Elombah
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Like EFCC, Like That Market Woman ― By Peter Obidike

108

With the Easter Saturday holiday sleep over, I had to look for an excuse to go stretch my legs for the day and my grown hair came to the rescue in addition to my need to get some “cayot” as Amarachi, my one year plus old daughter would call it. 

Lately, I have been snacking on “cayot” in a bid to eat healthy having realized I may not be the best at exercising some self-control when it comes to eating groundnuts supposedly bought for the house visitors. 

I have also replaced butter and all the sugary stuff on my bread (except honey) with lettuce and tomato and for that one, my kids resisted me with all their strength when we tried imposing it on them.

So after my hair cut, it was time to get some “cayot” and my preferred option was from the “mallams” that normally would have cleaned the one they push in their cart. 

However, on this day, for some reasons, the ones they had appeared to be left-overs and they did not look fresh so I decided to head to another close by market to try my luck further. 

Worst case would be to make do with something else than taking those ugly looking “cayots.” Fortunately, there was “cayot” in this other market and they were fresh. The only problem was that these guys sell in “kilo” with a kilo going for 500 naira. 

Unfortunately, theirs were not the very fine ones I would normally see with the “mallams” but a mix of both tiny, small and large, but nothing near the almost straight and lovely looking ones I was used to but I had no choice if I must have my “cayot.” 

Secondly, I missed the “mallams” cause I could get very good bargains, I could simply take the ten pieces of the ones they offered for fifty naira and insisted on paying four hundred naira and I bet they will oblige me, but this “kilo” people will hardly take anything off!

After the “cayot” purchase, we decided to add another fruit for variety sake and I sighted some avocado pear a couple of steps away and decided to approach the “Nwanyi Ube’s” (pear woman) already crowded table not knowing anything about the brewing fight. 

As my little daughter and I got close, it was a swearing woman we met as the seller. 

When the second to the last person on the table abandoned the purchase after pressing the pear in a bid to ascertain its “ripeness,” it was an angry poor woman who cursed under her breath warning “them” never to come to her again to buy anything. 

But that would not do and she could not resist almost making a scene as she let out her frustration at those customers. 

I simply smiled and told the woman that she should not get mad at her customers, noting it was the nature of the business; they had a right to “touch” and an additional right to “abandon” without purchase. 

My little girl with her little voice weighed in probably to help console the poor woman. 

She observed that the customers were not the cause but the pear to the laughter of the woman who now packed a couple of pears into a black nylon for me. 

I actually thought of taking just one but with what transpired, I did not have the guts to even bargain let alone bargain for a reduction in the number. The only thing the woman did was to reduce the number of the “ready to eat” ones having realized I could not eat all at once.

The “apia aka ahapu” (touch and abandon) we witnessed in the market reminded me of a couple of friends who have done the same to their supposed intended marriage partners, developing cold feet at the last minute, citing one reason or the other. 

A number of them used the excuse that “igwa nwanyi okwu enyi okweghi, gwa ya okwu onunu” (if you toast a lady and she declines, propose marriage and your chances would shoot up). 

Knowing the ‘desperateness’ of ladies to get married these days, they will continue to sample the poor ladies offerings of marriage and the ladies will always willingly open their legs and bras so he can “touch” and probably abandon at the slightest excuse and move on to continue the search for that angel made in heaven who will complement him, an accomplished arch angel.

But if you think the abandoned ladies are cursing this guy like “Nwanyi Ube,” wait until you hear what Nigerians are saying about our EFCC, that government department that has taken it upon themselves to entertain Nigerians lately. 

Perhaps, the government department upon which the election of Buhari was anchored, it appears the EFCC is underestimating its importance in the performance of this government with its approach to handling of corruption cases especially when it comes to public perception. 

How else would one explain the frustration of the lost cases even with all the swearing of initiating appeals? 

With every discovery, EFCC goes to town with half information for reasons best known to it amidst clapping and praises from the masses. 

How can someone blow a whistle with house address but no name to the owner of the funds? 

We have seen hot chase of corrupt criminals and politicians but little on the side of diligent prosecution, with them behaving almost like those “Nwanyi Ube” customers: “apia aka ahapu.”

It is high time EFCC did their homework better and get us convictions like their UK counterparts. We are no longer interested in Reality TV.

They should leave that for Trump and company. This “apia aka ahapu” must stop!

Obidike Peter wrote from www.peterobidike.com and p_obidike@yahoo.com

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