I first visited Abeokuta in my much younger years, 1989 or so. It was a family vacation with my siblings, cousins, an uncle and an aunty. Aunty Yewande took us for this trip. We went via Lagos from Port Harcourt, it was a trip I would not forget in years. There was the fun part, the part of being spoiled and the tears.

I recall eating garden eggs from Maami – my Yoruba Grandma’s garden, playing with her scrabble the wrong way, climbing or rather being carried up Olumo rock and I sure remember how she begged Aunty Yewande to let me off eating Eko. That was one of my traumatic growing up episodes. Somewhere in my head, I had wrongly believed that moimoi and Eko tasted just the same way. It was to my horror that my taste buds screamed differently. I decided that I would not eat Eko.

That’s when my ordeal began, Aunty decided otherwise, so while I cried and Maami begged, the others finished their dinner, went off to brush their teeth, have devotion and I, I was looking at the Eko through tears.
I don’t know which prevailed, though I greatly suspect it was Maami’s plea for me. The Eko did not get eaten by me, I got to leave the dining table.

Three years ago, I went back to Abeokuta to celebrate Maami’s 90th birthday, everything was just as I remembered. Elated doesn’t quite express my feelings. It was good to be there. Over years I had grown used to seeing Maami when she came to visit us, her Port Harcourt family and speaking with her over the phone every now and then. Being back in Abeokuta for a few days was a joyful surprise.

Last month I went back to Abeokuta to say goodbye to Maami, a couple of weeks shy of her 93rd birthday she passed. It hurt, somewhere in my head, I had thought she would be around for a long time. Reality has said otherwise. My first thought when I heard the news was no more calls from Maami on 10th September. There would be no reminder from her of whose I am, no prayer from her, it hurt.

The house is still as it was in my younger days, the flowers still drape the fence, cream is still the colours of the walls. It does seem smaller though but then at thirty-five it would be.

Part of my smile memories come from Abeokuta, it was one of my first trips within Nigeria that I recall vividly. From Abeokuta love was sure, that’s why we have Grandmas.

© 12th September 2018

Og Remember
Remember the Lord thy God, how far He has brought you, the mighty work He has wrought in you and through you. Remember how He has led you, guided you. Remember and give thanks,
Remember and keep trusting,
Remember and stay focused.
Remember. Remember His words that kept you.
Remember His hands pruning the ugly. Remember.

Remember and rejoice
Remember and be glad. For He changeth not.
Remember His sacrifice and live in awe. Only remember daily the Lord
Remember and live in remembrance.
Remember and observe.
Remember Og. Remember all He has done for you.

© 5th August, 2018

I am not sure which rubbed off on me the wrong way, the fact that I had never envisaged this or having to choose between two roles I enjoyed and loved. The reason was quite logical, “for your career growth plan, you need to let go of one”. No, you cannot hold unto the two roles. That hurt, it was a tough call, I fought the idea of letting go of one. I did pick one, but suspicion was my initial response to things from two particularly colleagues (Somewhere in my head, i just felt this did not come from a good place) It took me a while to accept my choice, I only made peace with it in July 2018.

Clouded vision
Coloured perception
Flawed decision
A bump along the road

High are the walls
My heart won’t fall
Position stiff tall
A smile with clenched fists

This is a change
The storm does rage
Many are but a range
A soul now shut tight

A search deep inward
To go as I ought forward
As my goal lies onward
A burden I must lay aside.

© 9th July, 2018

Same event. Different balance. Same players. Growth is evident.

It took a d’eja vu for me to recall the faithfulness of Him who said, ‘it would only get better because I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus’.

An unexpected event bust upon my after work life. With everyone home bound and even home in some cases, it fell on me to sort out. There just had to be a way, with every hour I looked for a path, my emotions swirled negativity to those responsible for this to-do.

Nerves calm. More mature emotionally. Same me. Different me. I scroll through messages and I am humbled at God’s work.

Same disruption, work missed that must be closed out, yet again office to handle request closed. Found ma pathway faster than before. I am in a good place, emotions all stable and positive. No hard feelings towards anyone.

October ten twenty seventeen and July ten twenty eighteen. It is brighter, more stable than the past. The things that got me agitated have been taken care off.

So, I look ahead, wondering what the next eight months would bring. How I would have matured further. With expectancy and excitement, I look forward to what He has in store for me. Knowing that most probably, anything which has me bothering on agitation now, would be a done deal.

You see, when He said it would only get brighter and brighter, He meant it. Eight months is too much a time to figure that out. Yet, somewhere in my living I missed something to be thankful for.

Timing. Better. Brighter. Future. Settled. Promise. Keeper. Eight Months Later my Father is ever still faithful and just.

© 10th July, 2018.

Knowing the next steps did not make it any easier, I knew, I knew with a calmness and peace only He could give. Knowing came much quickly than I envisaged. Having to choose between two loves rubbed on me the wrong way. I love law, I choose law, fell out and then fell back in love with it, I love admin, it comes natural to me. After months of combining same, I had not pictured a future of one without the other. But I knew, having to choose which one, i would let go of somewhat.

Yet I struggled, oh how I struggled, why did I not embrace it? My thoughts… I firmly believed (do not ask me how and why), that there was a conspiracy to frustrate me (No, that’s truly how I saw it). Life had been good, beautiful and dandy, my birth month the prior year brought one too many needless clashes. Some days I mused, if I only understood why? Our paths were different.

I spoke to myself, “you are not your chosen field” that’s not you! An expression perhaps, but certainly not you. My emotions where a roller coaster, up one day, deeply suspicious and distrustful the next. Knowing the clouds of suspicion and distrust blinded my view did not help. Through dimmed eyes to guard my soul, I nit-picked every word and action. Questions flowed within me, ‘if the one you trust, trusts them, surely you can, right? But still…

The Word was my source of stability and sanity, no room for negative emotions, my watchword to not throw petty parties. One thing I did learn, pettiness is not cool and an unacceptable response for a messenger. Surely my Mirror never was petty.

Daily I battled, the dying the flesh was in moments. God’s view point kept me from losing it. I hung on to His word, for I knew therein only I found sanity. My medium of expression thinned, my dance on the fringe of explosion widened. This was not the plan. Did I have a right to feel betrayed? I mean, God had showed me the path to walk, why fight the vessels used to prompt the way to go? But I fought.
My body language roared rage, did I doubt God? No! Was His will desirable? Very much so. Yet there was in me that which fought what I perceived to be the forceful taking away of all I had chosen without conscience. A part was willingly, yet another was poised for battle.

So, pride had to die, flesh had to be put under, all other voices silenced, in the place of study and communion. It has been a journey, I am not fully there yet but the struggle is less than a few months back.

© 9th July, 2018

“Someone’s job might be at stake, let it go”

The bane for bad services, one that is as old as culture here in Nigeria. We have over the years placed or misplaced our empathy and sacrificed quality service in its place. Paid for service I must say. It is one thing for an issue to be one off, but another for a repeat occurrence. Where do we draw the line? At what point do we begin to demand that the services equate the payment? After all, if we insist, a ‘family man’ might just lose his job.

I look at the situation I currently have battled for two days, and wonder! Has our culture done us a great disservice? Or have we, hiding behind the cloak of culture, done ourselves in? Culture was made for the people, never people for culture, but where exactly do we draw the line? Why are we willing to accept less than we have paid for because a repeat offender might be out of job?

So many thoughts, am I being unfair? Unreasonable? This situation has almost sucked my blood if I may. Most upsetting is that fact, there just would be another incidence with this same person in the nearest future. I probably would be inclined to look away if it is a one off but then again, would that not make me part of the problem? Just when does a culture check get activated? At what point we would declare this far and no further to the trigger of poor service quality? Surely a business has a right to insist a vendor step up their game for a mutually beneficial relationship.

Starring at the back and forth in the email trail is just as exhausting as the myriad of phone calls undocumented, surely the culture of save a job over quality service would not come back to bite another day. For today, I demand that the quality be as offered and agreed upon.

© 3rd July, 2018

It seems like a distant past, when all my focus was to pass Delf B1. Same month, a decade later. The songs bring back memories, memories 10 of a world that shaped me.

Je serai la, toujour pour toi. I will, not because I want to, but on the altar of pleasing the One who cares for me. I hear the sounds, music, laughter, silly banters, I get to count it all in my half year count my blessings. There was my favourite teacher M. Moctar, il vous enseigne comme si I’enseignement d’un bébé,
So, I look at my now and wonder in another memory 10 would any of these truly matter, would I even recall them. My predominant memories are joyful ones, the punctuations of unhappy ones I dig to pull out. What sounds am I creating? What pictures have I painted?

I look back with gratitude, grateful for a road taken I would ordinarily never trod upon. Grateful for a success just on point a alliance francais, pour mes amis who made six months in the unknown worth every moment even our disagreements.
Today my thoughts are not filled with questions bothering on whether I would pass Delf B1, when would my going to law school be fully sure. I wonder if I can truly rise above pettiness particularly when in my head I do think that’s the appropriate response, of my lack of emotion to the bloody mayhem is normal, I think about creating colourful memories with friends, kinda rest assured rent renewal is hitch free…

Fleeting at the best it all is at the end of the day. My next memories 10 is going to eclipse the one just gone by. However, I get to experience it not a day at a time but moment by moment. So here and now, I choose to guard my heart. For therein are my next decade birthed.

PS: note to self “Oghale pettiness is of the devil”.

© 27th June, 2018