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CHRONICLES OF THE ILLEGALLY LEGAL S2E7

This week and indeed, this entire year has been filled with little…joys which have reinforced my views that maybe, just maybe, life should not be taken so seriously. And even if you wanna take life in general seriously, do not take life in Nigeria seriously otherwise you’ll just run mad. Not the play-play type of madness either, but the starkravingnolucidmomentstearingyourclothesandbarking type of madness.

See the thing is, Nigeria really isn’t ready to let you be great. It’s not as if the country doesn’t want you to be great o (deep down, I’m sure it means well) but it cannot just let you go on and just…flourish. Ahn Ahn! Just like that? Are you playing? Your mates that are suffering first and running mad or killing themselves, do they have two heads?

I’m trying not to rant. I believe ranting about the state of affairs in our beloved nation is something that is done only by people who’ll get into power and do much worse. Case in point: APC. Thus, I do not rant. Never! Except I’ll be paid though. Amean, if you’re ready to pay me big money to rant about the Nigerian situation, I assure you that the article I’ll write will rival any PhD thesis ever written. Therefore, I cannot promise that if I do eventually get into power I’ll be a much better leader, just because I did not rant. Maybe bad leadership and corruption is simply in our blood, the same way it’s in our blood to begin events 3hours after the stated time, or to finish clearing all the food in the plate before eating the meat. No! What I can promise, however, is that y’all will never forget my name.  Never ever. Whether for bad or good.

For the thousandth time in less than a week UBA just debited my account for some obscure charge. And some people will wonder why they’re not prospering in this life. You’re charging me for card maintenance, the same card I’m holding in my hand? The few times I get a credit alert, these pipu will not inform me until days later, but let money just mistakenly leave my account and they’ll be texting me like we’re in a sexual relationship sigh. I’m tired. But I cannot die.

The Faculty of Law, in it’s divinity and infinite wisdom, has decided to enforce the class attendance they’ve been compiling since the semester commenced. This means that if it is not documented that you attended a certain percentage of classes, you will be unable to sit for exams and like film trick your extra year will just come and be sharing squatting space with you. Ah! Even as everyone likes to talk about how having an extra year is not the end of the world and other bs, the simple truth is that, with the type of parents I have, an extra year just might mean the end of my own world, and I’m sure majority of you share this particular sentiment. I might not be much of praying person, but one little…prayer I mutter every once in a while is that the god I serve should not let me spend an extra second in the University of Lagos, talk less of a full year. You see after four long years, I’m simply tired of the nation’s pride. So I’m ready to leave, and to accomplish this I’m doing every thing necessary including attending classes where I might not necessarily learn anything. Before, as a very wise man once said, I’ll goan make mistake nw and won to gba penalty lo throw-in. I’m tired. But I cannot die.

As I leave the…comfort of my room and ac and step out into the world, the jungle that is Ransome-Kuti rushes to embrace me. A couple of feet away, the people of the area are engaged in a very riveting and combative smoking competition. The persons in first and second place are locked in fierce battle for who will be crowned the new Father of Dragons. It’s a pity that I shall miss the rest of the festivities, as I am running late. It’s a bigger pity that Unilag management is not a witness to these celebrations. The talents of a child might not lie in books and other academic activities, but give that same child a blunt and watch him (or her, cos there are many her’s too thankfully) light up with passion and glorious ecstasy. These people are manifesting their own brand of education yet, there’s no one present to offer scholarships and other incentives for intellectual prowess. It’s sad really.

After entering a cab that was probably around during the time of the great Egyptian Pharaohs, I finally arrive at my destination: the Law  Library. Do not be deceived or dismayed though. I, along with at least half the people here on this cold, wet morning, am not here to read. I’m here simply cos for some reason, my bastard network  Glo is incredibly fast in this place. Like, you have the entire world to choose from to give me super fast browsing, and you decide to do it in a place that’s underground. Under the bloody ground. I cannot even begin to fathom the madness of it all so I’ll just move on, before I break my promise and start to rant. Others, like me, are here for diverse and even unexpected purposes. Some are here to drop pant between the shelves and as far as I’m concerned, if you are not here to read and you’re not taking off your underwear either, then why are you here please? You could have just stayed in your room and deceived yourself there mtcheeew.

As I walk to my designated seat, I am reminded again of one good thing this Faculty has to offer: fine girls. Babes. Girls of all ages, types, specifications, beliefs and fetishes. My good god! Certain humans hot enough to leave you actually confused. I have a feeling these people are part of the reason the number of individuals having extra year has increased, not just in the Faculty but in the entire school. People just do not wanna graduate and leave these girls alone, and can you blame them? Who no like better thing? I sit down, and the person beside me welcomes me with a mammy water type smile. I do not know this chick from Adam, but I’m sure even Adam wouldn’t leave this Eve without attempting to seize and….I’ve run out of rhyming words, but I’m sure you get the point.

Thirty minutes into my Library adventure, mammy water smile and I have scheduled a date where we can talk and explore each other’s…minds thoroughly. I do not think I’ve ever wanted to explore a person’s mind the way I crave to explore hers. But moving on. My phone vibrates long and continuously and I turn to check it, expecting that the loml is blowing up my phone with texts and inappropriate pictures. What I see instead is the same 5 bcs spread across 17 WhatsApp group chats and 10 Personal chats. I fume. I vex. I am irritated. I am tired. But I cannot die. Even if these people seem ready to die and carry certain others with them, me, I cannot die. Not on top LSS elections. Apparently, the date is fast approaching and people are getting desperate. But, if it’s BC  that pipu use to win elections ehn, all these ones are already winners in the Lord. Someone is ready to run mad because of a position that, after all the lies you tell us, you probably still won’t do any better than your predecessor, neither shall your name be remembered ten minutes after you’re done sigh. I want to rant. But seeing as no one has transferred dollars into my account, I shall postpone my rant until you people are ready to pay.

I’m suddenly craving corn, be it boiled or roasted. And I’m not the type of person to deny my body anything it needs. Especially food. And the…other thing too. But mostly food. That’s probably the first thing anyone should know about me. If you want my heart, just provide me with constant good food. In fact, after money and just before knowledge and women, good food is a necessary ingredient in my psychological make up. I bid a hearty farewell to mammy water smile and leave the Library to goan begin my corn hunt. 

I almost make it. Almost. I go outside and I am accosted by the real life election campaign team. It seems they have decided to physically manifest the bcs they’ve been disturbing us with. I try to firmly but politely brush them aside. But lined up behind them is another and then another an yet another campaign team. And then it dawns on me that my plans shall not come into fruition. My corn shall have to wait.

How does Buhari do it? How does the boyfriend do it when the girl tells him she’s pregnant? How does my Course Adviser do it when it’s time to sign my docket? How do they all just…disappear? Sigh

I wish I could disappear rn but I can’t. So I must endure this, once again

I am tired. But I cannot die.


Great Opara 



 

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CHRONICLES OF THE ILLEGALLY LEGAL S2 E6

There comes a time in a man’s life when he must sit down, look within himself and truly reflect upon his existence in general and whether or not things are going well for his immortal soul. This point in life has been called several names; some call it a moment of clarity, others call it sober reflection et cetera, but regardless of whatever title it holds the essence of said reflection is that…in that moment, man is truly honest with himself.

The time is 4am and I am currently undergoing my own moment of clarity. I am sitting behind the counter at the Unilag Security Post along with about one million and one other human beings. In simpler terms, we’re all locked up at Alpha Base. Like the real base o. The base of the Alphas. The home of the men in blue. The cabal. The evil fores…shaa you get the point. I’ve never been so confused in my life. Imagine being woken up by armed security men (we all know there’s no bullet in the gun but just stay with me please) by 2am because your neighbour lodged a complaint that she left her room door open to goan bathe and when she came back some of her stuff was missing. And the next logical thing was for the Alphas to come, pound on our doors like mad people, rouse us all from sweet sleep and then transport us to the evil forest where our judgement awaits. Do y’all see all the many many things wrong with this current state of affairs?

Amean, my roommates and I were even forming baddos and we drove our own car here simply cos we couldn’t enter their van to come and go to the Base. Ahn Ahn think about it nw. Chairmen like us and we’ll nw goan enter that their dirty, rusty, broken down, formerly white contraption, when we have ride? The gods forbid it. We drove here, blasting music through the speakers and all…chilled life really. We were under the impression that it was a basic issue and all we had to do was simply show up, declare our innocence and they would bid us goodbye and farewell, maybe even apologise for the inconvenience they caused us. Loool yunno when you use your own two legs to enter gbese? On top matter that we know nothing about.

It’s now 2pm, I have been here since 2am. That’s twelve hours people of god. Once again, I’m so confused. In these twelve hours, I’ve come to truly understand just how effective the criminal justice system of our dear country is. See, you can do Criminal Law two times or even four times sef depending on how much you love the course, but you’ll never really…appreciate it until you undergo your very own, well tailored, personal experience. You might have crammed Okonkwo and Naish from beginning to end but until you’re behind the counter and one potbellied old illiterate is giving you all those ‘Jack Bauer’ type of threats, you cannot adequately comprehend the injustice of criminal justice.

All the other humans I came along with are giving me side eye and looks that say “no be this guy wey talk say e be law student?”. I really do not care anymore, after all most engineering students can’t even fix fan. And all the Department of English students I know prefer Yoruba to English, and not just any Yoruba o but the very very thick one that you have to be a true son of the soil before you can understand. When we first got here and I still had energy, I was busy ranting and quoting all the sections and laws pertaining to illegal detainment and fundamental human rights, while the Baba of the Base was just looking at me and smiling like “see this idiot, you never jam”. Now, almost 13hours later and without food in my system, the only relevant law I can think of is the law of the jungle which says Only The Strong Will Survive. I know that last last, I cannot kuku die. Even though this entire situation is designed to destroy any and all hope you might possess. Like, when we got here someone was chained to the wall…by his feet. And it’s not handcuffs or rope o, real bastard chain. All these industrial types that they use in factories and all. I almost felt sorry for the young man back then but now he has been released while we still remain here. These people are staring at us as if they are looking for the next person to chain. Dass the one I cannot even agree for. It’s better they just carry me to Kirikiri Maximum Prison lemme just know that I’m a criminal true true than for them to chain me up in Alpha Base. Although, at this point we all pretty much look like the descendants of Ali Baba and The Forty Thieves. The worst part about this place is where it’s situated. I can literally see freedom right in my very before, and with freedom comes all the beautiful girls of the University of Lagos. Since I’ve been here, the number of mammy water that have passed this place ehn…chisos! At one point, I almost asked if I can be coming here everyday, yunno just to help them out and shi. But I quickly changed my mind. Before someone will finally chain me up for assuming too much.

The hours drag on and on. We and the security men have gone from being enemies to acquaintances to best of friends back to enemies and then to friends again. We’ve gisted all the gist in this world, all that’s remaining now is for them to just offer us employment. And I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to do the work too cos from all I’ve seen today, the only training whatsoever that these men received is on How to Waste people’s time. Ah! These people have bsc in Time Wasting and Rubbish Questions. Two or three of them should be going abroad for Masters by now. I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard in 2017. Someone will coman lodge a complaint or report someone and the response of the Gentlemen of the Base will just blow your mind. But all this one is not my concern, I just wanna leave this place.

A couple of hours earlier, one of my fellow ‘inmates’ called his parents to save US (I assumed we were all in this together, big mistake) from this place, and his parents came and later on they had to invite one very big lawyer just to secure their son’s freedom. At this point, the rest of us should probably have begun to appreciate the gravity of the issue but wetin concern us, no be ordinary Alpha Base? Last last we go just give them 5H make them buy food sigh. It’s now almost 6:30 in the evening, and I’m as confused as a year one Law student. I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without food in my entire life. And to think that we came here in our own car o. Ah!

Apparently, the parents of the boy have been able to secure the release of himself and his friend and it at this point that the situation becomes very clear. Everything is happening at the same damn time. The boy and his friend are leaving ALL of us behind. Even if you wanna leave us cos we’re really not in the same room with you, at least carry all your roommates now. I see the shock, confusion and fear on the faces of his roommates and it is almost funny. Almost. At this same time, the Sabo Police men that these people have been threatening us with finally arrive in a van big enough to carry all of us and our relatives in the village too. The way things are just escalating is staring to resemble one of those poorly scripted Nollywood movies. And it’s not as if my own parents don’t have mouth or I cannot call them or something, is just that my parents were quite against me getting a BQ inside school and they’ll simply turn something like this into an “I told you so” moment. My father might even just tell me that he will call me tomorrow and then end the call.

The Sabo people are standing by while the highly trained Alpha Base offices are trying to decide by our faces who they should transfer to Sabo Police Station and who should remain behind. BY OUR FACES!!
As it starts to seem that all hope is lost and the lawyer woman is about to enter her very beautiful car and drive off, while majority of us spend the night in a cell, I say a final prayer to heaven and my ancestors and whoever else might be listening. It seems it worked cos this woman takes one final look into the Base and our eyes connect. I can only imagine the desperate look in my eyes because this very wonderful woman gets out of her car and returns to the Base and beckons me over. Ladies and gentlemen, if you think you can beg or plead, I assure you that next to me you’re like a member of the Law Class of ’20 football team standing beside Lionel Messi. I’ve never begged like that in my entire life. See ehn, after my performance Buhari should just appoint me as the Begging General of the Federation.

To end everything, this woman secures our release and renews my faith in the power of the Law (or in the power of a well connected lawyer). We hurriedly sign all the statements and undertakings binding us to present ourselves for further questioning whenever we are required to by the security operatives, even as we know that we are never setting foot in this place again. Well, except to inquire about all the very fine females I saw tod…god what is wrong with me please?

As we walk back to our various rooms, happy and free, I consider just getting to my room, packing up all my bags and just moving into one of the hostels to goan squat. Then I remember how cold the AC in my room is and I hurriedly change my mind.

On the way back, I cannot help but look around and admire just how beautiful and wonderful Unilag is. Freedom is truly a glorious thing. Even Biobaku that used to look like a dungeon to me now seems like a palace as I walk past it.
Lool nahh, not really.

Great Opara

 

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CHRONICLES OF THE ILLEGALLY LEGAL S2E4

Lagos is quite beautiful at night. Now I’m not saying this isn’t also true during the day but, with the street hawker trying her best to run away with your change, the agbero who’s trying to steal from you and then beat you up, and the Lastma official whose major purpose in life is simply to frustrate you, it’s kinda hard to see the beauty in the city.

At night however, Lagos is as pretty as a peach. It’s a little bit past 1am, and I’m comfortably seated in the front seat of a cab. This isn’t just any random cabu cabu though, before you pipu will goan be reasoning someone’s matter. My cab is an Uber:D
The amount of people whose lives have been helped by Uber ehn, they’re just too much. Every time free ride and promo code, their slogan should probably be “We Know Sey Una Dey Scam Us, But We No Mind” or something like that.

The cab cruises along the serene streets of Ikeja, the driver is busy asking me if I want chicken suya, cow suya or shark suya lol. I just want him to drive abeg, this their ‘5star’ rating policy has turned all these people into something else, this man will soon ask me if I want a massage. I definitely do NOT want a massage, at least not from him.
We drive past the famous Allen Avenue, past the many ‘working class’ women trying to do their best at their jobs all in an effort to make the Nigerian economy strong again. These pipu are the real heroes please, nobody can tell me otherwise. The two most important jobs in the world that require the most skill are definitely doctors and these women right here. Cos if a mistake is made while ‘work’ is going on in both fields, countless lives may be lost. As we finally move along, I raise my fist in a silent salute towards these great patriots as a teardrop rolls down my face.
My destination today is one of the many clubs in Ikeja where my guys are already waiting for me. It’s been in a while since we turned up, and it has become very necessary seeing as this Law Life no pay anybody. Amean really, who Law epp? Mtcheeew.

After a very comfortable, and relaxing journey with ‘Jon Bellion’ blaring across the speakers, the driver finally brings the car to a stop in front of the club. I take a minute or two to enjoy the AC and reflect on how dope I am dressed. As I attempt to unlock the door and step out of the vehicle however, the driver gently places a hand on my arm and looks at me inquiringly. I just assume he wants to remind me about ‘5stars’ so I quickly nod and reassure him.
Apparently, it’s not his rating he is concerned with because the man mutters something about money. Ahn ahn, when did people start tipping Uber drivers plix, abi this man thinks I just arrived from Enugu or what?

He notices my confusion and proceeds to pull up his phone. Some seconds later and after a very thorough explanation, it slowly dawns on me that I’ve been confused all this time thinking that this was a free ride. I’m actually going to pay…and in cash. I laugh one of those deep, long, throaty laughs and the man laughs along with me. This life is beautiful.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Chronicles of the Illegally Legal – S2 E2

I am tired. So bloody tired. Tired of life and everything in between. The time is a few minutes after 7am, and I am chilling in one of those large, yellow, ugly, smelly buses popularly called ‘molue’. Actually, I do not think ‘chilling’ is the appropriate word. Cos whenever I see people really chilling, they are rarely ever sweaty and unhappy.
I left the comfort of my bed 2 hours ago, I have an 8am class and by the look of things, I’m probably gonna get to school sometime in March. The Lagos traffic, ever present, ever knowing and forever frustrating well laid out plans.

The bus inches forward and the large woman beside me releases another very strange unearthly sound. I’ve never been to the abroad, so I’ve never experienced all those things that plague them. All those earthquakes, tsunami’s, horde of locusts, their rivers turning into blood and all that, however right now, I’d pick all those things over this present situation. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Chronicles of the Illegally Legal, Season 2 Episode 1

It’s only a few days into January 2016, and I already cannot wait for December. For those of you who do not live in Lagos, take my advice, never ever relocate. Stay in your village (anywhere that’s not Lagos is a village idc) and enjoy life. The cost of living here is too high and it’s not worth it. At least in your various villages, you still get to see half naked girls dancing and twerking on their way to fetch water from the stream, over here, there are no such luxuries, I assure you.
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CHRONICLES OF THE ILLEGALLY LEGAL: S01 E08

The holidays will be ending soon. And I can’t say I’m sad to see them go really. My holiday has been very…mixed. Things will be looking up today, down tomorrow and then dreadful on the best of days. Kinda like the Nigerian Stock Exchange. But I’m not complaining. On the other hand, however, I really don’t want the holidays to end. School authorities have decided that we shall be resuming a week to Christmas, and starting lectures proper during Christmas week. So, while my mates are having fun drinking and killing fowl, I shall be in class. Doing ‘Criminal Law’ and catching thief upandan. Lol. It is well.
This cold, dark harmattan morning, my dad came into my room, woke me up and told me that the two of us were gonna cut the mango tree at our backyard today, and that I should “prepare myself”. The man made it seem like we were going to war or something. I was about to reply, then I remembered that my school fees hasn’t been paid yet, along with a host of other things I’ll need money for, and I held my peace. *sigh* I cannot wait to have my own children. I just can’t.

So now, I’m standing outside with a machete in my hand. This man is holding his own machete. I didn’t even know we still had one in the house, let alone two. My father, taking every possible outcome into consideration, has come up with a very elaborate plan on how the tree cutting should go. Like, he’s even drawn shii on a piece of paper, telling me where, when and how to strike the tree. In my (limited) experience, matters like these do not usually go as planned, and for the umpteenth time, I make a careful criticism of his well detailed plans. He glares at me, and the blade in his hand twitches. I unconsciously take some steps back.
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Chronicles of the Illegally Legal – S2 E3

Chronicles of the Illegally Legal – S2 E3

 

By Great Opara

It’s 5:55am. The chick jogging beside me is sweating profusely. I instinctively start to jog faster, just to leave her side. If this one should just goan die like this, I cannot fill eyewitness report o. All these Alpha Base people that dinor used to hear word. They’ll just lock someone up, then panel will follow and before you know it, school fees has wasted.
Passing by the chapel area, different cacophony of sounds (noise) float over to welcome me.

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