Michael Anyiam Osigwe

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The act we do now in paying tribute to Michael remains one of the most difficult tasks we have ever done, as we had always imagined that if we were to ever do so at some point, this would be when we were quite old and grey.

On the afternoon of 29th November 2014, Michael bowed to the cold hands of death, which came like a thief at night, snatching our very own gem. When the news came through, for us, it was firstly disbelief on our part, then shock and horror, followed by anguish and anger in the manner it played out; and ultimately it was surrender……….yes, surrender to the will of God. What else could we do? “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” – Job 1:21

As we struggle with this tragic and horrible experience, we can only resort to our spirituality and faith to help us reconcile the conflicts and challenges that confronts each one of us, and to come to terms with the circumstances we find ourselves. We find comfort and solace in our beliefs, as we have been taught by our father of blessed memory that “All is life and life alone,” as well as our Catholic faith in the belief of the communion of saints, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

As the news rolled out through print and social media, that Michael the fifth son of the acclaimed Sage Philosopher, Chief Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe (of blessed memory), the Coordinator General of the Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation, one of the Executive Directors in the Anyiam-Osigwe Group, and the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Malawi to Nigeria, had passed away, it was widely received with acute disbelief, shock, horror and anger around the globe. This was because Michael, whom at the fairly young age of 55, still had so much to offer our family, this country and indeed the world at large. He was generally considered an erudite scholar, thinker, a man of letters, and a man who widened his references beyond his comfort zones. A true genius. He who would routinely read five to six books simultaneously, and comfortably hold conversations on any of these books with family and friends amidst his various other chores, responsibilities and travels. A skill set possessed only by very few today. This makes our loss as a family, a nation and indeed the world more remarkable and even more profound.


Michael combined several of his talents on the platform of the Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation as its Coordinator General for seventeen years and one of its Trustees. He was a true Statesman and patriot. He built and sustained several relationships, both at local and global levels. He became friends to world leaders, including serving and past Presidents and Prime Ministers, several of whom had delivered keynote lectures at the Foundation’s annual lecture series. Michael won the admiration of these world leaders, based on his antecedents, character, credibility, passion and commitment to his mission and vision. To his credit and total satisfaction of members of the Foundation, he discharged the primary and secondary mandates of the Foundation with unequivocal distinction and took the Foundation well beyond the levels never expected by its founders during its primary formation.


Michael was hardworking, diligent and tenacious. He was a man who discharged his duties with passion and commitment, with humility and as a team player. As well as his role in the Foundation, he was a consummate businessman, serving as one of the Executive Directors of the Anyiam-Osigwe Group. In this regard, he successfully ran units under his watch excellently well. And even where his role became challenging, Michael exhibited maturity and acute grace in dealing and surmounting his hurdles. Michael had a style to him that was never overly confrontational, but always effective. He firmly believed in the equality of winners in a transaction; and subscribed to the ideals of Shimon Peres, whom at a forum, had argued “be careful not to win too much with your partner, as you might end up losing him”.


As a diplomat, he did not perform any less, and leveraged all his skills, which he honed and sharpened, in performing his duties with credibility and honour. He was a Director of the Africa Institute for Leadership, Research and Development, South Africa as well as the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Malawi to Nigeria. Michael was appointed the Honorary Consul under the leadership of President Joyce Banda of Malawi, and was successful in attracting several investments from Nigeria, the ECOWAS region and internationally to the Republic of Malawi. In this role, he was to be eventually recognised by the said President and the Republic of Malawi as a representative of integrity, influence and capacity, a man capable of furthering the objectives of Malawi to promote business opportunities and strengthen diplomatic ties.


Michael was loving, compassionate and caring to his wife, children, mother and siblings – indeed all those who knew him closely would testify. In his role as a family man, Michael was “a trooper”. He strongly believed in the unity of family, and worked assiduously to ensure that in this regard, ours too, was not left out of the success story. Wherever Michael felt or heard discordant tunes from any member of the family that he felt had the risk of derailing its unity in any way, he would be the first to promptly seek to bridge such problems. And oftentimes, the same skills recognised above, made him quite successful at this. He would caution, struggle, cajole, quarrel if necessary, to bring about his desired objective on any such issue. Michael by his very role was thus a major contributor to the unity oftentimes associated with our family. He resorted to several of his skills, some of which were garnered whilst studying all the way to master’s level as an anthropologist and musicologist at Goldsmiths, University of London several years ago, to teach and work on each and every one of our children.

Michael knew the importance of history in one’s life, and instructed the children on the rich heritage of our family, often telling them stories, passed down through the generations, that as a family we had 700 years of recorded history as a people. A record that Is well documented, and in the archives of the family – a heritage he felt they all ought to be proud of, celebrate, cherish, guard jealously where necessary, and ultimately be great ambassadors of the family. Yes; great ambassadors. Given his very nature, nothing short of this expectation would have satisfied Michael. Given the several wonderful contents by way of their own testimony, in their struggle to deal with the pain in each of their own way, given the several mails, tributes, and poems that the children have sent to us their uncles and aunts, following his passing on to eternal glory, Michael must have gotten it right as the contents tell their own story, even more lucidly than we dare to do here.

With his immediate family, we were always amazed as to how Michael, despite his very busy schedule, had time to personally take his daughters through school assignments, never complaining as to how tired he was, even when he obviously was. This characteristic of Michael was quite humbling for those amongst us less equipped with these noble and unique qualities he possessed. Prior to the tragic incident and even now, we recall how his wife, Kitee, with joy and with a smile, recounted their several beautiful moments together, how loving and caring Michael was to her. Our larger family makes it a point of duty to celebrate dinner together at the family table; and if however, Michael was absent for some compelling reason, his absence was easily noticed by all, as the jokes that evening and banter would not just be flowing as usual. How can we not miss him?


Great minds in all ages agree that a leader’s value is measured by succession and the legacy lived out for future generations and posterity: How will each one of us be remembered? What did we live for? What sacrifice did we make for the benefit of humanity? Remarks on Michael have been positive and encouraging, accolades well deserved by him. It has been an excellent melody for him as a person, one that we are proud to be associated with as members of his family.

Nze Michael Anyiam-Osigwe lived a worthy life, as a firm believer in the socio-economic and political transformation of Nigeria and Africa, with our distinctively rich culture, community spirit and metaphysical capital. In sowing the seeds of greatness, and a compassionate lifestyle in his own way, he has left the world a better place.

We all wish Michael would have lived longer with us. However, we must appreciate as a family that length of days may not necessarily be the defining factor of earthly sojourn, rather, the very value we have rendered, whilst we sojourned here on earth. It is in this context, we define Michael’s life in his contributions to holistic, integrated leadership, nationally and globally, as a student of truth in the creative transformation of human existence.

Michael powerfully demonstrated the truth that success is: knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others. Certainly, Michael has acquitted himself creditably of his generational responsibility, bearing witness of faith and loving service everywhere. Above all, he held the cross of Christ over every human reality as a Catholic Christian and student of truth.

He practiced holistic, integrated leadership as a principle-centred paradigm for self-mastery, self-disclosure and self-enactment. In addition, Michael’s power of focus is a testament to a great odyssey, touching the five dimensions of ontology: physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and material/financial; the balance of these is what the great masters agree is the basis for enjoying the great riches of life.

The focusing strategies in Michael’s life can be summed up as follows:

Be true to yourself and be the best you can be according to God’s Word

Seek divine wisdom from within

Fix the right goal – the one worthy of you

Acquire specialized knowledge

Live a healthy lifestyle

Be a value–guided leader

Maximize your potential

Put in your time, talent and treasure

Form unity, master–mind–alliance, and synergy

Build quality relationships and widen your references

Let truth and honour prevail

Make your faith work, with appropriation of divine blessings

Altogether, Michael believes that life responds to our outlook, attitudes and the providential ordering of the universe, making us worthy of our unique gifts, opportunities and sufferings in all circumstances and situations to the glory of our Maker.

Today Michael has, through sacrifice, righteousness and grace, claimed his birthright as a citizen of the heavenly kingdom. He has overcome the fear of death, knowing that God is his life and the length of his days (Deut. 30: 20).


“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:37-39

Today, in the vast expanses of time and space, history records Nze Michael Anyiam-Osigwe as an icon and a genius, who ran the race and followed his course in fulfilling his God-given destiny. Michael’s mystique finds eloquent expression in fundamental values and cardinal Christian virtues. Above all, Michael’s understanding of the truth about life strengthened his love of self-discipline, heightened his sense of destiny, deepened his spirituality and passion for life roles, and broadened his sympathies, sensitivities and perspectives on life. He has thus left a worthy legacy as a winner and more than a conqueror.

We therefore rejoice for a great life lived among us, knowing that God’s grace overcomes the grief; that all that Michael has done in this world shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off (Isaiah 55:13).

Bless your soul Michael. We love you dearly and you will be sorely missed by all, but God loves you more.

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