I got struck with this title a long while back, sometime last year actually. I have nursed the ambition of the content of it, right from my subconscious mind, now it has transmuted into reality.
It sounds surreal to write this, with this kind of title, because no one’s got to Eldorado yet, not even I. But then, a serial flow of MIP series, each leading into the next would not be a bad idea after all. If I ever mentioned that the LONG WALK TO FREEDOM could be distressing and full of adversity, then you would need this.
Like I had written in earlier MIP series, the date 01:08 feels me with a tinge of a sensational emotion. First, it feels like a race to time, next it feels like an impending eclipse or some apocalypse of some sort – because I have to keep up somewhat with this. Either way, I’m lovin’ it!
This being the ékérin (Yoruba version of ‘a fourth’) of MIP, has filled me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude tinged with accomplishment in its right dose. Year in, year out, there is a dilemma I grapple with, not for want of what to write, but how to go about it. There is usually an avalanché – ideas, phrases, moments, events, occurrences and whatnot, hence writing can be such a daunting task sometimes. But then, you’ve got to do what you’ve got do.
The last one year has been one of many parts, between the last MIP and now, there has been a ton of happenings. In the middle of it, I got shot with one fine little arrow, replete with a finesse a gazelle would be jealous of. Laden with shades of bittersweet in uneven proportions, I can sum up its lessons in a three-pronged manner. One, long term consistency would always, always ridicule short term intensity. Two, the only time it might be okay to give a 100 (or 80) and get far less should only be when you’re donating blood. The third – the most unnerving of the lot, can remain in the shadows for now.
Personally, many waters have passed under the bridge, sweeping in its tide life-changing, hair-raising, nerve-bending, palpitating, heart-racing, eye-popping experiences, including near-death ones. Ones I have had to go through teary eyed and starry-eyed, such that at some point, the only thing that kept me going was the recollection of my name – which actually sometimes only felt like a promissory note. In reality, to say the last one year has been one comfort, bliss and delectation would only have been very valid if today was World Irony Day.
The world over is replete with individuals who have gone through various forms of adversities, each severe in its own right, and have shone like a million stars. For want of brevity, I would restrict myself to traits I have discovered can help come through the process as a refined star: THE PRINCIPLE OF AUTO-SUGGESTION.
First off, is the admittance that adversity is inevitable – there is no way around it: we will all experience difficulties – in varied densities and proportions – we will feel the touch of failure. What’s worse? When you have a thing or two to aim for, you might have to grapple with more serious form of adversity, it’s pretty normal, for if you have nothing to struggle for, you definitely have nothing to struggle against.
However, if (or when) the last candlelight of hope flickers into nothingness, your wisps of soot you might need to work with is the mental strength of your mind. One sure-fire way to exercise your mind to improve your mental strength to be ready to handle whatever life throws at you is the mastery of Principle of Auto-suggestion.
What then is the Principle of Auto-suggestion?
I think the Bible has the best, most simple definition of it in Romans 4:17b; “…calling those things which be not, as tho they were.”
Expressing this in stronger terms, it says; anyone who does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have WHATSOEVER he says.”
To start with, you would have to come to the understanding that every single human – with one or all of the 5 senses, uses this principle to get the littlest thing done, albeit subconsciously. If you have ever had to think about seeing a brand of cars daily, and for the next one, two weeks, you actually see (which in your mental realm is “notice”) them, then you have successfully used this golden principle.
You see, nature has so built man to have ABSOLUTE CONTROL over the thought materials which reaches his subconscious mind, through any of his five senses. This of course does not mean man EXCERCISES this control, in actual fact he mostly does not. This right here is the difference between those who go through adversity and rise out of it like a phoenix and those who life pummel to the very depth of its adversity, and they ‘die daily’ in its harsh, spiky misery. This second group go through life grappling with unhappiness, distress, wretchedness, hardship, suffering, affliction, anguish, anxiety, angst, torment, torture, agony, discomfort, deprivation, poverty, grief, heartache, heartbreak, despair, despondency, dejection, depression, desolation, melancholy, woe, sadness, sorrow; not because they chose to, but because they in one way or the other, have applied the principle of Auto-suggestion to a negative, destructive end.
Actually, we all go through any or some of these, but while some reach the finish line victorious, others fall by the wayside. There’s got to be something that separates the two groups.
ADVERSITY OFTEN PREPARES ORDINARY PEOPLE FOR EXTRAORDINARY DESTINY
– C. S Lewis.
OFTEN. Means, (while everyone goes through adversity) sometimes the ‘extraordinary destiny’ doesn’t happen to some people.
To go through adversity to the stars means you must daily and deliberately build your subconscious mind. Using the principle of Auto-suggestion positively will get you no appreciable results until you learn to reach your subconscious mind with a thought system, backed up with spoken words, which have been well emotionalized with belief. It starts with the mind…
“If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but you think you can’t
It is almost certain you won’t.
Belief, desire and other thoughts of the ether, definitely outwits nature and forces it to act in alignment with your thought impulses. One valid proof of this is a doctor who had defied science and nature by curing his patients, making them repeat out loud: “Day by day, in every way I am getting better and better”. Your thoughts, backed by action, can transmute themselves into physical, outward actions and experiences. Furthermore, through the principle of Auto-suggestion, any desire you persistently hold in your subconscious mind will seek expression through some practical means of attaining the object back of it.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will IT’S ALL IN THE STATE OF MIND.
The subconscious mind is the laboratory where thought impulses are formed and made ready for physical transmutation. The mind has no distinction for negative or positive thought impulses; it would translate all thought impulses as materials fed to it into physical realities. The mind translates a destructive thought driven by fear and anxiety into its physical equivalent, as it would, a constructive thought driven by courage and faith.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!
As you read this, understand and begin to see your mind as a glistening diamond of limitless purpose. For all you will live, and when you die, your proudest moment would come from the use of your mind to your greatest advantage.
All the gods, all the Heavens, all the Hells are within you. Pick your spot!
God – in whose palms I am engraved.
You – wanting to wake up feeling like a million bucks.
– who sometimes feel like insufficient funds.
– going through adversity, reaching for the stars.
– trying to get ahead in this maze called life.
SuperAkerele – for getting better at this – being SuperAkerele.
It’s 2:30am, I should be wishing myself “Gratulatory felicitations to you on your natal day…” my phones are buzzing with messages from all over the universe. Apparently, it is my turn on Nature’s 365 Rotational Policy of Attention.
This is the third piece of my MIP series, somehow I’ve managed to keep up appearances every year since I started 3 years ago. Now I can’t help but have the cold shivers whenever I think of August 1 – sounds like a race to time. Usually, there’s a lot to write about – from events in my past life to more contemporary ones, especially in the last one year.
The last one year has been particularly remarkable for me, one major highlight of it was my decent shot at personality branding. Decent because it got positive reviews from major stakeholders and sectoral players which gave me the much needed gusto. There were thumbs up from every corner, I loved and savoured every bit of it, but very people knew the extent of work that was put into the process. Fine output no doubt, but the process was a hang! 6 months of research and another 4 of designing the actual logo, after being in a fix to decide which brand icon was better to be used. I thought and thought, animals and objects that denotes power and strength and courage and authority and excellence – all rolled into one. After drawing up a long list, I came down to sitting with three – an eagle, a crown, a Chess King. After many weeks of deep thoughtfulness – one of a journey into the realm of self-realization and by extension, actualization, my big break came. One somnolent evening, I was taking a leisurely stroll around my school, (now my alma mata) I stumbled on a quote veteran war leader Napoleon Bonarparte:
“I’m not afraid of an army of Lions led by a sheep, but I’m afraid of an army of sheep led by a Lion“.
I stood for a minute as the message sank in, while every letter reeks of courage and all, the subject used began to have a more detailed look to me. LION!
Why? How did I forget? My face lit up with excitement as I began to hurriedly settle before my system to set the design motion into gear. I started on a wild limitless research, gathered anything and everything on Lions – documentaries, journals, NatGeo Big Cat clips, everything and anything. I was even close to sending the world’s best Lion Whisperer an email on behavioural patterns of the majestic cat. How they fear totally nothing, why and how they risk all to get one. Is it just a predator instinct? Or were Lions specially made by the creator? Coudibee I’m a Lion in human form? My quest for more knowledge was becoming more insatiable by the day, the more I knew, the more hungrier it leaves me.
Ultimately, I knew I was going to succumb to the well researched fact that just like love, our quest for knowledge far exceeds what we can get. At the end of the day We Need New Names was created – copped from Zimbabwean writer, NoViolet Bulawayo, the title depicts a milestone on the road to self discovery – the long walk to freedom.
I’m a pragmatist, an blind optimist and a futurist with a thought process exclusively turned out to the future. I have a firm belief in the self, i.e the belief that everything you need to get ahead in this lies right inside you. As humans, we try to rely on our life’s participants and circumstances for safety, security and self-worth. But all of those things are found from within. More often than not, I do not engage in motivational books and attend life coaching seminars and all of that, I believe those should be an addendum to the self-motivated person. Why? I’ll explain what I call “the theory of diminishing intent”
Sometimes, these life coaches and seminarians are sourced and invited to do what they know how to do best – show you the secret of success, right? Now, you’re seated in the hall, listening with gusto how this man achieved so much with perhaps so little. You’re fired up, as much as he wants you to, given the right doses of theatrics employed too. You have this illusionary belief that once outside this hall, you’re ready to conquer the entire universe – no, Napoleon didn’t do enough. You just need to step out of this hall – the only thing holding you back from achieving your dreams is the usher at the entrance who wouldn’t let you disrupt or distract other participants by leaving. So you sit still, the man at the podium reels off quotes with mind-blowing alliterations that hit you at the right places – you’re vulnerable, he is well rehearsed. You watch with dreamy eyes and an awed countenance – this man has to be My Lord and Saviour they spoke about, if only I could touch the hem of his garment.
Finally, he’s rounding off, he probably drops a few complimentary cards for mentees of which you’re already his ‘forst born‘. The food served means nothing at that point, you’re not hungry, but you don’t like food wastage, so you wait for it. You’re ready to take the world by the scruff of its collar, you dare leave this hall, you’re the next best thing that ever happened to mankind, after Calvary. At this stage, I say you’re “possessed by the CAN-DO spirit“. You tell everyone that cares to listen: “men and brethren, WE CAN DO!”
The next day, you sleep and wake up to no electricity, no money in your bank akant, your GP is low, your relationship/marriage is still as comatose and jerky as ever, your business is sunk in debt, your finances are dwindling, your whole world needs that ‘hem of his garment’ touch. You’re slipping into despair, but no, the keynote speaker from yesterday couldn’t be wrong. You start your day with a tinge of positivity, but as the day wear on, you burn out slowly but surely. You close the day with the same harsh, spiky realities you started it with, maybe even worse, you tell your inner circle: “men and brethren, CAN WE DO?”
From then on, life didn’t give you a breather, you got more hits and plummeted into the abyss of despondence. Your belief, whipped up at the seminar to be as high as the Empire State now records a new level of disgraceful depth, it sums up to: “men and brethren, WE CAN’T DO!”
What next? Attend another seminar and repeat process? I think not.
This last stage is what I’m being bullish about, those moments when your heart is convulsed with pain too deep to know any mirth. When the burdens press and the cares distress, when the days are weary and the nights become long and dreary.
The long walk to freedom is a charge, a war cry, a subtle clarion call to the journey of self-discovery and being your own muse while you’re at it. To be your own muse entails more than paying lip service to whatever precipitated your search of a muse. An unsavoury experience, could be disappointment, academic somersault, a failed relationship wherein you invested a lot of time and emotional energy. Really bad that you have exerted so much, it left you completely drained and exhausted to the uttermost. You’d crossed all the lines and broke all the rules. You can swear never to go near any of such mentally unnerving misadventures as your most recent experience could be best described as a fantastic effort in futility. The thing you thought was – wasn’t, the thing you thought clicked – clickn’t. The thing you hoped for didn’t come through. Your ego is crushed, your hope is gone, the last candlelight of hope just flickered into nothingness. But finally there is something to work with – the wisps of soot, you’ll need them to start out on your long walk to freedom.
By starting out on your long walk to freedom is an indirect acknowledgement of your current state. Regardless of what the seminarians and authors tell you about not accepting defeat – I think there’s no greater place than the place of surrender. You should learn to use surrender tactic to transform weakness into strength. The place of surrender – here, you’re pliable, malleable, bendable and teachable – these are your greatest advantages in getting an ultimate healing, because when you reach the end of yourself, the big break happens. Your walk to freedom would be a lonely, tiresome, torturous journey, but it is all shades of worthy – you owe it to yourself, you are your own elixir. On this long walk, everything good will come, detractors might find you, but just like the dancer was thought insane by those who could not hear the music, the walker was thought a stray by those who could not see the path way.
All these lines tell you the story of who I am, so many stories of where I’ve been and how I got to where I am. But these stories don’t mean anything, when you’ve got no one to tell them to – I’ve got y’all, my stories mean a lot…
Here’s to God, my Chief muse and eternal support system…
Here’s to my family and friends and supporters…
Here’s to you reading this, trumping up support…
Here’s to you who’s trying to get ahead in maze called life…
Here’s to my three brothers…
And, here’s to SuperAkerele – even when I was dead broke, you made me feel like a million bucks, I was made for you.
Allen-Avenue, who doesn’t know the avenue? It’s dubbed the commercial sin city of the mainland. Well, this isn’t the first time I’d be spending a night at Allen-Avenue, sometimes I have to pull an all-nighter to meet up with work load. You know?
The night 29th of June 2016 – a Wednesday night was particularly interesting, because of the adventure and the near misadventure that attended it. I didn’t plan on staying overnight because I didn’t have so much workload to grapple with. But I did and in the most unconventional manner ever.
Usually, I pull my all-nighters in the office, right in my swivel chair. The routine is before the food vendors lock-in, about 9/10pm I’ll go downstairs to pick up victuals with a soft drink and some edibles to last for the night. This night was particularly unconventional, because, I wasn’t spending it in the office.
Zaaz Hotel. Zaaz is one of the standout hotels on Opebi-Allen street, after normal offices and banks keep the Avenue bustling for the day, hotels, bars and strip clubs keep them awake through the night. By reason of flight plan, I usually pass by Zaaz every morning, so it came as a handy choice over a others. I cannot begin to describe the class that the hotel oozes, no I can’t.
One of the rooms…
Zaaz swimming pool….
Done with the prelims at about 8:37pm, I finally settled into room 307 – palatial room fit for Kings. I dropped my laptop and loosened my buttons and fell flat on the big white bed, soaking in the new lease of life. As if it was planned, the AC and TV welcomed me in unison. I walked to the rest room, quite impressive. A sophisticated WC and a bathroom with Sauna, and something that looked like a standing jacuzzi having an MP3, radio and tiny but beautiful floodlights. After testing if to confirm if they’re all working (they are), I exited the rest room. Pulling the window blinds, I glanced over the swimming pool and made a mental note to swim later. I buttoned my shirt again, took a few selfies, sent to some of my own and stretched a bit. There and then, it took a pang to remind me I’ve not eaten all day! I loosened my cufflinks and buttons, hung my shirt, grabbed my wallet, phones, the room’s swipe card and headed out! Insert food!
I was on the very lit street now, I walked a few metres, past the hordes of scantily clad girls making cat calls at me: “Hello, fine boy” “Hi, baby” “Sweetheart”. Reality check – ok, Oluranti Akerele this is 9:15pm and you’re in Allen-Avenue. I ignored them – was only focused on eating. I needed to call to tell my house people I wouldn’t be coming home, quickly checked my wallet, not enough cash. I crossed to a GTBank on the other side of the road, I met two girls, one was fitting her bra and mini-skirt in front of the mirror on the building. The other was quite conservative, hid behind a light and changed into her work dress. I saw it all.
After withdrawing a few bucks from the ATM, I was heading out when I received a call from a relatively new colleague who hitherto I thought is already having cupid hits. We spoke for quite a long time, she dropped and called again, to know if I was fine, if I’d eaten, when I’d sleep etc. “Aunty, I dey H plicks!” I muttered after dropping the call.
Out of the ATM gallery, I started out to where I’d buy food, I started seeing more girls dressed like partly hatched lizards. I sneaked a few pictures of them and I’d have shared , but no 18+ contents on my blog, please?!
Disgust replaced contempt as they continued the cat calls. Then the devil started fixing ideas in my head, I found it hard to resist – I was hungry. At your most vulnerable moment, you have to tread with caution. I bought my dinner and smuggled it in. Smuggle because; “GUESTS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BRING IN FOOD AND DRINKS PLEASE“. I yimu’ed! Awa bad guys!
I swiped the lock open and entered. You don’t have power in your room until you drop your swipe card into a small pigeonhole, then a whizz sound tells you the room would be lit in 2 seconds. I ate a little, called a few friends, watched TV, and I started asking myself if I was bored and in need of company. Maybe!
I quickly glanced at my watch, 11:43pm! I waltzed to the wardrobe, again, grabbed shirt, cufflinks phones, wallet, swipe card etc, 11:45pm met me outside the gate. I called the very first girl I set my eyes on, Clara or something. Fair, short, quite busty and very daring. I started recording. Clara said she charges 15k for the night and 5k for the nut – what they called long term and short term. I asked her what she’ll be doing, then she started this long tirade into the lewdville. I shuddered at every f, d, s and p-word she uttered excitedly – apparently I wasn’t ready for this bad gangsterism. I told her to look around to see a small army of about 30 girls of all shapes and sizes, in strategic positions around that MTN roundabout – I had options, not just options, but better options. Hence, I said a ridiculously low price – 6k, after a little dillying-dallying, she agreed for 8k. Now, she’s agreed, my next headache is to dislodge her without making her feel she’s wasted her time. I told a tale about calling my friends who are in Peka – a strip club across the road first, if they might have plans for the night already. She attempted to wait, but I told her off nicely.
11:55pm, just one in the kitty! I took long, strident steps further down, a chorus of “Hi baby boy, sweetie” greeted me. I beckoned on one to follow me, she came and we started negotiating. Joy (that was her name) was quite memorable for one daring thing she did. I deliberately ‘whined‘ her about having a nice body, she purred excitedly. Again, I deliberately accused her of having it all padded up. She reacted with an instant jerk! Insisting it was all natural, I looked at her non-plussed, unconvinced. To drive home her point, slapped her butt, and pulled the elastic band of her leggings, to reveal what I didn’t want to see. After she agreed on a price, I employed the same tactic for Clara to dislodge her.
I spoke to a couple more, three to be precise. One 18k girl had me locked down, attempted to grope me as a testament to that she’ll treat me right. I actually had to call Shina out of sleep by 12:40am and PING’ed Ola minutes later all in a “How far where una dey? Una get plans?” bid to dislodge her. Another, Amanda, super plus sized, fair, speaks averagely good English charged 20k. Amanda said she’s a graduate of Marketing but unemployment brought her to the streets. One other Angela or so, also struck me, when I met her, she was having a phone conversation with someone that sounded like a relative. She told the person to try to get something to eat, looks like the person on the other end said she had no money. Angela told her to borrow money from someone and that if her market sells…
“When I come back for morning, I go give am back. Anyhow, just find something chop, you hear? Anyhow we go survive.”
Already caught emotionally unaware, I spoke to her a little, her asking price wasn’t any different from the range others had requested for.
I started warming up to go back inside, I finally did at about 1:40am, got in, ate a little turned on my system and started out on putting the work to bed. I worked through the night and finally slept at some minutes past 5am. Time ti awa fi n shishe ni time ti e fin sun.
I reminisced about my encounter with those girls, one common streak I noticed was the desire to earn a living. This desire seem to be a lone desire, not even fuelled by the need for physical, sensual gratification. I thought endlessly about how much hunger, desperation, unemployment and everything in between could drive one to insane, debasing levels.
Few minutes before I slept, a mental motion picture of Angela’s caller played in my mind – a poorly fed young girl, sunken eyes, lean arms, maybe goes to a public school in threadbare uniform – depending solely on proceeds from her elder sister’s trade to live through each day. Poor child! “Anyhow we go survive” Those word echoed endlessly in my subconscious till I slept almost misty-eyed.
If you read this with a judgemental posture before getting to Angela’s, you’re part of the problem. I should say a prayer for the likes of Angela and her siblings, I thought about how privileged some of us are.
An urgent call woke me at 6:55am – I had to be chauffeured to Oja-Badan, Ibadan and Asejire in Oyo and Osun States respectively. The former is a somnolent village in Ibadan, where women walk about bare-chested! Might write about this too, if I could squeeze time to.
In the owner’s corner of the gold and black Honda Pilot saloon car, I almost caught myself slipping into sleep – I’ve barely had 2 hours of sleep in two days now. Two days? 48hours? Or 24 hours? My Maths failed me, knackered to stupor but, anyhow we go survive!
I am a story teller, every story I create, creates me. I write to create myself.
I would start by explaining the creative I came up with for this. The carved wooden image signifies a small boy, his walking/marching posture depicts movement and progress, he’s growing into a man. The tie-knotting hand is the boy that has grown into a man, depicting one who is ready to take his world by storm, that’s the city beneath him. The three footsteps in the backdrop show impact, consistency and continuity. This is a sophomore.
The natal clock chimes again, the time of the year when everyone shows you love for 24hours. You know what I call birthdays? Nature’s 365 Rotational Policy of Attention. This is because the people that call you and put up your DP everywhere may never contact you again until the next 365days. All the same, it is important you feel the excitement. For me, in the middle of the excitement, my head was fixated on writing this sophomore.
To be stuck with a writer’s block is the last thing that you want happening to you especially when you have taken it upon yourself to drop a year note on every natal day. One side of me was elated and could feel the empathy the other side merely moped on, the last looked sternly; he’ll smile when he’s impressed. Dissociative personality disorder can be this real.
Research has come to prove there are different sides of a person, every person, and each side has a definitive reaction to according to certain situation. For me, I name my sides by the names I go by – Paul, Oluwarantimi and SuperAkerele they are like a PH scale. In that order, Paul is the meek and lowly ‘boy’, one every parent use as a reference point for good behaviour. As good as he seems, he is very boring, bland and unresponsive and unadventurous. Zero wit, non-existent, bland and timid, he’s too good to be true. I’m the last person that wants to go into life that way. Paul was too good for me, remember, ‘the boy is good, apa lo nje be’. Paul had to go, he’s in my past now. As it is, few people still call me by the name; they are in my past too. I dropped the name as soon as I got into UNILAG, I reckon girls would have trouble pronouncing it because it might ruin their lipsticks.
There came Oluwarantimi, I like him to bits! He’s everybody’s guy, smart, popular and he’s everything you’d want to describe anything scintillating. You can almost never miss him in a crowd, he attracts goodwill effortlessly. He’s the reason for me being an unrepentant nomenclatural narcissist. Nearly every day, I indulge myself in reminding myself how lucky I am to have me. You can’t beat how much I am besotted, it starts with the name. It got to a height on a certain day and I came up with a poem with my name as the central theme. Oluwarantimi. As ‘blow-you-off-your-feet’ as he seems, he is too emotional, very soft on the inside. – one attribute I dislike about him. I detest the fact that he’s emotionally fragile and cannot hold his own in matters of the heart. You don’t want a fully grown man awake in the middle of the night, earpiece plugged in, staring at the ceiling for cupid reason. Stupid cupid!
SuperAkerele! He steps in like a boss, he sort of acts as a rain check on the emotional tendencies from ‘Ranti. He is the tampon blocking the flow of emotions, a job he does perfectly well, with complete finesse and sterling accuracy. When he’s not at that job, he’s an enigma! He never shows weakness, he’s impregnable. He’s superbly confident, nearly cocky and sometimes arrogant, I’d have to admit. He’s addicted to discipline and perfection, nothing less. People who don’t understand the difference between cockiness, confidence, arrogance and pride think he’s proud. Regardless, he kingly sits atop a high throne of debonair. He’s kingly, he’s royal, he’s regal. SuperAkerele! He’s the man who built the hospital he was born in. He’s never upbeat about anything, everything comes to him. He’s the definition of Robert Greene’s 34th. “Be Royal In Your Own Fashion; Act Like A King To Be Treated Like One”. “The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated; in the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you…by acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown” That describes him. He’s a sphinx, an enigma, extremely intellectual and witty. He’s never wrong, never apologizes and devoid of human empathy, regardless. A being of few words, though he is the eloquence of excellence. From the way I write about him, there’s no telling he is my favourite part of me. Sadly enough he doesn’t get to come around very regularly.
Like I mentioned in Man In Progress, I I have grown up to think my surviving depended on books. Maybe it actually does. I started out life as a nondescript kid. One that never did home works, hardly knew a thing in school. The carry first from back child, slow and sluggish to the uttermost. My big break came in Primary 5, when I answered a question in class. The previous day, my dad made me read a book, Trial of Jimmy Johnson by Sly Edaghese. There I met the word “Septuagenarian”. The next day, with bated breath I watched my teacher, Mr Emmanuel; tear into the class because no one knew the meaning of the word. His body convulsed in rage as he brandished his weapon (a cane) in our already teary-eyed faces, his over-sized white shirt seem to make a moving scarecrow of him. After about a full minute of ranting, scared and shy, I raised my hand. Half expecting me to misfire and half amazed it was me, he motioned to me. I stood up shakily, spelled the word and gave the meaning. Out of shock or surprise, I couldn’t tell them apart; he gave me a rousing induction into the class hall of fame which contained just two of us then, Mustapha Tobi, one Maths/Quantitative Reasoning guru and I, English/Verbal Reasoning. He ordered the class to give me a resounding applause. Everyone happily clapped and cheered, I had saved the day, and this has to be my finest hour, yet. One moment I cherished and wanted a repeat. Then I started gathering literature books from everywhere to read, I knew new words, I was on my way to becoming an intelligent intellectual.
There and then, it struck me that reading just makes life better. I just decided to read and never stop. Today, I’m the better for it, reminds me so much of the Ben Carson’s story. Before that day, I wasn’t particularly book smart or I never saw myself as one. When I was leaving secondary school, I won the Best Graduating Student in external exam.
That same school holds fond memories for me. Everybody has one tale or the other from high school. One fond memory I can recollect from the school is my one very ridiculous “romance” with my Muslim crush. The crush, which felt like love then, was quite strong to blur the line of religious impediment between us. It was the time where we bought JAMB forms and filled out our prospective schools. After weeks of stylishly asking her when she’ll buy her form, she finally did. I remember watching out for when she’ll fill it. Then she started out at it one afternoon in class. I passed her seat severally trying to catch a glimpse of what school she’ll fill, to no avail. Finally, stealing a seat behind her, I peeped over her shoulders and saw UNILORIN stenciled as Most Preferred then other schools in other categories. We’d go to the same University, I’ll date her, then we would get married, I thought. When I’d be buying and filling my form, the only difference was my passport and name. That year I read hardest for JAMB, scored 265 and had 83 in P/JAMB. They still didn’t admit me. I was distraught! Amean! Scored that much and I won’t get in the same school with Aisha Salami?! Unthinkable! I couldn’t be appealed. But then, time has a way of healing anything, doesn’t it? Well, now she’s in (the) UNILORIN and I’m in UNILAG, we barely talk.
Love. I’ve felt it at its best and at its worst. In the height of Coca-Cola’s Share A Coke campaign, someone saw my name on a Coke bottle in Surulere and brought it all the way to me in school. Although I suck at showing emotions, but it struck me as one act to hold dear for a long time to come. With days apart, another friend also brought a Coke bottle with “Ranti” stenciled in front. I was close to tears on the two occasions, really close. I still have the two bottles intact, except that they are not as chilled anymore. I really have a fear of drinking; I’m worried I’ll choke from too much love laced in it. I’ll possibly return it back to the owners, accept it as my insignia. All my friends everywhere make me feel like the most loved human on the planet. Big shout out to every one of you that supports my writing one way or the other, y’all motivate me to be the best I can be, you’re very dear to my heart. Stay tuned, we’re building a dynasty, and it can only get better.
On friends, I have an endless list to myself. There are some I won’t exchange for all the gold in the gold coast, nor all the pretty ivories in Ivory Coast, nor all the chickens in the Republic, or all the turkeys in Turkey, or all the coffees in Europe, or all the teas in China! Since I have so many, I keep a few close to my heart. If you’re reading this, you’re close to my heart and I won’t exchange you for a bucketful of China tea, nor perfectly brewed European coffee, turkey, chicken, ivory nor gold. You’re that dear to me.
The transience of life means more than the brevity of it; it means you have to do whatever makes you happy at any point. You have only you! Always remember, in the pursuit of happiness, self-aggrandizement is the key, possibly the only one. When you define your happiness by some point in the future, it would never come.
On days of darkest despair, days when the floor is more familiar than the ceiling, you have only you. In the lowest abyss of despair, remember everybody falls sometimes and you have to find the strength to rise. Overcome the odds, you don’t have a choice; you’re stronger, stronger than you know. May the life hidden deep inside your heart find the life waiting in your dreams. May the laughter you find in your today wipe away the tears of yesteryears. Your dreams are tomorrow’s answers to today’s questions. Regardless of the winds in your sail, you may never be able to change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails to always reach your destination. A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his reward is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
All year round, I’ve had to make striking decisions between two extremes. Like Robert Frost in The Road Less Taken, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” On this road less taken, I’m purposeful in pursuit.
“Ponder on the path of thy feet and let thy ways be established” – Prov. 4:26
DDD! On first mentioning, DDD sounds like a concept from a course (Comm. for Development) we took in what looked like the busiest semester ever. All semester long we sat our asses pale listening to how communication can be effectively used for development. Documentation Driven Development (DDD), the Eight United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Exclusive Breast Feeding and whatnot! Phew!
In the 3rd week of June, DDD got a new meaning to a few of us; we recreated it to mean something else. Much more fun than your mind can possibly conceive. In that one week, 2 of my realest niggers and 1 niggeress, had their birthdays. On the 16th, 18th and 19th of July were the birthdays of Adewoye Peter, Kimora Lee (styled by me) and Owonifari Adeshina, in that order. For some reasons the events were fused into the last two days. These two days form the major thrust of the story.
Thursday, 18th June
Lee’s birthday! Lee was probably thinking she’d have a low-keyed celebration after what seemed like the high-keyed one was placed on probability. The high-keyed celebration was supposed to be a Chinese dinner at a good diner on the Island, with BFT gang, ( see BFT110) few friends, her hubby and Barbara. Barbara and I had argued on phone over the patent right to Lee many times and I sort of looked forward to meeting her. But then, I reckon too much formality with dinners and corporate ish and cutleries and formalized karaoke might put a dent on the fun. The last time I dripped that much savoire faire, I didn’t have so much fun. So we opted for a house thing, food, drinks, loud music, cakes and Lee, in all her scintillating glow.
BFT was supposed to storm Royal Sanderton Estate, where Lee lives, by 1pm, but some glitches here and there forced us to step out at 1:40pm, all looking dapper. I dorned a black and white chequered shirt with 2 gold collar-pins on a gold and black suede Bertini sandals. Peter was decked in a white and brown striped T-shirt, rocking a deep blue jean and monochrome all-stars shoe. Ola wore a chequered long-sleeved shirt, brown trousers and a white Nike shoe. Joel, our latest addition, dorned a simple V-necked shirt, black jean trouser and a Nike high-top shoe. Only Adeshina was MIA, (Missing in Action) his birthday was the next.
Ola to the wheels. The blue Honda Accord baby boy sneezed to life with a twist of the ignition. And DANG! BFT is storming Ikeja in a bullion van. Now, as much as Ola’s driving can send shivers down your spine, you’d really enjoy his cruise control. With loud music, bated breath, hair-raising driving and whatnot, we wheeled into the Estate, after a brief stop over at ICM. The security had their routine of calling the house to ensure we were not Jack Bauer, Will Smith, Tom Cruise and Jason Statham visiting a target. Ola killed the engine in front of Lee’s house at about 3:40pm. We relaxed a bit in front of the house, some brushed hairs other merely preened in front of the car mirror. We kept at this until a shriek voice rang from upstairs, “would you come inside already?!!!”
Lee! My face relaxed into a lazy smile as I blushed uncontrollably at the window upstairs. We entered. What a nest! Quickly, my Mass Comm. instinct took the better of me; I ran a quick scan on the entire downstairs in one sweeping gaze. I saw 3 awards – a Dynamix, Best Automobile LASU, and Most Sought after LASU also. A 32” LG TV with a black and silver gradient tint. As if to remind us of its presence, a black home theatre with tall siblings spread about the cabinet. The dining was just as nice, adjacent to the double flight of stairs leading to the upper chamber. A colossus creamy cake, had “Happy Birthday Kimora” stencilled on it, with bright red cherries for decoration sat chiefly on the table; the carton bore the insignia of C&C. In that sweeping gaze, you needed no further telling that the Lord of the Manor was completely anti-impecunious. I later learned he wasn’t going to be around, as he had travelled and had to be unavoidably absent. Later on, he called in a coupla times to share in the fun, kinda making sure his baby had the much fun she deserved.
Back to the present. As we gawked around, someone who needed no introduction as Lee’s mum welcomed us, I nodded at where all that Lee’s pulchritude came from. The continuous clanging of slipper against the tiled stair floor announced Lee’s arrival. And there she was! Decked in a black, armless short gown, one that leaves a lot to imagination, the glow that lit up the room was matchless. With a coiffure designed to drape down her shoulders, definitely, this was Lee’s finest hour! A Lee like no other! All 4 of us stood to wish her a very hearty birthday. She made shy but sure steps towards us and there came the hugs and backslapping and gifts presenting and larger than life smiles. The feeling that pervaded the living room was indescribably surrealistic. N. B: Special S/O to my pretty hommie, Laraba for the gift idea. You rock, hommie!
Lee worked at getting the home theatre off while we busied ourselves familiarizing, acclimatizing and inuring. In minutes, the home theatre came to life with a very loud intrusion, for a start, a coupla songs went up, but we were a bit unsure who would hit the floor first. Each person studied and eyed the other, motioning him to go first. By this time, we could only makes gestures as there’s no way your voice would be heard over the ‘noise’ from the sound system. Hence, we sat calmly in our seats, at best, making leg movements to the songs, as they followed themselves in quick procession. This calm dancing by leg movements or head nodding (as you like it) continued until… “Eyin Omo Wobe! Wobe!”…then Peter and Olamide sprang up with the agility of Amalinze, the cat. I watched as my own fellas went from 0 to 100 before my very eyes. What a sight!
Moments later, there came the drinks, food, games, cake, karaoke, more karaoke and laughter, these got us going till quarter past 10, there was never a dull mo. More guests arrived, more food and drinks flowed. Peter and I were chiefly responsible for occasionally sending everybody to long spasms of exaggerated laughter, minute by minute. We literally took everybody apart, muscle by muscle with spasms of laughter. Live. Laugh. Love! We played “Concentration” over a bottle of Magic Moments. A game of you miss a question, you take a tot. With the bottle half-way gone, Lee’s mum had to talk us out of it, when Ebuka, Barbara’s brother, probably high, started off on a Lejoka Brown’s grind, from Ola Rotimi’s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again.
At 10:20pm, the last guest Ben, drove his silver Accord off. One highlight was Brigid’s (Barbara’s sister) rendition of Beyoncé’s Listen and Styl Plus’ Olufunmi Remix, such melting magic in the voice. Lee mentioned that she once contested for Star’s The Winner Is…! For me, the highlight of the day was I and Lee’s leisurely stroll around the estate, savouring the chilly evening breeze, away from all the activity and positive energy in the house.
In all, it was massive fun. Have you ever yelled at the top of your voice, danced till your joints wobbled, eaten till your eyes bulged, caked till your tongue went alkaline, pictured till the camera flashlight dizzied you, or laughed till your lungs jerked in convulsion? All in one day? In one line, “it was amay may!” Amazingly good, we named it twice. We turned Royal Sanderton Estate upside dan for a Lee Like No Other!
Friday, 19th June
Still on Lee’s day. Through some cray cray, dare devil driving by Ola, we got in at 11:15pm. As soon as we got in, we started off at viewing the pictures over large chunks of creamy cake. As we watched the slideshow, I looked in the faces of Peter, Joel and Olamide, they all seem to share one cute, dreamy smile. As the bonding feeling permeated the room, I caught myself sharing the smile too, same length same width.
12midnight! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ADESHINA! He was at home at the time, another dope turn up in the offing. After all the BBM updates and sending the most hilarious birthday video ever, Joel, Peter and Ola turned in at about 2am, I turned in an hour and half later. We were awake before 7am, Shina’s day gats be doper. That’s how we roll!
We were all going home from there; so we packed our effects into the trunk of our bullion van. We stepped out at about 10am, all things bright and beautiful. Peter rocked a patterned button down shirt, denim jean and all-star shoes with a CK gold masthead, black leather wrist watch to match. Olamide rocked a black Calvin Klein V-neck shirt, black jean and a white Adidas sneaker. A Brasas gold masthead, brown leather writsts finished the deal. Joel was all monochrome, a striped Maine polo, pants and suede shoes. I was decked in a turquoise blue V-necked shirt, with monochrome patterns on the shoulder and chest pocket. A black pant dorned my nether region and Gucci casual slippers while a brown Panther watch sat chiefly on my wrist. Dope doesn’t have another meaning.
The flight plan was Shina’s crib at Maryland, then Ikeja City Mall, (ICM) for movies and/or eatout. Olamide made the baby boy cough into life, revved and did a double wheel spin, as we attracted admiring stares from new hall onlookers, mostly girls. M.I’s Bullion Van rented space in our eardrums through a green and black Havit mobile twin speaker. While Olamide flexed at the wheels, we all yelled and shrieked hilariously as Peter and I rendered a very hilarious Fuji mix of the song, Joel was beside himself with laughter.
Honking outside the gate tore into the veil of afternoon silence that pervaded the somnolent area. His elder sister, Ms. Bidemi, who I’d been told finished from UNILAG, was on her way out, after exchanging pleasantries; all 5 of us let ourselves into the leviathan, stately edifice of the Owonifaris. Shina is the second child and only boy, he has two younger siters, Olayinka (who wasn’t around) and Yewande in that order. (See pictures).
We walked into the colourful house and first showed Shina pictures from Lee’s day, yesterday. If he felt slighted that we had fun without him, it was very little. Shina’s dad was around and Shina told us, “if popsy portray for downstairs, una go chop advice”. Barely had we started eating when he actually did step down, choking us with the unmistakeable insignia of fatherhood. “Talo wa motor ninu yin?” came after the greetings. After asking who drove, he loaded us with lectures on how to avoid Police trouble on the road. We thanked him and he climbed the stairs. After eating, Shina bathed up and decked in white and black polo shirt, black jean and a cool white Adidas sneaker. Birthday boy! We prepared to storm ICM; we took pictures and left by some minutes past 3. In less than an hour, we touched ground and literally tore it apart, brick by brick with equal fervour.
First stop was the movie galleria upstairs; up until then we had not decided on a movie or eat out. After checking the schedule, we settled for eat out. We waltzed down the climbers to Shoprite, bought Croissants, Pain pie, drinks and whatnot. On our way out, we met three girls; one even had her birthday on the day. We all took pictures and laughed a lot before proceeding. Reaching KFC, we opted for their large chicken bucket, and headed off to “jaiye foreign”. We ate, played, took more pictures and saw those girls again, then headed back to Shoprite to buy cakes. On our way back, we stopped to take more pictures in the hall way, as Peter got himself into a twisted shape to get a good shot. The sight of 5 happy guys caught the attention of an Arabian man. He walked up to us, grinning from ear to ear, and asked for a picture with us. We cracked him up with laughter on “Sir, One Picture, One Dollar?” After recovering from his laughrenzy, he took a coupla pictures and left, mumbling “Smart looking Nigerians!” as he waved and walked along.
Heading to Shoprite, Shina, Joel and Peter walked forward, while Ola and I checked out prices of stuffs. “We go meet una for there!” Ola told the trio. After checking out prices of different items on display, we got to Shoprite and started to look for them. We looked round the large hall and could not spot them, the hall was a bit crowded. Ola and I eventually gave up when Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” softly pervaded the entire mall from a large overhead speaker. There and then, we broke into a frenzied dance, as if on a spell. We abandoned looking for our crew and danced through the length and breath of the mall. Drawing a pair of eyes from co-shoppers, some looked as us in admiration, some half-smiled, half-frowned, others simply gawked at these two uncaring boys. Yea, right! We were without any care in the world, we danced and our audience grew. Peter or Joel was the first to spot us entertaining the shoppers, they called Shina’s attention. Now we had 6 more pair of eyes join our audience. We danced for the entire duration of the song, on and on till the song slowly faded away, then we all waltzed out amidst admiring stares from our latest fans.
5:40pm. We strolled through, checked prices of more items, started off to the car park, took more pictures, amidst the most bizarre, hilarious jokes ever. Ola made a comment about how nothing beats hanging out with your guys, cited how it wouldn’t have been this much fun, if girls were present. GIRLS???? Mtcheew! Keying deeper into our “spoilt VIJU milk over girls” mantra, we hissed and made snide, infamous, hilarious comments about them as we sped out. LEARN. Live. Laugh!
For me, the highlight was the dancing through the length and breath of Shoprite amidst stares and cracking the Arabian man real bad. At 6:15pm, Joel and I dropped off and we were sorry we had to leave, makes me look forward to my August 1 day.
What a day! Amidst the byes, I wished Shina more HBD wishes and he replied me with “Santi, your shirt is fine!” Ola revved off leaving the words hugging me, I yelled back, “Thank youuuuu!”
These BFT boys of mine, we took apart ICM brick by brick for Peter and Shina. All the while, we thought we were five, we were actually six. The spirit of camaraderie couldn’t have been anywhere else!
Sorry, we took too many pictures, over 300! It was hard selecting these!…LOL!
BOYS FROM TEE-ONE-ONE-OH
The title should actually have been “Men From Tee-One-One-Oh”. For we really are men, lest you think you’ve been tricked into reading one of those clips from Enid Blyton’s Children Series or Aunty Kemi from Sunday Punch. This is a story of 4 men whose paths have been made to cross by reason of education, to possibly remain so, Insha Allah.
T110 is a room number in Shodeinde Hall, UNILAG; the most populous hall in the school. The 4 of us having lived together during the 2013/2014 session in T001 found ourselves together again in T110 as room mates for the 2014/2015 session. Possibly the most twisted story hostel allocation in UNILAG would record.
We were a bit emotional packing out, no doubt, but we still pick a Saturday, hangout and laugh so hard like we heard Obama fart. Our room T110, a square room, painted bright yellow, with lockers against each corner of the room. There are 2 bunks to the walls on the left and right, 4 bedspaces in all. A big white expensive designer bulb hangs over head, serving dual purposes of making sure the room is everly brightly lit and pretending to be a chandelier. A brown ORL fan blazes overhead, we had 2 standing fans too, one even used battery. The room contained just the 4 of us; Olamide, Shina, Peter and I; in order of skin complexion. No squatter. Feel free to read that again, no squatter. I like all of them equally, regardless of skin colour, I have no favourite.
In no particular order;
Carrying a nick like a power bike, Peter Magny remains the friendliest and nicest of the lot. I’d like to quickly add that his humour content is a sterling 100%.
Dark, unassuming with quick bird-like eyes, Peter cuts the picture of a good room mate on his day. NIIT certified; He’s the CEO of Magnolia Designs; a graphics design and IT outfit, a brand he manages from school. He’s blessed (or unblessed?) with a quick, short temper and a ‘no-time’ demeanour, he’s quick to say ‘mio raye les merengues’, indicating he has zero time for frivolities. His temper easily flares at the slightest provocation, but he is good at controlling his anger. He might just “flare-up” in one minute, blast his mind out to the uttermost without caring whose ox is gored and the next minute he is roaring with laughter again. Blasting is what we substitute for scolding. It is a firing squad technique. The erring room mate is faced with every other room mate, saying the harshest words possible. Describing the act in the worst possible terms, the person is given no space for escape, as repentance and contriteness are the only possible option.
More often than not, in a tail-between-legs manner the person mostly sleeps off in complete regret. Sometimes, blasting can be fun, as everybody starts out to blast, but at some point play sets in, Ola! We end up laughing till we are out of breath. Peter stems his anger himself, or we are working on it for him. He is really a nice room mate, the kind that can go hungry for you to survive the night on his last card. Mind you, we all have our favourite food statutorily as bread and beans, but Peter’s love for the food is legendary. Go to 2001 at about 1 or 2pm, you’ll prolly see him sweating over a challenge he paid for at Mama Joe’s.
Unargably the most religious of the lot, Peter would almost never leave the room without reading the Bible and praying. He’s also the cleanest too, arguably tho’. He’s just very concerned about his utensils for food. He’s the type of room mate to tell you to wash your hand before you “please, pass that spoon.” If you know him quite closely, you’d have heard him tell you…”what’s that? That’s dirty!”. He likes songs too, mostly Christian songs, he even has one single like that where Ife Ogundeko handled the guitar. Very interesting piece! If you’ve not heard it, please, how do you live?
He has a smirk for fastitude, he has quick fingers ad very sharp reflexes. He’ll “pass that book” for you before you even finish your statement. Despite his penchant for cleanliness, it still beats me how his locker continues to remain disheveled every other day. Possibly because cleanliness and being tidy and organized are spelled differently ad mean differently too.
On women and girls, hmm! Peter is nearly never serious about liking this or that girl. Today it is Auwa, one rich Hausa girl in his class, who is o doubt very pretty. The next day, Jumoke or some other girl. He’s almost joking about each, save one, SPARKPLUG! It’s a code name I gave a girl he likes in my class. He would sometimes forget himself and dote over her pictures on his laptop, I would smile wryly and look away. Love tho’, crazy something! We drew up a masterplan on how to help him date Sparkplug, but dropped it when we knew Jesus would not like it. He actually pushed his own chances with her, but…they are still friends.
He’s a very sensitive and emotional guy, maybe because he’s nice. A good dresser and nice cook, (he cooks for the room the most) you can miss your job interview for his rice and beans, explain to the organization stating why you missed the interview, and you’ll still nail the job. He likes dancing as much as he likes SPARKPLUG. To him girls are important, but Mama Joe’s beans and bread is importanter.
CEO of Rock Photos; a fast rising photography brand, Olamide is too playful! LOL! If you see us as animals, you know who the play puppy is already.
Stallion dark, 6 feet and a sturdy body, he seems the most physical of the lot. He’s obsessed with exercises, basketball, games and yes, women! SMH! He’s the one that would receive calls facing the wall and the last thing you’ll hear is: “you just got inside your hostel? I’ll be outside your hostel in 10mins.” He’s out! Only to waltz in at 11:59pm or 12:02am.
Very adventourous, laissez-faral and lackadaisical, he strikes you as an energetic young man. He is first runner-up of the Mr Shodeinde 2014 competition, losing to the winner by a sitter. As playful as he seems to be, he really can get down to some serious work when fed with bread and sardine. On the other hand, it can come off worse, he might just sleep off. Yes, he sleeps like a statue. The position he slept off in, is what you’ll wake him up in.
Symptoms of his lackadaisical attitude is his disheveled corner. There are more of his clothes all over the room than inside his locker. When you see a cloth wrapped like a special suya, you know Olamide just got in from class. He’s a foodian, infected with “ojukokoro” and seems to be the Ebenezer Scrooge in the room – the stingy old man in tales from old England. Some day, we hope he gets visited by the 3 Ghosts of Christmas before he learns his lessons. He has no fav. musician that I know of, but he likes loud Rock songs, playing at really high tempos.
Olamide isn’t the overtly funny one, he just plays and plays. He can download a song right now and spend the next 1 hr dancing like a nanny goat. He kuku can dance well. Hilarious moments with him are when he’s being corrected by Shina and/or Peter. They pelt him with whatever is close by. There’s so much noise, I act as the Uncle they report him to, and I pacify them all. We lie on our backs and laugh hard with tears streaming down our faces onto our tersed bodies. There’s so much laughter to last each of us two decades.
Women and girls!!! In this part of his life, he seems to be the most active here. Although, he’s been involved with quite a lot lately, one major one has remained prominent for like forever. Maria. Pint-sized, chocolate-coloured, with a personality of “who-send-you?-why-when-and-how?” She’s 24.5 Oyin in size (N.B: Oyin is the SI Unit of measuring short girls, i.e That girl is 2.75Oy). If you know Oyinlola Ojugbele and you see them together, you’ll think Aki and Pawpaw now have a female version.
I think he likes girls and enjoy having them around. I’d rather not mention names for not ruining a brother’s P. Shina always tell him; “Oti like iranu ju, onishina oshi!” pelting him whenever he comes in at past 12. He was once involved in a class kissing brouhaha with Yetunde, where they made out in front of the class. Here, it is important I explain shina/fornication. In T110, if you step out at anything past 7, it is considered you’ve gone for shina. Regardless of what it is that you’ve gone to do, even if it is going to give a classmate handout or anything whatsoever. You’re considered the Oni-shina (fornicator) of the night.
He’s not so much of a good cook, but you can miss your NYSC Orientation Camp for his jollof rice and your parents will give you a medal. A very enterprising young creature, he spends a fortune on his brand, he is the brain behind our beautiful pictures, armed with his Canon EDS600D and speed light, he is limitless. As much as he likes girls, he loves photography more. To Ola, girls are important, but photography is importanter.
If I forget to add that Olamide is black, that because I don’t know who is blackly darker between him and Shina. They nearly never stop bickering over who is closer to the devil by skin complexion. I nicknamed Shina “eclipse” and Ola “shadow”. A shadow and a full eclipse which is darker? Judge ye!
Adeshina strikes you as a young, not-so-daring creature. a dark skin with an opacity of 100, sunken eyes, rotund head and a flat nose, physically describes Shina. Very ambitious and industrious, but he sleeps a lot. Does that sound like what a school teacher will write in a report sheet? His fav. Musician seems to be Magic! One band from wherever, he infected us with two classics from them, ‘No Way No’ and ‘How Do You Want To Be Remembered?’.
An avid drunkard of Nutri-C, he infected us lot to become Nutri-C drunkards. Easy going and doesn’t like too much struggle for anything whatsoever, he strikes you as an organized young man with his acts together – when he’s not tired. He’s quite religious as you would often see him slouched over his Bible and daily devotional on mornings that suit his convenience. He has a penchant for keeping fit too, just like every other room mate, save one. A staff of Crenet; an IT/Design Company in Surulere, combining work and school (like every other room mate) has not been easy as he skipped many classes while in the office. He was saved by the whiskers when Dr. Ogwezzy decided to use attendance to allow people attend her royal ballet.
Blessed with a long temper and a long-suffering attitude, he shares the role of jointly being the most point blank frank with Olamide. He’s the type that will tell you he’s not borrowing you his stuff point blank, without batting an eyelid. Peter and Olamide always get to see this side of him. He’s a good dresser too and irons more than anyone else in the room, save one. He spends too much time ironing, much to the chagrin of Peter, who has an attitude of fastitude. He’s not a good cook, as you would spot a cooking error from looking at the covered pot. But he really takes special attention on spaghetti, nevertheless. You can drop your school fees for him to make you a plate; your parents will hug you dearly and sob. Not because you diverted your school fees, but because you didn’t share such delicacy with them.
He’s done so many silly things, as I write this; I remember a story of how he made out with Bukola. A story he fondly tells with glee. You honestly don’t want details, do you? In class, his favourite class mate is Chidi, one dark girl with a voice like a spoilt whistle.
By that I’ve been drawn into writing about his women. Not so many girls hang around him, that is majorly down to him. He sees having a girlfriend as strenuous. “So I’ll keep calling and texting and buying gifts and all that? And having to say I’m sorry for this and that? And I have to keep saying; “I LOVE YOU?” Naaaahhhh mehn! That’s like giving a part of myself away!”
Who smells pride?
Notwithstanding, Shina likes girls. Durrrrhh! Who doesn’t? He thinks the cutest girl in class is that short, fair one. The SI Unit herself. As much as he like girls, he just cannot be bothered over a stubborn one. You’ll often hear him sing: “aiye o le to yen o!”, life’s not that hard to keep pursuing women. At the moment, information just filtered in that he is finally getting serious with one short girl in FSS, after being given the cold shoulder by one Year II girl (now Year III girl). “Owo ozone ti j’ona ni yen”. The money he spent on an Ozone date with her haff go! He’ll possibly have my head on a platter of steel for revealing this.
As much as he likes girls, he likes sleep much more. As a girl, if Shina hangs out with you one evening rather than laying on his back fast asleep with his white earpiece tucked in, then you must be helluva important than nuclear codes are to Jack Bauer in 24. To him, girls are important, but sleep is importanter.
It is pretty difficult writing about yourself, when you can’t possibly see yourself in another perspective beside yours. But I have to, with sincerity and without bias nor prejudice. I’ll be referring to him with the 2nd person singular. I’ve started already.
He’s tall, lanky and affable. He’s self-styled SuperAkerele; the man who built the hospital he was born in, the man who yells at you “Jump!” and you would be asking for permission to come down. Towering approximately 6.3” in height (easily the tallest in the class, leave out Wale, the behemoth) and blessed with a rich, baritone voice, Oluranti in class, cuts the picture of a stern looking task master with cane in hand, ready to pelt you for nearly making a mistake.
His work. He, like other room mates, combines school with work, for he is a Creative Director at Creative League, another Design/Website Management Company based in Fola Agoro, Lagos. He also writes a couple of stuffs here and there, now and again. His last work was My Banana Island Girl, a compelling story he wrote about a girl he met on the Island. The story received massive reception, here and yonder. If you’ve not read it, please, how do you breathe?
In the room, he is the rift settler, more often than not; he leads the “blasting” of an erring room mate.
As calm as he is, he can be a little haughty and arrogant and will nearly never say sorry for anything. Shina calls him Santi, nicknamed after the Spanish midfield maestro, Santi Carzola. He will rather talk his way out of an offence in a manner ever so diplomatic that at the end, you may be the wrong guy or confused, or both. You might even tell him sorry before you know it. He’s very coy and dodgy, you could almost never catch him on the wrong side of an argument, regardless. He’s humour content is 100%, he spits witty and hilarious lines before you can say jack, like he has a list if witty saying to every statement of question before they are asked. He is the most particular about starching and ironing. Ope Alabi, the boy with a somnolent face like an art work, once said he starches his boxers and singlets. Ope tho’
A very calm and organized person; his stuffs are everly in the right places, like Shina and nearly never misplaces anything in the room. An avid reader and a complete bibliophile, the middle layer of his locker is full of books and there’s an extension outside, laden with books. Ask him for his Year 1 notes, he will pull out a bag and hand you. His favourite musician is Asa and legendary Ebenezer Obey, he infected the rest of us with the juju king.
Quite a religious person, he nearly never misses church. He’s not particularly a generous room mate, but he’s far from stingy. Yes! He hates visitors! He is a ‘let-everybody-sit-in-their-own-house’ room mate, and he would stare down your visitors from hair to sole with distrust burning in his inquiring eyes. However, when friends of friends come around, he’s such a sweet room mate, there’s always enough laughter to last you a century, TBH! You’ll laugh till tears stream down your face, ask Adeyemo, Pastor Ekerin, Chris et al. He cooks quite well, you can forget your matric number for his beans. As much as he jokes and all, you can’t cope when he is in his serious mood. He has zero chill for mistakes and is nearly a perfectionist, having a knack for things being put in their right places.
On his women, he’s quite active too, nearly as Olamide, except that he is discreet about it, or diplomatic when asked about. In class, he’s quite popular with the girls, for he is a smart dude. He often handles tutorials with others for the class. He is quite close to most of them; he nearly has no favourite classmate. But he particularly dotes on one. He says she is one he won’t exchange for all the teas in China. His school daughter is Chiazor, an unassuming girl in his sequence. And then there’s the ‘fun-sized’ Oyinlola again! Yimu!
Like Shina, cannot be bothered over a girl too. He doesn’t fly out every night, you’ll often hear him say; “so I should keep texting and calling and running after you ‘cos you look good? Shit! I look good too!” Then he and Shina shake each other in comradeship.
Proud, arrogant, egoistic people! Shior! Tueh!
He reads a lot; he’d rather spend the evening with a book than chasing a girl. To him girls are important, but books are importanter. Very importanter-est!
As I walked to the sprawling gates, with Banana Island carved out on a platform in front; I welcomed myself to Banana Island, where Timaya was booted out for being unable to pay rent, where a flat can go for #600m. Where Mike Adenuga, Iyabo Obasonjo and co take residence. Welcome to Forbes’ Most Expensive Neighbourhood in Nigeria, I told myself.
“Yes, can I help you?” a stern looking security man asked rather arrogantly. He let me in after I told him I was heading to. Airtel office to see someone. I walked to the shuttle and waltzed away when I was told drop is #200, I later learnt it wasn’t so far. But time was running out, at 5:15pm, I had already gone the rounds with Multichoice, Zenith, GTB all at Ikoyi. A security detail at Dolphin Estate told me MTVBase had shifted base from Dolphin to Parkview Estate, “that Parkview ehn, na big, big, men dey live there” he explained. I smiled and I walked away.
Now in the much hyped Banana Island, I walked to the shuttle park just after the gate I was told N200 drop. I saw a silvery Range Rover with a fresher than life dude in it. Na wa o! I thought to myself, these rich people shaa! I tuck my earpiece in my ear listening to “Just Gotta Make It” from Trey Songz early life. Song for the moment mehn. I asked directions and earned a lift to the Airtel NG street.
Walking a few feet away from the where I was dropped, I was faced with the imposing structure that housed the administrative HQ of Bhart Airtel Nigeria. I explained my mission to the security who ran a metal check on my bag and let me in. In less than 10mins, I had finished my business in it. Bouncing out, my head told me to hang my bag brief-case style. At the gate, I met a dark young lady of about 5’7ft tall; she wore danshiki with trouser and a flat sole ladies’ sandal, same colour with the top, orange and black. I held the gate for her motioning her to go first. She allowed a curt thank you, flashing an electrifying smile to expose a gap-tooth. You don’t know where these little kindnesses can take you to, do you? I paid less attention to her as she walked in front of me, I only thought about how long journey ‘twill be for me, walking to gate. Then I heard her muttering something: hold up ma ti mu ni bi gbo gbo Island yen, lamenting on how much hold up would have been built up on the Island road. She dangled a bunch of keys in the hand that held a laptop bag, while her other hand bore her black Chanel handbag.
“Hello, sorry, are you heading towards gate?” my mouth could finally mutter after a full minute of debate whether to ask her or not to. She nodded politely and I asked her to drop me off, to my surprise, she agreed! Wow! I did excellently well in concealing my joy and offered to help with her laptop bag, she hesitated, but I insisted, probably too tired to argue, she permitted. “I’m Oluranti” I introduced myself. Showing surprise, we talked/argued about it being a feminine name and how she has one friend, a girl that goes by the name. Then she said hers, “Oyinkansola”. Still talking about my name, we walked to the car park towards the right of the main building, at some minutes past 5 only few cars were left in the lot. Understandably so, it was on a Friday. Not that I was expecting larger than life car, but I was weak in the knees when she walked tiredly to a sleek black Mercedes E-Class! I was stunned! Gaddddemm! I pretended like it’s nothing, we’re in Banana Island, everyone is rich, right? Me too. End of story.
She dropped her bag on the car roof, held her head in her hands and whined endlessly about the dense traffic along that Dolphin Estate Road and how she has to drive all through it. Unsure of what to say, I mumbled something that was supposed to be an encouragement. She smiled politely and nodded. “Can you drive?” I thought I did not hear correctly, I looked away, she repeated her question. “Yes”, I replied, shell shocked! I just met this girl and I’ll be driving her Mercedes E-Class! My roommates must worship my P-setting skills from now on. They would never, ever believe me. She motioned for me to collect the keys, I walked stridently to the driver’s side, took the keys from her, opened the car owner’s-style and slided into the seat. The interior of the car was perfectly neat to the very detail, the leather seats looked new! The scent could make one immune from ebola sef, I thought. Na wa o!
In seconds, I had started and revved the engine; she stood some feet back watching me with a half-smiling face. I wound the glass down slowly and told her to come in. She told me to face the driveway. This girl has trust issues mehn, I told myself. She entered after I had faced the driveway. “So you work here?” she asked. Ghen ghen! How will I tell this girl I’m a 300L student? How? Lord do something! I cleared my throat and told her I’m a 300L UNILAG student. There’s no harm in a little truthing, right? I held a firm grip on the steering and faced ahead. She was surprised tho’, she told me how it was her dream school, but her father wanted her to read ‘his’ course in a private university or abroad. Now she’s stuck working for one of his rich friends. Quickly I summed up her life story to be about those children from rich aristocratic families who reads a course for their parents and ends up in a family friend’s firm, working for the money they don’t need.
We got to the gate, the security men did the routine trunk check and she came down took out a park tag and handed it over. Trust issues! Quickly, I scanned through the back seats, some documents were on it, there was a placement order for a LOUBOUTIN and a Shalini and then a file on Insurance and co sha. I was losing interest until my eyes fell on her date of birth, I saw 1990. Damn she’s so young! She entered the car. I should come down now, but she told me to stay that her route passes where I’ll get vehicles plying Obalende, then Yaba. Driving on, I asked her if she knew 2Chainz. “Why?” I repeated my question. She laughed and nodded in the affirmative. Her brother rants about him and his raps at home plus she sees him on TV, she said. I asked her if she’s ever seen him wear one chain or three. Wondering how that question is relevant, she said no. “Then why do you have trust issues? You did not trust me enough to know if could drive well, now you don’t trust the security man?” By this time she was beside herself with laughter.” “No, no, no not that”, she said. “Then what?” I offered half-laughing too. “Nothing jareh, so that’s why you asked if I knew 2Chainz? Oluranti, you’re very funny”. She laughed harder, I grinned from ear to ear. I can make anyone laugh, that’s my USP (Unique Selling Proposition) I thought.
I drove on very slowly, I was enjoying the convo, at this time atmosphere had become very relaxed, we talked about this and that, and laughed about that and this. She told me about how her father made her read Accounting in Sawford University in the UK against her wish. And how she hates the job of sitting in an office staring a computer doing literally nothing all week. How bored she is at home all weekend, few friends. What a boring life these people live.
By this time, 6:48 or so, we had left Foreshore Estate, Parkview Estate area. We kept talking; I enjoyed her company in the dense traffic. She mentioned something about her ex-boyfriend, who according to her broke her trust. I asked to see a pic of the said guy, she was reluctant and told me, “you too you have trust issues”. “Your anti-trust bug bit me”, I fired back. She laughed hard and long, I grinned from ear to ear to ear. “Ok fine, I’ll show you”. She made a funny face, childlike and girly, then she handed me the phone with a very frosh guy in it, fresh with the freshness of Terrence J in Think Like A Man Too. “No wonder you have trust issues” I told her. She asked why, I said nothing. “Whatevuuurrrr!” she laughed back.
We talked about countless other things, and then at 6:31 or thereabout, we got to the place where she said I’ll get vehicle to Yaba. She motioned for me to pull over at some respectable distance away from the bus park. I got a good spot away from the busy road and killed the engine. We did some rounding off talk, “So do I collect your contact or leave it to fate?” I asked. “Leave it to fate!” She turned her face. My pride was hurt! Shit! I messed this P-setting up, what a shame! My roomies would vex for me, I thought. I came down and walked to the back of the car waiting for her, sorry, rueing my chances. She delayed for a few seconds then came to the back too. She pointed at where I’ll take the bus, she stared up at me (I’m taller than her by far, #JustSaying) and held out her contact card; “you thought you won’t get the contact card, abi? Who has trust issues now?” I laughed hard! Damn! She’s nice and very funny. We had a playful argument about who has trust issues, which I let her win. She made a playful face with her tongue stuck out in mock jest. I gave a sly smile and grinned from ear to ear to ear to ear.
Time to go. She shook me and squeezed some monies into my hand, my eyes popped out in amazement. My 6th sense told me to reject. I tried to say “no, no, no don’t bother” but you know how those syllables can be hard to pronounce, shebi? I opted for a simple, monosyllabic “Thanks!” instead. She smiled warmly and thanked me too for making her evening and driving her down here, then she continued her tirade about going back to that boring house. “Oyin, you’ll be fine” I told her, she nodded unconvincingly. Then we hugged and she started back to her car, “call me when you get to school o!” she entered and drove off. So just the simplest of actions of holding a door and stepping aside for her made a friend for me? I can’t wait to get back to school, my guys in school would have a fit believing me. I would gather them and make them crave for every detail of the story. Then they would take turns shaking me, chanting “BAD GUY!”
As I imagined her car vanishing off in the distance I heard, “Obalende! Obalende!! Ti o ba ni change ma wo le o!”. The conductor rudely interrupted my reverie. I had been day dreaming on the bus.
N.B: The writer actually went to Banana Island on a visit to Airtel’s office on Friday, August 8, 2014 and on his way out saw a young, dark lady but did not say a word to her. He was too shy.
While this might mean Man In Progress, I (the first person singular), it can also mean Man In Progress, I (the first of the Roman numeral) signifying the first of a series. It’s a double entendre maybe. Like those road signs they put up when they’re working on a raod, “Work In Progress”, I’m not there yet, I’m not a man, neither am I a child, but I’m still in process. I’m a Man In Progress.
I’ve reached a milestone, or few hours back I reached a milestone, for this time yesterday, many years back, I started existing, yesterday was my existence day, my birthday. For my year note, I wasn’t sure what to drop, a poem? A short write up? A lengthy one? Ideas, phrases, interesting quotes all scurried upward my head for my attention. At the time, I understood what my teacher used to say, what he wanted us to remember something pretty important for exam. “Keep that at the back of your mind”. I heard that time and again that when I finished primary and junior secondary, I figured the reason I had ógó (head backyard) was because there’s so much behind there.
Growing up, I learned to read books like my surviving depended on it; I started reading as soon as I learned the alphabets. I courted books and read everything and anything, read as much as I could.
In senior high school, I became a nightmare to the authorities. I can smile now as I fondly remember escapades upon escapades. There was one moment in SSI, a classmate came squealing to us to be quiet, “V.P is coming!”, he yelled. V.P actually came and stood in front of the class. But I was bent on my work, I was not looking. The class fell quiet, after like a full minute, I expected the feared voice to rouse me from my work. I heard nothing; to me it was another prank, no V.P. Without looking up still, I hissed loudly, “V.P koor, vampire ni!”, I blurted into the silence. Most laughed, few gasped in horror. He simply marched me down to his office, by the time I was returning, I was sorry for that action, and ones I’ll still commit.
Finding myself in UNILAG was quite startling. I already knew a lot of things from reading a lot of things; I hoped to terrify my course mates with those. But the University, I would later learn is a complex place. Here, no matter how much you think you know something and can do it well, there are usually a handful of people who do it ‘more better’ (sic) than you. I found a few, I gave up terrorising, I chose complex words instead. Living with roomies as a rookie in school then was fun, and by the time we were separating, it was hard. We was separated still (sic), UNILAG had broken my heart so early in our 4 year relationship. My new roomies weren’t just it, I once thought they were a bunch of gung-ho refugees from Mogadishu, Somalia. We got along, interestingly, we did not just ‘got along’, we knitted.
There came January, cupid shot his arrow, he shot me and got me in Febuary, a year and half on, I still have the arrow. It’s a fine little arrow, deftly crafted for a purpose, you bend the arrow a little, you abuse the purpose. I bonded in many ways than 10. Loyalty has no date, responsibility has no age. I heard your heart is a muscle; exercise is by breathing more, I heard. Uh-oh! Interestingly, the proponents of the theory seem to have. . . Later on, cupid actually threw another or, I guess I walked into his target practice area. I had two arrows, or so it seem, but later errrr… we thank God sha!
On friends, I have many! The list is endless, there are some I won’t exchange for all the tea in China, nor all the coffees in Europe, nor all the turkeys in Turkey, nor all the chickens in the Republic, nor all the pretty ivory in Ivory Coast, nor all the golds in Gold Coast, . Since I have too many, I keep few close to my heart. If you’re reading this, you’re close to my heart and I would not exchange you for tea, coffee, turkey, chicken, ivory but gold? I’ll give it a thought. LOL!
In my field, I’d always admire the Piers Morgans of this world, I read his twitter feed religiously, spell bound. Piers’ command of the language is terrific, the dexterity the man expends in carving his words to make the meaning very imponderable, laced with the right dose of humour, slays me!
I’ve read books too o, one I can never forget, El-Nukoya’s ‘Nine Lives’. I later learned that was his pen name, his real name can be derived spelled backwards. I’m in my element when I write, like the cartoon characters of Avaters, Avatar Toph, the earth bender, Avatar Aang, the air bender etc. when these characters are in their elements, what they can do is limitless. I’m in my element when I write, there’s always a pen and paper, I’m limitless!
This part is incomplete without the mention of Robert Greene’s 48 Laws Of Power – what informed my ‘Enter With Boldness’ mantra, sourced form his 28th Law: Enter Action With Boldness. Another Law, the 29th, Plan All The Way To The End, struck me. Also, the 34th, Be Royal Your Own Fashion, Act Like A King To Be Treated Like One. Overtime, the book slowly moulded an enigma, SuperAkerele. Just in case you haven’t heard of him;
SuperAkerele built the hospital he was born in,
Superkerele can count the number of corners in a circle.
When you Google SuperAkerele, hit “I’m Feeling Lucky”
SuperAkerele doesn’t watch T.V, T.V watches him.
SuperAkerele sets fire on ants with a magnifying glass, at night.
SuperAkerele has been to Mars, now there’s no sign of life there.
He gave the virus a flu, and the flu a virus.
When you need to find something, you ask Google, when Google needs to find something you now know who it asks.
The President calls him “SIR!”
When he hit puberty, it died.
He put “laughter” in “manslaughter”.
No street is named after him, no one crosses him and live.
He makes onions cry.
He stared at the sun for an hour, and half, the sun blinked.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, SuperAkerele was obviously somewhere at the time.
Giraffes were created when he uppercutted a horse. Horses were created when he knocked a giraffe.
My friend, there’s plenty more where that came from (sic).
Life not being a bed of roses, I have come to learn is more than just a saying. Someone said, life is like a bicycle to keep your balance, you have to keep riding. Life only comes around once, do whatever makes you happy, remember, you are only responsible for you. In the pursuit of happiness, self-aggrandisemnt is key.
I’m a futuristic person, I’m growing to be a man. Though I’m not there yet, I’m still in process. There are dreams and aspirations. When Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech at Lincoln Memorial in August, 1963, watching it again, you can bet your last nickel he knew what he was saying. Five years later the world heard his Mephis, Tennesse speech; “I Have Been To The Mountaintop. … and I’ve seen the Promiseland”. Though the actualisation of his dream came many years after, in the man with the name like an African breed of the koala. Someone said, if you want to live a fulfilled life, tie it to a dream not to people, friends or things. To help you through reality, you need a dream, your destination would make it worth the while. Push through the darkness, just another mile. Be dogged and determined and undeterred, in the end everything will be alright, if everything is not alright, that’s not the end.
Whether it is like the Biblical Joseph, the Dreamer, or Martin Luther King Jr, or Westlife, I HAVE A DREAM, I’m purposeful in pursuit.
“A man’s gift maketh room for him and bringeth him before great men” – Proverbs 18:16
August, 2, 2014.
The peace this name commands,
The mental quietude,
As I write this,
Only the whirl of my fan,
The chirping of happy nocturnals pervade my thoughts.
Oluwarantimi; God remembers me!
The tranquillity immeasurable,
The joy unspeakable,
That I am actually engraven in the palm of his hands,
The peace this name commands!
Imagine the most peaceful scene ever.
A white swan in a still lake,
A duckling beside her mother,
A chick beneath a bigger feather,
A little snake slithering around a pole,
A goldfish in a lonely aquarium,
A newly-hatched gold coloured chick,
A beautiful white stag on a river bank,
A bird gliding through a sunny Friday morning sky,
A cub lying beside her mother,
A puppy playing on the lawn,
A kitten by the fireplace,
A lily in the swamp,
A bright coloured rose among thorns and thistles,
As peace is not the absence of turmoil,
But stillness and assurance even in the thick of it.
“…Jesus came and said unto them, ‘Peace be unto you’.”
Yes. I got scammed, swindled and cheated by a vendor on olx.com.ng. I am sharing my story here with the hope that I can reach a lot of people and warn them to be careful with their “hard earned money”. This happened to me between Wednesday evening, March 26, 2014 and today, Friday, March 28, 2014. There are a lot of dishonest people out there. We all need to be careful and analytical in all our transactions.