Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I’m in love with my computer…

Posted: November 22, 2021 in Uncategorized

Brethren. First off it has been two years since I wrote on this blog. TWO YEARS. A baby born two years ago would have at least 20 words in their vocabulary by now, would be walking and running (have you ever wondered why babies/toddlers feel the need to run away from their guardians e-v-e-r-y chance they get? Lol, but I digress). Two years! Phew! Did you miss me?

Back here because I think I’ve thought up a challenge to force myself to get back into writing. I miss it so much. It used to be my outlet, my escape from the craziness around, my little community from all over the world, and I miss it. So, let’s write. I couldn’t settle on what I wanted to write about first, so I thought I’d come into my drafts and finish up an old post. Alright? Let’s do it!

Have you ever been shocked by your emotions? I mean, startled by the amount of emotion you expressed because you didn’t think you were capable of that much?

Here’s a short story for you. On the 29th of December 2017 -(yes this post has been in my drafts that long), I realised I was nowhere close to disposing of all my old devices as I’d promised myself. So off to a reseller, I went, with my HTC M7, M8, and M9, iTouch, and my faithful old MacBook Pro.

To sell the MacBook Pro, first, we had to wipe it, sign out of Google accounts, those kinds of things. And then before I knew it, tears filled my eyes. I thought there was something in my eyes at first, then I thought the computer dealership doubled as an onion-chopping establishment because I couldn’t seem to dry my eyes. And now I’ll tell you about my Macbook.

It was my very first MacBook, purchased seven years before with a generous student discount at the Apple Store at Bluewater Mall in Greenhithe. It is such a vivid memory, that day we purchased that computer, and how excited my late aunty Pat and I were. I mean she didn’t understand why I needed to spend that much on a computer, but my excitement rubbed off on her and we rejoiced together. And she prayed for me – Aunty always found a reason to pray for me – and said “you will buy bigger things.” Amen aunty! I wish she could see some of the things I’ve bought since then.

If devices could speak, phew! That MacBook and I have so many stories we could tell, from trips to experiences to tasks delivered, to near-misses, and oh there was the time I broke the screen and it felt like I had lost someone. I was in Charlton, at my friend Toksy’s house, and I don’t remember what I was doing but I heard a sound and couldn’t figure out where it was from. An hour later I opened my baby to confirm the delivery time for an item (I was to leave the UK in 7 days) and the screen was broken, like shattered and bits of it were on the keypad. How my heart didn’t stop is something I need you to thank God with me about! I cried myself silly, then headed off to the apple store. I believe I have written about this before but the short story is my eyes were so bloodshot (from wailing) the gentleman at the Apple Store must have believed I was getting abused or something. Also because the damage to the screen was significant. He asked me what happened to the screen a few times, didn’t help that I didn’t know what exactly happened to it, I just needed it fixed in like 72 hours (way ahead of their 7-10 working days turnaround time) so I could travel with it. My mac was booked, he said he’d try his best, urged me to stop crying (I was so weepy, gosh) and I left. Brethren, Apple reached out in the morning of the second day to say my baby was fixed. When I went to pick it up, that gentleman was scanning my face for a smile. When I opened the device and beamed, he said, “yay, she’s smiling” and I couldn’t have been more grateful. I’ll never forget that incident. 

Anyway, this was the device that 7 years on, I was letting go off. I had transferred all of my information to my new mac, wiped this old one, and was settling on a sum with the reseller. I got excellent value for it by the way; I’d bought it for about 1000 pounds in 2010 (£ = N250 at the time), and sold it for about N150, 000 7 years after. Next thing, I found myself tearing up, and it was the most confusing thing, for the seller, and myself. He kept on asking, “madam wetin” and I couldn’t explain that I was leaking water from my eyes for a device so I said an insect got into my eye and was irritating both of them. He said okay, but he didn’t believe me, lol. Money and receipts exchanged hands, and when I was safely in my car, I bawled. It was like I was watching a fast version of my experiences and escapades with that device, remembering the many people I had interacted with on it (for instance Skyping with my aunt), the work I’d done on it, the many firsts, the trips we’d taken, the boyfriend who accused me of being in a relationship with my computer (what a cad), everything!

Anyway. Five years with the device I bought then and we’re probably due another change. No, I will not be crying this time.

I feel like we do not have this conversation enough so very happy to reblog this piece that captures a considerable number of my fears.

Thinking Out Loud!

“As we have come to celebrate 80 with you, we will come and celebrate 90!! We will come and celebrate 100 and even 120 sef in Jesus nameeeeeee!!!!”

And we all chorused a loud earth-shattering amen.

That was the chairman of the day, praying at my friend’s dad’s 80th birthday last week. Shortly after the prayers, my friend came over to our table and some of our friends started to banter with him; asking if he truly wanted his Dad to live till the age of 120, he just laughed and we all moved on.

I would really love to see my Mum celebrate 120; actually, I want her to be around forever. At my big age, watching my mum grow older has been quite discomforting and unsettling for me. She clocked 65 in June and honestly, I still remember quite vividly, her 35th birthday. I am 34 and I…

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A week ago my friend and senior media colleague Alu Azege invited me to read to the children in her book club. I said yes, even though for some reason I was super excited and nervous at the same time. You see, anyone who knows me knows I love children, I absolutely adore them; I believe that children (babies especially) are proof that God still makes beautiful things. My niece, my nephew, children I know, and even those I don’t know, I just love.

Let’s put my gushing on hold and go back to that Saturday morning. I had agreed to do the reading at 10am, to enable me catch a flight to Lagos for 1pm for a few engagements.

I got to the venue and found about 16 children aged 6 to 12 seated in a circle, and I was told the immediate challenge was getting them to agree on a book to read. After we were introduced, we held a small ‘election’ (gotta catch them early) and settled on reading ‘Eze Goes To School’, written by Onuora Nzekwu and Michael Crowder in 1963. Mr Nzekwu died in April this year (2017), at the age of 89. Interestingly, I read Eze Goes To School at least 20 years ago (good luck trying to figure out my age).

Anyway, off the top of my head, I decided we would read two pages, discuss them, answer any questions, and then take on the next two pages. I wanted to be sure the children followed the reading, and also to accommodate the younger children because the class was combined.

The first two pages had me cringing at the blatant patriarchy and thought patterns that existed in those days. Eze’s father, a successful warrior, was illiterate but believed that his son Eze would benefit from an education, and so he pushed till he went. For Ulu, Eze’s sister, however, education was not on the cards at all, simply because she was a girl and girls didn’t need to go to school. The entire book is therefore centred on Eze’s education and the hurdles he faced in his quest for education.

Another thing that gnawed at me was the advice Okonkwo gave his son Eze as he set off to start school. He said, “You must beat all the boys in any examination you take. You must take first place always. And if you are stupid enough to let a boy beat you, never, my son, never let the girl, Chinwe beat you.”

On the 3 mile trek from their village Ohia to Ama where his school was located, a young Eze soon became tired, but he couldn’t say, even to his mother because it was out of place for boys to show any weakness. Even in exhaustion, lol.

In between questions, the younger children being unable to sit still (cue countless trips to the restroom), searching Google for words we didn’t understand and for a picture of African Garden Egg, we could only read one chapter before I had to leave. If I could, however, with total respect for the authors, I would change quite a few things in that first chapter, maybe even in the entire book.

Our culture, tradition, even the media we were exposed to created a generation of men who were afraid of their/to show emotion, for whom tears or the slightest expressions of vulnerability were seen as weakness; a generation of men bred to suppress their feelings.

Any wonder it seems like the majority of the men around are unfeeling? It is what they were conditioned to be from childhood! They were taught to play and explore and be adventurous while the girls were raised to be subservient homemakers, forgetting that it takes two to tango, and two to make a home.

This is why I say our generation of parents and would-be parents have an incredible responsibility to raise children that see themselves as equal, not superior by reason of class or gender; who strive for excellence with healthy doses of competition and camaraderie. So that Eze can go to school with Ulu, and do well at school because he’s applying himself and not because he wants to do better than a girl.

PS: I can’t wait to read to them again, and I’m taking my nephew with me. Not taking my niece biko, before she scatters the place. It’s a bookclub after all, not a nursery.

Welcome to Day Three! Parts one and two are here and here. Not in the mood to muck about so we’ll jump right into the trip to Bama. Or a few things that happened before. Ready?


Remember how I slept? I woke up cold, tired, and very angry. I was mentally exhausted from calculating all through the night how cold the room needed to be to stop me from being eaten alive by mosquitoes. And then, calculating how covered I needed to be to not freeze to death. Mind you, the air conditioning had no remote so I was standing up intermittently to turn it on and off.

A little note about the mosquitoes. They were massive. As in, really big. Not the “not seen but heard” type some of us endure everywhere else, these ones were massive. Like ‘I am a mosquito and I am here to suck (or drain) your blood’ size mosquitoes. I mean the insecticide of choice here is Rambo! Not Mortein, not Raid, not even Baygon. Rambo! Gosh! Meaning of course that except the room was icy, they were fully operational on the one human in the room – me.

By the time it was morning, I was sneezing uncontrollably, my eyes were puffy, and I had a headache the size of Africa. Did I mention that even though I asked (and very nicely) the hotel staff ended up not spraying any insecticide in my room? So I had bites all over as well. I swear I was a sorry sight.

Time check? 9am. We were at Government House, waiting for the Governor’s delegation so we could drive to Bama together. I remember being a little irritated that we’d been hurried out of our hotel in the name of “we’re leaving early” only to come here to wait. Plus, I was hungry.

Breakfast was digestive biscuits, a coke and some medicine I was given to ease my symptoms. I remember telling my best friend Wunmi I had been given a pink pill by someone on the team who was feeling sorry for me. I didn’t know what it was, and I was in too much distress to care to be honest. And it helped! Better yet, God had mercy on me.

An hour, some biscuits (thank you Alkayy) and a super cold coke after, we were ready to head out. I’d been on the phone with my dad and the deal was I would keep talking /chatting with him till we got out of service area and then message as soon as I could. Momma was in San Antonio at the time for my favourite cousin’s wedding and the general consensus was to not tell her I was not only around the North East but I was headed to the heart of the conflict and devastation.

We set off and the 3-hour drive (should be 90 minutes but the road is treacherous) was rife with the most reckless, dare-devil driving I’ve seen in my life! Gosh! There were about 32 cars inclusive of an armoured tank, a gun-carrier, trucks overflowing with civilian JTF armed to the teeth, soldiers, and then the Governor’s people. Everyone wanted to be closest to any vehicle with the armed guys. Alas! There was a very real danger of getting ambushed by Boko Haram so the racing was doubly inspired. At some point, I was more concerned about cars colliding about a tire bursting or falling off, or generally harming ourselves more than anything we were afraid of.

We were in a Toyota Hiace Bus, brand new and our driver was a veteran on that route. I imagine he had seen and heard enough to not want us to be a part of the number attacked by Boko Haram so he was as reckless as the others maybe even a bit more reckless than most.

Our route went from Maiduguri to Dalori, past Konduga, and then to Bama town, where IDP camp is located. From the minute we left the centre of Maiduguri town, it was an eyesore. Stretches of wantons’ destruction, nothing was spared. Banks, local government buildings, upturned cars. I saw a cap inside one of them and wondered about the thoughts were before the car turned over. Some buildings had massive holes like sequins adorning a dress. I must have asked a thousand times “what do these people want so bad they are willing to cause this much devastation to achieve?” God forbid.

Some photos. They’re all watermarked. Message me if you need a version that’s not watermarked.

We got to Bama safely (somehow my heart hadn’t left my body) and after some government talk, we went into the IDP camp. That’s a different story literally.



“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.

My mother loves eucalyptus oil. Like she loves it with every fiber of her being! And she, just like a lot of other moms, believes it is the answer to a multitude of illnesses/symptoms. So when we were younger somehow I believed eucalyptus oil was that panacea that could cure everything because momma had a different  method of application depending on what symptoms you presented. So cold/stuffy nose? Put some behind your ears, on your neck, pulse points basically. More intense cold? Use some for a steam bath. Period pain? Put some on your belly and massage it in. Tooth ache? Put some in a hanky and dab…okay I’m going to stop messing with you… momma I’m sorry, I love you! Ha ha ha!! I always had a good time teasing her about eucalyptus oil, still do! God bless you Momma!

For my late aunt, fried rice was the answer. Like, it was the ‘weapon’ of choice when the situation was mild, serious or grave/super, and the ‘application’ depended on that too. Ha ha! So, let’s say I had a bad day at work and I moaned about it a bit, we would buy fried rice and chicken wings from Southern Fried Chicken. When I got my heart broken in the middle of 2010, she bought me fried rice from Chopstix, an upscale Chinese restaurant. When I got my job at the BBC though, we cooked the rice in the house! 

The reason why buying fried rice was a smaller ‘medicine dose’ than cooking was the amount of effort that the latter came with! Proper labour of love. Like cooking fried rice in the house was an activity that EVERYONE partook in, from the nanny to the security man. Lol! I can still picture her sitting on the stool in the kitchen, mixing the rice. Wait, let’s even back up a bit. 

First there’d be the conversation preceding the “make we cook fried rice” proclamation. Boom! Then it would be nanny and driver to buy chicken, vegetables and whatever condiments we didn’t have (including a big tub of Blue Band butter), and then every soul in the house getting involved with chopping or peeling something. I remember that the guys were excluded, but not every time. 

I remember her micromanaging the process every single time, like each time was our first. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. If she didn’t ask, we would pile into the living room one after the other to ask questions, silly or relevant. Because aunty was the king and queen of the business of cooking fried rice!!

I remember us laying out all the blanched, steamed, chopped, boiled, plucked ingredients out in separate bowls strewn across the kitchen floor, surrounding the big pot (very big because everyone was welcome to aunty’s pot) with her stool there in the middle too. I remember her nonstop conversation as she mixed in all the ingredients, whether it was giving advice, singing, scolding whoever for whatever reason, or gisting us of a number of things, maybe even the last time we all cooked! 

I remember she would insist the onions be blended because she knew I can’t stand seeing them, and I remember her asking me to taste. I remember always scooping rice onto a plate just to taste, her protesting that, “na only this pikin must chop half the food to taste am”, and the laughter that would always ensue.

I remember the laughter. Gosh I remember her laughter. With her gap teeth, mischievous twinkle in her eyes, and absolute love of God and man in her heart. It was loud, it was rich, it was welcoming. Aunty invited everyone to laugh with her laughter, regardless of your state of mind. If she was laughing, even if it was at you, you would laugh too. I promise.

I remember sitting down to eat our finished work of art with her white tray, big purple cup of Fanta and ice. Aunty loved life abeg! And we would pair the meal nicely with a Yoruba film, because we could never eat fried rice quietly. Nah, it wouldn’t go down well that way, there had to be extra activity.

Meal over, your problems were either over, or in the midst of the preparation or cooking we would have discussed or agreed on the way out of the issue. And if we were celebrating, there would be a small, off handed prayer of thanksgiving for the joy, and a word (or two, or two million) of advice on how to manage it.

Meal over, it would be time to retire to her room or ours, to “fire sleep.” I remember her in any of her wrappers, room temperature mirroring the Arctic, and her giving any of us her phones so she wouldn’t be disturbed. Sometimes we would cook fried rice on a Sunday after church, for Easter, Christmas, any of the Muslim celebrations in a nod to her Northern upbringing, birthdays, or just because she felt like the whole house needed something to do. Lol. What a woman.

I would give anything to cook fried rice with you again aunty. Maybe because it’s Christmas, maybe because there’s so much to talk about, maybe because I miss you ordering us about, maybe because I want to hear you laugh one last time.

Sleep well aunty. I love you forever.

Baby Fever! I’m a god mommy!

Posted: November 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

This month two people very close to me have birthed gorgeous, healthy children; a boy and a girl. Well, one person on the 31st of October and the second born on the 2nd of November. I’m excited I’m a god mother to both of them and for the honour of filling out the birth certificate for my bestie’s son!

I’m also happy to not be doubly pregnant anymore (lol) because, believe me, I joined in incubating both babies, more emotionally and spiritually than physically but just as demanding trust me!

Can we take a minute to think about how great God is? Like nothing says we couldn’t have been able to pick our children off shelves at a supermarket or mould them from sand just like Adam and his babe were made. Nothing also says we couldn’t have had to be pregnant for two years like , or five days like … It’s just really amazing, this whole birthing process, and I’m so grateful that two cycles started and completed without incident, and without any evil reports. Not because we’re extra righteous or deserving, but because He’s a good God and forever in the business of finishing what He starts. Glory!

I remember when I got the call about both of them being preggers. Both times I was reduced to mush (because I have excess tears I’ve been told), both times my heart was bursting with joy and pride (believe me, I understand that pride is a weird emotion to feel here but allow me enjoy it thank you very much). Both times I imagined what they would birth, but being an aunt to the most gorgeous nephew and niece, I knew I would be grateful for whatever sex we were given. Long as they were healthy, happy, and chubby (I have a thing for chubby babies – my late aunty Pat used to say it was harder for them to cry because of all the weight, lol).


So, babies are here, and a new phase opens for everyone. The parents (including Godparents thank you very much), the families (nuclear and extended), and indeed our society. I look forward to spoiling them, lots of kisses and cuddles, and watching them grow. I also look forward to sending them on tons of errands o, we’re not African for nothing!

Here’s to you my latest prince and princess, welcome. God bless you today, tomorrow, and always. You will not disappoint destiny, you will not bring sorrow to your parents; you will excel in everything your hands find to do. We will not bury you, you will live long, healthy lives and be everything God has destined you to be. I love you two, loads! Hurry back!

So the US election campaigns started about 18 months ago, and I’ll be honest and say I was largely uninterested in the debates, rallies, etc. until very recently. Of course there were the very many days the world was jolted by any of the inappropriate (inappropriate here also meaning scary, unacceptable, criminal, etc.) utterances from Republican Candidate Donald Trump either during rallies, interviews, in the locker room, pretty much everywhere. On those days I would be forced to catch up on the outrage, but that would be all.
Not because I don’t care who the next leader of the free world is, not because I don’t see the incredible importance and leap it would be for a woman to become the next president of the United States, but because my people say that “when a man’s house is on fire he does not bother about the fufu he had on the stove.” There was (still is) just too much “what on earth is going on with my Nigeria” going on to focus on what’s happening in the pond an entire continent away.
TV ads forced me to care. Stickers, posters, heck even conversations a little too animated forced me to join the US Election frenzy. With or without my consent, I’ve had to actively follow.
So, I’ve been in the US for the past 4 weeks now and the excitement/apprehension/tension is palpable. Not the Nigerian flavor of ‘we’re voting for x and y not because we know what they will offer but because our leader says to’, but the ‘we’ve listened to both (major) candidates, know their history and believe overwhelmingly that x is better than y’. Or maybe even that x is the lesser of the two evils, whatever personal reasons.  
It reinforced a thought that led to this tweet“Dear #Nigeria, when we’re done climaxing over the #USElection rallies, our candidates MUST debate in 2019. Anything else is unacceptable.”
I believe that tweet with all my heart, and I hope you, Nigerian, tax-paying, voter card-wielding, pledge-reciting, daughter or son of the soil who has followed the US Elections has been reacquainted with a love for oratory, a respect for facts and figures, an appreciation for the media (and the 2016 expression of the Social Responsibility and Hypodermic Needle theories), and a renewed belief in yourself as a citizen whose vote is worth more than screaming rallies without any substance.
Anything less than debates with concrete plans, economic policies that can be argued for or against, and interventions that directly impact the lives of Nigerians is unacceptable. No more platitudes, no more empty promises, no more roaring rhetoric. 
Our state and national representatives must clearly articulate their plans for us, the people they represent. We cannot applaud the levels of transparency we’ve seen in this election and be content with declarations of assets that end up being as vague as they are untrue.
We must elect representatives who will not subvert but uphold the Constitution, and indeed open up the black hole that the National Assembly budget currently is!
Sigh. Deep breath Chioma. Moving on.
I’ve also thought very deliberately about how technology has been deployed for these elections. I’m not referring to diaspora voting which ensures citizens all over the world are not disenfranchised, and sounds like a brilliant idea till you remember that Nigeria has not come close to perfecting our local, physical processes yet. We cannot guarantee votes cast by human beings we can see and touch (’see and touch’ excluding the era when we had Jamie Foxx and Michael Jackson on the list of accredited voters); yet we’re currently fascinated with diaspora votes. Maybe add that to the things we will blame next for inconclusive elections?
Anyway, I was referring to citizen-centered technology. Technology deployed to make voter education and the voting process as seamless and inclusive as possible. First from the government with the listings/helplines on social and traditional media, to parties and politicians constantly reminding the electorate why, how, and where to vote;  broadcast media and state-specific voting information, to the digital titans deploying doodles, stickers, and other ‘make it cool to vote’ paraphernalia for the electorate to perform their civic duty. No stomach infrastructure, sharing of rice, or bread, or corn; no ridiculous photos where fancy wristwatches meet extreme poverty, none of that mess. 
Anyway, it all ends in the next 24 hours. Those who didn’t already vote have until 8pm to get counted, with a collation and announcement devoid of candlelight, midnight miracles, meme-worthy drama, or any funny business. Governance should also start in earnest immediately after the swearing-in, not 9 months after. 
Quite frankly, these elections rank high on the list of things Americans should be ashamed of – the blatant mudslinging, disrespect for candidates/American History/the American people; the divisive nature of the campaign, the hate it’s inspired, ugh. Shameful.
However, for us, there is a lot to be learned, and I hope we’ve all been taking notes. 2019 is coming. 
PS: Originally published on Huffington Post

I think I’ve written about vulnerable people and metrics for giving alms etc.; how I’m more disposed to women with babies and people with disabilities over people who look ‘okay’ at first glance. I’m also more likely to give food /edible items to younger children instead of money. Just my thinking and how I feel those things should happen.

What do you do when someone shows up at your office though? Yes, there’s a story here.

Two Fridays ago, about evening time I was trying to finish up an application, write an article and send a couple emails; talk about being super busy! My team had just come back from facilitating a step-down training in conjunction with Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA) and were putting away their things possibly to start heading home.

I was on the phone to Tata, when one of them came to say someone was waiting to see me. I recorded off the call and asked that she be ushered in.

Frail didn’t capture the woman wrapped from head to toe who entered my office and asked if she could sit. She did, and I asked how I could help. She said she came from Nasarawa State because hospitals were on strike and she couldn’t get her anti-retroviral medication. So she came to Abuja and after going to a few hospitals, got two months’ worth of medicines, and for free. She paused long enough to remind me that ARV are free from government hospitals once you have ‘your number’. I didn’t bother asking what the number was.

Anyway, bottom line was she had spent the money she had moving about and buying food and didn’t have any money to get home. She said she couldn’t beg on the streets and that God told her to walk and somehow she got to where our office is situated. How much was she looking for? N1500 only (less than 4 dollars).

I gave her the money, got my people to give her a pastry and drink from what was left over from their training and her smile is something I will remember for a while! Big, warm, and stretching from ear to hear. Then she prayed for us and left. Ah, she took my number too, said “so I can tell my daughter Chioma when I’ve reached home”. I haven’t heard from her since then, and I really hope she got home okay.

Now she could have just schemed me out of N1500, or she could really have been directed by God to seek help at our office. Either way it felt really good to be there for her and to not have had a plan or standard for that kind of request. May God wanted to disrupt this process of mine.

I dunno. And I think sometimes it’s okay not to.

ARIK: Shaking my head.

Posted: August 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

So, the first part of this post published a few days ago talked about me going to Lagos for #TechPlus2016 and all the interesting things around that abi? That post is here if you missed it (you’re welcome).

I remember saying that the journey back home was a different story in itself, and I am here now to share it! Ready? Let’s do it!

So, we had been so well treated by the organisers, so well taken care of, I was fresh from church and that really lovely message by Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, and I was looking forward to returning to Abuja, excited and refreshed and getting back into the arms of family and loved ones. Sounds simple abi? Lol… I don’t think I’ve been more mistaken in my life!

Our flight was for 3pm, we left for the airport at noon. Got there about 1.15pm and we sashayed to the Business Class check-in counter. To be fair, I noticed there was a crowd and wondered aloud about the efficiency of the staff and why people weren’t getting catered to quickly. Only for us to be told at the Arik counter that they weren’t checking anyone in, and that we should wait.

Huh? I made the mistake of mentioning to the staff that we were flying Business and then she said, “And I’m telling you that no flights to Abuja from Lagos have left here today; there is no aviation fuel”. My heart sank so quickly I felt it would take my stomach with it. Brethren, that was the beginning of what I will now call ‘drama in the highest’.

Nana and I took ourselves to a restaurant within the check-in area to get a seat, apparently seats were only given to paying customers. So we bought the most ridiculously priced jollof rice we’ve ever had, and we got seats. After we’d spent an hour there, we got in touch with the organizers for #TechPlus2016 and they said they’d send a car for us, and we’d just fly back to Abuja the next day. Bless them.

We decided to go to the other terminal to see if we’d catch a flight back (you can tell how eager we were to get back home abi) and it was even worse there. Airlines were pulling flights off their websites, touts were reselling tickets for passengers who couldn’t wait hopelessly for hours on end; it was a hot mess.

Funny story. One guy bought a ticket for a 5.10pm flight and then called his friend (maybe in the next terminal) to come get a seat on that flight. Friend rushes in and goes to the counter where he is told there’s no flight for that time. His friend comes to the counter and asks how that is possible seeing as he’s just purchased a ticket for that flight and then he’s told to hand over the ticket and get his money back, that there’s no flight at that time. Lol! Funny but not funny at all I tell you.

We spent another hour at this terminal and after turning down the touts who wanted us to buy economy tickets for about N45, 000 each and we wouldn’t fly with our names but the names on the tickets, we decided it was time to take our hosts up on the offer to stay in a hotel close to the airport and try to fly early the next morning.

By this time my spirit and soul was ruffled; I was tired and the fact that all of the discomfort we’d endured hadn’t produced a flight was even more frustrating.

We jumped in the car and headed out of the airport when we got a call that two Arik flights had just landed from Abuja and they’d be going back. Whattttt? We sped back to our original terminal and circa 40 minutes of pushing, pulling and shoving later, had our boarding passes. Phew!

Then the queuing began. I stood on a queue for about 50 minutes straight, brought us to about 7pm or so, and then it was time for everyone to board. Arik officials suddenly said they would board folks from the 11am and 1pm flights. God bless the two young men who insisted that they board all their flights or none of them. The simple question was, how do you ignore the folks who’ve been waiting from 7am and pick and choose who gets to fly?

That argument took another 30 minutes or so and plenty more pushing and pulling. There was a woman with a little baby who started screaming about wanting to get home; apparently she had been stuck in the airport since the wee hours of the morning (or was it the day before) because there was no flight to PortHarcourt. I heard she’d just come into the Lagos from having the baby in South Africa and had gotten stuck there. No showers, nothing. My heart went out to her.

We finally took off about 8.10pm, and touched down in Abuja past 9pm. God is a great and merciful God. And Arik is an absolutely rubbish airline.

PS: Did I mention they had threatened to call security because we were being ‘unruly’? Lololol. Jokers.