The noise was deafening. Hijab girls had removed all their coverings and were shouting wildly. I thought there was a riot. Those girls I had seen covered from head to toe were now dancing and running about in their wrappers. The several blocks of two storey buildings in Ribadu Hall were almost vibrating due to stomping of feets.
“Excuse me, please what exactly is going on here? Is this an SUG campaign or what?” I had asked a girl who was walking calmly by my side.
“I honestly do not have an idea as well” she quipped. Apparently, she was just walking into the hostel too.
Settled in the final year students small room later, one of them had been kind enough to explain to me that it was the excitement of Said Baba’s return.
“What!!!” I exclaimed. You mean that is the reason for the serious commotion? I don’t get it. Is it that Baba comes to visit them specially or they have a particular advantage they get from him?
“No, they are just simply excited”, she responded.
The madness wasn’t just limited to ABU students alone. I had witnessed several acrobatic displays on the street on my return to the FCT as well. Okada riders and street urchins thronged the street in their hundreds, marching and dancing.
Throughout the night in ABU, students danced and drummed till almost daybreak. The noise kept filtering into my ear drums.
You see, I had passed on the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria expressway on Friday evening, moments after President Buhari also moved to Abuja from the Kaduna airport. The journey was traffic free and uneventful until I got to Zaria and those events began to unfold.
Some students were in groups/clusters opposite the Department of Mass Communication. The journalistic nature in me had let me found out that Senator Dino Melaye was writing his final exams in my former department(Political Science) to earn his Masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy.
I heard he gave the students money the previous week. So they were waiting for him to come out again and waylay him to get some cash.
It was almost getting dark. Almost half past six. I didn’t need to be told when he came out because I began to hear strange voices in Hausa. The only thing I could pick was gbosa, gbosa, for Dino Melaye.
I sat very far from the hall because I wanted to take a picture of his official and escort cars. The official car had a plate number SEN 52, May 2015-May 2019. I didn’t want to risk having my phone smashed.
However, that was the wrong impression until the next day when fate made us jam each other again. He was very nice and cordial, jovial even. He responded very well to everyone, obliged anyone who wanted to take pictures with him, sat under the tree while waiting for his exam and he had no airs around him.
His police details were nice looking, not those mopols with blood shot eyes. They weren’t shoving people away madly. He still gave money to some people who went to beg him for some. Nigerians and their poverty mentality.
If you waylay me when I become a big woman, you aren’t getting any cash out of me. Abuja and zaria street urchins, take note. ABU Zaria students, take note. I will sign autographs and take pictures though.
His jeep in the distance