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BN Prose: Born this Way by Hassan Sayo



She entered the world in a breech position which earned her Ige as her middle name. Ige was the name the Yoruba people gave to any child who entered the world with its leg. That was Lanre’s way, different.

She started her life different and she intended to live it that way. She would take a left turn when the rest of the world took a right. At the tender age of 15, Fela Anikulapo’s music was all you would find on her ipod while her contemporaries jammed to J-lo and MI. So it came as no surprise when she insisted on going far east to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka over any private university for her tertiary education. She chose to school in the East because she found the Igbo culture fascinating and wanted to immerse herself in it, live it, breath it, speak it, dancing it would be a bonus. Four years and a degree in French later, she took her man home to meet her family.

Mama-Lanre, you will love him, he is a total sweetheart, he is respectful and understanding and patient, and…

And what?’ her mother urged her to keep speaking.

‘Lets just keep the rest in the cooler ok? As a surprise.’ she said as she smiled into the phone.

‘Ok o, What time should Kasali meet you in the park with the space bus for your luggage?’

‘Er….8am would be fine ma, we arrive in Lagos for 7, so yes 8’

‘ok, bye omo mi, be careful of the bus you enter o’

‘”a,b,c” buses are safe mamaLanre, ok bye mom! Love you’, Lanre said, as she dropped the phone.

A week later, mama-Lanre met Lanre’s fiancé and found him to be everything she said he was and wasn’t: intelligent, well-mannered, patient, Igbo and albino.

Lanre, kilode?’ she pleaded with her daughter, ‘Of all the men in the world, an Igbo albino and you know how I feel about marrying outside our tribe,  Did all the Yoruba boys drown in a river? And he had to be albino again?! Eh, Lanre?!

Mama-Lanre? I love him and I am marrying him’, Lanre retorted with a tone of finality and stalked off.

The wedding took place on a windy Thursday morning in the Alausa court house with seven witnesses, one judge, one court-house clerk and one photographer to capture the mixed emotions and the proceedings in the court-house. It happened on a Thursday, because it was typical of Lanre to strive to be different and in a courthouse because her mother’s orthodox church refused to join a woman impregnated outside wedlock in ‘holy’ matrimony.

Seven months later, Fiyinfoluwa Chidi Nnodu bounced into the world a healthy baby with his skin pigmentation nothing like his fathers. His grandmother was relieved. When Fiyin turned two, Lanre became bored and wanted to explore the world. She wanted to visit different countries and write about their cultures, she wanted to savor continental dishes. Lanre wanted to climb the Kilimanjaro and share the experience of how her head touched the sky. She wanted to sleep on an airplane in Nigeria and wake up the next morning in South of France but Fiyin was hindering her. Her husband thought he was too young to be left alone for long periods of time. To let peace reign, her husband compromised and allowed her to travel to Italy for a month, she left Fiyin with her mother and set out.

Her travel to Italy only whet her appetite and did nothing to quench it. And that became the start of a travel career. She traveled the world and documented her experiences, she columned for several travel magazines and brought home weird souvenirs as gifts for her family. On the night of Fiyin’s 7th birthday, her mother in-law, who had arrived earlier in the week, privately threatened to bring a younger wife for her son, if she didn’t produce another grandchild. Fertility pills replaced the birth control pills on the bathroom counter. After several tries, she finally took in. She was going to name her little girl Oluwasegunfunmi. She had conversations with her unborn child on the weekly trips to see her doctor, it was on one of such trips that the foetus was diagnosed with Bilateral Renal Agenesis. A medical condition in which both kidneys fail to develop during foetal development.

‘Doctor!  what are you saying?,’ Lanre rubbed her belly as she spoke, ‘that this child I am carrying doesn’t have kidneys, not even one? The doctors drawn out look, was the only answer Lanre needed. She searched her husbands face for some sort of explanation. Maybe he could say something to quell the whirlwind that was gaining momentum in her gut. But even he looked defeated. For the first time in her life, Lanre felt completely out of control. The air in the office was so heavy, it could be physically cupped with two hands.

The Nnodus had one of two options:  to either bring the baby into the world and have it placed in neonatal intensive care unit, to a life of oxygen masks and pain, of incubators and suffering and maybe, eventually of death. Or to terminate the 6month old pregnancy now.

It was a tough call, wasn’t faith letting the baby live and trusting whatever deity to miraculously produce two magical kidneys and affix them in the right places?

It was only rational (and cheaper) to terminate the pregnancy now, it was already in the second trimester before it got too late to carry out any abortive procedures.

Would God be mad if they killed the child. Why didn’t he stop this from happening to them in the first place? They decided to keep the baby and let it die of natural causes. One month later, mother universe stepped in and stole the soul of the child away, which resulted in a still-birth. The decision was made for them.

Lanre mourned the loss of her demised baby for a full year, quit travelling and settled to have more kids. She did have one more making Fiyin older than his brother with 10years. Fiyin was elated, he had a brother and finally his mum would be around to attend his school plays and activities. Lanre went back to University to study geography as a second degrees, part-time. She would stay home to care for her family and explore the world with her maps and textbooks.



  1. Maamsy

    June 7, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    first maybe
    great stuff

  2. The real miss pinky..

    June 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Am I first?

    • Ronke

      June 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Very funny,is dat wat u r bothered abt?

  3. Ronke

    June 7, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Well written,daring to be different isnt easily accepted but eventually things work themselves out….Thanks BN and the writer….

  4. Nne Somebody

    June 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Poor Lanre, intent on living her life her way, only to find that life had other plans for her.

    Interesting read.

  5. Abike

    June 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    sad story but ended well n yayyyyyyyy i tink im first. * sniffn around n lookiNg for the Amaka n d likes. will come bak after much tot

    • na me!

      June 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm

      Poor you! Hahahaha….

  6. Mememe

    June 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Err ok…the story was a bit all over the place for me..

  7. afolabi olabisi

    June 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Nice story.luv it

  8. Dee

    June 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    an interesting read

  9. miss bonnie

    June 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I’m sorry, but it lacks direction.. Got to the end and wondered what you must have been trying to say

    • Ready

      June 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm

      I agree. I had high hopes for the story in the beginning, but then it ended like a children’s story book. I think when writing for a demographic like us, you don’t have to tie things up at the end; by doing that, you did the opposite of Lanre…you put your story, ‘specially the end, in a box–a predictable, antic-climactic box.

    • olushola ojikutu

      July 6, 2011 at 7:27 pm

      You stole the words right out of my mouth. the writer built the story to an almost crescendo and then just stepped back and watched it fall flat…

  10. babygirl

    June 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm


  11. Aibee

    June 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Other than going back to school to study geography as a second degrees, the story was well written. Well done Sayo.
    Dare I say first?
    The Amaka: Not quite!

  12. dami

    June 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    am i the first? wat a discouraging ending. i just dnt get this story.boring

  13. sweetie

    June 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm


  14. BonMee

    June 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Lovely……………….best possible ending to dis story

  15. Naef

    June 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    it ended with an anti climax

  16. Gorgeous

    June 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    “story land, story land; land of music, fun and play. Story land storyland, bring your friends along” Ok, this was a little erm… storylandish and …..

  17. storm

    June 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm


  18. Tiki

    June 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Is it fair that I have nothing to say? let me go think…

  19. Lola

    June 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Hmmm…….not felling it. there’s something missing and I cant put my hand on it.

  20. faith

    June 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    ‘Of all the men in the world, an Igbo albino and you know how I feel about marrying outside our tribe, Did all the Yoruba boys drown in a river? And he had to be albino again?! Eh, Lanre?!”

  21. Fab junkie

    June 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I ve never heard of such a condition, a baby without kidneys? God help us.

  22. Tess

    June 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Is this real? quite interesting but ended so flat.

    • annie

      June 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm

      that’s the exact word i was looking for!! Flat. it was a lovely story but the end!…*sigh, smh*

  23. kiki

    June 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Umm…m not exactly sure what to make of this story or what the over-riding theme should be. Its all a mix of different elements not forming into one cohesive whole. And does marrying someone from a different tribe attest to some irregularity in birth or strangeness of disposition? Hmmm…

  24. my day

    June 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    A high high of anticipation at the beginning and a very low low of disappointment at the end.

  25. Chipii

    June 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Mschew! What kind of story is this one? And please BN, approve my comment. Thanks!

  26. Mariamah

    June 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    wat is then koko of the story? Or is there part two?

  27. Regina

    June 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I really enjoyed every part of this story, true to life your family is the most important assignment God has given us in lfe. A woman plays a major role in this. Fulfill your purpose dear u are in the right place.

  28. Yuds

    June 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    The end felt VERY rushed. Reminds me of the novel Bel Canto. I ate through that book for three nights… losing sleep and unregretfully so only to finish the last chapter and say huh? I was alone but I had to look around and wonder if a joke had been played on me. You have the potential to be a good writer but there pleny room for growth… Keep at it! 🙂

  29. Yuds

    June 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    ^*plenty of room

  30. emjay

    June 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    @ abike! most certainly not!

  31. Fati

    June 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    A truly beautiful and moving story. Loved it

  32. El Bee

    June 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Err I was waiting for the “juicy” part…:/
    Good write up anyway. Spice it up a little bit next time!


    June 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I will reserve my comment till i finish this , i assume this is a series right.

  34. Temi

    June 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    I kinda get the spirit behind the story but got a bit lost sometimes…If she was jamming MI at 15, how come she now has a family and a 7 year old son??? Are we looking into the future?

  35. bluebubbles

    June 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Temi thanks so much thot I was the only one that noticed that.The writer no try at all.and an I pod too at 15?Nice write up but not quite what I expected.Bella naija please give me a chance to write lemme read what pple wud say.

  36. Timma

    June 7, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Liked the beginning but the ending spoilt the show!

  37. Obi

    June 7, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    I like the different parts that make up this story.

  38. Jul

    June 8, 2011 at 1:01 am

    Quite touching and quite weird but…we are all weird in our own ways

  39. Nkem

    June 8, 2011 at 9:02 am

    the end spoilt it for me. Bella i want to write for u. how do i go about it

  40. Cutie Toxie

    June 8, 2011 at 9:55 am

    This story get as e be oh! I do not believe the writer put in his/her best effort. It’s rather disjointed and is not telling any story per se!

    *thumbs down*

  41. honeybee

    June 8, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Don’t get the point of the story except of course it has a part 2? Bella, please answer these people that want to write for you oh…U never know, they may be what we are all looking for!

  42. kiz

    June 8, 2011 at 10:57 am

    touching….but the end is rather abrupt!! was waiting to read more

  43. Lue

    June 8, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    sorry but i dont get d “trying to be different” part of d story………….i guess its just a story of a normal gal ………………minus d baby part…………….inshort d story like som1 said is all over the place

  44. anitttta

    June 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Ended abruptly, shld we expect part 2??
    That said, I always want to learn something new when i read anything, atleast i now know of ‘Bilateral Renal Agenesis’.

  45. jezz

    June 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    …and the message is?

  46. butterfly

    June 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    hassan…i love ur writing…pls keep it up….but i have the feeling u wer rushed….u had sumfin else in mind or u sent out the wrong copy.
    but ur GOOD. weldone.

    • Cutie Toxie

      June 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm

      How mush den pay you?? Lol

  47. 1st Lady

    June 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I can relate to the character of lanre on a personal note, but i found the piece very yawn worthy. It needed some maggai cubes to spice it up a bit… Nothing wowed me.

    SideNote – love BN comments. 🙂 Nigerians go in on you mehn, you gots have tough skin, no room for sensitivity.

  48. jstme

    June 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    im so lost…..wats d point of the story again?….

  49. Lizzie

    June 9, 2011 at 1:34 am

    @ 1st lady, the comments are so hilarious and straight to the point, but they make my day.

  50. B!

    June 9, 2011 at 2:22 am

    I think the point of the story is that no matter how ambitious a woman is, her duty is to her children. So basically even if she’s as adventurous and independent as the character of this story, she’s going to have to do a 360 degree turn to take care of her kids. Your life is put on hold when you have a child. thats the point. I think.

    • omada

      June 9, 2011 at 10:00 pm

      yeah. i think so too.

    • Teris

      June 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      e-enh? you really got that much from the story?

  51. didy

    June 9, 2011 at 11:17 am

    nice try.develop urself,keep writing more,n mayb,just mayb,we may just get anoda Chimamanda

  52. bitter sweet

    June 9, 2011 at 11:42 am

    For those of you who didn’t understand the story, go back to SCHOOL! For the remaining overjudging people, the ONLY thing wrong with this story is the ending. I’d like to see you all do better.

  53. Bums

    June 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    hatersssss everywhere big ups sayo hassan i liked it

  54. koyn

    June 9, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Yes, I myt be prejudiced cs I ve seen oda write ups by sayo but I love ds piece. Different parts that make up one story..
    Would u rather prefer lanre’s exploits dragged into so many parts or does d end rili just sum it all up?

  55. Mary007

    June 10, 2011 at 5:43 am

    The writer no doubt has skills but getting dates and liveevebts to match a story time line matters

  56. Mary007

    June 10, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Meant live events

  57. nuesuk

    June 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    really nice dear, up u go….

  58. spongebob says...

    June 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Mmmmmnnn very abstract!…makes u wonder.. I like it

  59. ekwe

    June 10, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    *grinning wildly at the comments*

  60. Nomy

    June 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Is it to be continued? Because the end is not quite it! I really loved the beginning though, Lanre was really different!

  61. cheeze

    July 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I actually enjoyed d readers comments more dan d story! Bt I’m still a big fan of BN prose.

  62. boo boo

    August 12, 2011 at 11:25 am

    The story rily lacks direction. You were talkin about so many things that just didn’t connect with one anoda. Or maybe the title should have been different. All the same big ups

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