Final Day in Uyo was spent in bed and in my room because I really had nothing much to do.
I had no plans of watching the Super Eagles game and that was why I got to Uyo on Tuesday.
I think I was the first journalist from outside town to arrive for the game. The idea was to be in Uyo early enough to get all the inside gist and scoops I needed then go back home to enjoy my son’s birthday in peace.
But on Friday, I got a call from Olalekan Ige that they were almost in town and they need to confirm if I had secured the rooms for them at the hotel I had been lodged since Tuesday.
I asked how many they were and they told me they needed five rooms which I promptly made reservations for.
But they left Port Harcourt pretty late and did not arrive in Uyo until sometime past 3 o clock in the afternoon.
At about 9am I got a call from the hotel receptionist that the mama-put woman was around so I ordered the same as the previous day but two portions because Ufuoma Egbamuno was around and would join in.
Negotiating my cut as the Lagos gangsters arrive
When they arrived from Port Harcourt, the crew was Lekan Ige, Queen John, Faith Oluchi, Jessica Amadi, Fisayo Dairo and Gabriel Nwanetanya, but I was not done with my wahala.
The SWAN president, Honour Sirawoo was also part of the troop but was a guest of the Akwa Ibom State Sports Commissioner.
As the hotel receptionist was handing over the keys to their rooms I asked what my commission was for bringing five guests who would stay for two night and she said it was in the hands of the manager.
I called the manager and she tried smart-aleck; we don’t like smart-alecks, do we?
While we were at it two gansgters from Lagos, Rotimi Akindele and a friend of his called that they were on their way to the hotel and needed two rooms so I told the manager I had given here seven rooms and I wanted my cut from the deal or I take my friends somewhere else.
Trust my friends; they know how to play ball. While the manager argued that she would not give me anything, Lekan Ige went, “Bros, she no gree give you cut? Oya make we go the other place na!”
All na gimmick but she needed to know we were serious so Ige started calling on the rest to return their keys that they won’t stay there anymore.
To cut a long story very short, I got my cut.
After every one was settled, we drove out to grab some food and then the stadium to get our accreditation tags.
Hot fish pepper soup for the boys
On return it was hot steamy fish pepper soup ordered and we all met at the balcony bar for another two hours.
Every topic under the sun was discussed… from the game against Tanzania, to the suspension of four commissioners in Rivers State, to who would win the Nigeria Professional Football League to even long distance races and endurance/ going all the way.
We are sport journalists don’t always have time to parley because of our jobs, but those of us in Port Harcourt make it a point of duty to have a sit down anytime we are out of town. It’s a tradition that has lasted years now.
But the moment Yinka Elebute turned up (I don’t know who told him we were at that hotel) all hell was let loose.
He brought in APC/ PDP politics and I didn’t want any of that so I bade them goodnight and went to sleep.
As I approached my room I could hear their loud voices arguing about the state of the Nigerian economy, recession and who would win the elections in 2019.
Leaving Uyo Like a thief in the night
On Friday, at about 3pm I got a call from a member of the League Management Company, LMC that I was required to go inspect the pitch at the Umuahia Township Stadium.
I heard the game scheduled for Sunday, September 4 had been moved to Wednesday pending the report of the pitch inspection.
I also needed to be in Port Harcourt before 11 am on Saturday so I was awake at 5 am on Saturday and at 5:30 I had left the hotel for AKTC bus terminal at 6:15 the vehicle had departed. I even had to pay for almost all of the seats just to see it leave on time and at 8:15 am I was in Umuahia.
I inspected the pitch in the presence of the club chairman, Emeka Inyama, the media officer, Igwe Onuoha and at least five other members of the team.
I took pictures and videos and made my way out of the stadium to head for Port Harcourt. It was my son, Kabati Aznarnuchi who was having his birthday bash and I couldn’t miss it, not even for the Super Eagles game
Fresh Human heads in Aba
The man who drive the vehicle from Umuahia was very friendly and wanted to talk all through the journey but my mind was focused on the pitch inspection I had just done, how I plan to write my report and my son’s birthday party which I had no plans of missing or arriving late for.
The driver was a police officer and he told me he disliked Port Harcourt because of the traffic situation.
“I like Umuahia as it is. Very peaceful,” he said.
We/he talked about the bad roads and blamed the Federal Government for some of them and for others he had no kind words for the former governor of Abia State, Theophilus Orji.
When we got to Osisioma, he looked at Aba on the left, then turned to me and said, “I do not like Aba at all.”
I asked him what the matter was since he did not like Port Harcourt and also did not like Aba.
“Is it only Umuahia you like?” I asked and he answered in the negative.
“I am a police officer and I have served in lots of places and I enjoyed them. But I prefer quiet places. The hustle of Port Harcourt and Aba is too much for me,” he said.
Then he continued.
“But one thing you cannot take away from Aba is the fact that they are very industrious. If you live in Aba you can never go hungry because there is always something to do. Unless you are a naturally lazy person.”
His next statement shocked me.
“Do you know there is nothing you want you cannot get in Aba?”
I looked at him and smiled.
Then he continued, very seriously, “Do you know even if you want fresh human head with blood still dripping on it, you can get it in Aba if you make the right calls?
The two people behind concurred so I knew they meant what they were saying.
Hmmm, freshly beheaded human in Aba. My hand no dey o.
Well, I do not want to buy fresh human heads in Aba with blood still dripping from it, do I?
The last diary in a long time
I got home in good time and shared the fun at the party even though I knew I would sneak out at some point to watch the game.
The Super Eagles eventually labored to a 1-0 win against Tanzania. I had to sneak away from the party with Carl Orakwue, Sanipe Tonte, Peter Abaje and some others to watch the game while we argued about a lot of things.
It was good they won that game; good for morale. Now we can focus on the game against Zambia.
Now unless I am on the plane to Zambia for the next game, this would be the last diary in a long time because the Super Eagles home games would be in Port Harcourt for the World Cup Qualifiers and there would be no need for a diary.
Thank you all for reading my drug inspired adventures in Uyo, Umuahia and back to Port Harcourt.
Ka Bu Eli Ayi