By YJ Itopa
Looking straight but pityingly into the credulous face of her husband, Zainab, the peaceable late wife of the Chairman of Kogi State Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists and General Manager of Prime FM Radio, Momojimo Adeiza capped her immortal love with the lines below just few minutes before her Doctor in Zenith Medical and Kidney Centre, located at Gudu, FCT, Abuja, certified her dead:
“Thank you Ozuka (Her husband’s clan praise name)for your efforts in trying to save my life. Stop buying more drugs. I died yesterday. Are you not perceiving the smell of my corpse. They are already washing me as corpse. Look at that advancing Doctor. He is coming to certify me dead. I died yesterday. Sorry Ozuka, don’t worry, your children will be prosperous in life. They would take care of you, not in sickness like mine but in good health and happiness.”
Zainab also spoke to her good neighbor, Mrs. Rabi Ohieku who watched over her with total care and rare love throughout her sickness. :
“Iya (Mum as her fond name for her friend and neighbor), I am telling you something now. But you will not listen to me. If you listen now, I will tell you many things. But you will not believe me. You will be gnashing your teeth tomorrow saying ” Had I known, I would have listened to her.”
Watch over my children for me and when it is time for them ( her children and other children under her care, love and nurture) to marry you will still guide them. You people should not allow our school, Za’ad Academy to die. The school, jointly owned by husband and wife is the consummation of love and understanding between them; and the result of the unconditional submission to the authority of her considerate husband.
And to her Co wife she sent a message of love through the good neighbor:
“God will bless Hikmat’s mother ( Adeiza’s first wife). Tell her to take care of our children. They are her children. She will be strong and healthy. Nothing bad will happen to her.”
Then she asked her husband and the good neighbor to join her in praying to the Almighty God. They obliged and chorused the prayers together which import is that : “I testify that God is one and that no other God but Allah. I also testify that Prophet Muhammed (SAW) is His Prophet.” Minutes after after her total submission to the will of Allah, her doctor, certifying her dead, broke the news of eternal tears to Adeiza, her husband.
“Sorry, we lost her. The doctor told the husband. Not even in his wildest imagination would Adeiza have thought of his wife dying so soon. Though she died before his very eyes, his uncommon love for his wife did not allow him to hear or believe the evil but inevitable news the doctor had broken to him. In reply, he said.” Yes. my wife is sleeping. She is not dead. I am staying with her. She is sleeping.
He wanted his wife back to her home, hale and hearty. Yes. Completely healed. But the doctors of Zenith Medical and Kidney Centre had certified her dead. Not even his love could bring her back to life.
Faced with grim reality, Zainab’s husband, looked blankly into the future that would be without his supportive pillar and the matronly home maker wife. He saw a possible future of blessedness without the submissive wife .
With his face flooded with tears, he soliloquised :
“If tomorrow is good and Zainab is not here to reap the fruit of her labour, if she just came to this world to live just selfless life without staying for the reward of her many sacrifices, how will l live with the hunting thought of her not being allowed to wait for me to say: ” Thank you, my wife. I appreciate your unconditional love for me as exemplified in your believing that everything I did was good and acceptable to you, how will I live with all this thoughts? Ah! I feel being hollowed out , emptied of all my contents there in. ”
Weeks after his wife’s death, my friend is still a pitiable sight of mourning. Death is inevitable. Adeiza knows. But who will tell him not to wish that the death of such a sweet wife like Zainab should have been allowed to be evitable? The sweetness of honey is only known to the mouth or the throat; Zainab was honey in the mouth of Adeiza. To spit out salt saliver is impossible. But now that death said that Adeiza must spit out Salt Zainab, who will tell him not to protest with unceasing tears?
What we can do now, we as his family members, friends, colleagues and well wishers is to pray to God to strengthen him, give him the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss for no amount of weeping can bring out the lost Salt Zainab back to the tongue. This is the way of the world; it carries laughter in one hand and weeping in the other hand. And the two are for us. Now that it gives us tears, we must accept it and move on even as we keep trying to wipe it. It takes a man of courage to do so. And courage is the only option available to Adeiza now. What choice do we have when death has come?
Moving on does not mean happiness for the sad exit of Zainab. Which husband will not miss his helpmeet? Our wife, sister and aunt was as gentle as dove and helpful like the good Samaritan. The good woman was accommodating like a market and patient like the night for its day. No twist is meant when we say the late wife of the Kogi NUJ Chairman really fitted into the mould of an ideal wife. No soaring word other than “Help meet”can better qualify the woman splendid character.
Yet we must begin to learn how to live with the reality of Zainab’s passing on. It is good to mourn the dead. But weeeping does not bring back the dead once they turn their back to the world of the living. What we do now is to pray God to grant our friend and widower the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
When a good man or woman dies, we will know by the verdict the people pass on him or her. A story was told of a widower who, when asked, just before the interment of his wife, to tell the Imam at the burial ground whether or not his wife had obeyed and pleased him while she was alive, a condition for her unimpeded entrance to the Kingdom of God.
He just said: ” No! I can’t stand before God and tell lies. She made our marriage a hell on earth. She made my house to be hotter than hell. She never for once obeyed me as her husband. In fact, it is because of this her death that she could not rain insults and curses on me and my parents. But I ask for forgiveness for her.”
One of the conditions that a wife needs to fulfill to enter Heaven unhindered is obedience to her husband. If this woman is in hell right now for not fulfilling the Obedience-to-Husband obligation, only God can tell. The Imam conducted her burial rites with mixed feelings.
There is happiness in sadness. Zainab died as an obedient, calm and loyal wife. She was not buried with mixed feelings like the cantankerous wife in this tribute. She did not just obey her husband. Her love for Adeiza was without boundaries. Dying, the good woman still prayed for fulfilments for her husband. According to Islam, the religion that Zainab practised wholeheartedly, if a Muslim died on a Friday, he or she will go to Heaven without questioning. And Zainab died on the 6th of Friday, 2023, heaven bound.
Indeed, she was a mighty woman. God was always with her. At just six weeks, she suffered a heartless abandonment and grew in the hand of a kind step mother from whom Zainab learnt the act of showing care and love to others. God allowed her to say her last wish and granted her permission to submit totally to his will by proclaiming God as the God after whom there is no other god and that Prophet Muhammed, the seal of all other prophets, is the Prophet of God. Very few people enjoy such favour from God. seven the usually hostile and scorching weather of Lokoja suddenly become meek and loving. The sun retreated into the sky as if to say “Let me allow the earth to be calm and cool for this woman of God to be deservedly mourn by us- I, stars, the sky and the entire earth-.
Through her death even atheists could be certain that there is life after death. She told her husband: “I died yesterday. Are you not perceiving the smell of my corpse? They are already washing my corpse. Call people and tell them that I am dead. Do not buy drugs again.” She died and she yet talked to her husband. Not many dying people could be granted this grace by God.
As we know, Adeiza loves Zainab. No doubt. But God loves her the most, the reason for which we keep appealing to him to mourn a little and celebrate this special woman and brace up for the challenges ahead. Governor Yahaya Bello said it succinctly in his condolence visit when he told Adeiza to try to cheer up in spite of everything because of the enormous responsibilities towards the children and other people that his wife had left behind and for him alone. We are grateful to the Governor for his support for the family.
During his moment of grief, Adeiza must have realised that his humility, kindness towards others, transparency and integrity in his running of the Kogi State Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) had enormously curried good wills for him.
Condolences for glowing tributes for his departed wife remain unceasing. His friend, boss and the President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Chief Chris Isiguzo was a big shoulder on which Adeiza leaned while he battled to save the life of her life. On behalf of the Kogi State working Journalists, we say a Big Thank You sir.
Adeiza’s office, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) whose Lokoja branch, Prime FM he is the General Manager was on hand to soothe him over the fatal wound the sad death of his beloved wife has inflicted on him. The Director General of FRCN, Liman Mansur was on behalf of the entire members of the organization represented by the Zonal Director of the North Central branch of FRCN, Mall. Haruna Idris leading members of staff to Kogi State to pay condolence to their bereaved member.
We express our profound gratitude to the FRCN for the show of love. Like FRCN, Chris Asaka as the Zone D President of the NUJ took the trouble to lead Journalists on behalf of the National body to pay condolence visit to Comrade Momohjimoh Adeiza who was in dire need for uplift from his sorrowing. Profound is our gratitude for their show of sympathy.
Before we forget the heart of the animal in the soup pot, Adeiza’s wonderful sister from another mother, Dr. Kolapo Oyeyemi Latifat and Media Consultant to Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello, deserves fantastic mentioning. From the time Adeiza took his wife to Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja where she spent over two months before she got referred to Abuja Zenith Medical and Kidney Centre and after her death, Kolapo never for an inch left Adeiza to bear the burden alone. Her purse literally yawned to pay the killing hospital bills. She said her gesture was on behalf of the Governor. When a professional is serving in government you will know it by his or her actions.
Kolapo knows exactly how to make the image of the government to the admiration of the citizenry. It is only a sister, a good sister at that that could have radiated her kind of concern and kindness towards the NUJ Chairman and by extension the rest of us journalists.
Kolapo for me is godsend. It is this same Kolapo who deployed her professionalism as the Governor’s Media Consultant that came to thaw the congealed relationship that hitherto existed between the media and the government. We commend Governor Bello for bringing this Media Amazon to shore up the Media arm of his government. How I wish she had come early. The new robustly found love between us and government is now mutually beneficial. We thank her a million times. May the partnership never wane.
We thank many people both within and outside the state who came to condole with our Chairman at a time like this. We thank all the Nigerian Media men and women – Print, Broadcast and new media- We remember with gratitude our colleague journalists from different chapels in the state. We are saying “Thank You” to many government top officials who in spite of their busy schedules still found time to pay condolences to Adeiza.
We appreciate all of you for your support and condolences.
The staff of FMC, Lokoja and the Zenith Medical and Kidney Centre, Abuja, thanks for your efforts. We noticed sloppiness in the treatment of our now deceased sister and wife here and there most especially at the FMC. We have to say this because of other patients. Improvement in our medical facilities and the attitude of our doctors and nurses remains a bid encumbrance in the business of the saving of lives.
As Ebira people say, you can heal a man of disease but there is no medicine for death. Yet, a stitch in time could have saved nine as we know its character to be. Pointing to the ineptness is to draw attention to the rot in our medical firmament for quick revision.
Adeiza has lost a powerful and willing prop in his wife, Zainab. Very devastating. Fortitude to bear the irreparable loss is what we can only ask Allah to grant him. And He will. Amen.