Source: nigeriafilms.com
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EMMANUEL Amaechi Mark is one budding Nigerian actor with a lot of promise. After he picked up the coveted title as the winner of the NEXT Nollywood star touted as the first wholly Nigerian television reality show, Mark, a student of University of Port Harcourt had been itching and wishing for the roles to start tumbling down as soon as he completed his course.

However, as things stand today, the young man and his other siblings will never get these words of advice and encouragement again, no thanks to an auto crash which claimed the lives of his parents and three other uncles as they were returning from an occasion a few days ago.

Anybody, no matter how lion-hearted, who has met Emmanuel these past few days cannot but pity him. He is just a human wreck, totally inconsolable.

Narrating his woes in tears, the upcoming actor said he has “never been so shocked in his life like the day the news came that his parents had died same day, same hour, same time. It was like a joke and I still find it hard to come to terms with it.

“Can life be this unkind to us (children)? What are we going to do without my parents? Ha, God! This makes me recall the last times we spoke with each other.

“On the very first day of June 2007, I sent my dad and mum a phone text message just to wish them a happy month beginning. But little did I know that it would be the very last text message I would send to both of them. I never ever imagined that one of them would leave us so soon, let alone two of them at a time.

“As if that was not enough trauma for us, three other dear uncles were with them. All of them died without saying any words of good bye. It's so painful. My mum called me on phone on Sunday, the 3rd day of June, 2007, at about two o clock. I was just coming out from church with my younger brother when she called.

“According to her, she just called to hear my voice and to let me know that she got the text message I sent her two days before. Before I slept, I sent a text to my immediate elder sister, Roseline, who had told me she was in Port Harcourt for a visit. We arranged on how to see each other the very next day and said goodnight on the phone.

“Not later than 10 minutes later, she called. I was actually surprised but I picked up the call. She started telling that she just received information that my dad and mum with three other uncles had an accident along Port Harcourt road.

“You see, I was particularly surprised because when I got the call from my mum at about 2 o'clock that day, I had thought they were in the house in Warri,. This was a very shocking story that kept everyone of us on his toes. I got up that night to make some calls just to find out how true the information was.

“I first called my mum's number and it was a male voice that replied, telling me that he was a Road Safety Marshal and that the owner of the phone and some other persons were involved in a serious accident and that they had been rushed to the hospital.

“At this point, my anxiety heightened. I had to call another of my uncles who confirmed the incident and told me that they were on their way to the hospital too. I couldn't sleep that night.”

For Mark and his other relations, the waiting game had just begun, with its attendant tension and eagerness to hear the next news.

Continued Amaechi Mark: “I waited till the midnight free call hour so as to talk for longer periods with those I could get. But all the persons I expected to hear from switched off their phones. I couldn't sleep all through that night and early in the morning I was awakened by a call from the wife of my uncle who was also involved in the accident. She said she was heading to the hospital to see for herself.

“We agreed that she should update me about developments. I waited for her call and nothing happened. My elder sister later arrived my church compound and called her in my presence. As she picked up the phone she started crying, she couldn't talk to my sister.

“So, I collected the phone and by then she had handed over the phone to a tenant of theirs who just told me immediately that they had gone to the hospital where they were and had come back and that there were no survivors. I couldn't shout, I couldn't say anything because of my sister who was already asking of what we were talking about.

I took the story as a man but my manhood failed me even as I continued to pretend as if all was well and that they only sustained injuries and were at the hospital responding to treatment.
“After my sister left, my brother and I left for Warri immediately. And even on our way to Warri we saw the scene of the accident that took the lives of my parents and three uncles. Honestly, I have never thought that I would see an accident scene that my people were involved in, not let alone my parents.

“Eventually the whole news broke and I found out that they were actually coming from a child dedication ceremony of an uncle of ours which held in Port Harcourt. On their way back, just after the Kaiama bridge in Sagbama area, the rear tyre of the vehicle with which they were travelling burst and the driver might have lost control, swerved to the opposite direction of the road and rammed into a 911 tipper with loads of garri. It just crushed them to the side of the road and settled on the car.

“Eye witnesses told us that the bags of garri had to be off-loaded before the tipper was overturned so that the now compressed car could be recovered. That was how good Nigerians tried to rescue my dear parents. I thank them.

“But this (death) was not what we bargained for. Four of them died on the spot and my dad was able to sustain himself till about 11 in the night when he gave up the ghost. I would love to know whether this was the plan of the devil to make us orphans at such tender ages or how else could one describe this horrendous death?

“It seems to me, till today, like a story from a fairy book. I never thought this could ever happen to me. Right now, my siblings and I are just trying to see how we can recover from this shock and at the same time carry out the necessary procedures to give them a befitting burial.

“As a first son, the entire responsibility rests on my shoulders. I just pray that God gives us the strength to bear such tragic losses in our immediate and extended families because children of all four families have been rendered fatherless.

“I must tell you that life, for us, will never be the same without my parents. It is very difficult to recount all we would miss. My father even told me that he would make money available for me to do my own film because he so much believed in my talents...” At this point, emotions started rising and the interview had to end abruptly.