LOUD WHISPERS: Friday Blues

Last week Wednesday I got a text message from a cousin-in-law of mine in Ekiti. Part of the message read, ‘I hear Oga has a rally on Friday, please tell him that nothing good happens on a Friday. The Yoruba people believe Friday is a bad day’.  I responded with, ‘Don’t worry, God is in control’. I always fall back on this diplomatic response to avoid engaging in debates about  superstitions and myths.  Nothing good happens on Friday? Babies are conceived and  born on Friday, people have funerals,  engagements, weddings, birthdays on Friday. People get promotions on a Friday. Granted, Friday is not a good day to get arrested because you will not get bail till Monday. However, as far as I am concerned, Friday is just like any day when good things happen and the proverbial sh…..t can also hit the fan. Friday June 1st turned out to be one of these days that started innocently enough.

On Friday morning I left our country home at Isan Ekiti for the Akure Airport to receive my husband John Kayode Fayemi popularly known as ‘JKF’. The Ekiti State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC)had planned a grand reception to receive JKF after his stint as Minister for Mines and Steel Development in the President Mohammed Buhari administration. On May 12th JKF won the APC Party Primaries, so he resigned his position shortly after to focus on the Gubernatorial election in Ekiti State on July 14th. Some party people had gone straight to the Akure airport to receive him, but many more lined up all the way from Ado Ekiti to Akure. There were so many supporters on the road that by the time I arrived at the airport JKF’s plane had landed and a long convoy of cars had started to move out of the airport. We all began the journey back to Ekiti, and my goodness, it was a sight to behold.  It was one thing to see the enthusiasm of card carrying party members who had an obligation to be there to receive their leader. It was another to see the joy and excitement of passers by or people standing in front of their shops and homes. I saw many old women (who were beneficiaries of the social security scheme for the elderly during his first term as Governor) grab brooms to either wave with or to run after the moving convoy. My niece Bunmi who was with me was alarmed to see a very old woman running after the vehicle JKF was riding in with his friend the Ondo State Governor, His Excellency Rotimi Akeredolu. The journey from Akure to Ado Ekiti is usually forty-five minutes to an hour. It took us almost five hours. By the time we got to the APC Party secretariat in Ado-Ekiti, we had thousands of suppoters in tow, with vehicles stretching way back to Ikere town.  If the objective of the welcome rally was to provide a shock and awe spectacle, it was a huge success, way beyond our own expectations.

JKF rode in an open roof vehicle in order to acknowledge the cheers of his supporters. Even though the plan had been to address party leaders at the secretariat, it was extremely difficult to gain access to the building because of the size of the crowd. JKF offered to address supporters from the car roof so that everyone could hear him speak but party leaders insisted that he should enter the secretariat. When I approached the secretariat and saw the crowd I would have to wade through  I wanted to go back to my car. However, I wanted to use the washroom so I made my way through the crowd. As I was struggling to get up the very narrow staircase, a young man cried out, ‘Make way for MOB’. I looked back and saw  our good friend and political comrade, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (MOB). I stretched out my hand to pull him up and we held hands as we entered the room after a lot of pushing and shoving. When the brief visit was over, we all started to descend the treacherous staircase which by now had rather shaky banisters. My main concern at that point was us getting off the staircase safely and praying that the banisters would not give way. This time my husband was right in front of me and I held on to him with Bunmi right behind me. MOB was very close by. When I heard the first  gunshots, I knew it was probably one of the security officers firing warning shots to control the crowd. I have always found it to be a very dangerous and irresponsible practice, totally unbecoming of law enforcement officers. Then the gunshots kept going, the shots did not sound like a warning anymore. All hell broke loose. Suddenly, Friday decided to vote for the Superstition Party. I was pushed into the back of my car and three other people piled in after me.  I was not in the same vehicle as JKF, he called me to find out where I was. He then told me MOB had been shot and he was taking him to the State Teaching hospital. Our vehicles pulled up at the Accident and Emergency centre  (A&E) at the same time. When I saw MOB and the state he was in, I was terrified. As MOB was being attended to, other people who had been hurt were brought in. I saw the hospital staff struggling to cope with the influx. One of my friends in the United States who is a medical doctor once told me, ’regardless of where you are in the world, if something terrible happens to you,  if it is not your day to die, you will be fine’. It was not MOB’s time. I looked around the A&E and at all the basic equipment they had and my heart sank. I tried to take solace in the words of my doctor friend, but I could not stop thinking about my favourite TV medical shows like Greys Anatomy and Code Black, and all the drama, equipment and skills used to save lives of trauma victims. However, the Doctors and Surgeons at Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) were  amazing. No one died. They saved our friend’s life, and all the other victims were okay too.  We stayed in the hospital till  1am after the surgery to remove the bullets from our friend’s body had been successfully concluded.  We did not leave till he was wheeled into the intensive care unit.

While I was waiting at the hospital, the news of the incident was all over the place. Concerned friends and family from all over the world called in panic when they heard reports of what was initially described as an assassination attempt on the lives of JKF and his associates. The matter is still under investigation so I will not comment further on that. Suffice to say that there was a serious breach of security and lessons have been learnt. As I write this, MOB is fine. When I saw him on Saturday he looked and sounded well. By Sunday he was in such good spirits that he kept issuing instructions about the campaign. After a while the Doctors shooed us out so that he could get some rest. When I got into my car afterwards I shed tears of relief.

I thank all those who showed concern and reached out to offer words of comfort and prayers.  I have gone through a variety of emotions over the past couple of days which include panic, shock, disbelief, anger and despair. Now, I am full of gratitude that a terrible tragedy was averted. My husband and I have been friends with MOB for many years. At some point we were political adversaries, and now we have decided to put the past behind us and be friends again as well as political associates. As I looked at him lying in pain from his gunshot wounds I kept begging God over and over again for his life, for one more opportunity for us to be friends again. Now that God has answered those prayers, it is an opportunity I do not intend to take for granted again. On Friday June 1st, I learnt a humbling lesson – it is only the living who argue and make up. Get well soon my dear brother and friend.

Good things happen every day

Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Sunday

Misfortune has no timetable

May we  never venture out the day the land requires a sacrifice

May our joy never turn to sadness, and when it does may God Almighty give us the strength to persevere

May our courage never fail us when it matters

May all that is broken in our land be healed.

 

Have a great week.

 

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

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12 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Friday Blues

  1. DSEED June 6, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Amen to your prayers ma. Thank God for your safety. It could be anyone knock down by the gunshot, all glory to God that no live was terminated by it. I pray that God watch over you all during and even after this election. Amen.

    Reply
  2. Aderanti Esther June 6, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    I have been waiting all week to know what happened. When I saw the news I was scared and worried for you and your husband. I am happy that you are fine and that your good friend is fine too. I will keep praying for you till all of this is over. Keep winning all day, everyday ma’am.

    Reply
  3. Shina Dideolu June 6, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Nigeria ehnnnnnn! How can someone send such a message? such insensitivity at the highest level. I am happy good things eventually happened. Nobody died, everybody is fine. I wish you well in this bid and I am rooting for JKF. Well done mama.

    Reply
  4. Olakunle Olajide June 7, 2018 at 8:59 am

    I heard about this news the day it happened and got from reliable source that MOB was fine after the surgery. Like you rightly said ma’am, only the living can argue and make up. No time for hating unnecessarily. I personally like you and your works all over the world, and as we all know how politics in Nigeria can be so dangerous, i plead with you to tighten the security measures and i pray God will protect you and everyone on the team and subsequent rallies.
    All the best in the forth coming election.

    Reply
  5. veronica Imaseun June 7, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    I am rooting for JKF not because I have met him but because of the great woman he has. I am certain that he will deliver much more than the people expect of him. I am grateful that such evil was averted please use all the security measures as possible for you and all your team members. I must commend you and your team for making the site look like nothing is happening even in the midst of so much work. God bless all of you.

    Reply
  6. Victoria E June 7, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    If one keeps reading all these newspapers and unnecessary posts on facebook, one will just be fed with fake news. I am happy to hear the right gist here because I have been waiting to hear the gist. Thank God for safety, I am happy no life was lost. Please, the culprits should be caught and dealt with. Well done our comrade. You are such a strong woman with a Strong man who has much zeal for his people.

    Reply
  7. Dom Dom June 7, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    Thank God for safety and preservation of your life, JFk, MOB and everyone there. I was so terrified when i heard the news about the shooting but i felt so much relieved and grateful when news broke that no life was lost. May God continue to keep you so that we can continue to benefit from the wisdom and good deeds of you and your husband.

    Reply
  8. Femi Diipo June 7, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Whatever bad superstition and prophesy about any day will never befall you, your family and anyone else. May God continue to preserve and keep you so you can fully fulfill your destined purpose. Sometimes, when the road is rough it is an indication of eventual success. I’m personally waiting for July 12, when we shall all celebrate together. Keep going strong, the lord is your strength

    Reply
  9. Eric Onuoha June 9, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Thank God for the safety of lives. Good that the doctors could save MOB and other people. Truly only the living argue and make up.

    Reply
  10. Samuel June 11, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Thank God for protection… Hopefully there would be no more Friday blues. Rooting for JKF…

    Reply
  11. omilola Adeleke. June 13, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Thank God you are fine. Thank God that everyone is doing well too. Please, in as much as we you try to get everyone along, don’t forget the lessons of the past. Don’t forget the traitors, don’t forget those who tarnished the image of the government and pretended to be friends with you. They are there and they will want to come back. As you open your hands to them, remember the lessons. God will Favour you and your husband in this election.

    Reply
  12. Kenny June 19, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Amen

    Reply

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