Friday, 7 September 2012

Farewell Elder Gwaza! You made Jos Prison a loving home for me! Kayode Ogundamisi

Jos Prison

Jos prison in Nigeria was once my home, in that prison built by the colonial masters I met "Elder Gwaza a Tiv man from Nigeria's Benue State, by the time I met him in the 90's he had been at the AT (Awaiting Trial) wing of the prison for 9 years. He was later set free thanks to the efforts of the then active Civil Liberties Organisation (Either led by Titus Mann or Steve Aluko (aka Maradona) the former ABU SUG President.)

Gwaza made Jos prison home away from home to me and later Benjamin Okonofua who later joined me, as General Babangida felt that was the only place fit for Nigerian Students activists. Elder Gwaza a living Encyclopædia on the politics of the middle belt, during my stay in Jos prison served as my teacher and guardian angel, I maintained a close relationship with him until I departed Nigeria in 1999 and thanks to him I had my only experience of the exotic Tiv Kwagh-hir Festival.

I promised Elder Gwaza a trip to the land of my ancestors Ikare Akoko in Ondo State. As I plan to visit Ikare on a long term basis I initiated contact just few days ago with Gwaza’s family, so I can fulfill that promise, only to be told he’s long gone, he’s gone to join his ancestors at the age of 92 but he left me a long letter, a letter I can’t wait to read.

If it is true that those who leave us can read I want to let Elder Gwaza know that I appreciate all his love and affection. I am glad I made time out to visit him three times in Benue. So sorry I did not fulfill my promise to take him to Ikare.

Rest in peace Gwaza. Rest until we meet at God’s chosen time.

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