A Basilica Of Thanks To My Brothers…

by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku

Some can pee but cannot sh*t.
Some can sh*t but cannot pee,
I can pee and I can sh*t,
Would I not be a fool if I do not say ‘Thank You!’ to God?

Written in my toilet after listening to Pastor J.T. Kalejaiye of RCCG (2004).

One of the first things that I know I must do after what seemed to everyone that I was Litvinenkoed is go to church and thank God for sparing my life. There was no way I could have survived a second surgical operation that arose from complications from an appendectomy if those who prayed did not pray and those who fasted and made intercessions did not fast and make intercessions on my behalf. Believe me, it was one experience that is better left in the domain of the imagination rather than experienced. And I prefer not to dwell on the machinations of the negative one himself or of his lieutenants who put up a stiff fight against my life but failed yakata. Dwelling on the pain and trauma of that experience seemingly glorifies the king of liars but it will not be I who will give him such honour and hold him in such awe. I am not from the Jobian land of Uz and as far as I know, I don’t have the kind of personal attributes that led Satan to ask God to allow him pass me through what Job did, especially at that point when everyone was celebrating.

But what I want to do now is celebrate. I want to thank God by celebrating those who stood strong and fought gallantly for me by making petitions to God on my behalf in very many ways and which gave me the strength to just hold on to the tiny thread that still established a link between my life and life. Oh yes, I was just at the brink – the doctors had all given up and some of the nurses were already shedding tears. The bout of rigor that struck me two days after surgery seemed to drag me so strongly from the top of a very dark room where I began to be gradually lowered as if I was in an elevator from the topmost floor and was drifting very fast to the ground floor. In my semi-conscious state, I saw my brother, my sister and my friends standing there, fighting, refusing, praying, begging God to let me live. Suddenly the elevator began to slow down and eventually it stopped. Thereafter, a certain bright light enveloped and gradually began to ease me back to the top of the room. For me to be sure that I was still alive, I called out the names of those who were there with me and tried to reach out to touch each of them, shake their hands for doing successful battle on my behalf. Oh dear, they became scared. They told me afterwards that they thought I was bidding them goodbye. It was something…

Let me talk about my brothers now…my ailment brought them to the fore like gladiators and they fought for my life in spite of all the shenanigans and the odd behaviour put up by that hospital (another topic for another gist). Of course there was Sam Kargbo, my surrogate daddy. He it was who took me out for a scan and x-ray when it became obvious that them doctors had no idea what was wrong with me: I’d not sh*t or peed for four days after admission and the way he looked at me as I struggled with the pain in my tummy was an indication that he knew that this was beyond the ordinary dictionary definition of the word ‘pain’. He made the initial deposits on my admission before deploying one of his staff to keep a close eye on me before he travelled out of the country on a business trip.

And then there was my elder brother – a world class footballer who has never had any opportunity to exhibit his ronaldinhoish skills internationally, he was not happy the first time I was sick and was not there to tend to his little brother. He more than made up for it this time – despite he hadn’t a dime in his pocket, he was the driving force behind the prayer vigil that was erected at my bedside. He with my sister, refused to give me up and when it was obvious I could not bathe or pee or wipe my backside or lie on my bed, he guided me to do all of these things. He left his business and for those terrible three weeks he stayed with me in that hospital, hardly sleeping, hardly eating, and hardly bathing. In sum, he put his life on hold for me. Even now that I have been discharged, he still fuses over me, insisting that it is not time yet to venture out of the house on my own.

Sammy Umah, my engineer and writer pal makes nonsense of that familiar and familial theory or dictum that affirms that blood is thicker than water. With what he did for me in that hospital as a guide, there was no way you could tell what difference there is between blood and water. I remember the night he came to see me after I had rigour – that kind of intense cold that makes your jaws rattle and rattle and you just shake and shake like some shakey-shakey daddy – and was in a comma. The dude was angry. How could this be happening after he had just watched me take a few morsels of eba and draw soup, what with everyone getting excited that we had beaten the grim reaper at his own game? Deep down in my deep slumber I could hear him establish his stand vehemently in a prayer against what was happening to me, insisting that I shall not die but live to declare the good works of God in the land of the living. Before this time too that those insensitive doctors ignored me writhing in pain and insisted that I pay them before they commenced surgery, this doughty but unemployed Jonathan of mine with Bishop Lanre produced half the amount needed for the surgery. He mobilized his entire friends (Olamide and Bayo) and family – Mrs. Umah his mother with Danny his brother – to wage war on the principalities and powers that tugged at the threads of my life. Mrs. Umah, Sammy’s mother – she had this way of standing her ground any time she came to see me, insisting that she is a Christian and as long as God is alive, I will live. A thoroughbred nurse of the good old days, she always offered me tips relating to my well being and how I could get back on my feet pronto. She insisted that I will walk out of that hospital alive and that was what I did. I just left her house and the good lady was very happy to see me, the one thing she kept saying was, ‘God heard my prayers; God heard my prayers…’ If your friends are really the brothers and sisters God forget to give to you, I’m most honoured to have Sammy Umah for a brother.

What about Dianam Dakolo of Daily Independent and my Uncle Banji of Silverbird Television? They stood by me in prayers before and after surgery. When I was cutting my editorial teeth at Daily Independent, this duo always ‘fined’ me for every exuberant activity of derring-do that breached the sanctity of the holy grounds of our editorial board offices. That place was one for a lot of laughter and cheer because this minute they fined me and the next I was committing a graver offence that incurred a graver ‘fine’. I am proud to say that everything I do know now concerning editorial etiquette I did learn at their feet. When Uncle Dakolo came to the hospital to visit me, he left me richer and brighter than I was before he got there. I thank you sir. It is my prayer that the light of God shines brightly in your household and that your days be long and very prosperous.

And then Tony showed up in the nick of time. He showed up just about when I needed him most because fatigue and exhaustion already started taking a big toll on my big bro. Days and weeks of tending to me already took its toll on him and Tony was there to liaise and connect all of the activities that led to my eventual discharge from that hospital. He it was who was there all alone with me when I had the first surgery and he did a yeoman’s job. He is my younger brother, an engineer, a teacher of math and a computer wiz kid.

The one thing that struck us all when my boss at EOM Communications walked in was this was a General in the vast army of the Most High. Yes, he it was that held God high by refusing to mentio

n the name of the evil one. Like Dianam Dakolo, he left me very rich and in very high spirits. I’d barely worked with him one week before the enemy struck but he deployed his PA Okiroro, and our General Manager Ben Akabue as advance parties to ascertain the degree of seriousness of my ailment. And when he showed up, we did not need to see a dove descending from heaven to know that this is one man in whom the Lord God himself is well pleased.

I have cause to thank my Pastor Bimbo of RCCG, Strait Gate Parish Lagos. I have cause to thank my little big boy Ndubuisi with his Daddy, Mr. Nnamdi. I have cause to thank the irrepressible Olu of Y – Project. I have cause to thank Me Femi, my neighbour who came to see me daily in the hospital. I have cause to thank my brother Timothy of Strait Gate Parish of RCCG, Lagos. I have cause to thank our security guard who got the vehicle that took me to the hospital. I have cause to thank the Uniben Alumni Association, Lagos Branch, particularly the exco led by Abu-Uwesu Yakubu for visiting me in the hospital and doing those things they did for me. I have cause to thank God most especially for giving me these quality people and for using them to give me my life back. I thank God for the gift of life and its many sub-gifts of being able to pee and poo, of a lot of the things we should thank him for daily but take for granted; things like the ordinary ability to be able to sleep and wake up in the morning; things like just being able to raise your arm, be able to blink, be able to feel the rush of the wind against your face; things like HIS Grace.

The one thing I know now is that life is a precious, precious gift from God that we must do all to live, safeguard and treasure. Our life does not belong to us – it is God’s and is given us on the understanding that we have the ability to use it, live it (leave it) to the praise and glory of God only.

Thank you for reading of my experience. I hope you learn something of God from it, that HE alone gives life and gives it abundantly to whomsoever he pleases. And I hope you have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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1 comment

kay February 6, 2007 - 12:36 pm

Beautifically crafted


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