The Chronicles of Okiemute in Lagos
Ken and Bayo were at the dining table by the time Okiemute got there. Their eyes were so sharp and bright, with no sign of tiredness nor hangover. He came closer and stared at their faces in an irritating manner, which made Bayo frown in protest. “I thought you guys went for a party last night? How come your eyes are this sharp and bright? Or the alcoholic drinks were not as much as you guys anticipated?” He asked smiling mischievously. “Thank God you said last night”, Bayo replied, “and as you can see, it is almost the middle of another day. It was a night party, are we supposed to stay there for a whole day?” He asked. Acting as if they split Okiemute’s questions among themselves, Ken responded to the second half, and added, “oh, you were expecting us to be puking around the house right? It seems that’s your stock in trade. Attend parties, drink beyond your capacity, and then puke on yourself. We are sorry to disappoint you”. “My friend sit down and let’s eat, except you want to remain standing to watch us. But then you wouldn’t want to do that, you want to eat what I eat so that you can be plumpy like me”, Bayo said teasingly, as he beckoned him to have a seat. “I would have replied you, but that will be giving Ken an avenue to think he is a shark in the midst of dolphins”, Okiemute replied, as he pulled out a chair to sit. Ken roared in laughter, “chai, so that word pain you last night”, Ken said still laughing. “It seems both of you are not hungry”, Bayo said, as he poured some hot water from the flask to make his cup of tea.
Breakfast was omelette and bread with very hot and creamy tea. Okiemute watched as they both served themselves. He was not brought up to eat in a very official manner like that. In short, the last time he ate with such a setting in his life, was when they were still very small in primary school. When scarcity started making them eat like predators, his mum had to serve their meals separately, else her beloved daughter would die of hunger. Funny enough, she too was acclimatising to the fast way her two elder brothers used to eat. But his mum would say, ‘people can stand a man without table manners, but not from a lady’. So she would serve her only daughter separately, and caution her on how to eat quietly like a lady that she is.
After watching Ken and Bayo poured out hot water from the flask, he took the flask to do the same. He was however disappointed to find out that water did not come out when he tried pouring some into his teacup. He repeated it again but to no avail. And was about to make an attempt to open the whole cover, as he could not understand why the water was not coming out. Fortunately for him, his colleagues did not understand what was going on, they thought the water had finished. “There should still be enough water in the flask for extra three cups if need be”, Bayo explained, as he took the flask from Okiemute, and helped him poured some hot water into his teacup. It was then that Okiemute noticed he was supposed to press a knob at the top of the flash for the water to pour out. “See as dem wa make a whole warri carry last before, but God pass them”, he said to himself, and ate his meal in silence.
“Idongesit said you have been with that guy that calls himself ‘housemaster’ since you woke up. What have you two been talking about?” Ken asked Okiemute, as they were done eating. “I thought they said you were the conservative type, always minding your business?” Okiemute replied with a question. The three of them were staring at themselves. “Well, it is expected that newcomers ask those they met on the ground to find out how things work. It don’t they say it in the place you came from that a cock raises one leg when he gets to a new place?”, Ken added. “And who determines the old members to be consulted? Is it not left to the discretion of the newbie?” Okiemute answered him with another question. “Our people do say, ‘the matter that you don’t want your father to hear, it is your father that will eventually settle it’. Don’t worry, we are all here together, we will see how this will end.” Ken concluded, standing up to go upstairs. “Look at this guy, so your size is making you feel like an elder now abi? Shark the papa of fishes? My friend, if you want to gossip with ‘Idon-re-yin’, or whatever she calls herself, you’re free. But don’t use me as the topic of discussion, because I am not going to feed you any info”, retorted Okiemute. “Why do you guys always make simple things complex? Can’t you both have a meaningful conversation without one trying to act smarter than the other?”, Bayo tried to intervene, as he pulled Ken back to his seat.
Ken sat down, smiling at Okiemute who was carrying a straight face. “The way you always attack Kenneth’s size make me begin to wonder if you’re being intimidated by his stature? I used to think I should be the one among the three of us to be worried about physical size, considering my stature”, Bayo said to Okiemute. “What are you even talking about? We are going right and you are going left”, Okiemute interrupted. “I know what I am talking about, and this is not a matter of left or right. I don’t see any reason why one’s physique will always be mentioned in every conversation. If one of us was deformed would you have been rubbing it on the person’s face? We can disagree without resorting to calling each other names”. Bayo continued. “Ken can be very blunt, but trust me, he is the kind of partner you would pray for any day anytime. He is always wary of smooth talkers, that’s why he is asking what you discussed with the housemaster. From the first day, we came in, after hearing him speak, Ken has warned me to be careful with him. His suspicion might be baseless after all, but one thing I know is that he meant well for you”, Bayo ended. “When did you meet him that makes you think you knew him better than everyone else? Is it because you have been working and staying together for about two months now?”, Okiemute replied Bayo, as his voice was gradually getting loud with anger. “Well, I presume that is enough to be able to pass judgement on someone’s character”, Bayo said, still defending his position. “Make papa nor hear, make papa nor hear, na papa go finally settle the matter”, Ken repeated the saying trying to spite Okiemute, who was now wearing a stoic look.
Trying to change the discussion, Okiemute said, “the housemaster told me you guys will explain how the feeding is being paid for and how much I am expected to pay. Can you tell me about it now?” “Seems someone is about to start talking eventually, so what more did he tell you?” Ken asked. “I don’t understand you, Ken. Is there something you’ve done that is making you apprehensive of this guy? Is there something he knows that you’re scared he might let out sooner or later? If you will take my advice, the best way to save yourself is to expose your secret deeds yourself. It will be easily pardoned than to have someone divulge it for you”, Okiemute replied. “I think you both have a problem”, Bayo said. “Little girls won’t be on each other’s neck this long, let alone grown up men like you”, he added. Then he explained how they feed themselves in the house to Okiemute.
“I will be expecting a visitor anytime from now”, Okiemute said. “Oh, that’s why you wanted us to still be in bed after the party, so you could sneak her in”, Bayo said teasing him. “Even you? Why does everyone think the visitor is a lady?” Okiemute asked? “Who is everyone? Bayo and housemaster cannot be classified as everyone. Or do you want to deny it that you did not tell him?” Ken asked, with his prying eyes fixated on Okiemute like an eagle aiming for its prey. The facial expression on Okiemute said more than a million words could convey. “Not again, Ken”, Bayo cuts in. “I won’t dignify his question with an answer”, Okiemute replied. Just then, a text message entered his phone. It was Bola, he was already on the Island and was about to take a cab to Feriyan estate. “My friend is close by, let me quickly take my bath before he gets here”, Okiemute said as he takes his leave.
Bola came with a bag of surprises. While Okiemute was brainstorming on how best to entertain his guest, he did not know that his guest had other plans. Bola came along with three different flavours of juice, different packets of biscuit, a bottle of red wine, packets of chewing gum, two bottles of groundnut, bars of chocolate, boxers, three pairs of fine shorts and t-shirts, a pair of slippers, and well dry cleaned clothes he got from Yaba. Okiemute screamed in unbelief when he brought out these items. Ken and Bayo had to rush to his room to find out what was making him so elated. “Oh boy, what can I do to show you how happy I am? Sleep with me, just put it inside”, Okiemute said jokingly, as he bent his bony buttocks towards Bola. “Get away my friend, if I want to be gay, is it with this your bony arse?”, Bola replied. “But come to think of it, with all these things that you brought, one would be tempted to ask if you two are not gay partners”, Ken added. “Guys, it’s enough! What is all this talk about gays this afternoon? You’re playing with 14years imprisonment with hard labour!”, Bayo said, reacting to the discussion. They all sat on Okiemute’s bed, as they watched him pack up the things, and placed them where he wanted it to be.
They came down to the living room after Okiemute was done arranging the things Bola brought for him. Idongesit brought four glasses for them and helped them to open a bottle of wine. Ken had offered to entertain Bola with a bottle of wine from one of his special collections. As Idongesit turned around and left them, Bola spoke up, “come to think of it, if it is not madness, why would a man leave a curvy and succulent well-prepared species, called woman, and be attracted to a bony, straight and thorny personality called a man?” “That’s a mother of two, so you know before you start having plans”, Bayo replied Bola. “She is a divorcee, and so you can have plans. Just put her children in your plans that’s all”, Ken added. Bola was confused, or perhaps he found their response to his statement as weird. “Why are you talking about the lady?” He asked. “We are just offering you free information to guide you going forward, that’s all”, Ken replied. “Ok then, but that’s not my spec”, Bola added. They all laughed, “it is not always a guy’s spec until they are caught in the act”, they chorused. That was a popular line in a local movie series. “But you know that is absolutely true”, Okiemute said, as he sips from his glass of wine. The other three nodded in agreement.
“But why did you say she is a mother of two, and the other said she is a divorcee, what’s the difference?” Bola asked curiously. “Ahhh, now he needs more details”, Okiemute teased. “Not really, just curious with the similar, but different descriptions they both gave”. Bola responded. “The lady has two kids, that’s what I know. They might be from two different men for all I care”. Bayo said. “She is divorced in my opinion, because she had those kids for the same guy twice, though they were not married. Perhaps, if she had not moved to Lagos, the guy might have gotten on his feet and married her by now”, Ken argued. The storyline resonated in Okiemute’s mind. He could relate perfectly well with it, as his elder brother has a similar experience. Then he said, “I am tempted to align with Bayo’s position on this. What if she was not faithful? How are we sure the kids have the same father?” “You won’t be saying this if you had seen their pictures. They looked so much alike”, Ken added, defending his position. “But that semblance can be from their mum” Bola, added. “Let’s just drop the topic, as she might be hearing us, and it is her personal life. It should not be open for debate”, Bola put a close on the discussion. “That’s someone with a brain”, Ken added. “Hope you will be spending the weekend with us?” Bayo asked. “I actually planned going back later in the evening” Bola replied. “Look at how he is talking as if he has a wife and kids waiting for him at home”, Okiemute interrupted. “My friend you’re not going back today, stay with me to mark my first weekend with Furlong Technologies. In short, you will be going to work from here on Monday morning, after all, you work on the Island”, he added. “Seriously, he works on the island?” Bayo and Ken asked in unison. They persuaded him to stay with them for the weekend, and he soon accepted after much pressure from the trio of Okiemute, Ken and Bayo.
It is going to be a long weekend, and the show had only begun!
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.