The frenzy with which Nigerians are handling the forthcoming election scheduled to hold this 28th of March 2015 is quite unprecedented. So, much that I did not feel like making any contributions towards this elections; enough has been said on the subject already, too much, in fact.
Now, the frenzy back. Nigerians have hit the road; many have sought refuge in their home towns; as if, God forbid anything bad happens, your town will save you.
Then again, many are seeking refuge outside Nigeria which makes one wonder; if we all run away, who will be left? Never before have foreign embassies witnessed such large numbers of visa applications from Nigerians in the first quarter of any year.
I asked a friend why she was so agitated about getting her family visas’ See our convo:
Friend: In case
Me: In case, of what?
Friend: In case of incasity, now are you not a Nigerian?’ she said, anger in her tone.
Then I went to visit my children at the boarding school and my teenage son says: “So when are you coming to pick us?’
“Pick you for what?”
“Everyone in my class has gone for a visa appointment, when will you come pick us so we can get our visas, too?”
I needed to reassure both kids that I had them covered, as a responsible parent. I told them I have a plan B, never mind that there’s no plan A. I have to think of their safety, not so? In case of incasity.
Anyway, I joined fellow Nigerians to ramp up the heat by hitting the market over the weekend to scoop up as much food items as I can afford. If you had seen me, you would think I had a bunker somewhere I plan to stash my hoard.
I went to the meat market, the place where meat is displayed on broad wooden slabs with hundreds of singlet wearing butchers seated in a row behind tons and tons of meat- cow meat, goat meat and ram plus plenty of offal dripping water off the slabs.
I ignored the many calls from the butchers as they saw me approaching them but singled out one I thought was the happiest among the lot. He seemed happy to see me, made me feel he knew me; asked after my family and work and said I looked younger than the last time he saw me.
Liar! I’d never met him before and he knew it.
Anyway, I selected four different chunks of meat with neither fat nor bones and began to bargain. The butcher brightened up even more, sharpening his knives upon seeing a ‘good customer’. He wasn’t expecting me to buy so much, I reasoned.
Meat seller: Bring N10, 000
I flashed him a shocked look.
Me: For what? These pieces of lean meat?
Like any woman will tell you, to get a good bargain, you have to haggle and haggle and pretend to walk away, they will usually call you back and when they do, you’ve won. It’s a game we all play to the letter. I wanted the meat and so I settled for play.
Meat seller: Oya, aunty, bring N8,000. And that’s the last price.
He was now looking quite serious, sharpening his knives, preparing to hear me say, ok, so he could begin to cut the meat into smaller pieces.
Me: If I buy this for N8,000, my oga will beat me and send me packing.
I picked the pieces of meat and pretended to be weighing them to check that I wasn’t being fooled.
Meat seller: This aunty, you are quite stingy. Please buy from me. You can’t get better meat than this.”
Me: N4,000 is what I have.
Meat seller: N4, 000 ke? Lailai, walahi, I swear by Yaasin, (he put the tip of his index finger to his tongue, then pointed it skyward) You can never get this for nothing less than N8, 500. I removed the 500, to draw you in as a customer.
At this time, a few customers had begun to pile up behind me, each eyeing the meat I was pricing. But no, I still had a game to finish, so I applied what I thought was ‘market sense’.
Me: I won’t take this meat even for N5,000!, I declared, slamming one portion hard on the slab and eyeballing the butcher. That moment, eye to eye, my friendly, happy smiling butcher morphed into something I didn’t recognize.
Meat seller: He answered me in a different voice, too. “I’ve seen you walking all over the market like fever without buying anything significant, if you don’t remove your two left legs from here, I’ll carve a new one for you”.
Huh? I stopped myself from looking at my legs, to be sure they hadn’t become two lefts. Haba, this butcher can abuse person.
Me: Ok, I’ll pay N4,500, last. And that’s me being generous.
I made to lift the meat again but saw how red his eyes had become and the frenzy with which he was sharpening those knives. The blades were so thin and looked deadly. I suspected I might lose a hand if I touched the meat again. But i was nit to be defeated
Meat seller: Get out of my face, so I can see better customers.
I stood my ground. What could he do, cut me, simply because I haggled too low for his meat low? Nah!
Me: So what are you saying?
I asked as if I hadn’t heard his threats. After what turned out to be a match of wits and staring contest, he blinked first.
Meat seller: Oya, pay N6,000 for the meat and if you bargain any lower, I won’t be responsible for my actions.
Ehen, see meat seller sounding tough, anyway, deal! As he cut the meat he kept lamenting how some women can bring bad market and all that.
Hmmm, I paid him N6,000 and went home happy!
Oya, elections come, we are waiting.
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