Feature Article of Monday, 4 June 2012

Columnist: Mensah, Oko

That Name

How I wish the opening ceremony of photo exhibition would come to an end earlier than expected! I said to myself, cursing my star for responsibility on my shoulders now. I can’t go home before the end of the show. It is getting late. Getting a transport to my place at the outskirts of the city is taxing. If I‘d my own way, I‘d have taken French leave, without a trace of my footprints on the sand. For the role I was playing, making sure that everything turned out well, I was cynosure of all eyes. This made it hard for me to vamoose. Perhaps, old man sitting among the dignitaries kept a watchful eye on me. I must say I didn’t like the look on his face. It was as if telling me to wait to the end.

Time on my phone was 6:30 p.m. I was beginning to feel irritated and uncomfortable in my seat. Already, the Chairman’s speech had not been delivered yet and the guests seated with airs of anticipation kept wondering what was happening. I was at the verge of getting up from my seat to find out when the old man beckoned me to remain seated. And one of security guards, noting my uneasiness elbowed his way through the crowd, tapped me on the shoulder and said in broken English,” What dey happens? Me, I tire self.” I said I don’t know what is holding things. “But massa know say, u dey comon from afar” he consoled me.

There had been a slight change in the program line-up. 7:30 p.m. contrary to what was spelt out in the brochure.

“Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen”, the chairman began. The exhibition entitled tears, sweats and toils of malaria presented posters, photographs, artifacts and films documenting the scourge of the malaria pandemic in the WHO effort to cure the disease. The opening remarks was brief and yet educative. The standing ovation was overwhelmed. So long after the chairman got back to his seat. Everyone was beaming with excitement.

The touring of the gallery where the ongoing photo exhibition was mounted took better part of me. So much so that I forgot to realize that time was far gone.9:30 p.m.

The coast is clear. I quickly dashed to the office upstairs to pick my bag. There, stack of files scattered mysteriously all over the place. Everything was in complete mess. There was no way I could pretend I didn’t see it in sixes and sevens. If I left without doing anything about it, the old man would reprimand me on the next day. I think I was above that. I was taken back cos’ it was not like that. Things were neatly arranged in the shelf before we all left to the exhibition hall. So I packed every thing, neat and sound.

Having done that, I walked out of the office as if something was pursuing my life. Standing at the junction for few minutes, looking left and right, I couldn’t see any taxi on sight and decided to trek all the way to the main lorry station. I was worn out completely.

As if that was not enough, there was no vehicle on scale and the quene was long and winding. I forced myself to join it nittly or wittly . Gradually, it got to my turn and as I was about to board the 207 Benz bus when someone jumped the quene outsmarted me, taking my seat in the process. I didn’t pick up a quarrel with that trespasser but kept my cool. Guess what? Other passengers were fighting him on my behalf.

Soon the journey started. I can not tell whether the driver was intoxicated or not. He was driving at top speed and despite murmurs of the passengers to slow down, he kept speeding. He was adamant. Before one could Jack, the front tyre unexpectedly burst, throwing the bus side and side on the road, then shouts of JESUS were on everyone’s lip. The name uttered in unison brought the vehicle to a halt, all of us--- Christians, Muslims and heathens-- escaping unscathed.

At the mention of the name JESUS CHRIST, all shall be saved, indeed.