I knew it would not last, but did it have to end so quickly? When Sayo, Chinedu and I came across the three bedroom flat at Sholuyi, Gbagda, we were amazed as to how an apartment could be so ideal for our needs. The rent was right: we were going to split it equally, the rooms were all the right size and incredibly all were en-suite, there was water from a borehole, three phase meter, generous parking space and the area was reputedly very good for electricity supply as it was close to a major PHCN office.
The only problem was that the landlord wanted to let it out to a married couple as he felt that such tenants would be more dependable. He felt that a married couple would take care of the property and to pay the rent. He certainly would not give it to a group of three bachelors. It seemed that the flat was not for us but after some intensive searching, both individually and collectively, we just could not find anything suitable on the market. So one day, aided by some bottles of beer, we hatched up a plan. Sayo and my sister, would pose as husband and wife and approach the landlord as a couple interested in taking up the property. Once, he agrees, we, the three musketeers, as we called ourselves would take up possession of the flat. Our plan worked and in a few weeks, we were in our dream flat, living the dream life. Our offices were about an hour away via the Third Mainland Bridge and the area lived up to its billing in terms of security and power supply.
Nine months into the tenancy, we got a shock. The landlord was coming to inspect the property to do some work in the compound. He was especially looking forward to seeing how the 'newly married' Sayo and his wife were getting along. We had two days to turn the flat from looking like a hangout for three single men into decent accommodation for a married couple. We went to town and by the time the landlord came he was suitably impressed. The old man however lectured Sayo and my sister on starting a family very quickly. Three times over the next eighteen months we had to put on a show for the landlord and each time the man was fooled only he started getting more insistent on my sister getting pregnant on time.
We thought we had gotten away with our shenanigans until my sister announced that she was getting married. Good, we thought, once she gets pregnant, we would invite the landlord to see the 'work' of Sayo's loins. All was going well and we all attended the wedding ceremonies where I gave away my sister, since my father was deceased. I handed over my sister to the Pastor who handed her over to the groom and then turned to take my seat. Imagine my shock when I saw our Landlord in a pew in the church. He must have come there with the family of the groom and from the way he was sitting close to my sister's future father-in-law was very close to the family. He had not recognized my sister yet because her back was turned to him.
In a state of confusion, I sat down. Questions were churning through my mind: will the landlord recognise my sister? What will he do if he recognises her? Should we pre-empt the issue by Sayo who was in Church going to get the man out of church? if he does, that was the end of our tenancy!
I need advice and fast!