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Joshua Akinwande


A NIGHT AT ONITSHA


(Journey to the East – Youth Service at Enugu State)


On a Friday night, July 1,2009
I found myself at Onitsha, home for all as it is called
The eastern economic backbone and business centre of the Igbo people
Accommodating the good, the bad, the poor and the wealthy
A colleague to Lagos of the Yoruba people in the West

Unlike Asaba, its closest brother it’s always busy,
With busy people during their business in the busy way
As late as it was, it seemed to be the breaking of a new day
If works were to be equivalent to wealth
The world wealthiest people should have emerged from Onitsha

Suddenly, the crowd seemed to disappear into a thin air
Everyone moved as if they were late for an occasion
Diminishing like little water pour in a very hot pan
So fast like a speeding car passing a little boy
I wondered how the 'fat crowd' of people could be swallowed up by that 'thin city' in a twinkle of an eye

Standing by me was a man that seemed not to be in a hurry
I had to ask him, “where is everybody hurrying to? ”
“They run for the safety of their lives and properties”, he replied with a baritone voice
That got the floor vibrating as if a tremor as just taken place
As he turned to look at my face, he continued “Ina, this is Onitsha, home for all. No man trusts another”

At those words, it occurred to me that I have not gotten to my destination
But it was late to continue my journey
And since I was then aware I was in a land where no man should trust another
The only place I could go was a nearby church
The best choice of a place to pass the night for a pilgrim like me.

© 2009

Submitted: Saturday, August 20, 2011

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