Friday, 28 June 2019

My 2019 General Election Story —by Awesomeness Esuabana

Awesomness Esuabana 
28 June 2019 

I had waited for the elections like a lady waiting for her lover who promised to come visit her after long years.

For the first time in a little while, I jumped from bed to bathroom. But for the still small voice, I would have left without saying a word of prayer or knowing where I kept my Bible.... Minutes later, I hit the road.

It was the first time in my entire life I'd experience a curfew: the streets were so dry. Dry like the Sahara deserts with one or two heads moving to wherever.

I stood at 8miles junction for almost an hour. Finally I entered a Keke Napep who would follow the old Odukpani Road joining the Muritala Mohammed Highway at Ikot Effanga all in Calabar. 

I began another wait until a man flagged down another man going solo in his Toyota 4runner jeep. He carried 3 men and carried me too only because I wasn't putting on trouser. In his words "I don't carry women on trousers, please don't enter if you're wearing a trouser". 

At Agbor Junction, Stadium and Post Office respectively, we were apprehended by uniform men. In their words, the rule of thumb is to trek to your polling unit and not drive. To be candid, we were almost disenfranchised. 

At post office in particular, we were asked to park at the Atakpa police station because we had committed a crime to drive when the government had declared that no one drives except INEC officials and the Para Military. 

I stood there watching all was happening until I realized I still had a long way to go. Grateful to the man who carried me, I began my first ever long walk. As I walked from post office through Goldie, and finally getting into UNICAL, my thoughts and the cool breeze that caressed my sweaty body were my best friends. At every 2 to 4 minute walk, Youths turned the roads to football fields. To say I was sad would be an understatement. A little girl of about 5 or 6 years said "police have allow us to play on the road"

As I walked further down Goldie Road , a woman asked a young man "Udo ukagha ndi vote" meaning Udo won't you go and vote? The young man replied "akpa nke vote de, ake aworo nso" meaning the one I voted before how did it turn out? I couldn't blame him. I totally understood his plight but was grateful to God I wasn't trapped in that mentality.

As I descended the hill of Goldie Road I couldn't help smile as my buttock kept moving left and right like a pendulum used for a physics practical. For every step I took, I had necks turn....... What a moment.

Further down the road, a young man asked "why are you all walking up and down. Why don't you just sit at home"? I felt like giving him a resounding slap. Paradventure, he'll come to understand that he's one of the problems of Nigeria. But the look alone on my face was like a gavel that made him silent. 

Then I met one sweet man who asked me as I got to Holy Child Secondary School "where's your polling unit?" I said UNICAL. He was kind enough to sympathize with me as he had just voted.

There were about 20 or more pooling units along the Goldie Road and all I can say is that the responsiveness to elections was quite poor. Do I blame them?

As I fantasized over casting my votes some of my male friends said to me "Awesomeness you're too beautiful to run. Please stay at home". 

So I really never blamed those who remained at home. Their lives were their first priority. They fear the sound of a bullet more than having to live under unfavorable government policies for 4 years.

PHED decided to behave themselves. They dressed like the president was visiting their office today. There was light everywhere. See grooving na...... . What a nice way to spend your Saturday. Such goodness does not come every day and so for some, making use of the light was the best option.

For every road I crossed, I looked left, right and left again despite the fact that I could turn the road to my bedroom. I'm grateful for my primary school teachers. They taught me well.

Very close to my target, I heard a lady say that a group of persons were dispensing 500 naira to those who'd vote APC. She went further to say that the young boys said they'll take 1000 Naira and not 500 Naira if they must vote APC. 

I cried. You mean someone paid you 1000 for 4 years? And you're willing to go the mile? I found a way however to console myself. I told my best friend (my thoughts) that since I didn't get any money, there's still hope for Nigeria. 

Finally I got to my polling unit beaming with excitement. It was my first time and I was happy for every ordeal I had to go through to get there.

It was my first experience not because I'd just turn 18, but like other Nigerians, every effort to get my PVC in the past had proved abortive.

My polling unit was quite peaceful except for little discrepancies here and there. We'll get over the Nigerian syndrome soonest. 

In a short while, I was done voting. Believe me it was like I'd just won a jackpot. I felt so satisfied and fulfilled but then reality hit me. I was going to trek from UNICAL to 8 Miles. Fortunately, I didn't mind. 

I had to wait until the whole excersise was over. I needed my vote to be counted and yes it was counted. My vote was counted and it was the only one. Pathetic right? Only to those who understand what it means to vote one's conscience. 

With my face like a flint, I began my second great trek. I trekked from Goldie/Mount Zion, through Etta-Agbor, through Akim and finally from IBB to Stadium. It was at that point I got a cab. 

I am most grateful to the guys who though doing their normal scouting for a "babe" kept me company at various points of my great trek. It's only frustrating that they still couldn't get my contact after being an accomplice. 

Back at home, my parents were worried. Their baby girl had just finished taking her three day injection that ran from Tuesday through Thursday and had began taking oral drugs just so she'd get well. 

It's no news that I came back at about 7PM with a fever. But I am deeply happy for today. Meanwhile daddy went out to get me Yogurt and meat pie for all the stress. 

And oh! I left home before 10AM.

© Awesomeness Esuabana
Your Shoe Maker Writer.

Awesomeness is recounting her 2019 general elections experience. 

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