The journey to the last institution of learning, University of Birmingham that Kikaose attended before her sudden and avoidable demise, was torturing mentally. But it was inevitable, as my wife and l were required to do so in order to trace the events that led to Kikaose’s unfortunate death.
The trip was also with a view to closing her records from her school as well as picking up her personal stuff from her last residence.
The most difficult part was entering room 1, flat six of Selly Oaks students accommodation, adjacent to the university campus where Kikaose lived and learned to be a lawyer for nearly three years.
The prospect of accessing the room without breaking down emotionally was very remote. But upon summoning the courage to open her door, we found Kikaose’s room in disarray.
She had obviously left her room in a rush on the 10th of April to London to catch the Virgin Airline flight that arrived Lagos by 5amon the 11th.
But amidst the disarray, what first struck her mother and l as we gained entrance into her room, was the type of items on her reading table: a holy bible, a magazine on leadership and academic materials related to her study of law.
The most fascinating of the reading materials that Kikaose had been interacting with is the book she was reading on her way to Nigeria which is a motivating Christian book titled ‘Girls with Sword – how to carry your sword like a hero‘ by Lisa Bevere.
Clearly Kikaose was a warrior for God, so little wonder some of her schoolmates testified in their tribute that she recruited an army for God.
Amongst other items of interest recovered from Kikaose’s room including five bibles of various sizes and versions was her very valuable personal diary, which was the most striking of them all as it contained her numerous letters to God.
Before dwelling on her dossier, it’s worthy to point out that as Kikaose was preparing to depart Lagos for Birmingham, UK, to commence her academic pursuit in Sept 2015, her mother and l procured for her the Holy bible, then wrote and signed off on a message in which we entreated her to make the contents of the Holy book her desiderata.
We are heartened that in less than three years, Kikaose had procured four more bibles and internalized the contents well enough that she became an evangelist.
And it was so awesome to discover that the bible we gave her, had practically every page highlighted with a marker or had ‘Post It’ sticker analyzing the gospel in it.
The best of all, and to our pleasant surprise, is that our daughter’s personal diary which is now a goldmine of sorts, was a complete dossier of her activities throughout her two years plus sojourn in Birmingham.
The invaluably rich contents of the journal is now branded Letters to God and the last one is tagged the Last Letter to God which is the subject and title of this piece.
The most curious and ominous entry is the one she made on the 7th of April which was the last time she wrote anything in her diary before she departed Birmingham three days later to Lagos.
The letter goes thus:
“Dear father, l’ve grown distant due to my own unfaithfulness. Help me draw nearer. l know there is deeper and more with you. Jesus paid a huge price so l could have acess to a relationship with you through Him. I don’t want to miss out on that. There is actually nothing like your presence. I want to be in that secret place where you can make me look like you, love like you, talk like you and think like you. So that when you’re looking for a son (someone) to do your business, you will find me. But how do l get to that secret place ?”.
Frankly, l had goose bumps as l read her final words and question “But How Do l Get To That Secret Place?” Was Kikaose’s passage from this world pre-ordained in heaven and inevitable?
If we were in doubt as to how deeply involved Kikaose was with God, her last conversation with her mother before she went in for the surgery procedure in Gold Cross Hospital at 17B, Bourdillon Road Ikoyi, Lagos on that fateful April 12th convinced us.
‘Mum: Are you afraid to go through the surgery?
Kikaose: If l don’t make it out of the surgery theatre, l know l will be with Jesus’
That was incredible!
Oh, did l mention that Kikaose was one of the leaders of her campus Christian fellowship and she presented the sermon for the end of term session before the Easter holiday?
According to members of G.I.F.T (the name of the campus fellowship) Kikaose’s sermon on that occasion, which was her last, dwelt on salvation, making heaven and the beauty of it.
Another evidence of her work for and walk with God is that amongst the items in her room were sacks of key holder/rings branded with ‘Jesus Loves You’ procured by Kikaose on behalf of G.I.F.T and which they usually presented as welcoming token of love to new students on campus.
Remarkably, Kikaose was also an entrepreneur while on campus.
Kika’s kitchen, a venture she activated to leverage her passion for cooking-her second passion after service to God was- flourishing.
We were totally astounded by the testimonies of her friends on campus that apart from having a paying clientele for Kika’s kitchen cuisine (mouth-watering jollof rice and pastries), Kikaose also developed a philanthropic habit of taking food to homeless people in Birmingham which was quite heart-warming.
All the more so, as she was only an 18-year-old 2nd year law undergraduate who had no surplus funds but deemed it wise to help the poor and needy.
It may be recalled that Kikaose had been complaining of stomach ache for four months to her GP, at Bournebrook Varsity Medical Centre, Birmingham where she repeatedly visited five, 5 times.
She also attended the Accident And Emergency dept, A&E of Queen Elizabeth hospital, where she also sought help thrice and on one occasion called the ambulance which arrived but failed to take her to emergency room, but rather referred to her GP who failed to conduct a scan as she should have. According to her medical notes by her doctor , Kikaose even demanded that her abdomen be scanned as she suspected that she might have gall stones. But nearly two weeks after she demanded it, no action was taken until she passed away.
Having been diagnosed (wrongly) with Urinary Track Infection (UTI), on April 5th and the antibiotics Nitroforentoin was recommended for administration on her for three days, Kikaose dutifully informed her mother and she was invited home on the 10th of April for one week to continue with a more intensive treatment of the infection with more generous dose of antibiotics in Nigeria.
That’s because it was thought that the three days only treatment in Birmingham was inadequate for UTI that was assumed to have developed since January.
But she passed away on the 12th of April, barely 18 hours after arriving Nigeria following the discovery through CT scan that her ailment was actually not UTI, but indeed a ruptured appendix which probably happened for over one week and remained undetected in Birmingham before she arrived Nigeria.
That the UK medical authorities failed to diagnose the ailment correctly, four months after Kikaose complained of pains in her lower abdomen is symptomatic of service failure by the NHS driven medical system in England.
It also reflects the disdain with which the Tory party, under Theresa May, the present prime minister of Britain, who was previously Home Secretary treats education, where school fees were arbitrarily hiked without commensurate improvements in academic standards and welfare of students.
Ironically and inexcusably , Kikaose-the studious, philanthropic and God focused girl who had implicit confidence in the legendary faultless British system, lost her precious little life due to the carelessness of the doctors who wrongly diagnosed UTI, instead of ruptured appendix, then prescribed and administered wrong drugs on her.
The disgraceful negligence of the doctors who attended to Kikaose is another sad testimony to the failing British public health care system that has fast become a shadow of its old self.
As a Christian evangelist on campus, Kikaose was positively reputable.
Little wonder her untimely death reverberated round the university campus and the world via the social media platforms through which she and her fellow G. l. F. T members reached out to youths of their generation and recruited them into the formidable army of God that she left behind.
Evidence that Kikaose’s good work while in Birmingham did not go unnoticed is conveyed in a condolence letter by Sir David Eastwood, the vice chancellor of University of Birmingham , who averred that “Those that taught Kikaose have spoken very warmly about how hard-working and ambitious she was both in her studies and what she wanted for other people.
Continuing, the vice chancellor observed that “She has clearly communicated her desire to qualify in law and as a solicitor in the UK and make a significant contribution in professional practice on her return to Nigeria”.
He added that “Her enthusiasm to get started in her legal career and make a difference exemplified her passion and leadership qualities. One tutor has commented that Kikaose was very industrious with a sunny smile that she lit up the class each time she walked in”, concluded professor Eastwood.
Being a Christian activist on campus, Kikaose was interviewed by LivingStone, a Christian focused magazine. In responding to the question: who are the most influential people in your life? She made the following amazing revelations “My Dad – I learnt a lot from him, and he is really intelligent”. Really?
She continued by stating that “Martin Luther King has also influenced me to also have a dream and pursue it. His activism and passion were very inspiring and he was also a Christian”.
She concluded the list of her influencers thus; “My country Nigeria. The people and the heroes and history motivate me to strive for a better future”
It is needless pointing out that Kikaose was a dye-in-the-wool patriot who along with like minded friends, had already set up a foundation called ROOTS where the promotion of Nigerian heritage was their mission.
Furthermore, Kikaose was a spoken word artist and an entrepreneur, yet she was a vivacious and an outing young girl who had the privilege of being a co-master of ceremony, MC with a professional MC during her graduation at BridgeHouse School, Ikoyi, Lagos in 2015.
The special message to be gleaned from Kikaose’s Last LETTER TO GOD before her sudden passing unto greater glory , is that our youths can still choose to be passionate about God and maintain happy and active lifestyles .
According to Dr Dokun Adedeji of Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry, in a recent media interview “…if you take ten young people in Nigeria today, it will be ten over ten who have tasted one form of drug or the other because the type of drugs that are available today is common; prescription drugs, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, the alcohol is the most common because it is socially acceptable people think it is normal when drunkards begin to mess up”
Kikaose never touched alcohol, drugs or any narcotics, but instead lived a God and philanthropy centered life so she is a veritable evidence that youths can be positively active and impact society productively.
In these days when our youths are using the Internet and other social media platforms to spread hate and bully people from other ethnic groups, as reflected in the quest by the lgbos youths for Biafra and the Arewa youths quit notice to the lgbos, it is consoling that Kikaose used the same social media platform to spread the gospel of God, love and peace amongst people.
Furthermore , as much as her sudden passing away is galling to my family and those who love her , it is cheering that she did not die engaging in the vices of sexual immorality leading to abortion and other social vices like Lesbianism, Gayness, Bisexualism, Transgender, LGBT that are currently bedeviling youths of her generation and society in general.
So we hope that the lesson to be taken away from Kikaose’s life and time would be for more of our youths to emulate her by spending more of their spare time helping than harming/hurting their peers.
As people of faith in God, we take solace in the fact that even though we lost Kikaose prematurely , heaven gained as we are convinced that our daughter has been transformed into an angel and she is now resting in the bosom of her creator.
Hopefully, she will be interceding for her family of God’s children across the world that she labored so hard to recruit during her short but illustrious life.
As her parents, we give glory to God for granting us the honor and privilege of being the vessel through which Kikaose came into this world.
We will always hold her dearly in our hearts until we meet her in that ‘secret place with God’ that she craved so much to be in her Last Letter to God.
*Onyibe, a development strategist and an alumnus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University Massachusetts, USA, is a former member of Delta state cabinet and father of Kikaose.