Nigerians rise up and collect your ‘change’- Abiodun Kuforiji Nkwocha

Nigerians rise up and collect your ‘change’- Abiodun Kuforiji Nkwocha

My sister once lived in the same premises with her landlord. It was no biggie at first, until something weird started happening. When she bought her car, he increased the rent. When she changed her car to a better one he increased the rent. She eventually moved out making a mental note not to live within the same compound as the landlord.
A friend of mine rented a shop and started selling provisions. It was going quite well. She also had paid two years for the shop. The landlady kept an eye on the shop. When business was at its peak and the rent was expiring, my friend tried to renew the rent but the landlady said she wanted the shop for herself. My friend had to leave. It turned out that the woman opened a provision store in the shop too.
When my husband and I moved into our former flat, the landlady knew I was not working then. I was pregnant and would not work for a while. After a few years, I had given birth and gotten a job. One day, I was just leaving to work; I also had a driver then. He was waiting in the car. The landlady came visiting. She seemed surprised to see me going out all dressed up. When we first moved in, we had one car. Now here I was with a car she didn’t know of and a driver.
“You are working now?” She asked nicely.
“Yes ma,” I answered.
“Is it a shop or an office?” She queried.
“I am a civil servant, ma” I respectfully answered.
She looked at me shrewdly above her glasses.
“Ok… that is your driver?”
“Yes ma”. I replied.
“Ok… please greet your husband for me.”
That evening when I got home, I told my husband that she was going to increase our rent.
I was right.
She increased our rent by over a hundred thousand naira.
It was as though “They are prospering in my house and I am not getting a cut of it…”
I am learning why people lie a lot about having money.
Why some people pretend not to be able to afford a lot of things.
We used to pay our rent very early, before it expired. Till one time it still had a few weeks to expire. The landlady started putting pressure on us as though we had been owing her for months. It was befuddling.
Because of this, we learnt something that a lot of Lagosians do. We do not pay our rent ahead of time that way. We create the impression that it is not an easy thing to do so that the landlord does not feel we are fetching the money from an oil well in our sitting room.
It is a crime to spend money no matter how hard earned in this country.
We were once passing a bad road with my driver, it had some really beautiful houses and he said in an angry voice..
“See the road! And the people living here have money but they don’t want to spend it.”
I was taken aback by that statement.
Why should a private home owner tar a road that is the responsibility of the state government? When did it become their responsibility? To the extent that people they do not know insult them because they refused to spend their own money to make life comfortable for everyone.
You spend the money, people bring out traps and begin to find ways of extorting you.
You don’t spend the money, people who do not know jack about how you got the money are angry at you.
There was once an Akara seller. She was very congenial and made the nicest Akara in the area. She paid for the spot she used in front of the property of another woman. People would queue for her Akara and things were moving ahead for her.
One day, the owner of the property abruptly asked her to leave. Nothing would change her mind. She left.
The owner of the property opened her own Akara stall right there overnight.
It was as though, the more successful the Akara Seller was, the angrier she was because she had no stake in it.
Well, she was not a very nice woman (obviously) and luckily, the Akara Seller got another spot close by.
Needless to say, the Akara Seller maintained her customer base while that landlady floundered and eventually closed shop.
There is an attitude that would make a landlord increase the rent because the tenants seem to be prospering or repossess a shop that was doing well. The attitude that makes landlords upset that a property they rented out is generating a lot of income is the same attitude that our government is displaying.
“With all the recession people are shouting in Nigeria, we have ranked 8th in the world in the number of people spending time on the internet.”
“They are complaining they don’t have money to buy rice but they can buy data to complain about the best administration this country has ever had.”
“Sir that is an untapped money generating outlet for us o. Let Nigerians pay more for data.”
“Berry brilliant idea. Sankyu…”
And that was how we found ourselves here. (of course the Telcos were in on it… who doesn’t want the opportunity to make more)
Paying a huge amount of money for petrol.
Paying exorbitant amounts for food.
Paying insane electricity bills and school fees.
But because we can still afford data, the government want in on it.
It is officially now a crime to have any semblance of a luxury in Nigeria.
But I don talk am before, una no gree hear.
Collect your change…

Read more from Abiodun
Forget dat thing, gossip is sweet biko – Abiodun Kuforiji Nkwocha
Hollywood movie sex vs Real life sex – Abiodun Kuforiji Nkwocha

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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