Kemmiiii's Blog

Ajasa’s Tales (2): An Island and a Prison.

Posted on: June 24, 2013

Here’s another;

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Fellow Rotarians and loved ones,
Your various comments on and praises for my previous pieces are appreciated and serve as the tonic for this and future articles. Please enjoy.

As I took my seat in the almost empty Coach J of Virgin Train, a First Class coach courtesy of my friend of over 30 years and host, Ayodeji Osobu, on my return trip to London yesterday, I remembered that I slept all through my outward journey to Manchester on Friday. I decided to stay awake this time, to have a good look at the Country side. And that meant fighting off an almost inevitable nap consequent upon the hang over of an eventful Friday Night.

Beyond that, I am specially blessed with ease of falling asleep even in the noisiest environment and most awkward position. Glory be to God!

Manchester typifies the northern England cities with easy life, no hustle and bustle characteristic of London. With my experience in Harrogate, Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham etc in the past, it is easy for me to make this conclusion. No wonder you find more of Nigerians in tangible professions making their living there leaving all the riff-raffs in London. A comparison of this situation with Lagos versus Ibadan and Abeokuta can only suffer on the basis of economic activities!
Trust Nigerians! There’s a joint called Roots in Central Manchester that serves “Ishiewu”, “Nwongwo”, “Shawa” among other Nigerian delicacies! That was our port of TGIF! Cold drinks, Beers and stout originating from Nigeria abound with Naija hip hop emanating from the juke box of a DJ with typical Ibo accent. Before I knew it, the joint transformed into a nite club by 12 midnight with influx of young men and ladies in “hot” dresses! As I watched all sorts of things happening inside and outside the joint, I couldn’t but wished to grow younger!
At my instance, we left the joint with a lot to talk about at about 3am.

Ayo lives at Imperial Point, a magnificent, beautiful. block of serviced apartments in Old Trafford overlooking a canal across which Manchester United Stadium stands out in what looks like an industrial area. “Old” because there’s a new Trafford that is closer to the city centre. The Old Trafford, I was told was originally occupied by shanties built by merchants and fishermen. Like it is happening at Ilubinrin in Lagos, Old tafford now houses magnificent buildings among which is The Imperial War Museum and industries with jetties along Salford Quays!

To keep me awake, I ordered for a cup of Cappuccino which was delivered promptly and with the typical courtesy of Virgin establishment. Just then, the train left platform 5 almost unnoticed. No noise, no jerk except the driver’s (mind you, they no longer call them engine drivers because they don’t operate locomotive engines)announcement and relative motion that accelerated to what I believe was between 120 and 140 kilometers per hour speed. I sipped the coffee with strong faith as the train sped on with so many things on through my mind while gazing, through the window at the beautiful and spectacular countryside!

The countryside reminded me of the exciting picture I had while in a similar electric train from Paris to Lille way back in 1978.
All the way from Manchester to London I could not see an expanse of land up to a plot that was left uncultivated except close to towns and villages. There are agricultural settlements all the way with various arable crops at various stages of development giving a beautiful jig saw of various colours! Those at the flowery stage giving red, yellow and pink, puple etc while those already harvested and withering off present brown and grey within the ubiquitous green also of various shades! Whao! What a scenery! There are also grazing portions for cattle and sheep!

Compared with the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, you will have to contend with the various Religious Camps and Trailer Parks with their attendant nuisances! Nigeria is fast becoming a country where there are more churches than factories and more Pastors than Managers!

Thick forests that harbour criminals also abound especially beyond Ibadan and Ijebu as you move into the hinterland! Nigeria was once described by a French diplomat friend of mine as a forest because that was all he saw from Lagos to Ibadan in 1977, just before the expressway was commissioned! I took him up, albeit with a baseless argument!
Visiting France a little later opened my eyes!
My little son, Bayonle was to corroborate, on a lighter mood, the Frenchman’s assertion in 1997, 20 years later! My father then kept this unusual pet, a crocodile! My son seeing it for the first time raced to tell me with a lot of excitement, ‘this Lalupon is a forest, daddy’ just for sighting a croc. I laughed my head off!

The train just went past Milton Keynes another quiet town, towards the north, about 30 minutes from London by rail maybe 1hour by road, when there was an SOS announcement for a doctor to come to the aid of a passenger in Coach C! Pronto, I was there to see a young man in his late 20s, most likely an Arab, complaining of palpitation and chest discomfort. He looked anxious, sweaty and somewhat distressed! His pulse was pounding and heart rate about 120 beats per minute. I threw some probing questions and in no time was able to arrive at a diagnosis of Drug- induced Tachycardia! The stupid boy had taken a powerful chinese aphrodisiac earlier in the day! He reminded me of the recklessness of the driver in Frankfurt! Is recklessness an arabian culture? I advised he be taken to the nearest hospital for detoxification with an antidote and intravenous fluids. Getting an ambulance to pick him up at the next station cost us extra 30 minutes.

As we got to London Euston station, I could count not less than ten other Virgin trains waiting to be boarded or discharging passengers! My mind now wandered to this ubiquitous company that has its hand in virtually every essential need of life and also making a success of it! From Virgin ‘tooth pick’ to Virgin Airline! Is there anything that Virgin does not do other than party politics? Virgin India, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin everywhere are success stories in the Aviation industry. My conclusion is that Richard Branson, the founder and CEO is an avid, incorruptible and diligent businessman who cherishes his integrity! In a conservative environment, he has built a large, reputable business empire. His withdrawal from Nigeria, perhaps his first sad story of failure, was not unconnected with CORRUPTION, an entropy that gives me palpitation and missed beats each time it crosses my mind! And it does so many times!

A man of immense means and vision and style, I heard, Richard Branson has an ISLAND to himself in the Pacific Ocean from where he will probably be smiling at the lot of Nigerians who are in a prison.
May I call on all of us to rise up and never get tired of trying to get out of our PRISON where there seems to be no doors or windows but only concrete walls and barbed wire fences.
Disasters are looming in our society and we all owe it a duty to. speak up and speak out! As Wole Soyinka warned us, “The man dies in him who keeps quiet in the face of injustice”. Corruption is the greatest injustice in our land converting it into a prison manned by vicious warders!

Happy Sunday to all and I wish the convention Goers an exciting time in Lisbon.

Windy.
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from Etisalat. Enjoy high speed mobile broadband on our easyblaze and plans for BlackBerry. Visit http://www.etisalat.com.ng for details.

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5 Responses to "Ajasa’s Tales (2): An Island and a Prison."

Effortless writing, love it.

Found “… I am specially blessed with ease of falling asleep even in the noisiest
environment and most awkward position. Glory be to God!” funny. More so that you inadvertedly ended the post complete with the etisalat ‘advert’.

*sighs* What else is Mr. Windy waiting for? He should start an online magazine or at least own a blog. The writing style is superb nd once again, I want to be a doctor so badly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He Says he’s too busy for that.

I enjoyed this. Makes me wish I wasn’t too lazy to journal my last trip.

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