Disappearance of a Thickened Political Cloud

On a sunny afternoon, I was sitting in my office doing my official assignment. There was power failure and I engaged myself in manual fanning to cool the heat but all to no avail. Suddenly, semi-darkness fell all over the place. I rushed out to behold the scene. What did I see? The once sunny atmosphere has metamorphosed into a thickened cloud.
In a twinkling of an eye, I saw people running helter-skelter. Our people say that a war that was publicised does not claim a lame man. By this time, I was on my clerical gown. Despite the inconveniences, I ran to lock the windows to avoid the imminent windy rainfall spilling into my room. After taking all necessary precautions, I went back to continue my job.
Where am I heading? The high tension generated by the presidential election of 28 March 2015 was the first in the political history of Nigeria. There was palpable fear of outbreak of violence before, during or after the poll between President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari. Some Nigerians prayed that the election should come and pass, so that the tension would be doused. Some Nigerians had already started going back to their native homes, especially the Igbo. A tree does not prick one in the eye twice. The pogrom preceding the civil war of 1967 to 1970 has taught us a lesson. Hence, to be on a safer side, it is better to go home than to die abroad. Unfortunately, some Nigerians met their premature death while en route there home because of ghastly motor accidents. A certain Igbo woman living in Jos ran home before the 14 February scheduled presidential election with her four kids. She lost two of them to a fatal accident. She is yet to regain her real self.
Personally, I had an ugly experience when I travelled to Niger State few days before the 28 March 2015 presidential poll. As I was driving through a certain town there, I ran into angry APC youths who blocked the road with their motorcycles. They were armed. My breath failed me. I was alone in my car. What did I do? I thought the angry youths were members of the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists. I was about to reverse my car. Before I could do so, one of the youths rushed to my car and warned me to say “Sai Buhari”. He told me that if I fail to say so, I would be killed instantly. Immediately I made a perfect Act of Contrition and said my last prayers. I was about to fall into coma as three of the red-eyed youths blocked my further movement and unanimously threatened me saying, “Sai wane?”(Only who?) Thank God, I understand Hausa. I raised my thumb up and shouted, “Sai Buhari!” They commanded me to pass. I was driving with my right hand while my left hand was outside as I was chorusing, “Sai Buhari!” until I passed them all. I made the Sign of the Cross 10 times.
As I reached Niger State, I narrated to my host the ugly experience. He thanked God for sparing my life. What would have happened if I were killed in a strange land? The Church and police would have made a publication of my image as a missing person. As I drove back to Awka the next day, I took the Abuja route that is longer. It is better to be late than the late.
Some local and foreign groups and individuals have already predicted that Nigeria would break up as a result of the highly tensed presidential election. Consequently, some committed Christians and Muslims started praying for a peaceful presidential poll. The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Patroness of Nigeria and Saint Patrick, the Patron of Nigeria, did not sleep as they were interceding for Nigeria before God for a peaceful presidential election. Blessed Cyprian Iwene Tansi interceded for Nigerians as well.
Thank God, the 28 March 2015 presidential election is now history. We are not considering if any manipulation was made in the presidential race. Our joy is that it has come and gone. There was little bloodshed. Peace is reigning in the land. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) of All Progressives Congress (APC) has been declared the winner by the INEC boss, Prof. Attahiru Jega. Happily, the outgoing President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has conceded defeat and has equally congratulated Buhari. Jonathan has bequeathed peace to Nigerians, a farewell gift. What a precious gift!
This show of statesmanship has never happened in Nigeria or in Africa. The name of President Jonathan will go down in history as the first Nigerian leader to concede defeat and congratulate the declared winner of a presidential election. I doff my hat for him.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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