It was 7am on Monday; I had just completed a night shift at the office and started heading home. I arrived at the door only to meet it locked and I really wanted to sleep. I called Lord P and he told me he had hurried to De Man Hotel in order to escape certain death at the hands of NEPA and mosquitoes. I hurried to the hotel and dived on the alluring bed as soon as I entered the room, disregarding the half-naked olosho that was sleeping profoundly – probably as a result of … you know as e dey go.
Just as my sleep was entering second gear, my phone rang, jolting me out of my slumber in paradise. It was my event manager.
“The Gombe government is holding an event at the new state of the art Gombe International Conference Center. You need to be in Abuja tonight so as to join the rest of the contingent. They are leaving tomorrow morning. I have been calling but I’m sure you decided to blank me because you are climbing someone’s daughter,” he barked.
“No dey ginger me. E be like you for visit purgatory if you give me this info yesterday abi?” I replied, scratching my still blurry eyes and checking my second phone for time. It was 12 noon. “No worry, I go take evening flight,” I concluded, ending the call. I returned back to sleep only to wake up 3 hours later. I nearly had a heart attack.
I jumped up and saw P kpanshing. I ignored them and quickly grabbed my phone, booked a flight for 6:45 and rushed into the bathroom. I saw soap there and picked it up… The name of the soap was SEPTOL, this was not the first time I would be seeing this soap, but this time I laughed and called the name aloud: SEPTOL. I quickly took my bath and rushed out. By this time P was done kpanshing and was lazily spread on the bed. I picked up my bag and bade him goodbye.
I took a bike from Ajah to Ikeja, scary stuff. I branched at a boutique to pick up a shirt in case I would need to attend a formal function and was lucky enough to meet my flight a few minutes before it took off. Less than an hour later and we were in Abuja. I picked a cab and headed straight to the hotel I was directed to. It was very late in the night, can’t remember the name of the hotel now, but it was somewhere in Apo. It was a nice place, not luxurious or fancy… just nice. After eating and catching up on our itinerary for the next day’s trip to Gombe, I decided to unwind and take a bath. As soon I picked up the tiny soap in the bathroom, I smiled and mumbled “SEPTOL” absent-mindedly. I took my bath and proceeded to sleep, only to be disturbed later by bangs on the door.
“We are leaving in 15 minutes,” Theo screamed. He was the P.A to the coordinator. I cursed him silently for disturbing my peaceful sleep. I didn’t really need another bath, just small rub and shine. I sauntered to the bathroom and smiled when I saw the SEPTOL soap.
About 8 hours later, we were in Gombe. We were taken to Custodian Hotel, a very comfortable, fancy place. After a short briefing with the coordinator we proceeded to our rooms. After unpacking, I stepped into the bathroom and there it was… small and yellow… another SEPTOL soap. “E be like this play don dey too much,” I soliloquized before taking my bath.
After 3 days of the tour, a few of us were moved to another hotel, Emerald Hotel. It was a hotel which by the looks of things was living on I-get-am-before glory. It might have been the biggest in the whole of Gombe at a time. Some white guys who were in town was the reason we were moved… Not my money, not my business, abi? We moved in the afternoon and I did not need to take a bath until the next day. The next morning, as soon as I got into the bathroom, I screamed “SEPTOL AGAIN … HAAAAAA!!!” I ran out of the bathroom and looked up SEPTOL soap on Google. Although I could not get any tangible information, I could not help but ask what kind of agreement the makers of this soap have made with the hotels’ union in the country (if we have anything like that).
After two more days in Gombe, I returned to Abuja… this time I made sure I spent the night at a friend’s place so as to avoid another encounter with SEPTOL soap. The next day I returned to Lagos.
Although I had a good time during my trip to Gombe, I will forever be haunted by the ghost of SEPTOL soap which followed me to the North East.