Work in Progress

by Mike Ekunno

Not that it mattered where I sat but the gallery gave a low down on the congregation. My mid-way entry made the gallery my natural habitat. A do-gooder usher downstairs had thought to benefit me with his quixotic cooing: “Got a seat for you here.”

Seat ko, shit ni.[1] Who knows where that’d have had me sandwiched? Between two dudes wearing flowing lace agbadas, my rough denim and white sneakers providing the perfect sore thumb?

Instead I got installed at my favourite perch upstairs with all the options. Jennie stood in the aisle facing me. Did she come with IT? She turned to face the altar as if in telepathic response. There IT was. Jennie wasn’t my First Lady for nothing. What she packed behind was arrogant. Pleasantly so. Whatever the ushers’ uniform for the Sunday, her designer was sure to outfit her bakassi with an obtrusive flair which she carried on 6-inch platforms. And I didn’t complain, really. I could trek behind those curves any distance on the face of planet Earth.

Testifiers for the day were taking their turns on the microphone. I sat forward in my seat and closed my eyes: “Lord, I’m here today. Forgive your boy, I beg you. You are a powerful God, the Highest. If you will only help me to travel out, I promise to change. Settle me with better something and let me begin to nak correct sputes[2] from fine, fine boutiques. Give me my breakthrough so that I can begin to climb better better stages like them Ali Baba, Julius Agwu. Let me run my own show like Teju BabyFace, AY. God, you’re too much. I praise your name, forever in Jesus’ name, amen.”

I opened my eyes and reclined. The view below was resplendent as usual. A rainbow congregation spread to the terraced altar. The altar was majestic and draped in white and purple. The lectern was spare and elegantly done in chrome. It was backgrounded by roof-high curtains which parted midway to reveal DIVINE SANCTUARY OF JERUSALEM MINISTRY INC. The altar job was straight out of some interior designer’s brochure. Daddy Bishop and Mummy and the pastoral team sat to the left of the lectern facing the choir. The choir colours that day were lemon green on dark green.

A few of the testifiers had had their turns on the microphone and were serenaded by applause to their seats. Two of them had been on “journey mercies” across the country and one sister had a safe delivery.

Two of a kind. Whether pregnancy or travelling, both are the same journey to the great beyond—potentially. One blink of an eye and somebody can become a mere figure on the nation’s maternal mortality statistic or having a ghastly siesta by the roadside with cassava leaves as covering wrapper.

One brother had come to see Daddy for success with a US visa application and was asked to sow in dollars which he did. He went for the interview thereafter and got issued with a multiple entry visa. “The Lord is good!”

“All the time!” we responded.

Jackpot, bigtime! You didn’t say how much you sowed to give me an idea of how to go about mine. And sowing in dollars—more like asking an anaemic patient to donate blood for his healing.

A sister testified of deliverance from witchcraft attack. Her nights were filled with eerie coos and tweets from evil birds outside and, inside, vermin which behaved like humans ransacked her apartment. They wouldn’t be caught by any antidote. Any time the evil bird cooed, her period wouldn’t come. But with the anointing oil consecrated by the Man of God, she anointed her apartment and sprinkled on the tree and ever since, she sleeps easy like a baby, for the Holy Bible says He will give his beloved sleep. “Praise the Lord!”

We responded.

You fit complain of witch for night[3]. For my area, where do you see trees, belente[4] birds to perch on them? Instead of to de speak phonetics,[5] marriage will automatically end this kind of witchcraft. With a man—like me—around you, which rat fit miss road show face for the house when bush meat de hungry some people.[6]

The babe looked gorgeous in a hat and spoke with the unmistakable accent that came from contact with Oyibo, the British ones not the American ones.

After her, there were two other testimonies that had to do with success on visa interviews. One of them, Baba Dee, had been my paddy and I linked him to the guy who was to arrange an Oluwole bank statement and marriage certificate for him. The embassy had to be sure he had a regular income in the country with a wife and children to guarantee his willing return. If not for his testimony, I wouldn’t have known he succeeded. He didn’t tell me. You see life!

The one which brought down the roof was of a couple of whom the lady had the SS genotype and was a confirmed patient but had gone ahead to wed her AS heartthrob against better counsel if not judgment. She waved the result of the test confirming she had become AA after being prayed for by Daddy and drinking anointed oil. All her symptoms had disappeared, and her red blood cell count was at an all-time high. People screamed from the pews and others walked out to sow to it. On my row, argument burst as the brother who sat two chairs away said something about fake testifiers who were out for “Notice Me” to please Daddy Bishop and Mummy.

“How d’you mean?” challenged the lady in between us.

“It’s not scientifically possible.”

“Was walking on water scientifically possible?”

“But that was Jesus Christ.”

“What of parting the Red Sea?” This was from an elderly man seated in the preceding row turning on his seat backwards.

“Well…” Doubting Thomas smiled, finding himself outnumbered.

I prevaricated inside, having initially shared DT’s opinions but being not so sure anymore. Moreover, the opposition looked distinguished. Seeing how I leaned forward right ways with interest in the talk, the buffer lady sought to drag me out: “Imagine what he said,” she started. “You mean that lady can come out to fake a healing just to please somebody?”

I gently nodded my agreement.

“You know what it means to suffer sickle cell, the pains, the crises?” She wasn’t done.

“Yes,” I volunteered, “she even put on weight.”

“That’s what I’m saying. It shows.”

“Very well,” I concurred. By then it was just the two of us carrying on. The storm raised by SS to AA had blown over and two other testifiers who I didn’t listen to in the aftermath of the storm had brought the session to a close. The choir prepared to deliver its special number to usher in the sermon. As they rose, shades of green suffused the TV screens on the gallery. I had an unhindered view to the altar but depended on the screens for close-ups. The camera panned the choir frontlines and I ticked off: Bunmi, Nike, Tina, Ify, Florence. Blessing was missing. There was no knowing if she was around but didn’t robe for the service or she travelled. Fishing out my Samsung Galaxy S10, I texted her: No de fuk up,[7] babe. Wia u de?[8] She didn’t reply and the phone returned to my pocket.

The choir was singing one of those numbers of Women of Faith, but it wasn’t “Crucified.” I loved to listen to “Crucified.” The lyrics had an inflection that got me. They finished the Crucified sister song to great applause. Then they took on “Divine Project.” It had a more African feel and I rocked to it standing and swaying. Down below, many joined the interactive. I could see some skanking and a guy was mashing it up. It felt groovy and along the line, Jennie sauntered from behind up the aisle. I espied her divine project. The auditory and the visual came together. I swayed more, raising my two hands in rapturous delight. Soon the choir ended “Divine Project” to greater applause, hoots and heckling. I sat down. Leaning over to my right neighbour, I enquired if she knew the lyrics. She did and tore a paper from inside her jotter and scribbled: “I’m a divin projet, I cannot be abandon...”

Then came the moment I had been waiting for. All my senses were primed for the day’s message. Will it provide good enough materials for tonight? Daddy stepped onto the altar with his iPad.

“Praise the Lord!”

“Alleluia!” thundered the congregation.

“That ‘alleluia’ is that of a malaria patient. If you know that you don’t have malaria, Praise the Lord!”


“Shout it, let me hear you!”


I didn’t join. Anybody who didn’t hear that first one will need to visit an ENT specialist. There won’t be any difference even if I did it with my eyes and nose and ears too.

“Stand up and tell your neighbour on the right: ‘You’re in for an earthquake today.’”

Has the National Emergency Management Agency been informed?

The church broke into a hearty babble. I turned to my lady neighbour on the right to repeat the line. She was turned rightwards too while the guy to my left was pitching the line to me.

“Say it again: ‘You’re in for an earthquake today!’”

We continued.

“Now turn to the person on your left and say it: ‘You’re in for an earthquake today!’”

I turned to the brother to my left. He was rattling off to his left-hand neighbour. My right-hand sister was on me.

“Walk to seven people and tell them: ‘God is going to visit you today with a miracle.’”

How am I sure?

The pews scattered like a stepped-upon line of soldier ants. I went through the motions pumping palms here and there. Before I picked my way through the haphazard traffic to where I’d be in the natural line of contact with First Lady, the temporary jigsaw had fallen into place with order restored.

Big fuk-up. I made my way back to my seat, unable to feel her hand today.

On the altar, Daddy settled down to the business of the day. The topic was “Work in Progress.” I reached for my wallet. Rummaging its compartments, I chanced upon a piece of paper and unfurled. It was the counterfoil of my last electricity bill. The back was clear, and I scribbled away. The root passage was from Second Timothy Chapter Two from verse 20 to 21. I followed the reading from left neighbour’s Bible:
20But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour and some to dishonour. 21If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
Up on the screens, the passage was splashed in the version read out by Daddy Bishop:

20In a large house, there are dishes and bowls of all kinds: some are made of silver and gold, others of wood and clay; some are for special occasions, others for ordinary use. 21If anyone makes himself or herself clean from all these evil things, they will be used for special purposes because they are dedicated and useful to their Master ready to be used for every good deed.[9]


Taking over the mic from the strip tease act on Sunday night, I had my sequence well worked out. It was MPM Night: Movement for the Postponement of Mondays. High decibels from the club’s woofers give way to cackles and guffaws from jokes every MPM Night. I started with an intro that was bound to wet the ground and loosen the audience, a congregation of a different service—a vigil on Bacchus.

“There was this man who beat the traffic light. You know how it is: you approach as amber is just turning to red and you’re in a hurry. But Yellow Fever is hiding after the junction and catches you. ‘Park! Park!!’ he motions to this driver while standing just inches away from the bumper. His colleague goes to the passenger side to enter as if the car belongs to two of them.”


“Oga[10] pulls over and the leeches gather him: ‘Red stop you and you pass. You nor de see? What if you jam another person?’

“Our man tries to explain that it had not fully turned to red.

“‘Okay, you teach us our job. Where are your papers, fire extinguisher, triangle, spare tyre? Again, your side mirror is cracked,’ and so on and so forth. Oga understands the message and asks for settlement.

“‘No. You go with us.’

“‘Where to?’

“‘You’ll know when we get there. You de speak grammar for us, eh?’

“‘No now, it’s not like that,’ goes our man. ‘We can settle this here.’

“So the negotiation starts. From five thousand naira. Finally, finally they settle for five hundred naira. Oga fishes out a one thousand naira note and asks for change.

“‘Ahhh! Where we go see change, now, Oga?’

“‘Abeg try. That’s all I’ve got.’

“Change is taking time so one of the Yellow Fever returns to the beat so as not to miss the other bush meats speeding past. His colleague goes off with the note to look for change. Presently, the second returns not with the change but an idea. ‘Oga,’ he starts, ‘as I no fit get change, just go back and beat the light again so everything go balance.’”

The room thunders. A couple of tables topple their contents and the waiters hit the aisles, mops and pans in hand. I wait for the guffaws to die down then I go antiphonal: “Praise the lord!”

“Alleluia!” The mockery elicits more laughter.

“Praise the lord!”


It dies down. I continue. “You thought before now the traffic light had more brains than its human counterpart. Now you know better. You’re going to be hearing more about the road. You know when it used to be ‘Slow Men at Work.’ How many of us remember that?”

Some hands pop.

“Ehe! These are the Methuselahs. Anybody here who knows when Ministry of Works was PWD[11] don become Old School. So if any person beside you raised their hand, shake them for me. They try well. It’s not easy to be senior citizen.”

More smirks. “You, nko?[12] You, nko?” It’s a lady sharing the table with an elderly looking man.

“Ah, me? It was my grandfather I heard saying it. But seriously, it is just lack of simple punctuation marks that caused ‘Slow Men at Work.’ A comma after ‘slow’ gives the right meaning.”

“Teacher! GS[13] 101!” I savour the heckling.

“Other havocs have been caused by the lack of observance of small chinchiri[14] things. The other day, it was a sub-editor who failed to tap the space bar as he cast a headline. The headline was to be ‘Pen is Mightier Than the Sword.’ But he forgot to tap the space bar after Pen.” I pause to allow them to picture the snafu.

The chuckles come in leaks until the moment of epiphany. Then the flood gates break. The ladies are off the hooks. I wait. “Praise the lord!”


“This kin’ joke too de sweet for ladies. Ladies say ‘Yeah!’”


“I love all you ladies here—only with permission—ooh. A-beg me no wan’ mek person block me for road[15] after this. This morning at church, the sermon was on Work in Progress. My pastor spoke of Saul on the way to one place—”


“Yes. Give yourself a knock for getting it right.”


“Yes,” I continue. “On the way to Damascus, he became Paul. That’s work in progress. There was Peter who denied his master but became mighty thereafter. That was work in progress. As the man of God was preaching, I was following him with other examples of works in progress. Every lady is a work in progress. Right?”

“No!” “Yes!” “Yes!” “No!”

“I should prove it?”


“Okay. You all know there’s a time of the month for ladies when the chest gets like this,” I gesture with my two hands apart. “Then after, they return to normal. That’s work in progress. God help any guy who is looking for a Partonian or Orjiakoic chest. If you meet one like that at the wrong time of the month nko? That’s work in progress.”

The glee is measured.

“And talking about the changes in a woman—physiological changes, yes! Clap for me for that one.”

A few scattered claps.

“Physiological change. I went to school, you know! What causes another form of physiological changes?”

“We don hear, now!” “You just learn that one?” the last heckler elicits some laughter at my expense. I pause before continuing.

“What causes those...”

“Physiological changes!” choruses the audience.

“Yes—oo! You guys need to pay lesson fees—oo! They are caused when a woman begins to catwalk around her husband. You know?” I demonstrate a coquette’s strides.


“So when she keeps doing that, na trouble de sleep, inyanga wan wake am.[16] The man will be looking at her from the corner of his eyes and be saying: ‘Heeeee!’ Then before you know it, the walk changes.” I waddle off the stage to mimic the pregnant woman’s swagger.

Raucous roar.


My next manifestation at the sanctuary was after two weeks clear. Two weeks as in clear two Sundays in between when I didn’t attend church.

The earlier absence had hangover to blame. There had been a show on Saturday, a wedding. The reception was in a garden with a large tent and I anchored it. It was not a how-for-do[17] wedding reception and you could tell that from the flow of drinks. Tables were being replenished by ushers who pulled no punches. As a matter of professional morality, I didn’t do the bottle before or during a show. A glass of wine to get me in the mood, maybe, but nothing intoxicating. The audience, the ambience and the sound of my voice on the Public Address System, those were my steroids. The high they gave was higher than that of any beer or spirit. But the reception ended in the evening, late evening. Then the after party came. I wasn’t the anchor and I was free. And I took advantage of the bottle. We spilled over from the tent to the outlying greens and, as the night wore on, pairs staggered into the shrubbery. The hooker who had me that night was also stoned. But not stoned enough not to ask for her payoff even as I dusted grass off her top. While I feigned a shortage and felt my pockets for money, she made to help me out. “There’s an ATM on that street across,” she said, pointing.

Having recourse to the ATM at 4 am Sunday morning with a painted-up, mini-skirt-wearing girl hanging in the wings—that wasn’t my idea of a night out. I quickly fished out her remaining pay from the inner pocket of my jacket and off-loaded her, but not the hangover which kept me away from that morning service.

Soccer was to blame the next Sunday. I couldn’t resist playing with the guys around my hood. Chelsea supporters were taking us on. It was to parody the clash in the English Premier League which we had won. For our opponents, it was to disprove the win. We played and it was a 2-2 draw, but one up for missed church again.

It was to be another miss this Sunday because I overslept, but I rebuked Satan and made it halfway into the sermon. Half a loaf was always going to be better than no bread. My arrival time was good enough for the gallery again. I repaired upstairs, hopeful. I was ushered to a seat at the near end close to the staircase entrance. I sat and bent down by habit, my eyes closed in prayers. When I opened my eyes and sat up, I scanned the aisles on the gallery. She wasn’t there. Fuk-up! On the screens, the day’s message title was emblazoned:
Daddy going on with the homily filled the frame. He wore his trademark hands-free microphone and strutted the altar, iPad in hand: “Can somebody read from the Living Bible or the New International Version?”

One of the pastors from the Pastors’ Bay stood and a media hand relayed the cordless mic to him. He read:
O God, when you led your people out from Egypt, when you marched through the dry wasteland, the earth trembled and the heavens poured rain before you, the God of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel.[18]
The pastor yielded up the mic and sat down again.

“Thank you for that,” Daddy said. “This is just so that somebody will not be confused by the quaint wording of the King James Version. Today, you cannot write ‘wentest forth’ except you want to score F in English. But I do like its richness. When it speaks of when God wentest forth, it is referring to the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night with which the Almighty led the children of Israel out of Egypt. The awesomeness of the Almighty made the earth to quake and the sky to bow down. That is what happens when God intervenes in your situation.”

The cameras swapped and Camera 2 beamed the pews on the ground floor.

“When you are going through a wilderness experience, let God lead the way; let Him wentest forth, amen!”


“Let Him be your pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, amen!”


Just then, the sweep of the camera lens brought in the center left column and who was smack on the aisle? Jennie, my First Lady! There in full force! The camera faced her front but ain’t no doubt, her fit-to-die-for curves were intact behind. Her Rear Majesty! From then on, I could not be bothered with who wentest forth or whatever. If I couldn’t espy my quarry, service wasn’t worth it. I got restless thereafter thinking of how I could reunite with my First Lady. Then I did a double take and picked up my Bible and exited. “I’m coming,” was for my bemused neighbour. Past the usher’s quizzical looks by the doorway again: “I’m coming.” I trotted downstairs and onto the ground floor main entrance.

“No more seat,” the head usher protested. “Go upstairs.”

“I know,” I said, breezing past him toward the center left aisle. Jennie was up front.

Surely an odd seat could have been skipped somewhere or someone could have exited.

I encountered her downstream colleague at the tail of the aisle: “Guy, abeg, see if you can get me an empty seat somewhere,” I coaxed, pointing to the extreme left column.

“Yes!” he enthused, moving up the aisle. I trailed him. Midway, he turned to the right row and pointed to the empty seat at the far end.

“O thanks!” I picked through the five pairs of legs and sat down with one person between me and the other aisle. Stretching to look ahead, I could see Jennie’s torso. Her waist downwards was partly shielded by a plantation row of heads and head gears, and I bided my time for when she was bound to amble past my row. Upfront, Daddy went on and on. He was itemizing How to Make God Lead You. On the screens, the bulleted sub-heads rattled off:
  • Live Holy
  • Be Submissive
  • Invite Him to Lead You.
The children of Israel—which of these did they?

The Man of God presently climbed down from the altar, leaving his iPad on the lectern. The cameras and microphones trailed him into the pews. The miracle segment was underway. He went down the aisle two columns away from mine. The first victim of the day was a woman.

“You,” he pointed at her near the front row.

She stood up on cue.

“Your husband is not here with you, right?”

Obviously. There’s no man seated beside her.

“Yes,” the tentative lady said.

“I see two of you living separately in two different cities.”

“Yes, he was transferred to Port Harcourt.”

“The Lord says you make haste to join your husband for that is the beginning of your separation if you don’t. Clap hands for Jesus!” With that he was done, and the lady made her way out to sow a seed into the receptacle stationed by the altar.

Picking on his next victim, Daddy told her she had just discovered she was pregnant and was contemplating abortion, for they had six children already. “Is your husband here?”

Why wouldn’t you know?

The man beside the woman stood. Turning to him, Daddy continued: “My brother, even you have not been told. You’re just hearing it, right?”

“Yes, Daddy.”

“Don’t be offended with her. She’s looking at it from the point of view of Man. Seven children with the state of our economy.”

The rest of the church watched, enraptured. Turning again to the woman, Daddy continued. “My sister, the baby you carry is exactly 26 days, 8 hours and 17 minutes old.”

The church clapped and hailed.

“God says forget about abortion. Your baby is a boy—go and mark it down—and he is a star. He is going to be a great guy, praise the Lord!”

“Alleluia!” we intoned, and Daddy got moving again.

With eyes looking up at the gallery, he stopped and used his right palm to shore up his right ear lobe. “I hear a name like Ambrose ... Ambrose Akpo… veta. Yes, Ambrose Akpoveta!”

Something sounded familiar about what he said. It wasn’t until it was repeated over the PAS that it dawned on me: he was saying my name. I stood, tentative and at a loss.

“What’s your name, brother?” He gestured at me as a microphone was making its way in my direction.

“Ambrose Akpoveta.”

Then the mic came.

“Ambrose Akpoveta,” I said again.

“As if you’re not sure, brother. Now, let’s confirm if you’re the one. The Lord says you are wearing blue boxers with white lines on both sides, is that right?”

“You are right, sir.”

“On your back pocket you have your wallet with exactly two one thousand naira notes, one five hundred, two one hundred and three twenty naira notes. Two thousand, seven hundred and sixty naira, only. Can we confirm that?”

I didn’t know exactly how much I had left in the wallet, but I remembered the two wazobias[19] and the three twenty naira change from the okada motorcycle that dropped me at church. I removed my wallet from the back and opened its sitting room compartment. Out came the notes: two wazobias, the five hundred, two one hundred and the murtalas[20]. The camera splashed the contents on the screen and the congregation applauded.

“Should I go on?”

“Yeeeess!!” The thirsty congregation didn’t wait for my answer.

“This morning,” he continued as I flinched, feeling like a patient stripped for medical students. “This morning you woke up exactly 9:23 and you were of two minds, whether to come to church or not. Right?”

“Yes, Daddy.”

The church clapped.

“When you came, you sat upstairs at the gallery but later came to where you’re now sitting.”

“That’s right, Daddy.”

“The Lord says concerning your change of position that the he-goat went in search of a wife but came back pregnant himself. Does that make any sense to you?”

“Yes, Daddy.” Bouts of mirth coursed through the congregation.

“OK. Now that we’re sure it’s you the Lord has in mind, come to the altar and wait for me. The Lord has a message for you.”

I made my way out and to the altar, standing with my back to the congregation while he continued. I couldn’t keep up with him through the large screen on the altar. My head was swirling … wentest forth … gallery to downstairs … he-goat … wife … pregnant … wentest forth … pillar of cloud … cloud of fire … fire of cloud…

There’s no knowing how long I stood there before I heard: “Are you a preacher? I see you with microphone.” Coming through the PAS, I regarded it as a continuation of the other sounds until I saw my image on the screen with Daddy up close.

He repeated the question and a mic had been poked to my face.

I answered, “No, sir.”

“What do you do with the microphone?”

“I work as a stand-up comedian and MC.”

“From now on, the Lord says you start working for Him.” With that he blew in my direction and I was lifted by an unseen force to crash into the steps of the altar. Hands stretched to hold me and guide me to the floor. I was knocked out. When I came to, it was Jennifer standing behind me.

Where are they, the male ushers!

Daddy brought his king-size Goya bottle and anointed me, and I fell backwards. My sensitivity didn’t stop the brushing of her arms on my way down. I got up and Daddy said, “Congratulations. You are free. Clap for Master Jesus!”

The congregation clapped as I made my way head bowed, past the ushers, avoiding Jennifer, to my seat.

“Work in Progress” is about exploring the capacity of man to harbour both the holy and the profane in the same space. The starkness of the contrast is often directly proportional to its denial.

Mike evinces a compelling social consciousness in his creative pieces, which have appeared in over two dozen journals and anthologies including Bridge Eight, The First Line, Hamilton Stone Review, Written Tales, Dark Matter Journal, Gambling the Aisle, Rigorous, Nzuri Journal, bioStories, The Transnational, and the African Roar anthology. Compilations of his published and unpublished repertoire in creative non-fiction, poetry and short fiction are waiting for publishers. He is the author of Cowboy Lamido, a children’s book which is on the official list of approved school books in the Federal Capital Territory and many states of Nigeria.

Mike’s recent spur is towards poetry. He loves moonlit nights and believes there must be some hidden knowledge in cloud formations, which he tries to divine. He reads Old Testament stories and is a massive fan of the defunct ABBA. He volunteers with his local Bible college, where he teaches Rhetoric.

“Work in Progress” by Mike Ekunno. This story was originally published in Thrice Fiction. Copyright © 2014 by Mike Ekunno. The Scripture quotation marked GNT is from the Good News Translation in Today’s English Version Second Edition Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission. The Scripture quotation marked NLT is from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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[1] Seat ko, shit ni: Used to show incredulity.
[2] nak correct sputes: wear trendy clothes
[3] You fit complain of witch for night?: You dare complain about night witchcraft?
[4] belente: let alone
[5] Instead of to de speak phonetics: Instead of speaking with an affected accent
[6] which rat fit miss road show face for the house when bush meat de hungry some people: no rat dares stray into the house when it could become a casualty as bush meat
[7] No de fuk up: Don’t be a jerk
[8] Wia u de?: Where are you?
[9] GNT: See copyright acknowledgments for details.
[10] Oga: Boss
[11] PWD: Public Works Department, a colonial-era precursor of the Ministry of Works.
[12] nko?: how about you?
[13] GS: General Studies. The generic title of the basic English Language course for college freshers.
[14] chinchiri: onomatopoeia for tiny
[15] A-beg me no wan’ mek person block me for road: Please, I don’t want to be confronted
[16] na trouble de sleep, inyanga wan wake am: Popular Nigerian idiom. Literally: Trouble is sleeping, and Coquette rouses him awake.
[17] how-for-do: modest
[18] NLT: See copyright acknowledgments for details.
[19] wazobias: Nigerian street name for the one thousand naira note.
[20] murtalas: Nigerian street name for the twenty naira note.