Between 2018 and 2019, I worked as a labourer shuffling across cities in Lagos.
In the course of my job, I found myself working with some group of people who have been in the jobs longer than I.
Unlike them, the job was just an improvised means of making ends meet for me. So I tackled the job with a different outlook.
I’m close to a perfectionist and I often have to try not to put my 100 in certain things.
I usually go to these jobs with my bag which to their humour, contained my cosmetics and no food. I rarely ate on the job. I’m psychologically wired to really want to relax after a meal.
My schedule was totally different from theirs. Once I finished work, I’d take my bath, and race home looking like a PA to the president.
Back home, it’s usually past ten in the night already. I’ll sit something on the stove for dinner and then go ahead to do some laundry before taking another bath.
As it is, I wash on average of six days per week. No matter how busy I am or what comes my way, I always find a way to wash and something to wash. I like washing.
So after taking my bath, I’ll have late dinner. Late dinner is another habit I don’t know what to do with.
I’ve had some concerned people in the health sector advise me against it but I guess, to me, it’s one of those things a man can’t just stop doing even if it kills.
Anyway, after my late dinner, I’ll delve into Facebook and WhatsApp. Check my Mails and reply Sms I wasn’t able to handle during the working hours.
Then, I still had to read. I still had to review stuffs I’d written. I’m always modifying my works and before I know it, I’m looking at 2:30 A.M.
I’ll nap and wake up around 7 AM to repeat the circle. So when I look at this and compare it to my co workers’ schedule which more often than not take the pattern of, they come to work, finish work, have dinner at the working site, reach home and hit the bed.
The result is that I always want to finish up with the job and get going.
I thought I was doing us a favour whenever I started doing the jobs of two men put together. At first, they hailed me, then as time progressed, I realized they didn’t look too pleased with me again.
I didn’t know why. They started telling my lies. They’d say there’s no work tomorrow. When I report to work two days later, I’ll hear they came to work the day before. I didn’t know what I did to them.
Someday, they’d try to send me back home before the supervisor will report to work through several mischievous means.
One day, we were already working when they complained that there were too many labourers and that there’s need for layoff.
Of course, all fingers pointed at me. Even the few of them I considered friendly were snickering and avoiding me.
Anyway I dressed to go. Outside, I met the supervisor and asked him in our customary way to give me #100 make I take jump bike.
He started fumbling with his pockets and then a thought came him. He asked me where I was going. I explained that we exceeded the number of needed workers so that counted me out.
‘What?’ He rushed into the site and started barking at everybody. He has great admiration for me and enjoyed how hardworking I was. How I don’t spend hours eating lunch, hours eating breakfast and hours drinking water. ‘So someone have to go and it’s Henry?’ He started laughing. ‘You’re all joking,’ He told them and said if anybody had to go, that they should caste away one of them. I changed and resumed work.
He took my number. Without their knowledge. They’d lie that there’s no job. And he’d text me at odd hours when works has already started and ask me why I didn’t report to work. I’ll tell him there’s supposed to be no work today. That surprised him and severely, I saw myself hurriedly going to a job I didn’t prepare for at very unusual hours.
So one day, I talked to a friend on WhatsApp about it. He said he knew why they were treating me like that.
He said it was because unlike me, that job to them, isn’t something to finish. That if everybody there started working like me, they’d end up working four days rather than six days every week. That was why they were not in a hurry to finish the jobs.
They weren’t paid for their individual effort or hourly output, rather it was a fixed rate. That it’s like a government job for them; just lazy around as much as you can, waste whatever time you can, take your payment and go home.
It’s not their father or uncle that own the money. They don’t care if it takes a hundred years to finish the work so far they get paid shifting a few bricks from here to there each day.
And that was why the Engineer, supervisor and management liked me and that was why my coworkers detested me.
They saw me as a threat to the system that’s the rules they operate under. Also my working extra hard, meant pressure on them to step up their efforts and that’s an inconvenience to them. Shortly afterwards, I left their job for them.
So while I was expecting praises from my co workers, I didn’t know that I was a problem to them.
And this is an answer to your question of why people change when they assume power.
We’ve all heard and read people ask how good people suddenly turn to what they don’t know once they’re in a position to affect any change in a system they’ve so much criticized.
That’s why Nigeria isn’t working. And that’s why it will never work with the present foundation.
If you like, go and put Obama in Aso Rock. If he do more than they’re willing to take, they’ll cut him down to size.
That’s why if you become Nigeria president today, you won’t do better than Buhari. That’s why GEJ couldn’t win a second term running against a candidate like Buhari and that’s the same reason the outspoken Osinbajo has turned to a rainbow, appearing once in a blue moon.
If you enter a city, you ask who owns the city first so you’ll know where to direct your respect. If you enter Rome, you act like the Romans. You play to the rule or you pay for it.
Are you playing to the rules or you’ve broken the rules and now waiting for your praises? It’ll come in form of a brick hitting you on the head.
Wait for it.