By Stephanie Egberike
This lagos traffic was crazy.. We have been stuck on one spot for over 2 hours. . I looked at my time..It was a few minutes past 3pm. My flight was in another 3 hours. . Gosh I hated lagos. Been here for over 3 years.. And I was glad to be relocating.. I had been praying and waiting for a transfer.. Thankful my prayers were heard. In lasgidi..as it’s fondly called.. You need to meet up..you would have to wake up much more earlier than you want to.. And still end up going home later than you ought to. So you are basically tired all through and there ain’t no escaping it. And God knew I wasn’t built to be a super hero. I wanted to wake up by 7 latest and be at work before 8am no hassle.
I wanted to close by 6pm and have enough time to go out and crab a bite, hang out with friends..watch a movie in the cinema..go for a party or go clubbing if I wanted to …and stay out late..and still have time to get a decent sleep and then get home and be rested and the circle starts all over again. But here..C’mon. . You cant even sleep till 5am..unless you want to be stuck in traffic for hours and what’s worse..when your home is so far from your place of work. It literally sucked. And I hated every part of it..
The crowd and congestion.. I love the city but..Mehn! !.. The hustle is hard for the hustlers.. I sighed. I flipped the magazine I was reading trying to while away time somewhat. It didn’t matter I left home early hoping to beat this darn traffic.. Now I have to suffer through it.
“Just for today..girl..leave through just for today”…I consoled myself. The Horning was like a misplaced serenade to my ears.. I picked up my phone and decided to listen to music ..placing my ear piece in my ears..tapping my fingers and feets to the beat as I nodded my head with the flow.. Despite it all. I sort of loved my life. I was the youngest and brightest female in the company. I graduated with honours and the best of my class from one of Nigeria ‘ s prestigious University and proceeded to do masters abroad. An Economist by discipline. Masters in accounting..
I worked in a bank after I came home and served my father’s land. I proceeded to work as a chartered accountant after another two years in a financial firm. I was one of the most sought after and I was good in what I do. No doubt. I am beautiful and intelligent. Quite articulate but feisty and a no nonsense person.
Often times.. Men had tried to oppress women.. Delegating them to the background and to the kitchen calling it their only place.. And that they can’t amount to anything other than be good in bed, good in the kitchen and birth children and submit to their husband. I hated it..when they said we couldn’t be equal to men. We couldn’t do what they do and excel in it. So I told myself. . Am gonna prove them wrong. And by God I did. I got into school. I let go off all distractions. I scaled through. .topping my class.. One of the best graduating students.. I didnt relent.. I became what I dreamed..now I could easily equate myself to any man.
I earned my achievements without laying down or on my back for no man.. So I didnt give a shit about them.. I didnt need them really. I was my own person. My own boss. I work hard. I make my money. I don’t need a man to control me.. Infact they felt quite intimidated by me..and I relish in that fact.. Life was good…
I sighed again.. I was so glad to be relocating to Port Harcourt. Never been there but I hear it’s quite okay..maybe in a few years it would become as congested as lagos but for now I would make do. I had left the bank and the financial firm for a year now.. I needed something more flexible and more pay..and more time for myself.. The consulting firm /social media house company was just it. With my flair for social media consulting and managerial. .I was a good candidate and to be honest .I loved it. I got to do what I loved. I got to meet people and make their dreams come through. I got to have time for myself too. I got to travel every now and then.. And the perks of the jobs was just divine.
As a social media manager.. My job was quite simple but tasking.. I have to give that spunk and spark to your company .. Do alot of rebranding..and reconstructing.. To attract consumers/customers..keep them engaged.. interested and keep them coming back.
Everyone loves a good advertising.. And a year later..I was been transfered to Port Harcourt for a two years contract to do a rebranding work for a construction/House designing company..
“J.K Andrews construction and housing design company’.
Owned by one of the top politician in Nigeria who had hands in every profitable business in the country.. And that was equalling a multi – billion naira upcoming company amongst many others..well it would be when am done with it. They had called specifically requesting for me.. Another company had referred me… “Something about hard work or good work pays”..I smiled.. Okon ‘ s voice broke into my thoughts..
“Hain which kain thing be this naw”….speaking in the pidgin dialect. . I knew he wasn’t talking to me so I ignored him.. He wund down and flagged down a motorcyclist passing through the narrow way only them could venture.
” My brother abeg…you see wetin dey cause this traffic??? The motocyclist had slowed down.. He wasnt carrying a passenger so he gave him a minute of his time.
“Na police oh. “Accident happen for front..between One truck driver and cab man. Woman goods just scatter everywhere .. People they fight. Police they separate. Road block.. Police won arrest.. People dey bribe.. The woman done hold the police man for Nicka and person wei jam am crush him goods.. So no movement till tori end..”..
He briefly summarised the cause. I wondered how he was able to deduce it all at once.. But being a typical nigerian. ..it was expected. Stopping and enjoying the scene was just what they were good at. Better get first hand of the story than being told. Typical. I shook my head.
“You mean am?.. Okon asked..
“My brother na so oh…” ..He replied with a thick yoruba accent..
“Hain that means before road go clear na die..”…okon said more to himself than to the man
“Just off car relax..or you stop bike begin go your way…abi madam no go mind I go carry am for back…”…He said indicating me.. I didnt bother justifying that with a reply.. Okon laughed.. The horns of other motocyclist coming behind him prompted him to continue on his way..
“Okay naw”…He said waving and speeding off..
“Thank you my guy”…okon waved back.
“Hmmm madam, I hope we make it in time for your flight…”
“Hopefully..we may if this clears up some..”..I replied. And ofcos, We were there for another two hours and I was literally fuming. Tired and not in the best of moods. ……. By the time we reached the crux of the traffic.. Remnants of the spoils still littered around.. People still gathered. The bashed cars had been moved to the side to allow other citizens go through.. The woman was wailing by the corner.. Holding on to the culprit of her dismay.. The policemen where dragging among themselves.. Apparently money had exchanged hands but not everyone was carried.. It was a poor sorry sight.. Okon slowed down abit.. To enjoy the moment.. I didnt look up from my magazine.
“Step on it okon.. am already pissed…don’t provoke me more..”
“Don’t worry in due time you can buy the home video. .I bet some twisted director would get inspired by this and equally bag desperate upcoming actors to do the flick and sell it cheap for good measure..” He laughed..and sped up when he got an opening…
“Madam you are funny oh”..
We got to the airport a little after my departure time. Luckily for me.. The flight got delayed. Apparently some confederates where enroute to board the plane as well. Xoxoxoxo..
I had sent my things earlier. I had just an over night bag.
I touched down port harcourt at about 9pm. I was totally beat. Apart from having an official car.. Stay in a staff house for VIPS I was getting extra bonus packages which was super awesome. But one glitch. I was getting a male PA. Name: Brain Andrews, Why didn’t they just transfer my PA to Port Harcourt with me…but MD wouldn’t allow it.
I liked Tina. She was smart. She knew what her duties were and left little to complain. I knew I was a hard ass but.. She took everything in good faith. You know what they say.. ” What can’t kill you will only make you stronger”.. And over the years I had learnt to appreciate her little effort.
I really don’t like men. They usuall claim superiority..and I wonder how they would tend to react when a woman was above them. But I wouldn’t care less. If they did their job well. Am sure we wouldn’t have any problem.
I scaned the faces with placards to see my name. I was told the PA would pick me from the Airport and have my work schedule and informations and projects I needed with him. I hated starting without being apprised of recent developments or changes. It messes up my confidence.
I saw him..standing clueless among the crowd..waving the card at everyone who passed.. I walked up to him. He looked old. Not white grey hair old. But old enough not to be someone’s PA.. I mean… I wondered if I could scream at him if he messes up and don’t get smacked or shouted down.. But my opinion.
“Madam Adora chime? ”
“Yes please..”.I replied with a brief smile.
“You are welcome madam..make we de go”.. He looked around…puzzled. I followed his stare then I read his mind..
“I sent my luggages ahead. I came with only this”…I held it up a little for him. He stretches out his hand to take the bag. It wasn’t heavy. I shook my head. And followed him to the car as he began to walk. Yep..awkwardly too old for a PA. Who hires these people? What ever happened to the criterias”?…I was wondering to myself. But I kept quite instead.