By Dotun Ibiwoye
Barely two days to his 55th birthday, Mr Amaju Daniel Awani held on to his beautiful wife, Oseri Georgina Awani, as they walked happily towards the boarding point of the Dana Airlines at the Abuja airport, obviously looking forward to reconnecting with the commercial ambiance of Lagos after spending the weekend in Abuja.
Just like other passengers, they sat down and waited for the 50 minutes flight to Lagos. Unfortunately, that 50 minutes turned to eternity.
The Awanis are one of the three couples who died in that tragic Sunday plane crash in Iju-Ishaga, Lagos.
Since the crash that killed over 166 people on board and on ground, families and relations of the victims have been finding it difficult coming to terms with their tragic loss, confessing that life will never be the same for them.
That is the case with the relations of Amaju Daniel Awani, an Itsekiri from Ajamogha/Okere village in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State and who was the Managing Director of Barcelos Eatery.
At their home at Ikeja GRA, the atmosphere was gloomy. The immediate elder brother to the late Amaju Daniel Awani, Mr Henry Bawo Awani, said that he has been in shock since his brother’s demise, adding that he cannot and does not even know how to pray anymore.
With tears in his eyes, he informed that he was on the verge of questioning God but quickly called himself to order when the thought cropped up. According to him: “My brother was such a lively human being. Very generous. It is difficult to describe my brother. Although he is my junior brother, he did things that the older persons could not do. He was a philanthropist. He did things that left me wondering how he was able to do them.
“If you get to my brother’s house, you will see people who are not even members of his family or extended family and he was taking care of everybody”.
He added: “He was going to be 55 years old on June 5 and he shared the same birthday with one of my children. So you can see how close we were. I don’t even know what to say. I don’t even know how to pray any more. Because when I want to pray, do I say thank you Father? Thank God for taking away my brother? Can you see my predicament. I can’t pray properly anymore.
“When I get down on my knees, I begin to question God and I also realise that what I’m doing is wrong by questioning God which is a sin. I love my brother so much. He is the youngest member of our family; most of his nephews and nieces are older than him.
“The age bracket between us and the older ones is very wide. So we now wonder why should it be him that will have to die? We are still alive. Why should he be the one to die first? It is a painful”..
The proprietress of CTC International School, where two of their children attend, Mrs Bimbo Fisayo, also affirmed that the Awanis were philanthropists.
According to her: “As part of the deep care that they have for the growth of their children and other children, earlier on this year when we had a PTA meeting and we told the parents association about the renovations that we wanted to do in the school, like the very quiet conservative people that they are, they didn’t say anything during the meeting but right after the other parents had left, they called me aside and they said: ‘Which one do you want us to handle for you’?
“Right there the wife said she would handle the library and the husband said he would take care of the computer lab. They were parents we were exceedingly glad to partner with because they wanted value for the money they paid for their children’s education. They did their part concerning home work and moral upbringing; they were a delight to work with”.