You are allowed to be surprised that I prefer to call you by this name; even though you have been introduced to me as Pius and you have never told me yourself that your name is Nnanyelugo. But, I learnt that from Facebook. I love the name so much that I have wished it was my own name. Maybe I won’t have been known as Victor. I won’t mind that people who aren’t Igbo are bound to mispronounce it, the same way they mispronounce Ugochukwu, forcing me to opt for Victor, and Ugoo (which is often mispronounced too).
When Ryan told me about you, I didn’t know what to expect. But, I definitely didn’t expect much, despite having some sort of expectations; considering, that he spoke highly of Controversial Thursday. I didn’t expect much because it has happened countless times that people aren’t what you expect from them, especially, when you expect much. But, Ryan made CT look worthwhile and I do respect Ryan, so I had certain expectations of what you would and would not be.
I definitely thought that you were older, only ‘unfortunate’ to have been ‘jammed’ by JAMB quite a number of times. Or maybe, that you were so obsessed with studying medicine that you probably have declined admission several times. The thought that you could be young never crossed my mind. That explains why I asked your age briefly into our conversation. I needed to be sure which was your case. CT was just bigger than you as far as I was concerned (however it happened that I was ‘concerned’).
This was before I even got a grip of what CT was about. When you eventually sent me those screenshots, I couldn’t help but feel angry at myself and sorry to you for having wrongly judged (valued feels like a better word, as the word, ‘judge’ to me connotes some negativity that I can’t explain – maybe because of the word, ‘judgemental’) you.
Then, our first argument – we had argued about ‘slavery being a choice or not’. Something no one was ever going to talk about if not for Kanye. Before the argument, I can’t remember the last time I engaged in any form of arguments. I hated arguments because most times, the arguing parties don’t ever come to an agreement; and sometimes they throw tantrums and become insulting when it begins to drain them of energy and lastly I don’t see a reason to burn energy arguing when there is no end to it. But, somehow you dragged me to it. I must confess that at some point, I felt that my opinion angered you so much that you would soon begin to call me names. I feared also that you could begin to think that I am not half as smart or intelligent as I may have impressed on you or as Ryan may have made you think. Most importantly, I respected you for the brilliant questions you asked. And I must agree that I never thought of some of the answers until you asked those questions. I also respected how succinctly, you voiced your own thoughts and how you allowed the argument ended when I requested that it did. Then you tagged me on Facebook to Joy Isi Bewaji’s rant on the issue. She brought a different perspective that neither you nor I considered and I loved that from your comment, you seem to have been won over to my view that slavery is a choice – though I always insist that it was one of those ‘choiceless’ choices we make.
Over time, we talked about certain other things. I love how we share different thoughts on feminism, Chimamanda and her works and other things. I love that you respect my opinions even when you do not accept or agree to them. You also respected my wish that the varying ideas, thoughts and opinions shouldn’t turn to arguments and they never did.
I love to see myself as open minded, but you helped me understand what open-minded really is, with your own openness. I wish that I could get as young as you were. I desired to journey back taking the time machine, to when I was exactly your age, just so that I could have the rare privilege of being just half as smart as you are. I wished that I had the luxury of knowing all that you knew while I was your age. I love that you majored in sciences and is studying medicine but can discuss concepts like feminism, sexuality, the choice to abort, literature, overcrowding and other things you could discuss and discuss in CT and with me with a marvelling openness.
Have I mentioned that I wished, however briefly that CT was my brainchild? Then, you could ask questions that send me thinking. I love asking questions and I do ask impossible once caring nothing about how dumb they could sound. You asked questions that always make me pause to reflect my own positions and stance. It’s worse off because I hate being asked questions.
You taught me that friendship can defy age; conflicting beliefs; having the same background and every foundation on which friendship is believed to exist. You taught me in this short while that it is not how long the friendship has existed, but how much each of the friends is ready to give. You have given more to ours than I have. The free knowledge I get from our conversations; the calls and care; your openness that I am trying to learn from; the laughs and jokes; the memes and pictures of savagery that you have shared; the book; your time and most importantly yourself.
Nnanyelugo, I am grateful that Ryan introduced us. I desire that we would work on projects together and there are lots of them that we could work on. I appreciate you endlessly for being genuine; open-minded; smart; loving and caring. I do respect you greatly and sincerely wish that we had known for a longer time.
It’s your birthday today, and I promise you that the world is yours for the taking. Nothing can keep you from soaring, not even your own self and your limitations (and I am yet to know any of those). Again, I say thank you for the friendship. Live long and prosper. Achieve all the dreams that you desire. Be sure, that there is a friend Victor who you can call upon whenever you need his help. I am a big fan of yours. And I want to be a part of your success story, so do get me involved.
Happy Birthday, Nnanyelugo!!! Grow and glow in love, openness, free-spiritedness, kindness, and care. Many More Years to You!!! I love you!!!
Love, Appreciation and Admiration from
Victor Ugoo Njoku