Have you been job hunting for years and haven’t been able to get anything tangible? Do you think your job is the worst in the whole world? Or do you think your problems are the hardest to solve?
If you look a little bit more carefully around you, you’ll realize your challenges might actually be the easiest one out there. Read the author’s job hunting experience and you will certainly appreciate that half a loaf is better than none.
© 2016 Stephen Oweniwe.
All Rights Reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, and recording otherwise without prior permission from the copyright owner.
Contact Author: email@example.com
Cover Concept By: Stephen Oweniwe
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Adedeji Toyese: firstname.lastname@example.org and Egbedele Bunmi Bunmyte
I’m on the lookout for a publisher so if you’ll like to publish my books in hard copy, feel free to contact me through my email address.
This book was inspired to the following wonderful people:
James Olorunosebi; James Becky; Emmanuel Ayobami Faluyi; Edith Oliisaeke; Tammy Ockiya; Larry Sun; Uteh Charles Ijeoma.
Due to the sensitivity of the next chapter’s topic, I’ll like to have a chat with the site admin and do a little more review before I post the chapter. I hope the outcome of the talks will be good because the chapter is … “da bomb…!!’…
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Please Read Me
- God Punish GNLD
- About Me
- Useless Tests and Interviews
- To be Certified or Not be Certified
- It Is Not Everybody That Will Like You
- To Sponsor or Not To Sponsor
- Never beg, Don’t Sell, Hustle for Your Money
- Is There Really Money On The Net?
- Come and Do ritual Money
- Unreasonable Relatives
- Complicated Simple stuffs
- It’s not Krist Embazzy; It’s Krist Scambassy
- A Better Tomorrow
Please Read Me
Sometimes when I go online, I see people create posts about how they have been unable to get a job for a year or two and they have become so tired of life to the point that they want to commit suicide. Then they start begging people to help them with even menial jobs or money to set up a kiosk so that they can ‘survive’. These are able bodied people who are graduates and have got skills.
What about me? Four years after school, I’ve got nothing concrete doing due to disadvantages that aren’t my fault. So why haven’t I gone online to beg strangers to give me job? How have I been surviving all the years? Why haven’t I committed suicide? I hope you’re getting my point now. I have gone four years without a stable means of income, yet some folks have barely gone a year and they get so freaked up to the point of running online to beg. That’s very sad and pathetic.
My purpose of writing this memoir is to encourage and give hope to the hopeless and jobless job hunting guys out there and other folks who have similar challenges I’m having too. This is not fiction. Everything here is 100% real. Somewhere along the line, I might sound somehow ‘hopeless’ but you should overlook that as it’s fairly normal when talking about tough situations one have gone through. The crux is… if I have endured all these without going bunkers, you too can pull through without breaking into pieces.
With due regards to Chapter 11… When James O. put the Facebook status about Scambassy’s membership card, as someone who is always straightforward, I put up a short comment about my experience with the church. Becky later sent a P.M expressing shock that “such arangee miracles really exist”. Then I felt an overwhelming desire to write something again. I promised her I’ll write a memoir about it.
Initially, I didn’t know where to start until I saw the two years old Keystone Bank thread on nairaland and began to recall my job hunting experiences. I thought about the GNLD guy and somehow compared him to Scambassy people. So I started typing. I felt very uneasy at first about typing out all these personal stuffs for the world to see but then I remembered Adam’s being ashamed of himself before his creator… I mean, nothing hidden will remain hidden forever. We are all going to give account of how we lived our lives, everything we did and every thought we thought anyway. So I typed on and over time, the feeling of shame went away.
Many people think I’m weird. They don’t understand why I came up with something, why I did this or didn’t do that. Every time, I have to go an extra mile to make myself clear before people will understand. Sometimes I feel good to go the extra mile but some other time, I wonder if I’m from Jupiter, that’s why folks can’t understand simple things about me. So… I decided to put some of the facts here.
- God Punish GNLD
If I ever become the President of this country, the first things I will do is to demolish two buildings- Scambassy HQ in Ikeja and GNLD HQ in Gbagada. Don’t worry, I will tell you what Scambassy did later. I will take on the GNLD guys first because… they are like cockroach or mosquito. You will be going about your business gently when they’ll suddenly pop out of nowhere under numerous guises to gain your attention. If you are not ‘sharp’, oh dear, they’ll make you look like a frustrated idiot when they are through with you at the end of the day.
When I started sending out job applications after NYSC, my phone was regularly inundated with all manners of ridiculous interview invitation from funny named companies for positions with ‘Executive this and that’ titles. From my base in Kwale, Delta State, the first time I got GNLD people’s interview invite… two interview invites, I almost jumped into the next Lagos bound bus with frenzy. Who doesn’t want to be ‘Special Executive Administrative Manager’?
I packed my clothes into a backpack and headed to Lagos Bus Park. While waiting for the bus to fill up, I decided to Google the company’s address. My people, what did I see on my phone screen? Scam… Multi Level Marketing… Ponzi Scheme… Itinerant Drugs/Health Products Marketing… N15,000 Seminar Training Fees… Groundnut Oil Marketing… and all manners of terrible uncomplimentary comments.
If you doubt me, just Google search ‘No 9, Oremeji Street, Isolo, Lagos and No 1, Babatunde Street, Off Ogunlana Drive’ In my mind, I cried out… Jesus Christ of Nazareth, what is the meaning of this rubbish? I had to shed a bucket of sweat and abuse the Driver’s great grand mama before I could get the transport fare I had earlier paid refunded. And when I got home, my uncle wouldn’t stop laughing at me.
I, me, myself… I still can’t comprehend why, out of all the millionaires, middle class workers and comfortable businessmen in this country, it is broke job applicants that some wicked fellows prefer to scam. They’re not only wicked, they’re also dumb. After collecting small change from desperate job seekers and sharing it among themselves, what do they gain? Since then, anytime I get job interview Invite, the first thing I do is to search the company’s address. If I see GNLD anywhere in the search result, I delete the text message with speed. Who has time for nonsense?
I never knew those people and their nuisance are omnipresent. Just like a phone thief… you jolly well know that if a thief is hell bent on stealing your phone, no matter how hard you try to protect it, once you take your eyes off it even for just three seconds, your phone is gone. That was how one bastard, son of a bitch GNLD agent got me when I eventually travelled to Lagos for a series of Bank tests and one interviews in Lekki. This particular one was Union Bank CBT test in one company opposite Manor Events Center in Lekki Phase 2.
Now let me tell you categorically that I am not a JJC to Lagos. I was born and raised in Lagos before moving to Abeokuta. All my aunties and uncles are Lagos based too so I know Lagos quite well. However, many years away from the city had ‘dulled my sense’. So when the GNLD brat waylaid me, I didn’t see it coming. Let me also add that I attended Kaymu test in Lekki Phase 1 about a week earlier so I knew my way around quite well.
Armed with the printout slip of my test invitation, you need to see me in a posh suit under Iyana Ipaja bridge. When going to Victoria Island/Lekki from Iyana Ipaja, I normally took CMS bound bus under the bridge around 6.30 AM but when I got there at 10 AM, there was no CMS bound danfo*. I didn’t want to stop at chaotic Oshodi for anything so I hung around hoping a CMS bound bus would come. Then I saw a neat looking guy… tucked in sleeve, Vickers and brown shoes. I approached him and asked if CMS bound buses had changed their park. He said CMS buses only come under the bridge early in the morning and by 8 A.M, I wouldn’t find any CMS bound bus in Iyana Ipaja. I sighed and thanked him.
No CMS bus means I must drop at Oshodi. Well, I neither had time nor any other choice. As I was about to board an Oshodi bound bus, the guy tapped me and told me to wait. He said he is going to V.I but he had no transport fare on him and silently begged me to help him. My ‘Lagos Sense’ instantly told me not to give cash to strangers at any bus stop.
I reasoned that since I am going to Lekki and he is going to V.I, no problem, I will pay his transport fare to V.I as it wouldn’t cost me more than N300. I told him we could move to V.I together while I find my way to Lekki. He thanked me profusely. So we got into Oshodi bound bus and moved. In my mind, I thought if the guy only wanted to collect cash from me, he wouldn’t have joined me in the bus so he must be genuine.
At Oshodi, the guy wanted us to take BRT bus to CMS because BRT is cheaper but I told him not to worry about money as I don’t have time to wait for a whole BRT bus to get filled up. The guy said since I don’t have time, we should go on top of Oshodi bridge and board direct bus to CMS instead of going to NUTRW Park. I thought that made sense so we climbed up the bride and promptly jumped into a CMS bound danfo with impatient driver behind the wheel. In my mind, I was thinking… this driver is speed demon… small time, I’ll be at CMS. That’s great.
As we were headed to CMS… somewhere along the expressway with some big warehouse-like factories along the six lane expressway, the bus suddenly stopped. The guy told me to pay the conductor. I was stunned. I searched my pocket and brought out my printed invitation slip again to check the address because this wasn’t where I was supposed to drop. The impatient driver shouted at me that I should pay the conductor and get out of his bus. Who wants to be further embarrassed? I paid the conductor and got out of the dammed danfo.
I now turned to the guy and asked him… “Why did tell the driver to stop here”? He pointed across the six lane expressway and said my test center is there. Holy Smokie, how would a reputable bank recruitment test hold among some warehouses not far from Oshodi?! I told him to go his way while I go my way. The guy said I’m a good person that just helped him and he cannot lie to me. I ignored him and tried flagging down busses at top speed but none stopped.
Time was fast running away. The only way to get moving again was to head back to Oshodi and board a Lekki bound bus. But as I looked at cars speeding by at 140km/hr, I didn’t have the liver to cross the expressway with my drop foot. If motor jam me, what will I tell God if He asks what I came to do in heaven when it is not yet my time? How will my lifeless body explain to my Papa and Mama that I got knocked down by a car while trying to help a fellow citizen?
The guy refused to go o. He said he can’t leave me by the expressway. He assured me he would help me cross the expressway safely. I watched many other people cross the expressway safely and decided to give it a try. I made sure I couldn’t see any car coming before I crossed both three lanes with sighs and relief. The guy now said we should hurry to my test center before it’s too late. In mind, I thought… “This guy thinks I am a zombie, right?” I looked around me. It was all open space. I don’t think anyone would attempt to kidnap me there. I decided to see for myself what the guy was up to since the phony test center is just a around the corner. I now said to the guy… “Okay, let’s go there!”
When we got to the place which was just a crescent off the expressway, I saw a lot of well dressed young people loafing around. A voice told me maybe the guy was right after all but I promptly told the voice to shut up. As we walked through a black, see through gate into the shaded compound, I couldn’t pinpoint what exactly the young people came for or what they were doing. Some sat down under the tree shade in the compound looking gloomily while others formed round cell groups with someone in the center. The center guys talked with frenzy as if Holy Ghost fire just settled into them. The guy now tapped me and said he wants to go and call my instructor and I should wait for him.
I nodded at him and watched him disappear into the crowd. Immediately I saw him enter one of the air conditioned buildings, I got up from where I sat and headed out of the compound to check the company’s signboard. Outside the premise, my people, what did I see? I saw “Welcome To GNLD” boldly crafted on the fence. I picked out my phone to check my location and saw I was in Gbagada. Oh dear, so this is the famous GNLD’s HQ? I was shocked. What in God’s name am I doing at GNLD’s HQ in Gbagada when I ought to be in Lekki doing Union Bank CBT test? Did the guy hypnotize me or what? Ah, see my life!
I looked around and saw some guards manning an estate close by. Opposite GNLD HQ, a wedding was going on at an events center nearby with some policemen enjoying themselves. I decided to go to the Guards’ shed to clear my head. I was greeting the Guards when the wicked guy dashed out of GNLD’s gate and came to me. He said I should come do my test. I asked him… “Where is this?” He said this is Lekki. I asked the Guard… “Is this Lekki?” The Guards said no. You need to see how the guy started swearing and swearing that Gbagada is Lekki. I now asked him… “Have we passed the Third Mainland Bridge? Have we passed Victoria Island? Have passed the Lekki toll gate?”
The guy stated laughing sheepishly that it is the same Union Bank that I wanted to go sit for at Lekki that is going on in GNLD HQ. I asked the guy… “You said you’re going to V.I so what are you doing here since you have no business in Lekki?” He said he only dropped here to help me locate my test center. Inside me, I was sick, very angry and sad all the same time. One voice told me to reap half of the guy’s teeth with a Mike Tyson knockout punch… another voice told me the damage has already been done, I should forget about fighting the guy and quickly head to Lekki.
I listened to the other voice, thanked the Guards and began to walk briskly back to the expressway. The guy followed me o. He said I shouldn’t bother to go Lekki for any test… that they will give me a job immediately at GNLD. I barked at him that if he took one more step near me, I would stab him with my jack knife (I had no knife on me o). He smiled sheepishly again and went to meet his instructor who had been watching us from GNLD gate.
Back to the expressway, the first danfo that stopped to pick me, I opened the driver side passenger door and jumped in. As I turned back to check my co passengers, what did I see? I saw Muslim sheiks dressed like they were just coming back from Afghanistan and some tough looking thugs beside them. No lady inside the bus. I quickly told the driver I forgot my wallet at home and he should stop. The driver hissed and slammed the brake. I nearly jumped out through the window. After surviving GNLD, I don’t have the time to mess with religious fanatics o. Aha, am I mad?
At Oshodi, I got into a white bus with blue strip headed to Lekki. When I asked for my change, the conductor began to tease me because of my accent. A whole me being ridiculed by a motor park tout? You see why I didn’t want to stop at Oshodi? The guy stubbornly held on to my change until we got to Lekki Phase 2. At the test venue, even though I missed the 12pm schedule, I just waved my interview invite slip in the face of the gate guys sneaked my way in to do the test with the 2pm schedule folks.
After the test, I headed to CMS feeling so lightweight and relieved. At Iyana Ipaja NUTRW Park in CMS… behind the CMS cathedral with gigantic clock, a lot of terminally ill beggars with open sores would occasionally besiege the half filled bus begging for alms. Sudden appearance of terminally ill beggars is a common denominator of almost all public motor parks in Nigeria. If they are not terminally ill, they are fit guys or ladies begging on behalf of a person or organization. (Onitsha motherless babies/orphanage proxy beggars are most annoying.)
At the bus stop, the first beggar that came unbuttoned the few buttons on his shirt for us to see his tummy. What I saw, I nearly screamed. It was like the lower portion of his tummy was being eaten up by some sores. The guy looked like he was going to fall down and die at any moment. I didn’t know when my hand entered my pocket and gave the guy N100. Even though I maintained a normal face, my soft heart was weeping for him. He thanked the folks in the bus and slowly walked away.
As the bus was nearly filled, a man wearing dark glasses and… his mouth/teeth… was like a million bees stung his whole mouth such that his lips and gums were so swollen to the point that he had no option than to bare his bloodied teeth like a skeleton would shine teeth. Then he removed his glasses… oh dear, I wanted to cry. It was like two million bees… a million bees each stung both of his eyes. How he managed to endure all the pain, I’m sure even the best doctor at John Hopkins will not be able to explain. People are suffering in this country o. Cut long story short, I gave him N100 too. I’m sure if I didn’t give him anything, my conscience won’t let me sleep till the next week.
When it was time to pay the fare, I packed all the money in my wallet and gave them to the driver. The man counted the money and said it remains N100. I said okay, put my hand in the other pocket but it was just the test invite slip that shook my hand. I searched the back packets… nothing. Mr. Good Samaritan has put me inside trouble again o. You know Lagos drivers are very stingy. Will I now trek from CMS to Iyana Ipaja because I gave alms to beggars?
I gently explained to the driver that “… I’m sorry sir, I gave the money to the beggar.” The driver nodded and said okay, that I must be a very generous person to give N200 to beggars. So the man had been watching me? I was expecting him to tell me to fuck out of his bus but I was disappointed. The drivers smiled and said okay… but I should not give too much to the point that I myself will become a beggar. I sighed and thanked him.
The devil then came to taunt me with regret thoughts that… “Do you want to do GNLD for yourself again? Are you the cause of the beggars’ sickness or are you the government official that ought to take care of the destitute, but instead use the money to buy houses in London and Dubai?” But I know the real me… my conscience doesn’t think like that. What I gave the beggars’ was like a drop of dew in an ocean. Assuming each beggar needed N10m for surgery to make him well again, what is in the N100 I gave them? The most it can buy is ibuprofen and Paracetamol to relieve some pain. If my N100 can temporarily take off some pain off the guys, I thank God.
At Iyana Ipaja, I thanked the Driver again and trekked home. Normally, I would take bike but it was evening time… not much sun… and I didn’t have money for bike anyway so I put my legs to good use. When I got home, I was content and satisfied with myself. I prayed that I get a job soon and buy my own car because… public transport in this country is… shit.
* Danfo: Volkswagen Vanagon T2
- About Me
Growing up, I was just like any other vibrant kid you’ll meet on the street. Though I wasn’t really the most popular boy in the group because I’m not the domineering type, but whenever called upon to perform a task, I always deliver. In primary school, the only time I dropped below the fifth position was when… I think it was Primary 3 and an old man we call “Baba Sala” was my class teacher. To keep my hyperactive ass away from home, I was enrolled for after school lessons run by the teacher. And despite of numerous “Daddy/Mommy, I have not paid my lesson fees”, they never paid the man. That term, I was not surprised to see 11th boldly written on the term’s report card.
I grew up in a very tough socio-economic environment. During the Abacha years, things were generally rough. To make ends meet, a lot of people did crazy diabolical stuffs… advance fees fraud, armed robbery, harvesting human parts, drug pushing… hmmm. I had lots of neighbors who had difficulty paying rent. I can still remember my dad drove a Datsun 180k at the time when Peugeot 505 and Mercedes Benz 190 were the kings of the road. It wasn’t that we were poor but in the home setting where the man single handily cater for a family of 8-10 dependants, what else do you expect? How we managed to survived those years unscratched was a miracle.
When we thought it was all over with the millennium, a very tough tide hit me. I can’t really pinpoint where it started from. In my final year in Primary school, I went for weekend lesson one Saturday. When I got to school, I could have passed the normal way into the corridor to my class but I don’t know what came over me, I decided to jump the low corridor fence, tripped over the wall and crash landed on my chest. No one saw me fall then as it was quite early in the morning and only few of my classmates were in school catching grasshoppers in the field. I got up, dusted my shirt and moved on… I didn’t feel any pain or injury.
Roughly around the same time, I went down with strange malaria that rendered me immobile. Dad had travelled at the time and step mom… well, it was most likely she’s broke so I only got Paracetamol treatment for about a week until dad came back and took me to the hospital. I spent about three weeks in the hospital… got discharged and resumed school. Gradually, I started having cramps in both calf with back pain whenever I have to trek to school. I didn’t tell anyone at home because it was no use. The most I’ll get again is paracetamol and I hated the drug because it used to float in my throat for about thirty minutes after taking it. The pains weren’t much at first, but weeks later, the calf cramps and back pain became worse.
If you’re familiar with Abeokuta during the dry season, water used to be very scarce. Now imagine a ten years old boy with back pain, cramped calves… and a bucket of water on his head. Funny but that was me at the time. It was then that house people started asking questions. Dad sharply called guys to dig a very deep well in our house. I was taken to the hospital again but the doctor ‘didn’t see anything’ and referred me to a Federal Medical Center where the doctor again ‘didn’t see’ anything either.
Partial paralysis, hearing loss, foot drop, myopia, scoliosis and speech difficulty all came rushing in. I was taken to many more doctors and even pastors because I used to have nightmares of ‘lions and cats playing in my calf and heavy flood washing me away but I held on to a plank’… they all didn’t ‘see anything’. I was over ten years later that a doctor theorized I must have injured my spinal cord during that corridor fall or had cerebral malaria. I used to think it happened to only me until much later in 2014 while at my mom’s church, a mother brought her twelve years old son with exactly the same symptoms to the church for prayers after exhausting all medical options. I really felt for the boy.
Surprisingly, after exhausting all medical and religious options, it was a Hausa traditional bone healer (bless his soul) based in the ghetto part of the city (Sabo) that got me walking again. He would rub some greasy and smelly shea-butter stuffs from my knees down to the ankles and I had to drink some bitter herbs. I stayed with him for about four months, got walking again (with foot drop though), and got a brand new accent! Whenever I talked, people would ask if I were an American or Indian.
He wanted to fit my drop foot with a kind of wooden contraption but I had already missed out of school for over one year so dad said I should try get into secondary school first and then continue with the treatment later. I took the common entrance exam into one of the best schools in town, African Church Grammar School, passed and got admitted. Dad however didn’t take me back to the Hausa bone healer again for reasons best known to him.
So here I am… about eleven years old or so… in the midst of about 75 other teens in a large cramped class. But I was the odd one. I could barely hear what the teacher was saying nor see the blackboard clearly except I sway my way to sit in front of the class. To transit from a hyperactive kid to a quiet kid that condition within just a year is wasn’t an easy thing to bear. Some people would tease me that I’m “not strong”, that was why I ended up like that. But I can swear with my great grandpa’s name that I’m stronger than them because I have seen healthy and bubbling people who had simple headache today and are dead tomorrow. What about footballers who died while playing on the field or aren’t footballers strong? I do find those teases quite funny though.
Most people getting to know me for the first time get shocked when they learn I’m a graduate. In my second year secondary school, I will never forget the facial expression of Mrs. Saka, our Mathematics teacher when she entered the class and saw me in JSS 2. She stood transfixed with her mouth wide open for a few seconds while starring at me. Later on in Delta Careers College, the Vice Principal while reprimanding some students for poor performance, called me out of the morning assembly and told everybody “… this boy, he cannot hear and walk well, yet he came second in his class. Does he have two heads?” I wanted to disappear! The embarrassment was much.
At the University, I’m very sure some useless lecturers expected me to graduate with third class. Communal gun duels between my community and the University’s host community made me transfer temporarily to IUO University. I missed one semester and was awarded Lower Second Class in circumstances similar to the Baba Sala one. You know Nigerian lecturers and money are like Siamese twins. Well, I’ve left all those people behind. During NYSC, I was rejected by the school I was posted to, Anerobi College, Amansea and had to report to the Zonal Inspector. When the jovial bespectacled man saw me, he asked… “How did they teach you in school”? What a funny question.
If you want to know how too… well, I’ll try to explain as best as I can. To compensate for my hearing loss, I began to read a lot more. When I said “read”, I don’t just mean textbooks, I mean, from newspapers to novels to voluminous books to erotica… I read everything! Even the Bible, as big as it is, I have read it from cover to cover twice so if you want to come and preach to me, you are on your own. However, at some point, too much reading began to affect my psyche… as in, I felt like Aristotle. I decided to cut down on my reading intensity. Right now, I only read about current affairs and other things of interest. Anything more than that, I just fling it away. Too much of a good thing is bad you know.
- Useless Tests & Interviews
I know you’re eager to know the outcome of my numerous job tests and interviews. I always looked forward to my interviews too but I can’t say the same of the company people because though I wanted to, I was advised not to state in my CV that I have partial hearing loss. So after scaling the tests and scoring higher than other folks, the recruitment people who never expected me to pass the tests anyway become confused as in… “What do we do with this guy now?”
Transport fare to and fro various long distance test and interview venues is not beans o. An average recruitment process usually cost me about N5,000 to run. It even costs me more when the company conducts the test or interview twice if they want to disqualify more candidates. So, the two years I spent job hunting were really draining on the lean resources I had at the time.
I will start with my first genuine invite. It came from IC-Global Micro-Finance Bank in Kwale with HQ in Oleh. About 100 of us were packed into a hall and given a written test. I wondered how many vacant positions the bank had to warrant 100 people being invited. When I was invited to come for the second phase of the recruitment, Only 50 of us made the cut. This time, we were invited for computer test. The bank was only able to come up with four computers- two desktops and two laptops. Come and see how first class graduates were running away from the laptops. They said they can operate a desktop computer, but are not familiar with laptop. Watching grown up folks shy away from the laptops as if they would contract Ebola if they touch them… I nearly died from amusement.
When it got to my turn, I strolled to one of the laptops and sat down quietly. The instructor guy told me to write about myself, save the document of the laptop and print it from a nearby printer. In my mind, I asked myself… “What kind of insult is this?” I told the guy I’m a few steps from being a programmer and he should give me the toughest question on the list. The guy sighed and told me to elaborate on how to install a new OS on a windows computer. I did as required, printed the answer and submitted to him. He marked the sheet 9/10 and told me to go wait in another room.
Out of 50, only 15 remained. We were then called to go for personal interview with the boss. When it got to my turn, I walked quietly to his office and greeted him. He told me to sit. The first questions he asked flew past my ears. I politely told him I have partial hearing loss and asked if he could talk more slowly or we do a written interview. The man starred at me and told me to sit in another chair. The remaining candidates were interviewed before me right there. When he was through with them, it was already 6pm. The boss then told me I can go home… he’ll text me if he needs me. Till today, hmmm.
My next test was with Kaymu. The guy in charge, Lebanese I guess, wasted no time setting a mini laptop before me. The first test was English comprehension. And it was my first time taking a computer timed test too. I was a bit nervous but I passed the text. Next came the typing test with lot of words that have similar rhyme woven into a 100 word story. The story was about a man called Ernest who is Earnest.
My head was ticking with the countdown timer. I reasoned that if I copy the most frequently used word on the page and just paste it instead of typing it all over again, I could beat the clock. So I copied Ernest and pasted it about 25-30 times. I finished typing and promptly submitted. When the instructor opened my answer for me to see, I messed up big time. I pasted ‘Ernest’ in about 15 places I ought to have typed ‘Earnest’. I felt like knocking myself on the head. One good opportunity went wasted just like that.
Then came Union and Keystone Banks Dragnet tests. Unknown to me then, most HR folks also have certification in Time Wasting and the questions they set during tests and interviews are meant to identify ‘Employee Materials’ only. By Employee Material, I mean people who reply with yes sir… yes sir to everything you tell them. If they sniff any sense of freewill in you, your application is over.
It took over four months after applying before they called us for CBT tests. Union Bank’s test was in Lekki phase 2 while Keystone Bank test took place at UNILAG Social Science block. Union bank later contacted us to do two psycho-analytic tests with some very tight questions.
I can still remember two of three of them. One question asked if I would accept a promotion that would turn my fellow workers into my enemies. I clicked no. I don’t want to be going to work every day to see cold snubbing faces and then go home to sleep and then have nightmares of co-workers chasing me with machetes and sticks. I’m a diplomat. I do not have any dictatorial or autocratic tendency in my blood.
Another question asked if I spent my free time indoors or outdoors. I thought after working indoors all week, I wouldn’t have the strength to go out. It was a management trainee and not marketing position so I clicked indoors.
The third question was about submitting an unfinished assignment before or to submit a finished assignment after deadline. This is a tough question. In front of the computer with time clicking away, one can’t possibly ponder every possible answer to the question and select the answer you think is in the mind of the person who set the question. On one hand, I thought to submit an unfinished assignment or exam script is better than not to submit at all.
On the other hand, this is a country where almost everything gets done late. If you miss a deadline, just beg the boss and that’s all. You don’t even know the boss’s temperament. A melancholic boss would coolly go through your unfinished work and say… okay go and finish it. But if you submit that to a choleric boss… to submit an uncompleted assignment is to commit career suicide. He will tear the paper, fling the pieces at you and kick your ass out of his office. I can’t remember my exact answers though since the test was set twice about a week apart.
Well… for Union Bank, I got regret mail. I actually laughed when I saw the mail because… I tried my best o. Keystone Bank took over three months before they replied with regret mail too. Later, someone told me to apply for Zenith and GTB Banks recruitment. I just eyed the guy with a corner of my eyes, sighed silently and thanked him for his recommendation. He will grow white hair before I get a bank job. I can imagine how much longer applicants who passed the tests have to wait… from interview to medicals to training school… Thunder will fire anybody that will ever brazenly waste my time again.
Then came Eforce… Test was at NIJ Ogba. They asked so many how will you sell this and that questions. About a week later, I was called for interview. It was then they revealed they were only recruiting marketers at the moment. I can’t do marketing as I’m not a social guy. I suggested other ways I could be useful to them but they said they don’t do those stuffs. So… I just had to get up and go home. I tried a job agent next. The man looked so disorganized and confused that I knew it was no use wasting my time discussing with him.
Belloxxi was my last test and interview. The test was at Protea Hotel. Now there are two Protea Hotels a few minutes’ drive from each other. But that day, going with public transport was so stressful. I got to the first Protea Hotel and was told to go Protea Hotel Leadway. I had to trek from the adjourning streets back to the expressway as there was no taxi along the route… then take taxi to Protea Leadway. By the time I got to the venue, I was tired and late. I was however allowed to write the 100 questions paper test. After submitting, they called some people out of the hall and told about 20 of us remaining to come for interview at their office around Allen Avenue in about three days time.
On the appointed day, I headed to Sule Abuka, located the office and met JohnBrave and other guys there. We had to wait for about five hours before we were slowly ushered upstairs one by one to be personally interviewed by the Director. When it was my turn, the seating arrangement didn’t favor my hearing as the candidate’s seat was placed far from the MD. The MD went through my CV, shook his head and told me he’ll schedule me for a written interview later. Just like the Micro finance Bank boss, till today, hmmm. I will never forget the pretty, Regina Askia look-alike lady who acted as bridge between me and the MD. She’s very nice.
As I left the place and walked into the street, I must confess, I wasn’t happy. All these stress moving around… all the resources… two years wasted… all hunting for a job that seemed so close within my grasp, but would vanish at the last minute due to a condition that is not my fault… what have I gained? Instead of feeling sad, I became angry. My dignity is very important to me and I won’t let anyone or process to mess with it because of misty jobs hanging in the air.
Please this is not about pride. Let me just put it plainly to you… I can’t get a full time job because I have partial hearing loss or whatever… even though I am duly qualified for the position advertised. Is this my fault? I passed some tests and some interviews. They asked me silly questions about how I will relate with my boss and co-workers even though they can see clearly on my CV previous working experiences. And that’s all. If you were in my shoes, how would you feel? And what would you do? Would you keep on trying when you are eighty percent sure of how awry everything will go?
A friend who is from the Northern part of the country told me that anyone who graduates in his state is automatically offered employment or scholarship by the state or local government. He said as an indigene of an oil producing State/Local Government, I am not supposed to be searching for jobs; my Local Government or the Oil Companies operating in my area should give me job. I couldn’t help laughing. If only he knew what I had gone through trying to get oil company work in Kwale.
I submitted application to all the oil companies in the axis through their base offices: BOGEL, SEEPCO, Energia, Midwestern, Platform, Pillar and even Nestoil. Only BOGEL and SEEPCO replied. The first HR I met at BOGEL, a nice British guy, went through my CV and said he’ll love to work with me and I’ve got two options. He could fix me in some ICT related works since I do data entry but the jobs are outsourced to G. Papa, a distant uncle I used as referee on my CV so I should go see him to fill me in or if I don’t like the first option since it’s meant for Diploma folks, he said they were expecting a rig so I should wait for the rig to arrive and he’ll patch me somewhere.
I went to see G. Papa about the first offer… He said he cannot consider me for that kind of job because it’s below my qualification, I should aim for higher management roles and if I’m invited for interview, I should notify him so he will speak for me. I sighed and went home… or what else can I do? When the rig arrived about eight months later, the British HR Manager had been moved and the new HR Manager, a very rude local guy said “I don’t want to see any anybody or application”. After going through an intermediary, he said only technical jobs are available.
SEEPCO said I should wait as community jobs would soon become available. When the jobs became available after about five months later, serious politricks sprang up. You must be recommended by some Egoistic Chiefs from your community before they will take you. Chief Papa tried his best to help me but some other ‘heavy weight’ community people I approached pretended as if they don’t know me. Those who couldn’t wave me away would simply say “My Son, I don’t know anybody”. One stupid Chief even asked for N300,000 and a percentage of my monthly salary before he would recommend me.
Community workers have no say at all in the multinational company affairs and they can be kicked off any time without compensation. The Admin guy at SEEPCO told me to buzz G. Papa to push me in but seeing how tedious the process is and remember he told me he’ll only intervene if it is Management roles, I was discouraged or rather, I didn’t see any need to ‘disturb’ G. Papa again.
Apart from that, though I’m from same ethnic group, I’m not from any of the host communities. That’s not a problem though since community people often “lease” their slots to “foreigners”. So being from same area, getting community job should be a problem if I can press the right buttons. Then oil price came crashing. I didn’t bother wasting my time on them anymore. That was how I burnt about a year of my life trying to get Oil Company job.
I must confess, both companies (Sterling and BOGEL) were fair to me though. I was often deployed to BOGEL and Sterling during my I.T. I made good friends at BOGEL and interacted with some funny Indians too. At the time, if the requirement to work in BOGEL is to dance opera, I’ll gladly dance opera. The folks at Sterling are very open, frank and nice as far as you adhere to protocol. They both gave me opportunity to work with them but my own people who ought to fill me in for reasons best known to them, declined to help push my application.
Maybe they thought I was too young, naïve, too idealistic or… one big man even said if I were married or have children, he would have helped me but since I am single, it’ll be better to help married guys who are without job get into the companies so they can support their family. Therefore, I should be patient and wait for my time. Na wa. I know too that some of my folks are ‘ashamed’ of me in the sense that they weren’t comfortable having a confused boy who cannot hear well in front of them. That’s the bitter truth but I try as much as possible not to see things that way.
Delta State civil service recruitment by the previous government was complete sham and disgrace. After registering on the portal and waiting for the test, I started hearing that people were paying N700,000-N1million to secure grade level seven jobs and had been given appointment letters. They didn’t do any test or interview o. They just paid ‘God knows whom’ and got the job. I wasn’t surprised though because… Delta State and wayo* are like husband and wife.
I couldn’t help feeling amused when a man came crying on Nairaland.com. He said he paid N500,000 to get a job in the Delta State civil service and went to church to give testimony that he has got a job. But Ifeanyi Okowa came in a few months later and cancelled everything related to the recruitment so he is now jobless.
Did someone say I should keep on trying? If something is not working for you, what is the use of going on with it? When you apply for hundreds of jobs and didn’t get an employment letter, you don’t need any soothsayer to tell you that paid employment is not meant for you. 2014 soon came to end and 2015 came in. I made a New Year resolution… to never apply for any corporate job again.
Now ask me… “Why did you make that vow? Aren’t you giving up so soon?” Hmmm… I sometimes think I gave up too early too. But some other times I wish I had quit job hunting for hustles/gigs earlier. The main reason why I quit applying for jobs is transport fare. As a job hunter, I was dependant on the people I stayed with for transport to go check out various companies.
Take my uncle for example; I stayed with his for about six months before moving to Lagos. Let me ask you… “If you were my Uncle, after giving me transport allowance for about six months and nothing tangible came out of all the tests and interviews, will you continue to give me transport allowance?” It was like… waste of money. Even me, a time came when I didn’t see any sense in wasting money junketing about to submit applications and attend interviews again.
It came to a point that I have to chat up friends to send me cash before I could move around. Then there is the sadness that comes with not being selected even after passing interviews. The negative effect of all these on my dignity was getting much. Then I asked myself… “Why don’t you go and hustle instead of chasing elusive jobs? At least, you won’t be begging people for money again.”
Secondly, corporate recruitment process takes a long time. Some run as long as one and half year. This is arrant waste of job applicants’ time. I’m getting old o. And you know most graduate/entry level jobs have age limit. I was 23 when graduated, one year NYSC made me 24, then two years job hunting and I’m 26. Is it when I become 30 years old that my eyes will clear and I will now realize that employers don’t see me employable? If something is not working for you after many trials, it would be foolish to continue trying to find a way where there is none and wasting one’s time and resources in addition.
Finally, I thought if I had spent those two years I burnt job hunting on other productive activities, who knows I may be better off than I am now. It is never too late to start pursuing one’s endeavors anyway. So I stopped applying for corporate jobs altogether. There is one more reason I decided to quit… the gatemen… I will tell you about it in Chapter six.
* Wayo: Deliberate manipulation of a process to suit one’s selfish interest.
- To Be Certified or Not Be Certified
Since the millennium, job descriptions and requirements have radically changed. Before then, you could study Agriculture in the University and will get employed in an agro company. If you study Political Science, you go straight to the Civil Service. That trend is long gone. Now, companies just recruit people with any degree and slam them into whatever position they deem fit as long as the applicant can do the job. So don’t be surprised if you walk into a bank and see your school mate who studied Bio-Chemistry sitting comfortably over the counter dispensing cash to bank customers in a queue.
My entry into the higher education level was a bit dramatic. In the Universities Matriculation Examination, I scored 272. In the Post UME exam conducted by individual tertiary institutions, I scored 67/100. University of Benin/Political Science was my first choice. For second choice, I wanted to select University of Nigeria, Nsukka/Philosophy but my Dad balked. He asked… “What will you do with philosophy?”
He said I should take Novena University, a newly established private university about three minutes drive from my village. He advised I should select Intelligence & Security Studies as my course of choice and join the Armed Forces because he wants me to ‘protect my people’ from my village’s neighboring community. I said… “Okay now. It is your money that will pay the school fees.” Novena was just starting at the time so the fees were relatively affordable.
During the final manual Clearance & Verification at UNIBEN, after waiting for over three days due to the large number of applicants who made the cut, I was denied admission into the Political Science Department because I had pass in Mathematics at O’Level. (I wasn’t good in mathematics because the way it was taught in secondary school, even Isaac Newton will hate the subject. It was a puzzle seeing myself score A, Bs and Cs in other subjects both mathematics is always either Pass or Fail).
I promptly brought out the JAMB brochure and showed the man in charge where it was clearly stated that UNIBEN accepts pass in Mathematics for Political Science. The man said they had changed the requirement and now requires credit in mathematics for all courses but JAMB didn’t update the brochure. He gave me a course relocation form which I sadly filled and submitted to him. ‘If I had known’ started to mock me. The voice said… “Didn’t I tell you to cheat during your WAEC and NECO mathematics examinations but you were forming Mr. Honest? How has honesty now helped you? If you want to make it in Nigeria, you have to jam honesty together with cheating. I was telling you, you no hear word…”
After waiting for three long weeks, my people, which course did UNIBEN allocate to me? Physical Education! Oh dear, I was relieved, not because I had eventually been allocated a new department, but because the long, torturous wait was over. I looked at the sheet again and asked myself… “What do they do in Physical Education? Does UNIBEN want me to become Chelsea’s Manager or what?” (That day, I was wearing the 2007 Chelsea Jersey). When I called my Dad and briefed him, he said I should tear the Relocation Letter, throw it inside the gutter and go to Novena.
The next day, I bade goodbye to Benin and its very annoying red soil and headed to Amai. I was admitted to study Intelligence & Security studies the next day on the condition that I have to make credit in O’Level Mathematics before i could graduate. I had to re-sit for NECO later in order to get the stubborn elusive credit in mathematics.
The course is good though. It made us think and reason like undercover detectives… though I was expecting to be some kind of Special Forces training. For where? Throughout the four years I spent there, we weren’t even given a blank pistol to practice with. All we did was research… research and research. Well, credits to them, that was how I got my good research and re-writing skill. Describe any situation for me and I’ll Google it out instantly. And since we had to submit plagiarism free reports too, I would cut points out from various sites, stitch together, re-write the whole patch and that’s all.
During NYSC, I decided to do some professional courses to buffer my second class lower result. I wanted to do Programming but the fees were expensive six figures. To make things worse, My Compaq Presario motherboard got fried by excessive heat. I was hoping to combine Federal Allowance with the Place of Primary Assignment (PPA) pay to fund my programming quest.
As I said earlier in chapter 2, I was rejected by the private school I was initially posted to. The Zonal Inspector asked me where I would prefer to ‘serve’. I told him to send me to the Police since I studied security at school. The Z.I sent me to the camp director at the state HQ to approve my request. The woman directed him the Z.I to post me to a Local Government Council. Inside me, I thought… “Madam Chikezie, did I offend you? Why did you pour sand into my cornflakes?” I gently told the Z.I to post me to his host LG Council (Awka South) since I wasn’t ready to start running around again.
At the month end, to my chagrin, guess how much Corp Members in the Council were paid… a paltry N1,100. There was nothing to be done at the Council anyway. We only go to there around 11 AM to sign attendance register, hang around till 12 PM and go back home. I tried looking for other jobs but the pay they quoted for me as a Corps Member was ridiculous. They said Corpers are meant to serve the serve the country free of charge.
I picked up a Computer Operator work to keep me busy but quit after four months because the transport alone wiped the whole pay. So throughout my service year, I survived on only N19,800 monthly Federal Allowance. To go for programming training no longer feasible so I decided to postpone it till after NYSC.
In place of programming, I did Health, Safety & Environment and Project management Courses. When I got my certificates and attached them to my CV… If I submit my CV to you, you’ll call me for interview immediately. The strategy worked as I got a lot of other job invites apart from the ones I stated in the previous chapter. After a couple of futile interviews, I sat down and stared hard at the certificates. They were like… waste of money!
Artisans, bricklayers, phone repairers, market boys who didn’t even smell University were smiling to the bank daily while university graduates with fancifully decorated certificates sit down at home jobless. So let me ask you this question… “What is the essence of going to school to harvest certificates when it is the informal guys that get outsourced all the jobs at the end of the day?” Engineering graduates are hardest hit. Their jobs have been taken over by semi literate fellows who would simple throw away an overheating car’s thermostat instead of scanning the car to diagnose the underlying faults.
My Mom later said I should have studied computer science instead of Intelligence & Security Studies since I couldn’t join the armed forces because of ‘physical fitness’. Now refer to the opening paragraph of the chapter… whether I studied Computer Science or Security, what difference does it make? Someone advised me to go ahead with programming training. I looked at him with the cocked head and burst into laughter. I should go and waste my money again, right?
Code Writing is not as lucrative as people think it is. If you are a programmer, without a serious sponsor or company backing, no matter how good you are, in this country (I don’t know about other climes), your skill is as good as a pile of trash. For people who don’t really know how the apps we use today are created and deployed, the next chapter will provide insight on this.
I don’t mean to discourage anyone from going for professional courses. The thing is… my situation is different due to my disadvantage. If not for it, I’ll probably be cooling off in a multi-national company a few months after passing out. So employment wise, if you are fit and feel like going for additional professional courses to boost your credentials, please go ahead.
However, you need to take note that professional courses training schools or such certification programs are like the alimentary canal. They advertise (I’m hungry), you indicate interest and fill the form (food is ready and served), you pay some fees (now eating), then the training starts (digestion), after the training you are required to do an arranged exam that even if you fail all the answers, you will still get certificate anyway (in the anus) and then they give you your certificate and excrete you out. They no longer have any business with you. If you are hoping to get job links through those professional courses training guys, you’re on a very ‘long thing’.
That is where vocational training or apprenticeship is better. In this case, you get to handle and operate all required equipments till you’re good in using them, then you begin to render services to the company’s customers. That way, learn everything about the business- equipment operation, how to market and get customers, servicing your clients, etc. In the days of yore when things were certificate based, professional courses made sense.
But in today’s world where skill is what is often required and jobs are outsourced too, if you want to make cash right after schooling, it is far better to go for vocational/apprenticeship training. The Computer Operator work I briefly did during NYSC greatly improved my Microsoft Office Suite skill.
- It Is Not Everybody That Will Like You
When I was in my Village some time back, I and an Uncle went to visit Chief King. Chief King and my Dad have quite a long history dating back to before I was born. In fact, Chief King was once my Dad’s boss in the place they work. So both men somehow do complement each other… hmmm. So after NYSC, I gave my CV to Chief King and he said he would do what he can do to help me get a job.
When we went to visit Chief King that evening, the man was in jovial mood. He asked Uncle if I have got a job yet. Uncle said no. Chief King said since I’m good with computer, I should come work for him. He said I should see him the next day to discuss how I will resume work. In my mind, I was happy because I thought my ‘joblessness’ was over… laughs out loud.
My bros was around at the time and when we discussed about it, he was skeptical about the whole thing because he thinks Chief King is a cunning man. He advised me to forget about working with Chief King because his temper/attitude is like beach waves. I agreed with him that he has a valid point but since I have been directed to ‘come’, let me answer his call first. If things don’t go right, then it won’t be my fault.
So the next morning, about 9 A.M, I went to see Chief King with bros beside me. Chief King was on the verandah alone with a kind of facial expression I can’t describe. When we greeted him, can you imagine how he replied? He barked at us o… “Why are you here so early in the morning? I never brush, I never bath… Go away and come back later!” The gateman promptly tapped me and pointed to the gate.
If I say I was not shocked by the man’s outburst, I am lying. I checked my time again… is 9 A.M too early to go see someone who asked you to check on him for work? My bros now said… “Didn’t I tell you the man is unpredictable? Please forget about him.” Should I listen to him or not? Having read this far, you may be thinking I give up too easily on my quests. At that time, that was what I thought too. I thought not going to see Chief King later means I’m not a serious person. So I decided to go check him again at 12 P.M. If he exhibits the same attitude again, then bye-bye to him.
At 12 P.M sharp, I was at the Palace again and knocked on the gate. The gateman peered out and asked me what I want. I told him… “I want to see Papa; you were there when he told me to come back later.” The gateman replied uncomfortably that Chief King does not want to see me again. I asked him why, did I offend Chief King? He replied no, he just doesn’t want to see me and I should leave. I told him… okay, thank you and left.
Now my people, what did I do wrong? Yesterday, somebody jovially said he has a job for you and you should come see him today. Today you go see him and he shouts at you to come back later, and when you came back later, the gateman told you he doesn’t want to see you anymore. This is rubbish. It doesn’t make any sense. I have submitted hardcopy graduate trainee applications face to face with the HR managers of two or three multinational companies and I do go check back as directed by them and everything goes formally and smoothly.
I have never experienced the kind of uncouth verbatim Chief King used on me anywhere before. If he has changed his mind about giving me job again, he should simply say… Sorry o, I am not ready to take you on now and I will reply, okay, thank you sir… and that’s all. Is it my fault that he hadn’t brushed or freshened up when I first went to see him? Why take out his frustrations on me? You know what I did when I got home; I slept and forgot about him!
A few weeks later, I wanted to go stay some time with Chief Papa in another town. I went to the grocery store beside Chief King’s place when I saw Chief Papa’s car parked outside. I thought was a favorable co-incidence that Chief Papa was around so we could move together. I went to the Palace, knocked the gate and told the gateman I want to see Chief Papa. The gateman replied… “You again? You cannot see Chief Papa.” I asked him… “Why? I am not here to see Chief King; it is Chief Papa I want to see.” The gateman replied that… “Are you deaf? I said you cannot see Chief Papa.” He slammed the gate shut.
Somehow, I managed to keep my cool. I tried calling Chief Papa but his line was not reachable. I sadly went home to arrange a few clothes. My sweet sis, Sugar Lillie asked me why I was sad. I told her what happened. She said I shouldn’t worry; she will go to the Palace and call Chief Papa for me. I said how can you do that? You don’t even know Chief Papa. She said I should just watch her. Now let me tell you something about Sugar Lillie… she’s a ‘go-getter’. If she set her mind to get to something she would get it by hook or crook. I decided to amuse myself with her acting and told her to let’s go to the Palace. After a few minutes in front of the mirror, she transformed into a movie star!
Back to the Palace, I stood behind the fence while Sugar Lillie knocked the gate. The gateman opened and asked her what she wants. Sugar Lillie winked at him and sultrily told him she want to see Chief Papa. You can imagine what the stewpid gateman did? He opened the gate wide for her as if a truck want to drive into the compound. I quickly jumped from behind the fence and entered the Palace too.
The gateman was bemused to see me. He said… “You this boy, have I not told you not to come here again?” I said “Sorry o, but I need to see Chief Papa”. The gateman said “You cannot see Chief Papa, get out.” I said… “She wants to see Chief Papa and I want to see Chief Papa too, what is the difference?” Gateman said “She can see Chief Papa, but you cannot see Chief Papa.” I lost my cool and swore to the gateman “If I ever step inside this compound again, call me a bastard.” With that, I stormed out. All these exchange happened in front of Chief King’s wife. She just sat down as if she is watching a movie.
Now ask me why I was angry. Remember the opening paragraphs of the chapter? I am not a stranger in the compound. There are many times I have played host to their wards. There are times too when they send people who have work to do in the community to stay in my place and I accommodate them very well. The way the wife sat and watched as I argued with the gateman was what I don’t like. It was like she was saying… “We are now comfortable o. We don’t need you anymore, you can go away.”
Honestly, I don’t blame rich people who prefer to burn their money instead of assisting others. I don’t have any problem with anybody o. If somebody does not know me before and for some reasons, is cold or rude to me, I will not blame the person. But if anyone should insult me or keep silent while his/her worker is being rude to me, it should not be someone whose wards I used to play host to.
Later, Chief Papa and Sugar Lillie came out of the compound laughing like father and daughter. Chief Papa said he is having a meeting inside; I should wait a little longer for him, and returned to the Palace. Sugar Lillie said she asked the gateman why he refused to let me in and man replied that he is only doing what he has been told and also added that I am ‘troublesome’. Come and see insult o.
Come on, don’t say I am a proud person. If you are a graduate who have served this god dammed country and a gateman calls you troublesome for asking to see your Papa, will you not give him a hot slap? As I said earlier, anything that will debase my dignity, I don’t have hand in it.
Sugar Lillie now said I should I shouldn’t be angry. Let me relay her exact words for you… “Don’t mind those people. They are nowhere near your level. If you are a big man with big car, everybody will like you. If you go anywhere, even before you knock the door, they will open it for you. But as you are like this with no money, it is not everybody that is going to like you. Some people will like you but some others, no matter how much you try to please them, they will never like you. But if you have money… big money, even if they don’t like you, they will respect you by force.”
Honestly, at that time, I was too angry to be consoled by her words. But now when I remember those words and replay it again in my mind, they are so soothing. Some people are like magnet to me. At first sight, we bond instantly. There are friends that I meet online and keep in touch for over three years before we physically meet.
On the other hand, there are people I have worked with, people who know how good I am; yet if I greet some of them, they will look at me coldly and look away. Why this is so, I don’t know. Maybe it is because to them, I am dull or incomprehensible. Even me, there are some kinds of people I don’t feel comfortable around at first sight:- people who behave like mafia, big boys, cocky/over-proud guys and ladies… I don’t jell with those kinds of folks. So if some other people don’t like me too, I don’t blame them.
So… what is the essence of this chapter? This is actually the last chapter I wrote out for this memoir. I wrote it out because; I realized the memoir will be somehow incomplete if I don’t say anything to console other job hunting folks who are experiencing the same gateman rudeness issue. You can imagine a Guard who barely finished secondary school bellowing and shouting at graduate applicants to ‘shut up and gerraway’. This is very demeaning. Throughout the time I was job hunting with the big companies, I was lucky not to encounter rude Guards. Those folks can wreck even the most confident job applicant’s morale.
If the Guards of a company are nice and courteous to you, return the courtesy and be nice to the Guards. But if the Guard is rude to you for whatever reason, and the HR/Workers of the company are also rude, my brother or sister, remove your shoes, grab your bag/envelope and run away from that company as fast as you can. Even if they later employ you to work there, the workplace must be somehow populated by frustrated people and who want to work with hyper-venting boss and co-workers? The amount of degrading jabs they will pour at you in course of doing your job is not just worth it.
- To Sponsor Or Not To Sponsor
I know you might be thinking that I should set up a small business and expand later since I can’t get a job. I wish I could follow that line of thinking but only the heavens know what kind of game some rogue angels were playing with people’s destinies back then.
At Novena, there were six of us cramped into a room. A strange occurrence I can’t still explain happened to us in that room. Our fathers all went broke within a year, 200-300 level. Collins dad lost his job first, then (I think) Segun, Austin, Ugo, Eddy and finally, mine. As at the time of typing this memoir only Eddy is up and running again while Austin got a job and is doing fine too. It sometimes makes me think life is one kind of pre-written movie script being acted out by us mortals.
I used to think this case is peculiar to only us in that hostel room until I posted the memoir on nairaland forum for reviews. A respondent replied that a worse scenario happened in his hostel block- people’s fathers were dying. He said after the third roommate’s father died, nobody told him before he promptly packed his stuffs, washed his hands and left the hostel block. If you are having a challenge now and you think your situation is the worst, my dear shine your eyes and look very well; there are other people out there with tougher challenges you wouldn’t even want to dream about.
There was a silent power tussle between the General Secretary and the President General of the Trade Union Dad had been working for over thirty years. Both the Secretary General and the President had been ‘on seat’ for over twelve years. When it was time for the President to go, he insisted on going with the Secretary. Two camps were formed- those aligned to the secretary those aligned to the President. My Dad was already making his exit plan as he had already secured the Chairmanship ticket of the State’s ruling party for the local government election in 2010 so he wasn’t concerned with their tussle. The stupid governor however decided to postpone the Local Government elections again and again until it was finally held five years later!
The man in charge of my Dad’s former station in Abeokuta sent him a cheque of about N300,000 towards the organizing of a workers workshop or so. My Dad, Assistant General Secretary at the time, paid the money into the Union’s account and proceeded to Abeokuta for the workshop. After the workshop was over, the President fired a memo to the Executive council accusing the General Secretary of fraud. He directed the auditors to go audit Ogun State’s accounts. The man in charge of Ogun told them he sent a cheque to my Dad, my Dad was queried and he admitted collecting the cheque which was duly expended for the purpose it was meant for. About seven other senior officials in the HQ and other states were also roped into the trap.
Fearing for his job, the General Secretary suspended those implicated for four months to allow proper auditing of their station’s accounts. Nothing was found against him. After the four months, he was sent a letter of dismissal! You know how much an Assistant General Secretary’s gratuity could be after about thirty-three years in service? Not only him o, about seven old folks who had put in over 33 years in service and were one step to retirement were dismissed too… instead of being retired. What kind of rubbish is that?
The President was later removed unceremoniously while the General Secretary was forced to resign. As at the time of typing this memoir six years later, my Dad is still battling them for his gratuity. They have even sacked more workers courtesy of new government decision to suspend all federal construction contracts which rendered many workers under the union jobless. The union went broke and became unable to pay salaries as a result of low Union dues.
I was just through with my Industrial Training program at the end of 300Level when the problem started. My Dad had four of us at Novena University at the time. My dad didn’t bother burning money on my elder bro’s fees because he preferred to work at Scambassy instead of going to school. My Immediate younger sister dropped had to stop at 200L so only my elder sister and I graduated. To see us through, dad had to sell a car and one land in the village to pay our final fees. I was very fortunate to have pulled through because things were very tight. So let me put it plainly, there was no money to set up any business.
After a short data entry gig at Emma Fal’s place, I went to K-town to see G. Papa to see if he could fix me somewhere. G. Papa asked me what I have been doing to keep busy and I explained the Computer Assisted Learning stuffs I do to him. He asked if I can build a Schools Result Processing System. Though I’m not a programmer, I told him I could do it. He said I should go and build the system and get back to him when it is ready. I was happy and went to work.
The first guy I contacted to build the app, after eating money, came up with excuses about how he couldn’t find a way to perfect the database aspect and later said his laptop crashed and he lost all data. I didn’t waste any more time on him. I contacted Huitouch, senior Jesus Corper at NCCF Anambra who was running his masters in the U.K to help build the system. Within about a month, he came up with a beautiful demo without taking a dime from me. Then I drew up set up cost of a 100 client data processing center. As much as I tried to scale down the costs, it refused to go below N10m.
With fear and trembling heart, I submitted the revenue, expenses and set up costs estimate to G. Papa He said has many building projects ongoing, I should wait till he is settled and then he’ll see how we can go about it. I also gave him another paper… it was about a fanciful real estate project beside a major river whose banks were left desolate due to perennial flooding. If big cities can be built out of land reclaimed from the sea, then what is perennial flooding? G. Papa admitted it was a good idea too but is very expensive, would require numerous partners and other politics. It was better to forget about it.
The last proposals however threw up incidents that made me stop going to the office. I supplanted the school results processing system in favor of a data center to be located in a tertiary institution on a 30 year BOOT plan. Why I did so was because the former required politics and initial pilot system set up to test run the app. Though only a Server and few clients were required for the pilot test run, the Manager said it doesn’t make sense just to spend scarce money to buy server and other hardware because I want to do experiments. G. Papa agreed with him.
The BOOT plan on the other hand doesn’t require pilot or much political hassles. Just tell the school you want to build the data center for them, they will beg you to come and build it. Once you’ve notarized the agreement, a loan is all you need to take off. Constant revenue was guaranteed and the earlier plan could still be run from the BOOT Center too. On the side, I also did a Rural-Urban Infrastructure Development concept suitable for use by any government. G. Papa is the Party leader of the area so he knew what to do with it. I gave both papers to the Manager to submit on my behalf since G. Papa is a very busy man.
Later when I went to see him to discuss the new concepts, G. Papa said he would surely get back to me when he is ready for the BOOT proposal. I then asked him if he liked the Infrastructure Development Program concept. He said he didn’t see anything like that and asked me about it. I was surprised. Since I wasn’t good at emergency presentations, I told him to give me some time to print a new copy of the document for him. He said okay.
I went to the Manager through which I submitted the documents and asked him if he submitted that particular document to the G. Papa. He smiled, reclined on his seat and said no. I asked why he didn’t submit it, he didn’t reply. I promptly went to print the document and submitted it to the G. Papa. He said I should come back the next week so we could review the document and give it professional retouch.
When I got home later in the evening, I guessed something was wrong somewhere so I began a mental review of my relations with G. Papa’s office people. Then something hit me. I recalled an event that happened about a year earlier or so when I went to print application letter I wanted to send out at the office. I was having a chat with the same manager when a VIP visitor came calling.
The Manager jumped up, told me not to come out and went to greet’ the visitor. After about thirty minutes, he wasn’t back. I was feeling pressed and needed to visit the comfort station. I got up and went to the door. To my surprised, it was locked. I wondered whether the VIP visitor had two heads or maybe he impulsively locked the door. He came back a few minutes later when the visitor had gone. I didn’t attach any meaning to it then.
It was after the reminiscence that realized I had been chasing the wind. You don’t get me? Even though these people know I’m very good and can take on any task required of me, they will not be happy to see that small, hard hearing boy rise above them. And another angle, as a result of my physical disadvantage, I don’t think they will be proud to put me up as the initiator of their projects. This is a country where only people who have ‘something’ are accorded respect. Even my Dad, when he had money, would rather showcase some random big bros or his Madams to guests than his children because we are ‘not mature’. So if I expect people I’m not even related with to promote me, that means I’m very stupid.
The office admin warned me earlier about this earlier that people were jealous I was getting too close to G. Papa. I however didn’t think much about it since I don’t have anything against the other people. But now, things were clear to me. If G. Papa sponsors me, I’ll be a boss of my own, the other people will not be happy. I can’t bypass them because any program G. Papa wants to execute, it goes through the same people. So it is pretty hard to get anything out of G. Papa with the people around him.
When it was time for me to go the office to see G. Papa to review the Infrastructure Development Concept, I didn’t go. Tell me what is the use of ‘unofficially’ working with people who, though they really want to see you progress, but not above them? Time was flying. You wake up in January and before you say jack, you’re in December. A year had almost passed and nothing was on ground until the app’s demo was taken down. This got me both angry and sad. That is why I said in the previous chapter that even with good programming skills, without cash, sponsor or company backing, one’s skill is trash.
Another reason why I stopped going there was because I was beginning to feel like I was disturbing the office folks (and even G. Papa too, though he grants me audience anytime he is around but I was beginning to feel I was disturbing him). I am the kind of person that, if I ask you for something today and you didn’t do anything about it in a week, I won’t remind you because I don’t like being a nuisance to anybody.
Later on, Chief Papa called me and told me to give him the setup cost of a small business I would like to do. The cost of Rent, a new Copier and two Servers alone shot the total figure I gave him for a small café and data processing center to a little over N1m. He sighed and said he cannot afford it for at the moment but will keep it in mind.
Another man called me and asked me to give him a proposal. From previous experiences, I was afraid to scare him away with a million figure. I browsed the net for prices of second hand computers and managed to keep the figure at N500,000. When the man went through the paper, he said… “How much is tokunbo Toyota Camry or even hotel bills that you want to use paltry 500k to set up a business? My friend, you are not serious.” That night, I wasn’t happy. Note that these people were above the upper middle class level. The first ones said the figures are too high. I brought the figure as low as possible, yet this one is saying the money is too small… what do they want the son of man to do?
After that, I stopped giving anybody any proposal whatsoever. I came to realize that these people, even if they have N100 million to blow, they would rather buy luxury cars, ‘carry’ sexy runs girls to posh hotels for fun or start building their seventh house rather than support a brother with it. When my Dad had money, he helped a lot of people. I ran into some of them during a village festival and they looked at me like I was a statue. My dad was even richer than these people before he lost his job so for me to be going to see them for job or money to start business was like ‘shame’ to me.
The fraud/419/maga trend in Nigeria isn’t helping matters at all. You remember the GNLD fellow I helped with his transport… things like that. I can imagine G. Papa thinking I want to waste his N10 million. You help somebody today and tomorrow, you will see him at a bar drinking your money away with the help of catfish pepper soup madams and some shameless prostitutes. After drinking to his fill, he will now carry his legs and stagger to your house to insult you.
There are many of such people who solicit assistance online under various pretexts and when they get helped, they simply deactivate their account and open a new account to continue their nefarious activities. Because of that, people are now afraid to help even their own relations for the fear of being scammed. There are times when I need sponsor for some projects but because of this, I’m both afraid and ashamed to ask potential sponsors as they may think I want to scam them. If I summon the courage and ask but they refuse to assist, I will feel bad and regret ever asking them. It is that sad.
I also learnt a lesson that prospective entrepreneurs or people who intend to start up a venture on sponsorship or intend to raise capital from other people, do not know or have not realized. The first thing is… to ask a person who already has three or four business that are doing fine and has hundreds of workers to pay every months to set aside some funds for you… the person will not be interested.
Using the Computer Assisted Learning business proposal as example, why would someone who is very comfortable with two or three good companies on ground be bothered about starting something new or… shell out even a hundred thousand for a rookie to experiment with something he’s not even sure of?
It wasn’t my call though since I didn’t start it on my own. It was G. Papa that told me to go build the app and provide the estimate costs of setting up the data center. I did my part as required of me. But if I look at things from his angle, it doesn’t make sense looking for ten million finance facility in these rough times when my company clients are not paying regularly, government is broke and banks are sacking workers.
I saw all that clearly before I decided not to bother him again. It’s not as if I’m angry for all the time, money and efforts put in. G. Papa motivates me very much. He’s my role model. But then I realized that he has his own personal principles. He doesn’t force his personal beliefs on others, use his influence to barge his way through other people or do things in order to suit some people’s selfish interests.
On the other hand, I needed someone who is ambitious and is not afraid to shell out hard cash to finance capital projects. There are some apps and multi-dimensional sites I’ll love to build and deploy but I can’t do anything because I don’t have the finance or company backing. That’s where I respect the western folks. They spend millions of dollars to experiment on simple things because they know if they make a way, they will realize billions in returns or if they run out of funds, they can sell the idea to bigger companies and make their money back.
But here in Nigeria, who will agree to burn a million naira on something that is not sure? On request, I did a North-South foodstuffs business plan for someone ‘coming from abroad’. She said this kind of business is below her status as a Masters graduate. How will I be going to Paiko market to buy beans trailers? Well… today… people are booking flights to Cameroon and Togo to import tomatoes… in 18 wheeler trailers.
I slept one day and dreamt of a tall apartment building with hundred thousands of salt and fresh water fishes being raised side by side in indoor ponds fitted inside the building. It made more sense than digging ponds here and there, especially in congested cities or places where land is scarce and there is high demand for exotic fishes or where the sea is overfished. I thrashed the idea immediately I woke up. It’s no use trying to get anyone to buy the idea here. People will think you are crazy. “…. You want to use my money to build three storey and you will be raising fish upstairs inside it?! Are you mad?!…” That is the way our people will see it.
But in the western countries, people are harvesting crops from ammonia rich waste water… no soil required. Instead of planting in farms, they are planting crops in greenhouse glass buildings that are very expensive to set up. They raise thousands of pigs in a single building. But nobody can try that in Nigeria even though the market is there.
Let me tell you one thing categorically… when it comes to good ideas, trust nobody. Some people will pretend to listen to you and be supportive but in the end, they will make you look like a fool when they start making ridiculous jokes out of your ideas to other people and they will be laughing at you. Sometimes it makes other people feel intimidated. It’s matter of time before they begin to eye you with the corner of their eyes as if they want to say “… Is it only you that have brain? Who is your idea going to help?”
For those people, you are the last thing on their priority list. They have their personal business, work or family challenges to deal with. Your idea is like radio news to them. Even when they seem serious, don’t rely too much on other people. I have been left stranded in the middle of a planned computer training program because my partner got promoted and he no longer had time to support so everything crashed.
So what’s the point of all these? The point is… if you want to start up a business, go and work, save some cash and start what whatever you want to start on your own with your own money. Except you have a backer who is not afraid to give out money (some idiots sadly use this as opportunity to dupe their sponsor so I don’t blame people who are tight fisted), don’t bother asking anybody to support you with this or that. You will either end up wasting your time or they will say just say they cannot help you and that will make you feel sad.
If someone approaches you for help or sponsorship, don’t give them false sense of security or just tell them to go because it will give people bad impression of you. If someone ask you to do something for him and you cannot do it, sit the person down and explain the reasons why you cannot support him and the person will understand you. Sometimes people may have the impression that you are swimming in money because you drive a big car. Make them understand that it is not so. That way, everybody will go home with peace of mind and nobody will accuse you of being “wicked”.
On a final note, I also realized that no matter how rich a person may be, he also has his own personal problems. Taking a business proposal to go meet another person to sponsor or help you with the capital… even if he has the means, he would see you as additional burden. And who wants to be a burden to other people? Certainly not me, I’m a gentleman.
- Never Beg, Don’t Sell, Hustle for Your Money
Still on the assumption that I give up on things easily… well, it depends on what I’m working on. If I have considerable control over the process, I hardly give up. But if other people are in control of the process, and they start forming wait… wait… wait… while they sit down in a chair talking thrash on the phone with girlfriends, If I come to you today and you say come back next week, I come back next week and you say come back next week again, if I come back the third week and you still tell me to come back again, that means I don’t have any value to you. The same thing you tell me to come back for again and again is the same thing you’ll do immediately if it involves your guy/babe. You won’t see me there again. I hate to disturb people.
I thought about how I could raise capital to set up a small enterprise I could manage for meantime. There were many options before me. First option is what they call… fund rising. Second is to sell off some available properties to raise the capital. Third is to put my skills to work. Fourth is to sell off the rights of my works. Fifth is to hustle for small cash for cash and save up over time and let me end it at the sixth… make money off the internet.
Now the first option… fund rising. I crossed it out almost immediately after writing it down. Why? Same reason I stopped hunting for sponsor. Though the variables are different as in, you draw up a list of people you think can help you, put your idea to them and ask them to help you with a fraction or so of the fund you require. When I looked at it again, I crossed out the option vigorously with my biro until I couldn’t see any letter there again. In our culture/social clime, whether it is fund rising or soliciting or asking, it is all seen as… begging!
Why should I beg anyone for money? What do they have that I don’t have? They have job you say? Without savings or investments, most salary earners are really no better than job hunters. Two weeks after getting paid, they are already broke looking forward to the next month’s pay. If they lose their job, within two months, they’re penniless. I have friends who earn up to N150,000 monthly but if you call to ask them for N1,000, they will say they don’t have money. Is it those kinds of people I will call to ‘fund raise’?
As for the rich folks, though some of them are relations and neighbors, to approach them is waste of time. My tribe peoples’ mentality is that, most of them, when they become rich, they will build a small bungalow, buy a high end car, and blow the rest on frivolities. Some of them would look at you with these silent words… “Since I suffered to get to where I am today, you too should go and suffer.” If you approach those kinds of people for anything, no matter how small, you’re wasting your time.
Then comes the property selloff option. You know what workers who just lost their job would begin to do? They’ll start selling off properties to settle bills instead of selling to invest. That was what my dad did when he was shut out. He was hoping his gratuity would be paid soon after and he would invest the fund but even after six years, they still refused to pay him. A time came when, it’s not that he didn’t have anything to sell again but it didn’t make sense to sell. After selling off everything you own, what will you and your children use for personal convenience? If you have a house and you sell it, if the money ‘flies away’, you will regret it. Landlord will become tenant. I crossed out the option.
Now on putting my skills to work… What skills do I have? No doubt I can write. Except hardcore medical or tech jargons, I can write virtually anything thrown at me. What more? I have good computer skill I can put to work. However, my socio-economic environment does not appreciate these skills. In my country, it pays better to be a thug or militant than to be genius. Another snag is that, in this country, raw talent means nothing to the bosses. What they want to see is the finished product. So if you have a great concept, beautiful song lyrics, or prototype of a unique machine… in this country, your talent is a waste.
The ‘people in charge’… the old fools who run the country aren’t making matters any easier. They don’t believe in their youth. To build a simple gutter, they will go call foreign contractors. They say their people don’t have the capacity to handle such projects, whereas, if you go abroad, it is the same people they say they don’t have the capacity that are running the show in other countries. Imagine a senator whose people don’t have common electricity transformer splashing $300m on luxury cars. Hmmm…
To sell off the rights of my works is another option that is environmentally hampered. I have many good manuscripts being eaten by rats under my grandpa’s bed. I tried the course once and ended up even more frustrated. I took some movie scripts to film producers and marketers in Onitsha hoping I’ll find someone who likes the script but they all said they don’t buy manuscripts.
When we got tired, my bros now called aside one of the marketers’ errand boys to explain things to us. The guy said it is the same people that write the scripts that also produce the media. That is why you will see a person’s name appear five or six times in a film’s production crew. In short, nobody buys manuscripts here. If you want to make money from your manuscripts, you will have to produce it yourself. That would mean raising capital and mobilizing logistics… back to square one. I crossed out the option.
To hustle for cash, I had few options too. Only artisans, manual laborers and mechanics were needed in town. The few companies that could require my service in town were constrained by very poor power supply, about once in a week which means they have to run on generator everyday and keep expenses as low as possible. I didn’t bother wasting airtime calling any ‘big man’ to let me work for him. I chatted up Bros J, told him plan and asked if he had anything I could do for him. I used to do tech article writing for him about a year earlier but had to stop when my laptop crashed. He said I could continue article writing since I’ve got another laptop. One goal scored, but sadly ruled offside. Since there’s no power supply in a town that plays host to about six oil companies’ base offices, how would I get power to do my work? I’ll have to relocate to somewhere power supply is guaranteed.
Around the same time, four months long ad hoc data entry gigs were coming up at my bros, Emma Fal’s place. I promptly packed some stuffs and headed to the Coal City. When work started, I did data entry in the day and article writing at night. To combine two jobs together wasn’t easy. Since I’m very poor at saving, I told Bros J I would prefer accumulated payout at the end of the year. I hoped the accumulated payout and earnings from the data entry work would be enough to start up my biz plan.
In real life, one plus one is not always equal to two. It is one thing to make plans… it is entirely different for things to go as planned. The data entry folks got entangled in contract logjam with the Ministry they serve after the elections. The new Commissioner wanted bigger share of the revenue chunk but the other guys refused to bend because if they did, other clients would start haggling for bigger shares too and that’s bad for business. So the next works were halted by the Ministry. Bros J on the other hand ran into some murky waters and was unable to make my payout until three months after it was due when he made part payment. I was so relieved when I got the alert. . Nigeria is such a tough country… for tough people.
To make money from the internet, I’ll discuss that in the next chapter. Though there are lots of potentials to reap from the internet but you have to consider a lot of variables and determine how and where to get what you want, otherwise, you’ll end up even more frustrated than before.
- Is There Really Money On The Internet
Before you can get any meaningful thing out of the internet, you need to have good internet research skills and also know how to throw the right keywords. You need to clearly define what you want, how you are going to search it out, how to harvest it and lastly, how to use it. The fact that you need a web resource doesn’t really mean you know how to make most out of it.
If someone tells you that you can make money from the internet without investing cash or personal efforts, the person is a big liar. You need to devote time, you will need resources to work with and you will have to invest some cash in order to produce and pay for what you want to sell on the online. If you don’t have all these at a go, don’t even bother subscribing for bulk data. This is often where I get stranded in my quest to make money from the internet.
The first time I tried, I was hunting for a literary agent to publish my books. In Nigeria, there are nothing like literary agents. Publishing in Nigeria is unattractive due to piracy so only academic books and few popular novels are what publishers print. If you want to make money from your book here, you’ll have to print and market it yourself. Now imagine me paying a printer for a couple of newly printed books and then carrying the books from here to there trying to convince people to buy them under the hot tropical sun or torrent rainfall. Aha, that is suffering… hahahaha.
So I went hunting for literary agents online. One guy on a blog said he compiled the email address of about a hundred agents and sent them query of his book. After a few weeks, the agents replied him with six figure dollars publishing offers. In my mind, I was like… “Is it as simple as that? No problem, I’ll do the same.” So I compiled the emails of various literary agents and began to send them queries. I had barely sent four queries when I became exhausted. Mentally, the process was straining. My intuition however told me to wait for the replies of the four mails. If the replies are positive, fine. If not, then the books are clearly not publishable.
The replies trickled in after two months… and they were all negative. I opened the books on my computer and read them again to deduce what is wrong. The faults were very glaring. For the first book is ‘The Intimate Adventures of Mr. Randy Man’. It is a humorous sexuality narrative. The style I wrote it was ‘too local’… similar to the style I wrote the opening chapter of this book. Not my fault though as it was originally conceived as comic sexuality articles for an upcoming magazine before I decided to wrap the articles into a book.
The second book, ‘Why Men Womanize’, is a scarlet drama. It contained swear words that shouldn’t be in the opening chapters of any book and also had a basket full of typo errors too. Come and see as I fuck up. The thing is, it is very hard for one to see minute errors if you edit a book you type with your own hands. Did you just say something about professional editing services? There’s nothing like that around here.
Though I’m aware of online editing and formatting services but honestly, I can’t afford them. Some ‘well learned’ friends I asked to review the books for me declined saying the grammar I use to write my books is too much for them to bear. Even when I initially mailed this Memoir to three people for review, they only replied me with ‘well done, you’re good’… that’s all. What’s the son of man gonna do? It was when I was re-formatting the books into Sigil that I picked out the errors and they’re quite okay now.
The third book, ‘Benny & Bayo: The Crazy Flat Mates’, a group of short comic gigs about two flat mate guys and their girlfriends, was also riddled with local vernaculars. In my fantasies, I wrote it as a soap to be acted out with Basketmouth and Bovi as the flat mates with Funke Akindele and Adunni Ade as their girlfriends… smiles. But as you see me so, I neither have the money, nor the links to produce the drama.
(You might wonder why I didn’t reach out to the guys online though their social media pages. I tried it once with TM who is a relationship advisor or so on Vlog. We thought she might be interested in expanding her wares into media production so we shot her a mail which she replied. But when we sent the mail explaining the concept to her, she blacked out. More like she’s satisfied with just her Vlog.
So we concluded that… if you have deals that will pay the media folks handsomely… gigs that will pay them cash… they will jump at you. But if you invite them to mentor, collaborate or invest in your concept… something that will make them sit down and read, take their time or require them to drop cash to fund the production, they will most likely run away from you.
Forget all that trash about them buying the latest Range Rover or G-Class… Even if they have billions, gigs that will pay them more is what they are after, not concepts that will make them invest in you. So I decided to… go hustle for cash… if you hit it big, then you can call the guys to act your scripts for you. But running after them to come and invest in your script… that is… like chasing the wind. I may be right; I may be wrong with this assumption. The thing is… once bitten, twice shy.)
In summary, what I have is a bunch of raw scripts full of Pidgin English and typo errors. Are these what I want a professional literary agency to forward to publishers? What if I had mailed the queries to a hundred literary agents? You may laugh at me if you wish… smiles.
I got my ass back to work to retouch the books. I rewrote ‘Randy Man’ entirely and removed the swear words from ‘Why Men Womanize’. I didn’t really know how to retouch ‘The Crazy Flat Mates’ at the time as it is meant to be a local comic drama. What is drama without slangs, Pidgin English and some swear words? So I hibernated it. When it was time to send out the queries again, I was demoralized because I would have to wait for another two months which seemed like two years.
I thought there must be a faster way out. I tried querying the publishers directly through their neatly designed websites later to discover they were backstreet hustlers trying to make ends meet through digital marketing. Olympia Publishers did ‘GNLD’ for me. After sending them full manuscript at their request, they mixed up emails and replied me that “I don’t wish to publish with them.” When I googled out their ‘story’, I felt so stupid for previously building publishing castles in the air. The most annoying thing is that they’re always on the first page of google if search anything related to publishing.
So what to do now? Self publish? Even that option isn’t an easy thing to do from my clime. You can’t self publish on Kobo.com except you’re from five or six exclusive countries. If you cook up fake address and post code, they then hit you with IBAN/SWIFT request. Barnes & Noble requires IBAN/SWIFT too. Google Books is out of bounds to Nigeria. I was angry when I saw Egypt and South Africa and even Vietnam on the list of Google Book supported countries but Nigeria wasn’t there. Something is seriously wrong with this country.
Amazon’s Kindle is clearly already saturated. I uploaded the books on kindle but didn’t sell a dime. That time I didn’t know how to properly format epub so it was wholly my fault. It would require dogged study, research and continually production of dry books on ‘hot niches’ written by some Chinkos in Bangladesh for $5 on Fiverr before you can make some few dollars ebook sales on Kindle or so I thought.
Another challenge I faced then was how to convert the books into error free epub. I downloaded some ebook formatting applications from various sites but they were all whack. It was very later on that I discovered Sigil. May the heavens bless its developer. I thought my problems were over after I created epubs of my books and uploaded them online again.
Even though Flightcrew validation on Sigil said ‘No Problems Found’, Draft2Digital reported errors in Why Men Womanize. I was puzzled. Randy Man went through without any error but some ebook channels rejected it because they have a policy of not accepting books with sexual content. I hope to rewrite it later to de-sexualize it though but that’s going to take some time because… the motivation to do it ASAP is not just there for now. I have eight books already and haven’t made any concrete cash from them. To write another one again as at now isn’t just sweet in my mind.
Smashwords seems to be possessed by some kinds of ‘evil spirits’. You will upload epub file onto their site and they will reply you with red lettered jargons. Though my books get downloaded when I set the price for free if I put $0.99 there, nobody will buy again. I soon got tired of wasting data on their site and abandoned what I uploaded there. Self publishing isn’t as easy as it seems.
Smashwords error report made me realize that there are really errors in the epubs. I thought something must be wrong with Sigil so I downloaded Calibre. I found Calibre more handful than Sigil. When I ran validation for the epubs I created with Sigil on Calibre, my face was splashed with over 250 CSS errors. All the epub readers I tested the books on worked very fine so I don’t understand where Calibre saw their 250 CSS errors from.
When I turned to the code view on Calibre to see where the problem is, my dear, serious headache hit me. Who will clear all this mess now? I now understand why my books were not selling on Kindle and Draft2Digital and finally concluded it is better to let a professional or publisher handle all those stuffs. The stress is much, especially when power supply is so erratic that one can only work a few pages in a day.
So the thing with the internet is… if you want to make clean, legitimate money from the net, in most cases, it’s not something you can go into and hit big money instantly, except you engage in immoral or dishonest stuffs. Even if you know where to get what you want on the internet, how to get the exact thing you need and how to use it is an entirely different cup of tea.
The only time I actually made some cash from the net through self-publishing was when Larry Sun, after reading Randy Man when I pasted it for feedback on nairaland.com invited me to self-publish on OkadaBooks, an African online eBook merchant. When I uploaded the books (Randy Man & Why Men Womanize) on OkadaBooks, I was surprised to see them selling. At a point, they even became bestsellers.
However, like everything else with Nigeria, Okada books had its challenge, the low value of the country’s currency which at the time of typing this book, hovers around N350 to $1. If you set the price of the book above N100, very few people would buy it. Now you can imagine how many copies I’ll have to sell and how long it would take before I can make a hundred dollars on OkadaBooks.
If an American author puts his books for sale on Amazon or Google Books or Barnes at $1 per copy and sells 500 copies, he would make about $470. I have sold more than 500 copies on OkadaBooks and yet my earnings aren’t even up to fifty dollars if I convert my earnings OkadaBooks has since evolved by dollarizing book sales but at the local level, author earning disparity between it and other similar sites is still glaring. It’s not OkadaBook’s fault as government fiscal policy summersault is clearly affecting them too. It not easy to be Nigerian.
As for online writing sites like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.com and co, I couldn’t tap into them as I would love to. Apart from being disadvantaged by epileptic power situation, I was also disadvantaged by the country. To get patronized you will have to lower your bid price so the gigs became underpaying. Imagine writing a 50,000 words ebook for N25,000 in three days. 50,000 words… within three days… aha, if my brain kaput, will Fiverr or Upwork buy ordinary paracetamol for me?
If you run online work on power generator, you can’t make any reasonable money except you are a company with several guys working for you or you’ll run at a loss. I lost about a hundred dollars gig from Upwork that way. As I set out to work on the assignment, to my chagrin, power went off and was not restored until two days later. The most annoying thing is that it when you are about to start typing, that is when they will ‘take light’… as if they have been waiting for you to get the gig first so they can frustrate you later.
The problem with local writing jobs is for them to pay. After typing everything as required and you mail the document, before you get paid, you will sweat. As I am typing now, various folks I write for are owing me about N120,000. One writing service coy I worked for was very annoying. I used my money to buy data to download required content, brought fuel to run generator to type up the work and mail it to them. When I asked for payment when due, they started telling stories that they are restructuring… they are coming… they are coming… hiss.
I don’t know what is inside power generation that Nigerian politicians find so hard to get right despite of abundant natural resources and funds available at their disposal. They don’t care if a whole town is in darkness anyway, since their houses and offices are powered by sound proof Cummings diesel generators. Since they have not been able to fix the problem since 1960, they should either restructure the country or save us all these international embarrassment and restructure the dammed behemoth. It’s very frustrating and annoying.
I have to travel out to the cities if I have online work to do because I can’t work at home. The Distribution Company in charge of the area (BEDC) woke up one morning and said some communities owe them billions of naira accumulated bills, cut off the communities from the power grid and refused to restore power even after many influential people have intervened. If somebody is not paying bill, disconnect him… why disconnect whole communities? Communities in Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states were affected. For three years now… three good years, the people have not tasted public power supply. What kind of wickedness will you call that?
See, I don’t blame militants who choose to blow oil and gas pipelines for whatever reason. The oil companies drill for oil and gas in the rural communities and also they generate power there. When it is time to transmit the power, they will use giant transmission lines to carry the power to cities in the north, east and west while their host communities remain in darkness. It’s not companies’ fault though. They are paying taxes and royalties to the government. Anything else they do is ex-gratia. The Federal Government and its crazy policies are clearly at fault.
All the laws that created these mess are entrenched in the constitution. It is useless to protest as public office holders are have constitutional immunity so no amount of protest will rattle them. If they don’t restructure the country, Nigeria will never get anywhere the way it is presently configured. I’m not an advocate of violence… I abhor violence as it debases humanity. But I also hate injustice.
If you call militants enemies of the State for blowing up crude oil installations, what will you call BEDC for depriving hundreds of towns and villages across three States of electricity supply for years? Is it right for agents of a State to terrorize its people? Can you stay for a week without electricity, talk less of three years? The effects of rural-urban migration alone on the communities are very bad. The government says it wants development and yet it deliberately deprives its citizens of power supply. How will you develop without electricity?
People are trying to develop their areas of operation but inconsistent government policies often leave both individuals and companies frustrated. Some people are really trying. I was surprised when I breezed into KWC to see SEEPCO building roads in town and heard Agip had lighted up Beneku. That was the first time in my life that I would see any corporate organization take over community works that are not their responsibility. Nigerian individuals and corporate organizations generate their own power, provide their own water, cater for their own health care, provide their own security, and now private companies are building roads. What about the government; what are they doing?!
The government sends security forces to harass some oil producing communities’ leaders and arrest people without trial in the name of fighting corruption and at the same time they are complaining there is no money because angry militants are blowing up crude oil export pipelines. That is akin a shop owner who locks up his shop with goods worth billions in order to pursue bad debtors who are also his suppliers but owe the shop some millions. The suppliers felt insulted and stopped supplying the shop. As the shop remains locked, he couldn’t make new sales and yet he is complains to his workers that there is no money to pay their salaries. That is the kind of government I have in my country.
If you want to build a large complex that requires Federal approval, in most cases, rather than support and fast track necessary approvals, the government would frustrate the investor with long bureaucracies and policies that are very discouraging. Nigeria has no business being a poor country with its plethora of natural resources and manpower. If you say the duty of the government is not to build infrastructure but simply to provide enabling environment, okay… here in Nigeria, rather than provide enabling environment, governments often do exactly the opposite; they scatter the environment. Let’s leave politics matter.
So where is the money on the internet? Is it in blogging on forums? Is it in blogging? Blogging without stable power supply is like patronizing headache. One must also have very good knowledge of how things work in a target section of the internet before one can make anything sensible out of the section. I do not really know how Adsense, SEO, Adwords and all those stuffs works as I’m not really interested in blogging. To generate good content to keep your site running is quite a challenge too.
You cannot do all these things as an individual or you will have to pay other people to build your website, maintain it and generate the required contents and publicity needed to keep it afloat. All these require considerable cash investment. As an unemployed folk with few supportive people around and poor power supply, blogging is something I can’t afford to take on.
Though I know that in life generally, nothing good comes easy. Some blogs take up to five years to become popular. Who has five years to burn? I just need a good agent/publisher or ebook merchants through which I can sell my books with reasonable returns. Any other thing else online, I can’t try it unless I can find stable power somewhere in order to avoid disappointing myself and other people.
You might not understand the gravity of the mess I’m referring to. I’ll be a little bit more explicit here. In the mid week June 2016, I got strong ‘urges’ to write again. I’ll call the book “Beat Me If You Can”… a crime/drama/humor mix work similar to my other drama works. I was in Asaba at the time. For over two weeks, there was no public power supply throughout the whole state capital. I wanted to move to Port Harcourt to stay with an aunt so I could type the book only to be greeted with news that the national grid had collapsed on the southern axis; Port Harcourt, Akwa Ibom, Calabar and Bayelsa were all thrown into darkness.
What’s the son of man gonna do now? I asked Emma Fal if they have ‘light’in Enugu but he said for the past three days, he hadn’t seen ‘light’. I had no choice than to cancel the idea of travelling to type the new book and sit down my ass in Asaba. To charge my phone and laptop occasionally… guess where I managed to see ‘light’… inside globacom base station! Delta State plays host to three power plants in Okpai, Ughelli and Sapele. Even with all these, it’s Capital is still in darkness. You can see why Nigeria is so fucked up? Did someone just say I shouldn’t be angry or I shouldn’t swear? Please give me a good reason why I shouldn’t be angry or swear.
So without steady power supply, it’s hard to work online here. I don’t want to talk about the shortcut ways to make money on the internet. People now post all manners of ‘leaks’, gossips, nudes and sextapes on their sites all in bid to make money. As if that is not enough, they will paste the links to their thrash on other sites.
What about those who engage in dating scam? Some people may say the internet is like a video game where you have to kill as many enemies to pass to a higher level so if you take shortcut to make dirty cash from the net, it doesn’t matter who is involved since no one really gets hurt. Well, that is to them. If posting people’s nudity online can make me a millionaire, I’ll rather choose to remain broke. Dirty money can’t buy you the most important things in life, happiness and peace of mind.
Sometimes I think I am intelligent but when I read about new stuffs other people are inventing on the internet, I realize I am still ‘very dull’. By ‘dull’ I’m not saying I don’t know ABC, I mean there are many other people who are far more advanced than me in this world. They are not actually more advanced than me because they are more intelligent; I get better at any new challenge I’m involved in. They are more advanced because they work together… hundreds of people put heads together and work as unit on a single task. Sometimes you will see four or five countries will come together to work on a single ‘mundane’ project that the world will later find indispensable. That’s it.
But here, I have to work alone not because I wish to, but because I don’t have the resources and like-mind folks to work with… and these people have to be paid too. Nobody here knows what epub is; talk less of how to create it. There was a time I wanted to build a dynamic site with multiple functionalities. When I enquired the cost, it was staggering for me. If you think I should look for a sponsor or finance partner, please refer to chapter six and seven. People here don’t care about ideas. All the want is to work for somebody and get paid salary at the end of the month, that’s all.
So my dear… if you want to go online or start anything in general, to make money should not be your initial aim otherwise you might end up being disappointed. Rather you should focus on creating a new niche that is not available in your immediate environment. Even if you copied it from another place, so far as the idea is new in your locality, it is very permissible. It is not actually about money; it is about what you can create or invent. If you cannot create something new, even if you are a multi-billionaire, you will soon go broke. The inventors will always be the masters of the world.
9. Come and Do Ritual Money
There are times in life, when, after going through some rough times or you want to move higher up the ladder, the fetish folks will certainly come your way. For the former (rough times), it is often the fetish people that will come meet you with promises to make you rich after some mundane rituals while in case of the latter (moving up the ladder), they are often a cult of big boys, as in, before you can get promoted, you have to join the cult.
I know some folks will play the ostrich and bury their heads in the sand with denials that ritual money does not exist; otherwise, those who engage in it would be richer than Bill Gates or Dangote. They don’t know that rituals doesn’t just involves chopping off human parts to sacrifice on a fetish alter. Any form of wealth that is gotten through shedding of innocent blood is ritual money. It takes many other forms, such as producing whack pharmaceutical drugs that kills people or sponsoring armed conflicts that kills people. Now tell me what is the difference between sacrificing a human head for cash and killing people in bid to sell your products?
If you don’t know how ritual money works, let me explain to you. It is not that the severed skull will be coughing out cash for you… no. And it is not even required to kill anyone on the spot. A simple ritual bath is enough to kick start the process. I could use myself as example. If I did ritual money today and put my ebooks online, I would go to sleep and wake up the next morning to see I’ve made a million dollars sales. Just like that. Or if you own a store and did ritual, people you don’t know from jack would suddenly swarm your store and buy off all your goods in a twinkle of an eye while the next shop that sells exactly the same things as you won’t make a single sale.
I often wonder how the people who steal million dollar funds meant to execute certain projects get away with all the money without any eyebrows being raised. Though the people in charge are aware that money is being stolen but they won’t just do anything about it until maybe the company runs broke and the person chopping the funds has already resigned or if he is later caught, he only refunds a fraction of what was stolen.
The richer you want to be, the bigger the ritual you have to do. If you want to be a millionaire, you sacrifice one person; to be a multimillionaire, ten people; to be a billionaire, hundreds of people and to be a multibillionaire, you will have to sacrifice thousands of people. That is how it works. Whether it is drug trafficking or manufacturing products that would ultimately lead to loss of lives e.g. injecting frozen chicken with embalming fluid, it’s all the same ritual money from various angles. Behind all the accidents, conflicts, diseases and manmade disasters/epidemics befalling the globe, some people are making serious money. It is very sad.
My first experience with the fetish folks was when, on invitation, I went with a friend to his church for a program. After the service, the Pastor called me aside and said he saw me being a rich man… bla bla bla and he could help me realize my potentials. I asked him how he intends to help me. He said he would prepare some materials for me… materials like specially formulated soaps I would use to bath in one place he would show me and I would be wearing white gown when I am going to sleep. After that, I should leave the rest to his ‘God’. I would instantly become rich in no time.
The pastor must have thought I’m a novice when it comes to such matters. How many people had to die after David had satisfied his lust with Bathsheba? No pain, no gain; no gain, no pain. If it is only you that is going to suffer the pain, no problem you can go for the gain. But if the pain will involve other people who are going peacefully about their daily lives, and you go ahead with pursuing the gain, even before you die, you’re already in hell fire.
The most unsettling thing about money ritual is that you don’t know who or which people are going to take the dagger for money you’re going to make. It could be me, a close relation, friends or strangers. Does Dangote know who any of his trailers are going to hit next? Does he care? I don’t know. But I certainly know he will not be happy when he reads the news that one of his trucks just sent some people to the great beyond.
That is how it feels when you want to do ritual stuffs. You won’t have peace of mind. To sleep will be hard. Behind those smiles and glasses of expensive wine, you know something unsavory is going to happen later. You won’t feel at ease at all, except your conscience is dead.
The second time I was faced with the ‘invitation’, it actually came from an old Aunt who is the Chief of water worshippers in my area. Anytime I go greet her, she would ask if I had got a job and I would say no. One day, she said I should come see her so she could do ‘something’ for me to get a big job instantly. It involved mixing some roots and herbs and I will recite some incantations to the ‘vegetables’ and go my way. Then one big man will see me and give me a job with big salary. To her, she is trying to help a jobless son, after all a lot of strangers do come to her for help on such matters and they get big jobs in no time.
In her mind, she wants to help her son. But me, I looked away and mentally pictured the devil with a bundle of dollars in one hand and dining fork on the other hand. Who does the useless fellow wants to have for supper? I told my Aunt… “Okay, I want to go bath, I will come back”. I went home, packed my things and ‘travelled’. If I have to go greet her again and she asks if I have got a job, I would tell her yes, I have a small job I’m managing. Nobody gets hurt here, right?
You might say… since it doesn’t involve killing anybody… just say some jargons into a grounded mix of scent leaves, native chalk, kolanut and some other stuffs, there is nothing wrong with it. Let me quote bukatyne: ‘… a child who doesn’t know jazz and calls it vegetables. All these things can only work if they are backed by spiritual powers. It will not work without invoking the demons behind it.”
Now the question is… after invoking the demon and the demon directs one of its rich chiefs to give you job or money, do you know if you will sleep and start dreaming of a vampire chasing you in your sleep or see yourself having sex with a slut inside the ocean? Can you just dismiss the demon thereafter and say… I am not doing ritual again? The moment you say you are not doing again, you are in soup. The demon will do everything to keep you within its grip. Everything you have will begin to vanish until you have only your clothes left. And if you prove too stubborn, you’re fighting against what you cannot see, high blood pressure alone is suffice to finish you.
I know a lot of folks who will say… “Steve don’t do this… Steve don’t do that”. But behind my back, they’ll go and do the ritual or they have already done worse. There was a time I was passing through the town square and was surprised to see a “big bros” with white wrapper tied on his waist, native chalks drawn on his chest and following an old man into a nearby shrine. When I came to town again, the guy has upgraded o. He’s expanded his small bungalow with two beautiful CUVs parked in it. This is somebody that drives a rickety car a few months ago? How come? I was stunned. That is why, if you don’t know what a person is doing to earn his money, never… ever envy the person.
Ritual money is just like sex and love. Every night as millions of people bang each other, millions of people attempt to do ritual money daily too. It works for some and it doesn’t work for the others just as sex and love aren’t always hot and steamy. And it no longer involves the African traditional religion and magic folks only anymore. Churches, mosques and spiritual houses that offer ritual money services now abound in plenty.
Now the question is… “Since a lot of people are doing it, is it okay”? Sometimes one mocking voice would pop out and tell me… “Your mates are beginning to acquire ZDXs, X6s and Venzas, you sit down there brooding about a hundred thousand you’re being owed while people are out there paying millions just to fuck pussies. You don’t want to enjoy your life… you’re a fool.”
You see, everybody has his or her own personal principles. I want to be comfortable without getting into things I don’t think are right. What is right to me may not be right to you and what is right to you may not be right to me. If ritual money is okay to some people, that is to them. To me, it is like cheating in order to pass an examination. I didn’t cheat my way through school so why should I resort to ritual money now? If you can make it before without doing thrash, then you can make it again without doing thrash too.
I must however confess that there are times when it is very hard to refuse such offers, especially it doesn’t involve doing fetish stuffs, but passes close through that way. About two years ago shortly after I made the resolution not to apply for jobs again, during the Town’s biggest feast, I went to greet a distant old uncle who is a native doctor and also a diviner too. He asked if I was working and I told him no. He sprung up, went into his room, returned with his business card and said sharply into my ears… “Come and see me in Lagos… I am going to give you a big job!”
In my mind, I was in doubt about his words because… you know how ‘common’ most native doctors look like. When I got home, I told my Dad about his offer. Dad said the man is well connected… that politicians and big businessmen do go to him for ‘consultation’. All he has to do is just to order one of those people to give me a job and that’s all. I thought about it and concluded that since no ritual is involved here, why not give him a try?
So I picked his business card and dialed his line but it was not reachable. I took it as a sign that the heavens didn’t want me to go that way. Later when I saw him the next year, he said his phone was stolen a few days after I left his place. You can imagine a native doctor/diviner’s phone being stolen in his own house? Some thieves are very fearless.
There are times too when a bros called me and say… “Steve let’s go and see a prophet to show us why we can’t get job.” I replied… “Eh? Is being without a job now a spiritual problem?” Those so called prophets are mostly smart con artists who have mastered the art of manipulating people with false spiritual expectations. They will say they see this and they see that and thereafter r, what more can they do? Nothing! They can only see visions and talk thrash like “…your great grandmother is the reason why you can’t get job”. I would rather sleep at home all day that waste my time going to see a charlatan when I jolly well know what he is going to tell me.
The thing that annoys me most is when people ascribe and tag everything spiritual. If you don’t have a job, it is spiritual; if you cough, it is spiritual; if you constantly have hard on, it is spiritual; if bats are in your roof, it is spiritual; if an idiot driving a vehicle with faulty brake or a driver texting and driving rear end the vehicle you are in, it is spiritual. My brother, I am tired of all these spiritual matters.
You recall in chapter 2 when I was ill as a child and my parents were busy running from church to church with the mindset that since I was having nightmares, it must be a spiritual problem? After spending hundred thousands of naira on church people, it was a common Hausa native doctor who got me up and walking again with just native herbs and ointments we could have brought cheaply in the market. Another example is in Chapter 12 when Scambassy performed a very expensive miracle that almost disrupted my school schedule. Outwardly or in theory, the spiritual way seems cheap; but in practice, pursuing spiritual solutions is far more expensive than if we look around more carefully for the the solutions to our problems.
For me, there are three reasons why I wouldn’t turn every challenge one is going through into spiritual matter. The first reason is that it discourages one from working on one’s self development. There was a time when I was busy making contacts and building relations with people in the corporate world. Then the relative I was staying with took me to their church and they said an evil spirit is chasing my ‘Helper’ away; I should do this and that to repel the evil spirit so that my ‘Helper’ will be able to reach me. I didn’t want to look like a stubborn boy and neither do I want anyone to say “… didn’t we tell you? …” So I did the prayers they asked me to do.
I decided to give the people a month to see if they really had ‘power’. I turned my mentality like a satellite dish from the relations building angle and would randomly scan people for ‘Helper’. A Good Samaritan is supposed to pop out of nowhere and offer me a job, right? At the end of the month I didn’t even meet anybody whose name started with letter H. I reasoned that if I stayed any longer in that area, they’ll tell me another story in order to tie me down so I packed and moved. Now ask me… why did I run? Hmmm.
Secondly, spiritualism kills innovation. Instead of researching and trying out new methods to make our lives better, we simply offer some prayers or sacrifices to ‘spirits’, go and sit down and let them do the rest for us. That is laziness. Even if it works and we get everything we want, it would not reflect on the real economy since nobody is producing. What we will have is a country with billionaires, multi-millionaires and large millionaire middle class population where almost everyone is a consumer. All we do is receive income and spend the money.
Everything we need… fuel, food, basic technologies… everything will have to be imported because “…God provided them for us.” Nobody will be producing anything again. If you mention anything about business venture to these people, they will fearfully run away from you or say “… I don’t need to do any business. My salary is big enough to buy anything I want.”
The society will no longer be competitive. Everything will be tilted unfairly towards one angle and confer ridiculous advantage on few people who are members of a denomination. A good example is a society where cultists or people from a certain religious block control political power. Before you can do anything meaningful in that society, you must either join the religion or secret society that controls power or go to hell. That’s very unfair.
Thirdly, spiritual matter is like… energy. The more you flame spiritual issues, the hotter the issues become. Now we all know that there are positive and negative forms of energy. Many religious preachers today knowingly or ignorantly focus more on negative spiritual energy. They preach about witches, how to break spells, curses, and how to pray prayers that will supernaturally attract fortunes to their members.
Unfortunately, demons enjoy such undue publicity very much. When someone who doesn’t have problem with anyone starts praying against evil spirits, a breaking generational curse made in the eighteenth century or praying against fictitious enemies, demons will jump into frenzy and start creating problems on top of that person’s head. The stronger he fans the issue in attempt to off the demons, the more stubborn the demons will become.
On the other hand, the people who pray those kinds of marathon astral plane blessings they pray in those success oriented churches, the demons of mammon will build house on top of those people’s head. Just like the devil tempted Jesus, mammon will say, I will give you all the money you want if you will bow down and worship me. So they bow down to mammon and start making serious money. But the money, no matter how much it is, will never be sufficient for them because the money is all glitters and flash.
They will build mansions but hardly live in them. They will buy expensive beds but won’t even have time to sleep on it, they will be sleeping in hotels. They will have cars they hardly ever drive. The food they eat… if you see them inside toilet, you will pity them. They are beset with health problems they will spend so much money to cure but the problems will only get worse. They think that a man’s life consists of the things he has but in reality, that is not so because we all came into the world with nothing and we will leave with nothing.
That is why I wouldn’t resort to spiritual solutions to get a job. I don’t see any sense in fanning spiritual flames to generate heat that will make me start to sweat. Life on earth is a temporary journey. Live and enjoy your physical life humbly because when you die, you will have more than enough spiritual matters to deal with. Even if one can successfully perform rituals and get rich through it, what’s gonna be is gonna be. Whether you like it; whether you don’t, life will take its due course.
We all have innate knowledge of what is right and wrong. But some people, because they want to have unfair advantage over others, they deliberately begin to do wrong things they know they are not supposed to do. Who knows maybe it is by the things we did right or wrong that we will be judged or judge ourselves. Plan and enjoy your life as if you will live forever, but live everyday as if you will die tomorrow. So… fuck ritual money!
- Unreasonable Relatives
There are times when we will all hit rough waters and will require the help of others to get out of the storms. In these situations, the first people we often turn to are people we are related to. United we stand, divided we fall. Maybe that slogan was meant for the olden days because today, it is exactly the opposite most families are witnessing. Instead of coming together united, people are running away from their families. During rough times, there will always be few relations who will be supportive but the majority will look at you with indifference.
If you’re a newly married couple or intending to get married, make sure you provide as best as you can, good education and conductive environment for your children to grow. If either of these is missing, if you are lucky to be blessed with long years, when you grow old and see your children struggling, you will bite your finger in regret and lament… “If I had known, I would have done this or that instead of what I did.”
Though it’s like washing my dirty linen in the public but I know if nobody talks, some people will continue to mess up. I’ll be very blunt here; I came from a tribe where people don’t value higher education. Our dads, uncles and aunties mostly struggled to go through primary school. Those who went to secondary school were fortunate. And after secondary school, that’s all. They go marry and start popping out babies as if Jesus Christ is going to come back tomorrow. And when the babies grow up, while other parents who were educated by their grandparents are busy helping their children to find their feet after graduating, we have no one to look up to.
At the time when grand papas toiled to pay their children’s fees which was very expensive at the time, my grand papas used their money to pursue women and drink local gin. While some smart grand mamas were busy buying lands that were very cheap at the time, my grand mamas were busy buying giant aluminum pots, white china dishes and those basins decorated with N20 notes. They used those stuffs to cook during lavish parties and club/association meeting that were held at least every month. If their children asked them for school fees, they will say no money. I can imagine how painful it was for my parents and older uncles and aunties to look their mates going to school while they sat at home looking blankly into the air.
My Dad once told me a funny story about grandpa. He said after Standard Six, he went to work as a mechanic and would give his earnings to his father to save for him so he could use the funds to proceed to college. After about a year, he went to his father to request for his savings. Grandpa said… “Sorry o, I have used your savings to drink local gin. Sorry o, my son.” Dad had to start saving all over again to train himself through technical college.
Some of my grand uncles were rich, sent their sons to college and left behind fortunes when they died. Their sons, after getting their first job, whether they pursued women or women pursued them, I don’t know. They ended up with many wives, multitude of concubines and plethora of children they could hardly take care of as the oil prices crashed in the 80s and the economy continued to get worse from then on.
In the end, nobody fully went to school. The trend was like that throughout the whole ethnic group. So while other ethnic groups were producing Governors, Ministers, Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries, before you find someone from my ethnic group who rose to the top of his career, you will sweat. I think the only reason why I ‘surfaced’ on that side is because my soul must have fallen in love with the local song in the spirit world… nothing more.
When I passed out of NYSC and started distributing my CV, in my naivety, I went to some uncles and aunties. They all refused to touch my CV and repeated severally that they ‘don’t know anybody’. I don’t blame them anyway because most of them were casual workers and struggling civil servants. However, what I don’t like was the fact that they started giving me distance after some time without reason. These are the same people that, when things were going fine, they always swarmed around for perks and handouts. But now, if you call even just to say hello, they will not pick or return your call.
Some people, instead of facing their problems head-on and try to solve them would rather run to ‘pastors’ and prophets for visions. The pastor will tell him or her; “…your name is the cause of your problems because it glorifies the devil, change your name to … your siblings don’t want your progress so avoid them at all costs… If you go to your village, you are going to die… the charm your grandmother did eighty years ago is affecting you…” etc.
Though I admit some of these saying could be right as I have seen it firsthand how people we thought were friends actually helped crazy folks to hinder our progress and how confirmed jazz from the pocket of the devil himself has wrecked lives and homes. To cut off all communication all members of your family is very wrong because… no one knows tomorrow. If you run into problems tomorrow, it is the same people you were running away from that will have to come to your aid. If you have conflict in your family, it is not bad to keep contact with one or two folks.
As for the bad eggs in the basket, every family has its own bad eggs. I don’t know what those wicked folks gain by destroying other people’s homes. And they are not even ashamed of themselves. If you have one of such people in your ‘basket’, just greet the person- hello, how are you, how do you do, and go your way. And let me say this with a whisper into your ear… when you eventually receive the news that the chief tormentor in your family is dead, it is not a bad thing to buy a few drinks and celebrate.
If you are a job hunter, there are times you may have to travel out in search for jobs. Avoid the homes of newly married couples or couples with young kids as much as possible, even if It is your brother, sister or first cousin’s house. Staying with those kinds of people is a recipe for disaster. After few days after you move in, one of the couples will start behaving as if he or she has never searched for a job in his/her life. It is far better to stay with older relations who have children that are your mates. The older folks are cooler, more supportive and they hardly complain too unlike the younger married folks that, if you rest your arm on the sofa, somebody will complain; if you put your hands in your pocket, somebody will still complain.
Someone said if he is not related to the wife in a home, he will never go visiting there. That makes some sense because it is the ladies that are always seem to be hostile to their husband’s folks. Newly married ladies want to be seen as being ‘in charge’ of the house so you go stay with them for whatever reason, they will over-dramatize and will complain about everything. It is not as if the person that came to stay with them jovially did so. Nobody anywhere wants to go live in another person’s house if everything were okay at home.
Nevertheless, brother in-laws sometimes behave weird too but they don’t dramatize it like the ladies. Why young married couples behave like that, I don’t know. Some fellows can be very dumb too though. Imagine someone who is job hunting ‘carrying’ a random girl to an in-law’s house to practice copulation. What kind of nonsense is that?
I don’t blame job hunting folks who would rather roll with friends than with family relations. Friends treat you like equals while relations treat you as if you are inferior to them. And when you get your dream job or make financial breakthrough, it is the same relations who hitherto treated you like shit that will be the first to come calling for favors.
My advice here is… if you have good or well connected relations, you can liaise with them to help you get a job. If your relations are the unreasonable types, don’t bother calling anybody for links or help because it’s like trying to squeeze water out of a big stone. In this case, bootstrap yourself, chart your own course and go out hunt for what you need. May the heavens ‘manna’ you with a fat antelope in the jungle. Amen.
- Complicated Simple Stuffs
When I was a kid, I used to think life is very easy and one will excel as far as one is intelligent, got skills and is investment savvy. I always came top in my classes, win medals in sports and play pivot roles in school drama and other events. Surely when I ‘graduate’, I will dash to the top of the corporate ladder, have a fat bank account and a build beautiful castle too. In my naïve mind, I used to criticize some older bros for lazing around instead of furthering their studies or going out to search for jobs.
God forgive me for judging those people. Now that my eyes have seen what they were going through, I have learnt to tamper judgment with mercy. If you have not experienced a situation before, never criticize or judge the folks who are going through that situation because don’t know what they are going through, you don’t know how it feels and you don’t know tomorrow.
Why is it that, some people who don’t even know how to spell ‘abracadabra’ or are too proud carry their own luggage around seem to have things going on smoothly for them while the folks who toil, sweat and suffer everyday to earn a living often end up with some of life’s most unsettling battles? I am tempted to say life is not fair but what problem will that solve? If you sit down to brood and lament about how, despite of your hard work and labor, life is unfair to you, what will you gain? I’m not saying it is wrong to brood or soliloquy because to do those is a part of humanity. If you want to brood, if you want to soliloquy, I beg you do it softly-softly. Now let me tell you about some solutions I thought were simple, but are actually complicated.
Borrowing… loan… credit or whatever it is called. In my search for capital to set up an enterprise, I thought about borrowing funds from some sources but they all came with incredible terms. Banks require collateral and existing account with them. Though collateral was available but they also required guarantor. I asked the bank people why they require guarantor when collateral has already been provided. They said in case they can’t easily dispose the collateral, they’ll go after the guarantor.
Now let me ask you a question… “Who will stand as guarantor for me?” Nobody. This again made me reflect on my weird country. Why do we like to make life unnecessarily hard for ourselves even though we have the resources and manpower to make our lives better? Why do we choose to follow rough and tedious paths when smooth solutions with multiplier effects are readily available under our nose?
If a road goes bad, instead of repairing it, government officials will go buy SUVs for themselves. While the road might just cost N50m to repair, they’ll go buy SUVs for N100m. Instead of buying tractors and industrial machines for youths to use in production of goods and services, State Governors would rather buy 500 pickups at inflated unit price for the Police, 200 Premium SUVs for traditional rulers, and Executive Sedans for over 350 councilors in the State. These same people also receive allocations every month.
I do watch natural disaster news on TV and I’m touched that other countries deploy advanced technology to rescue and protect their citizens. But here in Nigeria, if you get into a car crash, common ambulance or tow truck, you will not see. Imagine good Samaritans ferrying an auto accident survivor to the hospital on the back of a motorcycle? It is not as if there is no money to repair bad roads in order to prevent accidents or there is no money to buy ambulances. Nigeria even dashes out ambulances to other countries. There is more than enough money, but it is very hard for the government to repair a simple bad portion of a major road. What an irony.
Why would a bank demand guarantor in addition to collateral? Other countries have checks in place to prevent exploitation of their citizens, but here, everywhere is jungle where the lions get served and the antelopes get pursued and killed for chops. If you are a multi-billionaire, banks will come to you begging you to accept a loan package you don’t need while they set a mountain of hurdles before enterprises who need soft loans to expand their business.
If a Japanese decides to die for Japan or an American decides to die for America that is justified because those countries care for their citizens. Now ask me if I can die for Nigeria. Me? Die for what? Am I mad? If you ask me to rule Nigeria, I don’t have any problem with that. But to die for Nigeria… oh dear… capital NO! That is rubbish. Why should I die for some useless pot bellied occultists who are busy hiding the country’s wealth away in Switzerland for their great grand children? Am I the one that is eating crude oil money? In this country where cows have more value than human life, I’ll rather kaput on top of a babe than die for Nigeria.
The money lenders on the other hand are the most unreasonable set of people I have ever come across. Though they don’t require guarantor, but in addition to collateral, they want 50% interest and the loan must be serviced monthly from the third month after you collect the loan. 50% interest? If you don’t want to borrow me money, just say so. I have provided you with collateral, what is your problem again? Well, it is their money. As I said earlier in this chapter, it is not good to judge people. I don’t know how money lenders earn the money they lend out or the losses they have incurred so I will not judge them.
I couldn’t help feeling ‘somehow’ when I read Barrack Obama’s book… where he went to visit Warren Buffet and Buffett said… Let me quote Buffett’s words here: “… I happen to have a talent for allocating capital. But my ability to use that talent is completely dependent on the society I was born into. If I had been born into a tribe of hunter, this talent of mine would be pretty worthless… I was lucky to be born in a time and place where the society values my talent and gave me good education and set up the laws and financial system to let me do what I love doing…”
Now compare that to me… does my society value my skills? Capital NO. All the acclaimed Nigerian writers you hear in the news… Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Adichie and co… they all made their names in Europe with foreign agents and publishers. In Nigeria, you can’t do anything without money or ‘connection’. And you cannot beat the corrupt system except you blend with it and do as they are doing or move to saner climes. Sometimes even when you have the money, you can’t utilize it if you don’t become ‘the boy’ of the Chiefs in charge of the sector or politicians at the particular time. It is like you want to take bread out of their mouth… they will do everything to frustrate you.
Ladyvida wanted to set up a magazine publishing outfit.. I got to meet her when she posted advert online for collaborative writers. Initially, I thought she was a moneybag but later learnt she’s a teacher who’s also trying to pursue her ambitions just like me. So we got talking. The first task was to create articles and columns and so on (the Intimate Adventures of Mr. Randy Man was actually meant to be the sexuality column).
I don’t really know how things played on her side finance wise but she later encountered the same capital problem I had. I hope you know how expensive magazine printing is. Sponsors and adverts people would read her letters and just reply with hmm… hmmm. Soon other team members began to pack and leave quietly until it remained just the two of us. I suggested we try book publishing first since the cost of magazine production was beyond us. She agreed and went to enquire the cost of producing the books. So we started saving again. I hustled here and there while she saved up some of her pay.
However, when our target saving was met, Nigeria poured sand into our cornflakes. Courtesy of government policy summersaults, the naira-dollar exchange rate shot up from N199-$1 and was fluctuating between N350/N370-$1. As if that was not enough, the government ‘partially deregulated’ petrol pump price from N87 per litre to N145 per litre. With almost everything in Nigeria being imported, you know what’s up; the price of goods and services skyrocketed. The money we struggled to save was no longer adequate to print the books. Now let me ask you some questions… “Whose fault is it? And what’s the son of man gonna do?”
Yet another complicated simple stuff is ‘saving’. People talk about saving money as if it is as simple as A B C. While looking for sponsor and loans, I did gigs in between. I will not lie to you, the little monies I made from the gigs, I ate them immediately I got bank alert. I grew up with a millionaire’s mentality. If you tell me you can establish a good business with few hundred thousands, I will tell you it is not possible. The cost of rent and generating power alone will wipe out the hundred thousand within the blink of an eye so what is the use of saving ten thousands? Poor me, I was a wise fool.
It was only around the time I decided to stop looking for sponsors when I saw young boys starting street hustles with ten thousands that my eyes became open. The boys do not pay rent and neither do they require electricity to power their hustle. With rent and power cost eliminated, even if it is a few chickens you want to raise in your backyard or two/three catfish ponds, as far as you raise them to maturity and sell, even if you don’t make much profit, you cannot make loss either.
What baffled me most is this simple question… “Why did it take me so long to realize this simple fact?” Well… life is… a real tough school. We go to school not to learn, but to discover things that are unknown to us… on our own… and it takes time to discover even simple obscure facts. That is the major difference between developed and developing countries. While developing countries education systems are aligned towards learning facts that are already well known, developed countries education systems guide their students to discover and invent new things. I get really pissed when I see kids using the same textbooks I used when I was in Primary school or WAEC setting the same examination questions they had been setting since 1980s in 2016. And they say they want ‘development’? Let’s leave that one before my blood begins to boil again.
Even Solomon, with all the wisdom he had, it was only in his old age that he realized that life is vanity. You all know there are times when you are doing a job that, out of ignorance; you do the job the hard way when the simple way is right under your nose. For example, before the advent of multiples cores, why did it take PC makers so long to realize they can use multiple processing cores to speed up a computer’s performance? If you tell a billionaire that the same salad he is eating for $1,000 cost $100 elsewhere, he will not believe you. So don’t blame me for not realizing earlier that I could have saved my pennies into thousands and started out something with it. We all realize new facts every day.
So after realizing this new fact, I set out to start saving my earnings but it wasn’t as easy as I had planned. If you earn regular income and don’t have many expenses, it will be quite easy for you to save money. But when your income is… ERRATIC… to save is not easy. Though it is possible, but it is very hard. In my case, after working, I don’t know when will get paid. It could be two or three months after the gig is over and I don’t know where the next work will come from. So whenever I get paid, it takes a lot of discipline for me not to spend all the money on accumulated expenses and pressing needs. That is why I don’t save money in the bank. I would rather hide it somewhere in the village and travel out because if I put it in the bank where my hand can reach it, if I become pressed for cash, you know what’s up.
Another crazy thing about saving is… how do I explain it? Okay let me put it this way. After saving money, the fridge at home gets spoilt, you withdraw some money to fix it. Then when you’re driving out, an impatient driver bashes your car. After pouring out plenty arguments and spittle, you go to the panel beater to repair the dent and that costs money. Then the next day, you get a call from a loved one that he/she is stranded and need urgent cash transfer to sort out some difficulties. At the end of the day, where is your savings? Other people have eaten it for you. Ordinary bottle of malt, you cannot even buy for yourself to drink. Oh my dear, this kind of situation is very funny.
Some people still express strong opinion that I should continue applying for jobs… maybe one day, someone would help me. I will be very honest here. While I would not reject a job offer, I certainly don’t see myself being an employee for long. I’ll simply save up the amount I require to start an enterprise and move on. You may find it hard to understand why so I will try to explain in plain language.
I am someone that likes to improvise. When I start a task, just like other people, I start the way the work process is laid out. But most companies work process are rigid, bureaucratic and don’t encourage innovation or tolerate errors. You must work in line with protocol. All these give me headache. It makes me feel like a bird that wants to fly, but its leg is tied to a big stone. You will peck off the rope and fly away… but other people who are still tied by the rope will start grumbling.
I will give you a clear example. At a data entry work I did, one is required to open a web app in a browser window, load the required page, enter the information and wait for the server to record the item before clearing the page and entering the next information. However, after some time, the server starts running slow and could take a minute to record entered data, another minute to clear page or it could hit deadlock. A time came when I got tired of waiting for the server to record and… I opened five tabs in a window and would circle back and forth. So this way, I was four steps ahead of the other people I was working with.
From a browser window rigged with five tabs, I improvised and added four more windows bringing the tabs I cycle to twenty. A time came when I was allocated heavy workload and the admin started to complain I’m slow. To be able to work faster, I added two more windows bringing the total tabs to thirty. A few days later, my co-workers started hailing that I’m ‘eating’ all the work since we get paid according to the amount of work we do. But inside me, I know they are grumbling.
You also recall, in Chapter Five, how my interaction with G. Papa was bricked. I did a course on workplace politics while in the university so I know what co-workers who are ‘uncomfortable’ with you are capable of doing. The craziest thing about this is that you can’t really know who your friend or foe is. In my Dad’s case, the fellow senior co-workers he regarded as friends were actually his foes. Outside, they will greet you with sweet smiles but inside, they are plotting ways to get you fired so that they can sit on your chair.
I’m particularly vulnerable to office politics mousetraps because when you work with speed, it is hard to be 100% accurate. And I do find it hard to see errors in my own work except another person goes through it and point it out for me. That’s very normal in every work process though, and that is why they have editing, vetting and various checks put in place to detect errors. But unfortunately, some grumpy people would turn a simple error into a mountain in order to get you fired.
If they have been gossiping or abusing me in a corner, I wouldn’t even know unless someone told me. I don’t fancy working with older ladies who are junior/co-workers as a result of the gossip thing, no thanks to some plump ladies at G. Papa’s office who would eye me with a corner of their eyes and made snide remarks after I’m done discussing with G. Papa. If they want to really bash a person, office ladies can go at any length to make sure the person sees hot pepper. I love working under elder female bosses though… they are very understanding and cool to work with.
I would love to work under challenging and motivating people/environments but I know it’s a matter of time before I outshine some people and I’ll have to pick up my ass and walk away at the end of the day. So you will agree with me it is better to go the enterprise way. But to raise the capital as a ‘jobless guy’, it’s not easy. Even when I found willing partners, the Nigerian factor will find a way to frustrate you.
Someone once asked me if I have applied for oversea Masters Scholarships since the country doesn’t seem to favor me. Though I’ll love to travel out, but the expenses required to get all the papers involved is almost the same amount I would require to set up a robust enterprise. Now you know why people go for Masters… because they want to become high earning employees. That means after Masters, I will start job hunting again, right? More like switching from the slow lane to the fast lane on the same road that leads to God knows where.
I have friends who got stranded abroad during their Masters program because of government induced policy summersault. If I become stranded abroad, who will I call for bailout? If you know where you are going, you may go. But if you don’t know the challenges you will face where you are going and you don’t have anybody there to support you in event of glitches, it is better to sit and sleep at home. Why will I be running helter-skelter because I hear police siren when I have not committed any crime? That is what people who are stranded abroad do when they see anything in uniform… they pick race. What kind of life is that? I know nothing good comes easy. But if one cannot pursue an objective with peace of mind, that kind of objective is not for one to engage in.
I’m not saying it’s useless to save or further one’s studies. Though the savings wasn’t enough to publish the books but it helped solved some pressing personal needs later on. If you want to save, save for a specific purpose and do not withdraw the savings except it is a matter of life and death. Don’t save just for the sake of saving otherwise, other people or issues you know nothing about will ‘eat’ the money for you. I know some people will come and start ranting trash about “sowing seeds” in church or paying ‘extraordinary tithe’ in order to receive ‘supernatural divine visitation’. They should go to Russia, China or Dubai to preach about tithe. If your church needs to execute a program or project and you have the means to give, give as bountifully as you can give without going broke. Simple!
You may not agree with the statement above because you have not been exploited under the guise of religion before. Look my dear, most of the time, it is all about money. If you have money, religion people and banks will court and beg you to come join them, offer you heaven on earth or huge loans just because of crumbs they will receive from you.
But if you are a struggling or hustling fellow, the same people who beg rich folks with sumptuous offers will try to use your situation to exploit you. Have you ever seen a rich or middle class person who is a volunteer cleaner or usher in a church? If you invite me to your church, 95% of the time I will not go because I know once your pastor sees me, he will want to use me as ‘healing specimen’ in order to demonstrate to people that he can pray superfluous prayers and perform miracle wonders. Outside, it will look as if they are helping you but inside, they are only helping themselves as these things make people wake up at 6am and scamper to church. That is power.
Another thing that irks me about religion leaders and their foot soldiers is that most of them live double lifestyle. An assistant pastor will preach against fornication during Sunday school but on Sunday night, he will sneak into bed with a teenage girl. Some guys would ‘deliberately’ become ushers in big churches. You don’t know why? The same pretty ladies they usher into the church during service, they usher them into their bedrooms at night. Just invite any church babe you fancy to your house to study the word with you. If she shows up, that’s all… because she knows what you wanted to do when you invited her.
The Senior Clerics are even worse in all ramifications. They preach humility and preservation on one side but on the other side; they are very proud, wasteful and extravagant. They like women so much that unlike ushers that only prefer young chicks, the senior guys will devour anything that wears skirt.
I’m not saying it is bad for someone not to chop babes because he is a pastor. For me, I don’t see anything wrong in if single church workers have a lover on whose chest they can lay head on. My point is… don’t preach against something you know you do in the secret every night because what you are doing is discouraging somebody somewhere who has seen you carrying babes from going to church. It is against Christian ethics for any church workers to be involved in multiple mortar and pestle pounding. If you know you cannot hold body or you can’t manage one babe, don’t become a pastor. Finish!
They preach against the devil but they are fetish. While it is very hard to know if a pastor is fetish or occultist, Muslim clerics don’t even bother to hide their fetish part. If you mess up with those people, they will use strong jazz backed with astral projected recitations to finish you. I assume that’s how they solve their ‘problems’ too. If you ask me to give a percentage, I will say seventy five percent of all religious folks are like that. You will not understand why I seem so indifferent to religion until you read the next chapter.
Sometimes I wonder whether Africa, Europe, America and Asia are all really on the same planet… because… some people in one part of the world who care so much about religion are still ‘developing’, are beset with light arms conflicts and political turmoil… while people in the other part of the world who, though they have their own religion, don’t make noise about it and are very comfortable and live in an orderly society.
Ask yourself… “What if you were born into another part of the world?” If you are presently a citizen of a society where people care less about religion, what if you were born into a religious society? If you are a fanatic Christian or Moslem, what if you were born into a Hindu society? Now let me ask you again… “Does religion really matters to humanity?”
The only way we can conveniently answer the question is if we know the kind of religion that is practiced in the spirit world. We do not know so we cannot say whether religion really matters to humanity or not. If you want to debate this kind of topic, I don’t have hand inside o… because I know it is going to degenerate into unproductive arguments.
What I know is that we all came into the world to discover, learn and develop our well being. So if you are born Hindu, learn Hindu; if you are born Christian, learn Christianity; if you are born Moslem, learn Islam. If you don’t like your religion or you think your religion is not good and you want to convert to another religion, look right; look left. Look right again. If your neck is safe, you may convert. But if your neck is not safe, just bottle up and pretend as if you are worshipping with the other people. It’s not really a free world. That’s all.
Amicable09 said this chapter sounded somehow ‘hopeless’. This goes contrary to the aim of writing the memoir which is to encourage people who have same challenges as I have. I wanted to modify some places but then I remembered that life is all about facing reality. Why should I call a spade a fork when it is actually a spade? If merely reading some stuff is enough to discourage you from pursuing your dreams… if you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small (Proverbs 24:10). Please grow some balls.
Also, Olabestonic001 opined that the experiences I’ve gone through “might have had a damaging impact on my psyche.” The truth is… instead of damaging my psyche, my experiences made me more determined and competitive. That is why I always strive to come out among the top in everything I do. I hate it when people say I cannot do some things because I’m ‘not fit’ or I don’t have ‘official experience’. If I get the chance to come on board, it’s a matter of time before they would realize they were very wrong.
Midway as I continued posting on Nairaland, Xfire put it described the real me these few words… “the OP’s independent writing style and unconventional way of thinking is striking.” Though it sounds like a compliment, the comment is also somehow a challenge and makes it hard for other people to understand me. Why do we continue to use compressed laterite soil and tar to build roads that wouldn’t last up to a year in Nigeria when gas kilned giant interlocking slabs can build far more durable roads?
I said gas kilned interlocking stones because… where I come from, oil companies flare gas anyhow 24/7. If they can’t use the gas to generate electricity, at least they can use the gas to kiln interlocking stones for road construction. It’s up to the construction companies to adopt the method though. We won’t have to wait for dry season before building roads again. Even highways could be in short periods that way since the road’s foundation slabs are pre-fabricated. But the question is… who will agree to build roads this way in Nigeria? I don’t know.
You might think it is not “wise” that I so rashly criticized my country the way I did… because the same government might decide to empower me. You see, I have a very straightforward personality. Some people choose to conform to a dictatorial lord in power because of advantages or crumbs they would gain from associating with the lord. Others identify with the lord because if they don’t praise or conform with the lord, they might lose their job, contract or be unable to receive certain grants.
I am not like that. If someone does well, I will acknowledge and praise the person. The nice lady at Belloxxi, G. Papa for being a wonderful motivator and role model, Sterling/SEEPCO for rebuilding roads at Umusadege, Agip for lighting up Beneku, Novena for its good lecturers etc. If the government is good, I wouldn’t hesitate to praise the government. But if the government is a source of frustration to me (I’m not even the only person being affected by their indecisiveness), I beg, I can’t praise or keep quiet at folks who haphazardly pour sand into my cornflakes because they don’t know the right policies to adopt. During the elections, they claimed they had the solutions to all the country’s problems so what is their problem again?
When I was in secondary school (Afro, Abeokuta), some of my classmates urged me to apply for Gbenga Daniel’s scholarship for physically challenged students. I didn’t find it funny. I told them… if you want to give me scholarship, you can do so because you think I am brilliant or you can see some potential in me. But to say you want to give me scholarship because of “disability”, it makes me feel like a beggar or hapless person. If the state government wants to give me scholarship, it should be based on merit, not because of some derogatory sentiments. I would apply the same principles to the notion of not speaking against the government in power because I hope to get noticed by them.
Some views expressed in this chapter are strictly my personal opinion. No offence meant. If anyone finds some words here offensive, he or she should go for anger management classes. Life is short… and high blood pressure is not good for the health. That’s all!
Due to the sensitivity of the next chapter’s topic, I’ll like to have a chat with the site admin and do a little more review before I post the chapter. I hope the outcome of the talks will be good because the chapter is … “da bomb…!!’…