DALLAS, TEXAS STAND STILL FOR LATE UCHE OKAFOR
It was a honour like never seen before by the Nigerians resident in Dallas, Texas and environs in the United States (US), as the Garland Convention Centre could not contain the huge crowd that came to honour the late Uche Okafor at a wake keep for him.
People in Dallas first had the inkling that Uche's death had something special about it, when a high-powered Nigerian delegation led by the Acting Consular-General of the Nigerian Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, Baba Garba and Consul Officer, Anthony Ogbe, came in company of Chief Felix Okereke, the President of Organization of Nigerian Nationals in Dallas/Forth Worth, to the lying-in-state of Uche's body.
Acting Consul-General Garba, paying his tribute, both at the lying-in-state and at the wake keep, said that he came in his own capacity and as the representative of the Minister of Sports and also as the representative of the Nigerian government. Uche's American coaching colleagues and parents, who were part of the 600 families whose children were coached one time or another by Uche, some of them gave testimonies of how Uche was like no other coach they ever met, and how positively made impact on their children. Pastor Joseph Popoola of the Mountain of Fire Ministeries in Dallas, rendered an earth-shaking funeral service for Uche as he was prepared for the journey to interment in Nigeria.
Profusion of tears and wet eyes marked the lying-in-state the wake keep, when the late Uche's daughter, Tochukwu, addressed the guests. Old men were brought to tears as Tochukwu Okafor read her tribute to her father. Uche's cousin, Ugochukwu, spoke about Uche's lofty plans for the future which brought about loud disturbing sobs at the lying-in-state at the funeral home. Uche's widow and her daughter sobbed and cried profusely. Tochukwu did not want to leave Uche at the funeral home, when it was time to leave for the wake keep location.
The Garland Convention Centre, venue of the wake keep, was full to capacity.
More people were still coming at about 5:30 a.m Dallas time, when the wake keep ended. Uche's former colleagues lsuch as Sunny Ikwuagwu, Charles Okoye, Leo Nwaonuma and others were present. The Umuoji (Ify's village) community in the USA was represented and so was the Enyimba Social Club in the US. During his tribute to Uche, Sunny Ikwuagwu could not hold back tears as he recanted shared experience.
The president of Enyimba Social Club, Anderson Obiagwu, was so emotional when he made his club's presentation. The house was literallybrought down when Tochukwu Okafor and the guests danced with her Uncle, Ugochukwu as they carried Uche's beautiful pictures. Tochukwu was so moved by the huge crowed that she told her mother that she did not know that her father was so popular. It was a night befitting for a humble hero like Uche.