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They both have the prefix El- before their names. Prominent Shi’ite leader, El-Zakzaky, and former FCT Minister, Nasir El-Rufai. But beyond the similarity in names, they both suffered similar calamities recently, and one’s heart goes out to them.
El-Zakzaky had three sons felled in one day, right before his eyes, allegedly by soldiers during a peaceful protest in Zaria. And El-Rufai lost his son, Hamza, in an auto crash in Abuja.
The fate that befell the former Minister becomes more harrowing when one recalls that he had lost his eldest daughter, Yasmine, in November 2011. The 25-year-old passed away in her London apartment, after suffering a neurological attack.
Yasmine held a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Bath, UK, and London School of Economics, respectively. She also had a law degree from the University of London. But on that November 26, 2011, her sun was extinguished in the morning of life, leaving her parents devastated.
Hamza also held a degree from the University of Virginia, before he died in the Abuja car crash. How much pain can a father really bear? Right is the man who has said: “Some old wounds never truly heal, and bleed again at the slightest word.” This must be one of such.
El-Zakzaky’s sons were also stars of the future, extinguished before they had even begun to shine. Ahmed, 24, was to graduate next year in Chemical Engineering from the Shenyang Univeristy of Technology, China. Hameed, 22, was a first year student of Aeronautical Engineering at XI’an University of Technology (XUT), China, while Mahmoud, 19, was studying at the Al-Mustapha International University in Beirut, Lebanon.
How did the three youngsters meet their death? They were part of a protest by their father’s Shiite group against the face-off in Gaza between Israel and Palestine, and in the process, soldiers reportedly opened fire on them.
The Nigerian Army says it is investigating what caused the bloodbath in which 35 people were killed. El-Zakzaky is licking the wounds of a father, who has to bury three sons, and 32 of his followers, all cut down in one-fell-swoop.
When Yoruba people pray: “May you never know the grave of your children,” it is a very big prayer. El-Rufai has known it twice, El-Zakzaky, thrice in one day. What sorrow, what tragedy. Who can console them, except God? It is surely a big burden for these men to carry, perhaps too much for any man. In the light of our collective humanity, I hereby send my condolences.
However, let the two men be comforted that on one blessed day, death itself would die.
“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Revelation 20:14).
And John Donne, the poet: “Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And death shall be no more; Death thou shalt die!”
And what a happy day it shall be.
Article written by Femi Adesina
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