Each time I called Nath, he knew there was a job to do, and each time Nath called me, I knew he a piece of information to relate with me. In the last six years, our relationship on the job had grown, and his untimely exit is devastating. Nathaniel Abimbola will no longer reporting to man again, because he has joined fallen Comrades in afterlife.
I could still recollect that the Protocol officer to my boss, Mr. Kunle Fagbemi called me earlier that Rt. Hon. Najeem Salaam in partnership with Rotary club would be organizing a medical checks for the people of Ejigbo State constituency, and that I should mobilize reporters for the task, but said that he had called Nath when he could not reach me on time.
The message was late, for reporters had gone to different beats, but there was one guy who would never desert the task, Nath as we fondly called Nathaniel who reported for Osun State Broadcasting Cooperation from Osun State House of Assembly; true to type, he showed up and we drove in my car to Ejigbo. While savouring the pleasure drive, Nath and I began to engage in intellectual discourse.
We picked from economy to politics, and from politics to journalism. I expressed my frustrations on why Nigerians were made to suffer despite the huge resources and natural endowment; we railed on why people value common denominator-money from politicians more than what could benefit them collectively. We spoke about the bad shape of Iwo and Ejigbo roads, and what could be an aspiration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola to fix them.
While I was talking, Nath would quickly take a nap, and woke up as if he could not afford to miss the discourse. Then, I asked him while he was still writing in long hand, and he responded that OSBC had not provided him with latest technology to make his reportage transferable from the field.
When we arrived Ejigbo, I drove straight to where Abidjan delicacies were sold, and when I asked him and my photographer, Segun who was in the car with us to join me in eating acheke, he smiled and politely told me he had just eating food prepared by his wife, and that he would wait in the car.
After the assignment, we set for Osogbo, but my cameraman, Anifowose delayed us, and that gave Nath the last chance to "enjoy" the dusty weather in a town he had attuned himself to for years of service, because of his reportorial assignment, and when we eventually set for the return journey; we resumed our discussion, but while he appeared to have agreed with the details I explained, he was not enthusiastic about any possible quick fix. He responded like a man set for another planet; unknown to me that he was set for the final trip the next day, where he would neither need cameraman nor feed the OSBC back. This narrative was exactly some hours to his painful death.
It took time for him to get along with me, when i assumed office almost six years ago but his gentle mien was never betrayed, his humility was classical, and he was a very calculative reporter who through his sterling qualities won the heart of the parliament, for the lawmakers considered themselves safe in his hand. He warmed himself into the heart of the Speaker, and was so beloved.
I was with Speaker Salaam when the news of his death was broken, despite the fact that I was demobilized instantly, Mr. Speaker appeared to have felt the shock more; his emotional state suffered a quick shutdown and it was mourning at his Guest House. I have cleverly avoided everyone who struggled to confirm the death of Nath from me, because I was secretly assuring myself that it was a just nightmare, and that it would not happen. Alas, our Nath is dead for real.
Quite sympathetic, I saw a good man who would die the next morning in a bubbling spirit, I talked about life to a God fearing journalist who had completed his journey of life; I shook hand and traded banters with a man who only showed up healthily to bid us final goodbye, and I spoke politics with a man who had prepared for the flight to the celestial realm, where worldly troubles are not cognized.
NATHO, know that your value and worth are noted by the man you loved so much, Speaker Salaam, and I affirm that u are more celebrated in death by us, your colleagues. It is quite painful, but death is a final state of all mortals. I find it difficult to say good night. The God you served with diligence and dedication will rest you, and stand with the wife and young children you reluctantly left behind.
Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker
Osun State House of Assembly