UCU’s journalism icon Obomba, 64, goes to rest

Monday September 27 2021
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Okoku Obomba, 64, was a lecturer at the Faculty of Journalism, Media and Communication, at Uganda Christian University. PHOTO / COURTESY

By ESTHER OLUKA
By Jessica Sabano

A Uganda Christian University (UCU) lecturer died on Saturday after having previously complained of the after-effects from a second Covid-19 jab.

Okoku Obomba, 64, who was a lecturer at the faculty of Journalism, Media and Communication, died at Mengo hospital. 

Obomba had earlier sought treatment from Zia Angelina Health Centre in Namugongo, a Kampala suburb. 

“A series of tests were performed at Zia Angelina Health Centre including a Renal Function Test (RFT) to assess the functions of the kidney, liver function tests [to help diagnose and monitor liver disease or damage] and a blood sugar test [to measure the amount of sugar in the blood],” Ms Joanitta Ngabiroch Obomba, the wife of the deceased, told Daily Monitor.

She added: “But, the facility [Zia Angelina Health Centre] referred him to do an echocardiogram a [test that uses ultrasound to show how your heart muscle and valves are working] at Mengo hospital where he was eventually taken.”

Obomba was also a veteran journalist, who previously worked with some dailies in the country. Ms Obomba told Daily Monitor that before his respective hospital admissions, her husband complained of persistent headache. This was shortly after getting his second Covid-19 jab in July. 

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She said: “He began complaining of a headache. He still complained of headache even after the first jab. However, because it was mild, he would swallow Panadol and get fine. But, it was after the second dose that headaches increased. Things got from bad to worse yet he already had underlying conditions of diabetes and high blood pressure. There was also a dislocated disc that he was dealing with.” 

Ms Lorah Cenge, the youngest daughter of the deceased, had mentioned during memorial prayers at UCU yesterday that her father’s health deteriorated after the second jab. 

“My dad’s death caught us by surprise. The cause is what everyone is asking,” Ms Cenge said. 

She said her father complained of back pain and struggled to move within the study area at home. 

Ms Cenge said in their last conversation, her father urged her to use her degree wisely. 

Tributes 

Ms Monica Chibita, the Dean, Faculty of Journalism, Media and Communication, said Obomba was one of the pioneer staff of the Mass Communication Department and was instrumental in the writing of the maiden curriculum on which the Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication programme was built. 

She wrote: “I know Mr Obomba had some health issues, but I had spoken to him this past week, and he had assured me that the situation was under control and that he was on his way to attend a physiotherapy session. In fact he told me that he had taught a class that week which further re-assured me that he was on the road to recovery. I encouraged him to seek proper medical care to ensure everything was right before he took on a heavy workload again.”

She added: “Because I lived in Kira and him in Namugongo, we occasionally rode home together from work, so I got to know Mr Obomba quite well....”

 “He since taught a range of courses including Introduction to Mass Communication, Media Theory, Broadcast News Reporting and Current Affairs, and most recently, Media Literacy. He loved teaching and built strong bonds with his students. 

“For many years we were hesitant to replace him as internship coordinator because he offered vital leadership to that exercise, and was well known to the industry. He took his work very seriously. He also willingly stood in as Head or, later, as Dean whenever asked to,” she stated. 

Mr Anthony Wesaka, an alumnus from the Mass Communication, 2005 cohort, recalled how some students would seek Dutch courage to measure up to Obomba during his public speaking classes.

He said: “He decided to alternate in picking names of the students to do the public speaking. He used to follow the alphabetical order but upon learning of the tricks, he would read names in the reverse order.”

Mr Wesaka described the deceased’s lectures as enjoyable and that “we shall miss OO as we used to call him.”

Ms Joan Akello, another former student, now a journalist at Uganda Radio Network, said she will always remember him for his values and style.

“He was always time conscious, very strict but at the same time, humorous in his way,” Ms Akello said, adding that his sense of fashion, including the suspenders,  fascinated her. 

Ms Obomba said the deceased will be laid to rest on Thursday in Nebbi District. He leaves behind a wife, nine children and nine grandchildren. 

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