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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Who Is He

From afar, when I noticed the crowd, and the open car booth, I shivered. Please not a human head.

My yesterday was eventful. I had to enter a part of Eko I have never heard of.

Igbosere road is behind the Lagos High Court that is on Tafa Balewa Square road. Something like that. My mission there was to meet a printer yesterday morning, then we had to proceed to his operator’s house.

I was busy looking around everywhere. I saw a sign that said that road is Cow Lane, saw another that is Rasak Okoya lane and I derided myself thinking maybe that is where Chief Rasak Okoya and his popular bride, Folasade reside. That was foolish thinking.

I did admit though that I was in the real Eko, not this extension of Opebi or Satellite Town that I shuttle between. Then I remembered Sefi Atta and I remembered her book Everything Good Will Come, and I imagined some of her portrayal of Eko in her book, might be what I saw, since I wasn’t born in the era she framed that award winning book.

That place I went to, is not very far from Obalende, and it actually occurred to me yesterday, that Lagos Island has more one way roads than anywhere else I know in Lagos.

And talking of Obalende, I hate the place. Oshodi I can stomach; it’s a lesser devil. There is a particular part of Obalende that is always flooded 365 days a year, and I’m sure it rains there at night and no one notices. Not the kind of rain we know about - a different kind whose water is black with wonderful scent that will shame Chanel No 5.

Anyway, back to my gist. There was a crowd at one point in Obalende. They were watching a drama unfolding between the men in black uniform and an unfortunate driver who probably didn’t have his particulars, and this is what I imagined must have happened, before the crowd that I met.

Police waves the car to a stop

Driver stops and wait.

Police: vehicle particulars

Driver: take (he produces them)

Police: (after flipping through, sees nothing wrong with them, but he wants something) wetin dey your booth?

Driver: nothing

Police: come open

Driver: it is empty. You have seen my papers.

Police: (looks at him critically and notices driver is nervous. On the back seat of the car are some clothes scattered. Maybe rags. Not sure. He beckons to his colleague and they whisper together. Soon, one policeman turns into four). Get down.

Driver: (he is out of the car) I’m in a hurry. (He tries to squeeze N500 into his hands).

Police: you want to bribe me. Corrupt citizen. (Then with the other cops, the driver is forced to open his booth).

From afar, when I noticed the crowd, and the open car booth, I shivered. Please not a human head.

I saw in the booth, that three legged stand used in the village to hold big pots on fire, while fire woods are arranged underneath. What is it called? I saw, cashew nuts tied the way hawkers do, all scattered around in the booth. I saw plenty and different sizes of Agege bread. I saw a tray. I saw akara, scattered all around in the booth. I saw a piece of clothe that must have balanced the tray on a head.

Everything registered in my memory in less than five seconds. I didn’t stop of cause. But I couldn’t stop thinking. Who is the driver, and how come he has those things in his booth? What I refused to think of definitely is who the real owner/s of those things, is/are and where she/they is/are.

If you come across this, what will you conclude? Who is the driver?