I habitually chuckle each time I see Sanwo-Olu’s campaign poster while driving through 3rd Mainland Bridge in Lagos. The name triggers flurry of emotions and bittersweet memories experienced by a very young reporter in a business journalism outfit.
It was many years ago and I was on official duty to somewhere in Ojodu area of Lagos to interview a popular herbalist making serious waves in natural medicine. I was already seated in the bus but a storm was brewing in my stomach and I knew on the spot I needed to empty my stomach of the excess Akpu I downloaded at Nwaba’s. Or else I might just end up puking in the bus. I alighted from the Danfo bus and looked around for Aare Gadaffi’s DMT Toilets. Na lie o! They were nowhere in sight.
‘Devil is in trouble today, so I am’. I sighed.
I walked along discomfited until I found a relief in an uncompleted building somewhere in Agege suburb. With one hand grabbing my briefcase and the other already loosening my belt, I sneaked into this uncompleted building to bless the mother earth.
I smiled with relief, discharging, and was about 60% into action when four ‘omo aye’ showed up; three from behind and the fourth in front with a raised green bottle, ready to smash into my head.
‘Sanwo igbe e’ He hollered menacingly and raised the bottle higher.
I rose sharply, holding my drooling trouser with my left hand while my right gripped tight my briefcase.
‘Moni ko sanwo igbe e, oya were ni? Pay for your shit!’
The red-eyed guy hollered louder, his eyes glowing like hell fire, while the other three guys closed in from behind. I begged in the name of everything on the earth’s surface but my pleadings fell on the deaf part of their ears.
Then, Whai! Whai!! Two quick slaps were hastily registered on my cheeks from behind. They were unexpected, and my trouser dropped automatically to my ankle. The briefcase fell off. Everywhere turned pink.
Wetin be your name?’ One asked
‘Victor. Victor Adeyemi’ I faced him
‘This place na toilet?! Hhen, shey this place na your papa toilet?’
Another guy asked with a venom red enough to boil a pot of rice, getting ready to unleash his own version of damage. I turned in his direction and mumbled back timidly, pleading.
Then I was ransacked and my Sagem phone lifted. They also took the ragtag cash on me, and painfully, a wrist watch which actually belonged to Tunene omo iya’ lata. It was our celebrity watch that we used for important outings.
In my presence, they used my money to order for weed and asked me to join them to smoke. I did. Then they asked for my blessing, and I was allowed to leave.
What really hurts was I was not allowed to finish my ‘poopoo’ business despite the painful prices I paid. Gross injustice. Several days thereafter, I still kept hearing the sound of the two slaps. ‘Sanwo igbe e’ also became a permanent feature in my subconscious.
Then about a decade later, Sanwo-Olu showed up, wanting to be the CEO of Lasgidi. Now I’m seeing a strong connection between Sanwo-Olu and ‘Sanwo-Igbe e’ dudes. Something is telling me to call MC Oluomo and my lawyers, as this might be my only way of featuring in APC manifesto.
Sanwo-Olu, oya sanwo igbe e.
The Spirit of Lagos.
©VictorAdeyemi | @ekojournalist