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BN Prose – SWEETHEART by Tolu Ogunlesi



BN Prose is one of features from the Bella Naija blog that we are glad to be carrying along to the website.

I am very honored that the inaugural BN Prose feature on is from the very talented, Tolu Ogunlesi. You can contact Tolu via his blog:




by Tolu Ogunlesi

The gleaming Toyota Avensis comes to a stop in front of Oluwole’s stall. Oluwole smiles to himself. Fine cars mean big business for a newspaper vendor; since only the rich can afford Cosmo and Ebony and all the other glossy mags that provide the bulk of profits.
A slim, bejeweled lady steps out of the driver’s seat.

“Good afternoon Sir” she says. “It’s my tyre… please I need your help…”
He is about to answer her when he realizes he knows who she is. It is a sudden realization, and for a second he thinks he knows how Archimedes must have felt at that famous “Eureka!” moment.
As sure as the sun rises and sets, this woman standing before him is Toun Bankole.
Toun, his ex-classmate at Methodist High School, Oju-Irin, Ibadan.
No, “ex-classmate” doesn’t quite capture it – Toun, his “high-school sweetheart.” Toun, the girl who invaded his schoolboy dreams all night long; the girl on whom he had, on a certain Valentine’s Day, blown his entire term allowance.
But now he finds himself unable to say anything to her. And, no, it isn’t because of shame. Not for a second has he ever felt shame that he, Oluwole Adebami, the once-promising Methodist High School scholar, now works as a newspaper vendor.
It is in the same strange way he could not convince himself to go to the University after his O-level exams, that he cannot at this moment convince himself that there is a need to tell Toun who he is.
He helps her to change the tyre, all the while smiling to himself at this stroke of fate that conspires to have him change Toun’s tyre, without her realizing who he is. Yes, he must admit, he has changed a lot in the twenty-something years in-between. She hasn’t.
It occurs to him that the last time he remembered her was many years ago when he saw an advert in The Guardian, where a dozen or so Methodist High School Alumni had bought a full page to congratulate one of their own who had been appointed a Minister in the Federal Government. Oluwole had been surprised to see his name as one of those who “signed” the advert, even though he had not seen any of the others since they left school. He guessed at once that Toun had included his name. It would have been just like her.
Toun offers him five-hundred naira in appreciation. He turns it down. For the first time in a long while he feels embarrassed. Then, as she is about to enter her car, she turns to him.
“It just occurred to me. My husband’s office needs a new vendor. If you don’t mind, let me have your business card. The business is big, the former vendor used to supply sixty or seventy newspapers daily. I could recommend you…”

For a second Oluwole debates whether to give her his card or lie to her that he doesn’t have any. And again, it is not because of shame. Then he reaches into his pockets and pulls a card out. He hands it over to her, and turns away slightly, bracing himself for the scream that will escape her lips when she recognizes his name, and then his face.
Toun looks at the card for what seems like an eternity, folds it neatly into her bag, and waves him goodbye. Oluwole stands affixed to the spot, waiting to hear her scream. But the only noise that rings in his ears is the fading noise of a Toyota Avensis engine.


  1. Adedun

    October 15, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    Grasp every opportunity that comes your way. I’m from Ibadan so I appreciate the Methodist Oju-Irin shout out………

  2. Nkechi

    October 15, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    ouch, how mean, oh well, life goes on mehhn!

  3. irene okwuosa

    October 16, 2008 at 1:41 am

    I wonder what that means. Obviously she knew who he was but what is she up to? I’m quite curious to find out.

  4. plastiQ

    October 16, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Hmmn, nice, as expected of Tolu. Two things though: I’m yet to see a Nigerian vendor that carries a business card around, secondly…she was appointed minister, in Nigeria and she drives herself around town with a flat tire? I’m thinking Nollywood here bro’

  5. kemisola oladunjoye

    October 16, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    well, she might not recognise who he was, but maybe later on when she gets home, it might ring a bell……..

  6. Lost at End

    October 16, 2008 at 11:00 pm


  7. Odunayo

    October 17, 2008 at 3:09 am

    loved it…wish there was more.

  8. Aniekan

    October 17, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    nice story……….more! more!! more!!!

  9. Subomi

    October 17, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    is a lovely story that touched heart, keep it up

  10. Ko Easy

    October 19, 2008 at 5:39 am

    awww…poor man!

  11. Nma

    October 20, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    @ PlastiQ, yea, i chuckled at the thought of a newspaper vendor in nigeria having a business card….but i don’t think the girl was the minister they took out the ad in the newspaper for..remember, the vendor was talkn about how she must’ve been the one who included his name as one of the congratulators, (since he never consented to it)..?

  12. Akan

    December 3, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    the card part was the only loop hole….but twas a fantastic story.. Well done

  13. Pizzazz

    December 20, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Love the Ojurin and Methodist effect cause I live in IB,This peice is hilarious! No scream! the guy no sharp at all

  14. ESI

    December 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm


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