Back in the day, the main Campus of the Enugu State University of Science a...
Back in the day, the main Campus of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) and University of Nigeria Enugu Campus (UNEC) lied next to each other; divide by a single wall. ESUT was a much rougher terrain while UNEC is all tarred and sleek. This contrast is also reflected in the attitudes and styles of students on both campuses. While folks beyond the fence in ESUT were wilier, street savvy and more rugged, those in UNEC were predominantly AJs (Ajibos) – or shall I say, everyone…almost everyone in UNEC tried to be a big time AJ. Let’s look at some hilarious stories from both campuses:
Edible Embarrassment: Ikoro was an ESUT student but he used the quieter classrooms at UNEC at the weekends for his personal studies. All Saturday he had been preparing for a quiz that was slated for the next Monday. He arrived at UNEC about 9:00AM and began to bite hard into his notes immediately. Around 1:00PM, hunger was beginning to show him who was boss. His stomach was composing weird songs filled with angry growls. He wanted to hold the hunger off a bit longer so that if he ate around 2:00PM, it would last him for the rest of the day. He had planned to study until 7:00PM, at the earliest. Thirty minutes later, the growling got worse and he could no longer concentrate. He was forced to head downstairs to the cafeteria. He ordered garri and biter leaf soup ‘without’. For those who do not know what ‘without’ means, it is simply soup without meat. In place of the meat, he had asked the woman to add more garri to his plate. Quantity na the ultimate goal of ‘without’. As he was descending on the mountain of garri, three sleek-looking girls walked in. They had flashy handbags dangling flamboyantly on their shoulders. Their shoes glistened against the rays of sunshine sneaking in through the window. Their phoneh was immaculate. You go think sey dem born them for America.
One of them looked at Ikoro and the mountain of garri he was using to lay a solid foundation in his stomach and said, “Hey, is that not going to make you sick? That is way too much food for one person. Garri for that matter…way too much food!” Ikoro stared at her and her friends as he rolled another big ball of garri. “Which one concern una? Leave my jare; fake Ajibos,” he replied. He dumped his massive ball of garri in the soup and scooped a healthy dose of bitter leaves, which he deposited in his buccal cavity with obvious delight. You could hear songs of praise in his intestines as the cells down their celebrated the arrival of each ball. “Madam, please give me small rice and enough meat. You understand? Small rice and enough meat,” One of the girls instructed the restauranteur. “Same for me,” the other two girls echoed.
They took a table not far from Ikoro’s and chatted, filling the cafeteria with rhythms of their phoneh. Shortly, the woman arrived at their table with three plates of rice and stew. “What is this? The one who seemed to be their ring leader asked furiously. “What is this madam? I said little rice and enough meat and you filled my plate with this? This is embarrassing. I can’t finish this. This is too embarrassing!” She shouted as if she was under attack by an AK-47. Ikoro walked across to the front desk and picked a fresh plate from the counter. Quickly he hurried over to the scene of the embarrassment and placed the plate beside the restaurateur, and said “Madam, please comot the embarrassment from her plate and put am here for me,” he said. “And these ones too, comot their embarrassment and put am here for me. How you go dey embarrass these fine girls like these? Go ahead and embarrass me, I no mind”
Cold Ice Cream: “Let me have a sachet of Wall’s vanilla ice cream please,” she requested. The ice cream seller (bicycle man) got his bicycle properly parked and began to wade through the stack of items in his ice cream compartment. Finally, he produced the product she had requested. They were near the entrance gate just inside UNEC. There were some boys nearby. They chatted loudly. From their discussion, one could guess they were well connected…Or they could be making the entire gist up as usual- UNEC style. The sun was beaming down powerfully. An ice cream was the perfect antidote for the heat. “Na this one you want madam abi?” he asked the lady as he offered hr the sachet. The female student took the ice cream and gave him N40 (forty Naira). He cut it open for her and she raised it to her mouth and took a sip. “This is so cold!” She yelled angrily at him. “You should have told me this was too cold. What is your problem? Can’t you think? This is too cold,” she said repeatedly raising her voice loud enough to attract the attention of the male students chatting amongst themselves nearby.
They turned and looked at her and the ice cream man. She flung the ice cream to the ground in a fit of anger…or shall I say fake anger and walked away. “Stupid man! I can’t take this from you,” she said as she carefully picked her steps and cat-walked away. Surprised, the male students wondered what she meant by the ice cream was too cold. The ice cream man walked over and picked up the sachet of ice cream, brushed off the dirt on it and dipped it into his mouth. “My brothers, I no go school Oh, but I sabi say ice dey cold. If dem call am ice cream e no suppose dey cold?” He asked the male students, who burst out laughing. “E wan show us sey e fit throw away ice cream wey e don pay for. Na show wey im dey do. This na UNEC. When e reach hostel now, e go drink garri to cool off from the heat,” one of the boys replied, generating a raucous laughter amongst his friends.
Yahoo! Yahoo! By Post Office: “Chisom, have you heard from Obinna since he left the country,” Christian asked. “Yes, we talk quite often by mail. He writes me and I write him too,” Chisom answered. Obinna was their classmate at ESUT who left for the US in their second year some months earlier. “Let me have his address now. I go like to stay in touch with my guy now,” Christian requested. “His address is Obidiwest@ yahoo.com,” Chisom said. “Abeg write am down for me. I no fit remember oyibo address,” Christian insisted. Chisom wrote the address down for him. “So If I write him with this address, it will go through to him in America?” He asked. “Absolutely. That is the same address I use to contact him,” Chisom assured him. “Thanks man. I will write him tomorrow.” “I am sure he will be happy to read from you.” Christian did as he had promised, however weeks later he was yet to hear from Obinna. He wrote him again, yet there was no reply. After the third time, he confronted Chisom one afternoon after class. “Boy, you sure sey that Obinna address wey you give me dey correct? Abi you no wan make I communicate with the guy?” “For wetin? Make e no give you dolar wey im never make?” “No, it is just that I have been writing him but I have yet to hear from him…three times now.” “Let me see the address again. I hear from him all the time. In fact, we exchanged mails last week.”
Christian produced the address and Chisom looked at it carefully. “It is correct as far as I can see.” “How come I dey write am and im no wan reply?” “Which cybercafé you dey use sef?”At this time, people did not have internet on the ir phones like today. Chisom asked. “Cyber what? Wetin be that one?” “Cybercafe now. How you else you dey send am mails?” “I dey go post office for Okpara Avenue go mail the thing to am now. Abi I suppose add USA at the end? But you told me to use the address like that.” Chisom burst into a boisterous laughter. “Wetin?” He asked as he went through a rib-cracking laughter. “I no sabi that one oh! Beke nwu agbara (The white man is next to a god),” Christian exclaimed when Chisom attempted to explain how emails work to him. “So I go just press enter for computer like that and im go get my mail there and when im do the same thing, I go receive am too?” Christian asked as he tried to ‘deconvolute’ the mystery of the internet and email technology. “Yes for your email box.” “Old boy come show me how to do am oh!” He shouted, desperate to update himself. “No tell anybody wetin I do oh!” He pleaded with Chisom who was still laughing.
Amsterdam in Switzerland: “How was your holiday Chiemela?” Frederick asked. “It was awesome. I was in Switzerland for the Christmas break. We had a truly white Christmas,” Chiemela answered with excitement. “Really? Where in Switzerland,” Frederick probed further. They were fourth year Marketing classmates at ESUT. Chiemela was known for her bragging. After four years, just about everyone in class knew she made up stories to make herself look rich and classy. She did not seem to know or accept the fact that her classmates no longer believed her. There were other members of their class around when this exchange between herself and Frederick was unfolding. Some of them were already laughing, closing their mouth with their hand as they tried to conceal their laughter. “Amsterdam. We were in Amsterdam for most of the Christmas,” she answered confidently. “Haba!! Chiemela, Amsterdam no dey Switzerlan now!” Jerome Nwankwo pointed out angrily. “What do you mean Jerome? Where have you been after all? What makes you think you know about my Christmas more than myself? I was in Amsterdam near Frankfurt in Switzerland. We even visited Milan for a day,” she blurted out authoritatively. “And that one too dey for Switzerland? I mean Milan,” Jerome asked. “Of course,” she answered barely flinching. “I was there with my parents and siblings,” she insisted. Her last answer was greeted by an outburst of laughter. No one could hide their laughter anymore.
Mind your grammar: They were attending a classmate’s wedding. She had just returned from the bathroom. She slotted back into her seat just in time for the main course. She had not eaten all day. She was delighted at the thought of laying her hands on the fried rice and chicken. She could smell it from afar as the servers walked towards them with trays of food. The portions were huge too. Her classmate at ESUT, Caroline was marrying a politician in Abia State. Money was not a problem for them. The wedding was a lavish one. Soon someone tapped her on the shoulder and asked, “Please do you mind rice?” “She said yes,” gleefully. The server walked past her and moved over to the next person. She did not want to embarrass herself, but this was just no fair in her opinion. Everyone else said no and they were served, bu I said yes and she passed me by. That is not fair, she thought, as she mulled over the incident for a good ten minutes. Then the drinks arrived. She had to get something to drink before she fainted out of hunger. “Do you care for a drink?” The server asked her this time. “No!” She answered loudly. Since no na yes for here, make I follow una get something put for belle now,” she thought. Before she could raise her hand to collect a can of fruit juice, the server was onto the next person. This time, they said “Yes” to her question and were served. Angry, she got up and left without offering her gift to the bride and groom. “God punish una there,” she declared under her breath as she left.
Lionheart!: She stood in front of UNEC, just near the main gate and hailed a taxi. Just beyond UNEC is the slum called Obiagu. Obiagu literally translates into Lionheart. In her typical UNEC Ajibo levels, she hailed the taxi and shouted to the driver, “Lionheart! Lionheart!” The driver slowed down. He did not understand what she meant. In Enugu (South East Nigeria), to refer to Obiagu as Lion heart is like mentioning a street or an area that is completely non-existent. Not even the most educated would make the translation to English and then make the connection with Obiagu, how much more a taxi driver. However, the driver stopped, still pondering the young lady’s word. “Then she poked her head into the taxi and asked him “Are you heading towards Lionheart?” A she pointed, the driver made the connection. “That will cost you five hundred Naira only,” he answered. “Wetin? Obiagu ebeanuwa? (What? Obiagu that is just down the road?)” “Well, Obiagu is thirty Naira, but Lionheart is Five hundred Naira,” the driver explained. “Then take me to Obiagu!” She declared, leaving the driver in laughter.
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