My letter to Arik Air, owu ite and the concept of ‘Fleeing money’

Dear Arik Air,

I hate you.

You are a nightmare for anyone who likes to plan things in advance, like I am.

I hate the fact that as ‘Nigeria’s biggest commercial airline’, you’re meant to be on par with the rest of the world, but you allegedly cancelled a route because you were not given a landing slot for free at Heathrow.

Nobody gets free landing slots, stupid.

Why would you re-route me to Lagos without telling me? Are you mad? Just so you will not give me my money back, okw’ya?

I hate that it’s people like me that have to pay for your squabbles.

I had to pay £300+ extra; I am a poor writer-cum-full-time mother. I do not have £300+

I had to get a reduced luggage allowance from 30kg to 23kg; I have a young child. I need that allowance.

To add salt to the wound, I can no longer carry my beloved beetles because these ndi ocha will surely not let me.

I can feel grey hairs of lividity growing in my armpits.

Now I look like Aji buusu  from scratching my head and body all morning. Yes, being poor makes you itch.

I hope you’re happy.



P.S: You suck.

Now that’s over…

I was just talking with a friend in Nigeria about my general broke- ness when I remembered I had a small amount of money sitting in my Nigerian bank account. He offered to send me GBP if I transferred the Naira equivalent to him.

“No,” I said. I felt a shiver crawl up my spine.

“No?” I could tell he was perplexed.

“It’s…it’s my ‘Fleeing Money’.” Over sounds of incredulousness, I had to explain.

Igbo people do a lot of things ‘Maka mgbe osuolu’, ‘Maka mgbe oso ga ata’,  ‘Asi anyi gbaba oso’. What all this translates to is: ‘For when we have to flee’.

Igbos people love to travel; it is said in jest that if you go anywhere in the world and cannot find one Igbo person there then the place is uninhabitable. We will literally live ANYWHERE and for as long as we possibly can, most times all our lives. But, an Igbo man must build a house in the village. And an Igbo person must save up ‘Fleeing money’ no matter where they are.

The way I see it I might have to leave the UK all of a sudden, with nothing but the shirt on my back. No I am not illegal, but it’s part of being Igbo not to trust in anywhere but your hometown, even if you know nobody there. You will always find a home in your town. Who’s to say that tomorrow the government here doesn’t just decide to send every foreigner packing? Yes, Yes, I know about democracy. But I also know that it is a man-made construct and anything can happen.

(If you cannot suspend disbelief because you have faith in the UN and the Law and so forth, just think about films like 2012. There was a reason why the African continent was untouched. I might need to run there in end-of-the-world scenarios. Or alien attacks. Or something.)

 I think it’s a leftover attitude from Biafra. It may not apply to situations these days but I hate to be the one left with my finger between my teeth in a sign of regret.

And so, my Fleeing Money remains untouched.

We can eat yam and palm oil again tonight.

                                                                                                               * * *

Speaking of which, if you’re Igbo and you don’t have land you need to acquire some by hook or crook; buy it, marry into it, sleep with someone who has it, inherit it; just do it.

Think of all those people we could charge rent when the world implodes and people get on giant arks to sail to Africa. I’m only thinking of  our progress.


10 thoughts on “My letter to Arik Air, owu ite and the concept of ‘Fleeing money’

  1. hahahahaha! i pity arik, they do suck indeed and charging u on top of it? reducing baggage allowance? wao! so where is the compensation for the re-routing? will they still provide local flight to abuja?

  2. Yes o. 2012 wasnt telling us anything we didnt know. Africa is the new World o. Recession no kukuma touch us sef.

    “the one left with my finger between my teeth in a sign of regret” – trying to translate, not sure I am getting it
    Ita aka na eze?

  3. LMAO. me and my friends always talk about this. should the world end people are going to be rushing to Central/South America and Africa by the boatload. Would def be interesting to see

  4. Hahaha! You too!! I have small money in my naija acct, I just remembered it! You just helped me remember! **Doing the dance that mothers do when they get their grand child** **Singing Lekwa aka mu oooooo, elu na-ana lekwa aka mu o, aka mu dikwa ocha!!!*** Jehovah di ebube!!!!

    Why I have money there and I am begging fam members for money here in Yankee is mind boggling! I havent lived permanently in naija since the day I turned 12!

    You are right about Igbo man building house in the village…the way we fantasize about the village is beyond ridiculous!!! I remember when my dad said at 60 he would move back to his village, and so built his dream home there, his 60th bday came and went, and nna mu has now moved it to age 70ish! When Boko Haram bido nsogbu fa and he was in Abuja, I asked him if kata kata burst, whether he’d run east to the villa, he laughed and said “e ru gom American embassy my dear, I be Obama citizen too, when they’ll be capturing all those Igbo people by road heading to the East!” LOL typical Igbo man!

    Really I think its in the Igbo man’s DNA to be obsessed with villa. Only an Igbo man will spend his life savings building house that he enters 1x a year if he is lucky. He figures that since he cant be in the villa 24/7, the house stands as a representative of him, so when people pass, they’ll say “Nna-anyi nekwe ekene”, and bow at the house or something…LOL I dont get it but my dear biko pass me the kola nut, shey Arik abi the new airline will let you carry dat one?

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