Sometime ago, something happened in neighbouring Abuja that was an eye opener. In one of the busiest areas of Wuse Market Abuja, a young lady was employed to sell recharge cards, assorted drinks and snacks. Ijay’s goods were selling like hot cakes. She was a smart lady who had always been referred to as multitasking. Alone she had been carrying on for months successfully, with no problems.
On one of the days, at the hour when Ijay’s business was at its peak (that is around 11:00 am to 1:00 pm), Ijay had an unexpected visitor. It was a young girl of about 12 years, in the midst of “please give me N100 recharge card”; “let me have one Maltina, cold one with meat pie”. “I want N1000,00 MTN and N500 9mobile, and others asking for their change, Ijay heard a small girl’s voice calling her attention. “Auntie!!! She called out gently, almost afraid to come very close.
“Yes?” Ijay spared the innocent voice a look. “Can I help you?” Ijay asked politely.
“Please auntie, the little girl curtsied in respect, “my auntie over there,” she pointed at a woman busy buying things, “is busy buying a lot of things. I just want a place where I can sit and wait for her until she finishes.”
“It is okay,” Ijay assented then went back to business. Ijay had a waist purse where she kept all the money for her transaction and the recharge cards. This is usually securely strapped around her waist. However, in the heat of business when she needed to sell a certain recharge card, she removed her waist purse to locate it easily.
Business was very good that day and Ijay was in high spirits poking fun at her regular customers. She had even forgotten the little girl in her stall until she heard her childish voice saying: “Thank you ma. My auntie just motioned to me to come,” the little girl curtsied and hurriedly left.
Shortly after that, a customer wanted a recharge card. Ijay’s hands automatically went to where she had kept it. But it wasn’t there. She looked under tables, it was not there. She overturned the shop. It was not there.
By this time, Ijay was sweating. The last person on her mind was that little girl. Volunteers ran around the market looking for the girl but she had disappeared into thin air.
It was at this point that other traders that were once bitten, shared similar stories. But it was too late for Ijay to remedy the situation. She has been robbed by the cradle. It amounted to N79,000 in cash and over N25,000 recharge cards. Ijay lost her job but had to pay her madam (nicknamed Shylock) for every dime.
Well-wishers in the market and some passers-by raised over N50,000,00 which Shylock collected grumbling. It was only after Ijay wrote an undertaking that she would pay the balance in 3 months that she was released by the police. Today, Ijay is wary of innocents.
In a similar situation on one sunny day when business appeared to be slow running for more than a week, a car seller learned not to judge a book by its cover. An expensive Mercedes Benz drove to this car stand in Jos and 2 of the occupants went for the most expensive car on display. It was a jeep.
Overjoyed, the owners proudly marketed their goods. The prospective buyers asked if they could test run it and see how it worked. The sellers were enthusiastic about it. Why not, they thought; since Oga (the one the two men obviously worked for) was in their car and their car was expensive too.
However, about ten minutes after they left, Oga, who had been busy eating a mountain of suya with massa (roasted meat seasoned with groundnut cake with rice snack) started exhibiting some kind of attitude. First, he ate even the paper the suya was wrapped in; then started behaving as if he was dancing Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance steps- the one that entailed dancing with the shoulder. The car sellers were laughing until his cap fell off.
What they saw almost gave them a heart attack. Oga’s hair was dreadlocks, thick with filth. There was no question that it was home of lice because from every indication, the last time it enjoyed the luxury of being washed must have been several years back.
Oga started making animal sounds, tore the well designed babanriga he was wearing, the caftan, then trousers, exposing very filthy tattered clothes. Next, he damaged the door of the car and made to run. The car sellers used all their might to hold him down until security men were called. In the end, they could not hold on to him-oga- he was a mad man who was ignorantly used in committing crime. And of course, their jeep never came back and they could not hold on to the Mercedes Benz the thieves came in because the police discovered it was also a stolen car.
So many people are in unhappy marriages because they judged a book by its cover. Nigerians are suffering because they reposed their confidence in the wrong politicians. They come looking for you with a smile pasted on their faces when campaigning for positions. But after using you as a ladder to climb up there; they start looking at you with their noses; they become inaccessible. They go to the extent of changing their numbers and their circle of friends. They forget that without people, they are nothing; In fact, they are as good as dead.
The electorate knows more than ever his vote is power. To sell out votes is to mortgage our future. It is high treason. And to be influenced by sentiments is to remain under bondage with no hope.