I had gone to buy a GSM phone at a popular supermarket in Port Harcourt. As I made my way to the counter to pay the cashier, I overheard an argument. To the right side of the counter was the “SERVICES” section that listened to complaints about the performance of bought items.The man’s voice was loud and agitated so I took notice. I left the cashier’s table and drew near to him. It turned out that he had bought a GSM phone the day before and on getting home, he discovered that the SIM seating was loose and so he couldn’t properly insert his SIM card. The reply he got after laying his complaint was “Oga you go manage am or you go buy a new one. No be we manufacture am.”
All his efforts at explaining fell on deaf ears. His argument couldn’t hold water. His woes were further compounded by his crime: he didn’t wait to have the phone tested at the counter the day he bought it. So no one could believe his story, even the manager of the supermarket. He had three options: manage it, buy a new one or repair it. He chose the first!
Have you ever had the need to see a house you wanted to rent from a house agent? Then you walked into it only to see chipped ceramic toilet seats, splintered door frames, damaged door knobs, broken and dirty floor tiles and electric wires sticking out of sockets. You make your complaints to the agent and you got a near convincing reply that goes “Oga manage am. Or try repair am and next rent, we go remove am from your money.” Sometimes these houses are not just in ‘ordinary’ locations but in ‘tushed-up’ neighbourhoods like government reserved areas. At most it is appalling how you pay ridiculous amounts of money for a two-bedroom flat only to be presented with an uninhabitable apartment and they proceed to rub it in your nose to manage it just like one is given a torn naira note by a taxi man and when you complain, he says you should manage it. After-all he didn’t print it in his house. After-all, this is Nigeria!
I had returned from Italy after a year’s sojourn and needed to rent my own apartment. I had been staying with my aunt before I travelled. I moved over to my friend’s apartment with a plan to stay their a little while. I searched for my own apartment. I spoke to a few friends, contacted house agents and relations. One afternoon I received a call from an agent to meet him at a particular address by 5PM that evening. I took my friend along to inspect the house.
It turned out to be a one-bedroom flat that was nearing completion. The window panes and doors were yet to be fixed. The entire building was yet to be painted. To the right as you entered from the gate was a poultry farm. To the left was the landlord’s apartment. My face fell. Instantly disaffection welled up in me. As if the agent read my mind, he quickly chipped in “Oga you go manage am. See now, na only the doors, windows and painting remain. I promise as soon as you pay, we go fix am in one week.” He continued, “No mind the poultry. E no go worry. You be young boy. No be to comot in the morning and come back in the evening. Manage am as you never marry sef.”
…to be continued next week!