The Money Wheel Episode 2 | Pay an Incresead Rent or Pack Out: What will Mr. Kosoko’s Tenant Do?

Ken walked out of the ward with the younger Kosokos. The men were quiet for a while, haunted by the image of Mr. Kosoko sprawled on the bed, unable to speak or move. Around him, men moaned in pain, and the stench of death and despair hung in the air like dark cobwebs in an abandoned house.

The doctors had come around and spoken about a lot of tests. Babatunde had calculated almost two hundred thousand naira when the latest test bill came. Bolu had no savings—he was constantly borrowing money. As for Babatunde, he had just used the bulk of his savings to purchase a new laptop for his movie production. It was a bad time to have an emergency.

“So how do we raise money for these bills?” Ken asked uncomfortably, wishing he had come at another time.

“Don’t worry about it,” Bolu said, not looking at him. “We’ll sort it out.”

Ken knew he was no longer welcome. “Okay. I will send you 50k tomorrow morning.” He said to Babatunde instead. “Please, don’t hesitate to call if there’s any update.”

As Ken walked away, one of the brothers said something about debtors. His ears tinged with shame. The young men had twice heard him beg their father for more time to pay the rent. He ran downstairs to the parking lot.


Ken had lived in Mr. Kosoko’s house for fifteen years. At first, Mr. Kosoko had been wary of him because he was not Yoruba, but they had become so close over the years that he now called him aburo. For the last five years, Ken paid two hundred thousand naira less than what the other tenants paid, and he paid it twice. Ken was the aburo who sometimes functioned as the caretaker and steadily supplied the landlord with beer from his job as a sales manager at Gold Lager Brewery.

Layo was still up when he walked into their flat.

“How is he?” she asked.

“He’s not looking good, but they say he will recover. His left side is paralysed. They need to run some tests.”

“Oh! See what these boys have done to their father!”

“What boys?”

Layo told him about the argument. She and Saheedat had chatted for about an hour about it.

“So these boys want to kill their father and they have the right to insult me?”

“They insulted you? How?”

“Don’t worry about it.”

Layo shrugged and went to bed. Ken couldn’t sleep. He had promised those boys fifty thousand naira, but he would be broke if he sent that money from his account balance. The second half of their rent, five hundred thousand naira, was due in two weeks, and he had not gathered half of it yet. He glanced at his keys and remembered that the monthly payment of one hundred thousand naira for his SUV was due in three weeks.

“Ah!” he slumped on the couch and stared at the ceiling, heart thumping at his impending debts. His salary of seven hundred and fifty thousand naira would not cover them and other expenses.

Ibrahim fit give me money? He sometimes envied Ibrahim and his wife. They had great jobs and no children to spend all the money on. This life no just balance. Ibrahim wondered why people who did not need money had so much of it while he struggled to make ends meet with his teacher wife and three children.

He sighed and sent a text: My guy, you fit raise me 100k?


The next morning looked nothing like the turbulence of the night before. The sky was a bright blue, and a gentle breeze chased the heat away. Kosiso crouched in front of her backyard garden, watering her tomato plants and inspecting the few fruits that had budded. The leaves were withering in some places and the fruits looked dull. She was always hurrying out in the mornings and often forgot to water the plants.

One of the benefits of living in the boys’ quarters was that she could take advantage of the uncemented ground behind her building to plant ugwu leaves, tomatoes, and peppers.

Kene joined her, carrying a doll.

“Mummy, when will I see Daddy again?”

Kosiso had been dreading this question for a while. She and Kene’s father, Ayo, were not on speaking terms. After she had demanded to know when he would leave his wife, and he could not give her a straight answer, they had gotten into a row that ended in her instructing him to stay away from her and her daughter. Kosiso could not believe his indecisiveness about them after five years.

They had been separated for two months. She missed him and his financial support that ensured Kene could attend a British school and they could afford to live in Mr. Kosoko’s compound.

“I don’t know, dear.”

“Was I bad? I promise I won’t ask for toys again.”

Kosiso stopped watering and looked at her daughter, seeing the younger version of herself that couldn’t believe that her father’s death had nothing to do with her consistent demands for a dog. Her heart dropped.

“You did nothing wrong, sweetie.”

“Doesn’t he love us anymore?”

Kosiso hesitated. “I know he loves you.” 

“So why won’t he come and see me?”

Kosiso couldn’t tell her that he in fact wanted to see her and that she had been refusing to acknowledge his messages or take his calls. She couldn’t tell Kene that Ayo had gone from trying to sweet-talk her back into his life to threatening her. He had waylaid her at the gym the week before.

His eyes sat on her full breasts as she tried to manoeuvre to either side of him.

“You know you need me,” he murmured, desire thickening his voice.

“No, I don’t need you.”

“Okay, I need you.”

“No, you want me. If you needed me, you would make up your mind about me and your daughter.”

“It’s all just semantics, babe.” He started to run a finger down her arm and she stepped back, repulsed. “I need you. I want you. It’s all the same.”

“Well, my life is no longer about you anymore. I’m not going to spend the next five years waiting for you when there are other men who can man up and love me.”

Now he stepped back, something sinister clouding his face. “And what about my daughter? You can live your life anyhow you want, but what about my daughter? You think I’m going to leave her with a gold digger?”

“Are you threatening me? And did you just call me a gold digger?”

“I’m only saying before you make bold, feminist moves, consider your reality. Judges don’t sympathize with side chicks who can’t afford anything.”

He had sent a text later that evening, apologizing for his “outburst” and promising he would never do anything to hurt her, but Kosiso had not forgotten the seriousness in his eyes.

Her phone buzzed. It was a message on the tenants’ WhatsApp group; the landlord’s sons had called a meeting.


The meeting was at the parking lot. Layo and Ken were already there, chatting with Ibrahim. Saheedat and Kosiso stood a little way off, talking about the latter’s love life.

“I think you should take his threat seriously,” Saheedat was saying. “I know he doesn’t want his wife to find out about Kene, but what if she finds out and doesn’t mind? What if he insists on fighting for custody? What will you do, Kosiso? Will you be able to afford Kene’s fees? And the rent? And your current lifestyle?”

“I should be able to manage…”

“What about the legal fees? Do you have an emergency fund if Kene falls ill?”

“I may not have an emergency fund, but I save.”

“How much of your income do you save?”

Kosiso laughed uncomfortably. “I don’t know, I just save something…”

Saheedat’s eyes widened. “Okay, do you have a monthly budget?”

“Sort of…” Kosiso was beginning to regret bringing up this conversation.

“Kosi, you can’t live like this. You’re a single mum, you’re all Kene has…”

“Don’t you think I know that? Look, it’s not that easy. When you don’t have kids, you think it’s so easy to plan, but life happens. Things happen that you don’t plan for.”

“And you don’t think I know that?” Saheedat said quietly.

Kosiso sighed. “I didn’t mean…”

“No need to apologise.”

Saheedat turned to the other group. Just then, the brothers joined them. Ken could smell cigarette on one of the young men. Their eyes were bloodshot and the strain of the last twenty-four hours hung on their faces.

“Good evening,” Babatunde began. “As you all know, our Dad is in the hospital. Right now, Daddy can’t speak or move, and the doctors have informed us that we have a long journey ahead of us. In other words, we need money. We need all the money we can get.” Babatunde paused and hardened the muscles of his face. “We are increasing the rent and giving you six months’ notice. Our lawyer will send you letters on Monday.”

“Chai, you boys can’t just do that…” Ibrahim began.

“Dey there dey argue. We don tell you.” Bolu grabbed his brother’s arm. “Make we dey go abeg.”

“Did you guys get the money I sent?” Ken asked to everyone’s hearing.

“Yeah.” Bolu said over his shoulder.

The tenants watched the boys walk away in silence and slowly dispersed. In their apartments, they ranted and complained, texting each other with possible solutions. A court case would take months and cost even more money, renting a new place in the same area would probably lead to the same cost, and trying to talk with the young men would be futile. In the end, they all decided to sit still and wait for Monday.

Reflections: Emergency funds 

Emergency funds refer to three to six months’ worth of living expenses set aside for unforeseen eventualities. It is money reserved to cover the financial surprises life throws your way. These unexpected events can be really burdensome and costly. An emergency fund allows you to live for a few months if you lose your source of income or if something unexpected comes up that requires a large chunk of money to settle. The size of an individual’s emergency funds will vary depending on lifestyle, monthly costs, and dependents.

Do you have up to 3-6 months of your monthly expenses saved up in an account for the unplanned?

How do you calculate your emergency funds?

Let’s assume Sharon earns N200,000 per month, but her total living expenses comes up to N120,000 monthly. She will be required to have between N360,000 and N720,000 saved in a dedicated account for unplanned expenses, this constitutes her emergency fund.

Why should you have an emergency fund? 

  • An emergency fund serves as a financial cushion during periods of financial crisis such as loss of a job, medical emergencies, car repairs etc. It is a financial safety net for unexpected expenses.
  • Secondly, it is a smart way to plan for emergencies.
  • Thirdly, an emergency fund keeps you from borrowing money when the unexpected happens.

Let’s talk about 4 steps to building an emergency fund.

  1. Draw up a budget: a budget simply put is the statement of your income and expenses for a specified period of time. A budget will give you an idea of your monthly living expenses. 
  2. Decide how much to save: from the illustration made earlier, all you need do is multiply your monthly living expenses by six to arrive at a figure for your expected emergency fund.
  3. Decide where to keep the money: Your emergency fund should be saved in a high-yielding savings account for a return higher than the conventional bank account as well as liquidity. Did you know you can earn as much as 10% in such an account?
  4. Automate your savings: to enable you meet your target, it is expedient that you set up a direct debit on your bank account to ensure the required monthly funds are transferred to your emergency fund savings account.