Just Imagine is a Zikoko weekly series that takes fictional pop culture icons and reimagines them as chaotic Nigerians.
If I had a kobo for every time I heard the phrase, “Nigeria brings out the beast in people,” my Canada relocation funds would be complete, and I’d be shaking my ass on a yacht with Bill Gates.
But all Nigeria gives is frustration.
Now, imagine we had a superhero who turns into a beast every time he gets angry. On this episode of Just Imagine, we turn the Hulk into a Nigerian man called Hakeem.
It is a sunny Monday afternoon and the Hulk – who will now be referred to as Hakeem – is standing outside an office building dressed in a white shirt and brown pants. He is pacing.
He dials a number on his phone.
Hakeem: Where are you now? I ordered this shawarma an hour ago!
Somewhere else in Lagos, a delivery man is sitting under a tree and devouring a sharwama.
Delivery Man: (chews) Hello, oga?
Hakeem: I said where are you?
Delivery Man: (picks his teeth with a finger) Oga, I no dey come again o.
Hakeem: What do you mean you’re no… Are you chewing? Are you eating my lunch?
Delivery Man: Na wetin I wan explain be that. As I reach that Ikeja side, one mad traffic hook me. Hunger con dey wire me. (gulps coke) And if I dey hungry like that I no fit drive. Na im I say make I park and chop this food.
Hakeem: YOU DID WHAT?
Delivery Man: I don say make you no vex now. (belches) Order another one. I swear, I go bring am.
Hakeem ends the call and starts turning green, but his phone starts to ring. It’s his mum.
Hakeem stops. He answers the call.
Hakeem’s Mum: Did you wash plate abi you didn’t wash plate before you left this house?
Hakeem: Mama, I am at work!
Hakeem’s Mum: I don’t know how I will have a child that can’t do…
Hakeem cuts in.
Hakeem: Mama, I have to go. I don’t have time.
A voice in the background whispers.
Voice: (whispers) Ask him!
Hakeem’s Mum: Before you go, your father wants to go to Spain.
Hakeem: What’s my business?
Hakeem’s Mum: Can you carry him there? With that your power?
Hakeem’s Dad: It’s Barcelona I am going! To watch ball.
Hakeem’s Mum: And come home fast, we are going to…
Hakeem angrily ends the call and marches inside. As he is walking inside, a car splashes muddy water on his white shirt. Hakeem screams in frustration.
Hakeem’s boss, a middle-aged man named Segun, is sitting in a well-furnished office. A large, distasteful portrait of his head is hanging behind him.
He presses down on a buzzer. Less than a minute later, Hakeem runs inside, but Segun does not acknowledge him. He taps into a laptop for a few seconds before he speaks.
Segun: Hakeem, what time did you come into work today?
Hakeem: 8:15, sir.
Segun: When you’re supposed to come at 8.
Hakeem: It won’t happen again, sir.
Segun: (grunts unimpressed) We want to fire you.
Segun: (looks up) I say we want to fire you!
Hakeem: You’ve not paid me for three months.
Segun: That’s why we want to fire you. We don’t have money.
Hakeem: (angry) So all the work I have put in for three months is what???
Segun: Do you want to be shouting at me? Pack your things and be going!
Hakeem slaps everything on Segun’s table to the floor. Segun’s eyes widen as Hakeem starts to turn green and get bigger.
Segun, terrified, hides under the table.
Hakeem continues to get bigger and bursts through the ceiling. Segun screams.
Segun: My ceiling!
Hakeem smashes the printer in the office.
Segun: I’ve not paid for that printer oh!
Hakeem throws his table out of the window. Hakeem carries his drawer and a pair of briefs and a bunch of clothes spill out. Hakeem stares at Segun.
Segun: (ashamed) Landlord chased me out so this is where I am sleeping.
Hakeem’s phone starts to ring. He picks it.
Hakeem’s Dad: Ok. I am not going to Spain again, just carry me to Ghana. I’m owing people money here.
Hakeem: Papa, if you call me again I sw…
Segun: That’s your fath..? (shouts) Wo, your money is 1.7 million because your son has spoilt everything in my office!
Gunshots are heard from the other end of the line and Hakeem’s dad screams.
Hakeem’s Dad: TAKE ME TO SOMALIA, HAKEEM!
Hakeem and his mother are sitting in front of an alfa. He is pulling on a rosary as he silently chants some prayers. When he is done, he rubs his face.
Alfa: So you said this is the boy that is always getting angry and turning to devil?
Hakeem’s Mum: Yes, I want you to pray for him, Alfa. All this anger nonsense should stop! Forever!
Alfa: Young man, do you know that anger is the fastest way to hell? Prophet Mohammed said we should control our anger because…
A sound cuts Alfa short and he looks out of the window. A PHCN official is against a pole, disconnecting the electricity. Alfa flies into a rage and starts screaming.
Alfa: Are you people mad?! Have I not paid nepa bill!?
PHCN Official: (shouts) Your bill is N30,000! You paid 2,000!
Alfa: (screams back in anger) Because it is 2,000 light you gave me! How many light did you give me?!
Alfa turns to Hakeem.
Alfa: Turn to devil!!
Hakeem: Are you not the one that sa…
Alfa: I know what I said! Turn to that devil hulk and come beat him for me!
Alfa looks outside and sees that the man has not moved. He runs out and pelts him with stones.
Hakeem’s Mom: You too go now! You know those people are thieves.
Hakeem’s Mom: Go and fight for Alfa first, after we will go for deliverance somewhere else.
Hakeem and his mother are driving home when they are stopped by a policeman.
Policeman: (frowns and points at Hakeem’s mum) Who is this?
Hakeem: My mother.
Policeman: And who are you to him or she or her?
Policeman: Where are your papers?
Hakeem hands him a bunch of papers and he looks through them, unimpressed.
Policeman: What about the receipt of this car and the receipt of the engine!
He slams his hand on the car.
Hakeem: How will I have that one now?
Policeman: You’re asking me question? You will follow us to station. Get out of that car and enter our blackmaria!
There is a struggle as Hakeem and the policeman argue. He is eventually forced into the blackmaria and he explodes, damaging the vehicle. The roof flies off.
The policeman is terrified and almost bursts into tears. His voice shakes.
Policeman: What will I tell them at the station!
Hakeem walks back to his house but sees that his house has been demolished.
Hakeem: What happened here!?
An old woman comes to stand beside him.
Woman: You know our local government chairman use to experience brain touch? He said he wants to do railway here.
Hulk flies into a rage.
Woman: But they are giving people whose house they demolished 2K at Costain.
There is a small crowd and the local government chairman is standing on a podium and addressing the people.
Chairman: So, now I will call the names of people we want to give 2K.
He looks into his notebook.
Chairman: Hakeem Olajuwon.
The Chairman holds up a giant cheque with TWO THOUSAND NAIRA written on it and a man painted green walks to the podium.
Hakeem arrives just as the man steps on stage.
Hakeem: Who be dis wan?
He flies into another rage and starts to destroy everything. Chairman hides behind the podium and calls the police.
Chairman: Be coming!
DPO: (annoyed) To where?
Chairman: Costain! One green man is destroying everywhere.
DPO: You’ve seen him too. He is the one that spoil our blackmaria. Abeg I cannot come make someone no go march me.
The man impersonating Hakeem: Oga Chairman, that 2k, I go still fit see am?
Chairman: Why is it mad people that full my constituency?
Check back every Friday by 2pm for new stories in the Just Imagine series.