A Week In The Life: The Agbero Trusting God For A Better Life

November 17, 2020

“A Week In The Life” is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week.


The subject for today’s “A Week In The Life” is *Tola. He collects money at the bus park, and he’s what Nigerians refer to as Agbero. He talks about wanting to quit his job, his faith in God and why he shows up every day.

Agbero

MONDAY:

I’m on the road as early as 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. on most days. I have to beat traffic and get to work early because the earlier I do, the faster I can begin to make money for the day. Most people don’t know that agbero work is just like being a marketer — we have daily deliverable targets per day. I don’t earn a salary, so I depend on whatever extra money I make per day. Depending on your location and performance, your daily target can be somewhere between ₦30,000 – ₦45,000, and a failure to meet this target means you pay out of pocket. On the bright side, if you surpass your target, you get to keep the extra amount. Therefore, every single minute counts in this job. 

This pressure is why some people do anything to collect money from buses; they’ll threaten to break their windscreen, remove the fuel tank cover or wipers. The union [NURTW] believes that there’s no way you’ll go out and not meet your target, so they don’t listen to excuses. Everyone has a daily target, and that’s why you’ll see agberos collecting booking fee from one bus stop to the next. We give numbers and sell tickets to show who has paid and who hasn’t. The funniest part is that the tickets are provided and printed by the state government, so a portion of our daily target also goes to them. We hand over whatever money we make to the park chairman [each park has a chairman] who then hands it over to the union’s executives. At this point, the money is shared amongst them and the state government who provides the tickets. 

 It is what it is. 

It rained today so there were not a lot of buses on the road. I made my daily target with barely enough money for food and transportation for tomorrow. I’m praying for God’s favour because I’m tired of this job. 

TUESDAY:

Things weren’t always like this for me. I wasn’t always an agbero working for a union. I learnt printing press work, but there was no money to buy a machine neither was there anyone to help me. So I set up a baba Ijebu kiosk to raise money to buy machines. Things were going well until I fell in love with one lady like this. After we started dating, nothing was coming in again. Getting money to eat even became difficult for me.

Then she fell pregnant. 

Things became three times more difficult for me after that. I kept on struggling until my son was born. One year plus after his birth, she left me. Her reason was that she re-assessed her fortunes and saw that there was no future with me. After all, when she met me, I had a lotto kiosk and I was making money. Now that things were no longer the same, she went to consult her stars and they told her to remarry.

Today, I’m thinking about the fact that it’s been almost six years now, and I still don’t have money. I left the printing press to Baba Ijebu to agbero work and still, nothing tangible till now. I’m still using agidi to get money to eat. If I get a better job today, I’m gone. It’s not like I signed a life contract with these people. Even if I did, this is not the kind of job that someone should do forever. 

WEDNESDAY:

Under the sun and in the rain, we’re always hustling, we’re always collecting money. It’s only God that will pity us. There’s no protection, no place to rest, nothing. If you want to urinate, you’ll find somewhere by the side to do it. When you want to toilet, you’ll look for a public toilet and pay ₦50 to use it. If you’re sick, you’ll beg someone to stand in for you so you can make your deliverables and if you’re lucky, they will make some money to give you so you can hold body.

Coronavirus time was so bad because no movement meant no work. During that time, I’d just go and do twale on the street for someone that will dash me money. Other times, we’ll group ourselves like four or five and go to a construction site and do labour assistant. Sometimes, when we see people digging borehole, we go and meet them for at all at all money. I wasn’t happy doing that, but I had to eat. To worsen matters, people will just talk to you anyhow and you’ll be tired of life. You’ll be asking yourself: what kind of person is this? Why am I here? Why is this person talking to me like this?

I had an incident like that today. I was calling passengers for a bus driver and a passenger insulted me. After calling price for this woman, she refused to pay when I asked her for money. Instead, she started blasting and rubbishing me. I wanted to reply but people around said I shouldn’t talk. So I kept on looking. 

It has been almost three hours since this happened but I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m looking forward to going home at 8 p.m. With the way my day is going, I’ll make enough money to meet my daily target and still have some change. My plan is to go home and drink a chilled bottle of malt because I can’t kill myself. 

THURSDAY: 

Today, I’m thinking about my son. He’s just six years old and unaware. He lives with grandma, but sometimes, he comes to stay with me. We’re doing one week on and off at work, so he comes during my week off. When he’s not around, I help someone manage their lotto kiosk, and they give me money to hold body. 

My son doesn’t know what I do for now because union work is not something I’m proud of. I don’t even wear the uniform. I wear the cap once in a while. When he’s around, we watch cartoon and sports as father and son because these are the memories I want him to have of me. It’s tough raising a male child and being a good role model that the child can follow. It’s lonely because I have no woman and I’m not remarried — the only thing that gives me joy is my boy.

I’ve spoken to my friends that if they have a better job they should let me know. I have my SSCE degree, so I can do factory work or office assistant. Anything that will benefit me, I’ll do it. If God is kind to me, I know the type of education I want to give my son. Part of my prayer every night is that God should spare his life because I don’t know what I’ll do if I suddenly no longer can’t hear his infectious laughter. The one he makes especially when we’re watching sports and I’m gesticulating to him.

My prayer is simple: “God, another year is about to end and I’m getting older. When it’s my time, answer my prayers. It hasn’t been easy because I haven’t gotten a better job. I need something better because I just want to start living.”


Check back every Tuesday by 9 am for more “A Week In The Life ” goodness, and if you would like to be featured or you know anyone who fits the profile, fill this form.

Zikoko Donation Banner

Help Zikoko keep making the content you love

More than ever, people are turning to Zikoko for stories that matter and content they love. But still, we, like many media organisations, are feeling the financial heat of these times. If you find us valuable, please make a contribution to help keep Zikoko zikoko-ing.

Thank you for your support.

We are also cool with Crypto.

Donation Close
Zikoko Logo

Complete Your Commitment

Donation confirm

Your Contribution is confirmed! Amount

Hassan Yahaya

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

January 15, 2020

1) Not dropping offering money so you can buy ice cream after church. 2) Your parents offering to help you “save” the money visitors dash you. 3) Keeping the change when you run an errand. 4) Greeting the visitor over and over again so they will drop money. 5) Slightly inflating the price of textbooks. […]

February 24, 2021

Omo the country is hard and things are expensive. How cann a poor person like me and you survive like this with a salary that vanishes the moment you buy one thing? My salary after I buy one plate of food. How best can we make our salary last longer? We might have some ideas […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

May 15, 2021

At the end of the day, what is your soul really worth? A plate of food like Esau? Or you have nothing left of your soul for sale? Don’t take this quiz if you don’t like to be exposed sha, because we will find out. QUIZ: How Much Is Your Soul Worth?

May 15, 2021

Sex Life is an anonymous Zikoko weekly series that explores the pleasures, frustrations and excitement of sex in the lives of Nigerians. The subject of today’s Sex Life is a 28-year-old gay man who recently discovered he is a side — a gay man who isn’t interested in penetrative sex. He talks about how this affects […]

May 14, 2021

Bolanle Austen-Peters Production, in collaboration with the MTN Foundation, is bringing the story and characters of Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman to the Terra Kulture stage on May 13 to 16 in eight performances. The story, which is inspired by true events, is about a king’s horseman who is prevented from committing ritual […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 12, 2019

Are you a single pringle, stuck in a complicated situationship or happily married to the love of your life? This quiz is here to guess your current relationship status, and as you know, Zikoko quizzes are incredibly accurate (don’t quote us). So, give a shot:

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

October 10, 2019

2019 is certainly Burna Boy’s year, but, if we are being honest, so was 2018. Since his transcendent mixtape, Outside, the afro-fusion star has refused to get his foot of our necks — dropping a string of fantastic singles and then capping it all off with his career-best album, African Giant.  So, in a bid […]

More from Hustle

April 29, 2021

If there is anything Nigerians understand, it is the sometimes weird, other times horrifying experiences that come with working in Nigeria. From delayed payments to extreme workloads. Lack of boundaries, poor remuneration, toxic and overly competitive workplace culture amongst other problems. These are the stories we often hear. But, surely, there have to be good […]

April 13, 2021

A Week In The Life” is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week. The subject of today’s “A Week In The Life” is a full-time housewife. She […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X