Yemisi Wada


One person’s so-called testimony here was another’s source of nightmare.

I hear people say there are three truths to every story: your truth, the other person’s truth, and the real truth. They say this means they’re all true, but it depends on whose angle of the story you hear.

There’s another saying that I’ve heard often, too, and it is: “There’s only one truth.” This came to mind when I heard the story I’m about to share. Coincidentally, I heard it from both sides.

I met Kema at a breakfast meeting I attended in London. She came to give a testimony to encourage people at the meeting. She explained how she had been trying to get into England for a long time, but kept getting refused a visa at the embassy. Until a relative sponsored her application, so she could work as an overseas domestic worker. She got an education in the process, as they were very kind to her, and now she had been in the UK long enough to start processing her papers for stay.

This miracle, however, was not the subject of the day’s testimony. Along the line, she fell out with the relative on account of them being in the habit of reading her her life story at every infraction. She’s only human and she was young. Also, she wasn’t given a chance to have a life. She had to be on duty 24/7 on a pay that was a joke. It was so bad it was bordering on abuse. She bore it, but kept praying about her situation. Before long, her prayers were answered.

Some friends of the relatives who lived in Nigeria had bought a massive house in the country side. They had the idea to furnish the house and let it out as a studio for films or documentaries. The house thus was fully kitted, and they needed a manager to run it. They thought of Kema, and she was elated. She earned a salary tax free, with no overheads. We were all so thrilled for her.

I bumped into Kema at the salon in Lagos about two years after, and she had another testimony. This time, she related how the family with the house were wicked and stingy people. How she managed the house so well that from them barely getting clients when they started, with her they began to be fully booked. There was even a waitlist. She made them pots of money. But, sometimes, when they didn’t have clients, she would let her friends use the house.

Anyhow, a frenemy or her relative snitched on her to the family, and without giving her a chance to explain they fired her, and even tried to report her to the authorities for deportation. But, ‘small girl, big God’ things, they failed. Can you imagine?

She now has her papers, and can come to Nigeria on holidays sometimes. Isn’t God good all the time?

About three months after this, at a Women’s Conference in Lagos, we broke into small working committee groups. This issue of women supporting women came up, and a lady in my group, let’s call her Lady A, nearly spat at the concept. She explained how she decided to invest in a property in the UK and she set it up to use as a studio. She was able to get a loan from a fund structured for her by her son. There was a TV company that gave her a 12-month lease to use the studio. The agreement stated that they would pay her monthly, so the fund was happy to loan her to do up the place. However, they had an MOU that was the true reflection of their transaction. They didn’t need the studio every month, and they would be able to sublet it to other people when they were not using it. If they could do so for more than the rent, they would split the proceeds with Lady A. She was very happy. Lady A needed a manager, and she wanted a woman and a Christian. She met Kema in church through Kema’s relatives. Kema told her the horror of her situation and she gave her the job. She felt she could trust her to run it properly for her as a woman, fellow Nigerian and a Christian. She felt she would be so grateful she helped her situation, and would value the opportunity. She went back to Nigeria happy.

All Kema had to do was organise the upkeep of the house, and take stock with the clients before and after each show to make sure there was no damage or loss. She also managed the bookings. There was no need nor mention of her looking for clients for the house, Lady A said. After a while, she began getting emails from the TV company about her breaching their understanding, because each time they found a client to rent the studio when they were not using it, Kema would tell them it wasn’t available. They were threatening to pull out of the deal.

Lady A didn’t understand what was going on because she was getting paid, and all the while thought it was coming from the TV studio. When the threatening emails didn’t stop, Lady A went to London.

It was then she found out Kema had been letting the studio out on the side, for more than Lady A was charging, and not letting the TV studio let it as they agreed with Lady A. The TV station thus refused to renew the contract, and without that Lady A could not secure the loan, and the fund wanted their loan back. She almost lost the house and the whole investment. She went after Kema. In trying to fraudulently make a side hustle that she didn’t work for, she had ruined Lady A’s business. Someone who just set out to help another young woman. However, luck struck for Lady A when her son found her an events company who made her the same deal, but better, as they were going to run it themselves.

When this happened, she decided to forgive Kema and leave her to her own fate. I was also shocked to find out that apart from the fact that no frenemy or relative snitched on Kema, Lady A was not even aware Kema had no papers at the time, talk less of her processing any.

Lady A said she has now vowed never to help on the basis of gender or race or religion, as it almost cost her and her family dearly. It took a lot for me not to mention that I knew Kema and state her version of things, as I knew that would be like picking at a sore. I just made a note to self to be mindful about other people’s testimonies and comparing my life or my luck or my miracles or lack of for that matter.

One person’s so-called testimony here was another’s source of nightmare.

When the slap landed on her face, even before Abiola could process the pain or feel that her jaw was shaking, the first thing she did as usual was to look around, to see who saw what happened.

The only person she saw was Tosin – their daughter.

Oh, she thought, that’s okay. It’s only our daughter.

Little did she know that years and years after she had died, that was the same thought floating through Tosin’s mind as she was being slapped and pushed out of a moving car by the man she let beat her too. This was before she hit her head on the curb, died.

Chidinna looked at his father with disgust, as he introduced him to yet another business partner. His father, meanwhile, looked at him with pride. His son, the one who has just graduated cum laud from Harvard University. He had ensured that his sons did not go to school in Nigeria. He did this to separate them from their mother’s influence. He did not like the way they, especially Chidinna, went to her defense any time he disciplined her with a few slaps.

He needed them to be men and to see that women need to be disciplined and set right like children.

Chidi glared at this brute of a man, wishing he could strangle him. Just the night before, he had heard his mother scream and the sounds of breaking glass in their bedroom. It took his two brothers and the maid to stop him from going there.

That morning she came out, checking to see who heard, who knew she was being beaten up. What a brute of a man.

Tonight Chidinna cannot understand what’s happened. He’s weeping because Ada his wife is curled into a ball after receiving the beating of a lifetime from him. All because she disgraced him at dinner. She didn’t know the right meals to prepare for his Harvard friends. She was not enlightened like him. She was just very drop deadly beautiful.

He also did not like the way she tantalized the men at the dinner like a common whore. They tore off her clothes and stripped her naked with their eyes he could see. She was taunting them, he could see. Why? Why would she do that? To him, why?

Little did they know then, that beating had ruptured her womb and she would never be able to bear a child.

Little did Ada know that despite several apologies and gifts and beatings later, she would be thrown out as barren and Chidinna would father 4 children from 2 more unfortunate women who see the outside product only, the fine, rich Harvard graduate – not the damaged, dangerous creature he really is.

Sir Shina Peters is on the stage; he’s showering praises on Agbesegbe, the Cocoa magnate who’s showering him with Naira. The money is flowing. The big boys are gathering, the big girls are throwing down. The spoilt under-achieving newly married son of renowned Lawyer and politician is in the crowd.

Due to his drug habit he does not have 2 bundles of Naira to rub together, but he too wants to be noticed. He wants to belong. He looks on to the sweet innocent who is dying to go home to nurse their newborn baby. ‘Do you have any cash he asks?’ ‘For Shina? Hell no. All I have is what I got from my mum this afternoon and it’s for the baby’s pampers and SMA’.

She looks to see, even before the pain sinks into her brain. Who is looking? As he twists her ankle, to wrench her wallet from her. Oyinade cannot help it, tears pour out of her eyes as the pain sinks in. She still checks at whose looking.

As she does, she sees Adewunmi has left the party after his spraying spree- leaving her behind. How does she leave this party and get back to their house?

She sees the catering van packing up. She recognizes their logo, they are based on the Island. She can trust these ones who don’t know her and Adewunmi. She begs for a lift.

When news surfaced the next day, a trailer had flattened a van belonging to a catering outfit killing all on board. Oyinade’s parents do not even give the news a glance. How were they to know their treasure, whom they had trusted into the hands of the renowned lawyer was amongst those flattened in the disaster?

Later on when all checks are done, the renowned lawyer and his wife sort their son out. Oyinade’s parents cannot even get access to their grandchild. Oyinade was their only child.

Whilst you still have life, whilst you are still whole, before you look at who is watching or who knows, LEAVE. It is more honourable to leave than to stay.

You are more valuable to your children both male and female if you leave than to stay. On this 21st day of January as we walk with women for their rights, say NO MORE! Enough is Enough. No more concealers, No more excuses, No more shades #nomoreshades


About Yemisi Wada

Yemisi Wada is a Lawyer and a Business woman. She has decided she has reached a stage in life where she likes to do what gives her Joy. She has just produced the Crime Series ‘Lasgidi Cops Serious Crimes Unit’ and last year when she turned 50 decided to start up a Blog where she can mentor younger ones on the realities of relationships and life.
She also loves giving back and has a Foundation for Street Children called the Haven for the Nigerian Child Foundation.
She is married and has 5 children. She blogs at www.namsblog.com.ng