By Victor Edegbai
Let me write a little about Vernice .
Vernice was like a cup of water in a very hot desert. She was God sent. She was a breath of fresh air. Dont let your mind race too far. Let me explain what I mean.
It was one of those days when I was besieged with humorous customer requests. I had a very beautiful young woman, fair skin, well dressed with a lot of class come before me and I asked how I could help her.
“They said my account has become adamant” Omo!, I was thrown off balance. (she meant her account was dormant). This was said with a peculiar accent, the accent was not as disturbing as the fact that such beauty could decide to scatter bottle. In my amazement I didnt know how to respond. Then she goes “Sir biko, it is you I dey talk to, abi no be here be CUSTOMARY SERVICES?“. I gave up. I just gave her a form and referred her to an IT student (Chisom) to guide her.
She had not left for long when another lady, probably in her late 40s came before me. She was really looking dirty and smelly and I had double mind if I wanted her to sit down or not. I greeted her (with smiles) and asked how I could be of assistance to her. She then said “Nchoro ebe ana change NESOF KING.” and I responded that I dont understand Igbo. She then switched to pidgin. “I wan change my NESOF KING” I looked sideways to Chidi ,he understood that it was not the language ,but the request that was confusing me. So he clarified “She wants to change her NEXT OF KIN“ Ohhhh!.
I then proceeded to give her forms to fill. As she filled the form, she occasionally asked for guidance which I gave as frequently as she asked. I also became judgemental, sizing her up and saying in my mind “what does this dirty woman have sef that she is changing next of kin”. Omo!, by the time I started working on the account, the figure I saw shocked me. I just couldn’t understand why the woman would have that kind of money and look so ruffled. Later, Chidi explained to me that Aba people prefer seeing how big the money in their account is, that they hardly spend on themselves.
After her, other people came with their requests. Those who were looking for the “customary care” service reception, those who the bank had stopped sending “ALARM” (alert), those whose “HEY TEE HEM” (ATM) had expired etc. It was becoming like one of those days.
So you can imagine how it feels like when a little girl of 14 or 15 comes before you, with impeccable english, so much mastery of her etiquette, not intimated, conversational and very decisive of what she wanted. It was a breath of fresh air. That was Vernice.
Barr. Victor Edegbai AKA Grandpa is a father of many nations, positive thinker, and friend of many. I like trouble, because I be lawyer.