Posts Tagged ‘Nigeria’

So, if you didn’t know already, I am in Nigeria! Good news! Wondering how you will wrap your head around a social media campaign for your cause, idea or business? Holla! Email chioma(at)chiomachuka(dot)com, or tweet @chiomachuka.

You’re welcome to book a social media consultation,  and I’ve got great rates per the hour. Get in touch already!

 

Now, let’s get on to the flights and the chronicle for the day. One of the first things on my plate soon as I came in was a trip to Lagos, and that happened on Monday. When I was booking the tickets, I told myself I wanted to use an airline I had never used before, and somehow I ended up with Medview.

Cost? N19000, probably that high maybe because I booked it on the day; Aero was 19k too). Arik was about 24k for a single, and since I’m not minting money in my room, I decided on Medview.

Flight time was supposed to be 4.30pm but we started boarding at that time, meaning that we took off about 5pm.

Got into Lagos ok, we thank the Lord for safe travels. Lagos was great, working out of Red Media’s offices, planning big things, meeting people I’d known only on social media, I really had a good time!

All good things have an end though, and Wednesday evening was the time appointed for me to return to Abuja. Thanks to all the warnings about traffic, I set off for the airport about 3.30pm (for a 6.45pm flight). Got there about 5.30pm (hallelujah that I heeded the warnings), and I started reading, passing time.

At 6.45pm the first delay (for 25 minutes) was announced and I started berating myself (again) for picking a flight that late. A further 20 minutes delay was announced about 7.25pm. I quietly started making arrangements to spend another night.

Just before 8pm we were called to board, and there was a bit of drama when one passenger threatened to beat up one of the airline officials. Apparently the customer was lamenting the delays and the staff said something like, “am I the pilot?” Of course sentences like ‘do you know who I am’, ‘I can pay your salary’ etc., featured in the argument. Reminded me of a very despicable person I’ve had the misfortune of knowing and I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes.

We boarded and the pre-flight announcements began. Oh wait, not before some lady convinced herself she was going to have my seat, even though my seat was clearly marked ‘window’, and hers was marked ‘aisle’. Of course it didn’t happen. SMH.

The pilot came on and apologized for the delay, citing horrible weather in Abuja. Even though I’d seen tweets telling of the really shitty weather, I still rolled my eyes, and was going to keep rolling them when it hit me that the pilot was singing!

Oh my word! He was actually singing! Something along the lines of, ‘thank you for flying Aero Contractors today, you’re the reason we’re in business, we’re sorry for the delay, may God bless you, la la la la’. It was so cute! I was so amused! And he used the tune of a popular song (can’t remember which) but by the time he was done, we were all laughing and clapping, all the anger forgotten.

Concert done (lol), he mentioned there would be some turbulence as we approached Abuja but it was nothing to worry about, and then said to enjoy the flight.

As I am wont to do, I dozed. Was woken up by the hostess to take my snack pack, and I didn’t wake up again till we touched down. Either there wasn’t any turbulence, the pilots did a good job of maneuvering, or I was just too tired to wake up and notice. Of course God was in charge of the flight (let’s just get that straight).

It’s the first time I’d flown Medview ever, and the first time in a while I flew Aero, but I was so pleasantly surprised by the Aero flight. Shame I didn’t catch the pilot’s name; I would have asked for an autograph. Or even better, a selfie.

*Written on Wednesday the 9th of April

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Exactly one week ago, I packed up, and left chilly Greenhithe for 28 degrees plus temperatures in Abuja, Nigeria, my home for the next month and a bit.

From the Asian on the leg from Frankfurt to Abuja who wouldn’t stop coughing (and couldn’t be bothered to cover his mouth), to the really lovely spaghetti bolognese I had on the flight, my trip was good, safe, pretty much uneventful. I watched ‘Frozen’ (that’s all I could stay awake for), and it’s amazing how little but very poignant life lessons can be contained in cartoons!

Massive thanks to my buddy for a ride home, and even though there was no power, it was really great to be home, and see my family, especially my darling nephew Boo Boo!

Went to the gym on Wednesday, big thank you to @EddieMadaki for an intense workout! Dang!

Woke up on Thursday morning, and bad news – there was a power surge, and my darling HTC One was slain. And so phone numbers, messages, EVERYTHING, I lost. And it was just the beginning of a horrible day. Massive thank you to my main squeeze Tokes for talking to me and cheering me up. Love you boo!

By Friday I was thankful for nighttime because I so needed an escape! I was overwhelmed, and even working out so hard my joints were burning didn’t make me feel better.

Wasn’t all doom and gloom though. I got a Samsung S4 to use (really grateful), but here’s my review of the device in one tweet.

Screenshot 2014-04-07 22.51.08

On Saturday I was up really early to play lawn tennis, and I had a fabulous time! Would have been nice though if they had warned me my arms would burn afterwards…but I had a great time! And the coach says I am a fast learner. Whoop!

Came home to meet my dad (yay), and it was nice to unload and rant about the incidents and drama from Thursday. Really nice. Was also really cool (always is) to watch him play with his grandson, who calls him ‘Tampa’ (Grandpa). Cute! Cute! Cute!

Had to babysit afterwards so Boo Boo and I went to get amala from my favorite Mama Put joint (it’s his favorite meal these days), and then I went off to a fabulous lunch at Salamander.

Mash, salmon, and wonderfully steamed vegetables. Love! Love! Love!

Mash, salmon, and wonderfully steamed vegetables. Love! Love! Love!

Food was great but their service really can’t be any slower. As in, service is courteous, waitresses are pleasant, ever smiling, all that good stuff but their service defines the word S-L-O-W. It’s incredible!

Went off to Designer Market Place (DMP) afterwards, and it was so lovely to finally put a face to some voices and names, and also to catch up with my old buddies! I was excited cos it was my first time of attending, and I had some really lovely cocktails too!

Got some fuel after that (and in that lies the curious case of the guy who appeared from nowhere and attempted to shunt the queue). SMH. Quick call to catch up with my girls Amanda and Deborah (miss you lots), and then after a fun hour spent with some other friends, it was finally home and bedtime.

House on the Rock The Refuge on Sunday, meetings, some major mileage with work and supporting my fabulous sister at an audition later in the day, and the day was over as quickly as it begun.

Monday I was stuck with a really somehow attendant at a cyber cafe I went to print some documents at, a really pleasant Medview flight (first time I used the airline and I’m sure there’ll be a second time), I learned that I can be over dependent, and learning to use my new phone, an Android called BeMatel. Really cool.

And that’s how my week went!

P:S – Greetings from Lagos, the land where taxi drivers use their brakes like they are an afterthought!

PPS: God has been super merciful to me! I can’t even tell it all, but He has!

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I just thought to celebrate my canine today. My very first canine. I can’t wait to have my next one (which I won’t have till I have my own home and can ensure that I will never have to leave him to anyone to look after).

I came home from boarding school one holiday and daddy had this mischievous twinkle in his small eyes I couldn’t place. Did we buy a new car? Did they adopt a baby? Was Momma having a baby? I couldn’t place it. And he wouldn’t say anything beyond; “I have a surprise for you”.

That surprise turned out to be Blesso, our first German shepherd. He was about three weeks old, and was such a beauty!

Blesso (short form for Blessing – that’s what he was to us) became a member of the family immediately. I remember my mom making breakfast for my dad in one part of the kitchen, and my dad mashing boiled eggs and pouring milk for Blesso’s breakfast. As I type I can see the picture of both of them ‘working hard’ like it was yesterday.

Blesso was spoiled; truly spoiled. As a baby, if you set his food down and walked away, he would go have a look at the meal, look at you, and walk away. But if you pulled a chair and sat by the food, he’d come and eat. Even better if you fed him, he’d be seconds from purring! Blesso was spoiled, our truly spoiled baby.

I remember when he sprained his foot. Funny story. As a baby Blesso hated night time and going into his kennel, he’d do anything for a few more minutes of play every night. One night when we put him in, I don’t even remember how he was roughing the place up (angry that he was in his mansion) and next thing we heard something between a howl and a shout!

We all came out, and I promise you Blesso had tears coming out his eyes! He’d hurt one of his hind legs. Took him to the vet the next day, and it was bandaged a bit. Blesso milked it to death!! Ahh! He’d be walking normally o, once he saw one of us he’d start limping and whimpering. Just so you’d carry him. Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled!

But we loved him. Still do.

We had so many variations to his name, like Sir B, Blesso, at some point I started calling him ‘Jibi’, much to my brother’s annoyance (Lord knows how I thought that up)! Whatever I called him though, Blesso knew my voice, and that was enough.

After Blesso turned two, my fondest memories of returning from boarding school or from a trip would be letting him out of his kennel for my ‘inspection’.

Soon as he heard my voice, he’d bark nonstop till I appeared in front of his mansion. When I let him out, he’d smell my feet, lick it (perhaps tasting for consistency, lol), and then, satisfied it was me, he’d stand on his hind feet and use his fore to thump my chest. Boom!

For me, that was his way of saying, “welcome back boo! Where have you been?” And somehow, I started looking forward to this little ritual.

I came home once and not only was ‘home’ now in a different state of Nigeria (my parents had been transferred), but Blesso and his mansion were gone. Our lodgings didn’t have provision for animals and so my folks had given him out. Broke my heart so bad, I felt like someone died. For me, Blesso was ‘home’.

I’ve had two more canines since Blesso (Izzie and Waffles) but like the throes of passion only novelty induce, Blesso will always be in my heart.

P:S – I was inspired to search myself and write about Blesso after Priscilla from dogvacay.com got in touch to ask if I would write on the theme ‘home away from home’. Bringing up all the memories? Totally worth it!

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Hello good people of the world,

Good news! If you’re Nigerian and you’re used to Pentecostal churches, you would be clapping now. Otherwise, just clap anyway.

So, I had a giveaway, put out things people would need to do, and the deadline they’d need to send their entries in by.

Only one person sent in answers, IVY BEN, and so automatically they became my winner! She placed her order (remember the deal was books only), and the books came in on the weekend!

2014-03-16 09.38.32-1

The books are here, next thing is to send them to Nigeria this weekend, and ship them off to her!

PS – A lot of comments said they didn’t quite understand the rules of the competition. I sincerely apologise, and I will make it good (by organizing another giveaway soonest). In the meantime, the first six people to leave a comment get one of the following books given to me (and this cause) by my friends.

1. Preside or lead: the attributes and actions of effective regulators by Scott Hempling (three of this)

2.  “Democracy and prebendalism in Nigeria: Critical interpretations. Edited by Adebanwi and Obadare

3. Rewire: Digital cosmopolitans in the age of connection by Ethan Zuckerman.

4. The Message Bible. I mistakenly ordered two instead of one and so instead of returning one, I’m going to give it to one lucky person. Lucky because this Bible is so beautiful!

Mention the book you want in your comment so the next person sees that it’s already been taken and I don’t have the Solomon issue of dividing one book into halves to satisfy anyone (lol…)

Have a good week!

 

 

Right.

I’m a little upset tonight, and I’ll tell you why in just a minute. First off, apologies I’ve been inconsistent. I know I owe chronicles from my Hamburg and Abuja trips, and I will get to them in good time. This piece however couldn’t wait.

It is inspired by a post I saw on Joy Bewaji’s page on Facebook this evening, and because I want this piece to have the right context, I’ve got a screenshot for you.

Screenshot 2014-03-10 22.24.47

 

My comment was along the lines of I’d make sure I gave the person a permanent injury, and even if my breast was hanging out of my top or if I put it on my forehead (because it is my body part), it doesn’t give anyone the right to touch it. 

Then I saw a comment from a guy who said “You see — I have two daughters, one much younger and I tell them always to dress up and cover up — so that they don’t have crazies stirring at them in an unwelcome manner”.

And that got me really ticked off. For some reason it just really annoyed me. My comment’s below.

http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/…/this-has-got-to…/ 

Did the 4-year-old in my blog from 2010 dress ‘indecently’? How does a 4-year-old entice a 45-year-old man?

I am not a parent John* (I see you’re throwing that around a little bit now) but I have this thing that my folks (who are parents) taught me, and that is self-respect. They taught me boundaries and God bless them, I have a brother who they taught him the exact things too.

Some men are animals. Not all, but a good number of men are animals. Animals because they lack self-respect, and self-control. Tis’ the absence of those two that make animals in the forest eat one another, do numbers one and two ‘anywhere belle face’, and all the things that generally separate man from beast.

In my first comment I said even if her breast was hanging out, heck even if it was on her forehead, he had absolutely NO right to touch it. That is what separates man from beast. It’s spring now, and the teens here are preempting summer and wearing the tiniest bits in their wardrobe. Are you saying because they are dressed that way they are ‘not being cautious’? Are you saying they are asking to be molested?

When I have children (and therefore become a parent), I will teach my children to dress decently only because it is the decent thing to do, not as a shield against molestation. 

It is these excuses we give for depravity that tire me. Absolutely grates.

Following on from that, here’s an experience that’s barely two weeks old.

I was in Nigeria in the last week of February, and amongst a number of meetings was one with a Senator. Venue? National Assembly. Now I’d never been there on my own, so I was already a little apprehensive. And it was HOT.

Got there dressed in a knee-length, sleeveless, black corporate-type dress, and brown heels. I got to the gate and was told I couldn’t go in because they had a policy against sleeveless dresses so we wouldn’t “entice the Assemblymen”. 

I swear I pinched myself to be sure I was neither being pranked, nor starring in my own horror movie. After all said and argued, ladies and gentlemen, I had to go home to change.

Got home, changed into black trousers and a blue top, same heels and the taxi drove me back there. Went in, met the children of God who are the ‘special assistants’ to the Senator, and when my business was done, I started the long walk under the sun outside to where my taxi was waiting.

Next thing a car passes me, reverses a bit, and stops. The right back window goes down and a man tells me “fine girl, leave the sun, come into my car”. I looked at him, gave him the dirtiest look I had, and continued walking. Brethren, the car followed me till I rounded the corner, and then it drove off. It had senate plates.

Wasn’t it for an animal like this I incurred bills on my taxi, and suffered more exposure to the sun than necessary? Isn’t it for these ones I was sent home because a sleeveless dress would entice? Who on earth are we kidding?

Ladies and gentlemen, you are either an animal or a human being. This excuse we give about women inviting molestation or rape on themselves because of the way they dress is sickening.

What did this girl on the way back from her grandfather’s funeral do to invite rape, by 6 men who threw her in a ditch and left her for dead afterwards?

It is also hypocritical because, like I said to the creature of God who asked what a young lady was wearing when she was molested by thugs posing as officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Bureau, the easiest way to show that your argument is a lie is to let your sister or mom be raped or molested. 

Let’s have this argument if your first question is about what they wore to ‘invite it’. Otherwise can we please train our children up in the way they should go already?

P:S – I did a blog (can’t find it) once where I said I’d set on fire anyone who ever touched my kids inappropriately. 

 

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fairygodsister:

Olamide Craig is a friend, a brother, and a great man of God without all the airs, the falsehood, and the half truths.

I saw this post this morning from a link off Twitter, and I just knew I had to share. Hope it blesses you as much as it blessed me.

Olamide is @RevDrCraig on Twitter if you want to get in touch.

Love, light, and God’s great blessings,

FGS.

PORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN

Tonight, I want to stand with a friend of mine on a thorny issue. Pornography.  A vast number of Christians are struggling with various forms of online porn. A friend talked to me about his struggle, and as I listened to him share his story, I smiled. I smiled because it reminded me of my own struggle.

So tonight, I want to share with you my story, not his. Its easy for preachers to tell other peoples stories. But how about ours?

I picked up my first Playboy™magazine when I was in primary school. I flipped through the pages with a combination of curiosity and disinterest. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. But a seed had been sown, and its roots would take hold of the soil of my soul to bud much later in my adolescence. By the time I was a teenager, I was familiar with all the American, British and French porn magazines. It was much harder then. There were no phones, there was no internet. You had to sneak around with glossy magazines and hope that no one knew that under the Good Housekeeping or Ebony magazine was Penthouse or Oui or Nuts. All this while I was a committed believer, I did all I could to please the Lord, but I still had this one issue.

And then one day, I got called to leadership in my secondary school fellowship and went from Usher to President. I was sure God had made a mistake. Surely there were others better than me.  I tried to stop, I wanted to fulfill my role as President with a clear conscience. The harder I tried, the deeper I fell. Ministry was great. Souls were being saved. The fellowship was growing. Lives were being transformed, still I was stuck. Mind you, it wasn’t all consuming at the time. I’d probably steal a glance once or twice a month but the guilt that followed was like a crushing stone that stayed on my shoulder and stuck wt me for months and months; it didn’t matter if I hadn’t touched a magazine in months. I always carried around a sense of guilt and shame.In between I would be fine. All would seem perfect in my life again. Then one glance would bring it all crashing down. I won a temporary battle while I was in SS3. Hadn’t slipped for months. I realize now that I was too busy with WAEC  

Then we passed out of high school. I had handed over the ministry. There was no more need to be accountable…and the passions came back like a vengeance.  Before University, I did JAMB 5 times and in that period of depression and hopelessness, pornography became my escape; what had once been a once a month slip became a daily obsession.  Just before my 5th JAMB, I remember going to the roof of Anglican Church on 21 road in Festac and crying out to God. My life was in a mess and I desperately needed him to show up and sort me out. And I remember God telling me how much he loved me and how he had great plans for me. How will I ever make it I asked. All my mates were in school, I was still at home. My faith was a mess. I was a mess. And I heard words that I would NEVER forget. “Stop trying to fix it on your own, my grace is sufficient for you”  

Within that year, I joined FECA where I got my faith on track, passed JAMB, and got into the University of Ibadan. The things I learnt that year became the basis of the ministry I founded when I was just a 21 year old 100L student. Dianoia Foundation and Club Chayil over the past 11 years have since preached the message of sexual purity to thousands  

How did I break free from pornography? All I needed to do was let the Holy Spirit help me.  

The biggest mistake Christians make is trying to use discipline or strong will to keep away from sin. It NEVER works. Sin will always have the upper hand if combated in the flesh. Only GRACE through the Holy Spirit can win over sin  

Second I had to refuse to elevate that one sin above any others. The devil tries to make us feel one sin is worse… and so for as long as I hadn’t viewed porn, I could lie and be unchristian in so many other ways but wouldn’t feel it simply because I had hinged my acceptance in Gods eyes on whether I had viewed porn or not. The Holy Spirit taught me that in his sight, all Sin was as bad as the next. Murder. Lust. Lies. Same thing!  Once I learnt godly sorry for ALL my sins whether they were lustful or not, I realised how truly sinful I was and it was here that righteousness made sense to me. Jesus told me he had forgiven ALL my sins, and given me a new robe. I was righteous not because of what I had done, or didn’t do, but because of what he had done.  

Finally, SIN THRIVES IN SECRECY! If you want to be free you have to open up and let the light in. Tell someone!  Find a mature Christian and tell them your struggle. It’s one of the most important steps on your road to recovery. If you keep it hidden, it will grow. If you bring it out of the darkness, it will die. I promise you. Trust me!  Same goes for fornication and adultery. Expose the sin and it will wither conceal it and it will grow  

I’ve shared this so that you can know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There is help for you in God and he has not abandoned you  God bless you tweet fam!  

Thank you to all those who DM’d to share their struggle or to ask for prayer or to just say thanks… The feedback has been phenomenal.

Someone asked me how my journey’s been. “Has it been plain sailing since you started preaching sexual purity?”  It would be so easy to say that I’ve never touched the stuff again and strut around in a toga of self righteousness. Let me tell you as it is! This is a lifelong battle. There is no quick fix. There’s no magic wand. Once lust has occupied a room in your heart in the past, he will ALWAYS come back to see if there’s a spare room and when he comes back, you bet he’s come with family and friends and he’s gonna ask for the penthouse suite  

I thought it was a war that I had won once and for all. That I had defeated that enemy and he was finished. Your freedom has to be fought for daily. What you won was one battle. There is still a long war.  

I’m still fighting and wining my battle against porn. Its a tough one and sometimes I am valiant, sometimes I am not.  And you best believe that its so much easier to access porn now than it was when I won my first battle. I remember burning all my Playboy™mags with great fanfare ☺ No one buys Playboy magazines anymore. Porn is now online; no need to hide in a corner with a bulky magazine, or hide stacks of old issues under your mattress. One click and boom

But there is GOOD NEWS! The power that rescued me then is still potent enough to rescue me now. Hallelujah! And if you let Him, he can rescue you too.  

Lust is not gender specific folks. He destroys as many men as he does women. Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking you’re the only one! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  

Same goes for masturbation, fornication, adultery. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Sin thrives in secrecy. Break the yoke. Be free!  Jesus died for all your sins including this one. His blood has cleansed you. Take your stand daily. This war can be won  

God bless you twit fam! Have a blessed day.

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Originally posted on menoword:

Menoword’s note: I follow an incredible minister called Rev Craig and he posted some tweets yesterday night that impacted me very deeply. I got his kind permission to put all his tweets together and create a blog post. The only editing I have done is to remove the words “young men” from the second sentence in the post. Please read this post with an open heart, I hope that it will bless you. And don’t think that this only relates to porn – I learned many of these lessons while struggling with financial responsibility – it applies across the board to anything that anyone might be struggling with and also contains wonderful lessons on generally living a victorious Christian life. You can find Rev Craig on Twitter @RevDrCraig or check out his blog at  http://olamidecraig.wordpress.com 

Enjoy: 

PORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN

Tonight, I want to stand with a friend of…

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Ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please! 

A week plus ago I said I’d be doing my very first giveaway, and I was pretty pumped about it. Then I did another blogpost with the giveaway details, and the deadline when I had to get the answers by. 

The task was to: 

1. Open the last twelve posts on this blog

2. Pick the 5th word of the 6th paragraph in each post

3. Use these words to form a sentence.

Simple! The deadline was Tuesday the 18th of February, and I haven’t updated on this because I’ve had to do quite a bit of traveling in the past week.

I got many messages saying they were working on the answers to the one question @HL_Blue had, but one person took the time to actually do it all, and sent it in before the deadline. So, I have a winner!

My winner is IVY BEN! Congratulations! You get to use up ALL the prize money (on books), and you get one copy each of the books donated by my friends!

Email dfairygodsister(at)yahoo(dot)com with the list of books you want, and even though I’m in Nigeria at the moment, I’ll place the order for you, and we can start waiting till you get them!

ANSWERS TO THE GIVEAWAY ASSIGNMENT (from IVY BEN)
1) Happy birthday to my darling Aunty Pat
And: AND God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering of the water He called sea.

2) My first ever giveaway!!
Idea: IDEA is the singular form of Ideas.

3) For Danny Danosaur
Everyone: EVERYONE should take their seats please.

4) Another one bites the dust
Family: FAMILY always comes first with me.

5) The right solution for the wrong problem
Window: WINDOW blinds come in different materials and designs.

6) For Sylvester – words are not enough
His: HIS (Nelson Mandela’s) biography, ‘A Long Walk To Freedom’ is a must read!

7) #PraisewithCC! This is why we’re here
Very: VERY few christians practice what they preach.

8)The quest to renew my Nigerian ‘pali’ (Part
Two)
As: AS long as there’s life, there’s hope.

9) Separate yourself from unnecessary pressure
We: WE are heirs of the Father, we are joint heirs with the Son.

10) The quest to renewing my Nigerian ‘pali’ (Part One)
To: TO whom much is given, much is expected.

11) Rev E.A Adeboye on “Overcoming Mountains”
Children: CHILDREN ought to be sent to school and not be used for child trafficking.

12) Breaking news: I changed two bulbs today!
Thinking: THINKING of you gladdens my heart and makes me yearn for your return.

Congratulations again IVY BEN! Get in touch!

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I heard of Danny and Sylvester’s deaths just about six hours apart – both were in the same age bracket, in the same industry, and both victim to the short, brutish life that Nigeria is gaining critical acclaim for by the day.

In 2008 I was selected to attend a BBC World Service Trust (now Media Action) training on “Reporting HIV and Aids”.

We must have been about 13 or so participants, all drawn from different radio stations in Abuja. I remember quite a few  of them, Sophie Petra, Danny, Chimdi (from Aso Radio as well, where I was at the time), Nonye, Ehi, if I’ve missed names they won’t be more than two.

I remember our per diem (more than my youth corper allowance at the time, the awesome tea breaks with a different set of pastries each day, and of course I remember filling out lunch cards and eating ‘whatever I wanted’ for lunch.

The banter and camaraderie amongst all of us was real, even though sometimes I felt like I couldn’t voice an opinion cos technically I was the youngest. Used to tell myself it was Danny in my head, but it’s a good thing I never said it out, cos I’m wrong.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I stayed in touch with at last 60% of the team. So from those I’m tight with, to the ones whose names I only remember when Facebook says it’s their birthday,  I’ve pretty much kept those doors open.

I saw Danny last around the end of 2012. I’d been invited to Kiss FM to be a guest on Nike Coker’s show and I went in to do the recording. I spoke on basic essentials for security online, just tips and tricks for people to stay safe in all their dealings online. I remember it was about the time that Cynthia Osikogu was lured to a hotel in Lagos and killed by some men she met/spoke to on Facebook.

I was excited to see him! Teased about him becoming a big boy at Kiss (I remember at a point wasn’t very excited with RayPower FM), and he teased me about being chubby. SMH Danny!

I heard Danny passed the same morning Sylvester’s death was confirmed, and all I could see in my head was the twinkle in his tiny eyes, the dimples in his smile. I could see the spring in his step, and the laughter which I couldn’t place at some point.

Danny, I don’t know the proximity of the candle to the generator that exploded that night, but I know your heart was pure, and you would do anything to make the next man happy. My heart goes out to your family and I pray God’s grace and comfort in this time.

Sleep well Danny Danosaur – keep making music!!

Danny

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First time Cheta introduced Sylvester to us at YNaija2015, I was just grateful for someone who was happy to travel and cover elections for us. We exchanged a few emails (on logistics, tasks, uninteresting stuff), and then he was off to Edo for the local government elections.

And then it was like a 300watts light bulb switched on inside of Sylvester once he got there. Show me ten men with excitement and passion for their work, and I would give you Sylvester. I think he came alive in a very special way just being on ground in Edo. He’s high up there on the list of my friends who become animated at the scent of anything political.

We talked a lot more after that, he was always quick to retrieve and verify information for me and spent one particular afternoon phoning up different people just because I asked for the elections calendar for local government elections around the country (a whole INEC doesn’t even have that, but that’s a totally different story).

For the farce that was the gubernatorial elections in Anambra, Sylvester outdid himself. Pictures, text (he would live-blog for each election), audio, and even videos, we didn’t lack for content at all. So much that when his laptop and phone died, he started texting me information! I remember he called me that night, miffed that they had been barred from entering the hall where the results were to be announced, and dogs had been set on them to scare them away. In all of the chaos, he said, “don’t worry Chioma, I will find a way to get in”.

When I saw on Twitter that he had been in an accident, on the same road that took Bankole Taiwo in 2012, I was heartbroken. I prayed to God, begged Him to have mercy, to save this one. I couldn’t be there to hold his hand; I wasn’t even allowed to speak with him any of the times I rang.

I was speaking to his wife on the night of the 4th, missed a call from Chude on my other phone. When we spoke, Chude said Sylvester was gone.  And I said no, that I had just spoken to his wife, and we had just believed God for a miracle. I don’t even know how to call her now, don’t know what to tell her. Words…words are so overestimated.

I never met you Sylvester, but I can imagine God needed someone to chronicle the happenings in heaven for those of us who aren’t there yet. And so even though we hurt, and our hearts are so heavy, we remain subject to His will.

I miss you Sylvester, we all miss you terribly.

Rest in peace, Sly Barzini. Je nke oma.

Sylvester...

Sylvester…

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Well, part one to this tale is here.

I wasn’t sure what documents I needed for this ‘interview’ to renew my Nigerian passport (renew o, not get a brand new one) so I took all the documents I had confirming my citizenship. I had to go off my route to retrieve some documents from a friend, and then it was off to the Embassy.

Got there, and I was told at the door that I needed to get a postal order worth £20 from the Post Office. Why didn’t anyone say this before? Mention or even hint at it? Online or the day I filled out the forms? Why?

Fortunately I didn’t need any form of transportation to get there but it was freezing, and was time I could have saved to be honest.

I got back from getting it, and because I already had a ‘number’, I sat down and watched a woman try in vain to control her four young boys whose favorite word in the whole wide world (and response to every request, directive, or scolding) was ‘NO’. I chuckled over and over.

Multiple cold repellents (read as hot chocolate) meant I needed to pee, and so to the conveniences I went. Full stop, but I took pictures.

IMAG0135 IMAG0136

No comment.

Must have spent an hour and then it was my turn to be ‘interviewed’. Got to the counter and they just confirmed I had paid the application fee, collected the postal order and form, and asked me to go sit down and wait to be ushered upstairs for biometric capturing.

Huh? What happened to the ‘interview’? What of the documents I’d been told I needed to convince Nigeria I was Nigerian? I needed to justify the dossier I’d hauled from home. The man said, “you don’t need them”, and then called out the next number. I wanted to say something, but then I reminded myself that I am a daughter of Zion, said thank you (didn’t believe I had one in me) and went to sit.

Started blogging (obviously) till I heard an argument getting louder and decided to listen (how else would I have this story for you?)

This lady had filed out an application, but didn’t have her old passport. Where was it Missy? She said officials collected it from her at the airport because it was expired. Huh? That’s not normal now is it? The more probable thing is you won’t be allowed to fly in the first instance, or you’ll be turned back at the point of entry.

Madam didn’t want to hear that she needed her old passport or some documentation to be able to get a new one. And so there was a lot of yelling, “do you know who I am” thrown about, all of that drama. Of course that meant that my reading/blogging gave way to tatafo. I started thinking too, who did she think was 5 years old there? What did she mean by officials collected it from her? Which officials? And she walked away from them quietly after they collected it? O da.

I got called for my biometrics, went upstairs, and while I waited, I saw the Dame on TV, leading some prayer session. No I didn’t watch, I just took a couple of pictures.

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They prayed, they sang…fill in the blanks…

Got my photo and prints captured and I was asked to come back in two weeks. Sigh.

The End.

Update – I went in on the day and after waiting for about 30 minutes, collected the passport of life and destiny. And I hear I got it easier than most. Either way, I’m grateful!

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