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Date: May 25, 2020, 06:18:10 PM


A Eulogy for my Friend Eric: Random Thoughts : - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum


A Eulogy for my Friend Eric

By: dayan (M) |Time : May 06, 2018, 11:02:17 PM
In this life, few things have moved me to a state of permanent melancholy like the death of my childhood friend Eric who died in January this year (2018). Eric died of Type 1 Diabetes in Nigeria, a country where such chronic illness means instant (or ultimate) death for a person who lack the means to travel abroad once in while. It has been nearly 5 months, and yet I still have not been able to come to terms with the fact that Eric is no more. He was not just a childhood friend, he was a brother and co-traveller in the philosophical side of this life; those who don’t look at life, and this earth, as just an ordinary place. I shall return to this point later.

I still remember when, as kids, we were running the streets of Fegge, Onitsha . We “ran” those streets until we became adolescents in Onitsha with all it portended at the time: Onitsha (Fegge in particular) is a unique town in Nigeria in the sense that it is a melting pot of Eastern Nigeria – a microcosm of all Igbo, and other ethnic groups from Eastern Nigeria. Fegge, was vicious and unforgiving (probably still is today); yet welcoming and communal. Young boys (and girls) ran the streets and played all manner of games without being run down by vehicle of any kind. And then, almost too soon we became young men who couldn’t run those streets anymore. Some of us (like myself) got shipped to a boarding school from which I never fully returned, because from there it was straight to the university.

 With full hindsight, that was when my separation from Eric really began, because he was not as fortunate as I had been. With the same hindsight, now that Eric is gone, I can now say that this life is intrinsically unfair to many people. A proper way to conceptualize and envision this world is not by looking at it from one’s comfort and privileges, but to step outside of oneself, to step into others’ shoes, and viewing it the way it is.

I would say that this life was viciously unfair to Eric. The burden of this life was just too much.
My friend Eric was the type that one can describe as a “strongman” because he could easily beat up anyone. In all our years as young men seeking and handling “troubles” in Onitsha, no person could stand before Eric. He was STRONG. But his strength could not make up for other things missing in his short life. He was the first child of a family of seven. To add to that, he was not particularly gifted in academics. His father was a strong believer in academics, but unfortunately his first son could not excel in that. So, with pain, he was forced to send young Eric to do business apprenticeship. This is what most young Igbo who couldn’t go to school for whatever reasons did.

Some go ahead to emerge from apprenticeships to set up lucrative businesses. But that was not what happened for Eric. His “master” concocted an invidious story to accuse him of malfeasance just as he was about to complete his apprenticeship. He sent Eric home empty handed. My friend never recovered from that and could not focus on anything else. Murder come by many ways, and this evil man had murdered my friend before he could do anything about it. He was only 21 by the time he was shown how truly wicked and evil some men can be.

Eric and I lost contact with each other when I spent nearly 6 years outside of Onitsha in pursuit of my education and early career. Being from the same town, he would visit my country home during Christmas and other festive periods that he suspected that I would return. I did my little best to help him, but yet again, some selfish wicked relations stood in the way of that. My help offer did not reach Eric. Later I heard that he got married and I was very happy about the news. But the happiness was short-lived because I later heard that his wife left him. In all these years, I didn’t know that Eric had Type 1 diabetes. Apparently, the disease would not allow him to “be man enough” for his wife, and so she left. Women are not particularly kindhearted when it comes to conjugal matters.
So, my friend became single again.

Eric and I hold some deep philosophical beliefs, one of which is that this earth is -contrary to most conventional beliefs- almost an equal to heaven in terms of possibilities. What limits the full realization of that potential is the evil in the hearts of men. God created this earth as his footstool; and, if that is the case, this earth has a semblance of heaven because God cannot use a useless or worthless thing as a footstool. If a throne is made of gold, what king would use wood or concrete or other less worthy material for a footstool? Most kings would use gold, or something very close to it. A footstool of the throne is part of the throne. If this world is not too important for God, he would not have sent his son to die for it. So, Eric and I shared a belief that every opportunity to manifest the divine on this earth should not be missed. Ever.

I had dreamt of a time when I would be empowered financially enough to offer my friend the medical and financial assistance that would have made the difference to his life, but it just never materialized. My failure to be of significant help demonstrated to me the limits of good intentions in this world. Good intentions never get any assistance, rather they get battles and stiff resistance.
I would have taken that failure to assist as a personal failure, but that would first assume that I am omnipotent, or that my will is supreme on this earth. That is very far from the truth.

So, I mourn you my friend Eric, and have been quietly mourning for months. Life would never be the same without you, Eric! Whatever “fun” I would now have in our country home would be missing a crucial part of who I am, which you represent, Eric. My country home and village will be lonelier and less significant without you, Eric. And, to know that you died of a disease that is easily treatable and manageable in most civilized countries of the world makes your death even more painful.

But my consolation comes by way of knowing that you are no longer being cheated by a wicked master; being abandoned by a heartless and loveless woman; and being drained of life by a wicked chronic disease. You were poor, but you had a very rich soul, the type of which kings are made.
And though you died without having any child, I will tell my children about you and charge them never to forget.

Rest in peace “dike e ji eje mba” (mighty man of valor)!

"Dayan" (

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