STANDING AT THE GATE: An elegy to Dr Uduak Asana

Eerie was the afternoon
Reason unfathomable
While standing at the gate
The news I received:
Dr Uduak Asana, quintessential “eye man”
Has returned to God
Down my spine, a cold shudder, a sinking feeling supervened
Yes, Uduak’s exit
Has diminished mankind
Like John Donne averred
The ranks of men and women
Of the ophthalmoscope shrank
With Dr Asana’s demise
A fine ophthalmic surgeon bowed out
When cometh another?
A big loss it was
To the fraternity of oculists
For on the streets an experienced
Ophthalmologist is not picked
Focused, firm and fair-minded
Men and women stand at the gate
Beyond which budding oculists
Are thoroughly grilled,
Made ready and safe
For eye care consumers
Death of an experienced trainer, astute clinician and fine surgeon
Contracts the confraternity,
And robs consuming public
Devoted teacher Uduak was
Meticulous, strict but fair with trainees’ assessment
Demonization for strictness he consigned
To the province of the incompetent
As he stood at the gate
Of ophthalmic academic stock-taking
Filtering prospective oculists
Injecting optimal doses
Of ophthalmic knowledge & skills to the willing
And ensuring no one leaves half-baked
UCTH took notice and named
The Microsurgical Training Laboratory after him
For Dr Asana established, nurtured and handed you on a platter
A vibrant ophthalmology department
Spiritual life he neglected not
Significant ecclesiastical muscularity he achieved
And became a Deacon
Susceptible he was, like all mortals to health vagaries
Prolonged multiple ill-health
He bore stoically
A loving, caring family supporting
Until the final call
The Asana family, his church members,
Nigerian ophthalmologists, doctors,
Health personnel and other associates
Are bereaved and in pain
But they should celebrate, not mourn
An illustrious member
Joining the saints triumphant
With the expectation that the risen Lord
Is standing at Heaven’s gate to receive him
Adieu, Deacon (Dr) Uduak Edet Asana
Umuahia old boy, Hope Waddell old boy
Unilag Medical College alumnus
Guinness Ophthalmic Unit alumnus
Fellow, Medical College of Ophthalmology (Nigeria)
Fellow, West African College of Surgeons
Who planted ophthalmology in Nigeria’s Canaan land

Prof Sebastian Nwosu
Former Chairman, Faculty of Ophthalmology,
National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria
Former President, Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria
31 October 2020

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