Searching and Waiting For Reuben Abati

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

One of the most difficult tasks I have encountered since returning to Nigeria is job hunting. I knew it was going to be difficult; but I didn’t know, and neither did any one tell me it was going to be an impossibility, almost hellish. I have been all over Mainland Lagos and Lagos Island. I have sent out fifty curriculum vitae by mail and through the internet, hand-delivered thirty, and gave a dozen or so to people who claim to have inside connection. I have been every where, spoken to a lot of people I know and to people who know me. All has come to naught. What must a man do go get a job in Lagos?

Sometimes they tell me I don’t look professional because I am not wearing suit and tie. But hey, why would I wear suit and tie in this Lagos heat. With fumes and smoke every where? I can bet the fumes and smokes are cancer-causing. There are times when I am unable to breathe properly because of the pollutants. Unless you live in Lagos, you can not imagine the amount of smoke and fumes and the dust I have to wade through. And I no longer wear white shirts. Within two hours of wearing a white or milk colored shirt, it turns brown or black at the sleeves and collar.

I am a big fellow, built like an American linebacker. Well, others consider me fat. One mugu even thinks of me as obese. Big, fat or obese is not my problem; the problems is that I sweat every time. I sweat around my armpits and the groin area. It can be really itchy when fat guys sweat in delicate areas. Compounding my problem is the fact that the taxis and buses are not air-conditioned. The Danfos and Bolekajas are even worse. Most of the time we are packed like sardines.

The other day when I tried to form a queue (what Lagosians call a line) at the bus stop, a lady looked at me and wondered what my problem was, and wanted to know whether I was a JJC. I was going to answer in the affirmative when the Holly Ghost descended on me asking me to shout my loud mouth. I would have been robbed. Thank God for such mercies. The other night an elderly lady was robbed at the Mile 2 Bus Stop. When I tried to intervene, I was slapped silly. I have learnt my lesson. To sharraap! I mind my business now. This is Lagos: everybody for himself, Jehovah for everybody.

Every morning, before leaving home, I pray to God almighty. I pray for journey mercies. I pray to him for keeping me safe and alive. I repeat similar routine before going to bed. When I am praying I don’t close my eyes anymore. After all, where there is no light, the Lord can not see that my eyes are wide open. Come to think of it: it is in my best interest to keep my eyes open. You never can tell about some neighbors — especially the ones across from my flat. I am not sure how word got out that I am from Yankee. This is Lagos. Bad bad things can happen to the sheshede like me.

About the only good thing about the said neighbor is that he has three young women, in addition to his two sons and his young wife. Fine beautiful women. The women, ages 20-29, have been of great help. They help with cooking, cleaning and laundry. The other day I came home to find two notes neatly tucked under my door. The younger one professed her love for Christ and wondered if I was willing to come to Church with her at my convenience; the older one said she heard the voice of God and wanted to relay the message to me once her siblings leave for Ibadan over the weekend.

It is the middle sister that has a place in my heart. There is something about her. She kills me with her smiles. Her pear-like bosoms. The twinkle in her eyes. Her never ending legs that originates from her nectar zone. The way she calls my name, as if begging me to take her, to pollinate her, blows my mind. Good Lord! But I have to be disciplined about it. An unemployed JJC with additional katakata doesn’t make sense. There is a time for every thing. This is not the time for bedmatics. I need me a job.

Since returning to Nigeria, I have been faithful to the Lord. I have confessed my sins, accepted Christ, and doing my damn best to live my life the Nigerian-Christian way. Nigeria is not America where I did things on my own volition. I have been faithful to the Lord since my return. And so on this fateful night I heard a voice and saw a shadow in my dream directing me to go to Trafalgar & Locke House — the corporate head offices of The Guardian Newspapers in Victoria Island, Lagos.

But who do I know at the Trafalgar & Locke House? Decades earlier I used to know one or two of the Ibru’s. None of them will remember me now. I was beginning to feel dejected when I head the same voice whispering a name in my right ear. I heard “Reuben Abati.” I heard it seven times. If a voice said it and directed me — who am I to disobey?

On Monday morning I took two crisp copies of my curriculum vitae, my credit report, police report, and academic transcript, along with my state issued ID Card and headed out to Victoria Island, to meet with Dr. Reuben Abati.

Do you know that those meyguards at Trafalgar & Locke House will not allow me to see Mr. Abati? On Monday they told me I didn’t have an appointment to see Oga; on Tuesday I was told “Oga go come tomorrow;” On Wednesday it was “Oga just left for important meeting…come Friday.” On Friday, I was told another story: “Oga sey him no know who you be.” Haba, why is Reuben Abati playing me? Why is he playing me? Is he not hearing the same voice I am hearing?

My people, it’s been three weeks since and I am still showing up and waiting to meet with Reuben Abati. Please oooooo I need a job.

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Lanre April 17, 2008 - 12:21 pm

Mr. Sabella

You can find Dr. Abati at Rutam House, Toyota Bus Stop, Oshodi Apapa Expressway, and not at Trafalgar House as stated in your article.

Good luck.

Azande September 7, 2007 - 12:04 pm

I am a poor writer if I do say so myself, and I never hold back from praising others who do a great job! SABELLA, YOU ARE DOING JUST GREAT (in fact I am envious). there are basically three papers i read = Guardian, Thisday, Punch. Do not focus on only the Guardian as your HELP may not always come from the direction you are facing. Or why not try this advice I always give people like you…TRY SELF-EMPLOYMENT! You never know, with innovation, focus, zeal..the sky could be your beginning. Lastly, if you say your belief borders on atheism, to whom do you pray? Please you are invited to my church, The Anglican Church of the Ascension this Sunday. It is my society's anniversary and we are meeting after service at the Sheraton…you never just might bump into any of the Ibru's. Take good care my brother! Hey lest i forget, Dr R Abati has another brilliant article in the Guardian today (07/09/2007)

Ufforth Shallom April 25, 2007 - 11:04 am

I was introduced to this site by a friend yesterday (24/4/007). It has been of immense relief to me. Sabella, keep writing and please be focused. In this good/bad country, there are lots of detractors, but don't mind them jare, jealousy go kill them. God will shame dem. Concerning your search for work, it could be difficult, my brother. That you even dashed in from the states may scare a lot organisations from even conducting interview for you. But be rest assured, the thought of God for us is Peace, and He will surely connect you. Please bami sope (Amin) AMEEN

Tim April 25, 2007 - 7:31 am

Have you REALLY relocated back to Nigeria or its just another "article"?

Rita April 24, 2007 - 9:47 am

dear poshposh,

I hate to continue this thread but I am compelled to make it clear that I was not at all rude in my comments. It saddens me to see Nigerians that can potentially do better and otherwise apply their abilities in self indulgent rigour less and unphilantropic activities. Nigeria is in dire need of proposals, principles, and messages with visions that can help the suffering millions.

I am concerned, sad and disappointed not rude.

Sabella Abidde April 23, 2007 - 9:30 pm

Dear Sade and Poshposh,

Thanks for your comments, advice and kind support. I really appreciate it. As someone who sometimes engages in criticizing others, it does not bother me when others criticize or send abuse my way. As far I am concerned, it comes with the territory. If I cannot take such harsh words from my readers, what right do I have to write harshly about others?

But really, over the years, I have come to realize that no matter the topic I write on, not every body will be happy with me. What can I do about such people? NOTHING. Life must go on. Some people like my satires; others prefer the short stories, while others are in love with the composites or the human-angle essays.

No matter what, I write about whatever catches my fancy. I write as a leisure pursuit, a hobby. Ha, you need to see the kinds of personal emails I get over my essays. For about fifteen percent of respondents, it is a life and death matter; they take it way too seriously. I wish they will just slow down and enjoy whichever one of my essays interests them.

Again, I thank you for your support and benevolence. If I was a religious person, I would say to you God Bless You, but I am not. So, be well and be safe and enjoy yourselves. Thank you.


Sabella Abidde

poshposh April 23, 2007 - 11:36 am

Why must we be rude?This is what typifies the average Nigerian.No one compels us to read articles.If you find it out of your league,shrug and move on.No need to be offensive. Dear writer,more grease to your elbows.I don't always agree with what you say,but I still enjoy reading.Wish you good luck with the job hunt.What type of job are you looking for?I know you are`a professional cook,try out this website. feature Nigerian places to eat out.You can check them out,they cater for the high end of the market and those who will apperciate your skills.Most Nigerians aren't that adventurous about food.

Sade April 23, 2007 - 11:15 am


Haba, cool down. You are entitled to your opinion, at the same token you can always click to another article. Sabella, i personally enjoy your articles so do many other people.

It is very brave of you to relocate to Nigeria. Try as much as possible to focus on the good things in Nigeria because i fyou focus on all the bad things you will run back to the states.

Rita April 22, 2007 - 6:43 pm

Please stop bothering us with this your self indulging and narcissistic articles.

There are millions looking for job and you are getting the basics wrong.

You actually believed that by writing and self publishing your baseless, cynical and opportunistic articles you will be a name to reckon with!

Welcome to the real word!

By the way, if the lady you described in above is half as beautiful as you said be rest assured that she will have no interest with some with you looks and manners.

Anonymous April 22, 2007 - 2:49 pm

That is where Gov Lateef jakande beats them all. Public Figures in Nigeria feel their importance is diminished if they allow access.

My advise is: put your request into writing, include all attachments and copy Chief Ibru.


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