Continued from Part 1
t was the second time "Madam" was visiting this school of Continuing Education for "Mature" students. The towering building has The Federal Palace hotel, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Silverbird Galleria in close proximity. The School is quite conspicuous and easily accessible. The driver quickly found a good parking spot but not without an incident.
Okada: You wan jam me eh. You no dey see, eh! He yelled at the driver as he tried to steady his bike; his passenger almost toppling over.
Driver: "Comot for road." The driver honked and yelled winding down his window.
(The young cyclist came over ready for a fight with the driver. But the security guards and some other drivers intervened to stop the unfolding drama)
Madam: Abeg, eh no vex...sorry oh. (She begs the cyclist and also signals to the driver to refrain from confronting him.)
The cyclist is fuming but calms down and goes on to pick another passenger. (Thankfully, it is within the school premises so there are no "okada association" members to escalate the incident).
They park close to a smaller building with the sign, "Exams in Progress." Madam walks to the main building along with other papa's and mama's who are students of the School.
Protocol at the busy reception....sign the higher education notebook for visitors....write your name and that of the person you are visiting, purpose of visit and floor number. Madam is going to the last floor, the Creative Writing department, as she did the previous day. Today she has an appointment for 10am. The elevator is working and there is no need to panic if there is power failure! Or should she use the stairs? About 12 floors...noooo
* * * * *
On her previous visit...She was shuffled from one office to the other..... The HOD (Head of Department), and then from one senior lecturer's cubicle to another.
"What qualifications do you have?" The HOD wearing a grey safari suit boomed towards her. She had been sitting down, waiting while he chatted with a male visitor dressed in Ankara.
(She scanned the office...piles of Manila files all over...on his table, cabinets, and on the floor)
HOD: "Hmm, we need more qualifications. But follow me, I will hand you over to the department. Maybe they can find something for you." The words bounced off his mouth matching his brisk steps.
HOD: Mrs....Please I hand over this young lady to you, find something for her." (He actually holds her right arm and hands her over in a gesture of "this is your responsibility")
Staff 1: Okay. My dear, come and sit down here. (There are flyers and posters of Creative writing plastered on the walls and cabinets of the cubicle. Madam chats for a while with her. They just had a Creative Writing event at the Muson Center and the students are writing exams).
"Oh, Nne, we don't really have anything now oh. But we have some opportunities coming up soon. Maybe you can help us. Just continue to check and keep in touch." She writes down madam's email.
(The office is extremely quiet except for conversations on cell phones).
Staff 2: Oh, Nne, I think I will need someone to help me set exam questions. But I am busy now. Nne, please can you come back tomorrow morning? (She is on her cell phone and her on way out)
Madam: Okay ma. Please, what time ma?
Staff 2: Around 10 o'clock.
Madam: Thank you ma. I will come tomorrow.
* * * *
The job hunter makes her way to the Creative Writing Department and walks to the staff cubicles.
Staff 1: Oh Good morning, my dear. (In response to the job hunter`s greeting)
Madam: Please ma, I am here to see Mrs.....she said I should come today.
Staff 1: Oh, okay. Nne, please sit down. She is not here yet.
(Madam finds a place to squeeze in and fixed her eyes on some literature lying on the table)
At about 10:30am, the HOD bounces towards the cubicle, sees the lady he handed over and enquires about her welfare.
Job hunter: I am fine sir. I am waiting for Mrs....She said I should come today.
HOD: Okay, where is Mrs......?
Staff 1: She is on her way sir.
Staff 1: (She calls staff 2 on her cell phone`) Where are you oh? You gave somebody an appointment for 10 o'clock. Are you coming? (Pause) ...o o ya, you forgot! (Pause)
Staff 1: She said you should please wait, she is on her way.
Madam: Okay ma.( She decides to explore her environment while she waits for staff 2)
The floor also has a radio station and other media offices. Madam takes the stairs to the other floors in the building... She stands in the stairways and looks out of the transparent panels .....Atlantic Ocean.... Bar Beach.... the view is refreshing. Meanwhile she is monitoring the elevator to see if staff 2 would show up.
At almost 12 noon, she goes back to the staff cubicles. It is someone`s birthday and they are sharing packaged jollof rice and chicken! The celebrant shares a cubicle with staff 2 and is chatting on the phone, receiving birthday accolades.
Madam walks over to staff 1 and tells her she is leaving.
Staff 1: Oh, My dear, sorry oh. Please wait, let me call her again.
Hello, are you still coming? The young woman is leaving oh. Eh, you are stuck in traffic!
Madam: Please, don`t worry ma. I will try another time or I will call her. She gets her number and they exchange goodbye pleasantries.
Madam strolls into the elevator knowing that it is a "Closed Chapter."
Driver: Welcome Ma!
The driver quickly runs to the car abandoning the other drivers he was chatting with and eating boiled groundnut.
"Na wah oh, common Kerosene sef, we no fit buy! O boy, you see how that line long for NNPC wey dey for Falomo!" One of the drivers grumbled to Madam's hearing.
They exit the school and drive along Ahmadu Bello Way. Madam signals to the driver to stop at Silverbird Galleria. It was a week day, so parking wasn`t a headache! Madam made some enquiries; Admission is free and there was no Book reading event scheduled.
The job hunter entered the imposing building and just opened her mouth in utter wonder! "Ah!" ....shine shine stores, escalators, elevators...... Madam begin waka from floor to floor, and from shop to shop like person wey get moni! Na who talk say job hunter no fit do luku luku!
...... Watch out for "An Encounter with the Police...Olopa!"
Continued from Part 1