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Abba Kyari: Lessons to learn, questions to ask

By Obafemi Babajide

Death they say is an inevitable end, when the eternal footman comes calling, no matter how highly placed, lowly classed or spiritual one is, it means the end has come; there might be no extra chance to address or re-address any nagging or pressing issue. Painfully or sadly, truth is, the end has truly come.

I do not want to speak for the whole of Africa but in Nigeria, you do not speak ill or gloat over the dead. Firstly, it is believed that no matter how younger the person might be to you if he/she dies before you, he, by the dint of dying first has automatically become your elder. Secondly, it is also believed that we all owe the eternal footman a debt, and this debt we must pay with our lives; this simply means, we all shall die one day not minding the circumstance and time. 

Abba Kyari’s death as shocking and surprising as it was to many, there should be a lot of takeaways from the life, times and circumstances of the death of that Aso Rock powerful figure. Watching how the Powerful Kanuri man was buried, if nothing was learnt, some emphases must be re-echoed here.  

For everyone in Nigeria, especially those who still doubt the existence and how dangerous this virus is, with the death of Nigeria’s Chief of Staff, you need no more conspiracy theory. You need no extra orientation, adhere to all warnings and keep safe because Coronavirus is not only real, it is deadly. Another emphasis is how ephemeral life in its entirety is. 

I do not know why I took a conscious interest in watching Abba Kyari’s burial; I should think it was because I wanted to know how his burial will be handled knowing full well what caused his death and the guidelines set for those who died in such circumstance. Whatever it was, I watched keenly and once again, I was disillusioned. Some sad realities sunk in, a lot of questions popped up, once again I became disinterested in so many things.

The first thing that caught my attention [although it was necessary] was the fact that his body was not brought down from the ambulance for prayers, his corpse had practically become a necessary outcast because of the circumstance of death, from being highly revered and sought after to being contained and about to be disposed of. What an ephemerality of life. 

Secondly, he was forced down the second part of the dogged grave on bare and untilled mother earth [although that is the Islamic way of burying]. Could that be the same Abba that has lived in affluence? Could that be one of the strongest and loudest voices of command in the villa? Certainly, we brought nothing and with nothing we shall all depart.

Take a tour through memory lane, Abba Kyari was rumoured to be the de facto prime minister of Nigeria since 2015, whenever he wakes is when the villa wakes. Alas! He left silently without taking with him anything. Whatever he is left with as he gives account to his maker is what he was able to do in good or bad while alive. The simple lesson here is, live light, be good, do your best and know that power and position are transient, wealth and affluence will be left unattended to by the seeker one day.

Though a lot of mourners converged at his gravesite, for some, it is to confirm if truly he is dead and some, it is to start politicking on how to take over his seat; vanity on display everywhere. The rich fool, store up wealth and treasures, yet he has no control over his life, he neither also considers who will inherit them. The lesson here is that we all should try and live an impactful life in all ramifications.

To those questions to ask:

What is life, after all the struggle from birth, after all, achievements and after accumulating so much; and, you can’t even add a split second to your time when the time is up?

What is life, why the much ado over nothing, if as an individual with much wealth and achievements, we cannot lay all down and attend to issues concerning our health?

What is life, shrouded in so much secrecy, surrounded by sycophants and with so many pieces of baggage? What is life, without giving back to the poor and needy, without ones impact being positively felt in your surrounding and in the society? 

I love this line in the book” Macbeth” by the great author William Shakespeare, after the great Macbeth the power seeker had lost his wife who happens to be his encourager in chief. The line goes thus; “Life is a tale, told by an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

For me rather than gloat or get excited over Abba’s death, or rather join those who mock the dead; I’ll rather join those who saw the light and a lot of positivity in him. I’ll rather wish him a peaceful rest and appreciate the much he had achieved and thus so far he was able to go. I’ll rather encourage him to take up his water bottle and go silently on his final journey of no return because the night may just be very long.

I’ll rather beseech him not to eat millipedes and warms, I’ll beg him to please feast on whatever they feast on in heaven. I’ll just say, rest on Abba Kyari, may Allah grant you Al Jannah Firdaus.  

Obafemi writes from isolation

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