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Ogechi Nwobia: Femi’s spirit (30 days, 30 voices)

The hall was packed full, it had a sitting capacity of 7,000 and it was full to the brim. Such a thing had never happened before; But I was not surprised, I didn’t expect anything less. It was Femi’s day after all. He more than deserved it. Who didn’t know him? Funny, nice, selfless, reliable, fun loving, easy going … You know one of those guys that were seemingly too good to be true but he was 100% real. With Femi, there were no layers, no shades, no pretentious demeanour. There was just him.
I remember the first time we met. I had heard so much about him, I was really curious. We worked in different departments but once in a while, we had cause to work together. We worked that day; he, tirelessly with a smile, easy laughter, gentle tease… I enjoyed his company so much. We became friends. Whenever there was tension between our departments as there often was, you could count on Femi to try and douse it. I can’t think of anytime I ever saw him angry.

Saturday morning, I heard some kid talking about a guy who had died the day before. The guy had slumped while jogging. He didn’t know his name, only that someone had died. I felt fleeting sympathy and went on my way.
I got to the chapel and saw buses. Several people stood around. I saw a friend and called out to him cheerfully. He looked sad.
“Bella love, what’s wrong? Who is the boy that died?” He looked at me and shook his head. His smile was sad.
“Femi.”
I laughed.
“Which Femi?”
“It’s the one you know.”

I watched him walk to the podium with brisk strides. He tapped the mic once, twice and proceeded to speak. I listened attentively for a while before his words took me back in time to some fun moments I and Femi had shared.I found myself smiling.

Femi’s death taught me that life is transient and very unpredictable. You do the best you can whilst you’ve still got the chance. Truly, it’s never about the length of your days, but the impact you are able to make. Since Femi’s death, always, I’ve found myself thinking impact, impact, impact…

I willed myself to return back to the present. It was Femi’s memorial service. His twin brother had just rendered a wonderful eulogy. People shed tears all around the hall, but he was dry eyed. I could not fathom how he dealt with the pain; But I could understand how he could draw strength from the impact Femi had made while he was alive. Impact that drew several people to his memorial service. He was just 20, but his 20 years were more meaningful than the 50 or more years of several other individuals. He was the guy who practised what he preached. No wash. He was hardworking, dedicated, selfless… His lecturers could attest to it, his colleagues too.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Within a few minutes, the solemn applause from the crowd brought me back to reality. I didn’t get to hear his entire speech.

30 Days, 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.

 ”He was just 20, but his 20 years were more meaningful than the 50 or more years of several other individuals.”

——————————————————————————————-

On Friday evening, I walked past a colleague and she was crying.
“Are you okay dear?” I asked.
She sniffed and nodded.
“Yes, I just lost a friend.”
“I’m so sorry. Hang in there, you’ll be fine.”
I hugged her and shared a few words of consolation before I went off again.

Ogechi Nwobia is an unpublished writer (hopefully, that status will change soon) who authors the blog, yougeecash.wordpress.com, writing basically fiction and lifemathics. She is also a public speaker with core areas in people skills, personal worth and of course lifemathics. She’s a sanguine and describes herself as ‘the crazy girl with too much energy’. She tweets from @Oge_writes.

by Ogechi Nwobia

Suddenly everything was spinning around me. I was numb. All the blood drained from my face.
We had just about 90 days to our graduation. Femi was an Engineering student. After 5 years in school, so close to the end, he passed on. My heart thumped wildly in my chest and my feet threatened to give way beneath me. Bella held me. Everything after that is a blur.

Ogechi Nwobia (1)

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