Saheedat’s Barrenness Causes Emotional Strain

Kosiso was watching Ayo playing with Kene. Her daughter’s face lit up like a lamp in a dark room. She looked away and told herself that the smile on her daughter’s face was worth whatever nonsense Ayo had in store for her. A colleague had introduced her to a new client, but something about the way they communicated via email made her uncomfortable about taking the new job.

The client wanted her to send unpublished samples of her work and be prepared to write another sample. Although the colleague who introduced them had told her the client was willing to pay $150 per page, Kosiso refused to reply to the email and instead hoped someone else would come along. She could feel Ayo’s eyes on her, but she refused to look his way. There had to be a way to contest the rent increase. It can’t be legal for them to just increase it, she thought, making a mental note to speak to her lawyer friend about it.

 Speaking of friends, Saheedat had still not responded to her apology, and she hadn’t seen her around lately. “Kosi…” Ayo’s hand was on her knee. Kene had left the room; her voice echoed from the bathroom where she was bathing her dolls. “Are you ready to leave?” Kosiso asked. “Leave?” Ayo replied bemused. “I’m here for a fewdays.”“Days? What about your wife?” Ayo hissed. “Just when I thought things were getting better, she started nagging me again about how I spend her father’s money.” “She forgets that you’re the COO.” “She does. The woman doesn’t trust me. She thinks I’m embezzling company funds.” Well, aren’t you? Kosiso thought. She thought of the many trips he’d taken her on and all the exotic gifts for her and her daughter.

There was no way he could afford it all on his salary. “So I’m staying here for a couple of days…” he said, throwing his legs on the sofa and resting his head on her lap. He could sense the tenseness in her body and see her eyes looking away from him. “I’ve been thinking of setting up a trust for Kene.”

He smiled when she faced him with full attention. “You know life can be funny. Things can happen. Not saying I’m going to die tomorrow or anything like that, but I’ve just been thinking of setting up a trust for her, you know, so you can rest easy.”

“Really? Wow, thank you! But how are you going to keep it away from her?” “Don’t worry about that. All you need to worry about is being there when I need you. None of these feminist stunts you’ve been pulling lately.” Perhaps this was the solution to her problems. If Kene’s future was safe through this trust, she could leave him for good and move on with her life. But first she had to cooperate with him.

“Don’t worry, Ayo, I’m always here when you need me.” Saheedat was listening to the woman closely, peppers in one hand, and vegetables in the other. The condiment seller was shouting over the din of the grinding machine fifty metres away. “That is what my sister do before she have her own child. She do IVF nine times before our alfa tell her to go to Mecca. After six months, her stomach just shoot out like this.” The woman stretched out her arms in front of her belly, her face as serious as a maths teacher in algebra class. Someone else came to buy some condiments, and Saheedat walked away with her purchase, pondering on  what the woman had said.

As she drove into the parking stall in Mr Kosoko’s compound, she thought, What do I have to lose? At the very least, I would return an Alhaja. Ibrahim watched her eyebrows dancing up and down as she did the math to see if she could afford the trip.

The more she thought about it, the more she concluded that the trip was necessary.

“What are you thinking about?” He fell silent after she finished explaining what she had heard. He was so silent that Saheedat wondered if he had heard her at all.

“I think you should try and forget what the woman said to you.” “No, Ibrahim. This thing happened to her blood sister, so she knows…” “I’m not talking about the market woman. I’m talking about this young lady who lives here.” “Kosi? What does she have to do with this?”

“Everything. You’ve not been the same since the two of you had that misunderstanding.”

“I don’t believe you. How can I tell you something so important and you are talking about something else?” “Saheedat, don’t let this woman cause you to lose focus.

We have already decided on the IVF, now you’re talking about going to hajj. Do you know how much that will cost us?” “Are you saying our spirituality is not important?” “I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying don’t let this woman influence you to make a hasty decision. You told me yourself that our imam’s wife supports the IVF. Let us do that first.”

Saheedat fell into his arms. “I need something to take my mind off this matter. I can’t take it anymore.” “I have the solution.” “What is it?” “Mr Ken’s wife came to me with a great idea.”

Saheedat rolled her eyes. Layo was feeling good for the first time in months. At the school the day before, a young woman had come to talk to the teachers about real estate. Layo could hardly take her eyes off the woman’s elegant clothes, pristine nails, and long hair. And when she leaned close to her audience, Layo almost passed out from the sweetness of her fragrance.

The young woman worked with a real estate investment firm. They bought vast acres of land in developing areas of Lagos and offered working class people like her an opportunity to pay for pieces of land in instalments. “It’s important to diversify your investments. Some of you may invest in stock, mutual funds, gold, and what have you, but real estate is a good investment. Apart from the fact that you will one day become a landlady or a landlord, land will always appreciate, especially in a place like Ivory Estate. It will be like those estates in Magodo. Please take advantage of this opportunity now.

“Another thing is we will give you a five percent commission if you bring your friends to buy land…” Layo did a quick math. If a plot of land was going for ₦500,000, she could get ₦25,000 for each plot of land she could convince anyone to buy. Immediately, she jotted down the names of all the rich people she knew. Ibrahim was one of them, and after she spoke to him, she was certain she was about to earn her first commission. She speculated that she could get five other people on her list to buy at least two plots of land.

That would bring her ₦250,000 without breaking a sweat. Ken sat beside her with a drink in his hand, ready to watch a replay of a political analysis show. Layo cleared her throat and told him about the meeting with the real estate investment officer and her hopes that they could also buy land.

“I’ve told you that from Surulere, we’re moving to Lekki. All these developing areas will be full of people that are not in our class.” “What class, Ken? At least we will be landlords.” “This is my problem with you. You’re too ambitious.” He started laughing. “And the funny thing is, you’re a teacher! Why aren’t you an investment banker or a real estate agent for that matter?” He laughed so hard that tears flowed down his cheeks. Layo was not amused. “So we should forget about buying land?” “Take it easy, woman. Land no fit finish for Lagos. I’m working on this deal, and as soon as it clicks, we will be set for life.

We will start saving to buy land in Lekki Phase 2.” Layo had never heard of this deal. “I know you’re wondering about this deal. Someone toldme of a big investment company. They’re into agriculture.”Ken explained that they would get a 15% return on investment in six months, and that the greater the investment, the greater the return would be. Layo didn’t like this idea. Her father had been a farmer, and she knew how volatile it could become. “What kind of agriculture is this? Is it animals or crops?” “Crops. Tomatoes.

They said the tomatoes they planted last year were so big that the market was rushing them like crazy. I’m telling you, this will change agriculture in Nigeria.” “Okay.”

Layo did not tell him about the other part of the real estate discussion. They knew the same rich people. Instead, she said, “What are we going to do about these boys and the new rent?” “Yes, that reminds me. I need to have a meeting with the men. We can overturn this nonsense letter from those boys. I spoke with a lawyer friend today. Landlords can’t just increase the rent. We can sue them for arbitrarily increasing the rent.”“And how long will it take before the case is settled, and do you realise that you will be suing Mr Kosoko and not hisboys? How do you think that would make him feel? I have a better suggestion if you will hear it.”

“What?” “We tell the boys to rent out the flat above the landlord’sapartment. They need money, abi? Let them get it from a new tenant.” Ken told her that Mr Kosoko did not want to lease out the property. The place had been empty since the last tenant moved out a few years ago, and despite his promptings, the man did not seem interested in leasing it again. It was as though he was saving it for someone. “There’s no way they will agree to that,” he said.

“They will.” Layo urged him to convince them that getting a new tenant was quicker than waiting for the new rent to come in. They could even tell the boys that some of the tenants were talking about contesting the increase in court. Ken could offer to coordinate the leasing process. Layo was sure the boys would see reason.

“And what if, after getting the new tenant, they still want to increase the rent?”

“We can appeal to them to give us one more year. Besides, I believe Mr Kosoko will be on his feet by then. We just have to try something, Ken. We are at the mercy of

these boys until their father takes over again.”


Real Estate Investment

Real estate investment is the business and financial strategy that involves the ownership, purchase, management, and sale of property for profit and financial gain. For the optimisation of profit and optimal use of real estate assets, many individuals require the advice of real estate professionals.

There are four classes of real estate:

• Residential

• Commercial

• Industrial

• Land

Residential real estate is a class of real estate that deals with property and buildings for residential purposes, that is, for people to live and reside in. This can vary from singlefamily units to multi-storey residential apartment blocks.

Commercial real estate is the class of real estate that deals with property built for commercial activities and business purposes. Examples of commercial real estate include shopping malls, office buildings and complexes. Due to the commercial nature of these assets, they are usually priced high than residential properties.

Industrial real estate is the class of real estate that deals with industrial properties such as factories, warehouses, and production plants. These are usually located on the outskirts of major urban cities.

Land: This last class of real estate deals with the buying and selling of land for profit. Land can be acquired for various reasons such as farming, site and service development and

prospecting (land banking).