By Philip Clement, Abuja
The Country Officer and Head of Nigeria Office of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Udo Jude Ilo, presented to the public in Abuja his latest book, “Kasie”, a glowing tribute to the short, invaluable life of his late daughter, Natasha Ilo.
The Natasha Ilo Foundation , a family initiative to immortalize the life and times of Natasha , was also launched simultaneously.
The event at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation, Abuja, had friends and associates of the family pay tributes to the late Natasha, including former President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Yemi Osibanjo.
Ilo explained that his motivation to write the book, Kasie, was both a fulfilment of his promise to immortalise Natasha.
“Kasie was an escape from the grief of losing Natasha, and to also help others going through similar pain. It is also a fulfilment of the promise I made to my daughter, at her burial, that ‘the world will never forget about you.’
“I do not ever want the world to forget my little daughter. I celebrate my love for her and the joy she brought to my heart,” he said.
He hoped that “Kasie,” an Igbo expression for comfort,” may help those going through pain and help others to understand the pain of loss, especially the loss of a child.”
In his remarks, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, lauded the contributions of Jude and Nkem Ilo to the development of Nigeria, especially on the heels of the grief arising from the tragic loss of their daughter, Natasha, five years ago. He thanked the author for focusing on the brighter side of life by “converting terrible grief into a civic gift.”
While unveiling the official logo of the Natasha Ilo Foundation, former President Goodluck Jonathan, commended the noble initiative of the Ilo family to institute the foundation to help the less privileged access quality education and healthcare, as well as prevent sexual and gender-based violence in society.
Chika Oduah, a Journalist and filmmaker, in a review of the book, described it as “a thoughtful and honest collection of poetry that gently captures the complexities of the human experiences of love and anguish in humble, elegant prose.”
Author Ayisha Osori, said, “Kasie (comfort) could not be born at a better time as the world constricts in the shadow of mourning while looking bravely, yet, to the dawn and what promise of relief the sun will bring.”
The event tagged a “Night of Poetry,” featured a gripping rendition by spoken word artist and poet Deji Ige and a soulful musical performance from the sensational Efe Oraka.
The Natasha Ilo Foundation, a non-profit organisation – borne out of a strong conviction that every child deserves to live a full healthy life – seeks to support children’s development by accelerating access to healthcare, education and help in the prevention of sexual and domestic violence.