It’s a hot friday afternoon and the FLT is filled with humans. Now, this is significant because, this place was built to seat 150people comfortably. If you don’t wanna be comfortable then, it can seat about 200. If you wanna be a Nigerian, it will seat 250. If you wanna be a mad Nigerian (let’s face it, not all Nigerians are mad please), it will seat 300. And finally, if you wanna be a Nigerian law student…well there’s no limit to the FLT’s capacity.
You will look through the door and see people packed together like agege bread, yet you will still force your way inside because you’re a goat. Shaa I don’t blame us, if the programme lives up to the hype, then all my sweat and struggle to enter this place would be worth it.
Today’s programme is THE MICROPHONE April Fool’s Special. A bunch of people are supposed to come and debate on some of the most ridiculous topics ever. Me shaa, I do not see them as ridiculous o. As far as I’m concerned, this issue about ‘whether to date a girl inside the faculty or outside’ is a very serious something.
After observing the usual ‘Nigerian time’, the event gets underway. Oga Mic’Man is trying to get the crowd going with his…comedic manifestations. The way the girl beside me is laughing ehn, you’ll think it’s ‘Acapella’ that’s with the microphone. Izz almost as if someone promised her chicken and chips if she ‘out laughs’ everyone else. Ah! If they’re sharing food to the best laughers, lemme better begin my own madness here.
The first two debaters climb the stage and begin the something. Their topic is ‘Hostel vs BQ’. Personally ehn, I don’t mind either one. As long as it’s free, I will stay anywhere you want me to stay, even UBA park or Medical Centre sef. As the young men are battling it out, I take a cursory look around my surroundings. I sight my crush not too far away. The girl is just steadily giving the guy arguing in favour of BQ some very seductive looks. Sigh. This life is just unfair anyhow. He nw mentions something about ‘Sexual Empowerment’ and the whole crowd goes nuts. My crush looks like she’s ready to sell all her father’s property and give him. Ah! Izz like me sef, I’ll goan learn how to debate o.
The second debate goes well although, not as lively as the first. The topic of the third one is something about ‘banning freshers from the lounge’, and I’m very interested. This fine, light-skinned girl arguing that they should ban the freshers is just calm and throwing shade everywhere. Talk about a female ‘James Bond’, I’m very impressed. I just hope the person in charge of ‘Fresher activities’ is taking notes shaa.
After it all, after learning about one mathematical formula called “Okafor’s Law”, after they’ve finished casting one of the debaters and all the girlfriends he has had OUTSIDE the faculty…after everything shaa, the 2 oga’s at the top finally face off for what has been billed to be the most epic debate ever. The hall is deathly silent, Mic’Man 1 is doing some ‘Obamaistic’ shii and just rallying on. Mic’Man 2 is just there waiting patiently. He has this “I go fuck this guy up” look on his face.
The crowd is watching and listening intently. I’m literally holding my breath. And suddenly, out of no where I hear one of them say “April fool”. The crowd pauses to absorb the shock and so do I. LOL shey this pipu are not joking with us? As the cheers begin and the humans begin to disperse, it dawns on me. This is not a joke. I have been pranked. We have all been pranked.
You know when you wake up on a friday morning, all tired and confused then, you see something, one little thing that calms your spirit and assures you that today is gonna be perfect? Well, this is nothing like that. Today, I woke up to the news that the University of Lagos management has decided to suspend all academic activities and shut down the school till further notice. I rise from my bed and look at my room mates. All final year students. All about to graduate. The thing is almost funny but, if I should laugh, they’ll just kill me and dump my dead body in the lagoon.
Outside my room, different moods prevail. Some people are happy and jubilant. One boy just jumped from the second floor in joy. That’s how you know people that their parents are wasting school fees on. Some other people wanna goan protest again. The same protest that made school authority take this drastic step, you nw wantu goan continue. Are you normal? It’s nor as if there’s electricity or water in some of their respective homes o. But then again, if you look closely, the protests are justified. Apart from the terrible situation on campus, how do you send a newsletter early in the morning telling us that we must have vacated the hostel before 10am? 10 bloody am? What about those people living in Edo state who forgot their brooms and wings at home? What do you want them to do please?
I hurriedly pack a few things and secure the rest of my belongings in the room, and I leave the hostel, before they’ll goan call those police pipu nw, and the next thing you know they’ll be constructing my own ‘AKT Library’.
The journey to the gate under the Lagos sun is as unpleasant as possible. I never would have imagined that there were this many people in this school. All of them, struggling with their belongings towards the two gates. Gates that have been locked by the student union o. The ‘ladies of Moremi hall’ are packing as if they’re travelling to the abroad and never coming back. One of them is dragging 2 boxes with one hand, holding a ghana-must-go and a school bag with the other, and balancing a make up kit on her head, all at the same time. Priorities. They all look so disorganised and disoriented. Some of them don’t even seem to have taken a bath today. LOL how the mighty have fallen.
At the gate, there is a total halt in everything. The protesters are armed and angry, it’s as if they want a real showdown with the police. Ah! Me, I shaa want to watch fight, it has been too long. I see a girl that I chased all through my 100level struggling to jump over the gate. She is not alone. One of my friends tells me how people are ‘passing through a canal’ at the back gate just to get out of school. Anarchy is slowly prevailing.
All around me, there are whispers of ‘Environmental sciences’ and ‘MRS’. I have no idea what that means, but I have a feeling that the God I serve might be leading me towards my escape route. On getting there, people are just running and running somewhere. With their bags and everything. Apparently, there’s a road through a construction site that leads to a fuel station that eventually gets you out of school. I don’t even wait to ask, I just join the race.
We’re all running to freedom, and the next thing I know, I see the ‘protesting protesters’ chasing us, trying to stop our escape. See boys and girls running like thieves, if it wasn’t a life or death something, the situation would almost be funny. Almost.
The girl in front of me kicks something and tumbles to the sandy floor. The gentleman in me considers slowing down and helping her to her feet. And then I look back. I see the crazed looks on the faces of our pursuers and I quickly change my mind and continue sprinting.
Life is a race, and in every race there must be winners and losers. I am not losing today.