The topic of how young Nigerians navigate romantic relationships with their earnings is a minefield of hot takes. In Love Currency, we get into what relationships across income brackets look like in different Nigerian cities.

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Folake* (27) met her partner, Ezra* (26) during their NYSC in Kaduna, and they bonded over their knowledge of God and shared birthdays. In this article, she tells Zikoko about their initial fake relationship, celebrating their birthdays together, and how they plan to finance their upcoming wedding.

What was the first gift your partner gave you? 

Bread. It was on Valentine’s Day in 2019. He’d asked me what I wanted, and I told him that I was fine. But I also added that he could get me bread if he really wanted to buy me something. He got it and added a happy Valentine’s Day note.

LMAO. But why didn’t you want a gift? 

I didn’t see the need. Even though we pretended to be dating, we were really just platonic friends. It started a month after we met. One of his roommates was trying to hit on me, but I wasn’t interested. And since people had already started to speculate Ezra and I were dating because of our closeness, we started to call each other “baby”. 

Fair enough. How did you meet him?

After NYSC camp in December 2018, I moved into the NYSC accommodation in January 2019. I only talked to my roommates and barely knew anyone else because I was always indoors reading. One day, a roommate dragged me along to one of the rooms she went to chill. That’s where I met Ezra and his roommates. I became friends with them, but I was closer to Ezra. 


We used to gist about God. Our ideologies aligned on most issues, and then I found out we had the same birthday. He was also trying to build me up to succeed him as Prayer Secretary in our fellowship when he passed out. He was in Batch A while I was in C. 

Did you? 

No. They made me female co-ordinator instead. He must’ve figured I was nervous about this because it was a higher position, so he asked us to do a prayer walk. 

At what point did the relationship move from platonic?

April 2019. He started his master’s degree immediately after finishing his NYSC, so he moved to the MSc hostel in a different area. 

Not long after, one of his roommates came to complain to me that it seemed Ezra had forgotten them, and I decided to call him. The call started with me accusing him of forgetting me, and sometime during the four hours of conversation that followed, I told him I loved him. 

How did he react? 

He asked if I was giving him permission to pray about us now because I had always warned him against falling in love with me, saying I wasn’t interested in a relationship during NYSC year. I agreed and said I would do the same on my end. 

He returned with the word, “He who finds a wife has found a good thing, ” and he asked me to date him. I told him to send a mail first. 


It wasn’t until June 2020 before I gave him an answer. 

It took over a year? 

I knew all about NYSC relationships — they’d start during the year and end when service ended. So I wanted to finish NYSC first, and I also wanted to tell my uncle and pastor about it because I was a little reluctant due to our age difference. I’m a year older.

Have you had to talk to them about other boyfriends?

This was the first time I was sure about someone, and I wanted them to have a say. Getting their approval reassured me, and some days after, I excitedly called him to check his mail because I had responded to that question. 

Did anything change?

Nothing. He already used to send morning and evening text messages, so we continued. He surprised me on our birthday that year, though. 

How come? 

He had a job interview in Lagos that month. But I didn’t know he had come earlier and planned with my uncle to show up at the beach hangout my family and a few friends organised to celebrate my birthday. When Ezra arrived, my uncle made up an excuse about leaving and asked us to close our eyes as he prayed. During the prayers, Ezra slipped behind me and notified me of his presence. It was one of my best birthdays ever. 

How did you celebrate birthdays after that? 

Usually, we go to church and then go out after. I buy the cake while he pays for the outing. The cake is usually about ₦15k. In 2021, I got two cakes which were ₦25k. 

What about gifts?

I often don’t get him birthday gifts because I don’t have the money. But on Valentine’s Day this year, I got him a cake and mocktails package I saw online for  ₦10k. 

I also get him gifts on random occasions. I’ve gotten him adire fabric twice; they cost ₦8k. I recently got him a man purse and a journal he was very excited about. Both cost  ₦5k and ₦4k, respectively. 

Is he still in Kaduna? 

No. He got a job in Lagos at the end of last year, so he moved. Now, he’s another reason for me to visit Lagos. He also tries to come to Kaduna to see me. He proposed during one of such trips in April 2023

Tell me about it

I visited Lagos to see him and my parents. When I was returning, he decided to come with me to Kaduna to see our pastor since he was on Easter break. On Sunday after church, I suggested going to a new restaurant with some of our friends, but the plan didn’t work. Instead, we hung out at a friend’s house. Two days later, a friend called and said she wanted to check out that same restaurant I’d suggested because her Aunty was coming to town, and she wanted to sample the place before taking her there. She invited our friend group and said the bill was on her. 

I decided to nap because I’d just returned from a church programme and knew my friends were latecomers. My boyfriend woke me up about two hours later to tell me they were waiting for us. I picked out a nice dress I’d been saving for when he was around. It was fitted and short, and I also wore heels, so I looked really good.


When we got to the restaurant, the waiters started to bring out the food. We usually ordered platters, but there was no plate in front of me. When I asked why  I didn’t have one, they said there was still a lot of food coming, so they were trying to make space. Tell me why they brought a covered plate to my front? My mind started to race, thinking of all the engagement videos I’d seen. My friends were already asking me to open it. I was right. He knelt and me to be his still waters, and after nearly going under the table, I said yes. 

Lmao. What was the drama for? 

I knew we would get married, but I never thought he’d propose on that trip. He repeatedly said that since we knew we were getting married,  there was no need for a proposal.

Aww. So when is the wedding? 

Our introduction is in June, and the wedding will be at the end of this year. 

What about your school? 

I should be done by June 2023, so I can plan properly with him. 

What’s the plan to make money? 

After my MSc, I’ll work at my father’s laboratory until the wedding. It’d be better than getting a job and asking for leave a few months after. 

Fair. But what about the wedding expenses? 

My parents have agreed to fund my part of the wedding, while his parents will also assist him because he’s still starting up. It’s going to be a small wedding with only our close friends and family.

Do you have conversations about money? 

We’re very open about our finances, and this makes it easier for our relationship because we know what each person can do, and we’ve learned to be content with what we get. We have simple dates where we buy shawarma and ice cream or food from Chicken Republic when we can’t go to a restaurant. The expensive dates are for when we go out with friends, and he usually offers to pay. I think the bill for our birthday last year was about ₦40k. He didn’t show me. 

Interested in talking about how money moves in your relationship? If yes, click here

Does he give you money? 

Occasionally. Sometimes he does this when I’m broke, and I want to get something. At other times, it’s when I go out with my friends. ₦10k here, ₦10k there. 

He also randomly sends me money when he gets an allowance or wins a gift voucher at work. The most he has given me is ₦120k. I added ₦50k to it and got a phone last year. 

I’d saved up ₦150k for the phone, but in September, I had to get a flight ticket for my uncle’s birthday in Lagos. I also wanted to see my parents, and they weren’t comfortable with me going by road. The ticket was ₦100k.

Do you have a financial safety net? 

I don’t. I try to keep aside some money I get from my uncle, parents or partner, but currently, I’m broke. I am waiting for the end of the month so I can call home. 

What’s the ideal financial future for you as a couple? 

Having assets in our name. Ezra is already talking about getting land in Delta State. 

Why Delta?

Because some Lagos house rents can get you decent land in Delta. His parents also have property there, so we can use their plug. 


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