I have been looking for excuses to justify why I have not been able to write another episode of Memoirs for the past two weeks and I decided to use this: Nepa took light! Nepa/PHCN officials travelled all the way from Nigeria to Bournemouth to disconnect my wire and they also took it away. Well, if you believed that then you can believe anything. The honest truth is that my brain took a break and it took great effort to write this episode.
Honestly I don’t know where to start from unless to say my trip back to Nigeria was more than I bargained for. As the time ticked towards my trip, I had to indulge in some over-eating techniques so that Ma Nizzle would at least see some flesh on my cheeks and also had to hit the gym so that Miss Nizzle can see a sexy body, rub a well developed chest and proudly show me off to her friends.
After using most of my money to buy ‘Primarks’, I also had to have cash to throw around for the boys for Faji. Even though I had only gone for three months, people back home would expect one thing or the other and wouldn’t understand that I was just a Masters student with no job but only swagger. I could imagine a long queue with people and their requests...I shuddered. My financial situation was even worse since I had already purchased birthday gifts for Ma & Miss Nizzle’s who were billed to celebrate their birthdays during my visit.
To salvage my situation, I had arranged with my trusted confidantes back home on escape methods. Because I knew I was not going to have enough money, I had an ironclad blueprint of hide and seek methods that would perplex even the United States government and make Osama Bin Laden present me with an honorary award. It was so detailed that even if Britney Spears or any celebrity uses it, no paparazzi would be able to get a sniff of them or even get a picture of them. You would be as elusive as a Zebra on a speed bike eluding a Lion.
Recalling when I was in Nigeria, I knew I was not going to get any mercy, since I always did the same to my friends who just came back from abroad. My cult-hero status would also ensure that those that knew me would also expect quite a lot from me especially since ‘I too dey form’ when I was in Nigeria. My Facebook pictures also gave the impression that I was living an affluent lifestyle. What people didn’t know is that one of my major reasons for coming home was to come and pack enough garri,groundnut and Indomie to weather the storm here. I want to use this opportunity to thank the makers of Indomie for saving Nigerian bachelors the world over and giving us a reason to enter the kitchen. God bless you.
Sharing some techniques out of my escape routine was the ‘Over Luggage Palaver’. When people are coming over to Nigeria and are not well prepared financially as I was, one of the ‘get-out-of-jail’ excuses was that of over-luggage. When the lynch mob arrives to get a piece of the goodies you bought for them from yonder, what people say is that they bought a lot of stuffs but there were problems at the airport because of the weight of the bags. As such, they couldn’t come with everything they planned on bringing especially the stuffs that they bought you. They then usually follow it up with a promise that their bag was en-route to Nigeria in a couple of days, if you had the patience. After saying all these, they would probably console you by giving you a Primark shirt or chocolates instead of the SONY PSP you requested for.
Talking about chocolates, what is it about expecting someone coming from abroad to always buy? It is not like you can’t get in the supermarket down your street or something. Alternatively, you could go to ShopRite and buy your fill. Well, it was in a page in my escape routine to buy the chocolates in Nigeria with Naira instead of the money-sapping Pounds. Had to save money, you know?
Finally the best part of the escape routine is to leave them guessing. Never let them know the actual date you would be leaving. The first thing you do when you enter the country is to promise people that you would be around for a while so that they get relaxed having you around. If they know or sense you might not be around for long, they would so clinch you and sap everything they can while they can.
Earlier, I mentioned the over-baggage scenario, by lying about over-extending your stay; it would give your story more credence. The only downside about all these lies is that your confession to a Reverend father would take longer than usual when you return. It was worth it though, I had a friend who went home for the December break, he lamented that everything was taken from him, even his belt!!! His trousers sagged and fell all the way back to the United States.
Comforting myself with the knowledge of my escape routine, I entered Heathrow airport. It is worth noting here, that it took me less than 15 minutes to clear myself, all with minimal fuss. The trolley used to wheel my baggage was free and I boarded my flight without breaking sweat.
On the plane, I noticed people were still suffering from the post ‘Muttalab’ blues. Due to the fact that I took a lot of red wine, I always had to pee in the toilet and anytime I did so, I noticed people’s eyes following me to and fro the toilet. Did I look like the bloody bugger for crissakes!!!??? Ignoring them and with my earphone tucked in my ears, I imagined the reunion back home especially with Miss Nizzle. I smiled. I listened to all the love songs from Michael Buble-Home to Phil Collins and Bone Thugs- Take me Home and Sound Sultan’s-King of my Country. To pass away time because I was shivering with excitement, I practiced my phonetics. Since I was from Jand and going home, I had to show that my accent had changed a bit even though it was only three months I had left. Since there was lack of anything to do, it looked like a good idea back then.
After like seven hours, the wait was finally over. From my vantage view from the plane, I saw Gidi, Lagos, Home in all its glory, in all its darkness since there was no light. Getting down from the plane and walking into the airport, I was blasted with a wave of hot air that I nearly fainted. It took me less than five minutes to start sweating, a feat I couldn’t manage in like three months abroad. The air-conditioners were supposed to be working, maybe they were but it had no effect at all. At the Muritala airport, unlike Heathrow, I had to pay N100 for a trolley just to wheel my baggage. From the point of the plane up to the moment I saw Pa Nizzle, I was asked for tips from immigration officers, airport-workers on no less than 10 times. It was pathetic. Did I look like Santa Claus with naira Bills? Or Michel Jackson on a twenty-naira note?
Shaking my head by it all, I spotted Pa Nizzle and Demola (one of my escape-route plotters); I strode towards them filled with happiness. Nizzle was back in Gidi...