AIDEE ERHIME

COCKTAIL OF RANDOM THOUGHTS

THE JJC’S GUIDE TO LIVING IN ABUJA

​The first time I visited Abuja, it was for love. Not love for the city but love for a man and I do believe that’s a good enough reason to travel miles and risk one’s life, yes? Yes. When I eventually fell in love with the city, it was partly because I was in love with a man who was in love with the city. It’s like loving a certain football team because one’s lover is in love with it. However, love between man and lady fell apart but did not take with it love for the city (Too many ‘loves’ for one paragraph I know, I love to love). 

I thought I knew what it meant to work for money because, well I have never been a lazy girl when it comes to working hard for money. I brought to Abuja my business experience which I had gathered from my 7 years stay in Benin and my 1 year in Benue state. Abuja laughed at me. 


I remember once when I drove into town from the airport and took a quick glance at the gas gauge. I noticed I needed to top up the fuel and it was getting late so I stopped to ask a man to direct me to the nearest filling station. He told me that I had passed the nearest one and that the next one was very far but if I could do a reverse and drive one-way, I could go to the fill in station behind me. 

I did not want to take such a risk because I was not on a one-way drive but I still really needed to top up. While negotiating what best decision I could take, two other men came to meet the man, he told them what the matter was and they agreed with his suggestion that I do one-way on a busy highway. That’s when I heard the statement again from one of them, for the umpteenth time, “you no get mind, this car too big for you sef”. I did not lose my temper, no. I simply drove away smiling because in Abuja, everyone is a small girl who does not wear makeup and fancy clothes but has the audacity to have a tiny frame.

Here I learned that no one takes anyone serious who does not look like a rich man. Many times, my sister had tried to no avail to put so much makeup on my face and style me before I stepped out. She soon gave up and I soon got frustrated because no one would listen to me when I went to lobby for contracts. I looked and still look like a little girl. 

Abuja is changing me. It teaches one to spend time and money on appearance, to pretend to be someone else who has it all even when he really stays in a cramped up space and while Lagos teaches you you to ‘hustle’, Abuja teaches you how to ‘package’ your hustle. The packaging is what people buy.  

For anyone who has thoughts of moving to Abuja to start a life, take this as a free tutorial on what you must do to blend in. 

1. Dress well: This is a no-brainer and a tough thing to do if you’re used to the quick Lagos life or like me, the easy Benin life where no one really cares about your looks. You could in those cities, start your day by throwing on a Tee over dirty Jeans and a pair of flip-flops. Here you have to ensure that even if you opt for a casual look, you do not look ‘cheap’. You cannot afford to overlook your dressing. Your clothes must flatter your body and your flip-flops belong to your bathroom no matter how fancy. The saying that you are addressed by the way you dress holds true in this city. This was a hard lesson for me and I learned it after I was told that I would not go with a certain team to see a certain man who may have given me a certain contract and the reason was that I was not dressed in a certain way. You also do not want to be wooed, for ladies, by drivers and security men so take time to dress well. 

2. Make-up: Powder, lipgloss, anything…just makeup. It does not matter if you are male or female. Whether you are going to the backyard store or to your bathroom or to the mall, ensure your face is looking bright because you do not know where you’ll have to pitch a business to a potential investor.  Always make sure your hair looks neat.

3. Always have specific answers: You know how you meet someone and he asks you what you do and you say, ‘well, I do many things’? Stop it! Hold it! What exactly do you do? No one will take you serious when you say you do many things. Even if you have not started doing something, call yourself by the name you’ve always dreamed you’d be called. You have to sell yourself and you can’t do this by being unsure of what your profession is. 

4. Learn the art of connecting: This is almost like number 3 above and yes, connecting is an art. We meet people everyday and make connections. You must seize every opportunity to let people know what you do. Many meetings I’ve attended in Abuja always end with a connect session which is even more important than the ‘item 7’. Your business card must be with you at all times and you must learn to smile even when you are extremely upset. 

ON DRIVING:

Abuja has good roads, so good you may not realize you’ve been over speeding. Mondays and Fridays, the thieving FRSC officials are always on the look for free money so they stop cars and accuse them of beating traffic light. If you know you are innocent, do make sure your doors are locked and your windows are wound up. Do park your car and lock it if you must attend to them but if you forget these rules and they manage to enter your car, you don’t have to bribe them. No one will fine you for beating traffic light. It still hurts that I fell into their trap and listened to the jargon they said about me paying a fine. No fines please. 

If you must drive at night, don’t stop your car to do aproko. Car thieves are everywhere. Park your car in secure locations and like me, put your big handbag in the boot.

If you won’t be driving, ensure you take my father’s advise and ‘la oju e’, Open your eyes. One-chance people are everywhere. Don’t contribute to discussions between passengers no matter how tempted you are to join in. If you sit by the extreme right or extreme left, hold on to your purses, bags or wallets. Some silly boys have started snatching bags and running into the bush.

ON ROMANCE

This is for the ladies and some men.

Remember how Abuja people package? Good. Don’t fall for a guy because he drives a G-wagon. Speaking of G-wagon, these Abuja people make it look like taxi. Anyway, it is possible that the guy wooing you borrowed the car from his friend’s father because he has to look good and package well. That he gave you his business card and is speaking British English does not guarantee that he is real. That he wears agbada and talks like a big man does not mean he is rich enough to be your sugar daddy. Do your research or pay me to do it for you. 

I have never really bothered to find out what a man specifically means when he says ‘let me take care of you’ but I do know that many Abuja daddies like to say it. That statement is like an anthem for them especially when they sense that you are new in the city. Be very careful.
These here are some really important things to do if you want to have a fairly easy stay within your first few months in Abuja. I love this city and pray hard everyday that I marry a man who loves to come back to Abuja after we tour the whole world. I’ve learned tough lessons here, made good friends and am now starting to really enjoy living the life of a spinster. 

Business in Abuja

P.S: We are organizing a business masterclass. If you click on the picture above, you may find something very interesting about me. I’ll be giving updates about this class on social media and/or in subsequent posts. Meanwhile, please follow me on all popular social media platforms (including Linda Ikeji Social). Just type my names, ‘Aidee Erhime’ and voila! My beautiful face!

PPS: JJC means Johnny Just Come i.e., a newbie.

I hope all that I wrote above makes sense and helps someone somewhere sometime. 

Much love,

Aidee.

November 13, 2016 Posted by | EDUCATION, LIFE | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

BEING 25

​Last night, my neighbour may have slept with her pillows to her ears as I listened to and sang along with Michael W. Smith, “Your grace, your grace shines on me. Shines on me, shines on me, I’m everything with you. Shines on me, shines on me. It’s your grace”. 


I did a vigil last night and this song was all I sang. It was and is still on replay. 

It’s a clear Saturday and rather than dress up and go out, I just want to remain naked on my bed. Mama had to scold me for ignoring her calls and answering baby brother’s calls. Why blame me? I love my siblings and I feel responsible for them. I have watched them grow from new borns to toddlers and now to near-teenagers and I miss that I am not there to guide them in their decision making. I have read the letters they always sneak into my bag in the rare occasions that I visit home.

“I love you, big sis. I will never forget you”.

“Big sis, please come home next time. Daddy is very boring”.

“You are the best sister in the world”.

Tell me why I should forget people who think of me, pray for me, pray with me, scold me and tell the world about me? This is family. Family is everything!

I stare at my phone and wonder why this man keeps calling. This is weird. Few days ago, his call would have been promptly answered. We would talk for some time about life and work and he would seek my advise regarding some decisions he wants to make. Then he would express appreciation and be thankful for my wonderful soul. Now, these calls are a waste of time, they are like unwanted visitors trying to share my space with me when my space belongs to me and no one else. 

I do not want any more attention and have unconsciously filtered my friends – no time for past lovers, friends who have shallow discussions, people who type in shorthand etc. 

I would deactivate my Facebook if I had not sent out the link to companies where I applied for internship. Who knows when they decide to investigate? 

One thing that has always come easy to me is dreaming. I set a goal and fiercely reach for it. Birthdays aren’t at all holidays. If I needed a holiday, I’d give myself one. Working hard happens everyday so today, I begin to make new plans. The old plans do not seem to be working out and if anything, today reminds me that I do not have the luxury of making time look like a stopclock. 

It is a good thing dad taught me early on the importance of having backup plans. I think of the good man that I am proud of, who raised me and I look forward to the day I’ll bring home a man and have dad sit with and talk to him. 

Now that I think of it, I realize he has never really succeeded in making me talk about some boyfriend. He did try the other day I went home when he called me out and stammered some words, shifting uncomfortably on his chair. I had to save him the stress. “Daddy, I’m not dating anyone. If I am, I’ll tell mummy and she’ll tell you”. Fathers! One day he’ll read this, I know. 

It’s the start of my 25th year today and what makes it different from other days is the unsolicited attention I am getting. I have had to block all incoming calls on two of my phones while I placed the third phone on silent. I think the difference between today and yesterday is that I’m starting a new year but I still miss my family – siblings who always have my back, a mother who is more an older sister to have girl talk with and laugh over boys especially her boyfriend who happens to be my dad, a father who would forget all my sins and still welcome me with his breast and run around the house threatening ‘won’t you come and suck breast?’ because I used to love breast as a baby. I know he will call me later this evening and as usual tell me to go catch the goat that just ran past me because that’s my birthday present. Family is everything and I guess this is what I am grateful for today and always – Family. 

Happy 25 to the girl with the never-fading smile. 

Aidee Erhime

When all hope is lost and friends leave your side, those who are your true family will always be there for you through it all – Aidee Erhime

Aidee Erhime

November 5, 2016 Posted by | LIFE | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A BOY WILL DREAM AGAIN TONIGHT

​A boy will dream again tonight, of his many cars and houses. He will dream of wealth, women and employees. A boy will dream again tonight and wish he would live longer in the land of his dreams. He will count his years waiting impatiently for the day he’ll eventually wriggle free from the clingy protection of his parents. This boy will wake and say to his friends, ‘I dreamed of more houses and wealth’ and they will hold their noses with one hand, snorting and laughing. They will call him ‘The dreamer’ and he will snap his fingers at them, ‘You will see’.


The young boy will grow and be happy. His father too will be. ‘You are now a man’, his father will say and the boy, with nothing but his bag of dreams and hope, will open his arms and say to the world, ‘I am now a man!’

A man leaving home

Image source: Google images

Now shelter and a car, he will be gifted. ‘A roof over your head and a vehicle for your comfort’, his parents will say. ‘Never forget that you are a man’. 

With this zeal, he will work. Harder each day, he will work and everyday he will smile because life is not as complicated as they made it seem and even though he is now a man, his mother’s breasts still give him life but soon he will crave firmer breasts unlike his mother’s and faced with a bevy of choices requiring only his money, he’ll explore his youth and test them all. 
One day, a stone will hit him; the first stone of many. Firmer breasts will leave him for the next hive and he will shed shameful tears, wondering whether to return to his mother’s breasts. 

But I am a man! He’ll say, I’ll dream again. 
A man will dream again tonight, of a gentle hand and a loving smile. He will dream of budding breasts and wake up craving to be in the arms of this one. He will stare at faces and chests, he’ll give all to find the smile and touch those hands. If I find these, I’ll be whole again. This man will say to his friends, ‘I dreamed of a creature with smile like a crescent moon’ and they will hold their bellies and laugh at him. They will call him ‘the dreamer’ and he will smile at them, ‘you will see.’
Shelter and car soon disappear, tiny stones become hail, his confidence melts but men do not cry. Smiles and breasts he has seen, none exactly like he had dreamed for when he thought he could shed a tear, their gentle hands had hardened. Do you not know that men do not cry? 

Soon hope smiles, one hand holds him close. 

‘Cry, baby, cry. Men are first humans’.

He sleeps and dreams like a boy again and when he tells his dream to the one with the gentle hands, that one smiles. 

A fresh burst of confidence, a man will understand now that the hailstorm will be tackled by two but he soon will crave firmer breasts and with his money, he’ll find them and forget the one with the gentle hands.

Aidee Erhime

September 9, 2016 Posted by | LIFE, love, RANDOM THOUGHTS | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

THE DREAM

image

Google images

I dreamed one night
Lives would be spared
If friends could solve puzzles
Hard puzzles
People lost their lives
My friends and I
We were spared
Others too lived
We put heads together
We solved puzzles
We thought deep
We lived long.

Aidee

December 5, 2015 Posted by | LIFE | , , , , | Leave a comment

HAPPY NOVEMBER II

My students love me just as I love them. They come to call me when they are free and I am glad I make them enjoy Chemistry as a subject. Some days back, after teaching for two hours at a stretch, they wanted more. I couldn’t spend another 40minutes teaching them so I decided to use their free time to gist with them.

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November 1, 2015 Posted by | EDUCATION, LIFE, RANDOM THOUGHTS | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

LIVE? EXIST?

I’m afraid. I’m afraid I’ve forgotten the essence of life.
We live to die and we die to live? How many lives do we get?
Aunty died of cancer three years ago. The doctors did not know what was eating her up. I knew, her children also knew, but everyone was scared to say the word. It was forbidden to say it as that would mean we were faithless. The small boil on her head soon multiplied and gave rise to big lumps on every part of her body. Her health deteriorated every time I saw her, until she breathed her last. She was very friendly, she left too early. To aunty, I shall dedicate a book. Her death brought back memories of Alaba.

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August 9, 2015 Posted by | LIFE, RANDOM THOUGHTS | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AUNTY OYOYO

I’m walking home from work, very tired and eager to hug my pillow. I know I will be too lazy to eat but I dream of food anyway. My bag is weighing me down. It’s the only bag I have and it is 5 years old. Daddy bought it for mummy who gave it to me. This bag was beautiful the first day I took it to class, the red leather lined around black gave it a very nice look and it got a whole lot of compliments. But as it is with everyone and everything, we all get old and soon become a shadow of our youth. My dear bag has withstood the test of time and its old age is showing, it has gotten nail injuries but it still serves its purpose.

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March 18, 2015 Posted by | LIFE, RANDOM THOUGHTS | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

LIVE, LOVE, CHASE DREAMS

death

Chris was driving me home one Saturday evening when we saw a party. I told him that it was definitely a funeral celebration. My weird reason was that the canopies looked like tents but that was just a lucky guess. He asked whether they were celebrating life or death and to this, I replied, ‘Life of course!” He said people tend to spend so much on funerals than they would birthdays and other celebrations, ‘especially the Yorubas’, he said. I argued that the Yorubas spend on weddings and naming ceremonies but that in Edo state, planning a funeral involves heavy spending. All over Benin City, particularly along Uselu road, casket makers are in business. Every other weekend, there is always a burial celebration and it is usually very grand with children, grandchildren, and cousins to nieces of the deceased wearing uniforms, dancing and sometimes, fighting. Relatives compete for food and special canopies are assigned to special people. Sometimes major roads are blocked depending on who died.

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February 25, 2015 Posted by | LIFE, love, RANDOM THOUGHTS | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

SUCK IT LIKE SPAGHETTI

Photo Credit: Google images

Photo Credit: Google images

What do you do when your infant has blocked nostrils? Do you use the mucus extractor or do you just use the traditional mouth-to-nose method? Personally, while taking care of my last two siblings, I used the mouth-to-nose method. When the child has blocked nostrils, place your mouth on one and suck out the boogey, spit it out and do the same for the other nostril. Be careful to not ‘oversuck’ else you may suck out the child’s brain and turn it to an imbecile! What? That’s what my grandma told me. I was initially irritated when my mother did it the first time but when it was my turn to care for my brother, it was not hard for me as the affection I felt for him pushed me to do it. Till now, I cannot understand how to use the mucus extractor.

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February 10, 2015 Posted by | LIFE, RANDOM THOUGHTS | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

PUSSYCAT THEOREM: The Nigerian Perspective

Blood of Jesus! Back to sender!! What did I just see? A cat! God forbid! (Dials pastor’s cell)…”Pastor, good evening sir. How are u sir?” Please sir, pray for me, I just saw a black cat pass through my window. Continue reading

June 29, 2014 Posted by | Africa, FICTION, LIFE, RANDOM THOUGHTS | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments