From previous episode
One after the other we kept mentioning our location to the bus conductor just to be sure we were in the right bus and he told us not to worry. I paid ₦70 while the others paid ₦100 each, but then we kept going and going and the distance was beginning to look too long for the amount we paid (I live in Lagos so you can understand my confusion).
So, I asked the conductor again: “conductor, abeg you sure say we never pass Federal Secretariat?”
He answered: “Ajuwaya (nickname for corp members), you dey fear? We never reach, no worry.”
“Okay o,” I said to myself.
Not quite long afterwards, he notified me that we had got to our destination. I alighted and told Teniola to keep me posted about her PPA and accommodation.
I trekked into the compound hoping (and praying silently) that all would go smoothly. As I walked in, I realised that there were immigration officers everywhere and was almost wondering if I was in the right place. I walked towards one of the officers at the gate, and said: “Good morning sir, please I’m looking for Small and Medium Development Agency of Nigeria” and he replied “You are welcome, Ajuwaya, go to the second floor, they have their office there.” I thanked him and walked into the secretariat.
Honestly, it took a while to figure out which was SMEDAN’s office, and after locating the place, I realised no one was available yet, ALL OFFICES WERE LOCKED! I was amazed as I raised my left wrist to check the time, “how would people not have resumed at this time of the day?” I thought to myself. I met a nice woman who works close to the sick bay, and she gave me a seat. After sitting down, I went online to fetch details about my PPA and I saw a number to call there. I immediately called the number and a man picked the call.
“Alo,” he said in a very strong Igbotic tone, “Good morning”
I replied the man and explained myself to him and he mentioned that someone would be there soon.
A lot was going through my mind as I observed the environment, the federal secretariat was a three-storey building with obviously different agencies/organisation having office(s) spaces there. “I’ll stroll around one day to know the different organisations here,” I told myself, but it was very obvious that the Immigration officers were the predominant occupants of the secretariat at the ground floor as well as some parts of the first floor.
After about an hour, I saw an old man humming and walking towards the space described to me earlier as one of SMEDAN’s offices. I walked to the office after he opened the door, greeted him and explained myself – this I had to do carefully so we would understand each other well.
The old man looked at me and said: “Uhnn… they sometimes don’t come to the office hia (here) o, even for like a week. Me I just come hia to open the door to the general office.” In my mind, I was already thinking: “What kind of gbas-gbos is this na?”
Well… the journey was only just beginning, but I wasn’t sure I liked how the first day was going. Better days ahead, perhaps?