Today has been a little quiet, except for the whispers between Miss. Mọ́délé and Mr. Àlàdé.
‘These two makes me laugh’ I thought to myself. I wonder if they knew that their affair is an open secret.
As I sat at my desk willing the clock to move faster, so I could go home, Mr. Owólabí rushed in with his rechargeable lamp and headed straight to the extension box at the corner of the staff room.
“Please, you people should come and check your phones o, I need to charge this lamp abeg, we have not had light in my area for weeks now”
“This Country sef, do you know that in my area, we don’t even have a transformer, so there is even no hope of electricity anytime soon”
Mr. Àlàdé said as he stood up to remove his fully-charged phone.
“Things in this country are just getting worse every day” Mr. Akóredé said.
“It seems like ‘every man for himself’ is the motto of this our modern-day government o. Nothing works. Do you know my sister took her daughter to the General hospital last weekend? The little girl had fainted in school. They wouldn’t attend to her o, the nurses said there was no bed, but after she bribed them, a bed miraculously became empty.”
Thankful that the remaining few hours before closing time will be less boring, I quickly chipped in
“That’s a normal thing now. In this country, you pay your way to get anything, even things that are rightfully yours. My father worked for 35 years at the Local government office in our village and after he retired, they said he had to come to the Secretariat here in Town to fill some forms for his gratuity. He has done everything o, yet the officers in charge told him that it usually takes years to process it, but if he wants, they will help him push his file, he only has to pay them twenty percent of the money”
“I lost an Uncle two years ago because the hospitals wouldn’t commence treatment without a Police report.” Mr. Àbáyọ̀mí stated solemnly.
“He was attacked by some gunmen that night on his way out of town. Some good Samaritan took him to the nearest hospital but they insisted on a police report before treatment. The nearest police station said the crime was committed outside their area and so cannot issue a report. Those people were nice enough to bring him back to the town’s Police station where they got a Police report, but he had already lost so much blood and so he died before morning.”
Shaking his head sadly, Mr. Akóredé said
“I have given up on this country o. Why can’t the hospitals commence treatment and contact the police themselves? Such a terrible country!”
“We live in a country where every home provides its basic amenities without any support from the government. You know my brother told me that in the cities now, every home owns a generator to supply electricity, and borehole to supply water. It’s just like each house is a government of its own”
Miss. Mọ́délé who had been quiet all through calmly said
“I have never really thought of it but your words are true Mr. Akóredé."
“We are each creating our small governments, within this government; creating our small nations within this Nation.” she concluded.
“Sad yet true” Mr. Àlàdé said in resignation.
Laughing, Mr. Owólabí said
“So, everyone, I’m President Owólabí, the Commander in Chief of the Nation of Owólabí”
I chuckled, wondering how Mr. Owólabí always manages to find humour in the saddest of situations.