A few days ago I went searching for Agbaje among vulcanisers and tailors in Lagos. Do you know why?
Mr. Jimi Agbaje is the governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Lagos State. If you already know, just heave a sigh (don’t worry whether it is a sigh of relief or not), then jump this line and move on and continue reading. If you have finished the sighing (although I can’t hear you from here), and the jumping (long or short, it does not really matter), then you are ready to read what I have to say here.
But for those who don’t know, those who had never heard of that name before now, I believe that you now know. As you all know, acquisition of knowledge is costly these days. If you want to know, ask teachers, pupils and parents of pupils in private schools. To learn something, these days, in private schools costs a fortune. If you know, blessed are you if you will keep my money for telling you who Jimi Agbaje is, with that woman selling akara by the roadside over there. Tell her it is for that man who revealed Agbaje’s identity to you, you hear?
If you have done that, if you have dropped my money with the akara woman, then we can move on. Agreed? Good. A few days ago I went searching for Agbaje among vulcanisers and tailors in Lagos. Do you know why? He had earlier promised to free Lagosians from what he calls the strangulating hold of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu over the megacity. He had added that, if voted into power, he would free them from the grip of Alphabeta Consulting, a company which he claims receives a percentage of every dime Lagos earns in taxes or revenues.
Brothers and Sisters in Crisis, nobody knows whether this allegation is true or not, or whether the man is just playing politics with facts and figures like politicians usually do when they want you to vote for them or their party. But in response to his promise of freedom from Tinubu’s hold, for all Lagosians (sorry, if you are not a Lagosian or Omo Eko), the Jagaban himself or the Lion of Bourdillon, or, simply say Tinubu, if you don’t know what else to call him, remarked: “those who said they wanted freedom (referring to Jimi Agbaje, obviously), should go and learn tailoring and vulcanizing and we will do freedom for them later.”
You can now see the reason I went looking for Agbaje among the vulcanisers and tailors in Lagos. To start with, I want freedom, desperately so, from anything that has been making my business of making people to laugh every week, not to make progress. Of course, I want freedom from political jagbajantis or political nonsense (apology to late Sonny Okosuns of Ozziddi music fame).
Since Oga Tinubu has said that those of us who want freedom should go and learn tailoring and vulcanising, I felt I will likely meet Agbaje who is advocating for freedom for Lagosians, too. But I was greatly disappointed when I asked the first vulcaniser I met and he behaved as if I was speaking Epe dialect to him.
“I hear that Jimi Agbaje is learning vulcanizing here. When is he going to be free?”
“Who told you?,” the young man who behaved as if either I was crazy to have asked him such a question or he himself was, to have heard something like that, asked, perhaps for the purpose of clarification. “Ah, Ah, Tinubu now,” I said. “Or, abi, you neva hear am?”
He shrugged his shoulders in a way that that show that he never heard that Agbaje has left his political campaigns and is now learning vulcanising work.
“Maybe he didn’t heed Tinubu’s advice,” I added. “That means, the freedom he is talking about is still far. If what Tinubu said is anything to go by, it may not even come next year or in the next three or four years, no matter how far Babajide Sanwo-Olu pretends to roll up the long sleeves of his shirt, indicating his willingness to work.”
“Oga, me I neva hear that Agbaje dey learn vulcaniser work,” the young man said after my response. “I no know na from where you dey carry that kin information dey come. The only thing wey I know bi say him wan contest for office of the governor of Lagos State, under PDP. Weda im don leave im campaign and go dey learn vulcaniser work, me I no know dat one.” “No bi me talk am. Na Tinubu,” I said.
“Ehen, make you go ask am now where the vulcaniser workshop where Agbaje dey learn im own vulcaniser work dey. Abi e dey for Orile-Iganmu or Orile-Agege or Orile-Oshodi? Or, na for Ikorodu, Egbeda Akowonjo, Ikotun, Surulere, Ojuelegba, Trade Fair, Alaba Suru or Alaba International, Badagry or for Gbagada Phase 1 or 2, Yaba or Kosofe e dey? Make you go ask Tinubu. But, as for us here for Igando bus stop, Lagos, me and my boys, we no know Agbaje and I am sure, im no know us, she e get ie? (Yoruba for “are you getting me”/”do you understand me?”).
Leaving him more confused than I met him when first I confronted him, I entered a nearby tailor workshop. From the look of things, the owner specialises in making traditional wears, men and women’s. I asked him whether he has any apprentice called Jimi Agbaje. He looked at me, scratched his head and said no, but slowly so.
“But Oga Tinubu, National Leader and owner of APC Lagos and South West just advised Agbaje to go and learn tailoring if he wants freedom,” I said. “That’s why I am here. I want to know whether he obeyed that advice or not.”
“In that case, go and tell Tinubu, say we neva see im leg for here at all, at all. Maybe he fit come later. But for now, him neva show face,” he replied. “But in case he comes after you don go, if he finish learning the tailoring, na which day him go do his freedom and who go pay for am?”
“Tinubu knows”, I said. “Ask Tinubu.”
“Na for how I go take ask am? I hope you people no go do me 419 after I finish teaching am? Abeg I no dey for that kin business, jo.”
“No, we no go do you 419 as long as Mr. Integrity or Mai Gaskiya is the one in power or ruling.”
Who bi Mr. Integrity? Who bi Mai Gaskiya?”
“Again ask Tinubu. He knows.”