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13 Nov 2017

When Hot Romance with a Neighbour Turns Dead Cold

On this episode of the 'Diary of a Lagos Bachelor' series, OSAYIMWEN OSAHON GEORGE narrates the story of a Lagos single man whose relationship recently became a victim of the chain reaction of the regressive economy in Nigeria where most ladies not only 'dig gold but also mine and refine it'.

When Kabiru a tall, slim, dark-skinned and averagely handsome young man in his late 20s first spotted Ngozi at the Yaba area of Lagos State in April, 2016, he never knew fate was going to bring them together romantically in the nearest future. Kabiru, a native of Osun State, South-western part of Nigeria had just moved to Lagos State in June, 2015 for economic reasons.

He was on a journalistic assignment and had to complete an editorial work at his company's private quarters with a colleague when he set his eyes on her. Ngozi resided in one of the numerous apartments in a highly populated four-storey building that housed seeming low-income earners in Lagos State. Ngozi's large family shared a one-bedroomed apartment with the company's lodge. The only thing Kabiru observed about her at first sight was her availability and smile as he conducted an interview via telephone.

"You have many ladies in this area. It must be fun staying here" Kabiru told his colleague after spotting several females swarming the company's apartment like a customer-care centre.

"Nothing special, they are just our friends and neighbours" the colleague responded with a big grin.

Kabiru's colleague, Jibrin had just relocated from Kaduna State to work in Lagos State. Due to the high cost of living at the commercial epicentre of Nigeria, he was forced to reside at the company's quarters pending on when he would raise enough money to rent his own apartment and acquire appropriate properties. Kabiru also had his fair share of financial challenges. He slept in his aunt’s living room on a 6 inches, 3.5 Ft X 6 Ft X student bed while he aggressively saved funds to restore his dignity as a man.

Jibrin offered Kabiru some Tiger Nuts as he prepared for the phone interview of an eminent politician in Nigeria. Kabiru carelessly almost started eating them without washing but Ngozi who watched from a distance came from nowhere and grabbed the fruits. The light-skinned hand was like that of a ghost but Kabiru smiled in surprise. She dashed off to the kitchen, rinsed the fruits and served them on a plate before Kabiru.

"Thank you so much" he told her.

"You're welcome" Ngozi responded as she left the room.

The initial encounter ended there until 8 months later when Kabiru was technically kicked out of his aged aunt's house. Kabiru endured a frosty relationship with his aunt until his perseverance level was stretched to the limit. Kabiru later joined his two other colleagues in the company's apartment where two big bedrooms were expensively furnished for workers.

Kabiru was later told that Ngozi had left the house for her National Youth Service Corp programme in Oyo State. Due to the proximity of Lagos and Oyo States, Ngozi spent some of her weekends in Lagos. According to Kabiru, he never thought he could ever develop any feelings for Ngozi as they never had any personal talks for a long period of time. Kabiru was at that time in a serious relationship with one Morenike in Osogbo, Osun State and aside that, Ngozi appeared too "Jew" for him.

"I think there was never a way I could have been attracted to her as I am a man who is always moved by what he sees" Kabiru said while speaking with the reporter.

"Ngozi at some point didn't care about her physical appearance. Most times, her hair was left untidy or she purposely went for the worst hair styles due to financial issues and she had a way of tying her mother's wrapper around her body like she was in the medieval period" he jokingly added.

Kabiru would later admit that she appeared to him as a good girl who coordinated the affairs of the house including managing her exuberant younger ones in the absence of her parents. Most especially, Ngozi’s intimate connection with an adorable baby living with her family won the heart of Kabiru; he felt she had a good heart. Kabiru struggled with his relationship in silence. He noticed Ngozi and himself started talking more in the kitchen whenever he went to wash his food flask to convey food to work as he wasn't comfortable with eating out.

"She was always complaining of her Place of Primary Assignment - a secondary school where she claimed to be over-worked without pay. I gave her regular advice about how to manage NYSC challenges effectively. She had a way of smiling at me then which was an indication that I stood a chance if I wanted her but that wasn't concrete enough.” he said.

Shortly after Ngozi's NYSC programme, she joked about supporting her future fiance with part of her bride price - a sum total of N250,000 according to traditional rites of her hometown – Umudike, Abia State. Kabiru enjoyed the talk and laughed about being interested in marrying her among his colleagues. Jibrin who was present wouldn’t take the gist with a pinch of salt as he made a consistent claim that the duo had started dating. The joke seemed enjoyable initially but it started getting to the parties involved.

Kabiru had reservations about dating Ngozi due to the proximity of their abodes. Relationships could be unpredictable and he was wary of being involved in any dirty rivalry with his neighbour over a failed relationship as well as other possible minor skirmishes. Ngozi's plum size was another source of concern to him but he was thrilled by her level of intelligence. She was academically sound and had views one should be proud of. Kabiru could be regarded as a sapiosexual person; hence, his easy attraction to Ngozi.

Kabiru and Ngozi would later agree on Whatsapp to start dating as she saw nothing odious about being involved with her next door neighbour. Ngozi's 'Born Again' stance discouraged Kabiru as he predicted a clash in values and personal standards. Kabiru, a Christian, in his deepest thoughts hoped to enjoy the full benefits of romance with Ngozi without resistance. She was blessed with a flawless light-skin, firm and massive bosom, fresh lips, considerable height and an 'up and coming' bum. Only if Kabiru knew there was more to that good girl with innocent smiles.  Ngozi was tired of the wall she built around herself according to her Christian faith and she was eager to demolish them.

"I was stunned when Ngozi offered to kiss me during a late night chat on Whatsapp. It was around 2am and she wanted to taste my lips which she secretly admired from my Instagram pictures" Kabiru averred with a lasting smile.

Kabiru who has a history of being 'shady' sneaked out of the room as his roommate chased his dreams with his eyes closed to wait for Ngozi in the restroom attached to his apartment which wasn't too close to the rooms. There was a pin-drop silence everywhere except for the crickets and other insects as the mammoth crowd in the drab building were in deep sleep. Lagosians are hard workers and they seldom joke with their night rest to recover the needed energy for the following day.

Ngozi later joined him looking so scared of being caught. She appeared so innocent and even lacked kissing skills. She was totally unromantic and her too-decent appearance betrayed her intentions. Kabiru was so impressed with her for taking the risk which could be detrimental if they were caught. Kabiru kissed and hugged her closely as he whispered 'Thank You' into her ear. Ngozi dashed off to her house as Kabiru waited behind in the bathroom to avoid suspicions.

This was a watershed moment in their relationship. The love grew bigger every day. Dating Ngozi gave him the feeling of hitting a jackpot. Ngozi had just been with a single guy all her life about 6 months before they met, so she was very much in good shape. The duo attended Church together, ate together, stayed up at night talking passionately and planning out their future. Cute pictures of the duo flooded Kabiru’s social media pages with congratulatory messages recorded in the comment sections of their pictures. Gradually, the so-called 'Born Again' sister became a pro in romance. She would gather information online and practicalize on her good-looking man. In no time, the student took the position of the lecturer and the lecturer became the student in the ‘other room’.

But the relationship wasn't perfect just like life itself. Ngozi suffered from chronic 'self-entitlement' problems. She believes her partner owes her and this is a common mentality among the majority of ladies in Lagos. Ngozi's penchant for money was typical of an Igbo person as many would always say. Her needs were unnecessarily endless and her happiness was costly. It was as if Kabiru adopted an adult daughter as Ngozi became his sole responsibility. He never knew he was apparently shining a shoe for a highest bidder to put on. In explicit political terms, he was running an ‘interim administration’. Kabiru, a low-income earner struggled and suffered in silence but he consoled himself that succour was close as far as he could double his efforts and help her secure a good job. Ngozi almost finished with a First Class degree but that guarantees nothing in Nigeria due to the fragile nature of the local economy coupled with high rate of corruption among the leaders in the country.

Ngozi was finally able to secure a 'small job' as a primary school teacher which paid her a paltry sum of N30,000 as monthly salary but she had no patience at all. She didn’t want to reap her rewards in heaven like other teachers.

"I think she felt she is a beautiful person whose beauty could attract a better man with a strong financial base. She had a bitter taste of poverty when she was growing up and was scared of going through the ordeal again. She tried hiding her fears but they were written boldly on her forehead" distraught Kabiru narrated.

Kabiru also complained that Ngozi had a legendary hypocritical approach towards life and she was really ‘tight-fisted’.

“Ngozi lives a double life and she could be expertly secretive thereby preventing people around her from knowing her true self. She tried to have a clean slate in life as she felt she was a role model to other people. She would constantly clear her Facebook and Whatsapp chats, hide certain phone applications and also lock her phone. She loved to wipe off her browsing history as she visited questionable pages intermittently”

“I hate to say this..... but Ngozi is the kind of lady who would initiate s*x, enjoy it, demand for more rounds and after she is satisfied, she would later blame her partner for it, claiming she was lured into an unbiblical act. Who does that?” Kabiru asked sounding so emotional with tears welled in his eyes.

He then continued after taking a deep breath and putting himself together as if he was going to break down; “I think she is a very stingy person. She never believed in giving. I ostensibly got nothing from her if romance is taken out of the equation. I was like a fool. A happy fool for that matter” he emphasized.

Kabiru left the company's apartment after saving up enough money to secure a room and a parlour flat to start his life.  The rental of the apartment alongside of other bottlenecks associated with renting houses gulped about N400,000 aside the purchase of properties and other necessities for which he expended N500,000 more funds. Ngozi played a pivotal role in helping set up the apartment as she monitored the carpentry and electrical works. As poor Kabiru felt like an achiever after emptying his bank account, he was stunned when Ngozi revealed she wasn't going to live in that house as his wife if they eventually get married. She also demanded that he should go buy a car before she would put to bed in the marriage. It was from this moment Kabiru started getting the true picture of her. Ngozi’s loyalty was listed for sale on e-Bay and Jumia.

The scale eventually fell off Kabiru's eyes when Ngozi went on a date with a man she claims has been her toaster for almost a decade. Ngozi had already gone on a date with this same fellow at the inception of the relationship which Kabiru frowned at on being told. After enjoying the date to which her sister accompanied her, Ngozi took pictures of the assorted fishes, drinks and Nkwobi – a local meal and kept them on her phone to relish the good memories. Out of guilt and probably because a colleague of kabiru got wind of the date, Ngozi out of fear decided to go ahead of the potential saboteur or informant to report herself. Kabiru was heartbroken and it became clear to him that that he was fiddling with a ticking bomb.

 Kabiru is of the opinion that the tough quest for survival in Lagos as well as the biting economic realities is affecting the psyche and behavioural tendencies of Lagosians.

"In Osun State, life was different; a beautiful lady could love you for just your life vision and goals alone without necessarily seeing any trace of concrete success. It’s all about potentials and not really present realities. People over there are generally poor but they are happy and contented. Pseudo or direct prostitution was never prominent as we have in Lagos today. Here, there is no difference between a good and a bad girl when wads of cash are involved" Kabiru said.

Kabiru who is fast becoming a consultant on relationship issues after his ordeal claims majority of ladies in Lagos are wary of poverty so they tend to use what they have to secure what they want.

"I think it’s all about making hay while the sun shines. If your beauty is your strength, then you can use it to attract the man with your desired bank account. Some use their bogus breasts and bums to get what they want. Others use their body shapes while others boast about their sexual or cooking prowess. Ngozi left me after her chances of landing an executive job became slimmer. The unemployment and inflation rate have made things worse for people" he concluded.

On the 1st of October, 2017, Kabiru's relationship slipped into coma as Nigerians celebrated Independence Day. Ngozi who started by frowning her face at him in Church during the Sunday service later made up an excuse that he wasn't religious enough for her liking and she would love to date someone that was 'close to God'. Kabiru being a smart reporter was more focused on what she wasn't saying rather than her words. He withdrew a bit and started grappling with reality. They stopped talking from that moment and 5 days later, Ngozi dropped the bombshell that she was done with him. This was just four days to his birthday which Ngozi claimed she had plans for. Yes, she had a plan truthfully but it was a plan to do nothing. Ngozi wasn't even kind enough for drop a single birthday wish for her former benefactor who assisted her financially from the little he made as salary monthly.

For about two weeks, Kabiru will pay attention to the entrance of his house hoping Ngozi would come knocking like she used to every weekend but it never happened. Ngozi had embraced 'Jesus Christ' in a covert operation to catch a big fish in her Church which was like an assembly of the affluent. She joined her Church choir and started taking weekly and Sunday programmes seriously. Kabiru almost felt her reason for leaving was genuine until he was told how Ngozi boasted about meeting some rich and young guys in her church who drove big rides. She even advised a neighbour who was in a long-term relationship to try out her Church to see if he could meet 'big girls'. This was a concealed fortune-seeking and fortune-hunting move. It was never about her salvation. It was about her survival and selfish interests.

Kabiru is hopeful about picking up the pieces and giving love a shot again. This time, he is considering storming some remote villages far from civilization in a desperate hunt for his future partner.

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