Opinion: When you eat at #IyaOyo kitchen in Abuja

by Felix Abrahams Obi

Iya Oyo’s Amala restaurant in Wuye Abuja is a leveler and no respecter of person or socioeconomic class.

You think Nigerians are rude and impatient? You bet they are not. They are very obedient and need no coercion or War Against Indiscipline phase 2. You only need to ask #IyaOyo and her sales girls abi sales women who don’t dress in uniforms like those boys at #Jevnik!

If you think you’re a janded Nigerian who’s used to being served by polished waitresses and waiters in London’s exclusive cafes and pubs, why not take a trip to #IyaOyo and take a lesson on humbulity 101.

You drive in with your Porsche and park beside other clean cars that Abuja boys and girls ride with panache. You walk into the restaurant and you take in the rows and columns of Coca-Cola branded plastic chairs tucked under the tables.

The occupants of the tables are busy digging their oil-stained fingers into aluminium bowls filled with #Amala and #Gbegiri or #Ewedu soup. Some are tearing chunks of #kpomo, #shaki, #roundabout or #abodi with their teeth. There are no ceramic plates or expensive China platters and bowls. #IyaOyo believes in patronize and use locally made more than Ben Bruce the advocate.

You feel those sitting on the tables aren’t as dignified as their dresses looked from afar. You spot many on designer suits and corporate wears. Well groomed dudes and smart looking babes. But why are they not using fork and knife to make the clicking sound you hear at diplomatic dinners you’ve been to a cherished guest? No napkins and lovely looking wine glasses. These dudes and babes drink straight from the Eva water… that’s so gross you quip!

Ahead of you is a long queue. No one is shuffling or trying to shunt. You decide to join them as it eased forward till you get to the service line.

The guy ahead in a nice suit picks up two aluminium bowls from the basket on the long shelve. He pulls out serviette and wipes the plate in and out and drops the tissue paper in a trash can beside him. You seem horrified at first but everyone ahead of you had gone through the same ritual.
So your dignity stares you in the face as you pick a bowl and wipes off beads on water nestling inside the aluminium plate.

Those who feel scandalized by the aluminum plates and spoons have chosen to eat at AmalaPlace near Next Cash n Carry. There you can eat amala served on exotic plates. But does Iya care about your idiosyncrasies?

The sales lady behind the counter nudges you back to reality when she asked:

“Boda you want tiree amala abi na two you talk? ”

Emmm two is perfect.

You’re nudged on my the lady behind to move forward so she can place her order.

“Make I put gbegiri abi na ewedu you want ni? ”

You look at pots of soup glaring at you with no lids to cover them.

“How many meat? “.
“Make I puti two kpomo ati abodi? ” “Abi na saki and round about mo jee? ”
“Na head of fis you like abi na taili? ”

She hands back your plate and like an almajiri you humbly accepts your lot and picks an aluminum spoon and fork from the tray in your front. You then join the queue to pay for your lunch.

The cashier assess the contents of your plate and asks, “How many amala ? ”


“Meat nko?”


“Ya money is 700 Naira”

You lift your plate from the table and makes way for the lady behind you. There’s an empty table nearby and you hope your international business partners won’t find you out having told them you only patronize the exclusive cafes and restaurants in Abuja where expatriates waste their dollars.

You wash your hands at the sink with locally made liquid soup. Your finger cuts into the amala and you scoop the ewedu into your mouth. Your buccal cavity welcomes the sensation of cuisine pleasure with pleasure and you relish the feeling as the food slides through your oesephagus with much ease. By the time you’re through licking your fingers, your lips had a rough gloss of Palm oil allover.

The plate is empty. You wipe your mouth with the serviette to remove any signs of oil. The toothpick then searches for leftovers lodged between your gums and teeth. You wash your hands again with Morning Fresh even though it’s lunch you just had.

Your car keys dangle in your hand as you make your way out… then you zoom of like a dude.

You’ve been humbled by #IyaOyo without a whimper or fight. And she keeps making her money from cool dudes and sophisticated babes who pretend that sipping double espresso is the definition of jandedness.

At IyaOyo, you carry cross, yes your plate and follow. No protests. Just trust and obey. Otherwise you’d be a misfit in her culinary kingdom.

Mama Oyo, sorry #IyaOyo is a leveler and enforcer of equity in humility in Abuja!

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cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail