One key maxim I’ve upheld all through my life journey is: “If you don’t move with like minds, move alone.”
How does that affect my trip you ask? Follow me.
Traveling by air to Cameroon for the return leg of Nigeria vs Cameroon never occurred to me.
I was somehow envious of my colleagues that covered last year’s African Women Championships at Paul Biya’s country that I had hoped to attend this match since early in the year.
Thanks to everyone that encouraged me to go by road even with the clause that “it is stressful but you will enjoy it.” But I thought to myself: “How more stressful can it be than my trips to Enugu in 2017? Where the bad state of the road aspires to turn ones’ 40-day journey to 40 years.”
Perhaps, I was right! After the end of Day 1, I can comfortably say it is less stressful than my trips to cover NPFL games in Eastern Nigeria this year. That it was less stressful however doesn’t mean the drama in it was to be compared to the first day of my trip to Cameroon.
Here is how my maxim comes in: My trip to Cameroon was delayed for a couple of hours for the want of going in group. Those of us leaving from my hotel in Uyo were fully set by 11am but had to wait for close to two hours for other colleagues that always say: ‘I don dey road I dey come.’ ‘Mo ti n bo.’ Nna bia’ and you still wait for two hours.
We eventually left Uyo at 1:16 p.m for Odukpani junction near Calabar where we connected another vehicle to Ikom, Cross-River state.
We were told the trip was four hours, something that confounded me because back in 2011 when I had an holiday in Cross River State, these trips don’t get up to two hours but oh! This is Nigeria and the reason is simple: Bad roads.
The drama starts
We got to Ikom around 6:10 p.m to a mild debate. We were told by our driver that we could no longer cross the Cameroonian border because of the curfew imposed by the government in that region.
We deliberated on if we should stay over in Ikom or get to the border first. The majority favoured the latter; I was in the minority though because I don’t want drama. Well, we proceeded.
We got to the Nigeria/Cameroon border around 7:25 p.m still in the hope to cross into town but we had the curfew reemphasised to us and after much shouting and anger by the official at the Cameroonian end, it was obvious we would sleep there.
Oh! What caused the officer’s anger? The young woman was about stamping our passports for us to move on because a driver had already been called to help us through.
Unfortunately, on sighting the man that brought us from Ikom, she got angry for whatever reason and insisted he returned us to Ikom. Haba! “Dat one nor possible nah” we told ourselves.
The driver assured us there was no cause for alarm and left while we sat looking for how to survive before 5 am when we will be allowed inside. Geez! The time was just 8:15 p.m and worse still none of us had eaten since morning, yet, there was NO seller of any thing at that ‘Boring Border’.
I was the luckiest though, I got a very good bed-like structure to sleep on after taking my little Chivita pack I brought down from Uyo.
The rest? Well, many watched movies on their laptops overnight while others slept on in their chairs. It’s all fun as the first day ended. On to the next day… ALOHA