Long before our paths first crossed way back in 2003, I had become accustomed to the name Sir Jonathan Eneojo Amaha, fondly called ‘D.A’. His popularity soared for two explicable reasons. Apart from establishing and supervising one of the pioneer hospitals in my ancestral home of Imane, Olamaboro LGA, Kogi state, Ufedo-Ojo Clinic and Maternity, he was a renowned philanthropist and grassroot leader. He was a man loved, respected and cherished by everyone.
He operated the Ufedo-Ojo Clinic and Maternity like a Community owned-health centre. Testimonies of how patients were treated free of charge or on credit are open secret. He was a healthcare giver with a difference. Undoubtedly, his resolve to venture into the healthcare sector was largely to safe lives and not for pecuniary reasons. This obviously accounted for why the news of his death five years ago was greeted with rude shock within Imane and adjourning communities. His passage dealt fatal blows on Imane, a community lacking in true, genuine, selfless and patriotic voices in her quest to rise above existential challenges. Most Imanians and visitors alike who encountered him offered comforting testimonies about him. His startling virtues far outweighed his frailties.
My late uncle, Alhaji Abubakar Ochimane, onetime Chief Imam of Imane and community leader, was one of late Sir Amaha’s contemporaries with whom he related seamlessly and affably. He was my late uncle’s Personal Physician. Any sick person from my uncle’s extremely large compound knew where to go. You don’t have to carry some cash on you to visit Sir Amaha’s UfedoOjo’s clinic. The only form of identification was simply, “I am Alhaji Abuh’s child’, and its over.
My second and last physical encounter with Sir Jonathan Amaha (D.A) was in 2007 when I led a delegation of Imane Students’ Association, Kogi State University Anyigba chapter on a familiarization tour to notable Imane indigenes within Kogi state. Our first port of call was the residence of Chief C.Y Enenche. Coincidentally, the late Sir Amaha was part of a stakeholder’s meeting taking place at Chief C. Y Enenche’s house. We told Sir Amaha that his house was our next destination. He commended us for the rare honour but suggested that since reasons for the visit was mentioned in my speech, we shouldn’t bother visiting him again! I was dazed by his simplicity and understanding. Expectedly, he parted with some reasonable cash which he said, ‘This is for your fare back to school’. We all went back to school reflecting on the wonderful encounter with our ‘notable’ Imanians, with Sir Amaha’s sheer benevolence attracting huge mention.
Not for death, I would have had more wonderful personal encounters and experiences to share about this kindhearted gentleman. I never knew that the man I saw admired from a distance would end up becoming my father-in-law! Five years after his painful exit, destiny ordered my footsteps to his large compound where I walked down the aisle with one of his beautiful and dearly beloved daughters, Tonia.
Sir, I have listened to several eloquent and resounding testimonies about your personality. Many recounted how you took enormous delight in acting like a father to your sons-in-law. How you handled and treated them with respect, love and concern. I won’t say I missed a lot, but I would have certainly enjoyed more if you were to be alive. I am indeed proud of the sound and enviable legacies you left behind. My wife, Tonia, is one of your numerous legacies. I personally thank you for giving birth to a woman who is daily adding value, flavor and colour to my existence. I am proud to be associated with you sir. To die and still remain evergreen in the hearts of many is but a transition ordained by God.
Rest on Sir Jonathan Eneojo Amaha (D.A), KSJ.
Abdullahi Yunusa wrote in from Imane, Kogi state. Meetprofwills@yahoo.com