He relaxed in the driver’s seat as he waited for her to carry on with her shopping for a new dress. If she shopped like the women he knew, she would definitely be late for her meeting. He was just beginning to drift to sleep when some scratch at the door interrupted him. What now? He relaxed a bit when he discovered that she was back. And she had changed clothes already. At least, he had made up for letting her stay in the rain longer than she should have by letting her take the umbrella in his car. It was still drizzling. Today looked like a very wet day, and his subsequent riders would be in need of the umbrella. He wasn’t one to gamble but he was willing to bet that for every two rider that had an umbrella, one other rider would either forget their umbrella or assume that the rain would remain a light drizzle. He signed resignedly. That one rider would be really disappointed today as he had no umbrella for him. Or her.
She must have read his thoughts. ‘Oh! And thank you so much. I bought an umbrella for myself.’ She then waved his umbrella at an angle at which he could see it from his front seat and made a show of dropping in the boot. ‘What do you think about the outfit?’
The sound of his indicator prevailed against the deafening sound of the downpour. It had occurred suddenly. The client would not make it in the heavy rain. He adjusted his seat and reached for his journal. He might as well catch up. He was distracted by an impatient banging on his car. He craned his neck to find out what was happening. He noticed a woman drenched and waving wildly in the rain. She pointed towards the lock of the car door. Could she be the one? He picked his phone and waved it. Her shoulders dropped in resignation. She began to gesticulate frantically pointing at her right temple with her index finger severally. He unlocked the car doors. He would have to dry the seat before his next request. She got into the car and shut the door with a bang.
‘Good afternoon, ma.’
She gave him a pointed look.
He met her eyes in the front mirror. ‘May I begin the trip, please?’
She stared at him long and hard. ‘Don’t let me call you stupid! I was in the rain for how long? Five years? It took you ages for you to let me in. Now, you are asking if you should start the trip. No, please. Let us relax and listen the sound of the heavy rain pounding against your car!”
He remained unfazed. “Please accept my deepest apologies.’ She didn’t let him finish. ‘I have a meeting! I have a meeting! I am supposed to meet someone it took three months to finally fix a meeting with! First, the rainy season decided to make a comeback, and then you happened. I get to go for the meeting looking like a wet rat just because my Uber driver lacks common sense. You know what? Just start the trip. Start! And get me out of here!”
He would ordinarily have been upset, but it wasn’t just worth it. Today was going to be a bad one. This was his third ride of the day, and it seemed all of his clients were in terrible moods. By the end of the day, he was definitely sure he would be a brainless creature. His first rider called him slow, the second called him daft, and the third thought he lacked common sense. He let out a resigned sigh. “Would you like some music, ma’am?’ Their eyes met in the mirror. Well, if looks could kill, he would probably be six feet under. He put on the radio and tapped the steering rhythmically to the music playing.
‘It is either you let the radio do its job while you do yours or you just turn the damn thing off.”
He stopped tapping the wheel immediately. Thirty more minutes and this would be over.
“You know what? Pass through Marina, I need to buy some clothes.”
“What do you think?”
He nodded his head. His clients had to make up their minds, either he was really senseless or not. Why would anybody want an opinion form a senseless person?
She shook her head in confusion. “I think you have lost me.”
“Sorry ma’am. I think you are right. New clothes.”
She laughed and he blinked in surprise. She winked at him. “Don’t play with me. A detour means you get to earn more money. Advise me like you have nothing to gain. Thank you.”
He couldn’t hide his smile. “I deign to your superior wisdom.”
The freedom to express one’s self includes the freedom to receive ideas without interference. Access to information is highly invaluable in a democracy hence, the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act by the Nigerian legislature.
The era of shrugging over details we are unsure of is long gone. The Freedom of Information Act now guarantees our access to information of public relevance. Since the enactment of this statute, there has been a very low level of compliance and awareness of its novel provisions. Despite the existence of landmark provisions, there are some areas of this law that need judicial clarification in the court room.
The purpose of this study is to appreciate the Act through its legal and legislative framework an increase the awareness of the public on its right of access to information and recourse to the court in an instance of wrongful denial of such access.
My current reading list is made up of books that have won the Booker Prize (the Man Booker prize). This prize is awarded each year for original novels published in the United Kingdom. You can read more about that here.
Ben Okri is the first Nigerian author to win the Booker prize with his work the Famished Road. My first impression of the book was, ‘where have you been all my life?’ The story begins on an imaginative note. It tests the boundary of your imagination as you follow the spirit child who has resolved to stop going back and forth between the land of the living and the land of the dead. Yet, he must live with the consequences of his seemingly whimsical decision.
At the end of the book, it so happens that it is the first of a trilogy (songs of enchantment and infinite riches are the other two books in the trilogy), one is left with no choice but to come to the conclusion some things were missing. As much as the story is centred around the life of an abiku*, it fails to link that the world of the dead to the world of the living. For instance what is the attraction in the land of the living for Azaro? It is expected that the setting of the book would transcend physical locations, yet we would have loved to see what Azaro’s life was like in the spirit world.