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OTUKUNU, I just woke up with that name on my mind. Possibly, it is his birthday or the date he exited this world I would never know. Those to tell the significance of today December 10, 2020 have all gone to join the saints in heaven. Like me, he was ABIODUN so he probably was born in December or any of the festive periods. Probably why thoughts of him flooded my waking moments.  Otukunu was said to be very daring, carefree, exploratory and fearless child. Little wonder he became a soldier. My Grandma must have gone round the bend when he announced his resolve to be a soldier. Otukunu was my mother’s immediate younger sibling. They were just two surviving children but my grandmother got the sobriquet Otukunu wiya because of him even though he was the younger sibling. I do not know what Otukunu means but he probably earned that nickname through his gritty adventurous spirit.

Sadly, Otukunu who rose to become Captain Abiodun Alabi with another sobriquet ‘’scorpion’’ in the army died in a car crash shortly after the Nigeria/Biafra war while serving in Afikpo in Ebonyi state. Prior to his demise, he came home with an Igbo wife who was pregnant at that time. When he died the family could not trace her, the world was not global then. We also didn’t know where he served; we just knew it was Igbo land. One day I was sorting my grandma’s old stuff I had kept out of sentiments to find that he served in the Army battalion in Afikpo. Ever since then I have felt a kind of kinship with the people of Afikpo because I believe my first cousin is probably there.

Years later, I passed right through the street of his battalion in Afikpo and there was an instant connection. The magnetic pull towards the place was so overwhelming I was tempted to get down to make inquiries. On second thoughts, I debated within me if it was a good idea. Would Nigeria Army still have records? If they did, would I find the wife? If I found the wife, would she be happy to see me? To open old wounds, reveal old secrets? The wife probably had moved on, cousin may not want to associate with ‘Yoruba’’ and those who would be gladdened by my discoveries are all dead. I was pensive afterwards; it took a while to shed the cloak of gloom that wore my spirit snugly.

PERHAPS SOME DAY if it’s not too late.

Rest on Captain Abiodun ‘scorpion’ Alabi.

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