In recent months, Great Britain has had a rather tumultuous time.

For me the biggest surprise was the resignation of the Scottish prime minister Nicola Sturgeon before I acclimatised to the resignation of the New zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern

Politics has never ever been my strongest point, but I felt these two women were representative of the need for women to have meaningful seats in places where it matters.

In other british politics, It has felt like there is hope for meaningful intersectionality in leadership of Britain, although I suspect that if anything goes awry with the current PM’s tenure, the brays will inevitably become racial and everything will be reduced to heritage.

That said, I am British, as much as I am permitted to be given the persistence of questions like “ but where are you originally from” and the old age “where did your people come from” , which we know are not politically correct but then again, why rob us of the chance to announce we come from Zamunda with a flourish…

Not much has changed when it comes to keeping 1-5th generation decendants of the “banana boat” migrants era …..oops windrush and world wars or well lets be frank, the slave trade and colonisation or well the moors and all that.

And if we start dissecting anglo saxon history we end up somewhere in european history and eventually it gets racially religious ….. (thats because the slave traders came and then missionaries came then business prospectors disguised as anthropologists came then the colonisers came) so it all gets complicated as one goes deeper and explores the ancestral wars and so on before the AD era.

This whole “who are you, where are your people from” question can actually descend into a debate about Black Jesus, yeah he was kinda never white you know or a debate about why Britain is great and Africa isn’t or perhaps even a debate about whether being called black is better than being called nigger or coloured. We could even end up arguing about sugar cane fields and cotton fields, somehow coming to a cross roads when we start to hear the brays to move on past the genocidal nature of that and the banality of it and just focus on colonisation and colonialism.

We could even fast forward to the last thirty years and start to explore the documented and empirical outputs that highlight the plight of black people caught between being culled like pigeons like the days of old to being caught in disparities in social contexts to the new age disparity of the socio technical clutchbox in so called modern nations.
We don’t know which gear will be up next because we are not quite in the driving seat
We are just passengers.

I often forfeit this kind of battle because banana boat or sociotechnical mess, whichever whatever whyever my people come from wherever., for a fee; I still have to go to the British museum to see artefacts from African nations like Nigeria and apparently as spoils of indiscriminate slaughtering of indigenous people and unprovoked war …oops I mean colonial annexing and colonial collections, they belong to great Britain.

So you see, perhaps today is not the day for me to tackle being black and british because it’s complicated and I hope confessing I am from Saath London won’t land me in hot sauce next time i take a jaunt to the East end to feed my eyes in the market or go North, i have zero street cred in my opinion and I am probably not going to last long trying street life.

The key reason for this post wasn’t all of that although it kind of was

It was about the last six or so months and the “where my people come from” and “where I am from originally” thing.

Some of this relates to the street, because you see when social media platforms and lawmakers don’t speak street
They don’t understand simple things such as the meaning of the lyrics in Burna’s las las and you can tell when they whip out the black puddin’ , crumpets and tea.

The other relates to the sociotechnical blur the web has become as IoT takes precedence and digital comms have become truly standard.

Then there is politics, where we know that most of those who end up leading are generally from privileged backgrounds in England and those who rise to posts that produce influence or income are within the chained basket of cronies and pals, public school crooners and friends and not much difference from Africa then i guess.

Some of this relates to racial tensions and this needs a bit of explaining because its even more complicated than racism (institutionalised, overt, covert, actual, brazen, enculturated, embedded or expressed… call it what you will, it exists in Britain in different measures often alongside patriarchy and misogyny in large doses).

In Britain, most Black and indegenous people of colour are grouped as black , but this ignores the problem of grouping people as a race when their heritage, ethnicity and culture differs in ways that hold meaning for them.

Our blackness can differentiated by which region of the world, which country, which tribe, which sub tribe or clan we belong to, the differences in our ways and practices, our culture and eventually what we identify as and with. And within that there are class segregations that often define which cultural behaviours people express too, often linked to levels of wealth, sort of a differentiation between being from a historically wealthy background and nouveau riche.

A fair part of this actually brings us back full circle to what I want to write about i.e. this thing about “where are my people originally from” because to understand how nations in africa arose as a blend of groups with diverse cultures and practices we only need look to slavery, colonisation and crusader-ships including missionary expeditions.

In a nation like Nigeria
A lot of people blame Lord Lugard for combining over 100 tribes with over 300 languages in the name of empire, but I am secretly glad that old codger did, because it is what makes me, me! And of course that doesn’t take away from sound arguments about British slave trading and colonial greed and banality almost the same way as we give laundered versions of the adventures of king Leopoldo in the Congo the side eye.

This context described in the previous two paragraphs lends empathy to some of the words and speech spelled in digital spheres that are worrying and disheartening because although the groups brought together co-exist well today, there is conflict and hate within it and this is underscored by real expressions of anger, real violence, open discrimination and covert and overt tribalism.

The dangerous nature of falsified and disruptive digital diatribes and misinformation that arise online became something of interest to me during the recently concluded Nigerian elections because it is where I spent most of my childhood and where my people come from.

On a personal note, I often find that I surprise lots of people when we meet after a spell of virtual interaction via correspondence because they often expect something but then I turn up and well I am something but I don’t look like my name. I also often find that people who come from the same broad heritage as mine do the same, but theirs is often about looks. Superficial thoughts i reckon. So… Although, I kind of agree (from a personal perspective) and disagree (from a broader academic and sociological pro com sociotechnical perspective) with this idea of looking like your name; it is what it is.

But back to the point, I am Lagosian. I come from an ancestral line of people who have inhabited Lagos island / Ìsàlè Èkó and through intermarriage; Etí Ọ̀sà for centuries.

Èkó Àkéte as it is fondly known existed prior to colonisation, annexation and present day Nigeria.

This is important because the run up to these most recent elections kicked up a lot of discussions about tribal differences and feelings.

A large proportion of the language used in digital discourse was centred denigrating others ancestry and feeling of belonging or heritage with regard to present day Lagos.

Èkó was part of the kingdom of Benin going back to the 16th century, and it had always been inhabited largely by the Yoruba.

In later years from 1808, as Britain attempted to end the slave trade, Èkó (Lagos) and “Yoruba country” came into increasingly greater contact with the missionaries and prospecting British businessmen who came disguised as anthropologists .

Excerpt from Sir Samuel Rowe’s papers on the Volta expedition 1873
Sir Samuel Rowes papers on the Volta expedition original script1873

After invading today’s Nigeria through Lagos issuing bombardment via the British Navy in a less than bloodless war. (This war to possess Lagos also unseated a sitting king and led him into exile. PS: I have an unedited second hand list of obas of Lagos going back to the 15th/16th century see attached )
Èkó (Lagos) was eventually ceded to Britain in 1861, The city became a crown colony, and was governed from Sierra Leone (1866–74) and as part of the Gold Coast colony (1874–86).

It was joined with the protectorate of Southern Nigeria in 1906, and British Colonisers later established the protectorate of Nigeria and declared Lagos their capital city in 1914.

The name Èkó Àkéte remained in use for quite some time after the British Invasion and annexation of Lagos and in fact it is still used today. The name Lagos dates back to the 15th century when oral history narrators assert the name arose when a Moorish (black) portugese sailor Rui de Sequeira arrived at Èkó with a ship full of moorish (black) refuge seekers who settled in with the earlier Awori settlers of yoruba extraction. De Sequeiria named their landing place “Lago De Curamo” in 1472 and the Portuguese settlers who occupied areas by the Èkó docks and lagoon known as “Isale Eko” (downtown lagos) eventually called it Lagos, a name which stuck in the end.

A copy of an early 20th century newsletter/paper by w T Stead which rather uncannily starts with “words of wisdom” – and a verse which translates as I will be the voice for and show those in power what worries and hurts the masses/citizens and be the voice for the voiceless (1923)

During and Post colonisation the official Lagos state secretariat was in Marina until the official boundaries of Lagos as a state within the Federal republic of Nigeria were set up in 1964-67

Marina house, Lagos Nigeria

State House, Marina, Lagos was built by the Colonial Government in 1882. It served as the primary residence of the Head of State of Nigeria (Governors, Governors-General, President and Military Head of State) between 1882-1967. State House, Marina was one of the social centres of Lagos in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Governor/Governor-General regularly held many dinners, lunches, tea and garden parties for sections of society, such as the Ladies Auxiliary.

“The Governor General was the representative of the Queen/King and thus he was treated like royalty. He usually lived in a mansion called government house, had an official Rolls Royce and people bowed to him at state occasions. However, not everybody was happy with the accommodation.” 

(Perham.,M (1912) “Lugard: The Years of Authority)

Imbetween all this, more and more indegenous eti osa and lagos island people were displaced to the western region ( the new lga’s carved out on the mainland) to make space for colonial offices for the infamous Niger Company and buildings for colonial activities.

Things remained so until 1960 when Nigeria became a federal entity and Lagos became one of the states and capital state of Nigeria.

Post independence the Federal Government of Nigeria also displaced a lot of Isale Eko people by requisitions of land for Federal government needs. Lagos mainland for instance was not originally part of (Èkó) Lagos, it was part of the Western region and only became part of Lagos after 1967 when administration of Lagos migrated from Lagos city council to Lagos state government

Displaced Lagos Island and Eti Osa people were not duly compensated with the value of their requisitioned real estate and homes on the island and many of the displaced were cursorily moved by force to the mainland into parts of “New Lagos State” such as today’s Surulere on the Lagos mainland and other sorrounding areas such as Apapa, Yaba etc. in rudimentarily built cramped homes in utilitarian housing estates produced by the colonial/post colonial 1st republic government.

The old secretariat which was built in 1895 in Marina was the seat of government (Lagos city council) in Lagos until 1976 when the capital of Lagos state was then moved from The island to Ikeja

Lagos state remained the capital of independent Nigeria until Abuja the Federal capital territory was created and subsequently became the new capital.

Now all of this could be seen as purely academic, but it is actually quite important because a large and central part of the vitriolic online arguments during the recently ended Nigerian elections have centred on statements such as “other tribes built lagos” (much of which pitches people of igbo extraction who live/settled in lagos in the 21st century against those of yoruba extraction many of whom have occupied Lagos since at least the 14th century according to historic records available )
“Lagos is no man’s land (in making strange arguments for the eligibility of gubernatorial candidates for the state which often inclines toward candidates tribal and ethnic affinity in all Nigerian states)

This was complicated further because one of the candidates and eventual declared presidential election winner is of Yoruba extraction whilst one of the most effusive emergent populist candidates happened to be of igbo extraction and a defector from the party that put forward the second strongest candidate by way of vote counts in the concluded election.

Nigerian politics is at its best, messy, in my view no less messy than the conclave type leadership we have in Great Britain, where origin, identity and where individuals were educated has strong sway when we look closely.

But not to lose the point of all this

The point I wanted to make is that contrary to misinformation, false accounts on social media, racism, prejudice and barriers to thriving and attaining in Britain and other nations such as the USA do exist at disproportionate levels for those who are black or of African heritage.
What is more evident is the digital enablement of collective voices against this and the publicness of the effort to institute functional action through legislation to curb this. Suffice to say, it is not as effective as imagined nor is it as simple or easy as thought by those who are black to provide evidence and seek redress for discrimination.

Beyond this

A few things have now become apparent as a result of the pervasive nature or technological tools for communicating and socialising in the Nigerian context

  • digitised racial hate pro com digitised xenophobia is a real threat to our community
  • the increased and consistent distribution and widespread reliance on falsified and fake news incliding distribution via digital means is prevalent. And on this note:
    If you’re still wondering whether that video that is viral ought to be believed, have a look here and check out another interesting discussion here , that’s just two articles about deep fakes , there are reams out there that highlight influencing political environments and discrediting politicians based on empirical evidence. While we are at it, scorned lovers are also known to use deep fakes to circulate doctored porn of women, it’s the upgraded version of very afrocentric troglodyte behaviours such as telling everyone a woman is an ‘ashawo’ when relationships end or if she rejects amorous advances or if she works late nights or works in a club or hotel;…yes it is a cultural thing and actually not only afrocentric, but global. By the same token if you’re wondering whether to believe that photo, think deep fakes and AI image rendering, remarkable stuff really and again lots of empirical research out there but how about a real life example? Check out the rave this week as Elliot Higgins thrilled twitterverse using Midjourney to entertain people following news about a war crime warrant for Putin and a US warrant for Trump . It kind of earned him a ban from Midjourney, but the images still won him loads of high fives.
  • the increased use of digital social media platforms to misinform, spread hate and incite violence. There’s an article here that gives some insight and plenty of other empirical sources exist too.
  • Deliberate and inadvertent misrepresentations and disinformation (often requiring clear understanding and knowledge that should be predicated on critical thinking and verified/verifiable evidence) remains pervasive ; not just for politics, but also for medical issues and rather oddly socio-personal incidents ( i.e. super stories)
  • The digital social sphere is ill regulated and those who might enforce regulations don’t speak street and don’t take that much action in non OECD type matters.
  • much of the younger populace in Nigeria, particularly the buppies and movers who capitalise on the continued gentrification of Lagos are ill educated (largely as a consequence of the elimination of history as a taught topic in schools in Nigeria) and highly dependent on digital means of communication and acquiring news.
  • The elders are not left out. Many who are new to the digital sphere are also caught in various shenanigans because they tend to be the most likely to believe, indulge, share and trust social media and web based news the same way they trust radio broadcasts and physical newspapers. At times they are helpful when it comes to debunking fake historical rubbish, but when it comes to new age stuff, they often end up forwarding news because it gives them a sense of purpose, and its what elders do.
  • Finally theres the old age enculturated behaviour of blame (often directed at groups of people with different tribal or social or religious extraction,… and oftentimes spiritual causes, the gods and God must be tired) when things do not go as hoped remain prevalent

Now here’s the thing; Tribal sentiments are not new

In practically every state of Nigeria
Tribe has a huge bearing on who takes public office or gains employment in the civil service

Tribe demarcates how students are given places at federal and state owned educational institutions

Tribe demarcates how people are recieved and treated in business and social dealings

Tribe influences where people can buy land and build homes too and whether they could be ousted or outwitted

So it was not a surprise to see the digital discourse around the Nigerian presidential and gubernatorial elections take two familiar strands; The Religious and the Tribal. The usual odd urging at pulpits and prayers to vote one way or another by some religious leaders was also not absent. I mean whats a nigerian election without religious, sectarian spice? It would be a queue for American visa where every Nigerian is suddenly gentle and meek.

Above all this, given the economic boom spurred by digitisation and technology , an opening up for wider migration and access to the benefits propaganda and allure of the west including increased empowerment of communities in Nigeria at large as its democracy matures gradually, social equity and social justice also rose to the top of the demands/needs from citizens.

Unfortunately many whose idealism is centred on social equity and social justice had a lot of blinders on during this electoral round.
The mix of literacy disparities, poor recognition of blue and grey collar qualifications, overcrowding in states with good opportunities such as Lagos, and the ecclectic mix of modern innovative with rural and industrial alongside cottage economies in Nigeria means needs are highly diverse and the inequality divide is very wide. So wide that equitable implementations aren’t enough due to the heavy rates of migration to big cities daily coupled with enculturated behaviours that fight instruments and policies for change.

Many of the buppies for instance, particularly those in new shiny gated communities in Lagos island and Eti Osa are ignorant of the real price of their unwitting gentrification and dismissive of the real potential for revanchism to take away their shiny lives. They also don’t like the cost of living like gentry.

Many of those who call Nigeria a hellish evil place to be domiciled fail to recognise that the evils we are worried about on home soil exist abroad but they make and draw comparisons with nations like Great Britain.

Many ignore the realities of a blend of deep rural with sociotechnical and industrial environment which we have in nigeria and the history that brought the nation to where it is including the inherent risk that the effects of parts of this history can swing these digital outbursts toward physical division and real life violence.

Many of the buppies in Lagos admit they have migrated for work, insist they have acquired land (driven by gentrification and greed agendas to the detriment of native peoples) and have expectations comparable with a highly advanced, surreptitiously organised environment that has achieved success by building empires through slavery and colonialism then abandoned ship.

Several insist they are now Lagosians by virtue of living and working and owning land and assets yet the reality of a nation like Nigeria is that heritage and tribe is not a shirt that one wears one day and changes the next.

Importantly, for this election, folk abandoned meaningful opportunities to interrogate and demand bridging of social attainment and resourcing gaps from candidates including the how and resorted to singing religious and tribal songs, beating gongs and blowing vuvuzelas that shot darts at anyone asking how or why or venturing into meaningful discussions.

Almost every populist and non populist dialogue deviated into dwelling on tribe and religion instead of the bigger picture of seeking social justice and social equity.

Some brays dwelled on anger about road tolls designed to support gentrified communities or revelled amidst the ugly vibes about those from the east (igbos) vs Southwest (yorubas)

Other brays focussed on praying leaders (with various attacks centred on strong pentecostalism and being Godly )

And a huge proportion simply delivered a blend of everything and anything hogwash style.

Noone noticed or remembered that the populist candidate suddenly asserting a new dawn was a carpet crosser from the PDP.

And in simplicity, from where I was sitting:
If the populist had stayed with his original party (PDP ; one of the two in the commonly described 2 horse race between PDP and APC) and used his influence to steer the same message, or had achieved notable successes during his stint as a governor in his state of heritage ( a position he could never acquire without strong tribal ties) perhaps the story and outcomes would be different.

If the leaders of the two core parties had drawn potential carpet crossers close it may have been a different election

By the same token we also had the G5 Governors. These self acclaimed and respected endorsing governors have gained popular note for challenging leadership and national rank within the PDP who pooled the 2nd highest votes in the last elections. Their core missive was centred around zoning

In Nigeria speak, presidential elections often mention zoning. This zoning this is linked to tribe and often centres on motivating fair distribution of the leadership /presidential mantle to eliminate a situation where leaders persistently seem to come from one ethnic group in Nigeria.
And on this note., it is important to note that zoning by tribe is a complicated word in Nigeria because someone referred to as Igbo could be nnewi or anambrian or abian etc , Hausa could be kanuri, nupe, fulani etc, yoruba could be ekiti, eko, ijebu, etc and often there are inter tribe conflicts and disgruntlements, some deep seated in nature.

Either way these G5 governors were not on the PDP fence side and failed to back the candidate their party put forward meaningfully because their electoral harp this time was about zoning. They wanted the PDP candidate to be a Southerner i.e yoruba or if pushing the definition of south then a candidate of igbo extraction) and instead he was Northerner as decided by the majority of their party members during their internal primaries to select a candidate. The G5 governors knew they had relatively influential sway over voters allegiance in their states too so that was a lot of votes their party threw away because they didn’t endorse the PDP candidate.

Of course I was sitting quite far from the potopoto as we say in Nigerian speak, I had an option to join the keyboard warrior-ship, but this time I abstained from speaking about elections on social media aside from one or two posts about my fear as I saw religious and tribal hate spewing online rise to varied crescendos.

In fact many posts on social media descended to introducing social problems or worries but the underlying motivations were to steer political discussions about tribe or origin and this I learned rather quickly when i responded to a post that simply said “ to annoy a yoruba man, call Lagos no mans land”. I quickly adopted my own advise on “waka pass” and rediscovered social media “see less” and “take a break” options.

In previous years, I would read manifestos, side with a candidate and even join the pressured monitoring and toting up of votes in each polling unit because I believe maintaining good knowledge of my land of heritage is important.

This year, as I observed I felt like the talk online was like the talk before the rwandan genocide so I watched, quietly.

Overall, I believe the elections were won the way they were won because it became a 2 and a half horse race

One party had less division and carpet crossing and a candidate that satisfied zoning demands.
One party had a less than enthusiastic and elusive candidate who didn’t meet zoning demands and was sideswiped by the G5.
One party had a candidate with less experience and influence but a mandate that appeals to young upcomers and disgruntled citizens but this party did little visibly to remove itself from the vitriolic tribal and religious complexities those giving varied meaning to their mandates inadvertently preached.

When it comes to Lagos and the gubernatorial elections it was rather confusing for me as a Lagosian to see discourse about ability, experience, and relevant know how shunned and instead the discourse became an even uglier basin of tribal anger, hate and inert and sometimes insane assertions that indegenous Lagos and Lagosians do not exist (given governorship candidates often have to show strong heritage and tribal connections to the state they contest to lead) or ought to be anhilated.

The incumbent candidate for Lagos governorship who won his seat again was openly heckled and in some cases old photos and footage of the incumbent or irrelevant, false and technologically engineered evidence was presented to discredit each candidate by fuelling tribal anxiety and panic about who to vote for.

Digital representations of tribal and religious division and directions were made through posts, chats, music and videos and the deluge was unavoidable. Frankly the only thing I saw less of this election time ( I guess since a well known priest got sent to ‘Siberia” there was less loudness) but yes I saw less of the spiritual prophesies by various vicars, imams, pastors and priests and so on telling everyone who would win, who would die and who needed to come forth and tithe millions or billions to their theological business empires to win.

On the flipside, it was clear people invested significantly , emotionally and mentally in hopes for the newly emerged populist party led by the carpet crosser to win except most voters aren’t on social media typing furiously or choosing who to vote for and well a king needs kingmakers so…hopes were dashed which was evident in the way people expressed depressive, angry and frustrated views when results were declared.

Were there irregularities?
Only in some places?
No it was as disparate and occuring as usual but I suspect less discoverable

It was the same ole same ole rig and rig and be rigged. All parties rigged and as the riggers rigged , riggers rigged them and attimes themselves by imagining numbers would add up. This is evident from the stark disparities in some numbers in some regions where total turn around was not that possible given loyalties and stomach infrastructure ( street for inducement) to side with incumbents.

This and overconfidence in populist agendas on the back of limited track records ( my speculation) has fuelled the biggest worry rising from the outcomes of the Nigerian presidential election and the Lagos state gubernatorial election.

Was pre and post election intimidation, inducements and violence present ?
Was it On a scale worse than before?
No (given the rapid nature of digital and crowd reporting, reports reaching social media this time were less gory and serious violence was far less prevalent)

Should it be applauded or downplayed
No, we need to do better

Will tribal conflicts and undertones of intolerance end ?

No,…. Althouugh tolerance, intermarriage and unity prevails nowadays, the tribal angers will remain and narratives about our historical understandings of who we are as a people in Nigeria with knowledge of our shared sufferings and exploitation uniting us will remain in oblivion until Nigeria brings back back history education and opens up our sense of unity once more

Is there a likelihood the populist agenda will float again in 4 years time?


Will it fly and win the populist party seating at the top?

Probably not

The only way it will fly and win is if the two stake holding parties fail to translate the learning from the populist mandate into delivery that wins back faith and confidence


If the new leads fails to recognise the realities of what citizens want , place their focus on concerted efforts to reforming the public and private employment and vocational work sector and deliver on easement for doing business and delivering social equity and social justice and reforms in policing, prisons, courts, education, healthcare, basic resources (energy, fuel water) and more AND if citizens realise that there’s other global wars causing global spikes in cost of living and the cost and availability of many imports.

Then perhaps a tale of two cities spiced with romeo and juliet and shylock tales will fly

As long as we all remember
The tale of two cities ends in war
Romeo and Juliet die
Shylock loses a real pound of flesh

Importantly , we risk real fury and terror in our communities in Nigeria as a result of the digital discourse fuelled by tribal and theological intolerance and hatred

On a global scale, unless our Nigerian people break out of their digital bubbles and discover empirical and evidential evidence ( it exists) which shows people in Nigeria that we actually have depravity, poverty and inexcusable inequality abroad in the USA and Britain for instance not to mention communist nations and other terrible disparities worldwide against the picture of perfection that is broadcast to the world and swallowed whole meal by Nigerians
We will remain digital literate illiterates.

That all said
This was initially about who I am. The rhetoric above is because it actually dawned on me that the Nigerian elections challenged people’s identities. It involved attacks on those who assert their heritage as Lagosian in one way or another too.

Despite my name and appearances. I am a Brit born to a 1st Gen migrant family with Nigerian heritage. I have fond memories of a carefree childhood, and Nigeria remains the only place where I have felt inherently safe in the symbolic, figurative and actual sense of things and been sure of an opportunity to live and make choices and live a meaningful life. I also associate Lagos with happiness and peace, despite the frenetic and chaotic nature of Lagos the city, nothing beats ability to be freely expressive as opposed to clenched teeth and derrieres with pursed lips and of course nowhere else in the world can I start my weekend on a Thursday, raise children without fear someone will decide whether I can procreate based on my profession or income or question my identity ( at least not till these elections) or right to live and be. This takes me a few years back, a rather unimpressive looking bat accosted me when asked to show my passport somewhere and told me I wasn’t properly British because “ we have laws now about you people who come here to give birth” “well you’re not british really unless you were born before…” in referring to the law in her head about British descent by virtue of being born in England before she even opened the passport. Well, I wasn’t a product of medical tourism and interestingly, she isn’t the only one who seems to see colour , note afrocentricity and assume I need a visa or need regularisation of my stay in the UK or that I am a relative of a figurative Nigerian prince looking for someone to rob, but that’s often better than being mistaken or treated for someone whose entire life is bohemian or a criminal on a life licence despite being neither a criminal or street walker that tangos with anything on legs so I usually let it go.

Back to the point, my ancestry is well known to me and clearly and firmly established. i am a Lagos Islander.
My oriki gives me joy and solidifies my identity. Many Yoruba people don’t know or remember theirs., but I do.

Although as clans and families go, we are gradually dying out because we don’t have as many children as our forebears, I take interest in my family tree and ancestry and proudly embrace my familial àṣà and àdáyébá and express this through my love for print fabric ( I am a self taught sewer and my current favourite self created style is the ever versatile sleeved shift dress because it is easy to cut and sew and growing a few inches never matters),

I enjoy my ability to prepare traditional foods ( many of which continue to vanish from menus in Nigeria favour of western dishes, l discovered ìgbó (pronounced much like you would say aha! On discovering something is right) in the market the other day and it was serendipitous for me as a Lagos Islander because we associate it with celebration dishes) and use it for Egusi loaded with meat and fish.

and then there’s jollof, the food of food wars

And there’s yọyọ crisp battered fried anchovies/whitebait and prawns the delight of a Lagos islander ( i even found it on a menu at an italian/spanish restaurant somewhere two years ago but lets not start a war)

and finally there is language ( i speak, read and write yorùbá the language of my heritage) which is something that is a dying ability as new age folk in Nigeria scramble to find schools where children are taught how to speak with American or British affect (rather odd i daresay) but it’s big business :).

And of course with all that, I know who I am and who my people are. I am certain I will always be a Britico with Lagos island heritage to my wider net of “people” i.e. Nigerians because you see we are not all one and the same, we differ.
The good thing is every inch of my identity, I embrace with pride, I am not afraid to live in Lagos or Nigeria and if I could visit every weekend, I would be a frequent flier but at the prices for a return flight one must embrace once a while like a tourist.
On the good side, interestingly unlike many people in Britain, I also speak and understand “street”in the London context…. Important really if we really want to understand each other as much as we say we do.