It was 14th February, Keme was amongst the 6000 people standing at the Peace Park watching the newly elected Governor, being sworn into office.
The Governor had just taken the Oath of office alongside his Deputy, and was on the podium with his family waving the crowd that had gathered to witness the event.
Seeing the Governor’s son join his father in waving at the crowd brought sad memories to him, memories of his childhood friend who had lost his life to the elections.
Keme and Pere had been best of friends from childhood, they were so close they were often mistaken for brothers.
They had both attended the same primary and secondary schools, and had proceeded to the university at the same time.
They were both in their finals at the university and had come home during the public holiday declared for election, to cast their vote.
They were both seated outside their home on the eve of election, when Timi the Youth Vice president dropped by to say “Hi” and make them an offer.
A certain candidate needed young men to attack members of the opposition party and inflict as much damage as possible, so as to disorient them before the election.
The pay was good, Timi had said, while Keme outrightly rejected the offer, Pere accepted it…”That money will go a long way” he said. Nothing Keme said would discourage him, his mind was made up, he needed the money.
That same night, news came in about the clash at the village hall by supporters and members of the two major parties.
Keme was still trying to confirm the unconfirmed reports whilst praying Pere didn’t take part in the shooting.
It was a prayer in futility, even before the words could part his lips, he saw a crowd of young men rushing towards him with something on their shoulders.
Couple of minutes later and he was face to face with his worst fears, the lifeless body of his best friend all soaked in blood.
Reports said he was stabbed in the jugular during the clash and didn’t survive the trip to the local medical centre.
Keme had lost his best friend to the ambitions of another man, now he stood amongst 6000 people watching the newly elected governor wave at the crowd with his son.
His thoughts went to the mothers and fathers who had lost their sons and daughters just so one man can be sworn in as Governor, and get to wave the crowd with his family.
The more he thought about it, the more he felt pained and heartbroken, if only his best friend had rejected the offer like he did, he’d be alive.
Another election is upon us, do not allow yourself be used for thuggery, and other electoral vices.
Prince Crispus Amarabhi Ovoh Jr.
Governor David Lyon Social Media Team