Feels like…

Feels like I haven’t been on here in ages, like I haven’t poured out my heart in a while. There’s so much noise, I feel like I’m driving, speeding like it’s going out of fashion. I feel like I don’t have time to stop, have a laugh, enjoy the outdoors, shoot the breeze. Which would be fine in itself except that now I feel like I don’t have the time to write.

That’s a problem. A big one.

I miss blogging. I miss a lot of things. Maybe people too.

Right now though? Sleep. God’s automatic reset button!

On your way yet? January’s over in a bit!

Good morning!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a fabulous 2015!

Love,

FGS.

 

Why Buhari?

fairygodsister:

Feyi is one writer you must read every now and again. Straight up facts, no bile; a discussion you can make an instant decision on. He’s on Twitter as @DoubleEph

Enjoy.

Originally posted on Agùntáṣǫólò:

Opposition parties don’t win general elections, governments lose them – British adage

How does someone go from really disliking Buhari to openly supporting him in 4 years? I doubt I’m alone in this – certainly I know a good number of people who wont have touched him with a long pole a couple of years and are now just waiting for their ballot paper so they can vote for him. I think that Nigeria will have a new President come May 2015 and it will be Muhammadu Buhari.

The first thing to note is that Buhari is actually quite easy to beat in an election. He is a very popular politician and I doubt any other politician in Nigeria today can come close to matching his numbers purely on name recognition and character. The man is not a crook and in Nigeria of today, that counts for a lot with…

View original 1,732 more words

GTB and I. One week one trouble.

I’ve been a GTBank customer since 2003 or 2004; I’ve written about GTBank twice. First when I went to their bank to get my ATM and after delaying me for about two weeks, I went into the bank, and the staff felt they needed to finish taking their photographs before they attended to the customers. Ended with them sending the card to my house in London via DHL.

Second time it was in praise of Ikalone Udo, a super-efficient lady who set up my business account in one visit to the bank after because of stress I’d abandoned the idea 18 months before. I was so impressed I wrote about the experience, tweeted the link at GTB too. Unfortunately she has since left GTBank, won’t be surprised if they hurt/upset her.

So, why am I writing? Numerous reasons. What has GTBank done again?

5th of December: I called GTConnect, and after explaining that my brother in Malaysia was stranded because they’d blocked his card again (FOR NO REASON) and didn’t tell him, they allowed me conference-call him and 27 minutes after, his card was unblocked. Emptied my phone of airtime but, no worries.

GTB’s naira Mastercard prides itself as being able to work anywhere in the world.

Screenshot 2014-12-20 11.41.53Apparently Malaysia isn’t part of that world because he hasn’t been able to use his card on a funded account to pay his fees. Why? That’s for GTBank to tell us.

So he doesn’t miss out on school, we decided he’d transfer the money to my naira account, and then I’d either do a transfer directly to the school, or send via MoneyGram back to him. First off though, he’d have to move the money to me.

He doesn’t have a token (it wasn’t ready the last time he came) so he got in touch with the bank and they asked him to fill out a form adding me as a beneficiary so this could be sorted.

He did this, sent it back. TWO days and a phone call after he was told his signature and house address were irregular. He changed them, sent them back. Sent a follow up email, called, nothing.

I called the bank this morning (19th December); spoke to a Chima Ikpe (gave him reference numbers (39xxxxxx, 39xxxxxx), his 01xxxxx and my account details 004xxxxx, etc.) who said the bank contacted my brother and that I should speak to him. He sounded extra confident so I rang my brother who confirmed what I knew: he had called the bank again and was asked to resend the documents (third time now), which he did immediately. No response.

I called back, this time spoke to an Oluwadunsin Mogaji who I was a little firmer with. I said I’d stay on the phone till the form was sorted, insisted on a resolution because I’m out of Nigeria next week. She placed me on hold, came back and said GTCare said they’d get in touch with my brother before close of business.

4.50pm. He said they’d emailed him asking him to call them so they’d verify/authenticate his request. I have a one question. Couldn’t they call him? You have his customer bio form. Why not call him?

Anyway, so he rang and after waiting on hold, network acting up et al, he hung up and asked me to call. I did. Spoke to a lady who said I couldn’t conference him in so I asked to speak with a manager. Exactly what happened on the 5th.

This lady put me on to Adeniyi Adeola, supervisor for the day. After I related the entire episode, gave them my name, brother’s name, our account details, and the reference numbers for the entire experience, he said the following

  1. For security purposes they couldn’t do a conference call
  2. They wouldn’t call him because their desk phones are not secure
  3. He has to keep trying.

So much for being customer care. I was upset, raising my voice et al. Who refunds all the money we’ve spent calling just to remain on hold? How can one transfer form be rocket science?

Time? 5.35pm. Mr Adeola said to me that call traffic at this time was low and so my brother should call again and ask for him.

Can I say that there’s 7 hours time difference between Nigeria and Malaysia? So it was almost 1am – he was awake at that time JUST for GTBank.

He called, and was on hold till his airtime ran out. See screenshot below.

2014-12-19 22.03.10

I was furious. Rang GTB, of course I was on hold again. By the time I was finally put through to the Mr Adeniyi Adeola, I was smoking from my ears. Told him of the time difference, reminded him I have to travel on Monday, reminded him of his false promise that traffic would be low, and asked what to do next, what he could do for my brother. He said, “Madam if there was anything else I could do I would have told you; your brother has to call.” That’s it.

I started saying something, I don’t remember what I was saying (I know I raised my voice well though) because I stopped, almost immediately. Why? He was laughing. GTB’s customer care rep, was laughing. I asked him what was funny, he said he wasn’t laughing; I’m neither daft, deaf, or without the ability to distinguish between speech and laughter. I knew I was spits away from tears so I thanked him for his time, promised to report to management, and I hung up.

Dear GTB, I’m tired. Exhausted. This is truly a most abusive relationship. Yesterday I was charged N9450 on an 800k withdrawal because the POS machines INSIDE the bank weren’t working (and my card didn’t work at the Hilton); I needed to pay for flights so I withdrew the money. Your staff (Christian somebody) couldn’t offer any solution to the faulty POS; afterwards he said I didn’t tell him I’d withdrawn money before, that there was nothing he could do.

I applied for an ATM card for my business account since August, I was only told in December (after I yelled) about an irregular signature. There is no week I’ve been in Nigeria I haven’t gone there. I didn’t complain because even though five months is a disgrace, the customer care guys in Abuja are lovely. Very lovely.

This isn’t healthy. I wasn’t born to talk to your staff, neither was my Twitter account registered in your name/for your benefit. Laughing at a customer? Apparently there are new depths you must explore.

I hear everything in Nigeria will kill a person. You currently top the list for me. So as soon as I get back in January, I will leave. I have tried. I will take my pennies and leave.

8th (a.k.a Day One) – Getting to know you #BookSprint

Good morning! I slept very well thank you, woke up feeling very rested. There’s something about the way I’ve slept in the last couple days that’s made me sleep a bit better. Maybe go to Lagos a bit more often perhaps?

Woke up, caught the end of a cartoon while I got ready, and then I went for breakfast. Again, thoroughly disappointed. This time though, I complained. Didn’t just mean to whinge (and I wasn’t the only one who complained), but I’m now taking medication to clear this week-old flu and for the amount of mental exertion I see in the offing, the least I expect is a decent breakfast! Besides, I’m a growing child…lol…

Thankful to our Care Manager (that’s what I called Ghida in my head) who’d gone over and beyond with the provisions she’d laid out in our kitchenette. Cereal, chocolate, biscuits, fruits, unending supplies of tea and coffee, she even brought medication (we’ll get to that bit soon). I ended up having Special K every morning till we left – thank you Ghida!!!

Breakfast over, we piled into the conference room, our work space for the next few days, and Barbara introduced officially what a Book Sprint was, and all of that information is here. She told us how ours would work (it’s a secret, wait for the book), and then we went round the room with short introductions. Here’s a bit about everyone, all eight of us!

Rafeeat Aliyu () – Blogger, writer of fiction and non-fiction, history nerd. http://www.eccentricyoruba.wordpress.com

Elnathan John () – A full-time writer. http://www.elnathanjohn.blogspot.com

Yas Niger () – Blogger, writer (of a self-published book). http://www.yasniger.wordpress.com

Pearl Osibu () – Blogger, writer, designer. http://www.pearlosibu.wordpress.com

Chioma Agwuegbo () – Blogger, writer, aunty to the cutest baby on earth. http://www.chiomachuka.com

Kalu Aja () – Financial planner and coach. http://www.kalus20pounds.blogspot.com

Azeenarh Mohammed () – Noisemaker, privacy enthusiast, digital security trainer. http://www.azeenarh.wordpress.com

Fola Lawal ( ) – Publisher. http://www.shecrownlita.com

And then our facilitators!

Barbara Ruhling () – Book Sprint facilitator, filmmaker. http://www.booksprints.net

Simone Poutnik ()- Multi-stakeholders collaboration facilitator. http://www.natural-innovation.net

Yep, that’s us!

Then we talked a lot about our book what we wanted it to be – fiction or not, narrated or not, dialogue or full on prose, on and on and on.

I really liked the exercises (I must say), even though the next event saddened me. We wrote out on post-its all the issues we wanted to see represented in our book, and then we grouped them under broader headings like religion, state structure, corruption, etc. That exercise was almost emotional for me cos it was like unpacking a bag full of bad memories, hanging them out, and just reliving them again.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 08.38.46

And this was just one sheet of the things we listed!!

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 08.38.01

Figuring out what issue would work under what was a task and half!

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 08.38.17

Stop and think…

What was interesting though, was seeing that all our issues are so interwoven! So, here’s a random example – if we fixed the judiciary, stiffer sentences for crimes would ensure a deterrent, and the society would be a tad safer/easier to live and do business in. However, the executive and legislative have to ‘put down self’ to empower the judiciary. Easy right? But when you consider that half the people who should be in jail for one crime or the other are in the E and L, it becomes a bit more tricky. Even trickier is the mindset of the ‘common man’ who lambasts the E, L, and J but sees nothing wrong in bribing his way out of stuff. Do you expect integrity from that kind of person when/if they get into a position of power? If you are dishonest with a pound, you will be dishonest with a thousand pounds. Round and round this mulberry bush, ladies and gentlemen. Sigh.

It was about evening this time (notice I didn’t dignify lunch with a mention), and people were wired! All that talk and writing! So we all took a walk, laughed all the way – to the politician amongst us paying for the fruits we wanted, to seeing a private house with traffic lights (Nigerians are the best walai) – we laughed all the day! Of course I took a picture. What!!??!!

2014-11-08 17.43.09

Ah ha! Before I forget, our lodgings are around the house of the Inspector General of Police. Guess what? We weren’t allowed to walk on his side of the road (where his home is). “For security reasons”, his people said. Was hilarious, the banter we had with the mobile policemen but when you think of it, how much sadder can we get?

I would be embarrassed to live there to be honest – tank parked outside, mortar barriers, floodlights, and mobile policemen perpetually at the ready. Why? Whatever happened to protect and serve? Are they protecting the Nigerian people like this? Why is it normal for one person to be guarded this way, when our brothers and sisters are sitting ducks for Boko Haram in the North East?

Bleh.

Dinner was manageable, nothing I remember. We did a bit more writing, and day one was officially over! Four days to go!

Have you showed up or are you still hiding?

I was in The Redeemed Church of God, Trinity Chapel, Barking branch on Sunday the 16th of November, and early on in the service Resident Pastor Dr Alade said it was dedicated to the late Dr Myles Munroe, who died on Monday. I blogged about him here.

The service pretty much revolved around the life and times of Dr Munroe, but with an interesting slant towards how we are living our lives now, and if how we rank when we take the ‘turbulence test’. Do you know what that is? I’ll tell you. But first, a selfie scripture.

Mark 4:20-21 says, “But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams.  Jesus went on: “Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don’t you put it up on a table or on the mantel?”

Now, I don’t really remember the title of the sermon but I know the subtitle was – “How to experience my destiny of increase”.

Ok, so back to the turbulence test, here it is. If you’re ever in a plane and there’s turbulence and your immediate thoughts and prayer revolve around how you can’t die either because you’re not sure of heaven or cause you’ve not accomplished all (or half) of what you should, you’re not living yet!

Myles Munroe said, “if you cannot see the ultimate, you will be a slave to the immediate”. Kinda reminds me of politicians in Nigeria but let’s move on quickly.

Pastor Alade said (and I believe) that “God has deposited so much in us as His children; we do Him (and ourselves) a great disservice by not utilising those deposits.

2 Kings 4: 1-7 tells the story of the widow whose husband died leaving her in debt and the after the man of God asked her what she had left and she mentioned the cruise of oil, he asked her to fill drums etc. She kept on pouring, and the oil didn’t run out till her son said they were out of vessels. right?

Question for you –

  • Are you living or surviving?
  • Have you showed up or are you still hiding?
  • What are you doing with your oil?

How do we satisfactorily answer those questions?

Find your purpose. Why are we here? Why do you exist? Dr Myles Munroe said “if purpose is not known abuse is inevitable”. Purpose however, is informed by potential. So, babies crawl, but they have the God-given ability to walk. That only happens when they’ve grown a bit, exercised their limbs, etc. In the same way, much as a bird might love water/seas/rivers, it cannot swim. Why? It doesn’t have the innate ability to do so.

So, what’s your potential ability? Ask God, if you can’t figure it out. But find it, because you can be great in potential yet poor in performance. Again think Nigeria and all the ‘Giant of Africa’ business I’ve been hearing since I was a toddler. *rolls eyes* God will help us in Jesus name!

Still on potentials and purpose, what are we doing with our minds? Big question because the empires of the future are first the empires of the mind. The Bible says to keep our hearts/minds with all diligence. Will you do that? Will you?

xx

Making Our Voices Count – Why You Should Vote for YNaija2015

Yes, this is an appeal. Yes, I need you to vote for us. And this is why.

YNaija 2015 is Nigeria’s first dedicated political blog. Launched in April 2013, YNaija2015 seeks to enhance youth participation in governance by providing a context and a background to events in a language, and using nuances they will understand. We are on Facebook and Twitter as YNaija2015, and our site is www.ynaija2015.com

YNaija 2015 deploys trendy, innovative ways to engage with its youth audience including photo-essays, online television, Twitter interviews, and other content, including polls, charts, a daily news tracklist, and infographics. Go and have a look for yourself!

Our Election Situation Room is a national template for election monitoring, getting the nation’s influential young journalists and new media influencers to monitor key state and local government elections as they happen. They coordinate with citizen reporters and our editors on the ground in each state and during each election to report, monitor and interpret the issues for the electorate and encourage immediate feedback and interactivity. So far we have covered elections in Anambra, Ekiti, and our premiere Election War Room was set up for Osun. You can watch here http://ynaija2015.com/warroom/

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Informing young people about political events in our country will give them the right mindset, and empower them to make the right decisions when they vote. Decisions that have to be made based on their convictions, rather than based on handouts from politicians or violent conduct.

It also makes them want more, makes them hold their representatives to account when we publish their activities x-rayed against the funding their offices receive, when they have reminders of what campaign promises have been made.

We have an opportunity to increase the scope and reach of our work by pitching for a grant with Making Our Voices Count. Our entry is here http://ideas.makingallvoicescount.org/a/dtd/YNaija2015-The-2015-election-portal/92985-26650 and we invite you to vote for us, and get your friends and family to vote!

Thank you!

PS – Please vote!! We have less than 25 days to get to the top of the list, and we’re currently at the bottom!! Please vote!

Why African youth are a threat to African youth policies.

This was actually the first piece I wrote for Foresight for Development (originally published on their site), and I guess it was just me reacting to the ‘give me, give me’ attitude that we young people parade all over the place like we are entitled to certain things just because we are ‘young’. 

Enjoy!

If every young person had a pound each time we heard we deserved this, and that just because we make up a huge percentage of the population in Africa, we would all be very rich. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t last very long.

We would head right back to penury in a few weeks because a proverb says, “poverty, like palm oil, cannot help but soil every finger”. Another one says: “It is difficult to remain rich in the midst of poverty”. If the clamoring isn’t rising from the bottom to the top and if it is not all-inclusive, it won’t be very effective.
The calls for inclusion in decision-making in Africa, for the most part, are abstract. It is akin to seeking to fly where one has not first learned to walk steadily.

The rigor is largely misdirected. There are more people saying “give us” rather than people showing they are ready to ‘take it’. Even better people should be asking, “What can we do to help you give us”?

Truth is, young people (aged 15-25) make up a fifth of the world’s population, 20% more in developing countries than the 13% in developed countries. So, one would think that the demographic would not be ignored. But it is ignored, and for a number of reasons, including the age for electoral participation and political representation, a lack of capacity and knowledge about political laws and processes.  Consider all of this before we start talking about the widely touted issues around financing, youth being seen as the problem rather than the solution, compulsory youth quotas, etc.

“A youth-friendly legal system is an important component of an environment that enables youth political participation. Among the most important elements are the minimum voting age to vote but also to run in elections” (Enhancing Youth Political Participation, UNDP 2012).

Now, I believe that while we must be grateful for the African Youth Charter, note that there are 54 individual countries that make up Africa. Individual here meaning that there are different languages, levels of literacy and Internet saturation, religions, socio-economic indices, policies and realities, and traditional/tribal leadership structures that affect the way young people see themselves. The way we see ourselves is a much bigger discussion that preceeds or should preceed the one about inclusion in the national/international decision-making process.

Africa can therefore not be seen as a homogenous unit. Therefore the African Union Commission would be stronger and more effective as an advocacy/pseudo-lobbying group, by pressing African governments to consider/adopt laws/charters developed by their young people.

Bringing this home to Nigeria, young people must therefore know their laws before demanding things the constitution does not provide for. For example, demanding (especially online) for a certain percentage of leadership is foolhardy, because the constitution stipulates the ages of 40, 35, and 30 if a person aspires to be president, senator, house of representatives/state house of assembly member, respectively.

This means that as a first step there must be an agreement on the definition of ‘youth’. Advocacy in this instance should then naturally focus on lowering the age of eligibility, rather than using social media for the blanket demand, #30percent or nothing.

Youth must also reject tokenism or quasi-representation without any influence. We must reject being used for photo opportunities or for the sake of participation but instead challenge our laws to provide significant quotas for youth and women representation.

To be able to do these, young people have to do a few things:

  • We must come together and realize that chopping off an oak tree doesn’t start from celebrating a few branches that were knocked off by the wind. And so we must seek knowledge. We must show ourselves faithful in whatever little corners we find ourselves in; we must develop ourselves socially and intellectually.
  • Youth (and youth organizations) must see themselves as complimentary units of one body rather than competition, and seek opportunities to harness the power of our numbers.
  • We must see social media as a means to an end and not the end in itself, especially because of the circumstances surrounding Internet rates in Africa. We cannot base our campaigns solely online, like youth in Singapore with its national Internet and mobile penetration percentages of 84 and 137 respectively, can afford to do. What are we doing in our communities? How are we reaching the digitally excluded? Ben Rattray, founder and CEO of Change.org, said in a 2013 interview with NBC that, “when you marry petitions with social media, making petitions really personal and local, they have the incredible capacity to make a difference.” Our activism must go beyond signatures online and twiddling thumbs to actual influence in our local communities, if we want to be taken seriously.

Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations said: “No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime. Young people must be included from birth. A society that cuts itself off from its youth severs its lifeline; it is condemned to bleed itself to death”.

We, in whose hands the future is to be entrusted, must be equipped and ready to cater for it.

P:S – I like guest writing. Let me know if you want me to write something for you/your organisation.

PPS – 85% of my external writing is paid for. The other 15% is free, depending on who/what it is for.

Where do you find peace?

What do you do when you are totally stressed out? Like, when everything screams ‘you need to breathe air that doesn’t contain this drama’? When I can, I travel. When I can’t, I travel somewhere a little away from the drama I’m facing. Bottom line, I try to distract myself from whatever I’m facing, find some peace within.

I went running with a buddy a few days ago, and it was a lot of stress. Stress because I haven’t done anything remotely related to exercise (beyond running around/after my nephew) in a few months. And we agreed that we’d achieve 5k.

After the first kilometer, I could see my heart thumping in front of me, I was breathless, my belly was hurting, etc. (all the signs of a severely unfit so and so). We stopped to stretch a bit, and then we carried on. By the 3rd kilometer I was throwing up bile. Lol. I was in so much pain! Ended up having to stop soon after because my knee started acting up. Like I literally limped home (not the whole way though).

Anyway, total distance covered? 4.5km. Time it took us to do it? 45 minutes, against the 30 minutes my friend would normally do the 5k in. Again, I was more proud of myself than disappointed (and you should be proud of me too)

When we were walking home, we saw this beautiful patch of flowers in a garden, and it was truly a sight for sore eyes. I really derived peace from looking at it, so I went closer to take a picture. Doing that made me think for a bit, and here’s what I thought.

As adults some days are great, others we’re just happy to get through, and some others are super horrid. In the midst of that strenuous run (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), I found peace just by looking at ‘green’. I remember captioning this photo below on Instagram and saying…

2014-09-04 08.14.31

Green is beautiful, and a reminder that there can be calm in the midst of chaos, and more importantly, God is always there, even in the midst of chaos.Sometimes all we need to do is stop, hand over things troubling us, and then just let Him do His thing.

So, question is, where do you find peace? (Apart from the very obvious question about your health and fitness, and if you like to run as well). 2014 has been a much better year than 2013, better by miles and miles. Doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been dodgy in its own ways, doesn’t mean there haven’t been days when I didn’t want to pull out my non-existent hair.

But God has been there, in the midst of everything. In the wings, under, above, and inside me; just ensuring that the waters don’t overwhelm me. And for that, I’m super grateful.

This generation is different  

I’m a part of what you might call the generation of today, a part of the 68% of the 170 million Nigerians that is ‘young’. Not the ’60-year-old’ ‘yoot’ status political party members ascribe to themselves, the true demographic.

And I am different. I neither corrupt nor thieving, I do not appropriate the allocations or benefits of others to myself under any guise. I am a hardworking entrepreneur on the one hand, and an employee on the other. Why? Apart from the fact that I love to do both, and there are more than enough brain cells to allocate to both ventures, if I don’t hustle in the days of my youth, when will I?

There are millions of others like me, braving one unfavorable circumstance or the other to stay in their jobs or keep their businesses above water. Some of them have moved from being employees to employers themselves, others (just for the love of it) have founded social enterprises and devote the 24 hours they have each day to making sure that the next man has a better quality of life. All of this independent of government.

When ‘dependent’ on government, there are loads more who will not touch bribes, muddle figures, or taint themselves for a quick buck. They prefer to receive their wages with joy (or murmuring), and either find a way to augment it, or adjust their lifestyle to fit their budget.

People say of Nigerians that we are the happiest people on earth, regardless of fuel scarcity, epileptic (or non-existent) power supply, deplorable schools and Boko Haram (amongst others). We have also been described as the most hardworking and resilient. I believe all of that because I know how hard I work, and I have peers who make the hours I work look like child’s play.

I have a ‘Mama Put’ I patronize every time I’m in Abuja, I could swear by her meals! I was there recently, and my favorite, beans and plantain, was lukewarm, and I’d gotten used to piping hot food from there. Even worse, I bit on a stone!

Did I complain? Of course I did. Did I stop going there because of one incident? No. Why? Because one bad experience cannot be enough to cancel out all the brilliant meals I’ve had there. Same way you don’t bin a crate of eggs because you cracked open a rotten one. No, you try again.

It would be foolhardy to paint every Nigerian you meet with whatever evil brush you inadvertently acquired via the news, a local or foreign blog, or even worse, off hearsay. If you were wont to do that before, we forgive you.

Nigerian youth have excelled in spite of a glaring lack of good role models to follow. Where are they? From Babangida, to Abacha, Shonekan to Obasanjo, down to what we’ve got now, where is the inspiration? Just how much inspiration do all these great men muster between them? So precious little.

Yet we have thrived, soldiered on bravely in a landscape barren of support. We’re asking questions, championing causes, holding this government to account, and most important, we’re providing solutions.

I might not be able to say this about the others, but I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that this generation, my generation is different.

PS – Written in May, after a discussion with @bubusn. Edited after a conversation with @eyooekpo.