Below is a sample of responses to my March 2, 2013 article with the above title. I want to add that I erred when I said Mrs. Cecilia Erinne retired as Assistant Director from the Niger State Ministry of Education. She actually retired as a Director, that is, one step away from Permanent Secretary, the highest attainable rank in the civil service. She was also only the acting principal of Borgu Secondary School but the substantive principal of the Army Day Secondary School, also in New Bussa.
Her husband, Mr. Edwin Erinne, retired from the federal civil service as Deputy Director, not Assistant Director as I said in my piece. He was Commissioner for Agriculture during Chris Ngige’s brief tenure as governor of Anambra State. It was his appointment that made them leave New Bussa for Enugu.
Great piece! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Is it just me or does anyone else see a 'love story' in this? I read it, sent it to a few friends and had a discussion about how many Nigerians would be willing to pack up and follow their spouse to live in a rural area for an indeterminate period. Mrs. Erinne is a star.
Adaiyibo Kio, The Hague
I enjoyed the story. It is touching. It is a sacrifice for her to come down to Niger State to be with her husband. New Bussa is a quiet town.
Tanko Dada, Abuja
Compelling piece! Brings out some of the little sacrifices that our people need to make to contribute to the development of the nation. For me Mrs Erinne is an unsung hero.
Terkula Igidi, Abuja
I am so touched by this story. I wish we could have more couples like them, but Nigeria today does not encourage such sacrifice. Most Nigerians who go outside the country are not keen on coming back because there is more hope overseas than in our fatherland. I think Mrs Erinne deserves this recognition.
Aisha Nana Mohammed, Minna
This couple deserves the Nigeria National Awards. They are indeed our unsung heroes.
Aminu Isa, Lokoja
Bravo Mrs Erinne. I was your student at BSS in New Bussa between 1989 and 1991.This piece is good but cannot adequately describe your excellent selflessness to the community which you serve and all of us you did touch with your coming to Nigeria. I wish you and your family well.
Anonymous comment on my blog
I was a student of Mrs Erinne in the early 1980s. You haven’t even scratched the surface of this woman’s benevolence. She made mathematics a fun subject to learn. I always looked forward to her class. I owe a huge debt to her for what I am today. May God bless her and her husband for whose sake she came to help us in Borgu. She is really a blessing not only to the people of Borgu but to the whole Nigeria because, New Bussa being a “federal town,” she touched the lives of Nigerians from all regions.
Mohammed Abdullahi, Minna
Nice one. I want you to know that some people are so proud to know her and that includes the family of Dr and Mrs M.O Ibeun. I hope the younger generation of women will learn from her.
It is quite complicated. I recently went to watch the Quentin Tarantino movie, “Django Unchained” with some Nigerian friends and I was particularly discomfited by the repeated and unrelenting use of the N word throughout the movie. When I voiced it out, I was surprised by the response of my friends that they don't really find the N word to be insulting. They claimed that nigger referred to African Americans and a Nigerian should not feel anything if he were to be called such. I was lost for words and could not stop thinking about their response. Do black Africans feel they are better than American blacks? Should black Africans turn a deaf ear if the N word was used and not feel that it referred to them? When white people use the N word do they really care if one was an African black or American born?
Social correctness seems to have prevented you from commenting on her greatest virtue: patience.
Abdulrahman Muhammad, Maiduguri
Pardon for Criminality
There is a strange convergence between calls for amnesty for Boko Haram mass murderers and the presidential state pardon for D. S. P. Alamieyeseigha, the former Bayelsa State governor whose criminal heist of his state’s resources sent thousands of his own people to their early graves.
It appears that the best way to get the attention of people in authority in Nigeria is to commit crime in extreme excess. Murder one or two people and you will be sent to jail. Kill and main thousands and even the Sultan of Sokoto, the custodian of Muslim heritage in Nigeria, will advocate amnesty for you. Steal a cellphone or such other trivial object and a judge will send you to jail for years on end—if you’re lucky to survive the “justice” of the urban mob. But steal billions and you will get a light sentence from the judge—and a state pardon from the president to boot.
This is what we are teaching our kids: If you want to be a murder, don’t kill just few people; murder people in their thousands and the government will beg you for negotiation. Even leaders whose religion teaches that murder is a sin will beg forgiveness on your behalf. And if you want to be a thief, steal big. The judicial system will ask you to return only a fraction of what you stole—if you get caught, that is,—and you that would be it. Best of all, you will get a presidential pardon that will wipe off all your sins so you can start your criminality anew!