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Like the cat that got the cream, Ridwan jubilated around the house when it turned out that Jameelah was pregnant.On the other hand, Jameelah had mixed feelings. The pregnancy news didn’t come to her as something to celebrate. She thought of their current situation and couldn’t help but worry about the future of her unborn child. If Ridwan continued to display laziness and not accept job offers because of low payment, how would they survive with an additional mouth to feed?The thought of leaving him flew out of her mind for the time being and surviving through the pregnancy and afterwards became her top priority.That evening, she decided to revisit the conversation. “Now that we’re expecting a child, are you still going to reject that job?””Please don’t bring up the issue of that peanut payment again!” He snapped at her.She shook her head sadly and kept quiet. The following morning, she called her brother-in-law to inform him that she was pregnant and really needed him to convince her husband now that an addition was about to join them.Her brother-in-law informed her that he’d spoken to her husband the previous evening but he wasn’t ready to accept the job. Jameelah begged him to talk to him again. And the man promised to do so.The previous evening, Ridwan was still in the happy mood of the news of his wife’s pregnancy when his brother’s call came through. Jameelah was resting in the bedroom while he was in the living room. His brother tried his best to convince him to take the job but he said he would never start with a low payment. That morning after Jameelah had called the man again, he decided to call his brother once again to further convince him.”Congratulations!” The man said after the greetings.”Why are you congratulating me?” Ridwan was confused.”Your wife said she’s pregnant!””What? She called you to tell you she’s pregnant?” Ridwan marvelled.”Yes. And that’s because she wants me to convince you to take the job now that you guys are expecting a child. You need to consider this fact and take the job regardless of the low payment. You’re now a family man and the interest and welfare of your family should be your topmost priority. If you continue to wait for a bigger job which you don’t know when it will come then what will happen to your present predicament? Who will feed your family until your dream job is actualised? You don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. You shouldn’t lose the opportunity you have at hand because of one that is yet to come ….””Thank you,” he interrupted his brother. “I’ve heard everything you said. But you can’t really convince me to do what I don’t want to do. A bigger opportunity awaits me and I won’t reduce myself by starting my career with a job of 40k,” he continued to say the same thing like a daft.”Apart from money, don’t you think you need to build your experience? While you sit at home, refusing to work because of low payment, you’ll have zilch experience by the time a bigger job of your dream comes along!” His brother tried his best to convince him.”Trust me, I have the skill and knowledge to combat anything. I don’t need a peanut job to acquire experience,” he arguedWhen his brother realised that he wasn’t ready to listen to him, he ended the call. He had really tried his best.After the call had ended, he got up angrily and walked to the bedroom to confront his wife.”Listen, what exactly is your problem? Why did you tell my brother that you’re pregnant? Is it for him to pity your condition and compel me to work? Are you all right at all?” He charged at her. She couldn’t respond because her mouth was filled with saliva. “Don’t ever tell anyone about me again!” He warned her. “I’m never going to accept that job and that’s the final! I believe I’m going to make it soon. As my wife, you should believe in me. You should encourage me not to give up but you’re discouraging me instead. You don’t have to worry about our sustenance, like I always tell you, God is enough for us. Our house rent has not expired. What we need most now is food. You don’t have anything to worry about. Stop exposing my weakness as a man, stop it! Don’t let me get angry with you!” He said the last statement sternly and left the room. “Hmmmmmmm!” She heaved a deep sigh after he’d left.At this juncture, she felt really helpless. Now that Jameelah was pregnant, Ridwan knew she might not be able to fund the house for a while. He thought about it and despite knowing that he couldn’t get anything from his wife at that moment, he still refused to accept the job offer. He decided to pay his eldest sister a visit. Upon getting to her house, he explained his situation to her. His sister knew he had no job. And God blessed him with really compassionate siblings who were ever ready to assist him. His sister went into her kitchen and packed foodstuff for him: Rice, beans, Garri, yam flour, tubers of yam, palm oil, groundnut oil and other important foodstuff. Added to the foodstuff given to him was some cash. The woman even hired a taxi to take him home. He thanked her profusely and left happily.When he got home with the stuff, Jameelah was surprised and asked where he got them from, he replied that ‘God did it’. She wanted to probe further but he snapped at her. This caused her to keep quiet and just allowed him to be.They fed on the foodstuff her sister gave her, using the money to get things like meat, fish and others.Ridwan took up the responsibility of cooking and cleaning when his wife couldn’t do it because of her condition. That singular act of kindness endeared him more to her. And her mind couldn’t stop telling her that no one was perfect. Thankfully, Jameelah’s morning sickness lasted for only a few weeks. She got up on her feet quickly again. By this time, her NYSC call up letter was out. She was posted to Anambra State. She went to the NYSC camp in Lagos and presented the necessary documents to be exempted from camp and subsequently got redeployed to Lagos; her husband’s place of residence.During the period of the camping programme, she was home because she was exempted from camp because of her condition.By the end of the three weeks camping programme, her redeployment letter was out and fortunately, she was posted to an eatery within Lagos. Her joy knew no bounds. During this period also, the food her husband got from his sister was already exhausted. He couldn’t go back to his sister’s house to beg for another food due to shame. But somehow, his mind was at peace, knowing that Jameelah’s NYSC allowance would come by month’s end.While waiting for his wife’s allowance to come, he got a call from his sister, summoning him to come to her house. This made him happy and he was positive that the summon would be favourable.With deep smiles on her face, his sister explained why she summoned him.”The last time you came to me explaining your predicament, it made me worried so I informed two of my friends who are well connected. They promised to help and I was hopeful ..” his sister said with an infectious smile.He also smiled positively, awaiting good news.”Yesterday, one of my friends whom I discussed with called me. She told me that her husband wanted to expand his side hustle so he bought a new Sienna for transportation. He wants to use it for transportation within Lagos and Abuja. He’s looking for a trustworthy driver and my friend remembered our discussion immediately. She asked me to talk to you if you are interested in the job. The good news is that it’s not a salary based job. You’ll be paid according to the trip you make and payment is 60/40%. Isn’t that wonderful?” She asked but Ridwan continued to stare at her mouth in awe.His sister continued enthusiastically. “Let’s say you make ₦50,000 per trip, that’s an income of ₦20,000 per trip and it’s possible you make more than 10 trips in a month. That’s ₦200,000 in a month or even above depending on the number of trips you make. It’s the offer not cool?” His sister asked with a delicious smile.Ridwan kept quiet, he folded his arms and looked at his sister with disdain. “Won’t you say anything? Why are you looking at me like that?” His sister asked him.He shook his head with a thick sound.”What is it?” His sister asked, confused.”I never knew you hated me this much …””What do you mean by that?””Haaaaaaaaaaa! Ajumobi okan taanu!” He shook his head again.”What’s the meaning of that?” His sister asked endlessly.”Sister mi! Haaaaaaaaaaa! You want me to become a Lagos-Abuja driver, really? Did you collect the number of MC Oluomo from your friend?””Meaning?””How can you forget to collect MC Oluomo’s number? Won’t you register my name under NURTW?””Are you being serious or sarcastic?” His sister cast him a lopsided stare.”I should be the one asking you if you’re being serious or sarcastic. What? Me?!” He touched his chest. “Become a driver? Wow! If bigger insults knock you down, smaller ones will start trampling upon you. For God’s sake, when I told you I needed a job, did I tell you I needed a ridiculous job? Did I tell you I needed a death trap? Did I tell you I needed a thuggery-job?””What do you mean by a ridiculous job? What do you mean by a death trap? What do you mean by a thuggery-job?” His sister was confused.”You really want me,” he touched his chest proudly. “A whole graduate to become a driver? What a ridiculous offer. You don’t even rate me at all. Your friends do not have connections with oil companies, telecommunications and the like, right? Your friends do not have connections with government contractors and big NGOs, really? They only have driving jobs to offer, what a laughable situation!” He laughed sarcastically. “Ridwan, are you serious?” His sister marvelled.”Yes, I’m serious, sister mi. How could you make me feel so low? How could you debase me to this level? And you said you don’t understand what I meant by death trap! Don’t tell me you don’t know that road accidents are inevitable for drivers! You really want me to die young, right?” He asked and at this juncture, his sister couldn’t close her mouth.”And it amazes me that you want me to do a job that is associated with thuggery and hooliganism. Haaaaaaaaaaa! How could you even look me in the eye and tell me such crap? Do you really want me to start smoking marijuana? Do you want me to turn from a gentleman into a hooligan? Do you want my lifestyle to change from drinking water to alcohol? Do you want me to start wining and dining with thugs? Sister mi, this is the height of looking-down on someone. It’s really not fair. It’s not fair at all. Please give me some honour. I’m a graduate for God’s sake! Don’t dishonour me, please!””Have you finished?” His sister asked him, staring hard at him.”Yes, I have finished. I won’t allow you to lower me at all …””Shame on you!” His sister rolled her eyes at him.”What?!””You heard me right! A very big shame on you! You are so full of pride upon nothing! You said a lot but ended up saying nothing. You can’t do a driver’s job because it’s associated with thuggery. You can’t do a driver’s job because of road accidents, really? Which job doesn’t have its hazards? There’s no job in this world that doesn’t have hazards. So don’t even bring that as an excuse. Only a lazy man will decline job offers because of job hazards. You also said you can’t do a driver’s job because you’re a graduate. Graduate, my foot! Are you going to feed your family with your ordinary status as a graduate? What is ridiculous about driving? There are graduates who have taken up driving as a profession and they’re succeeding in it. See, a breadwinner should be ready to do anything for his family except stealing. Every job is noble as long as it pays bills. I don’t understand your way of reasoning at all. Wow! You also don’t want to drive because it’s associated with thuggery, really? There are cult members in higher institutions, how many students decline admissions because of cultism? Are you not supposed to focus on your reasons and ignore distractions? Do all commercial drivers drink and smoke? Are all commercial drivers thugs? Are you going to be forced to smoke, drink or become a thug against your wish ….?””You will eventually become a part of the people you associate with …” he argued.”Will you keep quiet?!” All these excuses upon excuses do not hold water. They just point to how lazy you are. When our brother told me that you’d rejected like five jobs he found for you, I thought he was exaggerating. Now I’ve seen it for myself. What do you really want to do with your life? Have you forgotten you’re no longer alone? If it were to be only you, you could choose to be eating from hand to mouth. Now you have a wife who’s with a child, ain’t you going to sit up for the sake of your wife and unborn child?” His sister’s voice was soft now.”See, I didn’t say I won’t work but I’m not going to lower my standards. You people are making it seem like I don’t want to work whereas you keep bringing jobs that do not align with my dreams and aspirations …””What are your dreams and aspirations o, uncle?” His sister pulled his legs.”Thank you!” He smiled before responding. “I wish to work in oil companies. I wish to work in telecommunications. I wish to work with big and international NGOs. I wish to become managers for big conglomerates ….””Hmm … like Dangote and Otedola conglomerates, right?” She pulled his legs once again!”Exactly. I don’t want to start small at all. You people should stop ridiculing me by offering me small fries …””Oti yemi!” His sister shook her head.”What do you understand?””I now understand that a small fry like you doesn’t want a small fry job …””Please don’t call me a small fry …” he squeezed his face.”But that’s the truth. You’re a small fry with a big delusional personality. Ridwan, you have an exaggerated ego. And until you come down from your high horse, you’ll not progress in life …””Don’t curse me, please!” He snapped at his sister.”I’m not cursing you. Why should I? I’m just telling you the bitter truth. You have to really come down from your high horse. You have built a castle in the air ….””I didn’t build a castle in the air. My dreams are surely going to come to pass!” He snapped again.”My dear, faith without work is futile. How did you grow up to become like this? Did we all neglect you while trying to also grow? See, there’s nothing bad in having dreams and aspirations. And there’s nothing bad in dreaming big. But let me tell you that successful people don’t become successful overnight. They start from somewhere till they get to where they are today. But you, Ridwan, don’t want to start from somewhere. You want to hit success on a platter of gold. It doesn’t work that way ….””Mine will work. Stop discouraging me, please! You’re my family. You’re supposed to believe in me and encourage me. Why’s everyone around me discouraging me? Why do they not see the bigger picture that I’m seeing? Anyway, I’m not going to accept a driver’s job, never! Thank you for thinking so low of me. Thank you for reducing me to the lowest of the low. Your first son is 18, you can give him the job if you desperately want a driver that’ll work for your friend’s husband …”He said angrily and left, leaving his sister’s mouth agape!To be continued.Like, Comment and make use of the share button on this page but do not share this story on WhatsApp groups, telegram groups or any other closed platforms ❌ Thanks as you comply. LATEEFAH ADEWUNMI JUMAH – LAJFINGERS



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