“Guy, it’s a mail sorting job. All you have to do is turn up for some hours; sort the mail in the right post codes and collect your 7 pounds per hour dough.” That was what my friend told me. It was just supposed to be a job where I was supposed to make a quick buck. It was supposed to be easy. My friend continued: “One snag though is that, it is in the early hours of the morning, from 1am to 9am.” I told him not to worry with my mind already multiplying the quick buck I would make. Although I was a big failure at mathematics at school, I hurriedly calculated the sum in my head. I multiplied: 7 Pounds X 8 hours=56 pounds. I went on further to multiply 56 pounds X 250(Nigerian equivalent in naira) = N14, 000. Sweet! That was enough to at least buy cat-fish pepper soup and beer for my guys and I wanted to do like five days work of ‘easy mail sorting’. You can do the maths from there.However my big money dreams all vanished when the work started.
It was a factory and it wasn’t letters we were sorting, it was big, massive boxes of goods. Till date, the experience is one that is intensely traumatic for me. That night alone, I think I worked more than the Israelites when they were captives in Egypt. The only thing missing was the whip and Pharaoh grinning from his royal seat above. Just two hours into the work, I lost all my orientation and began to sleep-walk and work. I began to curse in languages from Arabic to Hindu and was extremely bitter at the fate that had befallen me.
The look I gave my friend who recommended the job to me was so withering one that could make the Amazon jungle a desert. It was like the scales finally fell from my eyes, it was as if I had eaten ‘The Apple’ only this time it wasn’t a sexy naked Eve that made me but suffering.Everything came into perspective and I realized that everything here in the UK is a LOAN. You watch them in movies and see the lives they lead and you are awed but know what? The house they are living is a mortgage. The car they drive was gotten through a loan. The fancy phone they use is a contract (which they pay for in instalments). Even in the house you live in, you have to pay for your heater and Television License (which is about 120 pounds!) Can you just imagine paying £120 to watch NTA? I shudder at the very thought. Even marriages now are a contract, I have had people approach me to forget Miss Nizzle, get hitched and pay a white gal! It is now a cartel, a business, an industry. Here, you are a slave to the system.Fine. Accepted.
Nigeria is perceived as bad over here, nobody wants to go back. We see the killings at Jos, we see on TV as our leaders make a mockery of themselves. There is no constant electricity but it is HOME. It is where you could avoid paying NEPA/PHCN Bill and just bribe the official when he comes. Besides don’t you get the tingle in your spine when you hear the rapturous cry of ‘UP NEPA’!!! It is where you might have water coming out of your tap (if you are lucky) and not know who is paying for it.It is where you can drive as you wish, beating traffic rules if they were any, without having thousands of pounds fined out of anal cavity.It was where your family knew it had hit pay dirt once a member got elected into government, even if it was just a Local Government Councillor appointmentIt was where you could park your fleet of cars and put plate numbers for every day of the week, or the name of your girlfriends.It is where you could celebrate with the flimsiest of reasons. A lot of livestock like cows, goats and fowls would be regretting ever being born in Nigeria because of the frequency in which we put them to the sword.
Nigeria is the only country I know that even if the family is so poor as to not be able to pay their kid’s school fees could throw a burial ceremony costing about half a million naira.It is where you could make untaxed dough and become a billionaire with ideas borne out of your head or stolen from others.It was where you could open a bar by the side of the road or a canteen; make a ton of money that’s before Fashola comes to shut you down.It was where you could eat cat-fish pepper soup, Nkwobi and drink Guinness (the real bitter one). We are not the second highest Guinness drinking nation in the world for nothing!!!
It is where your loved ones are at. It was where mine was. It was HOME and I was going.