By Anne Nwakalor
“Hi Annie, how are you?” These are the words that I got used to hearing for almost 2 years and to think that I will never hear these words again makes me feel sick to my core. Alfredo, my right hand man, I could always count on him whenever I needed help or clarification on something. “Well done Annie” he would tell me reassuringly even when I know that I did a terrible job, he was always encouraging me, even when he would correct my work, he would say, ‘but well done Annie” as a closing sentence.
Alfred was an amazing human being, a great colleague, a great friend and a great guy. I rated him the most fashionable guy in CODE! He used to wear this super funky red bowler hat and had this one grey Kaftan with silver buttons and a silver chain, it looked super cool! I would always complement his fashion sense and his cool trainers. Alfred, we could always count on him to get things done! He did not work at CODE for the money, he worked at CODE because he sincerely believed in good governance and wanted to fight to see Nigeria change. Sometimes I would mock his belief in the system, but he stood firm in his conviction and desire for a transparent and accountable government.
“Alfred, do you always have to tell people to ‘come and join you’ when you are eating”, “Annie, if I dont invite people to take some of my food, I won’t enjoy it”. Alfred would always share his food with people, sometimes I would insist that he should eat by himself but he would refuse. He loved sharing and he loved taking other people’s food. Alfred, funny guy, great guy.
“Guys, where is Alfred?” This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions that I would ask my colleagues. Alfred would come late to teams meeting, he would come late to gatherings, he would come late to parties, my goodness, and when he would try to come early to something he would end up forgetting an important item, like his suitcase to travel or his laptop to do his works *puts palm on face*. But one thing is for sure, when Alfred was around, you knew it, he was the life of the party, the workplace, the gathering, the everything. Alfredo, the first person I went on radio with, I still remember, I was so nervous but Alfred kept on reassuring me that there was nothing to be nervous about. Alfred, the first person that I celebrated with when I made a communications plan that I was proud of, “Wow Annie, nice well done”.
Alfred, I personally will miss you. I don’t think you knew how much you were loved, I don’t think you knew how much people cared about you, how much I cared about you. I did not lose a colleague, I’ve lost a friend, a great guy. Honestly Alfred, I don’t understand, I will never understand, Alfred, you had dreams, you had aspirations, you had plans, this was not the plan Alfred, this was not the plan! You have people who love and care about you, why did you have to go like this? I will never understand, but one thing I know for sure is that you lived a great life, you enjoyed life to the fullest, and you’ve left a legacy and a trail of people who love you and who always will.
Adieu my colleague, Adieu my friend, Adieu dear Alfred.