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The Nigerians (Episode 2)

Abass woke with a dreadful headache. Last night had been a madhouse.

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Abass woke with a dreadful headache. Last night had been a madhouse. He had noticed for some months that earnings from tax levied on Okada drivers had been dwindling when in fact there had been a steady increase in the number of bikes registered to ply mapped routes. After investigation, it became clear that four of the touts who handled collections were pocketing ridiculous amounts of money. He had reported this to Laguro, the head of the touts. Upon Laguro’s instruction, all four deviants had been picked up and publicly thrashed last night with Koboko – the soldier’s whip – till their backs were sufficiently bloody. They had been given 1 month to repay.

His phone rang. It was Laguro.

‘Abass, how are you?’

‘Good morning Oga mi,’ he said and noticed his voice was still groggy. He cleared his throat before speaking again. ‘How was your night?’

‘Fine fine. The Chairman would like to see you this morning. Informed him your contribution led to us to catch those thieves. He was very happy, indeed. I think he has big plans for you. I’ll text you his address.’

The local government chairman wanting to see him was a huge deal. ‘Thank you Oga mi! You are a good boss!’

‘You are the closest thing I have to a son. I know you will make me proud.’

Saheed Yayi had been the local government chairman in Surulere for seven years now. His house in Bode Thomas revealed the glory of a man who had immensely benefited from the milk and honey that constantly trickled down from top government. The other fringe benefits associated with managing a densely populated city in Lagos Metropolis also contributed to his affluent lifestyle.

A dark-skinned police officer with a bulging belly opened the gate the moment Abass knocked. They knew each other.

‘Star boy! How are you,’ the policeman named Kanke hailed in a northern accent.

‘Officer Kanke. How are you?’

‘Always fine my friend. Chairman takes good care of me.’

‘I can see that,’ Abass said, nodding appreciatively. ‘He has asked for me.’

‘I know. He is waiting.’

‘Thanks,’ Abass said before heading to the main building.

Another security officer opened the main door for him and led him to the living room where the chairman was waiting for him.

‘Abass, my boy!’ Saheed greeted affably and offered a handshake. He was a stout man with broad shoulders and a shining bald head.

‘Good morning Sir,’ Abass greeted, taking his hand.

‘You came in just in time. Come let’s have breakfast.’

‘Thank you Sir.’ Abass’ belly grumbled in delight as he followed Saheed to the dining room.

The tabled was decorated with platters of fruits, yam slices, egg sauce, and grilled chicken thighs. The delightful aroma from the coffee pot outshone the others.

‘Please eat,’ Saheed said, gesturing him to a seat.

‘Thank you, Sir.’

After a minute into the meal, Saheed spoke: ‘Laguro speaks highly of you. I have also been watching you. You have consistently impressed me. You are methodical, charismatic, ambitious, decisive, and most importantly, you are loyal. You have the makings of someone who could do very well for himself, with the right support of course.’

‘Thank you, Sir.’ Abass wondered where he was going with this.

‘You have a university degree, right?’

‘Yes Sir.’

Saheed nodded his head. ‘I fired my PA last night. He had a loose tongue. We can’t have that. Trust is important in politics. Do you agree?’

‘Absolutely Sir.’ Abass heart was beating. The food before him had lost its appeal. He could taste the change that was on its way.

Saheed kept quiet till the chicken in his mouth was no more. ‘You will be my PA from tomorrow. I expect you will put in nothing short of your best.’

‘I will Sir. Thank you, Sir.’ Abass stood up, grinning. He was only 25 and he was now the PA to a powerful politician. He was surprised at the card Fate had generously dealt him. ‘I won’t disappoint you!’

Iskilu maneuvered the commercial motorcycle between the cars and tricycles popularly known as Keke Napep. The feeling was always invigorating. Traffic had nothing on him. The lady behind him clutched to him like they were lovers. He knew it was more out of fear that anything else, but he didn’t care. Her body was warm against his back and it made him feel powerful.

**************************************

She paid him N100 after getting off the motorcycle. He was surprised that she did not scowl like some other customers. ‘Thank you, Madam,’ he said.

His friends, Muhammed and Karim, had retired for the day when he rolled his bike into No. 27 Bayero Street Aguda. They were all having a loud conversation and eating white rice and stew in the compound. Greetings were exchanged in Hausa. A tenant emerged from the backyard as Iskilu parked his motorcycle.

‘Good evening Sir,’ he greeted.

‘Evening Iskilu,’ the tenant responded. ‘How work?’

‘Fine Sir,’ Iskilu responded. There was a gentleman’s agreement between the commercial motorcyclists and the tenants of the house. They could sleep and park their motorcycles in the compound in return for doubling as security at night. This arrangement was not uncommon in the area.

‘Have you heard the news?’ Muhammed asked in Hausa as Iskilu sat on a pavement.

‘Heard what?’ Iskilu asked in Hausa too.

‘They are taking the bikes off the street,’ Muhammed said.

‘Forget that one,’ Iskilu said. ‘They have been on this matter for years but have never done it. Relax yourself. This is just one of those times. It will pass

Watch Out For Episode 3 In case You Missed Episode 1 click Here

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Stories

The Nigerians- (Episode 5)

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Karaoke Kid was doing melodious justice to a classic from Boys II Men and most of the customers appeared to be under his spell. Mitchell nodded in approval; the boy was earning every kobo of his wages. Mitchel looked at his watch after handing an impatient customer a bottle of lager; it was 8.30pm and Madam Mo had not turned up. She was one who never missed a night at the lounge. He made a note to give her a call as soon as he was done attending to the queue.

Karaoke Kid ended the song and an applause rang out from the audience.

‘Alright, everyone I can’t do this alone. Who wants to do a duo with me?’

Members of the audience began to concentrate on their meals and drinks like he had not addressed them. Mitchel shook his head and smiled as he handed the serving lady a bottle of Chardonnay. It was still early and they were not inebriated enough to be courageous. He understood his customers enough to know that behaviour would change in another hour or so. Nothing like good old-fashioned alcoholic inspiration.

‘I will,’ a female said.

Mitchel and Karaoke Kid turned in the direction of the anomaly. She was of average height, ebony and beautiful. She was about twenty meters from where Mitchell stood but her eyes were big and bold. Karaoke Kid recovered quickly and walked up to her. ‘We have a contender,’ he announced, even though, what he really wanted was to ask for her name. ‘What track would you like?’

‘Can you rap?’ the lady asked.

‘I sure can.’

‘Soldier by Falz and Simi.’

The musical chemistry between the two was spectacular and the lady’s voice didn’t only strike all the right chords but Mitchell’s being as well. He found himself smiling, spellbound like every other person in the lounge. He had become a bee and she is honey. The applause and catcalls were thunderous after the karaoke was over.

‘Sade,’ Mitchel called the serving lady.

‘Yes, Mitch’

‘Has that lady ordered any drink today?’

‘Yes, a Pina Colada,’ she responded.

‘Is she with anyone?’

Sade arched an eye in surprise. Mitchel always played it cool with the ladies. ‘Are you okay?’

‘Do I look unwell to you? Answer my question jare.’

Sade grinned. ‘No one.’

‘Good. I need you to cover me once I’m done with her order.’

‘But she hasn’t ordered anything.’

‘Yes, she has.’

Kenneth was concerned. He had rung Cynthia a couple of times and her line kept going to voicemail. He tossed on his bed. Something was off, he thought. He couldn’t chat the Mugu so as not to spook him. That act would bell the cat. He had to go to her place.

Teardrops rolled down Mope’s face. How could Teddy have betrayed her. She was more distraught at the fact that he didn’t tell her than the act itself. Their union had not been blessed with a child so she could stomach the need to continue his lineage. But, they had been able to talk about anything so why was this any different? Why had she been oblivious during the three and a half decades of their relationship? He had shown no signs of infidelity. She shut out the thought that the lady was a liar. One look at her and anyone would know that she was Teddy’s daughter.

Mope sighed. Goodness, it was frustrating being angry at a dead man. Other things being equal, she’d be at the lounge, but she had been drained of all strength. She was perfectly fine with being Moping Mopelola tonight.

‘Toyosi!’ Mope called.

The help was in her room in less than a minute. ‘Ma?’

‘Get me a bottle of red wine. Bring two glasses as well. We are drinking away our sorrows tonight.’

Toyosi couldn’t remember telling Madam Mopelola that she had anything to be sorrowful about but who was she not to share her Madam’s sorrow? ‘Okay Ma.’

As Toyosi left to do her bidding, Mope couldn’t help but wonder what Eniola wanted. ‘Teddy,’ She muttered.

Eniola watched the tall, broad-shouldered, dark man walk up to her bearing a tray of Pina Colada. He did not have a uniform like the others who took orders, so she figured he had to be up to something.

‘Hello,’ he greeted.

‘Hi,’ she responded.

‘Your order is here,’ he said and bowed in a way that made him look silly in a comical, albeit endearing way.

She smiled. ‘I didn’t request for a drink.’

‘After a performance like that, you certainly would need one to soothe where that melody came from.’

‘Hmm hmm,’ Eniola smiled, raising her eyes. ‘Well, I was actually ready to order a drink. What do you have there?’

‘Begins with a P and ends with an A,’ Mitch grinned sheepishly. He wondered what had taken over him. This lady had eliminated his poise and cool with the least amount of effort.

‘Pina Colada. Are you stalking me?’ She said raising an eyebrow.

‘On the contrary,’ Mitch replied. ‘I literally found out a few minutes ago. May I?’

‘Please do.’

Mitch settled the drink on her table. ‘I am a bartender and have to return to my post before my replacement poisons someone. May I have your phone number? I’d very much love to see you again.’

Eniola had decided that she liked him. He was charming and funny. She smiled. ‘Well, I don’t want anyone poisoned on my count. Where’s your phone?’

Mitch suddenly realized that he had no phone with him. He swore silently.

Eniola caught the look and swiftly came to his rescue. ‘Let me have your number. I’ll call, I promise.’

Kenneth’s knuckle rapped on the metal gate again. The gate came open this time, revealing an apprehensive looking gateman.

‘Oga Keno,’ he greeted. ‘Which kin place you send Cynthia go?’

‘She never come?’ Kenneth tried his best to keep the fear out of his voice.

‘I never see her shadow since Saturday when she commot. Oga and Madam dey return tonight. Wetin I go tell them?’

‘Don’t worry. I go find am,’ Kenneth said before leaving. Something was definitely wrong. He dialed Mr. Brown’s number.

The automated response was: ‘The number you are trying to reach is unreachable.’

Three hours later, he still hadn’t been able to reach Cynthia. He returned to her residence and knocked the gate. Only seconds passed before the gate swung open.

The gateman had clearly been crying as his eyes were swollen. He was slouched like his back bore the weight of the world.

‘Wetin happen?’ Kenneth asked.

The gateman opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. He shook his head.

‘Talk na,’ Kenneth asked again, dread filling him up.

This time, the gateman found his words: ‘She don die. Cynthia don die.’  

Watch Out For Episode 6 In case You Missed Episode 4 click Here

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Stories

The Nigerians – (Episode 4)

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Mope was restless. Amora’s bar would not come alive for another 4 hours. She was in no mood for television series or nibbling snacks or visiting friends or indulging in any of her other favorite pastimes. Her eyes caught the portrait of her and her late husband. Teddy would have known what to do. His tickles, his boyish smile, his silly yet exhilarating humor would have done the trick. He was her magic wand and she missed him dearly. Since he passed away, most attempts at filling the void withered a few moments after the initial jolt of relish. Suddenly, she hated the 20-year age difference that had been wedged between her and Teddy. It meant she still had a longer time to live and a longer time to die while living. 

She pulled open the drawer beside the king-sized bed and retrieved an album. The photos brought back memories, each page associated with specific times in their history. The entire photobook held nothing of the memory of a child. They had been one of those couples who had never been blessed with the cries of a newborn. There had been no logical or health reason behind her infertility. Put simply, children had simply ignored her womb, seeking more worthy abodes. She sighed.

Someone knocked. It had to be the help. The gateman and the gardener were never allowed inside the house. ‘Come in, Toyosi’.

‘Good Afternoon Ma,’ She greeted, standing by the door.

‘How are you?’ Mope noticed Toyosi’s eyes. They were alive with quiet fear. ‘Why do you look like you have seen a ghost?’

‘No ghost Ma,’ she curtsied. ‘No problem.’

Mope was in no mood for silliness. ‘So what do you need, Toyosi?’

‘Erm… one madam is looking for you downstairs.’

‘Okay. Who is she?’

Toyosi’s response was swift. ‘I don’t know her before o.’ The defense in her response was unnecessary.

Mope sighed. ‘Let her in and offer her a drink. I will be with her soon.’

Mope observed the uncomfortably seated lady as she descended the stairs. The stranger’s elbows were resting on her thighs. She seemed oblivious to her surrounding.

‘Hello dear,’ Mope greeted, bringing the lady back to the present.

The stranger’s face shot up to look at Mope and she rose up almost immediately. ‘Good afternoon Ma,’ she greeted.

The lady looked like she was in her early twenties. Looking at her, Mope instantly felt a sense of foreboding. Her heart skipped a beat. The reason behind her househelp’s fear was obvious. The eyes, the nose, the full lips, the entire face of this lady reminded her of her late husband. Mope’s legs lost vitality and she sank into nearest seat.

‘Please seat down,’ Mope said.

The lady did as she was told.

‘What is your name?

‘Eniola.’

Mope could guess the answer, but she had to ask. ‘Who is your father?’

Eniola hesitated. She had played the scenario in her head and she had not expected her late father’s wife to ask that question so early in the conversation. She struggled to hold Mope’s gaze. ‘Theodore Adetokunbo.’

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‘Teddy,’ Mope said. She got up and disappeared up the stairs.

Eniola understood the finality to Mrs. Mopelola ascent. She didn’t blame her. There was no textbook on how a woman would respond after finding out that her husband had fathered another. She asked herself again what she was doing here. She took out a piece of paper, wrote her name and phone number on it, and handed it to the house help.

‘She might need this later. Take care, Toyosi.’

Abass arrived at the venue fifteen minutes late. Thankfully, Nigerian time was still potent as guests had just started showing up. He quickly called his boss, Yayi and found out he had not gotten to the venue yet. He exhaled. Now he had the time to drink in the spectacle that was the venue. The hall was huge. The floor shone with black marbles, crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, the chairs and tables were lavishly covered with exquisite cotton, and the entire experience was decorated by serene music playing from the DJ’s stand.

Abass noticed the speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr. Kayode Coker seated with his aide. Dr. Coker was tall, broad-shouldered and looked like he visited the gym regularly. They had met a week ago in another function. He had left an impression on Abass and Abass had left one also. The Ph.D. holder was famous for always been on time.

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He strutted up to the political icon. ‘Good evening Sir.’

Dr. Coker beamed, revealing deep set dimples. ‘Hello Abass. It is good to see you again, my friend,’ he responded, extending a handshake which Abass shook. ‘Is Yayi here?’

‘Any moment from now. How are you doing Sir?’

‘Very well, my friend. Very well.’

‘Glad to hear tha -’

‘Hello Dad,’ someone interrupted. The voice was feminine and sounded oddly familiar to Abass.

The moment their eyes locked, Abass realized that she was the damsel in distress. He had aided the daughter of one of the most powerful men in Lagos state without knowing it. She recognized him too.

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She beamed in a manner similar to her father’s. ‘Small world! Thank you very much for the help.’ She turned to her bewildered father. ‘Dad, this is the gentleman that helped me with the car issue on my way here.’

Abass grinned effusively like one who had just hit jackpot. Words evaded him for the time being.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives smiled and looked at Abass with newfound admiration. ‘Is that so? You are definitely in my good books now. Now, you must complete this act of chivalry by arranging to bring that car home. She is my daughter and I wouldn’t have her going to pick up any car at night. Lagos can be unsafe at night.’

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‘I totally agree Sir. I will figure something out.’ As if by cue, his phone rang. His boss had arrived. ‘Forgive me but I have to leave now. My boss is here.’

‘Alright. Swing by later for the address to my home.’ With that Abass left to find his boss, feeling like his stars were aligning wondrously.

Watch Out For Episode 5 In case You Missed Episode 3 click Here

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Relationship

Painful Breakup: What’s Your Story? (Part 3)

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Helen is in the kitchen, trying to fix herself dinner when she hears the door slam shut. She  jumped in fright and switched off the gas. Wiping her hands clean on the back of her shorts, she tiptoed back to the room. Maybe he won’t barge in today, but that’s a chance she’s not willing to take.

Wincing as the pain shot through her upper arm like an arrow in Russian roulette, she pulled up a big sweatshirt with a hoodie from her bag; the goal was to hide the marks on her face—he doesn’t like to see the marks on her body.

Tears threatened to fall from her eyes as her mind screamed in pain trying to pull on the sweatshirt. What will happen if he heard her as she screamed? What if he hit her again like last night? Like a movie on screen, last night’s episode flashed through her mind; still fresh in her memory…how he beat her till she passed out just because Jason, her friend from college called her on her cellphone. God! Please save me!

If it’s love, why does it hurt?

Eyes darting to the door, she realised it was closed.  Quickly, she scrambled for it and left it open. He doesn’t like her closing the door either. Her heart hammered in her chest like those drums she use to play in church when she was little. Only now they were beating out of rhythm. He didn’t want her playing drums anymore. He said it makes her proud. Oh God! I’m going crazy, would you help me? 

“Helen!” She jerked in fright, “he’s calling me, God what do I do?” She hurriedly wiped her eyes clean as he appeared in the doorway with a lopsided grin on his face. In a nanosecond, a deep frown replaced the grin. “Are you crying?”

He hastened over, grabbing her face by the chin. pushing the hoodie off her head, he looked her over as his mood swayed to the one she knew like the back of her hand. “Am I not treating you well? Why are you sad?”She frantically tried to explain when the blow came out of nowhere and landed square under her nose.

He let her drop on the bed and continued haranguing her about how she should be grateful to him. These biting words were no longer new to her, she was immune.

All of a sudden, like light shines in a darkened room, the wheels of her mind in motion, she rose up from the bed. “This isn’t the end, I don’t deserve this. I can get out of this.”

She felt like a Phoenix, rising out of the ashes. Seeing the her chance, she landed a blow on his groin and dashed out of the house without looking back.

 Are you in a relationship swimming in physical abuse? Do you feel like there’s no hope for you? Maybe you think you won’t survive on your own if you leave him/her; there are even scenarios where the lady is the violent one.

Unless you are like that lady who went on social media telling the world that she loves it when her man beats her and feels it’s his way of showing his love for her, you need to come out of that relationship.

 It’s common for someone who is being abused to feel that they somehow deserve it. It’s important to know that you’re never to blame. 

How To Know Your Relationship Is Abusive

  1. They check on you all the time to see where you are, what you’re doing and who you’re with.
  2. They try to control where you go and who you see, and get angry if you don’t do what they say. 
  3. They accuse you of being unfaithful or of flirting.
  4. They isolate you from family and friends, often by behaving rudely to them.
  5. They put you down, either publicly or privately, by attacking your intelligence, looks, mental health or capabilities.
  6. They constantly compare you unfavourably to others.
  7. They blame you for all the problems in your relationship, and for their violent outbursts.
  8. They say things like, ‘No one else will want you.’
  9. They yell or sulk, and deliberately break things that you value.
  10. They threaten to use violence against you, your family, friends or a pet.
  11. They push, shove, hit or grab you, or make you have sex or do things you don’t want to do.
  12. They harm you, your pets or your family members. 

You might even make excuses for them, defending them and taking the blame. You’re scared of what they’ll do when you leave them. Please reach out to someone if you’re in this category. Remember there are people who still care.

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