Author Archives: imanikel

About imanikel

...a fresh slate or paper is a delight to behold, it practically beckons to me...begging to be utilized! With eyes that see and appreciate beauty in the midst of a crazy scenery...hands swift to pen what my 'wonder-filled' mind conjures! My name is Frances

Two Dramas, One Friday

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First Drama:

Today is one of those really rainy days, where you are not sure if to go to work with spare clothing because of the outpour. After braving the rain to get to the bus-stop, then the real drama begins. The actors include other persons on their way to work, those returning from ‘work’, those ‘working’ (pickpockets) as they go and of course the ‘agberos’ aka area boys …a constant in Lagos.

My colleague and I managed to find and settle into a bus after several failed attempts. Glad to be the lucky few, I allowed my colleague make the choice of which vehicle to enter. As the journey began, the conductor asked for his money…yes o! They claim it is their money, though it is in your hands. I brought out a N1,000 and he goes, “Driver, drop her now before we go far, I don’t have N1,000 or N500 change, everybody enter with ya change!” he continued for a bus that was already in motion. I simply ignored him.

You see, I was going to pay for my colleague and so had calculated that my balance would be N600 and that wouldn’t be so difficult to find. Thankfully, someone joined me in front and upon inquisition, he had change which I took from him and added him to the list of people I was paying for. I was about informing the conductor of this list and he says “Don’t talk to me.” I turned away and continued singing my song “Breathe” under my breath and nodding away. Then I said to the fellow beside me, don’t worry, he’ll soon come to me. Indeed, he did and was quite humble by this time. “Excuse me ma, the man behind says you are paying for him”, I responded in the affirmative and also paying for the man beside me.

Did I get my change? No! He held on to it though I requested twice for it. We got into traffic halfway down the trip, the bus engine went off, the conductor goes, “everybody, come down, I want to reverse”. Next thing he begins singing in a not too sonorous voice some pop local songs, feeling pleased with himself and went on for a while. I checked and found out there was a gaping hole in the place that once housed a radio. Some lady in the bus was about to pull out her earpiece, the conductor stopped singing and asked her why?

“I don’t like your songs and I want to listen to something else”,

“Don’t wear it, I will change the song” and he does to a worse one and the earpiece was secured in her ears. He went on to do a church song, which only he knew, we all began to laugh. He perched on me, “Madam, I will sing you a special song, 🎼 Come into my yoriyori ….etc I told him, let my husband catch you. No, my son, you will know yourself. Apparently the jean and funky natural hair had him thinking I was young and single. He left it and sang 🎼You are my African Queen. When he was done, he said, “Do you like it baby?” Hmmm.

He eventually gave me my balance at my bus-stop after the driver intervened by making change for him (which he could have asked for in the first place).

Second Drama:

Another colleague gets to work later than usual and as I stepped into the office looking concerned if she had gotten soaked and had to go back home to change before coming, she asked if I had seen her text. I said no and she proceeds to tell me her encounter this morning of how she was about to enter an “Ilesha bus” (small 8-seater buses) and she felt restraint but entered all the same because she was running late.

According to her, the driver had mentioned his price for each stop, which is the norm in Lagos. But when the bus got to a particular bus-stop (Igbuefon), which charge was to be N150, the two young men that were to disembark had paid less than the amount. The driver got upset and angrier when the boys didn’t complete their money. Before anyone could gather their thoughts, he zoomed off to the next turn which was four bus-stops (Jakande) turned and went back to Ajah (where the journey first started) without dropping the boys or any other passenger.

Sadly, our office from Jakande was two bus-stops away. Despite all the protest, he refused to stop, to drop the legal passengers (that is those that paid the correct fare). Took everyone back to square one, dropped the boys at Ajah, told the ‘agberos’ (area boys or louts) to beat them up and zoomed off again without refunding their N200.

Phewww One drama too many. So now, when you are entering a bus, apart from praying that the driver has not taken a sachet of ‘something’, got his license legally, pray it is not this man’s bus you enter. A word is enough for the wise.

Photo: Southport School

@imanikel 181019 Frances Kelvin Otung

When Safe Ain’t Okay

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When Safe Ain’t Okay

‘Safe’ would be remaining stuck in the known, even if movement is slow
It would be chasing the wind with nothing to glean
Safe is the familiar, the one to which you say hallelujah!
Bringing comfort with false claims of support
It is the reason your height is no flight


Keeping you stunted, like the cut of the blunted.
If unveiling mysteries and discovering other scenes is what you seek.
I beg of you, send ‘safe’ far away from your keep!
Step out and leap free, spread those arms in thrills.
There’s a whole lot out there, and safe is a cost that’s dear!

Picture Source: www.practical-agile.com

@imanikel 091019 Frances Kelvin Otung

I am Nigeria

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A mix of diversity in color and speech
Joined together by squalor and bridge
Sometimes lands and speed
Is what our tear glands feed.

Once I stood with kings and a Queen
Now it seems, as kid I begin
Yet, the call to remain a symbol stays
Beckoning others out to play.

They come with various plots and ploys
All to keep me in their dark employ.
I know me like one knows the back of their hands
I can no longer be held by their bands.

In dark, yet I rise
Plundered, I thrive!
Holding on, to the thread that binds us hard.
The love for art, music, culture and on life I stand.

Different, aye we be
But laugh we have and give.
I am what I love
The green, peace and joy?
I am what I seek
Though life makes me meek
I am now and the future
One and a great nation!

I am Nigeria!

@imanikel 011019 Frances Kelvin Otung (c)

ROOFTOP, HERE I COME!

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Have you ever been in a situation you just wanted some peace, calm and quiet away from the crazy world outside?

View yourself in a mixed crowd of people with half of them going nowhere specific, all they do each morning is wake up without so much as a splash of water on the face, or toothpaste to the teeth, set out to the corner of the street, with a sachet of alcohol in one hand and a Pepsi plastic bottle tucked into a pocket behind, walking the length of the junction or street corner, looking for who to brush past or harass and move on to the next victim.

I have to swim through these groups every other morning to get to the point I can catch a ride to work. Thankfully, I don’t make up their jurisdiction. Pheww. Imagine surviving that, getting into a bus of ‘seemingly’ sane people, only to meet a young man with beards that need a barber’s touch be nasty! Actually the beards have been shaven but it seemed with a blunt instrument. Well, I had no hand in that, so why was he nasty to me?!

He got into the bus before me (you know those 8-seater buses), I call them “Ilesha buses” because that’s where I saw them first. My Ilesha peeps, have mercy o! Mbok. On getting into the bus, I was trying to sit beside him and the driver moved, so I sort of slumped into the chair and ‘Unku’ moved himself to assert ownership of the zone and I said, “Please, take it easy.” He goes, “Do you want me to go out through the window?”

I’m only asking you to take it easy. Should I leave this seat, would it make you feel better?

What’s my own?  Am I paying for the seat?

Probably, you want to, so you feel more comfortable.

And he goes on and on about how he didn’t even touch me and I’m wondering whose elbow was nudging me immediately I sat. When all I needed was to sit first before he started moving and claiming territories. I could see he was upset about something and this was purely “transferred things”. So I say to him, “I’m not the reason you are upset and I can see you are a nasty fellow.” Yes, I said it. And he responded back to me. Told him, he was a man (meaning he should have stopped talking by now), but he went on and on. I did the next best thing, I left him to the seat behind which was comfortable and free of the nagging man.

The good book says “It is better to stay on the rooftop than to live with a quarrelsome man”. I took the advice o! Did I tell you he had the last say? At this point, I’m sober and wondering who has gotten this young man to this point. What do I know? At least, I achieved that initial peace I was looking for, away for ‘Unku’.

Picture source: mintyfreshmangos, DeviantArt.

@imanikel 250919 Frances Kelvin Otung

What women want and more…

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What women want and more…

My Dear About-To-Be-Born Son,

I’m not sure what your future daddy will say to you about women, perhaps he will say; be gentle. Be nice. Give gifts. Make her laugh. Make her feel loved. Be her hero or knight! Listen to what she’s not saying. Listen to what she’s saying – (Which one, I don’t know! If you ask me). Help her out in the kitchen once in a while. Do the laundry or change the baby’s diaper. Breakfast in bed, occasionally would be nice even if it’s not Mother’s Day.

Perhaps, he will say, “When she says NO, she means NO!”

I’m a woman, I know NO means NO, especially when it has to do with sexual activity. First of all, you have no business being in a house you haven’t received access to. I won’t encourage sexual escapades. I’m not sure what your generation will turn out to be, but some values are worth keeping till it’s time for the unveiling.

However, I’ll teach you something that even we don’t understand yet. As your wife, understand that her body runs on a different time and the time may not click with yours. If she’s saying NO to you, check to be sure that you have not committed any ‘sin’ which is the reason why you are getting a NO.

Sin? Yes o…you may have forgotten to compliment her dress or hair. Though you licked the plate clean, you didn’t voice it out to her hearing that the food was delicious. When last did you show her off to your friends or give her a “just-the-two-of-us-smile” across the room and she got the meaning instantly?

Sometimes, a simple HUG goes a long way to say “I gat you! I understand how you feel. My shoulders are always here for you. You can depend on these arms to hold you up! The world is going bonkers, but in here is warmth, peace and all that makes you glad.” That may be all she needs, son. A simple hug and then like water in its iced state, some warmth begin to melt it little by little, till it is fluid to your touch.

Other times, she needs you to be her girlfriend and just listen to her tell you about her day and be supportive. Did I tell you a peck does wonders too?! She may let you kiss her eventually, but if she doesn’t, enjoy the peck and make her feel loved regardless.

You will have to discover her for yourself. But in all you do, show her RESPECT, respect her space, her voice, her suggestions (never make her feel like she made a stupid suggestion, there’s always sense in nonsense – find it!)

After doing all, stand and bear proudly the title my son I’m proud of. I love you, baby and this is from one woman to another – your future babe.

@imanikel 240919 Frances Kelvin Otung (c)

Adventure and me

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I realised that we had visited a beautiful place last 2 years and I wrote this post but never put it up. Reading it recently, I decided to re-live those moments. I’m feeling like some adventure…what say you?!

So, we went visiting the famous Olumo Rock in Abeokuta, you can find out about it here. Yet, having an experience of the place by yourself is totally awesome. The green scenes, the stories behind the rocks (where they hid during battles, the sacrifice point – I still saw feathers and fetish-looking things on the door…no I didn’t ask questions, remember I went for fun. The stories on your path to the place, the women selling adire and other local products. Their yams taste lovely, I bought some. wink!

When the photographer gets his shot…
…and we JUMPED! But not off the cliff!

One of our team members talked about the Baptist Church there, his grandfather who was instrumental to some stuffs there. I wasn’t there in my inquisitive capacity but just to climb the rocks, take pictures and have plenty fun. By my next visit, I’ll give you the stories.

However, I got a pair of earrings and my own Made-in-Naija designed glasses.

They were worth the memory!

We met one out of this world tour guide. He wasn’t our official guide but joined us on our journey through each level. I had promised to celebrate him when I write. He’s young, fast on his feet and added to my fear with the way he jumped lightly across each rock (no matter how sloppy, I must add), has speech impediment, very good photographer (no minding  the type of phone or camera you gave him), he knew the best angles to take and until he got the best, didn’t stop snapping away. He was a ready help, as he held my hands across several of the rocks which such ease.

The guide and some of us
Beauty amongst rocks and trees!

I didn’t get his name because he couldn’t say it. Maybe I should have written on the floor or something and inquired, but I didn’t. Good news is we took pictures with him as we were about leaving, so when next you are there, look for him and you will totally enjoy your tour.

NO NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS!

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I realize that being the beginning of the year, the cycle of making resolutions without achieving solutions will begin and I wonder, when does this cycle end? For some, it never does, because making New Year resolutions have become a To-Do on their January schedule and it makes them feel ‘focused’.

Don’t mind me. I’m not here to make you feel guilty about making your New Year resolve, neither will I joke about the seriousness you’ve given to it this time. Probably, I’m talking to myself and some like me who make grand plans that don’t take shape or materialize by the set date or some who wonder why we even bother. Fear not, there’s hope!

So how do we remedy this?

Recognize that you are not in competition with anyone else. You are put under pressure by you, your eyes, your refusal to learn from your mistakes, your ‘greed’ and sometimes you forget that there’s a time and a season for every matter under the Sun.

Decide to walk at the pace that is comfortable for you, achieve something every day (as much as you can), look at the past goals you made last year, if you haven’t achieved them yet and still want to do something about them, by all means, do just that! Don’t create new resolutions yet – address the pending ones with a determination to get results. For all you know, all you need to achieve them is a change in strategy.

Read, Learn, Read some more, Listen to other minds that you admire and attempt to create something that is uniquely you. When you get stuck, ask someone for directions. Not everyone requires payment for free advice. You can get the best of advice in the most unlikely of places, from discussions with colleagues, to throwing open your idea and listening to people give their input (you have to be discerning enough to know what to take and what to dispose), even from the pulpit, the best of organizational and business strategies are enunciated !

Leave the blame game behind, reinvent you in a way that even you would want your autograph! Just kidding…probably not! Key focus here, is to do something about the ‘usual you’ and be intentional about the changes you want to make in that routine that hasn’t brought results yet.

If by the set date, you are yet to achieve all or half of what you penned down, give yourself another date, but don’t stop trying. Have a source of inspiration that can motivate you daily and use it!

I haven’t written and posted anything online for a long while, even my blog must be covered in dust now. But have I stopped writing? NO! I write in my journal instead and yes, being in my book doesn’t mean the number of people I intend to reach have been communicated to. But I’m still writing for the time I decide to post. Let’s do this walk together this year, find someone you will be accountable to concerning your goals and let it set sail. The ride will definitely be enjoyable with another cheering you on.