Ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome to Day 3 of 40. If you’re just joining us do well to check out what we’ve been up to for the past 2 days.
Day 1 – Afang: Soup of Soups
Today, we’re going to shine a light on THE MOST IMPORTANT part of Akwa Ibom. That’s right, you guessed it. People. What’s a state without its people? According to 2016 statistics, Akwa Ibom is home to more than 5 million people. It’s not far fetched to say that that number has doubled in the past 4 years.
This part of the series will focus on everyday people in Akwa Ibom. From people who have lived here their whole lives to the more recent transplants, Akwa Ibom is fillled with a diverse range of individuals who make the state go round.
Enough talk then. I’d like you to meet someone. Well if you read the article on Afang Soup, you’ve probably met her already. Say hello to Ifiokabasi Naomi aka Nigerian Djudju.
You’re probably wondering why anyone would willingly have a nickname that’s so peculiar. Well, you’re one step closer to knowing Naomi then. She doesn’t fit into any boxes you try to put her in. She is an unapologetic free spirit, and she doesn’t care what you think about it.
Let’s get to know her a little better then shall we? Naomi is a 23 year old final year medical student at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital.
She loves music, writing, YouTube and travelling. She’s a fitness enthusiast who believes that while food is great, it’s important to eat the right things in moderation as that is the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She’s also a singer who’s a huge fan of ChloeXHalle.(What a bio huh?)
When you meet her in person, one of the first things you’ll notice is how she brims with so much positive energy. I’m not even exaggerating this. Naomi is light. Her laughter is infectious, her voice is loud and exuberant. You can’t miss her in a room, even if she stays quiet all through. She sings everywhere she goes. It’s not uncommon to hear her singing while walking along the corridors of NDDC Medical Hostel Uyo.
Naomi is an advocate for gender equality and is quite vocal about her beliefs. She has also dabbled in politics within medical school, having served in various positions in the Medical Students Association.
Oh before I forget. She’s a entrepreneur as well!
There are a lot of layers to this woman you know? She’s a partner at Gobbles, a small catering company in Uyo. She’s one of the conveners of The Uyo Yard/Bake Sale, an events that showcases small businesses in Uyo to customers. Naomi also runs a Thrift Clothing store called EliteDressesForYou. Naomi is also a freelance writer and has worked for several Uyo based companies such as Agog.ng.
When I asked her what her favourite part of Akwa Ibom was, she said “Food and the fact that traffic is almost non existent”. Keep that in mind. You can get to anywhere in Uyo, the state capital ,within 10-30minutes. You read that right. The ease of movement is also one of my favourite things about living here. I’m never late for anything (sometimes lol).
Worst part? “Hmmm, it’s the laid back nature of most of the indigenes. There’s a huge waste of human resources.” Let me elaborate a bit.
Naomi grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. The city that never sleeps is known for it’s ever bustling nature with people who are always hustling for their next meal, contract, job, etc. In Akwa Ibom, life is a bit more laid back, which can be a good and bad thing. Sure, the hustle spirit is present here, but compared to Lagos, it’s like child’s play. There has been a drastic improvement in recent times as more people migrate to the state and I hope that the upward trend continues.
You can learn more about Naomi by following her on her social media platforms which I’ll leave below.
See you soon!
FaceBook @Ifiokabasi Naomi
For a chance to get featured on the series, send a short bio to us via DM on our social media handles.
40 DAYS OF AKWA IBOM (DAY 17): TRIBUTE TO T’CHALLA
How are you today? Before you say I’m fine and move along, take a minute and truly reflect. Are you really okay? Think about that for a minute or two.
This past weekend has been heartbreaking to say the least. Chadwick Boseman died. What a profound statement. Death is so… final. We anticipate that it’ll come but when it does, it’s still so shocking. Perhaps for a lot of people, his death was just another headline in a year full of headlines. To some of us though, we lost a hero. It was the end of an era, so to speak.
The hashtag that started trending after the announcement of his passing was #RepresentationMatters. Do you know what that means? Before his most iconic movie, Black Panther, was released, how many black superheroes did you know about? Did you ever associate black skin with heroism? He gave us that. Now, in the aftermath of this loss, young black children in this generation and beyond can watch Black Panther and see a hero in themselves. IMPACT.
Chadwick was the Black Panther. It was more than a role he played. It became a movement. When we wore our best outfits to movie theatres, we were going to Wakanda. I remember watching it at Ibom Tropicana and applauding every scene. When he said Wakanda Forever, everyone in that hall screamed it back. I mean, he had football players wearing black panther masks!
I’m so grateful for those memories.
Are you kind? Thoughtful? Non-judgemental?
When he was losing so much weight and seemed tired most times, did you join the dragging party on social media? Did he read your unkind words? Did you add to his pain?
The lesson here is to be kind. You don’t have to know what a person is going through to be thoughtful. So next time, when you want to make nasty comments about a person’s weight or appearance, check yourself. It’s not your concern unless they choose to share.
Loss. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
Life really has no guarantees. No moment is promised. It’s important to be intentional about how we spend every moment. Be intentional about how you live, whom you love, what you eat, what you wear…the tiny details. Those are the things that outlive you. Chadwick was intentional about his last moments. Every movie role he took showed this. The choice to keep his illness private showed this. He made the life he wanted and in the end, he won. He exists, beyond death.
If you died today, would you still exist?
This article isn’t supposed to be a motivational speech or anything. It’s just a personal eulogy to a man I admired..still.
Wakanda Forever means something different now doesn’t it?
We’ll never forget, Our King. Hero. Fighter. Rest in Power.
40 DAYS OF AKWA IBOM (DAY 16): THE ANNANG PEOPLE
If there was ever a group of Akwa Ibomites whose customs and way of life seem shrouded in mystery and draws much controversy, it is the Annang people. I am an Annang man, and as an Annang man born in Ibibio land, I have heard some of the most fascinating and many times false things being believed about the Annang people.
So, who are the Annang people?
The Anaang (also spelled Annang) are a Southern Nigerian ethnic group whose land is primarily within 8 of the present 31 local government areas in Akwa Ibom State: Abak, Essien Udim, Etim Ekpo, Ika, Ikot Ekpene, Obot Akara, Oruk Anam, Ukanafun in Akwa Ibom State,and 3 of the 17 Local government areas in Abia State: Ugwunagbo, Obi Ngwa,and Ukwa East of Abia State. They were formerly located in the former Abak and Ikot Ekpene Divisions of the Anaang Province, as well as part of the former Opobo Division of Uyo Province, in the former Eastern Region of Nigeria. The proper name for the Ika of Akwa Ibom is Ika-Annang. Based on 2018 estimates, there are about 4 million Annang speakers in Akwa Ibom,Abia state and over a million speakers living outside these states.
The Anaangs have a history and reputation for fearlessness and the ability of villages and clans to bind together to fight a common enemy. This is perhaps why they were able to thrive living so close to the Aro Confederacy‘s center, Arochukwu with its famed Ibini Ukpabi oracle. A particular interesting war group, or “Warrior cult”, was the famous Oko warriors. This war group was highly functional in the 1950s. These warriors were considered invulnerable to penetration of knives, spears, and arrows. In various instances sharp machetes were tested on the body parts of members.
Parts of the Annang language may be intelligible to speakers of Efik, Ibibio, Oron, Eket (also known as Ekid) of the Old Calabar Kingdom. Though the Anaang speech pattern was not written down, linguists have now produced an orthography of the language which makes it possible to produce written materials in the language (Idem-Agozino & Udondata, 2001). In Annang dialect, the word “ilung”means village while in Ibibio it is called ” Idung”. The major linguistic difference between the Annang and other dialects is the predominant use of the letter “L” in place of “r” or “d”,and the use of “g” in place of “w”.The Annang dialect sounds hard but it is a dialect of freewill,ie the words roll out easily from your tongue than the Ibibio.
According to oral tradition, which is a form of human communication where knowledge, art, ideas and cultural material is received, preserved and transmitted orally from one generation to another, the Annang people have occupied their land in the coastal Southeastern Nigeria for thousands of years.
Thus making it a fact to be considered when it is said by some Anaangs that they have their origins in Jewish tribes from Egypt and settled in Ghana before arriving in the coastal Southeastern Nigeria and Southwestern Cameroon.
Related to both the Efiks and the Ibibios, it is said that the migration of the Annang people brought them to live among the Twi of Ghana where the name Anaang means “fourth son”.
And from Ghana, they moved eastward into present-day Cameroon. Upon getting to the highlands of Cameroon, they broke off but later arrived at same territory in present-day Akwa Ibom.
Distinct for the value they have in the ability to speak well, the use of proverbs is highly desirable, especially among the leaders.
So desirable it is that the American anthropologist, Peter Farb, stated that the name “Anaang” among this group means ‘they who speak well’. And as a matter of traditional fact, an individual who has the gift of eloquent speech is often complimented as Akwo Anaang meaning the singer of Anaang.
There is so much to learn about the Annang people, so much so that we have barely scratched the surface. Maybe we will get to tell you more soon.
Lastly, please, just know, against popular belief, Annang people are not cannibals.
Until next time.
References: Wikipedia, Pulse.ng
40 DAYS OF AKWA IBOM (DAY 15): THE KIND ONES
The average Akwa Ibomite is supremely kind!
This is not a statement of sentiment. It is not a statement of bias, Akwa Ibomites really are some of the kindest Nigerians I’ve ever gotten to meet.
On no day was this more evident than on a rainy day when I went to the market. A very dirty looking young man who was clearly mentally unstable came to meet me. He was hungry.
“What will you like to eat?” I asked him.
He held out the stick of smoked fish in his hand. He wanted to make soup. Soup would last longer.
He looked like someone who would readily use any money given to him to get drugs, and I really did want to help him. So I told him, “We have N800. What do you want to buy?”
We went to different parts of the market to get different condiments for his soup, and I was pleasingly surprised at the kindness that was shown to the young man.
Even though a lot of them made fun of him, things that didn’t seem to get to him as he joked over the fun they poked, they gave him a lot of things in excess.
By the time the N800 was spent, I strongly believe there was food worth N1500, if not more in his small bag.
From the exchanges that occurred between him and the market women, It was clear that this was a regular occurrence. The only reason this young man was not dead or eating from trash yet was because people constantly cared enough to give him food everyday.
This is an aspect of Akwa Ibom that can be readily overlooked. It is an aspect of Akwa Ibom that I have to greatly admire in my people.
Until next time.
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