By David F. Effiong
“You are not limited guy…there are opportunities for you, even more out there.”
Jude Onyeji’s words to me sometime ago (paraphrased).
Richard Dowden’s book title “Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles,” always keep me thinking each time I encounter people, strangers in strange places. I will always remind myself of the many ways I had had ‘miracles,’ through encountering ordinary men and women. Women and Men in the streets, women and men in class rooms, and men in high places. Jude Onyeji was one of such encounters. He was one of my contemporaries during my studies in philosophy, Nigeria.
I first got drawn to him through what i’d now call an insightfulness on his part. I heard him complaining of certain inappropriateness. It was even a pleasure i’d bask in during social activities as I sat close to him. Jude Onyeji was a communicator. I knew this from the start.
I must now acknowledge the concerns of some members of the student body. “Jude talks too much,” they’d say. “He is uncouth and unfit,” they’d lament, albeit ignorantly. After his graduation from the Philosophy Department, I was opportuned to meet Jude again on December 17th 2015 in Abuja. He had come to process his papers to Ghana. He had gotten a direct entry admission for a second degree into the department of Religious Studies in the Catholic University College of Ghana Fiapre.
On the Jude Onyeji, after mounting the podium, was awarded the Certificate of BEST ORATOR in the entire Institution on the occasion of an award night organised by the international students association (ISA). I was thrilled by this news. I was even more thrilled that he never gave in to the ‘negative’ remarks about him; about his ‘talkativeness.’
Jude Ikechukwu Onyeji represents many Nigerians who leave the country with little or nothing but their determination and strong wills. Jude represents many outside their country who believe that rivers, no matter how slow they move, definitely become oceans when they never give up. Jude represents many who with strong wills, prefer to build themselves than wallow in empty thoughts or regrets. Like Jude, I too, hold supreme the belief that men and women of all works of life can and will indeed succeed even with the minutes details of their life – be it their music, their dance, their talks, their comedy, their poems or their stories. You will succeed with all these even out there!