Iskaba, Iskelebete, Iskoloboto By Toni Dada

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The lyrics of the chorus kept resonating in my head as the song blared from the audio speakers. I kept wondering and asking my internal constituents, “what inspires artistes sometimes”?

The red (stop) traffic lights stared at me in a “wetin concern you manner”. I was right before ConOil Petrol Station facing the very popular Oando Petrol Station, anxiously waiting for the traffic light to blink amber then green. I was pressed, needed to get home fast. It was 6.32pm.

The fuel scarcity was biting hard. The traffic control into Oando had broken down, I smiled at my ingenuity and “wawawa” style through the shortcuts to boycott the seemingly long traffic that had built up on the Lekki-Epe Expressway behind Oando. I left the house in faith to attend a meeting in Ikoyi, but had to make a re-turn when the low fuel warning light signaled on the dashboard, “abeg make I go park for house jare”. “Naija wahala tire person”

I reduced the volume as Wande Coal’s hit song continued. Then, I turned to my left, and noticed two adorably looking young women, perhaps between ages 18 and 21, seated at the back of a 2014 Prado Jeep with a well built driver perhaps in his late 30s, looking youthful, with his thick polo top and flying collar. He was fixated on the road with his two hands on the wheel. Through the duration of wait at this traffic light terminal, he did not change his gaze. Perhaps lost in the thoughts of Christmas and all the exigencies, or amazed at the supposed convos coming from these young ladies behind him or just an astute professional conduct.

To the girls, they combed their fluffy long and lush hairs, played with their expensive phones, laughed and smiled at whatever the context of the discussions were. Their crispy dark toned skins glowed. Though their windows were wound up, and mine down, my ears grew a long length and wished a tripartite scenario could occur to understand why they were so happy, the driver so focused amid the travails of others right opposite us, jostling for fuel at the Petrol Station. I assumed a thousand things, “Christmas is gonna be lit Sis”, “I can’t wait to see Shawn in Florida”, “College was dope last semester”etc.

I was dumbly “aprokoish”.

Then she stood up and walked sluggishly towards the Prado. She had been sitting on the kerb all along. Perhaps tired from chanting at people through vehicle windows. She could be no older than a 10-year old. Oversized ankara blouse and wrapper. Polished dark skin. Long local earrings. Hair covered in a different colored ankara head tie. Unconsciously beautiful with no fallalery nor gewgaw. She got closer to the Prado, paused, then climbed the kerb again to catch a glimpse of the young damsels in the big vehicle. Her countenance soared. Mixed feelings.

She wondered, were these beautiful ones born by humans like mine? Why do they look so different? So much opulence while I rely on melodramatic beggarly displays under the sun and the rain to help my folks. Her arms akimbo, lips twisted, she said a silent prayer, “I wish to be greater than these two”. Subconsciously I said Amen. Her voice was not audible from where I was, her reactions were loud. She meant no harm. She was stunned by Life and its inequality. They did not notice her!

“Peeeeeeem peeeeeeem” The horns blared, the light was green. I was lost in thoughts.

As I drove off, I pondered. In 2 minutes, I have just been taught a life lesson. All humans are equal. Time and chance happeneth to us all, and there comes the caste. Aspire, Inspire and keep striving toward greatness.

Always remember to be a blessing to someone. Let us show love to everyone that needs it. A smile may be all they require.

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year ahead!

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