By Frank Oyosa
“My relationship with Solomon was too deep to bring it out…Solomon commanded me to kneel down in my office and pray…It is Solomon who told me that excellence honors God and inspires others to be the best.” These were his subsequent words upon honoring him with an emotional vernacular chant, a sign of the deep respect and indeed personal relationship he had with the Late Dr. Solomon Nzyuko. As he led the Daystar family during a memorial service in honor of the fallen hero, the Daystar University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Laban Ayiro went ahead to attest that his biggest adviser and soldier, now departed, was a man who never sat at the periphery. He adamantly chose the center even in the heat of the moment. “I have lost a very close person to my center in running daystar.” He grieves despite being consoled by the words of Macbeth in the Poem “Do Not Cry For Me Today”.
But who was this man? A man who despite his absence, the testimonies accentuate his already eloquent presence even to those who never knew him. For all it is worth, Dr. Solomon Nzyuko was a family man, an elder in the church council, a member of the Daystar University Senate, Director of the DLPDI, an accomplished scholar, a valuable researcher, and above all, a development-oriented transformative leader. Yet it is not these titles that make him a man too difficult to let go! It is the foundations he built, the change he oversaw, the people he inspired, and the lives he touched. It is the impact he has left behind and of course the contagious smile. The tributes visualize a man who tenaciously dedicated his time to leave a legacy of service to humanity. In them, you get to open your eyes to see Dr. Nzyuko for who he truly was, and how his life was a sure demonstration of what it means to live a life of purpose, with love, care, and a worthy cause to make the world a better place.
He established a home at Daystar in both his developmental journey as well as the Christian life. He was a devoted and dedicated Daystarian who was at peace with the University’s biblical principles, Christian values, and servant leadership ideals. He inspired many students and colleagues along the patch of Christ. “As a man of God who was deeply dependent on Christ, Solomon inspired me a lot in the way he would pray,” recollected Dr. Kennedy On’garo, Dean School of Human and Social Sciences. Equally, his commitment to students’ success compelled him to dig deep and establish the root cause of any student’s poor performance, expertly addressing it with solutions that always hid in the bible. And at home, his family had gladly learned to accept his busy schedule including late-night sessions going through students’ theses, early morning meetings with the VC, running other activities related to students’ scholarly work, and managing DLPDI’s programs among other personal errands.
Undeniably, in a world full of ordinary people, Dr. Nzyuko chose to be extraordinary with wisdom-filled leadership. Indeed, he matched his biblical namesake. He intentionally made a decision to be a dependable person with unmatched problem-solving skills, that even in his hospital bed he would still be depended on to offer solutions. A man who never led by words but by actions. “He never told me how to love my wife; he showed me how to do it,” his brother Ben confessed. It is this kind of leadership that saw him traverse the continent, overseeing many successful community projects he initiated. Equally, his success is attributed to his open-mindedness, embracing inclusive consultation, and objectively listening to everyone as a valuable contributor.
Being a man with such a legacy, it is neither shocking for the family to confess not to have any regret for who he was whatsoever nor would they ask for anything more or better from him. Despite his busy schedule, he was the best version of a husband, father, and sibling. He loved his family unconditionally and was always available whenever they needed him. His sin Enock fondly remembered the happy moments they would play scrabble as a family. “Whenever we would be getting to the tail end of the game and he is just about to place the final letters before he beats us all he would say ‘Count your losses.’” Of course, he won more often, thanks to his linguistic prowess. His superb command of the English language was the inspiration behind Enock’s communication career path. To Grace, his father was mum-dad and was always open to talk about things that otherwise seem uncomfortable for father-daughter conversations. And to Mama Miriam, he was everything else but more importantly a strong prayer partner who always empathized and knelt down with her. However, even with all the love, mediocrity, ignorance, and pretense were vocabularies he wouldn’t tolerate.
Indeed, Dr. Nzyuko touched so many and he will forever be a part of all those he interacted with. As a faithful steward who was intentional, deliberate, and ready to serve, his strong influence and legacy will last a lifetime and the golden moments he leaves behind forever cherished. He truly lived his purpose and fulfilled what God expected of him, even though he was not finished yet owing to the many projects that were still in the pipeline. All in all, even as he watches his people from above, his smile and companionship will be greatly missed. And now what remains of us is to embrace his life’s lesson and say adios as we wait to be united with him in the afterlife.