My heart pounded ceaselessly, my mouth went agape and hot beads of tears drizzled uncontrollably down my cheeks when a chum through whatsapp chat few days ago broke the heart-rending news of death of a great friend – Nkwor Sunday Boniface.

When I got this message, I quickly sent him Sunday’s picture and with my hands trembling, I typed ‘ I mean this Sunday, the one we spoke on phone at the end of last month’, thinking that he was mistaking this particular Sunday probably for another Sunday.

As I waited in vain for his response that midnight, a shaft of fear was surging through my veins, leaving my limbs tingling with numbness. Quickly, I logged in to my Facebook account. While searching for him from my friends-list, I was praying fervently not to be this particular Sunday but I got the shock of my life when I saw an avanlanch of tributes and his pictures from his friends and relatives on his Facebook wall announcing his death.

‘Nooo! Nooo! this’s not true!’ I screamed thunderously and the walls echoed in response consoling my mood. ‘Sunday, why? Why have you done this to me? I cried out loud that middle of the night and my eyes got misty.

Sunday and I met in our Place of Primary Assignment – Women Day College, Minna, Niger State during our one-year youth service corps after I had redeployed from Katsina where I had initially camped and since then, we kept our friendship aglow.

Without any iota of doubt, Sunday was very nice to the core, calm and intelligent. We shared a whole lot in common and what really interested me most when we first met was that Sunday had similar hobby with me – walking.

Throughout our service year, we resolved to go for a walk every day – morning and evening. Sunday would always call me an antelope reason being that I could walk seemingly endless miles without getting tired. ‘Edo man, pls lets go home, my waist aches me and I can’t go further.

I know you are always ready to walk till dawn because you are an antelope, no wonder you have a flat tummy,’ Sunday would always say. Another very interesting thing about Sunday was that he was very meticulous about what went in his stomach.

There’s one particular bread name I cannot remember now which Sunday would always like and every three days, I would always accompany him to Ostrich Bakery, Tunga to get this bread. This was how we rolled, managing that monthly allowance or stipend paid to us.

So after our POP, Sunday left for Abuja in search for greener pastures and ever-since then, we have stayed in touch, communicating on phone, through Messenger and Whatsapp.

We deliberated on several issues and often times, we discussed the politics of our landscape, the challenges and foibles of this Buhari’s administration ranging from the present economic doldrums ravaging our nation, the incessant killings carried out by Fulani herdsmen in Benue State and other parts of the north, youth marginalisation to the agonies and dehumanising experiences of servitude Nigerians in the neighbouring nations went through in the hands of their inhuman fellow African brothers as they were sold out cheaply like common goods by their fellow Nigerians, maimed, stabbed, hanged and burnt to death as if they committed very unforgivable offences.

Sunday and I actually planned to meet at Gwaripa pack, Abuja but on that fateful morning we were supposed to meet, Sunday pleaded on phone that we should postpone our meeting to the next day that he had a visitor but little did I know then death was this actual visitor.

So, the next day came, I dialled severally both his GLO and MTN lines but my attempt to reach him on phone suffered futility. Could this be network or what? I was wondering.

I kept dialling his lines as hours, days and weeks rolled by thinking that his phone was stolen. Much to my astonishment, I was oblivious of his death all these while until that midnight I received the thunderous news.

Oh! Sunday has gone beyond without even a wave of hand and his voice, I hear no more! All alone, I’m left wandering through the wilderness that’s full of deserts, termites and wolves.

My heart aches in sadness and tears rain down sorrow each time I flashed back to those smashing moments we had together but I promise that the memories of you will ever linger in my heart.

Oh! The great Ikemba 1 of Embonyi! I know you had wrestled severally with death and many times, you had conquered but today, you got woefully defeated reason being that death is one natural phenomenon that defies human manipulation.

Adieu my friend ‘ Odoghu nwoke’, till we meet again to part no more. Rest in God’s loving arms and I pray that God comforts your family and everyone else who loved you. Goodnight.

 Rabiu Kassim 

                                                                                Tel: 07038772027

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