I met Michael Olusesan Awe, also known as Michael West, only once in his 59 years of existence. His reputation however preceded our meeting. I knew him as a journalist with immense experience who chose its variant of soldering fractured families together through his column.
However, our meeting on May 12, 2022, bridged the gap between our decades of spatial differences. And when we met, we had the feeling that we had always met each other. He had literally downloaded all about me. He read my weekly offerings religiously, he said, and spent minutes dissecting them, especially the very controversial ones. We then moved to the Akure mutual bloodline that linked us together. Awe spoke our Akure dialect admirably, to my delight. I literally opened my mouth as he spun the dialect with a baffling mastery.
From there, we moved to discuss the Akure Kingdom. Awe agonized over the inability of our kinsman, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) to become the Ondo state governor in his last attempt. Then, we moved to the venue of the event. He was the compere and did wonderfully well. When I indicated my desire to leave the venue before the close of the programme, he saw me off; embracing me affectionately. A few days later, he called and spoke with me for about 30 minutes, discussing Nigeria. How was I to know that that was the last time I would see him and that the next time we would be meeting, my kinsman would be cold dead inside the casket and taking a life-long nap?
A few weeks after, my ears tingled. News of his death spread. I was downcast and inconsolable. How could the man who spoke my town’s dialect with such baffling mastery die suddenly?
So last Friday, I drove to Akure to be sure that he was indeed dead. At the Bells Vault, on the way to Ondo town, I waited patiently for the crew bringing his casket to Akure from Lagos. When he was eventually laid in state, I walked up to him. Michael Awe looked like one who was at peace with himself and his Creator. I saw live the perishability of our bodies and the vanity of this life. As the officiating pastor talked about the worthlessness of human existence, I walked away. How could Michael Awe die?