Captain Hosa, But Why?

Kassim Afegbua 

Life is one theatre of contradiction. Parading different actors and actresses, life and death carries the untimely dirge.

It constructs its own contradiction, embellishes its own passage, script its own stories, and choose the actors to act the roles. I was nonplussed when I received the news of the death of my good friend, elder brother and a distinguished Nigerian, Captain Idahosa Okunbo, popularly called Capi.

It was the worst news I have received in a long while. Barely two weeks earlier, I had called to check on him and the energy in his voice did not betray any sentiments to the contrary. We exchanged pleasantries and his characteristic laughter filled the airwaves in our short conversation.

That was the last voice of Capi that I would hear as he started his endless journey to the great beyond. It was a news item that made me feel like being sawn apart with a blunt scalpel. It was benumbing and discomforting.

A deliberate assault by nature on my sensibilities. Captain Hosa just gone? How? Why? I have read several tributes pouring in for this uncommon Nigerian, an ambassador of the Benin monarchy, an unusual Nigerian, relentless fighter for good cause, and a kindhearted jolly good fellow, who spent better part of his life nurturing others wounds and making life a better place for them.

I get worried reading some of the tributes as they exposed the dubiety of fellow beings and the pretentiousness that dominates their thought processes as they put pen to paper to celebrate Captain.

He was a business mogul, but we know those who wrote petitions to higher authorities in their failed bid to undercut the tentacles of a man of many unparalleled parts.

They tried effortlessly to blackmail him, raked up muds, wrote unpalatable things about a man who was there for all. He navigated his way out of those deliberate schisms, and got a clean bill of health from higher authorities having diligently executed his defense.

Captain was a stickler for excellence and due process. He kept his records intact.

Now that death has set in, leaving us in tears, those who tried to cut him to size have started writing mouthwatering eulogies, praising his sense of industry. Some even referred to him as brother, friend and compatriot. What a world of contradiction.

Were he to be alive, I am sure he would be shocked to read the alluring prose by way of tributes by those who tried to be his nemesis.

But that is the irony of life. A life of betrayals and hate. A life of pretenses, subterfuge, dishonesty, and egocentricism. Captain rose clean from the pillars of hate, and exuded love and piety in those who come across him. He was generous and philanthropic.

He was full of smile even when provoked, and he never shied away from speaking his mind. As if he was aware that his time on earth would not be that long, he left remarkable footprints in the sands of time.

Generously loved by the ordinary folks, admired by his contemporaries for his hearty disposition to issues, fondly courted by politicians and business men, he was a proud ambassador and epitome of the Edo can-do spirit.

He wore the Edo regalia with pomp and ceremony. He was a symbolic personage of the Benin Palace, making sure that the Palace retains its beauty and elegance. He loves and venerates the Oba with unassailable submission. His heart was pure and white as snow, just like his elegant white dresses he often adorns.

The purity of his heart is readily seen on his lips, as he dishes out therapeutic smile to heal troubled minds. Captain Hosa was not an everyday man, especially with his riches which he got from legitimate businesses, reason why he stood tall despite conscious, deliberate and sustained effort to crumble him.

He was tough and gentle. He was a due process man, making sure he created opportunities for the younger ones, while also taking care of the aged.

Capi was a household name among the political parties in Edo. Irrespective of your political affiliations, Capi would patronise and fund your aspirations. He cut across boundaries, building bridges of understanding across a broad spectrum of Nigerians. He was fondly admired North, South, East and West of Nigeria.

He was also a global player in the world of business, with cutting edge interventions in critical sectors of global economy. He was a Nigerian who saw the country as his primary constituency.

Despite attempts to frustrate his business interest in Edo State, especially his greenhouse agricultural project, he remained undaunted and stamped his feet down to ensure he birthed the project. An employer of labour with several business interests in aviation, farming, oil services, oil production, hospitality business, Captain Hosa lived in a world cut for examplary achievers.

Edo State has lost the nucleus of our collective aspirations. Nigeria has lost a rare gem, an enigma of remarkable elan, distinct in his candour, classy in his style, warm in his emanations, lovable in his interaction, accessible in persona, the content of his character and friendly disposition to all is the totality of his human indulgence.

When I spoke to him recently, he was sure to break the barrier of his cancerous affliction. He was confident to overcome. He reassured me that all would be alright, that it was a matter of time. His voice was so reassuringly humbling, that I felt all was well after all.

When the news filtered in that he was gone, I felt undone, picked up my phone to place a call to him. I was expecting to hear that velvety voice that was often at the other end. This time, the voice went dead. The vibrations had simmered.

The airwaves were numb, speechless with an eerie silence that signified that the angel of death was on duty. I broke down in tears, looking lost in words. It is hard to believe that I won’t see Capi again. But why? Why? Why? How can God allow the good men to die while the bad and pretentious ones gallivant all over the place in their dubiety and arrogance? Why?

To live in the minds of people, is not to die. Capi may have migrated to the hereafter, a lonesome journey that is the end of man, his fantastic deeds on earth will live in the minds of the people. It truly hurts to lose such a great mind, a man with grit, gravitas and gusto.

A business connoisseur with an eye for gold. A man who loves to break barriers to stamp his authority on almost unassailable domains.

He was a man with a good cause. His entire humanity was woven around humanity. He was a man of the people. He lived for many people. He often time, chooses to inconvenience himself to please people.

A confidant of exceptional breed, Captain Hosa conquered the skies and sea, dominated the land of his fatherland, and nurtured projects that impacted on the wellbeing of the commonality. We all owned him no matter where you hail from or the creed you belong.

The government of Edo State must make it a duty to immortalise this great Nigerian who came, saw and conquered. He must be immortalised by the Federal Government for his contributions to healing the wounds in the Niger Delta region.

His economic interventions in ensuring a smooth rite of passage for oil production and transportation in the Niger Delta region are worthy of emulation. His sun may have lowered, his star may have snapped, but his achievements are indelible benchmarks that will endure for a long time to come.

A man who understood his place in society and lived to make the society a better place, will forever resonate hope in the heart of hearts of those who enjoyed his good- naturedliness.

Captain Hosa, you have seen living and death, you have conquered nature, humbled death, damn all consequences and now resting in peace.

You fought a good fight here on earth and you surely deserve a perfect rest. Adieu, Capi. It hurts. It benumbs. It is hurtful. It is agonising. But God, the creator knows best. Rest in peace.

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