Today, Saturday August 26, 2022, marks the anniversary of the latest of eight encounters I have had between 2003 and now with near death but from which God has mysteriously saved me.
My testimony starts from April 18, 2003. The 2003 presidential election was scheduled for the following day, April 19, and I was traveling from Abuja with my immediate younger brother Mike to our village, Gakem, near Ogoja in northern CRS where I registered to vote.
I never had any premonition of an awful near death encounter that day so Mike and I were discussing every issue of interest on earth as I was driving us in a Federal Government numbered staff car to the village. At the Friday market in Agyragu in Nasarawa State where we stopped to buy bush meat and other food stuffs for sharing among our people back home, we ran into a man who was going to Ogoja who heard us speak in our language and was familiar with it. He requested for a ride and we obliged him. So we were three, driving in a leisurely fashion to CRS as traffic was generally very light that day.
When we entered Benue State from Nasarawa State, we noticed that traffic was even lighter. We also noticed that Benue was wearing the bandana of a subdued place. Tension was in the air; you could see it and feel it. A certain uneasy calm reigned. The previous week, a bitterly fought governorship election between late Professor Paul Iorpuu Unongo of the then APP and the incumbent PDP Governor George Akume had held in which many people in Benue and elsewhere believed was won by Unongo but the PDP machine had awarded the victory to Akume.
Many people in Benue and elsewhere who were familiar with Benue politics were bitter at what they felt was an open robbery of what they were certain was Unongo’s victory. When we drove to Katsina-Ala we noticed that the subdued atmosphere in other parts of Benue we had witnessed had changed to agitated, aggressive look. Jato-Aka, Paul Unongo’s village, is not far away from Katsina-Ala.
As we drove from Katsina-Ala towards Adikpo, we noticed that traffic had considerably thinned down. You could sense that trouble was afoot. In a few minutes, we reached Adikpo, the headquarters of Kwande LGA which Jato-Aka village was a part of. At a point on the Vandeikya-Ogoja-Ikom portion of the highway, a motley crowd of youth with blood-shot eyes in what looked to me as war regalia, had erected a crude check-point and were gathered there. The war to protest Unongo’s robbery and the restoration of his ‘’mandate’’ was about to begin.
Adikpo had been a place of good omen for me. This was the place I went and had my secondary school education and made friends with some Tiv men who are till date have remained my best friends and associates. I did not know that an ill-omen was awaiting me a few metres away.
When we drove near the trouble spot, I tried to park but a few of the crowd came out apparently from the surrounding bushes and surrounded my car and commanded me to drive to the check-point area.
When we got there, they saw my FGN registered car number and I heard some declare that this is the type of persons they have been waiting for. My heart sank but what could I do? I was already the first victim of the war to avenge Unongo and to restore his mandate. They dragged me out of the car and started raining blows, sticks and cudgels on my head, hands and all parts of my body. My crime was that as one driving an FGN car, I must be a PDP man that must have robbed Unongo of victory. Their judgment and intention were to kill me and burn me along with the car!
Angels do not only feature in the stories of the Bible and Koran. I encountered an angel on Friday, April 18, 2003 and was ministered to by him. In the course of the severe pummeling I was receiving, a man who looked like a leader of the assembled youth but who, most certainly, was an angel in human clothing, came and was shielding me from the blows, wrestled me away from their hands and told me:’’ Oga, come and enter your car and drive away’’. As I made for the car, some of the beatings were still raining on me and any time I reflect on this sad incidence, I tell myself that the first real miracle I experienced at that venue was that God had put a mysterious cushion in my head, hands and other parts of my body to absorb the effect of the punches meant for my death because while there or after, I never experienced any swelling, especially on my head, which had received most of the blows. Nor did I experience any headache, body pains or internal bleeding. God’s plan was for me to experience his awesome saving powers and not just receive insane hurt for a crime I had absolutely no hand in committing against the outraged people of Benue.
As I entered and was driving away, a few of the angry youth who were stationed a few metres away realized that their big prisoner of war was about to escape their justice and tried to erect another crude check-point of logs of woods to stop me. How I had the sense to put on my full light and made as if I was going to drive straight and hit them, baffles me till this moment. It was, surely, an engineered act of God to save his beloved child. This was another miracle- the presence of mind to scare the daylights out of my tormentors. They quickly threw away the logs of wood they had wanted to use as a barricade and ran aside to escape what they supposed was my actual plan to go straight for them with the car. But they did not fail to use a club to shatter my windscreen as I drove past.
While I went past these angry, murder-inclined young men, I remember that I, again, had the presence of mind to complain-inquire from God why he had allowed me to run into these murderous youth. Why did he God not minister to me to turn back and escape the rough hands of these young men? Another miracle: I heard God tell me clearly that ‘’ if I had not allowed you, how would you have known that I can save a child of mine from danger?’’ This is no fabrication. I heard God clearly tell me this.
And I remember this remark by God on each of the seven other occasions that God has saved me from sudden, instant death. The one of Friday, August 26, 2022, of which today is the first anniversary, took place in Abuja at about 4.30 pm. I had walked from my home in Federal Housing Estate in Nyanya to the Access Bank nearby for a transaction.
As I was walking past the gate of the bank back to my house after I had finished my transaction, a motor cycle rider who was supposed to have used the left side of the road noticed that that side had been blocked.
In their usual hurry, he did not see that the car ahead of him whose right side he wanted to do a short cut was traffickating to enter the bank. He just entered and the car brushed him off and catapulted him to violently jack me off and flung me, mercifully, into a gutter filled with sand and dirty water. The instant miracle here was that I was thrown into a cushioned gutter pit and not the hard, macadamized concrete slab walk-way for pedestrians. If that had happened, I would have died instantly. But I experienced a rib-cage injury which kept me in the money-guzzling Garki General Hospital for some days. More alarmingly, the violent throw with my head to the ground ensured that I lost my memory or insanity for that day and the day after. I saw myself knowing what to say but lacking the ability to use appropriate words to express my desire. I just couldn’t string words together to make a meaning. This was most traumatic to me. How can a man, more so a journalist whose main operational instrument is words, become unable now to employ words? But the happy thing is that on the third day, my brain was restored and is now sharper than it ever was. Praise God!
I have promised my readers so many books about some of my experiences and none has ever come out yet so I am not ready to promise another on the eight near-death experiences I have had between 2003 and last year.