Even though he came in the evening of Thursday, Ibadan people had been aware of his visit since Wednesday, some Tuesday. In the evening of Wednesday, everyone knew someone more popular than the president would be visiting.
I wasn’t surprised to see the large turnout of people at the historic Mapo Hall because one could say they were paid crowds even though I beg to differ. But what is not in doubt was the true nature of those that lined the streets from Mapo to Iwo road even all the way to the Olubadan’s palace – everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of Buhari and his motorcade.
I was at Agodi Gate when the convoy was passing by. Although you would expect people to grumble about the inconvenience caused, but in Ibadan, this was not the case as everyone – both young and old, male and female, professionals and artisans began to discuss the inspiring story of General Buhari’s unrelenting vision to rule Nigeria once again.
While his campaign is all about change, what I could conclude from the onlookers in Ibadan was that Buhari also represents hope. For some minutes we were just looking and smiling at the motorcade, then one young boy with Buhari and Osinbajo’s poster began to shout Sai Buhari. People joined in echoing Sai Buhari at high decibels.
It was very beautiful, soul touching and inspiring. Even the law enforcement officers showed their love for the APC presidential candidate who has been able to garner support from the grassroots and across demography.
It is not surprising that members of other political parties whose offices were located around Iwo road looked on as Buhari drove by, some of them either forgot their political affiliation or were just in anticipation of change. They raised their hands and shouted Sai Buhari.
Okada riders were performing stunts and one Hausa guy that sells sweets and other confectioneries on a wheelbarrow was very happy and was jumping in the air.
Igbo traders around Iwo Road trouped to the middle of the road, under the bridge, those returning from work gathered to see Buhari with their own eyes and discussed how his story has become a national source of inspiration.
Something interesting also happened at Idi Ape, when the traffic warden finally asked us to start going, people were reluctant, they wanted to continue to look at the motorcade while discussing Buhari.
When I got to Monatan, I discovered Buhari was still in Ibadan around 8pm and was at the area to see the Olubadan of Ibadan. The crowd there too was amazing – even at that time of the night.
The message in Ibadan is simple, the people wants change, they want hope and they see Buhari as the medium for both.