STILL AS A GRAVEYARD – MY ELECTION DAY EXPERIENCE (4)

“Make all of una come down”, someone said, as our vehicle drew close. We came out of the car. “Una no know say today na election, movement no dey ?”, one of the policemen asked. One of the ladies with us, quickly replied them in “military jargon”. Soon, she told them she is a Civil Defence officer going to exercise her right alongside those in the vehicle.

 

All of us quickly dipped our hands in the pocket and flashed our voter’s cards on the hostile-looking men. And in the mood of espirit de corp, the security men, waved us on; told us to continue the journey. It wasn’t a smooth ride. We were at Kwale junction, Ogwashi-Uku, when the car started dancing. It began to jerk.

 

The alternator belt had cut. The driver packed the vehicle and everyone came down. I was not disturbed as I could take an “okada” to my place, about fifteen minutes away. After exhausting his options, the driver had to move the dancing car like that.

 

By this time, all passengers except me had trotted away. I couldn’t leave him behind.I felt his pains and decided to wait for him. “Vmmmm!” reeved the car engine and we were back on the road. He was headed for my home town. The car convulsed intermittently and moved slower than a snail.

 

In no time, we got to Ubulu-Uku. I dashed to my country home, dropped my bag and zoomed off to the polling station. The polling station was the primary school I attended; it reminded me of my childhood.

 

As I went through the walk way, forest of legs matching to and fro the compound. I quickly located my unit and queued to be accredited. When it got to my turn, the “copa” requested for my voters’ card.

 

He placed in beneath the card reader, to capture details. While I placed my thumb on the reader, it couldn’t recognize it. After several trials, he directed me to another “copa” to fill the incident form and get accredited.

 

Once I finished, I found my way home to take some rest before coming back to cast my vote. The electoral officers were shouting louder than the trumphets that brought down Jericho’s walls.

 

They told the where to thumbrint, to make their votes valid. People were under the sun which shone so hot, it could boil one pot of soup.

 

“Ozu ge nwa nu uu, biko. Amam nye okwuú?” (It is okay now, I don’t know what he is even saying), some of the voters shouted.

 

The voting started within a blink of the eyes. As the first person came out from the makeshift polling booth, the thumbprint was clearly drawn between two parties.

 

“Ya bu, nyenine we kwuzikwo, okeini anúkwo ne?” (Despite all they said, this man didn’t understand?), queried some from the back of the queue, longer than the distance between Lagos and Maiduguri.

 

It wasn’t long before it got to my turn. I collected the three ballot papers, and headed to the decision booth to finally cast my vote.

 

It didn’t take the age of Methusellah before I dropped the papers, took some shots and logged-out of the place. My mind was as rest. I had done my bit, the rest for those who were elected!

 

THE END!

 

*This is a real life experience of what transpired in the early hours of the Presidential election. It chronicled my quest to vote and the journey from Okpanam Road, Asaba to my hometown, Ubulu-Uku, Delta state.

Emmanuel Egobiambu

A creative writer, editor and public affairs analyst skilled in research.

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