By Osa Mbonu Amadi
I have said it before, and let me restate it here: there is nothing like accident in this world. Everything happens for a purpose – for a Divine purpose. It is our limited understanding arising from the limitedness of the human mind that makes us to interpret some events as accidents.
Even when some important persons perish in a road or air crash or some other tragic ‘happenstance’ we tag ‘accident’, it is still for a divine purpose, even though we may not comprehend it. Both life and death are tools in the hand of God, or nature, in case you don’t believe there’s God.
I have the urge to tell you now that shortly after Ngozi graduated from LASU, she got married (surely to a car owner). She also got pregnant. But like Amaka, she too died in the process of delivering the baby!
Sometimes I shake my head vigorously, rub my eyes, and restate certain events of my life to one or two persons involved in the events, just to reassure myself that they were not things that I experienced in dreams.
When I called Barrister Jones before I began this story, to remind me Ngozi’s name, obtain his permission to mention his name, and list his contact phone number, the first question Barrister Jones asked me, after mentioning to me her name (Ngozi), was this: “I hope you still remember that that lady died within that period of time?”
“Yes I do. I think she died having a baby?”
“You are right,” Jones said. And after some reflective pause over the telephone line, Jones added: “Nnaa, you are lucky o. Don’t ever leave God.”
“Do you also remember Amaka?” I asked him.
“Yes na. That’s why I said you are lucky. When God has a plan for us, nothing can change that plan. And when he is shielding us from harm we may not understand,” Barrister Jones told me. He is also a part-time pastor in his church.
On Sunday, February 24, when the story of Amaka’s death was published here, one of my fans, Ebuehi, wrote to me thus:
“I have just read your story about Amaka. Young girls are easily carried away. She only knew he was working in a factory without finding out the level of the person at the factory. Was he a cleaner or a messenger or a manager? The same thing happens when girls see a man from abroad. They don’t care to find out what the man is doing for a living there.
I would say if Amaka had agreed to marry you she might not have died because you could have had the means to cater for her at a good hospital during the pregnancy. It was unfortunate. Happy Sunday.
Ebuehi may be right. He could also be wrong. My convictions about Amaka and Ngozi were that I would have ended up being a widower twice if I married them. And I can’t imagine any woman who would agree to marry a man in whose hands two pretty, young women had died in the process of delivering their first babies ever. Once one is already marked for death, there is no escape. If one is also marked for certain positions or benefits, nobody can thwart that design. If it is not time for you to die, nobody can kill.
Up to 157 persons died in the recent Ethiopian Airliner crash. Only one man, we are told, missed the flight by few minutes. He watched the last passenger of that aircraft stepping in, but the officials told him he could not board because he was late by a few minutes. I believe he must have struggled and begged the same way I struggled and begged the day I missed my flight from Lagos to Kaduna. Because I am someone who does not take no for an answer, I so much troubled the officials that day that they reluctantly allowed me to and try my luck. When I got to the boarding point I was told bluntly: “Sir, you can go in; you are late.”
“But this is the aircraft. It’s still there. I am looking at it!” I cried
“Oga, the steps has been removed. It can’t be brought back because of you, even if you are the president,” one of them told me.
That day, I had to re-route my flight to Abuja as there was no other flight that day to Kaduna. Then from Abuja, I traveled to Kaduna by road. The friend I made on that trip by road (a staff member of the Nigerian Breweries who drove me that night around Kaduna in search of my hotel) and the travel story I wrote out of that trip, convinced me of God’s design to take me through that path.
My attitude towards life has been like the attitude of the American, Benjamin Guggenheim (born 26 October 1865) when he was about to be drowned in the ice-chilled waters of North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912 aboard the ill-fated S.S. Titanic. While other men and women were scrambling and fighting over life jackets and spaces on the few lifeboats available, Guggenheim and his valet stood calmly watching the chaotic “Armageddon”. When a seaman who recognized Guggenheim as a billionaire he was, the seaman offered him a life jacket. But Guggenheim was heard to remark, “We’ve dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.”
For me, as for Guggenheim, life or death ought not to be a struggle. I prefer to do the best I can, leave the rest, and watch the world struggle for life jackets and spaces on the limited lifeboats. When you go to drink from a stream, the water you will drink will never pass you.
See you next week, if God permits.