Fatty Bum Bum

Great, I have shed a couple of pounds..

Lounging on my lazy boy sofa  yesterday, I was flicking through channels on the TV bored to tears,  when the Tyra Banks show came on. I was about switching the channel when a part of the conversation between Tyra and a dark-skinned plump lady caught my attention. The woman had discriminatory issues against overweight and obese people, saying that they disgusted her so much that she had stopped talking to her best friend who had gotten very large by gorging on sandwiches, cookies and fast food.

The lady also argued that the American society should quit trying to dance around the issue of obesity in the name of political correctness by encouraging the use of terms like “big”, “curvy” and “chubby” rather than “fat” and “obese.”

The show had a roundtable discussion with about 4 or 5 women including some obese ones. One of the ladies said whenever a “ fat” person tried to seat next to her in a bus or a public place, she changed seats. She also added that she, like many employers post-recession apparently, was adverse to hiring overweight candidates for jobs as they could not perform as efficiently as slender employees. Someone else with the same inclination, added that obese people usually smelled bad as “dirt and body sweat were likely to accumulate in between stomach folds.”

Tyra was amazed. She felt that this was a discriminatory issue that needed to be brought to American national consciousness in the same manner as racial discrimination or religious bigotry. Having been a victim of abuse herself when her cellulite-laden derierre was snapped on camera spilling out of a one-piece bikini while on holiday in a beach and appeared in various tabloids some years ago, she sighed as she observed that there were no laws which guarded against weight discrimination.

Do overweight people have it rough?

In the 2009 movie The Watchmen, one of the “superheroes” a character named Rorschach refused to answer a question, saying to the interrogator – “I dont like you…because you’re fat.” O ga o.

Underfeed on sight..

Weight is also an issue in Nigeria, but perhaps many people still mis-read how serious of an issue it may be. There were traditional fattening rooms in ancient Calabar for adolescent teenage girls in preparation for marriage and adult life – but the ladies were not only fed and plumped up, they were thought very useful life skills; Ibo men are known to have huge girths due to having fufu, carbohydrate in a lump form, as their traditional staple diet. When people see a strange dark woman in her late 40s and above with a large bosom and a massive bum enter a room, they are likely to greet her by half-kneeling and saying “E ka aro ma” as quite many older Yoruba women are built like that. I won’t say it is because of the ewedu.Jo o, my Yoruba friends; I am just illustrating a point.


Many Nigerian foods have a high calorie content. Even moi moi if cooked with groundnut oil, egg yolk and corned beef included can be potent, steamed as it is. A huge loaf of Agege bread and agonyi beans (palm oil and all) may hurt your waistline nearly as much as a steak and bacon double whooper with cheese from Whattaburger.

Eba anchors the stomach, and ogbono soup goes straight to the thighs. Its sooo hard.


Mind the fish-bones...and the calories

There was a time people equated your social status with the size of your stomach, face and thighs.  E-Honda was rich and respected, Dhalsim was not. A muffin top or a double chin was a sign of affluence. If you were an middle-aged Ibo man on the come-up, those thick-folds behind your neck, nicknamed “obi oko” signified that you were a man of means. If you had a 32 inch waist and a slender build, you were presumed to be a man of beans. And beans in Naija used to be seen as poor man’s food.

Now attitudes are changing a bit especially in the urban metropolis of Lagos, Port city and Abuja where the demography of middle Nigeria has been changed forever by the “blackberry generation” and the “repatriates” (Diaspora returnees). Okay let me break this down: fat may no longer seen as cool. And we have some people in this country who will want to tell you this to your face. Every.chance. they. get.

At a wedding, whether you are a guest or the groom – bros, see as your belle dey shoot comot from inside your coat.


In a danfo or molue bus – Madam, e be like say you go pay double o. See as you fat reach. Make you dress inside well well, or make you come down make my 2 passenger enter motor. E san wo iseyin.


At a Tejuosho market shop buying clothes – Aunty, if you like make you divide yoursef into 3; this cloth no go size you. See as you don stretch the material go. Abeg free am, I no get ya size. Make I call my brother for shop B23 see if im get your size.


In Nigeria, strangers are friends who will know you in a minute whether you like it or not. Someone whom you have never said a word to before is likely to grab at your love handles, or slap your muffin top as they lament about your weight gain.


And even outside the shores of our dear country, the criticism goes un-abated.

An elderly woman of about 70 from Warri travels to Atlanta, USA to visit her son whose wife has just given birth to twins. Iya ibeji or twin tower of doom? On the 2nd day of her stay, the man takes mama to a chinese buffet for dinner ( a rite of passage for most Nigerian people visiting Yankee).

The man and his mama go for their “first round.” Mama does not recognise all the strange-looking dishes in front of her, and plays it safe by ordering rice, vegetables and the steamed tilapia.

As mama sips her drink, she spies a 20-year-old, 280 pound oyibo girl in the booth next to theirs who has just returned from the food-tables with a plate loaded with fried rice, spring rolls, fried biscuits, chow mein, fried pork, spare ribs etc.

Mama is amazed as she watches the girl make short work of the huge plate of wood in mere minutes. Mama eyes the girl sternly. The girl does not notice or pretends not to notice as she works a huge pork rib laden with honey glazed sauce.

This process repeats itself, as the girl finishes her food, and goes for more and more.

Mama decides to have some fruit as desert and strolls to the fruit section, which also has the ice-cream and cake. As she serves some diced paw paw on her plate, she notices the 280 pound girl pouring chocolate/vanilla ice-cream into a huge cup.

Mama cannot keep quiet this time. Yelling in perfect Waffi pidgin, she chides “ E never do you?! E never-never do you?!!! You still de shop food again! Na only you?!!! E never do you?!!!”

The oyibo girl dropped the contents of the cup on the floor, as she turned away bursting into the tears. Everyone in the restaurant turned around looking dazed. Some mothers covered their chubby children’s ears and eyes with their palms.

The son came and led angry mama away.

I think mama should be chosen to be a trainer on The Biggest Loser.

Tyra despite her brief “annus horribilis” during she added ‘weight’ and received criticism has no idea. She should come to Naija, a place where overweight people are likely to be called more than that.

Forget terms like BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) or “curvy”. Even “fatso” sounds tame. Try words like fatty bum bum, fuji ropo ropo, spare tyre, 50 litre jerry-can, fatilizer…

The word “Orobo” does not count because when you hear that word used to describe a person, you imagine a curvy girl with cute weight or baby fat in just a few places. Think Jasmine Sullivan or Ini Edo. By the way, much props to Wande Coal for bringing Nigerian bootylicious sexy back.

While we are on the subject, why do people generally use the term “morbidly obese” but never “perilously lekpashandous” or “fatally thini-beku”?

There used to be some parts of Lagos where overweight people are taunted on

the streets. Someone once told me that the story of her life could be summed up in this bit of poetry:

People used to see me and say “Here comes the Michellin (tyre) / Later I became immune  to their insults like penicillin /

Mama is not the only one that I have heard or seen have a serious go at an overweight person, with good intentions or not.

Many years back, I used to go to a gym 2 days a week to lift weights. The gym was owned one of the slimmest 50-year-old Nigerian women I had ever seen. She  was also absolutely gorgeous, with firm legs and washboard abs. The gym had a trainer who took on clients on fitness programs.

There was this  middle-aged, light-skinned,  married Ibo woman who had just joined the gym and had taken on the trainer who had planned a steep weight-loss regime for the lady who was quite big. The woman always clashed with the trainer as she could never keep pace in her work-outs and kept on complaining of fatigue.

There was a day I got to the gym, and saw the woman munching on boiled groundnuts while she casually did a slow walk on the treadmill. The trainer was furious as he had instructed her to do a 5 min brisk walk, then 10 minute fast jog and alternate this until she had done 45 minutes. The lady had ignored him, and reduced the treadmill pace to a very slow stroll, as she shelled and chewed a huge bag of peanuts.

At that moment the owner of the gym walked in, in her sports vest, showing her brick stomach, and some Nike running shoes. When she saw the big woman chewing peanuts, she lost it and laid into her:

“What the hell do you think you are doing. As fat as you are, you still snack on groundnuts?”

The embarrassed pea-nut woman turned red as she tried to feebly explain “ But they are the boiled ones, na”

The gym CEO disregarded the explanation “ Boiled or fried, you really should not be eating groundnuts. Each nut contains 5 calories. You keep on coming to my office for weight counselling and complaining that you are not losing any weight, but we now know what you do when you go home. As overweight as you are, you should only snack on fruits like pawpaw or orange. All the weight you have are on your stomach and thighs!”

Turning to the trainer, she ordered him to confiscate the bag of groundnuts and throw it in the trash bin downstairs for good measure.

Then she walked up to the treadmill, and increased the speed to sprint-mode. Groundnuts woman ran herself into the ground that day.

Me, I was weak. I remembered that I must have had at least a 1000 peanuts earlier that day. Inside my Ijebu garri. With 5 cubes of sugar. With 4 big table spoons of Dano powdered milk. Full cream, not  Dano slim. Plus a huge plate of beans. Agonyi, not baked beans.

I got on the treadmill asap.

Thankfully, it is not all doom and gloom for heavy or curvy people in modern Naija. Sometimes there is reverse weight discrimination.

In some joints or eateries, waiters may serve big people large portions of food subconsciously and get call them madam/uncle to boot. For example, if Apollonia from the Nollywood blockbuster “Blackberry Babes” (a.k.a Bobo Bigz Girls from Jenifa) and say, Agbani Darego went for lunch to Olaiya Food Services or Bank Olemoh to buy ‘designer’ rice, and they both bought N200 rice each, Apollonia would receive jara.

In many rural settings or smaller cities/towns, big sized men are better regarded or respected on default.

And there are still many Nigerian men who like a bit who love heavy women. I know someone who only fancied orobo girls. When he saw Monique for the first time in a Busta Rhymes video, he was in love, and totally disregarded Vivica Fox who also appeared in the same video. This chap also believes that Jenifer Hudson has sculpted her body to ugliness. And he would gladly buy Apollonia 10 Blackberry smartphones if she so desires.

Toh bad

In Nigeria, most managers or top executives have a 40- inch waist or over. You are perceived to be chopping life if you sport a huge pot-belly and you can do that if you are as slender as say Sadiq Daba of the 80s TV soap “Cock Crow at Dawn” (no disrespect).

Even our army generals and the top brass of the Nigerian military are barrel chested and are built like Baron Greenback of the Dangermouse cartoon series. Only Idiagbon of blessed memory looked trim and as slender as a character from Top Gun . Okay,  Buhari looked trim when he was Head of State, and still does, but since he is Fulani, it is in his genes and so does not count.

I hear Obj eats pounded yams like crazy, You are what you eat; if mama catches him, eh?


Yeah, and if I may say so myself, I think Wana looks nice.

What is your take on all of the above?

…used to call me fatso/

Now you call me Castro, my rap flows/


Notorious BIG (Victory, 1997)

Far from ugly but they used to say that I was too chubby/

But now I have got money, the honies aint got nothing but love for me/


Big Pun (I’m not a Player, 1998)

20 responses

  1. wande coal yuck, obese black and sweaty yuck!!

    I dont get the nigerian police/army dudes o, real fatty bum bum, have you read about the south african police policy, to sack any officer bigger than their uniform

    • Lol@ Wande Coal comment.

      If all overweight politicians or members of government were expunged from our national life, what do you think would remain? At least the better ones would remain which is not a bad thing i.e. Fashola et al..

  2. ROTFLOL! Kai, Esco, you’ve got me laughing at work so hard my boss is beginning to suspect my sanity.

    Btw, I think chubby is fine, but obesity is not. Even Monique has lost a hella weight.

  3. LOL. Dude, I have been laughing sooo hard here, had tears coming out of my eyes. That ” Mama” story got me rolling on the floor and I could sooo imagine that thing going down-must not have been a pretty sight.LOL. CSI Las Gidi et al, *smh*, I hope that thing makes sense @ d end of the day. Btw, I’m impressed, u watch all these 9ja movies, Blackberry babes and the like. Many guys don’t. Lol @ the E-Honda and Dhalsim.lol. My goodness, serious memories. I terrorized my older brothers till they gave me unlimited access to their computer games.lol. Loved ur comment on Bella Naija and decided to follow ur link to ur blog and I love ur blog major. U r really good, keep it up. U definitely got a new fan now. Tk care. 🙂

    • – the Mama took no prisoners when she was laying into that girl
      – CSI Lasgidi is just something I made a post out of – i am open if filmakers need scriptwriters for a movie though. lol
      – I dunno if I watch Naija movies like that. But I have seen a few.
      – Thanks for the awesomne comments. You can also follow us on Twitter – EscoWoah.
      See you again and again soon, Lol

  4. I saw this on BN and I clicked on it.. It turns out it was written by ESCO (loves it)….

    Funny stuff… mehn I was rolling with laughter man… it is too much most esp MAMA from Warri… There should be a movie on that jor…. I cannot imagine the d look on her face when she was saying it… Too funny. I love it.

    God bless u bro… really I mean it…

  5. Are you serious????? A guy wrote this….Waoh…I am a fan already… I was just commenting on the BN page that you should start a blog and oh my, there is already one……
    keep up the good job, I mean keep it clean and funny!!!! Still laughing over the waffi woman jist….just too bad!!!

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