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We are Grandparents now! – Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

Professor Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

These days it is boring to discuss the politics and social issues of the day in Nigeria. As a weekly writer you find yourself writing about the same issues – politicians, insecurity, education, the ruling party, the government of the day. It kills the spirit to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. Today, I have decided to write about a very mundane and trivial topic- becoming a grandfather! Or a grandmother!
So it was that we sat down over a bottle of red wine two weeks ago, (not bottles of Rock or Star or Skol or Gulder beer like we used to do), three of us from my generation, early sexagenarians, smiling, laughing, looking on with great wisdom, as if we had no care in the world, content with a few intermittent words between us, no one attempting to impress or outdo the other, knowing that it was no longer time for intense drama or hustling or entertaining long term dreams and hopes, most of us having retired from service, with only the university people still working, saying to ourselves that these pains in the joints and waist were not familiar and that hopefully they would go away. Tall hope, this, because deep down in our hearts we know that we have entered the boat of the elderly in different degrees!
Of course, we had and have cares, very many, too many for us to bother about them, to avoid a spike in blood pressure levels, or headaches, or heart attacks and regrets. We had and still have cares about our children, and their children, that is, our grandchildren. We, grand parents already? How? When? How did things move so fast, like a blink? Where was that little boy who started off with so much hope, looking up to his father, hoping that a day would come when he would sit back and say, ‘well done’ and live happily ever after? It makes real sense to us now when the Bible says a thousand years is like a day in the sight of the Lord!
Our talk centered on the ordinary things, things that money cannot buy, children, grandchildren, their career paths, any forthcoming weddings. We talked about the children who have ‘japaed’, or those planning to japa, or those who married for the Green Card, those who had vowed never to return, always telling us about ‘that country’, and how ultimately, they would want us to join them in foreign lands where they had found happiness and want us to find happiness too in a strange land. No, we were not concerned with/about chasing contracts or joining a political party and changing the system of things, having given up on those idealistic thoughts after the ugly realities of our clime slapped us with a ferocious anger, some having retired from paid employment, contending with wives who happily jumped into the next plane to perform the popular ‘omugwo’, or ‘omiomo’ in Urhobo! The joy of being a grandparent! Did we know that such thoughts would preoccupy us so soon? No, we didn’t.
We were young men only yesterday, bubbling with the excitement of youth while in the university, after graduation, during national service, believing we would conquer and change the world, dissatisfied with our elders whose ways and style were slow, typical of the old school and decadent. We believed in hard work, believed that if we knocked hard enough the door of the world would open with a smile, and we would sit in triumph over enemy forces. Some forty odd years after, we got wiser, sober, and perhaps more realistic about life’s beauty, ugliness, sour and sweet moments, and uncertainties. We recalled with sadness colleagues who exited the world even before they establish a career, those who rose fast, perhaps too fast and dropped out of the sky of the world, those who became big boys early and could barely associate with us. Saka died during National Youths service in 1983. Paul died in a car crash while serving as a director in a Ministry. Ada disappeared into thin air. Austin died of leukemia before he turned 50. Joseph died five years after graduation. Peter lives in the US with his family. Bonson is now a big politician. Kola is a Professor in Ibadan.
With the new glasses of sexagenarians, we looked at the world anew. We were closer to where we were going than where we set out from. Not in the Departure lounge, age-wise, though in a sense everyone was in the Departure Lounge, anyone could go at any time. We did not discuss politics with passion anymore. We did not fight battles on behalf of our ethnic group. We returned to the comfort of the innocence that ruled our lives when we first met in the beauty of teenage life, in the sweetness of tabula rasa of sorts.
We know there are many things money cannot buy. That those things would remain with us eternally if we invested in them, that the beauty of life was in enjoying moments with an open heart and loving the persons around us, the persons we had invested in while we still had the strength to move from Lagos to Abuja to Port Harcourt to Kano by night travel without fear of kidnappers or bandits and violent men in uniform of brutality! That not all of us have become grandparents, especially some whose kids migrated early and have declared that marriage was not in their agenda, or that when they were ready, they would produce a child after reaching an agreement with some man and remain a single parent.
But the world remains hostile. Old age does not insulate one from the hostility of a political crisis. Old age is no guarantee against shenanigans of the world. If anything, old age makes one more vulnerable to wrongheaded policies, inefficient governments, and general insecurity. So, one must save up against the rainy day, the day when one may not be able to hold an umbrella against the rains from heaven. We are told that the new old age is 80 years. Yet the climate does not give room for good living in peace and security.


Woman who masterminded self-kidnap, two others nabbed in Benin

A Benin, Edo State-based woman, Blessing Ogunu, who allegedly masterminded her own kidnap has been arrested by police operatives in the State.

The woman who is now cooling her feet with two other suspects in police custody, was arrested on 23 March, 2024.

The Command’s spokesman, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, in a statement on Monday in Benin, said the suspect was arrested with two other accomplices, Esther Anthony and Ukpebor Joel.

According to him, “The Anti-Kidnapping and Cyber Crime Unit received a complaint from one Samuel Prince Omomuzo, of No 102 Ihama Road, GRA, Benin City who reported that one Blessing Ogunu, a staff of Bliss Legacy Limited, Benin City was kidnapped in Benin and the kidnappers demanded for four million, eight hundred thousand naira (N4,800,000.00) ransom.

“The operatives, using technical intelligence, arrested the supposed victim of the kidnap, one Blessing Ogunu, Esther Anthony and Ukpebor Joel.

“During interrogation, the supposed Blessing Ogunu confessed that she masterminded her self-kidnap because her company refused to allocate land to a customer whom they have received money from.”

Nwanbuzor disclosed that the suspects would soon be charged to court.

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NAF airstrikes eliminate 30 terrorist kingpins, fighters in Borno

The Air component of the Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), has executed a precision airstrike on the hideouts of ISWAP terrorists, killing over 30 of their fighters within Kolleram village along the shores of Lake Chad.

This is contained in a statement by AVM Edward Gabkwet, the Director, Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force (NAF), on Tuesday in Abuja.

Gabkwet said the airstrikes conducted on April 13, were a decisive blow against terrorism in the North-East.

He said the operation yielded significant success as the Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) post-strike conducted revealed the neutralisation of over 30 terrorists.

Gabkwet said that among those neutralised were some senior commanders of the insurgents including Ali Dawud, Bakura Fallujah, and Mallam Ari.

“Additionally, numerous vehicles, motorcycles, and logistical assets were destroyed, severely hampering the terrorists’ operational capabilities.

“Intelligence gathered after the air strike further indicated that the aerial bombardment effectively obliterated a key facility within the Kolleram enclave, which served as a hub for the terrorists’ food processing activities, including grinding machines.

“The success of these airstrikes underscores NAF’s commitment to eradicating terrorism and ensuring the safety and security of Nigerian citizens.

“By neutralising key terrorist figures and destroying their logistical infrastructure, the operation has significantly degraded the capabilities of the ISWAP group in the region.

“These airstrikes complement the ongoing efforts of ground forces in the Lake Chad flank and represent a crucial step forward in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria,” he said.


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Francis Okoye arrested in Anambra bound commercial bus with firearms, POS machine

A 22-year-old man, Francis Obinna Okoye, has been arrested by operatives of Edo State Police Command’s Monitoring Unit for alleged possession of firearm.
Also recovered from him was a blue-coloured pos machine.
Okoye who resides at No 26, Jatto Street, Okolo, Lagos State, was arrested on 7 April, 2024.
A statement by the Command’s spokesman, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, said the suspect was apprehended by the  operatives while on stop and search duty along Lagos-Benin expressway, by Ovia river axis.
He was intercepted in a commercial bus loaded with passengers from Lagos state heading to Anambra state.
The suspect allegedly confessed in his statement that one Emma whose surname is unknown, gave him the gun to threaten his uncle, Mr. Paul Okoye, who was alleged to have killed his father with chams.
However, when operatives of the Command took him to Lagos on Monday, 8 April, 2024, to arrest Mr. Paul Okoye, they found out that the suspect lied to the operatives.
“The suspect will soon be process to
court,” the Edo Police Command spokesperson said.
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