It is the Carol Season again when edifying and soul lifting Christian songs are rendered in exciting varieties by the most talented of choristers. It is a season that reminds us of how the Son of God came into the world in the lowliest of circumstances. It is a season of joy, spiritual and otherwise.
Unfortunately, this season also brings a lingering sadness to me as it reminds me, always, of a close friend who lost his life to armed robbers after a Carol Service. You probably know of him. He was one of the best Copy Writers of his generation. He was in his 20s when he helped create the famous Milo advert which gained international acceptance.
It was one of the many wonderful works he churned out in his 20s and 30s including the launch of Vanguard Newspapers and subsequently Prime People Magazine. He was just about 40 when he handled the adverts for Abiola’s presidential campaign remembered for simple but catchy slogans.
So successful was it that Tinubu went looking for him to handle his gubernatorial campaign. After Tinubu came Fashola and a host of other high profile political campaigns including that of Fayemi, his junior at Christs School. Had he been alive today, he probably would be the point man for Tinubu’s presidential campaign.
He was fastidious about his health. To the best of my knowledge – and I have known him since we were in our early 20s – he never smoked. He also gave up drinking very early when he realized it wasn’t for him. He had been juicing fruits long before smoothies became the vogue. I tasted and enjoyed various blends in his house.
Yet for all the fuss about his health, for all the precautions he took to stay healthy – he once cut down drastically on meat -, death took him away so suddenly that he never had the chance to say proper goodbyes to his loved ones. He was in his 50s when he felt a strong pull for the Word of God.
He got more involved with church activities including house fellowships. On the fateful night, he had attended his church’s Carol Service and stayed behind for some administrative chores. By the time he stepped out, many people had left and his car was isolated in an unlit area. Lurking around were agents of death.
It was sudden. It was irreversible. Sesan Ogunro died a few hours later in a hospital of gunshot wounds. He would have been 70 in May this year. I’d like to believe he made his spiritual bed before he left home on that ill-fated day.
Sammie Okposo the talented gospel artiste died suddenly a couple of weeks ago. He was just 51. Professionally, this time of the year would have been his season. Whatever the true account of how he died, 51 is just too young to die. I feel for his family which should take consolation in the fact that his works would outlive him.
They always do. Sammie’s death this time of the year brings my friend’s death to the fore more forcefully for me. Although the circumstances were different, both were sudden. When Sesan left home for church on the fateful day, he was healthy and fully expected to get back home to his bed. He didn’t. We had Christmas plans. According to actor Richard Mofe-Damijo’s account of his last encounter with Okposo, there was also no indication that Okposo would not see Christmas.
There are many people who are very healthy this moment who would not see Christmas while there are many people who are bed ridden today who would still be around to see a couple of Christmases. That is life. Not all of those who are contesting for political positions in February/March 2023 would live to see the day.
It might not be those for whom death expectations are high. Like Uncle Sam, my Boss would say ‘this thing is not turn by turn’. Many of those who are deriding and exaggerating the frailties of Tinubu might die before him. In fact, some might not be around for the election. As the way of nature, so the way of life.
Death of anybody, whether old or young, strong or feeble, rich or poor, friend or foe, should teach us to be humble. It should teach us to avoid empty boasts and arrogant proclamations. Many who say ‘over my dead body’ have unwittingly dug their own graves by that statement. It should teach us to stop playing God. There is only one God who determines life and death.
Finally, it should teach us to number our days and stop unnecessary acquisitions. Death lurks everywhere – in the bedroom, in the bathroom, on the street, in the sky, alone or with friends. It is important for us to be prepared like the Boy’s Scout. It is important for us to make our beds when going out because we can never be too sure we will come back to it.
Ask the victims of kidnaps, of highway bandits, of car accidents. Ask my friend whom I still miss eight years on. Making our bed means we should strive as much as possible to tidy the state of our affairs because we never know when death will come calling. An untidy state of affairs is like an untidy bed. It is unwelcoming.
But much more, it reveals the character of the person sleeping on the bed. But these are on the literal level. The spiritual level is far more important. We should make our peace with God by eschewing bitterness and glorification of vanity. Making your bed daily is living an evolved life which puts God first and humanity second. It is the way to become victors and not victims at the end of this fleeting life.
May the souls of all the faithful departed, including that of Abah Sofunde, the wife of Ebun Sofunde SAN, whose remains will be interred this week, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Written: By Muyiwa Adetiba