Abdulsalam

Abdulsalam was just a Hausa guy that used to hang out with his fellow Hausa friends in their kiosk opposite my house. Well, I honestly am not sure if he’s Hausa, but you know that to all westerners, any black skinned guy from the north is automatically Hausa, so he’s Hausa to me. Whenever, I, my brother, or mum, gets to the front of our gate, once we unlock the padlock, he would rush there and open the gate for us, and then lock it. He did this all the time, and we said thank you. It was obvious he wanted something, but we didn’t know what it was, and we were not interested in finding out. Ours was an extremely nuclear family who minded their business, and we intended to keep it that way. Abdulsalam also washed my brother’s cars, and cars of some fellow neighbours packed outside, for a little stipend. There was nothing strange about that.

After a while, Abdulsalam couldn’t take it anymore. He had been throwing bait at us, and we weren’t biting. He approached my brother, and directly made his request. He wanted to be our gateman. The thing is, we didn’t need a gateman. We were fully grown, and all had keys to the house. We could open the gate by ourselves, and we didn’t have so many numerous visitors that we would have to be opening the gate for 100 times a day. But Abdulsalam was wise. He knew we had a gateman’s apartment, and he was badly in need of a place of his own. I’m sure he saw it as a mansion, compared to him squatting in the kiosk with about 5 other friends of his. The gateman’s apartment has been used as a poultry house, dirt house, thrash house, store, ram and goat house, and every other thing apart from a gateman’s house. Abdulsalam knew this, and he was gunning for the kill.

So he and my brother reached an agreement. He would man the gate, wash all the cars, care for the flowers, and sweep the compound. He would in turn, get his accommodation and a monthly salary. He would not be allowed to have the keys to the house. He was to leave the house shortly after my mum and brother leave, go about his business, and return when everyone returned. Did I mention that Abdulsalam was also a shoemaker? Yes he is, a wise guy with multiple streams of income, no matter how meagre. So I saw Abdulsalam in the compound one day. I asked him what he was doing inside, and he told me about the agreement between him, my mum, and my brother. And that is how Abdulsalam became our gateman by force.

The thing is Abdulsalam does not wash my car often. I work from home weekdays, and resume other jobs on weekends. Abdulsalam knows this, I know this, and we are both fine that my car gets the least priority. Another thing is Abdusalam is not so security conscious. Whenever he gets back in the evening, the gate should be bolted, rather than locked, cos Abdulsalam is there to man it. But sometimes, he’s nowhere to be found, and the gate is wide ajar. One time, I got home almost 12 midnight, and the gate was not locked, or even bolted. Abdulsalam had slept off in the compound, and he didn’t hear me come in. it was not until I actually drove in, that he jumped up. Of course, I reported all these lapses to my brother, concerning his ‘staff’. He is getting better now, but there’s still so much to be done concerning his security ‘expertise’.

One day, I was smelling strange things in the house. I investigated, and realised Abdulsalam didn’t go about his daily business. He has invited one of his friend in, were burning hausa incense. I accosted him, and he said it was perfume that he wanted his room to be scented. Inside me, I was mad, but I gently told him not to burn strange incense in the house. It smelt really foul and was choking the whole house. I reported to my brother, who was mad about the fact that he breached the agreement and didn’t leave the house after they all did, invited someone over, and was burning strange thing.

Whenever he does something wrong, and you tell him, he would start kneeling down, begging, saying “Sorry, ma, I no go do am again” over and over again. The whole scene is just a sight to behold that one just shakes one’s head.

Last week, I went to buy eggs at another kiosk opposite my house. Abdulsalam was at the kiosk, talking to the owner. He had a burning cigarette in his right hand. Immediately I told the woman to give me egg, he heard me, and threw the cigarette away, right in my presence. I asked him why he was hiding and pretending. I guess he’s an idiot who thinks I am an idiot. Does he think I don’t know he smokes like a chimney? Doesn’t he know he reeks of cigarette fumes every Sunday and Saturday morning, when I tell him to quickly clean my car, because I need to rush out? Doesn’t he know his extremely red eyes give him away when he is high on something? Or is it his brash statements I know he would have never had the guts to make on a normal day?

Abdulsalam set up a shoemaker shop in front of the house without permission. He constituted a nuisance. He used an umbrella of mine I had been looking for, for a about two weeks. I collected my umbrella, and told him to take his make-shift shop down. I reported to my mum and brother who were away at work. He didn’t want to take his shop down, he kept lying about different thing, shouted, begged, lied. In the end, it got a bit messy, he said he was leaving, and boasted about he had done ‘security’ in four different places. He packed his load and plates along with my mum’s fabreware knife, which I collected when I saw. He packed his bed, along with my chill and relax banner he was using as a bedsheet, which I had warned him never to do when I first saw him. Before I knew the banner was missing, it was six days after Abdulsalam had left.

Something to Note: I just added that last paragraph this morning. The first edition of this story didn't end like this, cos Abdulsalam was still with us when I wrote this article. I ended it with "This guy, Abdulsalam, is just a case. But still, we would accommodate him… with caution, though. He means no harm." But I guess he rewrote his own story.

19 comments

  1. To imagine I am having gatekeeper issues as well. I have tried 3 guys this year and I think I am done till 2015.

    Abdusalam obviously got too comfortable and lost focus. What the yoruba's call ade eko di ere...( come Lagos turn to mini gods). he forgot te days of sharing rooms with several persons abi why couldn't he keep to the terms of his contract.

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    1. Haa, are you serious? Why don't you just open the gate yourself? Lol, It will be less stress.

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  2. It's sad how sometimes we work so hard for something and the moment we get it, we start to abuse.. It happens everyday - relationships, jobs, desires, goals.. All sorts!

    The sad thing is that many times, we do not recognise its value until it is lost.. And then it becomes an 'Had I known..' story..

    I hope Abdulsalam is thriving wherever he is.

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    1. Spot on!
      You just shared my thoughts 1 + the one

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    2. You are oh so right!!!!!!! Very very true!

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    3. I saw him like few hours after this post appeared. He is back to the room he's sharing with his 'five' other guys. He does as much as possible not to be visible to us.

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  3. NA WA!
    Don't know what to say o jare! ..ahaha.

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  4. This is just annoying, and it really scares to think about the necessity of domestic staff in the future.

    http://berrydakara.blogspot.com

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    1. I actually don't think they are necessary, abeg.

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  5. Gateman drama...let me tell you about gateman drama. This year alone, I'm sure we've had more than 10. We use a security company, so you would think their staff would be professional, right? WRONG! I don't live at home but the times I go home, it is always drama. From gatemen selling off the diesel to gatemen selling off my dad's shirts to the one impregnating someone and bring her to live in the gateman kiosk. The biggest one though, this year, was the one who drove the car to church. In fact, let me not "epistle-late" on your page. I will do a post about it. I tell you, gateman drama is...sigh! Like someone said, he got too comfortable. This is usually the downfall of most of them.

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    1. Oh my gosh. Are you serious? Drove the car to church? Selling off your things? Na wa o. You guys had criminals securing your house.

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  6. He's dangerous and I could never have a gate man like him
    That was very risky.

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    1. Haa, he didn't seem dangerous. Just someone who needed a place to sleep.

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  7. Lmao! at hausa incense.
    Hahahahaha "an idiot who thinks you're an idiot" I can't stop laughing. Lol this post is very funny. He used your banner as bed sheet too?Lmao! Abdulsalam is trouble

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    1. Yes he did. I was very pissed when I found out. I warned him never to do so, and he was on his knees begging. Only to find out that he did it again three months later. That means he entered the house to take the banner. Is that not stealing?

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