Ali’s Journey back home has been a very eventful one. He had not envisioned it to be like this. Ali thought he was leaving the rigorous lifestyle in Lagos for a better and modest lifestyle with his family at Kaduna. What promised to be a journey of new beginnings for him turns out to be a different ball game. Ali had lost his bags to hoodlums in the park and had to contend with the numerous personalities on the bus as he approaches his home, sad, heartbroken, empty and broke!
catch up on all the intriguing drama, laughter and suspense in subsequent episodes.
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‘Yes I will get on with it, but I don’t really know your name Mallam’ she began
‘Oh, I am sorry Hajiya, I should have introduced myself earlier, let me do it properly now. My name is Ali and I am very grateful to Allah for meeting you today,” he gave a big dramatic grin.
The Hajiya couldn’t help but laugh a little.
‘You do have a sense of humor, it is nice to meet you Mallam Ali, my name is Hajiya Fatima’’
However, I would prefer you to call me Hajiya. You know I am a married woman and it won’t be decent to have a young man like yourself address me directly by my name.’’ she added.
‘Babu matsala Hajiya, I am even more comfortable with Hajiya.’ He replied.
Although he didn’t completely agree with her reasoning. If he were to argue, he’d say he is a man and whether she’s married is her own business not his. But why bother, he just wanted to hear what she has to say, her name didn’t count much.
‘Well I have been listening to you talk and complain about your stolen bag and losing all you’ve worked for and I am curious to know, what is it you do in Lagos?’
‘I work as a meruwa, I help people fetch water from taps, no be big work but Yana da kyau fiye da komai, I am able to feed myself,’ he pauses and heaves a sigh, his thought went back to how much he had to work before he was able to buy those things for his family, he had envisaged the smile that would have been on their faces. Hajiya Hauwa would have been so proud of him but now everything was all gone. He turned again to the Hajiya
‘Wannan yasa ya Dame nida rasa jakata, it hurt me so much. That bag contained everything I have worked for in Lagos, ah! May Allah punish that barawo.’
‘Ni ne Allah zai hore su Mallam Ali, I really feel sorry for you. Lagos is a difficult city and I can only imagine how many gallons of water you must have fetched to raise the money you used in surviving in that city.’
‘You have no idea da gaske’.
‘I would love to introduce you to an easier and faster way to make money, you know Mallam, you don’t really have to exert all your energy before you can earn money these days. You could make money with your phone, it doesn’t even have to be a smartphone and I am very sure you have one, ko ba ku da?’
‘I have a phone’
‘Good, idan dai Kuna da waya and you are good to go da gaske’
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‘Biko nye Chinedu phone ka mu na ya kwuo. Bia Chinedu if you know how much of my money dí na ngwa electronics you won’t play with me. How can he change his mind? Give the director the phone osisor’’. Chukwuma was clearly angry about something again and from the way, he was talking it was business-related.
‘It’s not easy to make money in Nigeria o,’ Ali thought to himself, everyone just had to do something to keep the body and soul together and it’s never easy.
‘Ehen director, what are you saying na? Those electronics cannot be returned, I bought them on your order. I debere iwu gï ó bú ya mere m ji zu ta ha, you cannot say you don’t want them again…hapu that thing Biko, you just have to look for a way to sell them and send me my balance, I don’t want us to have problems.’ he ended the call and started soliloquizing, loud enough for everyone to hear though.
‘Ah, ah can you imagine, you bought something, now you don’t want to buy again. You think say na crayfish I dey sell?’
‘That’s how they behave kwo….’ it was about time someone interrupted, trust Nigerians not to mind their business.
‘That was how I supplied twenty bags of rice this December to one woman in mile 12 only for her to call me that she had already gotten from someone else that I should come and carry them back. You were the one that asked me to supply, the same you still went to buy from another person. I nor know how some people dey do business kwo.’ A lady responded.
‘Madam these electronics are worth hundreds of thousands, how does he expect me to just send them back ehn?. Chukwuma lamented to Alhaji Shehu who had suddenly become his friend due to the similar business experiences they shared.
‘Business does not always go smoothly, you should take things easy.’ The Hajiya contributed to the much surprise of Ali. The Hajiya has never commented on any previous discussions. It was surprising she would now.
‘Ka bani mamaki, I thought you were not the type to be involved in bus conversations,’ Ali said to her
‘I talk when it is necessary Mallam, the guy is facing some stress in business, a nice word would go a long way.’
‘You are such a nice person Hajiya, tell me more about this business of yours before we get distracted again.’
‘Have you heard of mobile money before?’ Hajiya asked.
‘What is that?’ Ali responded, “The money is moving about?’’ He joked
‘You are so funny Mallam, you are actually correct in a way but that’s not all it is’’ Hajiya responded.
‘Mobile Money is a technology that allows people to receive, store and spend money using a mobile phone. A lot of big companies are buying into it now but I prefer Cellulant’s Tingg.’
‘Tingg ?’ Ali asked, ‘what is Tingg?’
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Ali was at a loss of words, he has never heard of mobile money before and all of a sudden money can be moved through phones? When did this start? Where has he been all this time? These white men have really gone far in technology, he thought to himself as Hajiya continues to educate him.
‘Tingg is Africa’s first super app that specialises in multiple Mobile banking services and other forms of E- payments. In simple English, Tingg is a digital platform that helps you make and receive payments easily without having to go to the bank or any other designated places. From the comfort of your home you get to do it.’ Hajiya spoke with so much confidence and assurance Ali began to wonder, ‘’who is this woman’’ he thought to himself.
Hajiya noticed she had him pinned and she continued educating Ali, ‘Wannan shine inda kuka shigo, you could register to become an agent with Tingg and help people make all these payments, you know light bills, water bills, buy airtime and a lot of others.’
‘You get your own percentage from each transaction and get bonuses too. With the market opportunities available in the north, you could really help ease the stress of your community while making good money too and all you need is your mobile phone. Shikina!’ Hajiya concluded.
‘Idan na fahimce ku daida, if I become an agent, people can come to me and pay their bills and I will help them send the bills to the right authorities and get a percentage from it abi?’ Ali questioned curiously
‘Exactly Mallam! I am a Tingg super-agent, it is what I do and I live comfortably from it. You get to be your community’s bank, they could pay money to you and withdraw and you get your percentage. I am even on my way to Kano now because of this Tingg business. We want to push our market to the north and you can become a part of the journey. A lot of people make good money monthly from Tingg by becoming agents, you can too.’
‘and I don’t need to pay anything to start.’ Ali quizzed
‘only shinkili money wey you go put for your account and use for your transactions, Mallam Ali you should really consider this, it will help you get back on your feet.’
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‘Hajiya I have not done something like this before and I don’t know if I can, so I don’t disappoint you.’
‘I will teach you Mallam, it’s very easy kuma, there is nothing difficult in it, trust me you will thank me later.’ she smiled sweetly to him.
He thought for a while, what was he to lose by agreeing? Hajiya is a very nice person and she wouldn’t do anything or suggest anything that will hurt him. Besides, Tingg sounded like an excellent opportunity for him, if he could learn how to be an agent and do it well, he could really make money from it, I mean there are no much banks back at his hometown and people had to go distances and stand in long queues to make payment transactions, now they will come to him instead. He was certainly going to do it, he looked at the Hajiya for some time and reached for his phone.
‘Teach me Hajiya.’ he said smiling back at her.