#YNaija2017Review: Alex Ekwueme, Buchi Emecheta, Maitama Sule, Eric Arubayi… 10 notable deaths of 2017

May their souls rest in peace.

Eric Arubayi

On February 11, thirty-three-year-old gospel music live act and former Idols West Africa fan favourite Eric Arubayi passed away suddenly at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital. Eric Arubayi made a respectable living as a gospel singer and members of Pastor Paul Adefarasin’s House on the Rock Church recognise his soothing presence as a regular part of their Sunday worship services.

Alex Ekwueme

On Sunday 12, November 2017, weeks after turning 85, former Vice President, Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON was ferried to the United Kingdom for continued medical care. A week after the trip to the United Kingdom, the Ekwueme family, in a statement signed by Igwe Laz Ekwueme, traditional ruler of Oko community and younger brother to Alex, announced his death. No immediate cause of death was stated.

Buchi Emecheta

Florence Onyebuchi Emecheta, author of classic titles such as Second-Class Citizen and Joys of Motherhood passed away in January at the age of 72. Emecheta has a profile and body of work that looms as large as any of her peers – both living and dead. Her name certainly rings a bell even beyond literary circles and her semi-autobiographical writing preceded – and depending on whom you speak to – pioneered the feminist narrative in African literature.

Andrew Jonathan Nok

Andrew Jonathan Nok, a professor of biochemistry and Kaduna state Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, died on Tuesday, 21 November at the age of 55. An internationally acclaimed scholar, Nok was reputed to be the first scientist in the world to discover the gene responsible for an enzyme which causes sleeping sickness (trypanosoma). His research helped in developing DNA-based vaccines against the disease. He was a recipient of the NLNG prize for Science in 2009.

Moji Olaiya

Nollywood actress, Moji Olaiya, was said to have suffered from cardiac arrest before she gave up the ghost on May 17. This was just two months after she gave birth to a daughter in Canada. The actress who starred in films like Sade Blade, Iya Okomi, as well as the No Pain No Gain season of Super Story, reportedly suffered from high blood pressure.

Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba

Renowned journalist and later day politician, Ojo-Onukaba lost his life after running into armed robbers on the Ilesha-Akure Road on his way back from the 80th birthday celebrations of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was 57 years old. A former Managing Director/CEO of Daily Times Nigeria, Onukaba who started his career at the Guardian authored biographies on President Olusegun Obasanjo as well as former vice president, Atiku Abubakar.

William Onyeabor

William Onyeabor, a reclusive, cult Nigerian musician died on January 16, aged 70.The enigmatic electro-funk pioneer, who released nine albums between 1977 and 1985 before distancing himself from music, died peacefully at his home in Enugu State. In the 2010s, Onyeabor enjoyed somewhat of a career resurgence as some of his songs, especially his biggest hit, Better Change Your Mind, appeared on various compilations.

Babatunde Osotimehin

Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, a former health minister and head of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) was until his death in June at the age of 68, a United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA.) Described globally as a “friend of young people” Osotimehin worked to ensure young people of both genders enjoy equal participation in reproductive rights and health and also within society and in the economy.

Florence Seriki

An Engineering graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University and Chief Executive Officer and Group Managing Director of Omatek Ventures Plc., Mrs. Florence Seriki passed away on March 3, at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) due to complications arising from pancreatic cancer. Seriki was one of Nigeria’s pioneers and foremost indigenous Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) specialising in the manufacturing of computers and other ICT related devices.

Maitama Sule

Dr Yusuf Maitama Sule, a politician, diplomat and former Minister for National Guidance during the Shehu Shagari era died July 3, in a Cairo hospital where he had been flown for medical treatment. Sule was a former Nigerian permanent representative to the United Nations, and had for some time before his death settled into the elder statesman role.


The writer tweets from @drwill20

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