On Monday, 20th day of October, 2014, at about 9:35am, I encountered a new, personal experience. This had never happened to me before- I was in a vehicle that was involved in an accident.
Before then, I have seen cars -or what was left of them- by the road side. They are either badly burnt, mangled beyond recognition -due to the impact of the collision, lying with their tyres in the air, or plunged into bushes or gutters. I have seen all these while seated in a vehicle speeding pass those involved in the mishap.
A lot of times, I have wondered, “How did it happen?” Until last Monday, I would never know. But now, not only did I witness it; I experienced it! When I got out and stood by the car, I saw the puzzled faces in the cars speeding by, wondering, “How did it happen?”
The service year had just ended. I passed out of the National Youth Service Corps on the 16th day of October, 2014. It was a Thursday. I got a call from my mum the following day, asking when I would be back. I told her I was not in a hurry; that I need some time to rest and think. She cracked a joke about me bringing home an ‘Ekaette’. We laughed.
I received another call from her on Sunday being 19th October. It was at night. Our conversation went this way:
Mum: “Nnaa, what are you really doing in Akwa Ibom State?” Her tone was serious.
Me: “Ah ah. I told you I’ll be back soon. I just need some time….(She cuts in)
Mum: “ The children of others that I know went for the same service with you are back. Why would it be only my own child left? Biko come back o. In fact, stay there. I won’t call you again.”
And she hung up.
Following this call, I had to cancel all plans and arrangements and made the necessary preparations to go back to Enugu the following day being the near ill-fated Monday.
Akwa Ibom Transport Company-AKTC- the transport company I usually patronize has a terminal at Ikot Ekpene where I lived throughout the service year. But that Monday, for reasons unknown, no vehicle conveyed passengers from Ikot Ekpene to Enugu. Now the only option I had was to go to Uyo. Then I called one of my senior friends-Master. I brought the knowledge of my plight to him; made worse by the fact that I had quite some loads. I pleaded with him to let my friend, Buchi- another ‘corper’ who passed out with me- to take me to Uyo with his car. He obliged me without thinking. We then set out for Uyo. We were four in the Mercedes Benz V-Boot. All of us were ‘corpers’ that just passed out.
The journey started smoothly. But its smoothness varnished at the outskirts of Ibiono Ibom LGA, less than 5 minutes to Uyo.
How did it happen?
As we approached Uyo, Buchi made what I considered a careful overtake but for the speed at which the car(s) were moving on the highway. I was going to tell him to be careful with the acceleration but the opportunity to tell him that was overtaken by event. According to him, after he overtook the car- a green-coloured Honda Baby boy- the steering wheel became free, no grip. The brake pedal became useless as he applied same to no avail. He was just struggling to control the ‘unruly horse’. He could not. In that state of confusion and indecision, our own car bashed into another Mercedes Benz V-boot, got it on the second door by the driver’s side. The twin vehicles then skidded off the road with screeching tyres to a distance that is close to, if not more than, 10 metres from the point of contact. The car that was bashed into fell inside a wide gutter by the express way as ours came to a halt.
On impulse, I alighted, went straight to the car inside the gutter and asked the man trapped therein- “Are you ok sir?” He replied in the affirmative. “Are you hurt?” I asked successively. “No”, he replied, almost shivering. “Thank God”, I said.
Within the split seconds that all these happened, the last word I can remember uttering was the stressed version of my friend’s name- “Buchiiiiiiii”, almost in a whisper. My mind went blank thereafter. I thought of nothing; did nothing else but wait to see where it will all end.
I thank God I saw where it all ended and I am here…alive, unhurt, to tell the story.
Photo source; imgarcade.com
I rejoice with you Chimezie, I thank God for your life.