By Austin Emaduku.
The trite saying that nothing lasts forever is best exemplified by the fact of coming into being and of going out of being; of being born and of dying; of life and of death.
Death for all men is probably the surest bet that can be taken. The prayer of most humans is to live to a ripe age. The Holy Bible itself prescribes the apprioprate age for dying to be three scores and ten years – 70 years – any other years lived in addition are by the grace of God. People are therefore expected to die yet when some die even at ripe old age, their death also comes unexpected and hard accept.
This is probably so because some people live rock solid lives and have been there for as long as we can remember that it is assumed in the eyes of their admires that they would never go away. This is probably why some vacums are so difficult to fill. As a matter of fact some vacums can never be filled. Some people are simply irreplaceable.
My father – now it is very difficult to write in the first-person singular in relation to “Papa” as he was fondly called by all. Even though we the biological children have our individual relationships with him, we have always shared him with others, so in that sense it is difficult to even now appropriate him in death because we all grew up to know him, speak of him and call him “our father” and not “my father.” He has always been papa to all.
Papa have always been there, solid, strong in physical/mental health and wisdom; reliable, providing, supportive, advising, motivating in such an evergreen manner that we thought he will be with us forever. He was so constant in our lives that since his death and despite the fact that we are all adults and family men in our own rights, we sometimes feel like we are stucked in a rudderless ship in the middle of a raging ocean – lost!
The thought comes and you feel the urge to drive over to papa’s place to ask him. Papa always had the right answers and advice; a wisdom giver. You sometimes actually get into the car for the drive, then it hits you – Papa is no more!!! Thats part of the trance we have been in since papa left.
Papa was the quintessential African family man. He had knowledge of history of the extended family, stretching into generations both on his paternal and maternal side. He reached out to pull everyone together and maintained those relationship till death. He discriminated against non and was always a shoulder and a piller to all. Despite his age, he was the rallying point for financial assistance and was always the first to give when the need arose. Whenever the community of man needed a helping hand, papa was always the first to render a helping hand. He was…..
In Community life, papa displayed so much integrity and stood always for the truth. At a time when the Egini community was bisected by youth violence, serious scisms and divisions that defied Leadership solutions, Papa was called upon by popular acclaim to serve as the pioneer Chairman of the Community’s Council of Elders a position he held until he died on the 19th day December, 2019. In that position, papa brought stability to succession in community leadership. He midwifed and successfuly supervised the emergence and tenures of three successive community Excos and had successfully conducted elections for the fourth one which he was to swear in a few days when death took him away.
On the religious front, papa was a devout Christian of the Anglican faith who devoted time and resources to the growth of St Augustine Anglican Church, Egini where he served as an active member and elder until the last day. His incorruptible nature and probity in financial management which he wore as a second nature was so apparent to all that whenever the church wanted to execute financial intensive capital projects, he was always saddled with the responsibility. It was this quality in him that made the Late Chief W.T. Odibo to entrust him with the reconstruction of the St Augustine’s church from a small structure to the larger and more modern one we see today.
Papa was not only imbued with wisdom and integrity, he was also a man of uncommon courage. He could looked injustice directly in the eye and stare it down. He spoke and stood for the truth at all times no matter what.
Papa, we are proud to have you as our father. We revel in your attainments and the sparkling legacy you left behind. Even if we become the most famous on earth, we still will not be able to do all you did. You are simply irreplaceable. We promised you one thing though. That we will always strive to carry on your legacy of integrity, of courage and of speaking and standing for truth at all times. That is the Okrika in us – the Amotekun. We were before they were.
Okrika! Okrika!! Okrika!!!
Avwo mro ma ke esiefa