By Steve anyebe
“Afternoon Your Excellency”, he said as usual upon picking my call. That is how Rev Fr Moses Ikpe has addressed me right from the period of the 2019 general elections until that hot afternoon two weeks back.
“Fr are you still coming?”, I asked.
“Sorry, my car has a problem. A mechanic is already coming from Utonkon to fix it. But by the time he finishes it would be late for me to come to town from Allan. So please wait for me till tomorrow.”
This was my last conversation with my brother, Fr Moses Ikpe. We were supposed to pay a sympathy visit on a common friend of ours in Otukpo town who had had a misfortune not long ago. Unfortunately, the visit never materialized. *Tomorrow never came*! Fr Moses died four days later. Quite unceremoniously, one would say, for he exhibited no sign of any ailment prior to his sudden demise. Just that he entered the bathroom and didn’t come out again until he was found dead in there.
What can one write about Fr Moses? An epitaph? An epithet? An ode? Or just a story? All I know is that it would take a whole year for me to write on the enigma who called himself “Fr Nothing”, and I still wouldn’t have gone a quarter way. So I can only say a few things about him.
Fr Moses “Fr Nothing”, Ogbu Ikpe, despite being much younger than I, had such a compelling grasp of life that he blended very easily into any situation he found himself and could discuss any issue under the sun competently with whosoever. I probably became drawn to him more than fifteen years ago because he easily stood out differently from other Priests. There was no pretence in him whatsoever.
My bond with Fr Moses grew more when I discovered that he had a voracious appetite for reading and writing. In addition, he was very philosophical in his reasoning and had surprising was of rationalizing even the most tricky of issues. He was therefore hardly sad. He appeared to feel pity for people more than being disappointed with them for lacking knowledge and understanding.
Fr Moses was a source of inspiration to so many people, old and young alike. Even older Priests consulted him on issues sensitive to their lives. He probably had a natural gift of putting people at ease. Consequently, most people found themselves drawn to him unhindered.
As I watched the remains of Rev Father Moses “Fr Nothing”, Ogbu Ikpe on its final journey to the grave, I almost laughed out loud when suddenly I remembered one of our usual frequently discussed topics: the wrong identity of man in relation to the spirit and the body. Are we spirit or matter?
Seeing the tumultuous crowd at the St Francis Cathedral, Otukpo, to bid Fr Moses farewell, I told myself silently that I have been right all the time in my thinking that there is an unexplained somethingness in the nothingness of Fr Moses Ikpe. He was undoubtedly one of those special beings who come down here to teach a few lessons.
Categories: James Ibechi