Monday, March 19, 2012

I really like this guy Oz

I met Osaze in 1978, we both entered International School Ibadan (I.S.I) that year. As fate will have it we were both put into the same class 1C. I had just come from a primary school known as MaryHill Convent School Ibadan while Osaze came from Staff School University of Ibadan. MaryHill didn't have as many students enrolling as Staff School did in I.S.I at that time.

The first day his name dawned on me was through an announcement made by a teacher 4 weeks after we got into school, it was an announcement of the results of a just concluded test. The teacher ended by saying 3 students scored 25/25 and they are Osaze Osifo, Teju Oloko (now Alonge) and my humble-self. From that day we became friends.
I was later moved by the school authorities to another arm the next academic year : class 1D The students in that class appeared more brilliant than those in 1C with the likes of Funso Sobande, David Oyewole, Edward Okali and a few others. I had a glimpse into the thought process of Osaze from that early age of 12. He said he was going to approach the school authorities requesting that he be moved to that arm too. He felt it will be more intellectually stimulating for him.

Osaze and i later became roommates for 2 years in University of Lagos Mariere Hall . He was an absolutely brilliant fellow. Our life paths were divergent and i wasn't really in touch with him for a long period of time but i kept a tab on his progress. He was very determined and focussed. He was inquisitive about everything. He wanted to understand how things worked.

Even as a Pastor whenever i sat to talk with Osaze, i always left wondering how he knew some of the things he said. He thought deeply about  everything. He was a friend whom whenever we talked i gained some insight. He was very conscious of life's journey and saw the big picture very early.
Some months back after a group of us classmates had lunch at Yellow Chilli he said some things in our 10minute chat that made me realize why his thoughts were so penetrative.

Osaze did a lot of self appraisal and personal assessment. You could see his intellectual integrity, if he was wrong he would admit it to himself and make the adjustments. He was brilliant but didn't engage in self flattery. In our last discussion he said "you know when we were in our thirties we thought we knew it all". As much as his intellectual brilliance formed the core of his success he remained a learner and not a knower.

Osaze always tried to help everyone he knew particularly when you were qualified. He was true to his roots. Always willing to share knowledge. If anyone from our past mentioned that Osaze didn't offer a helping hand you were sure there were deeper issues at play than were being told. He genuinely loved his friends and devoted a substantial part of his emotional life towards them.

 I remember an old school mate who was looking for an old classmate of ours; we both agreed the one person who would know where he was was Osaze. If he didn't, no one else would.
If you were out there in the real arena of life as a leader, a builder, fighting to do something significant you found a soul mate in him. Osaze simply got it. He knew the emotions of the journey. He was a global thinker.

When last week Wednesday I saw a missed call from a mutual friend Tony Youdowei, with a text message saying, "when you see this Poju please call" it was quite unusual. I picked my phone and called, as I did Osaze's face flashed in my heart, that something might be wrong. His words were Osaze is gone. I dropped the phone absorbed it and felt i was okay.

 Two nights later I woke up at about 2am, sat on my stairs thought about him and broke into tears. I later on went to jog at 6am only to stop halfway on the road to cry. Then I realised that I really liked Osaze and I had lost a real friend and someone I loved.

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