scrrrrrrrrrrrrch, the car hissed to a halt as Mela approached the traffic, he had maneuvered his way around the Island to make sure he beats the traffic but to no avail. He finally stopped and wound down angrily to let in air, his face glittered with sweat and he wiped it with the back of his hand cursing under his breath. This is the only Nigerian situation that sings sweetly to him you are home.
Mela had barely relaxed his huge frame on the seat of his car, when he saw a young man approaching his car, his sunken eyes had turned red from smoking and the bears on his face were scattered like an untrimmed lawn; thinking he was one of those touts that work for the police, he slipped his hand into his trousers pocket and brought out a hundred naira note instead of the usual twenty naira: this is one of the troubles he wants to avoid.
‘Oga’ his voice came, pleadingly.
Mela withdrew his outstretched hand, seeing that he is not a tout, ‘yes’ he answered as he met the gaze of the man. The man licked his cracked lips as if to prepare for the words that he is about to say, ‘oga abeg help, am a muslim student. I dey for my three hundred level, I am studying islam.’
‘ehen’ Mela prodded
‘dem call me yesterday, they said my house is burning at Ijora and my three year old daughter dey inside’ he paused and Mela nodded for him to continue, his countenance still calm.
‘As me and you dey talk now, my child is lying at the General Hospital’ Mela didn’t know how to explain the man’s transition from pidgin to English, ‘so what do you want me to do?’ Mela asked.
‘Oga na help I need, abeg. I no be beggar na circumstance cause am, am a student of Islam’ he paused to watch the effect of his story on Mela’s face, then he continued effortlessly, ‘I no fit lie, before God and man na the truth, I know dey beg na condition cause am’ he finally ended.
Mela raised his head, his eyes focused on the man, while trying to take in the story he had just heard. If it is truly before God and man, he is sure to believe, all that he has said. But before God and this Nigerian Man, who thinks he already had an alliance with God because God can never lie, a man who went from English to pidgin, Allah to God. This Nigerian man who rasped out words quickly like they have been formed for this incident, ‘Hmm’ he let out softly. This was the same story Kachi his cousin told him about a man who went to different locations in Lagos telling different stories, he is known in his profession and people don’t bother to listen.
‘you say na where your daughter dey?’ Mela asked
‘Oga, na for general hospital she dey’ he said
‘Okay make we go there make I pay for the bills’ Mela said and bent as if to put on his shoes, but the man didn’t say anything. Mela raised his head only to find out he was out of sight, he looked around from his car but he was out of sight. Mela smiled, ‘Nigerians’ he said and drove off as soon as the road cleared.