The book laid attractively across the bed, but dulled by the gnawing innards in the pit of her stomach, her hand motionless, refusing to yield to the order of her brain. Thinking back about how she got herself into this situation, the image of her father loomed largely in front of her.
It was the third day in the second week of her month of Grace, her special month of course, September. Accelerated thinking in view of the fact that lectures had commenced propelled her feet into such a speed that beggared that Ahab’s chariot but hers was not to beat the rain, she was only apprehensive of seeing her father and bloat her pocket with the inexorable, welfare allowance, the so called “pocket money.”
Imperturbable in his presence, she knelt down and stretched her hands forward only to receive two pieces of naira notes, alas, a thousand naira! Shocked, eyes poking out of their sockets, aghast, disappointed, excitement deflated, as if compelled by an inner force, her feet rose and she stepped out bearing a visage totally akin to that of the lamb being led to the altar, she left dumb and chagrined.
Thus, her resumption into the Rain Semester of 2004 academic session, her third year in the university was totally jejuned. Within a week, her meager allowance had become depleted. Hope-rich as the beggar on the street, mouth-agaped for an annoyance-coated expectoration of involuntary utterances “For how long will I continue like this?” Time passed without permission, eyes glazed, lids gently close, overcame with the cloak of peace that comes with sleep she forgot her present troubles.
The sun, as if propelled by a force stronger than it, came out and as if drawn by the same sweeping force, suddenly her curtains parted to give way to the piercing rays of that beautiful September morning sun. With the sun pouring its powerful luminous light into her room, gently she was nudged to life. The worms in her stomach now already resigned out of fatigue from a fierce battle of innards which had ended in a fiasco for them lay to rest. Energized by a new sunny day, given by his Eminence, God, she charged out of her room with a new resolve, not only to exist, but to survive, to live and be a force to be reckoned with.
Her resolve was heightened by the exhilarating melody of music generated by her stereo. Within her heart erupted songs of joy, she was captured in the rapturous moments but BOOM! The sudden electricity outage cut short her elation. It was dumbfounding but each unnotified outage only lent more credence to the populist adaptation of the PHCN, “Please Hold Candle Now”, an offshoot of its defunct parent, NEPA “Never Expect Power Always.” This incessant electricity outage in Nigeria has always been alarming and it has been observed in some corners that PHCN is a patient that needs emergency surgery. Nationwide, it is a serious national issue. Extremely shocking and unfathomable to the mind is that this nation supplies electricity to other neighbouring African countries uninterruptedly and yet we the benefactors enjoy only an intermittent or merely an occasional supply of power.
Filled with a kindred memory and a sense of belonging, she had a discussion with Freg, a highly intellectual friend on possible solutions to Nigeria’s power supply problem. His suggestion was mindblowing and kept her riveted in rapt attention till he finished. His suggestion she feared, is something he had seriously meditated upon. Every year, Nigeria’s government officials spent millions on overseas trips under the guise of improving their learning how issues are tackled over there. On energy problems, this is no longer necessary because our own Bonny kingdom has the solution to Nigeria’s epileptic power supply. In July, they celebrated seven years of uninterrupted power supply.
It suffices to say here, if Bonny could do it then Nigeria could do it. Firstly, the government must realize that the solution to this problem cannot be procured, all by them, they need outside help, and thus should be ready to give private companies the right to join them in doing this. Succinctly put, it would be a joint- venture between Nigeria government and private companies. Specifically, multi- national companies, whom are ready to do it borne out of a desire to make Nigeria a force to reckon with in the World and not out of gain. This would reduce financial implication on the annual government purse and will ensure better management.
Studies by International Energy Agency(IEA) has shown that, access to modern energy services is a key to social and economic progress in any country. Also, living standards ruse sharply as per capita energy consumption increase. Economists have long established a correlation between poverty and lack of energy. Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) should be replaced by a newly-created utility company. Without missing, he strongly asserted that this should be done by state governments and not federal government. Essence of this is to make sure that residents of each states are stakeholders, for this novel idea to work. An individual should be picked from each local government in the state to form the members of the Board of this new utility company. Human behaviour has shown people work better when they have something at stake and have a higher probability of being honest. With the finances of the multinational companies and the state government, a plant would be built. Every industry, company and house will be connected to the new Plant free of charge or for a subsidized token fee that is well affordable.
Prejudice and favouritism decided for him that Lagos should be a model city for this project.
Mario Caenan, the former General Manager of Bonny Utility Company (BUC) and John Heijland, the celebrated engineer who led Bonny out of epileptic power supply are role models whose styles need to steadfastly learnt for the success of this project. Engineers, technicians and any other personality that needs to be trained, taken from each state would be trained by them. These ones would then be the ones to transfer this new knowledge to other engineers and technicians employed in these utility companies.
Remembering how 24 hours to resumption, she was delirious with anticipation and apprehensiveness propelled by the uncontrollable euphoria of reuniting with long-seen friends, acquaintances, coursemates, condescending and cosseting lecturers and the rural environment of the university town which had become congenial to her being.
Hmm… a bit deflated bit not crushed, she left for campus. Dressed cap-a-pie in lavish adorning ostentation, she was ready to keep heads turning, more with the fascinating scent of her perfume to complement. Observing as usual, girls and boys lurking in cozy corners used as improvised rendezvous suitable for all their licentious, lewd and lascivious indulgencies in contempt of HIV/
AIDS, STDs and even the most deadly, unwanted pregnancy.
The effusive attention given to sex in the society is abstruse. Must we engage in pre-marital or even post-marital sex? Echoes of the well accepted unabashed reasons for it is not far from my mind. Dayo, a campus cool guy in repose alleged that sex is medically good for his health. As far as he eats well and exercises, he would never look worn out, even if he indulges in it everyday. Sophia, a big girl on campus believes it makes her happy and her worries, become a detached memory. A concerted approach by most, on its necessity, emanates from its acknowledgement as a assured road to intimacy. Are there not better ways of getting intimate with someone, most especially, one you profess to love?
Really, with due respect, we the younger generation belief that sex is a direct link between love and intimacy with one is incongruous; an antilogy to the Almighty’s plan who created sex at the abovo. Inviolably, our thought processes on this matter needs to be transmuted. Linda is heads-over-heels in love with Yinka. Academic-wise, she has been a great motivator to him, at the financial level; she is a major source of encouragement. Even in relation to the bad happenings at home, she has been a succour. Yinka showers affection on her and he is so cosseting as to arouse envy. He professes that she is the most intimate friend he has. As a personal vow, theirs is a sex-free relationship. Needless to say, there are levels in intimacy. These two very much in-love couple have been able to stand serious and antagonizing situations since the inception of their relationship and have been able to overcome the pressure of sex, being fully aware that giving in to such pleasures now would necessarily culminate them into a never-ending life of pressures.
A very much unexpected poking in the ribs jolted her back. Behold, her pal and classmate, Cynthia was saying hello. Within seconds, her eyes momentarily fixed on her watch, she realized she was almost late for class. In repose manner she strolled into class, her trustworthy friends had a seat reserved for her. With profound appreciation, she acknowledged their insight and slides into it. Without much concentration on the streams of voices going on around her, wanting to be lost in her thoughts, but could not miss an almost shrieking, though low voice close to her left ear, recounting with relish to her friends, her experience in the Sub-Dean’s office yesterday.
Without intending to, but unable to stop herself, her interest roused and with little or no effort, she went along with the story. The Sub-Dean had asked for her name, though fully aware of his motive, she played innocent. The climax of the story was he fixed a date with her at Hilton hotel, a well-known five star hotel on the Island in Lagos. Asked if she would honour the date, she was denied knowledge of the girl’s stand by the unannounced entrance of the no longer expected lecturer.
Sincerely, but with profound anguish, she views the abuse meted out to mothers by fathers in the cloak of post-marital affairs. Dates, outings, especially out-of-town fun-filled events are denied our mothers. The girlfriends, like well-decorated hand bags are perched on the hands as they go. However, founded on family traditions, they go along with our mothers for burial ceremonies, naming ceremonies and every other family gathering. With much regret, forcefully, she acknowledges that our mothers are very much aware of these developments, yet they condone it and grieve in silence. Therefore gradually the mutual respect and trust that exists between husbands and wives dies. Also lost in the act, is the love and passion which acted as a bond between them and culminated in their resolving to be one soul, one body.
Filled with a kindred memory and an unfortunate sense of belonging , Mrs Aderele-Williams stumbles upon some pictures taken by the pool-side, pictures of her husband and his girlfriend dressed scandalously. Filled with acrimony, she waited for him to leave the house and burnt them. Gaily, unforewarned of the evil that waited his arrival, he strides home in the evening. The wife, with a speed similar to that of a ready-to-strike snake pounced on him. Cowered over, the husband was helpless as she pummeled him with veracity. It took the efforts of neighbours for him to leave the battery scene intact.
Hmm… they were her neighbours, well-educated. Infact, the husband was a Professor of Literature. On their behalf, she was seriously embarrassed. If this scene was embarrassing, then the sorry event that took place before she was to resume in school would abash an 8- year old child.
Mr. and Mrs. Gbadamosi were a couple to be admired. They were young, very much in love and confirmed by the showers of affection displayed when they were around each other. Their kids were still toddlers, Tope and Tayo. Right from childhood, she had always had this innate desire for kids so it was no big deal to help in taking care of Tope and Tayo. Infact she doted on Tayo, whom was such a chubby, beautiful and intelligent girl. A week before, her curiosity had been aroused when she went to pick them in the morning for school and felt the tension between her admired couple. But after that, things returned to normal.
However, that fateful night, around 8pm, Mrs. Gbadamosi called Rachel on her mobile line that she should please come baby-sit the kids because she had an urgent assignment to run. Quite perturbed, but when she saw the near- kill expression on Mrs. Gbadamosi’s face when she got there, it gave her heebie-jeebies so she just sat quietly with the children. Ten metres away, a hotel was situated and that was Mrs. Gbadamosi’s destination. A week ago, she had found lipstick stain on one of her husband’s shirt. When she questioned him, he had explained it away by creating a scenario in which he leisurely was walking and was almost thrust aside by the secretary in her bid to speed past him, obviously she was short of time to run her errands.
Refusing to be fooled, she created the tension which Rachel had felt that morning. Also sensing danger, he had become more careful but luck deserted him that evening when a neighbour, actually a Doctorate-holder in Gossip had called Mrs. Gbadamosi to inform her on spotting her husband drive into the hotel in the neighbourhood. On getting there, sighting him and the girl, no younger that Mrs Gbadamosi herself, the supposed shirt-stainer, filled with a murderous rage in which the girlfriend is pummeled, she charged towards him and hit him with her fist. Due to the unexpectedness of the blow, he reeled at the impact and fell off his chair. The girlfriend took to her heels. Not done with him yet, she kicked and battered him until her acid annoyance was sated. Like a cloak taken- off, she realized what she had done to her husband, and started crying, emotion taking over for a minute, she entreated a patron to take him to the nearest hospital.
Out of breath, pushed into pit of pains, he moaned, “Go home, go and stay with the children. They would be worried sick by now not knowing our whereabouts.” Bitter at heart at the event that had just taken place, fearing the effect on her family and her marriage, she allowed herself to be led home with the help of the informant who had supplied the necessary information that had culminated into this, and another nosy friend.
All these came pouring out when she arrived home crying and the PhD holder satisfied Rachel’s curiosity by filling her up on the recent happenings. With much ado, she prepares for her generation of fathers and mothers, but with fear and trepidation, she sets her thoughts on what will become of faithful husbands and wives. For if the foundation be destroyed by the conducts of our predecessors, what can the morally-loosed generation of ours do?