Akoka, Lagos ‘06
In August, the year of our Lord 2006 a group of law students concluded their LLB degree in the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos and was cleared to proceed to the Nigerian Law School for Bar Part II. They were law graduates. I was part of that group.
Igbosere, Lagos ‘18
I had just conducted my matter and was sitting over a plate of jollof rice and fried plantain garnished with assorted parts of cow meat (well, I assumed it was cow meat. It could have been ram meat) at the canteen of The High Court of Lagos State, Igbosere when I decided to look at the messages on my phone. I had recently been added to another WhatsApp chat group of my university classmates.
‘Class reunion?’ I said silently and I read it again. The message was clear. It was our class reunion! ‘Gegehn’, I said in my mind. I was excited. I looked forward to seeing the faces of those people whom we were together for close to six years.
The first thing I did was to get in touch with Dolapo. I had a chat with her but she beat me to the question and asked whether I would be attending the reunion. I answered in the positive. She also confirmed she was going to be there. Next, I had a chat with St. Bayo. He answered in the affirmative too. Good, let’s go there (both didn’t come eventually).
The buildup was fine; Dipo who was the chief organizer kept reminding us all of the reunion on WhatsApp. Someone even raised the issue of financial commitments in the chat group which Dipo quickly put to rest; he stated there was no contribution of any sort. The message was clear ‘just come’. If Dipo was an evangelist, I have no doubt his ministry would soar from heights to heights. There was no better way to spread a gospel. The date was August 4, 2018. The Venue was Hard Rock Café, Victoria Island, Lagos. The time was 2:30 pm.
I had been to Hard Rock Café a couple of times but it was not during the day time. I had a couple of exciting memories about the place that still lingers and I smile when I reminisced. The Café had a different daylight impression on me. It had the look of a typical Lagos medium shopping mall from the outside and when you got to the entrance and could manage to ignore the name written boldly on the entrance door, you would have no doubt you were entering some kind of mall. But by the time you moved beyond the boutique at the entrance and see the carnival atmosphere and the several faces of people at their different tables adorned with exotic foods and drinks; and you look through the demarcating glass seeing the raving blue ocean with picnickers and surfers having fun, then you would reckon with the feeling that you had come to have a good time. The exotic foods and drinks on the tables which were no less exotic than the chatty faces around the tables could give you a tingling sensation if you were the outdoor type who liked to be in the midst of people having fun.
I would not describe myself as an ardent fan of rock or heavy metal music but I am certainly a staunch fan of string instruments. The replicas of guitars supposedly played by some legends of rock and pop music hung at strategic places all over the walls of the café always made me feel like I was at the right place.
The upstairs was reserved for us. As I mounted the stairs in my choreographic steps, I saw someone at the top of the stairs who said ‘Dare, how are you doing?’ It was Dipo with the same old smile and the familiar lens of his glasses like that of the base of the old coca cola bottle staring down at me. As Dipo ushered me in, I saw Sayo, who said ‘Ileeee’. Sayo is now growing an afro. Well, I had seen that on Facebook. Sayo, a couple of other guys and I were the back benchers or the guys in the sport sector in the university days. Bukola (I’ve forgotten the surname) was the only female student in that sector. I might just add that sports talk was not exclusive to the back benchers. Dipo, Joseph, Mercy and a couple of other guys of the front territory and Odegha, Dayo Shanu of the mid section do talk sports too.
Sitting area had always been a big deal for me. Since my primary school days, I had been a back bencher and till date (at least in relation to anything concerning school or education of any sort). I still marvel how the guys of the front territory do it. I just could not concentrate when I am so close to the teacher. My imaginations runs wild with me assessing the shoes, the trousers and whatever the teacher or lecturer wore. And if it was a female teacher or lecturer with enough side attractions to stimulate imaginations, end of story. I would be chasing my imaginations all through the class. The back was my safe enclave.
Then I started seeing all the faces I had not seen in ages. I was just smiling from molar to molar. I managed to shake and hug everyone present. The reunion was already in full swing. I felt a rush of adrenalin. It was a bit emotional for me. But within a few seconds, I got over the emotions and I joined in the merrymaking.
In less than five minutes after my arrival, I discovered that we had categorized ourselves into two main categories – ‘the cut and paste’ and ‘the edited version’. ‘The cut and paste’ being the guys who were not physically different from the university days or at least not too different. I did not think there was one person who did not change physically but some people were just like rock mehn; dem no change oo! ‘The edited version’ naturally, were those who have changed a lot from the university days. Although, I thought otherwise, the verdict on me was ‘cut and paste’. The other cut and paste guys were – Sayo, Ola, Dayo Shanu, Omole, Seun Malomo, Samson, Jolaoluwa, Boma, Desmond, Kunbi, Dunsi, Bukky, Segun, Ayo Martins, Ashipa, Nta, Paparazzi, Alexia, Seyi, Idowu, Loveday, Tobi, Uche and so many others. The edited version guys were – Okey, Dipo, Emem, Tope, Yewande, Banji and some others. Well, the verdicts on these guys were partly my opinion and the opinions of others. I could conveniently say that no verdict was unanimous until David Ibukun came in. In fact, we created a special category for him, ‘unlimited edition’. He was the only guy who got a unanimous verdict on his physical metamorphosis.
‘His ministry had moved to the permanent site’ said Dunsi.
One could not quarrel with the statement. If we had an award for the Queen of ‘the cut and paste’ it would be a serious competition between Kunbi and Seyi in my opinion. The award of the King of ‘cut and paste’ would have too many eligible contestants but in my opinion the finalists would be Segun, Nta and Dayo Shanu. And I have a hunch Dayo would run away with the crown except he decides not to contest. That guy has to be investigated. For the Queen of ‘edited version’, I will not lie. I do not know. But for the King of ‘edited version’ we might have to disqualify David Ibukun so that guys like Okey and Dipo could contest.
I never thought it could happen. It happened. Our first ever class reunion. ‘It is so good to see you guys. The next one is going to be better’ Ola said to me in a way that suggested ‘this is a good thing; we have to keep it up.’ Uche and Nta to mention a few said the same thing.
I had planned to do many things that day but because I came a bit late and got carried away in the euphoria of the reunion, I could not do those things I intended to do. I would have asked as many as were willing to be quoted or videoed, questions about our class like – Did you have a crush on someone in our class? Did you fall in love with someone in our class? Did you ever dislike someone in the class? Did you kiss someone in the class? Did you wish to kiss someone then? Did you ask anybody out? Did you hold anyone in reverence? Did you wish to be like anyone? What did you wish to become then? Are you living your dream now? And so many more questions. I thought it was going to be fun asking the questions and getting the responses. It was still a lot of fun though. I was also going to ask that we have a few minutes of silence for our mates who had passed on. There would be another reunion; I am positive of that now. There would be several, I reckon. There has to be more of it.
I walked up to Dipo and asked how he pulled off the reunion.
‘Did you get any support from any of us?’ I asked
Well, I will not lie. I was under the influence of Hennesy and could not remember what he said but whatever he said then must have made sense because I remember nodding repeatedly to his words.
I also talked about having two WhatsApp group chats. ‘Why can’t we have one?’ I asked. Well, I will not lie. I had taken some more sips of Hennesy by the time we got to that question. I could not remember his response but whatever he said then was satisfactory to me and I have no doubt that now that I am sober the response would be no less satisfactory.
I had a good time. I slept like a child that day.
We have come a long way; surely not as long as some other classes. Yes. We lost some along the way. May their souls rest in peace (I personally miss Leo). We have guys in all sorts of endeavors within and outside the profession – including and not limited to positions of Senior State Counsel (federal & State), Magistrates, Politicians, Entrepreneurs, Models, Pastors (whose ministries had moved to the permanent sites), Publishers and Bakers. We are scattered all over the world.
Yes. Some have more, some have just enough and some have less. Irrespective of this, the message is WE ARE COMING. As for me, we the class of the year of our Lord 2006 are jacks of all trades and still the Master of Law.