A voyage to nothingness: a tribute to Abdul Imoyo
From childhood, precisely from my elementary school days, I had developed an incredible fascination for opposing phenomena. This mysterious fondness for examining the abstract but extant lines between antithetical concepts, started for me, albeit unconsciously, when I was in Primary 3, shortly after Mr Adesola (may God rest his soul) taught us about words and opposites, for the first time.
This manifested grossly in my mental interpretation of events in antithetical manner, with a nonpareil imaginative fecundity. Occurrences ranging from the mundane to the surreal; the terrestrial to the celestial.
This quest for meaning was further enriched by my introduction to Quantum Physics, particularly the Wave-Particle Duality theorem, while in the High School. My comprehension of Karl Marx’s struggle of opposites in his Historical Materialism, as well as Wilfred Hegel’s Dialectical Materialism, further sharpened my philosophical antenna for the purpose of this intellectual interrogation.
Ingrained in my subconscious was the desire to explore the interconnectedness between sickness and health; joy and sadness; poverty and wealth; peace and war, amongst many opposing phenomena. Of all these, the most thought-provoking for me had to do with the contrasting elements of life and death.
In the bid to satisfy this curiosity of mine, I ran into the postulations of the Existentialists. Men like Soren Aabye Kierkegaard, Albert Camus, Karl Jaspers, Gabriel Marcel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Paul Tillich, Jean-Paul Sartre and others who were preoccupied with examining the role of man in the quest for meaning, in his journey from the womb to the tomb. A voyage that takes him from something to nothing.
J.P. Sartre described it as an expedition from Being to Nothingness. Martin Heidegger opined that as long as a child is born, he is old enough to die. Some others posited that as soon as conception takes place, a child is old enough to die. This line of thought ascribes primacy of place to conception, not parturition, as the starting point of this race. There are as diverse opinions on this trajectory as there are platforms for expression.
Going by the thoughts of Heidegger, it can be deduced that the credibility of life has nothing to do with its longevity. To add to it, nothing confers legitimacy on being as purpose. The substance of the time between the womb and the tomb resides in its purpose. Fulfilling it lends credence to existence.
Talking of purpose, Abdul was an angel in human form for many. A pathfinder for many, with his willingness to assist in any way he could.
Abdul Imoyo’s passing is a tragedy of immense proportion that will surely take a while for me to process. He was an aggregate of generosity, gentlemanliness, readiness to help and a host of other great qualities. He was my go to person and together, we managed a lot of crises, noiselessly. His humility and accommodating spirit spoke volumes. My very first Advanced Thesaurus was a gift from him around 1992/93, thereabouts. He encouraged me to hone my writing skills.
Though a modest person, he was never short of ambition. He paid his dues through hard work, social capital and unquestionable integrity.
I sobbed like a baby putting up his picture on my status because I experienced a stream of memories I hadn’t in a long while. I remember how we shared the same bed, some 3 decades ago. I’ll never forget how the military junta kept us all indoors, and we’d play the game of scrabble, all day back then, alongside Adewuyi Olushola Michael, Awwal Liman, Segun Rufus, Bunmi Ogunji and Bolaji Wasiu Badru. Indeed, I have lost a brother. I lost a confidant. I lost a friend.
However, in all, Abdul Imoyo fulfilled his Creator’s purpose. He allowed his light shine on the paths of many, in a very selfless manner. He exemplified for me, the Biblical injunction that: “…A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses ” (Luke 12:15).
Until his passing, he was an editorial member of both The Lagos Indicator and the Nigeria Indicator.
Fare thee well, my brother, my teacher, my confidant.
By Tunji Oke (Publisher, Lagos Indicator)