Sunday, 31 January 2016

Plenty Plenty Things

Happy New Year! Make dis year bring beta beta things for all of us, amen. I say make I write dis post in our very own language, pidgin English, 100% Naija.

Christmas don come, don go. Between dat time and New Year plenty of us graduate from lekpa to orobo. Me I wan use food take wound myself, I trowey diet for corner! Now, fear no let me climb scale, instead I just jejelly carry myslef go gym. But just ten minutes on top of treadmill, all my body start to shake, my heart be like say he wan relocate from my chest. So from now on na strict dieting o, no more late night suya and indomie. Make I still look presentable before the next major wacking wey go be for Easter.

Day neva break on top of New Year head finish, plenty plenty things don already dey happen. Lassa Fever don show. Nobody dey buy beans and garri again because gofament talk say rat fit don piss inside. How rat no go piss inside wey the warehouse wey dem dey store the food na him be rat headquarters? When be the last time wey dem fumigate the warehouse? Last week, dem say health workers for Lagos come charge enter market, dem come kill over 7,000 rats. Over 7,000! How many come remain? Dat one pass genocide fa. But una well done o, if not for Lassa Fever una no go remember hygeine. Na so when Ebola show everybody behave! Some people nearly use sanitizer take baff. Na strong hand we need.

For where our body still dey pepper us for high price of kerosine plus states wey talk say dem no fit pay N18,000 minimum wage, na him we come hear say Col. Sambo Dasuki carry our money take do sara. Before we fit say wey dem!, some of him co-conspirators don show for court, balance inside wheelchair. Hand neva even touch dem finish dem don dey form sickness. I no blame dem jare, dem guilty until proven innocent. If na me ehn, na full regalia of Plaster of Paris I go wear show for court. Dem go fear fear!

We neva talk dat one finish wey we come hear say three female suicide bombers explode themself, come kill plenty people join. Shuo, die no dey taya una? But I come think the matter well well, how we sure say no be those Chibok girls dem dey force wear bomb so? Me I believe say na dem, if not where Boko Haram wan see girls wey ready wear dress wey dem use bomb take sew? No be say Boko Haram no fit recruit girls o, but why dem go recruit more wey dem get those 300+ Chibok girls already? Chei! One of my friends say all die na die. Na lie o, all die no be die anything! Take goat tie rope, take rope tie goat na the same? Person wey sleep no wake up and person wey lion tear to pieces na the same?

My birthday just pass last week. One of my friends wey be my birthday mate turn 40 years last week. She come dey cry, she say old age don come. I nearly tear am slap! I come tell am say make she choose or die. Na only person wey don die no dey age. Abi you prefer to die ne? We suppose learn how to celebrate life even though plenty plenty things dey happen. Na all the wahala dey even make life interesting sef. Suffering and smiling.
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Thursday, 31 December 2015


A grey shawl, a dirty grey shawl draped carelessly around the thin shoulders of an old woman, is how best to describe the weather this evening. Hazy and humid with nights cold enough to not require air conditioning. Dust has settled over everything in sight like a sprinkling of icing sugar over a freshly baked cake. Even with windows permanently shut they manage to steal their way in.

I sit back in the car this late afternoon and take in the familiar sights. Traffic is almost non-existent, the wise having taken advantage of the holidays and escaped the chaos of Lagos to a saner world. The long fuel queues have vanished overnight, thank God. Just last week on the news, a man was appealing to President Buhari to “do something”. He said he had been on a queue for hours just to purchase some fuel in a jerry can for his generator as there had been no electricity in his neighbourhood for days. Good to see just a few cars in the petrol stations.

I am roused out of my reverie by a knock on the car window. "Madam buy rocket". I glance at this scrawny boy clutching several long bright red packets to his chest. He holds one of them out to me. Rocket happens to be this huge dynamite. Well, it looks like a dynamite to me. Wait a minute, didn't the Gov`ment ban these things? Here they are this koro koro afternoon, being sold in full view. SMH.

I make a quick stop at my salon in Lekki. Can't help but stare at this extremely light-skinned girl. A Lagos "bigz girl" by all appearances...hehehe! I take in the beautiful flowing hair, blond with red highlights...Hey, as long as it`s on your head it`s your hair. Shikena.  Pretty face, flawless skin, perfect make up, dressed to the nines. Then I screech to a halt. Her feet are black, black as in Obasanjo black. Why do some women feel they are pretty only when they are light-skinned? I just cannot understand why. Abi, men prefer the light-skinned ones? Nonsense!

I notice a fast food drive-thru on my way out. See Naija o! We no dey carry last. I wonder how long they will stay in business before there`s go-slow in drive-thru or no change or the owner employs his relatives instead of professionals who can deliver. Our biggest flaw being sustainability.

Ahh, Shoprite. Circle Mall they call this one. Kudos to them for creating employment but errm...they have come with more traffic na. Traffic in this axis was crazy enough already thank you very much. I go in for some bottles of red wine. The place smells new. New money, new beginnings, even the air smells new. I notice the smiles on people`s faces, almost everyone seems to be in a good mood at Christmas. I spend close to half an hour at checkout. People don`t travel anymore?

I arrive home and dress up for a quick jog around the estate. I smile in contentment as I step out of the house, the Christmas lights have just been turned on although dusk is still an hour away. Trees and street lights adorned in blinking lights of blue and red and green. Several houses are equally blinking along, balconies having been adorned with all sorts including a brightly lit Father Christmas (no Santas in these parts! Lol) accompanied by his reindeers, equally blinking. The fading paints, cracked walls and the usual litter here and there having all dissolved into the background amidst all that glitter.

Ear phones plugged in, Usher serenading me, nothing can go wrong on this perfect day until I see a dead snake on the road. It had been crushed by passing cars but it still looked fresh meaning it had only recently been killed. I am in shock because I never saw a snake, dead or alive in Lagos before, never even heard of anyone seeing one. While I am yet staring at it I notice a movement to my right just by the fence. A few feet from where I am standing is a yellowish brown snake. I cannot believe my eyes. Big, long, gliding briskly on the short green grass and heading in the same direction as me. I make a 360 and rush to the safety of my home, two is enough for one day. I am still in shock.

Here we are once again approaching the end of yet another year. I look back at 2015 with mixed feelings, with a wide smile marred by deep sadness. Profound gratitude at the birth of my daughter Munachimso, utter sorrow at the death of my sister Ngozi. She had called me in the early hours of New Year`s Day 2015 to wish me a wonderful year. That was the last time I ever spoke with her as I never got around to returning her call. This has haunted me ever since. But I have learned to be thankful in all situations and to accept the things I cannot change.

Tonight is "washing" night as one of my Waffarian friends would say. All roads lead to churches, even for those who see the inside of a church only at this time. Promises of swapping bad habits for good ones are the order of the day. For me this is a time for gratitude. A time to be thankful for what I have, a time to acknowledge that the cup is half full. Gratitude for my daughter, my partner, my family and my wonderful friends. 

May all our dreams come true in 2016.

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Monday, 30 November 2015

Country Hard

My mechanic Marcus called me the other day.

“ Madam good evening o.” He said in his usual booming voice.

“Marcus, good evening. How you dey?” I responded. Briefly wondering why he was calling me, he had only just serviced my car.

“We thank Baba God”. He responded and then went silent.

“Any problem?” I asked.

Emmm Madam, I just say make I ask you how your motor. I know say I just service am and e no suppose get any wahala, but Madam country hard!”

He was right, country hard true true. With the drop in oil price the value of the Naira has been knocked down by nearly 20%. What this means for a country that relies heavily on the oil sector is that it is no longer business as usual. Lots of companies, from the major IOCs to small businesses are downsizing all in a bid to stay afloat. Aside cutting down on expenditure they are also cutting down on manpower. As a result, thousands of people have become unemployed, a figure which sadly is still on the rise.

But not all businesses have the luxury of downsizing or re-strategizing. Just the other day I visited my sister in Surulere, the tiny kiosk belonging to the "aboki" who guards the compound was padlocked. Then I recalled months previously when I had wanted to buy a recharge card, he told me he had stopped selling them. I remember glancing at the few tins of sardines and the packets of biscuits and sweets which lined the dusty wooden shelves. Briefly wondering why they were not arranged in their usual cartons on the floor. It didn`t strike me then that what I was looking at was in fact the slow demise of the former thriving business.

Country hard true true. The price of food has increased significantly. The activities of insurgents have disrupted farming and markets across the North East, with an inevitable impact on food availability and price. Crops like tomatoes, pepper and onions which are cultivated in those regions and transported to other parts of the country, have witnessed price increments of over 100% in some cases. I went to the market over the weekend with what I considered a reasonable amount of money, but just half way through my shopping I had already run out of cash.

Country hard true true. From importation of fake drugs to exhumation of contaminated chicken. The latest being fake Kpomo and fake Coca Cola bottling factory. My first cousin Gladys, died two days ago from complications of burns sustained from a kerosene stove explosion. Apparently, the kerosene had been adulterated with God-knows-what. People will do just about anything to survive.

With President Buhari`s change agenda, maybe there is still hope for a better Nigeria.

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Saturday, 31 October 2015

A Boy

On a recent flight into Lagos, walking down the aisle towards where I was seated was a nondescript man accompanied by a six year old boy who I assumed was his son. The little boy trodded excitedly behind his father but as he made to move into the row which had their seats, his head collided with a dark blue suitcase that his father had just lifted to place in the overhead luggage compartment. He let out a loud yelp and burst into tears. The father used one hand to push the bag into the compartment and the other to rub the little boy`s head, in an attempt to console him. Then he said something that struck me.

" Stop crying, okay? You know I didn`t do that on purpose". He said softly in a voice dripping with irritation.

The boy didn`t stop crying, in fact he cried harder. I would have been very surprised if he had. Was the rationale behind the bag hitting his head expected to make him stop crying? Seriously? I found it odd that the father expected his young son to be understanding.

Then it occurred to me just how completely different from one another we are, men and women. I replayed the scene in my head, but this time the man was a woman. A woman would not use the reason behind the incident as a pacifier, she would simply show the boy some love. A simple hug or a kiss would have taken the pain away. Shikena! No need for long grammar.

It must be a man thing to put logic before pain, I thought to myself. But then I looked at the boy, alas he was still crying. Hmmm, why was he still crying? Isn`t he a man? He should man up jare. Then I had an eureka moment! He didn`t stop crying because he wasn`t yet a man. Still an innocent boy, untouched by parental and societal influences dictating what to do, where to do and how to do. A few years down the line, through either force, mandate or persuasion he would become a man, tough and ready to take on the world. A replica of his father. 

But on that beautiful summer morning in Paris, he was a mere six year old who would have stopped crying if only his father had remembered that he was just a boy.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

A Tale of Two Cities

And so yours truly just had a bouncing yummy kissable absolutely adorable baby girl! Yaaayyyy!!! :)
Which by the way is the reason I didn`t publish a new post last month. 
As expected, my tiny Madam at the Top demanded and still demands my full attention.
But I`m not complaining, I`m very much enjoying the sleepless nights and busy days. Well, for now. LOL
Lest I get overly excited and go on and on and forget the matter at hand, I`ll go straight to the point.

While I was privileged to deliver my daughter, Munachimso in obodo oyinbo, a friend of mine had hers here in Naija. Our experiences even though we both underwent the same surgery were as different as night and day. 

A couple of hours after I came out of the theatre, I was given some ice cubes to suck on. Soon after, a liquid meal was brought in. The following morning, I was allowed a solid meal. Thousands of miles away, my friend was allowed a glass of water twenty four hours after her surgery, and a meal two whole days after that.

While I cleaned Muna`s navel thrice daily with some spirit until it healed completely as per my doctor`s instructions, my friend chose to ignore her`s, instead she massaged her baby`s tender navel with steaming hot water before rubbing in some palm oil and potash mixture, as per her mother`s instructions. Day after day she regaled me with more and more outrageous tips, some of which she got from her mother and others from "well wishers".  

>    Baby girls should not be encouraged to sit too early lest they suffer from severe 
>    Babies should not be given water to drink until they are at least four months old lest
      they don`t grow tall
>    Don`t carry babies on your back lest they become bow-legged
>    Place a piece of thread on baby`s head to stop hick-ups 
>    Never carry babies on your shoulders while walking across an empty field lest evil
      spirits attack them
>    Don`t play around a baby`s navel lest it becomes infested with worms
>    When you take a baby off someone`s back you must give them a pinch and say
      these words " both the front and the back belong to you"

One quiet afternoon, I received a call from another friend. I happened to mention that our oyinbo neighbours would throw a party when we finally left for Naija as Muna`s cries must have been giving them sleepless nights. She asked if Muna cried often, I laughed and responded that like any new-born she did but only when she was hungry or uncomfortable. There was a brief pause on the other end of the line followed by a long hiss, then she said one of the most baffling things I ever heard. That the crying was because Muna was in a lot of pain as there happened to be too much fat in her stomach, and the solution was to pump some hot water through her anus into her stomach to eject the fat.

I was torn between laughing or crying. Laughter at the ignorance of some people, tears as I imagined the poor innocent baby being subjected to such a barbaric act. To think that there are people who actually believe and practice these things. Even the most enlightened among us fall prey to such practices. 

I have since wondered why my friend had to be subjected to three days of starvation when it was possible to have a meal the very next day, since there were no complications. I got into an argument over this with a friend who said not to compare how it`s done abroad with how we do it here. I won because I was able to cite several hospitals right here in Lagos where it`s possible to have a solid meal the very next day after a surgery. I guess the others didn`t get the memo!

Monday, 20 July 2015

The Church Versus Same-Sex Marriage

It is no longer news that a bill legalizing same-sex marriage was passed last month in the USA, a decision which has left the country sharply divided. Barely three days after, a Roman Catholic Priest tweeted that he ran into a gay marriage parade, two men walked up to him and spat on him. I fear that this is only the beginning of worse things to come. 

Based on this ruling, clergy and religious bodies are not obliged to perform same-sex marriages. But, the big question is how long before another bill making it mandatory is passed? How long before it becomes an offence under the marriage equality act for churches to refuse to marry them? Or, how long before someone files a suit claiming discrimination? Equally worrisome, is how long before all churches surrender and cave in to cultural, legal and political forces, like a few churches have already done, some dating as far back as a decade ago. The major reason behind surrendering is fear that they could lose their tax exempt statuses if they refuse to conform. If push comes to shove, they will be forced to choose between survival and their religious beliefs.

There are numerous passages in the Bible which clearly indicate that homosexual acts and passions are unnatural, shameful, contrary to sound doctrine and deny entrance to the Kingdom of God. No marriage can be sanctioned by the church if the very basis of the marriage involves acts that put the couple outside of eternal salvation. 

No matter what the American society or any one of the other twenty countries worldwide who have legalized same-sex marriage may legislate, the law of God is clear - that a "marriage" between two people of the same sex is not Godly. It is as simple as that, and no laws can change it.

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Two lesbians at their wedding ceremony. Copyrighted - Jeremiah Films.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

In Pursuit of a Defining Purpose by Pamela Efobi

As I gazed through the tiny misty window of the speed boat on my way to work that Tuesday morning, I couldn’t help but marvel at God`s creation. The large expanse of water, the 40-sitter boat waving dangerously from side to side as the merciless waves tossed her around, the fishermen in the far distance expertly casting their nets, some children on a small canoe waving at us as we sped past, a hint of yellow in the skies above as the sun prepared to come out of its hiding. I shook my head in wonderment.

A crackle on the television which was suspended on the wall inches from where I sat snapped me out of my reverie. I welcomed the distraction as I sat back to enjoy the movie which happened to feature my beloved Bollywood actors. I had come to prefer them to our own Nollywood. Moments later, the television went from showing brightly coloured dancing people to “searching for signal”. Na wa! 

I lost myself once more in my daydream. How I envied these actors as they seemed to derive absolute pleasure in their vocation. I recall my childhood dreams of wanting to one day become an actress, a songstress, a tailor, and finally a writer simply because I was addicted to the popular Mills & Boons novels. I look at my life now, my current occupation is in the complete opposite direction. But the question I ask myself is whether I am truly happy as an IT Support Engineer. Would I not be happier if I were an Image Consultant by day? …because I love fashion and all it stands for. Or even happiest as a freelance writer by night? ...did I mention that I express myself better in writing?

Like me, a lot of people are constantly in pursuit of that defining purpose in life, the perfect career, the perfect partner or the perfect marriage. But at the end of the day, it is the ability to understand oneself and what makes one happy that really count. 

I believe that some day I will find that one job, that one passion that will transcend all things. And only then will I be content that I have truly found peace in doing what makes me happy and what defines my purpose in life.