So, I made a mental note to write an essay titled “I owe Amaechi an apology” and this was in response to my witnessing an amazing feat in the construction of the Adokiye stadium in Port Harcourt.
I had been one of the most vocal (in my sound proof mind though) critics of his choice of building that stadium when the existing one at Elekahia was highly under-utilized and this includes the interstate bus terminal at about half a kilometre from the Omagwa airport to Owerri.
Weeds have by now overtaken that bus station and only God knows how much was spent on that project and its replicas around the state.
My ‘beef’ with the new stadium was that even though the expansion of the infrastructural development of the Port Harcourt city and its satellite towns is good, given the mega resources of the state, I did not see building a new stadium as top on the list of priorities for the government, especially given the yawning gap in road infrastructure in the city centre in places like Diobu, Worji and other places.
For me then, ‘the living’ in the city centre needed to be catered for first before considering the future growth needs of the expanding city.
Interestingly, I had a change of mind the day I visited that stadium.
It was that day that the new governor was rushing to meet God or rather the man of God and he was in such a hurry that we had to give way for him to pass, even though we were all going to the same venue to meet the King of kings.
Unfortunately, because of the traffic I could not make it into the main bowl of the stadium and had to stay in the overflow but I made it a point of duty to enter the main bowl when the service was about to end, when people started trooping out to get to their homes.
My heart simply melted away at the magnificent edifice this man gave to his people. It was electrifying and I immediately fell in love with the place.
The wide screens beaming the stage and bringing to live and close view one and every single detail from the podium.
At that very moment, all the grudges I felt for Amaechi melted away to love and I began to struggle with how I would apologise to him in my sound proof heart.
For me then, maybe living in the city centre can wait a while for me to enjoy this beautiful sight before we go back to their sorrow, which by the way, Wike the new governor has now cushioned, haven received forgiveness from God that same Sunday we all met at Adokiye to the effect that within 48 hours of that encounter, the supreme court upheld his election as governor.
I will leave my quarrel with him for now, at least for his fixing Diobu and other places “the living” needed to be fixed so badly.
I was expecting he will come and do a thanksgiving service in my church, haven received that magical blessing that confirmed his position as governor at the Supreme Court.
He had earlier done thanksgiving at another church after the main election and I expected that with the bigger battle won at the Supreme Court and given that chance encounter that Sunday, it was my church’s turn, but “mba” he entered voice mail.
But the Amaechi malaria that was worrying me before I entered Adokiye stadium came back.
This time was when I took a trip to Jesuit Memorial College for an admission interview.
I practically got angry at myself and Amaechi again at the bad state of the road to the institution to the extent that when I got chatting with the priest that serves as the principal of the school, I told him about my “busy body” writings and made a comment to the effect that I was going to write something about the road and the topic was to reflect that of this particular essay.
We then talked about our political leaders, their priorities and what influences them. At that point, I changed my mind about apologising to Amaechi again.
Some times (if not most), I feel our leaders get their priorities wrong in terms of what project will benefit the population most.
I am constrained to advocate a referendum on capital allocation for prospective projects since their choices seem to be influenced by other things than the common good.
However, one notes that there may not be a right or wrong answer to the choices as the strategic planning and development of the state is their call but I also believe that there are some issues that are no brainer.
Finally, talking about changing one’s mind, I think it is one of our free will gifts, “A right to change our minds”.
So if I promise you something today, I have a right to change my mind tomorrow.
If I am convinced that I do not see value in devaluing the Naira, I have a right to change my mind in the presence of a superior argument and present realities.
It’s my call and that should not be a big deal.
It’s PMB’s call, he has a right to change his mind!
Obidike Peter wrote from www.peterobidike.com and firstname.lastname@example.org