Hello people!

So, let’s catch up on my Saturday, and some thoughts accruing from that.

So I woke up to photos published by Dele Momodu in his new The Boss Newspapers about Diezani Allison-Madueke and how cancer has ravaged her body. It reminded me of my first degree, and how a particular lecturer would always say, “the medium is the message”. So, for instance, former president Goodluck Jonathan (and now President Muhammadu Buhari) have a peculiar penchant for talking to foreign media over our local journos. Why? The medium.

I feel like if that interview had been published by anyone else (insert the name of a print publication you trust/favor/think are credible), the backlash and accusation of image laundering would have been greatly reduced.

That said, I don’t like to have discussions about cancer when I can help it because it’s very personal to me, and regardless of who it is, somehow I’m always drawn back to 2013 and my aunt, etc. And I talked about that a bit on Saturday because I think that we’re slowly losing our humanity – this rejoicing we do when harm befalls someone. I talked along these lines when the death of Diepriye Alamieyeseigha was announced, I might publish thoughts on that too.

Another thing that amuses me is the deluded way we now ‘hold court’ on Twitter. Has someone committed a crime? Report to the appropriate authorities. Sue them. Charge them to court. Research, find out how you as an ordinary citizen can strengthen the case against them either by gathering signatures for a petition or writing to your local or national representative. But coming on Twitter to pronounce them guilty? Lol. So unfortunate. Even worse, you hear people say things like “they have to come on Twitter to defend themselves”. To whom/before who? Or else? Who are you again? This thing people smoke/drink that gives them wings should be studied.

It’s a dangerous trend we’re setting; ruining reputations on the basis of what one person (many times faceless) has said. What’s to say it’s not a smear campaign? What’s to say the facts haven’t been exaggerated? What’s to say… I could go on and on. And even if they were true, Twitter is not the place where a murderer or a rapist gets their comeuppance. If, for instance, someone’s been raped, the (logical) thing to do would be to report it. If the Police Station doesn’t treat you right (and that’s the more probable thing that will happen), come; let’s march to the Police Headquarters with you. Let’s write letters, raise a storm online that will translate to offline justice.

But don’t come on social media and ruin people’s reputation hiding behind a computer, especially with incomplete, potentially incorrect information. It’s just awful. Ugh! We say trials by the media are bad, well, mob action via social media is worse!

My mother says if you call someone a thief in the marketplace, if/when you find out the person is not a thief, you won’t be able to call everyone back to say you were wrong. Social media in many respects, is a marketplace, with no barrier. “The phone has become the predominant portal for Internet access,” says David Greenfield, a psychologist and founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction in West Hartford, Connecticut. “Which means you can do it all the time. There is literally no threshold to cross.” So a lot of us have become thumb warriors, wreaking havoc and causing grief either because we’re influential, or because we want to be influential. It almost becomes a competition to see who can be the nastiest, who can be the most brazen.

This is where personal social responsibility comes in. Would you normally say everything that comes to your mind? Hopefully the answer is no. Why do we feel the need to act differently then because we’re online? Why do we not spare a thought before we click ‘send’?

We must as a matter of urgency, do away with the school of thought that says that the things we say online are without consequences. On the other side of the great power/influence that social media affords us are the greater risks. Freedom of expression/speech? Definitely, but with freedom comes responsibility. We cannot be touting freedom as an excuse to incite others to violence, to mask hate (under intellectualism especially), or to provoke mass hysteria.

A lot of us end up with egg on our faces because we jump into conclusions we’ve formed based on one side of the story (we and whoever we influence as we go) when we can look to the appropriate quarters for complete information.

We can do better. Let’s do better.


Sometime in December 2014 I told myself the truth;I had become overweight in a way that wasn’t cute anymore. So I’m naturally big-boned, but I remember looking at myself in a mirror and agreeing with myself that what I was seeing wasn’t big bones, it was fat.

I didn’t like what I saw.

It was difficult to ‘take action’ though, I was in America (Houston to be precise, where everything is bigger), and I remember that beyond one run, and maximum four hours in the gym, I didn’t do anything closely or remotely related to keeping fit, eating right, or working out.

And did it show or what! By the time I came back in January (of course I spent a bit of time in England as well), I was… big (the nicest way to refer to it).

That January I attended an event in Lagos, and a friend of mine who now runs a magazine saw me and my friend Omojuwa and took photos of us for his magazine. I was tagged in the photos and pretty as they are, I haven’t accepted them on my wall because…

I didn’t like what I saw.

I still didn’t take action. Till April, when I woke up one day, and said I was going to hire a popular dietician on Instagram to work me through meals. After the initial conversation and she telling me how much it would cost per month, I spent the next three days trying to get her to take my call. She was either busy, or busy, or busy. I kinda lost count of how many “I’ll call you back” texts I got.

One week Bestie and I decided to go on a fruits and vegetables fast; I don’t even think I was eating any fruits past plums whenever I could find them in Lagos or Abuja, so it was quite the challenge. But we did it! By the sixth day our bellies were running, we were literally living in the loo (sorry) but we went on to the 7th day. No work out at all.

That 7th day I felt different. Something I’d bought in January which couldn’t fit anymore (in April), managed to zip. And all of a sudden, there wasn’t anything I wanted as bad as all my old trad attires (going back to 2012) to fit. By this time I was a size 14, and in the gang of people who blame ‘different cuts by different brands’ for their clothes not fitting.

So I started walking, started going to the gym, and I discovered My Fitness Pal somehow, and I started counting calories. I walked, A LOT. I have a bum right knee so jogging and skipping give me a lot of trouble (except I want to wear a knee brace the next day) so I walked. I remember one day I walked 3 hours at a stretch. Interestingly, I had malaria, I’d just come back from a number of trips rolled in one, so I was exhausted. But I clocked about 19 kilometres that day, and over 26, 000 steps.

That’s true, I got a pedometer (step counter) too – Accupedo; this I downloaded on my phone. Can I just say that calorie counting outside Nigeria is a lot easier for me? Simply because there’s a lot more labelling on foods and so it’s easy to scan bar codes and just move on. Here I have to estimate, but I’m getting the hang of that too.

Here’s the thing, and this probably differentiates me from a number of people on a fitness journey – I still ate (and eat) everything I like, but in moderation. And I work hard to stay under my calorie limit per day. I’ll give you an example. So I have a 1200calorie limit per day yeah. I can have a snickers bar during the day, but because that’s 242kcal, I know that I have less than a thousand left for the whole day. Plus, I know that eating it just before I go to bed is a bad idea, better to eat it in the morning and walk/work it off somehow during the day. Also, the day I eat a snickers bar is the day I must go to the gym. Get my drift?

I think I went for 70 days straight, calorie counting and sometimes these days I don’t count anymore. But I am unconsciously conscious of what goes into my mouth, and whether I need to balance it out or not. E.g yesterday I had a bottle of schweppes (my first in weeks) which is 100kcal, I had moimoi and garri with milk in the morning (I was craving that), and I had coconut rice with cantonese chicken for lunch. I was still well under my 1200 calorie limit but I went to the gym, clocked just under 600kcal with my workout, and had a fruit platter for dinner. So by the time I clicked submit for the day, I was good. Very good.

Then I had cause to go to Lagos a lot and so a friend would take me to the National Stadium, and I picked up boxing. All I can say is, don’t look for my trouble, I can fight now! I also attended gym classes wherever I could find them in whatever city I was in. Lol… There are videos on my Instagram that are as painful as they are oh-so-effective!

By June,  the compliments started rolling in. Which was great because I wasn’t seeing any dramatic changes yet, but I wanted the compliments to continue, so I kept on. More like I was feeding off them; some days it was the motivation I needed to keep going on.

Can I say a big God bless you to my mom as well? Each time I visited, she would cook me veggie heavy meals, and stay up with me while I worked out. God bless you maman!

I bought a Polar I think in July when I went to England, and tested it out with a one hour walk/jog under the intense summer sun. I think I clocked over 1000kcal with that, and I fell in love with it! You won’t find me working out anywhere without my Polar now.

Another thing I did? I danced! Oh boy I love dancing, and when I found out how much I lose per dance session, my feet wouldn’t stay in one place! I also got a nice selection of high energy songs that I listen to while I work out especially at the gym – can’t entrust my fitness or energy levels into someone else’s hands please.

It’s been a long time from that week in April, and I’m officially 12kg lighter, and a size 10. My statistics have changed dramatically too, and I’ve recently sent off a whole suitcase of traditional attires (some of them dating back to 2010) off to be refitted because I’m swimming in them!

Are you trying to lose weight? I’d say moderation over cutting out foods completely, and no, do not work out EVERY day. Your body will break down sooner than later, and it is simply unsustainable. Find stuff you love to do, and increase the intensity as you go. Eat the things you love to eat, but in moderation or as rewards to yourself. Otherwise you’ll get tired too soon, and start to pile it back on. There was a time when I told myself I could only have a soda on an international flight, so I looked forward to those.

Also, acknowledge there will be some bad days, and it’s ok. There was the day in New York (this September) I was so tired and hungry I had stir fry with all sorts of things on brown rice, then I had a slice of chocolate cake with some cream, and I went to bed immediately after. Kai! I felt so guilty the next morning, you’d think I’d killed someone. But, I just picked up with breakfast, and tried to do better that day.

More important, and I’m afraid this is one of the cliché tips, look at your body. Like, stand before a mirror, and look at yourself. The bits you want to change? Look at them long and hard. And then work towards the picture of them you would rather look at.

I have 8kg more to lose (because I want to convince myself that it is possible for me to be that size), and hopefully, the next time I ever write about this journey, there’ll be a photo of rock-hard abs to boot.


I’d like to tell a story (one that is long overdue); one that I hope will inspire you, confuse you (like it did me at some point), and more importantly open you up to do things even you thought you were unable to do. Ready?

So, I studied social media for a Master’s Degree, knew as soon as I was done that much as I loved my job at the BBC World Service Trust (now Media Action) producing the award-winning Story Story, I wanted to start a consultancy, teach people to communicate with their audiences using social media. And I did. I’ve been privileged to work for the best of the best since then.

While I was outside Nigeria, I benefited from a host of events, support groups, picked up tips and tricks, and generally enjoyed the opportunity to share knowledge, learn new stuff, stay on top. Some of these events were as particular as ‘black women in tech’, ‘black women who code’, etc.

I didn’t have that here in Nigeria, and after a while, I grumbled. And moved on. And grumbled, and moved on. I mentioned this need to my friends Fatu Ogwuche and Nana Nwachukwu once, talked about the need to hold an event/create a community of women, and still moved on. I even had a conversation with Iyin Aboyeji of Andela at Salamander Cafe and I remember him encouraging me to stick with women as against males and females for the event. Angel Adelaja of Zahara Spa popped into the cafe for a separate meeting but somehow joined our conversation and promised to support it!

One day in August 2015, I was in the office with Andy Madaki, and I said I was going to hold an event to see how many women were working in technology in Abuja, see what we could learn from each other, and how we could collaborate, and support each other. And while I was talking to him, I knew immediately that if I didn’t commit to it, I wouldn’t do it.

We talked about a name for it and for the sake of pride I won’t mention the names I came up with! By the time I was done with a concept note, Andy coined the name TechHer, and I loved it. And his designer created the logo, and I loved it too!


Then he showed me how to create a Google Form (I’d never had to create one before that day), and in minutes there were six questions and a link on Twitter. In 24 hours 45 women had signed up to attend. I thought, “huh? Where are we going to keep them?”

Our registration form!

At some point we had to close our registration form because we panicked! Then we opened it the next day for another 24 hours because I got inundated with emails. What a great problem to have!

I told my bestie Wumi and my sister Adaora about it; also spoke with Tolu Onile-Ere of PlayHouse Communications, my friend Blaze Otokpa of Blazing Images, etc; by this time I was looking for gifts for our fishbowl raffle. Tolu immediately said his organization would give us N20, 000 worth of data. Whoop! They were our first donors and a much-needed boost at a time when most people I’d spoken to had started disappointing me, stopped replying emails, that kind of thing. *Smile*

I was with my mom and sister in my sister’s office one day, almost pulling out my hair cos we didn’t have a venue. And then I thought, “I’ll just call Jackie Farris”. And I did, and soon as I mentioned what I wanted, she said, “sure, come have a look and tell me what room you want.” Boom! Tears of joy baby! They ended up giving us the gorgeous Exhibition Hall of the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Center, and sound equipment too! Thank you!

My friend Nana paid the stipend for the photographer Blazing Images gave us for the day, and I’m so thankful to Nana, and to Blaze because we wouldn’t have been able to afford their services!

There were also people like Amplified Radio and HolyHill Church who livestreamed, Zahara Spa who gave us a voucher to give out, and every other group who gave us gifts to give away.

Let’s backtrack a bit now.

When by the third day of the link being out, we had over 90 people registered, it occurred to me that this was becoming a little bigger than I’d intended it to be. That meant I needed to think. We decided to build a site and get on social media formally, and here I must thank Dimgba Kalu of Learn Code who built us a pretty website in less than 72 hours. Check on it www.techherng.com. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram too.

Where was I? The day was glorious (there’s a roundup here) –  big thank you to my dad for flying my mom in and out of Abuja to support me, to my sister who ended up staying outside the hall to pack the refreshments we got into bags, to Wumi who kept calling to encourage me, to Fatu and Nana – you girls will rule the world I promise – thank you! And to God, who placed the idea in my heart, who keeps strengthening my team and opening doors, we’re so thankful!

Since then, we’ve started a Whatsapp group where we have periodic giveaways, vote on whether Chrome is better than Mozilla’s Firefox, share opportunities, interesting stuff! We also send out periodic newsletters.

What else? On Wednesdays, we profile women in technology who are doing great things, on Thursday we teach a tech-related topic across all our social media, and on Fridays we publicise female businesses across our social media.

TechHer is hinged on three things – support, learning, and collaboration; the idea is to enable whatever women are already doing via technology, and everyday we think of new ways to achieve that. We think of going beyond the call to get women into STEM and are focused on how to keep the ones who are here; how to help them be better at things they do.

We also have to events planned in Abuja this month of November. The first starts on the 17th of November (next week Tuesday), and is ten classes on coding. There’s an entire module prepared for that; please email hello@techherng.com if you’re interested. It’s free.

We also want to teach our women to design, develop, and manage their websites themselves. That’s on the 27th of November, and is also free. Please register here.

Also, we’re planning a TechHer event for Port Harcourt this December, which I am very excited (and worried) about. I know it will come to pass, despite the odds we seem to be facing now.

So, that’s where we are, what we’re doing, and what we plan to do! From a trickle to a roar! Are you female, curious about or working in technology? You should join us! We might come to your city next!


In December 2013 I did something called #31Days31Writers, and the whole idea was for people to tell one thing they were grateful for, one thing they’d learned, and one thing they would change if they could relive 2013 all over again.

The responses were as diverse as they were gorgeous! I loved reading every one of them, editing, and then experiencing the emotions that run through each piece. Awesome time!

I did a mid-year edition in July last year, and have wished I had time to run another edition since then! Now I’m ready! Whoop!

Who can join in? Anyone! Be sure to read up a number of the entries from 2013 before you send in yours, so you have a proper idea of what it should read like.

What do I need you to write about? 600 words (I’ll accept a little above or below – not greater than 100 words each way) stating

  1. Name, nationality/nationalities, place of residence (not address, just area), what you do.
  2. One thing you’re grateful for
  3. One thing you’ve learned this year
  4. One thing you would undo if you could (don’t want to tag them as regrets).
  5. Then send in a photo of yourself! Last year a friend sent in a photo of his feet, lol. We’d much prefer your face thank you!

That’s it! There are 31 days in December, and I have 15 slots to give away; I always select 15 people I feel I want everyone to hear from (taking nationality, location, profession et al into cognisance, and then there’s the one slot I keep for myself. Here’s what I wrote about in 2013.

As always, it’s a first come, first serve basis, I’ve never said no to an article whether I know the person or not, long as you get yours in before the slots are all taken up. Interested? Send your entry to dfairygodsister@gmail.com

So excited! Can’t wait to start reading all of them! Whoop!

Exactly one week ago I was in Lagos recently for the #TheREDSummit, the 10th anniversary of Red Media Africa, and the gala in honour of 121 media legends of our time. Truly successful event which I was proud to be a part of. It was exciting to meet people (some I didn’t know and others I’d built relationships with on social media), to listen to different views on media, communication, the next 10 years, etc. Two ladies stood out from all the new people I met; Adenike of Naija Info FM, and Toyin Poju Oyemade – gorgeous women who love God and are fun, down-to-earth, I could go on and on! Truly exciting.

Gala night... so much fun! Rocking my new haircut - love it!

Gala night… so much fun! Rocking my new haircut – love it!

I also enjoyed the time away from work (even though I was pretty much working from my hotel), from Abuja, from the norm. I thank God for the opportunity to travel which always ‘disrupts’; I wonder how bored I would be if I couldn’t ‘up and go’ every once in a while.

I spent a lovely time in Lagos, almost destroyed by the traffic (which is high up on the list of why I  detest the place to be honest). On Saturday I’d gone to the University of Lagos to be a part of the event organised for students in media and communications drawn from a number of schools. I met some really fascinating people, including Anita Erskine, a former Studio 53 presenter who was brutally honest when we spoke about wake-up calls, women helping women, and how she got to where she is now after waking up one morning and Studio 53 was over (for a number of reasons). Love her!

I left with Tosin Ajibade (Olorisupergal), and we were stuck in traffic just leaving Yaba for approximately 2 hours 45 minutes. Sweet baby Jesus I dislike Lagos for the traffic! It was awesome to talk through social media et al with her the entire time (wonder what I would have done if I was in a cab) but I got back to my hotel and passed out!

Speaking of hotels, one day I’ll chronicle the different hotels/hostels I’ve stayed in in this life; this trip was spent between Oriental Hotel and The MoorHouse. Obviously the latter beat the former hands down!

On Sunday I went to brunch with my girl Tokes and her friend (now my friend) Joy; we went to The George Hotel, also in Ikoyi. Hilarious afternoon full of good food (which I love), great laughs, and even greater conversation! I know we shouldn’t (so soon) but I’m looking forward to doing that again!

Then it was back to the hotel, snatched up my things and sped off to the airport. Made good time, checked in, and we boarded a 5.30pm flight on time. Medview. Remember the drama on Wednesday when I flew in with them? That story is here.

So we take off, I’m wedged between a guy with a really smelly armpit and a buxom, really chubby lady. I decide I will distract myself from the fact that I don’t have a window seat.

The pilot comes on to say hello and announces there’s a storm coming over Abuja and he’s going to try to get us there before it, and to enjoy the flight. I settle into the book I took off my friend Chinma (was so good to see her, especially since we missed each other in Boston just last month)!

Next thing I know, the plane LITERALLY drops; taking my stomach with it. The next 10 -13 minutes all I can see from straining to see past the lady’s arm/body are thick clouds, all we can feel is bumpiness, like we were trying (albeit unsuccessfully) to avoid potholes. Everyone started praying (loudly), except the man with the smelly armpit. He just looked straight on.

I was afraid. I’ve seen turbulence, but never  like this. And then someone started saying, “Father if it is your will”, and in my mind I’m like, “I’m under 30. God’s plan for me is NOT a violent death”. And so I willed myself to block her voice out of my mind, and started praying for composure for the pilot.

The longest 11 minutes of my life. I thought of my nephew, and how he wouldn’t remember me, and then of my folks and how crushed they would be. Instructive to note I didn’t think of work, folks owing me (and they are plenty, sigh), or of anything beyond my nephew and my folks.

I snapped out of those thoughts, and this song came to my mind. “Miracle Worker” by Glowreeyah Braimah and Nathaniel Bassey (it’s one of my favourite songs ever) and so I was alternating between the song and prayer.

Pilot (Captain Boye) comes on. Says we couldn’t avoid the storm, and he can’t land so he’s going to go ‘try’ through “The East”. He sounded so calm (and I was really thankful he was communicating with us – God bless him). Cue at least 30 minutes of circling. Lagos to Abuja is approximately 50 minutes; we took off before 6pm and by 7.30pm, we were still solidly in the air.

I started listening for the sound of the wings broadening (I’ve become used to that sound) because it tells me we’re starting to descend. Sometimes I’d hear a sound, but it wouldn’t be it. The woman beside me started singing Igbo songs, and I remembered my mother. And I prayed even harder.

It went quiet for a bit.

Then I heard it. The unmistakable sound of the wings. We’d commenced our descent! I started crying. Then the pilot announced it, and the woman beside me started crying too. She hugged me, and in that moment I felt my Aunty Pat. So I hugged her, and rested my head on her ample bosom for a bit.

The landing was rough but I didn’t care. What!!! People started clapping, shouting. “Praise the Lord, Halleluyah, God is good” rent the air, and people congratulated each other as soon as they dried their eyes. Even the men. Even the hostesses. Pilot was unavailable to the folks who wanted to say hello (I totally understand). Everyone started calling everyone. I rang my sister.

She said she was asleep and when the rain started (apparently it was that intense), it woke her up, she rang me and when my number was unavailable, she knew I was in the air and started praying.

Here's the birdie that brought us home...

Here’s the birdie that brought us home… Notice I wasn’t the one taking pictures…

I got my luggage, got in a cab, tweeted “God himself landed our plane tonight”, and wept all the way home. Get there and guess who runs to get the door? My nephew. Cue fresh tears as my munchkin wrapped himself around my neck. Boo thang didn’t even notice my tears with the 100 questions he started asking.

Exactly one week after that flight, and my eyes are still watering as I type. As I imagine how the story could have ended different.

But it didn’t. And I’m thankful. Today, and everyday.


First off, how una dey? How are you wrapping up your year? Nicely I hope… I saw something recently that said even if it doesn’t look like it now, keep working at it. So, keep working, that breakthrough is closer than you think!

So what are we on about today? Marriage. You know, the concept of getting joined traditionally, in the court of law and before God and then spending the rest of a lifetime with a spouse? The one with the wedding day and two dress changes, and the traditional wedding with two or three outfit changes? That one.

According to our ‘societal norms’, there’s an age period where it becomes acceptable to bring a guy home/take a lady to meet your folks. Never mind that leading up to that age (for the ladies especially) you’re not supposed to even recognize that males exist! Lol.

There is also the age when your family members (nuclear or extended) start to drop hints and prayers all over the place, about the ‘person God has designed for you’, about ‘everyone not being perfect’, about ‘not being too picky because all men/women are the same’, about ‘slowing down with work because the clock is ticking’. Hian! The age where every wedding you attend you hear things like, ‘the next one is your own’, ‘go outside and meet people’, and my personal favorite, ‘why are you standing with your cousin na, people will think he’s your boyfriend’… Lol! Thank God for families!

So, I’m female, and will write from that point of view. Ok? In the last 24 hours, I’ve heard the most horrible stories about some married folk I know, and I will give lean details about three. All of them have children, either boys and girls or single sexes. One of them hasn’t seen her husband in a little over two years, and he’s left her a mountain of debt so she has to fend off creditors apart from take care of the home. He’s alive, and well, not just home. Another one buried her husband who committed suicide in front of her children while she was at work. He was a chronic gambler. The third one took great pleasure in expressing whatever frustrations he felt from his job through his hands, on his wife. The first (and only time) one of the children clung to him to stop the beating, he landed that child in hospital from the transferred aggression.

Now. I know all men are not like that, matter of fact for each of these horrible stories, I have at least 5 of homes that are great, growing in love and grace. Are there days when one spouse might want to wring the neck of the other from vexation? Of course. But that’s where it ends. Are there days when they might not even speak because one person is that upset? Of course. But they always come back together, either at bedtime or the day after, and they keep on loving and learning each other.

There was a story on social media recently about a man who slapped his 28 year old wife and she fell down the stairs, sustained fatal injuries. The end. Apparently he had been hitting her for a while but she was advised to ‘endure, stay and make the marriage work, not bring shame to the family’. Well, except there’s a chance for that in heaven, that’s that isn’t it? And it isn’t just the men being violent, I’ve heard of females (know a couple) who would draw blood from their spouses. Na wa.

Sometimes I’m not sure to be honest, is it that our generation has been tainted by the content we’re exposed to or families back in the day were better at hiding domestic abuse from their children? Is it that our parents came from a school that didn’t see divorce as an option or our generation is more interested in putting away than working at things? I don’t know.

Once upon a time I belonged to the school of thought that said that a spouse who would end up being violent would have shown signs during the courtship/dating period etc. But I’ve heard of a saint who turned devil the night the ‘I Do’s’ were said! They’d been dating like 5.5 years!

I don’t know where I’m going with this to be honest but if there’s anything I’m even more convinced about now than I was before, there’s no rush. It will happen. I’m also doubly convinced that enlisting the help/wisdom of God, the creator of all men (and women) in saying yes to that man or woman is the way to avoid becoming a negative statistic.

Light, love, and God’s great blessings!

At the end of May I was inducted into the highly coveted Nigerian Leadership Initiative (NLI), along 26 other truly inspiring young people. I keep saying of the weekend we spent at Epe Hotel and Resorts that I was challenged, inspired, challenged, inspired, you get the drift right?

I think that weekend deserves a full post in itself, and I will get to it I promise. Before then however, let’s talk about this invitation I received. It was in June, a card sent to me through our Alumni Officer inviting NLI to dinner with the Indian Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador A.R Ghanashym. We all confirmed attendance, and on the said day, congregated at his beautiful residence somewhere in Maitama.

For starters I was super excited because a dress I’d not been able to wear since 2012 fit (I will write about my weight loss soon too, don’t worry), and so my ‘self-love’ levels were peaking like no man’s business! Got in, met associate members I didn’t know before, and in chatting with Aisha Augie-Kuta, learned that eating a handful of almonds is akin to taking aspirin. Who would have thought?


The chicken samosas were everything! For my main I stuck to closest to familiar with the … and for dessert I tried the icecream. It was actually lovely! Indian food always wins doesn’t it?

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Starter was a lovely avocado salad, and the wrapped thing is fish cooked in leaves… so imagine moimoi where beans is exchanged for fish.

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Mr Yinka Oyinlola, CEO of NLI and the Indian Ambassador

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Totally here for the naan!! Then there was the chicken curry and chickpea vegetable thing that was a little odd-tasting, but quite nice!

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Three sauces… one curry, one beef, and the third was a vegetable cream with nuts. Yes, I tried everything!

The Ambassador is a very funny, down-to-earth man, so much that I didn’t know he was the one we were gisting with; somewhere in my mind I was expecting an announcement and then he would come down a flight of stairs or something (I know, my mind is most active), but then I asked someone where he was and she was like, that’s the person you’ve been chatting with na! Smile.

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He told us so many stories too! First off, he and his wife are career diplomats, and his wife is currently India’s High Commissioner in South Africa! He said they met former President Goodluck Jonathan at a function and GEJ asked them how many megawatts of electricity they generated between them because they defined ‘power couple’. Lol!

There was also serious talk, with the Ambassador admonishing us to dream. He said it so many times, that we had the opportunity to dream and so not to deny ourselves of ambitious dreams. And to work towards actualizing those dreams because we could, if we put our hearts to it and worked hard. He spoke about traveling within Africa and knowing from his interactions with a lot of people that Nigerians are intellectually superior to any other country on the continent. I scrunched up my nose at that but hey…

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Sharing a smile with Chairman of the APC Youth Forum and fellow NLI associate member, Barrister Ismail Ahmed

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We were joined by Blossom Nnodim! More smiles!

When we were done with dinner, he introduced us to his staff, from the chef to the butler, to his personal assistant. He told us about caring for staff and how their output/productivity was greatly enhanced just by knowing they had an employer who not only cared about the work they put in, but cared about them too. He said (and I quote), “Care. Find out about the people who work for you. The inane things – birthdays of their family members and make sure to send wishes on those days. Let them feel special, because they are.”

Food for thought there ey?

Then he told us about the (now late) President of India, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (A.P Abdul Kalam for short), and used his life and the story of the country’s first missile launch to explain true leadership.

He also told us of Devi Prasard Shetti, a globally renowned cardiac surgeon who is as famous for his brilliance as he is for the scheme he personally designed for financially disadvantaged people in India to access a quality of healthcare that would have been beyond their reach. Shetti’s heart hospital Narayana Hrudayalaya is the largest in the world, with a 1000 beds, more international patients than any hospital (their surgeries cost one-tenth of what it would cost in the United States), and performing over 30 heart surgeries a day. Wow!

Shetti wanted to become a heart surgeon from the time (as a child) he heard of the first successful heart transplant. As an adult, he always believed that healthcare could be cheaper, and he kept on thinking about it. The thought birthed Yeshasvini, touted as the world’s cheapest comprehensive healthcare insurance scheme. Farmers pay what comes to about 20 cents a month, and are covered totally. There are over 4 million people signed up to this scheme, which has earned Shetti many awards all over the world.

I was so inspired! I decided to do a bit more reading on the guy, and found this video of a TedTalk he gave I thought you would enjoy.


We took lots of photos, presented the Ambassador a gift, and then it was home time! I had a truly exciting, inspiring evening, thank you NLI! When’s the next dinner?

All of us!

All of us!

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Our gift to the Indian Ambassador. He loved them!


We must have taken a million photos that night!

Why hello Mr Gandhi!

Why hello Mr Gandhi!

In the last five days or so, there has been one reference to my aunt or the other. And each time I’ve smiled. Not because I don’t miss her (and I miss her terribly), but because… I don’t know.

I think of all the times she said things like, “it will get better, this thing you don’t seem to have now, no be this life? You go get am tire.” If only she knew how true her words were!

I stumbled on one of the songs that helped me get through her passing this morning, and I played back the 22nd of July 2013 real quick… how from a phone call about 5am my life literally became a blur for months on end. How I refused to go to church for a while after she passed, and then getting super angry the day I finally went because the pastor started preaching about how God could heal everything, including cancer. I remember I was like, “yeah, and you had to preach this after it killed my aunt abi?” And of course that meant I didn’t go for a bit after that.

I remember when we checked to see if my nephew would remember her (he was like a year old when she passed), and of course he didn’t (I wonder what we were thinking). I felt a little upset he didn’t remember the person who was literally his nanny when we all went to work, who was there from the first day of the pregnancy, encouraging my sister, spoiling her (because of her own struggles with pregnancy pregnant women could do no wrong in her eyes, lol), how she spoiled my nephew with gifts, and how he loved playing with her, and then falling asleep on her big body. I think that was all the children around then, who didn’t want to sleep on Big Mummy’s body?

I miss her o, kai.

I remember attending Winners’ Chapel Durunmi, and us queuing for puff puff every Sunday after service. It was like an unspoken ritual. Even if we were all angry with each other, we would still buy and so would start talking to each other from eating the puff puff in the car.

Aunty was a unifier; like she couldn’t stand for malice, quarrels and all of those kind of things. I remember quarrelling with an ex once and he called her to report me (the gall of that man). She invited him to the house and we were sat in her office. She was trying to ‘settle the fight’ but I guess we were arguing too much. Know what she did? She got up, left the office, and locked us both inside. Said she wouldn’t open the door till we had sorted out whatever was making us argue like we were strangers. Lol!! I nearly popped an artery from anger! But she didn’t open the door! We eventually settled down, had a conversation, and then she opened the door.

I love her. I really do. Years ago someone stole my parents’ numbers from my phone and sent them lies about me. My parents (resident outside Nigeria at the time) rang her and she stood up for me. Not only did she do that, she went to the person I had wronged according to the lies, had a conversation with her (that one had only sweet things to say about me), and got the woman to call my folks to tell them not to be bothered about whatever message they had received because it was a lie. I didn’t know she’d done this till my folks called to say, “this is what your aunty Pat did”.

God bless her, I have stories for days! Interestingly, she ended up telling me which of my friends had done the texting, and about a year or so later, we were right. She’d been cautioning me about a friend who she said had envy in her eyes and would rubbish me if she could; one who would come spend nights with me but would say things like, “na wa, how can only you have this or that?” I never took it seriously, till an incident involving a job a few years later. I’m sure I heard the Yoruba proverb, “the insect that kills the vegetable lives on it” at least a million times when she was alive.

The memory of the righteous is blessed. You’re blessed aunty. I love you and miss you everyday.

The weirdest thing happened yesterday… Really scary stuff. I can laugh about it now, but yesterday I was frightened as anything, and really upset at the lackadaisical attitude we have here in Nigeria about security, identities, and things like that. Of course let’s leave customer service alone because that would be reaching for the stars where we have not first learned to walk!

I will provide commentary for my tweets, but they pretty much tell the story.

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So I get to the airport (and ON TIME) because I’ve had a rough time with my health recently and so I’m not in the mood for any adrenaline-fuelled stunts involving airlines and me trying to make flights. I have about an hour to spare and I’m looking forward to a quiet time in the lounge before my flight is called. Then this happens.

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Was really confusing. Would I ask someone to check me in and then not remember? I had a suitcase to check in. Would I ask someone to check me in and not give them the suitcase? I asked these questions, asked if the person presented any identification, nothing.

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One thing that really frustrates me is people upsetting me/others then asking me/them to ‘calm down’. It’s like pinching a child and getting surprised when they cry. What else were you going for? Why should I calm down when you’ve given my boarding pass to God knows who? And then sound like it’s my fault?

They write something on my boarding pass, inform the boarding gate of the issue, then ask me to go wait to board. What if this person…never mind.

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Of course all of this drama meant that I got upstairs to departures and had barely found a seat when they announced boarding. Soooo stressful. I was panicking!

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*is a guy

So I get to the boarding gate and while they’re checking mine, I see another boarding pass with my name on it! My eyes follow the hand holding it up to the face and lo and behold, it’s a guy! Hian! Even better, when I said to him that he had my boarding pass, he started arguing! Said it was his. Uncle your name is not/cannot be Chioma Chuka (which was spelled out on the thing, not initialed o) and then he raises his voice, etc.

Obviously the airline made a mistake (a most stupid one) but you don’t compound it by not having a ticket to hand, talking about your office bought the ticket and checked you in so you don’t have anything on you. What did you present to the officer who gave you a boarding pass? My boarding pass? *Rolling my eyes*

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I was asked to go board while they sorted the ‘other’ Chioma Chuka out, and as I walked to the foot of the plane, I played out all the ways this could have gone really wrong. What if he was a really bad person, like a terrorist or something?

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Very scary. Very unserious too.

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I was terrified. Truly terrified.

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I noticed I was sweating really bad. For some reason I was afraid. So I called one of the hostesses, explained the issue to her, and said I wanted her to check what name was on his boarding pass. In my mind, if he still had the Chioma Chuka one, I would deboard. No two ways about it.

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Said hostess didn’t come back to me, so when the plane was taxiing, I got out of my seat and walked to the front of the plane to ask for the outcome of her investigation. Again I was furious. I was in my seat, breathing and sweating crazy from fear, and our dear hostess couldn’t take two minutes to come back to me with an answer!!

Even worse, this young man apparently just shares one name with me. Therefore, this is a very stupid, incompetent airline, and that official who made this mistake deserves to be whipped. What if I had a bad heart? What if I’d passed out from fear? What if this man was a truly evil person who had evil designs for me or even for that flight?

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Then, they announce during the flight that they’re launching flights to the United Kingdom later this year. When you cannot execute a local flight without incident? Rubbish. I’m still considering my options, I should sue.

PS: I forgot. I wasn’t worse off on the plane! When we touched down there was a Navy guy who got off the plane and said, “ahn ahn! This is not Port Harcourt. I was supposed to be going to Port Harcourt.” Made me laugh, like it was hilarious. Didn’t he hear the announcement about where we were going before he boarded, didn’t the hostesses check his boarding pass, didn’t he listen to the pre-flight announcement, didn’t he… I have a million questions!!

It’s my friend Tokes’ birthday today, and I thought I’d wish her a happy birthday by reminding her of the incredible time we had for her birthday last year! Ready? Not before you say a birthday wish and prayer for her… Done? Story story!

So, I spent most of September 2014 in England, and the original plan was to come to Nigeria on the 6th of October to follow through on existing and new projects. Two weeks to the day, plans changed, thanks to people who not only have my ‘mumu button’ but know when and how to deploy it!

Anyway, my plans changed from leaving on the 6th to the 11th of October because the 9th was Tokes birthday, and she wanted to spend it in Cardiff!

Who is this ‘keeper of my mumu button’? I met Tokes early in December 2013; we were on the same team planning Nigeria Dialogue’s fundraiser for January 19th 2014. Somehow God brought us together and after a meal at Busaba Ethai with Fumbi were we discussed everything from careers, food, to boys, Tokes and I have become literally inseparable. I couldn’t be more grateful for this gorgeous, beautiful-spirited young woman; she’s a real sister!

She’s also CEO of Bubble Tii in Nigeria! They’re on Instagram as BubbleTii, website is www.bubbletii.com and you can find them on 34 Adeola Odeku beside Spice route VI. Call 09093840201 to get your deliveries anywhere in Lagos!

Anyway, before her head swells to uncontrollable proportions, let’s move swiftly on to the birthday do!

So, itinerary for the 9th of October included going to see John Legend play (whoop), and I remember that night we were battling with ticketmaster.co.uk to secure our seats. Hilarity!

Before we knew it, it was the 9th. Whoop!!

Actually, the birthday fun started the day before; I’d booked a spa date for us at Crystal Palace, somewhere near Marylebone station (oshey GroupOn). It was so much fun!!

Anyway on the 9th Tokes had to drop her mom off at the airport, I had errands to run, etc. Of course we missed our trains, but here’s a photo of the birthday girl while we were waiting for the bus!

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Birthday lunch on the train? Hello Burger King! Anyway, a couple hours after (Cardiff is far jor), we got in, and here’s a very big thank you to the man we chatted to on the train who pointed us in the direction of our hotel!

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A couple selfies just to welcome ourselves to our lodgings – the 15th floor at Radisson Blu – and it was time to explore the city! And shop, smh. We decided however to start with Cardiff Castle and Museum and oh, what a beauty!

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The ceilings were everything!

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Now, we got to the there about 4pm. The museum was to close at 5pm, the House at 5.30pm, and we could traipse the grounds till 6pm. So, off to the museum we went! We were all shades of silly inside there!



If I had a gun...tra la la la la...

If I had a gun…tra la la la la…

Defeat the army Tokes, we're counting on you!

Defeat the army Tokes, we’re counting on you!

In solidarity with this nurse. Or the Red Cross. Or...

In solidarity with this nurse. Or the Red Cross. Or…

Then we went in the house, given as a gift to the people of Cardiff. So, while indigenes of the area are allowed in for free, people like us parted with £15 apiece to get in.

But it was lovely. Having a walk through the building, looking at the beautiful ceilings, the furnishing, how the Arabian room was strong with beautiful Arabian scents, it was all really beautiful! And we had the loveliest guide to talk us through everything, give us a bit of history, etc.

Sigh... We're supposed to be grown women o!

Sigh… We’re supposed to be grown women o!

But it was a lot of fun!

But it was a lot of fun!

This guy was the son of the man who gifted this castle to the people of Wales. So we decided to 'marry' him!

This guy was the son of the man who gifted this castle to the people of Wales. So we decided to ‘marry’ him!

Then, it was off to the castle! According to our electronic guide, there were 130 steps to get to the top, and we were determined to climb them all. And we did!


Climb every mountain...

Climb every mountain…


We went from singing ‘wiggle wiggle wiggle’ on the way up to begging God to guide us safely down when it started drizzling because the steps were so steep!

Imaginary friend: Who's that hot girl? Can I get her number?  Me: From up here? Hian!

Imaginary friend: Who’s that hot girl? Can I get her number?
Me: From up here? Hian!

We made it!!! 130 steps!!

We made it!!! 130 steps!!

Got down without incident (thank you Jesus) and after a quick dinner at Carlucci’s (everywhere was pretty swamped), we ran home to shower and change for John Legend’s concert! Whoop! The man himself!

I just love sea bass... #Foodie

I just love sea bass… #Foodie Don’t think I’ve ever eaten this quickly ever!

But first, a selfie, in the elevator!

This is the 'best' photo I can share o!!! The rest? For our private collection!

This is the ‘best’ photo I can share o!!! The rest? For our private collection!

Fortunately, Motor Point Arena, where the concert was to hold, was spits from our hotel so we made good time. And our seats were pretty decent; we were only 5 rows from the stage! Yaaaasss!!



Number after number John Legend serenaded the crowd – what an incredible, effortless performer! He talked us through some songs he’d been on when he was still coming up (I had no idea) and it was really nice that he acknowledged the people who helped him up on his journey.

Sometimes we stood, sometimes we sat, sometimes we screamed, other times we cried; emotion after emotion, Legend worked the crowd! I made two videos, so you can imagine you were there too!

What an incredible night!

Next day – breakfast where I overdosed on smoked salmon and salami, lol. We did a bit more shopping (sigh), and then we literally had to race for our train!

Still on a birthday high!!

Still on a birthday high!!

Tokes can photobomb for Africa...and Europe!

Tokes can photobomb for Africa…and Europe!

Here’s the incredible part. Soon as we got back to BlackHeath I shoved my things into a cab and we started racing to the airport! I know, but there was a flight to Nigeria I couldn’t (literally) afford to miss!

Babes do you remember there were flowers waiting when we got back home?

Babes do you remember there were flowers waiting when we got back home?

Happy birthday sweetie, hope I told the story of this super fabulous day correctly. I’m super glad you convinced me to stay and do this trip with you. We have to do Morocco together soonest! Love you!