By Chudi Okoye
He simply could not wait any longer. It was her birthday, a momentous birthday at that, and she was writing her final exams at the Federal Polytechnic Bida, where she had been an outstanding student. She was coming into her prime, and he thought it was time.
And so on this day, 25 February 2020, the strapping young man made his move. He had arranged for seven of his close friends to accompany him on the journey he was planning. As the early morning sun began its majestic rise on this joyful day, the Abuja-based rising star, Amb. Onyekwere Godwin Nwachukwuneke – Awka Times’ tireless webmaster, ICT whiz kid, social entrepreneur and all-round jolly good fellow – gathered up his contingent. With Onyekwere wearing a simple tunic in Awka Times’ corporate color, the group piled into a line-up of two cars and set off west on the dusty, rough road to Bida, Niger State, driving some 220 kilometers and six animated hours on this relentless journey.
Onyekwere’s mission: To propose to his “Precious” paramour, sparkling Ms. Chioma Ihezukwu.
They arrived their destination in fine fettle, whereupon Onyekwere showed his mettle. There on the dusty pavements of Bida, as onlookers (students, lecturers, traders, okada riders and other spectators) marveled at the chivalry and the revelry of it all, Onyekwere got down on one knee and asked Chioma to marry him. Chioma was completely dumbstruck, having been led earlier to believe that her industrious boyfriend was ensconced in Abuja on her birthday, attending a series of business meetings.
The overjoyed young lady cried but soon took it in stride, and with pride agreed to be Onyekwere’s bride.
Somewhere beyond the clouds, the celestial choirs peeled off joyous hallelujahs to mark this moment of transcendent love. Even here, on this parched earth in Nigeria’s convulsive west midland, love blossomed; a bright new life of marital bliss beckoned.
On this day too, if you had looked closely at the Masthead of Awka Times – the revolutionary magazine whose website Onyekwere designed – you would have seen it celebrating the event in effervescent colors, toasting the newly engaged on this day of double celebrations.
Happy birthday, Chioma!
Happy times ahead to Onyekwere and his girl, Awka Times’ first engaged couple.
Onyekwere’s roundtrip on this day added up to some 440 kilometers and 12 hours of driving time, but it marked the beginning of a blissful journey to marital life, one started with determination, organization and great imagination.