Posts Tagged ‘Ayo Fayose’

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

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

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

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

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

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Mr Yinka Oyinlola, CEO of NLI and the Indian Ambassador

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We were joined by Blossom Nnodim! More smiles!

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

Food for thought there ey?

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

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

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

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

 

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

All of us!

All of us!

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Our gift to the Indian Ambassador. He loved them!

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We must have taken a million photos that night!

Why hello Mr Gandhi!

Why hello Mr Gandhi!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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