L-R: Owie and godDaniel

Hello everyone and welcome to yet another episode of #HumansOfUDUS, a space where we spread kindness. I remain your host, Uchenna Emelife. This week’s Human of UDUS is a Danfodite called Innocent Owie Aboki, who in this story is referred to as Owie. 400l student of English language, godDaniel speaks to me about him and how he showed up at a dark moment in his life. Here is his story:

“To talk about Owie would be to recite a litany of thanksgivings to God for making our paths cross.

Owie and I first met years ago in our UG 1. We were both members of the University Christian Chapel’s (UCC) Oaks of Righteousness. We never took notice of each other however. He was just as active as I was but save from the nods and handshakes we exchanged, there was nothing more.

The first time I took note of Owie was in our third year. His name kept popping up on my Facebook notifications. I put up a picture, and there is a ‘love’ reaction from Owie; a writing and there is a comment; a writing with a picture attached and there is a love, a comment and a share. The recurrence of the activity made his username register in my head, that I became expectant of his reaction. We all have that one social media follower yeah? That one that even when we put up the littlest of content, we are rest-assured of their audience? That was Owie. The enabler of my budding fame. Haha.

Naturally, I got curious. I wanted to know who he was and that led me into visiting his page. I traced the face I met to one of the many I share the UCC space with. That gap-toothed boy with one of those faces that just stay with you. As though fate meant for us to be something more, when I was appointed the Music Director of the Choir, guess who became the Welfare Director? Same Owie from Facebook.

Our relationship then moved from a virtual one to work-basis. Owie possessed a familiar commitment to his responsibilities. Just as he did my online space, he paid same loyalty to me. Days when meetings kept me until past midnight, Owie felt obliged (even when I never ask) to wait it out with me. Then he would walk me to the hostel before returning to his, which was some distance away. Irrespective of the recurrence of such meetings, there would be Owie with a plastered smile waiting. It didn’t make any sense to me for one to be that loyal, especially to someone like me who was supposed to be his colleague. But this is Owie I’m talking about. An exciting mystery I smile unraveling.

L-R: Owie and godDaniel

One of the most unspoken blows dealt by strikes is the love lives it wrecks. In the 2020/21 COVID-ASUU strike, I was nursing a heartbreak of my own, but I was failing. It was as though my heart was beating outside my chest and with every beat, came a reminder of what I had lost. The heartbreak was defining. I was losing it. Couldn’t sleep nor eat properly. Always woke up grumpy. You hear of things ‘breakfast’ does to people and you laugh until it happens to you and you begin to question everything and everyone around you, including yourself:

“Am I the problem? Is it my fault? Where did we go wrong? Is the sky blue? Am I worthy of being loved? Will I find love again? What if I had not said anything? What if…? What if…?” 

I was completely down. Try as I could to hide it, I just couldn’t suppress my apathy to every thing. One day, Owie called to discuss a project. I was in Kaduna at the time and he in Sokoto. I tried to fake enthusiasm to what he was sharing but my efforts were bested by his sensitivity. He immediately asked what was wrong, but of course I couldn’t tell him. Who tells another boy he is heartbroken without risking being made a jest of? 

L-R: Owie and godDaniel

Owie insisted and I decided to risk it all. I have been broken again, what more is there to break? I thought to myself.

Owie’s reaction to my heartbreak story completely sold him to me. Rather than the jests and bants I expected, he turned soft-spoken and told me to not worry too much. That I will be fine. That my pain was a phase and just like every other phase, it would go. 

Owie called in every other day to find out how much I had improved. The daily calls didn’t exactly hasten my healing process, but I at least wasn’t going through this tunnel alone. He walked with me, held my hand and led me into finding love for myself again. He made me realise that I was loved by people, and dearly too, so what point was there to nurse the loss of one? Such concern for me especially emotionally has only been shown me by family, but even in this shoe where family couldn’t try, Owie was more than willing to not only try it on but walk with it. 

Thank you, Owie. This may have meant only a little to you, but it was everything for me. I hope we never lose what we have.”

What about this story resonates most with you? Do you have a story of a similar kindness shown you by a Danfodite? Please share with Uchenna Emelife via https://wa.me/message/JWZDTNFA52YXP1.

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