How to choose your mentor – pitch in Mentors are for life! Work in progress
Author – Dupe Bobadoye
Ibadan, Iwo Road, Oshodi, Ojota, Berger” echoed noisily from the megaphone at the motor park in the ancient city of Abeokuta.
The typical motor park noise, hustling and bustling, fights, hawkers advertising their goods, travelers and conductors arguing over fares amongst other things, were the typical characteristics of the motor park at Kuto in Abeokuta- The Rock city.
Somewhere behind the buses, stood Samaru and his colleagues cum friends taking shots of local herbs soaked in alcohol while flirting with the female hawkers.
“Come, let us take care of you, let’s spoil you silly”, was the conversation Samaru and his friends were having with the ladies in the motor park.
Samaru was a tall, dark but not too handsome man with a husky voice. He was an interstate driver who usually shuttled between the cities of Abeokuta and Ibadan in western Nigeria.
He owned a Toyota Hiace bus that could seat 18 passenger at once which he used for his transport business.
His wife, Ajoke, owned a restaurant in the heart of the city where she sold mostly the local delicacies. They had four children, amongst whom was a set of twins, Taiwo and Kehinde.
At home, he was called ‘Baba Ibeji’ – a local parlance for “the father of twins” but amongst his friends and colleagues, he was popularly known as Samaru.
Ajoke was an astute and hardworking business woman. Every morning, as early as 6 a.m., her staff would start off their daily chores at the restaurant before she resumes by 7 a.m.
She always received delivery of fresh food items from her suppliers, especially meat, fish and vegetables before they were opened for the day. She personally supervised the quantity of food her food vendors received for sale all around their various locations within the city. She had about seven of such vendors.
At the end of each day, they delivered their sales returns to her. She had trained a couple of ladies in the business and still had a lot more working for her. Her business was booming.
The four children attended different secondary schools within the city and she had a number of extended family members living with her who assisted her with her restaurant business. She was indeed a strong family woman.
Because of her food business, she rarely cooked at home. At the close of business, she would buy large loaves of bread which the family would take with tea for breakfast the next morning.
Whenever the children finish from school at the end of the school day, they would return to the restaurant where they would have lunch and supper before they left for home together.
Whenever Samaru (Baba Ibeji) returned from his travels, he would visit the restaurant where he would be served and enjoy wraps of pounded yam and beef or whatever meal was available.
The couple will then sit to count the money made from the day sales together and then balance the accounts. They were both very invested in the sales from the restaurant.
This was the picture of the everyday life of Samaru and Ajoke.
At the close of work after a very busy Saturday, Ajoke received a rather unusual call from her husband that he would not be coming to the restaurant, rather, he would be heading home from work. Ajoke, being the good wife and mother she was, out of concern for her husband, left earlier than usual and headed straight home after giving instructions to her children with respect to the daily operations at the restaurant.
She got home to meet her husband looking all worked up and tired.
“Baba Ibeji, hope all is well?” She asked.
“Oh nothing. I am just tired”, he replied.
“Have you eaten? What can I get for you? Should I get you hot water to have your bath?” She asked again.
“This woman, I am just tired! I need some rest!” He retorted.
“Okay then”, she said, as she went into her room to freshen up. The children came home later in the evening and gave their mother the proceeds from the sales for the day and everyone went to bed.
The next morning, while they were busy with their different chores and preparing to start their day, they heard a knock on the gate.
“Who is there?” Asked Taiwo as he moved towards the gate.
“It is I, your father’s friend, Waheed”, the voice said.
“Ah, good morning sir”, he greeted as he opened the gate.
“Good morning, how are you? Are your parents home?” Waheed asked.
“Yes sir, you may come in”, replied Taiwo. As Waheed stepped into their compound, Taiwo discovered there were other people with Waheed.
A couple of his father’s friends and some relatives whom he had not seen in a long time.
As they made to enter the main building, Ajoke came out to welcome them. “Good morning sir” she greeted. When she saw other people behind her husband’s friend, her heart skipped a beat.
“Good morning Mama Ibeji”, they chorused. She looked at them with so much curiosity knowing fully well that in Yoruba land, when such a visitation is made, it only meant one thing- There was fire on the mountain.
“Thank God my husband is at home”, she thought to herself as she shrugged her shoulders and let them in.
“Baba Ibeji, you have visitors o!” She called on her husband. “What can I offer you?” She asked. “Ah, don’t worry dear, we are okay”, they said one after the other.
Samaru came out to meet his guests and they exchanged pleasantries.
“Please make yourselves comfortable”, Ajoke said as she made to enter the kitchen.
“Our wife, it is you we have come to see”, Waheed said as he cleared his throat.
“I hope there is no problem?” She asked as she looked at her guest from one to the other.
“God forbid, may we not have problems”. Waheed said, as he stood up to address her. Putting his hand around her shoulders, he said,
“My dear, we have offended you”. Ajoke gave him a puzzled look and asked,
“Offend me? How?” All the guests stood up and said, “We have come to seek your forgiveness”.
“You can’t offend me, why are you scaring me?” She asked as she fixed a gaze on her husband.
Her gaze was begging for answers as her heartbeat increased rapidly. Her husband said,
“Please forgive me.” One of Samaru’s relatives stood up and said,
“No matter how heavy a word is, we’ll still have to use our mouths to say it. Your husband has impregnated another woman.”
Ajoke fixed a gaze on her husband as the words she heard kept re-echoing in her ears. She started hearing the sounds of fire crackers as she looked at them one after the other before she shot her husband the final look and asked,
“is it true?” Samaru nodded affirmatively.
Ajoke gave him a fake smile and said,
“It’s okay”, as she walked away.
Samaru’s friends and relatives looked at him and said,
“The ball is now in your court. We have done our bit. We have helped you break the news.”
He thanked them and saw them off as Ajoke watched from her bedroom window.
When it was time for lunch, Ajoke instructed the children to pound yam for their father while she prepared vegetable soup, just the way he loved it.
Samaru reluctantly ate the food, perhaps for fear of being poisoned by his wife. He woke up in the dead of the night to apologise to his wife. Kneeling by her bedside, he asked for forgiveness.
“May God forgive all of us”, she replied.
“Baba Ibeji, you know how my business is run. You know I need to leave home early to meet my customers as Monday is always a very busy day. Please, let me have enough sleep so I can have the strength to go through the day”, she said as she turned her face to the wall and slept.
Monday morning, while everybody was rushing to go out for the day, Ajoke had gone out to see her suppliers. It was business as usual and by evening, she and her children and family members returned home.
Immediately she opened the door, she met a young lady in her early twenties with a baby and a relatively older woman who turned out to be her mother with their luggage in the sitting room. As soon as the lady saw her, she knelt down and greeted Ajoke.
“Welcome ma, I am Bisola, your new wife”. Her mother also greeted saying, “Our mother, you are welcome.”
Samaru came out of his room and introduced them formally. Without betraying any emotion, she carried the baby from Bisola, cooed excitedly as she played with her and saying,
“Baby, you are welcome.”
Bisola’s mother was pleasantly surprised and happy that her daughter had finally gotten a good one.
Samaru showed them to their room while Ajoke went into hers.
The days went by with Samaru living like a king. Back at the motor park, his friends hailed him. They gave him a new name- The Strong man.
At home, Bisola and her mother enjoyed the luxuries of her new home while Ajoke focused on her business devotedly.
As the days went by, the groceries at home kept depleting with no one to replace them. Everyday Ajoke returned from work, she’ll greet Bisola and her mother pleasantly and spend nothing more than a minute with the baby.
This continued for a while.
One day, Bisola suddenly discovered that there was no more detergent in the house. She awaited Samaru’s arrival and told him about the need for a replacement.
Samaru simply replied saying he would see what could be done about it.
He got up very early the next day to go out but the bus had barely gone a distance of 500 meters outside the motor park when it stopped abruptly – the engine had knocked.
What Samaru didn’t know was that his wife had engaged an unscrupulous element to covertly contaminate the fuel in his bus. The breakdown of the bus was a direct consequence of this action.
He could not do anything that day as he had to get the bus towed to the mechanic’s workshop. And he earned nothing for the day too.
By the time he got home, Bisola reminded him of what she had asked the previous day only for him to lose his temper.
“Don’t disturb me, I will get it when I can!” He shouted.
Bisola was shocked and so was her mother.
The proceeds from the daily sales Ajoke and her husband used to count together had stopped.
Samaru’s bus needed urgent attention and funds were no longer available.
Every time he complained to his wife, Ajoke, about paucity of funds, Ajoke also complained about poor sales from the restaurant. Every attempt he made to raise funds proved abortive. Only he could explain how he had been managing his funds.
In the past, Ajoke used to go home with large loaves of bread everyday for breakfast. But she soon directed the children and others living with them to eat only at the restaurant. The children were simply given pocket money to cover their meals before having the rest at the restaurant.
She stopped stocking the house with any form of provisions. Over the years, Samaru had become so used to Ajoke doing that that he had no idea about how groceries got into the store.
The groceries at the house was eventually exhausted and it went without replenishment.
That was the beginning of fights between Bisola and Samaru. Every time he tried to raise funds, it was solely to put his bus back on the road and nothing more.
Bisola and her baby were not in his budget. When she could no longer bear the ‘suffering’, and Ajoke was a no-go area for providing for her, she waited for Ajoke to return from work and as soon as she returned, Bisola knelt down and started crying, just as her baby was crying. She started pleading with Ajoke to forgive her and narrated how Samaru had lured her with money and boasted about how he would take care of her.
Ajoke simply told her to calm down and resolve her issues with her husband.
Before Ajoke returned from work the next day, Bisola and her mother and the newborn had moved out of the house. When she discovered they had left, she said,
“Good riddance to bad rubbish”
No one ever heard from them again.
Samaru lost his only source of livelihood- The bus, and could not raise enough funds to purchase another.
As for Ajoke, she channeled all her resources into giving her children very good education up to Masters level.
Three of her children live in the US and she also relocated to the US to be with them.
Samaru spent the latter part of his life in misery.
Indeed, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
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