My Bro is a biweekly Zikoko series that interrogates and celebrates male friendships of different forms.

Tobi and Sadiq first met in 2001 but only became friends after an event changed their lives in 2020. In this episode of #ZikokoMyBro, the two talk about how they navigate their complicated 14-year age difference and the feeling of abandonment that comes with saying goodbye when someone you love japas. 

Let’s take a trip down memory lane with your origin story

Tobi: I can confidently say I’ve known this one since he was a baby because I met him when he was four. This was 2001, and I was roommates in university with Umar, his brother, so I’d come over to their place when I met “Junior”. 

Sadiq: Bro, why would you tell everyone that? No one calls me Junior again. 

Tobi: Does your dad know this? Because—

Anyway, I don’t think he even remembers that day. Do you? 

Sadiq: I was four, of course I don’t remember. But I remember you always came around our house when I was growing up. Because of the age gap between my brother and me, you naturally looked more like his brother than I did then. 

What were your first impressions of each other? 

Tobi: I thought he was clingy. It makes sense to now because I understand he was a child and only had his brother and parents. But I was an only child forced to be independent super early, so I didn’t get why he wanted to follow Umar and me everywhere. He was like this pest we couldn’t get rid of. 

Sadiq: I just thought you guys were so cool. My parents will deny it, but I was a mistake; they only wanted one child. They had me when my brother was almost done with secondary school, so everyone around me was older. I also didn’t like kids my age because they were boring. I wanted to be a grown-up, so I attached myself to you and my brother. 

Tobi: My own that time was this small boy was cock-blocking us. We’d want to go out, and his mum would say, “Can you guys take Sadiq too? He wants to go.” I couldn’t stand him. 

So what changed? 

Tobi: Time. The older he got, the less annoying his presence was. By the time he was a teenager, I had started to think, “Okay, maybe this kid is cool.” 

Sadiq: You think I’m cool? Thank God we’re recording this because I’ll save this quote and use it whenever you try to yab me, especially my fashion choices. 

Tobi: Enjoy the compliment while it lasts. You’ll only get it once every five years moving forward. 

When did you guys become close? 

Sadiq: We’ve always been close, but we got even closer after my brother moved abroad with his family in 2020. 

Tobi: 2020 was a challenging year for everyone. But for me, it was Covid, switching careers after years of being miserable, #EndSARS and then my best friend packed his bags and japa’ed. It was the worst year of my life. 


Tobi: As an only child, I was used to doing things on my own until I met Umar. We were roommates, and even though he forced a friendship on me, he quickly became the brother I never had. We’d study and party together, and even when we left school, we ensured we lived close together. 

Nothing prepares you for what it’s like to say goodbye to someone who was a big part of your life. Umar mentioned wanting to leave Nigeria, but the protests were the tipping point. It’s ironic because it further strengthened my resolve to stay in Nigeria. I miss him, but then I had to quickly use Sadiq as a replacement. LOL 

Sadiq: I was about to say this gist is about our friendship, not you and my brother. Na wa o. But yes, Umar leaving was a lot for everyone. But imagine someone successfully getting everything they need to go, and you’re like, “Oh, I feel sad or angry that you’re leaving”? I couldn’t really express the sense of abandonment I felt at the time with anyone until we hung out the weekend after he left. 

Tobi: That was the night we connected on a deeper level. Or maybe it was just the edibles. Either way, a connection sha happened.

What did you guys talk about? 

Tobi: Maybe it was because of alcohol and edibles, but after some small talk, I found myself opening up about how angry I was about Umar leaving. Just like Sadiq, I felt abandoned, but I also felt guilty for even feeling that way. Like, what right did I have? 

Sadiq: Exactly. I felt guilty AF. Talking to you about it and knowing you felt the same way made it okay for me to acknowledge my feelings and eventually move from them. 

I wasn’t sure how I’d function as a whole with my brother so far away, but I felt a lot better after our conversation. It was like I’d just gotten a new big bro that I could disturb and embarrass regularly.

Tobi: If only you knew I’d be the one embarrassing you. LOL. 

That conversation changed the way I looked at him. I’d always seen Sadiq as my best friend’s baby bro, but I saw him as a man in that moment. It wasn’t just an older and younger dynamic anymore. I felt we could be genuine friends. 

Aww. How did you guys navigate this new friendship? 

Tobi: It was weird at first, especially for me. I felt like I was cheating on Umar when we hung out without him. Plus, people, especially my partner found it odd that I always hung out with someone old young to be my son. She was a major opposition to our friendship, but it’s been two years now and she’s gotten used to him.  

We have other friends, so it’s not like we desperately sought a connection. But I also wanted to put in the effort to have a relationship with him, separate from his brother. It helps that we both have a lot in common. No one loves to turn up more than both of us. 

Sadiq: Please, don’t lie. We’re not the same. How is this man 40, and I, the guy in his 20s, that has to remind him that we have a home every time we go out? I love a good night out, but Tobi loves a good night into day outing. LOL 

Tobi: What can I say? I love a good time. But outside of going out, we spend a lot of time talking too. From relationships to work, we always try to talk things out. I mean, I’m the reason his relationship has lasted this long. My golden advice has always been, “Don’t argue; just listen to her.” I better get a shoutout at your wedding. 

Sadiq: Please, when did I mention marriage? Don’t set me up abeg. 

Becoming friends with him has made it easier for me to be honest in our conversations. That whole big brother thing created boundaries. Like he said, I’m not the best at relationships, but Tobi has been in one since World War I, so he has a lot of experience and is never afraid to call me out on my bullshit. He looks out for me like an older brother, but he’s also non-judgemental like a friend. That’s the sweet spot. 

Tobi: World War I, abi? Well done. 

Sadiq is very stubborn, and I’m just like that too. But having him in my life has taught me to be patient. Both of us can’t be the assholes here, so we take turns. He also calls me out on some of my BS, like my drinking, which I’ve cut down on since we started hanging out. I’m learning from him that it’s possible to have fun and still remember the fun I had by the time I woke up the next day. 

How does Umar feel about this friendship? 

Tobi: He finds it funny since I was very anti-Sadiq when he was younger. But he’s glad we have each other. He’s always complaining about FOMO on our group chat. 

What holds your friendship together? 

Sadiq: Mutual respect. Tobi doesn’t treat me like a child, and that’s important to me. I’ve always felt like the “baby” for the longest time, so it’s great to have someone older who doesn’t reduce my opinions or experience to age. 

Tobi: Eyah, Junior. My boy. For me, it’s honesty. I like that he doesn’t judge me or see me as someone who should know everything. There’s this perception that once you’re in your 30s, you need to have life figured out. But I’m 40 now, and I’m still figuring shit out. I like that our friendship gives me space to do that. He doesn’t look at me like an agbaya. 

What’s something you’ve always wanted to tell the other person? 

Sadiq: I was always jealous of your friendship with Umar because I thought you guys were cool. Now that I’m older and have my own relationship with you, I understand that I admired the loyalty you guys had. Thank you for sharing that loyalty with me. Thank you for stepping up when I needed someone in my life. I know you don’t like sappy stuff, but I love you plenty. 
Tobi: Did you just turn me into that “I’m not a stepfather; I’m the father that stepped up” meme? Jesus. You already know I love you. One thing I don’t say a lot is how proud I am of you. I was doing a lot more when I was your age, yes. But you’re doing well right now, and watching you kill it in your career, relationship, and life gives me so much joy.

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