The Visit

B: Knock knock.

A: Who’s there?

B: It’s me.

A: I knew it was you, you always come by about this time.

B: Well my day is hardly complete if I don’t pass through here.

A: If you say so.

B: So how are you today, although I know you are always doing good.

A: You said it. How are you as I know you always have something to talk about.

B: Well, better than most times really, the sun seems to be shining on my side of the world today.

A: That’s very good to hear. But really the sun shines everyday.

B: True, but sometimes it’s too hot, other times, not hot enough, sometimes, like today, it’s just right.

A: You may have a point there, but its purpose is to give light and it does that everyday, even when it’s cloudy. The intensity does vary but how it is perceived has to do with your state of mind, don’t you think?

B: You got me there; you always have all the answers.

A: When you have been around as long as I have, you tend to know a lot of things.

B: That’s why I come by here everyday.

A: How’s your wife?

B: Oh she’s doing ok. We are having one of our better spells. Your advice on patience really helped. I am learning more about love everyday as I appreciate her more. I really am thankful for her.

A: That’s good to hear. Like I said the commitment can be challenging but it is ultimately a precious gift if you can get it right.

B: And like you said getting it right starts by realising it’s not all about me and by learning to give more.

A: You are a good student. That rule applies to every relationship in life you know.

B: Maybe, but it’s difficult to be that way with some of my co-workers and neighbours.

A: I suppose so, but imagine if everyone applied that rule, you’d be getting as much as you are giving, if not more.

B: Right again. A recipe for world peace huh?

A: Yes, it’s what I have always hoped for.

B: The news today is bleak, not much good there. Politicians! I had to switch off the radio midway into the reports.

A: Like the sun, it depends on how you view what is news. The world has decided that bad news is the main news while most of the good news goes un-noticed.

B: Yes, and this creates a lot of tension and anxieties, leaving a lot of people with wrong perceptions.

A: Truth is that most good news happens on a personal level, while bad news happens collectively. Also not many people know what is good and what is bad.

B: You are right. I’m still making my choices. I suppose it’s a continuous process.

A: Well the truth is the truth. Some people like to sweep it under the carpet because of their selfish desires.

B: I can’t argue with that. It’s hard to argue with you on any topic.

A: It is healthy to debate issues; wisdom often presents herself in the discourse.

B: I suppose that makes shared experience a precursor to wisdom?

A: Sometimes. It depends on who, what and how the experiences are perceived.

B: Back to the perception of good and bad?

A: It always comes back to that.

B: And where does purpose come in?

A: It’s all around. Without purpose everything crumbles.

B: I’m still wondering what my purpose is.

A: Good to hear you are even thinking, many don’t. If you search, you will find it.

B: I was expecting some help from you on that, as you know everything.

A: Well since you asked, I will help you. Most people just run the race thinking it’s all about survival. Some look for purpose but dream up big philosophical ideas. Few realize it starts with the little things and people all around them; at work, at home, among friends and in the community. That’s where Mother Theresa and all the other unsung heroes started.

B: You mean it’s back to “the good and bad, not about me, and giving discourse” again.

A: You learn fast. I hope you practice what you learn.

B: That’s the challenge, and I suppose that’s why I come here everyday. The more I hear it, the more I’m convinced of it and the more I’m encouraged to do it.

A: You can always depend on me for all that and much more.

B: I know. Thank you Lord.

A: I bless you.

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TWENTY ONE YEARS OLD

ON THIS DAY TWENTY ONE YEARS AGO

1.32am, or thereabouts, 1st January 1996
I lay in bed listening to the persistent noise of the fireworks, my mind not exactly blank. It wasn’t the best time to make a new year resolution, or resolutions, but I was just getting round to it then. Staring into the darkness brought some inspiration, fuelled by the sermon and feelings from the watch night service a few hours earlier. My current situation of being a medical officer who was yet to find a plane, scared of commitment cause I wasn’t sure of my future, night life in Lagos becoming risky as crime prevailed and the feeling of emptiness and uncertainty also made me think. I was time to focus on one of the two biggest decisions in life according to me. That was my relationship with God. The second decision, on who I was going to marry, would still have to wait. I wasn’t ready to join the “get born again” band wagon that was gripping the country and a lot of people I knew. I would get closer to God on my terms; read the bible more, pray more and go to church more. I would be fine I guessed as I faded into sleep

BREAD
“….give us this day our daily bread.” So I started reading that simple devotional, Our Daily Bread, everyday. It was quite fascinating to read as I got answers to some questions I had always wondered about from it. Suddenly faith seemed wider than I had presumed and I was getting fed with knowledge. The simple prayers were also enough. I still use that devotional till date….

PEACE
April, Olumide Ajayi and I were in Yaba and decided to see our friend Ejike Egedo who had dropped out of the social scene for some months. Unfortunately he wasn’t home and we left a message. A week later we were at a committee meeting of our Alma Mata, and I was informed that Ejike had died during the week. I was distraught! I couldn’t eat and tears welled up in my eyes remembering my fellow front row classmate over the years in secondary school. We had drank beer together the year before. It always hurts to lose someone close. I was the informed that his recent absence was because he had become born again, was more involved in church matters and even ran a youth ministry. On hearing this, I felt a peace I couldn’t understand. My sadness lifted as I ate and continued with the banter. Later that night I wondered, if I died that day, would I have peace?

NIGHT VIGIL
I was the only one in my family yet to be converted. Every last Friday as the family headed out for a church night vigil, I was off to Sea Garden to fellowship with Lagbaja and some friends. However our spirits were always united in worship when Lagbaja did his customary praise and worship sessions. The bread I had been eating made me enjoy those sessions. Ultimately one Friday night in November, Lagbaja and methylated spirit couldn’t lift my spirits anymore and the next day I made a decision to stop drinking alcohol.

THE APOSTLE
My home boy Kayode Oremakinde came visiting from England in December. Kayode and I had rocked UI, UCH and Lagos together. He is one of those who is close like a brother. It was nice to see him again. But Kayode had changed. He was now born again. Thankfully he respected my situation of not being in that fold as the love of brotherhood was strong. However he found me asking him questions he was delighted to answer as I got more knowledge. On a trip to Ibadan we had a car mishap and had to go to the Redemption Camp to get help. Kayode was convinced the reason for the mishap was for us to go to what was seen by many as heaven in Nigeria. Heaven in the sense that it was where the largest number of self proclaimed Christians gathered to worship at a time. It was a weekday so human traffic there was scant but it was interesting to see the grounds. It caused me to ask Kayode one lingering question in my search, what would like in heaven be like? No strife, no ugly sentiments, jut praising God forever and ever? Sounded boring and unrealistic to me. He gave me the best answer ever, that the human mind as it is now cannot comprehend what heaven is like. We would only know when and if we got there…….

THE VOICE
A few years earlier, while in Med School, when I heard my friend and classmate Sola Fola Alade had become born again, I had asked him exactly how it happened. He said God came to him and spoke to him directly. It sounded eerie and a bit like he had lost his mind. I accepted it with a pinch of salt but respected him as I watched him stand in his faith the rest of the journey in Med School and beyond.
About 8pm on the 23rd of December, this day in my history, I was in my room in the dark. I heard the question asked, what more do you need to know? What other questions do you have?
I struggled to find some enquiries but couldn’t find any. I was full of bread, vigil elevations and the words of the apostles. I felt the need for peace. I answered the altar call and knelt down in submission to the yearning from the depth of my being. Christmas was different that year.

EPILOGUE
It’s been quite a journey in the new life thus far. The ticking clock bringing new experiences, successes and failures in the walk, more understanding and some confusion. However, the peace remains. I will expansiate on this epilogue someday but for now I will pause and reflect with joy on the last twenty one years. I will end this Christ Mass sermon with a prayer of peace for you. Merry Christmas.

 

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TURN ON THE RADIO

TURN ON THE RADIO

On inheriting a jalopy 🚘from my dad after graduation, I withdrew the entire savings (N700) from an account my mum had stored for me (to my Dad’s chagrin) to buy a Pioneer car stereo😎 Driving without music was torture so I just had to do it. Till date it continues to be a life saver as its amazing how a car radio and an air conditioner can help you cope with Lagos traffic and all the general stress that comes with being on the road.
Then, it was either OGBC or Ray Power or cassettes, then came CDs (did you ever have the 6 CD loader in your car boot?) and now we have Bluetooth. So we have loads of options and for me all the other radios in my bedroom, living room, phone, iPad are all for decoration as I only tune in when on the road. Well, when I’m not listening to a Ted talk, ESPNFc podcast, TD Jakes or my random playlist. There really is a wide variety on the radio to tickle ones fancy these days……

7.00 am Newspaper Review with Jimmy Disu on classic FM…..if you want an early dose of elevated blood pressure (that’s why I stopped listening)

7.30 am Sports Express on Classic FM with Deji Oguntoyinbo Akinbode Oguntuyi and the rest of the crew……I miss Deji Tinubu (which is why I rarely tune in anymore)

8am Royal Rumble on Brilla FM with Overdose and Anthony Bekeremo….was quite hilarious, no longer running though I think

8am on Wednesdays Doctors on Air Classic Fm, very informative health program, some were privileged to hear my voice there once 😁

8am to 10am Breakfast show / Locker Room with Sope Martins and Tega on Smooth FM…a show I recently started tuning into, those girls sure got some flow 😘

10am to 2pm The Classic Lounge with BukiHQ on Classic FM: lovely classy show I rarely get to listen to, me sef get work 😏

2pm to 5.30pm when I get to hang out with an old friend Sola Mogaji Schullzz on Classic FM on the way home (a Michael Jackson song is always guaranteed👍🏾)

5.30pm to 6pm NRA News Review and Analysis on Classic FM with Shulz, Chico and Temisan, where I catch the Nigerian News of the day and brood 😠😞😐

6pm to 10pm The Drive Home Show with Chico Classic FM…..one of my favourites, more like reading a magazine that plays music

….oops there’s traffic, time to tune into Traffic Radio 96.1 FM to find out the cause. Lovely station which also presents a lot of informative shows 👍🏾👍🏾…a good listen in the mornings and during rush hours

10pm Pillow Talk Classic FM…bumped into this once recently and the presenter said she was going to play music which would guarantee we the listeners got laid that night😲….hmm

Weekends 2pm to 5pm The Football Show on Brilla FM with BBC commentary of all the highlights of ongoing games in the European Leagues ⚽️ ……as good as being in front of the TV…well almost as good
SOS with Schullzz on Classic FM is on at the same time on Saturdays for International Break Weekends and was a good escape when David Moyes managed Manchester United 😒

12pm to 4pm All that Jazz with the Genie on Smooth FM…..blends so well with Sundays #relaxing drive

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m more tuned to Classic FM than anywhere else, unabashedly old school 🤗
Anyway kindly let me know your radio experiences/sentiments and what other shows on radio are worth listening to, so maybe I might just tune in next time I’m on the road and I turn on the radio 🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼

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Let’s Have a Drink…and a toast

Today makes it 21 years since I stopped drinking alcohol. I can’t remember the exact day I started but I know it was a weekday afternoon during my first year in the University of Ibadan in 1986. It was rather odd for a sweet tooth like me who’s mother worked in candy factories (Cadbury and Trebor) to even consider the “foul” taste of alcohol had I first experienced sipping from empty bottles of guests as a child…..promptly spitting it out. But I guess seeing that all the cool guys drank alcohol , my new close friends drank it, girls seemed to love guys that indulged in alcohol, and there seemed to be a freedom that came with drinking, I just felt I had to try it again.
And so that afternoon, at about 4.30pm, instead of going for a lecture, I opted to go to abe igi, sat alone on a table and ordered a cold bottle of Guinness. Why Guinness? Well, the bottle was small so my ordeal of drinking it wouldn’t last long I was my strategy. Hopefully the effect would kick in quickly. It was bitter as expected, but I kept a straight face and sipped it slowly. A plate of peppersoup in tandem helped to ease the burden. About an hour later while still on the first bottle, my friends coming from class met me there and celebrated my initiation. It took me another hour to finish that one bottle.

I got used to the taste and grew to somewhat like stout, especially when the bottle was very chilled. The desired effects did come, as I felt cool and hanging out was easier. I didn’t make much progress with the girls but I realised many guys who didn’t either took “solace” with the bottle. It was liberating. I was lucky I never learnt to inhale so smoking was a no no for me. However this new found affair took a dip as I entered Medical School proper in my second year. The next two years were harsh, but on successfully passing the second MB exam, I celebrated with the guys and reunited with the dark brown bottle. It was a steady companion over the next two years when Medical School depressed me and I considered dropping out.

The best effect of drinking was the dizzy and delightful level I often reached. The part where your tongue was loose, your brain was sharp and everything was funny. Gosh, we laughed so much! I never could drink alone as the company of friends always made the drink go down better. There was always the silent battle of pushing the limits in volume and staying at that dizzy and delightful level without getting stuporous as egos raved. It was always hard for me to get past two bottles of small stout. My friends noticed and challenged me, prompting me to make the famous statement, “It takes either 2 bottles of small stout or 4 bottles of big stout, to get me high!” They tried to convince me my math was wrong but I insisted and became known as “2 small or 4 big”. I only ever drank the 4 big on two occasions. Once after being set up by those guys and that episode had me singing to the girls in front of Queens Hall at 1am before passing out in front of Trenchard Hall. Certainly not a night to remember.

The taste remained bitter but the fun was sweet. I was a member of “MC Fresh and the Get Drunk Crew,” and I also drank with my Indian friend. I once started drinking at 10am instead of going for a ward round and ending up beating everyone in Snooker making some good money in the process…only to lose it all in winner takes all when the booze had cleared and taking more would have unsteadied my nerves and hands. Dancing at parties had extra step and I became a hit with the girls. On graduation I moved back to Lagos, discovered Berkeleys and my old FGCL friends and their friends who became my new drinking partners. Lagbaja at the Sea Garden with MC Fresh introduced me to Smirnoff. Music was always richer and I was getting paid now, the good times rolled.

The second time I took four bottles of big stout I was driving home at 1am. Music blaring, adrenaline high, I had to make a turn. I consciously told myself I was tipsy and needed to slow down and negotiate the bend. I did, but I still ended up facing a wall. I stopped and stared at that wall for 5 minutes. Other near misses came to mind, driving down Third Mainland at 2am with the hand brake on and not knowing, being in an accident with the car summersaulting after an evening of drinking (strangely not excessively that day), hangovers on different occasions with throwing up (and drinking immediately after on one occasion), stories of other friends with issues from drinking…… Something gave that night. I decided I would never drink and drive again, I wasn’t ready to stop just yet! And so Kayode Oshodi, my good friend and colleague, who very rarely drank, became my chauffeur. We continued to trip with Dr Dre’s “Ain’t nothing but a Gee thing” a constant feature from the Pioneer car stereo.

30th November 1996.
Lagbaja was performing at Mobil Pegasus Club, Apapa. I grew up in Apapa, it was my “hometown”. I organised a reunion with my Apapa crew and anticipated a night of exhilarating fun. We gathered at 7pm and started drinking. Two small stouts, no high. I remained distant. We went to Berkeley’s and I switched to Gulder for the first time ever, to the surprise of my crew. It was so bitter and there was still no high. We went back to Apapa for the show; surely the atmosphere, the music and Smirnoff would do the trick. Alas there was still no high. I went to bed miserable. The next day I woke up with the worst headache ever which was resistant to paracetamol and every remedy I tried. When it ebbed at 5pm I decided it wasn’t worth it anymore. The high had been fading a few months before then and now it was gone. There was no point drinking anymore. The drink had revealed its ugly taste and its effects were no longer required. I was ready to stop.

My friend Dipo said I had drank all that some people drink in a lifetime in those ten years, lol, that was an exaggeration as I really didn’t drink as much as anyone I know who did, except maybe Kayode. Quitting drinking offered a new kind of freedom which was to be further elevated a few weeks later. The memories were good and bad and I thank God there was no deep regret. He does watch over us while we find our way. I now only very occasionally sip an overdiluted shot of Hennessy mixed with an entire bottle of coke with ice. That high has never been reached again, but it’s not my goal to get there through drinking. I get a better high from safer, cleaner, healthier, cheaper and more noble means these days. Life is still good and I’m thankful.

Here’s a toast to a good life for us all. Cheers.

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Make That Move, Lay Your Bed

I didn’t lay my bed today. That’s because there was a Queen 👸🏽 😍 lying in it when I was leaving for work. I’m not sure why I rarely laid it before I started doing so two months ago. Probably it was because of the same old reason most of us have, rushing off to the business of the day. The commitment to the change came after watching that inspirational video which I’m sure you saw on WhatsApp, where Admiral H McRaven (rtd) encouraged (or did he command) us to lay our beds, so that we ensure we have completed one simple task for the day. It has been fulfilling to actually do that. Translating that same commitment to other habits and tasks has been tricky, but I have been making progress because when I lay that bed, I remember something else I want to finish that day.

Getting inspired is the crux of this post. In today’s world there is so much inspiration tossed at one. It’s unavoidable if you are on WhatsApp or Facebook and depending on who you follow on Twitter and other social media. Your fellow brothers and sisters in the faith daily drop their inspirations and instructions too, as does the pastor or Imam on Sunday and Friday respectively (plus other days if you do midweek services). Information and instruction overload! Sometimes a numbness is created and the message is sweet only for the sense it makes and how it is delivered, but the impact is not experienced as we don’t get to live it. We hear, watch or read; smile, laugh or think deeply briefly, then we fall right back into the routine of our daily living with our old habits which we have just been warned against. Change is hard. Even when you want to try to change, a new set of instructions are dropped before you’ve done the ones you’ve just heard or read. How for do na?🤷🏽‍♂️

I guess some of the inspiration do drop into our subconscious and impact our lives. Truth be told, not all the inspirations and instructions received apply to us so no need for intervention. For those that do, I guess we subtly apply some of them when we think they concern us or get to us in a big or deep way. It often helps when there is a fire up our backsides. But generally obeying any instruction or making any change only happens after understanding what is at stake, MEDITATING on the instruction and COMMITTING to carrying it out. The meditation part is crucial and is where most of us fail as the words of our teachers, “goes in through on ear and comes out of the other”, come back to haunt us🙈

We all need improvement in our lives to find fulfilment and that’s why so many of theses messages fly around. Pick the ones that minister to you, meditate on it for a few minutes, make a commitment to start applying it. Start simply and build on it gradually, don’t be discouraged when you fail, start again. You will get better and you can succeed. I know this because my bed is often laid before I leave home everyday 😎

So that’s my inspirational message for today, hope it sticks and has some impact. All the best!🤗

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Back Home

As the motorcade drove down the stretch of road from the airport, Harry took a deep breath. He was now in the third phase of being back home. The first phase was always the sighting of his homeland from the sky when the plane was about to land. The feeling of regret, shame, anxiety and muted joy always came with the sight haphazard arrangement below which acutely contrasted with the sight from above of the developed country from which he was coming. Negotiating the arrival lounge of the airport was the second phase. Yes, it was the VIP section he was chaperoned through, but given his status and the circumstances, the hustle and bustle was quite heavy. Right from when he stepped out of the plane there were several dignitaries waiting to receive him. So many handshakes. He knew he was going to shake a lot of hands before the day was over. As he strode through to his motorcade he waved at the small crowd that had gathered to receive him. He knew he was going to do a lot of waving before the day was over. Sounded repetitive, but all that came with the job.

The car felt like the comfort of the plane after the breeze of people at the airport. Just three other people with him here. The journey to his assigned home was not as smooth as the flight though. The roads here were never completely smooth despite all the efforts. He wondered why it was always so difficult to replicate what obtained abroad. He always insisted on the best quality but alas, that corruption monster was hard of hearing. Things were rarely done to perfection here.
As they approached the fringes of the town, he noticed the crowds that had gathered along the roadside. They chanted his name, his nickname and just generally cheered. They knew he was in one of the cars. He had almost insisted on transparent windows today but it would have been hectic waving all through the journey home. He searched the faces of the crowd to see if he could recognise the tribes of the people. They all seemed to be from his tribe. Typical, he thought. He half hoped that many of the people who were not there were rejoicing at his return too, but the protests led by that old man who called himself a boy, and the response to that silly man on CNN who joked about his absence told him otherwise. He knew their demands were legitimate and his absence was not fake news. The cows beyond some sections of the crowd seemed to moo “welcome” though.

He sighed. He hadn’t expected his health to dip so fast. He had been warned after his penultimate bid for the highest office six years ago, but he felt he could push it. He had always been a tough man. Indeed he almost resisted the urge to run two years ago but he agreed with most that he had to be the rallying point, the central figure to unite the opposition. They had succeeded and the victory was sweet indeed. It came at a price though as the strain of the campaign set him back and took some years of the time he had left. He knew it and that was why he had quickly embarked on tackling the corruption monster. He seemed to have made some big strides but then things slowed just as his body and mind slowed down. Things were so different from his first tenure. So many psychophants, so much beurocracy, too many snakes and way too many thieves and opportunists. Buraki’s brazenness in the early days had stunned him. He couldn’t believe he now had a cabal around him. He was so alone in the midst of many. Even his wife, Eisha had come against him. He smiled as he recalled his “other room” joke which had become National vocabulary. He missed the “Bottom Coconut General”, his right hand man in his first tenure so many years ago, BabaT would have set some of these crooks straight.
And so his dreams had slowly started fading, his plans laid undone. The humble lawyer assigned to be his second in command had been doing a good job, but he was no politician and Harry knew it was his “presence” that kept Bajo in “power”. In two years both of them would have to step aside. “For who?” he wondered. He had a few candidates, but then so did those crazy party stalwarts. It wasn’t going to be easy to push his agenda. Fortunately he had the power and the people with numbers.

The car pulled up beside the palace in the Rock Villa. More handshakes. He winced as he saw lying-Lai among those waiting for him. He knew it was difficult for him to say the truth given the political structure but then the stories the guy came up with made him cringe. He hoped Femi would be the one to make a statement about his return. He hadn’t lived up to expectation either, but he was better than Nathan’s Femi who’s mouth was way too big and foul. What was it with Femis and telling stories? Hopefully the next President would find the right Femi.
“Welcome sah”, said Lai, “Oh, I’m so happy you are back, I’m so, so happy. Allah be praised! We told them you would be back. We told them you were well. You will live to be a hundred and twenty years old sir! Oh my God, some people are going to commit suicide now you are back!”
The last sentence stimulated laughter from everyone. Harry smiled. He knew his most vocal antagonist would brush aside his return and come back with more ridiculous claims. He was a politician of the worst kind.

Harry was tired. He wanted to go in and rest. The weather change and activity was already proving too much to handle. His doctors had warned him that he would have to take it easy before his next check up in six months. It was going to be a difficult six months. There was so much to do. He had to restructure his activities but he wasn’t buying the National restructuring argument which he felt was mischievous. If only he could have his way and deal with that meddlesome, deluded Biafran. Well, the AYCF were playing their role in doing that. Dangerously so though. He had to reign them in. So many people to appease, so much work to do, so little strength, so little time. He would give it a shot as best as he could.

As he moved to enter the palace, through the corner of his eye, he saw a rat scuttling across the lawn. “Too many “rats” in this Rock Villa,” he said to himself, as he sighed yet again. His face quickly transformed into a smile to acknowledge yet another welcome home poster and greeting.

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June 12 1993

Dateline: June 12 1993

The day had finally come. The buildup had been exciting with all the radio and TV jingles, discussions, debates culminating in a high level of expectation. Nigeria seemed to finally be on the move as the deceitful Head of State had been cornered. The failings of the last democracy were pushed into the recesses of memories, although not forgotten, as a new start beckoned. The two party system also made it easier to decide where to pitch ones’ tent. It was either NRC or SDP. It was Abiola or Tofa. There was a clear favorite as the businessman, philanthropist politician had become a rallying point. Bashir Tofa was no competition for him but the process of an election had to be  played out.

It was the first election I was eligible to vote in. I had registered to vote and play my part in securing the future of my country and her future generations. I remembered “supporting” UPN and Awolowo in the previous election and being upset I wasn’t allowed to vote, wondering if the votes of my friends and I could have help Awolowo oust Shagari and his NPN. The reports of rigging in the 1983 election opened my eyes to cheating on a scale my young mind hadn’t heard of before. The reports of corruption prior to the election had given me more than a peek into man’s injustice to his fellow men. The Buhari coup had been welcome to halt the rot; the War Against Indiscipline had been confusing in that why did we have to be forced to do the right thing; the execution of drug pushers was conflicting as it seemed right to curb the crime, but probably not with such extreme measures, especially done publicly. The Babangida coup was surprising as I gained an insight into man’s quest for power as I was maturing. I learnt more about corruption as the Evil Genius established his reign. But thankfully there were still more than a few good men and quality opposition leaders in Nigeria and integrity persisted in many places, as the maradona was tackled until he knew he couldn’t keep up the charade of dangling the carrot of a promised election in our faces any longer.

Unfortunately I would not be voting on that day. Fate had contrived to put this house officer (newly graduated doctor) on call on June 12 1993. So I woke up early and set out to provide emergency services for those who would need it. Thankfully my jalopy started with the first kick and I smiled to myself as I thought of battery charger, a self-acclaimed political analyst. I was sure he would be the first in line at his polling station. It was 7.30am when I set out and the roads were deserted. My Fiat was the only car on the Third Mainland Bridge which kind of eerie, more so because I scared he might develop a fault and there’d be no one to help me, like there had been on at least three previous occasions.

Thankfully we made it to General Hospital Lagos without incident. After taking over from the previous day’s call team, mine sat and waited. I was in the surgery department then, and we were anticipating a tough day given the possibility of violence arising from the elections. Extra sutures and bandages were in place, blood in the blood bank, medication in the pharmacy and doctors in the emergency room. We waited. We waited. We waited. But no one came. No emergency drove in. Occasionally we listened to the radio and television to get news on the elections and heard of a peaceful ongoing process. The screen showed optimistic Nigerians casting their votes jovially in a well-organized election process. Abiola and Tofa were also shown casting their votes. MKO flashed those teeth and gave the characteristic two hand wave to give me goose pimples. The Nigerian messiah was here.

The sun went down and about 8pm an emergency came in. A taxi driver who had run into a fallen road sign on Eko bridge. He was in a bad way but we were more than ready with loads of equipment, hands and energy to handle him. He was quickly resuscitated and stabilized. He lived. It felt like he was Nigeria and we were the new Nigerians, ready to work together at National revival. The freest and fairest election ever in Nigeria had just been concluded. We were on the verge of a new dawn. We were united and ready to move forward. June 12 1993 was Day One of the journey.

 

 

*sigh*

What a journey it turned out to be. Like a man who refused to ask for directions, we seem to be going round in circles. This makes one wonder what would have happened if June 12 had been allowed to stand.

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