By Rev. Fr. Gerald Nwafor
I did not grow up with the titled maxim but in the later 1990s, it has become a popular motto in our Igbo lexicon (ife na-eme na Upper Iweka.) Something is happening at Upper Iweka. It could be translated literally as we did in the caption, but you could also go deeper to translate it contextually which simply would mean that, “The situation is not normal.” In a nutshell, Upper Iweka is a location on the outskirts of the great city of Onitsha. It harbors all the moto-parks in Onitsha. It is like the exit way from Onitsha to any part of Nigeria. It plays host to a lot of small markets in Onitsha. Along the Upper Iweka you can go to the relief market, Ochanga-market, electronics market, and ogbo-ogwu market. The number of touts along Upper Iweka is second to none. It is a place you are warned not to go to after 6 pm on any day. Although, it is a busy place from dusk to dawn, twenty-four hours every day, seven days a week. People always move around in Upper Iweka with goods and luggage. There is nightlife, but the noise coming from the moto-parks is unbearable. Thieves have a field day, Agboros turn to thieves at night, during the day they will be jobbers, loaders, conductors, and picking-pocketers. So, the idea that something is happening at Upper Iweka is proper to the nature of the Upper Iweka. In the same vein, I would say that now, something is happening in Nigeria, no longer Upper Iweka.Who did not watch the imbroglio constituted by the Lamidi Apapa faction of the Labor Party in the Presidential Tribunal Court of Appeal in Abuja? I was surprised when the old man Apapa was asked about his intention for appearing in court and he was talking about his lost cap. What is the connection between his cap and the appearance in court to distract the judicial process of the election petition? There is nothing Musa would not see at the gate biko nu. The Nigerian government must not turn the country into a joke. Is it out of place to say that something is happening at the Presidential Election Tribunal at this point? Not only that Apapa came to court, but he also wanted to sit side by side with Peter Obi and he had the effrontery to go and tell the campaign manager of the Labor Party to stand up for him to sit down. Anyways the youths who were in the court paid him back with the shout, “Ole! Ole!! Ole!!!” while the security officials dragged him out of the court premises. Even in the confusion of Upper Iweka they have bosses, there is a kind of orderliness that will always get you to your destination if you are very careful with your bags and luggage. Even the thieves in Upper Iweka are very careful because they do not want to confront Pericoma again in their life since Pericoma was too heavy for them to handle (Pericoma na-anyi ajo alu).It was the Pericoma experience at Upper Iweka that made the thieves to be very careful about the type of person they would rob. The Nigerian government misfired and robbed Peter Obi. Chris Ngige, who was the first person to rob Peter Obi of his mandate as the governor of Anambra state has said in clear terms that Peter is not a walkover. And we are seeing in real-time the effort of the Nigerian government to destroy the mandate of Peter Obi by all means. They wanted to use EFCC to indict him because of the houses he has in London, but it turned out that Obi had his house bought in 1996 when he was a common citizen. They wanted to destroy the Labor Party chairman so that they would use Apapa and company to stop the election petition. It turned out that the Apapa group did not do a nice hatchet job. Now they wanted to use one Mr. Callistus Okafor. Everything will work at Upper Iweka but they cannot carry Pericoma, nor can they rob him. In the same way, the Nigerian government has met one Mr. Peter Obi whom they will discover soon that it is too heavy to carry (O na-anyi ajo alu). All the plots and machinations to make him withdraw the petition against the INEC and the failed electoral process will be in vain. The Nigerian government would not believe the bravery of Mr. Peter nor would they understand the wisdom of Mr. Peter.Finally, it is better and easier to say that something is happening in Nigeria. From the look of things, Upper Iweka is better than Nigeria now. Look at the number of people killed by bandits in Northern Nigeria, it is increasing every day. The number of people kidnapped by the terrorists is on the rise. Nobody can sleep with his two eyes closed in the North, in the South, in the East, or the West. It is from one calamity to the other. The court does not want us to see the proceedings going on within the court; that is why they banned phones in the court and rejected the request to televise it live for everyone to see. Whether they televised it or not, the 21st-century kids who can fix cameras on the wigs of lawyers will always bring us updates. And some sincere court officials who were allowed to come into the court with their iPhones will bring us day-to-day accounts of what transpired. The long old dictum of “Something is happening at Upper Iweka,” must be changed to “Something is happening at Nigeria.” (Ife na-eme na Nigeria).