12th May 2014.
My dear Dad,
I have written this letter in my head a number of times; making mental notes of things I need to tell you when I eventually write, so this is me, writing the first one. I hope you get it though. Wait! What’s the post code of Heaven?
Can you believe it’s been 2,854 days already since you passed away from this earth, and went to be with the Heavenly Father? It means that in a little over 3 months, it will be eight years since I last heard your voice, not counting the numerous times I hear you in my head, of course! How time flies!
A lot has happened since 20 July 2006, the day that my cheeky lil’ sister told me in her own way,
“Your daughter’s grandfather has passed on o..”,
as she could not find a more innocuous way to tell me, the one you called ‘Baba’, that my dear dear father, the one that taught me to love books and the things in them; the one that taught me to love my wife no matter what; the one that showed me that Pastors can have a sense of humor too – had breathed his last on the earth.
Yes, a whole lot has happened. I can imagine that God lets you see what is happening down here, but in case you have not had the time to check the status updates, I should let you know a few things. First, you will be glad to hear that you now have ten grandchildren, not four. And we, your own four, are doing our best to bring them all up the right way. With a Mathematics textbook in one hand, and the New Testament (and Psalms) in the other (lol)!
And your wife misses you so much. Much more than she lets show. She once told me that she misses having you pray for her while she sleeps, and she now has to do her own prayer for herself, and by herself. The project you started together is blossoming! Named after you like you planned, it is a blessing to many.
Not much has changed here in terms of global and local politics, but the bit that has changed, has really changed. Yes, the world is still battling global terror, and yes, the US finally caught that Osama they were looking for. Like we discussed at length on several occasions, several people have confirmed the rumors that OBJ did not want to leave after his second term, but he eventually -and reluctantly – did, with a sleight of hands imposing one slow chap like that (Shehu Musa’s younger brother). That slow one (Umaru) died in office about four years ago, bequeathing us with a gentle-looking fellow.
The politicians are repeating every mistake you told me that their predecessors in the first and second republics made, and they are ingeniously creating even new and more dangerous ones. We keep praying for Nigeria. We pray that God will turn the hearts of our leaders in the right direction, and give us followers the moral courage to ask the right questions, and not give up.
Many eminent Nigerians that you really liked have passed away. Gani Fawehinmi died in 2009, and (Rtd.) Justice Chukwudifu Oputa died this month. The inimitable Emeka Odimegwu-Ojukwu (I remember your copy of Frederick Forsyth’s biography of him –“Emeka”) has also passed away, without writing the memoir you hoped he would. As an aside, your room (and the books in them) is still very much the way you left it that Thursday morning. Every once in a while, I go “borrow’ a book from your book shelf. I have not returned any, as usual, but you know how we do it now… (*smile*). Some of mine are there as well. You did not return them.
Back to your beloved Osogbo, it’s a mixed bag, really. I am sad to say that there is still much spiritual darkness in the inner city, where you preached very often. Every Pastor I speak with tells me that your home town is a Muslim town, and not many Buraimohs like you are becoming Jesus followers like you wanted. But I am hopeful, and I pray for your Osogbo, that the light that shined out of darkness will still light on your father’s brethren, who have the zeal for God, and zero knowledge.
The present Governor behaves like a fanatic, though he claims he is not. He has bulldozed Fakunle Comprehensive High School. Rumors have it that his political godfather is insisting on putting a shopping mall on the expansive grounds. That is some sad news for a retired (sorry, late) school Principal, and education-lover like you. After they #bringbackourgirls, we will ask them to #bringbackthebook.
I am glad to let you know though, that there is some physical development in the town (even the road in front of your house has been tarred… but not Bayo Adepoju St. **sigh**).
People are regularly shocked at how closely we resemble. I need to watch the pot belly sha. You once told me yours was a ready pulpit, ready to balance a Bible on to preach, anywhere!
I will write more often. Hopefully, with more cheery news. But you don’t need more cheer –you’re in heaven. It is for my sake and your grandchildren’s sake that I pray that Nigeria makes better news next time.
Love and miss you.