Those Genes

Clipart Illustration of a Tough Strong Black Man Flexing His Big

In the first years of my youth, I was told by certain insensitive adults that I would grow up to be a short man.  If that was not an oxymoron, I don’t know what is. Their reason for such crass talk? My mum is about 5 foot 5 inches tall, and my dad is shorter. My siblings were not tall either. Taking a family portrait, we all looked like Igbo Smurfs.

But sometimes genes and talents skip a generation – and certain traits and faults do too. On my father’s side of the family, the men tend to add weight easily around their torso.  My grandfather was a rolling stone, and I mean that quite literally. On my mum’s side, individuals are blessed with good frames and bone structure – cheek bones, proportional limbs and square shoulders. They are also very book-smart. However, baldness and receding hairlines are the flip side of their coin.

So in secondary school, when I hit my teenage years, many of the above traits from my mum and dad’s contrived to create a mish-mash of a messy pottage. The result would have made Frankenstein proud.

There I was, in the sullied whites of my secondary school uniform – large bellied with slim limbs, massive nose, a shortish height, a 90s Vanilla Ice high-top hair-cut and the early signs of widows peak. I had the dimples of life, but it was surrounded by teenage acne which became oils wells on contact. I was somewhat intelligent, but not academically brilliant.

And oh, did I mention that I wore glasses – a heritage of my father’s side. Big horn rimmed, coke-bottled spectacles which were always bent out of shape because I dozed off in them. I ended up tying them with a shoe string.

I could have developed a Napoleon complex. Luckily and co-incidentally I found creature comforts in other worldly pursuits like playing video games (especially Streetfighter 2 and ISS) hip-hop, and goofing around with my school click – The Pentagon Pound. In my day, you could not afford to wallow in your physical insecurities as you would be eaten for breakfast by banter throwers. I held up quite well.

Back then, there was no Skype, no hiding behind Blackberry or Whatsapp chats or social media. You had to go out there, and put yourself out there, or remain a crab in the hole forever. Get the wind behind your back, so to speak.

After I finished secondary school, I spent an involuntary gap year (imposed by JAMB and strikes) at home before I went off to University. To kill boredom, I ate everything moving. It drove my ma bonkers.

But then something else happened – I experienced a growth spurt like no other. It was like I looked in the mirror, and transformed from being a “short engine” to about 6 feet tall. My grandfather’s genes came through – he was a Goliath, as village champions come. Oh, and my forehead acne cleared.

So good times, and as Sean Carter rhymed, my situation could be summed as thus:

My gear is in and I’m in the in-crowd
And all the wavy light skinned girls are loving me now
My self-esteem went through the roof – man, I got my swag

As crazy family genes go, it appears that for every gift, there is a concession.

There is the famous Esco Family sheen – we appear to be blessed with a certain glow inherited from our progenitors who discovered the merits of cassava soap (I kid, I kid). My grandmother on my father’s side who was said to be a hot chick in her day centuries ago, aged very well. Even on my dad’s sickbed before he passed on, people who came to see him refused to accept that he had cancer. He looked relatively fresh till his final moments.

And because my pops had cancer, it is something I have to look out for. I will need to have my prostrates checked annually from age 40 onwards – an excruciating and very humbling  procedure.  I also have to keep an eye on my carbs and sugar intake to stave off diabetes – which used to be a family special in my maternal family tree. Heck, I even dropped my cigarette habit half a decade ago, and I have not had a St Moritz in years.

There is also artistic streak in my blood. Otaakara, my daughter, is already pretty handy with Crayola, and has a photographic memory that equals the motion grounds of OAU. I have always had a keen interest in calligraphy, content development and creativity. My mind works 24/7 . I am not able to sleep without dreaming.  Good for wet dreams – horrible for nightmares.

My old man was a super speech-writer and popular choice for chairman of events, as he was capable of captivating and moving an audience with his words. He also had a slick tongue that could mortally injure, if he reprimanded you. My cousin twice removed earns serious corn as a UK based photographer and videographer with a weekend DJ side gig. Another cousin is a super skilled musician, who unfortunately came up in the wrong era. Certain members of the extended family discouraged his pursuit of a music career, as back then everyone crassly wanted their children to study law, medicine, finance or engineering.

These days, I still have this huge girth to contend with. I suffer Nutty Professoritis, as my metabolism is all over the place. One week you could see me in my Buddy Love stance, then the next month I would have added 30 pounds and be plump like the Klumps. Wellness and health management for any gender is a lifelong campaign. Sometimes you lose 5 pounds, and gain 10, and vice versa. Fat can be like those demons described in the Bible; when you cast out one, if you backslide in faith, he returns back manifold. Well, at all, at all, na him bad pass.

I got sick of feeling like a deflated wheel in the streetcar called desire. I also discovered that sleep apnea is the cousin of death.

So I started this 24 day cleanse program last month called the Advocare 24 Day Challenge and have dropped over 10 pounds so far, and gained some major muscle. I feel more energized like a Tiger-head battery.

The Challenge contains an eating plan made of many readily available foods or healthy equivalents – sweet potatoes, brown rice, brown pasta, roasted boli. You take healthy supplements, eat clean, hydrate and exercise, and “lean-back” (lots of pun intended). There is no way you can lose. Or scratch that, there are plenty ways you can.  It is not only for weight loss. There are different weight gain, wellness and rejuvenation packages. Check out more information here  , and USA and Canada based readers can also order directly from here too. If you have any questions, please send an email to



You are beautiful…

The nature of genes is learning how to work with the hardware you are blessed with, and calibrate the supposed “bugs” by action and supplication. No seed of man has no choice over his parents, fore-bearers or constitution.

Trivia in closing: If a cockroach accidentally makes contact with a human being, it scurries away somewhere and cleans itself. Let that sink in for a bit.

Caught a glimpse of myself in the Barney’s shop window/
Kind of  see my father’s features creeping  in a little/
Got an office on Broadway, business in Jamaica/
Tell my daughter to  try the hardest so the best schools will take her/

Nas, War (2004)



Advocare -24DC (24 Day Challenge)

The 24-Day Challenge is a comprehensive supplementation and nutrition program designed to give your body the jumpstart it needs to help you reach your goals. There’s something for everyone whether you are looking for weight management, energy, overall body composition or overall wellness. Thousands of people have experienced success on the 24-Day Challenge – you could be next! Click here for success stories.

Cleanse Phase

Proper absorption of nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals is essential to maintaining a healthy body. However, periodic lifestyle changes may generate the need for a “fresh start” – that’s where the Cleanse Phase comes in. On Days 1-10 of the 24-Day Challenge, you will take three products.

These products, in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, help to rid your body of waste and prepare your body to better absorb nutrients.* This isn’t the kind of cleanse where you drastically reduce calories or consume only liquids – this is the beginning of a healthier lifestyle!*

Herbal Cleanse SystemThe AdvoCare Herbal Cleanse system can help rid your body of waste and prepare the body for optimal nutrient absorption with its unique blend of herbal ingredients.* Using a systematic approach, this 10-day system guides you through the daily steps for thorough internal cleansing and improved digestion.*Each Herbal Cleanse box includes these two key products: ProBiotic Restore™ capsules and Herbal Cleanse tablets. For the complete system, use these two products as well as AdvoCare Fiber for the duration of the 10 days.

OmegaPlex®The second product you will use in the Cleanse Phase is OmegaPlex®, which is a high-quality blend of essential Omega-3 fatty acids for overall wellness.* Omega-3 fatty acids are essential components of heart, nerve, muscle, skin, bone and immune health. As with all of the AdvoCare products, OmegaPlex®meets high standards for safety and efficacy so you can be sure you are getting some of the purest Omega-3 fatty acids on the market.*
AdvoCare Spark®AdvoCare Spark® is a unique multi-nutrient system that was developed as a nutritional source of energy and enhanced mental focus.* It’s sugar free with more than 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients that work synergistically to provide a healthy, balanced and effective source of energy that won’t overburden or over stimulate your body.*

These three products work to cleanse and prepare your body for the Max Phase, days 11-24.
Note: Do not take thermogenic products (MNS® color packets, ThermoPlus™ and AdvoCare® Slim) while in the Cleanse Phase.
Other AdvoCare supplements may be continued, although they should be taken at least a couple of hours after the AdvoCare Fiber.

Max Phase

After completing the Cleanse Phase, it’s time to move into days 11-24: The Max Phase. The Max Phase is about fueling your body in order to achieve maximum results. During this phase you will take three products that work together to provide you with sustained energy, appetite control, core nutrition and overall wellness.* Upon completion of the 24-Day Challenge, these products can continue to be taken every day as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Metabolic Nutrition System™ – MNS®During the Max Phase, you can choose from three Metabolic Nutrition Systems which all provide sustained energy, appetite control, core nutrition and overall wellness.*If you’re not sure which system to use, AdvoCare recommends beginning with MNS® 3, which provides you with a foundational level of appetite control and energy.* For a higher level of appetite control you can choose MNS® C, and for more energy you can choose MNS® E*.

All three formulations include: CorePlex® (our multivitamin), OmegaPlex®, ProBiotic Restore™ , thermogenic components and additional wellness supplements.

Meal Replacement ShakeSkipping meals is a common mistake people make in weight-management or wellness programs. The Meal Replacement Shake is a healthy, delicious solution. Each shake includes 22-24 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 5-6 grams of fiber, 26 vitamins and minerals, and 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium. They come in several great-tasting flavors.
AdvoCare Spark®An additional box of AdvoCare Spark® completes the Max Phase.

When compared to MNS®

Companion Products

Companion products can be used in conjunction with the products that come with your 24-Day Challenge Bundle. Although not officially part of the 24-Day Challenge, these products are fantastic complements to the program and can help target your specific needs.*

It is important to stay in contact with your AdvoCare coach to ensure you are using these products at the proper times and phases during the 24-Day Challenge.

CatalystCatalyst provides a blend of essential branched-chain amino acids and L-glutamine to fuel your body with the muscle-building components it needs.* Catalyst helps repair and protect muscle, and provides the essential amino acids needed to maintain and promote lean body mass, endurance and strength.* Catalyst helps rid the fat and retain muscle when used in combination with a healthy diet, exercise, and other AdvoCare products such as Meal Replacement Shakes or Muscle Gain™.
ThermoPlus®ThermoPlus® is an innovative weight-loss enhancer that contains key botanical extracts to help support efficient metabolism and suppress appetite.* Together, they provide powerful support for stimulating fat oxidation and healthy metabolism when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise.*
Carb-Ease® PlusCarb-Ease® Plus is a full-spectrum product that helps support weight management and body composition.* Carb-Ease Plus contains ingredients that help inhibit the breakdown of fats and particular carbohydrate molecules so that the body is less likely to absorb them.* It also helps maintain weight and healthy blood glucose levels by reducing the negative effects of excessive carbohydrate consumption.*
AdvoCare Workout SeriesThe AdvoCare Workout Series Can You 24 is a two-disc DVD set, which includes seven workouts, 24 exercises per workout, a ColorTrack tool that encourages all levels of exercise, takes only 24 minutes, and requires no equipment! As an added bonus, it is led by some of our top AdvoCare Independent Distributors.

CU 24 Workout Series

AdvoCare Independent Distributors lead these dynamic workouts designed to help real people get
real results.

Nutrition Guide

Good nutrition is a key part of any healthy lifestyle. During the 24-Day Challenge, we encourage you to incorporate a large variety of lean proteins, vegetables, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates as part of a well-balanced and maintainable diet. Use the 24-Day Challenge Daily Guide as your one-stop reference for nutrition, supplementation, water intake and exercise throughout the Challenge.

Healthy recipes

Looking for 24-Day Challenge friendly recipes and more?
Be sure to check out the official AdvoCare Tumblr page.

Daily Guide

Water & Food Portion Recommendations
Hydration is key in any weight management program and it is important to have sensible portion sizes.Daily Checklists
We have included a convenient checklist for each day of the challenge that makes it easy to keep track of when to take your supplements, how much water you’re drinking, what exercise you are doing, and suggests what foods are recommended at each meal.

Food Suggestions
This isn’t a fad diet that eliminates entire food groups. Instead, our food suggestions revolve around a well-balanced diet of lean proteins, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and other snack items such as healthy fats, fruits, dairy, and AdvoCare products.

Daily Guide (English)
Download 4.5 MB
Daily Guide (Spanish)
Download 4.4 MB

The information found in the Daily Guide is merely a guideline and not a definitive list of what can and cannot be consumed on the 24-Day Challenge®.
As always, please consult your healthcare provider before making any dietary or fitness modifications. Be sure to stay in contact with your AdvoCare coach
to help with any questions you may have.

Culled from



For goodness sake…

Eddie Murphy once quipped that the loneliest and utmost venue for self-reflection is the bathroom, especially if you are doing a number two. Reason being, is that you are alone with your thoughts, with the soothing sound of your faeces hitting the toilet water for company. If you need to go on a diet, your love handles and girth will advise you of this need, as there is nothing as unflattering as one perched on a water closet bowl.

For me, bathroom time is bliss on earth, especially my night regimes. It is my personal time, as I like to think of making a hit, while taking a shit. I also see it as a forum for cleansing myself of the toils, soils and foils of a busy day, as I replenish my physical essence in the fragrance of pomade, fluoride and eau de toilette (pun intended).

Besides, I am as socially awkward as a friendly leper. My lack of social graces gets worse in confined spaces like a public bathroom. For me there is something mightily disagreeable about other users trying to make small talk about the weather or economy in an office toilet facility while I am trying to desperately aim my crooked penis at the urinary bowl. Mess around and get bathed in my salty urea, as I can’t shoot straight for toffee.

If I waltzed into a gents’, and someone I knew was there already say washing his hands at the sinks after a poo poo, I grunted my greetings and edged past the usurper straight to the urinary cubicle. I try to wait until dude left the room, before I proceeded to wash my hands. Sometimes with these over-friendly folk, it is a waiting game of who blinks first. Like dude, I am still here – you can shit your bowels out now.

By the way, what is the correct spelling for faeces, as Microsoft Word’s spell check disagrees with my construction of the word at every turn.

I spent my formative years in boarding school, as my parents conveniently subcontracted the stress of raising me to a bully of a housemaster who wore baggy khakis and a big belt buckle,  like the court clerk from Ichoku.  Of all the most unbearable things about boarding house life, the toilets were the worst experience, and I still have nightmares from sneaking into a toilet early one morning, only to be confronted by a Pied Piper of Hamelin type rat taking a bath in a commode full of semi-solid waste. Talk about eating where you shit at.

Unfortuately I am sometimes still forced to use public  conveniences either at work or at eateries, when my stomach decides it cannot keep down the TV dinners I spend my lunch money on these days. I have also had a few inconsiderate house guests over, and I find that bathroom users fall broadly into the following 5 categories.

  • Folk (inconsiderate albeit) who leave skid-marks in the toilet bowl after doing their business. I once told a story of how I bounced out of a house party full of glorious spread, because the bathroom facilities were a disgrace. There was no logical way a home could have produced kitchen grub that good, and a convenience that gross.
  • Those who shower like they are on a home irrigation project. I once walked into the bathroom of a flat I was sharing with some students and I saw an amount of water that looks like it was what the Titanic displaced when it sunk.
  • People who shed hair. On the toilet seat. Perhaps a memento or a some kind of sickly keepsake for the next punter? Pubic hair surely cannot be that long and nappy?
  • Users who grunt and pant during the defecating process, like they are birthing a giant infant.
  • Normal folk like me, who are considerate and tidy users, with the added ability to hit opera type notes while singing in the shower.

So there you have it.



I am Igbo and I am proud, and these days I want to shout it from a zinc rooftop, like a village cockerel. No disrespect to other ethnic groups, as there are plenty things to admire about them too.

You have to love how Yorubas live life to the fullest even to old age, and teach their little ones Yoruba from an early age, including some of the more complicated idiomatic expressions. I admire Yoruba history and the way it is preserved through the enduring lineage of royalty – the great Obas, Alaafins and Oonis, the Oyo Kingdom etc. Yoruba folk know how to floss – it is in their DNA. Aint no party like an Owambe party, because the jollof rice and pounded yam, does not stop. On the flip side, at Igbo parties in 80s and 90s, rice and stew was very plenty. Plenty is not always good. Or delicious.

There is also something about the Hausa-Fulani cool, calm and trusting temperament that is very endearing and exotic.

And I have never met anyone from the Ibibio-Efik-Anang triumvirate who is not book-smart. In primary school, a classmate Akpan had highest Common Entrance score in the country and got admitted to one of the Gifted Schools. In secondary school, another mate Edidiong led the class in grades, coming first from Form 1 to 6. Na wetin? What is it about these South-South people that makes them so intelligent? Is it the vegetable in those sumptuous soups they make? They are also ever so good at Mathematics, just like Chinese people. Is mastering arithmetic the main and secret ingredient to producing sumptuous delicious cuisines like Chow Mein, Kung Pao chicken, Singapore Fired Noodles, Edika Ikong and Afang soups? Anyway, I still lie to my daughter Otaakara that I used to “carry” first position back in school. Academic excellence is in your genes, Daddy’s dearest.

I have love for all my Nigerian peoples. However being Igbo is special. To be Igbo in Nigeria takes guts of fury. Growing up, I could always see the desperation and suffering in our people’s  eyes, whenever I crossed that Niger bridge on my family’s road trip to the village from Lagos for Xmas holidays. It was as if the air changed once one set foot in Onitsha. Playing outside our village house, I swore I could see the blood of our fallen Biafran soldiers in the reddish Eastern soil. In the toils of my grandmother’s callouses as she hauled produce from her farm.

As a youngster, I used to reject Igbo snacks and delicacies like mpuruoso (cassava casserole) and ugbakala (African salad) because I felt they were too tangy for my tastes, much to my mother’s annoyance. I was accused that I didnt “know how to eat them”. Now that I am older and wiser, I realize how nutritional and well prepared they are. It is now clear that snacks like Meat-pie and Ice-Cream are sweet to the mouth, but sour to your health. I also respect the painstaking alchemy that goes into the making of native delicacies, and how they are a custodian of my Igbo heritage. After all there is a proverb which states kola nut does not understand English.

These are new times though. The strong Igbo female is a much demanded for a wife, friend and business-mate. The Igbo man has regained his confidence and his swagger on the theatre of national life. People from different groups are intermarrying. My very Ekiti friend took an Anambra wife, and I hailed him to the rafters. Maybe one day Nigeria will produce a female Head of State whose name is Wuraola Okorocha-Abubakar. That would put Federal character into a spin.

Igboisms are entering our everyday lingo. Slang like Hian, Biko, kwanu, Chai, Maka why?

These days, being Igbotic or having an Igbo accent is not the social suicide it crassly used to be. Igbo is the new cool, as it has hit the mainstream. I see people rocking their red cap and Isi-agu tunic on a BN red-carpet event with pride, and it warms my heart. The Versace lion logo or the MGM lion which roars at the beginning of a Hollywood production have nothing on the felines on an isi-agu jumper.

And Igbo names have to be the coolest things ever – heavy with meaning and circumstance, and the foreboding of tragic flaws. Names like Kambinachi (let us live in God), or Ugola (Golden Eagle), or Jeneta (Come and See Wonder), Otaakara (decimator and ravager of bean cakes), Anuli (glorious joy),  Usochukwuka (the sweetness of the Almighty is supreme)

The Igbo language has to be the most soulful language ever. Perfect for worship songs, marvelous for literature and the arts. Okoronkwo of Things Fall Apart is our Macbeth. Is Ojukwu our Che Guevara. Have you ever watched an Igbo Opera, where a pretty village damsel does laundry in a rural stream, while a dashing young farmer serenades her in central Igbo dialect? Have you heard a chorus of songs sung by bridesmaids at an Ibankwu (traditional wedding), as the bride performs the traditional dance with a gourd of palmwine and waltzes towards her groom who marvels at her voluptuous waist full of jigida beads? Osali na bankwu, Osali li li.

The defiance, independence and sheer will of the Igbo is legendary. It makes me happier than it should, mentioned in Roots that Igbo slaves led a revolt, and jumped into a river to their death during a foiled escape, rather than capitulate to a life of servitude and slavery. Nna men. So no be today we done dey jump inside Lagoon.

I love that Igbos have produced many acclaimed in different spheres of endeavor –Chinua Achebe, Uche of BN, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ben Enwonwu, Otokoto, Phyno, Jim Iyke, Aki N Pawpaw, Philip Emeagwali, Dick Tiger, Chigurl, Kanu, Esco…..

These days, I realize that ethnic rivalry , nepotism and tribal disunity are very unnecessary evils.  At law school, I was amazed at the Technicolor of Nigerian diversity as I had firsthand opportunities to interact closely with peers from the most hinter parts of Nigeria. I met compatriots of all languages going through the same struggles, joys and triumphs as I was, and now I realize the real disparity is between those with bastard wealth and the have-nots; and not between people of different languages. Nigerians no matter their ethnic group, are a beautiful people, but our hearts have gotten ugly from lack and ignorance of each other. Nigeria must curb want and extreme poverty which instigate ethnic tensions.

Oh and Buhari, please fix the railways and security, people should be able to see our countryside without the fear of their heads blown off by a Boko Haram dynamite. Nigeria will prevail.


From now on, you cease to exist to me

I am an incurable romantic. Like a valentine’s gift that keeps giving, it is all heart with me. All is well in the world with me, when I spend quality time with a lass I am really into, then I can make strong postulations of love, desire and passion. When I am into you, I am really into you, like a Biology practical dissection project.  Weird, abi?

I serenade you like a scene from Romeo and Juliet, except that I envision it between me Esco and my fair (or dark) Nigerian lady. I might hit a lady with some Shakespeare like this:

Esco: Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.


Nigerian Lass: Then have my lips the sin that they have took.


Esco: Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.

If she is not up on Shakespeare, I might throw this out instead:

Before I met you, I was like Nackson

But now your love dey do me like Michael Jackson

In the movies, lovers always live happily ever after, preserved for posterity by the frame shot of youthful vigor. Yep, romance in film and the creative arts is dynamic and spontaneous depending on the genre and industry the film originated from. Let me illustrate.

In Hollywood, the theme of most movies is clear – good looking actor defeats all odds and shoots down the bad guys with ripping muscles and big guns blazing, and scoops up the pretty girl in the daisy duke shorts at the bar, In the end everybody smiles, as the “actor” and his chick drive into the sunset, with beer cans tied to their back bumper, and the credits roll. Actor no dey die.

I once took a girl I liked to a dance club. When we got there, it was like a Satis beef sausage factory – more guys than girls were present, and the fellas there had their tongue out like wolf looking for lamb. I wanted to leave, but my date said she liked the music the DJ was blasting. We decided to dance, and we were about 20 minutes into the jig with me doing my Esco doo-wop while trying to convince said girl to be down with me, when disaster struck. Some imp decided that it was a nice time to make a sandwich – a human one. He started grinding into my girl from behind, like they were on a Molue queue. I shoved him, and we were both tossed out of the club. I and girl got into an argument, and never went steady after that. I want the love from the movies; just not the action ones. Make love, not war.

For Bollywood, the nerdy guy chats up the girl by dancing circles around her, and singing her into submission. Dus Numberi…When he gets into a position to steal a snog, something always comes up. Either a comet hit the earth for the first time in a billion years and decimates all of mankind, or Boko Haram decides to surpass its last gruesome act. They are sha somehow either interrupted by someone walking in- usually his mother or a mogbomoya friend. Or said actress dodges his lips and offers him a consolation price of her forehead with the big red dot on it to aim at.

It sounds like friend-zoning to me, so once again it is no to Bollywood love.

For Chinese martial arts movies, the sequence of events is simple. ‘A’ opens a kung fu school. ‘B’ comes along and beats ‘A’ to stupor.  After ‘A’ dies, his ward ‘C’ seeks revenge and kills ‘B’. Note how there are no girls involved at the beginning. Later C marries A’s daughter Chun Li. They share a rice noodle.

There are 2 things I do not share with anyone – my me-time, and my Indomie/Dangote Spaghetti, so I will pass on this one.

For Nollywood, the typical love script is more complicated if not absurd. ‘A’ is born in abject poverty in the village. He does either jazz or ‘419’ to make money and moves to Lagos where he lives it up extravagantly chasing promiscuous university ‘runs’ girls. Later on in the film, Jim Iyke slaps a girl, and Patience Uzokwo is an evil mother-in-law. Then Nonso Diobi spends 45 minutes out of the 3-hour movie propositioning Oge Okoye at the beach, where they whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears, to the chagrin of you the watcher. Credits roll and you see the producer’s vote of thanks to the real owners of any mansions used in the movie. You are also told to watch out for Part 2 and 3 even though the story seemed concluded satisfactorily enough. Ah, the Naija glorified DVD box-set.

Love should have no Part 2, abeg.

The above are valid and absurd examples, so I do not want those. What about certain movies:

  1. In the movies, they sail into the sunset. In Grease, which is my favorite flick of all time, Danny Zucco and Sandy fly take off into the sky in Danny’s greased Cadillac Seville, as they wave to their mere mortal friends at the end of term school fair. In real life, after a good date, you call her a cab, especially after your 2nd hand Hyundai refuses to start. You also call her a cab, if you cannot be arsed to spend the next 300 minutes in Lagos traffic. And I prefer my car firmly on the road, thank you very much. Pot hole is better than turbulence.
  1. Love at first sight in movies is sweet and straight to the point. Boy sees girl, and girl sees boy and everything else is a blur and in slow motion. She flutters her eyes at him like she has contracted Apollo. He waves like Mopol has asked him to surrender. She twists her curls flirtatiously like she is trying to style “periwinkle”. He nods his head at her like a red neck lizard. She slides over in a hot summer dress, flirts and hands over phone number readily by writing her number on his palm. Eh, in real life that bic is likely to refuse to write Besides love at first sight hardly ever moves that first, does it. Shakara has to enter the equation somewhere, before see finish has a chance to take root.
  1. The hot cheerleader always later falls for the geek. Real life is different. The party/runs girls only ever spoke to the nerds whenever it was close to exam time, and they needed the nerd’s notes or coaching. Back in school, I was a jerk, not a jock. And for that I never bagged a hot party girl type. I never had the patience for long persistent chasing or competition with club-boys for her love and attention. I also never stood a chance, because I was a cheap-skate. No really, I was a cheap date.
  1. In Pretty Woman, Richard Gere falls for Julia Robert who plays an agbana. It will take magic for me to marry a runs girl.

Is Growing Up A Trap?



When I was in my early teens, I could not wait to grow and discover if pots of gold were at the bottom of every rainbow. I felt trapped by the flower of youth, restricted by the thorns of adolescence. I rubbed all kinds of methylated spirits on my face as I willed my chin and cheeks to sprout side burns and beards till I looked like Oliver De Coque. I crashed my dad’s Datsun into a gutter trying to drive it before my feet could properly reach the clutch. For that, I received the beating of life; the beating of my life.

At age 15, I fretted because my voice did not break on time, and I sounded like Helen Paul when trying to chat up girls. Excuse me, can I get to know you…

I longed to be able to earn my own Naira so I could blow it on Playstation video games, sharwarma from Terri’s, rap music CDs and Timberland boots. I also wanted the independence of never answering to anyone. Or anything.

Now that I am older, sometimes I wish I could back-track like a PDP to APC defector.

You see adult life is not what it is all depicted to be. Apart from being caught in the cycles of bills, work and responsibilities, as well as the scary thought that I am eligible for jail time I commit a crime, rather than a juvenile warning, some other realities have hit me like a Prince 2000 chant.  I have discovered that the earth is round, but that the world is flat, so that what goes around, comes around, like an infectious strain of apollo. That all the power and wealth in the world is concentrated in the hands of a very privileged few, and that greed and lust for control of the world’s resources is the bane of human life. I have discovered that Nigeria cheated me off a bountiful childhood, and may also rob my grandparents off the peace of a pensioned old age.

I grew up when I turned 30 faster than at any stage during my life. My father got sick and passed within a space of 6 months, just after I had hit the big three-oh, putting me in a situation forcing me to be a man, just when I was learning to stand without a helping hand. I needed to mature fast enough to husband my mother and father my siblings. And be a twin to my own self.

And there are physical and emotional changes from age.

Now when I climb a flight of stairs, I feel the creak in my bones like a 3-wheeled Keke Napep negotiating a pot-hole filled with potopoto. I can no longer get away with an unhealthy lifestyle as it shows in my torso, so that is goodbye to eating suya burger or Indomie featuring fried plantain late at night. I am more at peace with myself these days– less keen to impress people I do not care for. Keener to caress those that I care for. I no longer shed  tears every birthday like I used to, as I see my life anniversaries as milestones on the journey to middle life.

My fashion choices are slightly more conservative these days – more age appropriate. I see garments as more of a shield to protect me from the elements and save strangers the humiliation of looking at my shriveled cock, than as accessories to show my affluence or comeuppance in the world. I realize that I look ridiculous in vest tops or basketball shirts, and am less likely to buy them, as I say no to looking like a market butcher. Heck I am less likely to buy or rock a football jersey. Nylon and polyester are the most unflattering fabrics ever especially those made by Puma. I also go past the torn or ripped jeans aisle these days, as I would rather not look like Milli Vanilli. I look more to quality classics rather than the quantity of fads clothing.  Corduroy pants do not look so bad now, and sandals were not the fashion suicide I thought they once were, once paired with good traditional brocades. I probably won’t wear a camouflage shirt, or overalls or an NY fitted face cap to cover my ogo. And I rock my Talab Abass gorimakpa with pride.

I am less critical of my parents and their generation – they had to revamp their lives several times – first, after British colonialism gave way to Pan-Igboism in the early 60s, then live through a civil war, then restart with 20 pounds in their pockets (no mule and no 40 acres). Heck my mum got married with a mango leaf branch for a bouquet, but she is the rose that grew from concrete, in my eyes.

Now that I am older, I admire my late father’s achievements, putting all his kids through school. No, we did not attend Eton or Harvard or Atlantic Hall or American International School, but nobody ever carried a desk on their heads to school. Fees were paid as and when due, and I was never called to the assembly ground for not wearing a clean pair of white socks. How the hell did he do that – manage all his responsibilities so remarkably well. Daddy, teacher, disciplinarian, financier, protector, parental advisory mechanism for inappropriate media content, provider, koboko dispenser, default setter etc. Judge, jury and executioner, if you flouted his house rules.

These days, I do not care to be right all time. Or beef and feud all the time. These days, I am more about peace, than winning arguments. Or building and maintaining friendships and relationships. Forgive me for my sins; forgive me for my lies.

I am more aware of my place in the world, and of the roles I am designed to play in the food chain of life. I have “opened eye”, and I saw one of the best philosophies etched on the back of an Ekenedilichukwu luxury bus: The downfall of a man is not the end of his life.

Was it all simpler when I was a young and wild and free? Maybe, and sometimes I do feel that my glory days were back in my youth – when I was 21 and all was well in the world, as I had that patriarchal umbrella and the mischievous swagger of a miscreant with a catapult and a pocket full of stones.

Yes, sometimes I do wish I could grow down. Not to reverse physical aging, as it is not vanity or insanity that drives me. Oh to see the world through the again through the innocence of a child’s eyes. Through my daughter’s eyes.

I drop my daughter at daycare on weekday mornings. What amazes me, is that she always says hi to the lady at the helpdesk, who I must admit usually wears a frown harder than an Argungu mask. But my daughter no send o. In her friendly and outgoing nature, she would walk up to the desk, and greet “Hi! How are you doing?” while beaming her dimpled smile at the grumpy woman. A typical adult would not bother with greetings after a while, if they noticed the receptionist liked to “carry face”. But not my daughter. She once offered the lady her sandwich. I later give my daughter a warning about giving food to strangers. Some people deserve a sand-winch instead. Haha

If you are also going through these motions, I recommend one of my favorite tunes “Not Nineteen Forever” by a band I like called The Courteeners. Check out some lyrics from that song:

You’re not nineteen forever, pull yourselves together
I know it seems strange but things they change
Older woman and a younger man
Both of them doing all they can



Independence Day

Independence Day

Man is born to be fast and free. Free to roam the earth and lay his head wherever he pleases, like an agric fowl. Socio-economic and political barriers sometimes prevent or inhibit those freedoms, like having a green passport or no kpali.

The one time humans all over the world tried to congregate in one place, build monument taller than Olumo Rock called the Tower of Babylon under the rule of a man called Nimrod. God scattered them, and instructed them to spread around the earth. Lord Lugard tried a similar tactic in 1914 amalgamating several kingdoms, ethnicities, races and peoples of over 250 languages and rich cultures into a geographical yam-pottage called Nigeria, no doubt pissing off my Okoro great-grandfather greatly.
In a country of over 300 million people (and that amount has to be more, because I personally know more than 5m people, and they all have relatives, friends, well-wishers, haters etc.) why would we all cram ourselves into one country – a third of which is arid desert, scorching Savannah, or covered by jungle and swamp? Imagine if all the people in the diaspora (I hate that word) all returned to Nigerian, and half decided to settle either in Lagos or Abuja… infrastructure and resources will be short like that Seyi Shay dress.

There are foreign or immigrant communities in many countries and cities around the world, from German, Italian and Irish communities in Texas, New Jersey and Boston which have been there since the mid 1800s, arriving USA via ship through Ellis Island where they passed the Statue of Liberty. Nigerians have been arriving England through Gatwick airport in the same vein, flying over and pointing to landmarks like Mama Cass restaurant in Burnt Oak.
Immigrant communities have divided parts of Britain or Yankee into their own tiny fiefdoms. Indians love Harrow. Brazilians like Willesden. There is a thriving Jewish community in Golders Green. Likewise Nigerians, formerly ogas in Peckham and Woolwich, have since taken a shine to Kilburn and certain parts of North West London. By and large, one’s ethnic origin influences their area of settlement, especially in Yankee.
Igbos love Houston, Dallas and Baltimore. Yoruba folk tend to prefer Chicago and New York; while Bendelites have this fascination with California (water nor get enemy) and Calgary, Canada (ice is a form of water). Shout out to our brethren in Malaysia and Cyprus though.

There have been so many arguments and counters about whether Nigerians who reside abroad are selling out by “abandoning” their country at its time of need. Some resident Nigerians believe that those abroad should “abandon menial jobs and a lackluster social life” and return to Nigeria to help build the nation. Returnees have also been caught in this cross-fire.

Some other accusations are:
• Nigerians who reside abroad are 2nd class citizens in that country of domicile, and are doing so at their peril.
• The standard of living is somewhat lower since you get taxed more abroad (N.I contributions, income tax, Medicare, 401k deductions etc.), have less disposable income and buy everything on credit. On the other hand, in Nigeria, whatever cash you make is mostly for your pocket as FIRS has nothing on you. Apparently, there are lots of juicy contracts growing on agbalumo trees in Abuja.
• There are more opportunities for career growth for a Nigerian in Nigeria – you are more likely to be made a CEO or reach the pinnacle of your career.
• Returnees have a “Yum-Yum potato chips” sized chip on their shoulders.

The above statements are unfair or unsubstantiated, as wherever you set up shop is your home. One exception to the first point is if you are illegal in a foreign country – but being illegal anywhere is an awkward business. Besides have you seen the Nigerian Immigration Service nab an illegal alien before? I was at the passport office in Ikoyi one time, and NIS officers were interrogating illegal Chinese nationals who had been busted during a factory raid near Alaba “You these Indomie people sef. We done catch una today. Una must to deport commot from Nigeria today.

I do not buy the 2nd class citizen rhetoric because there are many who feel underrepresented in many spheres of our society. Being a 2nd class citizen is not only a measure of skin color or nationality – there are class divides, disenfranchisement, social stigmatizations and economic class gulfs too. Driving through Maitama and Old Ikoyi and seeing the bastard money on display, it is easy for Nigerians outside the ruling classes to feel like economy-class citizens sef.

The menial job accusation is also ridiculous – our inbred sense of entitlement and get-rich-quick arrogance makes us look down on the dignity of labor. What counts in all instances is ambition and self-belief. Kukuruku newsflash: the world owes you nothing. More middle and upper class resident Nigerians need to stack shelves in Ebeano Supermarket to appreciate the beauty of a come-up.

Not every Nigerian is built for living in Nigeria – nothing wrong with that. I know some resident Nigerians who hate the idea of residing abroad due to its processes, unfamiliarities, weather, social independence which can lead to feelings of extreme loneliness. On the flipside, some prefer the chaotic nature of Nigeria where anything can go. Or come. And where your family and friends are in your business 24/7. I always miss the suya and Gulder most when I am abroad though.

Returnees from abroad show different degrees of ease integrating back into Nigeria seamlessly. It has nothing to do with how long you lived abroad. You do get used to certain patterns of living no matter the tenure of your “exile”. When I moved back from Jand some years ago, the hardest obstacle to my adjustment were not trivial things like NEPA taking light (I copped a I-better-pass-my-neighbour generator), or the crazy traffic (I whipped out my MP3 Walkman which was stacked with jams for days). It was the following, which for some weird reason I have forgotten and got used to not worrying about:

• People being tardy with time…your time!
• Folks not acting on a promise they had sworn their grandfather’s life on; or people always trying to get one over you like you have mugu carved on your forehead.
• The fear and realization, which I had never taken cognizance of, that in Nigeria no one is really safe or sacred. Anyone can be killed or locked up or can disappear without big questions being asked. That realization made me very uncomfortable and sad. And paranoid. I made our gateman buy a big padlock for my gate. I also slept with a big cutlass under my pillow.
• How people leave every single thing entirely to faith without putting in the hardwork or sowing any seed. Industry not just church will transform Nigeria.
• The decibel levels. Chai, my ear drums took a harsher beating than a Yoruba talking drum. The sounds of generators, Molue horns, the din of rush-hour traffic all created a cocktail of noise that felt like someone was chewing chin-chin in my ear.
• I did not have a car for 4 months, and in that time I had to ride the iron-horse (okada). Hustling for my daily Agege while being ferried in the cockpit of a sedan is a much more comfortable proposition than relying on public transport where the Lagos sun fries you. Those few months really tested my mettle. Some nights I cried like a learner, after the day’s frustrations.

Returnees should not all be tarred with the same toothbrush. Not all speak Lekki-British or “I just got back” isms. True, there are a few who took advantage to break into Nigerian entertainment or the corporate world, and then there are those who wear their “abroadness” like it is chieftaincy title which should bestow them special treatment. Guess what – there are resident Nigerians who indulge returnees this preferential treatment or even resident cousins/friends who encourage the returnee to show off. However I have seen many returnees settle back in quietly put their head down and make successes of the transition. Not every returnee is interested in painting the town red on their return or playing the club scene. Some just want to be changing their dollar into naira small by small, fly under the radar, and thrive.

Being a Nigerian anywhere in the world is no mean feat. Our green passport earns us the treatment of a pensioner waving a tally-number at an old generation bank. Wherever you reside on Chineke’s green earth, become an influence. Nigerians have been living abroad since the Oba of Benin sent foreign emissaries to Portugal in the 16th century. Italians in 30s New York formed a power bloc to influence the election of La Guardia as Governor of NY. The time has come – we Nigerians have got to expand our whole operation. Distribution, industry, space-travel. From Lagos, Aba, Ewekoro to Toronto to Chicago. We have got to set our own market and enforce it.

Nigerians should be out there conquering the world with our greatness and our boisterousness. I feel a hint of envy when I see other cultures who have entered the mainstream – do you that as recently as 60 years ago spaghetti and pizza were not staples in the American diet. See how popular Indian culture and eastern philosophy with western tourists flocking there for pilgrimages. My village could do with those tourist dollars.

Everyone who is Nigerian by birth does have to reside in the country, but we all must be good ambassadors. If you have good disposable income, why not plough that into Project Nigeria. She needs help from all her kids even the prodigal ones. Start small, like buying land in Nigeria. Form an NGO or kick-start pet project. Heck, pay someone’s school fees. Do something.

E never tey wey Lizzy travel go America
And then I realized America was very far

Ice Prince, Whiskey (2013)

Follow Follow

Do follow me on Twitter @EscoWoah. I am really enjoying using twitter these days. I never did get the concept and used to think that it was a waste of space. Yes I am several years too late but who cares. I want to get more connected with y’all this year. So send me a tweet when you can – let me know your cares and fears, or how your day is going.


Akwukwo Na Tu Uto (Literature is sumptuous)


Knock, knock!

Na who dey there?

Abeg, all the visitors of this blog should help me beg the VIP readers who comment and subscribe to this blog. I really apologize for the ‘brief’ hiatus. I was actually around, but I was not “on seat.” The Nigerian civil service shows that you can be absent from your desk but present at work.

Outside of blogging, I have had so much going on lately. I am also dealing with life’s pressures and pleasures constantly.  And some of this pressures get as dem be. Sometimes blogging is the last thing I want to do. Maybe I need to hire a special assistant who can take dictation. Sir, how do I spell Kpom kwem?

God was faithful, so I managed to conquer all life had to throw at me in 2012, and here I am in 2013 alive and well. Life is good. I hope 2013 has found you all in good health. What special things happened in your life. Anyone? Abi una still dey vex? Una nor gree answer me? Okay be like that. Ogboju pass power.

Besides, it hasn’t been that long since we last exchanged ideas, has it? Let me recount what ‘types’ of water has passed under the bridge since my last post on October 20 2012:

Tonto Dikeh released a single which was critically exclaimed at (forget acclaimed), while Tiwa Savage released a statement on Twitter denying that she had gotten married secretly, even though she didn’t verify if she was single.

D’Banj’s new single “The Bachelor” has gotten mixed reviews, and is said not be as “critically acclaimed” as his earlier works like “Oliver Twist” while Osaze Odemwengie the football star, heavily criticized the Super Eagles coach Stephen “Bournvira” Keshi for dropping him from the squad for the Nations Cup tournament starting tomorrow. Osaze claimed that stories circulating that he was a divisive character were twisted.

Cossy Orjiakor went HAM on Twitter with some racy photos of her in a Bravissimo Cosset, sorry corset, complete with stockings; Beyonce seemingly reacted jealously to the column inches and press Cossy was getting, by releasing pictures of herself in panties and in various stages of undress. Ok o.

Tony Anenih, the politician and PDP stalwart, was appointed chairman of the board of the NPA (Nigerian Ports Authority) even though he is damn near 100 years old; meanwhile some weeks ago, meanwhile over 100 youths were expelled from Covenant University for supposedly skiving an “end-of-term” church mass.

Kim Kardashian and her dude announced that they are expecting a baby; Chika Ike, the Nollywood actress posted vacation clips of herself at a Maryland USA Zoo carrying a baby “crocodye” (alligator).

GEJ our President announced recently that he was sending a military contingent to help with the international war effort against jihadist insurgents in Mali, even though there is fire on the mountain at home (Boko Haram, it is not fair o) which hasn’t been fixed yet. On another tip, the war on corruption seemed to take another dive when the Central Bank governor announced that over a billion naira in cash had developed legs and waka-ed from the Security and Minting premises. Talk about fast money.

A huge debate about whether pastors and clergymen should own private jets was a major topic for discussion on many Nigerian online forums some weeks back. Meanwhile Dana Air re-launched and resumed services like they had never been away. They should get Denzel Washington to fly their planes. You should have seen what he did in Flight.

And Esco began work on his memoirs…..

Yes, Yes, I am currently working on a book. I am announcing it, so that I would not be able to back out and you can hold me to it. I am also letting you know so you can start putting your shillings aside.

It all started a few years ago, when someone read all the articles in this blog, and asked me “Esco if you wrote a book on your life, do you think anybody would read it?” Well, only one way to find out..

So in a nutshell, I have prepared a set of FAQs to provide more insight about the book:

1. What is the title of the book? It is a trade secret at this time. Intellectual property thieves abound in cyberville and I don’t want anyone biting my ideas like electric ant. I wrote the name of the book on a sheet of paper, and then shoved it inside a large Ghana-must-go bag, with a tuber of yam inside as a decoy. I spied around to make sure nobody was watching, as I placed the bag inside a Bagco Super sack, and then put the sack into a metal trunk box. I bought a Yeti padlock, and locked the iron box. Not content, I hauled the box with me as I travelled to the village and left it in the care of my grandmother. She placed the box under her bed next to her crate of eggs and Guinness Stout. Good luck trying to steal from my nan. Under her bed is said to be safer than Fort Knox or Aso Rock. It is definitely safer than Abia at Xmas with all the kidnappings. To make double sure all was secure, on my way back from the hamlet, I stopped at Onitsha and tossed the padlock key into the River Niger. Mungo Park’s got it now…


To be fair, what I have is a working title. But my thing is that it does not roll off the tongue enough for me. It does not sound epic or awe-inspiring or swash-buckling. The name sounds as un-exotic as Nkalagu. I even had my Calabar house-boy pronounce the name of the book  repeatedly in his thick Efik accent, but the name sounded flat. Mbok…


2. When will the book be released? Ahn ahn cool down na. Don’t jump the gun. One thing at a time. Horse before the cart. Secure garri before putting the hot water on stove. Ensure power generation and tackle corruption before you talk of a 2nd presidential term. Buy the runs girl popcorn first before you start to talk of carting her home for overnight “take-away.” I am currently writing as I speak, but I expect it to be released before summer. This year…

3. What would the book be about sef: It could be a bit similar to this blog. A few chapters would be stories about my life. Things I have done, places I have been, faces I have seen. The world through the tunnel vision of Escope. If you like this blog, you would like my book. If you do  not like this blog, I authorize you to purchase and gift it. Repeat 20 times and forward the book to 20 people, and then relax and see if something (anything) would not manifest in your life. Sow a big agbalumon seed into somebody’s life this year. Stop sowing tiny pawpaw seeds into people’s lives. Anyhow, that way I gain too. And I blog more, and hopefully you laugh more. So Nigeria is a happy country. And Boko Haram relocates. With all the wicked politicians. 

4. I am currently working on the first few chapters. I have already made an outline and it is looking like a wedding program without an Item no. 7. However I am not sure if the words I have used so far are grand enough. A critic (hater) opined that the book in its draft form is already starting to look like those Igbo village almanacs. I don’t want a book with very simplistic sentences, and lots of big pictures (foto), such that you use your fingers to trace the words while reading. Blogging is a pretty straight forward venture, but I find that writing a book is another matter o. The difference is like Alarm Blow and Jegede Shokoya. Maybe I need to hire a professional speech-writer to edit the drafts I have so far. Please wbo has Hon. Obahiagbon’s telephone number? The rank salubrity of Esco’s crass manifestations to overwhelm Gorgon Medusa…

I want a product that would make a smooth read for at least 3 generations of Nigerians. The millenials (those in their 20s), the oil-boomers (readers born in the 70s and early 80s) and the “Papa thank yous” (those born around independence and the Civil War era. A memorandum of my aspirations to unite the country of my birth – a manual of our  amalgamated and manifest destiny for posterity. Story….

I am tempted to call it a coffee table book, but how many Nigerian homes contain one? I somehow cannot bring myself to call it a dining-table book. Ogbono soup stains do not go well with paper literature.

5. Esco, have you abandoned blogging for the bright and moth-seducing lights of Nollywood stardorm with book-writing? No I am not selling out; rather I am cashing in. Haha. Blogging is electic-writing, no?

 Trivia: Omotola or Genevieve? Answer: Yvonne Okoro…

6. How much would the book cost? I have kids to feed:  Well it will be cheap and affordable enough…especially if you are Dangote. Nah, I am just pulling your legs. I am trying to put a quality product out there. I am keen to push a book which has quality paper that would not stick together like cheap rice. Would it be a collector’s item? Well it would be popular with “I-wan-buy-paper” merchants.

 Stop goofing around Esco, so would it  be set at a pocket-friendly price? Yes. Cheaper than a politician’s campaign promise. It would also be cheaper by the dozen. You should buy 12 and read one every month of the year.

7. See this guy o. What makes you think that I would spend a kobo on your yeye book sef: You have started again in 2013 abi? This is a new year o.  See point 5 above.

So there you have it. Happy New Year, and see you at the comment box below….

Nas will prevail/

Buy the book when it’s up for sale/

Nas (Rest of My Life, 2004)