December 10 2012: The Day I Did Not Die.
Monday 10th December 2012 started like any other day. The weekend had been busy. On Friday I had visited the US embassy and my Visa was finally approved. Saturday, my home boy from UNIBEN got married and I taught everyone how to dance Alingo. On Sunday night I packed (while dancing Alingo with a friend who I was Skyping with) I woke up looking forward to my trip to Ife. A couple of us were going to speak to students interested in technology. It was all good.
The chap who was coordinating our bus began calling me and I told him I was on my way. Drove out gave my guyman Gateman our usual salute greeting and drove to my cousin’s office to leave my car. All this while, the coordinator of the bus was calling and I updated him on my location.
My cousin could not leave his office so I had to go drop my car somewhere on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi and the bus was to pick me up there. I dropped the car came out and met my fellow journey people and the polite coordinator.
We proceeded to CcHub to pick the rest of the gang. I saw Saheed Adepoju so I came down from the bus and dropped my tablet on the chair we had a brief chat (as he was not going with us) while the rest of the people came downstairs. I got into the bus, Femi Longe took my seat, I gave cogent reasons why the seat was built for me and got it back and the journey began.
Then I sent this tweet.
Ok.. Great IFE (not as great as UNIBEN) here we come. #TENT2012
— Oo Nwoye (@OoTheNigerian) December 10, 2012
Emmanuel Olutosin was sitting in front and pleaded with me to pause talking around 12 noon (do I talk that much?) as he had an important call.
I started reading from my tablet until we got to Lagos Ibadan express road then we began to argue about the road. “Ah the road is better” “It is not better” ” Bi Courtney dey try”, “it is not Babalakin that should be praised, na Jonathan” “Should we still be talking about this road in 2012?” etc etc.
When we passed that part of the road and I slipped into my favourite position on private bus long trips – I wore my headphones listening to music and imagined I was in bus scene of Craig Davids “I’m walking away” video. I began dozing off while reading and listening to music.
Life could not be better.
I heard an explosion (learned later the tyre burst ) and the crumpling of metal and felt tumbling (I think I remembered stretching out my hands to break the fall). Then I opened my eyes. I began squinting as the sun was shining in my face, I was in the sand by the side of the road. My body was in pains and could move only my left hand. I overheard screaming.
A road safety guy came over and said, “You just had an accident” in my mind I remember saying “ahhhhh fuck”. Then I started panicking. The first thing I did was to try and remember my name (lol. How would I have known if it was correct). Then I recollected my mum’s number and knew that was the one number I was not to call.
Then I started feeling faint and called my cousin Namo
Me: “Namo I am dying, I am dying”
Namo (without knowing the situation): “SHUT UP ARE YOU MAD?! WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU ARE DYING?
Me: I am dying I WAS IN AN ACCIDENT I AM DYING
Namo: SHUT UP THERE!! ARE YOU MAD?!! IF I HEAR YOU SAY THAT NONSENSE AGAIN. YOU ARE NOT DYING!! YOU MUST BE AN IDIOT TO SAY SUCH RUBBISH!!! *MORE RAKING*
Me: Oya sorry. I am not dying.
Namo: Good. Give someone the phone.
Then the road safety guy took the phone from me and began explaining what happened and giving our location.
Then out of the blues, I started thinking about the domain names in my possession. I had no succession plan for them. About my email, PayPal dough and ‘digital assets’ that my family would never access if I died. I began trying REALLY HARD to recollect my man Joel’s number since he was one of the few people I could trust and with the technical knowledge to access my stuff with my email and password. I remember that not remembering the number causing me a lot of distress.
(BTW, it was his UK number I was trying to recollect which I never knew by heart. And secondly, he had moved to the US and I did not have his new number)
Next thing, I woke up (I guess I passed out) with a drip in my hand and saw my cousin Chuka and Uncle Azubike. I smiled.
(I do not remember calling either of them. But I learnt I called Uncle Azubike and my other cousin Obinna called Chuka who came down)
Osibo who work out from the CcHub came over. I did the most trollish thing ever. I looked at him remembered his name was Osibo and carefully called out “Charles!!” with a confident smile on my face.
The way his eyes widened (thinking I had lost my memory). I pointed, laughed and he realised I was a damn good troll (I am still proud of that move)
I heard them talking of an ambulance that would take me to Lagos. I sincerely did not believe I would last the road journey to Lagos. So I told my cousin I needed an Air Ambulance. I called Tonye Cole whose number he gave me many years ago and definitely did not have my number talk less of remembering me
“I need an Air Ambulance” I told him, with the confidence of the son of a dictator or the Minister of Petroleum.
“Who is this?”
“Floreat!” I replied. Forming KCOB.
Let’s just say an Air Ambulance was not on its way (of course, it was an insane request. But when you think you are dying, making insane requests is not what you are afraid of)
I think I shouted Floreat when I was abandoned on the hospital floor with a drip in my hand.
This KC belief wey I get eh.
Next thing, I was on the road to Lagos and the road was bumpy. I begged my cousin for water to no avail. I started feeling sleepy again. I was convinced that if I slept, it would be the end. I told my cousin not to let me sleep. Big Mistake!
As soon as my eyes attempted to close TOZAAAI! Came the slap that woke me up. I would respond. “Thank you. Do not let me sleep”. With joy in his heart, he responded with another slap (to keep me awake I suppose). About 30 slaps later, we got to Igbobi Hospital where X- Rays were done e.t.c.
Then I called my folks.
“Mumsie, I had a minor accident. But I’m good. It was like something I could get on a football field.” Sadly, she did not have the opportunity to panic. I called my dad, gave him the same football line.
They did not want to believe that it was not worse, but I was the one doing the calling. 😉
My uncles and aunts came around and my friends started coming around.
I asked for the status of other passengers and learned that the guy coordinating the trip, the chap that kept calling me, the chap that sat behind me, died. His name? Bankole Taiwo
Later on, I got to learn of his final Tweet
— Bankole Taiwo (@Bankoletaiwo) December 10, 2012
That night, before I slept, I scrolled through my phone thinking of my final interactions before the accident. I was happy that most of them ended with “Lol”, “Oo, you dey crase o”, “laugh smilies”. Usually after I may have make one ridiculous comment or the other. I was happy.
Though I do not pray often, I prayed briefly and thanked the lord for keeping me alive. Closed my eyes to begin the most difficult 2 months of my life.
It has been a year and every day I am thankful for surviving with only a broken clavicle and some bruises as injury.
I am thankful and grateful to many people for their support. I would like to specifically mention my cousin Chuka and Uncle Azubike who got to the scene as soon as they could. My gratitude to the road safety chap. Of course my cousin Namo for instructing me not to die.
My Aunty Franca is an angel. She took care of me when I could not bathe myself. Every one of my family and friends that came to see me at the hospital and in Akoka and of course those that called from afar. You have no idea how much you lifted my spirit.
Baba God, thank you.
Rest in peace Bankole Taiwo. I did not get to know you but the little interaction I had with you was entirely positive. My God continue to give your folks the strength to carry on.
- I do not want anyone to read this and feel any tinge of sadness for me. I am doing spectacularly well and in a much better place than I was before the accident. You may however, drink a STAR on my behalf and say a prayer for Bankole Taiwo
- Family is everything. They will be there when shit hits the fan. Hold your family strong
- Except Bankole Taiwo, I decided not mention those I was in the accident ( Edit: Emmanuel Olutosin gave me permission) with because I don’t think I should be the one doing so. We’re all at various stages of recovery and improving every day.
- Please think of a succession plan for your digital assets and those you handle for others. I hope to find a solution for this soon. Maybe today.
- The state of Nigerian health care is another story entirely. But I am thankful for those that helped with the limited facilities at their disposal.
- Though my hand still hurts a bit, I can still dance Alingo.