Monitor writer Eriku passes on
Posted Tuesday, February 19 2013 at 02:00
Legacy. He joined the Daily Monitor in 2005 as a reporter and was promoted the Gulu Bureau Chief in 2010.
One of the most enigmatic things about death is the untimeliness and the sharp pangs by which it strikes.
On Sunday evening, it fell on the Daily Monitor Gulu Bureau Chief, James Eriku, in form of a heart failure as postmortem reports show.
According to his wife, Eriku went home at around 8pm after spending some time out with a friend.
However, he suddenly developed breathing difficulties two hours later and came out in the sitting room for fresh air.
Family members and friends took him to Gulu Independent Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Shock gripped his colleagues in the bureau yesterday morning when they heard of the news, especially since he had worked normally on Sunday morning. This reporter last saw him around 6pm on Sunday evening.
Family members and professional colleagues describe him as a person whom speaks less but works hard.
His cousin Dr Christopher Dratele said he was a committed family man who was a generous contributor to a pool set up to pay university students within the family.
“He was still very young and it would have been our gratitude for him to see his family through in life,” he said.
Mr Moses Odokonyero, the chairperson of Northern Uganda Media Club, an umbrella body for journalists from northern Uganda, said: ‘I have received the news of James Eriku’s sudden death with utter shock. Even more sad is that he has passed on when he still had immense opportunities to realise his full potential in the sometimes less rewarding but ultimately gratifying field of journalism. The media fraternity has lost a promising, committed and persevering member.”
Ms Harriet Anena, a sub-editor at Daily Monitor, says Eriku was “a jolly person, making him likeable among the team he led at the Gulu bureau. Under his leadership, northern Uganda received increasing visibility through the varied stories his team gathered for this newspaper,”
His workmate Sam Lawino, says: “He was a loving and hardworking man in a more complex situation with standard output.”
Gulu District chairman Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, said: “His death is very unfortunate for the media fraternity. He was here during the difficult years and played key roles in the field of journalism.”
Meanwhile, the 4th Division Army spokesperson, Lt. Isaac Oware, described Eriku as a professional and an accommodative journalist who will be missed by the army and the country in general.
Eriku is survived by widow Sylvia Abio and three children.
He had worked with the Daily Monitor since 2005, as a freelance reporter and as the Gulu Bureau Chief from 2010.
He was the first born in a family of five. Born on December 27, 1977 to Gobson Onama, a retired police officer, and Regina Onama, a retired teacher of Pakele Sub-county, in Adjumani.
Eriku studied at Meliaderi Primary School in Adjumani and joined Monsignor Bala SS in 1995 and Moyo SS where he sat for his lower secondary education. He sat for his A-Level in 1998 before joining Makerere University for a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication. He graduated in 2003.