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The Average Nigerian and His Precious Well

The average Nigerian is the eternal optimist; longsuffering and deeply religious often engaging the divine in a conversation albeit negotiation for a change of story. His God should not be joked with, his place of worship is sacred never mind that he may or may not care about the tenets or laws of his religion in his daily hassle. On his day of worship, he is serious about his prayers or his ‘breakthrough’, if you like.
At the turn of the year, he proclaims: “This year is my year!” and he is sure of it, after all the ‘crossover’ night between the 31st of December and 1st of January is the one night year round when a vigil is not only compulsory but mandated. After a long meeting with his maker, he is only assured that This year is his year!!! The eternal optimist!
The average Nigerian is a ‘coper’. He figures a way around a difficult situation as he has always done now for many years. He has coped with power failure for many years with worn out lanterns and near-death experiences with candles proof of his resilience, and when NEPA became PHCN without any significant difference, he wasn’t surprised; he just coped like he has always done.
Gather round, and he will tell you a story: a precious but sad tale, a tragedy-in-progress, a classic example of an anticlimax. The story of the man and his well, it’s a story he knows like the back of his palm for he is the man in the story. The well is his well, located in his own backyard. He watches everyday as tanks from other towns come and take the ‘water’ from his well shoving a bundle of notes into his landlord’s greedy palms. Yet the landlord sells the ‘water’ to him for a fortune. Once upon a time the ‘water’ per ‘bucket’ was paid for in kobo, and then the price rose till it was 11 naira, then 35 naira, 50 naira and finally 65 naira.
Every time the price rose, the landlord said to him: “it’s for the best. Trust me, I’ve called the oyibo man. He says he’s on his way. When he comes he’ll lay pipes to your kitchen, toilet, bathroom, and your room if you like. The oyibo man would build tanks overhead in this compound and then you would pay little or nothing for ‘water’ just be patient.” The average Nigerian, an eternal optimist has always believed in spite of his many questions. Deep down inside however he has always known that Baba Landlord a liar, never to be trusted.
Then on his favourite day of the year, 01st of January, the one day he feels most optimistic and forgets about his trouble for a moment to move ahead assured of goodwill approaching, the landlord sent the water caretaker:
“Una well done o!” the short potbellied man in glasses said storming into the room of The Average Nigerian invading his privacy.
“Who are you?” The optimist asked.
“I am The Water Caretaker. From today Baba Landlord no longer pays a dime for the production of water in this compound. Therefore the price may go up, it may come down. But be calm, the water is still good and this change is for your own good believe it or not. Good day!” The potbellied man said reading the announcement from his folder.
The water caretaker stormed out of the room the same way he entered with questions unanswered and a party ruined. The average Nigerian covered his plate of fried rice and shoved his bottle of coke under his bed. In a flash, he stormed out with his big 50-bucket keg to the tap where the little girl that sold water stood in awaiting his arrival.
“H-How mu-u-uch is a b-b-bucket?”
“150 naira!!!” the sales girl replied calmly.
“What? What nonsense! How can you change the price like that? What kind of compound is this?” The Average Nigerian replied trading his optimism for rage, having a fit.
“Order from above.” She replied.
The sales girl was unmoved by his gesticulation and waited for him to finish displaying like a young lady auditioning for the sitcom Tinsel, and she silently asked: “How many buckets are you buying?”
“Fill the keg.” The Optimist-now-cantankerous replied.
As the keg was being filled, The Average Nigerian looked up and there stood Baba Landlord dressed in his white agbada.
“Happy New Year, the change in price is for your own good.” Baba landlord said suppressing a grin which was now obvious.
“Baba Landlord you have always deceived me with those words but not this time.” The Optimist-turned- Cantankerous replied with anger in his voice.
“We’ll see.” Said Baba Landlord said seeming unmoved by the fact he just heard.

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2 thoughts on “The Average Nigerian and His Precious Well

  1. Adebowale says:

    Well written and I am terribly curious to know how the drama ends. Will baba Landlord budge and what will the average Nigerian do? Will there be a handshake at the end or will either party be evicted??? I am so so curious :-))

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