I was struggling very hard to look at Musa sympathetically when he finished telling me this story last Friday. As the words ‘ndo, pele, sannu and sorry’ kept tumbling out of my mouth, deep down my heart I concluded that he was not just a fool but also an idiot.
As a bachelor who’s currently experiencing the gnawing bite of the economy of this country (no thanks to MMM and Christmas celebration that drained the money I had in my account), I punch the calculator these days before I decide to buy a bag of sachet water, and when I eventually make up my mind to buy, I don’t drink water as much as I used to so that the bag of water would last longer. Of course, that’s an exaggeration but I feel that there’s no better way to explain my financial predicament than to use the sachet water scenario_____ water is life. Be that as it may, I know that my situation would change for good once January salary shows or the moment MMM merges me for payment. Honestly, I’ve NEVER been this broke in my life.
Before I go into the story that Musa, my colleague (whom I’m ashamed to call my friend after listening to him tell me his story at lunch break two days ago), let me paint a little picture of the current situation of yours truly. I got a job at one of the ministries in Nigeria in August last year (2016). As it’s the norm with government parastatals, I was paid 3 months in arrears. Prior to that time, I had been participating in MMM with meagre sums. When on 1st December my 3 months salaries landed gidigba in my account, I needed no body to advise me to invest big in the scheme. I gave help on December 7th. The rest of the story is history. Although I’m a man of strong will, I went hysterical when I heard the news that MMM has been put on hold till January. I was not just frustrated; I was devastated and deep down my heart I felt that my hard earned money had gone down the drain. I thought the witches in my village had finally gotten to me.
Fast forward to January 13th, I danced and leaped with joy when I heard that MMM is back. For the first time since December, I was so happy that I felt I could jump up and my head would touch the roof of my room. Oluwa noni! I exploded into a maniacal laughter two days ago not because I was sure that MMM would pay me this month, I laughed heartily after listening to Musa’s story. Musa, who got a job at the Ministry almost the same time that I did, told me about his ordeal in Lagos when we were having a bottle of coke and meat pie at a nearby cafeteria; I stopped patronizing Mama Iyabo’s Restaurant since she started selling a plate of food for N450, once again, no thanks to MMM.
It was last weekend in Ikeja, Nigeria. Musa had just travelled to Lagos from Abuja to accompany his mum to Murtala Mohammed Airport to board a flight to the US____ her daughter, Musa’s elder sister had given birth to a baby boy in the States a fortnight ago. My colleague had just said goodbye and safe trip to his mum who thereafter found her way to the Departure Lounge when he decided to pick a cab to Festac town. As he told me, he had given Cynthia, a crush in his University days the address of the hotel where he was lodged in Festac, For Musa, it was the proverbial saying of killing two birds with a stone. My friend, who lives the most frugal lifestyle I’ve ever seen in the world, took a bus to Lagos and pocketed the remaining part of the money which his sister had sent to him for a flight from Abuja to Lagos. Did I just say he pocketed the money? Don’t mind my choice of words. Although Musa can be very frugal when it comes to spending on himself. On the contrary, when it comes to showing-off to a girl he’s interested in he becomes a moron who would not only borrow his uncle’s car to impress the girl in question, he could also spend to the very last kobo in his pocket. I remember the day my pretty younger sister came to see me at my place of work, This olodo colleague of mine, for the first time paid for my meal during lunch, and pestered me all through that day for my sister’s number. Well, that’s a story for another day.
Before Musa’s mother arrived the land where Donald Trump would be sworn in as the 45th President come the 20th day of this month, her son paid fifteen thousand naira into Cynthia’s account before she agreed to come and see him in the hotel room where he spent the night before with his mother. Musa’s mother had flown into Lagos from Jos, her city of residence, and because her flight to the US was an evening flight, she was lodged in a hotel in Festac town. Her daughter’s husband, through the help of a friend booked for two nights in the exquisite hotel. The woman only got to spend a night at the hotel as she and her son left for Murtala Mohammed Airport the following day. Unbeknown to her, her supposedly responsible son had paid some lady 15k to pay him a visit on the night of the day she left for the US.
Musa told me that this lady friend of his that stays in Ikeja was a big girl. When I asked what she does, he stuttered as he says that she works for an advertising agency and was also into modelling. When I gave him that look that suggests that I needed more clarification, He said, ‘Well she didn’t really ask for the money. It was just me that offered to give it to her after I told her that I was coming to Lagos on a business trip and would love to see her.’
He said the money was meant to have her do her hair, fix her nails and other exigencies, And, because I ask too many questions, I asked him why a girl who was not just his schoolmate but also a big girl would need such an impression before accepting to come and see him. He simply said that he had always presented himself as I big boy to her, especially since he got a federal job. In his exact words, ‘You must be a big boy (or act like one) to get the big girls.’ I know Musa too well to know that he didn’t tell me the whole story.
I felt very sad when, in this hardship yours truly is facing, Musa opened his mouth to tell me that he gave a woman N15,000 even before he got to see her face. I’m not trying to sound holier-than-thou but I know a lot of things that amount of money would do for me at this critical era. No thanks to MMM and the yuletide season that engulfed my savings. When you look at it closely, my colleague, Musa is so much unlike me; I’m the first of seven children, he’s the last of five. My dad is late and my mum has a small business I recently upgraded for her but Musa’s father retired as a Permanent secretary and his elder sister married a rich man who’s based in the US. I made a 2:1 and saw hell before I got an appointment letter from the Ministry of…; my friend made a 2:2 and I’m sure his appointment letter was delivered to him at home. So, for real, Musa was a big boy. But trust me, it doesn’t just take money to be a big boy.
Having painted a little picture of myself, I’m sure you can now relate to what 15k would’ve meant for me. Before you think you completely understand my anger, wait until you finish reading Musa’s story.
When I asked Musa how close he was to Cynthia before he travelled to Lagos, he said that they were both in the same faculty at the University of Maiduguri. In his voice, ‘that girl pine well well!’
When Musa said the final bye bye to his mother, he was on his way to pick a cab back to Festac when he decided to eat at a buka somewhere around the airport. He probably did not want to spend too much money paying for room service when he gets back to his hotel or, he was too hungry at that moment that he couldn’t wait until he got back to the hotel. Although I didn’t ask him which it was, but the Musa I know would prefer to eat a cheap meal at a buka over an expensive one in a hotel even if the food was prepared by the same chef.
Musa told me that he had finished eating and when it was time to pay, he dipped his right hand in his pocket only to find out that the five thousand naira he came out with was no longer there. Thinking it was a joke, he fumbled through the pocket of his trousers and all he could come up with was the two hundred naira change he collected from the cab man that dropped him and his mother at the airport. According to him, his mother who paid the taxi man had stretched her hand to collect the change but her son, snatching it from her said, ‘You’re going to the US so stop bothering about naira notes because it’s not a legal tender there.’
When Musa see say water don pass garri, he paid for his food with the N200 note he found in his breast pocket, thankfully, he had eaten ‘Without’.
Thinking of how to get back to his hotel in Festac on that Saturday evening, Musa started sweating profusely. He thought about calling Cynthia who had told him that she lives in Ikeja. Her house could be close to the airport, he thought. ‘If only I had come out with my ATM card,’
To cut the long story short, Musa called Cynthia to hear her voice and also find out the time that she would be coming to his hotel room but she did not pick. He concluded that she was busy as he checked the time in his wristwatch; it was 6:35pm. On the spur of the moment, he decide to pick a cab straight to his Festac.
Musa told me that what pained him the most was not that a taxi man who drove him from Ikeja to Festac and still followed him to his hotel room to collect a fare of N6000 that he had charged for the journey but that his anger was that when he arrived his hotel room and called Cynthia all through that night she refused to pick. He said he was so angry he couldn’t sleep, and that if he was not a Muslim he would’ve gone the bar to drink himself to stupor.
After patiently listening to Musa’s story, my anger was not that he gave a girl 15k; my annoyance was the way he chose to do it. This is the same Musa that keeps boasting about how he has conquered more women than yours truly. That boy can boast for Africa but when you meet him in action it won’t take long to see that he’s just nothing but a compound idiot.
Although the ‘idiot’ told me that his anger was defused when the Cynthia in question woke him up from sleep with a phone call the following morning and apologized that she couldn’t make it to his place_____ I mean, his hotel room that was to expire by 12pm that day. When asked why she didn’t pick her calls, she said she forgot her phone in a friends place. After their conversation that morning, Musa said the girl promised to come and visit him one of these days in Abuja since he couldn’t stay in Lagos for an extra day. ‘What a blatant lie!’ I exclaimed
Well, whether the girl would keep her promise or not, my happiness right now is that MMM has kept their promise to us by re-opening. But, whether they would pay me soon or not, I leave that in the hands of God.
Pls, if u’ve been merged for payment, just halla at ur guy via the comment section.