Johnson Babalola
December 26, 2022

A Plane Has Ears Too

“Good afternoon, Professor Ebepo. We can talk now”

“Thanks Mr. Atenuje. How are you and your family?”

“All is well Prof. Trust your family is good too:

“Yes o. Madam had a surgery procedure last week, but she is recovering well”

“May God heal her.”

“Amen. It was a fibroid issue. She has had it for many years now. Kosiwahala hospital did a fantastic job.”

“We thank God again. I assume you called because of our previous discussion?”

“Yes, it is about Ebelanbeosika, your friend, the admissions officer at Ekodara University.”

“I thought you sorted things with him.”

“So, I thought. Recall I sent you N1.5 Million to give him to assist my cousin Komowe for admission into the College of Medicine?”

“Yes, and I gave him the entire amount.”

“That’s part of the problem. He said he only received N1Million and has delayed rendering assistance because he does not have his full payment.”

“He has a problem sir. I had an understanding with him that from his fee of N1.5 million, my share would be N500,000. So, what’s his problem?”

“I did not even know that part of the money was yours.”

“I don’t do transaction brokerage for free Prof ”

“I understand sir but given that my blood brother, Eletan said you are his best friend and that I could trust you, I assumed you were assisting me for free.”

“Haba Prof! We are into business!. Even your brother Ojukokoro was paid N250,000 from my share.”

“Ha! Anyway, what do we do now sir?”

“Not to worry Prof. Just raise another N500,000 for my friend. He will perform. He still has 5 slots available.”

“I cannot raise that amount sir. We have not been paid by Ijoba, my employer, for months. I raised the other funds through some handouts I sold to my students.”

“I cannot help you Prof. My friend’s fee is now N3 Million but yours is discounted because you referred other people to us and as you know, time is of essence as schools will resume soon.”

“I plead with you in the name of God.”

“It is not in my hands Prof. As you know, being a professor yourself, admission into universities is difficult in this country.”

“What has that got to do with my request?”

“A lot! We don’t have enough public universities to start with. Those in place have several problems including funding, infrastructural and other issues. So, that creates competition that affects average students like your cousin. This leads to individuals like you offering financial inducements to secure a place for their family members.”

“It also creates unofficial consultants like you that offer to assist for money.”

“That is how things work in our system. Many, not all of us in positions of trust betray that trust. Mention one public service you do not need a middle person for. You need land documents; you ask for a contact within the government agency responsible for issuing the documents. You want to obtain a driver’s license; you ask around for a contact person who can assist you. Even in some private businesses too. As an example, you need a loan from a bank, you ask for contacts within the bank. I can go on and on.”

“Well, see kettle calling pot black!”

“Depends. Not all kettles and pots are of the same colour nowadays. Some are red, stainless steel, blue etc.”

“Back to my cousin’s admission sir. I need your help. By the way, I can hear someone shouting.”

“Sorry Prof, it is my turn to leave the plane. There is a stupid man sitting beside me asking that I should put my phone off speaker, get off my seat to allow him passage.”

“Plane? Speaker? You mean all through this conversation, you were in a plane with many people on board, and we were on speaker? “

“I am sorry, I was not thinking and moreover, others were doing the same thing too.”

“Next time, think sir. When you are in a public place, don’t put your phones on speakers. Moreover, inform the party at the other end of the phone that you intended to put the phone on speaker and seek for, and obtain the permission of the individual first.”

“Are you teaching me phone etiquettes?”

“As a matter of fact, yes, I am. You just exposed our information and private business to the whole world.”

“How? Nobody seemed to care about our conversation.”

“That’s what you think, and it seems you don’t get it. Aside from you being a nuisance to others, the plane too, has ears.”

Johnson Babalola, a Canada and Nigeria based lawyer, leadership consultant, storyteller and corporate emcee, is a public affairs analyst. Follow him for discussions on real life issues that affect us all.

You can obtain a copy of his newly released book, REJECTED on Amazon, FriesenPress, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Apple Books, Nook Store etc.