Can a Yoruba man stop eating meat? Lai lai – Peju Akande

Can a Yoruba man stop eating meat? Lai lai – Peju Akande

I love meat.

It must be the Yoruba in me or maybe I was denied meat in my previous life. I don’t know which is truer. But I find that I melt at the sight meat; name it – suya, isi ewu, asun, nkwobi, peppered meat, diced or shredded, my eyes just pop.

So, that’s why this recent warning from the UN’s International Agency For Research on Cancer (IARC) over the consumption of (processed) meat and by extension I suppose, red meat… got me worried. The institute classified processed meat as carcinogenic- a cancer inducing agent. It’s quite a mouthful and tough for us carnivores to chew on. How will my fun loving, meat eating people party without meat? Ha! Ha! Haaaaaa!

I remember growing up how my mother used to place four different types of meat in my father’s plate and how  I just never understood that logic. Why does a grown man need to eat so much meat, anyway?  And curiously, we the kids that need all of that protein, were given either one piece or in some cases asked to share one meat with a sibling and woe betide any child that eats up his meat before finishing the food. Mother’s knock on your head would hurt deep. Children who ate their meat before the meal are considered slothful and greedy! Can you imagine?


One of my Igbo friends cracked me up when he told me this buka joke  -an Igbo man, hungry and needing to nourish his stomach ordered for 5 mounds of eba and egusi soup with one piece of meat; his Yoruba counterpart ordered one mound of eba and 5 pieces of orisisi meat. The Igbo guy could not contain himself and wondered aloud how a grown man could eat so much meat. His Yoruba partner mocked him, saying the Igbo man was simply jealous. The Yoruba man soon needed to know what the time it was and asked his Igbo pal, who was wearing a wristwatch to tell him the time, to which the Igbo man replied, “Ask your meat!”

We, yorubas, just love our meat!

Meat is a good source of nutrients, apart from protein; we get vitamin B12 and zinc from eating meat. Truth be told, the average African is a great meat eater, yeah maybe some more than the others. You can’t have a meal without meat. If you do, you’ll be considered poor. And just so you know how important meat is in a Nigerian diet, you often find many Nigerian mothers offering meat to children, husbands or even visitors to as my people call it, ipa nu (something to keep the mouth busy)

Why do we love meat so?

Well, a few concerned carnivores like me met to discuss this very pertinent issue.

“We can’t afoid meati, o.”

“What? No more normor for me? (In my best Ibadan accent) La’aye!

“What’s the option? Hegg in place of meat?”

“Ow many heggs would I need to fill my voracious appetite for meat?”


So we are forming a delegation of concerned citizens. Naturally of course, we have chosen aso ebi.  So if you are interested, ensure you put your name down, a BVN account number has been created for payments.

We intend to march to the UN, bee ni, o and challenge the findings of the IARC. After all, we’ve been meat eaters since the days of our forefathers who were great hunters and we’ve never had any problems, save for a few errant strands of flesh that lodge between our teeth, certainly nothing a toothpick can’t get rid of and of course the frequent use of toilet. Nothing any water closet worth its salt can’t take on any given day.

Join me and the horde of carnivores on the 3rd of November at TBS.

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