Numbers On The Clock Did Not Change, Time Keepers Changed The Clock (Part One)

By Ikenga Chronicles December 1, 2018

–Philip Odoemena

I remember years ago, not quite in the distant past, the residents from the villages within the clans (local government area) where I came from were busy cleaning their respective local roads. Days later, the village roads became as clean as cleanliness can be. We (children & younger ones) were wondering what was on the horizon. Finally, one day, in the early morning hours, our parents and adults started heading to a designated village square. They wore traditional clothes, filled with blazing ornaments. The weather was clement, beautiful and pleasant, accentuated with gentle wind and cumulus clouds in the sky. In fact, the beautiful weather conditions were so sanctimonious to the point that we (children) thought it was a Christmas day, and that of course, put a smile or two on our faces. Not only that the weather conditions put smiles on our faces, it also gave enviable ambience to all the decorations along the road, making them sparkle like diamonds.

At the village square, there were different traditional dancing groups. The dancers were sitting down motionless beside their drums and other instruments while the elders were talking to each other. Suddenly, from a distance some vehicles were approaching the village square, at the sight of the vehicles, earsplitting blasts of gun salute started sounding. At the sound of the guns, our little ears were deafened. Less than a minute after the gun blasts, the smoke from the gun fire gave room to a fleet of vehicles that were almost at the village square. As the vehicles approached closer to the village square, the traditional dancers erupted, as if they were possessed.

The children still couldn’t understand the reason why the usual calm villages, all of a sudden, became something that the little minds could not comprehend. Few minutes later, the vehicles stopped, people were coming out from the vehicles. In one car that was decorated more than others, came a tall handsome gentleman. As soon as his feet touched the ground, there were more gun salutes which prompted the dancers to be more acrobatic than ever in their performances.

The tall handsome man came back from “Obodo Oyibo” (Overseas); the children were told that he was the first from one of the villages, the brightest, and now the Obodo Oyibo lawyer– indeed the first of its kind from that village. He must have been intelligent we thought, courageous to be trained in London, England, we concluded. As he waved at the people, roaring ovations instantly deafened every ear that was within one mile radius from the village square. As we walked towards the makeshift podium, one could perceive that the London trained lawyer commanded respect. He was admired, he was held in high esteem.

That was in the sixties. That was how most people Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwes, the M.I. Okparas, the Obafemi Awolowos, the Anthony Enahoros, the Margaret Ekposat went overseas to study were treated during receptions when they came back from England. They were treated like royalties. I understand that the Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwes, the M.I. Okparas, the Obafemi Awolowos, the Anthony Enahoros, the Margaret Ekpos, and many more were all given similar receptions when they returned from overseas.

*Philip Odoemena writes from Dallas, Texas

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