When I heard of Edwin's unfortunate and untimely passing, I was not only shocked but found myself reflecting on the events of two weeks ago. I was almost in those same shoes. His was at the hands of gunmen; mine would have been blamed on a turbo charged German plus a fatigued sleep deprived Nigerian.
Time now is 11.30PM. I cut a 5" Punch Coronation and sit on the steps of my present hostel dwellings, with a neo soul play list thumping in my ears. I throw myself into deep thought while gazing at the massive steel structures with dotted lights and various fuming towers in the background. With all the running around on my bike during the day, I am not even feeling sleepy. Not even after my usual Maltina and Jack Daniels mix. I can still hear G, (my wife) asking me “what happened? This was on her birthday too. I won't confuse you further with the very strange sequence of events. Root cause seemed to be: no system in place to prevent victim from the phenomena of aimless striving, self delusion, periodic excesses, and .....one of the immediate causes was normalization of deviation.
Back to Edwin. He was in his early forties, 6ft, dark and solid looking. By most parameters, he obviously had it made. A man’s man. He was high up on the ladder at work, a husband and father. I also knew his elder brother who passed on two years earlier. We all worked at the same farm, producing the black gold that moved ours and several economies all over the world. The last time I saw Edwin was in an airplane. He looked sharp as usual in a Fred Perry polo, Gucci loafers and his trademark dimpled white toothed smile. He was a clear star amongst his peers at work. Edwin was not only going places, he was at a spot that a lot of folks before him would consider the perfect retirement point. The Company hoped he would be one of those to inspire the next generation to reach heights in performance that would assure her of continued profitability and sustainable growth.....Oh Edwin! He was said to have been shot while returning from one of those Lagos nights out on the town. We've all been there. Some of us are there even now...
Tonight is “fellowship” night for some here. I can hear their supplications at the short break that is the transition between Donnel Jones and D'Angelo in my headphones...teary eyed not just because of Edwin but remembering how close I came to being a statistic on the 24th. I remember G asking me “Why?” I had no answers. Just tears of regret. I don't know why, but I was enormously sorry. When you are in this kind of place, a lot of things flash through your mind. I recall the botched life insurance policy only a few weeks, nay, days before my "incident". I also remember MC Ebo, our secondary school principal who tried to imbue life's truths in us. His poem (actually Edgar Guest's) “Myself”, is a testimonial of all that was and is still the solution to this madness. Why? How? And what? People say there's nothing in this world. I disagree. There is G, Ayo, my wonderful family and friends and 40 yrs worth of interactions and experiences that matter. And YES, there is my Lord and Savior Jesus. They all expect so much from me and would be deeply grieved at an early passing with dreams unfulfilled.
Dear friend, while it may not always be in your hands, please do your utmost best to stay safe.
We need you. They need you.