IN as much as we have life we should never take things for granted while we still exist.
IN as much as we have life we should never take things for granted while we still exist. Death is a degree every living soul would earn. When death comes, there is no question of waiting to right the wrong you have done, or put finishing touches to the projects that you are working on. While still leaving we should strive to do the best for humanity.
The death of Stella Obasanjo, and the 117 passengers on the Bellview Airline this past weekend, came as a shock and premature to all of them. Could the circumstances surrounding these deaths have been prevented? Many have experienced near death experiences, which might help us to understand how well you have to live your life, positively.
Stella was with President Obasanjo from days of hardship till her death. She is going to be missed by Mathew Aremu Obasanjo and the rest of her family members and by Nigerians especially. Stella, who always resplendently dressed and bedecked in expensive jewelry, would be missed for her enormous contributions to the community since she came into public light.
She would be remembered for whom she was. Touched by her marital life which I was proxy to know especially what she went through while her husband was in prison, and the battle with her son, she was a good woman. It was believed that when her husband was incarcerated by Abacha’s operatives, while Obasanjo’s family members were busy sharing his properties, Stella was working on the release of her husband.
In 1998, Stella was violently attacked in her home in Abeokuta, by assailants thought to be government-sent. She was manhandled, hit over the head with a gun and threatened to be killed. According to reports the raiders spent several hours at the Obasanjo home, making off with virtually all of its contents. During the attack traffic normally passing by the house was conspicuously diverted and resumed after the incident. Stella kept on fighting against Abacha’s administration.
Stella carried her fight across Nigerian border for the release of her husband from prison. In Germany while receiving the human rights prize, by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, for Obasanjo in 1996, Helmut Schmidt, former German Federal Chancellor, remarked: "First of all I would like to give my greetings to you, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo. It is a great pleasure for me that you are able to be here today, stepping in for the person that we honour here. It takes a lot of courage to come and give such a speech as we have listened to just now and to accept possible personal disadvantages by the Nigerian regime. My dear Mrs. Stella, your presence here today is also very precious so that you can report personally to your husband about today’s ceremony and convey to him our deeply felt friendship, express to him our solidarity and also bring him the message that his friends will continue in their endeavours to keep awake the conscience of the world because of all the injustice that has been committed. So please take back home these words to Olu when you see him again.
We do not have any instruments that can take immediate effect, but we must call on the international community to continue to bring in its political clout so that Obasanjo is released and that these dreadful murders and killings in Nigeria are not repeated. Stella Obasanjo had read a sentence from an essay that Olu wrote on the occasion of one of my birthdays which I had the pleasure to celebrate recently, and I would like to quote the final sentence of this essay: "To lose hope is to refuse to alter in action means to die, and that is the biggest threat to Africa’s survival. I would like to emphasize exactly these words. I return them to you, my dear friend Olu. Don’t lose courage, let these, your own words, be with you under these conditions of your imprisonment. And be assured that we, your friends, will, full of hope, continue to fight for your freedom. Thank you very much." For a Nigerian lady to do what she did was enough to credit her genuineness as a good wife. She demonstrated a true loving caring wife. No wonder they called her Obasanjo’s "beloved wife."
Can those that were dead come back to recap their experiences about death. Except those that are near death? We wished we have survivors on the crashed BellView plane. Many near-death accounts reveal that the religions of this world are merely an external path whose ideal is to lead people inward toward true spirituality. People often confuse religion with spirituality. Religion is the outward form of worship and spirituality is the inward form of worship. People who have a near-death experience often return less religious and more spiritual.
What human beings should have at the back of their mind is that one day each of us will bid this world good bye. Either we are ready, or prepared is out of the equation. Death has no mercy when it comes knocking at your door; it has no appeal like you would appeal to the highest court if, and when you were deprived of justice. While still living, we should strive to do what is right and appropriate within our ability so that in-coming generations would have something to be happy for.
Against all odds Stella made some remarkable contributions in life and engaged in some community services before she bid the world good bye. In April 2004 Chief Stella Obasanjo flagged off a nationwide campaign and mobilization on polio eradication with a charge to women to give the initiative total support. She was the honorary chair of child labour, female genital mutilation national campaign, a programme to eliminate the worst forms of child labour in Nigeria.
Stella set agenda for women, among her guiding principles. Culled from some of her statements were, "it is no more a secret that once women are educated, they are able to negotiate their way through life...women should, therefore, seek the kingdom of education fight and I believe all other things will be added unto us. Our priority.. therefore, should be to think of how to spread education to our daughters.The task of building a state is far too important to be left in the hands of men alone."
On tradition Stella respected the tradition of our people. She described the selection of the Alake-elect of Egbaland, Prince Adedoyin Gbadebo and the Olowu of Owu, Prince Adegboyega Dosunmu, as "good omen for the nation’s traditional institutions." She was named as the grand mother of the Gateway Games 2006, the 15th National Sports Festival Gateway Games 2006 scheduled to be held in Abeokuta, Ogun State, 2006.
All the 117 passengers on board of Bellview Airline were dead. The pilot of Bellview Airlines flight 210 reportedly sent a distress signal just after taking off from Lagos in stormy weather at 2045 (1945 GMT) on Saturday, October 23, 2005. The plane was first reported to have been found on Sunday morning by a police search and rescue team using a helicopter near the rural town of Kishi, Oyo State, 400km (320 miles) from Lagos.
But officials later retracted statements about the plane’s location after a TV crew said it had found the aircraft near the village of Lisa in Ogun State, more than 150km to the south.
Whichever way we look at death, the causes of the tragedy that just befell Nigeria, death of Stella in Spain Hospital, the 117 passengers on Belllview plane crash this past weekend should give Nigerian leaders some food for thought. With all the millions stacked in foreign lands, it would be sufficient to build at least a standard hospital in each of the 36 Nigerian States and the Federal Capital, Abuja.
They could be equipped with modern technology, while its personnel could be highly trained to compete with any hospitals in the world. Nigeria has the resources to do that. Nigerian medical personnel are all over the world, and the best in their specialized areas. With an opportunity to watch Nigerian medical personnel that went with me to Ogun State early this month, on medical mission, I came to conclude that the Nigerian trained doctors can compete very well with any other doctors trained anywhere in the world.
While we mourn the losses, Nigerian leaders should start addressing essential services that could save life in Nigeria. Regardless how death comes, death has no friend, when it comes, billions of hard currencies would not stop it. In most cases death comes when no one expects it. When it strikes, it strikes. Here is the message. Life is so short.