I am an Ajebutter. Not by birth, or by formings, or by swag – I am simply an unapologetic Ajebutter by default. I didn’t choose to be born one. God, without seeking my opinion (because He’s God, I guess), gave me the genes of an Ajebutter and a funny Bri-Merican accent . By luck or some twisted work of fate, fortune, Karma (I might have killed ten defenseless puppies in my past life) or destiny, I have found myself in Lagos, crazy Lasgidi, and this is my story…
Today I took the most expensive picture of my life. This picture cost me more resources than I have ever spent on a single picture. I know you are already racking up figures of the amount of money I spent on the photographs, but take a look at the four pictures below...
Yeah, they don’t really look expensive, but they are worth their weight in gold.
It’s Christmas again, and the air is all warm and saturated with happiness and frantic festivities. Seeing how many people run home and take time out to hug their folks in Lagos, I felt a number of ways including the full spectrum of human emotions. I was sad, unhappy, angry, and forlorn. I knew Lagos was not for me. The Pulse Nigeria office has been closed, and without work, and a few friends who have all travelled to be with their family, then I’m just a chicken roaming the wild, being tossed by the wind.
No be me kill Jesus. I am Joey Akan. Not Judas Akan. Not Kunta Akan. Not Django Akan. I have a family!
I am from Akwa Ibom, but I have family scattered all over the South South, and so I hit the internet, purchased my flight tickets, grabbed my bags, found someone to drive me to the airport. 3 hours later I was in sweet Akwa Ibom, where the people speak with a weird accent, and a majority of the women in the villages have stomachs bigger than their butts. I look at rolling female buttock all the time. It’s a tourist attraction, a gift from God to help brothers like me have something to keep busy. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
I am still battling to keep my weight down, and so I count calories, go running in the morning, stick to drinking water, adhering to the principles of portion control, and following the words of many fitness gurus.
In Akwa Ibom running is way cool. I live in Ikot Ekpene, a village not far from Uyo, the state capital. It’s got all the things many parts of urban Lagos lacks. There are local chickens roaming the streets, the air is cleaner, the roads are better, and the general scenery, although dull, possesses a novel refreshing quality that gets my senses tingling.
Today I went running, hitting speed levels that only Usain Bolt can afford to dream of. But that ended when I got to a place called Plaza. It’s a bit of a park created to entertain the itch of the locals, but by heavens, it’s beautiful. I found a good spot to take an iconic shot, but then there was one problem. I needed someone to capture the moment for me. I needed a makeshift photographer with just the basic knowledge of how a phone camera works. Point, focus, and click. Easy peazy!
A number of people were walking past. “This shouldn’t take time,” I said to myself as I approached them.
“Hello, Good morning, please help me take a photo.” I solicited.
The response was unique and uniform. It’s like I switched on a repellant each time I made a request. A confused look crossed their faces for a split second, before it switched into a look of fear, and then they avoid me, increased their speed, and technically ran away.
This happened for over 30 minutes. Meaning, I spent 30 minutes of today struggling to get a quick picture. How I miss the beauty of Lagos.
Just then three guys walked past me, they were logging sacks and chatting excitedly. I approached.
“Good morning, would you please help me take a photo?” I implored.
“Why I go take Mbakara (American) phone? I no wan police problem.”
Then it hit me and the reason for their funny behaviour became clear. I have a weird Brimerican accent, and they could not understand it. It’s basic human nature. You fear what you can’t understand.
I moved back, and began to work on my Akwa Ibom dialect. After 30 minutes of ‘Kpong, kpong, and more kponging’, I thought I was pretty decent.
Stripping myself of all tushness and fine-boyism, I hit the next guy and gave him the magical sentence in Annang.
“Obong owo (Chief), Mbok di sio mi ndi se”,” I knew I had hit the jackpot. He smiled at me and got my phone immediately.
I simply, took up the awesome poses, and he took those very awful pictures. I can’t be grateful for these. I refuse to be happy for his efforts. They are poor and reek of no photographic skill. 5 more people did the same, and it all boils down to those four earlier photos. Even my selfie below beat their best efforts.
I miss Lagos. Everyone has a photographic skill of some sort. Here, once they move past the inherent xenophobia, their skill lacks finesse and a knowledge of visual arts.
I can’t wait for January. Mtcheeeeeew.