If you have a problem with yourself, you definitely will have with others. Your interaction with others could spell the real being you are, no, it is who you really are, so you can’t hide it.

Some people just feel superiority over others within themselves. Coz you live in a flat, you think you are better off those in a face me and face you apartment. No one has it all, what of those in mansions. Some even live in the white house, blue house and Asorock. I love a hut.

On the other hand, many see bus conductors, drivers, hawkers, gatemen cleaners and co as so inferior to them even if they don’t have much too. The difference is just that we don’t know what you do for a living. Maybe worse. Work is work. Let’s respect others.

Aboki a times  popularly known as Mala in Lagos are most times cheated, not all of them. Many of them are doing well in Lagos too. They control fine businesses. Go to Mile 12 and see what’s up, Shita and Aguda, even in Apapa, you will think you are in Kaduna. Not to talk of Agege.

Aboki in Hausa language means a friend. But we have redefined it in Lagos to mean ‘any work’. That’s from Jenifa’s diary though. Any Hausa man doing an odd job in Lagos is called Aboki (My Friend), but we don’t mean my friend. It is like a tag now. Aboki=Any work. Starting from shoe maker, water fetcher, hawkers, okada man and so on.

People a times cheat on them. But the so called human rights ignore them. They belong to our community. We expect them to lick our boots before we pay them but that’s unfair. Let’s be good to all, especially the poor.

I know some of them are arrogant. Not because they are Aboki, that’s because some people frustrated them or maybe that’s the nature of that particular one. We are all humans and have different demeanour. I am not talking about herdsmen, even those ones have different versions of news on our media.

What of those ones amongst these people who are just doing their work. Forget a minute about them and think about yourself in your work, school or what have you. When you do what you do and your boss throws you some kinds of attitude, how would you feel? I am sure if you are a woman, your husband might not eat that day, and a man? The wife should just keep shut, or else, the anger will be vented on her.

Has it ever occurred to you that those shoe makers, Maruwa man, water fetchers, housemaid are sisters and brothers of some people. Some of them are the bread winners of their home and peacefully they enjoy at home. I might be the last in your house as a worker, but in my house, I’m very important.

Forget about Aboki for a moment and look at the bigger picture. Do you ever care where those people come from, those bricklayers, those taxi drivers. Do you think you are different from them. There’s no special difference. The pay you get is the difference. After all, you’ll die if they don’t help you.

A wife who is not a good cook doesn’t see her maid as God sent angel, after all you pay her. But how will you hold to that lucky man of yours if you are a lazy brat. How will that rich man go out in a nice dress without a tailor. And we look at them to be a mere tailor. I didn’t really say fashion designer, I mean a tailor. What’s the difference.

What we do is that. We work for money, we don’t beg, we can’t steal yet we care for our families and friends. I might be your driver or gate man. Show me some respect as I respect you. Being a boss doesn’t mean you should be arrogant. I wonder why those old men serving as gatemen also run errands for their bosses. I am a gateman, why should I go to market for you. Even if I do, you don’t count it to be of help. Go slow on me, if I am the last in your house, I am number one in my house.

Yes, some of this people are stubborn and arrogant. But I am not talking of those. It is simple, if his or her lifestyle is not comfortable with you, just change him like cloth.

Here’s my sister, she needs to get water from one of these guys. She stays upstairs. And Abokis have this new tradition. You stay up stairs, #25 and down #20. 

Instead of 25 coz she stays up, she asked him to put it down. She will help herself. She wanted five, the guy has just four left and she went for it.

Take #200 and give me change of #120.

On a normal day, even if the man doesn’t have the change, he has to look for it. That’s known. In Law we say: what’s commonly known is like a concordat.

The guy arrogantly refused to seek around for change. And has 100 with him. OK bring 100 and take 100, he wants #80. Well, hearing that, I guess he has a lot on him already.

Now my friend is uneasy on herself coz she don’t wanna take his money. Well, I can hear someone saying, na she be saint. She has a pure heart. No wahala.

All she wants is pay for the service.

Well, the case of an arrogant poor man is something else, funny and stupid. He might not know how to do things, correct him before complaining him. But most people treat them so badly. They want them to do what they can’t do and not pay them fine money. Let’s be considerate. Let’s put them in our shoes and thank God for making us who we are. You might be better than them, they too are better than lames and lames are better off your child in the hospital fighting for his life.

Treating those who work for us like slave doesn’t make us bosses. In fact, a boss who lacks respect of his men is nothing but a figure head.

This is what we do, drivers, conductors, hawkers, fetchers, shoe makers, kolekole, it’s our work oooo, soft work. Treat the Aboki well, and you will get clean water.

I started by saying ‘don’t have a problem with yourself so that you won’t have with others”. I meant to say, if you respect others, you respect yourself. They say: respect is reciprocal.

©Ibraheem {Broken Pen}

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