The journey was set on 3rd October 2018 when the Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ) slated the capital of Ogun State for the election of new executives that will steer the affairs of the union for the next 3 years.
Delegates from different parts of Nigeria gathered in the city of Abeokuta on Thursday morning to kick start the election of NUJ new helms men, the image makers of Nigeria and those who represent the fourth estate of the realms with their call to duty as those beaming search light for good governance to prevail in Nigeria.
Kano is the second state that has the highest number of delegates that determines the new leader of the union. Buses were arranged at Kano Press center for the beginning of the tedious journey to Abeokuta, travelers who frequent Nigerian roads need not be told that a Journey from Kano to Abeokuta of 812 km is tough, but the nature of Nigeria bad roads which is one of the main slogan of campaign by political leaders, since 1999 is a source of concern. By the time we reached the Federal Capital Territory in the afternoon, more than half of Kano delegates were inside our coaster Bus including Kano council Chairman of the Union Comrade Abbas Ibrahim.
We took the journey from Suleja through Minna in Niger state and passed through Bidda to Kutigi to Mokwa before we reached the border between Kwara and Niger states and stopped at Jebba in Kwara to take our lunch in the night at exactly 11.00PM.
We did not arrived Abeokuta till around 8 :20 AM the next day, and we set straight to the Press center in Abeokuta to prepare for the election that took place at June 12 cultural centre .The election was keenly contested between Chris Isuzogu and outgoing Abdulwaheed Odunsile.
With the experience we had on our way to Abeokuta, after we casted our votes on the night of Thursday immediately after accreditation, Kano which falls in zone A ,were the first delegates to insert their ballot papers inside the secret ballot boxes and we then headed to our hotels hoping to wake up the next day and begin our return journey to Kano.
Our Chairman Comrade Abbas Ibrahim asked us to wake up early and start our journey in earnest so that we will not experience any delay unlike what we had on our way to Abeokuta.
It was a cool Friday morning the journey began to Kano, by the time the driver sat behind the wheel we made a u turn and followed the road through Ibadan the Capital of Oyo state, but one of the problem as I learnt, our driver was not used to plying Nigerian Roads, most of us were guiding him on the route to follow though was unyielding.
By the time we passed through Oyo state up to Ondo and part of Ekiti state that took us to Okene in Kogi state. However the right route that we were supposed to follow was Lampese and Ibillo in Edo state before arriving at Okene, that was where our real challenges started .
On missing our way and unknown to us and the driver, we were heading to a thick forest more than our own Falgore Forest in Kano. We passed a military check point ,by the time we were heading to the Bush some of our colleagues learnt that all was not well
They observed that no car was coming from the opposite direction and alerted us. Then we made a turn back to the military check point and sought guidance on the right route to follow as we were heading for Okene.
One of the military personnel told us to hold on so as to get us a guide.
As we waited anxiously a man called Emmanuel who may likely be in his late 20’s driving a small pick-up van, came passing and was stopped by one of the soldiers and asked to guide us through.
we followed Emma behind in his pick up van , as we advanced ,the more we enter the bush the more dark it becomes. Hence in trying to go over the spurs, our coaster bus was trapped in a small hole and it stopped.
By the time our Bus carrying almost 20 passengers, there was no village or town closed by ,only the Bush, we came out from the car and all of us tried to ascertain the fault but we could not.
The forest is very thick and we were in the middle of it, we tried to push the Bus back and front but the engine refused to start , fear registered on the faces of most of us and how to survive the thick forest around 9 pm in the night.
To God be the glory our prayers were answered, Emmanuel the Good Samaritan brought out a rope from his pick up Van and connected it to our coaster Bus, he asked most of us to enter the back of his pick up so that our weight will help in pulling out our Coaster Bus from the danger Zone and we left 2 of the women we were travelling together in the coaster Bus,
But before we started the journey of rescue, Emmanuel told us that we have already missed our way, he informed me that he saw us when we were coming from Ondo state while he was transporting some cows to the state. He told us that the forest area we found ourselves is AYERE village parts of Kogi state.
As he was pulling our Coaster Bus, the rope that connected the bus with his pick up car cut off several times inside the Bush, the rope was reconnected until we found ourselves in IJUMU local government area of Kogi state , our hearts then stopped beating, that was when we saw a town with lights in the night, but even before we were rescued ,a car followed us and one man very polite greeted us and informed us that he was told by soldiers that we had followed that path .
On reaching IJUMU, Comrade Abbas Ibrahim our able council chairman asked Emma to link us to a nearby town Kabba ,the good and kind boy did not hesitate to do that. By 11.00pm we were at Kabba, spent the night there and in the morning after the repair of our Bus, we headed to Kano , almost a two day journey from Abeokuta to Kano,
My experience on that journey was that bad governance has effectively impacted on our nation’s psyche and its very dangerous plying Nigeria roads anytime.
After arriving in Kabba reports reaching us had it that the forest we were trapped in at AYERE is a kidnappers den and a bush where armed robbers hide. Glory be to Allah who saved our lives.
This article is dedicated to Emmanuel and the following comrades , Abbas Ibrahim ,Kano council chairman of the NUJ, Abubakar Abdulkadir Dangambo Chairman NUJ freedom Radio chapel, Mustapha Gambo Muhammad of Pyramid Radio, Aminu Abba Kwaru Pyramid Radio, Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim Kano council Financial secretary ,Umoru Ibrahim (aka DPO), Salisu Baso Triumph Newspapers, Isiyaku of VOA English Service ,Ali Sidi of ARTV, Maryam Muhammad Yakasai of Radio Kano, Hauwa Zaharaddin Radio Kano, Abubakar Balarabe KOFAR NAISA Radio Kano, Rabiu Aboki Anas ARTV, Saadu Sule Dukawa Radio Kano, Auwalu Secretary NTA Chapel,Abba Hamisu Chairman NTA chapel, Adamu Abubakar Gamo Radio Kano, Uba Abdullahi of Kano state Ministry of Information, Sabo Yahay Aliyu of ARTV.
Abbas Yushau Yusuf is a Kano based Journalist and a Public Commentator who can be reached on 08069264025