Have You Taken Your Medicine?

Joy is the sweetest medicine..

Poverty, lack of exposure and illiteracy in our dear country cause issues of health to take a back burner in many respects. When it comes to personal wellness, health and hygiene, for many underprivileged people, it is a ‘copy and paste’ situation.

Many take the same medicine for different ailments either to save costs or because they don’t know better:

Mama, I have headache and migraine; Swallow agbo

Ah, e be like say you done get apollo (conjunctivitis)? Swallow agbo.

Typhoid Fever? Make it 2 doses of agbo.

Your lover broke your heart, and you feel like Cupid struck you with a poisoned arrow? Chew agbo.

If you are far away from home, and feeling home-sick. Consume agbo.

Yes o. When I was a kid, I had this aunt who believed the purgative medicines like Milk of Magnesia (M & M) could cure all ailments. Bottoms up!

If you had malaria, you would hide it from Aunty ‘Laxative’, because she would administer a huge ladle spoonful into your mouth. M & M tastes like kola and bitter-leaf juice. Times 100.

That one no concern my Aunty o. My mother was out of town, and I had the misfortune of falling ill. Aunty rubbed her hands with glee.  And she nearly got me killed by making me swallow a purgative medicine for 3 straight days, until I started really relapsing. Obviously, she did not believe in ‘if symptoms persist after 3 days…’

It was later discovered that I had the flu.

One day when I was a bit older, I mustered the courage to ask her ‘Aunty why do you take purgative medicines for all manners of ailments?’

Looking at me with disdain, she sucked her teeth as she slapped her tummy ‘ It is because all illnesses come from the belly. If you fall sick, it means that a disease had made your stomach rotten…’

I felt sick to my stomach already, hearing that.

To cut corners from having to pay exorbitant hospital bills, many Nigerians patronize ‘over the counter’ pharmacists popularly known as ‘chemists’. Nigeria is perhaps the only country in the world where you get offered drugs of varying potency to suit your pocket like you were choosing between a 4 cylinder or a V6 engine automobile at a car sales showroom.

Madam this antibiotics medicine get Singapore one and original one. The original one na 700 naira and get power well well. The Singapore one na 300 naira. Na imitation, so if you rub am for body, your boil fit take like 40 days and 40 nights before e go clear from your body. The packet no carry instructions, so make you rub am anytime your body dey scratch you.’

Na wa o.

And these ‘chemists’ also have flexible buying arrangements too. They could sell you a sachet of 8 tablets from within a pack of pills; I have even seen one sell a customer a tea-spoon of Chemiron Blood Tonic syrup. It was liquid contents only, and the spoon was returned to the packet of syrup for re-use by the next customer.

If you have not already read it, I would recommend my previous article on drug abuse in Nigeria – ‘Pump Pump and the Scramble for Lekki.’

As we become a country whose middle and upper class citizens want to boogie to the latest music jams, appear on the red carpet at glam events in what is fast becoming the ‘Aladdin syndrome’ and spend cash of luxuries, health is taking a backseat. In many arguments or debates about how best Nigeria is to move forward under GEJ’s tutelage,  power generation and job creation seem to be the top priorities. What about health?

The first step to creating a healthy populace is controlling the way medicines are taken. In our dear country, we sabi abuse medicines sha.

Growing up in the grim 80s, my recollections of government health initiatives are blurry. I remember government sponsored infomercials promoting ORT (Oral Rehydration Therapy) as a treatment for diarrhea during pregnancy. It was a popular jingle, not just for the message itself, but for how the man pronounced therapy as ‘therakpi’ in his thick Yoruba accent.

I also remember when the sex education adverts came to town.

The first one I can remember is where a randy chap tries to bone this really dark sister, and she nervously says ‘ I am scared.’ She pronounced the ‘scared’ in a really funny way like how Chingy says ‘herre’.

The scene fades out to another preachy scene on sex education, before a Sunny Ade and Onyeka Onwenu duet with the lyrics ‘If you love me, you go wait for me…’ Nice song.

The condom ads were the worst. Gold Circle ads always looked kinda dodgy and always seem to make it look like the viewer was a perv in the first place for opting for a ‘balloon’ contraceptive. The lass in the advert was always the unwilling party while the guy was a sex-hungry beast. Nigerian women apparently are not supposed to want sex and they dare not produce a rubber. Like you, ashewo, you.

One particular advert was really corny. It was a radio advert, and you heard what sounded like a Papa Ajasco character propose to a love interest ‘ Baby abeg come now, make we go jiggy jiggy..’

The girl’s reply was classic. She abused the hell out of the man, as if he had just asked her to kill for him.

Jiggy jiggy? What a lexicon!

Most times, even the names of diseases,  the contraception could help prevent were barely mentioned or were generalized as  ‘other yama yama diseases.’

The period of the dodgy condom ads were nothing compared to the female genital mutilation (FGM) ones. They were like scenes from a horror movie. The adverts featured a group of old village women holding down an adolescent female, while one of the women produced a brand new razor blade. The blade wielding granny dug her hands into the young girl’s wrapper, and amidst the girl’s screams, performs the crude operation. The next scene is very graphic and almost distasteful. The cutter is seen with blood all over her hands as she is gripping the teen’s clitoris with a triumphant look on her face. All these on national TV.

You get the feeling that despite some of these adverts and public service announcements, our governments over the years have done precious little in the area of health issues in this country. Cancer is the new malaria and it is a farce that people still get chicken pox in this country. Most people still rely on quack doctors, ‘chemists’ and old wives tales; and some people who know better are handcuffed by financial constraints. Educating the public is one thing but knowledge and awareness do not pay hospital bills.

Cancer and stroke are still regarded by some as a Chief or big man’s ailment. When a poor man suffers any of the above, people would claim that his enemies have ‘winched’ him.

Health in Nigeria has to be revamped from the ground up. Over to you, Oga Presido GEJ.

Before I go, here are some random thoughts and experiences regarding health and the taking of medicine in Nigeria.

  1. There is a belief among some men that a combination of a Power Horse Energy Drink and Ijebu Garri  can boost sexual performance and proficiency. I don’t know about this one. You cannot give a magnificent performance by re-writing Okafor’s laws of chemistry by combining cassava flakes and an energy drink even if it is Red Bull. No, it won’t give you wings. You may be better off trying to seduce your lass by singing Maxwell’s Pretty Wings in her ears. To be fair, I do not still know whether eating a Mango and then drinking garri is dangerous as people claim. Why would someone even want to do that in the first place?

Another popular tip for boosting sperm count and fertility is to blend Guinness, raw eggs and milk thereby creating a potent protein shake. My tip? You may want to give that to the girl instead.

2.        The ignorance of some average Nigerian fellas when it comes to using protection and contraception is alarming. Hearing that abstinence is the only fool-proof protection since condoms give about 98% protection against STDs, one chap shrugged his shoulders. This guy slept with anything walking and wasn’t about to change his lifestyle. He said he betters his odds by wearing 2 condoms at the same time, to eliminate the 2% risk.  His reasoning is that 98% + 98% = 196%. This is better than 100%. Ok o. What about your spiritual health?

 

My cousin knows someone who swears that washing his jimmy with his urine after unprotected sex mitigates any risks by neutralizing the virus or bacteria. That is a piss-poor remedy if you ask me. It wouldn’t work with Lagos ‘runs girls’ o.

3. The general public, especially in Lagos, should be educated. Please do not try or attempt to move someone who has been in an okada bike accident; the accident victim could get more hurt from internal bleeding in such cases.  Normally after an accident occurs, you would see a mammoth crowd gather around the scene, and then some people would elect to move or try to stand the victims. I once saw a malo chap who had been struck by a bus. People were trying to force ‘pure water’ down his throat. He was spitting blood, so a man tried to move him. His limbs seemed shattered to me as they looked a bit bandy, though he was not bleeding on the outside. Some other passer-bys were trying to stand him up, even though he looked subconscious and in serious shock. Another person attempted to stretch and bend the victim’s limbs, and the latter was yelling in pain. One man giving directions to the person doing the bending ‘Make you try bend him leg straight, make the bone set small.’ Bend a leg ‘straight?! Is that even physically possible? Only a winch can do that na.

Why the hell do they always try to give victims ‘pure water’ in Nigeria? Someone has just been in a fatal crash and a passerby just shoves water in a sachet in their faces, like it is some magical elixir.

Here are a few examples:

- a chap got electrocuted while trying to illegally ‘tap’ light ‘from a NEPA pole.

As he lay on the floor in ‘shock’ (no pun intended), his neighbors brought him

‘pure water’ to drink away the pain.

- Two 8-year olds started vomiting after coming in from playing outside. It was discovered that they had been playing ‘mama’ and ‘papa’ by pretending to ‘cook’ and chew leaves and flowers from the plants in the garden. The domestic servant administered 2 doses of ‘pure water’ before phoning their mum who was at work.  Now the kids had cholera as well as food poisoning to contend with. (By the way, I hear palm oil works a treat for cases of poisoning). Don’t quote me on this though!

Nigerians should have access to free training in first-aid and basic resuscitation techniques, like other developed countries so that not all emergencies would become fatalities. I would give you a few local examples I have heard though: if you swallow a large fish bone, while enjoying a sumptuous meal of ground rice and ogbono soup, swallow a large lump of eba. It works if drinking water does not.

 If you feel like throwing up after eating a meal without enough pepper, chew raw garri.

4.  Regulate the sale of potent medicines over the counter. Nigeria is the only country in the world, where anyone has access to any types of medicines no matter their strength. No prescription is required. One chap who lived in Jand made a pretty penny anytime when he came to Nigeria one summer. He was over-joyed one day when he discovered that a pharmacy close to his house sold Viagra. All you needed was cash. He bought a very big box and took it to his school in Jand to sell.

There are people here who are regularly ‘sipping on some syrup’. When I was a kid, there was this boy whose mum used to give him Multivite as a treat if he was good.  Multivite had a lovely sweet taste. Lucky him – my mum used wielded the stick not the carrot. If you behaved badly, you had beans  for lunch and for dinner. That’s how I managed to grow tall because I was never good. Nne dalu biko.

5.  People should be educated about hygiene and how to control parasites that cause diseases.

In Health Science class back in primary school, we were taught what insects or parasites caused which diseases. It was an amusing subject for me as I discovered that health science was very discriminatory.  For example, we learned that the male mosquito is people-friendly and merely sings in your ear, so it can get a pass from your fly swap. It is the female you should machine-gun to death with your can of Baygon or Raid. It carries the anopheles parasite that causes Malaria.  So net the male, but spray insecticide on the female. This sexism extends to insects, eh? By the way, I kill both.

For cockroaches, use a color code instead. Brown roaches should be stepped upon or smacked with your ‘silpas’ or shoe. However, stay away from the white ones which could cause leprosy. Heaven forbid if the ‘water’ from their insides touched your skin as you tried to swat one. Just go to your village to give them your burial date. So there is also racism in the cockroach kingdom, eh? Kill the brown skins and spare the oyibo roaches. Doctors and biologists, please explain o.

And what about scorpions? Run away from all of them whether black or white.

I built a tolerance for drugs, addicted to the medicine/
Now hospital emergency treat me like a fiend/

Prodigy (You Can Never Feel My Pain, 2000)            

When Is Enough Really Enough? – (a reply by Munira)

Trying cheating on me and see...


I came across an article on Bella Naija written by Glory Edozien asking the above. It was an open ended article that put the question of infidelity to the readers, asking at what point they would walk away from such situations. It inspired me to write a rejoinder as regards relationships and the not too savory that come with it, the abuse (emotional and physical), the infidelities, the scars, the trials etc.

When does enough become enough for the ‘victims’?  When does it become okay to walk away from these situations?

I wish it was cut and dried, black and white and not all patchy grey. I wish there was a manual we can consult that lets us know what to say in every situation, how to react to every action, even maybe going as far as to tell us how to pre-empt actions and how to counter them before they come.

It isn’t so easy, such doesn’t exist. Instead we are left with this treacherous heart of ours that doesn’t really make the best of decisions but that we still have to live with.

There have been cases of battery gone wrong resulting in death of either the victim or the batterer(self-defence) and sometimes the victim ends up going to jail for manslaughter. This is certainly a sad scenario, but what to do? Do we say, she shouldn’t pay for her crimes (of murder, because even though he was a batterer, he is human first and his right to life has been violated by her)?  Do we say that she leaves before it gets to that stage? If you haven’t been there before, they will tell you it isn’t easy to leave (whatever that may mean). We the “holier than thou crew’ might spew holistic comments like ‘its always easy’, ‘if you are strong enough you would move on’, ‘she needs to leave his ass already’, I mean, I wouldn’t lie, I used to say these things, but now, I would say you never know until you know.

Infidelity

We all are a victim of it, directly or indirectly. Everyone has witnessed this in some form in their life, as part of familial relationships, romantic relationships; even friendships have their own form of infidelities (cheating to you).

The most hurtful as seen by people’s reaction would be the one that occurs in romantic relationships.  The man cheating. The woman cheating. It all hurts the party at the receiving end. Their reaction to this is what is in contest in this note. How do we react to cheating? When is enough really enough?

What with the sludge of infidelities being recorded by all and sundry from the average man to the powerful, the popular, Tiger WoodsJesse James, the IMF boss, Arnold Swarzzy, etc and more to come.  The women become victims of these men and their desires and the inability to control themselves. When then can these women say enough is enough? And not just these women, but every woman in this position, when is enough really enough? The first time? Second? Never?

We young people unanimously agree to walk out of any marriage that includes a cheating husband because this isn’t what we signed up for. It’s sadly more complicated than that.  How many marriages then are you going to walk out of? In the pool of people of this world that are men, how many would never cheat on a significant other? Of that population, what is the probability of you meeting one of them and marrying them? You do the math, don’t worry, I’ll wait…

My take on this issue is simple; enough is enough from the first time it happens and/or according to the elasticity of the heart of the person at the receiving end. Your reaction to the situation is what actualizes this ‘enough’ position. Do you move on without the man? Do you forgive him?  I say the afore-mentioned options are one and the same, we claim to move on, but we move on with the scars left by that man and it affects the next man because we strongly believe in once bitten, twice shy…  also when we forgive, do we truly forgive, or is it repression? Because I have seen cases of when this so-called forgiveness occurs and the moment another ‘moment of indiscretion’ occurs, old hurts come to fore and are reiterated … I thought the phrase was ‘forgive and forget’?

Like I said, I wish it was so easy to actually give a step by step account of how to deal with these issues. It isn’t. And some will continue to deal with them, not because they deserve to, but because the man they are with don’t deserve them, and they are already too jaded to not believe that the next man wouldn’t act the same way, which might be entirely true(or not).

You never know until you know, so when is enough really enough?

* Article by Munira

Travel Video Documentary Scholarship 2011 – Arnhem Land, Australia (courtesy of Todaysnaira.wordpress.com)

Kick start your documentary career by going on assignment to one of the most remote Yolngu Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land (far north Australia), and be immersed in traditional Yolngu Aboriginal knowledge and understanding of the land, sea and animals.

Flying to the Northern Territory with Virgin Blue,you will take part in a special project withWorld Expeditions, working alongside the indigenous Yolngu Aboriginal rangers to restore sea country by removing and cataloging marine debris, the by-product of South East Asia’s fishing industry.

Under the mentorship of documentary producer Trent O’Donnell (who filmed our Positive Footprints series screened on Nat Geo Adventure Channel)you will find your story and create your own short documentary.

It will then be considered for broadcast on Nat Geo Adventure! That’s right – the holy grail documentary makers work their whole lives to achieve!

What’s the deal?

* We’ll fly you to the Northern Territory, Australia with Virgin Blue from your country of residence.

* You need to be available to be in Australia from September 3-9, 2011 to participate in the project.

* Under the mentorship of Trent O’Donnell you will shoot a video documentary about the experience.

* You will keep a daily diary about your time on the trip and upload this plus pictures you’ve taken to your WorldNomads.com travel journal.

* You will edit together your 5-10 minute documentary and submit it to WorldNomads.com within 2 months of your return.

Please visit http://todaysnaira.wordpress.com  for further details.  There is a direct link here.

What Device Do You Usually View This Blog On?

Hello my fellow Woah-Nigerians,

I do not wish to be an olofofo or anything, but I would like to know what type of device you use when visiting this site. In order to improve the experience even further and make sure that all the content is  fully legible and device-friendly, kindly help with the poll below.

Forever

Esco

The Pounded Yam and Pure Water Awards (5)

E sweet o


YOU TOO MUCH JARE

  • Sony Google TV – A few weeks back,  I got a Sony TV powered by Google using Android’s platform and all I can say is ‘Wow!’ The TV has Wifi and so you can stream videos from internet channels and websites like CNN, Hulu Plus and YouTube and watch them on the huge screen. As soon as I unpacked it from its box, and set it up, I quickly went to the Nollywood channel on YouTube and searched for Funke Akindele’s Omo Ghetto; then I grabbed a chilled drink, popped some popcorn and sat back to watch. Amazing – I could see every detail like every pimple on the acts’ faces and every shower of spit spewed in angst as they spoke their native dialect.

I must confess that I would really like to see Ebube Nwagbo’s voluptuous features in a 3D movie in the future though. She is something…

  • Plantain chips (ikpekere) and guacamole. All I can say is – what an awesome combination. I discovered this one by accident, while looking for something to eat in the kitchen. This should definitely be showcased at the Taste Of Lagos  event coming up this December. I am expecting my royalty check/commission for my idea in the mail o.

I will also recommend the following, if you have never tried –

*  Banana and ‘gra-nut’.

* Coconut and corn.

* Coconut and ijakpu miri (tapioca).

* Speedy chocolate biscuit in cold milk  (a la Cornflakes).

* Spaghetti and suya.

* Mushrooms in okra soup

*  Bread and akara.

 

  • The country singer John Rich winning  America’s Celebrity Apprentice. What an awesome show. Nene Leakes lost the plot though. Ghetto. We need Nigeria’s own Celebrity Apprentice hosted by say, OBJ. Something tells me that he would give the contestants plenty of tasks on Ota Farm, like ‘Go into the forest behind the farm and fetch me the biggest grass-cutter bushmeat’. Honestly,  I would really like to see some Nigerian celebs being put though their paces.
  • The Nigerian girl who got admitted to Harvard at only age 15. Nigerians are really going places and this is no mean feat. I think the government should give her a scholarship or some kind of incentive, no?

 

If it is worth anything, I started nursery school when I was 2. Actually I was only technically 22 months old. Does that count? That must be some kind of record. I was the only child in school with a feeding bottle. Yes I cried my eyes off, when my ma dropped me off, I but I still remained in school and learned my ABCs. Ok, let me be honest, I was also pacified by the Samco yoghurt drink and jam donuts they gave us during breaks.

If it is also worth anything, back in Uni in Nigeria, I stayed in a school hostel in my first year and there was a 40-year-old chap called Walata who had been in the school system since the late 80s. He had plenty of carry-overs and leaves of absence. He actually loved remaining in the school environment as it was safer than the outside world. He also always got his way because he was older and ‘wiser’ and nobody wanted to mess with a barrel-chested hairy dude who was bigger and older than everyone else. There was also a very young chap – the youngest in the room – a really geeky chap called Ose who was only 17.

Due to the age difference, Ose used to call Walata ‘sir.’

Anyway, salutation isn’t love.


Dulling...

GO HUG TRANSFORMER

  • The outgoing Governor of my state and all/any other non-performing outgoing governors. All I can say is ‘Gerrout, Your Excellency’. And this abuse also goes out to any government official of any state who misappropriate state government funds. They should be hung, drawn and quartered – and I don’t mean 25% (mobilization or bribe). Have you seen how poor village and rural people live? Why deny them a better life so that you can have a fleet of Mercedes SUVs? Mondiots! (Monkey + Idiot).
  • The current practice of people replying a divergent opinion in an argument by starting with the words ‘Ermm…’ Normally this is done by the sayer to try to make the recipient look dumb while discountenancing the latter’s point of view. If I catch you, eh?

But seriously, saying ‘Ermm….’ sounds sooo retarded. It gets on my damn nerve too. I remember the time when people used to use the ‘face-palm’ smiley. Why are we not original in Nigeria? Someone should invent a ‘waka’ smiley.

  • Supposedly squeaky clean Manchester United star Ryan Giggs has joined the ranks of those who have been caught with their hands in the ‘away match’ cookie jar, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger and most of the politicians in Nigeria. Abegi.

 

I do not condone their behavior, but who am I to judge? I am the type of guy who always rooted for the bad guy in the movies (usually known as the ‘boss’).

I choose not to criticize the Tiger Woods of this world as I would rather focus on their unique talents. And Schwarzo has plenty o. In fact some of his wise-crack quips and punch lines in movies are the stuff of legend. Let me leave you with one or two:

  1. In the movie 1985 Commando, while on an airplane about to take-off,  Arnie smashed a bad guy’s face thereby killing the guy and then covered the face with the man’s hat to make it look like the man was catching a quick nap. He then called the air-hostess’s attention and pleaded ‘ Don’t disturb my friend, he is dead tired.’ 
  2. In 1990’s Total Recall, Arnie blessed us with a few gems. He discovered that his wife(played by Sharon Stone) had been an agent planted to kill him. In an ensuing fight and shoot-out, he draws out a pistol and makes to snuff the life out of her. She pleads saying that he would not dare kill his wife. He replies with a sick smile after he shoots her: ‘ Consider that a divorce’. 
  3. In Predator, he is taking out a posse of bad guy soldiers, and is nearly ambushed by a guy trying to sneak up on him from behind. Arnie quickly turns around, and tosses a big army knife at the guy, pinning him to the wall, as he said ‘Stick around…’ See it here.

Ah, when will Nollywood catch up with smart dialogues and witty movie exchanges? Ermmm….don’t hold your breath.

20 Grand

Oops, I forgot the 'O' at the end

Wow, this blog has had over 20,000 hits since we started in September of 2010. I am as proud as  a dad who is watching his little infant take baby steps. I started this blog because I felt I had a point of view I needed to get out there. I never ever expected to do Bellanaija numbers – I just wanted Nigerians everywhere to listen to what I had to say. No disrespect to other blogs doing their thing  but if everyone concentrated on fashion and entertainment to the detriment of other issues in Nigeria, we would all soon become a land of well-dressed, partying zombies. Let’s not party and bullshit forever, huh?

The nominations for various categories for Nigerian Blog Awards (www.nigerianblogawards.com) would start on May 30th. On that day, nominations will begin on the various categories. I will also advise that you visit that site and have a breeze-through – there are some really awesome blogs there. My blog is listed as Literati: Satires On Nigerian Life (just under Linda Ikeji). Tell your friends, tell your brother, send a telegram.

Following 20,000 hits, plans are in the works to improve this blog to make it an even better reading experience for you.  Following any expansions, there will be readers who would be designated L.A.I.S.O.Ns (Literati Satires On Nigerian life agents). They would be able to post up articles on original Nigerian content as far as it is not socially or morally repugnant.

I want to thank every single one of my readers for your awesome show of support. And I mean that. Every single 20,000 of you. Or 10,000 of you who visited twice or even if there are just 10 of you who visited 2,000 times.

Forever

Esco

Toast A Nigerian Girl

The Nigerian girl is a work of art. Yes some girls can be a piece of work, but we have living sculptures in our midst. I saw Munachi Abi recently in a Lux soap ad, and I did a double take. Some adverse comments were thrown her way by critics who felt she did not merit it. A few readers also questioned her beauty, and others nearly bit their heads off. Constructive criticism has been hailed as the new ‘haterism’. Somehow I agree with a few of them though, Muna should not have been in a Lux shoot. She should have been chosen for the Venus De Milo soap ad – Muna is that lovely.

What is it though with Nigerian ex-beauty queens and soap ads? Muna fitted the bill, but maybe advertising companies should mix it up a bit. Like Tuface in a Gold Circle condom advert or Banky W in a Wahl Clipper one. Or say 9ice advertising Slim Fast, or Tonto Dike rooting for Anabel phones.

Even the soap suds did nothing to diminish Muna’s beauty, but  I am surprised to see that Lux lathers that well. In fact well enough to out-perform most soap bubble products. The last time I saw a soap lather like that, my hair started turning red like Rihanna’s own – it was boarding school, and my cheap aunt had bought me the Life-Buoy soap to save pennies. That darn soap.

I remember the last beauty product advert I saw that had a beauty queen in it – it was Nike Oshinowo. She had her nose screwed up like the product smelled like ass. Aunt Nike is still hot though.

 I’m not here to swoon over the Nigerian woman. Nah. At a risk of turning away potential viewers and upsetting my awesome readership, I have posted some articles here which have had me walking a thin line. Upset the Nigerian female blog reader at your peril. Naija guys are always cool about most things as long as it does not affect the 5 Bs -  Business, Ball, Benz, Babes and Bucks. In fact ‘Girls We Love and Hate’ spurned a fantastic reply by the gorgeous Mimi B. And I know she is gorgeous, if nothing, by how well she writes.

How do you chat up a Nigerian lass. Well, first of all is there is a typical Nigerian lass? No. I thought I had seen it all until I watched Blackberry Babes. I always knew there are Nigerian girls with different temperaments, drives and tastes. I was shocked to learn that there was a 420th category – girls who wake up their husbands in the middle of the night to demand a blackberry device or else they would leave for ever. Ok, let me get your ‘silpas’ for you.

 I tried to make this as general as possible to help out the brothers. Girls complain that they come well turned out to an event, and all the fellas are ‘jonzing’ in a corner discussing football and Arsenal’s latest epic failure again. This is just a pointer, and would not work on all manners of girls. Female readers, please chip in with your comments and advice.

Disclaimer: Do not use on ‘Runs Girls’. It could be hazardous to your wealth, sorry, health.

 

  • DO: First of all get yourself right. Dude, do not spend a mil on a flash Honda orToyota sedan without investing in your personal appearance. I wont go on and on about what kind of clothes to wear. Check out ThisDay style on Sunday, if you can manage to prise it away from your girl’s grip.

 Get a good deodorant/anti-pespirant. Never ever get your ‘roll on’ without using a ‘roll on.’ And no, using dusting powder there would not work in lieu of a deodorant. – it would only make you look like ‘Willy Willy’ of the 90s TV fame or that villain in the James Bond movie ‘Live and Let Die.’

  Get a nice hair-cut. We are lucky in this Naija sef. Most places can cut your hair for N500 or less. Compare that to Jand; when I first went, my hair became like Ras Kimono’s own because I could not get myself to pay 20pounds for a haircut. If you cannot afford to fork out N500 every fortnight, invest in a N5000 Wahl Clipper, get 2 big mirrors and shave ‘gorimakpa’. Yeah, get your ‘Talab Abass’ on.

If you are still too cheap to afford the above, go for chicks who scratch their weave with an Eleganza biro cover, or ask your dad for one of those his old school combs which had a metal teeth with a clenched fist as the handle. Or go under Ojuelegba bridge, there are local barbers there who would cut your hair with a razor blade and a comb combo. Stop at the hospital to test for AIDS on your way back though.

Also watch the back of your head. You may grow a shave bump the size of a guinea-fowl egg some days after.

It won’t be a bad idea to get a good cologne. I would personally recommend ‘Miracle By Lancome.’  A chick magnet.

  • DON’T: Please don’t start with lame lines like ‘Excuse me, I think I have met you somewhere before’ once you have zeroed in on your target girl. Many Nigerian chicks are olofofos, and may ask you where you had met them. In fact unless, you are a part-time babalawo, or have a really slick tongue, do not use the above line unless you have very interesting specifics.

   Do use this either ‘I like your scent. What are you wearing? Let me guess – Weakness For Men.’ This only works for drunk oyibo girls, and not ‘shan’t-gree’ or ‘open eye’ Naija babes. Don’t say stuff like ‘What a nice smile you have. Do you use Darbur Herbal toothpaste too?’

Paying her a compliment is a good idea, but subtlety is key so it does not sound ordinary.

  • DO: Appear confident and assertive. People always outline this point in men’s magazines like Esquire and GQ as if it were that easy all the time, and women have also confirmed that confidence is attractive. I have heard this advice summed up in the following contradictory form – Be funny, not comical, witty not needy, flatter but do not scatter. Ok o.

 First of all, every chap must be prepared to approach and chat up babes in Nigeria as Naija chicks do not usually (note the key word ‘usually’) do the approaching. They are full of shakara – unless you look like me (just joking), or are famous or minted. Deal with it.

 Why do you think we use the slang ‘block’ for approaching girls. You are supposed to approach the babe and ‘cut’ her off her destination smoothly, while proving your case. Unless her hair is in a mess, and she is rushing to the salon or so I heard. When I first came back to Nigeria, I had to re-learn how to ‘block’ babes in public places because I had forgotten. In Jand, all I had to do was wear a really smart black shirt, spray Miracle by Lancome (Love Portion No. 9), go to the disco/pop dance-floor of the club, separate from my mates, and start doing my one-two step. A babe would soon start mimicking my steps, and step in front of me, and I would take it from there. Trust me it works all the time – or used to work, before the recession started.

 When I came back to Nigeria, I discovered that I had left my game-face behind. At one of the first events I went to, I discovered the Babes Are Not Smiling brigade. I tried to make some conversation with a rather straight-faced chick who was sitting next to me in a really snug dress, with my lame starter: ‘Funny weather, eh? Almost 80 degrees Fahrenheit…’

The babe screwed up her face, as she hissed ‘Ehen, and then?’

Wetin concern Matthias with matter, abi?

  • DON’T: You may want to mind how you use free midnight calls to chat with her especially when you are till getting to know her. Especially unless a rapport has already been established or you guys have properly gelled.

Don’t worry Esco is not trying to blow a hole in your pocket, but I have noticed that ‘awoof dey run bele’. When you pay for credit, and make a call, you generally talk more ‘sense’ (sensibly) because you are more efficient with your yarns. Watch Ibo traders who call their customers – they are precise with their game.

In my early twenties, when we were serial skirt-chasers, my friend used to activate the phone beep timer that some Nokia phones have which beeps every minute during a call so that he could time his yarns with any new chick he was chatting up. His sequence went like this, with every beep:

Beep 1: Introduction and greetings (How far?)

Beep 2:  How did your day go

Beep 3: Invitation to his house to ‘hang out’

Beep 4: Round up conversation

Beep 5: Last chance to end call

Beep 6: End call *by any means necessary*

Thanks to Glo for introducing per-second billing, eh? Before, na wire o.

Beware of over-using BB chats o. Mis-yarn can easily enter o.

  • DON’T:  Do not ask her out – not even when you guys have obvious chemistry and fancy the pants off each other. Yes, I said that. I know some of you are thinking that Esco has lost his marbles.

Picture this scenario – you guys share long chats on the phone, talking about things you do not even remember afterwards, you go to watch movies at Genesis and end up looking at each other instead ( a waste of N1,000 if you ask me). You have even been a bit intimate – a light stroke of her thigh, a smooch with plenty of tongue. Then you the fella, goes and does something stupid by asking her the most needless six-word question ever conceived by menfolk: ‘Would you go out with me?’  This is a well kept ‘game’ secret – Never ever ask a chick a question, to which she could say yes. Or no. You have gotta squeeze yourself into the perfect situation, stay there and keep your mouth shut. If it looks like it, then it is it. If you and a girl are ‘coasting’ while try to put a label on it, if what is happening already is what you fancy.

A friend of mine once made this mistake many moons ago. He and this chick Ije were really into each other. They were always chatting on the phone, and met up a couple of times. Then one day, as they were out getting some take-away, dude popped the magic question ‘Ije would you go out with me?’

Munching into her roll, she thought about it for a fleeting moment before she answered ‘I would go out with nobody but you.’

It wasn’t the answer he wanted.

They never did ‘go out’ steady after that.

Well at least she didn’t say no.

So there you have it. I think girls should tell us how best they want to be ‘toasted’. We are all ears.

 

I just creep up from behind/

And ask what your interests are, “who you be with?”/

Things to make you smile, what numbers to dial/

Notorious B.I.G (Big Poppa, 1994)

The Response: Men We Love and Hate (by Mimi Barber)

Baby, you look 'similar' - can I get to know you?

A few weeks ago, my fellow blogger Esco wrote a most interesting piece called “Girls We Love and Hate”. I read that post and left a comment requesting that he write a follow-up piece called “Men we love and Hate”. Well, so far he hasn’t. So I took it upon myself to do so. This article is by no means backed by any kind of exhaustive and reliable research. It is based solely on my experiences, as well as those of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances. I’m sure a lot of ladies out there will recognize some of these characters as well as I do. I hereby proceed to outline below the types of men Nigerian women love and hate:  

1.      Chauvinist Pig aka Captain Caveman: This dude really, really wants to be *Don Draper when he grows up. He considers himself the ultimate alpha male, and scoffs at the family man he spots frolicking around on the beach with his children on a Saturday afternoon. Captain Caveman is there with his family only after persistent cajoling from his wife. He sits a distance away from them as ‘The Wife’ plays a game of ‘Catch the Waves’ with the kids. As far as he is concerned, a real man should never be found playing around in public, period. Kids or no kids.  He believes a woman is really only good for the three C’s; cooking, cleaning and child rearing, and harbors a secret resentment towards the Manager of his department at work who is a female. Captain Caveman often reminisces about the good old days, back when men beat women over the head with a club and dragged them home to their caves as a kind of wooing ritual. Never mind that he never actually experienced those times. He dreams of a utopia where women know their place, and thinks men who support their wives careers and businesses are wimps. The Chauvinist Pig is rarely in touch with his emotions; he is not a romantic and will only buy flowers as part of his contributions towards a funeral. Personally, this dude is not my cup of tea but I guess one woman’s poison is another woman’s steak. To each his own I suppose. 

  1. Mr. Sexually Confused aka Gay but in Denial: So…you know that really cute guy, with the perfectly pressed shirts, who matched his socks to his ties and almost always smelt faintly of some citrus-ey (floral?) scent? The one whom you had a crush on because he always just seemed so perfectly put together? The dude with whom you felt some sort of  bond with  partly because he knew the difference between wedges and espadrilles, could chat comfortably for an hour about the benefits of loose mineral powder and knew just a little too much about waxing, eyelash curling and deep conditioning treatments (and not because he was in the beauty industry). That guy now…the one who almost seemed to empathize with your PMS and had a mild obsession with watching Sex and the City reruns? No? Yeah, me neither. The problem with Mr. Sexually Confused is that on the surface he appears to be the perfect package. You friends love him, your mother adores him, but you can’t quite shake that nagging feeling that something is wrong, horribly wrong somewhere. It may not be the fact that he seems extremely content to pat you on the head as a sign of affection or that he uses the word “yucky” several hundred times a day. It may not be because his best guy friend has a thing for skin-tight t-shirts and wears lip gloss. You could even ignore the Calvin Klein ads featuring David Beckham that are the screen saver on his laptop and background picture on his phone. But, the day he waits just a few seconds too late before answering in the affirmative when you ask if he is really attracted to you, you realize exactly what the problem is. My advice to women? Upon sighting of a Sexually Confused Male, run! No one ever really wants to be dumped for a male model named ‘Desire’

 

  1. Boy Next Door (BND) aka Male BFF: The BND is that guy that a girl can talk to about almost everything. Yeah almost. Some things just have to remain private. Anyways, he may or may not literally live a street away from you, but he’s always welcome to come over to yours for a meal of ofada rice and ‘designer stew’. You give him all the low down about the strange hang up calls you’ve been getting in the middle of the night, and how much you can’t stand your girlfriends’ new boyfriend. He is there for you in the ways that matter the most and is one of the first people you think about calling when you get some important news. The mistake a lot of women make is that they shove the BND into the “We can only ever be friends and nothing more” box. Sometimes, this can turn out to be the biggest oversight of your love life. Ladies, don’t risk the chance of waking up one day after dating one too many losers and a ‘gay- but- in -denial’ only to realize that you let the good one get away. By the time you realize this, your BND might just be happily married with 2.4 kids and a white picket….oh all right, white cement covered, barb-wired fence in Parkview Estate. Any feelings he ever had for you would have been completely forgotten at this point. The worst part? That’s when you realize that you can’t go crying to your girlfriend, because ever since she married the boyfriend you can’t stand she’s gone completely incognito. 

 

4.      The Player aka Commitment Hater: This Boy grew up watching movies like “How to be a Player” with his older brothers and decided then that he wanted to be Bill Bellamy when he grew up. He struts around with what he conceives in his mind to be major swagger. If he is below 19, this means shuffling about with a permanent slouch, head bent, one arm in pocket, right arm under left nostril, as he tries to chat up victims.  If he is older, it means hitting on every female, from the servers at the staff canteen to the boss’s wife at the company dinner. The sad truth about a player is that, a lot of the time, the girls getting played are completely aware of the situation. They often choose naively, to believe that they can change him, that he is that way because he has never experienced true love, that all they need to do is love him enough and one day he’ll realize that one special woman is all he needs. Wake up! It hardly ever happens like that. A person needs to take a personal decision and make a commitment to his self in order to change his lifestyle choices. So unless you want to end up as another Mrs. @Lagoshunter (twitter peeps will get the joke), free this guy. Maybe in favor of the next guy.

5.      The Focused Professional aka Young and upwardly mobile male (YUM): The YUM is a career driven or business oriented young man who is not afraid of ‘hustle’. He is hard-working, ambitious and is willing to earn his way to the top. He hasn’t made it just yet, but you can tell from having conversations with him that he knows exactly where he is headed and what he wants out of life. So in the meantime, he drives a 1999 Honda and lives in a self-contained apartment while he works towards his dream. Fast forward ten years, and he is that guy in the customized Bentley who is the MD or CEO of a successful company, and a mentor and positive role model to the YUM’s around him. The YUM is a total keeper. I really think girls need to learn to spot a YUM and see the potential in him. We need to be able to pick him out of a line up of other less appealing types of men and say to ourselves, ‘yeah, I’ll stick with this one’.

  1. The Gold Digger aka ‘Babe do you have some change?’: The Gold digger comes in many disguises. Sometimes, he is a Mr. Fine boy who has sugar mummies at his beck and call. He is probably only dating you because someone told once him that your father is a major share holder in The Central Bank of Nigeria , and he was either too stupid or too greedy to recognize a joke when he heard one. The Gold Digger is always broke, and I mean always. Even though he dresses like he just stepped out of the May edition of GQ. You see, his shirt was a Valentine gift from his Banker babe, his Hermes belt a birthday gift from his girl in “Yankie” and the silver 2010 Honda Accord he drives an anniversary present from Hon. Gbo Gbo Bigz Girl in Abuja. He is the sort of guy who will take you to The Oriental Hotel for Sunday brunch, and then pretend he left his wallet at home when the bill arrives. At other times, The Gold Digger pretends to be a YUM who’s extremely close to landing that major deal/contract that will bring in billions. In the mean time, he needs you to foot his bills while he chases Alhaji around town. So, you pick up his dry cleaning bills, help him with his rent, pay off a few of his monthly car payments and top up his credit at regular intervals, in between loaning him most of your life savings. The Gold Digger should be recognized for what he is- a user who won’t wait two seconds to dump you like hot ‘dodo’ the second he catches a bigger ‘financial’ fish. You have been warned.

I know this list is not completely exhaustive, so I welcome any additions or contributions from other female (and males) out there. So, please feel free to drop a comment, what other kinds of men do you think are out there?

*The lead character in the TV series ‘Mad Men’    

             Email: mimibarberblogspot@gmail.com

The Case Of The Exes

 He loves me, he loves me not; she loves me, she loves me not. We have all heard the phrase – there is a thing line between love and hate. I beg to differ on every scale. In between love and hate is a man/woman’s broken heart and a quest for vengeance.

We have all seen movies where ex-girlfriends flipped on the chaps who had caused them heartache. We have seen movies like Martin Lawrence’s 1996 flick ‘There is a thin line between love and hate.’ We also saw a classic case of kolo, mixed with infactuation in the thriller ‘Fatal Attraction.’ May your ex never try to knife you to death with a cutlass.

In the movie ‘Endless Love’ the heartbroken chap burnt the house down. In rural parts of Nigeria, we have heard cases of angry men trying to burn the woman down – with acid from batteries. Fire and love do not go together eh? Unless you are lighting a candle for a candle-light dinner date.

I would not say that I have dated hoardes of women in my short eventful life, even though I have ‘been’ with quite a few. The slim, the orobo, the slender, the lekpashious, the ridiculous, the jagbajantis, the ones that shoot competitors dagger eyes, the meek and accepting.

Bolanle, Temi, Jadesola, Akunna, Hauwa, Sandra, Ekanem, Ibie, Tokunbo, Taiwo, Chisom, Alero, Efe…etc etc. Do I still keep in touch with all. Not really, but that is not of my own voilition. I find that most Nigerian girls would rather stay away from an ex, unless they broke up with you, and they have moved on better than you have. Nowadays, it is changing a bit, because many girls are going back to their unmarried ex-boyfriends as they consider marriage options in a desert dating environment. Chaps are going on Facebook to locate and connect back with the primary school sweetheart they had back then, who divided her ‘Jemka’ chewing gum into 2 with her teeth and shared it with them. Swallowing your vomit may not always taste bad after-all; it did come from inside you..

Am I friends with any of my exes? Am I my brother’s keeper? Am I my neighbour’s keeper? Should I be my ex’s keeper? Everything depends on how well you have moved on yourself, how the relationship started and your disposition.

I for one, have dated only a few girl steadily who were my ‘girlfriends’. For all of them, we were very good friends, and had a good rapport before we decided to go steady. For most of the time, I and the girl would even start getting intimate before we realized that we should define everything by going steady. So even when we broke up, there was a platform to stand on. Any drama or negative vibes created during the break-up soon evaporated and the sunshine came out, because we still had a basic friendship. It was a case of ‘I want to see you happy, even if it is not with me’ and not ‘ E no go better for you; you would never meet someone who would love you like me.’ Girls need to chill with the curses and negative professions sometimes. What if you and him decide to get back together after a while? Guess what, that curse still stands..

I wont however sit here and act like everything has always been honky dory, whenever I and a ex—chick broke up. There are a few who hated my guts after we split. One’s fiance even came to ask me whether he should go ahead and marry her, even though she smashed  my heart into little pieces. I gave a her a glowing endorsement – Attitude (A), Resourcefulness (A), Culinary Skills (A), Intelligence (A), Front ‘Curve’ (DD). She passed with flying colours, and they were wed at UNILAG Main Indoor Hall.

I find that it is easier for men to remain friends with their exes than vice-versa. Whether we should is another matter, but I believe anyone who comes into your life has their own purpose. Each one to teach one. The physical or emotional relationship may have failed, but there are business, intellectual and professional relationships to look forward to. Unless the girl did ‘aristo’ runs while dating you. That is inexcusable. Ha ha.

 Being friends with an ex-girlfriend may depend on the following:

1.  Has your ex moved on herself or is there emotional garbage? I remember that I was dating this chick, and was still friends with 2 of my exes who used to drop by to see me once in a while. On my birthday, I decided to do a small get-to-gether thing organised by a few friends. My 2 exes showed up. It was a case of being surrounded by the devil, the deep sea and Lastma. They all could not stand each other, so the tension rose in the room by a 100 degrees. I was trying to divide attention among them, but my girl was getting pissed, from the way she was dicing the birthday cake furiously with a huge serrated knife. The knife was making a huge thud like she was slicing okporoko (obokun fish/stockfish). I later walked out to get some air, and ended up sitting on a car bonnet gisting with a female guest for an hour. Best birthday gift ever

2.   Everything depends on how you broke up, and whether bridges were burnt irretrievably. If your ex-girlfriend cheated on you with either with Chief or did aristo runs while you dated, that bridge is gone forever.  If your ex-girlfriend broke up with you because of your ‘promiscious’ ways, that bridge is as wide open as 3rd Mainland Bridge. Men have big egos, eh?

 If the break up was messy, and words were exchanged and properties divided, it may take your village elders to reconcile you two as friends. A chap I know called Jay and this chick broke up because she was sleeping about. While they were dating, as part of their ‘trust’ and love to each other, they had told each other their email passwords. I found it stupid at the time, and told him but he laughed it off. My girl at the time, after she heard, asked for a similar commitment from me, but I didnt answer her.

Around the time, Jay and his chick were having problems, he went to her email account and saw a long exchange of texts between her and chap nick-named ‘Congo’. He was pissed off, and so he deleted an unread saucy message in which he was describing all the things he was going to do to her at their rendevouz that weekend.

He did that one more time the next day, deleting any unread messages. Later that night, he called and confronted the girl. She did not try to deny anything at all; rather she abused him for logging into her email account, and told to go and stick it.

He rushed to a cybercafe and when he tried to log into her yahoo account, the password had been changed. He logged into his immediately, and saw that the girl had gone in there and deleted all his email messages, mumbering over 4000 from the time he had opened the account. Some of the deleted messages even contained very sensitive and important work and business documents. Panicking, he quickly changed his password, before she beat him to it.

I think you would agree with me that there is no chance of them remaining friends now or in the future. Word of advice, never give your facebook or email password or bank debit card pin to anyone including your girlfriend. The only pin number you should give her is your BB pin.

 

3.   Your present circumstance –  is your current girlfriend or partner easy going? Does your present partner see your ex as a threat? Nigerian women are competitive and an bound to scratch each other’s eyes out at the drop of a dime. Not to sound racist, but I find that if your ex is from certain ethnicities, females get scared and would want you to keep away. Looks also matter. If your ex looks like Munachi Abi, no girl would want her man around her. My word on this is, if you ex looks like Munachi Abi, then why in hell’s name did you ever break up, stupid guy. Munachi is a work of art.

 

4.  Have you moved on? If your ex has not moved on, and you have, it may develop into a new booty call relationship. One of my exes used to come and see me in a short, short, summer dress. She would just ‘drop by’ to say hi. I was not seeing anyone then, but we had broken up, right?

Wrong…

Nigeria Expects

There is something I am very proud of – I will explain it to you. In my dealings with people of other nationalities, I have noticed that many of them cannot believe how  knowledgeable and exposed Nigerians are about world matters, technology and current affairs. Not all about Nigeria is  terrible or backward you see; we live in a country where the media is not restricted. You can get on Facebook in a jiffy once you load up your BIS with phone credit. You can voice away your frustrations with government on Twitter as well. Heck, I have seen many movies at Silverbird way before they came out in England.

We are well on our way to becoming exporters of entertainment, fashion and music, but we have imported well too. Obviously there is still wide-spread poverty in the land, and there are people who live below the poverty line, but fortunes will change. President Jonathan, please do not become Saul.

When I was residing in England in the mid-noughties, I became very good friends with a chap who was in a tribute rock band and performed at gigs part-time. He was really awesome with the electric guitar, and was an awesome drummer as well. When I first heard his band play, I told them that they reminded me of Muse. He told me that I was one of the most dynamic persons of color he had ever met (no disrespect of course). As his band-mates and I chatted about the state of rock and alternative music, the look on their face was priceless. Blame it on lots of MTV in the 90s.

I have been at rock concerts where I was the only dudu in the room. I got some funny stares at first, but I didn’t ‘send’ them from now till tomorrow. After a while, as the music began to jam and alcohol and marijuana exchanged hands, all their fears and inhibitions evaporated. Me, I was solely there for the music.

My foreign friend was quite right – I see myself as a man of many tastes, and not only when it comes to music.  I try to remain world-savvy, and read a little bit about everything as possible. I frequent Barnes and Noble and other book stores where you can read for free, as often as I can. The other day, a book called ‘The Last Days of Camelot’ (about the Kennedy Administration) shared my table along with the latest issue of Esquire and another travel book on running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain (one of my dreams).  I am as much at home at a Creed concert carrying a fit lekpa lass on my shoulders, as I am at an nkwobi  joint somewhere in Aguda, tackling a tough piece of ponmo while trying to protect my crisp white shirt from stains and also drinking fermented palm-wine from a calabash.

But as layered as I am, I am a product of Nigeria – arguably the greatest nation on earth. Despite the odds, we shall march on, pursuing the Nigerian dream of – bread, peace and freedom.

However, in my short travels out of our country, I have come up against the brick walls of stereotypes sometimes formed by an ignorant belief of what is seen in the press. Between 2000 and 2010, Nigeria took a beating on the world stage as people in the west cringed at the following – the Mutallab incident, our sick ex-president’s wife ruling by proxy, the high scale corruption by a former vice-president and ex-governors and electoral fraud on an institutionalized scale in 2007

Did I care? In my last job in Jand before I moved back to Nigeria, I had managed to make honorary Nigerians on some people in my department. I weaned an Irish lass onto jollof rice, until she was cooking it at home without the recipe and visiting Obalende Suya for take-aways. I put some Jamo dudes onto D’Banj’s “Booty Call’ which was a hit at the time. I even got my Somali friend to speak a bit of Pidgin English with the greetings ‘wetin dey?’ which he perfected to a tee, with the finger-snap handshake. It was as if I was willing people to appreciate Nigeria’s greatness.

I once worked part-time in a call centre that took midnight calls from punters. There was this day, I was racially abused by a drunken irate customer who called me a ‘paki’ (racial slur used for Indian/Pakistanis).

Following the company procedure for harassment, I terminated the call and logged a report to my team manager. A counselor was called from HR and my manager came over as well with a cuppa for me, trying to find out whether I was too offended to continue work, whether I wanted to go home for the day or whether I required counseling. Counseling ke? How about I cancel my shift.

I was upset – because the ignorant customer had used the wrong racial ‘slur’; I was upset that he didn’t call me a ‘nigga’ which I am fine with by the way. In fact if he had called me a ‘Nigerian nigga’, I would have still provided a service over the phone. I mean, get it right, or get lost.

Despite all that has happened, I still try to represent my country wherever I find myself. It has not always been easy. The one thing that saddens me is that II get the feeling that Nigeria expects me and every other youth in this country to hang in there while she sorts herself out at her own pace. It is just like that scene in ‘Last of the Mohicans’ where Daniel Day Lewis‘s character screams out to his love interest as she is taken away by the bad guys ‘Stay alive, I will find you…’

1.  My 11 year old nephew once told me that an oyibo kid had asked him this question which gets a 2nd Class Upper in ignorance for me: ‘Is it true that in Nigeria and Africa, kids to go school riding on elephants and other animals? That would really be fun.’

I told my nephew to give him the following answer at school the next day ‘Yeah it is true. Matter of fact, my uncle has a Jaguar right outside’

2.   A middle-aged Scots lady who was a co-worker, sprung this gem on me at an after-work drinks session. ‘Esco, you seem to really like Lion Bars and Rolos. Do you enjoy our candy here? Do you lot have chocolates and confectionery in Nigeria? Did you even know what it was before you got here?

Everyone from work looked at me with anticipation, as the music in the bar seemed to slow up for a second. I replied dryly ‘We did not have any Opal fruit, so I made do with normal fruit which I picked as I swung from vine to vine in the forests of Nigeria.’

Everybody laughed, and the woman did too –though uneasily. That was me off her Christmas card list for secret Santa.

3.    At the company annual party, people in my department gathered around a table and we played a game where everyone had to come up with a different party trick. One girl balanced a row of champagne glasses and made a fountain. Another man shuffled cards and guessed correctly which one was picked out every time. It went round until the chap just before me was clueless so he decided to recite a sentence where all the words started with ‘F’: ‘Fat Frank’s father fried five fat fish fingers for five famous friends from Farnham.’

It was now my turn as the last person, and everybody turned to face me. Men, I could not think of anything. Then I made up something quickly…

‘Baba Bolajoko beat Bisi badly because beautiful Bisi bought big bad bananas.’

You could hear a pin drop. The members of my team all looked at me, like they didn’t have a clue on what I was on about. Na dem sabi o.

 

4.   My work team also had a this thing where we had to cook, label and bring a dish from home, so that after work on Friday, we would all have a buffet as part of Happy Friday. I wanted to showcase Nigerian food, so I decided not to go the easy route by cooking Uncle Bens Rice and a pepper-less stew. Besides Ashok, my Indian co-worker said he was bringing basmati rice and byriani.  Lily O’Connell who was Irish was also bringing Guinness. So why should I cower? I made pounded yam and okra soup with ponmo. I labeled it Mash, okra casserole and cow feet.

No one went near my food through-out the party except for one Ghanaian chap who loved food and ate with his 10 fingers.

Well, at least I didn’t sell out