Just like yesterday, it is exactly one year today since one of Nigeria's music icon, Christy Essien-Igbokwe, transited to eternal glory.
Popularly referred to as the Lady of Song, she was the first female president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN).
Born on 11 November 1960, the singer and actress was the chairman and managing director of Soul Train Entertainment limited before the sudden death which took her away on June 30, 2011.
However, Igbokwe was able to put Nigeria's name on the world music map with her evergreen "Seun Rere" track. Though she was not Yoruba, most of her hits were sang in Yoruba language. Essien's fluency in Yoruba, English, Igbo and her native Ibibio earned her an appeal which cut across tribal lines.
Essien lost her mother at age 12 and her dad in 2005.Growing up, she lived with her late mother's friend who encouraged her singing career and bought her a fairly used cassette player to record her songs.
She is best remembered today as Apeno, the wife of the cantankerous character Jegede Shokoya (played by Claude Eke who died in 2002) in the sensational situational comedy, 'The New Masquerade'. She later featured in two Nollywood movies "Flesh and Blood" and "Sacred of Womanhood, in the early days of Nollywood.
She began her music career in NTA Aba on a programme called 'Now Sound'. During that time, New Masquerade was also airing on NTA Aba. She began her musical career in Secondary School, singing at various clubs in Aba, Abia State such as Uka Onu's Club and Unikoko.
Close to the time of her death, she was involved in private business and her public outings include the Inspire Africa Benefit Concert in January 2009, where she performed alongside her son Kaka and the MTN Musical Festival, a musical show of old and new-breed musicians in 2009.
One of her earliest albums, 'Ever Liked my Person' sold above platinum till date. So popular was one of its hit track 'Omo Mi Seun rere', that a number of African countries have sang their own version.
Her honours include, Nigerian lady of songs award, Africa Music Mother Award 1984,International Special Achievement Award Mexico 1983, World Song Festival Award, Los Angeles Queen of Music International Award, Asociation of Theatre Arts Practitioners, Lagos 1996.
She has also contributed enormously to nation building, peace and tolerance - which, alongside moral uprightness, remain constant themes of her songs among which were Freedom (LP, Album) Anodisc Records 1977, Patience (LP) Anodisc Records 1978, Time Waits For No One (LP) Blackspot (2), Decca 1978, One Understanding (LP) Afrodisia 1979 and Give Me A Chance (LP, Gat) Afrodisia 1980.
Also, she sang other peace songs like the Ever Liked My Person? (2 versions) Lagos International Records, Skylark Records 1981, It's Time (LP, Album) EMI (Nigeria) 1982, Taking My Time (LP, yel) Soul Train Records 1986, Hear The Call (LP) Ivory 1990, Mysteries Of Life (LP) Soul Train Records 1992 and All Of A Sudden (LP) Soul Train/Core Records 2011 (TBR).
Her family has decided to have a solemn memorial at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Oba Akinjobi Way, G. R. A, Ikeja, Lagos on Sunday - July 1, 2012.
In a statement released by Chief Edwin Igbokwe, he said, "It is rather for us a sober moment to reunite with her in faith and spirit as our family always did together while she was here with us, and time to glorify God who had admitted her into His place of Eternal Peace in Heaven. That is the path me and Christy's (biological) four sons have thought we should rather go for the commemoration of her one year of transition to eternal glory".
The church service will start at 10a.m but the Igbokwe family and friends will be called to the altar at about 11.30a.m.