Friday, June 29, 2007


The story of “one chance” used to be an ordinary story to me until I almost fell victim today. Well, that is what I was made to believe. And boy, was I scared! A friend once told me about his “one chance” experience which left him penniless, phoneless and black eyed- for a few weeks.

Well, he said one day he was going home from his friend’s and he heard this conductor screaming for one more passenger in the bus that was actually going his way. It was quite logical that he boarded the bus since he was equally in a hurry. A few minutes drive from where he was picked up, the conductor and the driver turned to another route and phew! That was how his trouble began. First, he and a few others in the bus were ripped of their valuables and a little struggle on their part gave them a black eye. It was a really bad experience but thank God he lived to tell the story.

For me, well, I didn’t have any screaming bus conductor calling for “one chance passenger” in any bus. I literary stopped a cab to take me from one stop at Ahmadu Bello way in V/I to another. The cab stopped quite alright, as I was about to enter, this lady matched up to me and brushed me off the cab. I was dazed as I watched the lady walk off as quickly as she had come. Immediately I noticed the cab speeding off. Now the first thing I did was to check myself, and I noticed everything was still intact. After which I hurried after the lady to ask what the problem was.

“Hmm. Don’t just enter any cab you see only two people inside, most of them are kidnappers posing as drivers.” She said. I thanked her and went my way. “An angel in disguise” I thought.. But I couldn’t also help but wonder if we are not really over reacting to this issue of “one chance”. Anyway, I am grateful to God for sparing me that gory experience of falling into a “one chance” cab. This would have probably been a different story you know.

We must really be careful when we enter public transport. Say no to empty cabs, especially unpainted ones (normal Lagos cabs are painted Yellow and black). And most importantly, risk access any area you visit before wandering off alone. Experience they say is the best teacher, but I know this is one of the few cases we can learn from other people’s experience. Stay safe.

“Ice cream, Ice cream” the old woman called out as young school children scrambled one after the other in a rush to buy one or two. I checked my time to be sure I was not imagining. “” I recoiled in shock. It was a cold Monday morning, the cloud still cloudy with a promise of rainfall.

The rate at which the secondary students struggled to buy this Ice cream this early morning was appalling. Right in front of the school gate, no teacher or security guard to chase the woman away or at least caution the children from the risk which they exposed themselves to.

If the Ice cream they so much were rushing after was the normal healthy Yogurt produced by recognized and approved company, then my concern would have been about the timing of the sales of the Ice Cream. But this Ice cream was a locally made one; even an illiterate would know that the contents/ingredients composed of water, color and sugar, sold cheaply at the rate of N10 per one.

Parents give their children pocket money to spend in school every morning, but little do they know what these kids spend the money on. I must confess that as a child I also suffered from the aftermath of buying “unhealthy” food in school which led to constant stomach ache and mild food poisoning. I would have acted differently if I knew better then.

Those who do not spend their money on purgative snacks, make countless visits to video game centers, or the hard ones among them even experiment on alcohol or weed with pressure from their peers who count it as part of growing up.

If I could change one thing about this, I would have parents become more interested in knowing what their kids spend their pocket money on or at least be interested in their leisure activities. Secondly, the school authorities can also help by monitoring the food vendors that come around the school. Thirdly, is there any way NAFDAC can set up local monitoring team to act as watch dogs on these locally made snacks?

A healthy Nation is a wealthy nation. This young generation certainly needs more enlightenment on eating healthy to keep healthy.

If I make my way through the public secondary school I saw these kids hustling for the Ice Cream tomorrow, I wonder if I would see any change, probably not I guess. It has always been there and it may always be there…