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When people ask why is sachet water cheaper in the North than in the South?, I laugh, by Sunday Wale Adeniran

So I told him that it’s naira ishirin, ishirin fa that is N20, N20, the old man looked up from his bending position with a broad smile of his face and added more. He thought that I said it’s too small. Fresh tomato and onion with green leaf...

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When people ask why is sachet water cheaper in the North than in the South?, I laugh, by Sunday Wale Adeniran

When you travel out of your place of birth or origin and you are observant, you will realise that life is more than what it is in your place. I would tell anyone in those days that if I didn’t live in Lagos, it is outside Nigeria.

I couldn’t imagine myself living anywhere else in Nigeria. I loved Ikeja, Surulere, Ikoyi, my Mushin, Isolo etc.

But I have since lived in Ekiti, Ilorin, Ibadan, Kano and Abuja and I dare say that the place that was the most conducive was Kano.

I remember the first time I went to a small market called Baban Layin off Katsina road, not too far from Bukavu barracks. I wanted to fry egg (nobody was selling egg on social media then) after I came back from church. I told the seller to give me N20 tomato and N20 onions and the old man started loading the nylon bag and I felt he probably didn’t hear me properly because what he was putting in the bag was too much.

So I told him that it’s naira ishirin, ishirin fa that is N20, N20, the old man looked up from his bending position with a broad smile of his face and added more. He thought that I said it’s too small. Fresh tomato and onion with green leaf.

On another occasion, five of us corps members decided to go to a small market at Bichi one evening. Three of us bought goat meat, Henry (from Edo), Muhammed (from Niger) and myself. Amaka didn’t buy anything. She only followed us but Vivian (from Imo) had N50 on her.

She whispered into my ear that she had just N50 and that I should help her with N50 to make it N100 so that she could buy meat too but I didn’t have that amount. She asked others but nobody had.

The meat seller suspected that she was asking for money so he asked her how much she had, Viviano (that’s what I used to call that beautiful, caring and lively ‘corper’) covered her eyes with her hand and murmured ‘N50’, the man said she can get meat of N50. He said that some housewives used to buy meat of N50. Wawu!

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For two days, we still discussed how simple these guys up North take life. We would compare to our people down South and Henry, the most firebrand no nonsense guy among us would say ‘we are just very mean down South’.

There was also a day that the whole of Kano city was tensed as INEC had refused to release the gubernatorial election result which we all knew was won by Shekarau of ANPP but Obasanjo’s INEC wanted to announce Kwankwanso. We were asked to go to the nearest military barracks because if the actual winner was not announced, nothing would stop the riot. So very early that Monday, people had moved to Bukavu barracks and I was one of them.

My late uncle Femi Owolabi called that I should find my way to his office at Tafawa Balewa road in the center of the city and I felt that any okada rider that I called would triple the amount I’d have to pay especially when he would have to take a longer route off airport road to get to the city center but the okada man did not add a kobo to it. He took me to my uncle’s office for N70.

That is what Northerners represent. So when people ask why is sachet water cheaper in the North than in the South, I only have memories of my good time in Kano, a place blessed with people who mostly see life as it is.

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