Categories
Articles Daily Prompt Freedom Fridays Life My Lagos Nigeria Rant

#MyLagos – A pot-pourri of their lifestyle.


Early one morning on my way to work, we passed by a healthy black goat (she looked pregnant, that’s how I knew it was a ‘she’ 😌), who fled from our path as a car approached and I mused to myself, that even the goat was wise and loved her life better than whatever it is she was attempting to pick up from the road.

So, how come, when you are walking or speeding down the road, grown-up men stand casually and intentionally in your path, expecting you, the car, bike or *Keke to manoeuvre around them rather than them stepping off harm’s path. You get to hear things like, nah “Omo ni le” meaning “the child of the landowner”. The last time I checked a vehicle with failed brakes or one driven by a drunk doesn’t recognise titles or anything in it’s path that won’t step aside.

#MyLagos people not only stand in the way to assert ownership, the *louts, do worse. For that driver trying to make ends meet, who probably ran away from school because he didn’t understand the signs and symbols or whose parents couldn’t afford to pay his basic fees, he found himself a new ‘teacher’ complete with marker on the road, to score the number of times he has settled his logistics bill. It’s amazing how they (the taskmasters) recall if you had paid the morning, afternoon or evening’s charge or you had a balance to complete.

The really funny one is that every day the marker or sign for the day is different.
Did it end there? For where?!
After the driver has survived the ‘usual’ suspects, the next day he meets a new group who are collecting money for their own branch and guess who suffers this “teacher’s” fees? The passengers, of course!

You asked what they do with the money? If only I knew, but it has been said that the owners wait patiently to receive as donated.
Suffice to say that the teachers are global, by this I mean, they come from neighbouring towns and states. I know we have a lot of Ibadan and Abeokuta “teachers”. I’m wondering if they don’t have vehicles in their vicinity to obtain. It is surprising what the “teacher” uses his own ‘salary’ to do at the beginning and end of the day – drink sachet gin, eat small rice or beans with plenty huge pomo (cow-hide) and beef and more sachet gin and water in between.

Permit me at this point to say that if you are loud enough and have the coarsest of voice! You will make a good teacher and your marker makes you ready for work. Did I mention the flip-side of not submitting your windscreen for the marks and your money for the course manual? You either lose your fuel tank cover, the rubber that protects your window or door, your wiper (if you have one) or your side mirror if it is convertible. Talk about convertible side-mirrors 😂 others lose their Keke foot mat.

For what it is worth, Lagos has a mix that I love sometimes. How about you?

Glossary
*Tricycle or Auto rickshaw
*Lout – an uncouth and aggressive man or boy.

@imanikel 121121 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

Categories
Articles Daily Prompt Freedom Fridays Life My Lagos Nigeria Rant

#MyLagos: Action People 😳


My buddy, Dee seems to think I should continue writing about My Lagos till I end the series. But can you ever really run out of drama in Lagos?! The City thrives on the noise and the excess drama and when I say “excess”, I mean excess. Their parties are loud, music loud 🙉, meat inside the food loud…sorry BIG😂, the bikes don’t have side mirrors but some definitely have boomboxes blasting away, their greeting, loud…across your afro or wig! 😅 Their fight? Legendary! Hmmm

Speaking of which, on my way to work yesterday as I attempted crossing over to the other side of the road to catch a vehicle, I heard someone walking really fast behind, as if to catch up with me and sounded very angry as he was talking. I quickly turned, so I’ll know if to step out of the way or something. Thank God I did – phew 😅 because from the corner of my eyes, I say his hands fling past my hairline literally, as he described whatever to the other listening party in the phone! So, here am I feeling like a bulldozer was behind, meanwhile someone was just having a descriptive conversation with another and his hands spoke more than his speech.

Another thing about My Lagos is their ‘Eye-witness’ nature. To get home from my estate gate, you either drive, walk down or take a bike. I was on a bike in and I saw someone running away. He had good reasons to, because the next fellow was shirtless, but clothed himself with “you go hear am today” and had a big stick in his hand, chasing after him. Of course, the street and the house they came out of, had enough spectators to form a *wakapass crowd for a movie. Who knows, maybe they were playing a movie role. But I didn’t allow my bikeman to wait and watch, which would have been natural for him because the fear I noticed in the first man’s strides and face were real. It is better to be safe than sorry.

“Na which person *gra-gra loud pass, nah him dey win argument”. That’s what they are trying to turn me into, but God pass dem. Last night, I had to walk a distance towards the bridge before getting to another bus-stop. An unknown ‘pally’ who doesn’t live in my side of Lagos walked with me, as I tried helping him with directions to where he was headed last night. From the corners, some boys came out and tried surrounding him to get money ‘for the boys’ and he told them he didn’t have any.
So this is the new pattern now, not only do they harass bikemen and buses, they harass pedestrians too – mostly guys. So, I continued our conversation and told him to keep moving (stopping is an error he would have regretted). The first lad left apparently because he saw me and the genuineness my unknown pally spoke.

Were we in the clear? For where?! A taller bully showed up and demanded for money, I told him there was none and he said to me, “you dey like person wey dey give person money?” I told him if the first person who had asked initially came back, I’d give him money. But no money for this bully. He was upset and talked about how I would cry if my bag was snatched, I offered him the bag, but he kept saying “you get money?” All the while looking around. I wonder if he was checking to know the source of my boldness or an escape route should he snatch his grand-mother’s bag 😉

Glossary:
*wakapass – extras
*gra-gra – uncoordinated opinion

@imanikel 051121 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

Categories
Articles Daily Prompt People I've met Rant Thankful Thursday

#ThankfulThursday – People


Listening to my friend and colleague Vaso talk about people on his podcast this morning, I could totally relate. But I won’t ask like McReynolds to be delivered from people, but that I will be able to help people recognise their best selves daily as much as I can. Sometimes, it’s truly difficult to do that, but the power of the tongue doesn’t permit me to say some things my tongue desires to, cause I’m afraid I’ll just birth or bring into existence what I don’t want to see. 🙈

Well, the trick lately is to look at me and see, what part of me still needs working on, and I work it. So it seems my patience has been pulled in all directions lately, my mind attacked, my self-esteem tugged out…but the funny thing about my self-esteem is I had dealt with this one when I was a lot younger. So the attacks don’t reach there, they simply reinforce me!

How?
Since you asked, let me share…
So at an early age, I heard things like, “you are too chubby, too fat (for heaven’s sake I was a fat baby and fat babies are cute 😌, though heavy to carry and I didn’t like been carried while sitting, do the maths! LOL), your head is big, your …is big, your …is flat, are you Chinese – no disrespect, my people, but I heard a lot? Once, I took a tape and measured someone’s head and his was bigger than mine and yet he said I had a big head!
So whenever, someone mentioned my head, I told them that’s why I was wiser than them.😋
As for the big …, I see most of them now doing surgery to enlarge theirs…rolling my painted eyes at those memories. 👀

Well, people will always be people, but you have to determine the access you give them, the access into your space and mind to the point that they begin to matter or not.

When I wake in the morning, it’s refreshing to see people, even those who are outright annoying, at least they bring you back to reality that you are not yet a Spirit and there are still more for you to work on in this side of eternity. Beyond that, they form my daily interesting characters for #MyLagos Series.

Whatever you are thankful for today, be thankful for people!

@imanikel 041121 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

Categories
Articles My Lagos Nigeria Rant Tuesday Thoughts

#ThoughtfulTuesday


Where are my thoughts this warm Tuesday afternoon…on my Lagos of course! Someone would think I hold shares in the way wealth is distributed in Lagos by my claims, “My Lagos!” But you see, I used to live in the Garden City aka Port-Harcourt and ever since I relocated by force abi nah choice (I don’t know again), I tried adjusting to Lagos speed-life and couldn’t (or so I thought). But by the time I went to visit Port-Harcourt, the City felt too slow for me. I just couldn’t cope! 😮

Now, I can comfortably say I’m a Lasgidi person but there are things that I still don’t get that put me off. Here goes some of the complains:

  1. The always wet street, because Iya (somebody) is cooking rice or ewa (beans) for her numerous clients by the corner and it’s only natural to pour the pepper-water on the tar or sand in front of the shop, but definitely in the middle of the road. So, the LG chairman ensured the road was patched with interlocking stones, but Iya Somebody still pours her pepper-water faithfully like libation. Mtschewwww 😋
  2. The ‘normal’ habit of conductors, market women, a passer-by speaking to you in Yoruba, because you are in Lagos and therefore must speak Yoruba. For these sets, when they do, I respond in English to enquire what they are talking about and trust a typical Yoruba person to bad-mouth me because I don’t understand, that’s when I go FBI (Full Blooded Ibibio) babe and respond in my language, “Abo di e?” So both of us are stuck in a field of no-experience. Unlike the ‘Field of Experience’ in Communication, where interaction is achieved. 😌
  3. Why do bus drivers or bikes always have the desire to buy fuel, when you are rushing to work, or stop to gauge their tires.
    Speaking of which I’m reminded of an incident yesterday. So, we managed to secure occupancy in a bus headed our way and the ‘Uncle’ decided to pump his tires. He passed a vulcanizer who was relatively free and went to his ‘customer’ who was patching another vehicle’s tire, with a trailer waiting in line (to do who-knows-what) and our bus was number 3 – on a Monday morning in Lagos (Ajah) traffic 😳 One of the occupants in our bus, ‘Aunty’, dared to complain about this stopping, which would make her go late. The ‘Uncle’ responded in a very angry and rude manner, that if she doesn’t like, she should come down and collect her money. Trust ‘Aunty’, she subsequently demanded for her refund. As if drawn by some unseen spirits 8 persons joined ‘Aunty’ to drop. The conductor returned their monies to them, but used ‘Aunty’ to do ring-a-ring-a-roses (she didn’t stop following him and demanding for her money because the driver didn’t know how to speak to someone). The conductor kept at it, till the vulcanizer seeing our forlorn faces skipped the trailer and attended to us! Pheww 😅 Just as we drove out of that spot, ‘Aunty’ was still by the bus-stop yet to find another vehicle. Remember, I told you it was a Monday morning and you swallow your pride on Mondays, as bus no dey dey! I don’t buy into the rudeness arena but when it comes to a Monday morning and I’m carrying an extra bag which is heavy because of content, I’m humble o! Did I also mention that the driver was initially nasty to me too, I ignored.

Well, my Lagos isn’t so bad (sometimes) but that’s where the life is. Share a bit of your ‘Lagos’ or world with me. I’m keen on discovering it with you!

@imanikel 021121 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

Categories
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
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
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 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
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

Categories
Articles Change Life Relationships

#MotivationalMonday – Missed calls


So, what’s the phenomenon behind “missed calls”?

Will something happen to me if I have a missed call, whether genuinely missed or intentionally ignored?

A businessman would calculate the value of that call, and so would the operator at the Lighthouse or Control Tower who warns of the danger of missing a call etc.; I’m sure you get the picture now.

One of my friends, (name withheld, but with a sound of ‘war’ in it), used to give me the heat for not picking her call, few minutes after we last spoke. Being about two minutes away from picking me up, I would deliberately ignore her call. Upon querying her as to why this was important, she responded; “what if something happened soon after we got off the phone and I needed to alert you on it”? So, I learnt not to ignore calls, even when I think I know what will be discussed.

So, yours truly is back from work, very tired and have to make food to eat (usually something unusual), with the satisfied look of finally-life-has-new-meaning-to-me and then Oba comes calling! I don’t have a problem with his calling, just so you know, but there are times that though you miss someone, you’d rather just fall into the bed and be watched by a movie (my usual), than pick a call, pretending to be listening and sometimes sleep off on the person as he or she is talking.

Thinking over on this now, there are some voices so soothing, they’d easily send you to sleep.

When you find a missed call on your phone, what do you do? Call back, or thank God you missed it, or blame it on the network.

Well, you did miss a call or two today.

How did I know?

What did you do with that prompting to pray for someone; Check up on someone and or leaving a message (which sometimes may sound silly, but by the time you get a response from that person, you recognize that you had just responded to a call that was divinely dialed), or simply having a conversation with God your Father?

What else did you do after the worship alarm went off, snoozed and continued sleeping till the bath alarm sounded?

It would be mischievous of me to put you on the spot, making you feel funny and sad about your missed calls…

So this is what we will do, return those calls; that’s one of the ways you get to build a stronger bond with Him, don’t you know He loves hearing your voice, be it in prayer, praise or worship or even gisting. I even write Him notes! That’s been a while, but I’m repenting and resuming my duties. I need to fill up His post bin.

How are you going to make up?

It’s a dicey situation, but whatever you decide that makes you happy, may the call you miss not be the one you had been waiting for for a while, to propel you into the next best and big thing!

@imanikel 260421 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung