A body was thrown down from the balcony, all covered in a plain grey blanket. After some scrutiny, we discovered that the patient will need the Hollywood Extreme Makeover Celebrity to carry out surgery and have the patient in perfect order. Despite the injuries, I could see the movements, as the patient breathed, the side of his body went up and down noisily.
Turning my head to the right, I tried to adjust my legs in an acute angle. I took a deep breathe, trying to recollect to find out I had been dreaming all along. The clock on my Nokia E63 tells 5.45am. I pick up my phone to look through my list messages to say my prayers while thanking God for waking me up this morning. I get to music player, click on Ministrations then click on David Olukoya’s message and pray as I bathe and make-up. My attire for this Monday is a pair of coffee brown pants, a brown camisole and a cream empire top. I pick up my brown belt and clinch my waist. Going through my jewelry box, looking for and wearing my pearl bracelet, white bangles and my ever present Farafina wrist band that I wear everywhere even to big-shot weddings… Who cares?! My hair all brushed and pinned to a bun at the nape of my neck, I slip on my American eagle flats and hand bag, I leave for the parlour to greet my uncle because I hear him talking to someone on the phone.
‘Uncle, good morning’
‘Good morning, how are you?’
As I leave I remember to ask him how the family will be spending Christmas.
‘Uncle, are you guys traveling for Christmas?’
With a worried look on his face he replied, ‘I don’t know yet. I can’t say for sure’.
I leave him to his thoughts and descend the stairs singing, ‘ihe ni’ile diri n’uwa digi na aka’. My aunt is in the kitchen cooking as I head on to work. Stepping out to the street, I sweep the street up and down looking for my neighbour who goes to the island or a bike. Seeing no-one, I stop the music playing on my phone and walk down the street stopping at the kiosk to buy cacahuet. Walking to chevron junction, there are commercial buses with their conductors calling for passengers heading for mile 2. I join Mrs and her husband who attend my church, they drop me off a tantalizers, then Akindele, my neighbour takes to work.
Akindele is my neighbour who works in lead assurance. He dropped me at Costain. I walked down the stretch of the road noticing that there were a lot of people waiting for some commercial bus or their staff buses to take them to the island. I join them waiting to see if I would see my staff bus. I had stood there for some moments watching many cars drive when a car dives in front of me asking if I were off to the island. I affirmed and we headed off. I took a good look at his car and asked him, ‘What’s special about this car?’ I asked because it is a Skoda Fabia. Nigerians are wont to purchase vehicles from car manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, Mercedes Benz, ford, Land rover, jaguar, Bentley, Volkswagen, Nissan, Peugeot, Jeep, Audi, BMW etc. And him being a young married man I wondered, wanting know the secret behind this purchase knowing that those cars are usually bought brand new. He smiled and said, ‘It has low fuel consumption. You know I bought a full tank four days ago and it has not gone down. It does not go down easily. It’s a strong car and it moves very fast. Also, Stallion gives me a one year warranty’ he explains. ‘By the way my name is Kayode, I work with Moet Hennessy and you?’
‘I am Chinelo, I work with NIIA’ I reply.
‘Do you have your card here?’, he asks
I rummaged through my hand bag and hand him my complimentary card.
‘Thank you’, he says, ‘Please could you put your hand behind you would see a pack of complimentary cards, please take one there.’ I take one and study it for a second then put it in my bag.
We talk about about cars, our jobs, brand management, poetry and desired awareness for the art all the way to the island till we get to carter bridge, veering off Akin Adesola street. We missed a turn and had drive to Adeline Alakija to make a U-turn. We approached the traffic, only for Kayode to scream. I have never heard a man scream like that before, wondering what would have caused that, I looked, there was this Lastma Official dragging down an okada rider regardless of his passenger. He dragged them to the ground, wounding them seriously and tearing their clothes. I was horrified. I could not believe what I was seeing. I had read in the papers that this was the practice in alausa and here it is playing before my eyes.
‘You have to come down’, I tell Kayode. He turned and looked at me to see if I meant what I said. Then he stepped out off the car to intervene. I watched from the car as the arguments went on and the Lastma Official had boxed his hand, throwing punches at the wounded okada rider. The passenger was badly injured at the knee and blood was gushing from the wound. I could not bear it. I had to intervene and defend this defenseless citizens of the republic of Nigeria. I switched off the engine and pulled the out key then marched straight to the Lastma Official whose action had encouraged a crowd of people, his colleagues and a journalist, then accosted the offending Lastma official. ‘Why did you treat the man that way? Why did you? Do you want to kill them?’ He looked at me and began to mutter in confusion. I supposed he never imagined anyone would defend an okada rider. I mean, who are they in class stratification? His colleague came to me to get me to listen but I was adamant. The okada rider would have wept on the floor if he were a woman. His lovely peach embroidered buba and sokoto was now irreparable and he bled everywhere. He had picked up an object to stab the offending official but was constantly prevented by his colleagues. Kayode was angry and shouting at the officials while I went into action. I told the okada rider to come out of crowd and I began to shout like a wild lioness, ‘Nobody is taking this bike anywhere and nobody is going to arrest this bike man! No way!’ I dragged the bike up from its fallen position and off the kerb to the tarred road. It fell again and I picked it up, shammed angrily, banging the biker seat, ‘Nobody’s going to arrest this man. Nobody dares’. There were these lawyers gaping at me. They were aghast and so were the Lastma officials. They could not believe one woman could prevent them from dealing with an okada rider. All of them, including the street touts who helped them in carrying out their duties. When we had safely balanced the bike, I called for the passenger but I could not make him out from the crowd so I told the okada rider to get on his bike and move out immediately. ‘Now! Move now! Nobody is going to arrest you. Nobody dares’. I finally was able to make out the passenger who was still there complaining to all who cared to listen to him as we walked to the car. The okada rider was safe out of harms way. In all this Kayode kept saying, ‘Chinelo, it’s okay, let’s leave’, but I was hell-bent. I hate to see people victimized I said in my mind echoing Kayode’s words. We talked a bit about the ill-treatment of Okada riders by Lastma officials before he asked me about my zodiac sign (do I care for those things). I knew why he was asking. He was surprised at the way I intervened. Well, I was just shamming to scare the officials and save the okada rider from any form of persecution and sorrow caused by the Lastma officials who said even if they injured him, he would still be treated. Well, that’s done.
Kayode dropped me off at my office. I have a new friend who has seen a very crazy side of me.