How Common Grounds Paid Off

By: Stanley Bentley

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Sequel to the forthcoming biannual CharityWalk handled by Lifeline Care. A not-for-profit organization sited in Nigeria’s center of unity, I went to Maitama to have an official partnership discussion with the heads of some reputable government agencies. Some of the heads were cooperative, some made promises, while other narrated their pitiable financial situation. The experiences were an x-ray into the inner politics of government parastatals.

At the end of my meetings, I boarded a cab back to the office. Me and the cab chauffer had some seconds of price negotiation. The economy of the country is rocky; this was not the time for reckless spending. Prices must be negotiated to suit the payer and the payee.

When the trip begun, the driver and I started a discussion about Nigeria, the federal government and president Muhammadu Buhari. The driver as much as yours sincerely wasn’t happy with the state of the nation. The country is in comatose and someone must receive the knocks. My driver decried Buhari’s failures in the past two years and counting, as far as he was concerned Buhari has not lived up to expectation. He talked about his much acclaimed fight against corruption. The reinstatement and sacking of Abdulrasheed Maina, the eventual dismissal of Babachir Lawal and the appointment of Lawal’s cousin Boss Mustapha to replace him. His disgraceful and frequent trips abroad for medical attention. My driver was simply mad at Mr. President. My driver capped his commutations by saying that those who support Buhari are doing a great disservice to Nigeria. He mentioned his neighbor who was a staunch Buhari fan before moving back to his village due to hardship. He said, he wished he could laugh at him right now. I concurred with everything he said and added that I never believed in a man who ousted a civilian government. Whoever overthrew the choice of the people is nothing but power drunk and should not be given a second chance and that has always been my chief grouse with Buhari. I cannot possibly use a sledge hammer on his employees whose attitude is annoyingly ingratiating but for those Nigerians who for no justifiable reason kept supporting Buhari like my driver said, they are the enemies of Nigeria.

The ride lasted for about 20 minutes, I alighted from the cab without my phone. A phone that is just about a month old, a phone I bought with my widows might. I called and called my phone, no response. The phone was on silent because of the meeting I had previously. Never for a second, did it cross my mind that the driver would not return the phone. My only fear was another passenger picking up the phone without telling the driver. With our conversation, I was so sure the driver would return my phone. Later, he saw the phone and answered the call, he told me to expect the phone in 2hrs because he was going to pick a client and drive him to the airport. He returned the phone as promised 2hrs later. Imagine what would have become my fate if I supported Buhari while my driver passionately cast aspersions on him. To have a common enemy; it feels good, it looks good, it sounds good, it is good.

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