FIVE days in the life of mortals is a very trivial amount of time but so much could happen within that seemingly miniscule speck of time to change the direction of our lives for good. Coming up against her state governor, Mrs Ifijeh’s world had considerably buckled on November 28 but by the end of that day, it must have been clear to her that she was not alone.
She may never have heard of YouTube or social media network or what it means but at the end of that first or second day, she would have realised that with the Edo State PDP announcing a donation of N250, 000 and people she does not know and will never meet asking to know how to donate money to her, that her encounter with Governor Oshiomhole would have a positive ending for her.
Her cries and pleading tugged at hearts, including that of God and it worked miracles. It reminds me of the Word of God that‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,’ as it did for Mrs Joy Ifijeh.
We tend to believe that miracles happen only when the blind see and the deaf hear but I now know that when we all rise up as the people did for this widow, we cause miracles to happen, move physical, mental and emotional mountains. Governor Oshiomhole’s act of restitution is sufficient proof that we can and it changed the life of Mrs Ifijeh and those of her children for good.
We all know that when God wants to bless us, we will not wake up in the morning and find millions of Naira on our beds; instead, God engineers the right circumstances and persons to come into our lives. I recall one church service in House on the Rock church, Lagos, when they were still at MUSONCenter.
That Sunday morning, about four, five years ago, the first service uncharacteristically ended quite early and Pastor Paul Adefarasin found himself with about 15 to 20 minutes to deal with. He looked around casually and focused on a drummer in the Church choir and told the congregation that the drummer was preparing for his wedding. Pastor Paul then walked down memory lane, recounting how faithful that drummer had been and announced he would support the wedding with,if I remember correctly N200, 000 or N250, 000.
Then Pastor Paul asked the congregation to join him in supporting the drummer’s wedding because he wanted everything taken care of and for him and his bride to just show up at the wedding, seal and begin their marital union. And many in the congregation lined up to financially support this drummer’s wedding.
Had church service run down the clock as is usually the case, that drummer’s wedding would not have become an issue that morning. That day, I could not help thinking that God had engineered everything that Sunday morning just to favour that drummer.
This is why when I recall the analysis of Maupe Ogun on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme of what happened that day between Governor Oshionmole and Mrs Ifijeh with the video footage to support it, I believe the Hosts of Heaven orchestrated events and conspired to change her life and Governor Oshiomhole was an instrument in God’s hands because God wanted to bless MrsIfijeh.
The video clip we have all watched endlessly showed clearly that as Maupe Ogun pointed out,Mrs Ifijehcould not have been hawking goods on the street as widely speculated because her wares were in cartons and bags, neatly arranged like she was waiting for a commercial vehicle to take her to her destination.
Social media connected all of us and people wanted to know how to donate money to her as a result of that encounter with Governor Oshiomhole because we shared her pain and cried with her.
The Bible tells us that:“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” True to these Words of God, I believe Mrs.Ifijeh never saw, heard or imagined any of the positive dramatic things that happened to her life after her encounter with Governor Oshiomhole.
Like in the case of the Biblical Joseph who was sold into slavery and went to prison for a crime he did not commit, the circumstances engineered by God may sometimes be very inconvenient. While Mrs Ifijeh wept, knelt and pleaded with Governor Oshiomhole, she was oblivious of the cameras recording her moment of utmost anguish but it was all part of God’s plan for her.
Think about it, how come a woman who was not hawking on the street was ‘apprehended’ by no other than her state governor and her life changed dramatically from a very troubling experience from which at the time it happened, she saw no possibility of restitution? It is even possible that as she headed to Government House five days later to meet with Governor Oshiomhole, she thought her situation would take a turn for the worse with arrest and the prison keys thrown away.
Governor Oshiomole is a man given to making mistakes like all men but with the courage to say, “I am sorry,” and I think it has made it easier for some of us to use those three powerful words to ask for forgiveness from those we have offended. I suspect too that it is not only the life of Mrs Ifijeh that has changed but also those of Governor Oshiomhole.
Many parents and children who heard Governor Oshiomhole say publicly that his children had also pitched in to tell him he got it wrong, to do the right thing and he did. Governor Oshiomhole gave MrsIfijeh N2 million, instant employment and scholarship for her son but most importantly his apology added much more to the moral wealth of the nation.
Governor Oshiomhole’s words of apology spoken face-to-face with Mrs Ifijeh and widespread acceptance shows in graphic ways the kind of redemption that comes with asking for forgiveness, because a huge chunk of aggrieved people accepted him back as one of their own, a prodigal son coming back home.
I want to add that it is easier for so many to forgive Governor Oshiomhole because he is known to be working very hard and effectively to transform EdoState and his verbal bomb does not and should not define who he is. It is not the size of a man or the size of his political party, it is the size of his heart and humanity in him that matters the most.
Governor Oshiomhole stumbled very, very badly but landed firmly on his feet because of his acts of contrition, a sure sign of the size of his heart. He has left Mrs Ifijeh better than he met her and it is reflective of the size of the humanity in him.
I am sure God is not done yet with Mrs Ifijeh and I will not be surprised if she and her children spend Christmas with Governor Oshiomhole and his children in Government House, Benin City as friends of the Oshiomole family. I will equally not be surprised if Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote rightly makes Mrs Ifijeh a distributor of his many products like flour, noodles and tetra packed drinks.
The danger is that from this time, anytime Governor Oshiomole goes out on inspection, market women will rush out with their wares to the road, hoping that the Governor will stop, seize their goods, unchain the cutting edge of his tongue and hope that it will become a fast-track ticket to breakfast with the Governor and millions of Naira.
Mitt Romney never recovered from his wretched comment and never will but Governor Oshiomole will, because I know that regardless of his mistake, he still stands with the people.
On December 2, 2013, Christmas came 23 days early for MrsIfijeh and her children. Not many fairy tales end that way. Only God creates this kind and it took five days.
Mr. Nwobu, a pubic affairs commentator, wrote from Lagos.