Tobi my son lived in Nigeria for 18 months when I and his dad broke up. When he cam back, he was so loki that we had to anglicise him. Turns out we did too good a job. He is now, too Oyinbo Oyinbo so, now, we are Nigerianising him.
I sometimes teach him Naija slangs. Yesterday, I taught him the slang ‘of life’. I told him that if he really likes something, he will say the thing is of life. That if wants to be very Nigerian, he will say it is ‘of laive’. When he got back from school yesterday, I was feeling too lazy to make him his fave meal of Pasta (He loves Pasta ehn?) So, I asked him if he would have Indomie instead, and he said fine. So, I made him Indomie with frankfurters (Indomie noodles – saving Nigerian mothers since 19gbogboro). I went upstairs to do stuff while he goes downstairs to eat. I hardly make Indomie. I don’t like it. It makes me feel like a poor person lol. However, when I am feeling lazy, I make it for him. So, he hardly eats Indomie. So, he sees Indomie as a treat. When I got downstairs, this transpired:
Tobi : Mum, this is the best noodles you have ever made. Actually, this is the noodle of laive!
I could not help laughing.
On the first of January last year, Lawyerman’s friend, Uncle Goke invited us to dinner at a posh Chinese restaurant in Mayfair. So, we went o. When we got there, while we were waiting to be seated, Lawyerman and Uncle Goke were doing small talk, Tobi and I stood a bit behind them. The Chinese waiter walked up to Tobi and I and said Hello. I told Tobi to reply in Chinese (He took Chinese last year in school and I have told him that is going to be the foreign language he is going to specialise in. He wants to specialise in an European language but we both agree that that Chinese is more beneficial to be successful with their population vis a vis world population). I try to encourage him not to forget the Cantonese (or abi na Mandarin?) that he was taught pending when we will get him to go for private lessons by getting him to speak Chinese to Chinese people we know – which is basically the delivery man who delivers our order of Chinese food at home. lol
Tobi says to the man ‘ni hao?’ The waiter is pleasantly surprised and responds ‘ni hao ma?’ They continue conversing. The next thing I hear, Tobi said Basildon. Let me give you the background of this Basildon issue. Tobi was born at Basildon Hospital. Whenever he is asked where he is from, he says Basildon. I always tell him NO TOBI! YOU ARE FROM NIGERIA! NAI. JI. RI. YA! We always have a quasi-argument whenever he says Basildon. So, when I hear him say Basildon to the Chinese man, I knew the man had asked him in Chinese where he was from. So, I quickly interjected, don’t mind him, He is from Nigeria. Tobi goes ‘Mum!’.
The Chinese man asks us which tribe of Nigeria are we. Hausa? Igbo? Yoruba? I said Yoruba and he said ‘bawo ni?’ in clear unaccented Yoruba. I said’ ‘ A wa’. But at that moment, Lawyerman beckons to us that our table is ready. Anyway, later on, at home, I called Tobi and asked him that did he not think it was ironic that a Chinese man is more interested in Nigeria than him, Tobi the Nigerian? He agreed.
We will continue with the Nigerianisation of Tobi. We will get there. By hook or by crook.
Tobi. Will. Be. A. Nigerian!