I met Olodo by accident, and of course I call him egbon, he is much older yet very respectful. The following day after our chance meeting, we met again at IK’s shop, IK sells rice at Babangida market.
Olodo was the first to see me “Good afternoon bros, how is your wife and family”
Well, I don’t have a wife yet, but I have found out there is no need to explain when asked so I gave the simple answer, “they are fine”
IK is an Ibo boy that speaks Yoruba, and once I know you understand Yoruba, it becomes our language of conversation
“Bros D, ki le fe ra ni eni” IK said
Olodo was shocked and with no hesitation faced me “bros, Yoruba ni yin?”-
from that point we cemented our friendship, found out he is a mechanic at Corner-Shop in the process
Corner-shop is at it sounds, a shop by the corner. There are a few cars around, some waiting to be repaired, some beyond repairs,
There are a few mechanics there, nothing tells you each’s area of specialization, they all look alike in their oil patterned jackets, you just have to ask.
There is a tiny path that goes through the mechanic plot, it affords the mechanic a rare privilege of gossiping passersby, a young woman passed by, it took a few minutes to know she has a concubine who takes care of her whenever her husband is away.
“Igwe Money, igwe money……” was the sudden sound that erupted from nowhere, as I turned around, I saw a young man in a Benz, he was just driving by, he had to be rich, he looked rich. He wound down, smiled, and drove off, didn’t say a word to his admirers
Almost immediately he left, tunji, one of the mechanics, turned to the other “I hope police catch this boy soon, he no get job and he dey buy new cars every day, na Yahoo he dey do”
Such switch, such suddenness.
Mama Kunle has a utility store by the side, she sells engine oil, water, garri, groundnut, plier, soft drinks, buns, and yes, she is a tailor too. Her primary target are the mechanics and their customers, very effective.
I eventually bought a bottle of Fanta before I left.
Iya Sadia has no physical shop, she had found solace in one of the abandoned cars, she sells food. Her daughter Sadia joins her after school, she was busy applying makeup on her young face while I was there, and her age, she could not be more than 10.
Saki came in just as I was parking- a pair of jeans, white t-shirt, white power on the face so thick it was brighter than the top, oh, tribal marks too, and to cap it, she had a full pack of herbs on her head, Saki sells local herbs- agbo
As she entered, one of the mechanics slapped her butt, I expected her to be angry, but it was the otherwise, she ran after the mechanic “broda tunji, that is what you can do, if we ask you to bring money now, you won’t have”
Tunji was quick to respond “how much do you want, come to my house to collect it, let me be eating our work”
“Stingy man, what can you do, after one round you go dey scream, sha come let me sell agbo for you before you die” Saki responded
As I watched the interplay which dragged for a while, I realized Saki’s strategy was also effective, almost all the mechanics bought from her as she moved from one to the other, it was obvious she didn’t mind how each of them touched her.
Olodo is the head of the entire workshop, well, that is my assumption from the power he wields, he calls anyone to do anything at any point, they all regard him.
I had realized a tiny spring had broken behind one of my left tyres, I was not going to leave it to degenerate to something else so I called Olodo, in seconds, he was done, just as I was about to leave, I asked if there was someone who could fix something on the door at the driver’s side,
Olodo did not even respond, he just called a young man who I had noticed all day but had no interest in “Jelili Rewire, wa aba oga wo wire yi”
Jelili ran towards the car, took the car remote and started the car “oga, ise wa lara oko yi, e sese ra ni” I did not respond to his question, rather, I directed him to the task he was called for.
He opened up the door, kept dismantling the wires, I was shocked “oga, it is a tiny thing you need to fix” i told him, he smiled “oga, this na my job, you see the wire wey you call tiny, it is connected to the heart and the brain of the car, just dey watch me”
He sounded confident, so I let him
Two hours later he came to me smiling wildly “egbon,, I don see the problem, I told you, na one small wire cut, I go need money to solder it, once I do it, you will enjoy it”
I had practically lost interest in whatever he was doing at that period, but then he was confident, so I gave him the money
It took another thirty minutes for him to return, and another hour to reassemble the door- and just when he was done he approached, this time the smile had disappeared.
Egon “the panel control don spoil, that wire wey i do dey try push am, but it no fit, it push am gan o, but it no fit, so we go need buy another one”
I looked at him for a few seconds, calculated how much time I had wasted, ran a few thoughts through my mind, but then, I respect Olodo, so I decided to let him be “hope my car is as I gave you”
Then his smile returned “yes oga, nothing do am, your car stand”
“Then let’s go, to the car together”
“Egbon I dey come, let me drop this spanner” Jelili said hastily
For an hour I waited for jelili, he had escaped- well, by the time I attempted to open the car with the remote, I realized it no longer worked
Olodo begged and got me another rewire.
I had Jelili returned later in the evening, but this isn’t over, I will visit him one more time, then we will have a man to man discussion
How it will end, Only Jelili will decide.