‘Unknown to me, Steve was having a silent running battle with his health – all through 2022. I learnt about that just some hours ago. How was I to know, when he had good laughter on phone and spoke excitedly about things?’
A LADY who was Steve’s colleague in IGI called to announce the bad news. Actually the call that woke me up. Her first question was when last I heard from Steve. She didn’t wait for my response. Steve had connected me to her family when their patriarch wanted to do a biography last year. We have been regularly touching base since then: we shared the anxiety expressed by the family that the old man might die before the conclusion of the biography. And when I completed the writing and printing of the biography and the man lived to launch it at the age of 82 in the presence of his children at home and the Diaspora, Steve and I also talked about it, and the happiness expressed by the family that I did a good job. And when the oldman died late last year, Steve called to inform me, thanking God that the man died after his book launch. I also sought Steve’s help when I wanted to launch my blog last year, and he responded with his usual enthusiasm. Unknown to me, Steve was having a silent running battle with his health – all through 2022. I learnt about that just some hours ago. How was I to know, when he had good laughter on phone and spoke excitedly about things? His Yoruba was better than the aborigine’s even when he was not Yoruba.
Steve had a big laugh, always since our days in The Guardian in the 90s. We were on the Sub-Desk, a studious calling that marked The Guardian out as The Flagship of the day. It was the Sub-Desk that knocked all news reports, however badly written by reporters, into shape, and publishable materials. I remember all of us on the Desk then had a close affinity: Emeka Mba that later became the DG of Film and Censors Board, Eziuche Ubani, who later became House of Reps member, Kayode Idowu who was INEC spokesman under Prof. Attahiru Jega, and celebrated journalists like Yemi Ajayi, Eto Omokioja, Dr. Yinka Oyegbile and Emma Anya. I remember Steve always laughed away most challenges on the Desk. He used to plan the back page of The Guardian while I planned the editorial pages with the materials sent by Reuben Abati, then Editorial Board member. I later combined the editorial pages with the back page and Steve’s guidance was always handy during my stint in The Guardian.
Steve married from The Guardian, I married from The Punch. We later lived in the same estate behind The Punch, and our children went to the same primary school in the estate. Steve had a good career though, working in the Oil and Gas after leaving journalism and later IGI Corporate Communications. He told me about his plan to retire from IGI last year and his plan to join my club, Lagos country Club. I remember encouraging him to make it a priority, explaining the importance of work life balance to him. I was looking forward to receiving him in the club when this happened. So long my friend, Stevoo!