Habemus… Katastrophus!

By Ikenga Chronicles December 10, 2018

Habemus… Katastrophus!

–Onyemaechi Ogbunwezeh

Sede Vacante!

The throne sat empty!

The conclave has been a day old; ushered in with medieval pomp, and ceremonious pageantry unrivaled in time.

I saw myself in the midst of the crowds at the square. Faces from all tribes and peoples and nations were there on this day. We all waited in anticipation. The tension was palpably high, that a knife could cut through it. People huddled in groups, whispering on the prospects of their favorites. Others gambled on the candidates, they felt could swing it.

“The candidate from the North, is our man. His integrity and religion is beyond question”, one gambler cooed.

“I prefer the one from the marshes. He was born poor! A man growing up without shoes, is the ideal candidate to step into the shoes of the fisherman”, retorted the other.

The conclave has been on for a while longer as I looked up towards the chimney.

Like a bolt from the blues, whiffs of white vapor gradually ascended to kiss the sky. It streamed further as if about to flick and expire. It suddenly accelerated like a rocket gaining velocity. It now became insistent and increasingly heavy as the seconds passed. What pretended to be a vapor, a second back became a smoke. It ascended upwards as if running to embrace heaven.

It was a white smoke.

The conclave has decided. A new choice has been made. The throne is no longer vacant. All that remained were mere formalities.

The crowd erupted!

The uproar among the crowd was huge and vociferous. The joys drowned the square like a Noachian deluge.

Cacophony took over!

Strangers rushed into each others arms. Unfamiliar lips met in joyous spontaneity. Hugs and bear-hugs exchanged themselves. Hands clasped and embraced foreign faces, with an insistence and joy that only a huge sense of relief could confer.

I found myself meandering through the crowds. I aimed to get closer to the balcony of destiny. My ambition was to look fate in the face, and assess the countenance of the new bearer of power. I want to stand opposite that podium; that balcony; which has been the solemn platform, from where the “Habemus Papam”, has been announced, since time began!

The crowd was thickly massing towards the foot of the pillars supporting the balcony. Forest of human heads darkened the sky as I struggled to see the sun. Armies of legs and myriads of toes, were everywhere to be stepped upon, as I sought a prominent place, from where to gain a ringside seat to the proceedings that would change the face of our world for some years to come.

I looked up in time to see the curtains being raised. The gasps from the crowd was like a symphony, cheering thrones and dominions; with the harmonies of their relieved breasts.

I saw through the curtain as a throng of servers marched in solemn procession.

The procession was in order of dignity.

First came the banner-bearer, flanked by two candle bearers. They marched in a liturgical uniformity that was solemn, measured, but quasi-military in gait.

They were followed by the cardinal electors. Then came political princes; leaders of principalities; Members of the Ancien Regime; powers representing stakeholders; who sponsored their candidates.

Then came the Proto-deacon, whose liturgically function it was, to inform the city and the world ( Ubi et Orbi) that a new Papa is on the throne.

The “elected” pontiff brought the rear.

The balcony door opened. A new banner announcing the new papacy was unfurled. On the banner with a burgundy background were drawn the image of two Oxen; one black, one White. And the figures 5 and 97 percent.

The cows looked very much like Fulani Bororo breed of cattle. I clenched my fists in silent joy. Maybe, the cardinals have heard the prayers of the global south to allow a son of the south to step into the shoes of the fisherman, I thought to myself.

I was about to explode in anticipation, as the Proto-Deacon mounted the podium to discharge the good news.

“Annuntio vobis Gaudium Magnum”, bellowed that crisp voice!

“I announce to you news of great joy!

My heart skipped a beat!

He continued


Before he could finished that sentence, Muhammadu Buhari appeared on the balcony dressed in White robe, with a white skull cap.

My jaws dropped.

A graveyard silence enveloped the square as all eyes fixed themselves on the balcony.

The Proto-deacon seemed to have recovered for a moment.

He intoned again

“Habemus Katastrophum”!!

We have a catastrophe!

I woke up