Tribute To Peter Bello

Dear Diary


Last Wednesday, I lost someone. Someone I loved. Someone many people, so many people loved. He was Peter Bello. He was a victim, one of the victims of a helicopter crash in the lagoon.

One would have thought that chopper crashes wouldn’t be that fatal. One would have assumed that everyone would have life jackets strapped on them the entire flight. One would have assumed that they could in such a situation, evacuate James Bond style, dive into the dirty water before the chopper came crashing in, and swim away to safety, because one would assume everyone on board would have been expert swimmers.

But Peter is dead. And I have plenty questions. Plenty doubts. Staggering faith. I woke up last night to a voice asking me if I had enough faith to believe that Peter can live again, not in the sweet by and by, but in the present now and now. So I launched off my bed by 3 in the morning and exhausted all my energy praying. God has the power to raise the dead. He can do it. He has done it. I have the faith to believe that He can do it. Now, does he want to? I’m still not sure if I have the faith to believe that He would want to. I can only hope that He would. One can only hope.

Peter was supposed to be one of those people whose lives mattered, Whose lives spoke to people. He was an all-around great guy. He could fly a plane, he was a maverick with a camera. He was tall, eloquent and painfully good-looking. One of those people who could intimidate you with their smiles, one of those people you assume would be arrogant jerks and so you made up your mind to hate them cause you were certain they’d hate you…until he would speak to you. Then every ill assumption would vanish like smoke because Peter was the sweetest guy.
He was supposed to be spared.

I hear his father is showing everyone his pictures, boasting of his son. Poor man. I can’t imagine they have begun to grieve. Still in shock and denial. Their beautiful son.
I knew his sisters. Especially the one Just older than he. Sweet gal. You just had to get to know her. Beautiful young lady. We got close working together. She was my best friend there. Then she left. We were all supposed to have lunch together sometime. She was to invite me over for lunch with her husband and I was supposed to meet Peter and catch up. All the catching we failed to do as young men who both grew up in small town Calabar and were now finding our own paths in the big city.

I still am holding on to faith that God can do the miraculous. Peter can somehow breathe again. It’s been done, what 9 times before, in the Bible. Or is it 11?

Peter is supposed to be spared.

I refuse to grieve. Not yet. Today I fell ill thinking of him. Imagining his family. Their grief. All the people who were close to him. Closer to him than I felt I already was. He was to be the brother I never had. Cause he would understand many things about how we both grew up. Things peculiar to us Calabar boys. He was supposed to listen to and critic my music cause he would have great insight. He was gonna be proud of me as I was already so proud of him.

He was supposed to be spared.
He was supposed to be spared.2015-08-13-14-26-34




Dear Diary,

     Little Joel died yesterday. He had cancer. He was 5.

Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial solid cancer in childhood and the most common cancer in infancy.

I know little Joel’s father; a young, passionate and gentle man who always smiles and is good to everyone. He never told me of Little Joel until a few weeks before his death. Now I wish I knew him. I wish I had bought him a sweater or a beenie. I wish I could have taken him to see the Lego movie or Maleficent.  I could have told him about the Universe and the planets.
Or just what a wonderful man his father is.

I never met his mother. But I could have been her friend. We would have diced meat together, laugh at Yoruba movie acting and subtitles together. I could have helped her carry Little Joel when she was tired.

I could have been there.

Dear Little Joel’s Dad. I know you don’t like a lot of attention.  But I will pray for you. You will heal. Someday.  Somehow. Little Joel is laughing and playing with the angels now.
I know you spent all you had to save his life. But it is not in vain. God has seen your love. He will comfort you, and reward you.

It may not seem so. But it will be alright.


Sad day for Nigeria



Dear Diary,
          A bomb went off in Nyanya park, Abuja and killed a lot of people. A lot of bombs have been exploding in the North and killing a lot more people.
Nigerians are outraged. As they should well be. It is a sad, sad situation. We’ve taken to our knees in prayer way too many times that we have forgotten that power rests in our own bosoms to effect the change we want to see. Egypt had had it with its dictator leader and it took to the streets to fight for its own liberation from oppression. Early in 2013, the Federal Government removed fuel subsidy thereby making the price of fuel skyrocket, then Nigerians seemed to have had it and protested. After little effort, the Government brought down the price just a little bit and all the brouhaha disappeared. Everyone went back to work with their tails behind their legs. 
Later last year, the Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities embarked on a strike because of the dilapidated state of affairs of the Nigerian tertiary education system and demanded for a fair amount of money from the Government to set certain things right. The Federal Government stalled and both parties went back and forth for over 6 months while students sat at home, pining away in desperation and depression. In the end, only a paltry amount was paid in by the Government and ‘GBAM’, everything died down. I visited a hostel in the University of Calabar campus last month. What I saw in all the toilets made me vomit, literally.

With all the corruption and insecurity looming above our heads and coming down fast on us, we are doing nothing but praying and criticising the Government and we ourselves are doing absolutely nothing to remedy the situation.

In the end, all we will say is “God help Nigeria”