Tuesday, November 6, 2007
AIRPORTS AND OTHER STORIES II
I will have to confess that this scene was not witnessed by me. A friend who claimed to have been there when it happened recounted it to me. A certain Baba Dauda got to the airport with his son - Dauda who was on his way abroad for further studies. Baba Dauda was a man of many parts - A husband of 3 wives, a landlord and the Chairman of the Neighborhood association. He was a man with many enemies –real and imagined.
As some of us may know, the departure lounge of the MMIA has a motion sensitive door. This is a sliding glass door that moves on sensing motion around it. So, here goes Baba Dauda who sees a closed glass door in front of him. As he approaches the door, he looks around wondering how everybody got inside. As he steps further, the door suddenly opens. Baba Dauda jumps back in amazement, pulling his son Dauda with him. The door closes again. Both of them gently tiptoe towards the shut door. On getting near the door, it slides open again. Immediately, Baba Dauda shouts aloud " Kamoru, Kamoru, Mo ti rise owo e, Ona ti o fe gba yo si mi leleyii abi, Iro lo pa, O ri wipe omo mi fe sosire, o wa gbelekun awon aye siwaju mi, o n ti on pade bo se wu e, Iro lo pa, Mo ma wonue bi awon agba sen wole awo". (Kamoru, I have seen your work. So, this is how you want to attack me, You have placed an evil door that you close and open at will in front of me. Your plans have failed. I will enter this door like we enter into the coven)
Suddenly, Baba Dauda motioned to his son to be silent. He turned his back to the door. He began backtracking towards the door in a form similar to Michael Jackson's moonwalker dance step. He entered the airport in reverse.
At that point in time, Nepa struck and electricity was cut off. The door stayed ajar. He then called out to Dauda, "Mo ti ba ogun wo je , Wole wa, ile baba re lo wa"(I have destroyed their plans, Enter into your father’s house). Thus, Dauda and his father made their way into the airport
The other incident is one I witnessed in May 2007. I was at the Benin airport preparing to come back to Lagos. The weather was not so favorable so there was a 3hour delay on flights. I'm not known to be one who gives in easily to emotions. However, I saw a sight that could make a grown man cry. A family walked into the airport - A father, mother and 3 children. What made them the cynosure of all eyes was the condition of the children. They had 3 kids who were aged about 5,6 and 8. One of the kids was on a wheel chair, the other was on crutches while the third was being carried on the shoulder of the mother. If my memory serves me well, they were 2 boys and 1 girl. This was not a family on a mission to receive alms. This was rather a middle class family taking a flight to Lagos. For a moment, there was pin-drop silence in the airport. Everyone watched with bated breath as they sauntered to a vacant seat. Observing the scene before me, my analytical mind kicked into action. What led to this? My mind told me, the kids were most likely involved in a car accident. It could have been anywhere. My mind went to the Benin-Lagos road. Back then, the Benin-Lagos expressway was in such a condition that it took up to 9 hours to complete a journey from Benin to Lagos. It could also have been a drunk driver somewhere who ran into their car. Whatever it was, these kids had been put into a situation which was not of their own making. As I was ruminating, some passengers in the airport stood up to go and meet the family. Some hugged the kids, others just held them and talked to them. Maybe, in a way, they thought of the Nigerian condition and how uneasy the future looked for these kids.
They say there are 2 things you can't change about you - The family into which you are born and the Country into which you are born. I'm sure that if those kids had been allowed to choose , they would not have chosen Nigeria as a country of birth