The Chronicles of Okiemute in Lagos.
With the pay attached to the distance covered, the taxi driver tried to use the old tactics of taking long routes and going in circles before going straight to the destination. As he was about to take a bend that would have taken him back to where they were coming from, Okiemute asked him to continue going forward. “Oga traffic go hold us for front, that’s why I be wa bend pass there oooh. You know say here nor be Warri, ‘dis is Lagos’, as dem dey tauk am”, he said, trying to patronise Okiemute. “Just dey go straight until I tell you to divert left”, Okiemute replied, without taking off his eyes from his phone.
As the driver heard ‘divert left’, it sent him a signal, “this guy knows where he is going, and he is just trying to make me make a fool of myself”, he thought. He did not know that Okiemute was using Google map on his phone to track the shortest route with lesser traffic. They finally got to the gate of the complex. It was a very tall building with about twelve floors. He paid the driver for the trip as he walked into the premises. The driver counted the money, mumbled some words of discontent and drove off.
Okiemute brought out his phone to read the email sent him from Furlong Technologies. He was not sure if he ever read anything in the mail that signified that the office was in a multi-storey building. He checked the mail again and confirmed it that there was no mention of any particular floor in the address. So he walked towards the security post to inquire if he was at the right place.
“Good morning sir, please is this place Furlong Technologies head office?” He inquired from the young man at the security post. The man was standing across a pavement that looked like those counters at the police stations. He kept staring at Okiemute’s shoes with one eye, as he went through the visitor’s register with the other eye. Without responding to his greeting, he asked, “what is your name?” Still going through the register. “My name is Okiemute Oghenekokwo”, he replied. “Is that your complete name? Don’t you have any English name?” He asked again.
He stood there, in front of the man without uttering a word. If not for the wrong foot with which he started the day, he would have lectured this man on the slavery tag he calls “English name”. But he has to keep his cool, as he is yet to pacify his conscience over the money he stole earlier that morning. Then it crossed his mind that the man might be having difficulties spelling his name, so he stylishly drew closer to take a look at the book to see if he can help the man identify his name on the list. He could not believe his eyes when he saw that the man was staring at a blank page wasting his time and asking him foolish questions.
As he was about to react, the man cuts in, “sit down there and wait for CSO, he will verify if you have an appointment here today”. Okiemute was not ready to take any of that, not after he had made him stand and asking stupid questions while staring at a blank page. “How am I sure that you have a CSO that will come and do as you have said when you were making me feel you were checking the visitor’s register while staring at a blank page”, he protested. “Guy, na because I dey good mode today, if not I for don send you back. If you too big to siddon wait, then dey go”, the security man replied and walked out, leaving him alone there.
Etim Johnson was the name tag the security man was wearing, Okiemute brought out his diary and wrote it down. “People like this can’t work here if I have my way”, he said to himself.
As he kept the diary back in his bag, an elderly man walked in. “Good morning young man” he greeted. “Good morning sir”, Okiemute stammered, forcing the words out of his mouth. His heart started beating fast, the man was the elderly man he stole his 250# earlier that day. He was cocksure that his eyes were not failing him this time. “What did you say your name is again?” He asked. “Okiemute Oghenekokwo”, he managed to reply. He picked the intercom on the front desk in the security office and made a call. He spoke with the other person for about two minutes and hung up.
“The person you’re here to see had an emergency this morning, and so you will be debriefed by someone else. But pending on when the person will be available, you will have to stay in our executive reception hall”, the man who he believed was the CSO explained to him. As he walked Okiemute to the reception, he tried to read the name on his breast tag. The man noticed, and introduced himself formally. “Sorry for not introducing myself earlier, I am Audu Sambo, the CSO of Furlong Technologies, Lekki”.
This made Okiemute more confused. The man he went away with his money can’t be a northerner. He saw him clear enough and noticed the southeastern tribal marks on his face. “Am I hallucinating or just overworking my mind on this issue?” He wondered.
While sitting in the waiting room, he kept contemplating whether to go and ask the CSO if he took a commercial bus from the mainland this morning. He just could not conclude what to do before he was invited to join the workers for a tea break. It was already 11:30 am.
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.