This is a story by Dr Fada Fajuitan that is told from two angles. A rather long but thought provoking read…
A tale of two stories
“GERROOUT!” The solitary vein on Scarfaces forehead looked about to burst.
This is not the beginning of the story, neither is it the end. Truth be told, Scarface is not an Italian drug lord. Scarface is a Nigerian, Yoruba sef.
We should start this story from the beginning it’s just a bit difficult to decipher where that should be. Is it the useless bus that broke down kilometres from his bus stop? Or the greedy transporters that charged triple the usual fare from Ojota in Lagos to Iwo-Road in Ibadan. In fact as far as Fresh-Boy was concerned that was the beginning. He reasoned that if he hadn’t been flat out broke, he would have taken a taxi from Iwo-Road rather than the useless bus and therefore would have never met Scarface. So that’s the beginning of his story.
Ojota, Lagos at 8 am on the 31st of December 2014 he was fleeced by greedy transporters. A journey that would usually cost N1000 suddenly cost N3000 overnight. Now because of the holidays the greedy transporters tripled the fare. Fresh-Boy would have shouted and caused a major commotion but decided against that when he saw other passengers paying the fare without even a hint of unwillingness. This was a fight he wouldn’t win without support and it didn’t look like he was going to get any. Besides as Fresh-Boy, he couldn’t bring down his rep by arguing with those local touts. Hin no dey dia level at all.
So that’s his beginning the 3k, as he would call it. The only snag is that there’s a lot of time between the 3k and most of the story where nothing really happened. In fact only two things of note happened between Ojota and Iwo-Road. The first was the traffic at Berger because of the fallen tanker which is of no concern to us and the second was the MASSIVE road re-construction going on at the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Fresh-Boy took several pictures of the re-constructed parts and posted them on facebook and twitter with the hashtags #GEJTRANSFORMATION, #FOWARDWITHGEJ, #GEJ2015 for the rest of the journey he checked his phone frequently for comments, retweets and mentions. Fellow Jonathanians did not disappoint him and the bad belle Buharists were also buzzing around his posts with their bitterness and spite. Of course he didn’t take pictures of the pot hole ridden parts of the road there is no point giving your enemies the weapons to fight you with.
The reader might wonder what “GERRROOUT!” has to do with #GEJ. Well, that’s why I said it’s difficult to pinpoint the beginning of the story but be rest assured, they are all parts of the story.
Now, the time between the hashtags and the scream is about 3hrs a lot of time with nothing much happening but one thing. He got to Iwo-Road, discovered that he was too broke to take a taxi and boarded the useless bus from Iwo-Road bus stop to Ashi. The bus never got to Ashi with him as a passenger on that trip.
The useless bus was a Liteace bus. He knew this not because the name Liteace was visible anywhere on the bus but because haven spent the first 18yrs of his life in Ibadan he had to know what a Liteace bus looked like. They were the standard means of mini-van transportation in Ibadan and were all in varying stages of decay. This particular useless one belonged on a scrap heap. It was little more than a metal box with four wheels and a sorry engine. The ‘little more’ part were the planks of wood for passengers to sit on. Anyway, taking a taxi would have cost at least N500 an amount he definitely didn’t have so the useless bus was his only option.
As with most useless buses in Ibadan it broke down kilometres from its destination.
“Ki lo tun se oko yi” the driver frantically asked no one in particular as he tried to restart the vehicle. Both the driver and conductor jumped down and started reaching under seats for screw drivers and what-nots.
“E jor e ma binu” the driver said this time looking at the passengers, “boya batiri re ni”.
Fresh-Boy was having none of it, “abeg I wan come down” he said to the passenger between him and the door. This was Ibadan passengers don’t pay until they get to their destinations, very much unlike Lagos where passengers have to pay immediately they get into the bus, so there was no way he was paying one naira for this half trip. Hell no.
“Se wa ni san nkankan ni” the hapless driver said eyeing Fresh-Boy.
Fresh-Boy turned to give him a stare so ferocious the driver immediately backed down.
“Oga o” the driver said giving up on any chance of getting some money from this passenger as he watched Fresh-Boy walk away.
So Fresh-Boy a few kilometres from his destination was walking under the scorching sun looking out for another means of transportation, another mini-van or even a bike. He realised that by not paying the driver of the useless bus he had saved N50 from the N100 he was meant to pay for the journey from Iwo-Road and since there was no other means of transportation in sight he decided to use the extra N50 to buy water. There was no point in dying from thirst. He looked down the road and saw provisions store not too far off.
“Abeg u get chilled bottled water” he asked the woman in the store.
“fifty naira” she replied.
Two gulps of chilled water later…… “Ahhhhh” the exhilarating exhale of a man after two gulps of chilled water under the scorching Ibadan sun. This is a feeling second only to finally shitting when having diarrhea and the toilet is far.
That was when he heard it.
“Jonathan is clueless”, this was coming from a man in the corner of the store. On any other day Fresh-Boy would have tackled such a statement straight away and defended the president but with his thirst to quench, politics could wait. He continued taking precious gulps from the bottle of water.
“Osi ni man yen se l’Abuja” the man continued, “o kan je owo wa lasan ni”.
Fresh-Boy took a closer look at the source of these annoying statements and immediately noticed the tribal marks on the face of the man sitting in the corner reading a newspaper. Scarface must be another Jonathan hater.
“After spending one billion on just food alone he cannot think again” Scarface continued switching to English.
Scarface finally looked up from the newspaper to look at the other people in the store and as with most men discussing politics with themselves he tried to draw people around him into the conversation.
“Imagine, boko-haram attacked two state capitals and all our president could do is condemn, condole and promise to stop the insurgency” he said staring directly at Fresh-Boy.
Fresh-Boy started getting irritated. It was bad enough that this man was disturbing him with unnecessary chatter but the insults to the president were really annoying him. He wanted to point out the fact that federal troops were pushing the insurgents out of major towns in the north-east but he wasn’t going to. He wouldn’t give Scarface the pleasure of a debate.
Noticing that Fresh-Boy wasn’t giving him the time of the day Scarface decided to throw one last insult at the president before returning to his newspaper. “President of the dead and the dying” he said as he readjusted the newspaper to continue reading.
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“I am neither dead nor dying sir”, Fresh-Boy shot back. He couldn’t take it anymore.
“So you think Jonathan is not killing Nigerians?” Scarface said folding the newspaper and putting it down. It was obvious he was relishing the possibility of a debate.
Fresh-Boy was up to it. People like Scarface never saw anything good in the president, they were always on the lookout for faults. Such people were all over twitter and facebook and he was used to tackling them there. This was an opportunity to tackle one in real life.
“Sir the president is trying his best it is not easy to govern a local government let alone a whole country”
“Well his best is not good enough” Scarface replied with a finality that further irritated Fresh-Boy.
“A president who stopped ebola from spreading all over the country, a president who transformed the agriculture sector, a president that brought trains back to Nigeria, the man built 9 new federal universities, he built 125 almajiri schools to help those backward northerners. In fact during his presidency guinea worm was eradicated in Nigeria and polio cases reduced from over fifty in last year to just four in this year”. Fresh-Boy wasn’t too sure that all he was saying was the absolute truth but he knew that on social media these were the points argued in favour of the president. He was spewing them out staccato.
“Sir, I am just coming from Lagos and I witnessed the massive repair work going on at Lagos-Ibadan expressway, a road that had been abandoned for years” Fresh-Boy was on a roll. “In Lagos, Apapa-Oshodi expressway is also undergoing massive repairs, go to the airports and see transformation, the whole of eastern Nigeria had no international airport until Jonathan upgraded Enugu airport, work has started on the second Niger bridge and the dredging of River Niger up to Lokoja is almost complete.” Fresh-Boy was in his elements, he knew most of these things from the PDP twitter overlords on his TL and the information was now proving very useful. Let this Jonathan hater counter his points if he could.
“My friend your first statement is wrong, it was Fashola that stopped ebola jor” Scarface smirked.
Fresh-Boy couldn’t believe his own ears, of all the points he put forward it was this one Scarface decided to pick on? Anyway he had an answer to that.
“Was it Fashola that stopped it in Port-Harcourt also?” Fresh-Boy shot back.
“That was Ameachi” Scarface replied still smirking. “Young man, you seem to like this Jonathan man abi?” Scarface continued. “Oya let me counter you”. Scarface adjusted himself on the chair and leaned forward.
“First of all, if not for Fashola and his Lagos people ebola would have finished us in the country.” The smirk didn’t seem ready to leave his face. “Now, let’s talk about the economy. Do you know the current exchange rate for the dollar? Do you know the price of crude oil? This government has managed this economy so badly. They have even spent all the money Obasanjo saved yet there is no improvement in the life of the common man. You talk about airports, go to MMA1 and see how bad it is, I hear the place now smells because the ACs are bad and the toilets are not cleaned regularly. That is our number one airport o” Scarface paused staring at Fresh-boy.
Fresh-Boy wasn’t sure the airport was that bad but he had no proof. He hadn’t been there in a year and the place looked pretty bad the last time he was there, but not as bad as Scarface painted it.
Scarface noticed that fresh-Boy was a bit subdued and he decided to charge on with his own arguments.
“Let me continue. All these transformation they keep talking about, where is the transformation?” Scarface paused once again for effect. ”Do you know that in 2013 Jonathan went to CNN and told the world that by December there would be stable electricity in Nigeria. That was last year o, 2014 is about to end still no light.” Fresh-Boy had to endure another Scarface pause for effect.
“That is not all, two hundred and something girls were abducted since April and their president did not even bother. It was not until that Malala girl came to Nigeria that he decided to meet their parents. Is that a president?”
“That is Borno State government’s fault o” Fresh-Boy found his voice.
“Even if their abduction was the fault of Borno States government, Jonathan as president should have mobilised all available resources to rescue them as soon as possible. But no, he would just sit in Abuja and continue to condemn, condole and promise. Now another almost 200 women and children were abducted which you should know, except you don’t read the paper” Scarface now had that annoying attitude of someone who feels like he knew more than the person he was talking to.
“That’s not all o. All those road works you mentioned are just patch patch work if you don’t know. Other governments have done it before, give them one year, the pot holes will return. The agriculture one too, has it reduced the price of yam in the market?” Scarface was now obviously gloating.
“Answer na!” he continued. “Do you know when last federal workers were paid?”
If only this was twitter, he knew people on his TL he could rely on to finish this man. Fresh-Boy really needed to study more on Jonathans’ achievements to be able to campaign for him off social media. He decided to reach for his personal joker.
“Sir, which government has done YOUWIN for the youths of this country?” This one he was very sure of. His own brother had participated in and won during YOUWIN3 and he himself was preparing his business plan for YOUWIN4. No one could tell him YOUWIN was fake. His brother now employed 14 young men and women, 2 of them being graduates. In fact, this was the reason he was spending the New Year holiday in Ibadan rather than in the village with his parents or in Lagos. He wanted to take pictures of his brothers business and post them on facebook and twitter as proof of Jonathans achievements.
While both men argued back and forth, neither noticed the bored woman in the store with them. After selling the bottle of water to Fresh-Boy she had picked up her phone and was busy with it. When the men started arguing politics she plugged the ear-phones connected to the phone in her ears. She hated politics and couldn’t didn’t like the fact that her dad liked to argue politics so much.
Now the reader is wondering why we suddenly remembered the woman in the store. You see, she happens to be to daughter of Scarface and would play a minor role as the story unfolds. So we have to re-introduce her.
Let’s get back to the arguing men.
“You want to talk about youth employment abi? Do you know about the youths that died during the immigration interview?” Scarface said.
Now, the bored woman in the store was not really listening to anything on her phone, she was just trying to block out the conversation. When her father mentioned the immigration interview a look of worry crossed her face. She took off the ear-phones and turned to look at her father.
“That was an unfortunate incident sir” Fresh-Boy retorted
“Unfortunate incident?” Scarface said getting up from his seat. “You call a poorly planned exercise where millions of applicants were packed like sardines into venues to write an exam at the same time and they had to climb on each other just to breathe an unfortunate incident?” Scarface was beginning to raise his voice.
“Those youths were unruly, all they had to do was be patient” if this was going to turn to a shouting match, Fresh-Boy was ready for it.
“You said?” Scarfaces’ voice was suddenly low and icy. His eyes had turned to slits. The woman had gotten up from her seat and now looked very worried.
Fresh-Boy didn’t notice the tension. “I said they were UNRULY”.
That’s when it happened.
“GERROOUT!” The solitary vein on Scarfaces forehead looked about to burst. Suddenly it was like there was a wild beast in the store. Goods were flying in different directions as Scarface charged at Fresh-Boy and he would have mowed him down if his daughter hadn’t held his hand.
“Daddy, please calm down” she begged.
The fiery anger in Scarfaces’ eyes would have destroyed Fresh-Boy if it could be converted to some kind of energy.
“Daddy, e jor e ma binu” the woman continued has she held Scarface.
Dazed and confused Fresh-Boy turned to go out. He couldn’t understand what he could have said that would cause this amount of anger. As far as he was concerned this was even a low point in his argument.
As he made to step out of the store he heard something that made him turn back.
“I’m sorry” this came from Scarface. “I shouldn’t have shouted at you”. The anguish on Scarfaces’ face seemed to have suddenly drained him of all his energy. He collapsed into his chair buried his face in his hands and started crying silently. Fresh-Boy wouldn’t have guessed he was crying but for the heaving of his shoulders.
The dramatic turn of events further confused Fresh-Boy.
“My sister was one of those that died during the Immigrations recruitment exercise” the woman in the store said seeing the confusion on Fresh-Boys face. “We haven’t fully recovered from the shock and my dad was worst hit” she continued
“Oh my God” Fresh-Boy could feel the family grief. “I’m so sorry sir” he said.
“No, I should apologise, I shouldn’t have brought up the topic” Scarface said. At this time Fresh-Boy didn’t want to call him Scarface anymore. He felt like an evil person with the nickname he had given the man. He decided he wouldn’t leave without at least making some amends.
“I am Nonso sir” he said stretching out his hands to shake the man.
“Mr Kamorudeen” the man replied grasping his hand.
At that moment Nonso looked into Mr Kamorudeens’ eyes and so not a political opponent, not a Jonathan hater but a hurting man. A man who wanted to give his family the best but felt he had betrayed them. He saw a fellow Nigerian in the struggle for a better tomorrow.
Someday before March 16th
“GERROOUT!” Daddy Ibidun was livid. Was this man saying Ibidun was unruly? That she caused her own death? His fury unfortunately wasn’t all directed at the man in front of him. Some of it was directed at himself. He had always felt guilty. That somehow he had caused the death of his daughter. And the man standing in front of him seemed to be pointing fingers at him, accusing him of killing his precious Ibidun. Ibidun was not unruly, she could never be. She was the most focused and organised person he knew. Somehow, he was the unruly one. It was his being unruly that pushed her to her death.
Kemi was beside him trying to tell him something but he couldn’t hear her through his rage. The tears welled up in his eyes and he collapsed into his chair. He buried his face in his hands and started crying.
Now, this story has a definite beginning.
It all started when Ibidun received the text. The text was the messenger of death.
They were all in the sitting room that evening watching TV, or let’s just say they were all in the sitting room and the TV was on. No one was watching it. Mummy Ibidun was calculating the days returns from her shop, kemi was busy with the internet on her phone, Sola was playing a game on his mothers’ phone in the corner, Ibidun who had come home from Lagos for the weekend was loosening her hair and he was reading the days papers.
Ibiduns’ phone vibrated and she paused her hair works to check it.
“Daddy awon immigration ma pe wa fun interview” she said turning to her father.
Though her mother was in the same room, she called Daddy first. It had always been like that. She was daddys’ girl. The bond between her and her father was something her mother and siblings neither understood nor could get in between. When she was a baby, he was the only person that could get her to sleep. It went as far back as that.
He folded the newspaper and put it down to answer his daughter. “Iyen da, that’s good. So ojo wo ni wan fe se?” he asked switching between his native language and English as is common with most Nigerians.
“Daddy you think I should go for the examination” Ibidun asked. She knew her Dad didn’t think much of her present job. She was working with an IT firm and though the pay was just thirty five thousand naira after taxes she loved the job. She had always wanted to work with computers and had even had to stay at home for three years before finally securing admission to study computer science at LAUTECH. Now she loved the job but hated the pay. Thirty five thousand naira is not the kind of salary a graduate should be earning for working from 8 am till 6 pm Monday to Friday in a city like Lagos.
Daddy Ibidun also knew his daughter was considering not going for the examination. “Ibidun, let’s look at it this way” he wanted to sway her to his argument. “If you go for the examination and secure the job it would be a big plus. This is a secure government job with a good salary and I’m sure with your qualifications you would be deployed to their IT department. If you don’t secure the job, you can always go back to your current job. This is a win-win. On the other hand if you don’t go, you might be missing out on a great opportunity to further your career in your chosen field”
He knew he had convinced her, besides he could always make Ibidun see things from his point of view so she was likely to agree with him anyway.
“Daddy, I am tired of applying for these government jobs. You have to know someone to get one” she said in a last ditch effort to avoid going for the examination. They both knew how many times she had rushed off to one government job interview or the other without success. Her graduating grade of second-class lower was also not helping with the corporate world. She had finally settled for the thirty five thousand naira job after years of a futile search for a good job with good pay.
Daddy Ibidun on the other hand wasn’t about to give up. He himself worked at the federal secretariat in Ibadan and as far as he was concerned this was the next best sector after oil and gas. Nowadays, even his friends in the banking sector envied him. He wasn’t doing badly.
“But you can’t continue with that you job na.” he said countering her. “What day is the interview jor” he continued.
“March 16th, it’s going to be nationwide so I can write it in Lagos” she replied.
“No o, o ma better to ba se l’Abuja. I will call Mr Priye, he will help with the processing”. Daddy Ibidun was taking no chances this time. If he had to, he would pull strings to get his daughter this job. Mr Priye was his colleague in Abuja and the man had a lot of contacts in high places.
“In fact let me call him now” he continued.
“Ok sir” Ibidun said. She knew she really had no choice at this point.
Daddy Ibidun can neither be described as a muslim or a Christian. Sure, he was born into a muslim family but this man hadn’t gone to a mosque in years and at the rate he visited the local bar, he could receive a customer of the year award but he believed in God and occasionally said a prayer when the situation demanded one.
The morning of March 16th was one of such times. His wife, Mummy Ibidun was to undergo surgery for fibroids that day and his daughter Ibidun was to write the immigrations examination that morning also. So he prayed that morning. He sat on the bare floor in a corner of the room and prayed. The last time he prayed was when Kemi ran off with a good for nothing man. His prayers were answered then as she returned contrite. He believed his prayers would be answered now also. The main crux of his prayer was his wife’s surgery but since he was already praying, he might as well throw in a prayer for his daughter also.
On his way to the hospital that morning, he noticed several young men and women in white tee shirts and shorts on the streets. He was shocked at their large number as he knew they were all going to the Ibadan venue of the same examination Ibidun was writing that morning.
Now, the surgery his wife was to undergo that day is not the story here but it is inextricably connected to it. The surgery itself went on without undue incident. Mummy Ibidun was out of the theatre in a few hours and she was wheeled into the recovery room. A few minutes later the doctor called Daddy Ibidun to his consulting room to brief him on the outcome of the surgery.
“Sir we were able to remove 3 large sub-serous and one large sub-mucous fibroids amongst many others” the doctor said.
Daddy Ibidun had no idea what sub-serous or sub-mucous meant and he wasn’t interested in knowing at that point.
“Is my wife going to be alright?” was all he asked
“Definitely sir, she is still drowsy from the anaesthesia but I’m sure that in a short while…………” the doctor didn’t finish his sentence as Daddy Ibidun’s phone started ringing.
“Hello Mr Priye, please can you call me back, I’m a bit busy” Daddy Ibidun said as he picked up the phone. Mr Priye probably called to give him a progress report on Ibiduns immigrations job application. This wasn’t the time to discuss job applications.
“Ehen, doctor you were saying?” he said cutting the call as he was about to cut the call.
“Yes, as I was saying, the surgery went on fine, your wife ………” once again he was cut short by Daddy Ibidun’s ringing phone.
Once again it was Mr Priye. It just might be that he needed to speak with one of Mr Priyes contantcts. That was probably why Mr Priye was insistent on talking to him at that particular time.
“Sorry doctor, please let my answer this call, it’s about my daughter” Daddy Ibidun apologised as he made to pick his phone
“Hello Mr Priye, thanks for all you’re doing for Ibidun o, I’m really grateful. So how is her application processing going?” he said
A few minutes later Daddy Ibidun was being revived in the doctors consulting room. Mr Priye wasn’t calling to give a progress report on Ibiduns application. He was calling to inform her father that he had just identified Ibiduns lifeless body in a morgue. She had died during a stampede at the examination centre.
The centre in his life fell out that day. Daddy Ibidun was never the same person again.
Shortly after the incident the president condoled with the bereaved and announced that siblings of the dead would be given automatic employment. That wouldn’t bring his precious Ibidun back but even that promise was never fulfilled. Neither Kemi nor Sola got a job offer from the government. The government simply forgot about the incident and moved on leaving the bereaved families to mourn their loss. Daddy Ibidun was worst hit. He felt he had sent his own daughter to her death when all he wanted was a better future for her.
As with all civil servants, Daddy Ibidun woke up on the 31st of December and prepared to go to work knowing fully well that not much work would be done that day. He wasn’t disappointed. When he got to the office most of his colleagues just came in, signed in, hung around discussing the coming year for a while then took off. By 11 am most of the secretariat was empty and he decided there was not much staying at work. Besides he wasn’t interested in the discussions. The gloom over him following his daughters’ death hadn’t fully lifted and discussing a future without her in it wasn’t something he wanted to do. So he took permission from his boss to close early.
On his way home he bought the days newspaper as usual but decided to make a detour to his wife’s shop rather than go straight home. There wouldn’t be anyone at home anyway.
His wife wasn’t in the shop when he got there as she had gone to deposit some money at the bank before it closed for the holiday so his second daughter Kemi was manning the shop.
“Daddy e k’abo” she said when she saw him “You left work early today”
“Yes, there’s really no work today and most people left early” he replied as he pulled up a chair to sit on. He opened the newspaper he bought to read and as is usual nowadays the headlines were of Boko Haram activities and government corruption.
The major editorial was about the missing girls. The plight of the girls made him remember his own daughters’ death and anger towards the president rose in his heart.
“Jonathan is clueless” he said looking up for approval. That was when he noticed the customer in the shop. He was one of those young men who tried as much as possible to look and sound like all those musicians on dstv. In his mind he automatically christened the young man Hip-Pop.
Hip-Pop was not interested in discussing with him on the presidents’ lack of clues so Daddy Ibidun went back to his reading.
“Osi ni man yen se l’Abuja” Daddy Ibidun continued to himself. “O kan je owo was lasan ni”
The editorial further described the lack of equipment facing the soldiers on the front while their superiors wine and dine with the president in Abuja and this further infuriated Daddy Ibidun.
“After spending one billion on just food alone he cannot think again” Daddy Ibidun continued switching to English.
Daddy Ibidun once again looked up from the newspaper to look at the other people in the store and as with most men discussing politics with themselves he tried to draw people around him into the conversation.
“Imagine, boko-haram attacked two state capitals and all our president could do is condemn, condole and promise to stop the insurgency” he said staring directly at Hip-Pop.
Hip-Pop looked like he wasn’t interested in the conversation. Daddy Ibidun felt that was one of the problems with Nigeria. The youth who are the future of the country didn’t seem to be interested in the future of the country. His own children had absolutely no interest in politics despite all his tricks to get them interested. Hip-Pop seemed to be like most other youth.
“President of the dead and the dying” Daddy Ibidun said as he looked down at his newspaper to continue reading.
Hip-Pop answered him this time.
“I am neither dead nor dying sir” Hip-Pop said.
“So you think Jonathan is not killing Nigerians?” Daddy Ibidun said folding the newspaper and putting it down. This youth might still be redeemable from political apathy, he thought.
“Sir the president is trying his best it is not easy to govern a local government let alone a whole country” Hip-Pop said.
That was another problem, Daddy Ibidun thought. With the general poor performance of politicians it was easy to confuse gullible people especially young people into believing that the president was doing his best. If Jonathan knew he couldn’t manage a local government, why did he contest for the presidency?
“Well, his best is not good enough” Daddy Ibidun said to school the youth.
That was when Hip-Pop proved that he knew about some national issues, albeit just a little.
“A president who stopped ebola from spreading all over the country, a president who transformed the agriculture sector, a president that brought trains back to Nigeria, the man built 9 new federal universities, he built 125 almajiri schools to help those backward northerners. In fact during his presidency guinea worm was eradicated in Nigeria and polio cases reduced from over fifty in last year to just four in this year”. Hip-Pop said with passion.
Daddy Ibidun was impressed a bit. The young man had a few facts wrong but he tried anyway. He was now convinced that Hip-Pop was one of those Jonathan supporters. Maybe his parents were members of the same political party as the president.
Apparently the young man wasn’t done reeling out the miserly achievements of the president.
“Sir, I am just coming from Lagos and I witnessed the massive repair work going on at Lagos-Ibadan expressway, a road that had been abandoned for years, in Lagos, Apapa-Oshodi expressway is also undergoing massive repairs, go to the airports and see transformation, the whole of eastern Nigeria had no international airport until Jonathan upgraded Enugu airport, work has started on the second Niger bridge and the dredging of River Niger up to Lokoja is almost complete.”
Well, this young man was obviously interested in what was going on in his country even if he did make some mistakes. Daddy Ibidun took it upon himself to correct the mistakes in Hip-Pops mind.
“My friend your first statement is wrong, it was Fashola that stopped ebola jor” Daddy Ibidun said smiling.
“Was it Fashola that stopped it in Port-Harcourt also?” Hip-Pop asked.
“That was Ameachi” Daddy Ibidun replied still smiling. “Young man, you seem to like this Jonathan man abi?” Daddy Ibidun continued. “Oya let me counter you”. Daddy Ibidun adjusted himself on the chair and leaned forward.
“First of all, if not for Fashola and his Lagos people ebola would have finished us in the country.” The smirk didn’t seem ready to leave his face. “Now, let’s talk about the economy. Do you know the current exchange rate for the dollar? Do you know the price of crude oil? This government has managed this economy so badly. They have even spent all the money Obasanjo saved yet there is no improvement in the life of the common man. You talk about airports, go to MMA1 and see how bad it is, I hear the place now smells because the ACs are bad and the toilets are not cleaned regularly. That is our number one airport o” Daddy Ibidun paused to ensure Hip-Pop was following him.
“Let me continue. All these transformation they keep talking about, where is the transformation?” Scarface paused once again for effect. ”Do you know that in 2013 Jonathan went to CNN and told the world that by December there would be stable electricity in Nigeria. That was last year o, 2014 is about to end still no light.” Daddy Ibidun said before another pause. If the young man didn’t get anything from this encounter at least his confidence in the presidents achievements would be shaken.
“That is not all, two hundred and something girls were abducted since April and their president did not even bother. It was not until that Malala girl came to Nigeria that he decided to meet their parents. Is that a president?” Daddy Ibidun said, this time referring to the article he read in the newspaper.
“That is Borno State governments fault o” Hip-pop finally found his voice.
“Even if their abduction was the fault of Borno States government, Jonathan as president should have mobilised all available resources to rescue them as soon as possible. But no, he would just sit in Abuja and continue to condemn, condole and promise. Now another almost 200 women and children were abducted which you should know, except you don’t read the paper” Daddy Ibidun countered. The young man seemed to desperately want to hold on to his belief in the president and this made Daddy Ibidun smile all the more.
“That’s not all o. All those road works you mentioned are just patch patch work if you don’t know. Other governments have done it before, give them one year, the pot holes will return. The agriculture one too, has it reduced the price of yam in the market?” Daddy Ibidun continued. The young man was now obviously confused.
“Answer na!” he continued. “Do you know when last federal workers were paid?” He was ready to inform the young man that he himself hadn’t been paid his salary since October.
“Sir, which government has done YOUWIN for the youths of this country?” the young man asked in a last ditch effort to hold on to something worthy about the president.
They were presently not talking about YOUWIN but if the young man wanted to talk about Jonathan’s government and its effects on the youth, well he had some lessons to teach the young man.
While both men argued back and forth, neither noticed Kemi who was in the store with them. After selling the bottle of water to Hip-Pop she had picked up her phone and was busy with it. When the men started arguing politics she plugged the ear-phones connected to the phone in her ears. She hated politics and couldn’t didn’t like the fact that her dad liked to argue politics so much.
“You want to talk about youth employment abi? Do you know about the youths that died during the immigration interview?” Daddy Ibidun said.
This time Kemi looked up. She had a worried look on her face as he mentioned the interview. He felt if that was what it would take to get her to realise that the present government had a hand in her sisters’ death then he would talk about it. Maybe it was time to finally discuss the event and confront the hurt it caused their family.
“That was an unfortunate incident sir” Hip-Pop retorted.
That was the same phrase the government had used to describe it. An event that took the life of his first child and other young Nigerians was nothing more than an unfortunate incident to Jonathan and his apologists. This really got on his nerves.
“Unfortunate incident?” Daddy Ibidun asked getting up from his seat. “You call a poorly planned exercise where millions of applicants were packed like sardines into venues to write an exam at the same time and they had to climb on each other just to breathe an unfortunate incident?” he continued. The young man and his stubborn support for Jonathan had really begun to annoy him.
“Those youths were unruly, all they had to do was be patient” Hip-Pop said raising his voice.
Now, Daddy Ibidun was really angry.
“You said?” He asked. Was this American gangsta wannabe saying his own Ibidun was unruly. Was this good for nothing scum of the earth saying his precious daughter caused her own death.
He didn’t notice that Kemi had gotten up from her seat was approaching him to calm him down. His fury was targeted at this sorry excuse for a human standing in front of him. In his mind the young man was the government and all the evil it represented.
“I said they were UNRULY” – Hip-Pop said.
That’s when Daddy Ibidun lost it.
“GERROOUT!” He screamed.
Kemi quickly rushed to her fathers side to hold him and try to calm him down.
“Daddy, please calm down” she said holding his arm. “Daddy, e jor e ma binu” she continued trying to get her father away from the young man.
Daddy Ibidun collapsed into his chair and buried his face in his hands. It was like the emotional torture of ibiduns death suddenly washed over him and consumed him.
The young man suddenly looked dazed and made to get away as fast as possible.
Daddy Ibidun realised that his anger was misplaced and this young man had no hand in his daughters death. He decided to make amends before the young man left.
“I’m sorry” he said. “I shouldn’t have shouted at you”.
Kemi went to the young man and explained her sisters death to him.
“My sister was one of those that died during the Immigrations recruitment exercise, we haven’t fully recovered from the shock and my dad was worst hit” she said sadly.
“Oh my God” Hip-Pop said looking from Kemi to Daddy Ibidun. “I’m so sorry sir”.
“No, I should apologise, I shouldn’t have brought up the topic” Daddy Ibidun said. He really shouldn’t have brought up the topic. The pain was still fresh in heart and there was no point stirring it up over again.
“I am Nonso sir” Hip-Pop said stretching out his hands to shake Daddy Ibidun.
“Mr Kamorudeen” Daddy Ibidun replied as he grasped Nonso’s outstretched hand.
At that moment Mr Kamorudeen looked into Nonso eyes and it was like he could see into the young man’s soul. He didn’t see a visionless youth, he didn’t see a stubborn Jonathan defender. He saw hope for the future of Nigeria.
Dr Fada Fajuitan is a writer and medical doctor with a passion for Nigeria. You can follow him on twitter @ireloju.
Disclaimer: This story and the opinions expressed are those of the writer alone and do not represent the views of the owner of the blog as this blog maintains its political neutrality. The youth are the future of Nigeria, your vote counts! We pray for a free and fair and most importantly peaceful election this year…MizChutzpah!