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It was in the middle a thick forest.
“I hear you are the wind of change and you see visions from above.” the lady quickly bent her face and on her knees in fright. She was in the presence of a highly respected divination.
“Go on! Say your wish!” The elderly woman raised her mighty staff from where she sat.
“Wind of change,” the lady began to cry now “I am full of shame. I am cursed! I want to take off these rags and be beautiful once again! The enemies have stripped me of anything good, even the people I call my own have deserted me.”
“Get up!” The woman ordered.
The young lady quickly got up in fright.
“I know your pains! I can see them all over you! But your fate is in the hands of three women and even I cannot help you.”
Shocked, the young lady slowly lifted her face “But no man or woman wants to associate with me!”
“Be quiet! They are called the Wazobian Stylists and you must search for them.”
“I am in the middle of nowhere wind of change, how do I find them?”
“My servant called destiny will lead you to them,” She points to a heavily built man with only thick leaves covering his private parts.
“Thank you Wind of change” the young lady bowed.
“Be bold! Begin your journey!” The woman raised her staff to the air as the servant and young lady dispersed from before her.
The Wazobian Stylists Makeover Studio.
Three sophisticated Ladies, Wa, Zo and Bia were in their fancy style studio, richly dressed in their urban-cultural attires. Wa was checking out her face in a mirror, singing out loud Davido’s ‘Emadami Duro’ song. Zo was quietly reading a style magazine on a dressing table, and Bia was sitting on one of the leather chairs with her legs stretched out to another, counting money with all seriousness.
“Haba! Wetin! Wa, reduce your voice now. You see say person they try to read.” Zo hissed
Wa ignored her and only increased the tempo of her voice.
“Nne Bikonu,” Bia tucked the money she had been counting in her wrapper, “Why we never see customer today na?”
Zo stopped reading now, “Kai! Today of all days, night go soon reach.”
“I don tell you people. The solution to this sudden brokenness and lack of customer be say, make we sell this studio and share the money.”
“The way you dey talk sometimes just dey shiver me! Make we chill, customer go come last last.”
Wa stopped singing now.
“Shill ko shill ni,” rolls her eyes at Zo “Wo! ti seven bati lu bayi, emin ba temi lo. To ba wun yin kie sun si bi (Look! Once 8o’clock ticks, I’m leaving. If you two like, you can sleep here.) No be today customer no dey come this studio. Ema fi ti yin bami ( keep your ill-luck to yourselves)”
“Make you talk am make I understand because if I start my own for here, you no go like am! I don talk say today I no go fight! Zo make you warn am Bikonu (Please)!”
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door and the three immediately paused to pay attention.
“No be knock I hear so?” Bia asked, looking at the two.
Wa hissed, “Shio, ode.”
“Wa! I go finish you for here o! That tribal mark wey dey forget put for your face, I go put am nana!” Bia exploded.
They heard a knock again; this time it is persistent. The three walked towards the fancy door and Wa opened the door slightly;
“Yepa!” she quickly shut the door and rest her back on it while Bia and Zo looked at her, confused.
“Wetin! Open the door for customer now!” Zo urged
“Ah! Wereee! Na mad person dey for door.” Wa said in fright.
“Mad pherson?” Zo also repeated, even more confused. “Wetin we go do now?”
“No be Wa people dey craze pass? Make she chase am abeg!” Bia hissed.
“Please open the door! I have a message for you.” The voice behind the door pleaded.
The three froze.
“No be correct grammar the girl just yarn?” Bia asked
“Allah na English she talk” Zo replied.
“If you can make me look beautiful before 12midnight, I will get you more customers!” The voice behind the door said again.
Wa coughed, “Sorry you are in the wrong place. We don’t treat mad people here.”
“Please, I need help…”
They hear the voice break down in tears, like one that was going through pain and suffering. The three fell silent and were moved.
“She’s not mad…she’s suffering.” Bia tried to hide her emotions.
She gently opened the door for the lady and a foul odour filled the room. Wa, Zo and Bia covered their noses immediately. The young lady was dressed in rags; her hair brown from dirt and tangled from not being combed. She looked innocent and you could see faintly, a glimpse of beauty.
“I know what you might be thinking but I’m perfectly normal. All I want is to look beautiful again. I am tired of people laughing at me; I want to take off these rags. I have been like this for years with no one to help me.” The lady pleaded.
“Look, yes your story is touching but we run a business here and thrive on profit. You don’t look an inch like you can afford our services.” Zo tried to put her sympathy aside and act the professional she had been trained to be.
“I know…but if you do this for me, I promise you on my life, that I will get you more customers by day break.”
“How?” Bia folded her arms now interested, and Wa came closer too.
“You can only find out after the make-over is done.” The lady replied.
Wa dragged Bia and Zo the corner.
“Wo! This one na long tin abeg. I no feel the girl, make she dey go.”
“But Wa, you know say we need more customers. I know its a risk but make we try am. We aren’t loosing anything, na we get the studio.” Bia explained.
“Let’s give it a shot ko? Wa what do you say?” Zo asked
Wa turned to look at the young lady one more time and shrugs. “Ok”
“Good!” Bia jammed hands together “OK ladies, I’ll take over from here. You all know I’m the best stylist and the all-rounder here. I can’t let you both ruin our chances.”
“Why! Who ever said you are the best!” Wa angrily retorted.
“I was trained for this unlike you both! I will do it best!” Zo also retorted.
“Please! No need for the quarrel. You can take turns, let her try.” The lady pointed at Bia.
“Even the poor girl knows.” Bia eyed the two and took the lady into the dressing room.
“I’m tired! I’m still on the hair and yet I have your clothes to change, your face to make up, and your nails!” Bia nagged and wiped the sweat of her face.
Wa and Zo couldn’t help but laugh.
“Lady, take a look at the three of us. Am I not the most beautiful amongst us? That qualifies me to make you look beautiful. Give me the comb!” Zo forcefully drags the comb from Bia’s hands.
“Ah! Zo dakun! I cannot let you ruin our chances. This is 10:30 and you are still shaping eyebrow!” Wa turns to face the lady, “Wo, Omoge my own is kpa-kpa-kpa. Me I know how to do rush- rush and mago- mago very well and you will still look beautiful. Kuro jare!” she pushed Zo aside.
Zo gets very upset and tries to hit her on the face but luckily, Wa was able to dodge and soon the three began to quarrel on top of their voices.
“Wait! Please stop! Just stop this!” the lady gets up now.
“I can see you three can’t help me, what total makeover can possibly be done in an hour?” the lady battled with tears, “I guess I’d take my leave.”
The three watched her in embarrassment as she turned around to leave…
“No wait! Give us one more chance.” Bia stood in the lady’s way and pleaded.
“Let her go Bia, there is not much we can do in this short time.” Zo sighed.
“Don’t you want customers? Aren’t you tired of us having one of the biggest studios yet the poorest! Bia is right, it’s not yet 12, something can still be done. For Christ sakes, no be Wazobian Stylists be our name? the stylist is plural! Let’s just get this right!” Wa spoke on the top of her voice.
“What do we do now?” Zo panicked glancing at the time.
“I say we do this together,” Wa stretched out her hand, “Wa”
Zo looked at Wa who encouraged her with a smile, “Zo” she gently placed her hands on Wa’s.
Bia also smiled and placed her hands on the top, “Bia”
“Bia, you think very fast, tell us what to do! Share the duties!” Zo urged.
Wa was already shedding tears while Zo held her hands …
“Would you like to see yourself now?” Bia smiled confidently
The Lady was backing a large sized mirror…
“Yes” the lady nodded in excitement.
Bia slowly turned her around. The lady froze in shock; the only thing you could see moving were the tears coming down her cheeks.
Words could not describe how beautiful she looked; once again she could see her real self.
The three put their arms around her…
“I have never looked this beautiful….” She sobbed
“And we the Wazobian Stylists have never been this united.” Zo smiled.
“You don’t have to worry. You now have a family; we will always make you beautiful.” Wa smiled.
The young lady embraces the three tightly, laughing amidst her tears.
“You three have made me what I am today and as for the customers, all I need to do is walk outside that door. Heads will turn and people will stop to stare and ask where I fixed my hair, or bought my dress, or did my makeup and I will surely point at this saloon. You should get more hands on deck because I can assure you that the world will stop over here.”
“Brilliant! Showcasing you is showcasing us!” Bia said excitedly.
“I have to leave now. It’s a new dawn for you and me. Once again, thank you…” She gave a warm smile and turned around to leave.
“Wait! You never told us your name!”
“My name is Nigeria”
She smiled again, waved and walked out of the studio.
The three gave a sigh of relief.
“We did it! Now we can sleep” Zo exclaimed excitedly.
“Nigeria na sure babe!” Wa sighed happily.
They gave each other happy high fives.
Truly by dawn, the customers came trooping in…
Happy Independence day! Though sometimes it looks like we don’t have any hope at all, I realised we are the Hope that we need. We are our solution, we are our strength. The growth, peace and success of this nation lies greatly in our unity. We need to truly put aside our tribal differences, and celebrate our strength as a nation.
I always say, that the only advantage America has over nations of the world, is the genuine bond that they share.
Don’t you know that together we can move mountains? Don’t you know that till there is agreement we can’t achieve anything substantial? I desperately wish that Nigeria thrives one day, but first we have to become one. Nigeria isn’t united, no we are divided! And isn’t that our motto-United we stand, divided we fall?
The solution to Nigeria is you and I holding hands together. That way there is no mountain that cannot be moved.
Yes the Government has its own contribution to the nation, but the truth is you also have! Every Nigerian must contribute to the growth of the country and it could be as little as loving your neighbour whether Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo. How Tangible!
I believe that the tool of change we haven’t tested yet in Nigeria is Unity. Let’s dare to be united and see if the shackles won’t break lose!
My pledge therefore to Nigeria this day is not the regular one but that I am a proud Wazobian stylist and I am ready to style my country beautiful once again.
May God place love and unity in the heart of every Nigerian, from the president to a baby just being born.