Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Unwritten Rules: Chapter 2

"Gbolahan, its good being with you, my friend", murmured Alhaji, in his soft spoken Hausa accented English. 
No one could rival Alhaji Musa in hospitality, his integrity was second to none when it came to business matters. Alhaji Musa had flown into Port Harcourt accompanied by Gbolahan in his private jet They sat down and discussed while the daughter of the president was busy sitting with her newly wedded husband, smiling happily for all to see.
Three musicians had been hired to play at her wedding; Flavor, Banky W and on other musician. He held his 24 carat gold customized iPhones and smiled at the no expense spared gifts distribution galore. He made a mental note to present the gift to his adorable wife as soon as he returned from his trip. As he kept his package, he silently mused on what he would give his 14 year old daughter Toke from the list of gifts. She had called, screaming blue murder that he hadn't allowed her to attend such a prestigious event with him, and perhaps meet some eligible bachelors. He laughed at that but made a mental note not to take her to any events like this till she was 21. 

"Great event, ba" laughed Alhaji with some other business men.

Gbolahan Dada followed his cue and laughed aloud also. His eyes followed Alhaji's eyes all over the room.

Alhaji turned to him, "After the wedding there's an after party with a few of Mr. President's close friends" he whispered. "We are invited. That's where I will make the introductions"

"Okay Alhaji" Gbolahan spoke discreetly

"Till then we enjoy this sophisticated wedding and think of the time we will soon have to throw weddings for our daughters, no?"

"Certainly" Gbolahan smiled, happy at the way everything was going.

Bright Okopi laughed out loud as he moved the groundnut seeds around the sparse Ijebu garri in his metal white and brown plate that was popular in the 60s. He was sitting in a seedy apartment with one of his friends in the backwaters of Ebute Metta. 

The ice water voice of Lanre Ogunlana could be heard as he described crudely how he slept with one of his latest girlfriends with the five guys surrounding him.
Bright just quietly looked and kept eating his groundnuts. His mind kept ruminating on his pastors word. 

"You are made in the image and likeness of God, you are made to rule this earth". 

He kept thinking of it over and over again as Lanre kept on with another one of his escapades. He laughed to himself as he recalled his pastor counseling him, that such young men as Lanre would amount to nothing worth much because God has created sex to be used in the context of marriage.

"Wetin dey make this one laugh?" Lanre interrupted his reverie.

Bright Okopi just poured a bottle of 50cl healthmax water in his drying garri "Nothing, my brother. Just thinking about my life"

"You should now, I no dey see any girl around you, hunger no dey draw lagos girl..."

"So as you see me so, na hunger you dey see..." Okopi exploded angry. "Na because you no get vision now"

"Me I no get vision?" Lanre springs up in a yoruba man's stance to fight. 

Bright remains on the floor, "All those women wey you dey carry don block your vision" he laughs coolly.

You don see those 'Ojuju' movie reviews, your wowo resemble the one of that actor wey him girlfriend get belle" Lanre is being vindictive.

"Yes, you're very ugly and just as poor, na Ajegunle they dey live sef, you sef, na ajegunle you dey live".

"I hear you" Bright says smiling. "I may live in Ajegunle but I'm rich. I have access to the greatest resource owner on earth"

"Wale, this your boy dey craze! See hin shoe and hin trouser, as e dey and he dey talk say e rich"

"No mind am, hin don join those people wey dey carry Jesus for head"

Lanre collapses in laughter. I think say you don tire for poverty. "Why you just dey tie your head inside wahala?"

Bright resumes the drinking of his garri. He's still upset but at least, he was able to say he was rich. His pastor says 'You will have what you say" well baba God, I don dey talk am, what next?'

Somewhere inside him he felt at peace, the turmoil he had been feeling over his life just kept dissolving. If it was just the peace, following Jesus was worth it. His pastor though, said wealth was one of the blessings he needed to enter into.


Tanya rubbed her eyes in front of a computer screen, trying to sleep but finding none. As usual she declined opportunities to go out for a meal. The life of an entrepreneur didn't have much free time. She went through the news online and the info she kept getting about the 234 girls missing was distressing. Was BH being funny? Nigeria's zip code was 234, the number of girls kidnapped from the terrorist occupied state Bauchi was also 234. She laughed out loud at what Nigeria was doing about it. Nothing!

This country needed her. Christabel her best friend, had started a school where they taught JAMB and SSCE students how to pass their exams. She just opened two new branches and was out looking for managers who could manage the students and teachers. Trustworthy people were difficult to find, recruitment was always a headache because when you hired the wrong person, it meant that your monies would be embezzled.

A call came in on her Blackberry. She slipped her earphone in her ear and responded.

"Christabel, you no dey sleep"

She listened in rapt attention for some minutes.

"Hmmm, I think I will have to attend to that in the morning.......yeah, I need to be in school" she laughs, then jokes "How is your husband? My cousin who doesn't remember the one who gave him a wife".

She listens again, then "Okay, I'll have dinner with you tomorrow night and no, it should not be an excuse to arrange a blind date for me" 

"Take care of the twins and goodnight"


Saturday, 26 April 2014

Unwritten Rules: Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Tanya Whitehall walked up the stairs of the science faculty of the University of Lagos. As she walked upstairs, she greeted each lecturer she saw. The particular lecturer she was looking for, prof Adedeji, told her he was in his office when she called an hour earlier. He was to be her project supervisor for the 9 month PGD programme she was running. She was clad in an orange-white flowery top and black pants with flat shoes.

"Good morning, ma" she greeted the light skinned faculty office secretary. 

She had some wrinkle lines at the edges of her eyes and her mouth. You could call her attractive, in a manner of speaking.

"Good morning my dear" she answered the greeting but didn't make eye contact.

Tanya continued. She wasn't taken aback, because it was standard protocol in the reality of Unilag. The students weren't important unless there was some form of exchange going on. Schooling in a Yoruba speaking state, that exchange would be called 'egunje'. 

It oiled the wheels of progress when you couldn't summon the time and persistent you would have to commit so that the regular office duties would be done. Her friend doing a masters in another department actually commended Science Faculty for being better than other department. She just snorted in her head at that.

"Ma, I am looking for prof Adedeji..."

"You have to call him" she looked at her for the first time from horn rimmed glasses. "He rushed out of here 30 minutes ago to meet up with another appointment".

"Ok ma" she answered and turned around. 

In Unilag, it was customary to wait for hours on end for lecturers. If you didn't wait, you were termed unserious. 

"Can I wait here for him?"

She snorted in response. Tanya took that as a yes. She sat down and brought out her blackberry phone to update her twitter status with 'a long wait ahead of me' then started browsing through Facebook. When her phone started hanging, she dropped it and began day-dreaming about the Nokia XI with amazing camera properties, that wouldn't hang and had the BBM advantage.
She adjusted her feet, crossed and uncrossed her legs, then adjusted till she was comfortable enough for the long wait.


Bright Okopi was one of those guys from the south-south with barely there dreams. The only important thing about the dream was that it still got him up at 5am, up and about and hustling. He graduated from the university 3 years ago and was yet to get a stable job. Being an engineer should mean something, least that is what he believed when he wrote JAMB 5 times before finally being admitted into UNIBEN to study engineering. He was the envy of many, all through school because he always aced his courses. And when he couldn't, because of some really terrible lecturers, being a class rep worked wonders for him. He finished with a 2 1'.

Where was the envy now? 

He was coming back from another failed interview. Just remaining the disdainful look on the face of the HR told him he hadn't made it into that engineering firm. Too many creme boys with letter from mommy/daddy/uncle. He almost cursed his parents for being poor. Only the memory of his pastor telling how important the law of honour was stopped him. 

"I no wan add curse to the one wey I already dey" 

He muttered under his breathe as he adjusted and grimaced, all kinds of smells reaching his nose from the people and his environment in the rickety bus headed for Ajegunle. He lived at No. 14 Gbegiri street Ajegunle with his parents, two siblings and two cousins. They were 'managing'. 

He hated the word 'managing' but his circumstances and looks and environment spoke of deep poverty. The people were ugly inside and out and dressed it, looked it, embraced it. They even insulted themselves early in the morning at 6am, at noon, at 6pm and at midnight. 

They probably saw nothing wrong with poverty. His pastor said, 'to conquer poverty, you must hate poverty, not the people but the thinking'. 

Poverty is a thinking!

By the word you must rise out of it. He heard the pastor's voice in his head.

He had only been attending the church for 6 months but having a mentor who believed in him was refreshing. He heard his pastor's voice in his head say, 'Christ has redeemed you from the curse of the law, don't let your environment defeat you. Speak God's mind, say 'I am rich'.

He didn't know how much he believed his pastor or if he believed him at all. He knew that if he made a mistake of screaming 'I am rich', all the contrary people around him would laugh till they cried because their environment was screaming poverty, just not with words. 

He wanted to but he couldn't, not yet.

He bowed his head down and muttered "I am rich". A dark skinned lady with bright purple eye shadow and bright red lipstick asked him, "what did you say?" 

He turned and looked out the window saying nothing. The streets of Lagos passed before his unseeing eyes.


Mr Gbolahan Dada sat at his table, reading through 2.0 lenses at the paperwork on his desk. He dropped into the office and would be leaving in another 3 hours. He needed to sign some papers before leaving for Abuja on the 2pm flight. His driver informed him that they would have to leave for 10.30 if they wanted to make the flight. He glanced through, signed the papers and called his p.a to tidy up his desk.

As he walked to his champagne coloured Range Rover Sport. He climbed in and made two calls, one to his wife and the second to his mistress. 

He didn't call mama much these days, his eyes never could meet hers. Her eyes could read deep into his soul. Even though she never spoke a word, he felt judged by those piercing clear sincere eyes. 

In the world he now lived in, sincerity was a liability and not an asset.

He shrugged off the bothersome thoughts and comforted himself with the words. 'Everyone is doing worse these days'. 

He remembered Alhaji Sambo who he did business with, the man just took a fourth wife, a 12 year old. No one as much as batted an eyelid when they saw it. They assuaged their consciences with the lie that 'his customs allow it, let's live and let live'. 

He wished for simpler days when all he had to worry about was if he remembered to spend time with His God?

He shrugged and caught some shut-eye before the next meeting to fulfill his goal of success. He stretched out his white 'dashiki' clad body and stretched to catch some sleep in the popular Lagos traffic. Bako would wake him up as soon as he got to the VIP lounge of the Lagos airport.