(Picture from The Trent. Credits: Quentin Leboucher/AFP/Getty Images)
“Kyom is gone. BH killed him!”
My reverie was shattered by the BBM from my sister. I instantly forgot about the flight I was rushing to catch.
I noticed it was his picture on her DP. I remember thinking to myself “it doesn’t make sense, isn’t he deployed to Ibadan?” I asked the same.
“They transferred him last year, he was due to marry at the end of August. Check LIB”
Whew! The driver interrupted my thoughts with the announcement that we were at the airport. Shouldn’t have bothered, I missed the flight by whiskers and had to reschedule for later in the evening. As I returned home, I kept mulling it over, there were many questions.
The details filtered in. Postings in Niger, then Borno. A patrol. An ambush. Everyone killed. Devastated parents, anguished fiancee. Pictures all over social media. God! Why?
The last time we saw was at my parents’ house in sleepy Ibadan, an easy posting I thought. Safe. But I guess it never remains that way. Not for a soldier. I remember snippets of conversation, mostly from your dad as he briefed us about your progress – joining the NDA, graduating. I remember the jokes about the exchange, you moving from home to Ibadan, my brother in the opposite direction, to Kaduna for the NYSC.
When a young person dies it’s a tragedy like no other, it’s a death of possibilities, of dreams, of what could have been… I guess when you joined the military you knew what you were signing up for, it’s a profession mired in death. But still, this is one of those events we accept only of the finality of it all. We can’t argue you back to life.
We are a country at war. With itself. The hate is directed at us all, and if they’ve not touched you it’s only because they can’t… Not yet… So maybe we can stop the internal bickering and understand that daily, people – sons and daughters, friends and family, Nigerians like you and me with hopes and dreams for the future put themselves at risk, in harm’s way, for Nigeria. The only way to win is together, because these people just want to watch the world burn, there is never any satisfaction. It’s like a fire that burns until there is nothing left to consume but itself.
This is a farewell to a brother who gave his life doing his job. The job of keeping our country safe. My heart is heavy and I think the lump will always rise back to my throat any time you cross my mind.
Farewell Kyom, and may your labour and sacrifice never be in vain.