As I write this, perhaps, my heart has never been heavier. As I write this, it’s beginning to look like nothing makes sense and would ever make sense anymore. As I write this, it’s becoming difficult every minute to make sense of what this life is all about
The death of anybody is a sad thing. When somebody dies in his prime, when the whole world seems to be at your feet, you wonder again if this life is worth it. This is the case with Solomon Giwa-Amu; the well loved Brigadier General of the Nigerian army, director of Army Public Relations, former ADC to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and most recently, defence attaché in New York.
Giwa-Amu with Obasanjo (Pix: Sun News)
The morning after, I still find it difficult to operate beyond auto pilot. I know this morning, the day after, and many more days after would be difficult for his immediate family, friends and acquaintances and even foes (I doubt if he had any). The question would be many and there would be no answers leaving many to wonder what exactly is the essence of life.
For those of us who knew Brigadier General Giwa Amu, we have lost a friend, a brother, and a person who words cannot even describe who he was. First and foremost he was a quintessential family man, who placed his family well above any other consideration
To his friends, especially, the younger ones like me. He was a protector and an inspiration to how you should live your life as a human being.
I met Brigadier General Giwa Amu in 1986 at the S & T Barracks in Ugbowo, Benin City. He was then a Captain in the Nigerian Army and I was an undergraduate at the University of Benin who was living in the Barracks then courtesy of then Brigadier General Brimmo Yussuf and then Lieutenant R O Yussuf. There was no false airs about Brigadier General Giwa Amu. He opened his doors to us, he blended in with us and at a point, many would not believe that he was just coming out of a tour of duty as the ADC to General Ike Wachukwu, then external affairs minister
When we were broke, and needed food, General Giwa Amu was there. When school was closed and we needed money to go back home, he was there, even when we just needed money to go have fun, he was there. I can’t recall how many times we played pranks on him that would make even the Pope lose his temper; Brigadier general Solomon Giwa Amu would not even blink. There was not one day he played the army officer card on any of us; even God knows he had more than enough reason to do that. He was there as a friend and big brother
As the years progressed and he climbed the ladder, our paths crossed several times and in the past years as the defence attaché in New York, he, along with his wife Judith, were instrumental and pivotal in the setting up of the North America Chapter of the University Of Benin Alumni Association.
He was there in Charlotte, North Carolina last June at the 2nd reunion of the University of Benin Alumni association and we had so much fun, it was unbelievable. I can just remember teasing him about his impending promotion saying to him, “Oga, all your juniors have become generals what are you wetin for” He asked me to speak to the powers that be on his behalf and I promised I would. He informed us of his move back to Nigeria and promised to be an integral part of the association and we should always count on him.
We sure needed him, but surely God wants him more. What else can we say but to thank God for the life of this wonderful man, a quintessential office, an urbane gentleman and a friend you can always count on even if you don’t see him for ages. But now we are not even going to see him forever anymore.
Only God can comfort his wife Judith, his four kids, his family and his unbelievable circle of friends. Only God can, but in the meantime I can only operate on auto pilot.