My family moved to Lagos in 1991, sometime in October.
I was in school at the University of Jos when Reinhard Bonnke came to Kano to host one of his mammoth crusades.
It didn’t go right. There was a riot, lives were lost and Kano erupted in an orgy of religious killings.
This was 1991 and Boko Haram did not mean anything then. Boko what?
The King Kong of Islamic fundamentalism was a dude called Maitatsine real name Mohammed Marwa who had held Kano by the balls in 1980 and his acolyte called Musa Mekaniki who set Yola on fire in 1984 before fleeing to Gombe and then Cameroon.
Dude, this shit didn’t start today!
One night, after days of bloodletting, my father with the help of some Hausa friends smuggled my mother and four siblings into the back of a truck filled with cattle and sent them to her brother, my uncle, in Lagos.
He followed suit soon after.
That was how we left Kano and it fell on my late brother, Charles, and I to go to Kano and sell off what we could sell off then bring the rest back to Lagos.
We arrived Kano sometime in 1993.
Many people we knew were dead. There was this handsome Igbo man who lived opposite us. He was dead. Killed by the Hausa friend he had gone to hide in his house. They said the Hausa friend owed him money and letting him die was a convenient way of writing off the debt.
My father was lucky. He had good hausa friends.
I remembered that as we got off the taxi and began walking towards our house on 283 Sarkin Yaki by Burma road, our big Alsatian dog saw us and came running. She got to us and leapt. I tried to catch her but she was too big. Both of us fell to the road.
That dog hadn’t seen us for over a year but it felt like yesterday.
We did what we came to do. Sold off stuff then parked keep sakes and shipped them to Lagos.
It was on that trip, on our way back that I had my first and only armed robbery experience. Our bus was attacked and the only people who escaped were my brother and I.
It was a night trip and the bus had broken down just after Zaria. When we stopped my brother and I had stepped down to pee but instead of peeing right there by the bus like everyone else we had chosen to go a bit farther. And that was what saved us.
By the time the armed robbers came out of their car with guns we took off into the bush. I was cutting down trees with my bare hands as I ran.
Super hero things!
But what shocked me was that safe and far away in the bush, I suddenly began to shake like someone in the grip of a mad fever.
Omo, I froze like Tchalla in Sambisa!!!
Passengers who had been robbed and beaten said the driver had planned the robbery and so took out their anger on the bus. They smashed the windscreens, slashed the tyres and the only reason they didn’t burn it was because there was nowhere else to put their stuff.
And that, my dear reader, was how the Mayor came to Las Gidi.
Keep a date every Monday.