‘When I remember Osa, water runaway in my eyes o,
‘Ah-Eeeeh! Ah-Eeeeh! Water runaway my eyes.’
We sang the sad dirge chorus again and again and my eyes were wet and I was almost in tears.
It was in 2012; some days to the final exams of our last semester in the school. We had just lost one of our notable classmates to death the previous week.
As the custom of students was, we marched through the school dressed in dark clothes with placards bearing the name of the dead and large frames bearing his picture.
And we sang sorrowfully as we walked from one part of the school to the other.
‘Eternal, eternal life.’ The young man who led the chorus shouted in his very deep baritone again.
‘Eternal, eternal life.’ We all echoed.
‘I want to live eternally, Lord save my soul.
‘I want to live eternally, Lord save my soul.’
The lyrics of that particular song brought a loud wailing amidst the crowd of students.
We lifted our voices again and cried loudly with the words of the song still finding its way out of our lips.
With heads bowed and tears streaming down our faces, we heard the chorus of another song of plea.
‘When you come to collect your people,
‘Remember me Oh Lord. Remember me Oh lord.
‘When you come to collect your people, remember me oh Lord, I pray’.
Each of us said the words of the song with deep sorrow in our hearts as we pleaded.
I know many of us, mourners really begged God that day to keep us safe from death and that if we had to die, God would help us to make it to heaven.
Those who passed by and didn’t see the pictures and placards would have thought we were members of a church doing an evangelism outreach as each sorrowful song rang through the crowd.
‘On the last day; on the last day.
‘Only true believers shall be raptured!’
Someone shouted the song from the crowd and I was lost in silent prayers.
I don’t think most of us in the throng have ever really prayed as sorrowfully and seriously as we did that day.
I could see quite a number of young men in tears both for the young man lost and their own lost souls.
We cried as we walked, we prayed as we sang.
From one faculty to the other, we repeated each song over and over and many ladies couldn’t bear it anymore.
When I heard the young man was dead, I didn’t really cry but as we sang these songs of lamentation, I caught some tears drop from my eyes.
I questioned my life and made an an audit.
When the Lord actually comes for his people, will I be remembered?
Do I really possess an eternal life?
Has God saved soul?
And on the last day, will I be raptured?
I didn’t wait till I got to the privacy of my room before I started prayers and committed myself to God yet again.
I don’t know about the rest of the wailers, but it was one of the most memorable days of my stay in the University.
Till the end of that day, I was sober and my manner was gloomy.
But the next day, the experience was all lost in my memory and life went on.
I resumed reading and went back to my books.
The dead was buried and gone.
And life went on.
But now over five years later, I am here telling this story again.
You see, I didn’t know the guy very much. We greeted anytime we passed by each other but it wasn’t more than that.
He came to meet me to ask if I was interested in a leadership position when we were in 300 level but that was the only talk we ever had.
When he was alive, I didn’t really spare him much thought or attention.
But when he died, I walked through the long distance of the University of Benin to pay some respect to him.
I was glad I did but the question still remained.
When he was alive, did I care as much?
And it is a much common thing among us now.
People don’t really care much for others and we all walk our own path in life without checking to see if other people can even crawl.
We easily forget one another and never bother to ask how others are faring.
And now that we even have the Whatsapp status, many people have stopped actually asking about friends and making attempt to know if all is well with them.
When the birthdays come, we download a picture or two, and write post on Facebook for them.
But is just one day out of 365 enough to show care?
Anytime people on Facebook die and I come to know of it, I always go up to their Facebook wall to know what people are saying about them.
Many posts are often made on the dead man’s wall asking him to arise and deny the reports of death.
Some only begin to show concern for him when he is already dead and gone.
But while he was alive and listening, did you ever bother to ask if he was alright?
Did you ever ask him about his health, family and business?
Did you ever offer help when he needed one?
If this is limited to friends, maybe it would not have mattered much,
But many of us have also neglected families too.
I mean, there are some of us here who have sisters and brothers we have not called for over a month or two.
It is not as if we do not care for these our siblings and relatives; it is just that we keep procrastinating and telling ourselves that all is well with them.
There are over 7 billion humans in this world and you know just about twenty closely.
Yet, you still forget to show concern and care for these few ones.
I am speaking to myself as I do to you too. Can we begin to care a little much more for those around us?
Can we start calling more often and sending the goodwill messages more frequently?
Can we stop waiting for death to take a friend out of these words before we speak the kind words?
Can we begin to show the love now?