Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Now before you begin to think I am here to campaign for Goodluck Jonathan, let me issue a clear disclaimer that I am not! I have observed that two of the key catchphrases in GEJ’s campaign as made popular by his supporters and strategists are the ‘Do you want fresh air in Nigeria?’ and ‘Goodluck Jonathan . . . a breath of fresh air!’ slogans. Well, I would not begin to disagree or agree with that now but I sincerely hope GEJ is really the man a lot of people are making him out to be.

I watched the Presidential debate two Fridays ago and I kinda wondered why he wasn’t there. That would have been a good opportunity for him to sell his candidacy to people like me who are still very skeptical about his capacity to truly bring about the change we all need in Nigeria. I am definitely going to vote during the elections which are now so close and I hope you are. I wish I could arrange polls on who would be the final choice among the frontrunners (as NN24 put it), speaking of the likes of Muhammadu Buhari, Nuhu Ribadu, Ibrahim Shekarau and of course, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ). Now, I wonder why NN24 would have labeled them frontrunners. What happens to the likes of Pat Utomi, Dele Momodu, Chris Okotie and other presidential candidates? Do they even stand a chance? Beats me! That said, let’s return to our story and find out what ‘a breath of fresh air’ has to do with all these?

My mum’s possible reaction was unpredictable as at the time I broke the news to her. I had tried in vain to imagine what she would do or say on hearing the news and constantly hoped that God was indeed in control as she had said. Was he? Looking back, I could say he actually was. I managed to look at her and the shock on her face was clearly evident. I was pretty sure she would have blushed had she been of Caucasian descent. My heart began to race rapidly as though I had literally developed high blood pressure. Suddenly my breath caught in my throat and I considered the thought of possible suffocation, hardly dismissing the possibility; a situation I really would not have minded at that moment. Finally, she spoke.
“You did what?” my mum asked, as though she had not heard me the first time.

I cringed with revulsion. Breaking the news had virtually being an uphill task that had taken every ounce of strength in me and now, she wanted me to repeat myself. I simply stared at my toes again, bracing up for the worst. I thought about the possibility of her hitting me or biting me, which would have been most welcome if that would be the only price I needed to pay for my sins. I could practically feel her eyes piercing through me and I could imagine the shocking and pained look she would be wearing at that moment. I cursed myself for allowing myself cause such a wonderful woman so much pain.
“How did this happen, Geebee?” she asked, her voice considerably lower this time. I had a flash of relief on realization that she was trying hard not to react in the expected manner.

I went on to tell the entire story in the most saintly way I could in a most desperate way to paint myself as a little innocent boy who just got unlucky and hit the jackpot on his first attempt. It was a most sorrowful mood further accentuated by my sobs and trust me, they were genuine sobs at that moment. I truly regretted the situation and would have given anything to reverse things. My mum was particularly shocked when I got to the part of the story that revealed that my girlfriend was already four months pregnant. In between the story, she burst into tears too and I wondered what must have been going on in her mind. I knew I had broken her heart and hoped she would indeed forgive me.
“God has a reason for everything,” she said at last as she sighed sorrowfully.
“How old is she?” she asked.
“Four months,” I replied, wondering if my mum had not heard the part of the story about the age of the foetus and how on earth she knew that it was a ‘she’.
“I mean the girl . . . your girlfriend” she clarified. I noticed the uneasiness with which she said ‘girlfriend’. The woman was a minister in church and indeed, she would never have condoned such a practice of her son engaging in the sin of fornication.
“Twenty,” I said. BG had turned twenty the previous September.

My mum had remained silent for another while, a situation that made me much more uncomfortable. Gradually, I realized things were not going as badly as I had thought. I could actually breathe some fresh air at last. Eventually, she told me we had no choice but to accept the pregnancy. She added that she would find time to come visit my girlfriend’s family and inform them that we would accept the pregnancy.

As I watched my mum walk to her room, I remained on the spot for what seemed like an eternity. God had indeed taken control. I had come into the house prepared for the worst and I had gotten a reaction that was far beyond my imagination – a positive one. I sighed and tried to picture how the next few days would unfold and what surprises they could spring forth. BG was yet to let anyone in her family know about her situation and I did not want to begin to dampen my spirit with thoughts of the difficulties we might face in the process. I was glad I had finally broken the news to my mum and for the first time in weeks, I could actually breathe. It was not just any kind of breath. It was indeed a breath of fresh air and I decided to enjoy it while it lasted.