Once Upon A Car —– Oluwagbenga Osowe


We were in JSS1 when my friend Dele brought a “car magazine” (as we called it then) to school. The first car that caught my eye in the magazine was the 1996 E100 model of the Toyota Corolla car and while our other friends were flipping through the pages of the magazine and admiring the different vehicles, I had made up my mind that I was going to buy the car when I grow up. I was just twelve years old then and I loved anything that had a rhythmic name and while there were pictures of other cars in the magazine, none had a rhythmic name like “my car” TO-YO-TA CO-RO-LLA.

I had no eye for the Ford Jeep, Limousine, Lamborghini and all the other big cars in the magazine, none of them have three syllable names and surnames with the same vowel sounds in the same places in the names. Their names just don’t rhyme like my COROLLA.

Another reason for my love of the car is that it was finer than Baba Tunde’s 1986 Mercedes Benz 190 or “Meesi Oloye” like they call it in our town.

Baba Tunde was the first person to buy a car in our town and the level of noise pollution we suffered from him was unparalleled. I am sure, the car horn must have been specially fixed for him because its sound was like that of a lorry and Baba Tunde usually starts honking the car horn from a distance of about 100 metres to his house. This was so his children would be aware of his presence. Children in the neighbourhood are usually heard singing on his approach, a song composed by them in honour as his signature tune “ya fun, were ni, ya fun were ni” because of the horn and reckless driving.

To make matters worse, rather than caution him, Baba Tunde was made a chief on account of his “significant contribution” to the town’s development so this made me resolve to become the youngest chief in the town’s history by the time I buy my own car.

They say, “if you can dream it, you can achieve it” and this dream and vision of mine made me very serious in secondary school as I reasoned that if I work hard and pass my examinations, then I would gain admission to university, thus making my chances brighter. When the time came to choose a course of study, I chose Petroleum Engineering because my friend’s uncle said that they make the most money in the country aside from politicians.
In my second year at the University of Ibadan, Dele came rushing into my room in the popular Zik Hall one day with news that gladdened my heart. He said some white men were in need of pendulum clocks and would pay big money for it. Now, if there was any one person that would be aware of the newest genuine money making venture in the school, that person would be Dele, the same Dele who brought the Auto World Magazine while we were in secondary school.

Thirty minutes later, I was on my way to my grandmother’s house in the village where we had three (3) of such grandfather clocks. From the way Dele described the big money the white men would pay for the pendulums, I was sure there was no way I wouldn’t make enough money to buy a newer model of my dream car.


Once in the village, I packed the oldest grandfather clock in the house in a strong polythene bag, Grandma had no need for the clock anyways so she didn’t even ask any questions. I then called Dele who gave directions to the white men’s location.

The spokesperson for the white men, Mr. Johnson, was very happy to see what I brought because of the age of the clock which was given to my great-grandfather by his white master prior to World War I. When he asked me to name my price, I promptly told him not to pay in cash but take me to the nearest car shop where I would pick my dream car so all he’d do was just pay for it and the deal’s done.

So off we go to Elizade Place in Bodija where I chose a metallic green coloured 2002 model of the Toyota Corolla and Mr Johnson paid. I collected my car keys, opened the driver side and then a car honked beside me as I stepped away only for me to get wet all over.

That was when I realized I had fallen into a deep gutter while day dreaming on the road, the grandfather clock shattered on impact with the edge of the gutter and my dream of a Toyota Corolla shattered with it. Well, the vision is yet for an appointed time, so I wouldn’t lose hope yet.
And guess whose horn it was that startled me? It was Baba Tunde and he had been driving a 2002 TO-YO-TA CO-RO-LLA.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Damilare
    Jan 16, 2013 @ 17:28:03



  2. toyinfabs
    Jan 17, 2013 @ 16:12:24

    I remember the time everyone was selling grandfather clocks then. LOL…..If only you waited to dream at home before leaving to see the whiteman. You for dey cruise car now oooo. LOL


  3. 9jaBloke
    Jan 17, 2013 @ 16:43:23

    Kwakwakwakwakwakwakwakwa!! And l was already happy for you at the point the car keys were handed to you. Dream on bro, they surely do come through.


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