Category Archives: Experience; Non-Fiction

Relationships; Should you talk about that Ex?

An Ex is a term of the past and really should stay there…it has no business being in the future or even the present. So why then do people feel that we should talk about that Ex to our new partner or even tell a dirty little secret that has really lost its’ fire in our lives and really makes no sense anymore, when in all honesty it MAY destroy this new fire that has built up a space in our lives? – Shioze

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Hi guys,

So I have been wondering and thinking a lot and I want to know your thoughts on these issues…

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There are times in your life when you just want to totally give in and do all the things you never really thought would be worth the try. There are those down moments in your life when you think that life should have served you a better plate. There are those times when you actually believe that for once, you maybe deserve better and even more and so you set out to it – doing the things you never thought you would do, going on that fabulous date with that one man you have always assumed would break your heart but you are now just willing to try out the spark that has refused to leave your chest and then the date turns out to be more than just a date; it turns out to be something amazing, something regular, something promising, something lasting, something that you know you DEFINITELY want, something that your gut feelings tell you is the right thing and without a doubt, you plunge yourself fully in, giving it your all.

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Then comes the deal breaker! The head tie that has housed a lot of worms begins to loosen and you see yourself in some sort of trap. In some sort of mess. That Ex you thought you had buried somewhere, out of nowhere begins to suddenly manifest itself out. That spouse of the married person you once dated begins to appear every time you go out with your boo. That one night stand you had on a crazy night out with the girls begins to rear out its’ ugly head. That dirty little secret you never shared with anyone begins to smile at you from behind and you begin to ask yourself, ‘to whom have I done any wrong?’

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You find yourself between telling your new boo about your ugly past or burying it so deep in sand that it doesn’t see the light of day. You begin to deliberate on why you should inform this new boo. Why should you let this boo know about something that doesn’t even matter anymore and will just spoil the good thing you have at the moment? Why should you even disrespect them by being honest with a bittersweet tale that has long been forgotten? Why should you even bother about letting them know? Why now? Then, you start to act weird and strange. You start to dodge your calls because that Ex won’t leave you alone and has suddenly started calling you again. Because that one-night stand has come to town and just wants to see you again. Because every gifts or strange number looks all of a sudden suspicious. You start to lose sleep. You start to lie and cover up simple nothings. You start to fuss and your new boo is worried about this your new strange behavior.

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How would you really go about telling them the truth? Is this something that you even need to tell them about? I mean, they don’t know what you did and will never know unless and until you tell them. Is it a wise decision to even tell them about it seeing that it may change the way they look at you or perceive you?

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Please dear friends, what would you rather do?

Would you rather bury that ugly past that you think is a closed chapter in your life or would you rather tell and face the consequences?

If you would tell, how will you go about telling? Is it worth it at the moment to be honest about these things that, oh well, really don’t matter?

What if the past comes to hunt you and you stand the chance of losing that boo forever, will you succumb to honesty and tell?

Really, what would you rather do?

I will love to read your thoughts on this.

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My cousin has grown without me…

Yes, you read right.

So about a week ago, it dawned on me that everything was moving and nothing was waiting on me. I mean, did I really expect ‘them’ to wait on me? Lol. I know how many of us don’t keep frequent touch with our family relations except the ones that we think really matter; like our parents, our direct siblings, our parents favorite siblings and maybe three (3) to five (5) cousins plus some nieces and nephews but I try to, even though I have tons of them because my heart is bursting from too much love for them.

My story? Well…where do I begin? I have always been a lover of anything family – from my parents, to my siblings, to my uncles and aunts, to my cousins and my nieces and nephews. I mean, I grew up around family, I breathed family, I lived family, I wore family, need I say, I did everything family.

What happened? Truth be told, I am not exactly sure if I want to share that part which is very much a long story and will mean me baring my heart out but I want to say that I did my fair share of the job – which was keeping in touch as much as I could. However, life reared one of its’ ugly head and stepped in the way.

It so happened that while I was growing up, the family brand I grew to know and love, started fading away. I lost my family relations to their different school activities, their own childhood friends and colleagues, their own spouse and family, or to their various jobs. So in as much as I tried to keep in touch with no positive feedback, I started getting exhausted.

Little did I realize that time was moving at its own pace, leaving me behind with my family worries. Recently, one of my cousins graduated from the university and when I saw the post on Instagram, I was very happy but yet sad. I was happy because it was a step to bigger things for that cousin of mine but I was sad because I realized that I did not even know this cousin of mine who had grown up without knowing me too.

This cousin of mine that I did not know had grown to be something amazing and beautiful, a source of inspiration to others, a source of joy and a role model to many younger ones. I was foremost ashamed and really hurt that we do not know ourselves as much as we should have. I don’t know why I was but I just was.

I called up my brother who ought to be closer to this cousin of mine than my very self but he was wowed and excited by the fact that our cousin had graduated [how the years had run by] and promised to call up this cousin of ours in a bid to send his warm congratulations.

I know some of you may say…’hey gurl, it’s not that serious‘ but I think it is.

Family is something worth celebrating and every special moment that they have should be something happy for every other member of the family. So be it a wedding, a baby delivery, a birthday celebration, a naming ceremony, a matriculation, a school graduation, a first class celebration, a job promotion, a special appointment, an anniversary, a home warming event, a funeral or even a memorial…family should always be present.

Now I know everyone has a different definition of who they term family and I do not disagree with your opinions, I for one would and still think that one’s direct cousins should be a part of this list. We should grow in as friends, strengthening the family bond we already share – I think this is one thing the Hausa man knows how well to do.

However, I will not end this post without properly congratulating my cousin, even though we grew apart, on the university passing out.

Congratulations darling…I know that this is another step to a greater path you have chosen and  I cannot be more grateful to God for letting you go through your University years with His grace surrounding you and His mercies. I believe that you have grown to be a strong-minded, intelligent, good and well-rounded person and I cannot but stop here to wish you extremely well in your further life endeavours. I love you, always and forever. Cheers to a new phase in your life and I pray for many more good things to come your way.

 

Lagos Hustle 5 – Rain and Traffic

The best thing one can do about the rain is to let it rain, because the nicest thing about the rain is that it stops…”

“You will never get to work on time sitting in traffic, so prepared to be annoyed. However, sitting in traffic is not bad as long as your lane moves faster than the lane beside you…”

This week has not been my best week in months so far and it is okay because of course, life goes on. So this is a rare situation of me catching a cold that I have hardly ever caught. I guess my red blood cells are asking for another nine [9] lives injection.

Anyways, this Monday, I woke up to the rain. As it is in Lagos, especially for all workers in companies, Firms and organizations, 4am is the normal time to wake up and get ready to set about the day’s activities. So when I woke up this particular Monday morning by exactly 4.04am to the rain pour, I thought ‘it would stop before 5.10am, it has been raining since about 2am‘.

I was wrong. It rained throughout that morning and into the afternoon. Myself and my friend who stayed with me had to find our way through the rain to get to our separate offices. Unfortunately for us both, we had no umbrella [Long story about how my umbrella got forgotten and later taken by the ‘Nigerian owner’ and so I have no umbrella].

I do not want to tell you the sordid detail of how we left home by 5.30am in spite of the rain after hoping that it would be mild, did not get a bus out of Badore to Ajah till about 6.35am, finally got to Ajah by 7.50am due to the heavy traffic and there was just no bus to our destination. How we waited on the BRT queue for another 30 minutes and then another 2 hours journey from Ajah to VI, before I finally got to work that Monday. I remember clearly getting to the office by 10.42am dripping wet and shaking like a 1 year old leaf!

My post is to tell you what happened to me this Wednesday and how the struggle in Nigeria and in fact Lagos, is very very real. So as usual, I woke up by 4am on the dot and prepared to leave the house before 4.40am. It was raining this particular morning as usual but I was getting used to it. My friend and I left home by 4.50am and walked under the rain to the estate gate, hoping to find a quick keke to Ajah/Ilaje to meet up with my other friend who was driving to work.

Now my other friend was coming from Thomas Estate, Ajah and we knew her chances of getting to Ajah/Ilaje before us was very high so I called and asked her to wait for 5 -7 minutes, if in any case she gets to the meeting point before us. My people, we waited at my junction for a keke to Ajah till 6.30am.

I was very scared. My heart beat was racing. I knew I was going to get late to work. It was raining on us, the roads were clogged with water, deep pot-holes and there were just too many cars coming out at the same time. I let out a deep sigh and crossed back to the other side of the road with my friend to enter a keke that was coming from the other side. That was the only means of getting a transport that was not already filled with people. By this time, my other friend had already left for work.

Admist the traffic, we got to Ajah by 7.45am and queued up to join the BRT since there was no fast hope of getting a bus by that time without having to fight with all the other frustrated Lagosians and getting dirty from muddy water. The BRT began to move by 7.55am and by 8.45am, the BRT broke down before Osapa London -Jakande. My chest began to dance the samba and tango at the same time. My head was speaking in so many tongues I couldn’t even hear. My hands began to speak gibberish to my body.

I did not know what to do. At this point, there was no bus that was half full or empty going my direction. All the buses kept screaming Ikate/Chisco. For the love of God, I begged in my heart for an Obalende or CMS buses or even a Lekki bus. None came. The BRT driver disappeared.

I could hear complaints from left, right and center. Some people did not even have the complete fare to continue their journey, so they started fighting to enter any other BRT that was coming even if it was extremely full. I was afraid to stand under the rain seeing that I was already shivering. My insides were rumbling from cold and I could not even keep warm. I decided with my friend to resort to street begging of private cars.

My people, it was not an easy something. No car owner/driver/passenger even looked our direction. They were either pressing their phones, making up, eating their breakfast, talking on the phones, jamming to their radios, talking to their next passenger, sleeping or reading papers or office documents or whatever those people reading, were reading.

I was inside the BRT trying to communicate like a lost puppy to any driver that cared to pay attention. I waved, I hissed out loud, I knocked on the BRT windows, for where!?

Not a single human being heard me or even paid attention. Not one. I began to fear for my safety. What if I was in a very bad situation that needed somebody’s attention. Just anybody. What if I was been assaulted, harassed or even in the process of being kidnapped? Nobody would have observed. I fear for what this country has done to us. We care no more about anything or anybody.

My friend sighed and came down under the rain hoping to maybe see a free bus with even one space. We were prepared to lap each other. Not a single bus.

I looked at my time, it was 9.45am. What was I going to say at the office? That there was traffic? That was nonsense! It is just like saying there is no light. Really? Who does not know that there is traffic in Lagos or that Nigeria generally does not have light? Is that an excuse to be late? Who cares? Get your self together, understand your area and come out by 2am if it means you have to, to avoid any unforeseen contingency. Just make sure you get to work at the appropriate resumption time. Some bosses may be nice during the rain and give you a 30 minutes or 1 hour grace but not all bosses would so do. In this Nigeria? When the economy is hard and everybody is trying to find a living, you now want to spoil someone else’s business with your lateness? Biko, stay your lane and they will stay on theirs…

Anyways, I had already informed my colleagues at the office that I would be late due to the happenings around me but I was still very scared. I was late on Monday and Tuesday, now I was adding Wednesday to the picture. Very hilarious. My throat was clogged with tears. I came down from the BRT into the rain and began to shiver and shake like a worm that had been poured salt. I ran back into the BRT and looked out again, this time hoping to find a good samaritan.

I noticed a black jeep and just somehow my eye caught the eye of the owner at the back making a phone call. The man just kept staring at me as I made several hand gestures in a pleading form and mouthing ‘anywhere you are going’. He just looked on, looked at his driver and then looked at me again. My friend mouthed ‘VI, Obalende‘ but the man was just looking confused as he was making his call. I was really hoping he would wind down his windows and say ‘I do not understand you’ or ‘Come in or ‘No, I am sorry’ but this man said nothing and the car zoomed off. I was highly disappointed.

I stared on and just then, my friend said “Oh look, another BRT is coming” and I said in reply “let’s go out and see if we can smuggle ourselves into it.”

So we came down, told the other lady with a baby that there was a BRT coming and that it would be nice to smuggle our way out of this terror plus her baby was getting wet under the rain and I felt bad. So the BRT came and miraculously, I saw our BRT driver who pleaded on our behalf to let us in.

I let the woman and her baby go in first, while I followed after my friend. There was no space to sit in the BRT bus so we had to stand. This was my first standing experience in a BRT so I was not sure how exactly to position myself. I kept hitting the lady in front of me and having to apologize so many times till I was finally able to figure it out. I felt so embarrassed. However, the lady was kind to me and later showed my friend and I, how to sit on the rail covering the engines close to the BRT driver, so that I did not have to stand

Phew! This post has become a rant.

Anyways, I got to my work place by 11.10am, said a quick prayer and ran up the stairs to my office room. When I got in, my colleagues were so nice to me and my boss just smiled me off and said “I heard your bus broke down, it’s okay. Just settle in and do your assigned work.”

I ran back to my desk, tried to dry myself even though the AC was on and pretend that everything was normal. Going back home that day was a night mare. Another friend of mine who I had followed on the way home had a car break down and he did not know just what to do. His mum who was in the car as well had to call in the dad to come to where we were parked to help out with the car. I got home that day by 12.17am.

I just swallowed spit and resolved that come what may, tomorrow was going to be better but Thursday and today being Friday, still turned out same. Even though I woke up by 3.50am to get out early, I still arrived work later than my 8.00am resumption time but I still believe that each day will be better than the last and I will not stop believing that.

NB: If you are living in Lagos and you understand the tactics and judgment here, you will agree with me that every individual needs to own at least if not two [2] but one [1] umbrella for this rainy season and a rubber slipper, you cannot afford to get your shoes wet and your socks for the guys. The ladies, it is not enough that you own an umbrella, add a rain shower cap to the list. The umbrella may just spoil, like mine did on Thursday. The rain blew it up and over. Thank God, I had something to cover my hair in.

As for the traffic, we all know that Lagos is no child’s play, so be an early riser and in situations like this, be prepared to rise by even 3am if it so means. If you get to work too early, catch a good amount of sleep by your corner before the time for resumption. Don’t worry, it will be better…maybe. I understand that you like your bed but hey guys, let’s make hay while the sun shines so that we can later lie on our bed as we have laid it. The evenings, I still have no prescription because I always get home late. I am even used to it, be it even by 1.20am. If you live by Badore, I am sure you will understand what I am saying.

Cheers to a good weekend guys.

PS: I have not had time to follow up on my previous post on Alpha series and I apologize for the delay. I have been busy and I promise to put up something soon.

007: The Man with The Golden Gun…

“My name is James…James Bond! – Roger Moore [1974]”

So yesterday while on twitter, I read that my favorite ‘James Bond’ character died of cancer. At first, I thought it was some sort of new movie in the Bond series, so I went straight to Sahara Reporters site and lo and behold, the man with the golden gun had truly died. I was devastated! When I told my mum about it, she screamed! I can imagine why, we loved the guy.

Roger Moore was my dad’s favorite James Bond character and my siblings and I grew to love him the same. We had a stack full of James Bond movies when I was younger. I remember my dad would buy us toy guns and nice suits and say, ‘now you can look like 007 – James Bond!’ It was such a thrill in my little days when my dad would drive in a sudden way during our travels making us yelp and he would suddenly shout ‘get ready…James Bond 007 is on the move!’ I remember how my dad would race cars on the road whilst we were travelling and my siblings and I would keep count of all the cars my dad drove faster than. We would even encourage him with constant shout of ‘daddy, go faster…the blue Benz is catching up with you! We cannot disappoint James Bond.’

My siblings and I would grab our seat belts and glasses and get ready for the worst kind of action from my dad, all in the name of playing like Roger Moore. I remember my siblings and I would dress up in suits, pour water into our guns and act like James Bond and M. We would create secret codes and behave like foolish spies, all in the name of acting as James Bond, lol.

It’s a pity I did not get to see the real Roger Moore as I claimed I would have. May God rest his soul.

So in his honor, I will tell you all the James Bond movies I watched as a kid featuring Roger Moore and maybe you could try to see them too. Though the movies were acted a long long time before I was born, my dad kept a box of these movies, so we got to enjoy them as well, when we came alive. My dad made sure we saw all the movies…well, I haven’t seen ‘SPECTRE’, the last James Bond movie by Daniel Craig, acted in 2015.

The first I saw of Roger Moore as James Bond was… ‘THE SPY WHO LOVED ME‘. I remember I used to refer to it as Russian spy because the lady spy was Russian who later fell in love with James and one of her lines that made James Bond like her after he realized that she knew him well was… “Waiter, give James some Martini, shaken not stirred.” I also remember when he drove his car underwater and came out on an Island beach and stuck out a baby fish to the onlookers. Ah!

the spy

The second one I saw was ‘THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN’. I can still remember the song from the movie and the horrible looking man with metal teeth named ‘Jaw‘. He was so tall I thought it was a joke! My dad later told me he was made like that.

the man

The third one I saw was ‘OCTOPUS‘. I browsed it out today and found out that the real name of the movie was ‘Octopussy‘. All I knew it as then was Octopus and I remember it was a lady who was very deceitful and wanted to obtain information about M16 and thought that James would get confused by her body to reveal the sensitive information which he almost did. Jamie sha ended up loving the octopussy. #smh. I wish I could do a review on each movie though but I will have to re-watch.

DI-Octopussy-9

The fourth one I saw was ‘FOR YOUR EYES ONLY‘. I remember the video CD had legs of a girl and James Bond standing in between with his gun, the legs looked so high I wondered what was happening. Most days I’d study the Video paper to understand the illustrations and how exactly legs were taller than Jamie. I am not exactly sure the plot of this movie before I mistake it with ‘THE LIVING DAYLIGHT’ or ‘DIE ANOTHER DAY‘. They all seem to have mostly the same girls so I am a bit confused. I think I need to re-watch these movies but the problem is where to buy the CD from.

for your eyes only

The fifth one I saw was ‘A VIEW TO KILL’. I loved the cars he rode in this movie and his suave attitude. I remember the ski scene and the incessant shootings. Nobody dies, yeah…I don’t even know if the song is for this movie, lol.

a view to kill

The last one I saw featuring Roger Moore as James Bond was ‘MOONRAKER’. I remember I kept on telling my dad I was going to be an astronaut after this movie. I even said I was going to be a Russian spy so that I could travel anywhere and be anybody just so I can get information for the government. The job of a spy seemed so cool, I just wanted to be a spy already but fast forward to some sixteen years later and here I am, a tiny blogger, no spy, no astronaut, no nada!

moon raker

I realized yesterday that I missed out from watching one of his James Bond series titled ‘LIVE AND LET DIE‘. I kept seeing the hashtag #LALD on twitter following his name and I was wondering what that meant. Only to browse it out and saw the movie. I was heartbroken. Yes, this is how much I feel about him.

By the way when I was much younger, I always thought Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan were the same people. I just felt that James Bond grew from Timothy, to Roger and then Pierce. I later realized sometime in life [I think I was in Junior High], that they were different people.

I also thought Sean Connery was Roger Moore’s brother because they had the same nose and they had the same poise as Bond men. So when I saw Sean Connery in ‘FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE‘ and then saw Roger Moore in ‘THE SPY WHO LOVED ME [Russian spy]’, I thought “ah why are these two brothers acting the same character in different movies? Why not just pick one and stop confusing people?”

Well, now I know better.

the man with the golden gun

ROGER MOORE

from russia

SEAN CONNERY.

At that point…they looked the same. Now they don’t. Oh well! Rest in peace Roger Moore. I will miss you.

PS: I had always thought Ian Fleming was also one of the James Bond actors. Later found out that he is actually the character creator/Novel writer of the Bond series.

Lagos Hustle 4 – Assistant Conductors

Sometimes I wish I was an Octopus, so I can slap eight people at once! Life doesn’t have any hands but it can sure give you a slap sometimes…”

So last night as I was heading home in a public transport, the conductor started requesting for his fee. As usual in Lagos, people started asking each other… “How much are you paying with? Do you have change?”

The ones paying with change handed to their seat partners their N200 note and continued with either pressing their phones, looking outside or just closing their eyes. As the conductor collected his money seat by seat, he got to a guy who handed him N150. He looked at the guy, hissed and moved on to the next person and the next. He again got to another man who handed him N100. He looked at the man for a while and said “Oga, e joor, e fun mi ni owo mi [Oga, please, give me my money].”

Ehn, gba Owo mi naa [Yes, take my money now]. Abi how much to Lekki?

Oga, e wo ni pattern eh? [Oga, which pattern is this?]. Shebi I shout Ajah straight? Ehn, which kain N100 you come dey give me, na N200. Abeg, pay me my money jare.”

The man looked distraught. “Ahn ahn… from Oniru to Lekki na N200? Oga, na N100 oo.”

The conductor hissed “Shey you no hear when I dey shout Ajah straight, Ajah? Abi you no see all those people wey I tell say na Ajah I dey stop, say I no they go Lekki, Chevron or Igbo Efon? Awon werey [mad people]. Oga pay me  my money joor, which kain Lekki?”

The man kept quiet and held his N100. The conductor continued “Oga for front, abeg my money.”

The guy stretched out his hand to hand him his N150. The conductor started shouting again, “Which kain pattern be this one? Oga, why you dey give me N150? You no see say everybody dey pay N200? Which one be your own? Abeg oo, make you no let us stain shirt for small change oo. Fun mi owo mi complete [give me my complete money].”

The guy in the front then shouted “Conductor, Na Igbo Efon I dey drop ni. Why I go give you N200?”

The conductor started laughing and shouting at the same time… “Abi una don dey see this werey people? Una wan use sense for una papa? Which kain Igbo Efon? When you dey enter, you no hear Ajah straight, N200, Ajah? Abi you no see all the people wey dey bus-stop wey bin wan go Ajah? Why you come enter? No be for your eye I tell two people say I no dey go Chevron, say na Ajah straight? Oga, pay me my N200 oo, I no dey go Igbo-Efon, any bus-stop na N200. If you no get N200, why you come enter?”

The conductor continued ranting saying “Which kain pattern be this sef? Which kain pattern? Na wa oo…” and I felt bad for him.

I mean, why are Lagosians like this? Truly, the conductor had stated very clearly that he was not stopping anywhere asides from Ajah Market and he had refused 2 ladies from entering because they had asked, “Chevron nko? Lekki nko?” and he had said “I no dey stop there, na Ajah straight.”

The 2 men were obviously looking for trouble. I mean if they wanted so bad to get home on time, they would have asked honestly and not try to claim smart or better still, pay the N200 and stop wherever or better still buy their own car. I was disgusted by their behavior plus I did not even want the bus to keep stopping up and down at several bus-stops. I just wanted them to actually drive straight. Forgive my nonchalant behavior but how many people really care about the other person in Lagos? Plus the guy going to Igbo-Efon was a big ass and I was really pissed at him. He actually told me to come down initially that there was no space for me, on a place meant for 4 people plus I am really tiny plus I was going to Ajah and he was not!

I just looked on as I continued my wishful thinking for a better life.

The conductor on the other hand did not give up his rants. He kept asking no one in particular, “Abeg, which pattern be this? You no go talk where you wan go, you go hear Ajah, you go just enter like say you no hear, you go come dey speak srinsrin when them ask you to pay. I be fool? Money wey I don calculate…who tell you say I dey go Lekki or Igbo-Efon? Ajah plenty for road, you no let them enter. Which kain pattern? Wetin dey…”

As he continued on, one man seated behind spoke up, “Oga, you don dey talk too much. I dey with you on this one but just keep quiet. When you reach Igbo-Efon and he no pay, you carry am go Ajah.”

Another one responded “No mind all these people. Oga, as e don talk say na Igbo-Efon he dey go, just reason with am. E don enter, e don enter! Wetin we wan come do? The man wey dey go Lekki, you no see as him quiet? Reason with am, e fit be say e no get extra money unto say e don calculate how much e wan spend for road.”

The conductor calmed down and replied “Oga no be say I no go reason with them but na say that guy wey dey front dey carry shoulder like say na him get sense pass everybody wey dey here. Them dey do like say dem no hear Ajah straight.”

The second man then suggested to the Lekki man to beg the conductor and pay what he has. The Lekki man quietly begged the conductor and the conductor collected the N100. The conductor ignored the Igbo-Efon guy and started counting his money. The other two men joined him in calculating the fees as they counted heads in the bus and rounded up the supposed sum. The conductor did not get the accurate amount, so he said “E be like say one person never pay oo.”

I rolled my eyes and wondered who else the one person would be if not the Igbo-Efon guy. To make matters worse, the two men started telling stories of how people entered a bus and refused/neglected to pay the bus fare. They kept accusing ‘one person’ in the bus who was yet to pay and is keeping quiet. In my mind, I was like… “So you people do not even know that this Igbo-Efon guy has not paid ni? All these assistant conductors making unnecessary noise.”

The first guy then started “You will be surprised to see that the person who has not paid is a Christian. No Muslim will behave like this and refuse to pay their bus fare. I was in a BRT one day and there was a woman seated beside me. She was obviously a christian. I noticed she was holding her money and pressing her phone as well. She did not hand it over, she just held it and pretended not to hear when the conductor was collecting his fare. After a while, the conductor realized that his money was not complete and started saying, somebody has not paid oo…who neva pay? The woman just ignored the question and continued tapping on her phone like no man’s business. I just kept wondering why she was ignoring the man’s plea. After a while, I said ‘Conductor, you never collect her money oo’ as I pointed at her and she goes ‘Oh, sorry I forgot.’ I was weak that day. How can she say she forgot? Money that she was holding in pretense not to pay? Nigerians ehn, we keep doing ourselves. These little money we hold away, it’s thievery and we lose more the next day without realizing it.”

The second guy responded “Oga, my own self dey. One day I enter bus going to CMS and everybody pay. The guy wey siddon beside me just dey make phone call, e no know say I know say na fake call. Him just dey make call dey distract the conductor sortey Him no pay. The conductor sef no notice but my mind dey do me jim jim. I no fit just swallow spit look when I know say person neva pay. God go judge me and my conscience no go rest. As I reach TBS wey I for come down, I just tell the conductor ‘Oga, this man never pay oo’ and I come down. Make the man come beat me for my house. Ahn ahn, and them go they shout government na thief but them, they no dey see the small small ones wey dem dey do.” 

The conductor started asking, “Abeg oo, who never pay?”

I was tempted to say “Oga, you no know say na this Igbo-Efon guy remain? Why you dey disturb us?” but I just kept my cool.

Later on, after the Lekki man had alighted at his stop, the two ‘assistant conductors’ informed the conductor to make a decision and collect the Igbo-Efon guy’s money so that he doesn’t loose out entirely. The Igbo-Efon guy grudgingly gave out his N150 without so much as an apology and alighted with a frown. The conductor just ignored his looks and asked the driver to move on.

I was very delighted when we finally got to Ajah. The journey had been a long one and the Lagos hustle was still real.

PS: If you just stumbled on my post for the first time, you can find other baby series in the ‘Lagos Hustle’ corner at Lagos Hustle 1 , Lagos Hustle 2 [Suicide mission] and Lagos Hustle 3 – Forgetfulness . Enjoy!

Lagos Hustle 3 – Forgetfulness

So then, it does not depend on human desire, nor of human effort but of God who shows mercy – Romans 9: 16″

This life is all just but a fallacy.

So last week, the Practice manager and myself had been discussing about how much I spent on the road and what would have happened if I had to beg. I remember myself clearly saying “my God will not allow such”, to which she replied “You think all those people that find themselves begging on the road want that? It can happen to anybody, even inside a bus.”

I could not understand why somebody who was able-bodied would have any reason to beg inside a bus. She then proceeded to tell me the story of her friend who was going to work from Lekki to Obalende. Her friend had been dropped off by a neighbor at the bus park. She boarded a moving bus towards her destination and half-way through the journey, the conductor started demanding his payment. Her friend having ransacked her entire bag found out that she forgot her wallet at home. Just then, she began to fidget, shake and tremble [I know my expressions mean same, leave me].

The impatient Lagos conductor started screaming, “Madam, abeg pay me my money naa. E da mi lohun oo, me I no get change”. 

She looked at the conductor with teary eyes and begged him to stop her but the impatient conductor started screaming,

Abeg madam pay me jhoor, after we don reach half way, you come dey say you no get money. All this weyrey people…” and he continued ranting and raining abuses on her.

Luckily for her, a man inside the bus agreed to pay for her after realizing that they were heading the same direction but she declined still crying and sobbing uncontrollably. To her, she had been embarrassed in the most ugly manner possible and she needed some fresh air. After all begging and pleading, the bus stopped and she got down still crying. Just because God is amazing, her friend happened to drive by and saw her crying as if she had been robbed [don’t forget, it was early in the morning at about 5.40am].

He stopped and reversed to where she was standing still crying profusely. After she had explained what happened, he could not help but laugh and offered to take her to the office. She protested saying she needed to get back home to pick her wallet so that she could have enough money for lunch and her journey back home after work. He refused to take her back asking her to be reasonable and gave her some money before dropping her at the office. As I heard, she cried at the office all day claiming she had been ridiculed and embarrassed by a mere conductor just because she looked like she was begging.

I clearly remember laughing at the story thinking how ridiculous it sounded to have to forget your wallet at home when you were about to hit the road in a public transport and the Practice manager told me, “don’t ever pray to be in such situation where you are torn between what to do and the only choice you have is to beg the next passenger” and I had rolled my eyes at that statement because I was a very careful person and never did I ever leave a place without my wallet or enough cash in my pocket to render me helpless that I had to beg. #Scoffs

You know the saying that goes…this life works in mysterious ways and you don’t know just what it has in store for you? Well, yes, something similar happened to me.

So I was just returning from my friend’s house and I was heading home. They had dropped me off at Lekki Phase 1 so that I could board a bus going home. After I said my goodbyes and I’ll miss you’s, I stood a while and waited for a moving bus. In few minutes, I got on the bus and sat still looking out the window, hoping to get home on time and catch some healthy dose of sleep before Monday shenenigans. After a while, I heard the familiar “Your money?”

I dug my hands into my bag and searched for my wallet, eyes still upfront. When my hands could not feel the presence of my wallet, I opened my bag fully and looked in. Side by side, corner by corner, alas, my wallet was nowhere to be found. I heard my heart jump a bit and let myself laugh just a little before I looked into my bag again. Still, no wallet!

Hian, Jesu christi! Did I forget my wallet? When last did I see my wallet? Yes, I was holding it when my friends and I went to church. Yes, I held it when I was talking to Zika and Kachi. Yes, I had given Oliver some change to buy coke. Of course, I had taken out Monica’s business card to give Oliver so he could call Monica and wish her a happy mother’s day. Yes, I was holding it when Ezinne was talking to me on the bed and eating fresh fish soup. No, I did not hold it when I was in the car, it should have been in my bag…this were the entire thoughts going on in my head.

I retraced my thoughts and realized I had forgotten my dear wallet under the pillow on the bed I was on before I left the house. This is a tragedy, I thought. Before, I could think of even losing hope or having to cry like some baby, I quietly took my phone and dialed my friend’s number. He picked on the second ring, “Hello Oliver, Please ehn, come and pick me up at New road. I forgot my wallet. Save me any shame and just turn around. Thank you” to which he quickly responded “Okay“.

I looked at the guy seated next to me, he looked reasonable and I was sure he already knew my predicament. So I did what I had never ever done before in a bus, I begged. “Please dear, can you pay for me, I’ll pay you when my friends come. I’ll come down where you are coming down.”

He looked at me and said strangely, “are you sure you will not just go to Ajah? I’ll pay.” I was too embarrassed to allow that so I quickly responded with a no. The conductor looked at us both and looked the other way again, what was his business, as long as his money was complete, no yawa!

I came down and waited earnestly for my friends after the guy had left me. I was so shaken and I thought, what would I have done if my friends were not just around the corner or if I had no airtime on my phone? My goodness!

About 15 minutes later, my friends drove by and stopped. As I got in the car, they all looked at me with pity and started laughing. I rolled my eyes and begged them to give me money to go home since they did not want to deal with Ajah traffic. My friends suggested we call Preye to verify that my wallet was actually in the house. So we called, she confirmed that it was exactly under the pillow and after she had called me stupid, we ended the call, I got some money, alighted at the nearest bus-stop, took a bus and went home sober.

This life is just a pot of beans but no matter how “beansie” it gets, I know that Jesus got me.

Lagos Hustle 1

In the end, the moral strength of any community will be measured by how we have treated our most vulnerable citizens, not by how we ourselves have fared…”

“Baboon wey no work to plant banana, go still chop free banana…” -‘Shioze

It is amazing how many things we assume and end up believing ought to be true without first stopping to probe for sure. In the country where we live in, Nigeria to be precise, it is not enough pride saying I live in the city of commercial wealth, precisely Lagos, without showing that you actually do have a job, a place to live in, enough cash in your pocket, and maybe a car to drive you round and about.

To say that you live in Lagos with a smile dashing about your teeth will mean to every other person that you have the means of survival and the strength of a hustler. It is painstakingly sad that about half of the population of the inhabitants of Lagos are hustling not for themselves but for others in privileged positions. This is the situation where you have small gods amongst gods…if you understand what I mean.

Now, my small rant all boils down to the amazing relationship between keke drivers and the small gods that they serve daily. These small gods prefer to be termed ‘Agbero/Omo-nile/touts/Area-boys’. I am sure you have most-times heard of them.

So I was going out one sunny afternoon and I jumped on the next free keke I found. As usual, we got towards Ajah market and one small man moved to the keke, pulled up a blue marker, proceeded to scribble some rubbish in front of the keke’s windscreen and said bluntly,

“Owo da?”

I looked at the hungry looking man and wondered what the money he was collecting was for. As usual, I assumed it was keke road levy to which the keke driver pulled out a #200 note, without complaint and handed the guy, who walked away peacefully.

Just a few drive ahead and another unscrupulous old man walked up to our keke, pulled out a red marker this time and scribbled some funny rubbish on the keke windscreen and looked at the keke driver smiling without a word. The keke driver, of course smiled back, and handed him a #100 note, still without complaint.

I again, assumed it was some sort of road levy for keke since it looked like a mutual consent of giving and receiving. We had not driven too far off as the keke criss-crossed towards the parking lane, when the same keke was accosted by two different funny looking Agbero’s shouting,

Ahn ahn…kilode? Owo e da? Ma fun mi #1000 oo, mi o ni shangii [change] oo”

Owo kini?” the keke driver requested “Mo ti fun baba agbalagba olowo naa”

Ma so rubbish oo, owo e da jare?”

The keke driver fumbled some words of cuss and complaint of how he had paid before and how they gave him one paper. The other dirty looking man replied saying he did not pay them, put his hands on the tricycle’s key proceeding to remove it before the keke driver opened his slosh-money hole handing them #1000 note saying,

Mi o ni change oo, e fun mi ni change e joor.”

The ugly  funny men fumbled between themselves and handed the keke driver some scrappy dirty notes consisting of #500, #200 and a #100 and walked to the next keke. At this point, I felt obliged to ask the throbbing question…

Oga, why you dey give all of them money like that? Na by force to pay?”

“Madam, na so we dey see am everyday oo. If you no pay them, na wahala be that oo”

“Ahn ahn, which kain yeye wahala?” I continued probing “If person no pay, them go beat am or collect him keke?”

“No, but they go worry you taya and they no go let you carry passenger. They fit even cease your key join.”

I looked at him in amazement as I listened. The elderly man seated beside me spoke up

“So somebody will work tirelessly only to give out his profits to some jobless set of people. There is nothing we won’t see in Nigeria. I mean, I can just go and buy marker and join the jobless wagon, abi no be so?”

He finished, looking outside in a bid to come down from the keke and trek the remaining distance.

I looked at the keke man and asked again

“So how much do you pay in total?”

Ha, e plenty oo. We dey pay #2,400 everyday.”

“Ehn? #2,400 everyday? For what now?” I asked angrily as the other woman hissed and said “Oloriburuku ni omo rada rada, #2,400 se kini?”

Una no go understand at all. Na so we dey see am. You no dey see say keke no dey gree come Ajah? The money wey we dey pay too much. I f we increas price, una go shout…wetin we wan do now?”

I could not possibly understand why each keke that passed Ajah market had to pay #2,400 to the rubbish set of touts who just drink, smoke and eat dried fish all day and maybe buy a blue/red marker every week. I mean, these keke drivers have a family to fend for, some even have kids, some have to pay school fees, they still need to buy fuel everyday, they still need to remit money of weekly earnings to their boss who owns the keke [they may be lucky if they own it themselves] but then they also have to provide money for monthly checks and maintenance plus they have to feed themselves and pay rent and so many other thing that money demands.

So how does a cut of #2,400 out of the little money of about #5,700 to #6,400 they make daily help their situation? I questioned further [thanks to the traffic jam, I was able to stall] on how come the money they paid the touts amounted to #2,400 every day and the keke man gladly explained.

He told me that in the morning, they pay a total of #700 to some set of touts who claim that the land they keep passing is their father’s land. So when they come to Ajah as early as 5.00am-7.30am to drop the early risers in a bid to avoid the morning Lagos traffic, they have to settle 3 sets of touts by paying #100, #200 and #200 respectively; then they give the policemen standing on patrol #200.

I gasped! So policemen were also involved in the free-money-collection game and these touts already come out by 5.00am? Amazing!.

Then in the afternoon, they pay a fee of #900 to another set of touts who come out only in the afternoons. The #900 they pay in batches as well and if they are unlucky to drive by again and see a strange face that they did not see earlier when they had paid, they have to pay another #100 or #200 depending on the tout’s demand. If they refuse, the tout will also refuse them to drive away or just yank away something vital from the keke, thereby leading to extra costs. What do you have left to do asides from being ‘penny wise, pound foolish’?

In the evenings, they then pay #800 and this includes policemen levy as well.

I could vividly remember one evening when I was in a keke and there was this hold-up, only to discover later when we got forward that a certain baba was accosting keke drivers and holding them to ransom if they did not pay the compulsory #200. This certain baba was collecting the said money for the policemen on patrol.

How did I know this?

When the keke I was in had successfully passed the baba [after payment of course], we were stopped again by the policemen just ahead. I had thought it was some sort of regulatory control for traffic, only for one of the policemen to shout across to the baba saying’

Baba Ado, shey oti gba owo’ eleyi?”

“Ehn, mo ti gba awon keke. E je ko lo.”

Eh! I did not just believe my ears. The police too? Just beautiful! The lady and the man seated with me just kept on complaining about the police and their continuous form of corruption and the keke man laughed. In his mind, hustle must still continue, no giving up.

We keep saying we need change, but how does that happen if we all don’t join together to create this change? I realize that everyone has his or her own struggle and only when you wear the shoe, do you realize how much it has been hurting the next person before you.

It’s not enough to complain and assume, it is for us to ask ourselves, if I were in the position of the keke driver, what would I do different than hike prices?

If I were the touts, what would I do different to stop keke bullying?

If i were the policeman on patrol, what would I do different for the keke drivers and the way-laying jobless touts?

If we succeed in answering these questions truthfully, we may realize just how far we are not from being different.

What are your thoughts? Please kindly use the comment section down below, it will be very much appreciated.