1. My memories growing up in four corners Ikom are always fresh. Not the urban four corners of today. I mean the four corners of those days when we looked forward and celebrated catholic bazaar with pump, when the only public television was often mounted at then Mercantile Bank for the public to catch up with state news, the four corners were state ministry of information organize public cinema to update residents of the activities of government, the four corners were the army barracks was stationed right across the catholic church by Govisco, yes, that four corners, it was once upon a time.
2. My memories of four corners are always fresh. The four corners were as children then in primary school four corners, we mimic children from Army school with a mockery song which goes this way: “Army school, crow crow for corner nyash, langer for moto”. Remember those songs then? That’s the four corners of my childhood, in similar vein, children from Army primary school will respond to us with a mimic song that goes this way “Presbyterian rotten cassava allele comcom”. That is my child hood four corners, once upon a time.
3. My memories of four corners are always fresh. The four corners were students from holy child secondary school will sing and dance on childrens day celebration, a chiding song that often goes this way: “Hochard, hochard, hochard girls are heavy chicks………..how can I leave my nice school and go to velos…. You think am so stupid to do that” Remember those songs? Yes four corners of my childhood, those days when Govisco will always stage fights with Velos over football matches, that was my four corners, today, I call it once upon a time.
4. My memories of four corners are always fresh, four corners of the 70s, and early 80s, four corners then was a big village where everyone knows everyone. Remember the Miki Miki bread? The streets padded with brown mud as we walk with care, the public taps? Remember then when Mallams carry water on their shoulder for sale? We called them “ Maruah” Gone are the days. The memories are still fresh, that’s four corners, once upon a time.
5. My memories of four corners are still fresh. Remember when ATT an American company came to lay telephone lines? Remember the first day NEPA electricity came to four corners? It was just like yesterday. The first time electricity was turned on, how as children we screamed, the skies were brightened in our small eyes, the rooms sparkled, next day we talk about it at school, at church and as we played. We had so much hope of a better Nigeria, but again, it was once upon a time.
6. My memories of four corners are always fresh. Before our childish eyes, four corners transformed from a big village to a small city. Before our little eyes, Okada became a means of transport, the Ikom- Ogoja road was graded, the Ikom- Obudu road was tarred too. The military barracks moved from four corners to Edor village, yes, that’s the four corners of yesterday. As our new city blossomed, a new market and motor park were built at Calabar road, together with a new stadium constructed. This is four corners of yesterday, once upon a time.
7. My memories of four corners, as the military was relocated to newly built barracks, the civilian government came on board. Then came the campaigns that ushered in Shagari government. We had NPN, UPN and NPP. These were the popular parties. As children, we then preferred UPN Awolowo’s party, we were told it will bring free education, but our parents preferred NPN Shagari’s party, of which Wayas, Offoboche, Clement Isong were great party men. Party politics was fun, remember when Awolowo’s helicopter landed on Velos Secondary School for campaign? That was the four corners I can recollect, once upon a time.
8. I owe this narrative to younger people to impress upon their unassuming minds, that once upon a time, Nigeria was good. Once upon a time, political party was not just about money, it was about service.
9. Few months ago, I visited four corners, it was obvious, and everywhere had changed. Today, it is a growing city. I walked down the streets towards Ochedore Street, I went up Obudu road, and later visited my Alma Mata, primary school four corners. As I walked past the road, I could recall some structures, some improved, and others dilapidated. All I could silently say, was once upon a time.
10. Today living in the Whiteman’s world and familiar with the Whiteman’s mannerisms, I cannot easily wish away my humble beginnings in the streets of four corners. But to appease my curiosity, and refresh my memories, I will gladly say, Once upon a time!
Princewill Odidi is a social commentator writing from Atlanta USA. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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