By Tivlumun G Nyitse, PhD
After more than 48 hours of loss of thought and composure, I have finally come to terms with the fact that Professor Godwin Ior Achinge, the erstwhile Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) of the Benue State University, my brother and friend and my son in the Lord (we were the sponsors of their wedding as both Catholic families), has finally answered the supreme call to be with his Creator.
Professor Achinge was a consummate professional who loved and lived the practice and praxis of medicine in its entire gamut. Even a brief contact with him never leaves you in doubt of his quality, versatility and humanness in the manner he would attend to you, tried to make you understand what one’s problem was, especially if it’s medical. He was a brilliant and exceptional clinician who loved and lived medicine.
I first came in contact with this fecund medic when my late mother took ill. He was her doctor until she finally passed on. And since then, we became brothers, intimate friends to the extent that when he was wedding, he asked if I could be his sponsor. Before I would even utter a word, he went on to say that “orvesen, you have no choice, I am only informing you”. And that was it.
Professor Achinge was a thorough bred medical professional of the modern times. He was multi talented and multi tasking. Very deep in knowledge and read widely beyond medicine which was his core area. As the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), he would always want my opinion on certain matters, drawing from my experience as a retired permanent secretary. He was a patient listener but would not succumb easily to an argument except to superior reasoning. He was not emotional and which made him win each time we had to debate an issue. Professor Achinge held very strong opinion on any matter that one shared with him to the extent that I ran through him a lot including personal and family matters, much as I was much older than him. He earned this respect!
Late professor Achinge had one strong side that most people didn’t know of. He was a “professional” investor. His knowledge of the capital market will amaze anyone. He discussed capital market and advised whoever came close to him on the need to start investing for “your retirement if you have yet started”. He had a knack for identifying profitable business ideas. Our meeting would never end without looking at the Nigerian stock market where I would seek his counsel. He was passionate about investment especially retirement plan for workers as he was about his medical practice.
Professor Achinge saw his medical practice as philanthropy, as a social and community service; not and never as a business and for which he died a martyr.
Before he finally passed, we were constantly talking on the phone as I would call to check on his condition since he told me he was self isolating, up to the point that he moved in to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi. Our last conversation was when I called and he told me that he was moving to Jos University Teaching Hospital where he thought he would be better served. He kept assuring me that he would be fine. Alas, that was not to be as he finally answered the call to be with his Creator. He will be sorely missed by his colleagues, associates, friends and, above all, his dear young family that he has left behind.
I beseech the Almighty God to continue to protect his family and urge them to take solace in the fact that God will protect and watch over them and they won’t walk alone.
Prof, we shall forever miss you at the Oxygen Spot…