There are four homes in Uncle Tunde’s head. Home when Maradonna was the Military Head of State (HoS) and president at the same time. It was this home that Mr. Ajibade visited weekly because Daddy had promised to lend him some money. The government had devalued the Naira and Mr. Ajibade was unable to import the 3 printers he wanted from Germany.
His financial ruination happened in the space of three days. On Monday, he had the whole sum for three industrial printers! 50,000 Naira! On Wednesday, the money for three could only buy one! Consequently, he wasn’t able to execute the printing contract he got from a multinational!
Thereupon, the bank threatened to take his house. Mr. Ajibade died one Saturday morning. This Job’s message came to us while we breakfasted. High Blood Pressure (HBP) snatched his life! He was a man in his prime!
Uncle Tunde smiles when he remembers that home because beside the many downs of that home, they had it good a number of times. Before school, they ate good food and Milo was in granules. They could afford tin-milk. Water ran in many houses. They had light so much that they only noticed when it was taken. It was from that house and home they built and moved to our present house where I was born in 1996.
Many neighbours also moved to their houses. Life was a mélange of good and bad, a cocktail of having and not-having, but they enjoyed the excitement of riding in parks, the fun of waiting for Christmas and how they drove to school in Daddy’s car. Sometimes, they used the school bus and so did his friends.
He said: Back then, we were not rich but we were not poor. No wonder we hated so much the man that made our lives miserable and less pleasurable.
There is a second home in Uncle Tunde’s head, home when General Sani was HoS. It was in this home that everybody forgot what it meant to have a right! In fact, they forgot how to talk! They must learn to register displeasure in whispers! Political activism was noticeable only in buying Tempo or Tell Magazine or other newspapers. In them, the cruelty and idiocy of the bad government was exposed.
Visitors shrank drastically. Family members and friends had checked out. Uncle Seyi escaped to London; Uncle Kayode made it to Saudi Arabia; our neighbor, Aunty Gladys travelled to Italy. One man went as far as Azerbaijan!
In the second home in Uncle Tunde’s head, they groaned under the heavy oppression of a Monster but they could still afford something close to dignifying lifestyle, only that they lost their voices. Gani Fawehinmi, Tunde Bakare, Femi Falana, Chris Ubani and many others spoke louder and stronger like everybody had donated their voices to them.
There is a third home in his head; home when OBJ was president. It was in this home I began to talk and run around. From here Mummy took me to kindergarten. I know this house fairly well. People began to find their voices in this home. They began to gather again at news-stands to abuse our president. But beyond finding our lost voices, nothing much changed. In fact, things grew worse. For one, Daddy complained we used too much milk, Mummy removed Milo from our reach. So we needed permission to take a tablespoonful of Milo! It was in this home Daddy bought tyres infrequently. He could only afford to change them yearly. Before, he did that twice a year.
Even the number of foreigners on our street thinned out. Ghanaians, Togolese and Beninese began leaving for their countries. We heard their countries were now better. Genevieve told Uncle Tunde that Ghana had changed. They had light longer, she said.
The fourth home. Actually, two fourth-homes. In that home Baba Go-Slow was president. Upon whose demise Mr No-Shoes took over. Uncle Tunde said they were one and the same. You can’t say the root of a tree is not part of a tree. So I agree. We live here now. Many people have since moved to our home in Lagos. They are jobless. Neither Ibadan nor Abeokuta where their parents live, provide them with their needs. Lagos is no better place to get a job either. In short, finding jobs in Nigeria is like a wind-chase. The longer you chase, the faster it eludes you!
In this home, Uncle Tunde and friends argue every day. He is now a philosopher, he has stopped going to church. His reason: religion is our problem! Religious leaders are crooks. I don’t know for him. When my other brothers argue, he faults their argument for generalizing. But now he generalizes and blankets all religious leaders! How many does he know sef?!
Anyway apart from his problems with the religious leaders, I like Uncle Tunde because he says the truth almost all the time. For example, yesterday he said: Our country is bad because of President No-Shoes. No reasonable person pushes for the renewal of MEGALOMANIAC EPITOMIC CLUELESSNESS.
I suspect he was right. The big English confirms my suspicion 🙂