May 26, 2018

Nigerians love drama no be small – Peju Akande

Nigerians love drama no be small – Peju Akande

T I was cutting my teeth in advertising  I realised my bosses always looked for drama in my script. They wanted scripts that would tell a relatable and yet memorable story for some of the brands I was handling and if that happened to be a Fast Moving Consumer Good (FMCG) or any mass market brand, then the drama had to be heightened.

That’s how we roll, I was told, you can’t just sell a brand without a slice of life incident, they often repeated when I submitted a ‘bland copy’.

So I kept my eyes peeled, I watched people, studied events and it mostly wasn’t hard to find stories for my scripts because there’s so much drama around us and Nigerians love drama.

Anyway, I was at the bank last week, and there was a man demanding to be given money he had put in his Dom account. I think he must have been told there was no foreign currency and that he had to come back the following day.

The man refused, he said when he deposited same, there was no word from the bank stating that he would be unable to get his money when he needed it. He said he needed to send money ‘home’ to his family “in the abroad” and the bank should release his money.

I am guessing that must have been what transpired because at the time I came into the banking hall, I met a flustered female bank officer as well as the head of branch, making frantic calls. I met the man pacing the small confines of the banking hall, hands akimbo while breathing heavily.

I was reminded of that Whatsapp video that made the rounds late last year, recall the man who stripped himself naked in front of his debtor’s gate; I hear he got paid what was owed him afterwards

Anyway, at the bank, another bank official approached our main guy, speaking in low tones so the curious ears of other bank customers would not pick up the details of the info, but the man seemed to have had enough, he raised his voice and demanded to speak to whoever was at the headquarters of the bank who’s instructions the official came to convey.

He insisted on staying and getting his money, he banged a few tables…startling the customer service officials and was at this time practically foaming in the mouth. He said his family urgently needed that money and he must get his money, in fact, he wanted to clean out his Dom account!

At this point, all ears were pricked, some customers found seats to settle for the show down we sensed was coming, even customers who were done with their transactions found good spots to stand and watch the drama that was unfolding.

Chai, Nigerians! Who did this to us?

I’ve come to understand that because we love drama, Nollywood will continue to sell; even when we complain about their over acting, we won’t stop consuming everything they produce.

I have seen similar scenes play out at eateries; someone complains about food or poor service and they seem to wave it off like, it’s nothing to fuss about, then a more gregarious customer comes along and hollers about flies perching on his food and everyone watches with glee, happy for some drama in what otherwise might have been a drab environment. We all perk up, our eyes brighten, we chew harder and secretly urge the offended customer not to ease off even as we swath flies off our own food and dont even get our “correct” change from thieving cashiers.

Anyway back to the bank, finally the branch manager conjured the much needed foreign currency our man wanted; how he did it remains a mystery, especially after insisting the bank didn’t have any.

Our man became calm. He accepted the cup of tea they had brought to him and we who wanted drama went away unhappy that he settled too quickly. We wanted him to “scatter” the bank like he had initially threatened to; we wanted to whip out our phones to record the show; but we got nothing. Imagine what today’s story would have been like if the man had scattered the bank, ha, una for read tire.

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