During my undergrad, I woke up once to my roommate and very dear friend, making Amala first thing in the morning. I was flabbergasted. It was exam time so we had all planned to get out to do serious reading. But she had made enough Amala for everyone, so we all ate. The Amala was hot. Hit the Amala spot. So now, one by one we said, let us relax and let the Amala digest small before we go and read. This was about 7 am in the morning. Small small, relax turned into lie down. Lie down turned into sleep. Before you know it, it was 4pm!!! Yeepa. Money burn! Next morning, my Amala friend said, Oya, let us go to class jeje. Nobody is eating anything this morning!!! This blog post is a tribute to friends like this who help you create unforgettable (Amala and other) moments!
A friend and I were learning Igbo, she was more advanced in learning the language than me, so I asked her what the meaning of ‘Amarom’ was. She replied, ‘I don’t know.’ I got really angry because I had heard her using it, and I thought she was being contrary. Turns out Amarom means I don’t know.
A few years ago, some of my friends and I, all lovers of the original Sound of Music movie, decided to brainstorm on what the plot would have looked like if given the Nollywood treatment. The results have been reproduced elsewhere on this blog. The camaraderie and hilarity we shared in coming up with this joint effort was a joy in itself. I often say that I don’t have a Nigerian sense of humour – sense of humour is Nigerian. A friend of mine once said, ‘In Lagos, your phone could be lifted by pickpockets and music will continue to play through the attached headphones for at least the next 10 minutes. That is how skilful Lagos pickpockets are…’ I nearly died laughing.
I think we often find it difficult to appreciate friends and ‘loved’ ones. And in Nigeria ‘friend’ is quite a variable and subjective term. When a Nigerian addresses you as ‘my friend!’, that is advance notice that they are about to be very unfriendly indeed. But herewith follows a recognition some of my friends and loved ones!
First in time, the great and mighty ANTHONIA OSHINIWE- I met Tonia when I was in primary two and she bullied me all the way till primary six when we became reading mates. From then on she has been a constant (I’d like to say pain in the ass for old times’ sake, but I will restrain myself) friend. She is one of the great loves, the ones you can turn to at any time and continue where you left off, still having fun. She is an ageless wonder. She taught me that ‘if you can’t join them beat them up!’
Constantly, persistently, forever lackadaisical is GBEMISOLA T. IDOWU (nee Oyewole) – our timelines skipped all over the place but our first real interaction was in JSS 1 when she called me a big head. I replied by giving her a headbutt. Our friendship was sealed, however, by the love of reading and all things wacky and peculiar. A babe after my own heart and a soul sista. She taught me ‘you could still be sleeping.’ a.k.a. ‘Why are you awake?’ or ‘why suffer when you can sleep?’
In direct contrast but definitely the prime musketeer is KOFOWOROLA O. OGUNNAIKE (nee Johnson)- we met in JSS1 when she roundly and remorselessly subjected me to the most blistering and unending stream of ‘yabbis’ I have ever endured then or since. I replied by throwing her over my shoulder and plonking her down. That actually shut her up. I don’t think anyone has found a better remedy. She is the life of the musketeers while Gbemi is the sleep value, supposedly I am the balance. She taught me the value of restlessness, in its pure form it is known as ‘if you haven’t tried it before why don’t you?’ or just basically ‘how doth the busy bee?’ She has been my friend since ojotipetipe. The things she has done for me…
Moving on to my university days in that constant over-boiling, unrelenting mad house they still call great Ife. There I met the black and the beautiful ADESOLA Y. AFOLABI. We met on my first line in Ife (first in 1000) we struck up a conversation and it’s still ongoing we takes breaks from it but it never ceases. She taught me, ‘if the word is in the dictionary it’s meant to be used’ and ‘God love you best’ (you being whoever the statement is addressed to.)
At the same time I met TEMIDAYO O AGBOLA (nee Bada) light and beautiful, and powerhouse of energy and a storehouse of love. We met on that same line and became two sides to the same coin and a sister I never had. She taught me ‘if you don’t defend yourself nobody will.’ The number of adventures of various magnitudes that I have had because of T-Dayo are beyond number. Long may they continue.
Sitting in class one day Dayo and I espied a deceptively quiet lady called TEMITOPE M. THORPE (now Fayehun.) from that day on we got food from Lagos, Sisimi’s hospitality, Sukky’s benevolence, and all the attendant advantages of being a Thorpe. She taught me loyalty, – a friend sticks closer than a brother or sister.
The last lady to arrive on the lights of the loud table was the elegant prim and proper (or so we thought) OLUBUNMI A. AFINOWI (nee Sorunke). She was one of the late comers to the faculty, but that was soon glossed over by her attendance in class and at all times correct attire, speech and comportment. She taught me ‘if you can do it right, do it right.’
“Friendship has splendours that love knows not. It grows stronger when crossed, whereas obstacles kill love. Friendship resists time, which wearies and severs couples. It has heights unknown to love.” Mariama Bâ, So Long A Letter.
To all my friends. I love you. And I friend you.