Eko Encounters: Highlife Ride With Eko Koti

6 October 2012

Dear Bombay,

I have decided to be sharing my experiences from Eko with you and to keep you abreast with my thoughts and happenings. Hope you will enjoy them.

Aside the love of books that I picked from you, I guess I am now realising that the highlife bug that has been my weakness for years now may also be inherited. I can recollect you dancing slowly to a Yaa Amponsah tune with your arms full-stretched, swinging your hips sideways and in a circular motion, and twisting your neck in slow motion. And yes, I am doing the latter, as I type this note to you.

For an assignment I have to undertake this morning, I had to leave home at dawn today. I drove yesterday to and from work – I am almost a fully-fledged Eko driver now. All I need to master is the intricate network of roads in Eko; that will take a lifetime – it is akin to a labyrinth that require adventurous vim to perambulate. Nasiru lost his mum on Wednesday and has been away in his village since Thursday, hence my driving duties.

Today, I remembered to pick the CD case of Wulomei that I had brought from Ga weeks back to play in the car. I always forgot it at home. As I warmed the car, I opened the case and realised instead that I had two CDs and not Wulomei’s – a collection of highlife tunes and an Amandzeba album. The collections cd found it’s way into the player as I drove out of the compound. The first set of songs were from one of my favourite artistes, AB Crentsil. Mostly in pidgin. I sang along.

Soon, around Marina, I encountered a police checkpoint.

A policeman flagged me to stop and approached me. In full regalia, bullet-proof vest and all.

Was my colleague Mr O’s prophecy coming to pass? I asked myself. Mr O has always said woe betides me if I ever fell into the hands of Fasola police. He repeated only yesterday as I was leaving the office to drive home. He jokes that once my accent gave me off, the kotiman would know that his pepper soup for that night would not lack protein.

Kotiman was at the window on the passenger side now. I rolled down the window.

“What is in your boot?” He enquired.

“Should I open it?” I offered.

“No. Just tell me what is there.”

I told him.

“Where are you going to?”

I told him.

“Will you pass through [icouldntgetthenameoftheplaces]?”

I told him I had no idea of the suburbs he was mentioning.

“Will you pass by the national stadium?”

Aha, that edifice I knew. My path passed in-between two stadia: one federal and the other for the state, opposite each other across the highway. I said Yes.

Turned out kotiman wanted a ride.

“Inspector, oya, I dey go.”

And he was opening the door and sitting in. Time check: circa 5.10 am.

Even in Ghana, I am very wary of giving lifts, especially to uniformed personnel. The Akans say that because a lot of people now wear the smock, it is difficult to know the real Kramo (Moslem).

He felt at ease, and was enjoying AB’s Angelina. He told me he had to leave early because he was travelling to Benin.

“Cotonou?” I wanted to clarify as my boss had told me that in Eko, Benin meant Benin City and if the country is being referred to, Cotonou was the name used.

I trained as a quality auditor and was taught to trust but verify. The code is ‘In only God we trust.”

I was on high alert, driving with all six senses, nay seven.

Soon we got to his bus-stop and he asked me to stop by the BRT route.

“this place is called Pangrove.”

I hope I got the name right.

I said goodbye and wished him a safe journey to Benin. And continued on my way, now listening to Kosuoko! One One, one of my all-time favourites.



One thought on “Eko Encounters: Highlife Ride With Eko Koti

Add yours

  1. guess it is the same all over West Africa. uniformed people think they deserve a lift wherever they go. same thing happened in Burkina Faso when a uniformed customs officer jumped on the bus we were driving on and got down at his convenience..

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