Sunday, January 3, 2016


I wasn't surprised that the fat man going at his food with his fingers while at the same time licking them, did not consider my plight even when I lied to him that the interview I intended to attend in Port Harcourt had started and there was no way I was going to meet it, hence my decision to cancel the trip and ask for a refund or part of the fare I had already paid. He nonchalantly told me there was no way I was getting my money back and continued with the shame that his style of eating represented. I blamed myself for missing out on the telltale signs that should've warned me that I had come to fake park, wondering how it was that I fell for their trick after knowing and successfully avoiding their shenanigans in Onitsha especially, over the years.

Taking all that had happened in its stride, I left the "fake" park for the other one, and was still lucky to find the bus that still had space for just one passenger and hopped in. The joy of finally having to leave Onitsha (in Nigeria's Southeast) before any trouble between the joint military task force and protesting IPOB members started was more than the disappointment from the money I had lost to the people at the fake park. It didn't take up to ten minutes after I boarded the  small bus to Port Harcourt (in Nigeria's Niger Delta/South-South) before it made its way into Onitsha-Owerri Road far away from the tense atmosphere of the Head Bridge.


Passengers in the bus were on about the Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano and his penchant for throwing up unnecessary celebrations over projects that required just a simple cutting of tapes or not. They talked about how youths have gone to posters around the state to replace "OBIANO IS WORKING" with "OBIANO IS DRINKING" in reference to the governors' perceived gluttony and support of tradition in a society where the largely christian population was shedding what they term their heathenish past. Though I disagreed with their views on the latter, I didn't contribute to their discussion, just was disappointed with them for thinking that foreign cultures and religion is better and right while ours should be relegated to the background, if not scrapped.

The road after Ihiala, towards Uli was still in that same state of disrepair as I met it two years back, even though construction work which was started back then was either still in progress or must have been abandoned. Passing through a section of that road, especially the unpaved section proved quite an onerous task as the bus groaned as it struggled to move atop the dusty laterite soil, throwing dust at us from the few inlets where the windows and boot (because of the excess luggage) weren't properly closed. The dust thrown up from vehicles passing in the opposite direction also affected us, as I'm sure ours did to them.

It wasn't long before we encountered a military truck fully loaded with soldiers who sang as they passed us by in the opposite direction, shooting in the air at the same time. It was at that point that one of the females in the bus drew our mind back to Onitsha, and how this could be reinforcement to the troops on ground, a pointer that things might have gone awry there. Indeed it was, because another passenger called an acquaintance in Onitsha and was informed that hell has being let loose as there was an ongoing clash between protesting members of IPOB and the security forces, with gunshots heard, following the burning down of a cement-laden truck by the protesters, and fears are that a few of the protesters had been shot, some wounded and others dead.

While fellow passengers kept in touch with people back at Onitsha, I fed my eyes with the much I could glean of the part of Imo State we were passing through. It was much the construction site I met the last time I passed through months back, though much of what I now see were in the advanced stages. The governor apparently feels infrastructure makes more sense than paying workers' salaries, even after collecting bailout funds from the federal government to pay them. It is very unfortunate that the people of Imo State have had to be saddled with a megalomaniac who feels that he's doing his people a favour without any sense to serve, as evidenced in many controversial statements and actions he had made and continues to make, especially in the last two years, making him out as very insensitive and intolerant of opposing views, that I wonder if any of his advisers actually advice him, or that they do and he couldn't care any less about what they or the people think, as he rules the state with his nuclear, extended and compound family. 

As we inched into Rivers State I began to feel somnolent. Fatigue had finally set in, such that by the time I alighted from the bus before it continued on to Port Harcourt my feet had become so heavy that walking became an arduous task. I managed to get a cab going to Obigbo with the radio tuned to the FM band of RADIO BIAFRA. I had heard Radio Biafra about three years ago on shortwave, and the presenter then was energetic, though I cannot say if it the presenter was Nnamdi Kanu, when Radio Biafra was the information arm of MASSOB. Even the Nnamdi Kanu voice I heard much later online had some power to it, even when his rants were mostly incoherent and subjects ridiculous. This particular presenter was very dull and repetitious in relaying his message, amidst calls that were coming in from the homeland and outside of it. He confirmed that shots had been fired in Onitsha, and a female protester was confirmed dead, while others were injured. He however didn't mention other information I already had, concerning the burning of a cement laden truck and some buildings.

That man kept on blaming the federal government as well as the Willie Obiano-led Anambra State government for the ugly outcome of events in Onitsha, and none at the doorstep of the group he represents which by the look of things might have been unruly and may have ignited the flame which led to the unfortunate turn of events. Interestingly, none of the callers saw the stupidity in the act of the protesters, who rather than to peacefully protest, had put a commercial town like Onitsha on a lockdown (for the second day running), such that travelers like me, coming into Onitsha had to make like Tuaregs from Asaba across the Head Bridge or wait endlessly in vehicles conveying us into Onitsha to our different places of destination.


By the time the cab got me to Timber Bus Stop a few minutes after, at Obigbo where I alighted, my ears were already aching from the rubbish I had been subjected to, wondering how people like that Cab Driver managed to listen to such for hours on end. I could still see signs of burnt tyres and paper Biafra flags on the ground (reminiscent of the IPOB demonstrations there a few days back) as I waltzed to the hotel nearby, to rest my bones till my appointment scheduled for the next day in Port Harcourt. Though I intended to rest, I found that once I had managed to lazily bathe myself, I walked away from the hotel to buy food from the next street, as I didn't think that I would have my full with the hotel's dishes for the kind of price I was willing to pay. Lunch was roast chicken and bread with a big bottle of cold water, which I lounged upon while switching between CNN and a Ghanaian TV station in my hotel room, as I placed a call to a fair pulchritude I had once known in my days across the creeks to see if there's any truism behind Okafor's Law of Congo-Dynamics.



  1. It's much welcomed that this your journey didn't hit standstills. I don't support IPOB agitation neither do I agree with the way the Fed Govt is going about it. If they can respect Boko Haram then why not IPOB? Well, I hope this tension is squashed in record time. As for the Àgbèro you unfortunately 'jammed' at the park in Onitsha, I'm not at all surprised with his heartless behaviour. They're always like that. Very rare to find those more rational among them.

  2. I do not support the government at Federal of State level either, but I was upset with the way RADIO BIAFRA presenter went about the issue like the protesters were peacefully walking on the road when soldiers rained bullets upon them.

    Kanu went about this agitation all wrong. He already had a radio, all he needed do was raise awareness amongst the people to go about this agitation politically, and not by force of arms or a semblance of it.

    As for those park rats in Onitsha, there case is unfortunate. Their type give Igbos the bad name many Igbo always attempt to shed.