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Relationships Matter – His Words, Drunk Or Not, Were His Bond.

I am not a good storyteller. Please bear with me.
The names and sums/figures used in this true story are masked.


His name is Frank. He lived on the same street as Ade’s friend, Eniola. He was at the end of the terrace, which meant that you could often only get a parking space close to his house.

Ade had noticed that during the weekends, Frank would mostly be outside, alone or with his friend Harry, working leisurely on cars that did not belong to him. On such occasions, as Ade made his way to Eniola’s house, he would stop to say hello.

When Ade subsequently asked for his car to be serviced, Frank obliged. On completion of the job, Ade was shocked by the amount Frank asked for – N20 for a job costing about N100 in the garage. Gladly, Ade gave Frank N20 with an extra N10 for coffee. After that, Ade might see Frank and Harry working on someone’s vehicle, stop by to chat and give them a token for coffee while leaving.

During their discussions, Frank revealed that he used to own garages until he fell on hard times. Meanwhile, he could not give up his passion for putting vehicles in pristine conditions and tuning performance engines. Hence, his past time of working on people’s cars for nothing or peanuts.

A relationship and friendship were established to the extent that Ade could call Frank in the middle of the night if he had any car problem, and the latter would quickly jump out of bed to sort the former out.

One day, as they were loafing about while Frank worked on a vehicle, a removal van pulled into the street and began to empty the contents of one of the houses. Ade wondered if the owners of the property were leaving as a result of a sale. Frank responded it was just a tenancy change and became curious. He wanted to know if Ade was looking for a property to buy. The latter answered that he might consider a purchase some months later if something around the area comes on the market.

About a year after their conversation, having confirmed that his Nigerian friend was still interested in purchasing a property in the neighbourhood, Frank took him into confidence – he would be selling his house and give Ade the right of first refusal.

A late night, many months later, Ade parked and was walking to Eniola’s house. Harry was outside Frank’s property smoking. They greeted each other warmly. Harry indicated Frank was indoors, and they both went inside Frank’s house.
The room was dark, filled with cigarette smoke and a mixture of alcoholic as well as dog smells.

Suddenly, Frank remarked that he was selling his house. He asked how much Ade would be able to pay for the house. Ade indicated that based on his income, he doubted any bank would give him a mortgage above N140.

As he took his leave of the duo, Frank said: “Ade, if you can get a mortgage, the house is yours for N140.”

The following day, Ade was back in the street to see Eniola. As he parked, he saw Harry beckoning to him. When he got closer, Harry told him Frank was drunk the previous night and could not recollect the conversations they had, including the sale of the house.
Meanwhile, that morning, someone had offered Frank N190 for his house.

Ade was flabbergasted. So, he went to see Frank. As soon as Frank saw him, he remarked that he couldn’t recollect the previous night’s visit. He only got reminded that morning by Harry of their threesome conversation as well as how much he stated he would sell the property to Ade for. According to him, he told Harry there and then that:

“if I made a promise to Ade to sell this house to him for N140, drunk or not, my words are my bond. Unless he is no longer buying, I am not accepting the offer of N190 from the other guy.”

That was how Ade got his first step on the homeownership ladder: buying a property worth more than N190 for N140.



I value companionship.

I nurture relationships, never seeking anything particular in return. I rarely cut away from relationships until folks, having added no value, show me in a harmful way that they do not deserve my attention.

By nature, I go out of my way to ‘tan ina wa ebi’, enquiring after and looking out for those I consider dear to me.

The course of my life has taught me that some relationships may bring benefits you never intended, expected or imagined.

The true life story above is an excellent example of unanticipated paybacks for being good to others.

I have learnt that relationships have tangible and intangible benefits. These include the listening ear during a depression, the warm hug in the stormy days of life that shows how much someone else cares for you, the phone calls now and then to find out how you are doing, and having folks you can call ten thousand miles away who would go any length to move mountains for you when you only asked for help with a molehill.

My dear friends, nurture your relationships.

Nurturing and Fostering Relationships Are Important

As I was responding to numerous comments on my post regarding my family’s love affair with Renault vehicles, something struck me. It became obvious to me that parenting is the strongest way or process through which we pass the right kind of value to our offspring, regardless of our state or status in life.

I can never forget the day I drove into the AP filling station in Ife University Campus, 20 years after leaving Nigeria. I asked the attendant to fill up, walked into the maintenance bay, with folks around looking at me curiously. I sat on the bench next to the elderly man in overall who was fast asleep. After a few minutes of musing to myself, I tapped him on the shoulder and called his name. He woke up, looked at me, screamed my name and we embraced each other in a bear hug despite his dirty overalls.

Not a single soul around could understand what was going on – who the man corporately dressed who had stepped out of a nice car was, how he could sit and then embrace without any care in the world, a man in a dirty overall.
They could not understand that the older man, was for many years the one that I took my parents’ car to for wheel alignment, even before he got the workshop space inside the campus. When I left the country, my younger brother took over and we had all become like one big family.

Thinking about it, it became vivid how as children, my siblings and I unconsciously copied traits from our parents.
During the presentation of my father’s autobiography in 2017, I publicly acknowledged how my parents built long lasting friendship and relationship with classmates over 40/50 years.
Those parents of mine that I asked to stand up earlier on are epitomes of very close relationships my father and mother were able to sustain for more than 40 years. Dad and Dr Kolade have known each other from his Oduduwa College days and Chief Mrs Akande happened to be my mother’s best friend growing up while her late husband was also one of my father’s closest friends – a tale of two friends marrying two other friends. There was a friend of my father. They became friends in 1972 during their postgraduate diploma course in education. Until he passed away a few years ago, you can be sure that on his way to Ibadan or from Ibadan back to Akure, he would stop by to see my Dad. As he drives into our compound, you will see my mother get up, go into the kitchen, followed by a pot of water on the stove to prepare Amala. As his friend comes through the front door, a constant was an affectionate shout of Oje Mi Oje followed by greeting my mother and the question ‘Se omi amala mi ti wa l’ori ina?” Today I remember with fondness Dr. Babasola Chris Ogunfuyi of blessed memory.

My parents did not just build relationships with those of their educational and/or social standing, but even those others would consider lower – artisans, mechanics, drivers, etc. I am constantly amazed how a call from my Dad would make many people to leave what they are doing because ‘Baba’ wants to see them.

The Yoruba have a saying “Ò nwá owó lọ, o pàdé iyì l’ọ́nà, tóo bá l’ówó ọ̀un tán, kí lo ó fi rà?” 

It is not about you having money or being wealthy. It is about establishing and nurturing relationships, which in corporate parlance is called ‘networking’. There are places your wealth will not be able to reach, but I am yet to know places that the right relationship cannot explore.

If you do not know how to nurture relationships across different social strata, go and learn. It pays.