Their pre-wedding pictures were already trending on social media with different styles of dressing, picture angles and poses. The wedding card and other attendant wedding information were out, thereby making friends, relatives and invited guests to look forward to the day with excitement. Friends and relatives of the would-be couple have all sewn their uniform attires popularly called asoebi.
According to the wedding invitation card obtained by our correspondent, the colour of the day was lilac, purple, plum and golden yellow, while the wedding venue was ECWA Seminary in Faringada Jos, the Plateau State capital.
The same ECWA Seminary was the venue of the reception. So, everything was to take place in the church. The wedding was slated for March 21, 2020.
This much expected and carefully planned wedding never took place as the groom died on the morning of his wedding day. Ironically, the same ECWA Seminary rather conducted his funeral service than his wedding ceremony.
His name is Samuel Yarling of Lamingo in Jos – a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), while the bride to be is Miss Helen Weze, a nurse. Miss Waze, it was learnt, was immediately rushed to Bingham University Teaching Hospital (BHUT) after going into shock, upon learning about the death of her fiancé.
On the day of the wedding, many people had already gathered in the church while others were preparing to go when the news of Yarling’s death broke out. Those who saw the news on social media expressed disbelief until they rushed to the church to confirm the news.
One of them is Grace, who owns a boutique in Low Cost area of Jos. She said she was actually preparing for the wedding when she heard the sad news and that she did not believe until she began seeing postings on Facebook about Yarling’s demise on his special day.
Another person, Daniel Audu, said such incidents could sometimes be linked to superstition, particularly considering the day it happened, but that such should not be Yarling’s case.
He described the deceased as a good, generous and kind person who was nice to many.
Meanwhile, our correspondent who monitored social media posts and comments on the incident observed that there was first disbelief, and then sympathy, emotion and awe for both the deceased’s family and that of Helen Waze.
By and large, the incident was shocking to many Jos residents, some of whom were yet to recover from the shock.
Recounting what actually happened to Daily Trust Saturday, his maternal cousin, Sam Galadima, said “Yarling went out a night before his wedding to somewhere around NASCO to collect his suit in preparation for the wedding and returned to his house. At about midnight, he started complaining of stomach ache and then started throwing up. Later on, he started jerking and then his paternal cousin – Reuben, decided to take him to the hospital.
“By the time they got to the hospital, he was so weak and could not move until at about 3am when he was declared dead by the doctor. Around 5am, his parents and siblings were called and they rushed to the hospital but did not want to believe that he was dead. We decided to announce that he was dead while still expecting him to wake up.
“But as it was getting to 9am without him waking up, reality hit us and people began crying. The church pastor was called and he came over to the hospital. Other family members and friends who also learnt of the incident began trooping to the hospital. At last, we all decided to go home, and wailing from different quarters rented the air.
“His would-be bride had already finished dressing up and was expected to be driven to the church when the news was broken to her. She collapsed and was rushed to Bingham University Teaching Hospital (BHUT). She recovered two days later and was discharged, and even followed us to the burial in Langtang North local government area,” he said.
He said the food and drinks already prepared for the wedding were immediately taken home and given to sympathisers who rushed to the house in droves upon hearing the sad news.
On the cause of his dead, Galadima said the family declined autopsy as they had decided to leave everything to fate, adding that both their family and that of the fiancée were all gradually recovering from the rude shock, and that everyone appeared to be strong as the overwhelming sympathizers kept condoling with them.
According to him, his late cousin’s spare keys were always with him and he (the deceased) calls him from time to time to bring them when his own keys were not immediately accessible. So, he still finds the sad incident unbelievable as he keeps having an unusual feeling that his cousin will call him any time soon to ask for the keys as usual.
He said their next move or deliberation as a family would be when the rest of the family returns to Jos from Langtang.
Reacting, the Executive Director of Women and Girl-child Rescue and Development Initiative in Jos, Bridget Dakyes, said the incident was traumatic, and that care should be carefully taken so that the experience doesn’t get Helen Weze into depression.
Dakyes said such things are what could make a girl run away from home without being found, get mentally disturbed or be somewhat stigmatized.
She suggested proper counselling for her in order to get over the trauma, saying that some empowerment programmes could be initiated for her to let her quickly get over the sad experience.