Growing up, a day hardly passed without my father throwing an idiom at us. He travelled on the famous Elder Dempster Shipping Line to England, a poor boy without hope after he woke up to the reality that he must go to school. An Igbo educationist had come to our sleepy valley of Ozenyen in Ohordua, Esan land to spread the gospel of education. My father, an 11-year-old boy at the time, believed. Excitedly, he told his stepfather about it. As the story went, he got the beating of his life for daring to dream. What his stepfather did not reckon with was the spirit of ‘can do’ that resided in the heart of the 11-year-old who had been sold a dream of a world of possibilities far, far away. But, there was one problem. He was yet to be circumcised. He approached the expert native ‘doctor’ in the village. “I wish to be circumcised,” he said, “but I have no money to pay you.” The native doctor, a kind old man, said to him, “You can get me ten bunches of palm nuts as payment.” My father went into the bush, and the next day, he appeared with ten bunches. He got circumcised biting on a stick in his mouth as the doctor did his job. Tell me, how do you stop a man like that?

David Omozokpia Ovienmhada left the village one fine evening and just began to walk away into the wilderness. For him, nothing out there could be worse than a cruel stepfather. Long story short, many years later he was London-educated, and he appeared in the village with a Triumph motorcycle. He would regale us with tales of growing up. He taught me how to read with a cane in his hand. He sparked my interest in reading when he bought me a big fat book titled Arabian Nights Tales. He employed Idiomatic expressions to teach us valuable lessons, like: Time and tide wait for no one; As you make your bed, so you will lie on it; Early to bed, early to rise; A bird in hand is worth two in the bush—and one of his all-time favourites—You cannot carry coal to Newcastle.

These sayings have moulded me into the man that I am today. I am grateful that David O. Ovienmhada was my father. I carry his name proudly.

I write this to say that my heart bleeds for my country, Nigeria. She is analogous to my father’s stepfather who whipped him silly for daring to dream. We can change our story. If we can’t change Nigeria’s story, at the very least, let us change the story of Edo State. It is an election year. Let us choose wisely. Let us get a kind, thoughtful, empathetic, wise, and listening man who will encourage us to dream and give us the tools to fulfill those dreams. May September 2024 change our lives forever in the same way that my father’s decision to leave the village changed his life.

Elsewhere around Nigeria, we hear that Governor Otti of Abia State is making accelerated strides. He says his competition is Dubai, and not even Lagos. Kudos to him. Abians are just now not only celebrating 48 hours of continuous availability of electricity, but one full month. As stories in Nigeria go, this could only have happened because of the right leadership. In Edo State, between two power plants already stationed here, we have 800MW of idle power waiting for a buyer. We need someone who can make a deal to enter into a Power Purchase Agreement with the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and Azura Power to give us a better quality of life. If Abia, a tiny state, can do it, so can we, and even better still.

A few days ago, we were heralded with the heart-warming news that over 300 Kaduna students, and the Edo State PDP Chairman, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi, who were kidnapped have regained their freedom. We are glad to have them back in the safety of their families. The big question for the average Nigerian is: for how much longer shall we endure this terror?

In a sad story, terrorists of the Islamic State (ISIS) persuasion have unleashed pure terror, carnage, and destruction upon a gathering in Russia. Over 140 people are said to have died thus far as the toll is still mounting. The good news coming out of that tragedy is that the perpetrators have been caught. No godfathers can call for them to be released. There’s only one godfather in Russia. His name is Vladimir Putin.

In Baltimore, Maryland, United States, the Francis Scott Key bridge built only in 1977 collapsed upon impact by a container ship over a week ago. It was an accident waiting to happen. This would not be the first time. We mourn the deaths of the people who were on that bridge that unfortunate day. Just like the 18 people who were crushed to death when the Tower of Siloam (Gospel of Luke 13:4) collapsed, these dead were in the wrong place at the wrong time. May our steps be ordered, and may their memories be a blessing to their grieving families.

Related News

Here we go again. We are beginning to hear people in the West advocating for the institution of pedophillia as a sexual preference. In a matter of a few years, courts in the West will rule that it is a human right, being a human preference. We will be waiting for them in Africa with our own documents for them to sign allowing for polygamy as a human right also, being a human preference. Since international relations are based on the principle of reciprocity, it will only be fair that they sign our documents as we sign theirs.

The situation in Gaza has gone beyond dire as famine may have set in.

Ukraine and Russia are at a stalemate. Neither one of the countries is blinking.

Last week, a little known guy from a village with dusty streets where donkeys pulling carts are still used as a mode of transport won a nationwide election in Senegal. His name is Bassirou Diomaye Faye. He’s just 44 years old. His election is sparking a revival of hope across West Africa, especially in light of the Nigerian election of 2023 which lit up our country momentarily, but then, left us gasping for air. May his humility and ability to listen steer him to greatness. Africa is in dire need of heroes. Only time will tell if he too will not become drunk with power, and begin to throw members of the opposition in jail as he was jailed by the outgoing president.

Oh, how could I forget about that dreadful disease, cancer! It has no respect for anyone, not the King of England, not the Princess of Wales or the wife of an old friend or an old classmate who was scheduled for prostate surgery this past weekend. God be with you all. One day, the frontier of cancer, just like Mount Everest, will be conquered—and the people said——

Coming back to our inflation-ravaged country, my dear country, Nigeria, it appears some relief may be coming the way of the citizenry soon as the dollar tumbles and prices go lower on food items across the board. It looks like our current Central Bank under Yemi Cardoso has its thinking caps on. May he seek wisdom to do a great job for our country. He should gather great minds across the country and outside. He should take a deep dive into the history of economic revival that’s happened in other countries and borrow a page here and a page there. Good news is good for the soul. God bless Edo State in this election year, and may God bless Nigeria.

Happy holidays, everyone.

*Ovienmhada, author, playwright, poet and public affairs commentator, can be reached via [email protected].