Newspaper Column

How Uncle G lost the plot (1)

by Babajide Alabi

Uncle G is a very popular and well loved man, especially among Nigerians in the city of Dundee, United Kingdom. Charming, well spoken and well dressed, Uncle G is a man with sweet stories of his social days back in Nigeria.

A detribalised Nigerian, with fairly good knowledge of the major languages in the country, which makes it easy for him to interact with everybody, no matter what part of Nigeria you are from. He loves Nigeria. And according to him, he offers no apology for this.

Uncle G, in his mid fifties now, has an athletic build with no potbelly or bald head. A handsome man with a complementary Afro hair cut, Uncle G is always eager to say he is a relunctant settler in the UK (which he refers to as Mama Charly’s country). He was doing okay playing local politics in Nigeria. His dream all along was to become a local government council chairman in the state of Osun.

However, fate played a fast one on Uncle G at the turn of the millineum. His wife, a qualified nurse was given a schorlarship to study in the UK. While the wife and children were happy about the opportunity to relocate, Uncle G was devastated. He could not bear the thought of abandoning his people and come to ‘Mama Charly’s country’. To him that means all the political goodwill he has built and also the opportunity to serve would go down the drain.

The wife came to the UK for her studies leaving Uncle G to mind the three children in Nigeria for a year. At the end of the wife’s studies, she secured a Work Permit to work for the NHS. The decision to come to the UK or not was taken away from Uncle G. When the wife came back to Nigeria, it was to apply for dependant visas for the children and Uncle G.

Uncle G came into the UK with mixed feelings. He was not ready to work long hours. He joked with friends how he had people at his beck and call 24/7 in Nigeria. A ‘prospective’ local government council chairman. To many who knew Uncle G’s story, this is where his confusion in the UK started.

He played the great socialite trying to bring Nigeria to Dundee. Friendly with every Nigerian he met, and as his days in the UK were turning to weeks and months, he extended his generosity to every black person he meets. Before long, he was “uncle” to the whites too, especially the women. He was like a teenager who just found freedom outside the home.

It did not take long before he ran into trouble. Uncle G “messed” with a white woman who reported him for sexual molestation. He was invited to the local police station for questioning. He told the Police that he never knew that chatting with a woman in a swimming pool could be termed as sexual molestation. This charge was inputted in the computer against his name. And this was how Uncle G’s travails started.

While Uncle G was the darling of everybody outside, he was a ‘monster’ to his family. He had no job and made no attempt to get one. He enjoyed hanging around the community library and the leisure centres all day. The wife was left with the bills and before long she started to crumble emotionally. Uncle G could not see this. He was too engrossed in his own world outside the walls of his home. He was gallivanting about.

The wife was more of a programmed robot now. All on her mind was how to work twelve hours, six over seven days in a week so as to pay the bills and put food on the table. She cared less of her look because there was no spare money to do this. But all, except Uncle G, could see she was gradually inching towards the breaking point. He was blind to his environment.

But all was to change soon. And the event that happened shocked Uncle G to his ‘foundation’. The aftermath took him so long to recover. While Uncle G was enjoying himself on the town, stories were filtering in to his wife of his escapades. She was shattered but had a good idea of what she would do.

It was a Saturday morning, Uncle G was ironing his clothes when the wife confronted him about the stories she had heard. He denied. But ‘made a mistake’ to raise his voice. The children were witnesses to this. The woman capitalised on this, moved closer to him and pulled his shirt, demanding an explanation. Uncle G raised the hot iron to “shoo” his wife away. But that was another mistake.

The wife released his shirt, rushed to pick the house phone and dialed 999 screaming down the phone that her husband had threatened her with a hot iron. Uncle G was shocked. He stood rooted to a spot. “Threatened?” “Me?” “Ah!”

In a jiffy police patrol vehicles were all over the compound. A knock on the door; opened. Two stern looking policemen were right at the door. Uncle G faced reality.

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