As Nigerians mourn the passing of the young, Major Erasmus, his friend Raphael Edem, a media aide to Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, has penned a moving tribute on his passing.
‘Today, I am immensely sad. Today, I have lost a friend. Today, I will just let these tears flow, in the knowledge that I can’t do much more. I met Major Erasmus in January this year. We were preparing for the annual ritual of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day. He was the 2/ic at the Brigade in Ibagwa and was coordinating the activities and introducing me to the nuances of military parades and traditions. Friendly, welcoming, affable, very polite, ever-smiling and soft spoken. It was difficult to believe that this young man of about my age, with a baby face and an innocent, almost clerical demeanor was an army officer. I don’t think I have ever met a more friendly and gentlemanly officer!
We struck and instant bond and kept in touch after the ceremonies. He was very intelligent, well schooled within and outside the country where he shone like a millions stars, and going by the testimony of his colleagues that I got to meet at different times, he was an excellent officer who was very professional and good at his job. He invited me to the tombola night at Ibagwa, and we kept in touch despite his frequent trips to Kaduna to finalize his Masters degree programme. Anybody who met him while not in uniform would be hard pressed to believe he was a military man, let alone an army officer.
He told me about his transfer to Maiduguri, but my apprehension about that posting was tempered by the Government’s assurances that Boko Haram had been routed in the North East. Erasmus assured me that we will get to see sometime soon. Alas! That is not going to happen as I woke this morning to the tragic news that he had been killed by an ambush in Maiduguri. And that is how we have lost this young, fresh-faced, bachelor officer. Today, the enormity of the task and sacrifices made by our armed forces stares me in the face. The career path they have chosen is something everyone should respect and appreciate.
Adieu Major Erasmus, Adieu my friend! Adieu officer and gentleman par excellence. The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained. May God rest your soul and may your ultimate sacrifice not be in vain!”
May his soul rest in perfect peace