Thursday, 17 August 2017

Unwritten Rules - Chapter 9

Bright Okopi walked through the streets of Ajegunle passing by the fish market on the way home. He could still remember how his mother used to sell fish to make ends meet. The smell of fish might be disgusting to others but to him, the fish smell reminded him of 'mama love' and the sacrifices his mother made to send him to school. She was the real hero in his life. He was dressed in a white shirt and a pair of black trousers. He saw how the little children who hawked food stuff on the street looked at him as if they wanted to be like him when they grew up one day if possible.

The really bad spot was at the bridge that connected Water side to Boundary-Ajegunle was worse, it was filled with all sorts of beggars and people in dire situations who were literally begging to survive. Anytime he passed the bridge he literally gave thanks to God that he and his family had the 2 bedroom house in Ajegunle where they managed to lay their head every day. He had this dream that one day he would move to Surulere and move his mother to Surulere also so they could be that much more comfortable.

He chuckled to himself. While everyone in Lagos had the perception that Lekki/Ajah was the best place to live in Lagos, the rains this year had messed up the roads, everywhere was flooded especially the Lekki environs. There was this rumor that one of the expatriates in Lagos went on his kayak instead of taking a car because any car would literally get damaged with the kind of water that entered people's houses. He moved into his well-used home and greeted his mother "Migwo"
as he entered the house with bold strides.

As he lay down to sleep his mother came to where he lay and said, "My pikin, you never chop?". He nodded that he was okay but his mom insisted on serving him starch and Banga before going to bed. "My pikin, God go bless you for the thing wey you dey do".

He began eating the starch and banga with his hands and after he had eaten, he returned his plate to the corner and then retreated to the corner where his three siblings lay sleeping. He said a short prayer of thanksgiving and then laid his head to sleep.

He made a mental note to speak with his pastor. He wanted to plot an escape from poverty for his family and for that he needed the help of someone who had successfully walked that path without skeletons in his cupboard, at least that was what he imagined Christianity was. The right life, the life of Christ in your everyday life, Sunday and Wednesdays were simply to train you to fellowship with God and receive the information you needed to follow his blueprint. He spoke with his pastor often and that was the general information he gathered from the hours of talk and mentoring. 

"Oghene Doh". He muttered as he fell into a soundless sleep. Saturday was coming and he had it all planned out.


Gbolahan Dada wore a flowing suit and was seated watching Alhaji Danladi speaking with other Hausa men, laughing and gesticulating in Hausa. He waited for the man to acknowledge him and the reason for their meeting. They were seating in the foyer of the Transcorp Hilton in Maitaima. The retinue he had come with had made the 30 minutes journey by plane from Kano while he had made the 45 minute journey from Lagos to meet with Alhaji and finalise the plans. 

He neither judged the men nor held them accountable for their traditions or customs that allowed them carry out all sorts of atrocities. But since they didn't see them that way he must remain silent. Nigeria was a very fragile flower who if touched would wither and die because as you moved across the globe with the Nigerian map on it, from state to state, traditions, culture and way of life changed, many abominable things had been stopped but there was still more to be changed if any was bold enough to champion the cause.

He saw his childhood friend Mahmoud stretch his body in the Dashiki he wore along with the slippers Damanga he wore on his head, the typical regalia of the wealthy Hausa/Fulani man. Mahmoud laughed including him in the conversation.

"My friend Gbolahan and I used to be at the University together in America...he's very intelligent" he laughed as he explained to Alhaji what he meant.

"Yes, Mahmoud and I came out tops in our class, our professor commended us saying that he didn't realize that black people were very smart"

"Apart from being patronized, we got the quality education that our parents paid for, then it is our duty to build our country with what we have learned"

All the men burst our laughing at that. Gbolahan was half laughing because what Mahmoud had said was true but whether that promise would be executed was a very different matter.

They talked and laughed for two hours later before the Alhaji Danladi appended his signature to yet another contract that Gbolahan and Mahmoud would execute together.


Two women was walking down a hallway or more appropriately, a woman in her thirties was leading a five year old down a hallway. They shuffled along together the five year old unaware of the place where she was being taken to.

She licked a red lollipop soundly as she walked with the woman who was dressed shabbily as was the five year old girl. It was obvious that they were very poor and it would be difficult to get out of poverty because they obviously didn't have any education.

As they moved closer to the door, the woman in her thirties began crying, she was crying and questioning her actions and the motivation for her actions. She wanted to stop but it seemed as if she had no choice.

As she got to the door, a white man opened the door and gestured for the young lady to come in, but no, not the young lady but the five year old. The man put a wad of notes in the hands of the thirty something year old and then took the hand of the five year old and closed the door.

The woman put the wad of notes into her shirt and began to retreat slowly from the place where she had deposited her package. She was neither happy nor sad. She was non existent, but even the none existent still had to eat.


Ada sat in her room, in front of the mirror simply looking at her reflection. She was everything any warm blooded man would desire even though she was in her forties, and had the accomplishments a man in his fifties would be satisfied to be making.

She was satisfied with her life. She was a very successful woman also married to a very successful man with children schooling abroad and yet something was eating at her insides, the satisfaction she craved was nowhere to be found. Even her accomplishment and success gave her no satisfaction. She was in church twice a week when she was in town, yet she recognized the gaping invisible hole in her chest from which her life force seemed to drain out. All the joy in her soul had long since drained out and she had no idea what to do to make it better.

Being a woman in a high position, having a close friend who knew everything in her life was equal to having someone who could make and break her.

She came downstairs for a drink of tea. If she consumed alchohol everyday like some people who lacked control, she would understand what the emptiness was.

She gulped down the tea and dialed the number of her close friend.

"Cara, I am bored, can you come over"

Cara picked up the phone on the other said, "Ada, it's midnight, why do you want me to come over, how..."

"I don't know why, I just know that my memories are driving me crazy and hubby is enroute Canada to see our youngest, his phones are switched off and I just needed to talk to someone"

Cara opened her eyes wider and cleared her eyes, she had been in prayer for Ada for almost 4 years, praying for her heart to thaw towards the Lord.

"So what do you want to talk about?" asked Cara gently.

"Anything" Ada muttered "Would you pray with me so I can go to sleep"

"I will. There is nothing to fear. In Jesus name..."

Meaning of words:

My pikin: Pidgin for my child
Dashiki: a loose brightly coloured shirt or tunic, originally from West Africa.
Damanga: Hausa cap

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