Tuesday, 30 October 2007

On......the memory of Izehi





The next time a major tragedy occurs remember this. You will go through what I call a 3 day wake. On the first day you will digest the news and scour your brain for any loved ones that may have been involved. Who could have been on that plane? Who do we know that lives in California? On the second day you continue to absorb the news and question such mindless disaster. On the third day, you will move on. The tragedy will become a footnote in history and you become zombiefied as the media continues to show you images and drip feeds you with news of the latest disaster. I learnt about Izehi’s death on the third day.



The tragedy in question occurred one year ago today with the ADC crash that claimed the life of the Sultan of Sokoto and 97 others. The news came, as does all Naija breaking news, in fits and starts. Was the plane Abuja bound or Sokoto bound? Where was it’s point of origin? How many were on the plane? The facts and figures changed as the day wore along. After ascertaining that the crash took place in Abuja, I made several calls to friends and family that lived there to make sure that none of them was on the plane. It was a successful headcount and my world was safe again. On the second day I offered prayers to the families of the dead and thanked God for sparing the lives of the few survivors. On day 3, Charles called me from Philadelphia and asked if I had heard. Heard what I asked. That our old classmate, Izehi Oleghe, had been on that plane. He was travelling from Lagos to Sokoto to start his Youth Service. I was no longer a spectator to this tragedy. I was now a part of it.



It is hard to talk about Izehi without resorting to cliché but he had a heart the size of the world. I first met him almost twenty years ago when I started in Atlantic Hall. In a school filled with elitist, snotty nosed kids, Izehi stood tall as the very antithesis of their pseudo-bourgeoisie culture. We shared a mutual love of Asterix and Obelix comics and a lifetime bond was sealed. He remains, to this day, one of the smartest people I have ever met and I will never forget the sight of him standing up on no less than a dozen occasions one night to collect prize after prize. Even when the priorities of a teenage boy started shifting to more carnal matters, Izehi still managed to find a way to stay within striking distance of the top of the class.



In 1994 I made the leap across the Atlantic to come to England whilst Izehi went on to Ibadan to study Medicine. Once distance comes into the equation I become the poorest of friends. I struggle to keep in touch for months on ends and sometimes lose friends altogether. Izehi never gave up on me. Even in the days before e-mail and instant messaging became de rigueur, he somehow found a way to always get in touch with me. I have a large family and Christmas was always spent under one roof. Izehi spent about two Christmases with us in succession and a visitor would have been hard pressed to distinguish Izehi from any member of my family, such was the ease with which he assimilated. He had a very mischievous streak and many of those Christmas nights were spent arguing about the most inane topics under the sun. Like could Superman defeat Flash in a sprint race? Was Star Wars really just a parable of modern life? Who was the best dancer in school? Sometimes he argued just to give his brain the mental workout. Such was the breadth and depth of his knowledge that he felt confident talking about virtually any subject.



He finally graduated as a doctor in 2000 after years of incessant strikes and stoppages. It is sad that the only thing that Nigeria could offer this bright young man was an unnecessary and untimely death. I travelled to Lagos less over the years but we still made a point of seeing each other at least once a year. This culminated in him spending a month in my house the summer before he died. I will forever be grateful for this time that God afforded us. I miss his booming laughter that reverberated through our house and shook the foundations. I miss his gleaming white smile that lit up the world. I miss his big head that was jam-packed with all sorts of useless trivia and information. I miss his brutal honesty and gentle soul. I miss the hours wasted reminiscing about events long gone and faces forgotten. Most of all I just miss my friend.



Dr. Izehi Oleghe (March 15 1977 - October 29 2006)

55 comments:

Naapali said...

The gentle spirit of your friend lives on in your memory and your beautiful tribute to him. Though it is late, I am sorry for your loss.

Waffarian said...

He has left, laden with memories of love and friendship. His journey continues and his light will always shine on through memories left behind. His light is shining now. So sorry.

cally-waffybabe said...

Awwww the way you narrated this story made me cry. It's really touching. I know how you feel. I also lost my friend in the ADC crash in 2005. Like yourself, thankfully she came to london and spent some time with me that summer. My only regret is that i didn't take photos. I'd only just purchased a digital camera then and was still getting to grips with it.
I'm really sorry for your loss. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.

Isi said...

atutu how nah? i haven't seen u around. whatagwan?!
ok, let me go and read...

Ekoakete said...

Nice tribute Atutu. Sorry to hear of your loss. Na wa for Naija air travel O...

Hopeful B! said...

though its a year, thank God you have very wonderful memories of him, of time shared. Sure he's at rest now with the Big Guy.

Take care.

Akin said...

Sorry to hear about your bro.I totally agree with the '3 day' theory you have. Hang tough.

Onome said...

oooo dear...pls accept my condolences....d loss of a friend, loved one or even acquaintance is never easy.....may his gentle soul Rest In Peace...

UndaCovaSista said...

It sounds as if his life, though cut short tragically, counted for something while he was here. Sorry for your loss. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
What is life?
Life is a gift, accept it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is a mystery, unfold it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a struggle, face it.
Life is beauty, praise it.
Life is a puzzle, solve it.
Life is opportunity, take it.
Life is sorrowful, experience it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a goal, achieve it.
Life is a mission, fulfil it (author unknown)

zerkhezi said...

Nice tribute, i'm sure he was proud to have u as a friend. hang in there.

30+ said...

Death a cold reminder of how "life is but a vapour".

My condolences

NikkiSab said...

I pray ur friend rests in peace. Believe he is in a beta place

Obinwanne said...

this is so sad, but God loves him more....im short of words... may his gentle soul rest in peace

classybabe said...

May he continue to rest in peace.

CATWALQ a.k.a LAGBA-JESS said...

My baby....he is always with you.
Soul never dies. It only sheds the cloak of Its consciousness on earth.
He most likely made a difference in many lives; thus, he had done what we have all been sent here to do...

Zephi said...

wow...dont even know what to ssy..saying sorry wont do...I know izehi lives on in your heart..another vibrant, promising young man bit the dust...arggggh

cally-waffybabe said...

Sorry, Belviw crash i meant to say- not ADC.
Hope you're aight dude?

Take care.

cally-waffybabe said...

Belview*

Carlang said...

I'm so sorry.
I dont think there ever is anything right to say to take away the pain.
He sounds like a great guy.
I probably might have met him. I was in UCH between 1997 and 2000. Not as a student but i had freinds who were so i ended up hanging around there most of the time.

Live tall.
Live strong.

fantasy queen said...

feel so bad i didnt even realise it's a year already, i remember the day we heard of the crash it was a sunday and sis n i remembered a friend of ours was to travel so we called his num and it went into voicemail...somehow we knew he was on that flight and when it was confirmed...aww, so sad to think about it.

lifes filled with unpredictatbles that make u curse at it...i'm sorry about ur friend, its painful to think he went thru all the hubalubas of the system just to leave before living...

Atutupoyoyo said...

Thank you all very much for your kind words and comments. The loss of a friend is a great one.

Aijay said...

*Tears*...Very touching Atutu. The loss of a loved one is so difficult to bear. The pain never goes away.
Like you said, we can only thank God for the times we spent with them.
May his soul rest in peace.

CATWALQ a.k.a LAGBA-JESS said...

how do I get in touch with you?

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

This is so sad. Tragedy can sometimes be a footnote, like you said, until you realize that it is part of your direct history.

May his soul rest in piece. Please take it easy, bro.

Positive girl said...

A great tribute.may his soul rest in peace.

Jaycee said...

Oh Lord, tragedies are not a good thing at all. I pray his soul rests in perfect peace, there's some place after this life...

I pray that you, and his family will be comforted and just have "peace."

Bitchy said...

'I miss his big head that was jam-packed with all sorts of useless trivia and information.'

I think it's great that you can still think of your friend with such humour. The anniversary of a death is never an easy thing. Hope you're okay? And if you need cheering up, you are more than welcome in my Parisian boudoir. Xxx

Bitchy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bighead said...

May your friend rest in peace. My mum's chief bridesmaid also lost her husband in that crash. Seems it hit close to home for a lot of us.

On a lighter note, flash outran superman easily in season 4 of smallville.

UnNaked Soul said...

God Peace!

For the love of me said...

So sorry about your friend. The loss of loved ones remind us to cherish more the ones who are still with us. So sorry

princesa said...

Why so so death gists every where i turn eh??
A friend just told me that another friend of ours was killed by armed robbers two days ago and now this!!!:(

May Izehi's soul RIP,Amen.

Afrobabe said...

Very touching...Didn't know men could feel/confess to such love for other men....
He is in a better place,good people like him can't cope with the world so they are taken earlier.

Babawilly said...

May his soul rest in peace

laspapi said...

A salute to the memory of your friend.

Queen of My Castle said...

I am sure that there is nothing that can be said to take the pain away. I offer my sincere condolence. What a wonderful friendship you were blessed with.

Belema said...

A wonderful eulogy to a friend so dear .... Rip !!!

curvyice said...

its hard to loose someone dear to you, but at least you gat to spend some quality time with him. sorry that he had to go, but i bet he is in a better place smiling down at you.

Pix Gremlin (akin) said...

Hey, buddy.. hope that you're hanging tough in light of recent events. Take care.

acainto said...

So poignant...friendship is the most unselfish of bonds...I pray your loss is healed as you cherish the times you did have with your friend.

Isi said...

hi atu....just passing by. no update i guess! how are u doing?!

pinocchio's lil' sis said...

Like femi kuti would say sorry for nigeria.
lost a mentor in that crash. feel your pain. good that you can keep your friend alive in your heart and still talk about him in a way that make one wish they knew him or he didn't die. i am sure wherever he is, he's loving you for that. chin up, guy.

Zephi said...

update naw? pretty pls?

Onome said...

yeah atutu pretty pls?? and honey??

Emz said...

Pele pele, Atutu. So sorry about your friend...

Zephi said...

ehhn, you have been tagged :)

Jaja said...

Atutu my friend,.. long time... am back from Kaiama.. oo... your brother don suffer.

I read your dedication to Izehi, its very gentle and private. I am never able to say anything really about Loss. It just quietens me. Sorry.

Minus that, you write really well. I have missed people of such sublime sensibilities,languishing in that brutish jungle in Kaiama.... anyway am back now..how u dey??

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Uncle Atutu: Just checking on you, bro...

Arewa said...

May his soul find Peace in the arms of Our Almighty Father! Amen!!

UndaCovaSista said...

Atutupoyoyo, r u alright, mate?

Naapali said...

ah2-2 where you at? I hope you are well. See even Jaja that has returned to us from the netherworld of Kaiama is asking after you?

Mrs. Poyoyo, can ah2-2 come out and play with us?

Onome said...

hmmm na wa o am actually getting worried......wat is happening to atutu abeg??? ATUTU OOOOOOOO...HOPE ALL IS WELL PLS!!!!:-ss

Nyemoni said...

Rest well Izehi...what a nice ode for your friend...May God give you the fortitude to bear the loss....

rethots said...

Ouch! ...for the love of those we love.

Bensonajdx said...

ah2-2 where you at? I hope you are well. See even Jaja that has returned to us from the netherworld of Kaiama is asking after you? Mrs. Poyoyo, can ah2-2 come out and play with us?