Every one of us will die someday and this is a fact. This may just be a reason why in Nigeria, men would say, ‘all die na die’ meaning we will all die someday and in a particular form.
Some other men will say, ‘something must kill a man’ also with similar meaning.
Death can come by illness (brief or protracted), sudden, accident, tragedy or old age. The thing is that we cannot all pick our death. It comes when it would.
How do I want to die? Well, probably as an 87 or 89-year-old, fulfilled with how he has lived his life, my grandkids and maybe great grandkids around me as I regale them with stories of my exploits in life on daily or weekly basis.
Then one day I gather all of them together and say I am about to go, give them advise, close my eyes and I am gone. Straight from the movies, right? Well, you cannot blame me for wishing.
I do not want to die watching football. I do not want to die on my way to a football match. I do not want to die as I return from watching a football match, no I don’t. Even if I do die from football, let it be a match between, say Liverpool and Bayern Munich in the Champions League final or Nigeria beating Brazil in the World Cup final. It will be sad that I die watching football and it was a game between Enyimba and some other disgraceful club in Nigeria, or maybe, Rivers United versus Go Round FC. Chai! The angels may just turn me back at the pearly gates for a waste of good death.
I saw death on the way and back from a football game
I decided to go to Aba to watch Enyimba v TS Galaxy in the CAF Confederation Cup. Big mistake because I knew the roads were bad and I was not going to drive down.
When I decided I should go to Aba to watch the game, I began to call colleagues to know who was going so we could move in a group.
Sanipe first said he would go, but later changed his mind. Carl Orakwue just returned from Onitsha and would not hit the road again, so it was left for Emeka Dennar who I learned had sworn that he would never ever go to Aba for an Enyimba game after his last experience.
I heard the roads were horrible and a journey of 45 minutes took them about three and a half hours. However, Emeka told me that it may be better since we would be going on a Sunday morning and traffic would be light. He then asked if I would be driving down and by impulse, I responded, “You dey craze!” I told him my car is my prized possession and I wouldn’t want it destroyed on that road. I had heard stories.
However, I was determined to go for the game so at this time I was beyond reason.
We met at Nkpolu Rumuigbo along the East/ West road where the road had been cut in half. So you stop on one side where the taxis turn around, then walk across a wooden bridge overlooking fast-moving groundwater. This contraption was constructed by the inhabitants of the area for ease of movement to the other side where taxis coming from Rumuokoro have to stop because they can’t go further, just like those coming from the University of Port Harcourt.
The shame of this all was that this was in Port Harcourt, the Garden City and not Lagos where we usually see these sort of messy photos.
A taxi took us to Eleme junction from Nkpolu Rumuigbo and by the time we got to Rumudara, around the Deeper Life Area I started asking myself if I lived in Port Harcourt or if there was a nuclear war I did not know about.
I cannot even say the road was terrible because calling it a bad or terrible road would be an insult to bad and terrible roads. There were parchments of what we would call a road, mixed with large masses of mud, then filthy groundwater, more parchments of what we would call a road and then more mud. I really cannot explain what it was, but motorists continued to struggle in their cars and Tricycles. Nigerians are suffering. It seemed like a mudslide occurred in the area, but it was a Federal road, wasn’t it?
But we got to Eleme junction and then boarded another bus to Aba and I saw what a Federal Road (Highway) looked like in Nigeria.
Now, to get this in proper perspective, a Federal road is one owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria, a sovereign nation. A nation that has been independent for close to sixty years and one of the biggest exporters of Crude Oil. I speak no further. Let the photos entertain you.
Aba was not any better
Getting into Aba after two hours of journeying was relieving but I began to think of the journey back.
At the Stadium, I met a chap called Dero, an Enyimba official and he asked me if I drove down. Who are these people?
He later advised I return via train since it was smoother, shorter and better than the mayhem on the roads. The timing did not quite suit me, 5.30 am and 3 pm so I braced myself for the return journey.
The game in itself was a mismatch as one football team played against an Athletics team. While TS Galaxy passed the ball around as football should be (teamwork), the Enyimba players just ran forward with the ball every time they got it. There was little or no passing, the coordination was basically nonexistent so they just ran with the ball. Lucky for them, all their running paid off and they won 2-0, a massive result for them when you consider that the opponents did not let them have possession of the ball.
The only bright light
The only good thing about Aba was Enitona Hotel where we went for dinner- Kingsley Oyero, Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam and Precious Njoku. But as we feasted away, I could not help but think about the return journey the next day.
Emeka Dennar and I agreed on 9am for departure, but as Oyero and Njoku were to make the trip to Port Harcourt with us there was a bit of delay on their side. Again, OJ Ferrari (Jude Ochang) insisted that he buys us breakfast so Emeka left at a quarter past nine while the rest of us were in Aba until about 11 am, just to eat free food. Big mistake!
Unfortunately for us, it rained and on getting to Rivers State, just by the border town, Oyigbo, the bus driver saw the mayhem ahead and said he was done with the trip and would turn back.
Kingsley Oyero and Precious Njoku tried to argue with them but I said there was no need as they would eventually have their way. I’d rather not expend my energy on a meaningless argument and start making my way home.
We alighted under the rain and tried to make our way. I looked at the mess ahead and it would be impossible to cross.
A keke (Tricycle) took us inside Oyigbo and to a place call TAP (The Adolescent Project) and then a motorbike now took us across danger lines to Eleme junction.
Once again, I speak no more about what that place was like. I leave you to see photos and videos of what a wicked government does to its people.
And when I say I wicked government, I am not limiting it to the present government even though they are the one we see right now. I will go back to the past presidents, all of them, very wicked for letting this rot, but I do not want to digress.
By the time we got over to Eleme junction, I was relieved my worst moment was behind me.
How many ways to die did I just pass through? Could a tanker have fallen on me and ended my life? Could the motorbike have fallen into a ditch seeing that the road was flooded? Could a loose cable have fallen due to the rains and electrocuted us all? What was all of these for? A football match by a Nigerian team that plays like a bunch of carpenters?
It is all a big shame, a big mess and I cannot deal with this any more. Help! Before football kills me. I do not want to go again. I am still in shock.