“Bode was always a fighter. The first time I met him was in my 3rd year during a school protest; they were protesting against dirty toilets in the hostels. I never stayed in any school hostel because my father believed that I had tendencies of prostitution. He never said that in so many words but whenever Bode slept over in my private hostel he would say, ‘Ashewo, your rich father does not know that his poor daughter is housing an entitled man’. He used to say weird stuff like that.
Anyway, I had gone to the protest to look for a classmate of mine – Celine. She was with my note and I really needed to read. I knew she’d be there because she had been updating her status and display pictures online, documenting the protest. And although I scoffed and tagged her as one of those ‘social media’ protesters, I slipped on my shoes and went looking for her because her lastest update had been, ‘No pings or calls please. Am protesting. If u wanna c me, come join us.’
While I walked through the unbathed bodies of the protesters, someone whirled around and elbowed me in the head – it was Bode. I fell flat and woke up in the medical center. That was the beginning of our long friendship. He was fearless; maybe too fearless for his own good. He wore his fighting nature on his body like a robe and placed it on his head like a crown – it was his royalty.
I remember one time we had gone for ‘wine tasting’. Apparently, a new wine company had come to Nigeria and had set up a program to get word out about their products. We had paid N5,000 each to learn basic wine making and according to the e-flier, to have ‘unlimited wine tasting’. After the boring wine lessons, they told us to go in queues and ‘please take just a sip of each wine being elegantly carried by our beautiful ushers’. Immediately that announcement went out, Bode began to laugh so loud and hysterically that I moved away from him. When he had gotten their attention, he shouted (it was a small hall), ‘Oga, call your oga from Spain and tell him that the people you lied to, would not leave this place until you make them drunk. We came here to drown in wine and to get enough information out about your company to tell people outside. You better decide what we tell them now!’ It suffices to say that I went home fairly tipsy.
My father once had a conversation with him and told me later, ‘That boy can kill.’ When I told Bode what my dad said, he laughed and said, ‘Well, even pops knows I’m a killa. My whole essence is made of daggers…’
But the best fighters are usually the worst in defeat.”
That’s the speech I want to give today at the small gathering organized in memory of him by his other friends. But it just feels inadequate because my memory of him does not inspire words, it inspires a fight. And I fear, that something inside me is growing, and that something is making my whole essence feel like it’s made of daggers….