Johnson Babalola
March 30, 2023

My Mother’s Kitchen Cabinet

“Mom, how do you feel now that dad is leaving for Nigeria on retirement in a few months.?”  

“I look forward to it.”  

“He really did not support you during the litigation process against your brothers.”  

“He did his best.”  

“Really? It appeared to me and many members of our family that he put all kinds of obstacles your way throughout the process.”  

“You imagine things. I did not see it that way.”  

“I did not imagine it mom. I paid close attention. In fact, your brothers’ wives and their siblings were applauding dad and did mock you.”  

“Again, I did not see that. I was focused on winning the case because I was convinced it was my turn to own the property in question.”  

“I am happy though that some of your friends supported you. They fought hard that it was truly your turn to own the property. They even reported dad and his best friend, uncle Central District (CD) to the village head. After a bit of delay, dad relented and eventually told CD to not put any obstacles in your way. A friend in need is a friend indeed!”  

“Again, I did not see that. I have always had good friends. Whatever they did had nothing to do with me.”  

“Hmmmnnnn. Maybe you are right, given that they said they reported dad and CD to the village head because their neigbours were not happy about the gravels dad and CD had put at the entrance to the property. This obstructed the road to the street and your friends claimed that because of this, their neighbours could not drive freely into their homes and had become restless. One of the affected neighbours is uncle Wemama who could not access the diamonds he had kept in his titanic safe buried in the first bank near the river behind his house or guarantee their safety. I must confess that the zenith of your friends’ involvement and achievement in this matter is positive. The echoes of the neighbours’ cries got to them. Funny that your two neighbours, Ubani and Uba were quiet all through even though they were equally affected.”  

“You talk too much my daughter. You should not pay attention to these things. You are too young to get involved.”  

“Even if dad’s actions were affecting me too?”  

“He is still your dad. A good man. This has nothing to do with you. Notwithstanding his actions, I demand of you to keep loving him. He has done well within his limits and means to care for you and your siblings.”  

“I love him, but he could have handled some things better.”  

“He did his best and he means well. Although he is not perfect, he did his best under the circumstances.”

“You always defend him. Why?”  

“Because he is my husband. I vowed to love him for better or for worse.”  

“Anyway, I am just happy that you won the case, and the property is now yours despite your brothers’ ongoing appeal.”  

“I love my brothers and will not deprive them of their rights of appeal. For now, I will enjoy the property and everything it offers.”  

“Whatever happens, I will get to sleep in one of the big rooms this house offers. If we have to leave after your brothers’ appeal, that would be okay too.”  

“I am optimistic we would be okay, but I leave things to God. If the decision does not favour me, I will congratulate the brother of mine that wins and return to our old house.”  

“Ah! What if your two brothers win the appeal given that they both claim to be entitled to the house?”  

“Not possible. The rule is that they can only give it to one sibling.”  

“Got it. But sha, will we be able to at least renovate the kitchen for now?”  

“Of course, that’s the first line of action. I will get at it immediately.”  

“Who is your contractor?”  

“I have not decided. I have some options.”  

“Please, please and please mum, don’t retain uncle Jibiti who helped grandpa to renovate this kitchen and aunty Alajeju who helped dad to assemble the team that did further renovations here before the court said we should let the status quo remain until the completion of the matter in Court. Now that the coast is clear, please stay away from those people. Moreover, they are known not to be focused or principled. They are everywhere.”  

“Mind your language young lady. They are experienced and have been around for so long. In fact, they had been involved in many kitchen renovations over the years … before you were born.”  

“Mom, look at this kitchen even though it is already renovated by dad. The colours don’t relate. There are plumbing issues. The granite on the countertop is broken. No hinges on the cabinet doors. Uncle Jibiti and aunty Alejeju helped to assemble the installers. They are out of touch, and they don’t challenge you. They only get things done the way you want it. They don’t engage in comparative analysis. Please choose the right (young, computer-age, energetic, upwardly mobile, brilliant, and internationally exposed and experienced) people to work with. They will bring on board the best practice and politely expose you to the best international practices with local variation.”  

“I see what you mean but remember that Mama Ojo’s kitchen was installed by Baba Aworawo who is elderly and not educated. He did a good job.”  

“He did not install it but assembled a team of young people with the qualities I had stated to get it installed. He used his son, Amona, to bring the best young hands on board. He genuinely guided from a distance. Were you not there the first day they made a presentation to Mama Ojo? They had everything laid out on their computer and you guys were asking whether the young guys were witches. There is a place for experienced people like Baba Aworawo and that place is at the background. Let the young ones take the lead. They will show you contemporary, traditional, and modern designs plus a blend of the three.”  

“Hmmmmnn. Not every young hand can be trusted. We have had experiences of kitchen renovations they messed up too. They had used their knowledge of technology to deceive and take advantage of our neighbours. At the same time, there are older renovators that have integrity and have embraced technology even more than some young renovators I know.”  

“I know mom. You remember your young cousin Koworry that spends his time displaying his wealth on social media rather than focus on the renovation jobs he had billed his clients for. He is a known non-performer based on what people say out there. On the other hand, uncle Iwalewa has transformed the renovation of the local government head office into a beautiful property to behold. He even created a well-stocked library, sports facilities for the you and after school teachings for them. He has done well. A combination of both will be good for you mom with a focus on knowledge, integrity, patriotism, credibility, selflessness, self-awareness and so on. But I still lean on the side of a younger person who possesses all these qualities and more.”  

“You make a good point. My decision will be the final when it comes to the installation of the new kitchen, especially the cabinet because the quality of my cabinet will determine the value that will be attached to the property when I decide to sell.”  

“Exactly. Mom, ensure the right colours are used, the right hinges are installed, the floors are not slippery, the plumbing is professionally done, the painting is not like a magician’s bedroom and many more.”  

“You seem to know what is right for me”?  

“For us mom. For us. Your neighbours suffered all through the time your brothers were on your neck. They were hopeful that one day, you would take over the house, renovate it with the right materials and make it pleasing to the eyes. The interior and the exterior must be of high standard so that it will enhance the prices of homes in the neighbourhood”  

“I will get to work as soon as possible”  

“Please do so mom, and I am here to help you. I will get my friends to support you too. One more thing mom. Once the kitchen and the cabinets are completed, please ensure you order your groceries online.”  


“You save time, money, energy and you can use some online coupons to get discounts. Rather than run around 20 stores looking for discounts, you do it in the comfort of your home, and they get delivered. You can then have enough time to rest and volunteer your time with the Sickle Cell Association. Another reason to hire young people that are computer savvy who can assist you to navigate the internet. You do away with uncle Kekerekoto who would volunteer to help you buy groceries at inflated costs. He has taken advantage of you for years.”  

“Are you making fun of me?”  

“No way mom! I am saying you can use technology (install energy saving appliances) to save on your utility bills and plug the holes of financial wastage.”  

“Thanks daughter. I will take all you said on board as I search for the right people to handle the kitchen renovations.”  

“Excellent. One more thing mom. Please avoid many of the corrupt and nonperforming contractors and installers that are hovering around you but have nothing to offer. The only qualification they have is that they are from your family and had supported you through the litigation journey. I even heard that some corrupt people related to your brothers’ wives are planning to come to you and convince you that they are part of your family. They have no shame! Go outside of your family if need be, to get the best brains mom. I look forward to a beautiful kitchen each time I come home with my friends.”  

“When you come home huh!”  

“And when I go out too. I want to hear people tell each other: I just saw the kitchen of a house that will rank among the best in the world.”  

“Thanks, my dear daughter. Let’s help your dad pack as he heads to retirement. I am excited for a new kitchen and a cabinet that will be the best not just in the neighbourhood but around the world!”  

“For the sake of family unity, a professionally finished and functional kitchen, especially a cabinet of high quality will be pleasing to all and will bring us all together. This is based on my understanding that the entire family will be happy if you make the kitchen a welcoming place for all and of balanced interest without compromising quality. The kitchen cabinet especially must contain items that are genuine, useful and will be put to good use. Every item in the cabinet must have a sense of inclusiveness (the interests of dried grains for example, must not be placed above the interests of pepper, maggi, salt etc). Most importantly, the meals that come from this kitchen must be appealing, sumptuous and nourishing to us all. Good luck mom.”  

“Thank you, my dear daughter. I will not disappoint you all.”

Johnson Babalola, a Canada and Nigeria based lawyer, leadership consultant, storyteller and corporate emcee, is a public affairs analyst. Follow him for discussions on real life issues that affect us all.

You can obtain a copy of his newly released book, REJECTED on Amazon, FriesenPress, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Apple Books, Nook Store etc.