In an apartment very close to the University of Lagos, no curfew, no porters, Lola is trying on another outfit. So far, she has put on twelve different items which now lie in the rejected pile on her bed. Her friends Tola and Amaka are squinting, turning their heads this way and that, trying to decide if the dress she is wearing is short enough and the neckline is cut low enough for their event today. Lola is a third year student at the University of Lagos. She met Amaka and Tola in her first year and they have been friends ever since. Amaka is in her final year and about to graduate and has promised Lola that she will transfer to her all her contacts in ‘The Business’. You see, Lola and Amaka have a special business arrangement with some very profound men in society. *Before I go on, I must point out that I am merely a fly on the wall and so I cannot categorically tell you what services Amaka and Lola provide for these ‘very important people’. Please note that the walls that I perch on do not extend to the walls of the profound men in the society, thank you.* ‘The dress will do you justice tonight’. This is what Amaka says to Lola. They found a lucky number.
On the other side of Campus, Elizabeth is still at the Library of the University. If she can just get to the end of this chapter today, she will be done studying ‘Sargays Law of Contract’ for the second semester, although she is only still in her First, and will be able to move on to more pressing things like revision.* Please note; I am just as in awe of Elizabeth’s academic prowess as you. I have perched on the walls of a few Law classes in my day and you do not want to know how long it takes the ‘average’ student to finish a semester’s work of ‘Sargays Law of Contract’, talk less two. Granted: Elizabeth is clearly not your average Joe, but in my firm opinion; she needs to chill.* She knows that people think she’s a geek, nerd, ‘Mary Amaka’, among many other things and to be honest, she couldn’t care less. She doesn’t see the need in making conversation with anyone. Not after what happened that night. No. People are mean and spiteful. She’d rather deal with the things she can control.
“Vote for Tony! Vote for Tony! A vote for Tony is a vote for change.” Tony Abewo is running for President of the Department of Accounting at the University of Lagos. He has been preparing for this post since his first year at the University and will honestly stop at nothing to get it. *Now, a little side note on Tony before we go on. As a fly in Tony’s room, I can categorically tell you that the load of dirt on this guy is just my idea of a fancy Island. Bahamas what? Tony is the kind of guy that will step on any head to move up and won’t look back. Not for anything in the world. I know, I know, ‘what’s his problem’ right? It’s not like he’s running for President of the Federation or something. Don’t look at me, you’re the humans*. Tony has discussed with the ‘Red Bone gang’, his security needs for the upcoming election. *The University is already well equipped with what we call ‘Únilag Security’ but who is going to tell them that?*. Tony’s security detail consists of guys with names like ‘Axe’ and ‘Spanner’ and they do a good job ensuring that the rest of the Presidential candidates are one step behind Tony. Always.
It’s amazing what a fly can tell you when she puts her ears to the wall. I have given three scenarios of the secrets of Campus that we all see but seldom say. The ‘hot-to-trot’ girls who do anything to keep up appearance. They wear the best weaves, designer bags, designer shoes, and are usually seen in vehicles with tinted windows owned by men with fat stomachs and even fatter wallets. (I’m assuming). They are what we call ‘Runz Girls’ and campuses all around Nigeria, are filled with them.
Next are the anti-social, like Elizabeth, who in her final year, has learnt the hard way that all that glitters is not gold. After a near death experience on an outing with Amaka, she would rather a degree and no contact with anyone on the surface of the earth. The best solution to that would be perhaps to move to Mars. I’ve been there and let me tell you, their chicken does not taste the same.
Tony and the Red Bone are the power hungry people that make the world that much scarier to live in. They are the people you do not want to cross or double cross. They are the people your parents warned you about.
These things may seem very dramatic but truth be told, they are as real night and day. There are the perks of living on Campus, don’t get me wrong. But every once in a while, one must wake up and embrace the smell of strong black coffee. The reality is this; life on Campus is not always a bed of roses. It is not always fun to be free and on your own. But for every hurdle you face, you are made stronger. University Campuses are where we start to live our dreams and sometimes, nightmares are inevitable.
Written by Kanyinsola Ojeshina.