samuel O. Onungwe
It was a Sabbath morning, the social distancing first worship had closed following the Covid-19 pandemic. I hurried home in my usual brisk way and just as I opened my portable refrigerator, to get a cup of water to replenish or rather to hydrate myself, I could not figure out exactly what transpired.
Then, I saw a New Nchia for the Old Nchia had passed away and its memory was vague like the shadow of a man which cannot truly depict him. It was strange and I was shocked! but that was not all. I was lifted like a drone remotely controlled but in this case, by an unknown force stronger than the force of gravity and I took an aerial view of the town turned city.
“I asked where is the Palace of Emere Nchia -The Paramount Ruler)” What I saw was heavy, so heavy for my mouth to say. Though, some were saddened by this event, the general residents were elated. Nchia like the Babylon of antiquity has been divided into two. I was at a position not so clear for me to describe with the cardinal points but what I could remember is that, to my right was Nchia-Nsin and to my left was Nchia-Nwen.
Nchia has been peacefully, divided with two powerful Kings governing the affairs of each one half. Although, Nchia Nsin tends to claim more right, both of them had the same status in the eyes of the law for they both were accorded first class status by the state government and irrespective of this recognition, these two Leaders were subject to Emere Eleme (King of Eleme) who presides over the affairs of the entire Eleme land as demands by custom and tradition otherwise known as onanaa eta.
He so united his subjects such that authority was judiciously and fairly distributed between these two new sub-units. Emere Nchia Nsin was the Secretary of the Council of Chiefs and Elders while the Emere Nchia Nwen was the spokesman.
At this time, I quickly remembered that Odido was not mentioned at all, so I asked: “Where is the portion of Emere Odido”, since they deserve something better but I was told to stay calm.
Nchia Nsin was comprised of three clans with one of the clans being Ogale and the second clan of Nchia Nsin seem to be Agbonchia but sincerely, I cannot remember everything. The other being Nchia Nwen its composition I cannot commit to memory but each of them was made up of three Clans.
I saw a lot of developments which I doubt can happen in Eleme land but the true state of security, like the heart of man remained completely unpredictable. Of a truth, I observed virtually all the people who had gone to Obio, Akpor and Old Port Harcourt for the fear of kidnapping and robbery have returned home as it was at the end of the Biafran war.
I saw a lot people including politicians giving up their buildings for road construction and road expansion. The major roads were dualised and the Eleme section of the East-West Road was remodelled. I could see utility lines maintained like the pipeline right of way. Truthfully, Refinery Junction had a flyover, Akpajo Junction had another. Then, I pleaded to be taken to Trailer Park at least to see the developments which I believe also got to that axis of Eleme but I was reminded that it was not part of Nchia land, so I could not question any further.
The ancient relics such as Ngbala at Ogale, Nmubetee at Aleto and Okulu Agbonchia at Agbonchia were wearing a new look like a new bride adorned for the aisle. These reserves were transformed like the borrow pit turned to Port Harcourt Pleasure Park. While I was wondering what our people would do since there was a massive influx of strangers from across Nigeria into the land especially as it relates to selling of land. I was informed that there was nothing like that, our youth have stopped selling land for frivolities like extravagant burial, marriage and child dedication done to outdo others. In fact, the sale of land had been outlawed for lease. The practice of modesty or temperance in indulgence was upheld.
Then, I took along walk across the streets of Nchia, from Eleme Local Government Secretariat down to Akpajo Junction looking for those ‘good’ boys who took pleasure in harassing and oppressing motorcyclists and petty traders. Yes, those ones who once begged me not to publish their photographs in the early hours of one Monday, the day I found them beating up a bike man but they were nowhere to be found. I asked someone nearby where they were but he said that they had been gainfully engaged according to their skills and training. I know I have not travelled abroad, so I wanted to be sure I was still in Nigeria. The land was indeed beautiful. Hence, I took a round turn and sighted a sign board and that sign board reads: No. 43, Hospital Ogale Nchia Nsin, Eleme Local Government area. Was it a magic? I asked myself.
I had lived for 42 days and 41 nights without power failure, no more floods especially, along Aleto’s Old Bori Road and town, no more floods even after heavy rains at Olele Agbonchia and Olele Ogale, the dumpsite at Alode Express Junction, by Community Secondary School, Alode, has been relocated and not even a pothole on the roads. There were street lights, and all of them had shining bulbs and the taps, like a fountain, would not run dry.
The boundaries with the neighbouring Okrika, Oyigbo, Ikwerre and Ogoni communities were properly demarcated and security outfit setup along that line.
How did this happen?
Unity, Unity, was the reason for this achievement. The politicians united with traditional rulers, together with the prayers of the children of God, spread across the land, they spoke in one voice and like the Tai Must Go Spirit, they could achieve more. This is the meaning of teamwork – together everyone achieves more.
The leadership of Eleme Local Government Area, was more accountable and Memoranda of Understanding between companies and host communities were strictly followed. This trust among the LGA, host communities (this time, Elano was for the whole Eleme people not just the core host communities) culminated in the setting up of a trust fund to cater for the welfare of the aged, provide scholarship for deserving residents and indigenes and providing vocational training for the willing.
How were these achieved? an elderly man whispered into my right ear saying: “The prayer of the children of God have made it difficult for evil to thrive. Any man who fails in pursuing the common good, suffers untold consequences as a reward for working against the community.” He pointed to me graves of many leaders who had died out of their betrayal of the community trust including youth in their early twenty’s who also suffered for mischief making.
While I was wondering if it were real life or a dream, I woke up and found myself drenched with my own sweats in my single upholstery, I had slept off with my church clothes still on after drinking that chilled water, for I did not sleep early the night that dawned the Sabbath.