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Joey's Chronicles Of A Lagos Ajebutter “Akwa Ibom food is the best in Lagos”

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…

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Joey Akan, Joey’s Chronicles Of A Lagos Ajebutter, Pulse.ng play Joey Akan, Joey’s Chronicles Of A Lagos Ajebutter, Pulse.ng (Pulse)

I have suffered in this town. Every time hunger finds its way into my path, and my body screams for food, the first response I give to my growling stomach is ‘shut your damn rumbling’.

I don’t hate my stomach, neither do I hate myself. It’s just a function of the fear that grips me each time I decide to eat. In Lagos, eating for me is like a trip to the dentist. You never know what you might get. Nobody can be trusted, and no one is perfect.

I dream of the perfect food for my perfect stomach all the time. I deserve it. Being an Ajebutter is exhausting business, and it deserves to be rewarded with the best of meals. I once spent a week eating at the Brazzerie Restaurant in Four Points By Sheraton.

The food was great, but my pocket wasn’t smiling. I was slowly going broke by the minute. Not the best of ways to survive in this harsh Lagos.

I gave myself brain, and decided to walk the streets of Ajah in search of culinary gold. My aim was simple. Since I have long experimented with Yoruba cooking and found out that I am not genetically wired to digest foods from Bunmi’s, Bukola’s, or Busayo’s kitchen. Each time I make the effort to eat there, I become friends with my toilet.

I even have nightmares.

So I went in search of a kitchen where the women bear names like, Ekaette, Enobong, Inemesit, and have masculine helpers called Ubong and Akpan. I desperately needed find a restaurant made up of Akwa Ibom people.

So I traversed the length of Ajah, visiting restaurants. My mission was simple. Find an Akwa Ibom restaurant. I walked into a lot of places, sat down, and when a sales girl makes the customary ‘what do you want’, I listen carefully for accents.

Once I hear the H-factor, I run for my life. No man should be made to eat poison. Sometimes, I even don’t need to walk in. Fuji music coming from the restaurant or the smell of boiling Kpomo (cow skin) does the magic.  I walk on by without forethought or a greeting.

Finally I found love, and it was right in front of me. I was on my way home one evening after a sapping day at work. I got to my neighbourhood late, and only one restaurant was open. I didn’t think twice.

“Hullo good evening”.

“Hallo, kurevening”. I heard the tiny lady reply.

I couldn’t believe it. She had the accent of an Ibibio woman who had spent her entire life in the hinterland of Akwa Ibom.

To make sure, I plugged in the Language.

“Aba di e”. (How are you?) I slowly extended.

I received a slight smile, a shy laugh, and a response that sounded like music to my ears.

Idioko”. (I am fine).

I quickly ordered for a plate of Afang soup, and Semo. I attacked it like a demon, conquered it, and sat for a while stroking my stomach with immense satisfaction of heary. Here was home at last, and it was right in  front of my estate.

That night, I slept like a baby. And woke to bright new day. I have since made them my official dinner partners, and life has new meaning. Akwa Ibom food is the best in Lagos.

Thank God.

Peace and good hustle. See you next week.

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