By Oraye St. Franklyn
Hon. Nimi Walson-Jack used to tell me, “Your friend reads everything you write,” referring to Sir Emmanuel Aguma (not SAN at the time), of which I always wondered how he arrived at the conclusion that we were friends. I had only met him once before. It was at the airport and he was even introduced to me by Hon. Walson-Jack, himself, popularly referred to as Uncle Nimi.
Prior to that meeting, we had never met. After then, we didn’t speak. If anything, his elitist mien was a strong barricade. His intimidating baritone made matters complex. Besides, I was not one to pander around. I’ve never been like that. So, how come Uncle Nimi is drawing conclusions. Well, what can I say? How do I even tell him, I really don’t know this person?
The most I knew about him as time went was told to me by Uncle Nimi. “Oh, that’s true, Chinwe spoke well of your write up!” Another day it would be “Chinwe speaks well of you all the time” As days went by “Chinwe…” “Chinwe…” “Chinwe…” was often part of our conversations about the goings-on at the Wike 2015 campaign office and later the transition committee.
I cannot remember our first meeting. That’s because somehow we started having online conversations and became so familiar, as though we had known for ages, that personal meetings made no difference. But the meeting I cannot forget was on a Sunday, when he called me up to his office. Upon my arrival and without prompting he said we were going for another meeting. It changed everything. That story is for another day.
That was the day I knew him. That was the day I understood him. It made me respect him with an exclusive endearment. What we did together, how we fought, the victories we won…words cannot say. His willingness to trust was itself an emboldening confidence and an endorsement of one’s capacity and competence. His confidence in one was an inspiration. His unique line of thinking always brought illumination and he didn’t need to speak much because he rolled with those of his frequency. Tap! Tap! Tap! It’s done and unto another. No matter how it went, he stood by you. He’d rather take the bullet than have you deflated. That was the man popularly referred to by his friends as Chief Agums.
Today, we mourn and indeed we should, but we cannot but celebrate a man who always got the job done and achieved everything he wanted. His transition may be regarded a loss, but in truth, it’s an inspiration to those who admired him to pursue the accomplishments of grander ideals and excellence like he did.
Cry, but when you’re done, rise and soar. He compromised nothing. He lived well and left when the ovation was loudest. It’s not in the length of days but the impact and essence. I loved him and always will. Our romance would truly be forever.
I mourn no more. We must live the life, and well, too.