The Chronicles of Okiemute in Lagos
Bola was surprised to meet Okiemute at home. He had been waiting for him to call asking for directions, as to how he can get back home. He knew Okiemute would be waiting for an applaud, for being able to find his way back without Bola’s help. But he was not ready to massage his ego. Anything that will give him the opportunity to start claiming ‘Warri Nor Dey Carry Last’ always make Bola antagonise him. “You’re home already”, Bola said, with a nod as if he is commending him. Then he added, “as your money don show you don use Uber reach house come dey form say you know road abi?” At first, Okiemute kept mute as if nobody was talking. When Bola started to pull off his clothes and shoes, he gave him a side look and replied sarcastically, “for your mind now you be all-knowing? If you care to know, I came home via public transport”. Without allowing him to finish, he cuts in, “is Uber not a public transport? Or the fact that it carried you alone makes it your personal property?” He fired back. “Guy, it’s been a long day, and all I want now is a rich dinner and a good night rest. For your information, I came with a public bus! If you can be polite enough to ask how I found my way, you would have gotten the full gist instead of this ‘wuru wuru to the answer’ that you are trying to do”, Okiemute replied while standing up and putting on his trousers.
Bola was confused, he is putting off his clothes and Okiemute was putting on his own. Is he really angry and wants to leave his place? When did he become so intolerant to their usual teasing? Different thoughts ran riot in Bola’s head. Finally he managed to confront him with words. “Where are you going to? Or as your money don come now, my place too local for you to stay now abi? I don forget say you get accommodation now for Island awon Lagos big boys”. He kept talking still making jest of Okiemute. If only he had known how hungry Okiemute had been while patiently waiting for him to return, he wouldn’t have been standing there talking. “Oga, if you know how I don ransack the whole kitchen to find wetin to eat, you nor go stand there they talk plenty talk”, Okiemute stammered. “My friend wear cloth make we go find where to buy better food eat before you use hungry kill me for this Lagos”, he added. Bola got the message clearly, he too was hungry, but with the way his friend was acting, it’s obvious his own was child’s play as compared to that of his friend. “There is a good Africa kitchen around the corner”, he said, still changing into something casual. “We will just take a bike there since you’re very tired and hungry. But trust me, their food tastes nice, and you will get your Starch and Banga soup”, he said, smiling like a teenager playing ‘hide and seek’ with his first date.
The two of them came out and walked towards the road. They stopped the first empty bike rider they saw, and while Bola was trying to haggle the fare with the rider, Okiemute was already sitting and beckoning on him to sit down and stop talking. “Na who dey alive dey make money”, he said to Bola. The bike man replied to him, “na so bros”. They both laughed. “Na so the hungry catch you reach”, Bola asked rhetorically. They all kept quiet, and in less than ten minutes they arrived at their destination. The ambience at the place made sense. It was a very perfect place to hang out at night after a long day job. They placed their orders and took soft drinks while waiting for the main food.
“Guy end this suspense na, which one be your own”, Bola requested, wearing a funny frown that made him look like an old man. Pretending not to know what he was talking about he replied, “am I the person preparing the food? Are we both not waiting together?”, he asked, turning his two palms open for him to see. “Sebi you want me to beg you before you will talk?” Bola asked, eager to hear how everything went at Furlong Technologies, earlier today. “Fine, where do you want me to start from?” Asked Okiemute, giving in to Bola pressure. “From the beginning of course. But you can skip the bus and the stolen money part because you already told me that”, he replied. “But I already told you about the deal too and what they offered me”, replied Okiemute, not wanting to say anything again because Bola brought up the money issue. “Okay let’s start from how you got back home”, said Bola, trying to outsmart Okiemute as he too as trying to be evasive.
“I found my way home with the help of Sandra”, he said with this air of aloofness that shows he was not in the mood to talk. “Obviously you know I will ask which Sandra, but it seems you either don’t want to tell me what happened, or you’re really too hungry and too tired to talk about it now. So I will just wait and hear it when and if you choose to say it”, Bola said, giving up on the urge to hear the gist. Okiemute yawns twice, sips his drink and asked the waiter standing close to their table, “una food nor dey done? Na stone ulna dey cook?” She replies politely, with bended knees, “it will soon be ready sir, it is taking time because we want to serve it fresh to you sir”. Tilting his head towards Bola, he whispered, “as she dey bend her knees now, for una mind, now una get respect pass for Nigeria”. Bola simply shook his head, not ready to engage him in another endless tribal argument. He sips from his drink too and waited in silence for the meal to arrive.
The meals were served hot and fresh. It was not a disappointment at all, and the time they spent waiting was worth it. Okiemute looked up after gulping some handful of starch and Banga soup, “this is the first time you’ve recommended something that ended up not being a disaster” he said teasing Bola. “I blame you? As you don see food now, how you nor go begin run your mouth as you like?” Bola replied to him. “I still don’t understand how you people decided to eat latex and call it food.” Bola too tried to tease him. He then narrated how he was awestruck the first time he saw people eating starch in Abraka when he just got admission into Delta State University. He kept staring at them in a public restaurant until the owner of the place shouted at him, telling him to stop gazing at others eating and that he should eat his food and leave before he attracts slap to his chubby cheeks. That event seems to be stamped in his memory as he had repeated the story to Okiemute times without number. Each time he brings up the food issue, Okiemute would always tell him that it is the same way they too are shocked seeing them eat black substance with soup made from beans. Bola would scream, don’t go there, “Amala and Gbegiri is bae!”
They finished eating and rested for a while, then they placed an order for cold drinks. The ‘Waffi’ guy ordered for spirit, while Bola ordered for a chilled bottle of Beer, his special brand is always “33”. Then the gist started rolling out on its own!
Bola open his mouth in unbelief when he was told that the twenty million Naira offered by Furlong Technologies for the software would be paid in instalment. The first five million will be paid after his first two months with the company, and then another five million will be paid at the end of the fourth month, while the rest, will be paid at the end of the six months probation. “Oga cover your mouth before fly enter, you never hear the full gist you dey open mouth,” Okiemute said, beckoning on him to shut his lips. “I said it, I have always known these big companies are fond of using Greek gifts to tame there would be competitors, I had the premonition that it will not be all rosy as you envisage, but I was trying not to be pessimistic too”, Bola spoke remorsefully. Then he asked, “you saw all this and you still signed the deal?” This got his friend infuriated. “Don’t even go there”, he said. “Were you not the one that asked me to skip the details and go straight to the financial aspect? Now you are trying to put the blame on me as if I am a duns”, he added trying to control his voice that was already drawing attention to their table. “I have always known the devil was in the details, but you made me skip those vital details”, he continued showing disappointment.
“I am sorry bro, I am really sorry”, Bola said apologetically. And then he asked, “is that all the conditions attached?”. In his charismatic humorous nature, he replied, ” the worst part is that I am not allowed to date any staff in the company. This one pain me pass the compulsory five years that I have to work with them before thinking of marriage.” “Five years!”, Bola screamed. “That’s pure nonsense. Which kind of rule is that?” He said still in disbelief. “Guy calm down, how old am I that I should be bothered with five years waiting period?”, Okiemute said laughing. “With the number of mouths that I have to feed, don’t you think ten years won’t even be a bad idea?”, he added still laughing. “My concern now is how to take my eyes off Sandra. She is like the big sis I never had” he said, looking like someone already in love. But Bola won’t fall for that trick. The Okiemute he knows is a smooth talker and is heartless when it comes to ladies, so there is no way he can be in love with someone he only met today, it must be for what is under her skirt. However, he waited patiently for more details. “Who is this Sandra?”, he asked. “she is one of the secretaries at Furlong Technologies, and my interaction with her today sent somethings down my spine”, he replied to him. “But there is nothing you can do with the clause in the rules of engagement you’ve signed. It seems we are now on the same page”, he said making jest of Okiemute. “Have you ever heard of the saying, ‘when there is a will there is a way’?”, he asked Bola. “Well, don’t sacrifice your future just to see what’s under Sandra’s skirt”, he advised. “what if that’s where the future lies?” he asked Bola smiling sheepishly. “I can’t give up on her if our hearts are tied together in love, like the way you left Simi for the fear of being sacked”, he added. “Hey don’t go there, wisdom, they say, is profitable to direct”, retorted Bola. “We will see how you will go about this”, he said. “You think it is all the time you get away by playing pranks? Sebi we dey this Lagos together?” he added, daring him. “My guy let’s go home and sleep. Leave matter for Matthias, at the appropriate time, ‘ogolo’ must jump. Warri nor fit carry last.” Okiemute replied as he stood up to go home. “Can he pull this through?” Bola kept wondering.
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.