Single

You are Worth Dying For – Letter from a Single Man

“Just because no one  has shown up to love you on your level doesn’t mean you have to sink to theirs. ”  – T. D Jakes

 

First of all, I would like you to know that I feel a certain kinship with you, and not in an Alcoholics Anonymous kind of way. I celebrate you because right here and now you are an independent young woman who is entirely in charge of her life and time. You will not understand the value of owning your time and space until you are married, so in the meantime, embrace it. Every day, i hear my married friends complain about how difficult it is to hang out with the boys. My female colleagues who are married also go on about how they never get alone time. And so while marriage is a beautiful thing, being single is just as appealing.

I don’t know why you are single and who did what to you. But if they didn’t put a ring on it then they don’t matter. You will learn in life that people aren’t always what they say they are, and that may be very heart breaking, but LIFE will go on. Sometimes, you meet pretenders, sometimes you meet people who do not know what they want and other times, well, maybe it was just time you outgrew certain friendships. Whatever happened or will happen, DO NOT TAKE PRISONERS. It’s just Life.

 

I know what the pressure is like for you. I know how every time you say you are Single, there’s an unspoken pity-party and endless match-make attempts for you. There’s also the “she must have done something wrong” or “i need to hide my man” attitude from your sisters. Some days i wonder why you ladies are so mean to each other. But i feel no pity for you. I understand how men can be such babies or even outright monsters and I am proud that you are holding out for the best. Please DO NOT FEEL Pressured TO SETTLE for a BTA Relationship.

 

You are probably asking what a BTA Relationship is – Well, it means “Better than Alone”, in other words, an “at all at all, na him bad pass” relationship. Too many women are in loveless relationships, so many others are in abusive marriages and many others are dead and gone. Wouldn’t you rather hold on a little longer than be a statistic?

 

I know that it may be hard sometimes. You come home to your empty house, a phone that barely rings and a life that may seem to suck. I know that some nights you just want to be held, literally; that some mornings you want to share the crazy dream you just had, and on some days you want to talk about your future and the beautiful children in it. I know that every time you return home from a wedding you are filled with longing and questions about when it will be your turn. I am single, so i know what the wait feels like too. Don’t you worry Child, God is sorting you out.

 

In the meantime, GET A LIFE. I know that’s a shocking (almost rude) thing to say, bearing in mind that you probably pay your bills, but there’s so much more to do than earn a living. Have fun, read books, shriek, dance in the rain, travel the world (or just your country) now that there is nothing stopping you. Build a career you can be proud of, get a new hobby, read books, make new friends (the good kind) and basically just live. In the end, nobody wants a douche-bag. We want successful women who will inspire our children, and who know when and how to let their hair down.

 

Above all, you have value. You are the daughter of a King, and He is enthralled with your beauty. He loves you so much and He judged you worthy of the life of His only Son. There is no greater love. You are worth dying for. Everything good will come.

moi moi

The MoiMoi Diaries

WARNING: THIS POST WILL NOT TEACH YOU HOW TO PREPARE MOI-MOI

Lagos is a hard Task-Master, constantly pushing you to the limits every day with all sorts of drama. Some days it is the scourge of KAI and LASTMA, NPF and VIO, other days it is some random ghost face guy at CMS  trying to unzip my bag and pick my phone ( I thank God for my eagle eyes).  Sometimes it’s your thieving neighbours or an annoying security guard at work, some other days, it is the traffic dealing with you. I used to think it was my life that was dramatic. Every January 1st at watch night service, I prayed  “Dear Lord, I want a drama-free year”, but He never seemed to hear. I had planned scenes in my mind where I would be holding a weapon to my parents’ head and ask them what kind of drama took place the night I was conceived, but I could never pull it off. Good thing, because I realized it wasn’t really my life that was dramatic- It was my country, and more importantly, it was Lagos.


like love food. I don’t know if I can say i’m a foodie because I eat the same things every day – Rice (all available variants, except Tuwo Shinkafa) , Efo riro, Eba, Asaro, Yam, Ila Alasepo, and of course Moi-Moi, but I never say no to a good meal.  Living off campus in a public university, I quickly learnt that there was a difference between the kind of food you cooked and ate and home, and the one you ate in the hostel. The hostel food was an imitation, something to get by. It was a pass-off, mere torture. Home food was priceless, a luxury and taste that I could not afford daily as a student. But I had my ways- I would go home every weekend and bring a small bowl of soup back to be shared with my sister for two days, and then hope that by some miracle my mum would decide to send home-cooked soup.

One of such miracles happened on my cousin’s birthday. We were rounding up lectures for the year at that time of December and it was the perfect time to party. She was also 21 that year, so her mum brought home-cooked food- Rice, Vegetables, Plantain, Moi-Moi and Drinks. I was broke, saving my remaining money to buy a few things for Christmas, and look how God had prepared a table before me. I need not explain that I ate to my fill and took extra Moi-Moi home,  much like the proverbial Sule Igbira who ate so much that he died. But I didn’t die, at least not that day.

The next day I set out to Idumota to buy whatever I could get with my small change and head home from there. I had not gotten past two bus-stops before I started sweating profusely. I had previously made a mental note not to sit in the back row of Coaster buses but all the other seats had been taken. I cursed the driver in my mind for putting a bus with sealed windows on the road, but I realized I was the only one sweating. Now that was a problem, I never sweat so you would never find a handkerchief on me. And then suddenly I felt a gripping stomach pain. There was a rough and tumble party going on inside my stomach, which was the explanation for the sweating too.  I needed to address a “major issue” promptly, but the perennial Badagry Expressway Traffic was threatening to disgrace me. Being a religious person, I resorted to prayer. I said The Memorae to the Blessed Virgin Mary and a couple of Hail Marys, and then when I didn’t have the energy for that I started humming “O Lord my God, I trust in You, Let me not be ashamed and let not my enemies triumph over me”.  The rest of my energy went to attempting to clean my sweat  (which was now coming down in torrents) without a handkerchief. The Moi-Moi was at work.

God has His way of answering prayers, if we believe. It occurred to me that perhaps my Idumota runs could wait- My grandmother lived in Mile Two and I would not be put to shame after all. I decided not to follow the bus all the way to CMS. My transport fare would waste but my pride would still be intact, all I needed to do was get to Mile Two. At Mile Two, I landed from the bus like an expert and dashed across the Express and hopped on a Bike. Sometimes, things happen to us to make us realize we really aren’t as principled as we think we are. I ALWAYS used the pedestrian bridge, and I NEVER took a Bike to my Granny’s house from the bus-stop. But I had two choices-  mess myself up or break my principles. I was only 20, there would be more time to have better principles.

I got to my Granny’s place at the nick of time; I couldn’t even wait to pay the Bike Man. I screamed at her house-help to take 50 naira from my wallet and pay him and ran straight into the toilet. Only when I had settled on the toilet seat did I realize the stupidity of my principles. Hell! I would have disgraced myself because of 50 naira and a pedestrian bridge??? Thank God for Wisdom. Principle ko! I sat there another 15 minutes just to be sure that evil Moi-Moi had done its worst. Then I played with my Granny another one hour. Besides an occasional rumble, my stomach was fine. The Lord had given me Victory!

I believe in Omens so I decided not to go to Idumota again, who knows what would have happened on my way there sef. I decided to head straight home to Ikorodu. At Oshodi, I boarded a bus headed to Ikorodu. I said a quick prayer again and promptly chose a window seat; but I started sweating again before we even got to Ketu. The second season of Moi-Moi Diaries had started, and I was the only one that would get hurt. There was no one else to visit on this route and the traffic to Ikorodu was gangster, hmmm, dear Lord, where is your face? I knew I had to act fast, but this traffic was going to disgrace me.

Respite came in the form of a Petrol Station about 300 meters away. I promptly started shouting “o wa” and God was gracious because the bus stopped right in front of the Filling Station. I grabbed my bags and ran straight to meet a female attendant on duty. In my best Yoruba, I prayed that she would not be put to shame at home, work and in her in-law’s house, then I proceeded to tearfully explain that I needed to use the toilet in the next minute. I must have cut a pitiable sight- tears streaming down my face and my sweat soaked t-shirt- because she was going to oblige me until an idiot who I later found was the station manager came into the picture. He went on about how if he had run into me on a normal day and asked for my number I would not have looked at him twice, but that I was now at his mercy. I was irritated. Typically, my reaction would have been a long hiss, my best bad-eye look and then I would have said “Yeye dey smell” with one side of my mouth turned up, but I knew if I didn’t behave myself I would be the only one smelling- of shit. Besides, all the energy I had left had been channelled into constricting my anal muscles, so I looked at him, with my “What Would Jesus Do?” eye and hoped that he could see the humility in them, I wasn’t going to choke on this humble pie. Eventually, I won, because the female attendant led me to the bathroom. My joy however seemed short-lived as someone would run into the toilet some 2 seconds before me. My chaperone tried to explain that I was an emergency and that I would not last 5 more minutes, but the dude wasn’t having it, his condition seemed critical too. At that point, my fate seemed sealed. It was over, I was finished.  I did not even have the energy to fight after judgement had been pronounced. I simply sat down on the floor, right in front of the toilet and waited for execution. If tears were just rolling down my face previously, I now had waterfalls. God had punished me, and who was I to appeal?

My Chaperone (the female attendant) made a last ditch effort to get me help. She stole the keys to her boss’ restroom (the same evil Manager) and let me in on condition that I keep it clean and leave no water on the floor. I didn’t mind, I could clean water with my clothes if I had to. I ran in there as fast as I could and was there until she came to knock to see if I was alive. I thanked her and prayed for her with all the prayers I had heard on Africa Magic Yoruba. Then I prayed that my Victory would be permanent.


 

Every morning on my way to work, at Leventis Bus-Stop, I see people doing all sorts- bathing, peeing, and defecating. I don’t judge them. In the evenings, I see men beside big gutters and canals, women bending behind vehicles to do their thing. Lagos has no usable public toilets in many places, and if there are, are they open at 6:15am? Are they hygenic? Lagos is hard enough with all the drama. The government and her agents are always against us.  Nature should be on our side

Police

2012 Reflections- My Police Experience

Any time I see a Policeman, I hold my breath for two reasons: First, because the Nigeria Police Force uniform is black and very likely to be unwashed for a long period and i get nauseated easily and secondly because they are prone to accidents- bashing your car, destroying your side-mirror and threatening you and greatest of all, accidental discharges from their guns.

 

I always thought that the Police was really not as bad as people think they were, you know how Nigerians like to think the worst of ourselves and our Institutions, now I know better.  I will not be caught making vague generalizations, at least Policemen arrested Cynthia Osokogu’s killers, and I admit not all of them are trigger-happy and thieves, but their ineptitude is alarming. I am of the opinion that if you need a Policeman to tie his shoelaces, you have to “financially induce” him.

 

Sometime in November, i had the misfortune of having to report a burglary at the police station. A Laptop, Clothes, Jewellery and credentials had vanished, well, not exactly. My cousin and I had “gucked” our keys somehow, and someone or some people had strolled in and helped themselves. I remember leaving everything at work at 8:40pm and rushing home to meet a totally ransacked room with most of our valuables gone. It was time to use the many episodes of CSI and Law and Order i had watched. After screaming my lungs out, just so my neighbours would know that I was capable of being troublesome too, I called my Uncle to take us to the police station.  Knowing the stereotypes about young single women living alone, it was important we went there with a male chaperon.

 

The Police Station I saw was actually slightly better than the ones I had seen on Africa Magic- There was a couch. We were met by a team of three at the counter- two men and a very smart looking woman.  After explaining our ordeal to the woman, she was going to hand us over to one of the men when an old man charged in. He had come to report that his eldest daughter, who I could presume from his description was in her 20s had been bitten on her left breast by a neighbour. I don’t remember if it was his theatrics or the story itself that moved me, but I remembered having to stifle laughter. He was of course tossed around by the police who at first said there was no car or willing Officer to follow him. The woman on duty who was willing to follow him was not permitted to, because she was a woman. Eventually, he was led out to meet some other officers on duty and we had their attention again. One of the two male officers on duty, an elderly spelling-challenged man from the North or Middle Belt was to make a report for the Crime Diary. After blaming us for being careless, he proceeded to take our statement on the Margins of an old newspaper. We were then “transferred” to the Crime Desk- something slightly better than a carpenter’s shed and which also doubled as a changing room and a lounge. We were handed paper and pen to write our statements with express instructions not to paragraph the statement. Our IPO told us to come back the next morning so we could show him our house and the pictures we had taken.  Our IPO… *sigh*

 

Our IPO was about an inch taller me (meaning he was short), chubby and relatively neat. He had a slight limp and he wore the kind of shoes Solo in the “Lagos Nawa” film wore. I still cannot be sure of where he was from because even though he understood Yoruba well, he spoke like a kobokobo. The night we made our report, my Uncle “thanked” him with a “handshake”. I did not know that that fuel was only sufficient to get IPO from the police station to the crime scene the next morning. After IPO had taken his notes, he left us with these wise words: “The person wey do this thing, he go just dey waka for road, motor go jam am. When God go judge am, e go be like as e dey be for film. E fit just craze  for road. Make una try do affidavid(sic) so una go fit get another copy of your certificate” .

 

We were lost for words for the next couple of minutes. He had been told who and who were in the premises at the time. We thought that he was going to ask questions, and that was it?  “Motor go jam am”? Not wanting to give up, my cousin went to the Police Station again with another Uncle who also “shook” IPOs hands. The handshake worked as IPO called me on Monday morning to lead him to the house of the suspect’s employer. She was told to report at the Police Station the next day with the Suspect. Sadly, when they both showed up the next day, IPO was not there and he would not answer his phone. Afterwards, Suspect disappeared till date. That was the last time we saw or heard from IPO again. Till date, none of our personal effects have been retrieved, and the case is as good as closed.

 

I don’t know what has left me more traumatized- the loss of our belongings or my experience with the Police. But if they are as clueless as this on simple investigations, I imagine why they misbehave when they are with guns. I also know certainly that the next time someone prays “a o ni r’ogun police station” my “Amen” will be the loudest. And finally, besides God, whether you have money or not, you really are on your own.

 

On a brighter note, Gbemi is thankful that no life was lost in the episode. Awon Boda mi alaso dudu would never have known whodunit.

Here’s hoping 2013 will be a better year all round. I have gotten used to living in this era of the new traffic laws but I wouldn’t mind a car. And of course I’ll be more careful with my belongings. I hope you are too.

 

Happy New Year!!!

 

Bisous

okada-21

What’s Your Number?

Ever since Gov. Fashola pulled the rug from under our feet with this whole Okada restriction, it has become increasingly hard as a lady without a car to maintain my Number One Rule: No giving out phone numbers. You see, I previously would never accept lifts from anyone. We all know the fear of “One Chance” is the beginning of wisdom.  I don’t want to end up as a Spiritual ATM in anyone’s wardrobe with a calabash on my head, spitting crisp One thousand Naira notes for the rest of my existence. Plus, I really do hate having to sit in traffic and pretend to have a lame conversation which usually ends in “What’s your Number?”  It’s like demanding the payment. Can’t some men just do a good deed?

 

But look what Boda Raji has caused. I can no longer fire bike from CMS to Eko Hotel when I am running late for work and buses have become essential commodity. And I’m not even talking about BRT, you know those Volkswagen “faragon” buses that fly from Adetokunbo Ademola Roundabout to Mushin in 1 hour? Yeah, those ones. If you are unfortunate enough, the windows at the back will be sealed so that you can enjoy the medley of Body Odour oozing from people, and this has nothing to do with the time of the day at all. Some people are “obuko”, those goats that you can smell from a mile away. They wake up smelling and go to bed smelling. Perhaps it’s that they cannot have a bath, or soap and water have become too expensive, I cannot quite tell.  When I become a Billionaire, I will give all the “Up- National” Chairmen Okin soap to share for all their boys and drill borehole in every park. But that’s a story for another day.

 


 

The past couple of weeks have been eye-opening. I have even contemplated going back to my village, because Lagos is a Jungle where only the Fit or Rich survive and I don’t fall in either category. I know that’s hard to believe, at least the Fit part. Even I wouldn’t accept that at first, but rewind to two Tuesdays ago. I’m at Adetokunbo Ademola Roundabout at 5:20PM trying to get a straight bus to Ojuelegba, or even Costain. Shebi at all na him bad pass. But what I’m seeing here is beyond me. There’s a crowd of over hundred people and BRT queue is totally out of the question-  Those ones are time-wasters of life. I tell myself it cannot be so bad. When push comes to shove, I’ll take a taxi. Boy, am I wrong! The First bus comes, over-priced, understandably, but before the Conductor opens the door the bus is full! *ghen-ghen*. I’m not exaggerating. It appears there are people way more ingenious than I am; they simply opened the boot and climbed in. when I look in the bus, i get the shocker of my life……….. they are all young wo-men! I console myself, after all, a real lady will never conduct herself in such manner (storyland). The next two buses arrive, same “from the boot” story, except that the boys are “manning-up”. After 30 minutes, i know it’s time to hail a cab, but there are no cabs. The only one I got, one old man with tribal marks on his face, is also over-priced, Three Thousand Naira to Surulere . That is simply illogical and against everything the United Nations stands for. After he says three thousand, I no longer listen to what he’s saying. I focus on trying to count the strokes on each side of his face. Incidentally, there are three on each side, maybe that’s thelogic behind it (Ibadan man wey wan hammer for Lagos).

After one hour, I am back in my office to re-strategize. After strategizing for an hour, I’m back at the spot. Add another one hour to this, still no taxi, no bus, and sadly, no more bike. It is time to break my own rule. I will accept a lift if I am offered,  but this is new turf to be treaded with caution. Thankfully, there is traffic so I can at least try to analyze the cars and drivers before I enter.  The first one that offers me a lift is driving a dead Golf 2. He has the face of an “eru-iku” and the mannerisms of a smuggler.  You know those people that you would arrest if you were a policeman, even if you saw them having a conversation and walking hand-in-hand with Jesus? He looked like one of them, so I let him pass.  The next one is driving a Hilux and acting all so fresh, so clean. But I can tell he’s the driver of the vehicle, not the owner (like say no be just ride I dey find o). These drivers, I have heard different stories of kidnapping their Ogas’ Children for money and I refuse to be a headline (Island worker takes last ride in fancy Hilux., PM News), plus he looks like he will ask for my number. Finally, there’s someone that looks like the regular Chap: Mid-thirties, closing from work, another colleague in the car and It’s an End of Discussion. He hesitates at first, and then he stops. “Are you going to the Mainland?” I nod in the affirmative. “Come in”. Mr. Nice moves his jacket and Bible to the other side of the Seat so I can sit conveniently. He says he’s going to Surulere and  asks for my name and where I work. Then he drops me off at Stadium. It is 9:30PM. He does not ask for my number.


It’s Saturday evening. The week has been unimaginably long. I need a treat, after all, YOLO. I stroll to my junction and jump on the next available bike to my usual Shawarma place. Thankfully, we won’t be passing any major road. There should be no Police Issues. Before I am done with my line of thought, we are at a “checking-point”. This okada man is refusing to pay, he just passed there some minutes ago and he paid then (like that matters with the men of the LAPD…lol). Me I don’t want any trouble, he should just pay jeje before the Shawarma will finish. Finally, the gun-totting Policeman asks “wetin be your number?” He says “7”. The Policeman confirms from the Plate Number on the bike. It’s the first digit. He passes us.

 

I shudder inwardly. This annoying question again? *sigh*

Google Image

Dear Lord, I need a green card

Yes Lord, it’s me again.

I have strayed and nearly forgotten my source in my search for my “dele” bread. But look at me back at your feet. And as usual, i have needs. I know that You knew me from my mother’s womb. So i’m sure what I’m about to say will not surprise you. I want a green card. I want to go to America or anywhere else. I have never been a fan of checking out, but lately I’ve been thinking that my journey in Nigeria is really just a detour. I know, You can read my every thought, but i would really like to explain myself.
________________________________________

You see, i have never stopped loving Nigeria. I still pray for her. The last few times i shed tears lately, it’s been about her. But you see, i can’t keep breaking my heart every time. If i had a man who did the same bad things to me over and over again, i would have kicked him to the curb.I have forgiven Nigeria over and over again. But there’s not much emotion left for her. I want to get married and have children.

Aha! Marriage. Shebi You kuku saw that young man that police killed some days after his wedding, Ugochukwu Ozuah. We still have not found the policemen that killed him. The IG said it is not his men. And who are the rest of us to argue when Oga has spoken. I don’t think anyone is investigating. This man was your creation, somebody’s son, another’s husband. He had dreams, he was going to start sharing them with his wife. But look what they did. I don’t want to die that way. I don’t want anyone i know to die that way. If there is an accident, i want forensic investigations like i see on CSI. I want someone to be responsible. But that doesn’t seem like it will happen in this my Nigeria. So, i want out.

And children. They are your special gifts. And i can’t lie, You have over blessed us with children lately. I mean, look how many “occupy” babies we have. I hear our median age is 19. But can we take care of them? There’s no healthcare here. Maternal mortality here is among the highest in the world. People who have money now go abroad to have their babies. So is it not better for me to kuku check out before then?

I don’t want to raise my children here. I don’t want them to have the kind of mentality that reigns in Nigeria. See last month, an old writer, Achebe published his civil war memoirs. I did not see the war. My mother was a child then. But see people my age crying for apology because the old man claims someone starved his ethnic group. These same people ehn, their states are flooded. In weeks, there will be cholera and Bilharzia epidemics in those zones. But You know us, we only chase shadows.
You see, i want to go to church with my family without being frisked. I want us to go and visit our Muslim friends at Sallah without thinking that they are the ones that stabbed the last set of Christians to death in Kano. But when will that happen? When will we realize that You can fight your own battles? That You can reveal yourself to anyone in any way You please?

You see, every day, life gets harder for Nigerians. Many of us thought that with democracy, we would be living the “Arab money” kind of life. But see us. My father still struggles to pay my brothers’fees because he does not want him to join a secret cult in a public university, the kind i graduated from that has made me one of the fastest runners in my village.

By the way, those #Aluu4, i hear they were in a secret cult. Even then, that is still not a way to die. I thought being burnt at the stakes was something that ended centuries ago. But look at us. You know everything, but don’t we Nigerians surprise you sometimes. And we will never find the perpetrators. Abi no be we?….
And do You see sometimes how food is expensive? In this our country with fine soil. Sometimes i cry when i go to market. Chai! Is it that bad or we are just exploitative?

And then, my dear Lord, when will we have selfless leaders. Leaders who will learn the value of human life. If You, God, numbered all the hairs on our head, why do mere mortals act like we are just dogs?

Is it okay for people to be killed on their way from the mosque or bombed in church? Is it okay for a sales girl to be in a shop and hit by a policeman’s stray bullet? I don’t think so. I know You don’t either. I don’t want to live like this, so let me leave now.
And finally Lord, was Jona in the initial plan or is this a detour?

Coldplay – Clocks

I love being a web designer and I’m incredibly thankful that I decided to join this industry many years ago. Still, despite my love of this profession, there have been a number of times during my career when my passion has waned and I’ve found myself simply going through the motions instead of fully applying myself to my work. This scenario is likely familiar to many of my fellow web designers. It is called burnout.