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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 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

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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

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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

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Life Nigeria Rant

#HappySunday!


I know those that know will begin to laugh at the title. It happened like two or so weeks ago, I opted to let it pass, but then it happened again! So, here I am calling out all the #HappySunday peeps. Where are you at?!

“What happened?” you ask.

I was on my way to church on that Sunday and around my estate gate was a gathering of men (middle-aged, young and a slightly older man), the older man greeted me with “Happy Sunday!” and I responded, “Good morning Sir” and continued and whilst thinking about it, I wondered aloud and it occurred to me that I usually hear Policemen say that, I smiled and forgot about it.

On my way home, one of my neighbourhood friends stopped the Bike he was on, just to greet me as I waited to buy something at the supermarket. I hailed him back and the next thing he said was, “Happy Sunday” and waited. I wondered why he was waiting and the person with me said he was waiting to get something from me because it’s Sunday! Now, I’m shocked, as to why a greeting should be interpreted to mean, “It’s time to settle me, Sunday has come”…hmmm! 😳

I ignored all the “Happy Sunday” greeters and went home in that hot sun to relax and eat a good lunch.

Dear reader, I’m up for giving to anyone on any day of the week. But whilst, they have chosen a particular day and given it honour, an honour that gives it special recognition as tax-collection day, I have chosen the whole 7 days of the week, including their Sunday to collect my ‘tax’. So when next I meet you and greet you ‘Happy Wednesday’, you know what time it is, please, don’t make me repeat myself. Just simply do the needful and we will have peace in Salem 😌.

Oh, I forgot to ask, I hope your day is going on well and before you answer that, Happy Tuesday and you know what that means…I’m expecting different kinds of alert! 💃Anamashobiri! 😋

@imanikel 160321 (c) Frances Kelvin Otung

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Freedom Fridays Life Nigeria Rant

Why I love my country…


I might get stoned for this, but hey, it’s my opinion so you go get yours! I was discussing with Oba the other day and we realized (yet again) that Nigeria is just a sweet place to live in. I tell you no lie.

  • Has the dollar rates come down? No!
  • Is the cost of living better now? On the contrary, harsher.
  • Are our policies being followed through without hitches and endless bureaucracy? Nope
  • With all the plenty churches, prayer centres and mosques around, have all our prayers been answered? Not yet.
  • Seeing we have ample foodstuff, mineral and human resources, are we better off? You know nah

So what is the craze about my country?

It is in the way we make jokes, home-movies and songs out of every situation.

I refuse to mention names, you are chuckling already because you know them.

The intelligent way we discuss national issues on radio and TV (sometimes).

I’m not talking about political discussions o! I mean when forward thinking people proffer solutions.

Sadly, I don’t think that the leadership have people that work with them listening up for creative ways to change and move this country forward. They should.

It is the fun things we do to ease tension.

The bus-conductor and his passengers plus driver.

The Okada with the horn of a trailer.

Nah only for Naija, dis dey happen.

The road marshals (including agberos) and the very creative ways some collect levies from motorists. Hmmm, this one is something else.

It is the beautiful places surrounding us, the many talented people we have here, the many fun activities that are available week in and out.

It is in the different foods she has to offer. The well-dressed guest to a wedding reception that is neither friend nor family to the bride or groom or their friends’ friend!

Was passing by and saw an opportunity to eat free food and collect souvenir, the guy/babe turned in!

It is the ready-to-help-you-with-answer to any question attitude, even the one they know nothing of.

Hyenana indeed! LOL

Nigeria SHA!

Proudly Nigeria

(c) 2017. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved.

Categories
Freedom Fridays Rant

Dollars and Sharing thingz


I don’t get it! When will you change your method of operation? Has it not occurred to you that we are in the 21st Century and if your Voodoo priest is still giving you the same story lines, then maybe you need a new priest or one that is on the internet, at least educated with the times we are in.

These were the same lines he gave to Mr. P and it didn’t work. Maybe it did, if not you wouldn’t have joined the bandwagon. But if you ask me, I think it’s lame, you are lame too for believing it and more lame is the greedy fellow that keeps falling for your very poorly scripted story played by 3 actors only.

Okay! I’m done with the steam now. So what happened?

Many years ago in Port-Harcourt (3 instances) and 1 in Lagos, 3 different cabs picked me up and the following discussion ensued immediately I was picked.

1st Instance:
I got into a cab with my ear-piece on, listening to my discman. I was headed to Artillery Junction from Rumukwurushi, the other occupants were busy having discussion in the car and we got before Shell Camp, the driver parked and his partner-in-crime got down with him and they returned complaining about a carton of Dollars behind, where did he get the money from and they wanted to share it. I ignored them and continued listening to the discman and when they noticed I didn’t buy into their game, the driver tapped me at about Rumuibekwe and said he wasn’t going my way anymore, that I should get down. LOL. Ole!

2nd Instance:
Same scenario, but this time I was going to work, so I began praying in tongues and I prayed out loud. And they quickly told me to get down, I refused, that they must drop me at our negotiated destination (of course I was looking for their trouble, so they could enter the traffic jam and burn a bit of petrol) but they had obviously calculated that they won’t get anything from me, so it was better I got down fast and they chased another victim.

3rd Instance:
Oga, I wan drop for “Our Men of Power Ministries”

I was seated behind with a female Youth Corper (new-to-town apparently). Immediately I looked up and saw a sign board that had the name above (can’t remember the exact name, but it was some church signboard by the road side) and for some reason I felt he just read it off the board, because it didn’t roll off his tongue.

Driver parks and says “pay me my money”, and this creep continues, “I wan go call my brother to come help me carry the load for back”. Driver gets down to help him and returns looking ‘upset’, “You sey you no get money, who get all the money for boot?”.

Immediately I heard that, I tapped on the Corper and said “Sweetheart, let’s get down here. Driver, we want to drop.” I didn’t know her name, so ‘Sweetheart’ was good enough. The driver insisted that he was headed our way, I insisted we were not going again and got down. The passenger aka Mr Creep, didn’t drop again, but zoomed off with the driver.

All these happened many years ago, but last week in Lagos, they picked a friend’s maid and she made them look more stupid than they already are.

She told them she wasn’t interested in their Dollars, as she doesn’t have where to hide it.

They asked about her employees, their kind of jobs, if she had an account with up to N50,000 in it. You want to give her $500, why are you asking her for N50,000? They said they needed a place to pray for the money before sharing, she advised them that her Aunty worked for a church, maybe they can go there and have them pray for the money. But she needs to drop off because her wards will soon be home from school. Eventually, as the owner of the money made to drop and check something behind, she quickly got out and slammed their door and they hurried away.

They probably would have hurt her, but God save the day. My point is, why do they keep using the same storylines? Get a new script-writer to work on your lines, maybe it will work on the greedy ones but for me and the rest of us not interested in your cheap dollar, go get a real job!

©2016. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved

Categories
Rant The Word

Help!!! I’ve been pulled back


I just have to keep going, keep pressing on against the wind, against the sand in my face, through these sea of bodies. It’s a fight for survival. Everyone is doing it, so I might just get to the end of the race regardless of how my bones ache and my body is begging for respite.

Looking back, I’ve made quite some progress, nothing much to write home about, but at least I’ve left the start line and I’m in motion. That’s what it is, right? Everyone is in motion, therefore, I must count in that number. It doesn’t feel like much. As a matter of fact, I feel alone and left to struggle this out on my own.

Thought You said “You loved me?!”
“I’ll never leave you nor forsake you”
Where are You in all this?
“I am with you till the end of the age.”
Then why do I feel so alone?
“You are not alone, child, before you were born I knew you.”
‘Knowing’ shows intimacy, is this how You treat people You love? I heard that “Love gives!”
“I gave you Jesus!”
And where is He right now that I need answers?

I question the Answer as I run on, shooting down every response He gives to me. How can He be unmoved by all I’m going through?

G flies past me, no worries, I’ll catch up with you soon. O waves as he glides away, my heart sinks. Watching Z breeze easily away, was the last straw and then He stops me.

HELP!!!

Somebody help me! I’ve been stopped in the middle of my race.
Help! I’ve been pulled back by One who said He loves me. Don’t be callous, don’t race on as if you can’t see my situation. Does it not look awkward to you as I stand still, while others fly past? Can’t you tell something is wrong? Help! I’ve been pulled back by the Hand that was meant to assist me.

How sad 😦

  • To fire a gun, the trigger is taken back.
  • A bowstring is pulled back and the aim (target) in focus before the archer releases the arrow, so it goes further.

©2016. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved

Categories
Life Rant Relationships The Word

What If…


I’d love to box God into a corner if that were possible, put a gun to His head (or something else that my finite mind can conjure) and have Him answer me “When it will happen?”, “Why it hasn’t happened yet?” I’d love to seal every hole He’d want to escape from and have Him tied to the seat or handcuffed to a pole (I must be watching too many action movies lately) and “talked to” till He begs for mercy and gives me the answers willingly. But how do you hold down an Infinite God? How do you capture One whom WORDS (seen) and WINDS (unseen) obey?

Something nudges me on the inside asking me a simple and somewhat innocent question “What if it never happens, what are you going to do?” As I sit listening to Brian Courtney Wilson – I’ll Just Say Yes and sing along, I’m still wondering ‘how long’?

By the way, I had a discussion with Him yesterday, more like a MONOLOGUE and I told Him (as if He didn’t hear it for Himself already) what the heathen said “Where is your God?”

I know where You are, but how do I explain that it is beyond what You have done and I’ve entered into, it is beyond what You have finished and I’m yet to receive or experience. It felt good venting yesterday so today, I’ll just stick to saying “Yes Lord! Yes Lord!! My life is yours!!!”

By the way, I love You <3!

©2016. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved