HOW I BECAME A YAHOO! BOY – Part 1
It was a cold, damn foggy morning the day this story began. I had to be on the road early enough to beat the nerve-wrecking, never-ending Lagos traffic to get to my GCE Centre before the Naija labour force turns the road to a grid-lock, I’d checked my examination slip and writing materials a thousand times before but I had to check again to be sure I am not leaving anything behind in the “Danfo” before alighting from the bus to avoid telling myself ‘stories that touch’. The conductor had to bark at me to get down faster because I was taking too long and did politely returned the favour by cursing his mother that would probably be cursing the mother of another bus conductor in Ibadan on her way to “Dugbe” market. The tribal marks on the conductor’s face was dimly revealed by the almost risen sun, making the part of Oyo State he came from the obvious and his intonation was only a confirmation of his street and Local Government in Ibadan. The sun was cold and ready to rise above the mist that ruled the foggy morning with shady force.
I alighted very close to the gate of Omole Estate Phase 1, walked to and through the gate as I joined the many unfamiliar faces that I could hardly see, and they were all probably heading to my destination which happens to be Omole Grammar School, a now familiar destination because I had been there twice already to confirm it as my Examination Centre without meeting anyone that I knew from anywhere before. It was a pleasant morning and I had assumed that I was early as I took the right-turn that will take me to my destination, only to find a beehive of many young and a few older men and women that had arrived earlier. Unfazed by the so many anxious faces, I made my way through the crowd, towards the board that seems to be the centre of attention of everyone to see what was so important when I suddenly heard a familiar voice screaming “Eniola!” from within the crowd. I twisted and turned, looking through the crowd to figure out who it could be, only a few rare humans knew me as Eniola, the world only knew “Babaolowo” but the voice was too familiar.
At first I thought “okay! my village people from Ipaja tracked me here again”, then I remembered that I don’t have a village, Ipaja is home. I was still trying hard to put a face to the voice when “Emmanuel Oshiame” (God Bless His Soul) showed up with his sweaty big head and broad shoulders, we hugged each other and before I could ask him any question, he grabbed my wrist and dragged me along towards another not so familiar face that I immediately recognized and a third person that immediately stretched his hands to greet me hailing “Babaolowo! How far na?”, I simply answered “Baba I dey oo!”, pretending like I knew him well enough. The unfamiliar faces around suddenly became irrelevant and I became more at home as we proceeded together to prepare to deal with the “Alternative to Chemistry Practical” that we came to devour.
Well! I’d failed only Chemistry faithfully in the May/June WAEC SSCE examination that I wrote the year before and NECO was fresh and had no credibility by the standards back then. A WAEC certificate with all credits intact was the real thing. I had passed all other subjects and could have easily gotten admission into any university to study Computer Science with a good JAMB score, the idea of not being able to change my mind because of the restrictions of Chemistry necessitated writing the GCE. I’d already wrote JAMB twice, hitting the 200 marker each time but it wasn’t good enough; there was no post-JAMB in those years. Unlike me, the other Ipaja boys in the clique were fresh from May/June and they were patiently “awaiting results”, the GCE was a kick for me but for them, it was a backup plan. I was supposed to be the “agbaya” but it was reversed; Emmanuel had the biggest head, Osagie was taller, Gbenga was already showing potentials of joining the beard gang early and I couldn’t even brag of a pimple but we rolled. A young, not-so-pretty but evidently intelligent, beautiful girl who was my namesake had joined the clique, she was not an Ipaja girl and somehow, she’d found a way to become a part of our lives, smiling at our dry jokes, making it all so beautiful and ultimately paving the way to my journey of becoming a Yahoo! Boy.
The story is just beginning!…
I’m Abidemi Babaolowo Oderinlo