Tribute to a bosom brother. Indeed, nothing challenges you more than stepping on a stone no one around you has ever stepped on.
There is no other love like the love for a brother, and no other love like the love from a brother. If someone tells you it gets better with time, the person is lying to you. Yes, cuts get better and wounds do heal, but when you lose an arm, it’s foolish to await the day it ‘gets better.’ You simply learn to live with one arm.” – Kady Braswell
I know some people will be surprised on how I managed to coin this piece due to my relationship and dearie to my brother, Sulyman Luqman whom I lost to cold hand of death last week Monday, March 16th. It is true that I am grieved and saddened, but ignoring a brotherly responsibility as daunting as this will make me an ingrate, a nuisance and a docile being. Therefore, if you wants to commend me for doing this, you are indirectly acknowledging Sulyman Luqman for the roles he played in my life.
In 2007, precisely the month of November, we lost our eldest brother, Sulyman Sodeeq Tajudeen – a brother whose name forms a part of the names I am now known – in a fatal automobile accident. His end brought a new beginning to our family. Sulyman Luqman, as my immediate elder brother took the responsibilities to be looking after us with everything he has. I have to confess that the two and a half decades I consciously spent with my brother is one I would cherish for my lifetime.
On the day he died, Monday, March 16th, we talked as usual when I called him and he did everything in his capacity to hid it from me that that would be the last time we would share insights on life. When I received the news of his death, I found it difficult to believe it and I was anticipating another call to inform me that the information was wrong. But, to the will of Almighty, nothing changes. I have to accept the reality. Kurt Vonnegurt said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
It is now a reality that Sulyman Luqman is no more alive. Though, his death looks untimely to us, the news might accompanied rude shock, but I want to appeal to everyone; far and near, relatives, brothers, acquaintances, mentors and protégés that Sulyman Luqman’s aliveness can be found in the light he had sparked in everyone of us. As a human, he was caring, urbane, humane, cerebral and an intransigent optimist that strove to make the world better before his time lapsed. To some of us, he is a mortal because he exemplifies what someone described as “The key to mortality is to first live a life worth remembering.”
Ernest Hemingway remarked that “The world breaks everyone and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” This quote is what the life of Sulyman Luqman portrayed. He struggled on his own, with a few supports from parents and loved ones. He realised that life is about finding yourself no matter how lost you are. The death of our brothers left us devastated, but Sulyman Luqman did everything he could to rise and shine. He was an active newspaper vendor for nine years (2007 – 2016) when he obeyed the clarion call.
As I writes this, the source of tears in me has been lost because Sulyman Luqman is a distinguished teacher and motivator. Till today, some of the students he tutored during his Teaching Practice days at Queen Elizabeth’s School contacted him for advise and guidance. He did his works with fervour, splendor and diligence because of the fulfillment he derived from it. Cicero said, “He, is the best orator who…teaches and delights, and moves the minds of his hearers.” What he has done awaken my sense of responsibility, creativity and openness.
Sulyman Luqman never reject anyone! Even when he is angry and he altered words and his displeasure towards something, that would never serve as precipice for him to turn them down whenever they need him. He always rise to other people’s problems as if they were his own, even when those people have lost the flair to move on. He always renew and revive people’s interest in their course. It is just like he is the one that Simon Sinek complemented when he said, “There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.” The former he detested and the later he embraced.
As a literacy advocate, I can remember how he initiated a program to empower the reading and learning culture and abilities of children in Obanliku and Obudu Local Government Areas of Cross River State where he served as a Corps Member. He ensured that all the children were carried along and he assisted them in their journeys of self discovery and purposeful living. He always fear that young ones should not encounter what he had been through before he found his purpose in life. That, amongst other things, form the basis for Smart Readers Inc. – a WhatsApp platform where we share books among ourselves and we will later share our lessons from the books shared.
His life reveals to me that no-thing should be the barrier for you to pursue your goals in life. Sulyman Luqman paid every prices and pennies to invest in himself. He valued self-development that is birth with the instinct of reforming humanity. With these unquenchable drive and thirst for positive change, he sacrificed a lot for himself and the people around him. He became resourceful and respectful because the more he offer himself to help others, the more he helped them solved their problems which helped him earn sheer respect.
My story can never complete without him because we lived to uphold the bond that bounds us. Our story is typical to the submission of Kahlil Graban that “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” The scar of our brothers’ death propelled us to unite ourselves to solve each other’s problems, even if it is with our last drops! His race was mine and mine is his – I used present words because I believe he never leaves me behind. The life of Sulyman Luqman gives me a sheer testimony that if the bond of brotherhood is forge on unity of purpose, it enriches the definition of that purpose.
Sometimes when I was in school and I was named the best student of my level, he was the first person to call me, congratulate me and follow it up with text messages. He tended to give me the moral, financial and intellectual backings to weather the storms of life. He is my mentor, hero and supporter. Sulyman Luqman personified the description of Felix Adler that “The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by.” That is simply whom he is to me!
He helped me in overcoming procrastination and visionlessness. During my ND days when I told him of my plan to write a fifty pages book, he simply encouraged me and told me that “I am proud of the standard you have set for yourself. But writing a book just requires you to note, document and preserve every ideas that springs in your mind. With these, you will be getting closer to your goals and we will have a book titled ‘The Power of Willingness.'” I shall do everything to perfect the manuscript and deliver Sulyman’s story to the world.
When I remember how excited he was that day, I was delighted to inform him in December 2018, in Sokoto, during my NYSC that I have a manuscript I would like him to work on. I felt honoured to let him titled the book and he immediately suggested “Responsible Living: Live to Fulfill Your Potential.” He honourably accepted the manuscript, perfect it, design the cover and get it published on Amazon (you can get the book at: https://amzn.to/2Hc9c0H) on the 16th of August, 2019. He was proud of himself and me. Indeed, nothing challenges you more than stepping on a stone no one around you has ever stepped on.
The publishing of that book revealed to us that we can do more if we strive for more and task ourselves to do more. We are trying to break more grounds, but it is unfortunate that the planning on publishing our next book – “Living Your Greatness: Discover Yourself with the Power of ABC” – is now on hold. He had various strategies in place to usher the book into the market, but death has come to intervene. I promise your soul that I will live to fulfill for you every great things you envisioned. I am still alive, bright and cheerful so that I won’t be a victim of what Normal Cousin described as “The greatest tragedy of life is not that we die, but what dies in us while we live.”
When I reflects on the ideas we shared, your death turns me to a staunch believer of the notion that the cemetery is the most blessed place on earth because in it, there are many plans that can never be executed, many goals that can never be achieved, many relationship that can never be forged and many words that can never be spoken.
He traversed the sea of life with warmth and bravery and faced life’s hurdles with resilience, courage and intuitive vitality. For the goods he was known for, he is one of the pioneer volunteers of SI4Dev. As a raved environmentalist and mental health advocate, he immersed himself in ProtoStar, Teen Read, WASH and United Purpose initiatives. As a writer, coach, mentor and speaker, he exuberantly dazzled his social media audience with reliable, consistent and resplendent posts. To him, settling for less is never an option.
Did he showed any sign to let me suspect his looming death? Let me say yes. On two occasions, he did that: The first time was on the 17th of December 2019, when he was coming back from Obudu and he changed his WhatsApp profile to the quote “One day, you will just be a memory to some people. Do your best to be a good one.” The second one was eleven days later, which was on my birthday, December 26th. Sulyman Luqman demonstrated his poetical prowess with finesse and brilliance.
The message reads “You are not just my brother, but also my friend and confidant. This birthday with you, I am excited to spend…You are not just my brother, but also my friend. My love and my thoughts, with joy I extend.” On that day, he treated me with care, respect and kindness. Till today, I wonders why I deserves such treat from a beloved I holds in esteem. His death has caused a great gap for me to fill and another bar I should rise to meet. But when something come over you in life, life places the duty on you to overcome it.
As effervescent as he was, he reiterated to me several times that he was not ready to enroll for any course or training this year and because I understood what he was going through, I can’t question his resolve. I wondered what rejuvenated his passion for football, because on the fateful day he died, I received more than two hundred messages from him concerning football on my WhatsApp messenger. What is more? I also imagined what fueled him to post more than seven life changing motivational and inspirational articles within the space of three days!
Loosing Sulyman Luqman is tragic and monumental, but he lived to fill every void his untimely death might create. As his loyalist, he had inscribed values and life changing beliefs in me. As his brother, he guided me towards the path he can be proud of and the pursuits where I could command respect and honour. He left behind a legacy for me to uphold and sustain with unbridle optimism. I have taken solace from the assertion of Theodore Roosevelt that “There has not yet been a person in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering.”
Sulyman Luqman; you have paid the ultimate price, but your earthly sojourn is filled with impacts and significance, even if your demise left us with scar and sore wound. May the people you left behind never be distressed; may Allah (SWT) consoles and comforts us and may the illumination you have sparked in us never turned to illusion after you have gone. As you faced the eternal journey, I pray your soul is accommodated among the blessed and righteous ones; may Allah (SWT) forgive your transgressions and makes Al-janat Feerdaous your abode. Rest on, My Hero – Sulyman Luqman!!!
Tribute to a bosom brother…
Sulyman Sodeeq Abdulakeem is a writer who co-authored the book “Responsible Living: Live to Fulfill Your Potential.“