I watched as you made your entrance, tick, tick, as you took your place on stage. Millions around the globe stood at ease, to announce you in the middle of the night; same was done for your predecessors. It seems you are more popular than the bridegroom in the parable of the ten virgins. If it was you, none of the virgins would have fallen asleep.
Ooops, there was a difference, you came as scheduled. I always thought it was the bride that came late. I was surprised to read for the umpteenth time the gospel according to Matthew, and realized that it was the bridegroom. Times have changed. To usher you in, many in my country, were in their respective places of worship: praying, praising and dancing. Some were found in pubs: music blaring, men boozing and cracking dry jokes; some were keeping vigils in their homes. A few, quite a few, were already deep asleep.
There is this euphoria associated with the coming of your likes, which keeps the majority awake. That enables them to make that journey, just to say nnua, ekabo, or welcome in their own unique ways.
Yesterday, I was with my friend the “General” and to welcome you he came down with a he-goat from Minna. The Goat must have been very fortunate, from Minna to Abuja, Abuja to Aba, Aba to Port-Harcourt. Most in my country have not traveled that far. “Richard,” he said, “I just don’t get it, can you imagine I paid someone to come and kill this goat, he promised he would come today and I am yet to see him”. He picked his phone, “Come, come, If I know see you today, haba, I would deal with you.” The Goat Killer pleaded over the phone giving the fourth excuse for his delay. “If push comes to shove” I said “We would go to Google and type: ‘How to kill a he-goat’ “Wikipedia must have something, we would just follow it step by step”. Do threats work? I do not know, but I found out that a threat by an Army Major to a Goat Killer does work. In less than ten minutes, the Goat Killer came around.
There has to be a welcoming in a special way. My two kids were still sleeping, along with my Queen, their Mum. She has a long day ahead of her; a trip to Nsukka, to earn income doing what she truly enjoys. I opened the door, taking in the cool harmattan air, happy wishes all over, from neighbor to neighbor, even the Pastor’s wife said: “Happy New Year,” to the Native Doctor’s wife whom she has not spoken to for a while.
We would leave their now buried conflict for another day, “Shame to you,” she replied. Well, that is what I heard. She has an innocent smile on her face, the Pastor’s wife knows her level of literacy and she smiles back. I said hello, to my ever-smiling neighbor Ignatius with the words: “A beautiful day”. He looked at me with his gentle eyes, waved his hand and replied with the words: “Don’t let it get away.” That is our customary way of greeting.
A buzz on my phone, that is my landlord calling. As I reached out to pick, it crossed my mind that we had an agreement. On the 31st of December I ought to pay in the bill for my house rent into his account. Was he calling to say he is yet to receive an alert or was he calling to welcome you?