Sometimes I wonder what the EFCC are really doing. I wonder if they know the full scope of their job. I feel there are some areas they really need to focus on to apprehend criminals but they don’t even know it. In my opinion, these criminals are more dangerous than yahoo-yahoo boys but the EFCC is blind to this so I have decided to take matters into my own hands. This is an open letter and plea to the EFCC to look into and investigate the Aso Ebi scam.
It is no secret that the Aso Ebi culture has been bastardized. What was originally meant as a collective attire for family and close friends has become a uniform for every Shade, Ngozi and Aisha. Everyone is now required to buy it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve known the celebrant for fifty years or five minutes, there’s an Aso Ebi for you. There are Aso Ebis for weddings, burials and birthday parties. I was once invited for a baby’s christening and told there was Aso Ebi. A friend told me someone dropped off an Aso Ebi for a house warming party for her. I wondered what kind of house you had to be warming that required people to kit up in Aso Ebi for you. It had better be a palace. Nothing else would make sense.
Well, the scam is not in the purchasing of the Aso Ebi. I have come to the realization that we can’t help ourselves. As long as people keep doing ‘faaji’, Aso Ebi would always be a part of it and if there’s one thing we love in Nigeria, it’s our groove. We don’t play with our parties. No jokes. We party o. Oh boy, do we party? We overparty sef. I mean, we block our streets with canopies to party, vehicular movement be damned. We take loans to throw parties that would make our neighbour’s party the week before look like toy story.
The real scam is in the souvenir or gift you are given for buying the Aso Ebi. That is the real scam. Think of all the Aso Ebis you’ve ever bought. Now think of the souvenirs you were given. There is a clear disconnect, right? How can someone sell Aso Ebi to you for fifty thousand naira and the souvenir you get is a plastic bucket? On what planet is that okay? How can someone tell you to buy her complete package for eighty-five thousand naira and all you get at the party is a plastic tray? If that isn’t wickedness, I don’t know what is. People having parties need to start giving out questionnaires at the end of the party for their guests to fill to know how satisfied they were.
Did you enjoy the party? Yes/No. Did you like the music? Yes/No. Did you eat Jollof Rice? Was it sweet? Would you advise us to pay the caterer her balance? Was the MC funny? Did you like the souvenirs? Do you feel you got your money’s worth? On a scale of great to rubbish, how would you rate our party? If we invite you again, will you come?
If questionnaires are filled then the hosts would have an idea of what improvements they need to do in time for their next party. You can’t just be doing parties and leaving unhappy guests in your wake. That should be a crime. This is why I think it’s imperative that the EFCC opens up an AES department. An Aso Ebi Scam department. There should be a toll free number we can call if after buying Aso Ebi for eighty thousand naira, I get a cup as a souvenir. I should get a refund. Never mind that I might have made the material into a dress. The refund would be the party host’s punishment for trying to 419 people.
I have Aso Ebi for two parties that didn’t end up happening. The first was a wedding the couple postponed. They have refused to fix a new date. Twenty-five thousand naira Aso Ebi is still there smiling at me every time I open my wardrobe. Almost a year gone. If they decided not to marry again, shebi they would have taken their cloth back or at least given us souvenirs even without the wedding? All we are getting is radio silence. Is it fair? The second was supposed to be a wedding too but the wife-to-be won visa lottery and nobody saw her brake light again. Twenty thousand naira Aso Ebi has turned to what I put on my ironing table to iron clothes. People take the piss. Don’t tell me to buy your Aso Ebi and then give me a cup. I have enough cups in my house. I don’t need more. Think outside the box. Don’t do like Yoruba people and start sharing salt, matches and Klin detergent on top eighty thousand naira Aso Ebi. It’s rubbish. If I buy Aso Ebi for eighy thousand naira, I’m expecting a smartphone. A galaxy S6 or iphone 6 at the very least. Why is your mouth open? No be you wan do party? If I buy Aso Ebi for a hundred thousand naira, I’m expecting a car. if you can’t play ball, let me just wear my own cloth and come to your party. No harm. No foul.
But if I buy Aso Ebi for a hundred and fifty thousand naira, best believe it’s coming with the deed of a house.
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