*** “Onga my cooking charm,” confession of a woman accused of using juju to hypnotize customers.
It was a black Friday morning in Lagos suburb of Ajah for Mrs. Bimbo Adeji (not real name), a food vendor popularly called in Nigerian parlance “Mama Put” when irate youths and other embittered customers went berserk, beating her black and blue over an accusation by one Mrs. Jane Oyedun (not real name) that Adeji was using juju to hypnotize customers.
Oyedun, according to investigation by Champion Newspapers, operated a restaurant opposite Adeji’s restaurant at an undisclosed location in Ajah, a suburb of Lagos.
An eye witness simply identified as Mr. Okon, a shop owner adjacent Adeji’s restaurant, who was within the earshot of both women and was fully aware of their feud, narrated to Champion that: “It all started when Adeji got the best seasoning in town called Onga and started using it to spice up her stews, soup and Jollof rice to the delight of customers.
“The compelling aroma and irresistible tang of Onga was like a gold rush to Adeji’s food. Oyedun, who was obviously ignorant of Onga could no longer stand the storm; her face turned red with rage but was handicap because the craving by customers to eat in Adeji’s restaurant was overwhelming.
“It was like a ritual and, to some, it was sheer infatuation. Just a stroll around that vicinity, people get caught up by the tang of Onga which would arouse their appetite. Sometimes you see someone who never wanted to eat walks in reluctantly to feel the taste of the food. Nobody walks pass here without entering Adeji’s restaurant to eat.
“It was thrilling, seeing her business blossom all of a sudden. To her, it was a blessing and a prayer answered but like the saying goes, “One man’s food is another man’s poison.” Adeji’s breakthrough in sales started having negative effect on Oyedun, whose business started declining rapidly due to lack of patronage. Her sales dropped drastically and she became so enraged but because she was ignorant of what her opponent was using, she could not help herself.”
As this continued unabated, according to Champion investigation, Oyedun went to seek spiritual help. She consulted a white garment prophet and was given “Holy water” to be sprinkling in her shop everyday to which she did for about two weeks without any significant change.
She, again, went to a soothsayer otherwise called “Babalawo” in Yoruba; a dominant language in Lagos and environs, who told her that Adeji was the one that seized her luck with a juju which she’s using to hypnotize her customers and that, the only solution is for Adeji to leave that place.
So, the following day being Friday morning, Oyedun didn’t open her restaurant but, rather, stormed Adeji’s restaurant up in arms like a lioness whose cub was attacked by a team of hunters. She roared in pains, obviously infuriated with her fellow food vendor for destroying her once thriving business.
Mrs. Kate Enejo of Lady K. Kitchen, Akowonjo Lagos
She marched towards Adeji’s Kitchen, jacked up her cooking pot full of stew and smashed it on the ground. The aroma of Onga hit her hard through the nose and she found it irresistible. In a commando style, she gave it a quick taste before screaming on top of her voice ‘Witch! Witch! Witch! Dis woman de use juju de cook food! She de use am sell market! Una don de chop Oyibo juju here, dis woman na bad woman she wan kill my business….hey! Make una come see something, everybody come see wonders ooo.’ She was screaming on top of her voice.”
At this point, Adeji was shock stricken; she stood in awe not knowing what to do. She burst in tears watching her posh stew flowing on the ground with pieces of meat swimming aimlessly in every direction.
Without further delay, all the customers present got convinced about Oyedun’s rhetoric, then pounced on Adeji and started beating her mercilessly. She was crying and wailing but nobody listened.
They didn’t care to hear her side of the story, soon they were joined by irate youths who are always eager to met jungle justice on anyone accused of something that is none of their business.
She was violently attacked by hordes of angry but ignorant protesters due to erroneous accusation by Oyedun. Her accusation was hinged on her ignorance of the existence of Onga, Mama’s helping hand which her colleague constantly use to spice up her stews and soup.
Adeji was beaten black and blue and her clothes torn, leaving her bare on the floor. This continued for about 30 minutes until the Chairman of the market Association came to intervene. She, then, used her hands to cover her treasure while the Chairman of the market square interrogated her.
Adeji, who could barely speak Standard English said: “I don’t have a foreign charm! Onga is my cooking charm. Na de aroma de bring customer come for me. With just a taste of it, they keep coming. No be juju I do, na Onga I de use.”
When asked how she came about Onga, she said a close friend who also sells food in Yaba introduced Onga to her about a year ago. Before then, she was using Maggi to cook. Since she hardly watch television nor listen to radio because of time, she didn’t know about Onga. After she used the sample that her friend gave her and got an excellent result, she decided to continue using it.
Continuing her confession, Adeji said Oyedun, who didn’t know the secrete of her sudden boost in sales, went to collect Holy water from Prophet but it failed. She, then, went to Babalawo to do Juju, yet the Juju failed. “Then she thinks killing me is the best option.”
At this point, she asked her waitress to bring five cubes of Onga for her which she collected and gave to Oyedun. And said: “Take this; this is the charm I use. No need for anger, use Onga. No need for juju, use Onga, no need for Holy Water, use Onga to attract your customers back. Oyedun reluctantly collected the Onga and dashed out of the place straight to her house.
The following day, she used the five cubes of Onga to prepare very small stew to confirm the efficacy or potency of the seasoning, just before the stew was done; both new and old customers started queuing to have their breakfast. She ran out of stock so early in the morning. Customers were so hungry and angry that they could not get food to eat. Meanwhile, Adeji did not come on Saturday because of the wounds inflicted on her by the mob action.
Hurriedly, she dashed out to the market and bought five packs of Onga which she came back and prepared two pots of stew and two pots of soup which filled the pots to the brim. Before twilight, everything got finished. She was overwhelmed as she settled down to count her money after the close of sales. All of a sudden, she became emotional and started recounting and regretting the evil she meted on Adeji out of ignorance and jealousy.
After she finished counting her money, she broke down in tears and wept profusely. The following day being Sunday, she went to Adeji’s house in company of her husband, both of them knelt down before her and apologized for the undesirable pains they caused her. She confessed that, “Truly Onga’s tang is irresistible; it is not juju.”
Following this incident, this reporter went on a survey to ascertain the popularity of Onga but was stunned by the fact that despite several advertisements by the company, many women are yet to know about Onga. The few that know, heard about it from friends, colleagues or neighbours. But sincerely, those who have been using it have amazing testimonies to share.
Mrs. Dinah Ajayi, who is a House wife resident in Ajah, said: “I’m very grateful to Onga for binding me stronger than ever with my husband. My husband hardly eats at home before and that attitude was bringing a strain in our relationship until a friend of mine in the church, whom I discussed my challenge with, introduced Onga to me.
“Now, my husband no longer eats outside. We are now a very happy family. We are now taking our breakfast, lunch and dinner as a family. The use of Onga is the beginning of peace and joy in a family. Men really appreciate good food. With Onga, I have found the key to my husband’s heart. For me and my family, we would continue to use Onga because it is mama’s ultimate hero,” she boasted.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Kate Enejo of Lady K. Kitchen, NO.167, Akowonjo Road, Cele Bus Stop, who also shared her addiction to Onga, saying she has been in the cooking business for more than 12 years but has never enjoyed any seasoning like Onga, describing it as the final bus stop in the journey of cooking.
Hear her testimony, “I started using Onga shortly after it was launched in 2004 and since then, I have never cooked anything without it. To me, Onga is not just mama’s helping hand, but mama’s final touch. Onga is the Alfa and Omega of cooking; it is the final bus stop in the journey of cooking without which no cooking is complete. It is fantastic because it really brings out the colour of your stew, soup and jellof rice very well.
“Onga’s flavour is wonderful and unique and enhances the taste of food. Even though I use other condiments, Onga is the dominant player. It is the real actor in my stews, soups, jellof and others. After applying all other ingredients, I top it with Onga to bring out the final taste. It is the major player when it comes to cooking. It is also so appetizing.
“I can’t do without it especially the ones in powder form. There was a time one of my regular customers brought his wife to come and learn how to cook from me. So I put her through the process and gave her the recipes and told her to top it always with Onga, mama’s best companion. She was very grateful.
“I would want Promasidor to create more awareness because a lot of people, especially women don’t know about the taste and quality that Onga gives to food. I didn’t know about it until when a friend introduced it to me. I would suggest they do a kind of door to door advertisement or advertise it at worship centers and market squares.
“This television, newspaper and radio adverts are not meant for busy women like us who hardly have time to sit and watch television or read newspapers. I know one of their adverts that Kate Henshaw and Flavour did.”
Enejo further stated that her restaurant, for instance, doesn’t have any signboard but two things advertise her food. One is that, the people who eat there go bout telling their friends about the quality of food she serves. And the second one is the aroma of Onga which do compels other people to come and eat in her restaurant.
“There was a time four men, who came to a tailoring shop very close to my restaurant perceived the aroma of my stew and one of them traced it to my restaurant and ordered four plates of rice which I served them right in that shop. It wasn’t their intention to eat in the first place, but the aroma of Onga lured them to eat.
Search on Promasidor website, www.promasidor.com/product-onga.php indicates that, Onga is a culinary from the stable of Promasidor Nigeria Limited. It is a dry stock seasoning available in a variety of product formats which delivers superior taste and aroma to your meals for all dishes and occasions. It is used during the cooking process to prepare mainly with stews, soups and for making delicious sauces.
Onga is currently available in the following product formats; Onga powder stock seasoning, Onga 4g Cubes stock seasoning, Onga 12g Tablets stock seasoning, and Onga Mchuzi Mix seasoning powder. Onga powder is more popular among Nigerian women and restaurant operators compare to Onga Cube which was launched in 2014. It enhances taste and aroma resulting in meals with great flavor appeal. It is also said to enhance the appearance of many traditional meals.
Manufactured from a blend of herbs and spices, salts & flavor enhancers with unique instant powdered formula, Onga offers convenience. “Just sprinkle the amount you need over the food during cooking and stir up the great Onga taste. It dissolves easily allowing for even distribution and just great tasting meal.
“Onga also enhances any dish, meat or vegetarian, with great flaour range from stew, chicken, classic, soup and shrimp. Add Onga to all your favourite dishes to enhance their natural flavour (Jellof rice, Egusi/Pepper soups, Suya end even Akara balls). It is rich in colours for different dishes like brown or red gravy colour.”