I call him my son and oh yes, he is. Our relationship began almost a year ago.
He and his friends, buried in the heart of some dangerous forests read my tribute to “Our troops on Christmas Day” and he reached out to me explaining how my post boosted their morale on Christmas day…and oh, was he so appreciative!
So, we began a friendship limited by distance but we communicated every time. We prayed together and when he told me he would be leaving the forest for the city, the first of such trips in years, I insisted I must host him and his colleagues in my house.
So we met… a dynamite in a small package. Small in nature but a giant within. Fearless. Gallant. Ever so respectful…
When I took him to the national assembly, my colleagues waited for him at the entrance of the elevator and gave him a heroic welcome and so did the security men on duty that day.
Our lawmakers who met him thanked him and his colleagues profusely for the sacrifices they make on a daily basis.
I have seen this gentleman, a captain in his twenties, speak so passionately about Nigeria’s peace and unity. I have listened to him give me a lecture on national security. I have shared in his joy when they recorded victory and I have seen him at his lowest ebb when he lost friends and colleagues to a senseless war.
He escaped death by the whiskers recently and, but for God, i would have been writing a post- humus tribute today.
Happy birthday, son. I am one of those who are so proud of you.
Your love for Jesus is exceptional. As always, I pray for you today that you will outlive the madness where you are fighting so hard to keep us all safe.
Like you always hear, Nigeria can never repay your sacrifices. Never! Nothing can reward the horror you and your colleagues have endured in years. No gratification can wipe away the memories of what you face on a daily basis. We can only ask God to reward you all with safety, protection and long life.
You will outlive this war, son.
I am going to post this on my Facebook wall and ask my lovely friends there to whisper a prayer to God on your behalf.
Happy birthday, Captain. Long life. Safety. Peace. Security. The Lord make your hand strong on the neck of your enemies. They will not locate you because you abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
God bless you.
Yes I know I left out his name.
What Lara Owoeye-Wise did for her adopted son and for all our soldiers who are fighting wars within and outside our country – so that Nigeria and other nations can have peace and security – is invaluable and laudable.
Through her regular rantings, cravings, jokes, critiques, etc on Facebook especially, Lara Wise has given hope to many, and tried to make sense of some of the nonsense plaguing the world and us.[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]
I was happy to meet her by chance on a freebie to South Africa. We stayed in the same hotel, toured the same tourist sites, had fun and shared a lot of intellectual time. She was covering for TV and had a video camera she made us carry in turns for her to shoot her coverage. I was covering for a newspaper and had a still camera she also took pictures of me with. We were both pleasantly surprised she was my wife’s July 23rd birthday mate. That was almost 15 years ago.
Our mutual friend Tope Ogbeni Awe with South African Airways and South African Tourism made that and other such trips possible. I saw Lara Wise only once and we have kept a healthy, Platonic bond ever since on Facebook and mobile phones.
Immediately I read her Facebook tribute to her adopted soldier son #Captain, I commended her on the phone. Just one Christmas Day post had fetched Lara a new son and super admiration by her son’s mates on the battlefront.
It was nighttime while they all huddled around in trenches, belly-down out of enemy sight. It was on Boxing Day that they all read Lara’s post together. Instead of the gloom of war that enveloped them, Lara’s post had kindled a light in them.
“They said they were happy that someone so far away and whom they’d never met spared them a thought as they fought for Nigeria’s peace with their lives. And that I did so on Christmas Day. I was just doing what came to mind and I am so happy it encouraged them all” Lara told me on phone 1600 hours Saturday November 19, 2016.
We all should learn to do things like Lara did on Christmas Day. Let’s be builders of people and institutions, not destroyers.
LARA OWOEYE WISE is a multi-award winning journalist and Special Assistant (SA) on media to Hon. Yusuf Suleiman Lasun, Deputy Speaker, Federal House of Representatives. A graduate of humanities from the University of Jos, Lara previously worked for Punch newspapers, The News magazine, Silverbird Television and MINAJ Television before joining AIT where she worked as news anchor and producer.