A heart has no title.

Sitting at the window with my hand resting on its sill

I am staring outside at the beauty of nature

This place is peaceful but out there is war

Man pitting war against his fellow

Women spiting each other

Power abused like codeine

Love, no place for it in a world that chooses to ignore it

Tearing kindness and chewing off innocent children

Our lands are decaying

Our culture becoming extinct.

Bibiana Ossai © 2017.

Prevalent Issues in Nigeria.

It was a sunny afternoon and someone had ruined my day when I decided to excuse myself to let out some steam because I do not find it necessary to exchange words with people who do not know when or when not to speak. This day for an unusual reason aroused my interest towards the prevalent issues that have been existing in this country even before my generation, although I am not one to indulge myself in political discussions and I do not want to sound critical of the Nigerian government because I am just a neutral fellow who believes in the good of the land.

Two important issues faced in Nigeria are Corruption and unemployment. Corruption has eaten deep like a cankerworm in Nigeria such that the very obvious ones claim to be the very innocent ones and that is what amazes me; when you have been cut red-handed but still deny being the one in the act.

“Corruption is authority plus monopoly minus transparency.”

-Unknown.

A thirsty man must quench his thirst by all means regardless of whom he has to trample upon to get even as small as a drop of water. Corruption is now resting at the foundation of Nigeria’s growth, a country positioned as 144th out of 177 countries measured in Corruption Perception Index. I remember during the start period of recession, people kept complaining about how everything was falling apart whereas there were others spending billions like pure water. Apart from the government eating more than a thief, our fellow citizens are also a part of this problem as you have traders selling sub-standard products or tripling prices so as to get double their profits while the pockets of their buyers are squeezed dry.

Regarding unemployment, it is really saddening to see young people who have spent part of their lives working hard to gain a degree roam the streets of Lagos and other states in Nigeria. People who are gainfully employed or are opportune to have a steady source of income claim that there is enough opportunity for everyone out there. Not that I do not agree but the fact is how many paying jobs can actually feed a family in Nigeria? The fault is not entirely on the government but also schools who fail to teach their students vocational skills that will make them worthy of a quality job.

Many Nigerian graduates did not learn good skills during their studies. They were busy reading only textbooks without knowing the applications of what they read.

 -The Nigerian Observer.

With this understanding that no matter how bad the issues get in Nigeria, there are people who make the best out of it so I say to myself, “why can’t I be part of the few enjoying wealth despite the state of the nation?” No matter how condescending the situation of Nigeria is, there are avenues created by private organisations or individuals to create opportunities for each class of its citizens such as SAED, an entrepreneurship avenue for Nigerian youths to learn one or more skills that will improve their chances out there in the labor market among others. As for Corruption being eradicated, it will take years as long as the stubborn flies keep going back to their shit.

Therefore, Nigeria is where it is today because of the government and its people because I believe if we can all rewire our mentalities and channel our goals and positivity towards the growth of this country without self-ambitions and satisfaction of selfish desires, this great country will finally attain the heights faster than it would in say 50 years. Photo Credit: Bibiana Ossai.

Bibiana Ossai ©

Respect The Jollof…Appio Restaurant and Bar

Have you ever seen a fat kid clutch on to their candy when they play around other children who possibly love candy more than they do? Why do they do this? They are probably afraid that they may get mugged…and their candy stolen 🙂

That was how I felt walking to Appio; a Ghanaian restaurant and bar located on U Street; close to Howard University in Washington DC. I walked into the restaurant and it looked quite chaotic…and I wouldn’t say it in a bad way. It just looked unorganized with quite a number of college kids.

The university isn’t too far from the restaurant, so quite a few students do patronize this place.

At first sight, Appio did nothing for me, but it was a last minute decision we made to eat there and seeing as I had an early evening flight to catch back to my base, I had to just make do.

Sitting in Appio, I felt as though there was no effort put into the setting up of the restaurant. The chairs were just strewn about the place with tables so low, you would think it was designed for a kindergartner. I took one look at my tour guide and said “let’s give it a try, maybe their food is good.”

The waitress was prompt with coming to the table. She was a dark skinned beautiful girl with a lovely smile. She seemed to me as one of those people who smile through everything. That actually is what waitresses and waiters are supposed to do while on the job; wear a smile. Though difficult sometimes.

As usual, I wanted a Mojito, but they had none. Please African restaurants in DC and the rest of the world, please learn to make Mojitos na! Warris this? Abi una want make I carry my own Mojito for hand dey waka? The gods forbid! Anyway, I ordered the Black Margarita and my tour guide had just water. E come be like say we dey vex.

I decided to request for some water before my drink would have been made and I requested lemons with it, and the waitress brought the lemons on a tissue…would have been nice if the lemons were served in a saucer 🙂

Finally, the Margarita came and on tasting it, it tasted like Zobo! Zobo y’all! Zobo mixed with Tequila! You say?! How can you serve Sorrel tea as Black Margarita?

Continue reading “Respect The Jollof…Appio Restaurant and Bar”

The Elixir That is Palm Wine.

My memories of palm wine is both crazy and sweet at the same time.

First things first, what is Palm wine? It is pretty much an alcoholic drink created from the sap of different species of the palm tree. It’s also known by different names; depending on the continent/place where it is located. For example, the Cameroonians call it “Tombo.” And most Nigerians call it Palmy or Simply Palm wine.

Continue reading “The Elixir That is Palm Wine.”

Becoming Somebody II.

“We Will Rise” is a CNN film that showcases young women overcoming incredible odds to change their lives and do extraordinary things in their society. It is a mission by Michelle Obama, America’s first lady with the help of other strong women like CNN’s Isha Sesay, Meryl Streep and Freida Pointo. We Will Rise is one of the most compelling film-documentary that I watched in the last days of year 2016 and it made me realise that despite the fact Nigeria is evolving in so many great ways, there are a lot to be done to improve eradicate educational discrimination in some parts of the country.

Continue reading “Becoming Somebody II.”

Becoming Somebody I.

Mama, I hear the field is green and the roses are red

The wildflowers are growing in the farmlands and

I just wonder when the girls will be one, Mama

When will the girls be like the boys?

Free like the air with a voice of authority

When will I truly live?

Mama, why cannot the girls be like Papa,

Working day and night to be somebody

Let me run till my feet grow weary

Let me fly till my wings grow faint

There is more to me as there is to life but

Doing nothing and being ill-informed is going to eat me up like a canker worm

Tell me Mama, am I just a sold out slave to nothing and everybody?

A help mate you say I am but how can I help when

I am just a bag of culture, religion, norms and limitations.

You can also read this post Nigerian girl-child the writer is very opinionated and optimistic.

Photo Credit: Diva Diaries.

Bibiana Ossai © 2016.

Suya…The African Love For Meat.

We are about to have a Happy New year while serving up some Suya!  There is this universal love for Suya amongst Africans that just warms my heart. At first, I thought it was more of a Nigerian thing, until I started seeing Ghanians and Kenyans making suya.

Suya is a form African street food in form of a kebab which is seasoned with a blend of aromatic spices. The meat is seasoned with the spices; then grilled over an open flame. The meat, when done is usually crispy on the outside and tender/juicy on the inside with the spices infused into every grain of the meat.

Let me digress a bit here.

There is something about meat that seems to make the average African happy and giddy with joy. It is supernatural! Living in Nigeria for example, you could see people spending time at different  ‘joints(a small make shift restaurant that specializes in finger foods and alcohol). Individuals spend time with friends at these places; having what seems like a serious conversation about politics, soccer and sometimes marriage and religion. These conversations are usually done over bottles of beer and trays of meat. From peppered snails to Suya and roasted spicy chicken. You could see in these restaurants, different people from all walks of life. Men with their “babes” in tow, munching away at some type of peppered meat or chargrilled suya…smiling, love and laughter in the atmosphere with a good bottle of Heineken stirring their conversations.

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image…@homemademealsng on instagram
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image…@Afrolems on Instagram
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images…@Nigerianlazychef on instagram

Continue reading “Suya…The African Love For Meat.”

Three Christmases in One Package.

1786 in the southern region of Judea, Bethlehem

the stars became cardinal points of the earth and a compass for 3 wise men

during a time, war raged in the heart of a mere mortal,

for a king was born and a gift given to the world.

People travelled from all poles of the earth to the manger

where a miracle laid shinning of a glory the world was yet to comprehend.

Halleluiah! Halleluiah!! A king was born and his reign forever.

Continue reading “Three Christmases in One Package.”