One Chance

Lets go back to December 31st of 1999

What would you do differently if you had the chance to start life from scratch? If you could rub a lamp (or rechargeable lantern) and make a wish, or if you were given an opportunity to change some of your previous life choices, what would you do? If there was a time travel scientist called Doctor Who Sai, and he offered you a chance to travel in his time travel telephone box (not operated by Nitel o), where would you travel to, and what would you change? Would you go back to 1950 and beg your popsie to complete school and go to Uni, so that he would succeed so that you can have a better chance of being born with a silverspoon in Ikoyi?

Or would you go back to 1914 and slap Lord Lugard into a stupor to prevent him from amalgamating the Northern and Southern protectorates to form Naija, and thereby save us all this anguish. Or perhaps you would travel to 2005 and invest your hard-earned salary in 1st Bank and Nigerian Brewery stocks and shares, instead of Transcorp, Finbank and Intercontinental Banks like you ended up doing and loosing your life savings. Maybe you wouldnt have married that girl – you have now found out that she was too good to be true. She claimed she was a virgin and had never seen man, and did not let you ‘violate her’ but on the wedding night, once you straddled her, you almost ‘fell inside”. Now a sex video of her planking different Alhajis has now gone viral. You have also become viral from her infections.

Or would you rather time-travel to 2003 to major in music in school, rather than banking and finance? I mean Tuface and Don Jazzy are cleaning out almost as well as the Jim Ovias and Pascal Dozies of these world (key word – almost). Or you may choose to go back to 1992 to buy 20 plots of land in Lekki Phase One and Wuse, when these were worth half-a-penny. My uncle was offered land in Banana Island in 1996 for 2 million. He decided to invest in Festac instead, and now his house has appeared in many Nollywood movies, as opposed to Fortune 500 or MTV Cribs.

Now don’t get me wrong, I prefer not to dwell on mistakes I have made, or wrong choices when I was younger .Whatever happens has happened, and what  is done, is done. People espouse that philosophy of life where you look forward and regret nothing including past mistakes, writing them off as life experiences. It is even embodied in the French term “Regrette Rien” which means “Regret Nothing”

In Pidgin English parlance, it is called ‘E don happen” so why you wan kill yourself?

However, sometimes, you do reflect on your journey through life, and  try to imagine how much different your life would be if you had passed the right or left fork on the road, and had gone straight instead. Here would be my choices, if I could start again:

  • I would have become an engineer. I was a proficient Lego brick builder as a youngster. I may have made a good civil engineer though a civil child I was not.  In Junior secondary, I was initially great at Introductory Technology, but the teacher put me off because he was always hitting students with the T-square.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the legal profession but there are too many insincere jerks and old school monuments dogging the institution. Besides try watching one of those World War or invasion movies – lawyers are always the first ones to be killed or imprisoned in concentration camps when a dictator takes over a nation. Doctors and lawyers are spared because they can provide anciliarry services.  Nuclear physicists are spared too because of their technological prowess. But lawyers don’t have anything to offer because their talk talk is too much. I put it to you that you cannot kill or imprison me. I will invoke a wreath of Habeus Corpus and have you reprimanded forthwith. 

Even people who studied Yoruba Education in school have a better chance of surviving in an invasion or dictatorship than a lawyer. They could prostrate and plead for their life: Ejo o, e ma bi nu.Ma pa mi, iku mi o wulo fun e (Please o, don’t be angry. I am useless to you dead). The person would be more successful with his plea, if he impersonates Jide Kosoko’s facial expressions.

The worst people are those who studied Philosophy. They would try to rationalize with the arresting soldiers by applying logic: You arrest and kill some innocent victims. I am an innocent victim. But it does not mean you have to kill me.

So engineers are indispensable. They have the pick of the choicest positions and benefits. When I worked at Nigerian Breweries as an intern, I once overheard a manager sigh as he guzzled a huge mug of Harp “The most important people in this company, and the only ones immune from sacking are those who oversee production – the lager engineers. All you analysts, business administrators, interns are on borrowed time here”

Dude, we are all on borrowed time. Nor be you papa company na.

Engineers have all the advantages. There are different kinds of engineers – civic, petroleum, mechanical, electronic, marine,, aeronautic etc etc. There are only 3 kinds of lawyer in Nigeria – charge N bail, baby lawyer and the erudite ones (Gani, FRA Williams, Babalakin etc). Aim to be among the last category.

Engineers rise to the top of their professions, and get to wear jeans and nice yellow helmets even in corporate settings. They use terms like “rig, petroleum, platform,  crank, production.”

Lawyers rise up in the profession, but always usually wear a black wig and gown in a hot court-room. They use words like “adjournment, frustration, lapse, laches, statute of limitation, I put it to you, sue,  please be advised..”

Anyway  I still ended up being an engineer regardless – I am a social engineer, building blocks of hope.  My bic is my spanner. In fact sometimes I introduce myself as Architect Esco at public gatherings. At one recent gathering, the other person looked at me interestingly as I introduced myself as an architect. He was one himself, so he inquired further:  “Interesting stuff. What buildings or projects have you designed.”

I wanted to reply “Motherfuck designing mansions in water logged Lekki, I help rebuild and rehabilitate people through the medium of blog satire”

Instead, I pretended like I had just received an international call, and excused myself “Ehnn, sorry Joe, the line is breaking. What time is it now at Singapore? It must be MTN’s network, please let me go outside for better reception. Please excuse me, Architect Dagbaru”

  • I would have made better choices in my relationships earlier on. I would have bitten the bullet, been bolder and hooked up with Chineze. I would not have stood up Damola on Valentines Day to hang out with the lads. I would have treated Oyin differently and not have taken her for granted. I can remember taking a train all the way from Borehamwood to Swiss Cottage to meet Oyin who was meeting me all the way from Edmonton for a movie at the O2 center. After a huge meal at Weatherspoons, I embarrassingly fell asleep during the movie. Don’t blame me, it was already around 8pm, and besides the movie showing had musical bits in it. It was Gerald Butler’s “Phantom of the Opera.”

Oyin was pissed that I dare fall asleep during our date, even spilling our popcorn all over the place as I shifted in my snooze. My excuse was let me sleep, so I can dream of you.

 Oyin, I apologize. I am also sorry for taking you to my new girlfriend’s house and making out with her in front of you, because I stupidly thought you were over me. Now that I am older and wiser, I realize that girls have a secret radar and no chick would like to see her ex with another hotter chick. Sorry, I meant another chick equally as hot. Please accept my apologies for 2011.

  • I would dance with my father one more time, if I had the chance. He passed away a few years ago, and now I realize that all the life lessons he taught me are gems for living.  I recently caught a glimpse of myself in a shop window, and I could see my father’s features creeping in a little. His mannerisms, his modus operandi, his figures of speech are all engrained in me. Miss you Dad.
  • I would have started a business a long time ago. I guess it is never too late, but I am inspired by the life stories of self -made men like Richard Branson and Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs who started really early in life. The former had a paper route when he was barely in his teens and the former was a record company “A and R” by his early twenties, and formed Bad Boy Records when he was just 23.

On a side note, a friend of mine wants to start a clothing company, and has started importing tee-shirt printing and embroidery machinery. He hired me a design consultant because he felt I had a creative spark. His vision was for a urban wear line  with designs that could make a statement, sort of like those Che Guevara revolutionary tee-shirts, or Doc Marten boots with grunge or punk rockers, or how Ben Sherman shirts were popular with U.K chavs, or how college kids like Abercrombie and Fitch and snap back hats. Or like Hawes and Curtis and pudgy Nigerian bankers.

He wanted a line of tee-shirts with a range of designs peculiar to the Nigerian hip fashionista. It had to be cool, but distinctively naija.

My first few suggestions were wide off the mark, and I am sure he is seriously thinking of asking me to resign.

I suggested a T-shirt with an inscription “I am the bomb”. He looked at me like I was crazy. Ha, make Boko Haram catch you.

What about a shirt with the PHCN logo, and then the phrase “I got the power…Not”

I wish I had learnt a special skill. Like I had taken up lawn tennis classes, or learnt how to play the piano, or the Yoruba talking drum. My father really wanted me to learn how to play tennis, as he felt it was a good form of keeping fit and networking for life. I really always wondered what the racket was all about. Besides there were few places to practice in Lagos. I am Igbo, and imagine the ill looks I would  get if I waltzed into the Yoruba Lawn Tennis Club. I wish I could play chess as well as draught. I am a champ at Ludo though. When I throw the dice, I am fairly proficient at getting 2 sixes. Siki one, siki two…oya carry ya seed.


And for all the nights and all the fights/

That I had for all this money over all these dice/

All my cars and homes and all my ice/

If I could do it all again, I’d do it all for Christ/

 Mase (From Scratch, 1999)

22 responses

  1. omg the more i read this blog the more i fall in love with esco (daydreamin)…….
    ok back to reality, there are so many things i would change if i could go back in time
    but as i can not my philosophy is to never make the same mistake twice.
    i cant change the past but i can damn well direct my future to a better path

  2. i wish i had not met my woman beating(1st love) boyfriend. He killed the loving girl i was and years down the line i am stil struggling to recover myself..God help me..
    5.30am and i am commenting on your

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  4. If I could change anything, I would have been an art student and not a science student in secondary school. My parents already had in mind what they wanted me to become and I followed suit until I got into the university. I still didn’t study my dream course though, but it’s all good. Loads of things I would want to change, but since they are all in the past, I will just forge ahead and make wiser choices now. hehehheheheheee @ Architect Esco, ibiakwa ehnnn. As always, thanks for making me laugh silly.

  5. I love this…… lol.. u made me laugh today… been feeling kinda whatever……

    Thanks… btw am sure dad is proud of u…

  6. If i could go back, i would definitely have been an art students too, so much pressure to read sciences and for what i could not have been a doc anyway, i am skirmish at the sight of blood..i would have taken my music lessons more seriously, i would not have wasted my time with some horrid female friends and i would not have dated the two guys i dated before i met my husband, what a waste of my precious time… i was at that time the ‘jerk magnet ‘ , why i needed to date was just peer pressure , i am independent and i was always happier without a Bf, and i had some awesome guy friends who treated me well, i would not have made that mistake that cost me my first bank Job…do i sound like a regret major yet?..i keep looking back it drives my husband crazy…but as che said just try to make better choices..easier said than done too i am so undecisive cos am afraid to make mistakes…that is probably worse!

  7. Great post by the way Esco. There are so many decisions I could have reverted, if I had the ability to change the time but these are the top ones:
    I wouldn’t have made that investment in Transcorp; Union Diagnostics and Japual Oil (cost me a tidy sum). Also, my 70,000 units in Union Bank would have gone to Fist Bank (I still shudder when I think of how much I lost).
    A year ago, when I got married, I should have taken more interest in his finances (for a babe who blogs about personal finance); it was shocking to discover my husband was clueless about financial prudence. Esco, can you please tell me why men think it’s safe to risk all they have saved to pursue a business idea which might or might not yield viable results? Now, I’ve learnt better and have taken control of our financial situation by putting him on a leash (before he invests in any business idea, he’s got to run it by me for final approval, now that his finances have improved). However, one thing I do not regret is not pursuing a career as a chartered accountant despite threats from my dad. I refused, argued and stormed my way through to ensure I didn’t become one (i’m brilliant at accounting, but it’s a boring way of life in terms of career but has aided me in my personal finances) I prefer my present career as a brand manager in a multinational (marketing has always been an exciting choice and i’ve got the gift of gab).

  8. Thanks Esco! I was a Lego nut in Primary school. I wouldn’t change a thing, I’ve made peace with my mistakes & loving my life + who I’ve become. Downloading Riri’s “Talk that talk” album now(don’t blame me it leaked) 😀

  9. @ Jan, i feel you with the husbands investing life savings in risky business ventures, what is it with men and risks?.. sigh..the leash i on’t think hubby likes the leash..

  10. Ha Jemima, we had to put on the leash cos he couldn’t just manage the situation on his own. Along the line, he learnt some hard lessons of life and has mandated me to keep the leash in place since i’m more objective and rational when it comes to business investment issues.

  11. Jan, i feel you very well, my hubby is still fighting the leash o, i have just been too soft on him , i see that now, i am learning to just smile and say no, and he is learning his own hard lessons, but boy has he blown some good money, i can’t even think about it ….halleluyah for when the day will come, when he will let me keep the leash on without struggling 🙂

  12. @ Rustgeek – Transcorp bit many people man. There was no way of knowing because it seemed a winner at the time. But on we march…

    @ yeahjide – that is the best philosophy to adopt. What is done is done, lets get on with it. Glad you love this blog, and cheers for building with us. One love

    @ Tinkerbell – I am mighty flattered. its 5.30 and you could be anywhere else, but you stand here with me. Thanks a billion. And your ex had the gall to put his hands on you? What a toad. Please point me in his direction; let me get my baseball bat. Well, you learn from the past, and the next one would be a charmer. Bless.

    @ Che – I know how you feel. It sounds cliche, but anything you really want to do, you can do. Btw, its great that this article made you smile. Send us pictorial evidence, perhaps? Lol

    @ Purpelicious Babe – Glad to be of service nwanne m. I hope he is proud, I really do….

    @ Jemima – Chalk it all down to experiences. You can better appreciate your hubby because of the unscrupulous dudes you dated in the past. Regret major? Maybe not, as far as you do not make your bad experience prevent you from doing what you want to do. You must be doing something right anyway because despite your former heart-aches, you still look another chance on love and romance, and now you are someone’s Mrs. Repeat this to yourself whenever you feel fear or hesitation:”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”

    If you are not a Christian, you can motivate yourself by saying ” Get behind me you fear of failure. I know I can do it. I am big enough to do it – I am that thorough”

    @ Jan – Thanks. Transcorp and Japaul seemed good bets at the time, I am especially surprised with how Union Bank disappointed. I myself lost money on Oceanic and Finbank ( what was I thinking) and maybe I should have sold my Zenith ones when they went up to 49.50. To answer your question, I think men are more likely to place bigger bets and take huge risks than women, because women are more objective and prudent with finances generally ( at least women of our generation above, and not the Brazilian weave and BB generation).

    I must say that your hubby is very very blessed to have you because once a couple pool their resources and know-how, they cant go wrong with investments. Some strong leash you have there, and this is the kind of leash that is allowed in marriages. Too often you hear of women using a social leash, but a financial is just as necessary

    BTW the chartered accountant certification is never too late. Btw there are loads of professional courses to choose from apart from ICAN. Do your thing, Jan, nothing do you.

    @ Reallaw – Lego as/is the bomb eh? Hows Riri’s album? Is it any good? The last album I downloaded was Watch The Throne, the JayZ/Kanye album, and I only had about 2 listens before writing it off.

    @ Jemima – Lol@ leash without struggling. You and Jan are still talking about men right, and not dogs. Lol

    @ Dami – Glad u liked.

  13. “Talk that talk” has a playful/cheeky dance sound. New direction, different from “Loud”(that was the perfect album!). My favs are “Where have you been” & “We found Love”. Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” Deluxe Edition is out of this world!!!!!!!!!! 😀

  14. I don’t dwell much on regrets. Always have a hopeful outlook to life that the best is yet to come. I have 2 regrets I can’t cast out though.
    – The jerk i dated & almost gave myself in Uni. I would have been a total idiot cos that is exactly what he was out to get.
    – Not investing early enough in life. I started working in the Banking industry about 6 years ago and fell to the buy now pay later syndrome (3 cheques payment for everything). Omo, i really blew a lot of money i should have saved! Talk of millions buying things i don’t need just because i can pay 3 times. Well, my hubby was my leash & he made sure i paid cash for anything i bought. That set me right cos i now buy only the things i need.

    Maybe Jan & Jemima should link their husbands with mine, he is sure to set them straight when it comes to investments. The guy is a gift.

    BTW i have a lot to be thankful for, after all I have the rest of my life to get it right.

  15. i did lots of things i shouldn`t have done, and every day i beat myself up for them, if i could go back i would undo most of the unhealthy relationships i had, perhaps i would have gone back to living with my parents, cos as soon as i was out of their sight, i went stark, raving haywire, most to tjose things still bring me tears, and i wonder if the Lord will ever forgive me, but i`m in a good place now, but unfortunately i have a hyperactive conscience, i cant help but regret

  16. This article got me thinking. In retrospect, I wish I was more daring and bold in my approach to life rather than my timid self. I wish I had not begged for another chance with my ex even though I haven’t done him any wrong and he acknowledged that too (looked as if i gave my pride away to him.) I wish I had started dating my fiance way back all those long years he was desperately seeking a place in my heart. Above all, I have found solace in God for opened doors and my fiance who proposed even when i least expected it.

  17. Yes he is proud of u.. Ur daddy. U know why for 1, u have not dragged his name in the mud… They are not calling ur name in prison cells or any negative associates.
    2) U are working hard towards your future, you are looking back and applying some of the key lessons he taught you about life.
    3)U have a vision of what you want your life to be about, u have taken the messes/regrets and turned them into a message.
    4)U put joy in people’s heart and laughter in their mouth.
    I am sure they are many things you are also working towards.

    Finally, U are learning and becoming the man he became.

    Although you might think he would want you to do more right now. Perhaps he does, but it does not take the fact that he is still proud of you and he is cheering you on.

    How do I know this(because he told me lol.. in fact i feel it in the On a serious note, I know because I sense it and also I know that when I live this earth with my grown up children behind, I would be proud that they are making an effort eventhough they can do more. FACT is they are making an effort… it is better than nothing.

    As for me what do I regret??? I will come back in five years to answer that one. lol. Am still small ohh…lol.

  18. hmmn. i would change alot.firstly i and my primary school sweetheart would be married with kids.i would be an fbi criminal internet friend and i would be besties forever

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