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Time passes



“Hello Ezigbo Obam (my good king), Chuks here.”
“Aha Chukwuma, Long time!”

“How are you, Ezigbo?
“I dey kampe; trust me. I know life is ever wonderful in that blissful world of yours. I can’t wait to join you there.”
“Obam, as I keep telling you, this place takes the meaning of blissfulness to the nth degree…”
“Chuks, Chuks; you haven’t lost your earthly touch!”

“Honestly, I pray ceaselessly that you, Ezigbo Obam and my other loved ones, like my mother, would also make it to this bliss. That is why I have continued to closely follow developments in Nigeria, more so your roles in those developments.”
“Well, Chuks, as you can see I am doing my best.”


“I also see that you and the rest of the family have remarkably overcome the emotional challenges of the passing of my Mid-West-sister.”
“Wetin man go do. Life must go on somehow, but I miss her terribly. That reminds me; Chuks, you must work doubly harder to make contact with her in that endless world…”

“Obam, again this place gives a different meaning to endlessness – space and time has no meaning here. Anyway, I expect my search to run for a couple of decades more…”

“Chukwuma! Did you say decades more?”
“Yes; but earthly decades translate into mere days over here…”
“Chukwuma, stop confusing me jare; just make contact with my darling wife quickly.”
“I see you are growing anxious about it…”

“Anxious ke; Chukwuma, I am dying to confirm that intelligence, I beg act quickly before I die.”
“Ok, will do, to save your B-P from hitting the roof. But my own anxiety lay in your ultimate fate. That’s the reason for this call.”

“Ezigbo Obam, as you and I have previously agreed, history has a way of strategically positioning you at every critical juncture of Nigeria’s post-independence evolution. First, when Major Ajuna’s courage failed him in Lagos on that fateful night, leaving me in the lurch with command of half of the country in Kaduna, it was you, Obam, as my earthly best pal, that history positioned to broker a way forward. Unfortunately, multiple betrayals of the agreed process eventually led to a civil war, a war that paved the way to my present bliss. Obam, your command brought that war to a close. A little over half-a-decade later when another coup cut down a sitting head of state, Obam, you eventually assumed the headship of the old country. And you had both the wisdom and honour to hand over the country back to a democratically elected government in acceptable time – never mind the divided opinions of that election.”
Sudden coughing bout.
“Ezigbo, are you alright?”
“Yes, I am.”

“Good. Obam, the two of us have also had many discussions of the violent floods that not only passed under, but sadly unhinged the democratic bridge that you had built. Then entered the cadre of politically-inclined military officers…”
“Our busy-body media have coined a name for them: mili…; militricians.”

“I have come across the strange word. The thought wouldn’t have crossed our minds in our day…”
“You can say that again, Chuks.”

“I will come back to that, but not before I have finished taking us down the memory lane of your roles in the evolution of port-1966 Nigeria.”
“Oya, continue.”

“After that new generation of military officers finished dribbling Nigerians and put together an inconclusive election, an interim civilian government became a logical imperative to break the impasse. But somehow those politically-infected officer corps still had the temerity to usurp power yet again.

It proved to be one comeback too many as the civil population insisted on the result of the so-called inconclusive election. Your vociferous condemnation of that usurpation landed you in a death cell. Ezigbo Obam, I am sure the surrealism of it cannot be lost on any audience to learn that it was no other person than you, my good king from our peace-keeping days back in Congo, that history once again virtually brought from the dead and bestowed the honour to fulfill the mandate of the annulled Nigeria’s only ‘free and fair’ election. Obam, notwithstanding your background, you somehow fully discharged that democratic mandate.”

“Chukwuma, what’s the point of all this history?”
“Obam, this history suggests you are among the few that have been singled out as the cement to bind the north and south of Nigeria; but you seem to be failing in that responsibility…”
“Allow me please.”
“OK, educate me.”

“Obam, would you argue that Nigeria‘s unity worsens by the day?”

“Obam, you will not like my verdict, but according to an earthly proverb, it takes a true friend to speak an inconvenient truth…”
“You are persecuting me, ore mi.”

“Inconvenient truths have felt that way down the ages, nonetheless they still have to be told; Obam, you have decidedly not been forceful in telling Nigerians, north and south, the one truth they are craving to know from you…”

“What truth?” A bout of choking cough.
“Ezigbo; you are about the only Nigerian alive that can convincingly tell Nigerians whether or not the January 1966 coup had an Igbo agenda…”

“Ezigbo, though the biography you dedicated to my memory Obusonjo (not so pretty) faintly made the point that you are persuaded that I, as part of the January 15th Revolution, would not participate in any adventure that would undermine Nigeria’s unity, but I strongly believe history would demand much more from you on that very significant issue.”

Awkward silence.
“You ought to have established a lecture series on the theme; instead, you developed cold-feet no sooner than a section of Nigeria openly opposed Obusonjo. I am aghast that you have so far failed to pick up that gauntlet in pursuit of truth. Obam, are you not by this act of omission, replicating the character traits of that ‘courageous coward’ who fled to Ghana?”
“Oti o!! How?!”

“Ok, how would you describe the conduct of that young Nigerian army officer in Congo who, though armed with a loaded pistol, allowed himself to be abducted and put in the boot of a car?”
Awkward silence.

“It’s not comfortable to recall that Major General O’leye described such a conduct as cowardly. Obam, do not bow out on an anti-climax – for once dare to take the bull by the horns; the destiny of the most populous black nation on earth depends on it…”
“But, Chukwuma, I’m doing my…”

“Remember, Obam, I’m no longer an earthling, I can now read human minds…”

“Indeed, you did set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed by Nigeria’s Socrates – incidentally, he is also here! And he and I…”
“Chukwuma!!! You mean Justice Opu…”

“Yes, Papa Our-mumu-don-do made it; …and we have been comparing notes. You were ill-advisedly half-hearted in issuing Terms of Reference to the Truth Commission. For example, why did you forbid the Truth Commissioners to search earlier than 1966?. Didn’t it occur to you, Obam that the 1966 crises were caused by the excesses of the preceding years? Your Truth Commission did more harm than good to your honour.”
“But, Chuks…”

“No buts, Obam; we are talking about your ultimate fate here, remember?”

“Also, Ezigbo, your recent expressed opinion on the now inevitable topic of restructuring Nigeria is another proof of your half-hearted responses to historical callings. How could you conceive of obstructing that timely call with the curious talk of restructuring the minds of Nigerians, Obam?”


“Obam, time on earth passes fast and I am concerned. For your soul’s sake, begin now to wholeheartedly perform your historic duty to Nigeria as the loyal soldier of old – dedicate your recently commissioned presidential library to tell Nigerians, as your Truth Commissioners unanimously agreed, that the January 15th revolutionary officers, had a strictly nationalistic mission, rather than an Igbo agenda, as is erroneously believed. Obam, that erroneous notion, inspired and nurtured by regional propaganda, is the oxygen that energizes the inter-tribal suspicious, which presently threaten

Nigeria’s unity. And you know it.”

“On second thoughts Obam, your idea of restructuring the minds of Nigerians may contextually not be entirely off the mark after all. Without a doubt, a section of Nigerian minds needs to be thoroughly disabused of decades of half truths and outright lies about their fellow citizens… Obam that is your final responsibility on planet earth.”

“Hmmm; Chukwuma…”
“Ezigbo Obam, time passes.”

Nkemdiche, consulting engineer, Abuja.


In this article:
Afam Nkemdiche
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