Thursday, 17 March 2016

READ AND LAUGH: UYO HERE I COME




I am very excited. I will be in Uyo to anchor a show on Sunday evening. if you are my friend and want to attend,  I can get a ticket for you; free of charge.

Of course I am excited that I have another opportunity to anchor a programme. Anytime I am transported from my base to another place, it gladdens my heart. It means that gradually I am becoming what I dreamt of; a (local) international person! lol.


However, my excitement hinges more on the fact that I am going to Uyo; the land where i obtained my second degree in law. I am going to see that clean, calm and serene city once again.

i am also excited on other levels. I schooled in University of Uyo popularly called Uniuyo and I have plenty of fond memories about the place. It was one city, I would not have minded to live in.

Studying for my first degree in Abia State University, I never liked to eat Eba because I did not like any of the soups they served with it. Then there was nothing like microwave.

The restaurateurs would cook and cook the soup until it became dead and  unrecognizable.

I therefore resorted to eating Eba if I got to the restaurant at the time they were putting down the soup right before me.

It was with that mindset I went to University of Uyo- no Eba for me.

The first time my new found friends took me out to eat in Uyo, I cheerily  ordered rice as usual. They said no way that it was Eba and Afang soup. I refused. ‘I can’t stand dead soups,’ I told them.

They eventually succeeded in making me order Eba and Afang soup. When I put the first ball of Eba into my mouth which I had taken a generous quantity of Afang soup, I went happily ‘bunkers’. The soup was like nothing I had ever tasted in my life. It was really very nice! I began to question them. ‘What kind of soup is this? How long has this soup been in existence? who originated it? Why am I just knowing about it now? I queried.

They laughed at me and told me that that  Afang soup was not even as rich and nice as the ones they prepared in their homes.

Well I told them; to me, this Afang soup was wonderful and as good as if not better than their own version of ‘unseen’ Afang.  

I licked the whole soup and asked for more. Within a short period of time, I was introduced to the world of Akwa Ibom Cuisine- Edikang Nkong, the Atama, the Ekpankwukwo. These dishes are really worth exploring.

Then on another level. The first time I ever rode on commercial motorcycle was in Uyo. Then there were no taxis, no tricycles popularly called keke Napep. I recall that I used to walk everywhere even if it took me 1 hour to get there rather than enter motorcycle which they called ‘Okada’ or ‘alalok’ (spelt the way it sounds in my mouth!)

I dodged entering the motorcycle for one semester. it was not funny and life was not easy. One day I was invited to this birthday party. The way my friends who were the organizers described the food that would be served there, I knew I had to find myself there one way or the other. The problem was that it was impossible to walk to that place. It was quite far and difficult to locate and most importantly, no one was ready to do the ‘solidarity’ walk with me!

I wanted to bust the party but as a student, that food was very important to me.

Mounting the Okada, I sat with my legs astride and held on to the motorcyclist. I screamed and screamed throughout whenever I saw the Okada rider do something I considered dangerous or reckless and there were many of such times.

That was a true case of baptism of fire. I decided I had to conquer my fear so I tried it many more times until I couldn’t go anywhere without riding an Okada, even if I was seeing the place from where I was standing.

I also began to enjoy it; the breeze, the exciting rides and the fact that it was so fast.

Soon I did not sit like a man;  I sat with my legs crossed and even gisted with the person on next Okada. I also would wave at people without being afraid that I was going to fall down.

I truly, truly began to enjoy the rides.

It was in Uyo where I saw fat but beautiful ladies. I mean really, really fat and really, really beautiful.

In my former university and youth service, I was looked at as being fat and people called me all kinds of names; ‘Orobo,’ ‘fatti bom bom.’ However, I was soon to change my mind about how fat I was when I got to university of Uyo. The first day I got to the gate of the school. I wanted to go back and gather all those who called me Orobo to see that I was a ‘slim-fit-Maggi- chick.’

I saw voluptuous but well - dressed ladies who made up nicely. Each of them had beautiful faces that can earn them ‘Miss something’ if it was just faces that were being judged.

I think food played a major part in how these girls became fat. Their food is so good but rich in calories if you consider all that oil dripping round your plate.

Though I never ate any, but a major delicacy in Uyo was dog meat, served with alcoholic beverage.  

Throughout the time I was in Uyo, I was not weight conscious; I actually felt like the previous winner of Miss Slim Fit Competition!

Uyo was not only a clean place, the people were quite peaceful. They were also friendly. They had a name for the Igbos, Uneghe (spelt the way they pronounced it) which I never found out what it meant!

I remember many times they urged me to learn the language and I would say, apart from these two states Akwa Ibom and Cross River state where on earth was I going to speak this your language?’

Of course I was only joking. I only succeeded in learning the ones that mattered to me or the ones I could put to immediate use; di diankpo (come and eat), se san (thank you), di mi ise (come here). Remember the words are written as I pronounce them; I am sure am not correct.

Two of my best friends were from that state; Imabong Ukwatt and Margaret Ntekim. They were really nice to me. Their friendships, made my 4 years stay enjoyable.

I am also excited going back to Uyo because since I left Uyo in 1992, I had only been there thrice. The first time, I went to collect the original of my result. The second time was when Julius Berger took me on a nationwide book reading tour (first and only time I have been on a private jet) and third time was when Association of Nigerian Authors (I was Financial Secretary then) held its National Convention there.

This is going to be my 4th time and l’m sure looking forward to it.

NOW WHERE ARE MY UYO FRIENDS? IT WON’T BE  A BAD IDEA TO SEE YOU PEOPLE.  JUST INBOX ME SO I WILL INVITE YOU FORMALLY.


2 comments:

Ketimae said...

Hahhahahahhahahahaa
I really enjoyed this! And you've made me hungry for Afang. In fact, I'm going to bury this FitFam and get me some awesome afang today.

Have a safe trip and totally enjoy yourself. Uyo is more beautiful these days.

Yetunde Adeniji said...

The food you are mentioning makes me hungry O!