Nine months after the tragic passage of Kikaose Ebiye-Onyibe, her siblings, friends and schoolmates gathered at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, Victoria Island, Lagos for a candlelight memorial service in her honour.
Kikaose was snatched by the cold hands of death at 18 after a failed surgery to remove her ruptured appendix at Gold Cross Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos on April 12, 2017. She was a second year law undergraduate of the University of Birmingham, UK.
Her remains were interred on April 19, at Ebony Vaults, Ikoyi at a time that her siblings, schoolmates and friends were in school. So they could not attend her memorial service hence they decided to organise the candle light memorial on December 27 in her honour during 2017 end of year holiday period when most of them were home.
Adorned in white T-shirts, with Kikaose’s picture and with the inscription “A woman phenomenal” in the front side and ” Gone but never forgotten”, at the back, the attendees- mainly her school mates from Greenwood House Primary School, Ikoyi; Lagoon Secondary School, Lekki; Bridge House School, Ikoyi and University of Birmingham, UK, gathered in the Civic Centrerhall to honour their departed friend.
They were eloquent and effusive in their testimonies about the exemplary Christian life that Kikaose lived in her short time on earth. They played back video clips of her activities as a disciple of Christ and a spoken word artist.
They recalled how Kikaose used to brave the cold in the chilly winter weather in Birmingham to go out to feed the homeless, among many of the fond memories.
Pastor (Mrs.) Suotan Elihai and Pastor Emmanuel Dania, youths focused clergies of the Redeemed Church, delivered the sermons, which were anchored on the need for youths to find God and serve Him as Kikaose confidently did with total commitment.
At the end of the sermon, many youths responded to alter calls by both pastors and made commitments to rededicate their lives to Jesus Christ.
After the protocol of holding up candlelights in memory of Kikaose, the very sober youths left the venue reflecting on how transient life is and why it is in their best interest to make the best of it with deference to God.
Some of the youths then proceeded to Kikaose’s final resting place at Ebony Vaults, Ikoyi where they sang praises to God before releasing 18 helium-filled balloons (signifying Kikaose’s age of 18) into the atmosphere. The balloons also symbolised to the grieving youths the release of her soul peacefully from the earth into heaven where she would find rest in the bosom of God.
To a large extent, the process of the candle light memorial enabled the youths have a closure on the painful tragedy.
Apart from Kikaose’s siblings having the opportunity to eulogise their sister, most of the youths who were her friends and schoolmates could not help but cry, particularly those who visited Kikaose’s final resting place.
Apparently, that was a cleansing process, which they needed to go through.
After all was said and done, the youths came to the inevitable conclusion that Kikaose has gone to a better place and would never be forgotten.