How We Enjoyed Sundays Before Nigeria ‘Collapsed’
DAVID ELEKE, award-winning journalist, recalls Sundays with his father in Nigeria’s golden ’80s
Good evening, Okaa Omee. This comment by you has catapulted me many decades back.
I didn’t grow up in your era, but I think I had a whiff of what Nigeria was before it totally collapsed, as we can see today.
I remember mid 80s, and how on a Sunday like today, we all enjoyed ourselves.
The day always started with house chores at about 10am. We will sweep, dust, and mop the entire house, removing cobwebs. While I and our help did this, my immediate younger sister and my mum will be battling with cooking Sunday rice. Only few families could afford rice every Sunday, back then.
As the women battled in the kitchen (a small makeshift place in front of our two rooms abode), my father will be washing his Honda, CG 125, while whistling away.
After washing, I remember he usually went straight into polishing his shoes, after which he will send me to the laundry man’s shop to pick up his well starched clothe.
Pa David Eleke (Snr) was a palmwine taper, but he was a great dresser. He knew how to be neat, and his only clothes he never took to the laundry man were those he wore to work.
Those days, from 1pm to 2pm, we would have finished all we had to do, and he would move to his Trident Tape (which only he had the right to operate), and he would play Oliver de Coque, Osadebe or Dr Sir Warrior and his Oriental Brothers. We were young, but we enjoyed all those music, same way our father did.
We would then be served a big bowl of rice, and my mum and dad will “balance” on the centre table to eat while we sat on the floor.
I usually envied my dad when at about 4pm, he would ‘kick’ his Honda, CG 125, brought straight from Leventis as tear rubber in Enugu, and proceed to visit his friends.
He usually returned at 7pm or thereabout, but we always waited because he always returned home with lots of goodies.
Once home, he will give me some money to buy him a bottle of Harp beer, and I remember that his usual exclamation upon taking the chilled bottle of beer from me was – “Harp is for happiness”.
He would pour a little in plastic cups for any of his children that was willing to drink, and proceed to gulp down the rest. Even though he was a palmwine taper, he drank less of his product, only doing so when he wanted to taste it.
It was an all-Sunday ritual for us, and we always looked forward to it.
Those were very free days, devoid of kidnapping, even armed robbery was rare and could only be on highways.
May God restore Nigeria’s glory again.
Eleke wrote this as a response to a post by Chief Emmanuel Ilozue, a veteran journalist on the CCO WHATSAPP platform