I stood frozen in the middle of the road between Tooting Broadway and Primark, the shopping centre, mobile phone glued to my ear. I had brought chaos to the traffic light unaware what was happening. All this because of a call from Englishman telling me, “Barry, Benson is dead.” Just like that? 

Soon enough the problem l was causing dawned on me and I eventually crossed the road and finally managed to get home a zombie for the next few days. That was some days now.

But having gone through the processes of disbelief and shock and anger I have had to accept the truth -  Benson ‘Ogbuefi Ezenwannie ‘ is really gone, and life has to go on. But not quite the same. 

In life you touched many a people in many a different ways and it’s hard to try and qualify how your passing would affect them. 

There was no reason to imagine your demise was near as you sounded hale and hearty the week before. Your WhatsApp message to me was typically laced with humour and hope as you recalled the scarcity of the Naira in the banks but still believed things would improve after the elections. We kept up our communication regardless of wherever you were Canada, New York, London, Abuja or Awka.

Our relationship was not easy to qualify to the outside eye. You were more than a friend or colleague; you were my brother. We shared a trust uncommon in our times. Times were when we would recall the glorious past, periods when we were young and carefree, of dreams and possible achievements that await every generation and disappointments that went hand in hand. 

We saw Igweogige and the larger Amikwo community as the stepping stones to higher glory. We believed then , as we believed in later life, that study was the getaway to fulfilments. And look what you’ve accomplished ! 

Ours was the crop of little children trudging along to Govt school with slates and books in oversized scruffy shirts and baggy shorts proud to be going to school. With a running nose and often unkempt hair we were part of the changing new order in our little society.

Examples of trails blazed by people like you have shown the path of possibilities to following and younger generations . You set standards in hard work and humility always decent and polite to everyone 

Even as life took you to the zenith of your profession and education you never lost touch with your roots; your love for them remained untainted. 

Despite your sojourn across the globe, the Wimbledon tennis championships visits and the US Open experiences you always demonstrated what you believed - home was the beginning and source of everything..

Yours has been a life of service, always taking a stand on the side of truth. You have walked the pathway of giants and we  hold you in awe but with pride. 

Be bold as you march on !  The promise holds for all who dare to believe: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one cometh unto the Father but by me.”

Barry Mogor