“Adedeji just came back to Nigeria from Los Angeles where he had lived and worked for 20years as a cleaner and menial labourer. His friends Tayo and Jelili were so happy to receive their childhood friend who at 45 is yet to be married and have kids.
His last twenty years has been full of struggles, denials and self sacrifice. He told his friends;
‘ you guys don’t know what God has done for you. Look at you people, you have your own houses, wives, children and everyone in the community can easily identify with you.
Unlike me, many people do not recognize me, some even called me baba London. No wife, no children, no house and no one would employ me at my age, except I start a business. I have lost so much to my 20 years odyssey. I have lost my early life to hustling.’
Adedeji travelled to the United States at age 25 in search of greener pasture. His two friends, also 44 and 46, were professional accountant and lawyer respectively. Deji sold his house in LA and relocated to Nigeria for fear of old age, royal inheritance (being a prince), family and his love for his people.
Although, he has lost all his early life to ‘struggling abroad’, he still came back with 85million naira, his life’s savings. Deji believed he could build a house, start a business, marry a woman and start life all over with this money.
Adedeji called his friends and explained to them his plan to start a new life in Nigeria. He also declared he had 40million naira cash with him. His friends confirmed, ‘with the huge amount, you won’t have any problem starting all over.’
A week after, they took him to a property at the GRA in their town, the property goes for 25million naira according to Jelili who has been bargaining with the seller. Seeing the property, Adedeji loved it and paid immediately.
It was on their way home that he met with Tomi. Tomi is a Nurse at the State’s Teaching Hospital. She’s tall, beautiful, curvy and jovial. They started talking and the rest is history.
As times goes by, Adedeji realized he is left with 2million naira from the 40 million naira declared to his friends earlier on. What happened?
On the very day he declared 40million naira to his friends, his Accountant friend came back at night to ask for a loan of 5million naira. Deji, a simple and generous man asked what the money was for. Tayo said he had collected a bank loan to build his house 5 years before that period and if he didn’t pay back by next week, he will lose the house. ‘Ah!’Deji said.
He dashed him 2.5million naira. Tayo was amazed, he thanked him and left joyfully. The second day, Jelili came with his wife and children crying, he said his wife has been diagonised of breast cancer in the previous month and now the doctor is saying if she’s not operated in the next one month the family would lose her.
Adedeji became very afraid hearing this. He asked ‘how much are we talking about? Your wife won’t die when I am here. God forbid!’ ‘2.5million naira’_ Said Jelili. ‘How much do you have on you.’_ Adedeji asked. ‘We have used the money on us to buy drugs for her.’_Jelili submitted. ‘Oh, no problem.’ Said Adedeji.
Adedeji wrote a cheque of 2.5 million naira in Jelili wife’s name and handled it to them. They were so happy and prayed for him before they registered their leave.
Adedeji family members didn’t spare him as well, they will come with one problem or the other which he usually absorbed. However, what is amazing is that everyone wants his wristband, wristwatch, shoes, jackets, trousers, sun glasses, and necklaces. It is as if they want to run him naked.
In the few months of his stay at home, Adedeji had spent 38million naira and dashed out almost all his belongings to relatives and friends who had suddenly become beggars.
He has a small diary where he kept daily expenses. Out of the 38 million naira spent, he had only spent 25m naira (for house) and 2.5m naira (purchase of car and upkeep) on himself. The remaining 10 million naira have been spent on other people.
Adedeji called his friends and asked for the way forward. Since he needed to start a business. He had only 2m naira left.
His partner, Tomi has been continuously disturbed by her friends to ask Adedeji to buy her a car. Tomi was a great woman who believes in hard work. She felt she would buy herself a car in due season and should not be a liability to the poor man.
Everyone around Adedeji without planning it wanted to ripped him apart. His mother who is living in a house built for her by Adedeji is also complaining that he’s not doing enough for her.
Adedeji is getting tired of too many demands from friends and relatives in just few months of his stay at home. It is now glaring that if he doesn’t stop dolling out money to people as usual, he would soon become wretched.
In one afternoon, a guy who also doubles as a Plumber working in his property called him on phone to advice him about his relatives and friends. In is words:
‘Egbon, you are a nice person I know, but please trust no body. Do you know after Mr Tayo padded the house price with 5m naira, I do not expect him to still be among the people that will be saying evil about you. Even egbon Jelili lied that his wife has breast cancer to collect 2.5m naira from you.’ ‘What are you talking about?’_Asked Adedeji.
‘Well, I know you didn’t know that the property was originally sold for 20m. It was egbon Tayo that added 5m naira to it. He said you are a very stingy person and if he doesn’t add anything to the house’s price, he won’t get anything from you. He also said for the 20 years you have stayed in the US, he didn’t owe you 5 kobo.’
‘Are you sure of what you are saying? Are you sure young man?’_Adedeji asked angrily.
‘Sir, please calm down, this is Nigeria o. I am saying this because on my way to work this morning I saw him with brother Jelili and two other guys, I don’t know. They were talking about a business for you or so. I didn’t know the exact thing, but I heard of them talking about their own commissions.
Sir, all I want to say is please be careful and don’t tell anyone or act in anyway that would make your friends to know I said anything to you. Our people are very dangerous. Money is hard to come by these days and people would do anything for money. I don’t want to lose you! Have a nice day Sir.’ _The guy dropped the call.
Adedeji was flabbergasted, he could not believe his ears. His best friends have turned against him to be his worst enemies. After all he had done for them and their families.
In the next day, his friends came as expected with two other guys, the guys said they own a Quarry in Abeokuta that worth 5m naira and would love to sell to him because they were prepared to relocate abroad. They estimated the Quarry to originally worth 20m naira but because they needed cash they would like to sell to him at 5m naira.
Adedeji asked his friends about the deal. They said they have confirmed it and it’s so real. That it’s even unbelievable that the guys agreed to sell at that rate.
‘Well, since I came back from the States I have been thinking of a business. I think I like this one. However, Tayo and Jelili are aware I only have 2m naira left on me. And I will have to maintain myself too from the money. I don’t think I have enough to buy your Quarry this time, I am afraid.’
Tayo and Jelili oared, let’s talk to this guys in camera, we will get back. Few minutes later, they came in and said the guys had agree to collect 1.5m naira. That he could pay the remaining money once income starts coming in.
Adedeji at this point was able to link what the guy told him on phone and what is playing out. He told his friends;
‘if I want to buy this Quarry you guys will have to help me raise 3.5m naira. And we will have to pay this guys once and for all. There is no how 1.5m naira would be enough to process US visa for two people.’
He then turned to the guys, ‘please go. I have your numbers, I will call you tomorrow on the deal.’_He submitted.
The guys left. His friends told him they have not even eaten since yesterday and they have also been thinking he could help them with some money.
Adedeji looked at the two of them, sobered and asked them never to come around him again. ‘You are traitors and wicked.’ They both denied the allegations but Adedeji made them to write statements with the police that they will not come around him again.”
The question is, what was Adedeji’s offense to his friends, relatives, and his community?
Over the years, I have seen how we unreasonably dupe and ungratefully exploit Nigerians in the diaspora. We have this wicked spirit of entitlements. We act as if money grow on the streets of London, Tokyo, Paris, New York and others. We are never just on these hustlers. Yet, we sleep 18hours in the 24hours that makes one day. While our brothers and sisters work-out their asses almost 18hours everyday.
A Londoner will send a phone to you, you will call him and said ‘I don’t want this phone you sent. I want IPhone 11 max. My friends said this is too small for my level.’
If you have levels, why are you depending on another to buy you a phone? What is wrong with you buying yourself your desired phone? Ship! Stop living the life of an ungrateful beggar!
When an Americana comes home, we want to collect everything he/she is wearing and leave him naked if possible. And at times, when they are naked, we also want to end their lives. Evil lives in our heart and mind. This has to stop!
How many people in the diaspora is not stingy to you? You don’t have a job, yet you drive a fine car, wears fine cloths, shoes and drink three bottles of beer daily, all because you have been asked to help build your brothers’ house. Yet, he’s stingy, this has to stop! No one owes you a dime. If you want money, work for it.
If you ever made your way to Europe or America you will know that Nigerians in the diaspora suffers more (racism, cold, self-denial) to be what they are, than you living in the comfort of your country and home. We have to be grateful for any penny these people are willing to send home.
God bless all Nigerians hustling abroad!
By Adedara Oduguwa PhD
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