Elvis Iyorngurum -By Aisha Yesufu
I first met you when you came for the #BringBackOurGirls Sit out. Your hair stood out for me. I couldn’t help looking at you. My sister Furaira with her usual curiosity was the one that struck up a conversation with you and found out that you had been growing your hair for over 13 years as of that time. Wow! I remember asking you what made you do it and you said because it was said you couldn’t. That over the little period I was opportuned to know you on earth described who you were. Never tell Elvis he can’t.
Elvis what can I say about you? Where do I start from? So many amazing things about you though you drove me nuts sometimes. I remember telling you, you were like the last born of the family.
Your passion for Nigeria is unequalled. Like Shehu Abubakar said you ran a marathon like a sprint. You were so much in a hurry to get the business of a better Nigeria done. You were there for every cause that needed standing for.
I once told you of the fact that you were someone I could entrust my life with when I felt bad about a banner I had asked you to make which wasn’t on ground because you had trusted someone else to get it done. You apologised so profusely and felt really bad. I am so glad that happened because it allowed me the opportunity to have the conversation with you and tell you how much you meant to me.
I remember teasing you always for insisting on being at the printers to ensure no mistakes were made in all our printouts. You would spend all day ensuring the best job is done. You would also ensure we got our banners or flyers no matter how short the notice. People were always surprised how we got banners and others ready at short notice. I would laugh knowing my secret weapon is Elvis Iyorngurum who never gives up until the job is done.
We teased you about your small frame. You are the slimmest and you would try proving how you were much bigger than so and so. You did proved one thing pen is mightier than the sword. You rattled the Nigerian military when you broke the story of how former Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh evacuated his family and no one else when his town fell to Boko Haram. You pointed out to us the fact that all he bothered about was his family and never bothered about even those from the same town. You also did an article to point to us the fallacy of voting based on sentimental reasons.
Ahhhhh! Death!! Elvis you did not live to see the Change you so much went all out for. The change you campaigned tirelessly for. The Change you stood for and was ready to die for. Elvis Iyorngurum you stood for Nigeria when it needed you the most.
You always told us we were born to do stand for #ChibokGirls. To be called upon to stand for humanity.
You were the one that told us #ChibokGirls were sacrificing for Nigeria to get itself together and be an amazing country. You were the one that would always oppose anyone giving up on the #ChibokGirls. I remember how the veins stood on your neck when there was media report that #ChibokParents had planned to perform burial of their missing children as was customary in their place, you refused to accept that and whenever anyone said it was better to bury a child than to be missing you would oppose that notion.
One thing I would forever respect about you my brother is the fact that you stood for what you believed in and would defend it irrespective of whose oars were gored.
You were such a soft spoken person who because of your intellectual capacity didn’t need to raise your voice. People quitened to hear you, when you speak. There was always a gold mine of intelligence whenever you speak. Alas we took it for granted you would be with us for a long long time and never bothered to document the gold nuggets that dropped from your lips and pen.
In your own way you reached out to individuals to touch their lives without making a fuss. I remember you taking me aside and telling me to take ownership of #
I remember the day you made my shy daughter to stand up and give the opening remarks at the #BringBackOurGirls Sit out, I was so overwhelmed and I sent you this message: “You got her to talk. I will forever be grateful to you.”
and this was your reply:
“It isn’t me, the time was going to come when she will speak
Whether me or not
And she will do more
She spoke well
But I accept your gratitude
Tell her everyone liked the way she spoke and we all think she can do better than you. She reads a lot so she must be very intelligent and articulate. Pls deliver the message, it will encourage her.”
I can’t say more. You are a giver. Like a candle you consumed yourself to light the way for others