Tuesday, June 7, was an unusual date in the life of a practicing journalist as two internationals, Hillary Ikenna, who plays in Slovakia and Jude Odion Ighalo Jnr, the younger brother of the more popular, Jude Ighalo, strolled in to celebrate an impending wedding and then the elder’s excellent performance for both the national team and the Watford FC of England.
As we were speaking Ikenna declared that he has not spoken for sometime with Big Boss Stephen Okechukwu Keshi and he would like to talk to him immediately. It was then that I put a call across to Keshi and his voice was excellent and calm.
After close to ten minutes of conversation, I told the Big Boss, that I was still in the office with his players and that they were just ready and desperate to speak with him. The young players said they were in chase of Raheem Lawal at the Magodo Estate and they had to go quickly to catch up with him as he has no local number. I obliged. The Editor of the newspapers, Femi Olusetire, was in the mix and he said I should allow the players take their exit. I was excited that the players came to our office in the first place but never knew what was to come after.
And so by early morning Wednesday, calls started coming from Peter Edema, Kunle Salami, Ade Ojeikere, Tony Ubani et al. The single refrain was, “we hear Stephen Keshi is dead, is it true”?. I didn’t have an answer but sooner than later I did from my friend and Manager of Keshi, Emmanuel Ado, “Your Oga don go stay with his wife”
I was startled and momentarily lost my self balance.
My Next question was what are the plans for his memorabilia? That he said that would come later. Since then I have not recovered from the death of the Big Boss. If you were me, what would you have done?. An emergency thought, hope to get myself together for a more befitting tribute to a true legend despised by an insane system in the coming days. REST IN PEACE BIG BOSS. I Still dey CRY!
By Ben Alaiya