One Week, One Proverb


pic courtesy:

Case 20:

The youth sent by his father to steal (noisily) breaks the door with his feet.

Insight/Background Story:

Here, when some people wrangle, the common lines that you’ll hear as an observer are: “Do you know who I am?”; “You sabi who I be?”* In a sense, these words can be a threat.

Last Saturday, my friend (Bolaji) and I were on our way to Port-Harcourt from Delta State. While traffic had just started to ease on Isselukwu, we wanted join the other vehicles heading toward Coker junction when we were hit from behind. Furious, Bolaji  left the car with its engine running at idle.

The driver, who had just hit us, did same and the two immediately squared off in front of each other like boxers prior to a fight. Sensing trouble, I quickly got out of the car and tried to get both men to settle the issue amicably. Neither of them was willing to back down, instead they began exchanging words. I tried to concentrate all my energy on Bolaji. It didn’t work, rather he said to me, “Guy, commot road, this idiot don jam trouble!”*

The driver spat almost immediately too: “Do you know who I am? Do you know I can lock you up?”

People gathered and it didn’t long before the scene caused another hold up. I watched the driver make a set of calls; all I supposed were to his friend(s) at the police or FRSC (Federal Road Safety Corps).

And I was right.

The dude was calling the officer-in-charge of FRSC, Warri Chapter. Bolaji later confirmed this to me and added, “I called his Superintendent who ordered him and his boys to carry out a proper investigation and report back him.”

A proper investigation was conducted and in the end, the driver was faulted and asked to pay for the damages.


He who is backed by a superpower has nothing to fear. Such a person can do anything without thinking about the consequences of his action. If he has a leaning toward evil, his victim(s) will suffer so much and may not get the required justice in this life.

(*) The dialogue is expressed in pidgin English. It’s an artificial language used in Nigeria. “Sabi” means “Know” and “Commot” means “Leave/Remove/Get out.” 

41 thoughts on “One Week, One Proverb

  1. Very true Uzo! Someone who has a backup of power never fears any repercussions and goes on dominating and sledging people on or off the road with words,hands,weapons,or cars!

    1. Absolutely, Soumyav. That’s what we suffer here in most cases. Those who are rich or know those in high places, often get away with their crimes.

        1. That’s true–it’s a situation everywhere. What’s also disturbing is that those who belong to the wealthy class are just a few when compared to the others. A smaller group within this class of rich people stand up for what is right.

  2. Yet another tale of evidence that power corrupts and threatens, frequently thwarts, justice. This occurs throughout the world and in all societies. It is sad but true. Excellent posting, my friend!

  3. I so appreciate your vivid paintings of slices of your life, Uzoma, including the pidgin English–and translation. Sorry for your troubles, heartened by your attempt at peacemaking (although my heart also sank in concern for your safety). Might this be the outline for a short story or one act play? Peace….

    1. Oh thank you so much, Sirena, for your kind thoughts. Thankfully none of us was hurt. After the accident, it was a matter of ego and “who knows who.” We would’ve been forced to pay if Bolaji wasn’t highly connected.

      Glad you enjoyed the pidgin bits 🙂 About making a story out this: I’ve not thought of that. But it’s a wonderful idea, especially with all the drama present.

  4. Interesting anecdote and the statement ‘You know who I am’ so like what we are used to on Delhi streets. Yeah… your powerful narration gave me clear images of the standoff and all.

    1. Aw, thank you so much for the kind remark on my writing. You always enlighten me about life in your area and I am happy to learn that this type of statement can be used to achieve almost the same purpose.

  5. Very well written! The selfish or cruel misuse of power has been everywhere forever, it seems. I feel helplessness and utter, utter frustration, that this happens so often. And I am so grateful it worked out OK for your friend. Blessings!!

    1. Yes, Diane, I realize that this also is a global issue–the use of power to achieve selfish purposes. I do also feel the same way when I watch, read, or hear when the common man is denied of his basic rights.

      Blessings to you and your family!!

  6. In America, we would like to think our justice system is blind. Meaning that those with money and power are treated the same as the rest of us “peons.” We, here in America, are lying to ourselves.

    If I committed a 1/10th of the crimes of which wealthy people are convicted, I would spend years, behind bars. I would not be offered the chance at drug rehabilitation or community service, as opposed to a prison sentence, that our wealthy celebrities enjoy.

    We take false pride, in the equality of justice, being the fabric of our country. The cloth America is cut from, has stains and tears that seem irreparable. We have no right to think ourselves better than anyone else. For we are guilty of the same injustices.

    Glad you and your friend are safe.


    1. Wow! What a generous comment, Jodi! Pardon me to say this: the media (including channels like CNN, SKY) often portray America as “the land for all where equal rights exist.” We, here, carry this notion and wish countries in Africa could adopt such motto. That’s why everyone is clamoring to be an American citizen. But then, my friends in the US tell me this is just a propaganda, because people at times are denied of their rights. You consolidate their words and I’m SO grateful for the enlightenment.

      Thanks once again the generous comment 🙂

  7. Such vivid portrayer of the normal African man! ‘It’s who you know syndrome.’ I ‘m glad things were sorted out! Great post dear brother!
    Blessings. 🙂

    1. Exactly, my dear sister! This African syndrome of ‘who you know’ is criminally fraudulent. Because of this, some people will turn a blind eye to the truth. Blessings to you and your family!

  8. It sounded scary….I hope you and your friend were all right afterwards. I enjoy learning new words…thank you.

    1. Yes, Glynis. My friend and I weren’t hurt. Beyond the clash of egos, we sensed foul play but were fortunate we got justice in the end.

      I’m happy you enjoyed the pidgin bits. Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  9. I can picture the scene and as other commentators have said this does happen everywhere maybe it is just not as obvious in some places. Anyway, when you said about your friend leaving the key in the ignition I was concerned that this was going to be a car jacking story!

    1. Haha, a carjacking situation is very possible too. I admit it flashed in my mind during the heat of the argument. Thankfully we live to tell the story in a more relaxed manner.

      “Who you know” syndrome is a global issue, really. I pray justice continues to prevail…everywhere. Thanks, Lena.

  10. Here we call that kind of scenario “road rage” and it is scary, because it can easily escalate into violence. Our words may be different, but human emotions are the same the world over. And yes, we too say, “it’s who you know.” I am glad for your sake that this turned out as well as it did. So you live to write another day, my friend!

    1. I completely agree that the scenario could also lead to violence. Here, we have more than 150 ethnic groups who speak differently. Technically speaking, the state (Delta) which we were in at the time wasn’t ours. There was also the possibility that we would’ve been attacked based on ethnic line–Mary, I’ve seen it happen several times.

      Thank you so much for your concern. Yes, I’m so glad “I live to write another day.” 🙂

  11. So, so glad to know that everything returned to almost normalcy, and that things turned out to be good.
    I liked it, really.
    And, Uzoma, my life has been way offline lately, because of which I didnt get time to comment. *Apologies*.

    1. Thank you so much Khaula. It’s one of the life experiences that one should utterly be grateful for. I understand there a lot challenges ahead of you…please you don’t need to apologize 🙂

    1. My prayer is that we don’t fall prey to people who would use their position to exploit or intimidate us. Thanks, bro.

  12. Sad to say that this type of thing happens in every culture. There will always be evil men in power, but there are also those who will stand-up to that oppression and see that justice prevails as it did in this little dust-up. So glad no one was hurt. 🙂

    1. That’s true, Liza. We still have people who will fight for what’s right. I pray they are preserved and given the strength to stand for the poor and oppressed. Thanks.

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