Let me start by saying that one of the greatest negotiation I’ve ever won, was being able to convince my mum and my girlfriend to allow me celebrate Distinguished Senator Prof Sandy Onor, this year, as my Valentine over them. Knowing the other gender for who they truly are- a blend of possessiveness and jealousy, I am sure you would understand that convincing them was indeed an uphill task and I hope that this article worth all the troubles. (Pun intended).
I first met Senator Sandy Onor in 2020, almost a year after his resounding victory and his meritorious crowning as Orator of the 9th Senate by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. I had been a harmless and constructive critic of the Senator—an attribute that most probably earned me his attention. The Distinguished Senator took a liking to me prior to our first meeting at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport.
I had gone to the airport to receive him, at the behest and in company of his Director General of Campaign, Chief Hon. Joe-Obi Bisong. At first, I was skeptical and reluctant about going to the airport to receive him. My fear was borne out of the fact that Politicians can be utterly and abysmally vindictive, especially against one who is an unrepentant critic. Sandwiched in-between his Director General and a friend of mine, Kingsley—who I had compelled to accompany me in case of any unwholesome eventuality—at least, I needed someone to alert the World of my whereabouts, should the Senator decide to whisk me away.
On our way to the airport, his Director General, in his characteristic manner spoke so highly and patronizingly about me and my articles, but while he was trying to thrill me with so much eulogies, my heart was skipping and racing a million and one times per second. The whole conversation appeared uninteresting to me as I only hoped for the worst—maybe a strong worded reprimand or even a deafening slap from the Senator to reset my brain.
Upon arrival at the airport, true to my expectation and assumption, the Senator’s physique was as intimidating as his sobriquet “The Original Caterpillar”. His mien was as audacious as his size, with all the trappings of a political brobdingnagian. His Director-General eulogized him heartily as they exchanged pleasantries and laughed so hard as if they were meeting each other for the very first time. I stood overwhelmingly at a distance close enough to see all the ensuing drama. At that moment, the Isobo Man spirit in me—that have obviously seen so many communal crises yet remain unbroken— whispered to me to be courageous and face whatever it is that was in the offing for me, afterall, all die na die!
Not quite long, his DG beckoned on me to come closer as he readily introduced me to the Senator. I noticed the Senator’s visage upon hearing my name, I was cocksure my stature betrayed his expectation. He saw a young lad whose physique was not as gigantic as his write-ups.
“So, you are the Small Man that have been writing so much about me? He bellowed, in-between chuckles— you could see the surprise written all over his face.
“You know what, I love your courage and I enjoy reading your work. I hope to work with you because you are an okay guy” he said conclusively with a convincing and comforting smile. Even though I had not considered the offer, out of politeness—and frankly, intimidation—i gave a sheepish nod of affirmation. I was pleasantly surprised, not least because I am not, to put it mildly the best epitome of a fanciful writer, given my critical disposition about the Senator hitherto.
It’s been over a year now, working with the Original Caterpillar, the Irrunando of Africa and the Professor of History, and i am pretty sure that I won’t break a sweat accepting the fact that it has been a rollercoaster of many new beginnings. I’ve learnt to be more passionate and courageous in pursuing my dreams. For my people—the Isobo People— Senator Sandy Onor remain a beacon of hope. The man who stood on the floor of the National Assembly and spoke so passionately about the plights and travails of the Osopong Man. He represents the nexus between the government and the marginalized. Not only is Senator Sandy Onor passionate about his constituents, he has shown overwhelming commitment to ameliorating their plights—Little wonder he was born on a Valentine’s day.
Today, I celebrate my own Principal, an unassuming leader par excellence. A man who is superlatively cerebral yet unpretentiously humble. The one who has inspired and given me reasons to believe in possibilities.
I share some peculiarities with the distinguished Senator. Like the Senator who hails from a rural Community called Nsofang in Etung Local Government, I come from a place where life and nature has positioned us at the nadir, but seeing him break the glass ceiling despite his humble background, I feel highly inspired daily to dare the impossible, a million and one times. He is a man of many firsts and he has built an epitaph in my heart for which I will remain eternally grateful.
Happy Birthday Distinguished Senator Prof Sandy Ojang Onor.
Happy Birthday My Valentine!!!
May The Odds Favour You Always.
Umezulike Desmond-cruz Writes From The Swampy Region Of Osopong