In this part of the world, when you align your interest with politicians or people in government, it automatically means you have been paid. When you see things from a different prism, it makes you a bigot and sellout. The worst tragedy that will befall you succumbs to the label of others. I have been around enough to understand that most times, popular opinions aren’t always the right palace of logic. And I will tell you why.
I was sold to, a dangerous dummy of a man and without going a little to do my own check, I towed the narratives of others on this man. I made life hellish for him, bringing to acerbic scorn everything he does. I was on a journey of needless vendetta and without doubt, I did injure the person and character of this man. It was a regrettable venture carried out on the altar of borrowed resentment.
This man rubbed my needless venom on my face when eventually our path crossed. It was at the Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja, sitting in the car and surrounded by security aides was the man in reference. Moved by curious instinct, I moved towards and say hello Mr Edward. In swiftness, he was out of his car with hand-stretched greeting return. That was my first shock and it stuck to me as I walked away in muffled confusion. First, here was a man described as offensively arrogant rushing out to greet a small me! That was my first shock and it stayed with me as perhaps a mere spontaneous reaction.
Where he finally bought me over was when I had one of the most challenging trials of my life. My friend Hon Ayofa Omonu had come down with a life-threatening health concern. He was at the verge of dying, in fact, his life hung in the balance. Anything could happen at that time. Typical of us, we were waiting for his last breath, in fact, some had pronounced him dead. By the time he was brought to my house, he was more in the other world than here. His chronic diabetes had eaten dangerously into him. We managed to take him to the hospital and thus began the real issue; he won’t be admitted unless we make available a huge deposit! And where on earth will I get such amount became my worries? I became confused, disoriented and sick. Then it occurs to me that this guy in question is an icon of igala project. With his music, he had taken Igala to the world. So I put up an appeal call for people to help save this guy’s life. Saidat Lammie and Onoja J. Okpanachi II joined me in this struggle. The response we got was abysmally poor- those we reached out- prominent Igala sons and daughters, looked away like nothing was at stake. No help was forthcoming, then Saidat secured some money and Ayofa was admitted.
With this respite, the real issue was to begin treatment, and again, we were back to where we were. This time, I had become exhausted and losing it. I was more dead than my friend who was actually facing death. The tears of his wife by sickbed was killing me more. Like others, I had resigned to fate. My friend was dying in pains and there was nothing I could do again! The wife would see tears in my lid and then break down in helpless wail. It was really a traumatic moment for me.
While in this state, a call came through and the return of my friend from the land of the dead began! Chief Edward Onoja had gotten a wind of Ayofa’s deprecating illness and helplessness. In seconds, treatment began and my Ayofa bounced back to life- no thanks to the benevolence to the man I so hated, that I had denigrated and lampooned. Ladies and gentlemen, my Ayofa is not only well today but going round doing what he knows how to do best- singing his didactic tunes to everyone including those who looked away when he was on his dying bed.
So that was how Chief Edward Onoja bought me over from the constricted grip of hate to an open embrace of free mind. In life, try as much as possible never to judge people from the stories of others. I did it and still licking the sore of my unfair judgement of a man I knew nothing about until now. Indeed, never ever construct the picture of a man based on the frames given to you by others.
In Idah, I will be joining thousand others to witness the coronation of this Ogugu born enigma as he is conferred with one of the traditional titles in Igala kingdom.