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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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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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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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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

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Articles

#FreedomFriday – Watching Weight


I’m intentional about my topic, I could easily have labelled it as “weight watching”, but that’s exactly what Oba called it. You see, he called me the other day, just after my early morning exercise. Funny, I thought ‘exercise’ but my fingers were typing “sacrifice” and it hit me, truly, it is a sacrifice because some mornings I’m sooooooo tired and I want to just crawl back into bed after devotion to catch a bit of nap after a night of watching Netflix or better put, being watched by movies on Netflix. (Hmmm. Please do not laugh and if you do, make sure I’m not listening), but I drag myself out of my nightie into my exercise gear, grumbling seriously in my heart, but bent on doing the 30 mins – 1 hour of walking, jumping etc that I do.

As I was saying, Oba called and after I told him what I had accomplished that morning, he yawned repeatedly and this isn’t the “I’m-tired-kinda-yawn” but the “Boy-I’m-very-hungry-type!” So, the big question I asked was,

Have you eaten?
I’m watching my weight
Indeed, my love, that’s what you are doing, “watching the weight” (I burst out laughing), please can you add some exercise to it. It’s not a movie.
I lift weights, he protested.
I know, you carry them to the Lord in prayer. I continued to yab him.

He is not the only one who keeps watching his weight and expecting something to happen, he actually does his exercises, but I just felt like being on his matter that morning, *tongue out*. Some, have heard it repeatedly that “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he!” So, they assume that as they think it, they become it.

Some things, are like faith, they require believe and action. You don’t have to do much, just be determined that you have dwelt in this mount too long and its time to turn. I don’t have any problem with your body size as long as you are comfortable with it, I’m just sharing a personal moment my hubby and I had.

By the way, I’m beautifully and wonderfully made, but I’m intentional about climbing the steps to my office and not breathing too hard to get to the top. I enjoy the boost I get when I’m done with the early morning exercise and truth be told, I’m feeling a bit lighter, which I like. It is a personal choice and whatever you choose to do this Friday is up to you! I salute your choice as long as it doesn’t hurt the next person. I’m off to get ready for being watched by Netflix later at night…don’t tell anyone.

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

@imanikel 24072020 Frances Kelvin Otung

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Articles

Two Dramas, One Friday


First Drama:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Drama:

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

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

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

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

Photo: Southport School

@imanikel 181019 Frances Kelvin Otung

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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

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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