My Journey: Lokoja to Port-Harcourt and Back

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First, I give thanks to God, The-One who went ahead and led us through one of the toughest and rigorous journey I’ve faced.
We; myself, Kerry Haruna, Umar Dan’Assabe Muhammed Cornelius, Nihi John Oladele, should pour all available encomium on the founder of Google Map. For the first time I used Google Map and I will forever us it.
And so we started what’s suppose to be an adventurous journey to Port-Harcourt on Friday afternoon unknown to us what’s ahead. Terrible roads, not deserving of anyone. My God. Let me cut it here, we left Lokoja about 2PM on Friday and arrived PH about 2AM on Saturday – 12 hours journey for maximum of 6 hours journey.
From Enugu to Port Harcourt was bone breaking and nerve crushing. Every 50KM of a 100KM was a ditch, terrible portholes. We’d slow down to the kilometer equivalent to safe passage without causing any defects on our Car. I saw the best of D1. He was absolutely at his best.
From 4-Corner in Enugu to PH, my oh my, was nightmarish. We managed and maneuver our way Until we got to a place before Umuahia, where some commuters had been stock for over 3 hours and under heavy downpour. No Road. The road at that section was perpetually divided into two, given off a ‘V’ pattern.  No vehicle could pass, trailer couldn’t and neither could smaller cars. What do we do? I was fill with rage.
I saw government in that road and I concluded that the shape of these roads are the function of our governance. We can’t give what we do not have. They are bad and terrible. As bad as these roads, so is the government that promise change. Their promissory notes are travesty in content and in form, and for me, I am highly disappointed. Shame catch me’.
Is it that we have given up on this country’s growth?
I see and hear people say this country can never be good. I wonder why they keep quenching every flame of hope they have and sowing new garment of despair.
I’ve tried to understand and factor in the displeasures that led to their despair, I couldn’t surmise until our trip to and from PH gave me an exasperating clue.
You can’t go through Lokoja to PH and back and still see Nigeria as a working Nation.
How and when Nigeria would work is still a mirage.
By ‘Google Map’, we were 1:15 Minutes to PH,  but with the ditch setting us back, we can’t be too sure when and how we would get our ass off that trap into PH.
We all alighted from the car and joined others to profer a way out. Some commuters had already brought bamboos and laid, created a passage for the trapped water. We started to control how and where a car should pass in the ditch – A car per time, and it took about 2 minutes for a car to pass, and there were hundreds of vehicles on both directions at both lanes in the rain. It was bad and horrific. I lost a shirt in the process. We passed unscathed and continued to Aba, then PH.
Aba-PH road was terrible too. Filth everywhere. Terrible portholes but we were not impeded.
Security Check points later became an impediment. For every 100 meter,  you’d find them and they’d stop you. Rather than allow you a free passage because their colleagues 100 meters away had stopped you, they’d not give a mind.
We succeeded anyway and landed our fatigued body into PH. To God be the Glory.
Oh PH, bright, beautiful and cool. Reminded me of so many pop in and pop out trip I made back then.
My experiences at Salvation Ministry (David Ibiyeomie’s Church) would be muted till I’d have a room to feel nostalgic about it.
We left Port Harcourt at about 1am (Midnight) on Tuesday, initially I thought it was impossible. How would we go through Elele Road to Owerri in Imo State without being kidnapped or robbed or even killed. So many thoughts rages through and divided my mind like the divergent boundaries. We were 4, I’d not be the voice of dissent.
We set out, because of our bitter experiences coming to PH, we decided, PH through Owerri to Onitsha, to Awka then Enugu would be better. We are already familiar with the Awka -Enugu road.
We brought out our phones and opened the Google Map. We negotiated to Port Harcourt Owerri Road. About a Kilometer into the intersection leading to Owerri from PH, We met security check point. From this point down to Owerri, there were security units at every 50 Meter. It was a bitter sweet experience.
We were  stopped for every two minutes  we drove. We felt bad but at the same time,  we should commend them. Their presence gave me real respite. That road is a den of ‘men of the underworld’. I was engulfed in fear. Even though the rest of them said they weren’t. Our skins and mental State were not the same.
I was scared, largely not for me, but for my loved ones. My Mum especially, who may not recover had anything had happened, my siblings and fiancee. So, I didn’t tell anyone I was leaving PH at that wee hours. I didn’t want to put anyone in panic mode.
PH to Owerri and Owerri to Onitsha are two of  the best roads around this region.
We got to Onitsha about 4:22Am from PH. Journey we started at 1am. We continued to Awka, those days it used to be a Straight road from Onitsha. Well, so we thought until we got to an intersection where God appeared to us in human form. We were bent on proceeding due to fear but the man kept flashing us his car headlamp indicative of a dead end and we shouldn’t advance any further.
We braced up and reversed towards him and told him, “please we are going to Awka”, he said, “that road is bad, take this way and go through  Abagana bypass. So we did and still came out on Onitsha Awka expressway. From Abagana intersection, we were seeing Awka, some 5 Minutes drive and we spent about 20 Minutes.
We got to Awka-Enugu road, we journeyed some distance only to be told, we must go through Another intersection to reach 9th Mile. All the roads are bad and pliable only in a Country like Nigeria and such dismal, awful, debilitating roads are found majorly in these routes of the Country. How can road be terribly bad from Kogi to River State.
I have travelled to 30 States + FCT, I have never seen such deterioration. I have never seen such bad and pitiable plight Nigerians are faced with.
What is the function of Government when people do not feel their impacts. Just the basics the modern world allows for is now a burden. Na by force? Get out if you you can’t do the job. That’s  patriotism.
Patriotism means resigning amidst inability to do the jobs. No man is indispensable.
We arrived Lokoja by 7PM yesterday.
We may feel disappointed, we cannot but thank God. He led us to and from.
We promised ourselves an adventurous trip but got tortuous one. I am grateful to God. I feel No pain and I slept fine.
– Henry Francis Folaranmi

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