Posts Tagged ‘Online Communities’

So, a little backgrounder to this article. Sometime in January a friend ran a series on her blog for people to testify about their year and I sent in this piece. Somehow she didn’t get round to using it.

I was searching for some document this evening (28th March) and I stumbled on it! And so I thought I’d use it for a end-my-first-quarter type of thank you post. And so, here’s my testimony of how brilliant my year has been so far, obviously I’ve added a bit more to the original post – God has really rocked these first three months for me! The additions are in green.

Ready? Let’s do it! Whoop!


I Testify!!

2014! Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude! Nothing more, this is the year that God and I have agreed will be full of gratitude alone. Gratitude.

2013 was a difficult year. Ooh, very difficult. So difficult some days I was scared that one day I would do something to hurt myself. It was incredible, wearing a smile outside because people were ‘counting on me to smile’ and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, but I was really struggling inside. Like I really struggled.

To put this in perspective, I’m not a stranger to rough patches, but I’ve always seen the good in every unpleasant situation, felt like it would get better. But when I woke up on the 21st of July to news that my aunty Pat had passed, the term ‘numb’ came alive. Ooh it came so alive it nearly consumed me.

Can I say a big thank you to Olamide Craig (@RevDrCraig) here? I rang him, and he left school and his preparations for his exams, literally came running. I remember kneeling down by the train station, wailing. He stayed through my rants, tears, and only left after I slept. God bless you for me Craig, God bless you richly. And boy am I excited you scaled the exams! Proud of you baby!

By November it started dawning on me that the weight I put on in the hospital caring for my aunt wasn’t planning to ‘leave me alone’ (lol), and that was a very present worry. One day on Twitter looking through the handles of some fitness experts (if looking /watching Insanity curled up in bed with a hot drink could scare the pounds off my body I’d be anorexic by now I promise), I chanced upon an idea that became the #31Days31Writers project after I tweaked it a bit.

Amazing! Whoop! It’s one of the best things I did last year! Loved the distraction it became, and when the stories started coming in, oh what a joy! Mrs. E’ sent in an entry too, she was up on Christmas Eve! I’m excited at the Christians I’ve been exposed to and become friends with via this blog; it’s such a blessing to be part of a blossoming community of young people who love the Lord!

It wasn’t all gloom and doom though. Matter of fact, when I said I’d send in an entry, it was actually a challenge for me to find things to be grateful for.  All I had to do was think, and boom – testimony after testimony. Have time for a few?

In 2013, I was sought out on LinkedIn by the project manager of MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation to provide social media consultation for Shuga. We’re looking at bigger engagement for the project this year, and I’m proper excited about that!

In September I stood in for a friend (@Chude) at Social Media Week London, moderating a panel of people I can honestly say I wouldn’t have been able to meet all at once otherwise. Off that event, by December I had gotten two all expenses paid speaking trips for 2014. One of them is in three weeks (butterflies of life and destiny!) That event was Social Media Week in Hamburg, and God really came through for me on so many levels! There are new opportunities off that, and it’s all very exciting! 

In the same 2013, I went to bed and woke up every morning, no struggle. I traveled (and I like to move around), and there never was an evil report (except me missing a flight to Aberdeen, falling asleep on the train back home and therefore missing my stop, losing my train ticket – all in one morning, sigh). Even in that, there were funds for another ticket, strength to go back to the airport that same evening, and a safe trip to and fro. God loves me walai!

My family is healthy. Big miracle. We might have fallen ill once or twice, but we always got better. I remember crying to church one Sunday in October cos my sister sent me a photo of my nephew with bumps all over his body, suffering from a reaction to something. But, he got better, and now feeds himself! My darling boy! Boo Boo is playing football now (he’s all of 18 months, and I’m already looking for scouts for an academy! Hit me up if you know someone!)

Speaking of healing, God healed my dad of some strange, excruciating pain in his shoulder, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

I tasted love in 2013, met an awesome young man. I’m excited at the big and great things my Father has designed for me this year, for the grace and humility that led me to read books, listen/watch messages, especially in January. I’m growing (in faith and in my mind), learning about myself, amassing tips I will adapt as necessary; readying myself for the great man and home He has designed for me. And I can’t wait!

I asked God to lead me by hand this year, and not only has He been doing that (patiently, because I know I can be a piece of work), but He’s linked me with people I am accountable to, people I can openly talk to when I struggle, and not worry about anything. This is where I’m grateful for Francesca, Tomi, Wumi, and Tokunbo. Extraordinary women!

Bottomline, I’m not where I should be but ooh this year is so bright I’m excited at the things the rest of the months in the year will bring!

And so I testify today, of His goodness, and His mercy, and His grace, and His love, of His awesomeness and great glory.

I testify because there can never be a good enough explanation for God loving me the way He does, with all my flaws, imperfections and weaknesses. I can’t comprehend it (but then if I did, it wouldn’t be God na… He has to ‘show’ Himself)! Whoop!

I testify because I see 2014. Want to know what I’ve seen? I’ve seen a great year, full of peace, good news, love, hearing from and speaking to God, a complete dissociation from everything that doesn’t please Him, prosperity (oh yes, ooh yes), and immeasurable joy on every side.

This is the year, and I testify!

What are you grateful for? Share!



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So on Thursday night I said I would be doing a giveaway, the first ever on the blog, whoop! That story is here by the way, if you didn’t see it on the day.

I had a somewhat difficult Friday, and an entire day spent at the salon on Saturday (plus other sundry matters), and so I’m just getting to this now.

I got this tweet, and I was so touched she got in touch to find out so can I start by saying she’s our first winner? Congratulations Bukky Shaba! Thanks for caring enough to ask!

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 10.45.19

Now, I didn’t say what items I would be giving out, but if you saw the update on the items my friends had sent in for me to give out as well, it should have given you a bit of an idea!

I’m giving out books! Books! Books! Why? Well because I love to read, and social media strategist notwithstanding, few things give me more joy than curling up with a good book. Not with a kindle or an iPad or anything like that. So, why not give out stuff that I love?

Here’s the twist though, I won’t force my reading list on you, you get to pick exactly what you want!

So, here are the rules, as dictated by my partner in this venture, @HL_Blue

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.

That’s it!

No you don’t have to follow me on Twitter, send me a Facebook request or follow me on Instagram or any of those things. Naaa, you don’t need to.

You do need to be creative with the words you pick from the paragraphs though, if you want to win bad enough!

What happens next?

 @HL_Blue picks out the FIVE most creative sentences, you pick out ANY book you want on Amazon, and it’s yours! The only thing I ask is that you be gentle on my pocket :) There’s a £17 limit per winner. Use it wisely!

Time starts now, and the winners have to be chosen by Tuesday night! That gives me enough time to order, receive them, and send them down.

Who’s up for winning? Go! Go! Go!

Any questions? Tweet me @chiomachuka or @HL_Blue!

There are five other books up for grabs (thanks to my friends). If you want to give out a book too (anonymously or not), get in touch!

1. Preside or lead: the actions and actions of effective regulators by Scott Hempling (3 of them).

2. “Democracy and Prebendalism in Nigeria: Critical Interpretations” edited by Adebanwi and Obadare

“Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection” by Ethan Zuckerman

3. The Message Bible. (I mistakenly ordered two instead of one so instead of returning one, I’m going to give it one lucky winner!

P:S – Please leave your answers in the comments section! Would have said private mail me but I want the process to be as transparent as possible! Contribute to the body of knowledge! Lol (that’s something one of my tutors would always say.)

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So I woke up this morning and immediately felt like I wanted to do a giveaway on the blog. Whoop! Excited much because I’ve never done one before, and the thought alone of “being the answer to someone’s prayer” (however small) got me on a small high!

There was only one problem though, I didn’t know what to give, or how to give it! So, I went on Twitter, and because Igbo people say a person who asks for direction never misses his way, I asked, threw the question out there.

Here’s the reply that rocked the most for me.

Screenshot 2014-02-13 21.16.44

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Screenshot 2014-02-13 21.18.37

Screenshot 2014-02-13 21.18.59

Screenshot 2014-02-13 21.19.17

What do you think?

Amazing! My seat almost couldn’t contain me! See, I love strategies, and so it totally excites me when people come up with ideas literally at the drop of a hat (or tweet, lol).

Remember my #31Days31Writers project? The idea was adapted from an idea I saw this same guy @HL_Blue talk about? Yes I credited him for the idea jor.

So yeah, that’s the story behind this first giveaway! I can’t give away too much (pun intended), but here’s three things to note:

1. You get to choose what you want to win (to a reasonable extent)

2. There will be multiple winners (whoop)

3. I’m going to try to increase the winnings in the next 24 hours, see if the gifts go a bit further! Want to add something? Holla!

Right! So, let’s do it! Fingers crossed the rules will be up tomorrow!

UPDATE (Feb 14th): Last night one of my big friends added two books to the giveaway pot, and this morning, another friend added three!!!

Details will be up tonight, with the question! Come back then!

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I haven’t blogged in days because I thought I’d take a break from the writing after the very successful #31days31writers project. Plan was to come back tomorrow.

I saw something on Twitter this morning though, and just thought of put things in perspective. It’s about the Basket Mouth ‘rape’ post, his thoughts (or what I think his thoughts are), and the bit that made me write, his very distasteful apology.

A bit of history – Basket Mouth, real name Bright Okpocha is a comedian, a very successful one at that. He’s also got a very large following on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To contextualize ‘large following’, his posts on FB get as much as 6000 likes. Automatic opinion leader.

He put this up on Facebook last night:

I didn’t see it, cos I don’t follow him on Facebook. That post got approximately 5200 likes. A lot of people took him up on it this morning (especially on Twitter), and his only ‘response’ to the issue was to retweet this.


Of course that made stuff worse, and people really began to call him out. And if you’re familiar with Nigerian Twitter, when it is ‘your day’, it is your day.

Basket Mouth, in his ‘wisdom’, and probably under advisement from peers that the conversation on the issue was getting out of hand, decided to tweet an apology. Of course I captured it.

Here he is referring to the #ChildNotBride controversy from the middle of last year.

That’s it for history, at least up to the time of publishing this.

Personally, I think the joke was in bad taste. Very bad taste, and on a lot of levels. Start from racial profiling, and the silly stereotype that says ‘white girls are easy lays’. Aren’t we the ones who scream the loudest when Africa is lumped into one country?

Then there’s the African part of the equation that justifies rape because the man has done a, b, c, and d and still cannot get the girl into bed. Disgraceful.

And there’s the apology, which I think was a bigger insult on our sensibilities than the offending post.


To be honest, going beyond BasketMouth’s indiscretion (considering his influence online and offline), I’m more concerned with the over 5000 who thought it was funny. The ones who rebuked people who disagreed with rape being reduced as fodder for jokes, and were bold enough to say so.

Nigerian women already have a lot of issues they have to contend with everyday; I cannot count how many times I have written on violence (sexual or not) against women and young girls, and so to waste an opportunity to inspire, to abuse the loud voice/platform to effect change just grates.

The fact that his mind thought that up in the first place is worrying, remember the scripture that says, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is”? Everything we see in our world today starts in the mind.

For those who say it was just a joke, have you ever been raped? You, or a family member? Do you think it would still be a joke if you had been?

For those who say jokes about rape should be allowed because jokes about the disabled et al are allowed, who have you been listening to? You need to change your sources of entertainment!

Rape is wrong. Jokes about rape are distasteful, and wrong. Nothing anyone says will counter those two.

UPDATE – 6.37pm, I’m on the way from a glorious time at church, and I see on Twitter that he’s apologized, ‘properly’ this time. Ignore the grammatical errors please.


P:S – Dear BasketMouth, this joke was not misunderstood. There is nothing even remotely funny about rape.

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Ahh!!! Sista Nike is a sista and half! You know that ‘all that and a bag of chips’ saying? Well, Nike Coker is easily all that, a bag of chips, a fruit, coke, and a chocolate bar! I met her on Facebook in 2008 as a young corps member who wanted to organize an event in Abuja to commemorate World Aids day. Someone said, ‘talk to Nike Coker, she knows everyone you’ll need’.

From that first unsure, greetings-laced message was  born a friendship and sisterhood that has stood the test of everything, least of which is time. I remember calling her one very cold day in 2010 to say I wanted to give up on my Masters and come back to Nigeria… Lol, I made a lot of people panic that day sha! Sista talked with me till her airtime ran out, then she called with her husband’s phone (with the everlasting airtime, lol).

When my aunty passed, she flew in from Lagos on the day of the funeral (my fault she didn’t come in the day before), and came to the funeral straight from the airport with her bags in the boot of the cab. She’d asked two mutual friends to come be with me at the service of songs a couple days before. What more could friendship entail?

I just love her. She’s great, down to earth, smart, accomplished, and I bless her today from the very depths of my heart.

Before this becomes a post in itself,  here’s the one and only Chief Sista! #TeamGrizzly

My name is Nike Coker-Babalola. I am a lady, married, a Nigerian and I work as communications/entertainment junkie, however I’m most popularly known as a defender of the Sistahood.  I initiated a yearly program for women in Abuja that focuses on bringing women out of their shells, learning a new skill or two and seeing the glass as ALWAYS half full no matter what situation they find themselves.

Twitter : @sistasistanaija


One thing I’ve learnt this year? Be patient! Though that was never really a strong trait of mine but somehow I’ve learnt to let go and let God. I’m my own worst critic when it comes to projects, but being patient and letting issues run its course have helped me realise that the whole world can run on my own efforts alone. I ask for help when I need it and I’m not hurt when it doesn’t meet my exact needs at that exact time.

What’s one thing I’m grateful for? Family! The backbone to every society.  My very own cheerleading squad, the same people who will listen to my endless ideas (both plausible and slightly stupid), give me candid thoughts, arm wrestle me in tough arguments or call my bluff. I can’t toss them away even if I wanted to! My family is here to stay.

One thing I’d do different this year if I could? Make more phone calls. In the new world of Blackberry pings, Whatsapp  messages  and emails on the go…I know I have failed in follow-up phone calls.  That “out-of-the-blue” phone call that brings a smile on someone else’s face. Putting aside my issues to care for someone else. 2014 is round the corner, I intend to make up for that.

The Chief Sista!

The Chief Sista! Love you to bits!!

Now, Tolu and I have never met. I stumbled on his blog early in the year, where he tries to chronicle everyday of moving back to Nigeria, and after a short while I would run there for a laugh, encouragement, or just a glimmer of light for my dark day.

He is VERY funny, writes brilliantly, and I was excited when he said he would join this project. Holding up the 14th day of my #31Days31Writers project, the lovely Tolu!

My name is Tolu Onile-Ere, I am Nigerian (& British), and I work at Playhouse Communication Ltd, a digital advertising agency in Nigeria.

One thing I’ve learned this year? Well, I found out I was adopted.

Just kidding, although am sure my parents and siblings often wish it was true.

Sorry, couldn’t resist and it felt like I had to say something major. But truth be told I know I’ve learned loads of small things but nothing that major. Wonder if that is something to be thankful for or something to worry about cos it could mean that I have coasted through this year and have not pushed myself.

Okay, I’ll have to think about that and tell you what I learn next year.

What am I most grateful for? I’m grateful for winning the lottery.

Just kidding again.

Ok, no bullshit, everyday I am grateful for what I have – my family, my friends, everything.

And if I could, one thing I would do differently.

Sorry, am writing this so I set the rules. So I’m not saying just one thing:
I wish I had loved more,
lost my temper less,
taken more chances,
worried less,
laughed more,
attended fewer funerals,
been closer to my God,
spent more time with my son…

And I think I’ll stop there.

Feet!!! Tolu!! By the way, Tolu has an amazing blog here...

Feet!!! Tolu!! By the way, Tolu has an amazing blog here…

My fondest memory of Dami is tweeting her questions from my nephew’s assignment sometime last year. She was so quick with the answers the 7-year-old was amazed! I remember he said, “see how aunty Chioma helped me with all my homework without delay”. I felt so smart! I should tell him about Twitter soon!

Dami is smart!! She’s my online dictionary, and I know that whenever I’m stuck on a sentence or anything related to English, my first DM goes to her. 

She’s very reflective in this post, and I’ll let you get on with it already! Here’s Dami!

My name is Dami Oyedele, I am Nigerian, and I work in management consulting. As an aspiring math nerd and a child of the Pentecostal Faith Movement, I’m a big fan of numbers and their significance. Hence, around the end of last year, I became filled with a sense that 2013 was going to be a landmark year for me. It would be the 7th year after I went through a personal crisis that changed the course of my life – a path that is still beautifully shaping me to this day. It was also the year I would turn 25! I had massive expectations for where I wanted my life to be as I turned prime-number-five raised to the power of two; grace squared; a quarter of a century.

By mid-January, I already had my year planned out in my head and on paper. I knew where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do, and where I didn’t want to be for every month till the end of the year. I even drew up a countdown calendar for one of my goals, and I ticked it religiously and excitedly (as evident from my picture!).

Countdown Calendar

Did 2013 live up to my plans? I struggle to conclude on that, especially now, three weeks to the end of a year that has been simultaneously harrowing and intensely beautiful; disappointing and pleasantly surprising. Let’s just say that as the year progressed, most of my plans were either remixed or thrown out of the window.

For someone whose signature mantra is “fly with me – the journey is the destination”, I shouldn’t be surprised, but I always am. The twists and turns I inevitably encounter in getting from Point A to B are full of rich lessons. This year, the lessons were summarized as thus: in my own strength and on my own terms, I am average at best. I saw clearly how I repeatedly sabotage my own progress, and I discovered far too many character flaws that need work. I would despair at this epiphany, but I am fortunate to also be coming to terms with the unconditional love of the One who encoded my DNA, flaws and all.

He made promises for the year 2013, but didn’t spell them out to me in full because I would not have believed. He just unraveled them as the days went by, and is still leaving me stunned. 2013 did not turn out precisely as I wanted it to. It even missed the mark in many ways, but by God, it has undoubtedly been my best year yet. For that I am truly thankful, and can’t wait for next year.

White House Photo Cropped

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

How did I meet Jeremy? I think it was last year, when I spotted him in an Etisalat service centre and I tweeted him to confirm. Somehow it was him, and we met up for a coffee the next day and ended up discussing social media, politics in Nigeria, potential collaboration opportunities, the works. It was such a profound, eye-opening discussion, and I’m grateful for his friendship.

Funnily, I met his partner Bibi two years earlier, and we’ve bumped into each other everywhere since then! Layovers, restaurants, events, Bibi’s pleasant.

Halfway through the #31Days31Writers project, say hello to Jeremy Weate!


My name is Jeremy. I do various things, but I’m happy to say I don’t have a single “job”.  Large chunks of my time in recent years have been spent in faraway places advising governments on making the most of their natural resources.  However, I’m also a co-founder of Cassava Republic ( and I tweet (@jeremyweate). I am not sure I learned anything new this year.  However, the start of it was spent at a detox retreat drinking vegetable juice and psyllium. I learned that you can survive for weeks at a time without eating solid food and be rejuvenated.  I also remembered how wonderful colonic hydrotherapy is. I thoroughly recommend it.

I suppose rather than learning anything new, three things formed a long and deepening narrative thread in my thinking this year.  First, the idea that consciousness is as fundamental, if not more fundamental, than matter.  The signs are everywhere, if we learn how to look: in paranormal experiences, in quantum theory, in the failure to explain consciousness in hard-science materialist terms. It’s curious how vehement and closed-minded the skeptical backlash is.  I hope that in this lifetime, we get much closer to a more balanced view of the cosmos, that integrates the foundational role of reflection and of spirit.

Second, it dawned more deeply on me that our human species has truly trashed the planet, and that very difficult days are ahead.  Just a few days ago, I was with friends who have young children.  All I could think was what a terrible mess we have bequeathed these innocent beings.  There are too many people burning too much carbon, and they and we will have to pay.  Humans may likely survive this century, just as they did when the ice melted 10,000 years ago.  But I fear much civilization will be lost, yet again, and the violence will be horrific.  I hope I’m wrong, and an Elon Musk type genius can invent something (rather than faff about with space tourism) to keep us below two degrees of planetary warming.

Thirdly, I realized that Nigeria really is headed for disaster.  Desertification in the North marching at a mile-a-year, overpopulation, a massive lack of jobs, rising sea-levels (not stopping some from building cities in the sea), a numbskull leadership, a brainwashed followership, a constitution that doesn’t fit the country’s needs. Nigeria is one of the places where climate change is going to have a terrible impact.  Could the storm be more perfect?  The ruthlessly kleptocratic elite will not slake their oil-thirst, unless there is a revolution (or the oil dries up, or becomes unmarketable).  But the potential revolutionaries are too materialistically aspirational to resist the lure of co-option for long.  The unbought and unbuyable are too few in number.  This is an unfolding all too human tragedy, that will have consequences for many elsewhere.  It could be otherwise: can the APC develop a non-oil vision for the country, and effectively implement it?

I am grateful for Bibi, the small group of friends that I have, and for my parents.  Gratitude is better not spread too thin, for riches lie hidden in small numbers.



How did I even meet Fran? This lovely sister girl? Earliest recollection was buying some gifts from her for a young man I was seeing. Relationship was a disaster but no it wasn’t because of the gifts, lol!

Francesca is a darling, a great friend and encourager, and if you don’t have a Francesca in your life, you’re definitely missing out! I know two, and they are amazing!

For the 13th day of the #31days31writers project, I present Fran!

Who says black men shouldn’t cry?

I was a having a mid-day conversation with a former colleague of mine; we were talking about a guy who had been ‘toasting’ her.

“I don’t really like him,” she said.

“Babe why na?” I asked.

Her response: “He’s too sensitive. Imagine the other day something happened to him; he started crying, just like that!” If I was surprised (which I totally, absolutely was), I didn’t let it show.

“You didn’t like the fact that he was crying?” I probed further.

“At all o!” she replied. “Why should a man be crying? Is he a woman? Can’t he control himself?”

I looked at her for a long moment in shock, offended on behalf of this man who I’d never met and saddened because she would do away with him, this man who she had already branded weak – and why? He cried. Simple.

He cried. He didn’t commit murder, he didn’t rape someone. He just gave into a purely human impulse and let it all come out. Yet, somehow, because of that he had somehow become less of a man.

These are some of the things I struggle with – first, the notion that crying or any expression of ‘soft’ emotion is the exclusive preserve of women, or that men, because they are ‘meant to’ be tough and strong (emphasis on meant to), should somehow pack everything in and never ever show any emotion. It seems to me that the only emotion we want to see from men is when they are in charge, in control, taking over the world, or like Thor, killing off villains. But we forget that men have emotions too (sometimes running even deeper than women), they have needs that they are not always eager (or able) to express, because after all, they are men and so must be ‘strong.’ We forget that even Thor in all his gorgeous, blonde-haired glory, while hammering away evil, needed and thrived on the love from his girlfriend and mother.

And this is where our work as women begins – first as mothers, to encourage and raise our sons to embrace and exhibit sensitivity, the same way we would encourage them to play ‘police & thief’ or soccer. To let them know that no man by himself is a super-hero and that it is not a sign of weakness if he chooses to crumble every now and again. Then as sisters, wives, girlfriends, lovers, etc – to let them know that it is okay to let it out, to not be judgemental or condescending. To create an enabling environment where a man feels confident enough to let down his guard, where he knows that he won’t be laughed at or harangued to hell and back.

For me, it may be easier to say or write all of this, than it is to put it into practice; but it is something we must all do. Why? Because perversely, these men think they have to put up a show for us, to be strong and macho for us women, or else we would laugh at them. Imagine what would happen if they knew they didn’t have to carry this useless, meaningless, crippling baggage? Imagine seeing a man cry and instead of saying something (stupid) like “Be strong, men don’t cry.” You just squeezed him really tightly to let him know that you were there, or allowed him cry on your bosom? Imagine that. Imagine the strength, imagine the possibilities, imagine the change.

We should ask ourselves if not expressing emotion is a sign of strength or weakness. I say it’s a weakness, because the resultant effect of not ever engaging or expressing emotion is that these men become useless husks.

My name is Onomarie Uriri, I am Nigerian, and I am a Public Relations specialist.

Francesca Uriri

Simply gorgeous!

Alkasim was my neighbour at the BBC World Service Trust in Abuja, and shortly before I left the country, he became my boss. It’s not the fact that he is wise beyond his years, it’s not the fact that he’s a journalist of international repute, it’s not even the fact that his knowledge of history always sends me to Wikipedia (earning me the nickname ‘Wiki kenan); it’s the fact that Alkayy is perhaps the most down-to-earth person I’ve ever met.

I would go on, but before I tempt that humility we all love him for, I present my neighbour, Alkayy!

My name is Alkasim Abdukadir, I am fiercely Nigerian. I work as an international freelance journalist in Nigeria, and the link to my most recent piece for African Arguments is here.

I have always known that after all trials and tribulations light will always come at dawn; this Hausa saying is even more blunt -Bayan wuya sai dadi -loosely translated to mean that after the hardship comes enjoyment.

In retrospect this year though, I came to understand that in the end everything will fall into place, not necessarily the way we want but somehow we will get by.

It is amazing what the human mind can endure/ how challenging the times can get. It is doubly tragic that people can let you down, just because they can, to show their god-complex – from family members to friends to bosses and those whose loyalty really matters.

A family member was out of work for two years, because he lost out in office politics, and it became imperative for me to stand-up and support his dependents not because I am the most conscientious person or the most wealthy, not even because I treasure family, but because it was the right thing to do. I must confess when the  requests came sometimes it was not only heart breaking but also debilitating; the thought of what people in this country go through. Imagine this sms: “Please send us money, we are out of food again, we are cooking the last grains this afternoon”.

How could a mid-level manager end up like this? Life and Nigeria happened, I say.

And then imagine the times, when my paycheck was delayed, the untold misery it caused at the other end was just unthinkable.

This is just one of several episodes of need that surrounded one this year.

I am grateful that in the end, succour came in the form of a new job and a new lease of life for my family member; though pressure still persists from other quarters, the biggest hurdle had been crossed. I am grateful that I didn’t falter nor flee when I was most needed. That I remained resolute, even though it was hard, that I shared of my heart when it mattered most.

If I had another chance to do it again, I would do exactly the same, just that this time I would go a notch higher, because light always comes at dawn.

Dapper!!! Whoop!!!

Dapper!!! Whoop!!!

Vote for my neighbour’s article please!