Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Isaiah Osagiede - Nigerian hero

Tales of precipitous greed among the elite and the endless recycling of ne'er-do-wells in Nigeria can add considerable toxicity to one's sense of well-being, resulting in a funk. In which case, its utterly refreshing to hear true stories like the one below. Read and enjoy and big thanks to Felix for writing and sending this:

By Felix Abrahams Obi, 4th November,2008

Since yesterday, I have not ceased to tell anyone who cares about Isaiah Osagiede, a cabman I met in Abuja on Sunday evening after a friend’s music album launch at Cedi Plaza Abuja. It was late at night and I needed to go home and rest after a tiring but fun-filled night. The best of Abuja’s poets were on ground to thrill the crowd with avant garde poetry. Eugenia Abu added the big sister support by reading from her book, in a Blink of an Eye’. Comedians loosened tension on stressed faces as they reeled out jobs that caused the ribs to heave and shake with laughter. Soulful music backed up by acoustic guitars made the air salubrious. My poet friend, Storyteller thrilled the crowd with his enchanting baritonic voice that lulls the heart of the hearers to submission. The double-album, “E Go be” and ‘De javu’ is destined to take performance poetry and spoken word to an enviable but not necessarily an elitist height.

From this elated mood, I plummeted to an all time low when I realized my phone was gone after the taxicab dropped me off at my apartment at Ministry of Finance Quarters in Wuye district of the FCT Abuja. It was past 10pm and I didn’t know what to do. Anyway, I used a friend’s phone to call mine and all I heard was, ‘the number you’re calling is not available please try again later’…what an annoying response I got from that ‘MTN Lady”. I tried over and again but no luck, so I decided to head back to Cedi Plaza hoping I’d see the cab. Luckily, he came back to Cedi plaza in a couple of minutes and I asked if he’d seen my phone. I described the make and the guy exclaimed, ‘bros I be see that phone wt one passenger dat I picked from you estate. The guy just dey play with am and come switch am off. I been think say na him get am oh...bros, I must find dat guy because I see am with your phone...”

Isaiah Osagiede was visibly angry and wished he had an idea that it was my phone. He showed me his own two phones and even tried to convince to take one of his so I can be using till I get a new one, but I declined. He showed me relics and mementoes that some passengers had forgotten in his car previously, hoping that someday he’d run into them so they can pick up their stuff. He told me his dad is a retired police officer of the ASP rank, and he had a Police ID that wards of police officers have by default. He promised to do all he can to track the culprit whom he was sure of recognizing. He was certain the suspect lived within my estate since that was where he picked him up earlier. We gave me his two numbers and promised to follow on the lead the following morning…i.e. yesterday!

From his residence in Suleja (Niger State) he went back to Wuye Abuja to track the suspect. Luck was on his side as he spotted the guy at the same spot he’d picked up the previous night. He walked up to the suspect and stealthily frisked him with his eyes…Bingo, he saw the phone; yeah my phone in the hands of the guy! Osagiede then went on to quiz him.

Osagiede: “Bros you sabi me?’
Suspect: “I no sabi you at all”
Osagiede: Na me wey carry you last night from here now…how you go take forget now?”
Suspect: “Ok…I now remember you’
Osagiede: “Wetin carry me come na dis phone wey dey your hand…na my broad get am and him drop am for my car last nit b4 I carry you”
Suspect: “Na my phone be dis….”
Osagiede: “if na you phone, wetin be d number and why you come switch am off…?”
Suspect: “Emmm…..” he stammered.
Osagiede: “You are under arrest”, brandishing his ‘police Id card. “I go carry ou go Force Headquarters for area 11”. And before onlookers could intervene, he whisked Mr. Suspect into his car and headed for Force Headquarters.

……………….. ………………………… …………………………

At the police station, the suspect was quizzed and no sooner, the truth came out like a precious golden nugget.

Suspect: “No be my phone…I been see am for the car seat, and come carry am after I switch am off.”
Police: “Where is the simcard?”
Suspect: “I throw am away for the bush wey dey around the bridge wey Julius Berger dey build near National Stadium’
Police: “If you no go find that simcard, we go detain you for here…”
Suspect: “Oga abeg, I go go find am 4 d bush…”

The Police had seized his ID card and phones and he was later taken to the site for the search by Osagiede. The search went on for hours under the hot and piercing sunrays…he found it later and headed back to the Police station. The sim was inserted into my phone and it was switched on…and it came alive again! At about that time I called Osagiede to check the progress.

Nuggetzman: “Osagiede how far now…?
Osagiede: “Bros we don find the phone but the guy throw way the simcard’
Nuggetzman: “just bring back the phone, and forget about the simcard, I go try do welcome back…”
Osagiede: “No worry oga, police say dey nogo release him if him no find the simcard..so na him we dey search for now…”
………………… . …………………… ……………..

By late afternoon, I put a call through again to Osagiede and he confirmed that the simcard has been found. And to confirm, I picked up my office lined and dialed 08033187876, a number I had used since 2002 and it rang for the first time! I pinched my self to be sure this is for real. But the phone was still at the police station, and Osagiede whose car had developed a fault along the line assured me he’d go and pick it up. He wanted me to avoid any contacts with the police for obvious reasons….to not complicate matters having told them that I am his brother, even though we only met by chance!
After leaving the mechanic, Osagiede took a cab to the Force Headquarters to collect the phone. Since the police wanted to be sure I had given him the authority to pick it up on my behalf, they decided to speak with me on phone.
Police Officer: “Do you know this guy…he said he’s your brother?
Nuggeztman: “Yes, I know him” I replied.
Police Officer: “Should we give him your phone?”
Nuggetzman: “Please I’d appreciate that...”
Police Officer: “Oga, but for things like this, you suppose come to show police some appreciation.”
Nuggetzman: “I know, but I won’t be able to come as I am at work now...”
Police Officer: “I will send a message to you through your broad…”
Nuggetzman: “Ok.”

The Police had wanted to detain the suspect, but this would mean I’d have to make a statement and all, thus complicating the matter. Not sure I was ready for such melodrama; I told Osagiede that the suspect should be released since he’s produced both my phone and the simcard. He conveyed the message to the Police who reluctantly released Mr. Suspect after securing his own bail with some money; worth MTN’s highest recharge card value. The Police would’ve had more than this had I showed up at their station to show ‘appreciation’.Osagiede Isaiah and I have become friends. Having lived in Benin City couple of years back, we can now greet and exchange banters with each other in Bini language.There are still many Nigerians in the ilk of Isaiah Osagiede…we only need to tell the world more about them. And anyone can call or text Osagiede on 08034622074 to honor him for his heroic deeds!


R.E.II 1:54 pm  

An interesting story

Waffarian 3:50 pm  

I don send am text!

Chioma 4:52 pm  

I think you should have gone the extra mile to ensure that the guy got some punishment.

Afolabi 6:29 pm  

That guy is honest o, a rare kind. People like these show the beautiful ones have being born and still linger around.. I gotta live an honest life (just have to)

Chris B,  6:57 pm  

Great Story, I left him a text congrats as well!

Really regret missing the Storyteller night. I have been looking for his cds, do you know where I might find them to purchase?


Nuggetzman 9:41 am  

Thanks guys. We sure have honest Nigerians.

Chris B:You can call Storyteller's Manager on 08038619724 or call 08036022602 to get information on where to get the Cds.

Uzo,  9:53 am  

Sent Osagiede a text. Thanks for letting us know that its not ugly in Nigeria, as often tend to think.

2ndeh 6:36 pm  

Just when it was starting to look like all we could expect from uniformed men in Nigeria are acts of babarism and dishonesty, you come up with this beautiful story of Osagiede. God bless and increase him. I'm saving his number for the next time I'm in Abuja and in need of a cab. Thank you.

AustynZOGS 9:45 pm  

I sent Osagiede a text as soon as I finished readind the post.He is one Naija Pikin we all should be proud of.We need a radical change from the present bad image we have been given abroad.It starts from...YOU.Osagiede is doing his.

Nuggetzman 9:54 am  

Hello guys, Isaiah Osejele ( I misspelt his surname as Osagiede) brought back my phone ystd straight to my office, and I introduced him to my Japanese colleague who expressed surprise too that he's a different kinda Nigerian. I've shared the story widely and it's making ppl know that there'r still honest Nigerians around...not an extint species!
He showed me the text msgs he's recieved and calls that surprised and elated him.The owner of Hotel Rosebud in Abuja sent me this comment:

"Well are there honest Bendelites? I am learning fast!I've always wondered why majority of Armed robbers and fraudster are from Bendel, the girls are all over Europe doing the dollar street business. I thought the country made life difficult for a typical bendelite to further their education because they are more intelligent, so the quoter system holds them back from passing JAMB unless they score 90% while their collegues from Sokoto score less for same opportunities. I had the belief that it will be almost imposible to get a honest Bendelite. Now I know, wahtever the situation there are good even in bad places. When will all Nigerians have equal right in their country like Obama?"

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