Nobody will believe me now but this exact thing happened to me in 2008. I had just gotten a job and still didn’t have a car. I was dirt poor and always broke. Got off the bus at Obalende on top of the bridge on my first day to the new office at Ikoyi and clearly didn’t know where I was headed so just told the bike guy and he took me straight to Ikoyi. The relief I felt that I was not going round and round and getting to work late on my first day was such a relief and he saw it on my face. The bike guy took my phone number and said I should call him when I close to take me back to Obalende. I felt super fortunate. By himself he checked up on me twice that day and I even forgot to call back when the actual closing time came but I stepped out of the office and there he was on the other side of the road parked. We became really great friends from then on. Every single day he would be right there at Obalende waiting as I got down from the bus no matter how late I was and I would look out for him at closing. I paid each time. We were exactly age mates at the time and I got to speak to his wife back in the village etc etc. After a few months, I had saved enough to move to a small flat and bought a car so I didn’t need Danladi anymore. We still kept in touch and I no longer passed Obalende and he was delighted. Some times he would call me if he was around Ikoyi at closing and we would catch up by the roadside and I would “my oga” me till I tip him.
A full year later, he calls me as usual but says he wants to return to the village for good and would like to come say goodbye also since we had not seen in forever. I thought nothing of it and gave him the address to come on Saturday. Friday evening he calls to say that the bus to Adamawa leaves from Gbagada or Maryland (can’t remember) so can he come late Friday night with his load to go 5am Saturday morning. I agreed. We gisted late into the night watching TV and eating all sorts, spoke to his wife on speakerphone and I went to bed and locked my room door leaving him in the parlour. 5am heard the knock on my room door and came out to escort him to the estate gate so they can let him out with his bags. I gave him 5K to add to his transport fare, he got a bike and left, all in good spirits. I got home and went right back to bed.
I woke up at noon and being a weekend went about my life. I go to work on monday and come back home then had to decided to use my personal laptop to browse. No laptop. It took me a while to remember that I had been using it in the parlour before he arrived the night before and in the cacophony had left it there when I went inside to sleep. I called his number and he picked. I asked about my laptop and he said I should not be angry but he took it to sell because he had a lot of problems to solve in the village and the owner of the bike he had been riding for years took it back from him and he was penniless returning to his wife and parents to farm. Just like that. I didn’t understand it. For a long time I kept replaying the entire incident in my head trying to find the clues that should have led me to believe that this was even remotely possible, especially from a Hausa person. I bring up his tribe deliberately because from my experience they are one of the most blindly loyal people when you are a good person to them. I had never felt so betrayed in my life. The entire story didn’t make sense. The entitlement just felt wrong. If someone else told me this story I would assume they were leaving something out because how does someone you were just nice to and didn’t owe anything, feel entitled to repay you with that level of evil. It further occurred to me that I was feet away from evil the entire night and that anything could have happened to me overnight. I started having bad dreams of me sleeping and him picking my door lock and sneaking into my room in the dark. What hurt me the most was that I bought the laptop on instalment payment and still had 4 months to complete payment so each deduction from my pay check took the wind from my gut. The day I finished paying for the laptop was when the nightmares ended. I finally let it go and said “Omo humans ain’t shit and I would be damned if I let anyone even have a remote chance of making me let my guard down”. Moved on from it. Life recovered and I had bought countless laptops since.
August 1, 2012 by 11pm my phone vibrated right beside me as I slept. I turned it over and silenced it and went to bed. It was not a registered number and my philosophy was that except it was a fire in my compound, there’s nothing I can do by that time of the night for anyone. I woke the next day to 6 more calls from that number so I called it back at 9am. I heard a lot of Hausa in the background so I simply cut it thinking maybe the person realised they were calling a wrong number. Minutes after my phone rang again and I picked, hearing a woman’s voice in the background saying hello sir in the thickest Hausa accent. I replied and asked who she wanted to speak with and she said Sir na me Sephia Danladi wife. It took me a long minute to process. She kept saying Sir Danladi your okada friend for Obalende till it clicked. You will not believe I was actually happy to hear from her because for some reason my mind did not connect her to any bad memories. Next thing she says please sir I wan beg you in the name of God. I swear my mind was blank. I legit thought she wanted to beg me for money, and I swear I would have sent her money if she did. Cut the long story short, Danladi had been progressively ill, in and out of hospital, and as most illiterate village people do, they ended up in some voodoo priest healing centre where (as a prerequisite) you must list anybody you may have offended and who could be responsible for your predicament. She was calling me because he finally confessed to her what he had done all those years ago and was so weak he could barely speak anymore and she was afraid for his life.
I swear I did not know what to think or how to react. I had never dealt with this type of thing before and it was happening in real time so I couldn’t pause it to think or consult. I thought of telling her to let me call back but it would seem like I went away to go and untie the voodoo doll under my bed and release him from my curse. So I simply said “Wetin Danladi do no pass wetin my younger brother fit do me, I no hold am for mind. At least he didn’t lie and leave me to be looking everywhere for the laptop so I just learned my lesson not to trust people like that again but honestly I had nothing to do with it”. She was sniffing a lot by this point and said please I should just say I forgive Danladi, so I said those exact words and she thanked me and got off the phone.
I remember that date, August 1, because it was the anniversary of the day I resumed work at that place in 2008 when I met Danladi at Obalende Bridge. I just kept quiet because I didn’t think anyone would believe me anyway but the weirdest things happen to me all the time so now it’s just normal to me.