Tribute to my twin brother from another mother, AIG Don Awunah
Now and finally, I have to do the unimaginable. It has been days of agonising reflections since that night, that hour when I received the most dreadful news in my life, the news that you’ve taken flight. You’ve taken the final flight that has broken the bond of 44 years of our friendship and brotherhood.
But why? I ask you Prosh. Why did you decide to do this to me? Why did you have to break this journey midway when the flight was already in cruise mode? Why did we have to embark on this journey together if you knew we won’t reach the destination together? Why?
Forty-four years ago on the sidelines of the football pitch of the Makurdi Community School, Makurdi, the elements joined us together, after a bitter argument that almost degenerated into fisticuffs. Rather than generate schism, that episode birthed a rollercoaster relationship that became a model, pride and, of course, even envy of many people.
Prosh, why did you allow this journey that we sat and plotted its course and contours together to terminate abruptly? At every moment, we kept modifying the route but never agreeing on the destination. And then, suddenly without warning, you’ve called off the journey, you’ve negated all the rules of engagement we set for ourselves for this cruise. You’ve jumped ship, leaving your only “twin brother,” stranded!
Prosh, much as I know you are with the angels above watching over your twin, Dooshima, Chivirter, Gabriella, Orchiviligh and Doobee, this certainly was not our agreement. In you I found a brother with whom we never took the same side of an argument, we hardly agreed on anything but we did everything together! That was the super glue of our brotherhood. We were different, yet we were the same. This was the mystery of our relationship. We did everything that complimented the development of each other and people wondered if we ever had differences. They were a lot but and the end of each disagreement, we waxed stronger. Prosh, you’ve dealt me an irreparable blow.
I’ve come to the very sad realisation that we will never have our morning fruit salad together, and close the day with evening tea. Even as we were becoming old men, we had several occasions to share the same bed when and wherever there was accommodation constraints. You stood by me at all times and I watched your back all the times. Prosh, you were a different human being. With you, we attended almost every event hosted by our friends across the country. It could be in Benue , in Kogi, Plateau, Kaduna, Enugu…name them. We were always there even if it was at the risk of our lives.
I remember when we had to knock on the door of a mechanic in Adoka at 1 am to fix my old jalopy on our way back from the traditional marriage of a friend. Or having to stop and change the flat tyre of our car in the middle of the road, in the dead of the night, attending yet another traditional marriage of a friend close to the Cameroon mountains! Thank God it was not in this era of banditry, it would have been a different story. This was what and who you were. At every curve of our journey you were there for me. You were simply an enigma.
Prosh, you made life very easy for me and now I don’t know where to start from. We ran our ideas through each other. We shared everything in this world that was to be shared. We married two friends! So long as we were in the same location, we ate together, oftentimes from the same bowl. I remember driving to your house most evenings so we can share a meal together, after which a debate must precede our bidding good night to each other. This was the nature of our lives that you’ve cut short and taken flight!
Prosh, I know you are now where you no longer feel pain, feel for me, feel for your wife and children especially the wedding of your only daughter Gabriella, which you kept talking to me about. If only I was clairvoyant I would have known that you had warned me of this irreversible journey. When we went to take a final look at you to be sure you were the one lying still in the morgue. Our friend, Tunde Olusunle who was with us when we were discussing Gabriella’s wedding, which never held on account of your indisposition, reminded me of what you said at the end our our discussion. You remarked that, “Onyitse but you are the one who is going to do this wedding oh.” But little did I know that this was what you meant. Indeed it was a warning I never understood!
Prosh you were a special breed. Else how were you able to do all these and did them so well? You were a wonderful family man who ensured that your family never lacked, not forgetting members of your extended family. I remember how you dragged me out of my bed when I was recuperating from a back surgery to serve as the chairman at the reception of your niece’s wedding even if it was going to be for 10 minutes. You loved your family intensively and unconditionally. You spared nothing to please your friends. Indeed you worshipped and cherished friendship. You loathed laxity and indolence. As a Super Prosh, you were very intense but humane in the discharge of your assignments. You left marks and created permanent friendships with people where you worked variously. Adagbo Onoja, one of our friends, in his tribute described you as an urbane Super Cop, which indeed is what you were.
Prosh, these were your last words to me when I visited you in the hospital and sat by your bed side. You gave me false hope. I was encouraged you were on the path of recovery. You stood up and managed to walk to the side of the bed, and I held and caressed your arm. Though not very loud but audible enough you said, “orne kwagh nyion me fa. Orne mya ichan”. My eyes were misty but I held back, the gathering tears. I never knew that you were literally telling me that your time in this world was up and you were going to take flight away from the pain and anguish your going through. Little did I have an inkling that you were bidding me goodbye and warning me to be ready for what was to come.
Prosh, I have accepted the reality that you’ve taken your flight never to land anywhere where mortals or your “twin brother” will commune with you again. I celebrate you; you were a special breed. You came and accomplished your mission. You’ve left your “twin brother” stranded. I can assure you, however, that that spirit which we shared, which gave us strength will still propel me to snug on till we rejoin to continue our routine “fights” and arguments.
I shall thoroughly miss you, my dear PROSH!
Nyitse, PhD, a mass communications scholar, is Chief of Staff to the Benue State Governor.