I started my annual leave on Monday but I still went to work that day and the next. But other than yesterday when I went to the national stadium, I’ve been totally indoor. I promised myself that I would not see the […]
I started my annual leave on Monday but I still went to work that day and the next. But other than yesterday when I went to the national stadium, I’ve been totally indoor. I promised myself that I would not see the sun this entire week especially since Abuja sun is so crazy during harmattan.
Last week Thursday, when I went to tell(remind) Milord that i would be away, he looked at me and said
“Are you travelling?”
“You just want to be sleeping at home?”
By this time I was grinning from ear to ear.
“Why will you go on leave when I’m still sitting? Who signed your leave form?”
He was standing when I told him but now, he had calmly gone to take a seat.
“The head of litigation signed for me sir”.
“Why should he sign for you? Why did you take it to him? Are you working under him?”
“I’m sorry milord.”
But the truth is, Milord has never signed my leave form since I started working with him and he has never made a fuss about who signed.
Ok I remember now.
The last time I went on leave, I didn’t tell him. I told W. W informed him after I left. Milord was on vacation when I left. Milord only mentioned when I came back that he heard I was on leave.
So, this was all new to me. I am aware that he signs for W and addresses it to the chief registrar to enable W proceed on leave. I thought that was too high for me.
So I begged
“I’m sorry Milord”
“It’s okay. But what will you be doing?”
In my mind, I was like “milord, all these delay tactics are not working. Kukuma tell me you are going to miss me”. I was just there smiling like mumu until he said
“Or you want to write another book? I’m sure that this time around you’d write about your experiences in court”
I nearly screamed. My eyes lit up. Flesh and blood couldn’t have revealed that to him. How did he know?
***Ok now, let’s take a commercial break because Jonathan Eze just sent me a huge text.
As I was saying,
I was so excited. I get excited when people that matter to me talk about the thing I love the most.
“Your first book I read the first chapter but i …..
Honestly I could have hugged Milord at this point but that would have been sacrilegious.
Milord read my book????
Now I have finally earned the “do you know who I am?” status😁. I now have bragging rights.
“Milord, you read it????”
“Yes, but I stopped at the first chapter. I haven’t been able to finish it”
Oh so sweet of you my noble Lord. The fact that you even opened it has made my day. Of course I didn’t say this.
The Chief Registrar of the court had purchased about 150 copies which was distributed by the library to all judges of the court. Imagine my shock few days after I got transferred to my Lord’s Chambers and I saw my book staring back at me in his shelf. It was an eureka moment. Biko let me write another book and go back to the status of a celebrity.
I didn’t know when I blurted out
“Milord, I have a blog where I write about you”
“All my friends read you. Some of them have been telling me they need to see that Milord. One would even call and say greet your Lord for me. Another friend of mine planned to visit our court so that she could see you(it was prisca’s diary I had in mind when I said this). Even my brother was shocked when I told him I now work with you.
He laughed heartily.
And in a way, I felt relieved that he now knows my shenanigans. I have a feeling that he’s going to stumble on my blog one day or maybe his kid/relative/a friend would bring it to his attention.
Then, we talked about a lot of things for the first time. About my dad. About how my dad approached him to write a letter of recommendation for my brother in Lagos when he got a job. Milord told me this. I never knew.
I equally told him how mom used to make jest of dad for calling the Court’s jugdes his Lord.
So I told him few of the things I’d be doing with myself. And that yes, I would be writing my second book like he said.
We talked about the economy. About his generation causing problems for my generation. How they told us we would be leaders of tomorrow and here we are, still not sure of tomorrow.
“Milord, it is the people in your generation that are the problem of Nigeria.”
Dear readers, I beg of you, you see this relationship I have with my Lord? It’s one of a kind. If you ever work with a Nigerian judge or come across one, they are highly revered. Do not, I repeat, do not talk to them the way I talk to milord except that judge is your uncle or your father else,….ewon gbere niyen mehn😁
We gisted till staff bus left me. I had to trek home😁
Milord is a rare breed. One of a kind.
Last week, a very popular SAN in Nigeria was in court, a female and I had gone to ask her which one was her matter so that I could call it out of turn. They are so big on seniority at the bar and no matter which case is number one, I have to call her matter first as the most senior.
However, we had a motion exparte and I called it next. After I eventually called her case, she reported me to milord in open court that I knew she was in court and could have called her case since but Milord apologised on my behalf. You see why he’s the best?
Well, the first thing I did yesterday was to get myself a pack of sans cream soda.
I wanted to buy a bottle and I decided to ask if they have the pack. They did. So I got one. I bought dispenser water too. With some chocolate biscuit and I came back home, locked myself in and slipped under the duvet.
Now, I don’t know what to do with myself. I need to be out of Abuja but I don’t know where to go. I’m not resuming till January. What will I do with my life?
I paid for cow and rice sharing at the office. I got my rice last Friday. I’m waiting for my cow. We are slaughtering two cows😁. Aye mi o. The thought of it is making me to belch already. They’ve been sending me pictures of cows on the WhatsApp group.
Uncle’s wife is expecting me in Ibadan. She has even made arrangements for my mobilization. She has arranged with someone to pick me and bring me to her doorstep. Bhet, does it make sense to leave my cow meat and go to ibadan? Or should I go on a road trip to Ghana? I don’t want to spend the new year in Abuja ojare.
One day like that in 2013, in the early hours of the day, my mom had called me on phone from her bedroom. “Moromoke, come to my room”, she said. I rubbed my foggy eyes. It was characteristic of my mom to […]
One day like that in 2013, in the early hours of the day, my mom had called me on phone from her bedroom.
“Moromoke, come to my room”, she said.
I rubbed my foggy eyes. It was characteristic of my mom to call me in the wee hours of the day if she had something important to talk to me about.
I heard her unlatching her door. It was a signal that she was waiting for me. Dad slept in the adjoining room on his own bed. Technically, they were in the same room with a slight demarcation with two different exit doors leading to the outside. But they could easily slip into each other’s bed, sorry, room without coming out through the exit. Abomination!!! I don’t like to think of such, mbok.#shudders
Did I confuse you? Don’t worry.
You don’t even need to understand.
So I knelt to greet her
She started in her usual way, regaling me with the family cognomen
“Ayinke, omo ola. Omo aro, omo oke melu, omo motan.
You had to remain on your knees till she finished her early morning head swelling ritual.
She patted a side of the bed beside her and asked me to sit.
“You see, why I called you is that I want you to follow your father to Abuja. Go and do what we discussed. If it succeeds, fine. But if not, you can always come back home. I want you to try it again.
Do you have any friend you can stay with?
Mothers can get anything they want from their kids using the right tactics. My mom’s method was to wake you up at night and make her demands. When she wanted to buy her first car and needed some money to complete the purchase, she had woken me up same time, spoken with me at that hour when every word must enter inside you. So, I parted with my first prize money in an essay competition where I got the 1st prize in the entire Southwest of Nigeria that year. It was 50k, quite a lump sum then when money still had great value. I gave it to her. I still had some little cash left over from the scholarship I got from the Obasanjo Operation Feed the Nation essay competition that year as well. They asked the winners to open a UBA account and they paid into it. We were still invited to Aso Rock that year but I missed the memo. It was later I saw it in the newspaper. The pictures and all. My chest became tight. I got my money though. You see why it’s only fair that my child should make me proud like I made my parents proud?
You probably don’t know why my dad especially was crazy about me and could do anything for me? I was his star child. The one who brought glory to his name without having a penis. The one who dined with the high and mighty when she barely knew anything about life. The one who went to places and took her parents to fine places they could not have reached on their own. The one whose name and picture was splashed on the pages of Punch newspaper that year who also went to become a regular writer for Tribune. The one who got shown on national TV many times, who clinched the many awards. The one whom my father could always boast about among his friends “that’s my daughter”. No, I still do not have a male genital but I was worth more than 10sons to him.
As I was saying, the title of this essay should have been “hey, I was on my way to England but I found myself in Abuja” because what we discussed was that I should follow dad to the UK embassy in Abuja. That was the only reason why I came to this town. This is the first time I’m putting this out here. This is the first time I’m talking about this openly.
I had declined the previous day. I told them I was tired. I told them I was not going to UK again. I told Dad to get me a job. That even if he got me one in Ibadan, I’d stay in Ibadan and probably get my own apartment in bodija.
He said where are the jobs? He said it would be better for me to leave since I had always wanted it. Moreover, there were no jobs again anywhere.
Why did I decline?
Because I had applied in Lagos and it failed. Because I had walked away from everything in Lagos, even my unilag postgraduate admission, a new job where they were calling me to pick up my letter after I left compass newspaper, and I moved to ibadan. But when I later received my passport, it was with a denial. It broke my heart so much that I said that was it.
Here was mom, asking me to go back again. I listened to her and travelled with Dad. I will leave the rest of that story till next year when my first real book, my memoir, comes out.
Mom made me come to Abuja. I came and fell in love with the city. I often called her on phone after I came, telling her of the beautiful streets, the well tarred roads, the ambience, the night life etc. The day I went to write my entrance exam in ABU, Zaria, I called her on my way back when I stepped into kaduna and I remembered all the tales she had told us about the northern city where she lived as a spinster with her elder brother while working with P&T(postal and telecommunication) now separated and known as NIPOST where she retired.
I called her from Kawo in Kaduna and I could feel her excitement that day. She was so happy. She began to mention the names of her brothers still in that city.
When I decided to permanently stay in Abuja, she tried to link me up with some of her relatives. She asked me to visit some, I was even surprised when she mentioned someone who works with NNPC. I spoke with a few on phone and later got angry and told her to stop making me talk to people I didn’t intend to see. My sister got jealous, claiming that in all her years in Lagos, mom never linked her with anyone.
She only did this because Abuja was too far. She visited Lagos with dad and saw younger sister once. Besides ibadan-lagos was just a stone’s throw. But she could not see me from Abuja as she wished. Hence, her reason for trying to make sure her relatives could be seeing me. I ended up visiting one uncle who worked at the ministry when the uncle wouldn’t stop calling. Mom was calling the uncle to call me. She didn’t rest until uncle confirmed that I had come to spend a weekend in his house at Gwarimpa. I haven’t looked for uncle since then.
Her mind was always with her children. It was she who gave me the key to dad’s Camry and told her driver to teach me how to drive. We were at the police station together when I had an accident involving one of the commercial taxis in Ibadan.
She was always promising that she would come and visit me in Abuja. Our last discussion on phone was about 24 or 48hours earlier when she said
“Nike, emi mi n pin. So fun baba ko maa bo nile.”
She asked me to tell Dad to start coming home, that she needed to see him as her spirit was departing.
Her voice was very faint. She let me know she was going but I didn’t believe it. I rejected it. She had gone through worse stuffs and came out. I thought she would come out of it.
About 8pm on Saturday night, when kidbrother called me that she had stopped breathing, it was still surreal. That woman can never die. She had beaten death hands down many times. I thought death would never win.
I created a prayer chain by sending messages on blackberry to all my friends “pray, my mom is about to die”. Something like that. But she had already gone. I went to my neighbors house and told them. We gathered in their sitting room to pray. We prayed for almost an hour then I called my brother
“Has she woken up?”
“She’s still dead”, he replied.
He was the only one with her. Well, with a girl, her help.
It was already dark. But darkness couldn’t have gotten more dark that night.
At this point, let me shed tears before I go on😰😤😢
I never bought foodstuff as little as iru while in this town when she was alive. She sent me foodstuffs I could never finish. The only thing I bought in Abuja then, was pepper. Meat o, dry fish o, she sent them. She even used to hide money in my sack without letting dad know. Dad was the one who brought it but he never knew all the content because she packed it all by herself, putting everything she knew I liked. Even bathing soap and cream. Even cream for pimples. I used to have pimples those days.
My heart is heavy right now as I write this. Because, it’s as if one major chapter of my life has ended. I’m having trouble navigating the new chapter all by myself. I’m just swimming in the ocean of life, not knowing whether I will survive the waves or if the waves will go over me.
December gets scary for me every year. It gets very lonely and depressing. My parents pulled this big party every December at Ibadan and if I refused to go, they would bring my meat to Abuja. They slaughtered cow or the goats in their farm.
That night she died, I either saw or imagined her in a white flowing gown waving at me after we prayed in my neighbor’s house. I felt I was hallucinating. I slept in my neighbor’s sitting room till daybreak. I have always gone through the darkest period in my life alone. At that point too, there was no one to hold my hands. There was no one to tell me it would be okay. I bore my pain in silence. I slept on bare floor in my neighbor’s house.
I cried every morning on my way to work at area 2, Garki. I trekked from area 1 every morning. I deliberately walked leisurely in front of fast moving cars on the area 1 express road but the cars refused to hit me. If you know this area 1 express, you’d understand what I’m talking about.
One day, I got to my office, sat outside and was crying. All of a sudden, there was a very heavy wind around me. I had goosebumps on my body. I felt a presence but I didn’t know what it was. I explained this to daddy when we saw and he said maybe she came. I didn’t believe it.
It’s four years today since that unforgettable night in 2015, 28th November, 7.55 pm, Saturday.
Dad said he wanted to leave Abuja in 2019. He was on contract and it had been renewed every two years for nine years. He said he came to work with my Lord the president (who just retired) According to him “Once […]
Dad said he wanted to leave Abuja in 2019. He was on contract and it had been renewed every two years for nine years. He said he came to work with my Lord the president (who just retired)
According to him
“Once My Lord retires in 2019, I’m going with him” he said
“But what about me?” I asked him
“What about you ke?”
“But you can’t leave me in Abuja and go back home”
He looked at me whimsically…like warrris dis one even saying?
“What do you want me to be doing here? I’ve stayed long enough. I’m going back to ibadan when president leaves”
I hung my head. It wasn’t pleasant news to me. It looked scary.
How can I live in Abuja on my own? Not that we lived together. No.
But for the safe assurance that you had your father with you. The sense of security that made you feel safe and not alone.
And again, my life was structured in a way that I could practically not live without him. I mean, he did everything for me. He even bought the bed I sleep on. He brought it to my house on a Saturday many years ago. I asked for mortar and pestle and he went to get it. That was the last thing he brought to my house before he kicked the bucket. He ate on that Saturday morning. I made bean pudding but he had bought cooked rice for me on his way💋❤️
I followed him to the kitchen to wash his hands and told him his shirt was very fine. He was pleased with himself 🤣
The thought of living without him was an aberration. It wasn’t possible. Probably I would have gotten a transfer to ibadan or something. I even heard that their staff bus in Ibadan goes as far as Oje market😀. But I would never follow any bus in Ibadan. I would have been driving his Camry jejely to the office and back and be basking under the euphoria of “omo oga”.
We were together in Lagos, going back and forth every weekend. We had that same conversation when he was transferred to Abuja. We were on our way to ibadan from Lagos. Just few kilometers from home, he had said to me
“They’ve directed that some of us should move to the headquarters in Abuja”. My eyes opened wide. That was when I just finished working at Compass and had gotten another job immediately. They were even calling me to pick up my letter. I had also, a postgraduate admission waiting for me at unilag. The future looked good.
I didn’t even think about the job. The only thing I said was
“Dad, you can’t leave me here. Please, let me follow you to Abuja.”
“But what will you be doing in Abuja? You don’t have a job there”
“Daddy I will get. Let’s just go together”. He didn’t take me serious. He had better plans for me anyways, bigger than moving to Abuja. Only that the plan failed. We eventually came to Abuja together. His driver picked us from jabi and they drove me to Mararaba where I stayed.
So, after he died and he appeared to me in the dream telling me to follow him😀😁😂, you go understand say na me cause am. No be me dey follow am everyhere? No be me dey beg am say make e no leave me?😋😋(only that when I woke up, it wasnt a dream. It looked like I was in a trance or that it actually happened. Only that my body was helpless while it was happening). It took the effort of many people in the dream to rescue me from him. He wanted to take me forcefully. I can never forget that dream. If to say i follow am again for dream, I for no wake up again😀.
But where I’m actually going is that I ran away from my house that time and began to sleep in my neighbor’s. The church had sent someone to stay with me the first night, the pastor’s wife actually. But she had to leave.
I was so small in those days. Then after the stress of his death and the emotional pain I went through, I shrank even further.
One morning, after I woke up as usual from my neighbors’. She said she wanted to talk to me. So we sat down in her sitting room
“Now that your father is dead, I think you should try and do something with your life. Try and gather your o’level certificate so that you can go to the university. Because now, if you graduate, you will be able to fend for yourself”
I wiped my face.
This was another “do you know who I am moment”😀😁😂lol lol
At that time, I wasn’t going out to work so to speak. But I was actually working from home. I made good money then….more than what I even make now. My routine was to wake up and write up to five articles per day. I had up to three clients…one in Lagos/London, another in Ireland and one in Enugu. I was a Ghostwriter and life was good. All three clients paid at the end of the month even though I charge them per article. I had just paid for my book to be published as well.
I was angry. I felt disrespected. So obviously she had been looking down on me. She saw me as a small girl who was jobless but fed and taken care of by an old man who they said was her sugar daddy. No wonder the first time I moved in, she went to stand at the gate with her mother and they were looking at me suspiciously. She later came at night in form of a welcome but I didn’t allow her to enter. The day she was able to enter, she looked round and round.
Then, each time dad visited, I knew she was always peeping from her window. She came after he left one day.
Dad’s style was to call me on phone at the gate
“I’m at your gate. Bring a sack to pack the things I brought for you”
That was how I would pack juice, pack rice, provisions, even his newspapers. He always got another paper on the way.
She saw me packing juice and provision and came to tell me how her supposed husband left her. She was pregnant then. I didn’t even say a word. And I didn’t offer her anything. The goodies were still scattered in my living room floor. She was looking at it as she spoke.
So, on this day in her living room, after the unsolicited nonsense she spat,
I replied her
“Madam, I’m a graduate already….with two degrees sef. But thanks for the advice.”
I left her house. She was shocked. She changed from calling me by name to greeting me in the usual respected yoruba way. I didn’t give a damn. I just marvelled at the size of her brain. She doesn’t know that ariwo ko ni music, empty barrel lo ma n pariwo.
Some months back, It leaked through compound news that she had told everyone that time that the man who died was my sugar daddy and not my father.
Because pray, how many people’s fathers come to visit them every time? And why would she always be packing things inside everytime he came. And he always came in an official car…a hilux for that matter. I didn’t know that all those things qualified my dad as my sugar daddy.
They later gave him a Camry too one time. And the man always dressed so well, even wearing a hat at times. Yeah, dad can dress to kill. He must have been a very rich sugar daddy.
Little did I know that all the times I was in her house, she was just pretending to console me. She was actually happy that my sugar daddy had died.
And when I came back from the burial, I brought meat for her. She ate the meat and came to thank me.
There was also a time that dad brought plenty cocoyams for me. They had sent it from his farm in the village. So I spread it in from of.my room outside. It was harmattan season. My neighbor saw it and came to beg for it. I told her to pack as much as she wanted. At least, we both benefited from the man. My supposed sugar daddy.
Now, she just put to bed again. For the 2nd man. Without a marriage.
So I really can’t get angry with such people. Their crazy life speaks. Their poor choices make you know who they are. Two kids for different men without a marriage. So, if my dad actually was my sugar daddy for real, what makes her better than me?😂😁😀
P.s I pray she reads this someday. So that she can know that I know.
P.s. I think you should fear people who don’t talk, who mind their business, who don’t relate with others, who won’t even retaliate when you hurt them even though they know.They are the wrongest set of people to offend. And why it is bad is because they won’t even talk about it. If they tell you, it will be better. Maybe I’d write about it someday. But if not, mind how you step on people’s toes. And if you do, pray that they tell you so that you can apologise.
But you see those ones who you hurt intentionally(especially by casting aspersions on their personality, slander etc) and they are still feigning ignorance, still relating with you, do not cross them because you will always pay for it. They may not hold you to ransom, they may not remember it. But it will come back to haunt you.
You can’t break them but you will end up being broken instead.
In commemoration of the international day of the girl child which has long passed, let me tell you about the few times I’ve been marginalised because of my gender. And each time it happened, it hurt deeply. First was when we were […]
In commemoration of the international day of the girl child which has long passed, let me tell you about the few times I’ve been marginalised because of my gender. And each time it happened, it hurt deeply.
First was when we were trying to get a death certificate for Mr Banji at the Garki Hospital. I was there with kidbrother and Mr N, dad’s assistance.
We were given a form to fill. Mr N handed it to kidbrother to fill. I thought that was because he was at the scene of death but nevertheless, anyone could have filled it. We had both been through a lot in the past 24hours, going to police station for police report, taking police officers to the house to take pictures of the scene, arguing on whether an autopsy should be carried out, going to the morgue at National Hospital, getting burial clothes at Area 8 and so on.
After giving the information as to the time of death, the police report and all, the certificate was issued.
As if on impulse, Mr N collected it and gave it to kidbrother right there in my presence.
I was just a spectator through it all. You would have thought I was just a friend of the family who just accompanied the real children of the deceased😂.
I actually enjoyed a very robust relationship with Mr N(i still do). During the entire trying period, he deferred to me in matters that were inconsequential. Those situations he felt a lady could handle. Like getting burial cloths sorted at the market.😁
However, some few months down the line, the office needed the death certificate to close his file. I was summoned. I called kidbrother. He said he couldn’t find it. Just like that. Lobatan. He lost that certificate.
I told Mr N. And I had my ‘i told you so’ moment. I was asked many times but I kept on avoiding them at the office. When they couldn’t find me, they asked Mr N to ask me for it.
One day, I walked into the hands of one of the people who needed it. The people who demanded it are HOD admin and another higher boss at the Admin Dept.
And she said
“Yetunde, we’ve been asking you to produce the death certificate for months now. I give you 48hours from today to produce it”.
So I ran to Mr N’s office. He was angry and regretted his action but he still made a statement
“I had to give him because he’s the man”.
Kidrother is fourth in line to me notwithstanding. But he’s the man. Patriarchy had an advantage over me for sure.
I had to take responsibility for it. I was told to go and swear to an affidavit that I had lost the document. So, the law recognises that I should be the custodian of the document but obviously, Patriarchy doesnt.
I did the affidavit and submitted. File closed.
Again, family chose to send a letter of appreciation to the management. They actually came(through a representative) and had a meeting with Mr N who collected the letter on their behalf. But, they boycotted me….in my own office. They never even asked to see me. They never even felt it was appropriate that I should be the one to submit the letter(as the direct heir) or at least carried along. I don’t even know the content of that letter till today. I only heard from Mr N that they sent a representative. “They” in this context refers to the extended paternal family. They went on Whatsapp chats planning the burial without my knowledge. They felt my younger siblings should carry me along after they had decided.
Everything I later saw on the day of the burial, I knew nothing about it. Only the boys did😀. Except for the decisions I took single handedly in Abuja sha.
But when it got to taking his body back home, kidbrother refused. On the grounds that he wanted to read for his bar finals. I took Dad home and what did I do?
I dropped him at a morgue in Ibadan and made them all believe I was heading home. I was with officials of the court including policemen. So, I went with maternal uncle to lodge them for the night at a place very close to my dad’s house…quite a 3mins trekking distance.
They were calling me and waiting for me. But I did a Uturn and went somewhere else to sleep. I never went home that night. The next morning, I came back to Abuja with the court vehicles. We dropped the ambulance in akure and drove back to Abuja.
Their anger gave me some pleasure.
The girl child in Nigeria may never get any recognition especially from her paternal family. Of course, the maternal family tree is always the best. They are always protective. They defer to you. But the paternal tree is most times repulsive and egocentric. They want you to bow to them, to see them as demi-gods.
My dad exhibited some traces of patriarchy too. I wrote a post on how I asked him questions about the house. Till today, I don’t even know what I was smoking that made me ask him that kind of question that day.
“Dad, where are your house documents?”
And I still don’t know why we had the kind of classified conversations we had just few months before his demise including who was owing him.
Before he gave me the info about his house, he had first said
“But you are a woman now, what do you need the document for? It’s for the boys”.
But anyways, I’ve told first son where I kept it,” he said
First son is third in line to me.
My head did gbagaun. Not that I needed the house or the documents, I just needed to know. If mum was alive, I would never have asked some questions. But since I was technically his right hand person in place of mum then, I felt I needed to know certain things.
That conversation came back to me months after his demise. And what did I do? I boycotted his entire property. I never took a pin out of his house. Which is what would still have happened if we never had that conversation. But this time, I did it with spite.😀 I was called severally to come and pack things but I asked them to call people who needed it. Let me not lie, I would have loved to inherit all his evergreen Ebenezer Obey CDs. Mehn, he had a huge collection of them.
I won’t bow to patriarchy.
The kind of things an average married Nigerian woman goes through would make you cringe.
The funniest of it which annoys me is when her own husband’s version of respect is to turn her to ‘mummy’😀
You hear “mummy lagbaja, ki le se sile?”(what did you cook).
I remember another time. I was in primary four in a standard private school in Ibadan. The school had just finished her third term and I clinched the first position in the class followed closely by two boys including the class captain who got the third position. I just joined that school that session and I swept away their highest position.
Our class teacher had a prize for us.
For first position, he gave me a very big plastic cup😀😁😂. I don’t know if it was new or fairly used sef. My teacher didn’t do it out of spite. Infact, he loved me so much as a student. He was always praising me in class. But, with the way an average nigerian human male brain is wired, boys always deserve the best of everything. He did the only natural thing he thought best. Since it was a sacrilege for me to have come first, he gave the deserving award to the boys and only gave me my position.
I can’t remember what he gave the second position(it was better than mine as well) but my focus was on the third position who got a new sparkling stainless steel cup with something else which I can’t recall. But I’ve never forgotten that stainless cup all these years. I’m still feeling bad even as I recall that incidence now.
As at then, it didn’t mean a thing. But I didn’t understand why the third position got a better prize than the first position. But now it makes sense. I was the female. They were the boys.
But as it is, we did not inherit the silence of our mothers. We did not inherit their perceived weakness in relation to men. We are the real deal. Nothing has ever been handed to me on a platter of gold. I’ve worked(and still working) twice as hard as my male counterparts.
I am gold
I am a girl child
I am the future!!!!!
One time in 2015, I turned down an opportunity to work with the United Nations Women Office, Abuja. I had applied for an internship position at the time I was putting finishing touches to my Masters degree program at the Ahmadu Bello […]
One time in 2015, I turned down an opportunity to work with the United Nations Women Office, Abuja. I had applied for an internship position at the time I was putting finishing touches to my Masters degree program at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. You had to be a postgraduate student of International Affairs and Diplomacy or courses related to that in order to be qualified.
I was ecstatic when I got their mail to appear for a written test and interview at their Maitama office.
If you know me very well, you’d know that for a strange reason, I kind of love interviews. I don’t like tests. I may have failed CHM 222 and MTH courses in school o but nna mehn, there are some areas where I can wield my muscle too. I have the uncanny ability to turn every interview session to an interesting conversation. I wrote the test and had the interview same day.
So, this UN interview should be my best and most unique so far.
Because I was interviewed by a PANEL comprising of a white woman(I’ve forgotten her country now), an African and one or two Nigerians.
I was “shook” when I went in.
Only two of us were invited. I and a guy. I went in first.
They asked me some interesting international questions, advocacy questions, my interests. To be honest, the questions were very thick. Too loaded. But I answered as much as I could.
They nodded many times. Their faces showed their affirmation. I knew I was already taken when we talked about the next thing. Money. It was to be an unpaid internship. Gbagaun!!
“Where do you stay?”, The man asked
“How will you be coming here even though we won’t pay?
The only thing is, you have a chance of being considered for employment if we recruit around that time.
It’s an 8-6.
Toh. The last time I did an 8-6 was in Lagos and they were feeding me lunch till I left. They were even paying. And we ate a lot of chocolate and drank cocoa drink. Mehn, I balled the entire year I worked there.
I would have taken it still. That was not the first time I would work without pay. I did while at the Nigerian Compass where I met and worked with Jonathan Eze. Although, initially, it wasn’t stated that I’d not be paid. I got to know after I resumed.
So, I told Mr Banji about UN, to know if he would be helping me with tfare and he told me not to take it. You will soon get a better job(at the appeal court😁).
Apart from him, I reasoned it out. It would cost me a lot of money per day to get to the office. You have to pay a cab to take you there. I had to let it go and it was very painful. I was broke.
I sat at home moping for a long time.
Prior to that time, precisely 2014. I had gone to the bank with someone to buy forms for ABU postgraduate program. I had just forfeited my postgraduate admission at the University of Lagos in 2013 after passing the entrance exam and got the admission to study international affairs. Why did I forfeit it? I was moving to Abuja to join Mr Banji. I threw away a UNILAG postgraduate admission that was highly sought after. The University of first choice😀😁
I had read for that exam like mad. Not mad really. It was current affairs. They even asked me questions about the London Olympics which I wrote with Jonathan Eze on the features desk at Compass.
We wrote that exam at the main hall. The main hall could not contain us and I was moved along with others to another hall. When I checked the site and saw my name weeks after, I wasn’t as elated as my dad. He was so happy. I quickly used that opportunity to ask him for money and he gave me sharp sharp.
But, I threw the admission away for the unknown.
That day, after walking out of the bank in Garki, I moved with the someone to a side of the road and began to cry. I shed hot tears and my eyes were red. Not because of the lost unilag admission or because I just got forms for another. No.
It was because everything was not working few years after school. I felt life was against me. I didn’t even have an accommodation in Abuja. I was squatting with a friend’s friend in Apo. I had squatted in Mararaba. It was while in Mararaba that i spoke with my buddy in US, FGchubby and he called a friend for me. I moved out of the slums of Mararaba the next day. And I haven’t stepped my foot there since then. Well, until I went for training organised by the office at one hotel in the area sometimes last month or so after all these years.
So, I was crying because I was broke, jobless and homeless. Yes, dad was in town but I couldn’t move in with him. We never lived together in Abuja. But I never told him my struggles anyways. I told him I was living with a friend. He even came to know the house 😀. I could not go back home. I was ashamed. I was in pains.
So I went to ABU and wrote the exam. I begged God to let it work. I passed.
This is 2019. My court has moved to its permanent site. I remembered that the bank where I bought my PG forms in 2014 was around the new office area but that was all.
One day, I erroneously did something on my account and I needed to get it sorted at the bank.
So I walked there from my office. As I was walking back to the office after finishing at the bank, fiam!!!
The memories came flooding back and I saw myself, five years earlier, crying at that same junction with swollen red eyes and runny nose. Crying because I could not fend for myself and was homeless.
I stopped in my tracks. I looked around me. The road was deserted except for moving cars.
Now, is it a coincidence that my office is located exactly where I cried? I never imagined I would get a job where I am now. No, it wasn’t part of the plan. I never even imagined it. Dad’s driver then, Mr Dare, used to drive me in dad’s Hilux to drop me at the junction in that area so that I would go back to airport road where I lived. One day, he pointed at the uncompleted building from afar, “that’s our office under construction”. It looked small and ugly from afar.
But today, I’m sitting in that office and it’s a giant edifice.
I have a house where I’m paying my own rent😀😁😂. It’s a big deal to be paying rent in Abuja without a sugar daddy😀😁😂.
One day, last month, someone wanted to visit me from church. He got to my area and went to stand confidently close to an ugly house thinking I would come out from that street. Lol, lol.
I peeped out from my tarred street and saw him standing afar off. I waved at him to come. He had to trek down and leave the ugly area😀😁
He was just looking around.
“This is your house?”
“Obviously…or why I’m I here😀”. Take note that we were still outside.
Boda now entered and was shocked. He sat for a little bit and then took his leave. He has never come back. Not even when I was sick and couldn’t go to church.
What is the moral of this story? I don’t know too.
But I know that everything good will always come.
People saw me dressed in black today again, a friday for that matter and someone said “You are sitting?” I said yes. It is 7.16am from here. I’m already on my way to work. The alarm woke me by 4.30am and I […]
People saw me dressed in black today again, a friday for that matter and someone said
“You are sitting?”
I said yes.
It is 7.16am from here. I’m already on my way to work. The alarm woke me by 4.30am and I walked groggily to the kitchen. I was feeling sleepy right there on my feet.
I’m supposed to go to school today. Infact, all through the weekend up till Sunday. And I have a pile of laundry waiting for me. And I don’t know if I will go home early today. Whatever time I get home, I will be wasted as usual. Last night, my two legs were in pains.
So two days back, on my way home, Milord had called me while on the bus. I didn’t know he had called me twice on the small phone. When I saw his name on the big phone, I opened my eyes wide. For the first time in a long time, he had left the office before me. No matter how late we close, he’s always behind. He would only tell us to leave the front door open for him on our way out.
“Good evening Milord”. At this point, all the ears in the staff bus were open immediately they heard me say Milord.
“Good evening Yetunde, how are you?”
“I hope you are home already”
“No sir, I’m just on my way”
“Ok, text me your full name”(let me not lie, what I heard was ‘text me your bank details’😂😁)
So I said “what did you say sir?” Then he repeated it.
After the call, a certain someone who was recently transferred from ibadan said
“So you are working with a judge”
She had listened to our conversation and it was she who told me(because she works in the training Dept) that it was for training that Milord asked for my full names. I nodded disbelievingly.
Yesterday morning, I strutted into his new massive, impressive Chambers.
“Good morning Milord”
“Oh, how are you yetunde. There’s going to be a training today. Call Mr O. Tell him I said you are one of the people for the training. Ask him for the time and venue. Then, when it is time, you and W can go. Allow the rest of them to take court proceedings.”
It is part of office news that I, Milord and W are a triangle. W is the only person ahead of me. I’m next to him. Then, we have five people under us. They say, W and I are an entity in MILord’s court. The first time I heard it, I wondered.
But anyways, two gentlemen came from the National Judicial Council to train us. It lasted for only one hour. The training was held simultaneously across other state divisions of the court as well. At the end of the day, they said they needed two people to be sending quarterly returns to NJC database.
By this time I was yawning. I didn’t care. Hunger pangs. People asked for menu menu. Obviously there was none. Not even a drink. So we dispersed. The court was sitting by now. I stayed a bit in court to see if they needed my help.
On Monday, I had vacated my middle seat for a colleague. I asked her to call the cases. She began to make mistakes. She called no 3 instead of 2. She pronounced names wrongly. And it was a high profile matter. Milord asked me angrily in low tones which only him and I can hear☺️
“Why did you allow her to sit there when she cannot do it?”
“I’m sorry mylord”
He had forgotten that it was he that said I and W should train them.
“Remove her from there”, he said
So yesterday that I had to be at the conference room for training, her village people didn’t come with her to court. She had to sit at the middle anyways.
I went inside my office to chill.
By evening, the head of litigation had called me on phone
“Yetunde, that thing they taught us today(he was there as well), can you do it?”
I was almost laughing.
That thing that is just like posting on WordPress. The head of IT had just taught me online causelist generation as well. Every thing was easy peasy. I was almost saying
“Bhet oga, do you know who I am? Do you know how much of this I do daily?”😀😁😂
I’m crazy, yeah I know.
But I said “sir, it’s very easy sir. I can do it”
So he said “come down and fill the form. You will be working directly with NJC. I have to be sure before sending your name to them”
I didn’t even see it coming but I sha took the elevator to the ground floor. I filled the form and that was how I landed another responsibility.
The thing is, most of the time, I don’t like being responsible. I prefer to be irresponsible😎. Responsibility takes a lot of commitment from you. It means giving your time and effort. For me, responsibility takes away my emotion. I’m too devoted to things I do. So I can easily lose track of the other things in my life. I pay too much attention to the work or things I’m involved with. I’m too analytical and detailed for my own liking. But my Lord is like that too. He’s a perfectionist and I am one as well. That’s why our work runs smoothly. You can’t even last with him without knowing how to pay attention to details and to think fast.
Now, the load of this new work and what it involves is not beans. It means I have to input the information of three judges into NJC database and my inputation can make or mar their appraisal and promotion. The registrars of the three courts have to submit their quarterly and annual returns to me. Thank God my court is among the ones I’m handling. But the two other courts are still in my former Garki office. Only the president’s court and MILord’s court are in the new edifice. The rest are still under construction.
I’m going to give the news to my Lord this morning.
Okay, it’s a good morning from here. Have a beautiful weekend. Even though I’m going to spend mine listening to lectures with a straight face. I am going to school this evening and will even write a test on Sunday.
P.S I just finished writing this at 7.57am. I’m still sitting in the bus. We are dropping staff in Asokoro, different parts of Garki and my office is the final stop. The entire office are not in one place yet.