By Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba
Where do I start this tribute? Certainly I cannot talk about you in the past for you live. When you live in the hearts and minds of the so many you have touched you cannot die. When is the best time to die..?
You are the love of my youth, the love of my life. You came into my life, we were both young, and took it over completely. You left me to worry about my work and my lawn tennis. Even with my work and tennis you had deep insights. You are faithful, strong, bold, confident, brutally honest and unusually generous and kind. You want the best for yourself and for everyone else. With you there are no half measures. Only the best is good for you, and all. You are very beautiful and even more beautiful inside. You are focused and on a mission. There is no tomorrow in your lexicon. Whatever you have to do you do it today. A fashionista and prayer warrior you are a devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You are different, simply unique. Your views and attitude were like none other. Spreading joy to others is your biggest joy.
As every human you have your faults which however pale into insignificance beside your good side. You hate pettiness, weakness and slovenliness. You hope and pray for a better society. In all our years together I never heard one child in our home raise his or her voice against another. Indeed, nobody raised a voice against another in our house; at least I never heard. Your many cats, whom you referred to as your children, dogs and birds ate from the same plates. Everyone lives in peace with one another in your home, and the animals too.
You left enduring legacies. You unlocked the destinies of many and encouraged all who came your way to exert themselves to the limits of their endowments .You built Start-Rite Schools from an idea to an iconic institution comparable with the best anywhere in the world, completed this church to the glory of God. You built people.
“The days of mortals are determined
You have decreed the number of their months and have set limits they cannot exceed” Job 14:5. God has numbered our days. When He calls us back to Himself early it is to prevent those He loves from being corrupted on earth. The scriptures tell us that “The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart, the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil” Isaiah 57: 1
Your name is carved in our hearts. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you. Your stories are sweet.
I hear you say to me “I give you this one thought to keep
I am with you still. I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunshine on ripened grain
I am the gentle rain on the roof
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night
So do not think of me as gone. I am still with you in each new dawn”
From my friend you became my lover, wife, friend, and soulmate. You became me and I became you. We became one. Your pains were mine and your joys were my joys. Your whole life is Victor. From being a provincial lawyer you showed me the possibilities of the global stage and dared me to seize them. Your friends nickname you “gum body “ as you cling to me every minute, in body and in soul. Now you have upgraded. You are now an Angel with God Whom you so faithfully serve .You are with our Blessed Mother, Mary whom you venerate. You are in Heaven, where all Angels are. Angels are in Heaven and you are my Personal Angel.
“My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” Psalm 73:26. Because God is my strength I, rather than mourn you I will celebrate your most remarkable life for you live. It is not the length of our years that matter, rather it is the life in the years. You have life in every minute of your life. I have hope in the Resurrection so I will not mourn because we will meet again to part no more . You hate self pity and love strength so I am strong.
When is the best time to die..? The best time to die is when you die for God has decreed the number of our days and set our limits “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28. My love, my Angel, it is well for you live for “Now is eternal life; that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” John 3:36.
Today, the world celebrates you. I will celebrate and love you forever. Live on my Angel, my personal Angel.
Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, is former Senate Leader and ex-NDDC Chairman