Archive for the ‘INTERVIEWS: THE 3,2,1 SERIES’ Category

It’s been a while since we had an interview with an entrepreneur and so it is with great pride and excitement that I introduce ‘Kayode Ajayi-Smith! He is a Social Entrepreneur with over 7 years cognitive experience in the third sector; and  currently leads a youth-led Non-Governmental Organization called Joint Initiative for Development (JID), famous for its Internship Connect Programme. So far, they’ve placed over 100 graduates on internships in Lagos and Abuja and in organizations like Dafinone Consulting, SHI, NOI Polls, CSR-In-Action, Goge Africa, and a host of other reputable organizations.

FGS: Hi Kayode! Very simply, the 3, 2, 1 series talks to entrepreneurs to capture the real life situations/experience of starting/building a business. The aim is not only to showcase their work but also to see that the next young person is spared the errors these entrepreneurs made because they now know how to get around them.

Kayode:  okay, let’s do it!

FGS:  Awesome… First off, what are three things you are most afraid of?

Kayode:  Number 1 would be not fulfilling my purpose according to God’s plan, 2 would be being a bad influence to the younger generation, and third would be marrying a wrong wife and partner but I am sure that has been taken care of.

FGS:  Ok, just to jump on your third point, are you already married or you’ve popped the question somewhere?

Kayode:  Yes I have popped the question; we’ll send invitations soon.

FGS:  Whoop! Congratulations!

Kayode:  Thanks

FGS:  Now, tell us about yourself, what gets you out of bed every morning?

Kayode:  I would say, it’s the need to make our communities a better place

I know I am engaged in other activities that all lead to that same goal of making our communities a better place. I guess that was why I chose to follow a career in the Third Sector (Non-Profits).

FGS:  And are you happy here in the Third Sector?

Kayode:  I am but it can be better.

FGS:  How?

Kayode:  Well, I think the sector needs a lot of accountability and legitimization; accounting and making the credibility of what we say we do visible. We also need to think sustainability especially in terms of ensuring that funding does not only come from donor sources but also from sustainable initiatives driven by collaborations with the organized private sector.

FGS:  What led you to grooming interns? Tell us about Joint Initiative for Development…

Kayode:  Okay, Joint Initiative for Development is a Youth-led Non-Profit Organization whose key goal is to increase citizens’ participation in the development of their communities. We are also keen on ensuring that more young people are involved in the development of their communities thus the reason the organization is led by young people between the ages of 18 and 35 years old. We have reached over 3,000 young people through our programmes, supported over 300 MSMEs and mobilized over 10 million Naira worth of donations to public schools.

 Kayode Ajayi-Smith

FGS:  How old is this business?

Kayode:  4years

FGS:  Wow! That’s a while… How many interns have passed through your organization?

Kayode:  The Internship Connect programme started a little over 2years ago. We commenced with a Pilot called Volunteer Training Scheme where we placed 27 interns in Abuja and scaled up into a full social business in August 2013. Today we have almost 150 interns placed in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

FGS:  What are two things that would make you change careers in a heartbeat?

Kayode:  God and the sustenance of my family.

FGS:  Ok. Back to the internship connect. What challenges have you faced with it?

Kayode:  Hmm, the recipients, and funding. By recipients I meant unemployed graduates. You see, our motive for starting the Internship Connect programme came from the rising unemployment figure in the country with youths being the worst hit. Private organizations’ constant lamentation of the poor quality of graduates from our tertiary institutions led us to find out what they really want and that helped us to develop our 2-day Employability and Competency skill training which helps unemployed graduates understand what the 21st century workplace requires.

I however think there’s a huge need to change the orientation of our youths and that of their parents.

FGS:  Hmmm. Explain please?

Kayode:  Okay, a lot of our graduates have a funny get-rich-quick or small work-huge-pay mind-set. This mentality has played out in all our interactions. We also observed that a lot of our young graduates are very lazy

FGS:  Tell me about that!

Kayode:  I will actually tell you. We started with collecting CVs from interns to submit to organizations; we observed that a lot of our graduates do not know how to prepare CVs. 8 out of 10 CV’s were rejected on average so we decided to organize the competency training.

After soliciting funds from individuals to cover the cost of the training so that lots of young people can benefit from it, they were surprisingly lackadaisical towards it! Some of them arrived 2 hours into the training

Sometimes, the facilitators (who work for other organizations and are around because we pleaded with them to give hours of their time) would have to wait for them to arrive.

We decided to charge a fee for the training sessions, and to our surprise (again) they started showing up, and on time too.

FGS:  Ahh! So you’ve learned something!

Kayode:  I must say that we have had quite a number of very good interns but we have had a lot of very terrible ones too. We once had an intern who we called a day to the interview (because the host organizations determine when and where interviews take place) and she said she couldn’t attend simply because we can’t give her just a day’s notice. Even when we informed her that it was at the employers’ request, she declined in an impolite manner and ended the conversation.

FGS:  Oh wow. Since you’re actively engaged with young people seeking employment, what is one thing you believe they should know/do/be?

Kayode:  I think for young unemployed graduates, the one thing they should know is, Service comes first if you must penetrate any system. I am and I still am, a product of service.

FGS:  That’s very nice

Kayode:  when I graduated I went to work for free and I walked my way into full-time employment. I have stories of several young people around the world and it ended the same way and even sometimes better. When you don’t have a job, I think it is best to be prepared to go work for free. It not only helps you to sharpen your skills but also helps you acquire new ones. It also helps you build a huge professional network, one that you will not get seating at home.

FGS:  Thank you very much Kayode for taking the time to chat with me today, for all the insights you’ve shared. Most grateful!

Kayode:  I was glad I could share. Thank you.



Find more information about JID and internship connect here: and


It’s been a while I had an entrepreneur on the blog, and so when I sent @IamuzayAp a message on Instagram and he graciously said he’d give me a few minutes, I was thrilled!

Yusuf Abubakar (Mr Tumi) is a computer engineer, designer, stylist, personal shopper, and a serial entrepreneur. He is a watch ambassador at Ritmo Mundo, and you can find a bit more about him here.


Ready? Let’s do it!

FGS: First off, thanks for taking the time to chat, and at such short notice! I was going to make the meet and greet you had in London, say hello personally, but I was reminded last-minute of another engagement and there was no way I could merge the two.

Yusuf: The pleasure is mine, we had the event on a short notice so I wouldn’t fault you on that ha, but your keen interest is much appreciated.

FGS: Welcome to the 3, 2, 1 series! Let’s start with your Skype profile message which says, “when I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single talent left….” What does that quote mean to you?

Yusuf: it basically means using all the talents we have on earth to the best of our ability based on the fact that when we go back to the creator we won’t need any of those. I want my talent to be part of my access to paradise by helping as many people as I can and doing the best with whatever I have on this earth.

FGS: What are these talents you speak of? Put differently, what gets you out of bed every morning?


Yusuf: Funny but I don’t see my self as being talented, I only get told I am.. I have been involved in a lot of things all my life. Let’s start from my secondary school days when I came up with a month-long campaign to adopt a class project and my mates laughed at it. The idea was to get parents to adopt classrooms and distribute laptops, tiles, electric blackboards, etc. I pitched the idea to parents on visiting day because it was a boarding school. At the time I calculated that a class would be transformed for about 5million or so. Before I left the school we had almost 7 classes out of twelve adopted and that’s excluding staff room and other facilities!

I have always tried to initiate things on my own; from a promotional event company, to working with a radio station in Leicester. Then I came up with my brand as a university project in 2011 – I love sketching. I may not be as good as I was anymore but that was my starting point of designs.

FGS: Incredible! Tell us about your brand. After the university project, were you totally convinced building a label was what you wanted to do, or was there a turning point moment?

Yusuf: I made a design for our entrepreneurship module and when I posted it online, my mates went crazy for the shoes. It wasn’t even any good based on the quality but they went ballistic so I registered my company immediately!

I got Leon Best to wear my jacket; he was with Newcastle and we were supposed to do a project together; he plays for Blackburn Rovers now. However, Ivory Coast play Tiote Check Ismael of Newcastle United saw my design, liked it, got in touch, and now we’re working together.

FGS: Speaking of football and footballers, how was that connection born?

Yusuf: To be honest I don’t know, I think if your work is good people will come through. I say hard work spotlights the character of people; some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.

FGS: Question 3 – If you had three wishes that you were sure would be granted, what would you ask for?

Yusuf: Hmmm. First, I’d wish that Nigerians and Nigerian companies embraced their own, supported other ventures besides music.

Second, I’d wish for checks. Africa has great designers but no product checks, no material checks, size charts, nothing. We need to focus on that.

Finally, I’d want to see bigger companies sponsoring African brands in Europe and supporting their standalone shops like the Christian Dior’s, LV’s, Bottega Veneta’s, Margiela’s, Gucci’s, etc.

FGS:  Awesome!  Looks like it’s all about the brand and the fashion for you; I notice you didn’t even have a private/personal wish!

Yusuf: Ha ha, I thought we were speaking just about the brand.

FGS: Nope, I’m interested not only in the brand, but the person behind it!

Yusuf: My personal wish would be for everyone to be successful… and that one day they could have my statue at Madame Tussauds.


FGS: Ha ha ha! How many working hours do you have in your day?

Yusuf: To be quite honest I have exceeded my limit but let’s say about 17-19hours.

FGS: out of 24? Or are you one of the select few that have 30 hours in their day? What’s a typical day like?

Yusuf: I don’t think I ever have a typical day o. I could be checking what Forbes is saying or doing a Data Flow Diagram of an app I am working on or maybe I want to travel to a vintage city with a lot of English or any cultural history.

FGS: Question 2 – what are two things that an upcoming fashion designer needs to have to succeed in the business?

Yusuf: Business plan, supportive friends, inspiring environment, finance, work on retail outlet or if you can do it yourself fine, deliver well and deliver great

FGS: Lol, Yusuf I said two o! Do you have a ready to wear collection or you stick to bespoke outfits/couture?

Yusuf: All my stuff is ready to wear. We have our products in Cannes stores at the moment and we’re working on other places. Plus, I’m very easy to contact.

FGS: Cool. What was your biggest challenge with starting the brand?

Yusuf: Finance, support and knowing your target market. Then you need a feasible plan and measurable deliverables.

FGS: So did you have a pot of money when you started out?

Yusuf: nope I just had better networking. if I had a pot of money, my secretary would probably be doing this interview (lol). Truth is everyone has different strategy but money is king we all know this. I’ve been very fortunate.

FGS: I totally understand. It also means I should be grateful you don’t have a pot of money (yet)… Lol. Where’s the place of family in your business?

Yusuf: Family? I like to be discrete with that; I try not to mix them at all

FGS: I understand about that too. Final question. What is the one thing in the world you cannot do without?

Yusuf: wow… let’s say my Laptop, power, Internet; gadgets in general to be honest.

FGS: Lol, Yusuf, I said ONE thing!

Yusuf: Am I safe then to say technology?

FGS: Ha ha ha, that’s a sly answer, but it will do! Thank you so much Yusuf for chatting with me today, I really appreciate it!

Yusuf: The honor is mine, much appreciated dear!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Been quite a while I worked on the 3, 2, 1 Series on here, thought I’d bring it back with an interview I had a lot of fun with!

In these unfortunate days when the fear of Boko Haram is the beginning of wisdom (and the wrinkling of your nose/shaking of your head at our government that seems powerless in the face of these terrorists), I thought about how I would feel if I had family in any of the troubled spots. Immediately I knew I wanted to find someone like that, and as God would have it, Mark surfaced!

Mark Amaza studied Environmental Management at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, after primary and secondary school education in Maiduguri, Borno State. He runs MINDcapital, a strategy, branding and innovation consulting firm he founded four years ago.

He is also a blogger in his spare time, where he writes about politics, entrepreneurship, education, self-development and other random ideas on his blog,

He also contributes articles and opinion pieces to a number of sites, including The Scoop, Nigerians Talk, Love Nigeria and The Herald. He has also been published in YNaija, YADA Magazine, Nigeria Dialogue and

Mark is the curator and brain behind NHBi (No Holds Barred interactive), a chat show on Twitter every Wednesday night by 9pm. Brilliant stuff!!

Show loads of love and give a warm welcome to my guest, Mark!

FGS: Welcome! Want to tell us about #NHBi, what inspired it and what the vision is?

Mark:  It was quite spontaneous, I was tweeting one night on relationships and then the next day, @Rosanwo asked for my opinion on money and relationships. And from there, it became a weekly thing. Right now, we’re all about making it a platform where young people can talk on all topics of relationships and sexuality, and also working on monetizing it

FGS: Talk us through the format of the show please?

Mark:  we have 45mins for d guest to talk about a chosen topic, and then 45mins to answer questions and comments

FGS: What’s the response been like? Numbers?

Mark: Excellent! It’s been wonderful! We’ve reached an average of 30K accounts per episode; our last episode had 51K accounts reached, and about 2K tweets.

FGS: Massive! What’s the most popular topic you’ve had?

Mark: I think the one we had on sexual addiction and relationships last season.

#NHBi Season 3 Episode 1

FGS: I think I can remember it, the guy who talked about not being able to get enough. Interesting bit for me was the way he got over it, just by deciding to. Anyway, when you’re not moderating sex and relationships related questions, what do you do??

Mark:  I run MINDcapital, a management consultancy. We advice clients on strategy, branding, innovation, business planning and business process improvement

FGS: So, what problem would I come to you to solve for me?

Mark:  If you want to start a business and you need advice on how to, or you want to introduce a product or service and you need to build a brand or a strategy. Basically, any management issues except HR and accounting. You can find us here

FGS: How’s business?

Mark: Business is good, moving gradually

FGS:  Let’s talk Boko Haram. What are your thoughts? Off the top of your head

Mark: Hmm, that’s a complex one. Boko Haram is complex. It has become a cover for many different people to do their evil: the Federal Government, politicians, the military, ethnic supremacists.  And yes, there’s the real Boko Haram…

FGS: Yes, there is. If you could, how would you tackle it? Three things.

Mark:  There has to be that political will to take on everyone involved; there are too many bigwigs are involved, and they’re protected. So how would I tackle it? One, take action on the intelligence that’s there. Two: secure the borders. I don’t have a 3

FGS: Ha ha ha ha!!  Ok… Tell me about your (recent) trip to Maiduguri, capital of Borno.

Mark: Compared to say a year ago, things are much better. There are less checkpoints, there’s ease of movement, except everyone is apprehensive about the civilian JTF (Joint Task force). Though they’ve helped immensely, if care isn’t taken, they could be another Boko Haram

FGS: they are armed right? This civilian JTF?

Mark: They are armed, and mostly on drugs. They use weapons like cutlasses and axes and knives.

FGS: oh wow. How does it feel having family in Borno? No holds barred please (lol)

Mark: I’m not scared anymore. I was very concerned for my younger brother who’s in the University of Maiduguri, especially when 3 of his friends were killed about a year ago. He left for his industrial attachment in March and so I am more at ease. Almost everyone close to me has left.

FGS: So, Borno’s no longer on your mind?

Mark: No, it is. But it doesn’t bother me that my folks are there, because things have gotten much better. My only concern is seeing things improve so much that another Boko Haram doesn’t happen years from now.

FGS: True. Maybe you can give me a tour sometime, I hear I can buy quality gold there…

Mark: Yeah, you can, although I don’t know what quality gold is. Lol!

FGS: Thank you for chatting to me Mark

Mark: Anytime!


Want to read more of these interviews? Go here, or here, or here, or here! Do you want me to interview someone you believe is doing great things? Say so!

She’s brilliant! She’s pretty! She’s down to earth, she signs her emails ‘Egbe belụ Ugo belụ …’, she’s a mom (four times over), She’s a poet, an author (writes in English and Dutch), and her works have been broadcast on BBC World Service, Radio Nigeria, and other Commonwealth Radio Stations. She’s Chika Unigwe, winner of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Prize for literature and my guest on the 3, 2, 1 Interview series!

I love her locks! Love, love, love em!

D Fairy GodSister: Play back Friday the 2nd of November for me, what were you up to one hour before you heard you had won?

Chika UnigweI was online (or on the phone, I forget which) with my friend, Elnathan John who was sending someone to the Press conference. He wished me luck. Then I left for Mass

D Fairy GodSister: Ok, were you concentrating at Mass? Or were you sneaking peeks at your phone?

Chika Unigwe: I was very nervous and having something to take my mind off it was very good. I left earlier than normal. I left my phone at home. I didn’t want to be tempted to check calls so I switched it off and left it at home. I tried very hard to concentrate. I told myself, whatever happens. I’ll still write. I wanted to win, but did not expect to.

D Fairy GodSister: Good call!

Chika Unigwe: We lost a number of family members on my husband’s part this year, so All Saints Mass this year was significant for us.

D Fairy GodSister: I’m sorry about that. *hugs*

Chika Unigwe: Thanks. they lived good lives, and in 3 cases, we got to say goodbye; you can’t ask for more than that. Two were in a fit enough state for us to thank for what they meant to us while they lived. The children got to say thanks.

D Fairy GodSister: My condolences again. Ok, you said you told yourself you’d still write regardless of how it went. On the flip side, did you fantasize about what you’d do with the money?

Chika Unigwe: No. My mind would not go there. I just thought, ‘it’d be really nice to win this!’ but I never thought as far as what I’d do with the money. It still hasn’t sunk in yet.

D Fairy GodSister: Ha ha ha…. Have I said congratulations? Maybe that’ll help!

Chika Unigwe: Haha. Thanks!

D Fairy GodSister: $100, 000… Might not be in the bank already but if you don’t mind, three things you’ll do with it?

Chika Unigwe: I’d like to give back to Nigeria. I don’t know how yet. My secondary school, FGGC Abuja, has a library in need of books, my car is breaking down and needs replacement, and number 3: my children have a long wish list

D Fairy GodSister: Ha ha ha!!! Bless them! How did they take the news that Mommy had won?

Chika Unigwe: They are very happy. My youngest is 6, so I don’t know how much of it he understands, but he’s been telling people, ‘My mama won a prize for writing a book. The best book.’

D Fairy GodSister: That’s all that matters, his mama wrote the best book! Let’s go back in time a bit, how/when did you start writing?

Chika Unigwe: I have always loved scribbling. I self published a collection of poetry in my 2nd year. For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a writer. Luckily, my parents supported that dream. They filled our home with books, subscribed us to literary magazines in the US and and Nigeria; and when I asked at 13 during a holiday to the village for a typewriter to type out my poems and stories, my father went and borrowed one for me for the duration of that long vacation.

D Fairy GodSister: Thank God for our parents right? So, what inspires you? And how do you deal with writers block?

Chika Unigwe :Everything inspires me. Conversations with people, overheard conversations in public, stories in the news, life. Writers Block? I don’t know that I deal with them effectively. I just stare at my computer….

D Fairy GodSister: Lola.…… Was expecting some magic formula!

Chika Unigwe: I wish I had some. LOL. I sometimes also go to Facebook and read peoples’ updates…

D Fairy GodSister: We’re winding down now….. Have you always had your hair locked?

Chika Unigwe: No. I started when I became pregnant with my youngest. I realized I would not have as much time to get my hair braided. I loved long, tiny braids, but with a new baby on the way, I knew it would be difficult to make out time for that. I wanted something easy to maintain.

D Fairy GodSister:They look lovely!

Chika Unigwe: thanks

D Fairy GodSister : If you had three wishes you were sure would come true, what would they be?

Chika Unigwe: world peace, my favourite uncle to be alive again, and equality of everyone: equal access to the world’s riches and resources.

D Fairy GodSister: Tell us about running for elective office; what was that experience like?

Chika Unigwe: Exhausting: meetings, campaigns, distributing flyers door to door, talking to people. Exhausting mostly

D Fairy GodSister: Would you do it again?

Chika Unigwe: Did it 3 times already, so chances are high that I’d do it again

D Fairy GodSister: Ok. Final question: what’s the biggest word of advice you’ve run with you’d like to leave with other writers?

Chika Unigwe: do not take criticism of your work as criticism of your person.

Thank you Chika for talking to me!! Now, how did you say we’re sharing that money again?

Related articles

You can buy the book here –

What are you doing today, Saturday the 15th of September, 2012? I’ve just made a little trip, and I wish it was to Lagos, to support my friend Nze as he launches his book, ‘The Funeral Did Not End’; an in-depth review of the book is here.

Nze Sylva Ifedigbo is a friend, comrade, and more importantly, an extraordinary, award-winning writer who has written for Saturday Punch Youngster’s Page, The Nation, 234next, Nigeria Village Square, KOWA Party blog, Nigeria Dialogue among many others.

Interestingly, Nze has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, and is a member of the Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association. Did I mention he’s good looking? And single? Yup! More reasons to pay attention to this interview!

So I can’t make the launch, but I can definitely share in his joy! Below is a very insightful interview, drawn from a last minute chat I had with him. Enjoy.

D Fairy GodSister: When I see, ‘the funeral did not end’ I think of Nigeria and the absolute tragedy she’s becoming by the day’. Was that your inspiration?

NZE SYLVA: In many ways, the title of the book is a metaphor for the general state of the country. We seem to exist in a funeral happening in present continuous tense. In truth, The Funeral Did Not End is the title of one of the stories in the collection which dwelt on real life funeral, our excessive celebration of it which in most cases leaves the living perpetually in mourning. Juxtapose that with the situation of Nigeria and you can draw a clear relationship.

D Fairy GodSister: *sigh* So with your book you capture the reality that is Nigeria. Does your book offer any hope?

NZE SYLVA: Yeah, the book is my effort to fictionalize social commentary which I believe will reach a wider audience, invoke a better appreciation of our issues and hopefully trigger a more pragmatic response. Certainly it offers hope. That the book made it out after long delays occasioned by the inadequacies of our system is hope in itself. But as a fiction writer, I do not necessarily preach a gospel of hope directly. I hope my readers who are discerning beings will dig in and pick the message for themselves.

D Fairy GodSister: I hope so too; hope the message isn’t lost on all of us. How long did it take to write?

NZE SYLVA: I wrote this between 2007 and 2010. There were stops and breaks in between but generally we can say it took 4 years and another 2 to be published.

My dear friend!

D Fairy GodSister: Wow!! 6 years! Were there times you felt like, ‘I’m just going to leave this and do something else’? What helped you stay at it?

NZE SYLVA: You bet there were those times especially in the last 2 years after I had found a publisher, entered into a publishing agreement but the publication date got shifted by a whole year. You know, waiting is a very difficult thing to do and it is even more difficult for a writer waiting to see the birth of his creative effort. My publisher and I often joked during the wait that perhaps we jinxed ourselves by settling for that title… In between though I continued writing both my Op-ed columns and a new novel; they provided the staying power for me.

D Fairy GodSister: Awww! It’s finally here; you’re presenting your baby to the world in less than 12 hours. Are you nervous? What’s on your mind?

NZE SYLVA: Phew! How do I feel? Excited! Very excited and relieved. But nervous too. There is a measure of anxiety associated with these things. Suddenly you are not so sure if the world will love this baby of yours or appreciate the effort that went into it. However, my publisher DADA books in conjunction with Blues and Hills Consulting who represent me are planning what will be a fun time, not the usual drab and so much talk book launch we are used to. There is even an after party! I am looking forward to just relaxing and being in the spotlight this time.

D Fairy GodSister: I’m sure the launch is going to be wonderful, shame that I’m missing that, and the after party! Speaking of your publisher, most writers around these parts publish outside the country. What was the attraction to DADA, and what’s the relationship with them been?

NZE SYLVA: DADA Books is owned by a fantastic young man who is passionate about books and who is very interested in finding and developing Nigerian writers resident in Nigeria. Like you noted the more popular Nigerian fiction writers seem to be published abroad first, that is true. Indeed they also live abroad and in most cases get published here only when they’ve attained fame abroad. You know our people seem to want to wait for foreigners to endorse something before we begin to appreciate it here. Some what a number of publishers here do is republish these already successful names. The economics of this move is a no brainer. However Ayo Arigbabu of DADA Books risks his money on talents here and has so far done a good job with Onyeka Nwelue, Jumoke Verissimo, himself and Ruby Igwe the teenage author of a lovely children’s book. They chose me really. They were willing to invest in the book and I was happy to sign on.

D Fairy GodSister: When you’re not writing books, what do you do?

NZE SYLVA: I read (reading is the number one prerequisite for being a good writer). But I am also a huge Soccer fan and a follower of Manchester United. I do movies when there is one showing which at least 3 friends have attested is cool. And other times I am hanging out on twitter.

D Fairy GodSister: You won an essay writing competition recently, want to tell us about that?

NZE SYLVA: Yes. It was the National Orientation Agency (NOA) organised National Youth essay competition with the title “Strategies for taking the benefits of fuel subsidy savings to the highest number of Nigerians The essay was called sometime in Nov/Dec last year when the subsidy issue was still a national debate. The NOA felt the youths who constitute the largest segment in the country seemed left out of the national conversation at that point and the essay was a way of providing Nigerians below 30 a platform to air their views. I sent in an entry and won a grand prize. The award was sometime in May this year.

D Fairy GodSister: Congratulations!! Where’s my share o!

NZE SYLVA: Which share o? You abandoned us and ran to the UK!

D Fairy GodSister: Lol! Just say you’ve chopped it alone! Thank you for your time Nze, and I hope you have a fabulous time at the launch!

NZE SYLVA: Thank you Fairy GodSister!

Venue for the launch is Freedom Park, Victoria Island, Lagos. Time? 5pm. Don’t miss it!

I love her, very much; I think she’s an addition to sisters the world over, particularly those that have been blessed to meet her and even better, become friends with her! She’s beautiful, she’s intelligent, she’s very reliable; she’s the Chief Sista!

Hey Sista!

Say hello to Nike Coker, ace broadcaster and on air personality, wife, daughter, mom (to-be), and big sista to me! Won’t ever forget how we met; 2008 I was the Head of the Editorial Board as a youth corps member. We wanted to stage a benefit concert to commemorate World AIDS Day and needed artistes to perform (for next to nothing), sponsorship, publicity, the works, and everyone said to talk to Nike Coker! I found her on Facebook and sent her a veeeeery long message (the first of many epistles we’ve since exchanged), and she replied! Now even though NYSC officials ended up killing the dream, it’s been an absolute blessing knowing her! Has she been there for me or what!

In 2007, Nike Coker started what has now become an annual gathering for females called Sista Sista. I’ve attended four of those events, and the sixth season, themed: Making A Difference holds this Saturday (1st of September) in Abuja.

I managed to squeeze out time for an interview….

D Fairy GodSister: Hey Sista! How excited are you about SS 6?

Sista-In-Chief: Really excited! After the one year hiatus the expectations for the comeback edition is like sky-high!

D Fairy GodSister: I know, I’m excited too! What are your expectations for the event?

Sista-In-Chief: I expect each Sista to leave the venue a lil better than she came in. I expect her to leave feeling enlightened and knowing that someone somewhere out there loves and appreciates her!

D Fairy GodSister: That’s brilliant! Let’s backtrack a little though; what was the inspiration for this yearly gathering?

Sista-In-Chief: The inspiration started while as a host of Girl Talk on Cool FM Abuja; friends told me that it would be a great idea to meet my guests, close and personal so Sista Sista really is a platform where you can meet other sisters, learn, network and unwind. The setup is really different from that of a conference or a workshop or a seminar, and this year’s edition is going to be great!

We have one of Abuja’s favourite Sistas, Dayo Benjamin championing the Heart to Heart Session; and since our theme this year is health and safety

We have a guest that would come and talk about road safety and our children, while another would speak on how ladies need to take their own personal security seriously. We all have a thing or two to learn from Cynthia’s tragic experience, may her soul rest in perfect peace.

D Fairy GodSister: Whoop!! I can almost touch the excitement!

Sista-In-Chief: Yes! Sista Sista is an opportunity to celebrate you for the mother, daughter, wife, cousin, or sister you are to someone else; we spend so much of our lives caring for others, Sista Sista is that one day in the year where it’s really all about you! Where we get to meet the women we see on TV and take pictures with them; it’s fun, it’s informal, it’s laughter, it’s reflection, it’s the full monty under one roof @ Sista Sista. By the way, it’s always been our tradition to groom women who are conscious about time and getting to places early so we reward early birds for getting to the venue on time!

D Fairy GodSister: Noted!! How do you feel the night of each event, after the last sister’s left?

Sista-In-Chief: Tired! Spent! Yet truly fulfilled! The testimonies are priceless. People find their best friends, doctors, lawyers, even lesson teachers for their kids at the event. It’s networking on a whole new level….

Dayo Benjamin, Patricia Omoqui and Nike Coker at Sista Sista 5!

D Fairy GodSister: What’s the most difficult part of the planning for each SS event?

Sista-In-Chief: errrr, convincing sponsors that investing in women is always worth it!

D Fairy GodSister: Talking about sponsors, any one of them who’ve been with SS from the first season?

Sista-In-Chief: Ummm… None. Longest have been DOXA and ONGA.

Fairy GodSister: Ok! Big hug to DOXA and ONGA from the sisters, thank you both! Now Sista, you only started charging a fee for SS events from the 4th season…. Tell us about that?

Sista-In-Chief: The event got so much bigger that to be honest with you my pocket money wasn’t covering logistics anymore…the subsidized ticket charges are primarily to cover that and any other of expenses like bringing resource people in from outside of Abuja.

D Fairy GodSister: Any sisters who’ve been with you from the first season? This is your space; say your thank yous here!

Sista-In-Chief: Yes! There’s Eugenia Abu, Seun Olagunju, Shimite Katung, Keks Adeyanju, Amuche Onyechi, Dooshima Oyewole and Joy Abiodun! They’ve helped me mould Sista Sista from inception and assisted in making it the movement it is today.

D Fairy GodSister: Any final words Chief Sista?

Sista-In-Chief: Sista Sista is meant to help create a community where we drop the ‘beef’ and love the Sista next door, no matter what.  We all need someone to talk to and connect with; someone who understands us or someone who’s been ‘there’ before. I’m thankful to the Sistas that turn up each year to make the event such a success. See you on the 1st! We intend to make a difference!

D Fairy GodSister: Whoop!! Thank you Sista!!

Sista-In-Chief: Thank you Fairy GodSister, see you on the first!

Don’t be told!

P:S – Tickets cost N3500 and can be purchased at Kiss FM, Baldon Clothiers (C15 EMAB Plaza) and Sleek Makeup Studio (Bloomsberry Plaza); all in Wuse 2. See you on Saturday!

The first time I interviewed Elnathan on the blog, it was the definition of a ‘no holds barred’ discussion. For me it was a blessing that we could have that chat, because I was fed up of the Moslems versus Christians angle to the carnage that happened (especially in the North) after the 2011 elections. Elnathan was a breath of fresh air (still is) and it was great to catch him for a few minutes a few days ago to get his opinion on a few issues.


D Fairy GodSister: Hello Elnathan! Nice to have you on the 3, 2, 1 series again; you know it’s always a pleasure to have you here.

ELNATHAN: The pleasure is mine Chioma

D Fairy GodSister: Are we going to start arguing about pleasure now? Lol!

ELNATHAN: Ok. I concede the pleasure

D Fairy GodSister: Lol! Let’s start with, I’m sure you heard of the bomb that went off in the Sultanate today (30th July 2012), what do you think of this whole bombing/Boko Haram business? As in your honest, unadulterated opinion?

ELNATHAN: I think these are symptoms of a much deeper country-wide decay. I do not like talking about the individual bombings. They are all together a pointer to what we as a nation have been sowing, namely, brazen corruption, deliberate underdevelopment, greed, clueless leadership, complacent complicit followership

D Fairy GodSister: Ok. It started out as a sect against Western Education, then on to Moslems destroying the worship places of other Christians, and vice versa.  In the first interview you granted it had a political undertone, young people disgusted at their leaders. What is going on now?

ELNATHAN: Many people have bought a franchise in what was once a strictly. ‘Boko Haram’ affair. One isn’t even sure who is doing what. People know that there isn’t a sincere serious leadership. So they are taking advantage of it. The real Boko Haram is still an outstanding issue. This is the result of too much corrupt money in the hands of too many desperate people.

D Fairy GodSister: True that…. *sigh* Let’s say you woke up one morning, and you found you were president of Nigeria, with all its attendant positives and negatives. What would do in the first one week?


  • Stop all payments by government. Track and verify all payments. I would freeze all government accounts and do an audit to find out what we really have.
  • I would close our borders
  • I would ban sirens even for the Presidential convoy (which won’t be more than 4 cars).
  • I give MDA’s a deadline for all outstanding projects. Apart from these little things however I would nothing too quickly

D Fairy GodSister: Ha ha ha…. You would be very tough wouldn’t you?

ELNATHAN: I would assess the situation. Breathe. Then move cautiously but firmly.

D Fairy GodSister: True. Still sampling your opinions.. What do you think of ejecting the Fulani’s from Jos?

ELNATHAN: Do you mean Special Task Force eviction order in some Plateau towns? I think the STF initially didn’t handle the PR angle well so that what could have been a normal operation was read to mean an anti-Fulani campaign. Again because of the existing distrust between the Fulani and the Plateau government it was important for them to have done a lot of public relations work especially among the Ardo’s who would have passed a correct message together with assurances to their people.

There were many fears, a lot of them justified. Would they be allowed to return to their homes? Would they be taken care of? Would the Plateau Government be involved in relief distribution? Would they be assured of protection of their cattle as they moved out?

D Fairy GodSister: All that talk seems to have died down now. What are the options for them if they are evicted though? Where do they go?

ELNATHAN: There was supposed to be camps; temporary shelters where they would receive aid until the end of the operation when they would be able to go home. The STF to my knowledge has already started giving out these materials and I know that some Fulani have put together a fund to help primarily, the effort by Dr. Aliyu Tilde who has been in the forefront of protecting Fulani rights in this issue.

D Fairy GodSister: Why move them though? What’s the rationale behind moving people from a life they’ve known?

ELNATHAN: There was supposed to be a military operation to flush out certain ‘militants’ who were said to have been in the areas affected. The STF I believe did not want to incur a lot of collateral damage in the event of heavy fighting. However the issue of the sedentary Fulani communities in Plateau and the conflict with local (Berom) tribes is another issue. Complex as it is unfortunate.

D Fairy GodSister: *sigh* Away from the north, what was the inspiration for your ‘how to’ series?

ELNATHAN: The How To series was an attempt to shift a bit from the traditional sometimes heavy and boring way of talking about Nigeria. Satire is a perfect tool for this. It also makes for easy reading.

D Fairy GodSister: It’s absolutely hilarious!

ELNATHAN: I admire Peter Pan Enahoro and have looked up to him as an example in this regard with his ‘How to be a Nigerian‘ and ‘The complete Nigerian’. However one of the persons who have inspired me the most and still inspires me is the Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina; His ‘How To write about Africa’ was my immediate inspiration.

D Fairy GodSister: Ok. What’s the next in the How To series? A little scoop for my readers?

ELNATHAN: Ah part of the fun is the waiting! I can say however that it will be a part two of something I have done before

D Fairy GodSister: Awwww, c’mon!

ELNATHAN: Trade secret; go ask coca cola their recipe

D Fairy GodSister: Smh! I’ll let that go, if you tell us what you’ve been up to since the last interview you gave us.

ELNATHAN: Writing a book. Teaching. Working on bringing back the literary movement in my home state, Kaduna, putting on weight and mourning the loss of the love of my life Funmi, my sepia notepad which was stolen by robbers in my house. Funmi held a good many unfinished stories. But I am healing.

D Fairy GodSister: Well done, and my condolences on Funmi! Any human ‘love of your life’? Male or female?

ELNATHAN: No. Only a best friend who is more than making up for it. And kind amazing friends who make my world go round.

D Fairy GodSister: True that! Thank you again Elnathan you always rock my pages!

ELNATHAN: You rock! I am honoured to be on your pages. Take care.


I found him on a friend’s page, was nice to finally ‘meet’ the person behind the acclaimed Student Circle, and very recently, the first fully online African university, fresh from its beta testing phase. Say hello to Gossy Ukanwoke, the 23-year-old Nigerian who is successfully channeling his passion for Africa, technology, and education into multi-pronged solutions.

ME:  Hello!

Gossy:  How are you doing? And good evening!

ME:  Good evening. I’m doing great! You?

Gossy:  I’m very well, lots of work but I’m getting by…

ME:  Welcome to the 3, 2, 1 series; a platform where the Fairy God Sister is at liberty to ask any question she wants!

Gossy: *smile* thanks and Gossy chooses which to answer!

ME:  This interview is written so I’ll reproduce as is on the blog, only editing for any errors. And err, Gossy will be compelled by my fairy powers to answer! Ready?

Let’s start with, what is it about Gossy that I won’t/can’t/haven’t read in interviews?

Gossy:  Gossy is really God fearing, he’s a strong Christian.

ME:  Wonderful! What else?

Gossy:  My computer is stuck with me.

ME:  Ha ha ha… obviously!!! Give me something Gossy

Gossy:  I do not like education as it is currently. I believe the system is not built for all types of learners; that’s why we see those who are not “bright” in class excel outside class, in business, in art or vocation. However, vocational learning is not always considered equal to the standard learning schemes in our societies today

@ play.. starting in front of a painting

ME: Student Circle Network. What’s the back story?

Gossy:  I have always believed that every student should have access to quality and affordable education; Students Circle Network was built from that drive to help students and the rest is history.

ME:  What’s your biggest success story from the network?

Gossy:  Our users come back to say thank you and for me that qualifies our success. 

ME:  Any distinct story?

Gossy:  A Masters students who was choked for a final project got on SCN 5 days before  submission deadlines. He spoke with a teacher/a group of students, was put through and he got an A in that project!

ME:  amazing! That’s the kind of story that keeps you going on a difficult day isn’t it?

Gossy:  yes exactly. There have been times in the past that the pressures were so much that I once reconsidered the network but these stories give you a sense of fulfilment

Ok, #3. Who’s your ideal woman? (And I’m a Fairy, so feel free to dream…)

Gossy:  Lol! Ok, my ideal woman….. should be understanding; because I could get stuck up on work and this PC so much!

ME:  That’s it? Understanding? That’s it? C’mon!!! There must be other things you want!

Gossy:  that’s pretty much all I can say trust me! You won’t understand how much understanding is..

ME:  Looks, culinary skills, temperament, nothing? Ok, at the risk of digressing, explain your understanding of the ‘understanding’ you’re looking for.

Gossy:  Understanding that being on my computer 72 hours doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention. Get the picture?

ME:  hmmm….. I know your type! On to your latest venture, what does Beni stand for?

Gossy:  Beni is just a unique name in itself and its part of a personal experience. So yes Beni…… I think it’s a great name

ME:  Ok… if I pronounced it in Yoruba be ni could mean ‘yes’. It could also be a place, river, or part of a name. For you is it an acronym, something in a language, I’m curiooooooous Gossy!

Gossy:  more things will unfold in the future I guess, but it’s a name on its own.

@ work, the PC to 'understand'....

ME:  hmmm, I’m restraining myself from using my powers to extract the name from you right now! What’s the place of social media in the communities you’re building?

Gossy:  Social media drives sporadic communication between those who are remotely linked; this is vital in learning and the growth of knowledge and that intersects with what my focus is on.

ME:  I see that the pioneer students at Beni American have a ‘class blog’. We had one during my postgraduate studies but I’d like to know why you set that up?

Gossy:  students who are coming from diverse backgrounds come together, they need to know each other, learn from each other’s experiences, etc. I got to know a few people from that class blog myself whose knowledge I’ll be tapping into in the future.

ME:  Including me? smile

Gossy:  yes you were a student in the class blog

ME:  Past tense? Ahhhh!!!

Gossy:  the class is over, and you weren’t exactly a model student… you did not attend classes and you did not do assignments.

ME:  Awwww, I’m sorry! I feel like I’m getting a talking to from a Principal! And I am a good student! *adjusts halo*

#2 If I  gave you three days devoid of work/school and all the money you wanted, what would you do?

Gossy:  I’d head to England to see someone and have a nice holiday

ME:  See who? The person who understands you?

Gossy:  I don’t really discuss personal details but yes it may be the person who understands me, or an advisor I have been promising to visit, or a family member!

ME:  That’s good enough for us, I respect your privacy. Student Circle, BAU; what else does Gossy have his hands in at the moment?

Gossy:  school, I’m a final year student at Girne American University, studying Management Information Systems.

ME:  Final set of questions, and I must thank you for being an interesting guest…

Gossy:  Thanks plenty, any time!

ME:  Why Beni American? Why not Beni Nigerian?

Gossy:  We need to let people know what they are going into. Nigeria doesn’t currently have a benchmark for online universities; however the Americans do and we are running an American system, curriculum, structure and calendar amongst other things.

ME:  What’s the biggest take away for you now that the testing for BAU is done?

Gossy:  The people love it and that’s a great start. The students have come to realize the online system isn’t exactly an easy process when properly executed as we are doing

ME:  #1 If you had one wish that you were sure would be granted, what would it be?

Gossy:  that every Nigerian youth gets educated and upon graduation have an opportunity

ME:  Thank you Gossy!

Gossy:  You are most certainly welcome

Note: Gossy is currently fund-raising to provide free tablets for BAU students as well as subsidized internet access for them. Information about his outstanding precedents, and avenues to donate are here.

@school, looking up to a light up roof.....

Welcome to the 3, 2, 1 series, my name is ………. (don’t worry, it’s only a matter of time now)….. Ok! To the business of the day!

About a year ago I did a story on this brainy beauty who had just been evicted from MTN’s Project Fame (a move I still consider faulty, flawed, insert more adjectives as you wish). That story is here.

Recently my Fairy antennas picked up that she has a song out vewwy vewwy soon; and so with a rousing applause, welcome latest interviewee to the 3, 2, 1 series, Miss Lindsey Abudei, on twitter as @MissLind_Sea. Enjoy!

The delectable Miss Abudei!

FGS: Lindsey is…..?

Lindsey: Lindsey is a young girl who totally loves music; she’s a graduate of law as well

FGS: when did you fall in love with music? Was it ‘from the womb’ or something you picked up?

Lindsey: I think I’d like to say it came right on the day I was born; my mum told me music had to play for me to fall asleep and had to stay on till I woke up. Any abrupt change in that mood would make me wake up, plus I grew up waking to music play almost every morning

FGS: I bet NEPA/PHCN was a lot better then than it is now or else your parents would either have spent a fortune on fuelling generators, or become musicians themselves

Lindsey: you bet that!

FGS: what’s your kind of music?

Lindsey: it’s neo-soul/alternative… could either be on its own or in fusion

FGS: do you make the kind of music you listen to or do you bring out different from what you take in?

Lindsey: I make music that has got the influence of the kind of music I listen to…

FGS: and how long have you been making music professionally?

Lindsey: for about 7 years

FGS: wow, that’s a while! Do you have an album out?

Doing what she does best.....

Lindsey: no I don’t, it’s in the works though

FGS: ‘Drift Away’ was your first single released, what has the response to that been?

Lindsey: yes it was…The response has been good…pretty flattering too I must add

FGS: three things you took away from your time on MTN’s Project Fame and how they have helped you grow?

Lindsey: exposure, more skill and a network. I’ve grown in the sense that I’ve become more confident in myself and my music too

FGS: when Lindsey isn’t singing, what is she doing?

Lindsey: she’s doing poetry, reading, playing indoor games or going for the next play reading if she can.

FGS: in a blog post I did on you earlier I talked about you defending a criminal and singing their defence to the judge or jury…. So we know you’re a lawyer; what’s the plan? How do you plan to blend music with law?

Lindsey: music is my first love…It’s in my plan to take it up seriously…law could serve as my fall back plan when active music is done…Would probably take up entertainment law… And about me singing in court, yeah I remember…That’d be a funny one for me to see!

FGS: question from a fan, “who is the man who inspires you to write all these great songs?

Lindsey: lol…Well ‘Drift Away’ came from a heart break; don’t know about any other men for the others…

FGS: lol, will pass that message on to the fan (also known as )! You have a new single coming out in a couple days, the 10th of September….

Lindsey: Yes I do. Wouldn’t exactly call it a single though but yeah I’ve got a song coming out on the 10th of September

FGS: What was the inspiration for that (read as me building on the question from a fan), and why wouldn’t you call it a single?

Lindsey: I felt like doing something different… So I had this random idea to do a song that’d give a different feel from most of the songs we’ve heard in a while or in the past year from the Nigerian entertainment scene…

FGS: I know! The one beat 20 different artists/lyrics kind of music right?

Lindsey : You could say that… lol!

FGS: Two things you would want to have/be by 2015?

Lindsey : A much better musician and at least a Grammynomination/award

I really like this one!

FGS: whoop whoop!!! And you know you’ve got what it takes girl!!

Lindsey: *curtsying*

FGS: Looking to the future now, would you ever do a song in any of the major languages (Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo, Pidgin)?

Lindsey: I could…I’ve come to see how that ties to our identity or even mine as a Nigerian; I guess you could say I’d do “classy Nigerian”

FGS: lol at classy Nigerian! Tell us what the new song is about…..

Lindsey : Am I allowed to spill the beans now?*watching my back*

FGS: ahhhhhh, suspense kind of thing yeah? That’s fine, we totally understand. Final question, who would you give anything to do a collabo with?

Lindsey: I’ve got a couple of people…Lagbaja is one though

FGS: and that one is enough! Thank you Lindsey!!!!

Lindsey: Thank you too

Lindsey: *hugs*

FGS: mwah!!

More @MissLind_Sea......

There you have it, Miss Lindsey Abudei! Come back here late on the 9th to listen to the song first!

 Related articles

So the only permanent thing in life is change right? That’s why now you don’t look the same way you looked when you were 2, 6, 12, or even 16 years old.That’s also the reason why you know a lot more than you knew last month, a fortnight ago, last week, and even yesterday! By the way, what have you learned recently? According to Benjamin Franklin, “what has become clear to you since we last met?”

On to the issue of the day, recently I discovered that to fully understand a statement/claim/pronouncement a person has made, it will help to find out a little about them. Most times it not only helps to put what they’ve said in context, but it also accords them the credibility (or not) to make such claims. For example, you are more likely to believe a counsellor who has been married for 30 years with 3 kids and 5 grandchildren in a ‘how to make your marriage last’ seminar than you would believe a jerry curled, shaped eyebrows, American/British accented fella about whom stories of strings of relationships have been spun. Get my drift?

That’s what the 3, 2, 1 series is all about. Innovation brought to the blog to help every one’s understanding of the issues carried/discussed here. Someone says something insightful (or otherwise), and I interview them on this blog to find out what place they were at when they did or said what they did. I only recently decided to tag it thus because I needed a justification for the interviews, and an explanation for you!

Regardless of who I’ll be interviewing, there will be three questions totally unrelated to the discussion which get thrown in at different times during the chat, just because I am the Fairy GodSister and they are bound to answer! Lol! Seriously though, it’s just a way to be different, and to probe deeper than regular interviews would.

So far I have interviewed Zubair Abubakar, the young man behind the Nigerian Constitution for Blackberry App, I’ve also interviewed Elnathan John on the back of an article he wrote explaining the uprising in Northern Nigeria after the Presidential elections in April.  Recently I interviewed Onyeka Nwelue, another young Nigerian after he wrote an article around the very controversial GEJ Lunch.

I have my sights on a young lady whose organization is interested in dissecting the constitution in a way younger Nigerians will understand and then going round secondary schools to have interactive sessions with them. With time, the 3, 2, 1 series hopes to be the place where new talent is showcased, people doing great things are revealed, and brilliance nurtured and encouraged.

I’ll try my best to give advance notice of the people I’ll be interviewing on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus so you can send me whatever questions you’ve got for the people in advance so keep in touch! If there’s someone you’d like to see featured on this blog, I’d advise that you read the three interviews I’ve done already and if you still want me to talk to your person, send an email to with their name, email address, and the reason they should be featured in the 3, 2, 1 series! Easy as that!

So, welcome to the 3, 2, 1 series, I trust you will enjoy it!