By Nathaniel Ikyur
I met Becky Asunda, the lady in this picture as a Waiter at a very popular Eatery in Zone 4 on Suez Crescent, Abuja. This was around 1994/95. The Eatery was said to be owned by Eugenia Abu’s younger sister who I understand was an architect. That cosy place had a large clientele including Lebanese and some highly placed Nigerians. (Nasir El-Rufai has since levelled all the Corner Shops in that area.)
It was convenient for me and a few others because it was close to Sen Barnabas Gemade’s office who I worked for. At that time, Gemade was a member of the Constitutional Conference convocated by late Gen Sani Abacha.
I never knew Becky was Tiv until one day, I met Barr John Tine at that restaurant. Tine was then the very powerful Personal Assistant to Chief Barnabas Gemade. Becky was attending to Barr Tine when I, alongside a colleague, we took our seats and they spoke in Tiv. It was after she left that I confirmed from Tine that she was Tiv. But she never betrayed that before me.
The next day or so when I spoke Tiv to her, she kind of pretended not to have heard me. Long story short, we became close and as Gboko brought up, we often times discussed growing up in Gboko, the challenges, the fun and all that.
By the time we became close, I invited her to fellowship with us at Family Worship Centre where I was a leader. She laughed me to scorn and gave me tons of excuses but never honoured. In a way, I understood her plight. The work schedule in that place was tight. There was no time to rest. Months after, she told me, ‘Natty, I will be in your church this Sunday.’ I didn’t believe her because she had made several promises to attend our services but never kept to it. But true to type, I saw her among the First Timers that Sunday morning who stood up after service. I was full of joy. And that was her journey to a consistent life of fellowship and commitment in the church.
Becky soon became an Usher. Before I left Abuja (FWC) to Kano on transfer in 1998, Becky had become a committed Member of the Ministry of Helps in Family Ministries. I am told she was one of the beneficiaries of a plot of land given to committed members of the church in Abuja when the Church celebrated it’s anniversary a few years ago.
Sadly, Monday August 5, I stumbled on the Facebook page of one of my Benue Sister, Esther Acho Singa. Esther was announcing the passage of Becky. I thought I was dreaming. Of course we’ve not being in touch for long time. I put out a call immediately to ascertain the veracity of the story. And it was indeed true that Becky, whose smiles never left her face had indeed answered the last call. I’m told she was ill for awhile. That she passed away on Sunday, August 4, 2019 at a hospital in Abuja just before members of the Ministry of Helps of FWC could reach her with their financial support.
Becky was full of life every time. But it has pleased the Lord to accept you now. Rest on dear sister. The Angels welcome you home. Keep those smiles till we meet at the feet of the Master.
Ikyur is a journalist and writes from Abuja