Eben: One Year On, Fresh Wounds

Dear Eben,

It has been a year since you left us. That day still feels like last week. One moment I was in a meeting, the next moment a phone call came in and that was the end of your journey here. Just like that, Eben, they announced your end. It felt untrue, an error or a cruel joke. 365 days later, you are still not here. Left to mourn you are hundreds of us, your people, and we have gathered like birds at the base of the fallen iroko that had sheltered many of us.

How do you mourn someone you didn’t prepare to bury? How do you move on from a bad news that is still fresh in your mind? How do you keep alive the memory of a friend in this crazy world where events move like steam engines and people are overwhelmed by situations closing in on them like a leaking floodgate?

If I had enough connection, I would create a foundation in your name. Ebenezer Centre for Leadership and Good Governance, a centre that would provide an avenue to try and make sense of the chaotic kitchen that Nigeria sometimes look like.

If I had plenty money, I would have founded Ebenezer Memorial High School in Zaria, a city you love so much and where your bones lay. I would come to town every graduation day and remind students, parents and guests what a great man you are.

If I had magical powers like the Red Priestess of Asshai, I would command you back to life.

I have none of this.

I have a heart and in here you will live for as long as I live. I know this is insufficient but no one ever claimed yours is a gap that can ever be filled. Your departure left us with a large room which will always remain a vacuum which, from time to time, we will go in an echo your name.

I have a faith in Jesus of Nazareth whom you also believe in. It is my fervent hope that one day, when I leave this marletplace call earth, we would meet again at His bosom. I would walk up to you with tears in my eyes, hug you and say, “Baba na, kwana biu.”

Yours faithful,