Exactly 7 years and 4 days ago, I entered a classroom in the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. It was dingy. When there was light, it was freezing. When there wasn’t, it was sweltering.
And though they said there was no dress code, I wore my cream shirt and formal black trousers because people are unpredictable.
And, 7 days and 1 day later, after a lot of sweat, tears and yes, cramming, the time came for fulfilment. That morning, as I entered the bathroom with my phone, I just felt something say to me, play Blessings by Laura Story. So I played it on repeat. I was feeling emotionally down in a hard to explain kind of way. Does anyone else get something they’ve worked toward for years and then get depressed? Or is it just me?
Anyhoo, after that I went to go pay my Bar Practicing Fees. Then I went back to my Uncle’s to await my parents and brothers.
Fast forward 3 hours and I started getting dressed. First the camisole, then the shirt, then the suit jacket, then the shoes. Then I asked my dad for help with the collarette.

Complete look without wig or gown


At that point it was 12:40pm and my mom was like you need to go now. And I was like why now? The event starts at 3pm. The place is a 7 minute drive. Why you want to punish me like this?
I went though- 1:30pm, I got there. Before I entered the hall, one dude was like you should not be wearing a shirt and I was like, “interesting” (Law school does not have a dress code for Call to Bar. That knowledge is passed down from set to set (when asked for). Obianuju did not ask, she assumed. I was going to take off my shirt and hope they’d accept my black camisole. My dad said not to bother. No one would care. At that point, I was very warm. I’d worn the gown and it was a sunny day. I entered the venue, the International Conference Centre. And then Problem Number 2 came to the fore, my shoes. Suede shoes are not corporate. But again, NO ONE TOLD ME THEY WERE PROHIBITED!

Waaaay too much trouble

I started praying. “Lord, I waited 7 years for this. Please don’t let me be embarrassed. Please, Lord”
In fact, a very nice young woman helped me make my shirt look like a camisole. Thank you so so very much sweetie! (I hope you happen to read this someday)
But nothing could be done about the shoes.
Fortunately, when I got to the front of the line, after some mild humiliation, I was properly adjusted and no one seemed to notice my shoes. When I got in, I just lifted my hands in thanks.
The ceremony started. There had been rumours that we were going to stand all through while the Chaiman/Life Bencher shook the hand of all 900 (nine hundred!) successful aspirants. That’s what happened the day before my Call in fact.
But the same God who had helped me get through the entry point with minimum humiliation was listening.I got to hear the call and progression of Law Students to something closer to lawyers from the somewhat comfort of my chair.
When it got to my turn, I walked gingerly to the stage (my shoes were very beautiful and very VERY painful to wear). I got to the stage praying all the while, “Lord, please do not let me trip, fall, twist my ankle or be embarrassed in any other way”. And once again, He answered.
I got to the stage, the Life Bencher helped me adjust my wig with a smile (lovely guy) and shook my hand. I collected my certificate on the way off the stage and I stepped down without tripping, falling, twisting my ankle or embarrassing myself in anyway. And the rest of the ceremony saw me on my seat. 
We were NOT lawyers yet though. We had to have dinner with the Body of Benchers. Failure to do so would mean deferring our Call till next year. So I got outside, took a couple of photos and went to have dinner (bread and chicken peppersoup (I had no soup but my neighbour gave me hers because it was cold), fried rice, chicken and 3 day old plantain (I had to use a fork and knife to even cut it) and a cupcake). Then, we closed and I made the long trek gingerly again (does anyone want new shoes?) out of the venue and into my Uncle’s car. It was already past 8. On the drive back to my Uncle’s house, his driver asked my advice for one of his friends who had gotten his girlfriend pregnant, proposed to her, to which she said yes (at first) before she refused. Now she (and her parents) say no marriage, the boy will pay child support (he agreed) and damages to the tune of N250, 000(where my advice was needed).
We got home. And I met a party welllll under way. Took pics.

Ze cake


Hugged and was hugged.
The next day, after a grand total of 45 minutes sleep, I went to the Supreme Court wearing a black shirt, black trousers and black shoes. In case I was sent out though, I had another outfit in my bag. The Registration of my name on the Roll took place in under 20 minutes. I’d thought it would take 2 hours at least.

And that’s how I became a lawyer.

Some more pictures-

And they wanted me to stand!
With mummy
With Daddy
D'banj(Chike) and Nonso
All the food I missed
Messing around in the hall
A lil' bit crazy at the departure hall
A little less crazy
You see why I snip the hair short?
The teddy bear my little cousin gave me

P.s- someone told me a new trick for natural hair: cut okro, boil it, sieve it, then pour over hair. Anyone tried it yet?





My best friend’s Dad (2) – Iris

Iris and I didn’t become friends until my 9th birthday. Despite sitting near each other, despite the adoring looks I gave her, despite sharing a great deal of the sweets my dad brought for me every time he came visiting, she treated me the exact same as she treated everyone else: with friendship but not with friendship. Not the closeness I had dreamt of anyway.
Iris was the undisputed leader of our class. It wasn’t hard to explain why. She was so nice that everyone wanted to be around her. She was kind too; she was the only girl I knew who talked to the old man begging on the street. Those sweets I used to share with her? She shared them among our classmates, giving some to the teacher and even to the beggar. Once when a classmate was sent to the sick bay, she ate lunch there with him, making him laugh so much he forgot that he was sick and was going to miss the cake Tolani was sharing that day. I’m sure she gave him her slice the next day but you can only watch someone for so long before you make them uncomfortable.
How did we become friends? Well, I had mommy to thank for that.
As my 9th birthday approached, I did not want a party. At all. If I had a party, everyone would be looking at me, I would probably have to wear a dress instead of my school uniform and I would be popular for that day and for the next days until my classmates had gauged the cake to be finished.
I did not want anyone looking at me, I preferred looking at them. I did not want to wear a dress, the school uniform was bad enough. And having people like me for a couple of days simply because of cake? I had found out the last 2 years that I hated that. But Amara and my mother had had their first fight 3 days before. And Amara being mummy’s favourite, wanted to apologise through what my mommy was worrying about. Now, you might be wondering what any of this had to do with me. Or even Iris. Let me get there.
It was MY birthday. Mummy had been complaining about not having enough money to buy the cake plus everything else. I knew she could ask our Uncle but my mum is proud. Very proud. Whenever she took anything from anyone she would give the person back in excess of whatever she had been given. Always.
The time I accidentally poured our last salt container in the sink and she had to borrow salt from our next door neighbour? She gave the woman 2 bags of salt the next day plus a bowl of soup that had more meat in it than soup. The day her car wouldn’t start and a neighbour gave her a lift to work and repaired her car? Well, that’s how I met Kelvin and gained my first true friend. She has been babysitting for his parents whenever possible till date. That happened when we just moved into the house. In fact, she’s still repaying my uncle presently for letting us stay with him when we left my father’s house. She’s making food and taking it to them, she’s babysitting their twins every time he wants to take his wife out, she did omugwo for his wife even though her mother came. My mom does not like to ask anyone for anything at all. That was one of the reasons I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday even. The cake.
But Amara asked me to. She wanted to show mummy that she was growing up, that she was old enough to stay out till 7pm without mummy beating her when she came home. And the way she had decided to do it, was by baking the cake for my birthday herself. Amara was the homemaker type. She was a cooking prodigy. It was almost a miracle Bunmi was learning how to cook because Amara did it so well. She would clean and it would sparkle. I would clean and it would barely shine. But she had never learned how to bake. There was a neighbour of ours, the one my mom had taken salt from in fact, who had a library of books. I used to go there and pick some books and return them, always with a gift of some sort as well. She was very nice. One day Amara and Bunmi came with me and Amara saw the book on cake recipes. She asked really nicely if she could borrow it and our neighbour agreed. That night she wrote out 8 different recipes and returned the book to our neighbour with a plate of her amazing party jollof rice. Some days, Kelvin comes over specifically so he can get some. She had been waiting to test some recipes since then.
Remember my mom was worried about the money for the cake? Amara was sure she would not have money to buy cake tins either, so she gathered her savings and Bunmi and I added some of ours as well and we bought cake tins, flour, baking powder and some more things on Amara’s list and that night she made a cake.
When my mum came home that night Amara took her bag, shoes, ran her a bath, brought her eba with oha (my mom’s favourite food) before she presented the cake and cut my mom a slice.Then and only then did Bunmi and I get a taste of it.
It was delicious. Everyone said so. Even my mom, who is stingy with praise was lavish this time. The only person who seemed less than happy with the cake was Amara herself.
While Amara was the homemaker type, Bunmi was the business type. She drew up the family budget even while we were living with Daddy, she had more savings than Amara and I (she saved 60% of her allowance), she had an eye for cost cutting measures that wouldn’t affect anything much. In fact, my dad sometimes came around to ask her advice on money matters. She was that good.
Bunmi had prepared a business plan for Amara’s new business as she called it. She had charts and diagrams to explain expected orders, expected supply, cost of the new venture, expected revenue and more phrases I wasn’t able to understand. She allayed my mom’s fears as to whether Amara would find time to read by bringing out more charts until my mom was convinced. Apparently a percentage of all Amara’s profits would be put into the household budget and the household savings. I wondered when they had discussed and come up with this. But it had the desired effect. I could see my mum beginning to see possibilities. Feeling a bit peeved, I abruptly said goodnight and went to do my pre-bed rituals.
Amara came in when I was lying down. I had turned to face the wall. I was angry but I couldn’t explain why. She touched me. I pretended to be sleeping.
“Ebube, let’s talk please”
I didn’t answer.
“Ebube, can we talk?”
“I still didn’t reply. Bunmi would have left by now. My mom would have responded by pouring water on me. Amara tickled me. I’m not ticklish. At all. But it was the fact that Amara was still trying to talk to me that caused me to turn around.
Then she laid me on her lap and started explaining why she and Bumni had created the business plan.
Apparently, my daddy had lost his job and so was unable to contribute as much to our upkeep, especially as he now had a new family. My mom was working longer shifts to compensate and ensure she didn’t lose hers and as a consequence, she was tired, stressed and our household savings were being dipped into more than regularly.
I immediately felt ashamed. I hadn’t known. My sisters were trying to save our family from breaking up again and I was here being a brat. She asked me if she could bake a cake for me to take to school. I told her yes. That I would help her even.
The plans that had been drawn pointed to my birthday party as the launchpad for converting the idea into a viable business.
The day of my birthday arrived. I had suggested that in addition to my classmates, more cakes should be baked for my teachers and the neighbours. It was well received. In doing all of that, we exhausted half a bag of flour and sugar, a tub of margarine and I had tasted enough batter to make me sick of cakes for a week. But it was completed.
As none of us in the house was proficient in cake decoration, we spread chocolate sauce on the cakes, whether vanilla, chocolate or strawberry flavoured. And then we topped it off with whimsical items- wafers around the one for my class, marshmallows dipped in chocolate mounds, jelly babies, glazed cherries. Kelvin and I even had even been assigned a small one to decorate. This was to be for my class teacher.
My birthday arrived. I wore a dress, people sang to me, looked at me, people went into rapturous delight when they tasted the cake and to allay my mom’s anxiety over the party pack, everyone’s party pack contained a huge slice of foil wrapped cake with a piece of paper, hurriedly made; containing our information (Bunmi’s idea), 1 lollipop, some hard candy, and a pack of juice. My rationale was that the prospect of more cake would make my classmates forget that they did not get rice as they had on Alex’s birthday, or candy floss as in Joy’s birthday. It seemed to work. The party packs were presented at the close of school that day.
My mom was coming to pick me up. I knew she would come a bit late because of work so I had brought a book and I sat down in my class to wait for her. I said goodbye to the teachers who were delighted with my cake and the way it was made and decorated and said hello to the cleaners. I wasn’t bothered about waiting. I knew my mom would come for me. 5pm passed, 6pm. When it reached 7pm I got worried. Mommy had come to pick me pretty late before but never as late as 7pm. I went outside with my cake, schoolbag and book to catch the dying sunlight and I mentally willed my mother to come faster. Then I heard a sound behind me. I dismissed it. It was too early for ojuju Calabar to come. The next sound had me jumping up. It was Iris. She hadn’t meant to scare me. She just woke up from sleep in the sick bay, what was I still doing here. I started crying.
“I think my mommy forgot me”
She patted my shoulder. I heard something behind us. I screamed in fright.
She laughed.
“Calm down’, she said, ‘it’s just my daddy”.
I looked at him. It was the new principal. I greeted him and we sat down to wait for my mom. It was nearing 8pm now and though Iris was there and now, her daddy, I was scared. Scared of the night, of being alone. Scared that something had happened to my mother and that we would have to go and live with my dad and his new family or my uncle and his wife. Neither would be the end of the world but I wanted everything to remain as it was.
At 8pm, Iris started running a fever again. I knew because she had fallen asleep on my shoulder and I had moved her head to my thighs. I told her dad. He confirmed it by touching her forehead.
He carried her into his arms, left instructions for the school gateman, laid Iris in his car before he turned to me and asked me if I wanted to come home with them. He told me he did not feel comfortable leaving me alone especially now that it was dark and that the school gateman would direct my mom to their house when she came. I accepted. He carried my leftover cake and I carried Iris’ and my schoolbag into the car and we drove to their house, a short distance away. My mom came while I was halfway through my food. Iris was still sleepy but her dad had woken her up to eat and take some medicines. Then he told her to keep her eyes open for at least 30 minutes more so she wouldn’t die in her sleep. She laughed and told him that it was not yet clinically proven. I was about to jump in and corroborate her dad when the knock came. It was agitated.
Mr. Aghoture went to open the door and I heard my mom’s voice. I breathed a long held sigh of relief. She was alive.
My mum screamed with relief and hugged me when she saw me. Then she started shouting at me, asking me why I didn’t go with the school bus. I reminded her that she had promised that she would come and pick me many times.
She thanked Mr. Aghoture profusely while giving him an explanation. She and my sisters, tired from all the baking and from school and work had fallen asleep, expecting the school bus to bring me home. They had woken up around 8 and were shocked to find me missing. My mum had asked our neighbours, Kelvin, everyone around. It was when she was going to call my dad that she remembered to check the school from where she was redirected here.
While my mom was explaining, I focused on my food- a plate of watery noodles which I was finding difficult to swallow. I happened to look up once and I saw Iris looking at my mom with the kind of awe I used to look at her with. I looked down. I was sure I would find out later.
Then she started coughing and my mum went into nurse mode.
Iris was admitted into the hospital that night. The fever, the cold, the painful coughing all pointed to pneumonia. Tests were done and it was confirmed. I slept in the hospital.
In the chaos, we had forgotten my cake. My book and my school bag were with me though. I walked the halls multiple times, gratefully accepted snacks from Mr. Aghoture and held Iris’s hand when the time came for her blood to be drawn. We slept near each other too. Me on a bed next to hers.
The next day, my mom was so thoroughly tired after her impromptu shift so, while Iris slept, Mr. Aghoture drove us home.
I was happy it was Saturday. My mom had called my sisters ahead. So when he dropped us off, they were downstairs with 2 coolers of food: semovita and egusi in one, fried rice in the other, a get well soon card and a book for Iris as well as a huge slice of cake which reminded me that I’d forgotten my leftover cake at their house.
We all went to visit Iris the next day, bringing more food, and soups to be refrigerated in their house. It struck me suddenly why Iris had been looking so awestruck at my mom.
There was no Mrs. Aghoture.

My best friend’s Dad (1)- The move

I’m doing a micromini series.
Hopefully, you like it and (Adaeze especially) will comment. 🙂
I was 6 years old when my mom said we needed to move. Before she said it, I’d known somehow that something would happen. I had heard them fighting many times, the fights inevitably ending with mommy in tears on the floor. I did not understand those fights. All I knew was that the fights made mommy cry and ask one question over and over again.
“Is it me who gives children?”
I did not understand those fights then. I’m not sure I understand them now.
I did not know when they decided that we would move but one auntie came into the house one Saturday morning with 6 bags and 1 heavy handbag. She was pregnant, her tummy had started looking like a ball.
My mom had always said that pregnant women should not be carrying heavy things so I ran to her to carry her bag. She screamed so loudly my mom almost fell down the stairs when she was running to see what happened. When she saw the woman, she stopped and her face changed to the colour my legs become when it’s harmattan. She stood like that for a while before turning around to walk up the stairs like her leg was broken.
We left that day. My mom, my 2 sisters and I.
We stayed in my uncle’s house for some weeks. His wife used to send us on many errands. I came back from one of those errands and I saw her holding my mom who was crying with catarrh running down her face. I went quietly to the room I shared with my sisters and I knelt down and asked God to make my mommy stop crying.
He answered.
The next day, my mom went out and didn’t come home until 10. I asked my sisters if she was dead. They told me to shut up and sleep. I turned to face the ceiling but I didn’t go to bed until I heard my mom’s voice.
That weekend my mommy took us to see some schools. Amara, Bunmi and I had always gone to the same school but now that Amara was entering Senior Secondary School, Bunmi was entering Secondary school and I was going to remain in primary school, it seemed we would separate.
We went to 3 different schools and my mom made a point of talking to the principals personally.
One thing I noticed about the schools was that they were not as perfect as the one we came from. The grass was long and weeds poked through often. The playground equipment was brown on some sides and squeaky when I climbed on top of it. In my old school there was a gardener who mowed the lawn and once, when my mom was late in picking us up, he let me oil the playground machines with him.
I went to the principal and asked him if I could oil the machines because they were squeaky and he laughed that kind of laugh you do when you don’t think something is funny.
After we left the last school, my mum took us to a new house and told us we would be living there from now on. Amara started crying, Bunmi started looking around and I asked my mom the obvious questions.
“Why can’t we go back to our old house?”
“Who will make food for Daddy?”
“Who will read newspapers to Daddy when he comes back home?”
I started crying and Amara carried me.
The house was not very far from my uncle’s house but it was on the other side of Lagos from our old house. I know this because one day Amara and Ebube tried to go back and see Daddy. I don’t know what happened but they came back very late and when they entered the house my mom, my uncle and my aunt were waiting for them. My mom and my aunt asked if they had eaten, they said yes, they asked where they went to. They said they went to see Daddy. When they said it, I saw mommy close her eyes. Then my uncle said since they were alright there was no need to worry and he was going to his house to rest. They relaxed. But before I could shout cane, he had brought out one long koboko and he was flogging them. I think that was the first time I saw Bunmi cry. Then she shouted, “Don’t touch me. You’re not my daddy!”
And she ran to the room she shared with Amara.
I started at my new school the next week. At home there was a fragile peace with a lot of tension underneath. Neither Amara nor Bunmi told my mom anything else but they told me Daddy was fine and he said they should greet me for him.
I thought about my Daddy’s lap and how I used to read newspapers to him while he corrected my pronunciation. I thought about how he used to rub my belly and call me Nne. I remembered how he would take my mom sometimes when she was cooking and dance with her until she laughed.
Why didn’t he come and greet me himself?
Amara and Ebube went to a different school than me and because Amara didn’t want me to be scared, she drew a picture of Tom chasing Jerry and gave me an extra biscuit and a hug. Bunmi smiled at me and told me she would miss me. Then they went to school in the school bus. 30 minutes later, mummy took me to my school and told me I would come back with the school bus because she was going to work late today. Before I left the car, she gave me a big hug and said she loved me.
It was the school with the squeaky playground equipment. I entered the classroom and immediately they called us for morning assembly. When we entered class again, I chose a seat beside a tall girl who was smiling. She took a moment to look at me before she told me, “Your bag is beautiful”. I told her thank you and I faced my front. The teacher told us to introduce ourselves.
“Michael Egejuru”
“Tolulope Adebayo”
“Joy Samuels”
When she got to the tall girl near me, the teacher beckoned that she should introduce herself. I don’t think she heard. She repeated it twice before the girl stood up and said with an air of mock formality, “My name is Boma Irikefe Aghoture, but please call me Iris”.
Then she took a bow and sat down.
And I knew from that moment that she and I would be good friends.

This post should have been published on Wednesday…

22 things you (probably) don’t know about me:

1. I’m gorgeous- I just discovered it this year and since then, I’ve been basking in my own gorgeousness.
And, I’ll tell you this, being happy and basking in it, draws whatever you want toward you. #Feelingmyself 😄

2. I don’t know how to swim: (yet). I could have learned a couple of times but eh, I refuse to wear second hand bathing suits and I’m too shy to wear a 2 piece.

3. I don’t have a crush on any celebrity. I have crushes on (body) parts of celebrities. That is, if you excised Tuface’s voice and mixed it with Enrique Iglesias’, added Chris Evans’ biceps etc. There’s a post on this phenomenon.

4. I have about 5000 songs on my laptop, almost a thousand on my phone. 75% Christian but I adore rock music. I’ve made many a roommate stare in shock when I started head banging. They all met Obi first, I guess.

5. I like to try out new recipes. The-you- probably-shouldn’t-be-doing-that kind of recipes. Sprite in my eggs, yam cakes with sweetcorn etc. Now, I’m sure they are not that wild but having my brothers tell me they’d rather eat the original multiple times has reinforced the illusion that I’m forging new culinary paths. Indulge me.

6. Texts>>>>>> Calls. Except in emergency situations or special occasions. ‘Nuff said.

7. My favourite colours are Yellow, black and grey. Red though is definitely edging all the more into my consciousness.

8. I just found out that I’m 5’6. You can’t imagine my joy! Background- I’ve always wanted to be a tall girl. And for the last 2 years, I’ve been under the delusion that I was 5’4. And now, I’m so happy. You might not understand my joy but I come from a family and 2 extended families of tall people and I have been teased. My big brother used to tell me this height was my last bus stop. I’ve been feeling like a short girl for years but God heard my cries. He looked down on me and revealed my extra 2 inches. Lift your hands and praise Him. Lift those hands and thank Him. He is worthy of our praise.

9. I sneeze perpetually. I’m sure it’s caused by allergies but what am I allergic to? I don’t know. I suspect wheat flour but I’m not sure. And wheat flour is in pretty much everything, especially my beloved Beloxxi crackers and Shortbread biscuits. I once took a break from anything with it but I still had the blocked, sneezy nose. It doesn’t affect anything much. I just have to remember to take a hankie (or 2) everywhere I go.

10. Surprisingly, I also happen to have a heightened sense of smell. Smoke, dead rats, perfume (excess), I can immediately smell. It’s a bittersweet blessing because on the one hand, no rats can stink up my room and I know when to wash my clothes and, on the other, secondhand smoke, excess perfume (an ex roommate was guilty of this) had the ability to give me massive headaches or block my nose even further.

11. Once, when the insomnia/delayed sleep disorder prevented me from drifting off, I I decided to stay up. I stayed up for 2 days that first time. 3 the next time. It had no adverse effect or so I thought. Until the day my body hibernated. I was in class, the stage in fact (crowded classroom) when suddenly I couldn’t move my legs. Then my arms. Then my head felt like I was carrying a ton of bricks so I laid it down. I was still alert but I couldn’t move from that position. Even when the lecture ended, I couldn’t move. Scared the shit out of me, I tell you. The minute I regained motor function, I went back to my hostel and laid down. And that was how my battle with sleep ended. I still stay up some nights but I never let it get so long my brain overrides my will. And I take naps. Lots of them. Please pray for me. I need to get my body on a regular sleep pattern again.

12. I don’t eat swallows. Well, except pounded/poundo yam and semovita with ofe nsala. Everything else, :(.

13. Water, water and more water. I do not appreciate dehydration, thank you very much.

14. I have never fainted. The day I unleashed Anu on a roommate (2 hours of concentrated rage), I wished I would faint. The time I got dizzy and vomited in GTBank, I wished I would faint. But still, I have not.

15. In all the time I’ve been taking sewing lessons, I haven’t made anything for myself yet.

16. I like short hair. Since I went natural, my hair has been trying to sprout wings and fly down my back but I just be snipping it short.

17. I hate most salons. So I keep getting hair care tools that will enable me to take care of my hair myself.

18. I used to be really OCD. “Don’t touch my stuff. Put it back exactly where you saw it. Not there, that end by the shelf. Aargh, I’ll just do it myself”.
These days I don’t even care. I suppose that’s progress.

19. I like jewelry. I hardly wear my jewelry. Therefore I no longer buy jewelry.

20. I really like walking. Once I walked so far, I found myself in another estate and had to get directions.

21. And running. In my last year of university, I used to run 3 nights a week. Had to stop because-
a) when you’re running and some people see you, they start running after you. Had a conversation with one such person, he’d just entered university, was drinking (alcohol) in a group, and when they saw me running, they sent him after me.
b). Some dudes would start singing to me, or attempt to use the cloak of night to toast me.
c) Once or twice, some hediots would set leg for me to trip over.
I got the message. I stopped running.

22. I became a year older this last Wednesday (7/10). Did not feel my birthday at all but still:



2 cakes, pizza, ice cream.
All finished.

Want to guess how old I turned?