Oladele John Nihi, Gloria Nweke and Ifey Chukuneku trekked from Abuja to Otuoke, the hometown of former President Goodluck Jonathan in Bayelsa State, in appreciation of his “statesmanship and service to the country”. Their trek, dubbed ‘the first Twitter Reality Show’, attracted commendations from some Nigerians. In this interview, Abiodun Alade engaged the trekkers on the journey to Otuoke that spanned 19 days and covered 750km.
OLADELE JOHN NIHI
My name is Oladele John Nihi, from Aiyegunle Gbede, Ijumu LGA of Kogi State. I live and work in Abuja.
I obtained my B.Sc Political Science from Kogi State University, Anyigba and almost through with my M.Sc Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution at National Open University of Nigeria. Happily married and blessed with a son.
My wife initiated the idea to trek for Jonathan and according to her, if there is anyone to trek for it should be Jonathan “who didn’t allow his ambition to cause many Nigerians to be trekking in search of safety as a result of political tussle”.
Moreso, the peace we enjoy today is as a result of his conceding defeat proving wrong the doom sayers who predicted many negative things about Nigeria before the election
My name is Gloria Nweke, a native of Awka in Anambra State and a graduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University. I chose to trek in honour of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan because I wanted to draw the attention of the world to a man we regard as our democratic hero who in every sense of the word deserves to be celebrated. I wanted the world to know how much we appreciated what he did for us by not allowing his ambition to cause the blood of any Nigerian or disintegration of Nigeria. I also trekked to celebrate the peace and unity we enjoy in Nigeria today.
My name is Ifey Jennifer Chukuneku. I’m from Delta State. A Chartered Accountant and a business woman. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in his magnanimity showed great bravery and heroism during the last general elections being that not only did he conduct an election that has been adjudged by the world as the freest and fairest election Nigeria has ever conducted, but also the manner at which he received the outcome.
The journey to Otuoke
OLADELE JOHN NIHI
The experiences are of two opposing sides which are positive and negative.
Some of the positive sides are the reception, acceptance, encouragement, love and prayers of Nigerians home and abroad that I got on the way which serves as moral booster. Worthy of note again is the way I was accommodated and fed by people I never knew or someone I don’t share the same faith with.
The negative side are the health challenges I faced such as headache, cold, chest pain and general body pain
I had the opportunity to experience and explore some of Nigerian unique dishes like Banga and starch, bushmeat, native soup, fisherman soup etc. It was indeed a wonderful experience. But on the low, I had severe body pain. My joints were hurting, I also started having blisters on my legs, ultimately, it wasn’t an easy task.
Well I wouldn’t say there have been any negative experiences so far, except for the injuries on my legs, having to walk on a lonely bushy road with heavy trucks on it at all time for many hours. Other than that, it was an amazing journey
Expectations from Jonathan and Buhari
We really don’t have any expectation from Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as regards our trek to honour him. All we wanted was just to celebrate and appreciate him and that we’ve done.
Generally, our expectation will be for him to continue to be agent of peace in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large, especially now that the world sees him as a Hero who sustained and strengthen Nigeria peace.
As for Gen. M. Buhari, our expectation from him is simple. Let him deliver on his campaign promises to the good people of Nigeria. We would like him to further consolidate the democratic legacy that the Jonathan administration started or foundation he laid and that he should imitate Jonathan’s peaceful nature.
We were welcomed with love every where we got to all through this journey and it was really refreshing seeing that we still got such warm hearts in our land. We got love, gifts, calls, prayers and so on from people we never knew. They were always there for us.
One major highlight of this journey so far is, seeing how united and caring Nigerians are towards one another despite our different values, religion, ethnicity and political parties.
We had a grand entrance into Otuoke, hometown of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as we were received and cheered into the community by a large crowd of people, old, young, small, big, etc. Different groups such as Strategic Alliance, the CDC of the community, armies, group of drummers, everyone was out to cheer the three of us. Earlier before we entered Otuoke, we were officially received into the state by the governor, Seriake Dickson, who was represented by his Commissioner for Youths &Sports and Commissioner for Information at the Government House. It was indeed great.