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Changing the narrative of “Strangers Are Not To Be Trusted”!, by Vivian Daniel


Changing the narrative of “Strangers Are Not To Be Trusted”!, by Vivian Daniel

It is only expedient that I recount my blessings, especially as I have entered into my ideal “new year,” having marked my birthday on 25th October, so, I will be sharing two real-life stories in this piece to buttress the above title.

First, is that towards the end of August 2023, I traveled to my hometown to see my mother as she had been calling for my attention for a while before that time.

But as I was coming back around 2nd week of September, I left my village a little late actually  – at about 3 to 4 pm WAT to the motor park so I could get to Enugu town against the next day to board the vehicle I paid for early enough back to Abuja. (Yes ooo! I could not afford to go by air at that time…..It took a bit of time at the motor park in Orji River before our vehicle began the 1 hour 15/30 minutes journey to Enugu town but when it eventually moved…it was already about 6:30 to 7 pm WAT. I was in for a night’s journey.

While I was busy reading a particular book with my phone, I never paid so much attention while on the bus which was not so good on my part. At one point, I was so surprised when someone screamed that the bus lights weren’t working. I exclaimed “Jesus, what did you say, please? Do you mean that the driver has been moving without light”, the guy seated next to me said yes.

I asked how come they all kept quiet all this while. Some of the passengers echoed they wanted to manage up until we got to the ‘Night Mile’ where the driver had promised to hand us over to another vehicle.    I quickly began to process the word “manage” in my head. Then I asked myself “How can I play with my life in such a manner in the name of management?!

I haven’t done much and I am just starting in major aspects of my life. Mbanu! Nowhere! I won’t join them to play with my life like this.” So, to cut a very long story short, I the guy sitting next to me planned to yell when we got to the next Soldiers’ checking point, so they could stop the driver as everything done for him to stop had proved abortive. The plan worked and the Soldiers stopped the driver and asked why he didn’t have light.

He said it just happened as he was driving that evening, and that he never knew his bus light had issues. See ‘lie lie’ driver faith! Now, from the checking point where they stopped us, we thought the soldiers would help us to flag down other vehicles to carry us, for where…?! Akúkó n’eqwu.

We were so helpless but as God will have it, one Angel in a human form saw us and parked asking what happened and who we were. He then carried all of us because he had an open Hilux. A few of us were lucky to have sat inside while the rest sat at the back of the Hilux. And, that was how we got to Enugu town safely.

Of course, I was supposed to go to my sister-in-law’s house but by the time we got to Enugu town, I will not be able to make it to her place again. So, I had the option of checking into a hotel as I usually do most of the time.

But, the man who took us to Enugu town proposed that I stay in his house instead of going to spend money again in a hotel. So, he asked for permission for him to branch in his house to pick something. As I followed him to his house, I became extremely scared. I was like “Vivian you don’t know him from Adam, are you sure this will not be your end”? “What would happen to me in his house, let alone at night”? I had all manner of thoughts running through my head.

While he waited for me to make up my mind on what to do, he started such a long call that in between a lady had brought a plate of jollof rice for him and a cup of green tea on the table we were sitting within his compound. Even though the sight of that jollof rice was so tempting Lol?‍♀️? (as it is one of my favorite spoon foods) I said no I wasn’t going to eat. Instead, I humbly requested a cup of green tea only…even though I was still gripped with so much fear.

As I was sipping the green tea, the man called one of his 2 daughters to come and say hello to me…and on seeing his beautiful daughter, I kinda relaxed up to about 60/70 percent. So, she was asked to go and fix one of the rooms for me.

That was how I ended up spending the night in a stranger’s house and the stranger turned out to be Chief Ezinwa Chukwudi Fred.

Chief Ezinwa was the former IPMAN Chairman of Enugu Depot between 2007 and 2010; Acting IPMAN Zonal Chairman of Eastern Zone in 2015. Elected Chairman of Ezeagu Local Government Area from 2018 to 2019 and the former SSA to the then Enugu State Governor (Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi) between 2019 and 2022.

Guess what?!  A half portion of his living room is filled up with different Awards he has received in life so far.   Tell me why and how such a man won’t be honored as frequently as possible when his heart is filled up with doing good to others…

READ ALSO: Believe it or not: Change is inescapable! By Vivian DANIEL

So, this was how such a stranger turned out to be an angel to me, thus changing the narrative that “strangers are not to be trusted.”

My second story would be my first journey/travel to Adamawa, Yola State to be precise, for a special report that was sponsored by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) and Open Society Foundation (OSF) titled “14-15 Years of Insurgency in LCRs: Inside Stories, Present Realities of IDPs in Adamawa and Illnesses They Battle.”

In a place where I had no single family member nor friends except a man (Mallam Usman) whom I had been talking about the need for me to come to his State for an assignment, someone I met through my former organization staff WhatsApp group.   He became my channel for virtually everything, including the hotel where I stayed on my first night, even though I had to move on to a new hotel for the reasons best known to me alongside experiencing a high level of bad customer service.

He equally decided to use his car to convey me to different places my assignment required me to visit, although for a fee alongside fueling his car. I also met another guy (Abdul) who sat next to me while aboard the plane from Abuja to Adamawa, who ended up checking on me now and then, as though he did not have 100 percent trust in the man I was dealing with…even though both of them were strangers to me in every ramifications, they ended up becoming good allies and tended to me all through my stay in Adamawa. How surprising and loving at the same time!

But, in between the web I was in, I had one of my mentors (from the company that sponsored my trip to Adamawa) and my very good friend whom I was constantly talking with, more like giving them updates on my movements, just in case.

Nonetheless, of everything that happened during my stay in Adamawa and my earlier journey from my hometown back to Abuja, I can confidently say that such narratives as “Never Trust Strangers” or “Strangers Are Not To Be Trusted” should be changed because some of them can turn out to be truly amazing.   So, in conclusion, I would forever preach a different gospel regarding ‘Strangers’ – the fact that some of them can truly turn out to be angels in disguise. Indeed, some ‘Strangers’ can be trusted and I am forever thankful for these amazing personalities mentioned here (Chief Ezinwa, Mallam Usman and Abdul) alongside everyone else who has crossed my path in 2023 – strangers who turned friends.

Do let me know via your comment how often you have had encounters with supposed strangers and how it turned out in the end.  Thank you very much for reading. #OneLove

Chikaodinaka Vivian DANIEL writes from the FCT-Abuja, Nigeria.  She is a graduate of political science with PGDs in journalism, business administration, and communication; a writer (feature, investigative stories, etc.); TV and Radio presenter. Email: vivianchikadaniel@gmail.com  Tel: (+234) 08065269218

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