Archive for the ‘A post a day’ Category

“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” Max De Pree

Just some quick thoughts about the New Year, what we want to do/be/achieve and how quite a number of us erroneously believe that wanting a thing (even bad enough) is all it takes for us to do/be/achieve that thing.

I found this quote yesterday in the course of fulfilling a committment to an organization and it literally jumped out at me. How do you want to see different if you don’t do different? My dad says it’s insanity to plant corn and pray to reap strawberries. Lol. But really. Think about it.

*Let’s not be like the Nigerian government who want to increase the quantity of rice in the country and decide the best place to plant the rice is on rocks. Without irrigation or watering of any kind, fertilizers, nothing. Yet the plan is to increase the quantity of rice for everyone. Sigh.

So do you need to change a habit, eat better (read as less, lol), sleep for longer (or less), get a hobby (or hubby – gosh I’m so silly); do you need to get closer to God, hit some milestones at work, be a better friend/partner/parent, make money so good you’re not swayed by any of the exchange rates in Nigeria at the moment? Nice!

So, what’s the plan? What are the concrete steps to getting there? In a conversation very early this year I figured I have close to no knowledge of project management and it is something that can smoothen the processes for a number of things I am involved with. So, off I went to register for a course, classes start in a bit.

There are a couple other things I need to work on, sort out, and be better at, and we’re on the road to that. Amen to God’s help and strength, and grace to stay the course.

So, away from me, what are you doing? Better yet, what are you doing different?

Happy New Year.

In 2007, I went to hang out with my sister in Ibadan for a bit; she was a house officer at the glorious University College Hospital, and it was one of those periods my dad and I couldn’t really agree on anything. So, off to spend some time with my sister.

Ibadan is an amazing place. Like, if I could choose, I would raise my children there. First they would learn Yoruba (yes I love the language), but they would also be exposed to the culture, the music (and the world knows Yoruba’s are the kings and queens of ‘turn up’); all of this in a cheap, ancient, picturesque-type (depends on where you are to be honest) city. I have very fond memories of/in Ibadan, memories that won’t leave me in a hurry!

Anyway, so at UCH they had this blood drive week, and everyday people were given gifts for donating to the hospital’s blood bank. I wasn’t really moved by it till my sister came home one day with her own gifts: a pretty jotter and pen, a mug I think, a can of malt, and one of those pin-up stickers that said she was a life save because she was a blood donor. Whaaaat! I made up my mind to go the next day.

And I did, got there early, and presented my arm for a sample to be taken. A few minutes later, the matronly, much older woman came out and asked

Nurse: Who is ‘Sheomah’?

Me: It’s me (excited)

Nurse: Follow me

(Inside her office)

Nurse (loud enough for the folks in the waiting room to hear): Are you on ‘ya menses’ (on your period)?

Me: (cringing) No

Nurse: Did you just give birth?

Me: (wondering why she has to be that loud): No

Nurse: Did you do ‘aboshan’ (abortion)?

Me: No. Why are you asking me these questions?

Nurse: Ah. Your blood is not enough for you se! How do you want to give someone else?

Brethren, I don’t know if it was the embarrassment, or the way my excitement was punctured, but I left the clinic feeling very inadequate. Why didn’t I have enough?

Suffice to say, I never tried to donate blood again.

Till Sunday the 4th of July 2016. My niece and nephew had been really ill for a few days, and we had to take them into hospital when it didn’t look like they were getting better. We saw the doctor, I endured watching my nephew scream and wail while the IV line was set in his wrist, and then we went up to our ward.

Can I stop for a minute and wholeheartedly recommend Angelic Care Hospital in Area 3, Garki to every parent in Abuja who reads my blog? The nurses are truly angelic, and the hospital is truly intended for little ones. The stairs are a bit steep, but that was the only complain I had. Happy, friendly nurses, very clean environment, and their food is not bad at all!

Away from gushing about the hospital, there was a woman with a severely jaundiced baby in the same ward with us, and apparently the baby needed an exchange blood transfusion which simply involves exchanging (in very little bits) the baby’s ‘unhealthy blood’ with healthy blood to stop the excess bilirubin from wrecking havoc. Yeah?

So the baby’s daddy got screened, but he apparently had hepatitis B and so couldn’t donate; the mom obviously couldn’t donate too. They were going to reach out to a relative to help when I offered. The parents were desperate so it was a really emotional moment, and then I headed to the lab with the nurse. On the way I prayed, asking God to please let my blood be enough, to let it be just right for the baby, literally every prayer I could think of.

We got there, she took a bit, and I waited. Then she said I was good to go! I settled in on a bed, and she brought the bag, needle, tourniquet, etc. Then I remembered my fear for needles so I looked away. I had said I would film but the prick of the really big needle stunned me for a moment; my sister explained the size of the needles ensures the cells are not crushed.

I still made the video, a bit shaky but a goody!

Donation over, I had to lie down for a few minutes, and then I went back to the ward.

The transfusion was done that night, and I’m happy and really excited to say the baby is doing better today. And we’ve made new friends. And I’m thankful I could be useful on such a personal level. It is such an amazing feeling, and I enjoin everyone to contribute to a blood bank close to them.

Even better, we’ve been discharged, and my babies are doing a lot better! God is great!

 

 

 

Hope is a currency more valuable than the dollar, more desirable than the pound, and yet the most easily dispersed, if you’re in prison.

I visited Kuje Medium Security Prison on Friday the 22nd of April 2016, my first time ever in a prison, home and/or abroad. I had heard of prison visits by charities and fellows given to philanthropy in the past, but a chance meeting with Big Mo of Wazobia FM and I was off to ‘The Committee’ to tell them we needed to contribute towards the visit.

The trip to the prison was moved a few times due to high security alerts issued by the authorities, and the calibre of people housed in the prison and at some point I lost hope that the visit would happen. But, on Wednesday I was informed that we had received the all-clear and Friday was the day.

Thanks to monies graciously approved by The Committee, I drove to the assembly point, back seat full of toiletries – toothpaste, petroleum jelly, bathing soap, washing soap, dettol, sanitary towels, and bleach – and I had to change into something totally hiding my figure. Yep, I had been warned that the less *insert a word of your choosing* females look when they visit prisons, the less excitable the men will get.

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Me, in my sister’s maternity kaftan!

And then we set off to Kuje, which is a right turn off the stretch from the city to the airport, and transforms from urban to underdeveloped with each kilometre. Unfortunately, there is a stark difference between state capitals and satellite towns around them; stark differences in what we present to outsiders, and what we really are.

The entire drive, my mind was racing, almost crashing into itself with all the emotions I was feeling and the stories of prison visits I’d heard. Would they pee on me, would anyone be really injured? Would they be hungry, angry or just stoic? I tried to distract myself with music, with very little success.

As we turned onto the dirt road leading to the prison, the butterflies in my belly doubled, trying to keep up with the increasing military presence we encountered. I was reminded of the absolute power of celebrity and the media (read as radio) when we were stopped at one of the checkpoints and told to go somewhere far to park. Then Big Mo introduced himself and it was magical how all the soldiers started hailing him. Fist bumps, laughs, the once tense mood melted into camaraderie because the soldiers matched a face with a voice they listened to maybe everyday.

We got into the prison reception, and the ladies were taken into a room to be searched. I’ve been body searched on three continents and I tell you, none have been as embarrassing and almost invasive as this search. The body search in America comes close, but these guys take the cake abeg.

We were led to a courtyard where there were at least 100 inmates sitting under canopies and laughing as one of us cracked jokes. And there was more laughter, raucous laughter as comedians thrilled the inmates. It got better, there were comedians drawn from the inmates themselves. Hilarity!

Beyond the laughter though, I was bawling like a baby at different points. One of them? One of the comedians was told he could only do one joke. He finished it, and when the mic was going to be taken from him, he said he’d been locked up for 8 years and he didn’t know when next he’d hold a microphone. Cue my wiping my eyes furiously.

When each performer finished, he would give out a tube of toothpaste, a bar of soap, or any of the little household items we had. The joy on their faces as they received the items, the look of longing on the faces of their peers, cue my wiping my eyes furiously.

Sometimes it was easy to forget we were actually amongst inmates. The thunderous laughter, hailing their own performers or ours, and the clapping would have been great joy to a politician at a rally. Each time an official asked them to move back, or sit down though? I remembered, all over again.

I wondered what crimes they might have committed to get there, wondered about their friends and family and if they were missed, if some of them had families waiting for them to get out, or if they had moved on. I was told of people who were locked up (for years) because they couldn’t afford bail of N5000.

A pastor from House on The Rock The Refuge gave a brief exhortation, and he led us in the song ‘Everything written about you is great’ by Steve Crown before that. Watching the prisoners standing, waving their hands in worship? Kai. Pastor TJ preached hope, courage, and Jesus being able to turn their lives around.

We danced too, even me! The performers all danced with the inmates, the prison officials danced with themselves, and then us females (two of us) were asked to come out to dance. Took all of me not to cry all over again as they hailed us to the ‘stage’; couldn’t manage beyond shuffling from side to side.

And it was a teary Chioma who gave soaps and toothpaste to the inmates, including one really old, frail man as afternoon turned to evening and we had to leave.

I was turning everything we’d experienced in my mind as we walked to the reception to be processed out. Only to see prison officials whipping one really rough-looking man so quickly it seemed like every step I took coincided with a swish of the whip. I started begging the official to stop, tears flying down my face. One of the officials told me not to waste tears on the man; apparently he’d been released from this prison after spending four years for raping a female; he had just been arrested, caught in the act of raping a four-year old boy. Yes. A four-year old. A boy.

I left.

PS: A very big thank you to Big Mo, Chuks D General, Willy Willy (all of Wazobia FM and who have organised these prison visits for a number of years), all the comedians and entertainment guys who came along on this visit. You guys are awesome.

Good morning!

Happy New Year! How did you spend the holidays? Did you have a good, restful break? I did. I sure did! I spent time with family in San Antonio, Houston, and of course, London. What a great time of refreshing, of love, of fellowship! I will blog about that trip in due course, don’t worry…

What are you up to this year? What plans/goals? Are you in the New Year resolutions gang? I stopped bothering with those a few years ago, prefer to work towards goals following on from the previous year. Profits me more to be honest. Are you on your way to ticking off those goals? January’s almost over!

What’s new, wherever you are? In Nigeria, we’re living and breathing the coming general elections – exciting, yet very tense times. One piece of advice if I may? Go out and vote. Please, go out and vote if you have your permanent voter card. If you don’t have it, try to collect it. Do it.

It’s 4am, and I’m working and watching my nephew sleep like a clock on my bed – dude is literally turning round in his sleep! He’s formed the habit of coming in for a cuddle at bedtime these days; sometimes he falls asleep here, other times he leaves. Today was one of those ‘sleep with aunty Boo Boo’ kind of days. God is gracious I tell you, who are we that He entrusts the care of these precious ones in our hands? Truly gracious.

What’s new for me this year? Work (duh, lol) – God is opening great and effectual doors and I am more than grateful. Like, jaw-dropping doors, and I can only receive grace to be effective, efficient, and of course to remain grounded.

What else is new? I have a new-found love for all music of South African origin. I’ve become hooked on people like Solly Mahlangu, Keke Phoofolo, Zaza, Benjamin Dube, Ntokozo Mbambo, etc! Vocals are incredible, the intensity of their worship, I’m in love! And I found this site where I can sing along to the lyrics of my favorite songs – what a blessing!

What says I can’t push off to South Africa to watch either (or all) of them in concert this year? My birthday is in May so that’s a gift idea for you. Yes you!

This was intended to be quite short and so let’s stop here. I pray this year is all you dreamed it to be, and I ask for grace and strength so that we all put in the work it takes.

Have a fabulous 2015!

Love,

FGS.

 

You know how this idea for the #31days31writers project started? To start with I know YNaija’s done something like that in 2012, I think I wrote for that sef. I did! It was an article on babes beefing each other for no reason, and you won’t believe the gender that bashed me the most on that piece? Lol!

For this one though, I saw someone tweet in November (I swear I don’t remember their handle and I’m on a Twitter fast so I can’t go look) but he was talking about it and I thought, this might be cool for the end of the year. I didn’t act on it though till the 26th of November, and then I gave all my writers till the 28th to hand in their pieces. With benefit of hindsight, it must have a freaked a number of them out!

Anyway, so I must have asked 40 people, and out of those I got 30. And I am more than grateful that they took the time to squeeze their 2013 into 600 words, and send in the lovely pictures they did. From castration for sex offenders, to faith in the Lord, rebuilt confidence, loyalty from friends, second chances, to resolutions for the new year, homosexuality and homophobia, 2013 was different for every one of my writers, and I am so proud of them!!

Did you miss any of the articles? Well, you’re welcome, I’ve listed all of them below!

  1. DAY 1: The first in the ‘a post a day’ series – Chude Jideonwo
  2. “I learned that I matter” – Francine! #31days31writers
  3. “I have learnt pain is a part of the process” – Emeka #31days31writers
  4. “I use writing as a tool to make a difference” – Chijioke #31days31writers
  5. “No more Mr Nice Guy” – Mr Mobility! #31days 31 writers
  6. “I’m thankful for stability” – Saratu #31days 31writers
  7. “I would shut up and let her do her mothering” – Vickie Remoe #31days31writers
  8. “The internet lives” – Pa Ikhide starts the second week of my #31days31writers project!
  9. “I am gradually learning to love the silence” – Dosh Mabonga! #31days31writers
  10. “I have learnt that dreams can actually come true” – Bisi Alimi #31days31writers
  11. “I learnt to let go and forgive” – Onaedo!! #31days31writers
  12. “I have learnt that light always comes at dawn” – Alkayy!! #31days31writers
  13. “Who says black men shouldn’t cry?” – My girl Francesca Uriri! #31days31writers
  14. “Our human species have truly trashed the planet” – Jeremy!! #31Days31Writers
  15. “2013: Of numbers, expectations and unspoken promises” – Dami #31Days31Writers
  16. “I won the lottery!!” – Tolu #31days31writers
  17. “I’ve learnt to let go and let God” – the delectable Nike Coker! #31Days31Writers
  18. “People change and so do you” – Ewoma gives us home truths! #31days31writers
  19. “Castration as an act of mercy” – My girl Zima goes hard! #31days31writers
  20. I learnt a lot about public engagement as a public servant” – Ohimai!! #31Days31Writers
  21. “I live and breathe food” – Nky Iweka #31days31writers
  22. “I have so much to be grateful for!” – Mac-Jordan #31Days31Writers
  23. “I’m glad that I followed my intuition and took risks” – Chris!! #31Days31Writers
  24. “This year taught me to represent” – Eziaha (The Fab Sister) is up today! #31days31writers
  25. “Loyalty makes a friend family” – Nonso’s up for our Christmas special! #31days31writers
  26. “I have come to love and accept myself” – my bestie is up! #31days31writers
  27. “I don’t even remember my resolutions for 2013″ – Andy Madaki on #31days31writers
  28. “I have learnt that homosexuality exists in 450 species” – Okechukwu is a shining star on #31days31writers today!
  29. “I understood faith as a lifestyle this year” – Lizzie
  30. “Your friend is your need answered” – a surprise appearance on the #31days31writers project!
  31. “Thank you for being part of my 2013″ – Guess who? Me!!!

Thank you guys for honoring me and my blog. Best wishes for the new year!

Love, light, and God’s many blessings!

Mwah!

Today is the last day of 2013, and the end of the #31days31writers project. Whoop! I am more than grateful to everyone who took the time to send in an entry, and for the ones I asked who for one reason or the other, couldn’t. I’m excited that everyone learned something, and blessed that thanks to one platform, I could share the experiences of 31 amazing people. Thank you so much!

2013 has been my most challenging year, I’m not even going to muck about. From losing 4 cousins and an aunty in a road accident, to an uncle, and then my most precious aunty Pat, there have been times when I didn’t know if I wanted to see the next morning. And it’s not like I didn’t lose anyone else, I just stopped counting. Death is cruel, shameless, and without discretion, but it taught me a few things. I learned to make every minute count, to make the effort to keep in touch, to love hard, but also to  know when to walk away.

I learned that acquaintances are plenteous, but friends are few, and to cherish each friendship (and pray to God they return the favour, lol).

I learned firsthand that depression and suicidal tendencies are real, and not just the exclusive preserve of the ‘West’. And I learned that God is bigger. Oh He’s a whole lot bigger!

I learned that I just might have a little issue with replying emails in a timely fashion. And I am determined (and working towards) not having that on my list of things to work on by the end of 2014.

It wasn’t all gloom and doom though (according to Russell Howard) – my dad launched his writing ministry this year with six books, and has since written another three (rockstar), my Boo Boo turned one this year, and at eighteen months is feeding himself (my baby Einstein)! I did quite a bit of travelling this year (for which I am grateful), and there are locked down work trips for the new year already! My mom, big brothers and sister are alive, healthy, prosperous; God is leading us to our place of rest and I couldn’t be more grateful. I love you guys to the moon and back!

My baby channeling the Christmas spirit!

My baby channeling the Christmas spirit! He’s the cutest baby on earth!

I am grateful for Nike Coker (Chief Sista), Francesca Uriri (my sister girl), and my bestie Wumi; friends who have literally become blood. People I would give anything for, people I would lay down my life for (hopefully they don’t ask *smile*); people for whom I am number one (sometimes, anytime, more than one time, lol!), in words, thoughts, and deeds. I love you and I am thankful you were a part of my year.

Now that I’ve covered what I’ve learned and the people I am grateful for, what would I do differently if I could? Nothing. I would say I’d keep all those precious ones from dying but that’s not my decision to make (wouldn’t have happened in the first place if it was).

And, because I can (and it is *cough cough* my blog), I have two resolutions for the new year:

1. Work VERY hard to reply emails/messaging in nothing over 24 hours.

2. Succeed! Big time!

Thanks a million for being on my blog today, and therefore being a part of my 2013. Have an extra productive new year!

Peace, love, and God’s great blessings,

The Fairy GodSister.

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Miss CC!!

P:S – I thought I would do one separate post thanking all my writers and listing all their articles; that story is here.

I met Mr Ekpo in May 2012, when I worked as the social media consultant for NERC as they implemented the MYTO 2 (price increase in simple English abeg). It was my second ever interaction with bureaucracy as personified by government, sigh. I remember having to explain what exactly social media could/would achieve for the organization so many times I could recite it in my sleep, but it was worth it when things started to change!

I infected some of the principal officers at the commission with the social media bug, and it is a thing of personal pride that Elecoblogs exists.

When I first toyed with the idea of asking Mr Ekpo to grace my blog for this #31days31writers project, I worried it would mete a ‘familiarity breeding contempt’ kind of reply. So you can imagine my excitement when between an introduction to another young person to provide a service, I mentioned it, and he replied, ‘sure, what is it about’? And voila!

It is my honor to present Mr Eyo Ekpo’s submission for my #31days31writers project!

My name is Eyo O. Ekpo, Nigerian, working with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in Abuja. There, I lead the Market Competition and Rates (MCR) Division. I’m also a newbie blogger, on electricity (of all things), at Elecoblogs. I’m planning to be 48 in June (can’t wait to be 50 and see what the fuss is all about) and have fended for myself since I became a lawyer on 22nd October 1987.

My Lessons Learned (or, Perhaps, Re-Learned)

I sit here in the garden at home in Calabar and ask: “What do I say to readers whose average age is less than 35? I have no common ground with them. I dislike their music, their loud voices, their hurry-hurry, their dressing. I dislike everything about them!!” Then, I say to myself: “But you do know quite a few fantastic young people o”. The list runs through my head and…it just keeps growing. From my two out-of-this-world daughters, 20 and 16, to the bright young guys and girls of NERC, to @ChiomaChuka, my Media Adviser, who opened up for me a new world, social media, of which I was blissfully ignorant, on to the irrepressible people I’ve met and conversed with in that youthful, vibrant and colourful world.

I’ve re-learnt a lesson as old as time. I am you and you are me and the river just keeps flowing. Time is timeless. It stands still. In order to be alive in it, we are the ones who must keep moving. Stand still and die. Looks indeed are deceptive. During the year, I looked more closely and saw that the youth of today are me of yesterday, not even as good. The same all-embracing fire of idealism, expectation and desire for progress that I had in October 1987. Now, my biggest desire is not to become one of those masquerades that have dedicated themselves to killing that fire.

My Gratitude

Kahlil Gibran, for whom my 8-year old boy is named, said about Friendship in his timeless magnum opus, ‘The Prophet’: “Your friend is your need answered.” I am eternally grateful for the blessing of friendship; and grateful to my friends who have provided all I have ever needed. Three of them, two female and one male. Don’t ask and I won’t tell, except to say that one of them is my dearly beloved wifey, Oluranti.

2013, in spite of its daily anxieties and worries, was signposted along the way with a few happy events that served, at just the right moments, to boost a flagging momentum. It has also proved to be a year in which were validated, reinforced and sometimes learnt anew, many of the lessons from 26 years of a multifaceted professional career. Lessons of life. Hard work, character, ethics, paying what is due, the constant striving to learn, perfection never having upper limits, leadership and people management. Above all, lessons about responsibility, a word deep with meaning.

And…My Futile Quest for A Time Machine

If I could go back, what would I do differently. I hurt two people I love dearly. We live in the present and I can’t go back but I can make amends, which, thankfully, they have allowed me to do.

I am most certainly a very fortunate pilgrim. I couldn’t be more thankful for the experiences that life has brought me in 2013. As the year ends, I look forward to 2014 with eagerness for a year that would be filled with activity, even more beneficial to all around me than in 2013.

Thank you Sir!

Thank you Sir!

How did I meet Lizzie? One day, I was working on some document, and all of a sudden, my iTouch started buzzing like every other minute with notifications I knew were from WordPress. I knew I didn’t upload anything on the blog that day so I was wondering what the novelty was about. After I’d heard the 16th buzz, I peeled myself from my seat and picked up the device. The entire screen was covered with ‘Lizzie liked a post, Lizzie left a comment, Lizzie reblogged this post…”, there must have been 40 notifications at once!

Ahh. I googled her o. Then I checked out her blog. And I fell in love with her. But it took me a full day to catch up with replying all the comments she had left! By the time she was done, she had read EVERYTHING on this blog, about 320 posts, in just under two weeks. I have never been that flattered in my entire life; nothing else comes close.

We spoke, and it was funny that she was completing my sentences, from things she had read here. Cute, cute, cute! 

Lizzie’s a Pastor’s child like me; she’s got a beautiful heart, and it is an honor to have someone who knows me in and out on the blog today. And I am looking forward to meeting her, it’s definitely on my to-do list for 2014.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, for the 29th day of my #31days31writers project, Lizzie!

I haven’t had a year like 2013! No, I haven’t. To think I’d someday grow to the point where I can consciously evaluate and chronicle my year and even share confidently, not just in a diary. Hmm…one word; progress!

Hi! My name is Elisabeth Ezekiel. I’m Nigerian and a final year student in the university, fulfilling requirements for a BSc degree in Sociology. Seems I’m the youngest of the lot (career wise), who ‘does’ people for a living.

Yes, you read right; I’m inexplicably intrigued by people and this intrigue forms the template for career options I would pursue in the nearest future. Up until what I do for a living can be categorised conventionally (or not), I ‘do’ people for a living – serving, uplifting, reaching out. It’s who I am. Essentially.

2013 started on a high note, in fact, the “word” for the year was, “uncontrollable exhilaration” meaning events, people and situations would always be orchestrated as reasons for laughter. I did find reasons to laugh no doubt, however more in the lives of others than mine. Ironic…no?

As the year wore on, I found myself balancing school work, fellowship and other commitments, perfect smokescreens for the high & low pendulum my life swung to and from. In fact by the time I wrote my first semester exams, I was so depressed, I entertained bargains with God that bordered on Him taking me home as I was just tired and didn’t think I would be sorely missed…lol.

Well, as you can already tell, He didn’t take me *smile* My guess, no scratch that, I’m convinced, the timing wasn’t right and more importantly, He’s got an ultimately GOOD plan for my life that He’s unravelling by the day.

By the second half of the year, ASUU struck. *mirthless chuckle* and morphed into what would eventually be a long, approximately six month break from school, ultimately extending my stay in the university to 2014. Oh, we moaned, sighed, complained, joked, shook our heads, the works. Alas! Our Ogas At The Top couldn’t be bothered.

Disappointments and self-deprecation followed this period, but I decided to see the good in all of this. I needed to, for my sanity.

As 2013 draws to a close, I’m thankful for the ‘interesting’ experiences and the realities that came home to me. In a sense, 2013 seemed like a year of years to me, you know, like I lived a number of years bundled up in one year; I would eventually come to understand that as catching a glimpse into God’s timelessness, His eternity.

In all of this, I learned this year that I matter. More than that, I learned that I am not the sole member of the appreciation committee, that my life was worth being celebrated by others too. I saw ME through really cool glasses this year. I understood Faith as a lifestyle (understanding and living in God’s will for me always) and not just a ticket to material resources. The meaning of CHIMAMANDA also came home to me this year, I experienced God’s Love-Commitment to me.

Oh, I’m most thankful my writing mojo came back, after a long time. It helped me put myself out there, learning to live life wholly, full & free. I’m grateful for blogs, relationships, good health and music this year. They literally saved my life.

What would I do differently? That’s easy, I would redeem the time. I won’t be caught napping when unexpected surprises come. I lost time this year sadly, but I press on. I would take more risks, exploit the power of alternatives, stay connected to the rhythm of my source, maybe trust more and by God, I would leap over walls in 2014.

Thank you FGS!

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Rockstar!!! Can’t wait to meet you babe!

 

Where do I start from with Okechukwu? I met him once in 2008, while I was still at Aso Radio, and then we became work colleagues in 2009 when I started working with the BBC World Service Trust (now Media Action). Remember the mornings with kose and bread at Amma House? The listen back sessions? The noise and camaraderie in that our production corner, how we would drive Oga Eze crazy with our chatter? Do you remember the day you played out Beyonce’s ‘Telephone’ song for us in the office? I have never heard that song since then without thinking of you!

Okechukwu is a shining light, a true example of a young man who has his sights on greatness and is doing all he can to get there. He plays hard, but there’s no gainsaying that Okechukwu words hard, and I am mega proud of him! He has a Wikipedia entry here, and he sent me his submission in hours of my asking. Rockstar!

My name is Jake Okechukwu Effoduh; I am an unrepentant Nigerian.

I anchor a national radio programme on governance under the platform of the BBC Media Action called “Talk Your Own Make Naija Better” I also serve as a Special Adviser to the Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies where I work as a Research Fellow.

One thing I have learnt this year? Asides cramming so many statistics on human rights and minority populations, I have learnt that homosexuality exists in 450 species but homophobia exists in only one therefore without knowing a thing, one must not hate.

What I am grateful for? I am grateful to God for so many things! First, for making sure I’ve NEVER been ill for the 26 years of my existence. Second, for blessing me with a genotype that makes me immune to malaria. Third, for giving me a mighty and extraordinary appetite that has attracted a team of Israeli nutritionists who have come to Nigeria for the purpose of using me for an unprecedented survey, which I am getting paid for (although the money is very very small sha – these nutritionists and their aka gum. Lol) As for this year, I am grateful to God for my entrée into the prestigious University of Oxford on a very generous scholarship.

One thing I would do differently if I could? If I could, I would do many things differently, e.g. I would like to wear mufti to court; speak pidgin at meetings; and then most importantly: dance more on the road. The thing is, I love to take long walks with music blasting through my earpiece from my phone. For me, there is nothing more refreshing than listening to my favorite songs in the middle of the wind while in locomotion. It always induces me to bust a move, but I find myself responding to the music only when people are scarce on the road so that I don’t create a scene.

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Don’t even let the serious face fool you, Okechukwu is a joke and half! And err, he is single. Is he? I don’t know o! Confirm before you start ‘busting your own moves’.

 P:S – Three days to the end of the #31days31writers project. I’m excited! It’s been an amazing ride; so many lessons, laughs, emotive moments, I will definitely do this again!

How did DD and I meet sef? Some little mix up on Facebook in 2008; apparently he served (NYSC) in the same state with my sister, don’t really remember the details. He visited Nigeria (posh kid), and we hung out (do you remember ice cream and moi moi in Chicken Republic Andy)?

When I moved to Birmingham in 2010, Andy showed up and amongst other things, gave me his waterproof jacket (still wear it today), and he introduced me to the lady who took me to The Redeemed Christian Church of God (Covenant Restoration Assembly, Perry Barr), which became my church, my family, and I’m so grateful for that!

Andy is a great guy, we’ve been buddies ever since. He is quiet (sometimes), fun to hang out with, and places such an enviable emphasis on family it is heart warming. He’s a hard worker too, and I’m proud he’s my friend!

4 days to the end of the year, here’s Andy with his #31days31writers submission! 

Random: The bad part about being friends out of maturity or a good heart with people who have hurt you is the fact that you can never tell some stories without imaginary fingers being pointed at those people or without you appearing to be an unforgiving son of a ‘biscuit’. I have so much to say about the year in review and the first things that crossed my mind were the bad things and tough times, then I remembered I was meant to be writing about the highlights of the year – the hypocritical world called my mind.

I didn’t learn how to play a guitar in 2013, I didn’t learn how to speak Spanish and I can’t even remember my New Year resolutions for the year. I don’t even remember having any because as usual I forget them by the end of April. I think my yearly resolution should be to make a lot of money.  2013 wasn’t the best of years for me, neither was it the worst. One thing I know for sure is that 2013 was a year of lessons. I lost love for one, found it, lost it, before learning what it really was.

Best decision I took in 2013… I took a couple of steps which I had been planning but took me 5years to get off my ass and work on. I moved from the United Kingdom to Nigeria; truth is that felt and still feels so good. A lot changed for me, huge promises and castles that never saw the light of day, people I thought I knew flipped on me like pancakes, friendships were lost and some were rekindled.  Importantly I was able to lose 8-10kg at some point thanks malaria and stress, I finally felt proper fit until my mother visited me with multivitamins and “akamu” and ordered me to start eating.

I’m grateful my for family and friends; the new ones, the old ones, the fake ones and those who have stuck by me through thick and thin. I finally do not feel like a stranger in a foreign land, I found peace and realized certain things can only be experienced and not told. Principally I am happy for the gift of life, an overactive mind, ideas and people who believe in me. It is amazing how much we claim we do not care about what people say or think but one mean sentence stays in our minds for eons, and one line of encouragement can give you a boost to make you feel you can conquer the world.  Bla Bla Bla, just be nice to the next person and be thankful for still being alive, ok?

My name is Andy Madaki, I am an I.T security consultant and a Business Development Manager with Brinq Africa (A CBN approved Payment Terminal Service Provider). I ramble randomly on my blog once every month. That’s the one place where I am most truthful about things you think and experience but won’t talk about. I am Nigerian.

DD!!! Oya o, now accepting applications for a wife for Mr Eligible Bachelor here! How many yards is your wife material?

DD!!! Oya o, now accepting applications for a wife for Mr Eligible Bachelor here! How many yards is your wife material?