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Atoke: Nigerian Festivities & the Crime of One Piece of Meat & Half Moin-Moin



Atoke Profile PhotoHave you ever gone to a Nigerian party where food is flowing, the drinks keeps getting refreshed, even the sound system is working without a glitch? It’s the dream of all Nigerian parties. You’re happy; it’s such a fantastic event that you don’t have to make eye contact with the waiters before they know that our table hasn’t been served.

There’s an assortment of drinks on your table, and before you finish going through the different things laid out before you, there’s another set of vendors passing by – different uniforms, but same purpose – to ensure you stuff your bellies till you go forth and testify about how much that party rocked. There’s everything at this party…from jollof rice to pounded yam, with the added twist of a nice chocolate fountain, amazing deserts, small chops, grilled meat kebabs,  cookies, shawarma, cat fish – EVERYTHING that can make a party LIT!

It is Nigerian party nirvana!

Now picture for a second: a party where the caterers put one piece of meat to accompany your jollof rice. Just one! Or maybe a crumbled part of fish tail. Oh the horror! Instead of one full moin moin, your host, in cahoots with the caterer, decides that the you are only deserving of half a piece! *gasp*

The travesty!

Nigerians like food. For some reason, food is the unity by which we base the success of failure of a lot of circumstances we find ourselves in. And since we’re known for our parties and festivities, food is a very valuable currency that cannot be in short supply – if one is to be successfully rated, as having pulled off a substantial fete.

You don’t believe me?

Look at this poll recently conducted on Twitter by user @Koye10
Koye10 Poll

52 % of people said they’d attend a wedding because of small chops! FOOD… the yardstick of success.

So, when a host serves half of a moin moin, or one piece of meat, it is generally viewed as an insult to the guest, or an indication of absence of capacity on the part of the host.

Why is it important that you serve your guests so much food, than their bellies can take? Here are a few things I posit as the cause:

1: As Nigerians, we like to oppress the next person. It’s somewhere in our DNA that we just have to compete and show the next person that we’re more than they are. It doesn’t matter that we haven’t really thought the ‘why’ through. Nope! What is important is that we have to “give dem”

2: Flowing from point 1, we really care about what people’s opinions of us – especially in terms of material things. It’s not that you really want to arrive at your event in a horse drawn carriage – heck you don’t even like stuff from the Victorian times. However, if it’s going to get people talking, you’re willing to do it.

3: We are wasteful. At these parties where so much is spread on the plate, there’s only so much your stomach can take. So even if you’re given two pieces of meat, one piece of fish, one piece of chicken… how much can you eat? Pressed down, shaken together and running over. It doesn’t matter that we’ll scrape it all into the black trash bag, just scoop, scoop, and scoop some more into the plates.

Given the current state of the economy – and everyone is feeling it, because it goes across every social strata – why are we being wasteful? Why is it such an atrocious crime to be served one piece of meat!

Someone said we continue to do this because it is simply the way WE ARE. Essentially, waste is culturally sanctioned and rubber-stamped.

But let me hop off this high horse quickly and get real! Who wants to leave their house for an event,  if it’s not to have maximum enjoyment? Imagine driving all the way from Oshodi to Oniru Landmark events centre. I spend another 20 minutes trying to find parking – possibly tip someone 500 Naira to ensure my side mirrors don’t go missing before I get back. Then, after all that, you can’t guarantee me at least one full piece of moin-moin? Haba now?!

There’s a saying in Yoruba about how if you’re not capable of doing something, then don’t do it! Essentially, it is culturally endorsed that what is worth doing at all, is worth doing well. And if you’re going to have a party, heck why not just go all out and max out?! Our people believe that if you’re going to do something, then do it with a bang!

But here’s the fine line I’d like to draw, and it’s really about the reasons and motivation behind every action. If you’re doing something in a certain way because you’re worried that people will complain about not getting a chance to eat grilled fish and asun at your party, please remember that whether you do it, or you don’t, there will always be someone who will complain.

You can never please everybody. Please don’t encourage waste (of your resources) because you want to trend. You will trend for one day, one month… MAX and someone else will come and overtake you in the trendsetting.

Also, if you find yourself served with half a piece of moin moin, and dissatisfied, please just go home, and make your own. Stop going about complaining about the food you were not served at someone else’s party. It speaks more of your lack,  than the host’s –  if your biggest issue is the unavailability of food.

Let’s live, love & not be hungry!

Photo Credit: Charity Adetiba-Howard

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. ebere

    November 23, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    It’s even a good thing if you are served one meat and half a piece of moi moi. I have been to a wedding party on a very sunny day and didn’t get anything to eat not even water. I vowed never to attend parties anymore.

    • Ify

      November 23, 2016 at 5:08 pm

      Me too!!! I nearly cried that day. In my defence, I was still a teenager so imagine how I felt. Not even cake. Not even Coke. I was so sad.

    • Anon

      November 23, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Eat at home and make sure you are full, then go without any high expectations. It works…

    • Tru

      November 23, 2016 at 5:33 pm

      ???????? My mantra

  2. Spunky

    November 23, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Good one. I don’t care much for food and I do weel to arm myself with my favorite drink…just in case e no flow, I can sip easy.

  3. EE

    November 23, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    That weddings during lent, fasting periods and ramadan aren’t more popular proves your point.

    Truly, of what profit is it to go watch two adults make out and romance each other without small chops to make the voyeurism palatable?

    • Tru

      November 23, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      ?????High Five!

    • Roma

      November 23, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      You can say that again.

    • The Real Oma

      November 23, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      Lol! EE, you are absolutely hilarious, voyeurism indeed :)) :))

  4. Big Tee

    November 23, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    If I come for your wedding in Agege Pen Cinema with all the traffic ish on Saturday and then I’m not properly fed…I’ll probably forget to give the couple the gift I brought for them…..on a more serious note, my sister begged all of us for months to make sure all the guests, especially her work colleagues eat very well….she said they gossiped (gist) about one babe for months because food finished at her wedding reception

  5. "changing moniker"

    November 23, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    I tell people to eat at home before going for parties. even if it’s just indomie. That way, even if food no reach your side, your eye no go red.

  6. Zeeebby

    November 23, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    LMAO….This is our reality (in Asa’s voice) If i have paid for aso ebi from my hard earned salary, Done makeup in this heat, Burnt my N145/litre petrol….ahhhh you must have small chops oh! if you dnt have small chops and alcohol then why are you getting married? #justjokes

  7. The real D

    November 23, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    So my first year in college, I was invited to a house party. I was super excited, in my naivety I thought: ” Ope ooo!!! Free food”. The anticipation of my international college student belly was on another level. However, to my utmost dismay I got to party, na only alcohol. Ahhhh!!!!! to say I was disappointed will be an understatement, i don’t drink alcohol either.

    Nevertheless, the 3 reasons listed for our love of food and wastage points to the narcissistic culture of our society, which also speaks to the get rich “by force by fire “mentality of our society and that’s sad. Why can’t it just be about showing people a good time and not about ” oppressing/ showing them”?

  8. NaijaPikin

    November 23, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    The #1 rule of attending Naija events in any part of the world – EATTTTTTTT before you get to the event.

    Caterers forever disgracing the celebrants. They will hoard the food tire, and so much of it will end up being thrown away afterwards.

  9. Nene

    November 23, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Do nigerians go to weddings to eat or celebrate with the couple? When u see Nigerian wedding a with 1000 guests I’m truly shocked that two families would want to get up to 1000 people for just a wedding.

    • Roma

      November 23, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      To celebrate with the couple and also to eat.
      Celebration goes with food and drinks.

    • californiabawlar

      November 23, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      Aunty Nene! I’m sorry o but I can’t even come on BN and be forming “I’m coming to celebrate with you so I’m cool with no food!” And no, the need to be fed at a wedding is not peculiar to Nigerians…have you seen the show Four Weddings? What’s your zip code honey? cos I really need to know where they do that at!

  10. Kokoro Dudu

    November 23, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    The party is a reflection of the Nigerian mentality – absolutely no sense of quality or excellence. Parties never start on time. The technicians come to test the mics when the party has reached half way. Music system never works fine. Tables and places are ill-arranged. Some random big boy comes in and everyone scrambles to make room for him. The order of ceremony is just a piece of paper. The comedian is not funny. The host never makes a good arrangement for parking, traffic management and security. I could go on!

    • Roma

      November 23, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      You must have been attending a boring Nigerian party!

    • Iron & Brass.

      November 23, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      @kokoro dudu, “The party is a reflection of the Nigerian mentality”: you really should get to know lots more Nigerians and especially outside of your own, and your known demographic. I’m Nigerian, and what you describe is not my usual experience neither is it the experience I offer when hosting events. Most importantly, it is NOT “”a reflection of”” my “”mentality”” as a Nigerian neither is it that of my relatives, Nigerian friends, and Nigerian business partners and associates.

  11. Roma

    November 23, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    What is the need of organizing a party without varieties of food? When i had my wedding, though it was an intimate ceremony, i make sure food was in surplus, i had told my husband that in Nigeria, when you’re having a party, if you are expecting like 50 guests, prepare food for 200.
    The people ate different kinds of dishes and danced until their feet got sore.
    Growing up in Nigeria, going to a party was one of my best experience, but eating that hot jollof rice with moi moi, salad with beefs or amala/fufu with any soup of your choice was more superb.
    Then, you also see varieties of drinks, Guinness, gulder, star, harp, 33 beer, malts, coke, few bottles of wine etc

    There’s no party like a Nigerian party.

  12. Corolla

    November 23, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    The last paragraph sums up my thoughts.

  13. Sisi

    November 23, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Tbh all those reasons are somehow to me. Me I just like to eat and eat a variety of foods at that, so best believe my wedding have such a selection and surplus for takeaway even. I probably won’t eat much so as to avoid busting out of my reception dress but will be satisfied to know that my guests ate enough for me and their households. I do get the point about waste tho, but sometimes unavoidable when the caterer serves rock hard meat/chicken………

  14. madiora

    November 24, 2016 at 12:46 am

    please visit my latest post @

  15. Ello Bae

    November 24, 2016 at 2:46 am

    Atoke half piece of moi-moi?? That is a big travesty! We will not take it!!!

  16. Mama

    November 24, 2016 at 5:26 am

    Bhet this scarcity of food at Nigerian weddings is a national catastrophe that seems to have eluded all solution. What is the way forward? Who is always behind the shortage despite the millions of naira invested by the couple? In fact, I heard that people now tip the servers before hand to ensure a continuous flow of food and drinks to their table. This is kwaraption! Do we need to get EFCC, ICPC or FBI involved? This national disgrace and deprivation must stop ???

  17. Girls like free things

    November 24, 2016 at 9:14 am

    I go to celebrate with them, simple
    if there is food, i eat, if there is none, no problem
    Girls like free food/tins as if there life depends on it
    There is nothing they want to serve at the party that you cant afford or buy on your way home

    stop eeeeet

  18. Weather

    November 24, 2016 at 11:07 am

    This article got me reeling in laughter! Y’all catch your sub pls!
    But what then is the point of a Nigerian wedding without food biko nu?!

  19. Stuz

    November 24, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    A party without abundance of small chops Is a flop to me. Lmao

  20. Makky

    November 26, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    I think it’s bad manners to invite guests to an event and not provide for them. Remember, you had the option of having a quiet wedding/party etc but you wanted everyone to see you happy and now you don’t want them to eat? Keep your guest list cosy and have more than enough of everything. As Nigerians, party is food, music/dance and gist! Thankfully due to time constraints, i only go where i am expected and wanted and I haven’t had to eat immediately before an event, in fact the norm is to miss a meal so that i can do proper damage to the food :).

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