O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (Bible).
On behalf of my family and the National Think Tank, we express our grief and shock over the sad news of the ghastly motor accident that claimed the lives of our shining and glorious women of Bayelsa State by 6.18pm along the Ahoada/Elele section of the East/West road in Rivers State on Saturday February 14, 2015.
The words of John Donne (1572 – 1631) reminds me of this great loss, “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. These beautiful souls so departed from us will remain evergreen in my memory, for I have come to know each of them personally. As Commissioner and later Secretary to Government of Bayelsa State, these women stood by me, and did help me to succeed in my day- to – day activities; active, inspiring, courageous, adventuress, political, beautiful, hardworking, never complaining. Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) American writer summed it up perfectly, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”.
Our women are not dead, their soul, their work, their memories liveth. ‘Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returneth, was not spoken of the soul. Henry WadsWorth Longfellow” (1807 – 82).
I agree with Georg Christoph Lichtenberg when he said, “I am always grieved when a man of real talent dies. The world needs such men more than heaven does”. Again, i remember the words of Thomas Babington Macaulay that said, “There are not many people in the world whose deaths would spoil my dinner, but there are one or two of whose deaths would break my heart”. My heart is indeed broken by the deaths of these jewels of inestimable value. Mrs. Pere Kalama, Mrs. Clara Abila, Lady Zimbra Goma, Mrs. Ruby Benjamin, Mrs. Consider Amadi, Mrs. Immaculate Amaseimogha, Mrs. Elizabeth Oguru (wife of my friend and the Secretary to Government of Bayelsa State and others) that died, believed that “generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.
We mourn our mothers, our sisters, our wives, our friends yet our resolve must be to submit to the Will of the Almighty God. When men stop believing in God they don’t believe in nothing; they believe in anything. The English essayist, Sydney Smith (1771 – 1845) said “Death must be distinguished from dying, with which it is often confused”. Non Omnis Moriar I shall not altogether die”. (Horace 65 – 8BC).
To the families and friends of our heroic and exemplary women of character and service and womanhood, and courage and love, i ask you to cry, to talk about your pain. But let God be your comforter, your rock and your Almighty – the Healer.
These women will live. I know that none dare challenge me when I say: I do know for a fact that these women “are” Bayelsa Greats!
For those of us alive, let me remind us of what Cotton Mather said about our beloved women when they were dying. “Is this dying? Is this all? Is this what I feared when I prayed against a hard death? Oh, I can bear this, I can bear it!
Prof. Steve Azaiki. OON. Is the coordinator of the National Think Tank, Nigeria.