Andrew Okeleke, former External Communications Manager of MTN and former Head of Public Relations, Globalcom, pays emotional tribute to wife who was killed by a reckless driver one year ago. Below is his tribute:
It’s a year since my earthly angel answered the call
How time flies!
My dear wife, it is already one year since you exited this wicked world through the reckless driver of BRT bus No. 314 at a spot near Agric bus stop, Ikorodu road, Ikorodu, Lagos.
We spoke last at 7.14pm on that fateful day. And ten minutes later, you had been knocked down while attempting to cross over to the other side of the road to wait for me.
Since that day, life has never been the same. The occurrence momentarily brought my world to a close. Darkness took over my space. For days, I was unable to comprehend what hit me that less than 10mins after we spoke, you were gone. We were going to meet at a hospital across the road to run a medical check on a new house help. Then suddenly you were no more.
Even when I drove past the accident scene to meet you at the hospital as scheduled, little did I know that the gathering I saw around the accident scene was about you. I got to the hospital to ask after you, but no one seemed to give me an answer about your presence at the hospital. But when I called our daughter to confirm whether you changed your mind and returned home, she broke the saddest news ever to me.
I found it difficult to believe that you were the victim, just 10 minutes after we spoke. I raced to the scene only to see your lifeless body in a pool of your own blood. BRT bus driver had murdered my dear wife!
I must confess that my life without you in the last one year has been thorny. To say the least, it was a mystery that I could survive the spate of incidence that happened to my existence as a widower. The vacuum your absence created in the home is real. The thoughts that you will forever be missing from the home kept going through our minds – your children and I. But it is stronger on me as the relationship of over 30 years cannot be wished away easily.
What about the love we shared together; the good times we had even when the resources were scarce? What about the strong support you gave me to climb from the zero rung of the ladder to the point where we would have settled for a glorious evening?
What about the peace, love and joy you brought to the entire family, and by extension, to our acquaintances and church members? What about your major role of ensuring smooth running of the home to the delight and progress of the family? That you were in charge of the home, like any other virtuous woman, was not in doubt. You conceptualised; you directed; you executed plans that stimulated our progress within the over 30 years we lived together.
Talking about spate of occurrences after your death, they came in a staccato form, to the extent that I likened my life to the life of a man born without luck. Worse still, the events seemed to be happening on the same date of 11 of subsequent months.
Since you have been gone, I have become particularly suspicious of the 11th of every month. It is for good reason. You left this world on that date; every other month since then, some unsalutary events tried to arrange themselves for that date. It is as if I should “beware of the ides” of 11 of any month. But God has reasons for the occurrences. He is the One that controls the time and our lives.
Indeed, my trip home penultimate Thursday, the first since your departure, was dry, just as our country home we built together was empty. It was devoid of the bustling of my kinsmen and your relations as well as old friends within the village who hitherto would troop into the house for the usual felicitations. It used to be rendezvous of some sort. You would cook almost endlessly to ensure our guests were entertained. We would have them come at different times; sometimes late.
But none of these happened this time round. It was as if they held a meeting to promulgate an unwritten rule that none should visit simply because the “chief entertainer” is gone. They may have imagined who would warmly welcome them with that wifely disposition. I sat in the large living room alone with a reflection of how your gregarious presence attracted them. I recall the financial and material support that we pass on to all.
With a feeling of nostalgia, I reminisced on how the warmth of your presence in the village attracted our acquaintances. Only then did I realise that your presence at home was like the honey-comb that constantly attracted the bees.
ar Nkem, as we fondly called each other, your untimely exit is difficult to forget even when people around encouraged me to do so. As the legendary reggae musician, late Bob Marley sang, “he who feels it knows it much”. I feel it; I know how it pains; but only God, the Owner of the whole earth will help the family to cope. Driving past the spot of the tragic accident, constantly throws up some chilling feelings in me. It reminds me of that terrible moment when I felt my world was finished and completely collapsed.
We had our evening full of hope; hope of retiring into a quiet life of full-time ministry; hope of helping our children to nurture our grand children; hope of working for humanity. Indeed, the hope of enjoying the home we built together. But that hope was dashed by a careless, reckless and wicked BRT driver exactly one year ago.
As I mark the first year of your exit, I pray the Almighty God to grant you eternal rest in His bosom. I pray and believe that we shall be together some day, to part no more.
Adieu, my Love!