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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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Freedom Fridays Relationships

#FreedomFridays – The voice in the Voice


A messed up day it was, till I heard your voice…did you leave a voice note in the midst of my crazy day? No! My mind by default recalled the pleasures I have when I hear the sound of your voice and it drew upon that reminder. My thought searched through my files and remembered the Word of Him who loves me beyond limits, and when these two sounds synergized, my world, my atmosphere experienced a shift.

Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

It may look and sound like an ordinary day to others,
But when the rhythms play out in my soul like no other,
I dance to blues unknown
Gaining pleasures untold
Dropping by to say, “I love you my Oba” and “thank You my King for this gift”
That gives not just my heart the throb, or my being the bob, but also my face a lift!

It sometimes rings like silence crafted to plague my day
Yet with You, the created, the intangible have their say
On the surface, the ‘mask’ shields the anxiety and questions
Yet Your Voice becomes a fortress in the center of tensions
Thank You for the Voice within the voice
The same that comforts and surrounds us!

In the songs I hear, the reminders so clear
“You are more to me than these My dear”
I rejoice in knowing Your love for me never fades
But gets cooler in all awesomeness and shades
I remain Yours now and forever more
And You, the One Iman adores!

I Am Iman – I Manifest Adonai’s Nature #UnapologeticallyMe

@imanikel 29012021 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Beauty Freedom Fridays

#Freedom Friday – Don’t hate me…


Don’t hate me for dropping lyrics to Him, ascribing to Him all the beauty my mind can conceive.

Don’t give me the eye for lines that fly, in sync with the One who makes me wink, but when I look into them, they make me sink into His unending love.

Don’t start a fight, it’s my right to respond to Him in words that describe how I see Him.

Dear God,
I think You are cool in jeans and a fitted shirt, with a touch of red. I love hats, so I’ll add that to the looks too and maybe some blues.

You are ageless and don’t need to lean, but I’ll give You a walking stick for more swag. I’m not really into blings, so I’ll leave that out, but a dash of grey on the beard is a fact.

I love eyes, I won’t imagine Yours, but when I look into them, make me find a kaleidoscope of colours without defining lines. Let me be drawn in as it goes from Greenish Grey to Brown and other mix of blue in-between.

Your voice, definitely deep and soothing but light enough to hit any modulation when we worship. Your touch, more comforting than any touch my mind could fathom.

You are beyond description, but if I had a choice to give You a face, I won’t because the awe would be too much to grasp.

This is me checking You out this morning and i hope You love my painting of a Friday You!

#UnapologeticallyMe #UnapologeticallyYours

@imanikel 09102020 Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles Freedom Fridays

#FreedomFriday – Calm down


I’m not sure how many of us have seen the “calm down” video online that went viral. It’s about a little boy who probably disobeyed his mum and she threatened to punish him. What we saw was a weeping boy negotiating his case with his mum and unlike most motivational speakers today, his emotions were real, he wasn’t negotiating from a “I-heard-it-somewhere” point of view, but from an experiential one.

In my words, ‘Mum, I know you are upset about my bad behaviour. I admit I’ve done this severally and gotten away with it because it’s you nah (in Nigerian pidgin we’d say, ‘nah we we’). But I also know that if you relax, you won’t want to punish me, after all, I’m your loving son. Have you forgotten that you love me? That’s why you pardoned me the previous ones.”

In my words, Mum goes, ‘That’s why I need to carry out the punishment this time because you know my weakness of love towards you and you have been using it as an escape. Not anymore.’

‘I can see this first skill didn’t work, mum. How about you relax on the chair, not in the usual style, try out my method (and he demonstrates what he means, all the while sobbing), you will feel a lot better.’

I had a wonderful time enjoying his conversation even in the midst of his tears with his mum. The part that almost annoyed me, was when I heard that certain people were planning to take the mother up for saying she will punish her child. These persons or groups seem to have forgotten the many serious issues of child rape, abuse, kidnaps etc going on, the domestic battery and violence, the problem of depression from loss of work and no money or lack of proper health care that has allowed many treatable patients pass on to the other side untimely.

With the mighty logs in their eyes, they have left the more important things needing activist attention to disturb the net over a mother that recorded her private negotiation session with her son and put online. If she wanted to punish him, she would have done so without recording it and none of us would know what took place in her home. Apparently, he always makes her these kinds of promises and doesn’t keep them and if she shares the story outside, we won’t believe the young-man is good with negotiation, so she decided to play her home video outside.

If you don’t have anything to do, come I’ll point you in the right direction. Children of these days don’t need to be taught certain skills but encouraged to use it for greater good.

When I told my son to cut our video call, he refused and asked me to do it, I refused too. When his grandmother offered to cut it from his end, my one-liner 8-year son said to her, “that’s inappropriate!” Grandma, went her way o!

It’s #FreedomFriday, what are you on about? Like my mum used to say, “cool ya heart temper!” LOL

@imanikel 07082020 Frances Kelvin Otung

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Freedom Fridays Life

#FreedomFridays – I have a question🤔


Dear God,

I’m not sure who exactly to channel this question to, since You are available, know all things, are the Creator of the heavens and the earth. I guess, it makes sense asking You and no other.

Why is it that the day I want to do laundry is when it rains? 🤔

Or the night the air is so still, that PHCN takes power and for some reason the generator chooses that period to go on ‘strike’?😡

Why do people who have never (literally) offered you anything before decide to buy you lunch that must be eaten as soon as it is brought, the day you are fasting? 🤐

Why do friends and family call just when you started sleeping? When you had been tossing and turning hours earlier and nobody called🙄😯

Why do people begin a movie, sleep through it and wake up at the end to start all over again and sleep again🙈 (don’t look at me, how should I know?)

Why do I yawn if someone besides me yawns? I noticed the cycle continues and then stops as suddenly as it began.

Why do people who were really ill, begin to get better and just when everyone is excited they are okay, they pass on😔

Why do people know the right thing to do and the truth, but choose to do wrong and to lie?! 😒

What’s the thought on the minds of mosquitoes and others, just before they are sprayed or squashed to their demise?

Since, you wanted to know what my question is, I’d like to know yours too!

It’s just one of those days I’m wondering why some things happen. Here’s to my thoughts going in many directions.

Dear God, You know what my real question is, please send me a reply, privately. Thanks😍

I Am IMAN – I Manifest Adonai’s Nature.

@imanikel 31072020 Frances Kelvin Otung