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8 Odd Truths about Nigerians and the Economy!

Hey people, the exchange rate for a dollar is now 407 freaking naira! I was just shaking my head about the Nigerian economy and how everything is so expensive. I recently asked a Lagos babe on Instagram with a human hair online wig store for the price of one of her wigs and she sent me her price list in dollars! I laughed out loud and faced my business.

Who dollar epp?

Certainly not the Nigerian economy!

Someone I know was doing an online masters and chose to pay for his course per month but with the new dollar rate, he is paying almost triple what he was paying before! #badmarket

An egg is now sold for forty naira and the adamant market woman insisted on mixing the big ones with the pinchomic kekeres stating that no one was gonna buy the small ones from her if I picked all the big ones- like I care. First come, first serve abeg!

Why does the economy seem to get worse but Nigerians still find a way to adjust? The structural adjustment program of the late 80s has become the Nigerian nightmare! 

Fuel is where it is, 141-143 naira per liter, people have quit complaining since it is at least available. 

Everything is pricey but really I didn’t come here to rant. I haven’t said anything new. We know this and we hustle to survive each and every day and sometimes we get lucky!

I wanted to instead blog about eight odd and maybe even hilarious occurrences that are now rampant in the name of the hustle! It just makes you wonder…

1) Magas are still paying because they are above the economic crisis! Ask any taxi driver. A couple of days ago I needed to take a cab to UBTH because I really didn’t wanna drive and after haggling with the guy for what I considered the best price, he relented. Dude was as loud as he was fast and I couldn’t help chuckling in between prayers for my safety when he announced that it was the ring on my finger that made him agree to that price. “Sista for Bini we know say na those small, small unifasity gehs get all the money. If na them, na 5k last. You know dem get haccess!” So if you have ‘access’ you are above the Naija wahala!

2) The upcoming elections have made some people in Benin mega rich. While politicians are spending loads of money to get people on their side, the carpenter in charge of the wooden structures for the posters and billboards is smiling to the bank every day not giving a  rat’s arse about who actually wins. Making money out of national headline news good or bad- is what the true hustlers are doing now.

3) People are now gay for pay! Forget that it is an offense, we see guys on Instagram who boast about bae paying them truckloads of money for services rendered and it’s all just part of their hustle. Aristo chicks move aside, it seems the boys want a piece of the action too and they’d go to any lengths and it really seems like a lucrative business in this harsh economy especially since the mega rich seem mega kinky.

4) Houses are still springing up everywhere at alarming speed! While the average Nigerian is counting his precious naira notes, builders, foremen and construction engineers have not stopped thanking God for the booming business because ‘built in three months’ mansions are still cropping up every where you turn. Where EFCC oh?!

5) Still on property, everybody is suddenly into property sales in Lekki near the new trade free zone, just beside the next International airport and across the 4th Mainland bridge ;-). This utopia of sorts has more sellers than buyers and one begins to wonder just how much they have been promised as a cut. If you need a new hustle join the band wagon and for those relentless sellers; no thank you people ahn ahn it haff do!

6) Windscreen washer boys are not smiling! The other day a friend was in traffic when some dude attempted to wash his windscreen (we know the drill), he refused and washer boy got mad, he stood in front of the car, pressed the bonnet as hard as he could (he for try leave dent sic) and with a menacing expression kept demanding to wash the windscreen with an ‘I go wash am oh’ threat every 5 seconds till the traffic light turned green. Abeg when in traffic make sure your windows and doors are securely locked, not just for them but for all the other uniformed troublemakers lurking everywhere!

7) Local government boys have become the absolute worst. They have zero chill, zero filter and hustle or die attitudes. They are the area boys, the community boys and even the band of riff raffs hired as traffic law enforcement officers and then fired after years of menace. If you own a shop or you are building a house in a developing area or you are a traveling sales man, you know these people and fear them even more than the police, VIO and road safety combined! Where’s your roof-repair permit? Or your sit outside your house license? Where’s your switch on generator permit or your drive on our roads certificate? They chase, deflate tyres and make trouble like a legion of demons and their permits, receipts and licences never finish so your papers can never ever be complete! ‘Oga you no get this other receipt, na 10,000 naira, na yesterday dem make am, oya park’. The hustle never ends.

8) The two months salary human hair wigs, weaves and bleaching creams are still hot cake oh. The theory is simple, you need to spend money to make money. Uncle likes what he sees, uncle pays to see it again, the circle of life! So stop asking yourself who is buying all these things (face your wage)!

The list is endless, hate the hustle but put some respek on it! People are doing whatever it takes to survive and even in this dire economy, holidays in Maldives, first class tickets and tear rubber cars are still the order of the day, seems like some people couldn’t be bothered about the dollar! 

What weirdness have you encountered around you in the name of the hustle?

TGIF #friyay (hope money to turn up dey?)

Have a great day Chutzpah fam, may God bless your hustle!

xoxo

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Posted by on August 26, 2016 in Urban Culture

 

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It’s all for the money $$$- A tale of one Lagos big girl….New beginnings: Part 2 Episode 6

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I opened my mouth and closed it again and then opened it again. I must have looked like a fish gulping large volumes of air in quick succession. I was frantic. Words failed me. I looked around for the nearest exit. The room was too quiet. A show down was definitely about to go down! I could feel the sweat on my brow.
‘OK snap out of it Modinat; there’s nothing Toke can’t handle!’
The quiet encouragement by the diva in my head helped me switch persona remarkably fast given the fact that I was about to wet my pants.

“Mamus I think we should have this talk in private.”

My response was short, calm but confident. I had definitely regained control. Acting so cool would surely make Mamus have a rethink. Mamus seemed to blush, she was obviously not expecting that. Geez, polite society was so different from the back streets where I’d grown up.

“Y..you are right dear! Forgive my ill-manners, love does make us do some foolish things. Hahaha…Let’s talk outside. Excuse us ladies”

Her nervous laughter and forced cheerfulness didn’t have me fooled for one second. Something serious was about to go down. The others were quiet but looked both curious and disappointed. I guess every one loved a cat fight. I flashed them a wry smile as I followed behind Mamus. Nothing prepared me for what happened next.

“I am really sorry Toke but I am going out of my mind. Azeez has asked me to marry him but I think he is still in love with an ex. I have tried to do my research and find out more about her but she was in his life a very long time ago. He refuses to talk about her and asks me not to worry but I can’t help worrying. I have been single for so long and to now allow a man into my life, I have to be sure he won’t mess up. All I know about the woman is that her name is Modinat!”

She paused for air and I looked at her incredulously. Was she toying with me?

“How do you know her name?”

“He called me her name by accident one day while we were laughing hard about something. I asked him who Modinat was and he denied saying the name. I let it go but I am convinced that’s her name. I don’t wanna live a lie but in all fairness we are great together and I know he cares deeply for me. I am just scared that if this woman ever comes back into his life, I may not win if he has to make a choice. That’s why I need your help. Please don’t deny it but I think you know more about Azeez than you are letting on. Please help a friend here.”

I couldn’t believe I was about to tell a big, fat lie…

“Honestly Mamus, I don’t know Azeez. After I saw him at your house, I went snooping on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I know I shouldn’t have but you are my friend and I have to watch out for you and you are obviously smitten by him. That’s how I got the extra info I have. I could show you my ipad so you could check my browser history for the stuff I looked at after I left your house that night. I was a real Inspector Gadget. Sorry babe, didn’t mean to pry but really I don’t know much, at least not more than you.”

Mamus laughed half-heartedly.

“Ok I won’t lie, I am a little relieved because it took me a while to work up the courage to ask you cos I was so afraid of what I would hear but I am also a little disappointed because the mystery still remains unsolved. Do you think I should ask Amaka to use her father’s connections to investigate him?”

“Nooooo!!! That’s a very bad idea. What if he finds out? He would never forgive you for not trusting him. Besides I have seen you guys together and I think what you have is for real but remember that marriage is a big deal. I wouldn’t want you going into it with doubts so you need to sort this out in your head before taking the big step. How are things with you guys at the moment?”

“Fine actually. Azeez is such a romantic and I feel thoroughly cared for. I guess you are right. I won’t mention it to Amaka. Please let’s keep this between us. I guess I am just being paranoid. You know I am not as young and sexy as I used to be hahaha”

I felt like crap. Mamus was my friend. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. Now I knew how Judas felt. I hoped I wouldn’t end up hanging myself.

“Toke I am so blessed to have a friend like you. Thanks for always having my back. Love you babe”

Mamus hugged me and tears stung my eyes. I was a good person and I was going to prove it. I hugged her back with a new resolve. Azeez was history.

“One more thing babe. I know the others are gonna kill me but would you do me the honor of being my maid of honor?”

I froze. Kai karma’s a b*tch. This was gonna be harder than I anticipated.

“I would love to dear.”

She hugged me again and I could have sworn I heard laughter from heaven. Even the angels were laughing at me. I was in big trouble!

…….to be continued…..

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2014 in It's all for the money!, Series

 

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It’s all for the money $$$- “A tale of one Lagos big girl” Episode 4

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I opened my eyes when I heard the thud of my body hitting the hard ground. I had to stifle a loud moan as the pain shot through my back. I had decided landing on my feet was a bad idea since if I couldn’t run I would still get killed. I tried to get up and winced at the pain. I had definitely dislocated something. I looked up and the distance didn’t look as far as it seemed when I was looking down. I steadied myself on my feet grinding my teeth together as jolts of pain shot through my back, left arm and left leg. I dragged myself away from the house as fast as I could silently praying I wouldn’t be caught. I must have walked for 20 minutes, it seemed longer. It had gotten dark and I was still surrounded by bushes. I saw a car parked up ahead and a man leaning on the car and my heart began to pound. Was he a good guy or an evil killer? There was no way I could avoid him seeing me unless I stopped walking and laid flat on my belly in the bush, I glanced at the soldier ants dancing haphazardly on the ground and dismissed the idea. I was injured and I was tired and I wasn’t about to spend the night in the middle of nowhere not far enough from those men. What if Samsudeen decided to tell on me or something or even worse come after me himself if he hadn’t been killed already? This man was my only hope. I prayed he wouldn’t be the death of me.

  “Good evening sir, please help me…I take God beg you”  

I immediately knelt down and cried out in pain as my stiff injured limb was bent out of shape.  The man jumped both startled and alarmed. He could see I was in pain.  

“Who are you? Why are you here? Get in, you need to see a doctor immediately”  

Seeing as I struggled to get off my feet, he helped me and I looked up to heaven thankful for the help…  

His name was Hussein and 24 hours later I was home with a white cast on my leg and a sling on my arm. Hussein was so helpful. He was such a gentleman. I lied to him that I was a corporate affairs manager at a private company and I had taken time off work. I know I had made a lot of promises to God about turning my life around but I couldn’t tell Hussein what I really was. He was nice and seemed straight-laced. It was nothing short of a miracle that he had gone there to inspect some property for a client and had been standing where I had found him at that precise moment. He checked in on me often and soon it became quite obvious that he shared the fondness I had for him. I knew I was taking a big risk, if Alhaji met another man at my apartment there would be blood. I considered ending things with Alhaji but he would have my neck if I tried and would probably find and torture Hussein. Many nights I would dream of Samsudeen. I wondered in my waking moments why he would want to kill me and what sort of scary shit he had gotten himself mixed up with. He was supposed to be a devout Muslim not a hoodlum. It didn’t make sense.  

I was getting used to my idyllic existence with Hussein and being thoroughly spoiled when my life was thrown into yet another turmoil. I was visited by a man in a black suit. He looked like he was trouble and introduced himself as Detective Adeyemi Bello. If I wasn’t so full of secrets I would have taken the time to admire his physique and clean cut looks. I didn’t realize the Nigerian police force had any correct guys, to me they were all a bunch of riff-raffs. Guess those who handled high profile cases had to be the better looking, more learned ones. The problem however was that what he was asking me made absolutely no sense. He was telling me Alhaji was dead and that I was a suspect- was he mad? How could a big man like Alhaji be dead and he’d be asking small me? He said they had found an envelope in a car that had pictures and they couldn’t tie any one of the people in the pictures to Alhaji except me. Even though I was eager to forget the recent occurrences the thought of even being arrested as a suspect had me determined to makesure it never became a reality. Detective Bello thankfully, believed my story but despite that I was still invited to the station and asked to repeat it countless times. They suspected that Samsudeen was a member of a rogue gang probably hired by some top shot Nigerian. They also didn’t believe he was the killer they sought, not after telling them what transpired but he was still listed as a wanted man. That was his bloody business, I didn’t beg him to follow bad people. After a couple of days, the police grew bored with me and stopped pestering me seeing as I had no new info.

The only good thing that came out of it was my not being labelled a murderer, really there was nothing else good about this incidence. Hussein had left me after he had been called in for questioning. They must have really brought him up to speed about everything and I mean everything cos the dude couldn’t even look me in the eye when he mumbled something about needing space and not wanting to get mixed up in police wahala. I tried to hug him and he acted as if he had just found out I had HIV. Thankfully Alhaji did not die of the dreaded disease. Speaking of Alhaji, his death had brought me plenty prayer points. I had bumped into his wife on one occasion accompanied by his unscrupulous son, the one I met at the club. Omo see curses the woman rained on me! As far as she was concerned, I had killed her husband. Trust her son to add pepper, he had been about to greet me with that air of familiarity and perhaps ask why I never picked his calls when his mum started cursing my ancestors, he was dumbstruck and when he finally gathered his wits was sputtering and cursing and asking me over and over whether it was his inheritance I had been wasting up and down. Chei! My fear now was that Alhaji’s family would track me down and strip me of all I had. That scared me shitless. I prayed daily like I never had before.

  Weeks after, the dust seemed to be settling. My fears had thankfully not become a reality. I hadn’t attended Alhaji’s burial because I didn’t want to remind his family about my existence. In my waking moments I imagined that Alhaji would have left me something in his will. He was really fond of me and despite the odds we actually were friends. I missed his quirky laugh and the way he called me yarinya even though we both knew I was one of many. I felt lonely. I had never made friends with the other Lagos big girls and had never been welcomed into their circle despite my obvious flaunting of Alhaji’s wealth. They seemed to be able to see right though me and right now I was tired of forming on the social scene anyway. Every once in a while I would think of Samsudeen wondering if he had been caught and what had become of him. He did save my life, once I even imagined how our lives would have turned out if I had given him a chance. Poor! That was for sure. But better poor than dead or in jail right? I contemplated getting a job, staying at home everyday doing nothing made my loneliness more evident. I could hear it in the empty rooms, in the kitchen, sitting beside me on the sofa, whispering and taunting. The song was always the same;  

“Nobody likes you, everybody hates you, better go eat a cockroach, tear off the head and eat the yamayama cos that’s all you are good for…”  

Once I could have sworn I saw a cockroach run past at precisely that moment. The song Mr Loneliness was singing was one I had heard once or twice as a child but it had been mixed with Yoruba verses then, and now definitely remixed by my mind. I needed friends, I needed a man, I needed change. I was on a mission! If I continued like this I would either lose my mind and commit suicide or die a lonely spinster or something. Every night for the past 3 weeks I had considered going out and experiencing Lagos night life like old times but ask any one who has ever been kidnapped, outside the confines of your home, the world takes on a new foreboding with imagined danger lurking on every corner. Loneliness eventually drove me out of my house. I was a Lagos big girl after all, we were built to fight! I had worked my way up from the bottom. Sleeping with bus drivers and artisans after I ran away from Charles’ house to sleeping with bigger boys and men I met gatecrashing carefully selected owambes. Alhaji had been by far the most generous which was why I had agreed to be his special babe but now I needed to get my A-game back. I had been given a chance at a new life. I was rich well not fabulously wealthy but at least I had managed to enter upper class status and I had 2 cars and a house and money in the bank. It was time to get myself a life and maybe make a name for myself. It was time to think smart, act right and make mama proud. Not many women had the kind of opportunity I had to set things right. I needed a new identity one that would be so far removed from my past. I needed-  

I was broken out of my reverie by an urgent knock on my door. I froze. Could it be the police or that handsome detective with more questions? Could it be Alhaji’s family here to take what was legally theirs or Hussein returning to grovel and beseech me to marry him? The knocking continued with increased fervor. The television was on and quite loud so I couldn’t pretend like I wasn’t home. My heart was pounding as I walked towards the door. As I unlocked the door fearing the worst, I looked into the eyes of my late night visitor and screamed….  

………………To be continued……….

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2013 in It's all for the money!, Series

 

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