Thank You NEPA; Up You!

NEPA, the then Nigerian Electricity Power Authority, was notorious for its sickening inefficiency and massive corruption. And most times, it attracted opprobrium upon itself from Nigerians, for obvious reasons. However, this same NEPA saved me at some point in GCI. Please permit me to share what happened with you today.

Majority of my classmates (1973 (A) set) in Carr House, were not known to be great in the GCI social circle. I believe we just didn’t know how to be social, but, a few of us like Deji Awopetu (Toots), and Bolade Majekodunmi (Majek), were quite different, because they easily rubbed shoulders with the ‘social gurus’ from Swanston House, including Olufemi Dada (Dodo), Olatunde Olaniyan (Agbon), Olayinka Olafimihan (Abona T), Afolabi Adesina (Perojah), Abiodun Ogunmekan (Ohene), and Olumide Onabolu (Basco) among others. Swanston House boys were our standard at that time.

As a person, I wanted to be a ‘raré’ (super cool guy) like the aforementioned boys, and I concluded that one of the fastest ways I could achieve my aim was to attend a school social function, and at least be seen talking to, or dancing with a girl, preferably from QSI, ANZE, TÈRÉ, or O.L.A.

One Saturday evening, when I was in class two going to class three, I strayed into a school party in the assembly hall. It was attended by loads of girls from various girls’ schools in Ibadan, and environs. Boys from a few secondary schools were also in attendance.

On seeing the bevy of girls, my confidence began to wane, but the appeal to become a ‘raré’ deterred me from changing my mind at that point. So, I approached a QSI girl, and the following conversation, paraphrased, ensued between us.

Adedayo Adegbulu: Hello, please floor.

QSI girl: What do you mean by ‘please floor’.

Adedayo Adegbulu: I mean please dance.

QSI girl: You must be joking. You and who?

Adedayo Adegbulu: Please don’t say no to me.

QSI girl: And if I say no, what will you do?

Adedayo Adegbulu: I will be very sad, and when I grow up, I will be your permanent secretary, and I will sack you. Remember, no condition is permanent, please dance with me now.

QSI girl: (looking at me with surprise, clapped her hands, hissed, and began to laugh) You really disgust me you know, please just leave me alone, and go away with your Ekiti English.

*A nearby QSI girl interjected: Why don’t you give this small boy a chance? Go and dance with him jàre.

QSI girl: Okay o Ekiti boy, let’s go and dance, but please behave yourself, you hear?

Adedayo Adegbulu: I will behave myself, but I am not an Ekiti boy, I am from Àkúré Olóyèmekùn.

QSI girl: Please, just shut up and follow me.

Next, she held my hand, and led me to the floor. That was too much for me to handle, because back home, we were told that only ‘àwon omo burúkú' (bad children) hold hands with people of the opposite sex.

Anyway, we got to the floor, and I started to sweat profusely; I felt dizzy too, and I knew I could collapse at any time, just because of 'this rude' QSI girl, and my desire to become a raré.

Suddenly, NEPA struck; there was power outage! So, I quickly abandoned her on the floor, and ran all the way back to Carr House, sweating and panting, but full of joy that I survived the ordeal I needlessly brought upon myself. That was how NEPA saved me from imminent shame, and indelibly horrific history.

Eventually, I still got the veneration I craved for in Carr house, because some boys saw the girl holding my hand, and concluded that I was ‘raré’ enough. Of course, I did not argue with them; I felt really super cool afterwards.

Thank you NEPA, up you!

Source: The Nigerian Nostalgia Project - Government College Ibadan.

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