Since noticing these radiating qualities after that first encounter, we had struck a mutual cord in our distant relationship. From the cash night and countless assignments at the same DSS headquarters to our visits to DSS Institute at Lower Usman Dam, the mutuality had continued.
“Romanus, we have an assignment at Lower Usman Dam by 7.30 am tomorrow. Emeka said I should invite you. You will park your car in my office because their official vehicle will convey us there,” I still remember this regular communication.
It was at the same Usman Dam that I once curiously expressed concerns over the state of your health but you allayed my fears by describing it as a minor health challenge, assuring me; “I will soon get over it.”
But, contrary to that expected improved health, it rather degenerated into a dangerous cancerous situation, resulting in the friends and family-assisted successful surgery in Germany last year.
However, the celebration of your recovery was cut short when you took to your Facebook wall to announce, in a rather surprising, distressing, short, sharp message, a fresh health hurdle; “they are calling it pulmonary metastasis! It’s a new battlefront… Already I’m on a new line of Chemotherapy! God is in control!!”
Surprisingly, the hope and wishes of your friends and relatives of also coming out of that latest attack stronger was however dashed when the shocking news of your death trended.
Mutum, I admired your fortitude and stoicism throughout the turbulent storm. And even when your office sacrificed you during that tempestuous health situation, despite your thoroughbred status, you took it with equability.
What can mere mortals like us do again when your intimidating height and Goliath-like frame could not wrest death to submission, what can one do when the agents of death failed to respect your calmness, meekness, simplicity, and sincerity, above all, what can one do when all the financial interventions failed to keep you alive!
You were truly a very contented person and one that never ruffled feathers unless it was against Buhari, APC, and northern affairs. I recall vividly, that each time we felt ‘short-changed’ or denied honorarium after assignments, you will never join the protest.
“It would have been better than this but let us manage the one they brought,” you would calmly douse the tension, securing the support of your think-tank and friend, Emma Onani.
Apart from the young family you left behind, I am sure you should be happy in your resting place, remembering that friends and family did so much to keep you alive.
It reflected in your appreciation on September 5, last year, after returning from the surgery in Germany, when you wrote: “I am overwhelmed by the show of love and concern that came from this group. What all of you have done to save my life, during the most trying times is truly amazing…”
With the cancerous pain over and the stress of the harsh realities in the country gone too, you must be taking a deserved rest and I can only say goodbye and rest on Mutum!
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