By Ahaoma Kanu
It is September 9 again and the rains have resumed after the August break.
I am looking forward to a dark cloud in the morning which usually gives way to the rains. I love the September rains and the dark cloud. It reminds me of that day eight years ago when I got a call from my twin brother.
“Call home, something is wrong there!”
So abrupt was the message that I left the press release I was crafting for the Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria press conference the next day. It was a Tuesday and I was alone in the office. The time was 10pm.
I called my mother and her screams will live with me till my dying day. She was screaming my name over and over again. I cut the phone. Took a deep breath and placed another call – by then I had prepared myself for the worst.
On my mum picking the phone I asked her to give the phone to the nearest person to her if she couldn’t talk.
She told me plainly, “Your father and I were reading our bible in preparation for our night devotion when he collapsed on top of his bible.”
Thus came the news I had feared most since I was a boy – losing my father.
That day, September 9, 2008, marked a new phase in my life and that of my family.
Not having someone to direct your path those moments when you need only a man to talk to; not having that person you will call when that good deed happens and you must tell the first person it ought to be; not having that voice that reminds you constantly your priority in life is to serve God and obey his laws. I started missing those moments when I visit home and is about to leave and he says, “Kneel down let me pray for you.”
These past years I have missed him. But, I am consoled in the fact that my father left an imprint in me that leads me on day by day. He finished the work so early that all me and my brothers have to do is ask, what will Papa say to us in this kind of situation.
Papa, since your transition to glory, many things have happened. You didn’t make it to see the first black American president; I know you loved Barrack. I watched him get sworn in while I was in India and also covered his re-election four years ago. You also didn’t witness the first Nigeria president from the minority. He lost election last year and conceded defeat. I know you would have liked him. Buhari is back as Mr. President, you were a real fan of his though you didn’t like his methods.
What you feared will happen to Nigeria did happen, a monster called Boko Haram engulfed us and is still rampaging.
We are still hoping and praying to get the Nigeria project right. I am afraid that with the way it is going, my children (your grandchildren) may not see the Promised Land.
Talking about your grandchildren, Chinomnso has Nnedi and Somkene, Tommy has Zara and Great, Somtoo and Kosi see your pictures on the wall every morning they wake up and Chigoziri just added the latest young Kanu to the family.
I must say that they will miss their grandfather a lot. But Mama is doing a wonderful job. You know we promised to take care of her. She lost a husband but gained six husbands in all of us. She now has five daughters and seven grandchildren. Can you imagine that, you who had only six sons have gotten five daughters. Yeah, I saw the smile on your face just now.
We have remained together since you went to heaven – the bond became stronger after you left. We have gone through thick and thin; through temptations and provocations; through tough and rugged times but the foundation you laid us in is still strong; it has never shaken because you laid it with the word of God.
Do you remember Dr. Adimora? Yes, your friend who had no kids for over 25 years that you always put in prayers every night when you come out to pray, his wife got delivered of twin boys. It was a miracle. He did invite us to the dedication. It was awesome.
I have one of your clothes- that one that made Chinomnso’s medical school mates give you the name Mr. Romantic, I still got it. I took it so I can have something from you close to me. I take it along on every trip I make. It was with me the night I won the CNN African Journalist Award in Zambia. I wrapped up the plaque with it when I got back. It’s among my most priced belonging now.
I would have wished to have your bible but Mama still has it. I do go through that bible anytime I visit her. You commented on almost every passage in that bible. It has over these years given me some insight into understanding the word of God.
We are all trying very much to be half the man you were to have been able to touch so many lives. I still marvel at the stories I heard after you passed on- of the many people that shook my hand and said Thank you for what Bro. Sonny did for me.
I never knew your heart of kindness was so broad. The crowd that turned out for your interment is still being talked about today. I am so proud to have had the privilege of calling you my father.
If there is an afterlife, I will still remain your son.
I just want to say Papa, continue resting in peace Pa Sonny Oji Kanu.
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