One of my favourite pass-times is reading biographies, and since I am in a part of the world that has dearth of biographical novels, I am always left with the choice of reading the little booklets given at burials to satisfy this craving of mine. Whenever I stumble upon this burial booklets, my first port of call is reading up the biography of the deceased – whether I know the person or not – then I quickly flip through to the section where the eulogies about the deceased are written by families, friends and well wishers. As I read the sweet encomiums poured on the fallen, I always feel bad because the departed will never hear, read or feel the impact of all the adulations. Then I ask myself: did these people ever tell this dearly departed face-to-face, before the demise, how much they loved him or her, how much they have been inspired by the departed and how their lives would have been shapeless without them?
The Bantu people of Africa have a philosophical saying that goes thus: Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu. This literally translates to mean: a person is a person because of other persons. This African philosophy clearly negates the belief of a man being self-made. They believe that humans need each other for advancement, fulfillment and even to share our grief as well as our success. Perhaps, it is the knowledge of this great truth that made Isaac Newton quip when he was given the millennium man of the year award – and I quote:
“If I was able to see farther, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants whom have gone ahead of me.”
No matter how much one might try to deny it, our little successes are intricately tied to the kind advice from some people, little aids and pushes from them, their secret love and prayers, their nice and encouraging words and their material blessings.
In cognizance of the foregoing, I for one am writing this piece to openly appreciate those living souls whom have really blessed my life this year. Steve Jobs stated that he lives his life everyday as if it is his last. Of a truth, I do not know if I will drop dead after writing this piece, therefore, I am seizing this opportunity to pour encomiums on those whom GOD used to make this year my best year ever. Firstly, I deeply thank my immediate family for giving me resources without restraint to experiment with the myriad ideas – both fleeting and substantial – that sojourned my mind this year. Indeed, family is one of the best free gifts that nature gives to any individual. Family is always there to clean your shit when the whole world and friends turn up their noses and turn their backs on you.
Oh my loving brother Agu, you encouraged me severally this year when I felt like throwing in the towel. You believe in me more than I will ever believe in my self. You literally pushed me till I fell into the stream of success. Your resilient spirit is legendary.
What of my clairvoyant sister Nelo, who sees all my mistakes before I make them. She knows me like the back of her palm, ibu onye nji eme onu.
What can I say of Johnny Nwankwo, the first person to tell me that I am a wonderful writer that I should consider a career in scripting? He reads virtually all my write-ups, my scripts and my poems, and even edits despite his busy schedule.
My cousin Gimo has been awesome; her validations have always increased my ink. This validation is what the cerebral literary appreciator Ben Obumselu enjoined budding writers to cling to as a life jacket that it is all they need in the neophyte stage of their career.
Can I forget Obi Emelonye? This unassuming personality that always makes me feel I am one important writer. Trust me friends, make a man to feel important and he will become great. Obi’s support and advice have been priceless.
Kehinde Joseph, you are my man of the year. The Final Draft Software and the two script writing books you gave to me lifted me from a wannabe obscure script writer to a professional writer.
Can I fail to mention Uchenna Ude (Shakespearean Walter)? This passionate boss of mine that makes me feel as though I am a maverick writer. His conscientiousness expunges the grammatical blunders and syntax error my articles are laden with before publication. I am also not forgetting the informed commentators at the blog My Mind Snaps, and my numerous committed readers, you guys are the reason I write.
Princess Oluchi, can I omit you? No. You told me my article, The Audacity of Intellectual Theft, stopped you from buying pirated books. Such sweet statements make us write more therapeutic articles. But aside that, you have proven to be a friend like no other this year.
What will I say about my auxiliary mother, Lady Ifeoma Agbasi, your constant trust in me always makes me stretch myself beyond my limit.
What of Ohzed, you supplied me with books and essays that widened my horizon. Seeing you read every time dispels sleep from my eyes.
Friends, this is the spirit of Ubuntu, realizing that we are, because others were. My one kobo advice, please do not allow the year end without appreciating those that have blessed your life this year. Those human vessels used directly and indirectly by GOD to bless your life. If you do not, it will be like watching a film without an opening or end credit. Let’s not wait till people die before we tell their lifeless body how much they have helped us. Such acknowledgements while they are alive does not diminish us. Therefore, in Tuface’s voicem I say to all these afore-mentioned wonderful people, Obrigado, Merci Boqui, Siyabonga, Asante-Sana, Gracia. Echi ga abu echi oma!
May GOD open our eyes of understanding.