Igwe on Sunday, 3rd May, 2015 at the following locations:

The Livingstone Church, Hotel Ibis Royale, International Airport Road, Ajao Estate, Lagos, by 4pm

Holy Trinity Church Obinagu, Udi, Enugu State by 9am, and unveiling of memorial plaque at her father’s home

Christ Central Church, John Pounds Centre, 23 Queen Street, Portsmouth, P01 3HN United Kingdom by 10:30am

Power House International Ministries, Str. Corinaldese 104, Senigallia, 10019(AN) Italy by 10am


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