Facebook bios ‘usually’ succeed in giving me the measurement of people’s education, intelligence, social status and maturity. “If you fuck with me, I’ll fuck with you,” sounds like someone who is either a thug or a gentleman with an empty purse. “He reigns,” sounds like a functional Christian. “Some people we just be hating, meanwhy, I we be flexing,” secondary school student. “Visit ShopNaija dot com for a thrilling shopping experience online,” a businessman above the age of thirty. When I receive friend requests and I read some people’s bios, I know immediately nothing good can ever come out of our friendship, and so I delete their requests to save myself from the catastrophe of future rudeness and/or abusive encounters. I dare you to check your intelligent neighbours’ bios, check those of the nagging ones, check those of the young louts, the old louts, the churchgoers, the practising Muslims, the lousy women, the bankers, the teachers, the entrepreneurs, the rich, the poor, the miserable, and then come back here and tell me what I’ve said is untrue.
Now let me go back to where I began in Page 1, the pictures that Nigerian families paint for their children, of the world around them. In summary, they tell you it’s a wicked world and nobody is to be trusted. Well, it would be unwise to say they’re wrong, but again, not all truths are entirely true, no lie is entirely false. Nothing in this world is qualified to be generalised. It’s not everywhere that what goes up eventually comes down.
There was a day I travelled from Lagos to Ondo, and it was eleven o’ clock when I alighted at Oka. It was completely dark and nobody was in sight. I was afraid, what if some night guard fired at me thinking I was a night marauder? Then this nice car passed by, and then it slowed down and came back in reverse. There were two of them on it, at the front. “Where are you going?” they asked. I told them I was going to Akinyosoye but Adeyemi gate would do. They asked that I hop in. I hesitated. Such an expensive car, the perfect scene of rich men kidnapping people for renewal of their money rituals. I entered with a frozen mind, all my senses at alert and at the ready. The windowpanes went up; everything became tensely quiet; they weren’t even talking. I imagined, they would be thinking, now let’s throw the hanky in his face and he’ll fall unconscious. I pretended to be looking at the side but all my attention was on them, waiting, hoping, longing, fearing, regretting, thinking… but then they stopped in front of Adeyemi gate and said, “Uncle, this is where they call Adeyemi o.” I was out of the car before I could breathe and finally capable of uttering the “thank you”.
You see, the environment had painted the wrong picture of the world for me but some people would not relent in proving to us that good people still exist. I didn’t stop the car; they saw me by the roadside in the dark and stopped to treat me as a fellow human being. Not as a Muslim, not as a Christian, not as an Ondo native or a fellow Yoruba man, but yes, as a human being that we all are; as a brother from another mother. I could have been a kidnapper or a robber, but they reversed; they took the risk and reversed just to help me, can you see that? How many of your uncles (in your own family) can do that for you? “Omo òshì yen nì yen, kíló n wá kiri? Efi wère è sílè jòó, ejíá lo.”
“Is that not the wretched boy, what is he looking for here? Leave the lunatic alone and let’s go.”
Your mum is a nag. Your dad is a wife beater. Your uncles are louts. Your aunts are gossips. You’re a hypocrite. We know, yes, we know. But know this, not everybody behaves like you do in your family. The entire world isn’t like your neighbourhood. You’re wicked, yes, but a lot of people are nice. There are still good people in the world. So, take a seat please.
– Lord eBay (and his random ruminations, 2018)