Nigerians love ‘associations’, no be lie.
Virtually every artisan belongs to one association or the other, in fact, every Nigerian is a member of one association, ethnic, school, profession, even neighbourhood, anything at all.
And it’s not a bad thing really, associations give voice to people, they can be pressure groups, too. I have nothing against associations, I belong to several professional associations myself, so there.
I’ve had reasons to ruffle the feathers of a few people; artisans, especially over their so-called associations. I called a mechanic to fix my car some time back. It was overheating. Mechanic takes the vehicle, examines the cause of overheating; suggests to me I’ll need to replace the radiator and fan belt, then get an ‘ac repair man to fix the rest. I asked him to go ahead, just fix the car.
He returned the car, after ‘dropping the engine’. Years later, I’m still clueless as to why he had to ‘drop the engine’.
He brings back the car and the first thing I noticed was all the dashboard lights were on.
‘You will have to call the ‘rewire’ to fizit.’
‘What’s my business with ‘rewire’ ?’ I wanted to know. (To those who don’t know, ‘rewire’ is the one who fixes all electrical details in a car, gerrit?)
So I asked, ‘When you took the car, were the dashboard lights on?’
‘So go fizit or I won’t pay your balance,’ which was almost equal to the cost of the new radiator plus labour!’
He became anxious, ‘Ha mummy, no o, it’s not my job o. You have to call rewire to fizit,’ he repeated determined and quite upset that I was wasting his time.
‘You will soon see daddy.’
I was also angry and equally determined not to be made to pay for something he did wrong. He hadn’t ‘fizit’ because the ‘rewire’ would demand payment, payment he figured he didn’t have to deal with.
Then the rest of his buddy mechanics began to surface one after another, citing instances upandan when the owners of the cars had to pay for their faults.
Then association issue came up.
The mechanic and members of his association who were not there when I gave him my car promised not to touch my car for all the grease in mechanic village. I had to look elsewhere for help afterwards.
Second ruffling of feathers: My parents are ram slaying Muslims so it means every Sallah, I march there with some of my ram eating friends to felicitate as it is always a big event at their place.
Last Sallah, I met the butcher already at work. He’d killed the three rams presented and had done a neat job of gutting them. When done, he collected the N12k he’d charged the parents and picked up a bagful of meat in a bagco bag.
I had to ask, why he was packing so much meat after what I considered a hefty charge for his services. He had in his bag the three heads, limbs and the neck of one ram!
That’s like four pots of egusi soup!
Besides, Sallah ram don’t look so big once cut and fried. I was miffed, after collecting N12k, you wanna go with the choicest parts of the animal. Go where?
Alhaji Kassim, the owner of the rams said ‘no!’
I repeated the ‘no’, like his chi.
‘It’s the association’s agreement,’ we were told.
Association of butchers!
‘The butcher owns the neck and limbs.’
Iro ni! Did they give us money to buy the rams? Drop the meat and go, o!
After arguing back and forth, butcher collects his money, drops the meat and vows never to come near Alhaji Kassim’s house again. Only God will help Alhaji next Sallah because the rest of the butchers had heard about their colleague’s ‘humiliation’ and vowed not to touch Alhaji’s rams even with their longest knives.
After the wahala of butcher and cooking, it was time to pay the cooks, our fee is now N4,000 per head they announced.
The parents had hired three cooks or olopo.
From N2.5k! Since when!
‘Our association agreed we should charge…’
We had to renegotiate and agree the fees for N3.5k…
Guests came in and a group of five men dressed alike sat together and demanded to be given food as well as meat to take home.
So how do we ensure the shikini ram in the pot will go round if you must take some home as well?
‘Ha! That’s what we do in our association,’ they chorused