ONWUASOANYA FCC JONES
Because of how courageous he can be in fighting for the betterment of the less privileged and asserting his political ideas, or maybe, because of how wealthy he is and the large following he commands, many may have even alluded to him, the strength of a God and maybe, the heart of Napoleon Bonaparte. But kings do cry, and even Christ wept. A warrior, no matter how tough, still has that soft side in his heart, and there are days and times when the toughness of a warrior gives way to emotions.
Yesterday was one of such days for the immediate past governor of Imo State and Senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha. On his way to the National Assembly, he was unusually sad and sullen. The ride to the National Assembly was mostly silent till he alighted and walked straight to the Senate Chambers. His smiles to the security men and other staff of complex who usually serenade him with praises whenever they see him, was wry and dry.
The Senate was far from adjourning when he rushed out, as unceremoniously as he went in, muttering in utter sadness; "this can't be true", "it's a lie", "this can't be true". We, his aides had already heard what was then a rumour and we were no longer very surprised at his near despondence this time.
It was a long drive to his Unity House office, as he kept seeking to be told that the news wasn't true. His aide-de-camp had seen a fake news on one of the blogs reporting that Senator Uwajumogu was alive but receiving intensive medical attention in a hospital. That brightened Owelle up so much. He immediately asked the ADC to start making plans for an air ambulance that would fly Ben abroad.
"Get in touch with any available air ambulance to move him out immediately, please." He desperately ordered the ADC.
While the ADC was making his contacts, Owelle was also called one or two other people for the same purpose; "Please, get an air ambulance ready. Whatever it costs"
When we finally got to the office, he requested to get in touch with Aunty Chidimma, Ben's sister to know which hospital they were at, so he could see them there and hasten the arrangement for Ben to be flown abroad. That was when the news broke, and Owelle was devastated.
I have never seen him so sad. Maybe, I haven't seen much of him. But, you could see the pains of a friend over the lost of a cherished friend. Men don't cry and great men don't let their tears be seen by their subordinates. But…
Ben was a great friend and ally to His Excellency. They became friends before politics brought them closer. Owelle took Ben as a younger brother and I am sure Ben had the same feelings for the man he addresses as his leader.
Just few weeks ago, we were at Prof. Nnamdi Obiaraeri's daughter's call to bar reception in Abuja, Senator Ben was there, too. Both men exchanged banters, after Senator Ben had hailed Owelle as 'our leader' that he undoubtedly is. They danced together and shared some more jokes to the happiness of every noble mind who was there.
If death asked questions before striking, then, I am certain that Ben was the last person that would be its victim, now. Ben was such a kind man that someone described him as that politician who could give out all he has and stay broke. There is always a feast in his house, not really because he wanted to show off, but because he liked to give and he didn't know how to eat alone.
Okigwe zone, Imo and indeed Nigeria have missed a great political leader who, in himself is a great asset, whose potentials are half-tapped.
Like Owelle muttered all through most part of yesterday; "Ben can't be dead, someone must be cracking a very expensive joke."😭