Clinging on My Brother’s Memory


Efere Ozako
My brother lived his life in treasured hurry, always putting meaning to every moment, always and there for everyone.
No one can prepare anyone for this trip. Somehow, in my heart, I thought my brother Efere Ozako (January 17, 1966-April 18, 2013) would cheat death and be the last to leave the earth. My brother was smart and definitely loved by man, woman and God. Sounds really silly now but I wonder if you know those kinds of people who would just be able to talk their way out of every situation. And he was terribly good at that.

Alas! I walked into the full room in the hospital, machines still beeping. I touched his warm chest, took a look at his toe nails again and thought that I must drive over and trim them when he gets out of this hospital just the way I used to many years before. There he was looking quiet for the first time in his life, I am sure. I took a look at him and knelt by the bed. My issue with God at that time was that he should not spend too much time in this sleep.

The night before, as I screamed, he twitched his toes and that gave me great relief. I asked him, ‘ Efere, when are you going to get out of this sleep. What am I to tell mummy when she calls and calls you again today?’ My mother had called him the day before as she does us all almost every day of our lives. When he did not take the call, she called me and I ‘posted’ her. He was already in hospital. When I told her that he was resting, she told me for the first time in my life, ‘Maero, you are a liar!’I knew that this was a lie I had to tell

But this guy had to be sleeping now. I took another look at him. Then this woman said to me, ‘ Efere don go. Efere don try.’ I agreed that he had tried and he would continue to. Then she said, ‘ Efere don die’. As I think, that hollow ball bounces again around my stomach. Go where? I thought. How could he? Did Efere not know the implications of strolling just like that in his bow-legs away from this earth without at least saying good bye? Come on! The most painful part of life is death and indeed not even knowing till almost the whole world knew. Nothing violates the soul as much as being thrown on a field like this.
My brother Efere, was the best friend of many, commentator, lawyer to the world and a prankster of great repute! There were many parts to this young man. Many.

As a lawyer, he made a groove of a mark. Lawyer to Multichoice for many years and definitely Nigeria’s foremost entertainment lawyer, visitor to the Kenyan film festival, AMAA etc. It is a joy and honour that AMAA through Peace Anyiam-Osigwe have immortalised him.

My brother was a genius, yeah, yeah! True. At eight years plus, he was headed for the Federal Government College, Warri. He was an avaricious reader. It was normal that Efere would buy bole, roasted plantain, finish it and promptly stretch out the old newspaper wrap and eat up the info. If he walked into my home, it would be a bee line to the pile of newspapers and voom! The ‘thief’ would tiff my papers. As for ‘tiffing’, Efere was great at taking my friends. I must confess that I stole some of his friends. Till this day, most of my friends and his are ‘knotted’ together.

Losing him has to be the greatest kick to my stomach. I cannot account for what I felt or what my family feels till this day; my mother, father, his children, my siblings. Raw. Raw. I do not even know how anyone who loses anyone feels till this day. There is no science to it. Only God knows the crevices, the dark corners of the heart.

Death teaches us about life and this one has. Life is not the way it looks sometimes. If I knew that Tuesday was the last day we would speak before the Thursday of his passing, maybe, I would have been on the line till now.

I recall my brother calling me and telling me he had chosen a name for his new magazine, ‘TAKAII’ which means ‘tell them’ in Isoko. I argued and argued with him but he twisted my arm and I agreed that it may just work. The same was the story with ‘Wetin Lawyers Def Do Sef?’, his free parley which was a platform to teach people about basic law tenets.
Three years after, the soup almost tastes the same. I still wonder, Wetin Efere Dey Do Sef?