Shout Out (4)

THANK YOU NEPA; UP YOU!

The National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), the Nigerian electricity company, is notorious for its sickening inefficiency and massive corruption. And most times, it attracts opprobrium upon itself from Nigerians, for obvious reasons. However, this same NEPA saved me at some point when I was a student of the prestigious Government College Ibadan, Nigeria (GCI). Please permit me to narrate what happened to you today.

Majority of my classmates in Carr House were not known to be great in the GCI social circle. I believe we just didn’t know how to be social. But, a very few of us easily rubbed shoulders with the numerous ‘social gurus’ in Swanston House. Swanston House boys were our standard at that time.

As an individual, I wanted to be a ‘raré’ (super cool guy) like the aforementioned boys, and I concluded that one of the fastest ways I could achieve my aim was to attend a school social function, and at least be seen talking to, or dancing with a girl, preferably from Queen’s School, Ibadan, Nigeria (QSI), St. Anne’s Girls School, Ibadan, Nigeria (ANZEA), St. Theresa’s College, Ibadan, Nigeria (TÈRÉ), or Our Lady of Apostle, Ibadan, Nigeria (OLA).

One Saturday evening, when I was in class two going to class three, I strayed into a school party in the assembly hall. It was attended by loads of girls from various girls’ schools in Ibadan, and environs. A small number of boys from a few secondary schools were in attendance too.

On seeing the bevvy of girls, my confidence began to wane, but the appeal to become a ‘raré’ deterred me from changing my mind at that point. So, I approached a QSI girl, and the following conversation, paraphrased, ensued between us.

Adedayo Adegbulu: Hello, please floor.

QSI girl: What do you mean by ‘please floor’.

Adedayo Adegbulu: I mean please dance.

QSI girl: You must be joking. You and who? Who do you think you are, and what do you take me for?

Adedayo Adegbulu: Please, don’t say no to me.

QSI girl: And if I say no, what will you do?

Adedayo Adegbulu: I will be very sad, and when I grow up, and become your boss, I will sack you. Remember, no condition is permanent. Please dance with me, I am begging you in the name of God.

QSI girl: (looking at me with surprise, clapped her hands, hissed, and began to laugh) You really disgust me you know, please just leave me alone, and go away with your Èkìtì English. Èkìtì is a big section of the Yoruba tribe found in the South-Western part of Nigeria, and Èkìtì English is generally believed to sound funny.

A nearby QSI girl interjected: Why don’t you give this small boy a chance? Why don’t you make his day by dancing with him?

QSI girl: Okay o Èkìtì boy, let’s go and dance, but please behave yourself, you hear?

Adedayo Adegbulu: I will behave myself, but I am not an Èkìtì boy, I am from Àkúré. Àkúré is a Yoruba town in Nigeria!

QSI girl: Please, just shut up and follow me.

Next, she held my hand and led me to the floor. That was too much for me to handle because back home, we were told that only bad children hold hands with people of the opposite sex.

Anyway, we got to the floor, and I started to sweat profusely. I also felt dizzy and saw flashes of light orbiting around my head. There and then, I knew I was in serious trouble; I knew I could pass out at any time. Therefore, I began to panic, just because of ‘this rude’ QSI girl, and my desire to become a ‘raré’ at all cost.

Suddenly, NEPA struck; there was a power outage! So, I quickly abandoned her on the floor, mustered the remaining energy in me, and ran all the way back to Carr House (quite a distance for a small boy), panting and sweating profusely, but full of joy that I survived the ordeal I needlessly brought upon myself. That was how NEPA saved me from imminent shame and indelibly horrific history.

In the end, I still got the veneration I craved for in Carr house, because some boys saw the girl holding my hand, and concluded that I was ‘raré’ enough. Of course, I did not argue with them; I felt really super cool afterwards. Thank you NEPA, up you!

Dr Adedayo Stoney Adegbulu (Dr. Stoney)

Medical Practitioner, Author, Speaker