When I say I’ll do something, I WILL do it eventually
after several years of procrastinating. I have promised and promised to eventually write this but every year something stopped me.
In 2012, I was one of the anxious young people summoned to the almighty Law school for the experience that would allegedly turn boys into men. I eagerly packed my stuff into my black famous suitcase that I’ve refused to throw away. I’ve had it since i was in SS3. That’s 10 years now. No, seriously- I took it with me to Canada. Agbani Campus of law school turned out to be better than I had imagined. It was nothing like the ugly Abuja campus with its brown shrubs and patchy, dusty lawns. Agbani was lush with green everywhere you could look.
But my Spirit felt that something was off about the place. Something was weird. Praying was so difficult; for the first time in a long while it felt like my prayers weren’t going anywhere. One night I was talking about the dry spiritual atmosphere with a friend from University of Abuja, Debby Oyedeji. Oh, Debby, my Agbani beard Someone passed and said “oh, I thought I was the only one that noticed”. Soon the discussion turned from the dry atmosphere to the history of bloody conflict over the land on which law school was built. That night I got to meet some pretty amazing people who would be my close associates till we left law school. Dumebi Evelyn Jacinta-Nwabudike *dodges shoe* , Kenechi Eze-Nwosu, Kingson Ahaneku were among those people that night.
This post is about Dumbebi. Now take a moment and behold her face. Thank you.
Alright, so we got talking. The five of us that gathered that night talked about praying together. Well the short side of it is that we held prayers every morning at 5am (or 6am depending on the weather). Dumebi with her loud voice could wake up the whole Adam and Eve hostel (I kid you not). We even had to move down to the Chapel because our prayer meetings were growing too large at some point One day Dumebi said there was this person that I’d love to meet. I was curious about why she thought I would be good friends with this guy. She would later introduce me to Owanate . He turned out to be every bit as awesome as she made him sound. He knew more switchfoot songs than I did, he like had their complete discography! who would actually go on to be a good friend and later roommate. Till today Lord Wanzy is my guy!
Let me tell you a bit about Dumebi. Dumbebi is a very intelligent somebody. People like her made me wish I went to UNILAG. Listening to her talk, her written english and all that (how many of you reading this now can agree she is a Grammar Nazi? Dumebi interrupted me mid-sentence to tell me that I had pronounced the word “polyglot” wrong. In fact we were in this taxi in the photo above). She got accepted into Osgoode Hall Law School (my beloved Alma Mater) when she was hadn’t even finished final year! I
love hate to brag but it’s quite a feat. People here seem to celebrate us more than we ourselves. Almost every day people’s eyes go wide when they hear you went to Osgoode.
On a personal level Dumebi was very nice. She loved to hang out. She loved to gist. She loved to go out to town. She was Alive! You would have thought that because of her happy nature she would miss a lot, but trust Dumebi. That girl was like a satellite receiver that just seemed to know when something was happening. She always knew if I liked a girl (and her predictions of doom always came to pass. Even as recently as 2015). Because she was often right about the sort of girls I liked, I tried to avoid discussions about them.
Dumebi and I argued quite frequently, but the love was too strong for anyone to stay away for more than 6 months at a time. One yeye song like “franco tear-tear” would just come up and everyone would burst into laughter and all the beef would just be forgotten. It was also terribly hard to be mad at somebody I prayed with everyday. Even one time when she gave me an amazing smack on my cheek for allegedly ignoring her (an allegation I deny to the fullest until my dying day)- within minutes I was hiring people on the corridor to tell her that my Love for her was everlasting 😀
Our friendship was full of misunderstandings (you remember the “Schedule” fiasco, Dum-Dum?); one time i bought her a hula hoop without even asking if she knew how to use it. There was this time when I accidentally blabbed about how her breath was so amazing I wanted to taste it (she thought that meant I wanted a kiss. I hereby deny such spurious allegations). Another time Lanre and I were having this emotional moment (long story. We were trying to decide whether we should just hang out and talk then Dumebi came with her big head and said we should go and watch a movie with Owanate and Tirnum). None of that matters anyway. I knew she meant well. I never saw Dumebi deliberately hurt anybody. Even when an acquaintance of ours kept making unappreciated amorous overtures, Dumebi reacted differently from other people. She didn’t yell or make fun of him
to his face. She was civil to him and only used the fragrance he sent as a bathroom freshener. She actually sent him part of her birthday cake. Very nice somebody like that. So no matter what she did (or how she reacted to what I did, lol) I knew there was a good reason behind it.
Now how did she become “Dumebi my Madam?” One day she went to the Polo Park Mall and returned with this delicious-smelling rotisserie chicken. Trust me and my beggy-beggy, I asked for some.
“I’m not going to give you” Dumebi said, happily tearing off a juicy strip off the breast.
“ah ahn, why now?” I asked
“shey I was talking to you that day you were forming busy for me” she replied.
“what are friends for? ah ahn Dumebi so it’s because of Chicken you’re doing Shakara?” I quizzed
“so now you know you’re my friend? when you see Debby or another fine girl that’s how your eye will start roaming up and down and you won’t remember I live just 2 doors from you”
“oya sorry now“ I begged, my longthroat reducing my self-shame from 100 to like 98.
“okay I will give you but you must make a promise“ She said, her glasses glinting with one evil light.
“yes, yes, what do you want me to do?“ I asked
“you must call me ‘Dumebi my madam’ for the next 7 days. Anytime you see me you must greet me like that“ She declared.
“whaaaattt???? No way! because of Chicken?!” I retorted.
Because of Chicken that I can spend 2 hours on the road to Chime Avenue and spend another 2 hours on the way back except I take a cab, by which time the food would have become cold and useless to my soul. I said I didn’t want again and she went back to her room. Maybe the Holy Spirit ministered to her- she later sent some chicken to me in my room. Yay, Dumebi! The next day when she saw me and I did not call her my madam, she asked why I broke our deal. And I told her “I remember that I explicitly refused to call you that. You on your own decided to give me the Chicken in spite of my position on this matter” (or something like that. In my law school memories, I always take like a lawyer drafting a contract).
Later on I regretted my actions. What would it take for me to actually do something she wanted When she wanted me to? I finally decided to humour her. That year when we went on holiday, my personal message on BBM said “Dumebi my Madam”. I have patiently counted all the “Dumebi my Madams”, like a catholic saying Hail Marys. This morning was the 6th time I said it, on my pm. And this post marks the 7th time.
Dumebi, you remember that Chicken you gave me in January 2013? I have paid for it in full.
Happy Birthday, Darling.
(I’m at work right now. The best time to reach me is… **dodges the other shoe**)