THE sudden death on June 30, 2012, of the Lady of Songs, Chief (Mrs.) Christy Essien Igbokwe has obviously left pains in the hearts of the Igbokwes. Still mourning the famous singer, who would have been 52 on November 11, 2012, the family, her colleagues and fans have lined up series of programmes to immortalize her. In an exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Friday, September 14, 2012, Christy’s widower, Chief Edwin Igbokwe told us how he has been living without his better half, what he misses about her and the pillars of support his children and their wives have formed around him.
Now, a grandfather, after his wife’s demise, he, however, sensationally revealed that Christy has advised him to remarry!
It’s more than one year you lost your dear wife, Christy; what do you especially miss about her?
I miss her for everything that she was. They are too numerous to mention, some are her Godly living, her simplicity, her love for children, her homely cooking and care, not only for her immediate family but also people that she met.
Life shouldn’t be the same again. In what ways has her death affected you?
Yes, it has dawned on me that life is not the same again. In my private moments, I shed lots of tears. It has affected my way of reasoning. She was there to share everything with me for 32 years. In many ways, her death has affected me. It is so deep that now she is no more; inside me, most times, I feel lost but God is in control.
So, how do you cope now?
I am coping by the special grace of God. Moreover, she continues advising me spiritually. She continued to advise me to move.
How do you play the role of a father and mother to your children?
It is a reality that has come to be.
When the younger ones miss their mom, how do you come in?
They do not let me know when they feel such, but I know they do from their body-talk. I would rather say that they are the ones that try to check on me and console me each time they discover I am in a pensive mood. Almost all of them counsel me. It is not easy.
You ran the family business with the Lady of Songs, hope things are going on fine without her?
She believed that things must move on fine for the sake of the family and she is also there in spirit with me.
What differences have her death made in your business?
Normally, there should be a vacuum in such a case but like I mentioned, the living are gathering appropriately on our side.
How is she going to be immortalized?
First, there is Christy Essien Igbokwe Memorial Foundation in formation. With that, we intend, as long as we live to ensure her legacies live on. We know those things she loved and liked and as much as possible, one would strive to attempt their continuity. A mausoleum that would serve as a research centre is planned at her final resting place in Awka. Beside her tomb, a provision would be made for my own and that would be m final resting place when it is my time.
Please, tell us about the upcoming events lined up for the Lady of Songs?
There are few things lined up. Chinwuba (Kaka) is coordinating, with other interested parties to see to their fruition. And the kick off should be around her birthday which is November 11, 2012. We hope, through her foundation to ensure positive things are also marked every year as to her birthday and death day.
How has the response of her fans and colleagues been?
During her burial, we all saw how her fans, from far and near and her colleagues, including those that never related well with her, came together to ensure she was given a befitting burial. It was awesome and according to her prediction. This brings me to mention that she had lots of predictions that rocked not only Nigeria but the entire world. Those revelations should be for another time.
What about her old albums and the one she was working on before her sudden death?
They are all being given attention and at the appropriate time would continue to be. This is also part of immortalizing her and keeping her legacies on. Her albums proceeds had always gone to charity and there would not be a difference.
Let’s get more personal, would you give marriage another shot?
Many people read my reaction when she passed on. My reaction which was with good and sincere intention was that I would not give marriage another shot because no one can be like her (Christy) to me. But I am surprised she has advised that my indefinite grief would not help matters and could shorten life and that is not what she wishes; that I should move on and allow God’s timing for everyone to be.
Have your children and their wives been very supportive?
Yeah, they have been very supportive.
So, how does it feel to be a grandfather?
I feel great but my only regret is that my wife did not witness this, because she longed for it. As God would have it, we got married somehow early enough for her –she was 19 and I was 27 (then).
So, how did you receive the news of Kaka’s wife (Chioma) who delivered a baby girl in the United States of America?
The wife (Onyinye) to our first son, Obiora, had his own baby girl on July 30, 2012. And exactly a week later (August 7) our second son’s wife (Chioma) had hers in USA. I received the entire news with happiness. Kaka’s baby came on the very day we normally start our family yearly 30-day retreat (fasting and praying) and that stands significant in the history of the family.
What names did you give the babies?
Kaka’s baby is Christy, named after my late wife, the Lady of Songs. Obiora’s wife (Onyinye) baby’s name is Uduak (my wife’s native name), also named after her.
How do you pamper yourself these days?
Do I pamper myself? I still feel lonely and pampering myself never comes to mind.
Do you socialize?
I do occasionally. It is pertinent to reveal that my late wife, Christy belonged to an extrovert profession but she was an introvert. I was the extrovert surprisingly.
What do you want from Jehovah God right now?
God should continue to bless the soul of my departed, unforgettable, irreplaceable wife. For Him to give us (those she left behind) the grace to carry on with her legacies. It is my prayer that God should not allow our lives to be cut short but to be till His appointed time. May His blessings never depart from us. Amen.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, September 18, 2012