I was living a very rough life then
I was in 100 level studying a course
I didn't like in the University of Ibadan
I had a group of friends that encouraged
my reckless lifestyle
Smoking and drinking were the norm
for me from the age of 15
I picked up a lot of rubbish in the
I was by myself a criminal mind
It was the only thing I was quite good at
Breaking the rules
But I was cerebral, not crass
I hated violence and shunned it
Most of my friends were not half as smart
as I was
But they would never resort to robbery
Most criminals are foolish
The one with a brain leads them
I wasn't like the other young people in
Everybody knew I smoke and drank
I didn't bother to hide it!
Most of their upright children were
still writing JAMB
I was aiming to be the Wole Soyinka of
I wrote poems that made ladies forget
their home training
A day to Christmas
My mum returned home from Lagos
She had gone to do some business and
she brought home a lot of money
I didn't know she traveled
I was in school when she did!
I got home around 7 pm
I went to a bar to flex
My elder sisters living in Lagos
got home around 8pm
I got back home at 9:50pm
Our landlord at the time locked the
gate by 10pm
When I got to the gate
I knew something wasn't right
It was wide open
I stepped in
A guy walked up to me
He had a gun
Oh my God!
We were being robbed
I was led to our flat
Other people were in the flat too
We were all searched and our
My mum's money was taken
It was a bad day
The robbery took like two hours
It was terrible
The next day, everybody pointed at me
as the one who led the robbers to the
It started as a rumor
Eventually the landlord called a meeting
He said it categorically
He said "I wasn't robbed!
Your mother and other passersby
You are the only one with such friends
and your lifestyle fits into this sort of
If I was robbed!
I would have arrested you!'
I was livid!
I couldn't believe what he said!
My folks said "If you didn't walk
in the mud, nobody would say
you are smeared"
It was crazy!
I cried like crazy!
I went off to school to spend the rest
of my holiday
University of Ibadan was just an hour
walk from my house in those days!
Two weeks later, I was summoned
My mother and sisters felt it wasn't
right that they didn't stand up for me
I returned home
We had a family meeting
The matter was settled around 4 pm
When it was 8 pm
We heard "bangs" on the street
We argued whether it was crackers or gunshot
My elder sister said we should lock
the door! We did! It was around 9 pm
Thirty minutes later, the House girl
of the landlord knocked on our door
She said she has a message for my mother
We opened the door
She ran inside crying
Followed by armed robbers!
They robbed us again
They beat me until they broke my jaw]
They left around 11pm
My mother was wounded and so was I!
My sisters were traumatized
My younger brother slept through it all!
The next day, the landlord's house girl
said she led them to our flat because
the armed robbers were my kind of
It was terrible!
I smoked and drank and did what senseless
Yes, l even experimented with marijuana
at the time but found out it aggravated
my sinus issues so I stopped!
But I was not a robber!
Never ever would I descend that low!
It was a stigma that took me years
to get rid of!
Perception matters a lot
How people see you and what they see
I learnt this the hard way!
Those days are long gone now!
Those who knew me then would hardly
believe who I had become today!
I remember this ugly incidence
And I say "Thank you Jesus"
PS: If the way you dress or conduct yourself
can lead people to mistake you for a criminal,
please help their foolishness by changing that!
If you are birthing a dream and people
assume you are wasting your time, shun them!
Their perception of you is not accurate