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|*the Good Citizen Is The Fool*- _by Oliver Omoredia_ by omoredia: 3:18am On Feb 21, 2022|
*THE GOOD CITIZEN IS THE FOOL*- _BY OLIVER OMOREDIA_
Today started, unlike every other workday. I woke up with the zeal to make the best of the billable hours I have to complete every task on my to-do list. Working from home requires a lot of discipline because the distractions are staring you in the face, literally! The first challenge of the day came with a seemingly easy solution. There was no light and I needed to buy fuel. Little did I know that implementing the solution would present another important life lesson.
I set out early to the filling station, to beat the rush that would follow attempting it later in the day. The objective was simple: fill two kegs and my tank! Prepared with cash, my ATM card, and a phone for mobile transfer, I set out to be amongst the early birds. In the first part, my stop at the filling station was for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. It was a single “vehicle only” queue. When I got significantly close, I realized they were only selling into cars and my two kegs would not be sold into. The whole essence of this trip was to get fuel for my generator because Nigeria happened all night, and it was looking like there wouldn’t be light for the rest of the day. Nonetheless, I rewarded myself for the wait by filling up my tank, then proceeded to another filling station for the two kegs.
As I approached the Talto filling station (trying not to mention the specific name of the filling station so it doesn’t seem like I’m “bad-mouthing” them), I met a significant number of people with their kegs in line waiting to be filled. This filling station was closer to my house, and before this fuel crisis, has been my regular fueling center. I knew most of the staff, and I was known to them. But I didn’t want to take advantage of the relationship to skip the line. I was going to be the Good Citizen.
I joined the queue and waited for it to move. It seemed straightforward that when a sale was made, one keg moves, then another keg moves. If everything went in that order, everyone would be sold to eventually! Or at least, those who came earlier would be sold to first! That seemed a fair and just principle, and as a lawyer, I am for the fair and the just.
After a while on one spot, I realized the queue wasn’t moving anymore. The simple reason was, the Attendant was no longer following the order of selling to those on the queue because he was being intercepted in front by different other people who did not believe in the principle of fairness but elected to circumvent the queue without apologies. The majority of the people in the queue spoke out and complained, but I decided to go forward and do something about it.
I moved forward and stood beside the fuel Attendant in a bid to monitor and ensure that he sells according to the queue. My first victim was a young man about my age, who snuck a keg from behind and requested that the attendant sells into it. I immediately pushed his keg back and asked him to join the queue. Of course, he protested and threatened to fight me. I'm quite an imposing figure and I do not like empty threats. I pushed his keg again and again until other voices on the queue joined in. He was one against the majority, and other angry young men stood with this advocate of justice. We silenced the threat he presented, and he disappeared. At this point, I had become fairly recognized amid the madness as someone who was there to protect the interest of those who were only grumbling in silence. I became their voice.
The queue started moving again, and those of us who dispelled the first attempt to manipulate things had become de facto managers of the line. “Move that keg forward!” “That one is not on the line!” “Don’t let that guy enter!” I was giving instructions and the people were obeying because I was for them. I had a small group of young guys who were also waiting their turn and united with me to give me some enforcement powers. When I identified who is wrong, they join voices against the person. The queue was moving and everyone was being served fairly. Then, the first attack on this justice system came! A manager of the filling station came with two kegs in hand. I protested, then we protested! Our voices became louder and the Attendant was hesitant. But the manager simply collected the nozzle from the attendant and started filling up the kegs himself! Initially, he did it without any form of regard, but as my voice got louder, he started apologizing and saying “make una no vex. Na only this two.”
The manager had taken over from the Attendant to sell to “his people”. One keg, then another keg, then another keg! He was about to sell to a fourth keg, but we had had enough! We pushed the keg aside and stood our ground. Just when we thought we were winning, one vehicle drove into the line that had so far been for selling only to people buying with kegs. It was a branded bus for “Emerald Schools”. The manager pleaded with us again, stating that the school was a credit customer, and we thought “well…it’s a school.” So I allowed it. At this point, my powers as queue manager had been a little bit demystified. I had to act like I was still part of the permission granting process to ensure that my position is reinstated after the manager was done. After he filled the tank of the school vehicle, the driver opened the boot to reveal three large kegs and claimed it was for the school. I lost my cool! I slammed his boot shut! Told him to move aside for the queue sales to continue, but the Manager again said he had to sell those. In the end, he sold two of the kegs and collected some payments from the driver. The driver moved forward a bit, then some people standing by off-loaded the two kegs sold on the pretense that they were for the school. We had all been fooled!
At this point, the manager was done and returned the nozzle to the Attendant. I was back in charge, and the Attendant was following my instruction as to who was on the queue. Then…another problem came knocking.
An extremely large, dark-skinned tout came with two kegs and strolled to the front of the queue. I’m a tall guy, but this guy was huge! His skin was as dark as the blacktop and shorts he wore, his face had markings to show his previous battles. As he moved through the crowd everyone went silent. “O da bi kpe ewo fe ku laaro yi!” He was just randomly saying to the fuel Attendant in a very loud voice. Everyone grew colder. The fuel Attendant had a look of fear as he drew closer. That statement meant nothing…It was just to show everyone that he was violent and ready to use it. The uneasy silence from people who had been complaining when everyone else tried to move forward, made me realize people would rather avoid him and save themselves the troubles. A part of me was afraid to stand up to him, but did I mention that I hate empty threats? Well, I also hate bullies!
As he drew closer, people on the queue opened up to make way for him. I had seen him but continued telling the Attendant who to sell to. He kept coming forward till he got to me. He used his keg to push against my leg, indicating that I step aside for him. I looked back and said “why are you pushing me with your keg? Can’t you see there is a queue?” Then I continued what I was doing. For a moment, he was taken aback. I’m sure it had been a long time since his size and fierce look hadn’t been enough to get someone out his way. After a brief moment of silence from everyone, I heard him reply “Shey I touch you? Abi your glasses no let you see ni?” I immediately replied, “E be like your eye dey pain you wey you no see me.” BOOM!!! I dropped it! Then he started “Shey this one wan fight me?” “Oya come make we fight!! If we fight, I go call boys now now make them do you bla bla bla!” He just kept going on and on! But I was still in his way, and I didn’t move an inch. I just kept telling the Attendant who to sell to whilst he blew hot!
As he was ranting, one of the guys on the queue shouted “Major!!” That was his street name. Then he faced that one and started shouting at him. At that moment I noticed, He was afraid of me! I had done something he wasn’t used to getting on these streets, I had put him in his place, beneath me! After a while, I saw he was standing just behind me like a good little boy. Quiet but with occasional grunts about what he would do to me if we see outside. But we were outside. As he got quieter, I got louder. I can speak Yoruba, but I didn’t try to. I intimidated him with English…good English. The more I spoke, the more he felt threatened. The biggest threat to people using force on the street is people with education. His other gangster boys emerged from the crowd with tattoos and markings. But when they observed the exchange, they pleaded with me not to be angry but to please allow them to sell to him. I had won! Everyone in the queue admired me! They knew that their leader does not stan nonsense. Lest I lose the grounds I had gained; I instructed the Attendant to sell to him and quietly allowed that chapter close. The queue was moving again.
At this point, I had become firmly recognized as the Alpha male! The Attendant and some people in the queue started asking me “where is your keg?” They wanted to reward me by allowing me to buy so I can move on. To voluntarily let me buy before them because I had shown I was no coward. So far, I had been the good citizen, and I knew that if I took that window, I would be no better than the people I had prevented from taking it. I told them my keg was still far behind but I would wait. I had spent about three hours in this madness, but the queue was moving. Everyone was patient and content because they knew, with me in front their interest was preserved.
In between, employees in uniform brought kegs of their friends or people who tipped them and used their position as employees to circumvent the queue. I couldn’t help those situations. But I managed it by ensuring that three customers are sold before staff can bring another keg. Everything was going smoothly, but then came the final hurdle.
A 2019 sienna drove in from behind and was ushered forward by another one of the managers. The manager took the pump again to the vehicle. Then a chubby, rich-looking man stepped out with a large 50 litre keg. The manager also filled up the keg. Now I had been standing in the sun for over four hours. I was too tired to complain and no one else did. I just looked at the manager and said “But you know what you're doing is wrong.” He looked at me and said “I'm sorry. Please let them sell for you now.” “I said don’t worry, I waited this long and I will wait till it's my turn”. The manager counted a significant sum of money given to him by the man, pocketed it, and left. After about five hours, they finally reached my turn and as the Attendant sold to me he said “Thank you for being here”. I paid, took my fuel, and left. On my way home, I saw someone who left me there early in the morning. He said, “Ah! Are you just leaving there? Me I don settle one person to help me sell sharp sharp! I don reach house since na.”
So, after spending four hours to get fuel I thought to myself “this filling station was closer to my house, and before this “fuel-crisis” has been my regular fueling center. I knew most of the staff, and I was known to them. I also had enough cash to settle one staff to help me skip the line, but I didn’t do that and it cost me four hours of suffering. I have been a fool, but I am comfortable with that.
Growing up, we were taught to be good citizens and to be honest, because those are virtues in our society. The truth is, they are not. Not in our society! That’s not how our society works! Uphold your morals for the sake of its morality itself. Be a good citizen so you can know you were fair to the next man. You will not be a hero in the end. You will be laughed at. You will be seen as the fool. You will waste time that you can easily save from cutting corners. You will probably leave political office and be begging for contracts to feed your kids when you could have become a billionaire. Society attaches no value to your honesty. To make your honesty matter, you can only make it matter to you! Nobody will celebrate you, so make it something that you celebrate for yourself. The majority pretentiously act like they believe these are virtues, but when the opportunity presents itself, they are unwilling to embrace it!
So, we must help our children see that being honest is the end in itself. There is no reward thereafter. If you are lucky someone may remember that you were honest, fair, and just, but there is no guarantee that anyone will. So they must find satisfaction in the act itself unless in the future, they will ask you “Who your honesty help?”. We must train our children to be that good citizen who doesn’t mind being a fool, because, these are the fools that can save our dear country from itself.
|Re: *the Good Citizen Is The Fool*- _by Oliver Omoredia_ by chukwuibuipob: 3:27am On Feb 21, 2022|
|Re: *the Good Citizen Is The Fool*- _by Oliver Omoredia_ by otipoju(m): 3:35am On Feb 21, 2022|
Good story. Well written and worth reading.
There are 3 levels of doing the right thing.
1. Because you are afraid of punishment
2. Because you want to be rewarded
3. Becuase it is simply the right thing to do.
It is when you start doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do that you become truly free.
|Re: *the Good Citizen Is The Fool*- _by Oliver Omoredia_ by Blessed518627: 4:19am On Feb 21, 2022|
Read below it
|Re: *the Good Citizen Is The Fool*- _by Oliver Omoredia_ by kingkoboko: 9:51am On Mar 11, 2022|
Wawu! This story suppose dey 4 front page abeg. This story can even be made into a swt movie like that SOOLE Nollywood movie. E too swt wallahi.
i dobale 4u baba mi. i happy sey good pipu like u still dey this country.
|Re: *the Good Citizen Is The Fool*- _by Oliver Omoredia_ by Conwarden: 11:01am On Jun 22, 2022|
Well written and composed. You truly earned your wig, cos I didn’t expect any less from a competent lawyer.
Last paragraph is apt.
Life sentence for all scammers . . . Including paternity fraudsters!
|Re: *the Good Citizen Is The Fool*- _by Oliver Omoredia_ by Conwarden: 11:03am On Jun 22, 2022|
Oil dey ur head
Life sentence for all scammers . . . Including paternity fraudsters!
|Re: *the Good Citizen Is The Fool*- _by Oliver Omoredia_ by DonNeon: 11:22am On Jun 22, 2022|
Lovely write up..... with a clear message
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