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So that year, Tejuosho was gutted by fire. I was far removed. It did not hit home. I did not connect. I visited tejuosho market monthly. But after the fire I did not bother.

I was also very busy with production of programs.

So I did not need to do Tejuosho.

Then three months after I was being a good boss and thought to drop my staff where she could get an easy bus closer to home.

I drove into the Tejuosho market road from the rear end of the rail line.

As I saw the ruins a heavy dread enveloped me. I wept deeply . I saw years and decades of lost toil, sweat and sacrifice.

I remembered the shops. My ” customers” as we called each other.

Customer” a common term used by either sellers or buyers to establish a common repeated purchase and better bargain between both during transactions. ( Naija lingo)

I had plenty customers. I was also customers to many.

From when I shopped during maternity for baby’s things. The mother care shops and wannabe shops.

When I needed to furnish. The curtain fabric section. Needed to upholster the furnishings were there. Poles and brilliant tassels.

Last minute wedding things.

When I needed to dazzle my friends and keep then guessing where the shoes or bags and clothes were. I went to “Okrika” now christened “Bendown boutique”. Aka second hand market.

When I needed to bake. Cook correct afang soup or banga. My customers dey.

Alhajas make up. All her products were original. (If you know what I mean)

The vases and decor shops.

My favorite shop for party favors. I loved making favors for parties then. Now who has that kinda time? Kids are all adults now.

The bags.

The provisions . Ah original Brazilian cornbeef was in demand before Brazilian hair.

My customers. Yes my customers.

I cried. I cried so hard on the steering my staff felt guilty she allowed me to do this good Samaritan job of dropping her closer home.

I cried so hard I started convulsing . I parked. Cars honking impatiently or was it me that was causing the commotion. Holding up traffic. I did not care. Peoples lives have been ” held up”.

The abruptness of destruction is unfathomable. The silence and anguish and despair that follows no words can describe.

That was Tejuosho. More than ten years ago or less. Can’t remember.

Now today

How do I begin to talk about the shops that put a smile on my face anytime I walked into them.

Lagos is a cosmopolitan city and really have shops that defined the very fine lines of its cosmopolitan appeal.

The beautiful well laid out malls with its quant and dainty stores are always a sure pleasure for retail therapy and for authentic shoppers.

The stores or shops with well cultured attendants all in sync with the well arranged products on display.

Sometimes you just want to be in the shops walk round the rows of exquisite products for health well being or cosmetics. The sweet aroma keeps you staying longer you planned and sometimes you end up buying just 100 naira sweet or gum. Bet you would have done that with the corner side mallam or the traffic mobile super market boys. But no.

Being surrounded by beauty is an integral need of man. The beautiful stores in the malls did just that.

The owners went over and above while selling to you what you may need, they also thought of how you may feel. Marketing strategy 101. They got that right.

All the same I’m still trying to understand how some of these places now lie in ruins .

The loss of lives , livelihoods and Properties may be unquantified. How about the loss of hope and faith to rise from the ashes like a Phoenix?

The silence that comes after such destruction? The dark long road to recovery?

The pain that comes from the realisation that you did absolutely NOTHING WRONG.

Words indeed fail me.

I say to my “Customers” your “Customer” is waiting.

I fall with you. I walk with you at this time and will Rise with you.

Uri Ngozichukwuka is a Public Relations Consultant based in Lagos

2020

( Dedicated to those who lost livelihoods and businesses to violence by hoodlums post #EndSars protest)

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NTDC boss, Folly Coker”s 2nd Marriage Crashes

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The second marriage of Folorunsho Coker, the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Company, (NTDC), to Aisha Rimi, has reportedly crashed.

 

Just when everyone thought Coker’s second marriage to Aisha Rimi, a member of Rimi Partners, an Abuja -based law firm specialising in corporate legal services, business advisory services and government relations, would outlast his first, it ended up making a dry run while it lasted.

 

Coker was first married to Folake Akindele-Coker, the boss of foremost fashion design label, *Tiffany* *Amber* . Folly Coker as he is fondly called, ended the marriage, which produced three children, abruptly. Still dazed by the manner with which her marriage ended, Folake retained her ex-husband’s name and still does to this day. While she is still single, Folly (as he is fondly called) moved on quickly and jumped into another marriage with Aisha. Aisha also used to be married to Lateef Bello Osagie, a sibling of Hakeem Bello Osagie, a former Chairman of United Bank of Africa (UBA). No sooner had her marriage to Lateef ended than she hooked up with Folly and married him. They resolved to give their second attempt at marriage their best shot and make their new ‘partnership’ work.

 

In fact, early in the marriage, Folly and his wife managed to keep the union together, but seeing that they could no longer continue to patch things up, they both finally decided they had had enough of each other.

 

What could have led to breakup of their marriage?

 

Pundits are however of the opinion that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission investigation of Aisha’s alleged involvement in the diversion of the sum of N3 billion from the account of Lagos State Government Number Plate Production Authority, when Folly was the managing director, was allegedly the beginning of the end of their marriage.

 

Recall that the EFCC in an affidavit had alleged that the investigation of the fraud was based on an intelligence received by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit of suspicious transactions on the account of Rimi and Partners.

 

According to the EFCC, there were “heavy inflows” in excess of N3 billion from LSGNPPA into the account of the company owned by Aisha Rimi, who was still married to Coker at the time.That perhaps,was the catalyst that set the tone for the marriage break up as Aisha was said to have revealed many things to the anti graft body.

Presently, close friends and associates of the family are watching with keen interest what the outcome of this break up will result to.

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Shop Big Deals This Black Friday On Squad Black November

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With Black Friday finally around the corner, HabariPay is thrilled to announce that it has launched a seller community platform highlighting some of its merchants who have amazing deals for the season! Shoppers are encouraged to check out the Squad Black November sale page here to buy fashion pieces, groceries, household items, electronics, food, art, and so much more at unbeatable discounts! The sale is currently live and will run from now till 30th November 2022.With over 60% of shoppers set to purchase Black Friday deals online this year, HabariPay launched its #SquadBlackNovember campaign to help small businesses seamlessly showcase their products and services online. The company also supported these businesses with discounted logistics, FREE advertising, and connections with millions of ready-to-buy customers to ensure they would achieve massive sales during the period.Also, beyond the discounted prices, customers also have the opportunity to win shopping vouchers and coupons through trivia and contests on the brand’s pages. Follow and stay tuned @Officialsquadco on all platforms to be a part of this!Thinking of treating yourself or getting some early Christmas presents? Shop the Black November sale here – https://squadco.com/black-november/! PS: You still have a chance to be a part of this campaign as a merchant! Follow these steps:Sign up to Squad here – https://dashboard.squadco.com/sign-up and complete your KYC (if you haven’t).Upload the products you have for the black Friday sale to your Squad Storefront in readiness for sale, and make sure you reflect the discounts on each product. Visit the Google form here to input your details! Share your business name & category, brand logo, email, phone number and Squad frontlink.

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