….my status changed in the last four years and I found that I couldn’t be totally responsible for taking decisions such as when whether (or not) to travel by road at night, alone.

Interestingly, the spate of crime on interstate routes reduced drastically after the present Inspector General of Police, M. D. Ibrahim ordered the removal of checkpoints nationwide, and that they are now to only patrol hot spots. This has boosted confidence in night travellers, especially the transporters, plying the Eastern routes.

At Umunede, I can only stare at Suya (kebab) without buying any for myself though it’s a favourite delicacy of mine because of the tender interdental spaces between my teeth, from years of indulging in same to addictive levels.

Bananas and other agricultural products are very cheap here but we hurriedly made for the bus to avoid been drenched by the incoming rain been heralded by some of the loudest thunderclaps I’ve ever heard in recent times.

The rain did live up to expectation, but we were already in the safety the confines of the bus provided, then sped past Onicha-Ugbo onwards to Asaba.

I don’t know how Anambrarians especially Onitsha indigenes feel living so close to oil rich Delta State, especially having them plant their airport just at the border with Onitsha, just before climbing the famous ‘Niger Bridge’, totally eliminating the need for any airport in Anambra State seeing that it is now surrounded at all sides by states which have airports.

I am not saying Anambra shouldn’t have an airport but when one considers scarce resources and the viability of such a venture commercially it will be wise for Anambrarians to forget about owning one atleast for now.

At Asaba I noticed for the first time the presence of what’s popularly called the ‘ágbèrò’ phenomenon in Lagos, when the driver stopped to allow one of the passengers disembark. This stern looking guy walks up to the driver and collects a hundred Naira from the driver.

I didn’t know they’d colonized the Delta State Transport sector as well though I’m aware that this situation subsists in Anambra State, especially in it’s gateway, Onitsha.

Once we’d done the ‘Head Bridge’ into Onitsha, excitement buzzed all around the bus as passengers discussed, even raising their voices at some point the issue of which of the cities should be tagged ‘dirtiest’ in Nigeria, on been greeted by the uncleanliness that Onitsha is unfortunately popular for, though one could see palpable improvements now. Aba was almost unanimously voted for as the dirtiest, and the governor of Abia State the most idle of them all (to use a milder word to the very colourful ones used to describe him).

The dust in Onitsha could rival the ones in the Sahara desert. I decided to take a rest and to continue my journey into the Eastern heartland tomorrow (CONCLUDED).



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