‘Oh boy, how far?’ The respectable answer to this question is, ‘Not too far.’ So, if someone by any chance replies you instead, ‘Oh boy, e far o’ steel yourself, because a request for financial assistance is not far behind. To forestall this eventuality, quickly say, ‘My brother, na God go help all of us.’
‘Oga mi, your boy dey hail o.’ Be wary of this person. They do not mean you well at all. No. In fact, they are setting you up for obtaining, because around here hailing is not free. To save your face and his, quickly say, ‘Haba! Why you dey talk like this? Na me be your boy na.’ Bow at the waist and stretch out your hand.
‘Bros, so how e go be?’ Hmm. Study very carefully the context in which this question is being asked. Are you, for instance, at the tail end of a session of vigorous greeting, complete with hugging and backslapping, and now he is still holding on to the handshake refusing to let go? Meanwhile, you saw this man yesterday? It is a trap. Extricate your hand and say, ‘Me sef dey look o.’
‘Senior man, we dey here o.’ Not that they are lost in the bush, and you a member of a search party sent out to look for them, waving your torchlight in the wrong direction, so they have to cry out to draw attention to themselves. No. They are standing right in front of you, and you are trying to get past them when they say this. No problem. Smile and say, ‘I dey come.’
‘I hope you slept well?’ This is what you asked. Who does not know that the answer to this question is a short and simple, ‘Yes.’ Yes? So, anyone that answers with, ‘Hmm, my brother I did not o’ clearly has problems he is angling to offload on you. If you are not ready to receive, and you are not ready to be rude either, just laugh like a hyena and say, ‘Bros, which kin answer be dat? In fact, you are too funny!’ And shift away.
‘Oh boy, e get something I wan discuss with you.’ Kai! This is the most difficult one to negotiate. Ok, try a tentative, ‘Ok, brother, na wetin?’ If he begins with a hiss, you know? A pitiable kissing of the teeth, be sure there is a looming wedding, childbirth, funeral or business needing funding. So, deflect the blame immediately. ‘You know that things are really hard in the country now.’ Use proper English to underline the gravitas of your shared suffering. He will understand.
‘Anything for the boys?’ This is straightforward, abi? So, please, don’t get angry, and begin to give long lecture about ‘this is the problem with Nigeria.’ Treat it as a simple question asked by a simple man who has problems at home. If you have, give. If you don’t (or don’t want to), tell him, ‘My brother, maybe tomorrow.’ He will give you a warm smile and respond, ‘No yawa bros, make e beta for all of us o.’ Be polite. ‘Amen.’ That is how to answer.