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 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 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
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

Categories
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

Categories
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
Arts Freedom Fridays

#FreedomFriday – From my heart ♥


Hurrying up to go to work, I move from room to room and back again trying to ensure everything is in place. King Earl walks up to me:

KE: Mum!!! Please can I use your green pen?
Me: No, sweetie. I need to go to work with it.
KE: (protesting) but I need to use it, I want to write something from my heart!
Me: (shocked, but I did the adult face) you can use a pencil or a black pen to write it.
KE: Yes…but I need the green pen because I want to write something from my heart (he insisted)

I’m not given to joking with ‘heart matters’, so I hand over the green pen and continue with my concerns. Time to leave and I ask for my pen.

KE: I’m not through, Mum
Me: I need my pen, baby.

KE hands over the pen with a very sad face 😦 and I put it in my pocket. Picking up the ‘thing from my heart’, I realised it was a really beautiful drawing he had started. “Wow! It’s beautiful baby. I love it!” His face lights up at my words. “Please, draw it well ok. Mummy loves the picture”.

We are not done with the heart matter, but here is what he has done so far. What do you think?

Earl's Heart Drawing

 

Categories
Freedom Fridays My Paraphrase

#Abraham’s POV


Going through Abram’s time and his situation(s), I viewed his world through his eyes, but in our times. It’s #FreedomFriday and I get to do what I want – with freedom. Yippee!

I remember minding my own business and helping daddy out with his Cattle business with my brothers Nahor and Haran in Ur of the Chaldees, hopeful that when he passed on, the inheritance will become mine or at least most of it, as the eldest. I recall the many father-son conversations and bonding time we usually had in the cool of the evening sipping on coconut water, whilst waiting for food to be ready; strategizing on the best location for grazing the animals. Oh! How I truly loved those time, until Haran died and left Lot without a father. I remember them now with sadness.

You see, daddy had to relocate from Ur of the Chaldees heading towards Canaan (I’m not sure what the real reasons were though) but when he got to the city of Haran, he pitched his tent there and died there. Despite our bonding time, I couldn’t bring myself to tell daddy that God had spoken to me and told me to leave Ur of the Chaldees, my siblings and parents and follow Him blindly on promises of a great nation, blessing, a great name and the rest! Who would believe me? Surely they would think me crazy. So I played along and though I am sad he died in Haran, I’m sure you can connect with my feeling of relief that I didn’t have to break daddy’s heart after he lost Haran. Hmmm.

I obeyed God and left Haran, got into famine, left for Egypt, had to ‘battle’ with Pharaoh for Sarai, my fair-to-look-upon-drop-dead-gorgeous wife. Thank God they didn’t kill me there. And did I just thank Him? Yes o! He had a hand in my deliverance. From enemies without, to enemies within – my herdsmen and my nephew’s herdsmen having a scuffle amongst themselves. Over what? Grass and space! My own brother’s son, whom I allowed to join me. Shebi, God had said to leave them behind, but I couldn’t let him waste in the village and become a bum. Well, no issue, we parted.

Did I mention to you that Sarai was barren? Yes, God gave me silver, gold and cattle; you would say I became famous in a way. But I wasn’t satisfied. Who will I leave all these wealth for? Definitely not Lot! After changing our names from Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah, God blessed us with Isaac. In-between, there was Ishmael, but I really didn’t have a hand in that matter, Sarah arranged it and I simply obeyed, (smiling at the thought).

God has come again o! (becomes pensive again) After all these years of listening to Sarah endure mockery from Nahor’s wife, then Hagar (her maid). After all these years that He had blessed us with Isaac and our home was filled with laughter, he says to me, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” – Gen 22:2 What will people say to me? That I left my inheritance for an unknown land, made blood money and used my son as sacrifice to appease the gods. They will not understand that God spoke to me. Why would God give me a son after all these years of waiting and then take him away from me by my own hand? *God, abeg if nah joke, I no dey laugh. If you wan kill am, use Your own hand. But then, Abraham says resignedly “I had no hope of ever having a son until He promised me one, so if He wants the son back, I will give him.” What will I say to Isaac? How will I convince Sarah? When did I become a mad man? I left family and friends, tired to deceive a King who had the power to take my head off because of my wife and now I want to kill my son, my long-awaited son, whom I planned on reliving the times Terah (my father) and I had. “When you are faced with this type of dilemma, who do you pray to?!” Abraham pondered as he gathered his bags for the journey of sacrifice.

#SpiritOfFaith #CrazyFaith

Words in Pidgin English:
*God if it is a joke, I’m not laughing with You. If you want to kill Isaac, do it yourself!

Picture Source: http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2014/02/21/commentary-on-genesis-11-12-abraham/

©2016. Frances Kelvin Otung. All rights reserved.