Chris Ihidero: Letter to Amaka Igwe on what would have been her 52nd birthday

Amaka Igwe 1954-2014. Photo:


by Chris Ihidero


Hello Ma’am,

Last night as I left my father’s house, something didn’t leave with me. Usually, I would leave my father’s house with a live turkey, which he would have bred through the year. His words to me would be: “Give this to your Oga, tell her I said thank you.” I would then come to your house. I would knock softly and whoever comes to open the gate would have a live turkey thrust in her arms, with a stern warning not to tell you about the turkey until I’m long gone. I would then switch off my phone or pretend I couldn’t see your calls. The only time I made the mistake of picking your call after this yearly ritual you had tears in your voice as you said thank you. It’s that thing you do with appreciation, as if it wasn’t an ordinary turkey! When you finally see me the next day, you would say: “You this boy ehn, you just like to make me cry.” I would say nothing. Then we would hug and you’ll say: “Thank you very much. Bless you.” It was our little game and for eight years we played it very well.

When I left my father’s house last night I didn’t take your turkey with me, because I can no longer give you turkeys for your birthdays.

You would have been 52 today boss.  Your house would have been filled with joy and laughter today. Your ‘children’ from all over would have stopped by: actors, writers, directors, producers, longtime friends, admirers, people you trained and those that worked with you. Aunty Rita’s church band would have been outside under the canopy, serenading. You would have sat in your favourite chair, the one to the left of the sitting room main entrance, worried if everyone had had enough to eat and drink. Until last year, Efere Ozako would have sat with us at the dinning table, holding court, all of us arguing loudly.

You celebrated your birthday every year. You loved to have your people around you every time. What did you know that we all didn’t know?

Anyways, enough of the nostalgia; how have you been? I haven’t heard from you in a while o. You have stopped appearing in my dreams.  I was talking to someone about you the other day (I seem to talk about you a lot! LOL) and she asked about your legacy. I sighed. Can you somehow get people to stop asking me about your legacy? You know, maybe ask God’s permission to have Angel Michael smack the next person that asks me about your legacy on the head with his blazing sword? I would be truly grateful, because if I had N10 for every time someone asks me about your legacy, I would be Dangote’s neighbour by now!  Why is it so hard for everyone to understand that the programmes, great as they are, were never going to be your true legacy? That the businesses, successful as they were, were too small to be your legacy? It’s the people, it was always the people; for you, people came first. You cemented your legacy long before April 28, 2014, and nothing can touch that.

I miss you boss, a lot.

Did you laugh at me the day I finally cried? After forming strongman for so long the tears came in traffic! I swear I felt you laughing at me, wiping happy tears from your eyes behind your glasses. I laughed at myself afterwards. LMAO. It felt so silly.

I have been waiting for you to say something about TNS. Did you do that your fist pump and scream YES! the day we launched? Are you proud of me? You are doing that thing you like to do, abi, where you say nothing as long as things are being done properly? That’s why I haven’t heard from you, right? So I should expect a smack on the head if I ever mess with TNS or PinPoint, sebi?

Ooops! It’s midnight. I have to go. I’m meeting with your final crew in the morning. We are having breakfast and of course, we will talk about you a lot. So if your ears keep ringing, you know who is responsible. I hope no one cries into his or her breakfast o; that would be a sight! LOL.

Thanks again ma’am, for everything.

Say hi to bros Efere, tell him we miss him too.

Talk to you again soon.

On behalf of all of us, HAPPY 52nd BIRTHDAY!


*This article originally appeared on TNS. Used with permission from the author.

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