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Articles Life My Lagos Nigeria Rant

A Year After…😟


Last year, a normal day which began with a planned protest against certain ills in society, didn’t end well. Several stories went viral, but truth be told, we lost a lot that day. Some may say those losses were seeds sown to the cause. Some may say, those losses could have been prevented. Hmmm. Truly a sad one which leaves a bad bitter taste in our mouth and in the fabric of our history if you ask me.

A year after…we remember the pain of the losses and all the trouble that came from the day we call the #BlackTuesday. As I think back in retrospect and desire to celebrate the changes that may have occurred, I am held back in my expressions, as I still see those ills replay themselves on an another level…lets say in a subtle brazen way. I sense an unspoken “speak and I squash you” in the atmosphere. I sense a “we are not saying don’t protest o, but I dare you to show your face.” If not, how else do you interpret the flood of security manpower all over our access routes this morning in my Lagos especially around the site of earlier protest? How else do you explain why people are scared to come out and go about their usual business today because of a perceived attack. What do you call the ORDER to not gather at the location.

Why is a protest that will bring change, often considered dangerous and yet killings of innocent citizens in different parts of the country goes unchecked, because we don’t have the resources to handle such. My mind has so many questions, are you able to answer them?

Well, we have a proverb in Nigeria, “If hunters have learnt to shoot without missing, birds have learnt to fly without perching”. Hence, the drive-through protest. What do I mean by this, remain in your car, drive past the Lekki-toll and say whatever (but you know you can’t say some things sha), but keep moving. Trust Nigerian youth, they are maximizing it to the fullest.

The tear gas has begun to spread, some persons have been arrested whatever for, I don’t know, the men in black look on waiting for a call – perhaps, the youths refused to be gagged, as they sing 🎼How many people government go kill o! (2x) eee dem go kill us tire (3x) How many people government go kill.
The others chant 🎼No Justice, No Peace!

Truth be told when people get tired to being tossed about, they take a stand and that reaction never sits well with anyone because it is coming from a place of ‘we have endured this for too long, been silent for too long, we are done being passive because this is a time for action.’

I just passed by today to remind you that we didn’t forget this day last year and whilst that seed is yet to bear the fruits we desire, we will keep watering it, till it buds positively in our land and nation.

@imanikel 201021 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

Categories
Freedom Fridays Letters Relationships

When Lovers Fight… 😟😉😳🏃‍♀️


Dear Heart,

I have a question for you.

*“Go ahead, I’m listening”

Why do you hurt so much when I’m offended and upset at him? (Let me add a second)
Why does he go about smiling and grinning as if what happened didn’t do a number on him or pluck a nerve in him!
Is it that I never meant anything to him? 😟😳
If you feel sad in me about what has happened and want to reconcile, how come your twin in him, is cocky and won’t bow to please you and make me feel better?

Iman?”

Yes, Heart? 😔 and don’t give me the he’s-a-man card, you’ve played that card for too long!

“Yes, he has a heart like you have me, but he is wired differently. By this I mean, some of them don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves like you do! And just so you know, when you are hurt, he hurts too, because you are connected by love (Soulmates), woven in emotions, bonded in spirit. He may not show it, he may even call your bluff, but trust me on this, the pain is real for him as well. When you ‘fight’, he acts out in different ways that says, I-don’t-care-you-didn’t-affect-me-that-much.”

“Let me ask you Iman, would you rather do battle or do love?!”

But you know I love Love and there’s no beating about the bush on that. So does that give him the right to hurt me by acting tough rather than say sorry?, not like the sorry would really matter, but I’m a babe and the sorry would mean, “I acknowledge I was wrong here and I miss our companionship”, I miss our time together, let’s make up, my world has been not-it without you and so much more, if you get what I mean.

“O yeah sure I get your point… but let’s try something out. Since you know you love Love, why not talk about what he did that you don’t like in a loving and friendly manner and see if he will come to you. If that doesn’t work….”

I give him the silent treatment, right?! 💃

” 😂😂😂😂😂 Iman???
Why do you love pulling the silent treatment card always? But you claim to love love; love keeps no records of wrongs, but seeks to breed peace at all times”

“If you search within you, you will realise you know how to reach him more smoothly… like you say in Nigeria, you hold his **mumu-button, simply activate it with a smile,…trust me he will come panting after you.”

Go no further, Heart. You’ve just hit the nail on the head. But please have a word with your twin in him and tell him to soften up his master, we can’t keep activating the mumu-button over ‘fights’, it’s for special times, if you get what I mean.

“But Iman, you know you don’t have to be religious with your “Special Moments”, besides you need that button the most in times of conflicts. You know Iman, it’s wearisome trying to reach the one you love when both of you are being driven apart by your ego.”

Hello Heart, For the life of me, I’m wondering, when did we join the opponent’s team, we ought to be on the same team for Christ’s sake. I am not the enemy! and there’s no trophy to win in fighting each other, can’t you see!?

“I understand you clearly Iman, but you see, when we talk about loving and giving, respect is also a gift as compassion is a gift. “A gentle answer turns away wrath” as the Bible says.”

…but some people have interpreted it to mean a gentle answer by a woman, turns away the wrath of a man… isn’t it?

“It is both ways o! So let’s be intentional in loving, You and I, together we can do better. Let’s be mindful of our lines and ways of communication when we are angry with him, because there are some words you’d say in that moment of rage that when the battle is over and we feel right about pushing the mumu-button, we may push for so long and run the battery out, because of hanging memories of the things said in anger.”

“Wash your mouth…oops, I meant to say WATCH your mouth. You don’t want to live your life in regrets because you wouldn’t let go of your title on the EGO belt.”

Hmmmmmm Heart?? 🙈🙈🙈 you are so right you know?

“O sure Iman, that is why I am your partner in this love relationship. You know you can’t always rely on your head, but on me; I help you make the best decisions girl”

Thanks Heart. I truly appreciate your honesty with me, I’ll keep these words really close to you, and follow through on them. Once again, thank you for being a sweetheart for real.

Heart??

“Yes Iman?”

You know? He actually said sorry, and that he wasn’t okay when I wasn’t; and I’m glad it’s all sorted now. But don’t forget to talk to his heart too ok?

One more thing Heart, “I don’t know his mumu-button, because I am his mumu-button!💃😘😘😘

Yours in love,
#UnapologeticallyMe

@imanikel 060821 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

*Words in bold and italics are my heart’s responses

**mumu-button simply means the different methods you can easily reach a loved one and get them to ease up or succumb to you.

Categories
Project Laughter Relationships

She left Jesus behind… 😌


Oh she did!
Simply ran out and left Jesus! He was meant to go with her, ‘kill’ her fear, be the Light in the darkness she was walking into, hold her hand through the journey, but when they got to her destination, she left Him and RAN!

My baby girl, Arielle came visiting and during her stay, PHCN (our power distribution company) did their thing. Actually, they have been behaving these days, they ration it and we have decoded their timetable and are okay with it. Meaning, at a certain time in the night we will have power till morning. I’m cool with that because they have been consistent…but if it moves to another level of power throughout, as long as you have paid, then God be praised! 💃

So Arielle came visiting and the house was dark. I didn’t want to bother with the generator as I knew power would come at a certain time and besides, I was ok. But she felt, she needed to fan me. Even when there’s power, she loves playing with the hand-fan and I let her enjoy her moments. Minutes before, we had been in the children’s room with my cousin and she grabbed the hand-fan from the dark sitting room, ran back to the bedroom and began fanning me. As we migrated to the sitting room, she forgot the hand-fan there.

Did I mention that Arielle is a very busy 4-year old, the can’t-be-held-down-by-anything-very-bright-and-active one? Oh yes, she is!
On realizing that she left the hand-fan in the room and she needed to be busy, she went to my cousin, “Aunty Queen, please can I have your phone, I need the light.”
“No, Arielle, I’m using my phone.”
“Aunty a-baby (that’s me by the way), please can I have your phone?”
“Why?”
“I want to bring the fan from the room and fan you.”
I pretended to ponder upon her request and then said, “you’ll have to get the fan without my phone”
“But it’s dark!”
“You can see with the light from my iPad or better still, don’t worry about the fan, I’m ok.”
“But I want to fan you!”
“Then, you’ll have to go with Jesus!” having said that I continued watching my series on Netflix, whilst watching her from the corners to see what she’d do. Knowing that Arielle won’t give up till she’s gotten the hand-fan.

She snuck into the room, felt the bed and grab the fan from where she left it, ran out and screamed triumphantly, “I got the fan (showing it to me with pride and an accomplished smile)!”
“Good job, Arielle, I’m proud of you! And where is Jesus?” I queried.
“I left Jesus in the room!”
“You what?!” Trying to suppress my laughter and act surprised.
“I left Jesus in the room,” she repeated. At this point, Queen burst out laughing.
Maintaining my seriousness, I continued, “Arielle, how could you leave Someone I asked to lead you into the room and run out, please go back and bring Jesus.”

She walked to the doorpost, put her head into the semi-dark room and shouted, “Jesus, come out o!” and ran back to the sitting room. We couldn’t stop that laugh in a hurry.

On a serious note, many of us have gone into stuff with Jesus as our Driver, but when it comes to negotiating, strategizing, we think to ourselves, Jesus doesn’t understand the times we are in, after all He’s not a Millennial or computer literate, He doesn’t have a twitter account. But let me stop here to acknowledge the One that hasn’t stop trending, the One without whom there is no net! You are the partner, drawing on Him for inspiration, so don’t you ever forget that!

Little Arielle left Jesus in the room, because she knew He could take care of Himself and her and the rest of us in the house. But just to be her caring self, she beckoned on Him to join us in the living room.

Where have you left Him?
I heard you, “He is in me.”
When last did you allow Him have a say in anything you did?
“I think He’s been part of it all along.”
*Arielle, at least knew where and when she left Him. She even recognized that she left Him…. Some of us behave like Samson and ‘wist not that the LORD has departed’ and we continue flexing

I’m done with the questions, I’ll let you ponder on the answers and if you’d like to share, I’d be listening. For now, I’m off to check on Arielle and her adventures.

@imanikel 260721 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

*Thank you for the addition, CN 😊

Categories
Articles Freedom Fridays Life

#FreedomFriday – Flight Fright


I read my cousin’s first flight experience, a beautifully written article that got me in stitches, but also in fright as I was catapulted back into that airplane to relive my first one. Boy! There’s no shame in telling the truth. I never did understand why something that heavy will be in the air and not drop, before you go preaching about Newton’s Law of Gravity and four forces of flight, spare a first-timer the speech! 😋

The first time I consciously remember going on a flight was just after marriage and we needed to be in Lagos as a matter of urgency. Being my first time, I was walking forward with steps backward, Oba was practically pulling me towards the departure lounge. Many crazy thought flew past me and none of them I could cling onto except the arms of the ‘crazy fellow’ I had gotten married to who was doubly excited about this particular flight for reasons best known to him. He has always been a daring one and seeing him like this was no surprise to me but that even with my voiced concerns, he didn’t say, “because I love you and don’t want you to jump off the plane because of your phobia, let’s go back!”

No o!

The ‘Uncle’ joyfully nudged me on all the while saying “there’s nothing to worry about baby, it will be a smooth ride.”

Okay o!

We got to the lounge and the voice says, we are delaying *** Flight because of … (can’t remember what she said) and I turned to him as if to say in my silence, ‘shebi, you see that even the planes don’t want to be flown’, he noticed and responded, “baby, they are working on it.”

Why was I afraid, apart from my original fear of flights?
You see, hubby had just returned from Abuja and that plane he used, carried others who never made it to their destination.

So, I watched this plane land from Abuja and about to go to Lagos from Calabar, but needed to be repaired. See fear o! Hmmm.

After the repairs, the flight was called, NOBODY moved, there was a crowd of protesters at the airport, calling for the necks of that particular airline, for keeping them waiting and then proceeding to load them into a plane that was repaired in front of them?! No way, I no dey enter this plane.

The airline boss (an expatriate) came and spoke with us and decided to do the flight with us, so as to assure us, still nobody moved. The next thing I knew, Oba was pulling me up with wide brimmed smiles as he bounced towards the plane. All the while, assuring me that it will be okay.

I learnt to unstop my ears when it filled up with sound and hold on to him whilst praying in the Spirit under my breath as I climbed those steps. Wondering why my first flight had to be so frightful.

Do you know from take off, the flight to landing, that was my best flight ever! The crew were extra nice and we even did a standing ovation for the Boss and his team when we landed. As for those that refused to join the repaired aircraft, those who arrived late at the airport simply took their place and you can’t blame them, they didn’t know what had happened before their arrival.

It may sound funny to you, but I still engage myself in 30 minutes or an hour plus of prayers whenever I’m flying so that I don’t start wondering why something so heavy is in the air. Another thing I do, is programme my mind that in so so and so time, I’ll be at this destination and if I look at my watch I’m still in the air, panic attempts to set in, but I try (I dey manage) to overcome it.

On one of those flights, I was with my senior sister and the turbulence was crazy and no matter how I reminded myself that these were liken to road bumps, the Holy Spirit heard our groanings which were not uttered. 😊

Pray tell, how was your first flight experience?

@imanikel 180621 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

Categories
Freedom Fridays Life Project Laughter

#FreedomFridays – Commanding the Elements



King-Earl had returned earlier from school that day than his sister and as he waited for her return, he noticed the clouds changing. He remembered that he had seen his father ‘decree and declare’ severally when the elements changed and the rain stopped in his favour. He recalls his mum walking casually by across the dark room and saying “Light be” and power returned to his amazement. He decided to try his faith. He spoke to the heavens to hold their peace till Imani got home. He prayed that she will not be wet and then continued with his business. An hour or so later, Imani is home and grandma promptly informs her, your brother had held the rain on your behalf, to which Imani responds, “So, how come I’m drenched!”

I had a good laugh behind-the-scene when I heard the story, but I ‘warned’ Imani about ‘killing’ my son’s faith in prayers. I was pleased he was considerate and also thought of praying for his sister, I was glad he believed in its efficacy and I encouraged him not to give up. Like I said to him, just maybe if he hadn’t singled out only Imani as the one the rain shouldn’t touch, maybe it wouldn’t have rained because she was probably walking with a friend back home and it would have been selfish for Imani to be dry and the friend beside her, wet.

Do you believe in the words that you speak or in the prayers you release? I do!

Photo by Sourav Mishra on Pexels.com

So the other day I was dressed for work, but I couldn’t leave because the rains where pouring as if on a mission that must be fulfilled early in the morning, whilst singing the song, 🎼Ain’t no stopping us now, we’re on the move!🎼 to a beat that only thunder could give and lighting added hers for stage effects.

“Defeated”, I sat back on my bed and remembered some song we used to sing as children when the rains began…don’t tell anyone, but I sang it 🙈😋
🎼Rain, Rain, Go away
Come again another day 🎼
…and when I got to the part that says “Little Johnny, wants to play”, I stopped because I wasn’t ‘little’ and my name is definitely not “Johnny!” The rains didn’t stop immediately, but stop they did and to work I headed out.

I am IMAN – I Manifest Adonai’s Nature, #UnapologeticallyMe

@imanikel 210521 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

Categories
Poems The Word

Hung on the Word


Love is the strings I hear that held You bound to the Cross
Falling down a cliff, but like Mary, I hung on Your every Word
Lost, seeking to find my path through life
I dive in, struggling through the battles I strive.
Do I have the strength to carry me through?
Or the nerve to testify that You’re good?
Falling, I held on

Blood is the flood that washed me from every stains of death
Blinded with tears, I used grace to wipe my eyes of earth
Discovery! The blood didn’t stain, it made free of pain
How do I explain the great worth of death and its gain?
Does this sound wise or it’s just in my own eyes?
That grace bought what was redeemed from the many lies
Falling to my knees, I stayed

Hung up on the cross and down to the grave
Purpose You made, was to make me no slave
Freed! The Word is indeed real and complete
Let me be! In Him, I’m beyond defeat
Spoken, full of light and power to deliver
A token, on which to trust as I believe
“Fallen”, the Word was my stay.

@imanikel 080421 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

Categories
Project Laughter

Lullabies


Getting Earl to sleep can be such a tedious job as he rolls and rolls on the floor the bed and into your arms. He makes you sing all the bedtime lullabies and just when you thought you’ve got him covered, he pops his head up again and the cycle begins afresh.

One of those nights, being tired myself, I tried to get him to sleep and when I didn’t succeed, I handed him over to his dad.

King began singing…  “Sleep baby sleep, do not cry (2x),  do not cry (2x)” … …repeatedly and Earl’s eyes started dropping and before long when King thought he could breathe a sigh of relief, we heard Earl’s voice “sleep daddy sleep, do not cry. Sleep daddy sleep, do not cry, do not cry, do not cry!”

Of course, King allowed him go back to play knowing that when he gets tired, he just falls down on that spot and dozes off.

Categories
Daily Prompt Impact Lyrical Mondays

#MondayMatters


Sometimes, the beginning of your week gives you the feeling that weekend should already be back here. But that is because you are allowing another decide for you how your day should be.

Whilst most people are usually thankful it’s Friday. I’m grateful for all days, because these are opportunities.

#MakeYourMondayCount

@imanikel 181021 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

Categories
Articles Freedom Fridays Life My Lagos Nigeria

#FreedomFriday – My Grouse!


I have noticed that most bikes in Lagos if not all, are without their side mirrors. This got me wondering why the manufacturers would risk lives in such a manner. Poor manufacturer, getting blamed for what its user re-invented. How did I discover this? A young fellow I spoke with this morning, when I asked why his bike was without the mirrors, responded in his defense that “Nah only Baba dem dey use bike with side mirror!” 😳 Meaning it is only the elderly who ride bikes with side mirrors. In other words, it is uncool and if you did that, you are old!

I watched him as he kept turning back to see if there was an on-coming vehicle, something he could have easily seen if his mirror was in place.

My second grouse, is with a certain presentable young lady whom we shared a ride with, who didn’t use a face mask and as if that wasn’t bad enough, kept putting her finger into her nose, dug around a bit, bought up ‘gold’ and effortlessly flipped the ‘gold’ from her fingers into the surrounding space. The first time I said to myself, probably I didn’t see that well, maybe she just touched the tip of her nose which was tingly. But when the digging continued for a while, I shook my trousers and sweater lying across my bag to ensure that nothing was left on them. Such things I think should be done in the privacy of your home and your ‘tools’ or fingers washed properly. If it must happen anywhere else, please use Kleenex.

Nothing annoys me more than people who get into a vehicle and the next thing you hear is ‘shift or adjust’ even when they have enough space to fit their structure, and the next thing is, they are shooting daggers at the one whom they think has consumed all the space. Mtchewwwwwwwwwww. Like one wise man said, we are only together for a few hours or less, so just endure me till I get off the bus!

Last line, but not the end of things people do that is annoying:
I had just crossed over a semi-busy road about to board another vehicle towards home and I heard someone say by my side “I love your boobs!” I was livid, bemused and wondering why a grown up man would look at another man’s wife and say that. Of course, you’ll say he’s appreciating God’s handiwork and who asked him to? I was a tad concerned if he was normal and genuinely asked him, “are you okay or is there something intrinsically wrong with you?” He looked somewhat unkempt, but I’m sure he was okay. I quickly crossed over and carried it back to the owner to avoid-stories-that-touch.

What do people do that gets you thinking, where are we headed? Please share.

@imanikel 151021 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

Categories
Thankful Thursday

What’s In Your Tank?


That’s the question, have you check it out today?

What’s your answer?

@imanikel 141021 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

Categories
Articles Food Life Relationships Tuesday Thoughts

I’m In Love With A Cook!


You see, I usually don’t get hungry or eat before 11am and any day I do that, then something unusual had happened. I’ll leave the reasons for another day. Before, you begin your sermon on “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, can I be excused briefly from this Master class? Thank you.

To make matters worse, I don’t love bread (just like my dad 😌) except it is toasted and has some messages inside that I have to decode, then you’ve got me! By the way, those ‘coded messages’ should not make my bread soggy or else, I won’t eat it.

Imagine my shock and much to my delight this morning when I asked Oba to help me with eggs and sausage and the helping took a while as I dressed up, only to see toasted bread in my food pack 😳. I lifted the bread to be sure the eggs were there…after all that’s the request.
Eggs? ✅
Sausage? ✅
And I dropped back the bread with a mild protest of “I may likely not eat this because it will get soggy!”
Oba responds, “It’s toasted bread, baby!”
I can see that, but it’s still hot and by the time I get to the office, it will be. I protested.

Fast forward to office scenario:
The bread started calling my name just before work began, I still had time on my hands, I simply ignored it. After all, I don’t get hungry before 11am. Next thing, I knew, I brought the pack out to keep it close so I can delve into it when it’s time but alas, the sounds grew stronger and stronger and with each cry to be redeemed, my defenses fell apart. I hate to admit.

I began thinking about giving you this gist with half a piece gone, but by the time I got to typing the title, the whole slice had disappeared.
Boy! That was delicious!
After adding some messages inside, he pan-toasted the bread. So I didn’t get a hard-crust toasted bread, but a succulent, soft and now decoded bread with my eggs and sausage till awaiting demolition at a later hour.

So you see why I’m in love with the cook, because he knew my button and he pressed it well, till I broke my own law!

It’s #ThankfulTuesday and I have someone to thank God for and he is all mine!

PS: When I told Oba “I’m in love with a cook”, he asked me which one? And I asked him how many he knew. He listed Udy of @foodtopiaud and Idong of @idy_lacremecakes, but left himself out.
This is just you babes! And it’s a double!

#UnapologeticallyMe

@imanikel 051021 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

Categories
Articles Life Thankful Thursday

#ThankfulThursdays – Just because I Am!


Dear God,

It’s so easy to complain about the traffic I have to endure every morning and every evening on my way to and from work. The many hours I get to wait before I get a vehicle. But someone, has been praying to get a job, and no response yet; “If only, they’ll take me, I’m tired of sitting at home!” they pray daily.

It’s easy to complain about the rising cost of foodstuff, yet someone threw away food yesterday, because it had stayed too long in the fridge to the point that it got bad because of PHCN and their magic called light.

How about the complaints of having to repeat dresses, shirts, trousers? By the way, the mad man on the street is still wearing the same barely-covering-anywhere clothes for months now and he keeps trudging the streets, having serious conversations with all the unseen and I’m not sure where he sleeps.

The list in endless…but these paint the picture.

Did I remember to greet You and ask how You are doing with the affairs of keeping us in line? I don’t think so, You are God and it’s so easy for You to coordinate that. I guess! 🙈

Well, I just popped in to say thank You for all those really beautiful miracles this week from total strangers. Just when I was feeling like, why do You let me go through all this, You send someone to tap me out of the thoughts and offer me help. Twice, this week. I know it’s You, because it’s got Your prints all over it.

Thank You especially for beautiful songs that spring up too and make me dance without realizing where I am. It makes me lost in the amazement of Your deep love for me. Indeed, nothing and no one can separate me from Your love and like You used Gochii to point out again, this JOY You’ve given to me, if I keep connecting to it, nothing or no one can STILL it.

Just a note to say, I love it that You love me more…*wink*

Iman – I Manifest Adonai’s Nature #UnapologeticallyMe

@imanikel 200521 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung