My Bro is a weekly Zikoko series that interrogates and celebrates male friendships of different forms.
Friendships can be built on varying experiences — shared loss, beer parlour hangs or music careers that almost took off. But for Bamiji and Tomiwa, their nine-year friendship is built on FIFA video games and one friend’s mission to whoop the other’s ass at the game.
This love for video games has transformed them from campus acquaintances to housemates and cruise partners in crime.
In this episode of My Bro, they talk about making their friendship work despite being opposites, using bro code to handle girl trouble and why they feel seen in Batman and The Joker’s relationship.
Our origin story
Tomiwa: Omo, my first recollection of meeting you was in my first year of university in 2013. You were roommates with a friend of mine at the time, and I’d heard you were the guy to beat at FIFA, so I took it up as a challenge.
Bamiji: And how did that work out for you?
Tomiwa: Mehn, we’d play from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. back then, and you used to beat the shit out of me every damn time! Everyone who knows me knows I’m stubborn, so despite the trashing, I still went back to play.
Bamiji: Funny enough, your ginger made me like you in school. When someone repeatedly loses at a game, they get very irritated or angry. But for you, it was always, “I’m coming back to try again.” You wanted to be better, and I liked it.
Tomiwa: That determination paid off because now I’m constantly whooping your ass.
Bamiji: Oga, calm down. LOL.
Lowkey, FIFA and the beating I gave you in school was the foundation of our friendship.
Reconnecting after school
Tomiwa: We weren’t friends in school outside of the FIFA thing, so we didn’t really hang out when we left school.
Bamiji: Yeah, we used to see once in a while, but nothing profound. I remember when I was on the island and randomly saw you standing shirtless on the road. That was the night I got to know your place. You were itching to show me you’d mastered this FIFA thing.
After that night, I texted you to see if I could crash at your place for a while. The third mainland bridge was under construction, and moving from my place on the mainland to my office on the island was hard.
Tomiwa: Yeah, that’s right. You pulled up with food and snacks like someone with home training, and I was impressed. LOL. When you later mentioned you were looking for a permanent apartment on the island, it just felt like perfect timing. I was in this three-bedroom apartment, and the rent was starting to choke me.
Plus, having you move in meant I could rematch all the FIFA games I lost to you back in the day.
Me, you, FIFA and one apartment
Tomiwa: Guy, for the three years we lived together, we played FIFA like mad men!
We’d wake up on Sundays, sit on the couch and play FIFA all day, only taking breaks to watch actual football. On other days, we’d have friends over to play FIFA, watch a match, and then, do some sports analysis. That was our lifestyle, and it was lit!
Bamiji: Moving in with you was one of my best decisions. The level of our friendship wasn’t deep when I asked, but I already just felt comfortable with you. From school, and even after, I knew you’re such a free spirit and we wouldn’t have problems.
I was right because living with you just felt easy and stress-free. It made me realise we’d become friends for real.
The moment we became friends and developed a bro code
Bamiji: Even though we have chemistry I can’t explain, the fact that you were eager to help me out when I was in a place of need is something I’ll never take for granted. My approach to friendships is very symbiotic. Before I moved in fully, I made sure there was always food during my squatting days. We both know how much you love food, so let’s say I could tell you were always happy to see me.
Another event that stood out was when I struggled with The Sports Lounge, a sports analysis show I was hosting. I wouldn’t say I was about to quit, but the other people I worked with weren’t as gingered as I was. I mentioned it to you, and while you offered to help, I didn’t take it seriously until the day you pulled up to the studio in trad and co-hosted with me. We’ve been hosting it together since then.
When did you know we were friends?
Tomiwa: Na babe matter for sure. Remember when you were dating that babe on the next street, and I lied when you asked me if we’d hooked up? I think this was the first month of us living together.
Bamiji: Oh, yeah! But what does it have to do with anything? LOL.
Tomiwa: So this babe and I had a fling before, and it ended way before you guys got together. When you randomly asked about her, I didn’t want to spoil something growing because of shit from the past, so I lied — one of the few times I’ve lied because not lying is one of my trademarks.
I sha didn’t know she’d already told you about us. On one of our drives from work, we were stuck in traffic, and you asked again. I just had to tell you the truth. Something about you seeing the reason behind my action, as opposed to just being pissed that I lied, solidified our friendship for me.
Bamiji: I didn’t know you guys had a history the first time I asked. But when I found out, I had to ask again, and I appreciate that you didn’t double down on the lie. It wasn’t a test, but I respect that you owned up to it as a man.
I don’t think girls can ever be a problem for us because of our bro code. If I sight someone, I’ll ask if you’re on her case. And if you are, I’ll remove my hands. Standard. There’s always a conversation. We don’t cross each other’s boundaries.
We’re polar opposites, but we make it work
Tomiwa: You and I are very different. I’m more of an unpredictable wild card, while you’re a guy who likes routines. I go with the flow, but for you, if it’s not broken, why fix it? If I eat rice this morning, there’s a high chance I won’t eat rice again today. But this guy, you can eat rice for every meal. Forget food, you’ve watched How I Met Your Mother from start to finish like six times. Haba?
Bamiji: But I can be a wild card too, sometimes.
Tomiwa: You mean your alter ego with the stud earrings, Tyrone? That’s an entirely different person.
Bamiji: Not that nickname. But, yes. I feel like we’re opposites that attract, but we still know how to alternate and switch. There are days when I blow hot, too, while you cool down. But to be fair, I’m a creature of habit.
Tomiwa: I agree with opposites attracting, but what makes us work is we don’t just know each other; we understand each other. I don’t even think we’ve called each other best friends, but there’s an understanding between us.
I can share a look with you without speaking, and we understand what we’re both trying to say.
Bamiji: That’s so true, man. We could be at different ends of the club and still share inside jokes with our looks, which makes friendship really sweet.
I also see you as someone who solves issues. I’ll call you before I call a mechanic. I trust you that way because you always come through. Sometimes, I call you when crazy shit is happening, and I feel a sense of calm because you always have a solution.
Tomiwa: I also think we’ve rubbed off on each other because I know when to calm down now, and you’ve become more of a risk taker.
Coming through for one another
Tomiwa: My personal CBN without interest!
You’re one of the only people I don’t feel any sense of shame around. I can be open with you no matter what happens in my life. Like a while ago, I needed money for something I was working on, and you were the person I ran to.
There was also the time when I went on a date and my bank fucked me up. This babe and I had finished eating and drinking, but my card, bank app and USSD weren’t working. You bailed me out of that embarrassing situation.
Bamiji: I trust you with money stuff because I know you’re a man of your word. If you say you need something, I’ll always come through because you’d do the same. I can’t even count all the times you’ve shown up for me. One time my car got stuck in the mud, and before I could step out, you’d come down, taken off your shirt and started digging through the mud to bring my tyres out with your hands.
I’ll still go back to how you helped make our show what it is today. It’s like you took my dream and made it yours. I appreciate that, bro.
What holds this friendship together?
Bamiji: I know it’s a bizarre comparison, but I feel we’re like Batman and The Joker. Yes, they’re supposed to be enemies, but deep down, they like each other or at least the chaos they both create. They can’t exist without each other.
That’s how I feel about you. I enjoy doing any and everything with you. I could be doing nothing, but because you’re there, I’m having fun. I don’t like going out if you’re not there. We always catch cruise together.
I’ve always said I’d move to you if you were a babe
Tomiwa: LOL. We balance each other out, man. We do. It doesn’t matter if it’s roadside suya or popping bottles in the club, as long as it’s both of us, we’re catching cruise for sure.
I remember when we were dating. We would tell our girls they were the third wheels to both of us. You and I can sit in a car for three hours and just yarn rubbish. You’ll say the dumbest shit, and I’ll just burst into laughter. There’s always an inside joke with us.
I want you to know
Tomiwa: Life and work can get overwhelming sometimes, but I appreciate that you’re always there for me, to pick up the slack when I fall behind. I was supposed to organise some stuff for Happy Corner, the fan club we founded for Sporting Lagos, but I was burnt out and spoke to you about it. I remember watching you go into full beast mode, putting everything together.
I appreciate it more than you know.
Bamiji: Aww. Do you want to make me cry?
Tomiwa: Don’t make this weird.
Bamiji: You know I always make things weird.
It’s hard to find someone who puts your problem on their head like it’s their own. That’s what I respect about you. But what makes me proud is how much better you’ve become at FIFA. LOL. These days, I tell people, “Have you played FIFA with Tomiwa?” because I’m so proud of how you now beat me.
There’s so much we don’t yet know about life , but we’re learning on the go. I’m happy I’m winging it with you. I pray God continues to bless our partnership. Keep being the amazing person you are.
Tomiwa: Man. Tears in my eyes.