The two friends were walking home from their usual night stroll. It had become their habit that after eating, they take the walk. It was during such walks that serious talks and decision making ideas came to them. Whenever they were seated, they don’t have useful discussions. Hence, the walk was necessary.
Ola’s phone rang. The number displayed was not a number with an identity. ‘Who is this that won’t lemme enjoy my peace jare?’ he thought as he whipped out his phone from his pocket.
”Ol boy, na dat number wey give me ten missed calls the time wey I go mosque o!” he said to his friend who pretended not to know the caller’s identity.
”Pick am make we hear wetin she wan talk now.” he said. They both knew instinctively that the caller was a female.
”Hello oo. E kaale o. (good evening)” Ola uttered into the phone.
”Hello. Am I speaking with Ola?” the caller asked.
”Yes o. And may I know who I am talking to?” Ola replied calmly.
”Erm… I am Labake. A coursemate of yours.” the caller offered.
”Okay, sister Labake. How may I be of help? I know this is not a courtesy call.” he said matter of factly.
Labake was a little bit ruffled. She had not expected him to throw her off balance like that. The guy knows what she wants.
”I think I might need your help on an assignment. Ola.” she quipped.
Ola smiled. Then he said,
”I know that. You women always do that. When you need help is when you come around. Okay, which of the assignments if I may ask?”
”The EDU221 assignment. I want you to help me check what I did if it’s correct and make corrections where necessary.” she had changed her statement on hearing the tough words Ola had said. She had wanted to tell him to help her do it.
”If it’s that, no problem. You said we are coursemates, right?”
”Yes, we are.”
”Okay. Bring it to the class tomorrow and let’s see what can be done. But please, if you haven’t written anything, don’t bother coming at all cos I don’t write assignments for ladies. I can only help if you have written something. Are we clear?” he queried.
”Yes. Thank you and good night.”
”Goodnight.” he said as he pressed the red button on his phone.
Labake dropped the phone and set about writing. She had to write something. It seems the guy will be a little tough, he is kind of poor but he has a taste. She heaved a huge sigh and started the browser of her phone. She had to write, else, no show!
Ola on his part laughed after the call. His friend too joined him in laughing. They were laughing at the girls who had earlier called before Labake. They were the ones who made Ola decide never to write assignments for any girl. They had offered him sums of money for him to do their assignments for them. Some even offered to pay in ‘kindness’ for his services. Ola had rejected them all!
”Ol boy, what do these girls take me for? A hungry and poverty stricken gut? Or a woman wrapper? So they think I will write assignments for them with my own brain and they will get marks while they sit at home, all because of money? They had better think twice. I may be poor, but I am contented with where God has placed me. If they think I am a cash freak or a pussycat freak, then they have another thing coming. If they can’t use their brains and request halp to brush it up, then they should go to other guys. Afterall, no be only me know book now.” he vented to Daniel.
”I had thought you would accept their offer. I would have asked if that was how hungry you are. Ol boy, leave them. You have told them, it’s either on your terms or nothing else. They think our lecturers are fools. How will you write for ten people with your own, making eleven. The same style and the lecturer won’t know? And it’s you they will rat out when kasala burst. If they can’t bring what they have written, they should just go elsewhere. All of them have no use for their brains. Na only to do fashion upon nothing. Ol boy, make we go house jor. Sleep dey wire me.” Daniel whinned.
With that the two friends entered their room from the front of the house where they had been sitting after their stroll. It was a long night with one or two calls which punctuated their sleep. Trust them, they picked none of them because they cherish their sleep.
The next day in school, Ola had a busy day as he hopped from hall to hall to receive his lectures. After all lectures, his customers begin to appear. He attended to them one after the other till it was Labake’s turn. She introduced herself and presented what she had written. Ola read it, shook his head, said nothing and made the corrections. He discharged her and she thanked him profusely as the others had done. She was just too happy.
As he was set to leave the class, a young lady in a red top and blue jeans stood in front of him seeking his audience.
Ola looked well at the figure standing before him. It did not click well. He searched well and remembered the text he had read last night. He recovered well from his shock. And said,
”Have a seat.” The lady sat down.
She brought out her note. Ola scrutinised it and did as he had done to every other ones before her. He noticed that they had all copied from the internet without proper referencing. He corrected her and lectured her a little on internet usage for assignment purposes. That done, he handed the note back to her.
Business done, Ronke wanted a little pleasure.
”I know you saw my text yesterday. But you weren’t surprised to see me. Were you, Ola?” she asked.
Ola knew her kind. He decided to play it cooly. She won’t get what she wanted because his resolve is strong.
”I wasn’t surprised to see you. Truth be told, I had even forgotten about your text.” he replied sarcastically.
Ronke was shocked, but she won’t relent. She wanted him all to herself.
”Sorry then. Erm.. Don’t mind my manners, I am Ronke. Ronke Jaiyesimi.”
”Not to worry, Ronke. Nice to know you.” he said with a serious tone.
”Ola, mind if I request that we become friends?” she inquired praying he answered in the affirmative.
‘What’s wrong with this girl?’ Ola thought.
”We are friends already. Or aren’t we?” Ola returned.
”We are, Ola. And erm… I have a little gift for you. I don’t know if you will like it. But please, don’t reject it. You had said we are friends and friends accept gift from each other. Don’t they?”
”Yes, they do.” Ola replied somehow confused.
Whatever it is, she will only get what the others are getting. He had no time for any relationship.
She brought out the wrapped gift from her bag. Ola collected it from her and thanked her. But as was his policy since his admission into the University, he opened it right in front of her. This surprised Ronke.
The gift was two beautiful Tee Shirts. Since he had opened it, she asked if he liked them, and he replied,
”Even if I don’t like them, they are gifts and I won’t tell you I don’t like them. Thanks a lot Ronke.”
He turned to go, called his friend after dropping the shirts in his bag, and they headed home. Ronke watched him till she could see him no more. The guy was something else, he is just tough and she likes tough guys.
That was the beginning of Ola’s friendship with the female folks. They thronged him for help but he never compromised his initial stance. Nothing more than platonic friendship existed among them. The ladies who were mischievous went to town that they were his official girlfriends and even fought themselves over him. Anytime he heard such news, he would laugh with all his heart.
His room was a Mecca for all types of feet because in his third and final years, he had taken up the tutorship of the junior levels. Hence, he had little or no rest during the day. His day starts at seven after his morning prayers and ends anytime before midnight when they would release him to have a night rest that would still be disturbed with calls he never picked.
As he does these, gifts upon gifts he received for his efforts because he never demanded anything from anybody. All gifts he accepts including cash. He rejected all gifts that came in ‘kind’.
Their final exams came and went. Ola and Daniel had studied their hearts out in the midst of frequent tutorials for all levels in almost all courses. They read and read, as they battled their final projects. Yet, assignments never ceased. It was a tough war they waged in their final months in TASUED.
The results were collated while they waited. They roamed the offices of their lecturers correcting mistakes in their previous results and helping out others where necessary.
They were at home relaxing on a sunny saturday afternoon, when one of their favourite lecturers called Daniel that their final results were out. He had said,
”Daniel, your total G. P. A is 4.38. You have made a strong two one. Is Ola there?”
”He is sleeping sir.” Daniel had lied.
”Okay, when he wakes up tell him that he made a total G. P. A of 4.63. That is a first class. The first of its kind in our department.”
”Thank you sir.” said the elated Daniel.
”Congratulations boys, I am proud of you two. Have a nice weekend.”
Daniel had known his friend will make it. He was very happy for him. If he had not been Ola’s friend, he knew he couldn’t have made such a result. He thanked God for using Ola to make his dream of a Second Class Upper come true.
They both went for the compulsory National Service. Through ‘the hand of God, leg of man’, which Daniel’s parents used, they were posted to the Centre of Excellence….
Lagos State….for their one year Youth Service…
…to be continued