It has been almost six months since I have been in Ibadan for my National Service. As I type these words, it is in fact, six months, three days and counting.
Let’s say I have been blessed with what so many pray for a bit sooner than most would expect it. I scored myself a job as an On Air Personality at The Beat 97.9FM, Ibadan. But that’s a tale for another day. (Tale…day, feel my rhyme?)
My shifts are weekdays from 11am- 4pm and Sundays from 12pm-6pm, and I have to admit that it is quite a load considering that I still attend to my NYSC primary assignment. When under a lot of stress, the body most times breaks down- which what happened to me on Sunday 26th of May, 2013.
I had been feeling feverish the Friday before and decided to brush it off as one of those tired feelings. Even if it was malaria, I was definitely stronger than it. But on Sunday, it hit me real hard while I was at the studio about to go on air so I took permission from my boss and began my slow and steady journey. Being as ill as I was, I couldn’t move my body as fast as normally would. My temperature was on the rise, my head was hurting, my body was extremely weak and I was in tears, but I had my shades on so no one could see.
After a few minutes of walking, I couldn’t do it alone anymore so I enlisted the help of a stranger whom I had seen trying to cross the road and it turned out that he was a Corper, just like me and we had been in camp together. He held my hand and followed me, one step at a time until we had gotten to the junction. Being the gentleman that he was, he offered to take me home, which was quite distant from where I work and would cost a bit of fortune so I turned him down and made him believe that I was strong enough. I hailed down a taxi and he put me in and waved goodbye.
There I was, seated in a taxi with a driver, a front seat passenger and another passenger who was seated beside me. They were all male. Then the passenger beside me spoke (These are not their exact words but it was pretty much the same thing)
‘Driver, please I would be stopping here?’
‘Ok’, replied the driver. He hands his taxi fare to the driver who counts it and pockets it, waiting for the passenger to leave the taxi.
‘I need to collect my bag that is in the trunk.’ says the passenger. The driver’s facial expression and he suddenly becomes infuriated.
‘So na you get that Ghana-must-go wey dey for boot! I been dey ask everyone say na who get that bag wey dey for boot and nobody gree answer!’
‘Oga abeg. I no hear when you talk am. I fit carry my bag’
Now, I’m thinking why the driver can’t let him go with his freaking bag. The driver looks at me and begins to ask
‘You no wetin dey that bag?!’
I’m guessing this is a rhetoric question so I don’t reply.
‘We go go garage! I dey take you go garage!’
‘Oga abeg. Please. Make I carry my bag comot’
The passenger looks at me and begins to beg me to help him plead with the driver to let him go. The passenger in the front as well is also pleading on this man’s behalf. We still have no idea what is in the bag, and now I am thinking it might be human parts.
The driver still infuriated keeps speaking angrily that he refuses to listen and this man must be taken to the garage. Then the front seat passenger asks
‘Wetin dey for the bag?’
‘I open the bag when those women wey dey sell vegetable comot for here. I been dey ask say na who get the bag. The bag dey filled with money! FOREIGN CURRENCIES!’
OH. SHIT. I was too sick for all this super story drama but another part of my head kept telling me that it would make for a good blog post and story to tell my mates when I get back home.
I look at the foreign currency man with the most shocked face I could pull.
‘Auntie! Abeg, I can explain’, he said.
I’m staring at him through my shades. He makes pleading gestures with his palms, the driver keeps raving and ranting about taking him to the garage, and the front seat passenger keeps trying to calm the driver down and is at the same time asking the foreign currency man what was going on.
‘I gave Alhaji seven years of my life; to work and serve with all my life. But last year, Alhaji fell sick and they flew him out of the country for treatment. His wife came back to Nigeria to collect money to pay for his hospital bills but before they could reach, Alhaji was dead. Later, his wife called all of us who had been working for Alhaji and said that your Oga is dead so all of you can now leave. Alhaji’s driver got angry and said NO. There was no way we would serve this man for so long and leave empty handed so he went out and said whoever was with him join him to protest. He got into one of Alhaji’s car and I followed but before I entered the car I entered Alhaji’s room and I saw seven Ghana must go bags filled with money so I carried one and left with the driver. Now, I am travelling so I can start something for myself. Auntie abeg. Help me beg him for my life’
I was dumb founded.