ÀTĘNÙ (The hungry dude).
By Alabede Jude
We have been milked to the last by our own people. Just take a look around you and what do you see? Poverty.
It’s written all over the place. You can literally see poverty everywhere. You can see it in the eyes of the people. You can feel it in the air and you can smell it around you.
An average Nigerian can hardly afford three square meals each day and in cases where he/she can, which is very rare. The meals are of low quality, low calorie, cheap, unbalanced and junk in nature.
I laid on my small sized bed as i was rationalizing about the inflation rate of the cost of foodstuffs in Nigeria and the economic breakdown.
I just couldn’t figure out, why Nigeria is poverty-stricken in nature. I’m a victim of poverty.Besides, i’m hungry and i’m starving. I’m all rumbly in my tumbly. The emptiness in my stomach much like the feeling of missing a loved one as in your heart. The worms didn’t help matters either as they grumbled in my tummy and i felt sharp pains in my stomach.
I stood up from the bed and walked to the old rickety kitchen.Hobbling, unsteadily like an old man who was about to fall, and could easily be blown off by the breeze. I opened the old rusted door and it gave a creaking sound. The rats scampered away as they saw their hungry master. I already knew nothing could be in the kitchen, but i still had to check if possibly, i could find something edible. I searched all the nook and cranny of the kitchen only to find a small quantity of garri. I smiled but my smile didn’t last long as my tummy grumbled once again, giving me a stern warning. I quickly took the garri, poured it into a cup and filled it with water soaking it. I groaned with an angry look as i watched the garri slowed in welling up or it rather decreased in quantity. Even if i had all the patience in the world, i wouldn’t be able to wait for the garri to well up as i felt pains of different stings of worms in my stomach. I hurriedly scooped the garri in my mouth. I heaved a sigh of relief as i’d at least filled my stomach with something. I knew it wouldn’t be long before those angry worms would be at it again. I went back to my room and i heard the ringing of my phone. I checked the caller, it was Tunde. A good friend of mine we were both in the hunger crew which we termed as ‘ÀTÉNÙ (Longer-throat). You could imagine, we having an association. THE ATENU SOCIAL ELITES OF FOOD ORGANIZATION. Huh? Funny right?
But it’s aiint a joke. I quickly picked the call before it ended, because i had no airtime to call back.
I heard his cheerful voice say at the other end of the call.
“The place too far bobo”, i replied sarcastically while he laughed over the phone.
“Jude! E don dey happen o”, he said emphasizing each word. While i began to ponder on what he meant.
“You no mean am o”, i said rather than ask.
“You don ever hear say, i dey joke
ontop dis kain matter ni?”, he said already fuming with rage as i could decipher it in his voice.
“Guy, abeg no vex. Abeg tell me where e dey happen naw”, i asked with a pleading voice while he chuckled over the phone. Thats the power of hunger.
“Come meet us for funpark, Iya Sekina dey do naming for there”, he said while I jumped up in joy.
Finally, i go chop better food today.
“I go kum meet una within seconds
now”, i said exaggerating.
“You be flash shey?”.
“You no know before ni?”, i said, trying to prolong the conversation.
“Abeg guy, e don do. We go talk if you don kum, no waste my credit beacause i still wan use am call my fish dem, abi na your papa buy credit for me?”.
I was extremely vexed at the mention of my father.
“you don Nono. Werey, your father!”, i rained insults on him while he hung up immediately.
Your mama ass hole. I took my towel and ran to the bathroom. In no minutes, i was done bathing and i opened my wardrobe and selected a black pencil jean and a black t-shirt. I ran out of the house and bagan walking in fast strides to the direction he gave me.
Minutes later, i found myself there, but was surprised because i met not a single soul. So i surveyed the area to be sure of where i was.
Yes, i’m right there. Wetin kon dey hapun like this?
My phone rang out loud in my hand. It was that same moda****er that called minutes ago.
“Never cry bobo. Just walk out of that street, enter next street which is Okobo, you go hear gbedu wey dey burst brain. Na there e dey hapun”, he said and hung up the call immediately.
This guy don jonz o, he wan dey whine me like steering sha. Make i reach there, make i kon see say na lie, walahi i go roast am alive ni. No be him fault na. Shebi na condition make crayfish bend. If no
be atenu wey me self wan go do e for no get the audacity to dey play me like that.
I walked there in a slow pace as i couldn’t run anymore. Na hunger hook me o. I had reached the exact street he told me and behold!
I dey hear gbedu wey wan burst my brain. My heart leapt and jumped up for joy. They’ve started sharing food as i saw my niggaz heaped up at a corner, already devouring food like an angry, hungry lion. If not worse self. I must not dull myself o. I ran there with rejuvenated power and took my turn not even bothered to hail my Atenu crew as I dipped my hand into the hot semo and started eating with vegetable soup.
The worms welcomed the food in sheer joy as I rushed the food. Brothers and sisters, the food no be here o. I tell you.
I chop, chaw, eat and ate till i couldn’t eat anymore.
Hunger na bad disease o…
F*** death! Only scared of poverty.