Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

My best definition of social media is people on the left, people on the right, and technology in the middle. It is the democratization of information and content, the convenience and equal opportunity to share and connect with others, and the fulfillment of “the world is a global village” prophecy.

For some, social media is a magic wand to be wielded as they please, whether positively or negatively. It is at the heart of discussions around the world, from boardrooms to houses of parliament, marketplaces to bedrooms. It is alternate reality for some, and a mask to hide behind to perpetuate falsehood, bully, or exact vengeance against others.

Social media is many things, and does many things for many people. It is the voice of the common man, the route to recourse for offended customers and the immediate audience for the citizen journalist. Depending on where you are, local and international case studies abound of people deploying their networks to bring about a desired action or reaction. Social capital has a new field of play, and the rise and rise of influencers is ignored at the peril of the social media manager or strategist.

Credit: hr-gazette.com

Credit: hr-gazette.com

In Nigeria, the advent of social media broke and is still breaking many ceilings as far as communication across board is concerned but especially as it affects power. As a people we’re traditionally wired to follow or submit to constituted authority, whether in the home, in our communities, at school, at work or via our various religions; our embracing digital however disrupted all of that. The proliferation of media has provided access to global thinking, cultures, new streams of thought on the one hand, and courage for expression of existing streams of thought on the other. Questions have arisen where people weren’t questioning actions or inactions before, and those already questioning became equipped to be even louder and more visible with these questions. We are tasking government and public officials in a manner that was simply unthinkable before.

Love, relationships, and marriages have also had their share of disruption thanks to an audience constantly in need of a good ‘awww-worthy’ moment. Public displays of affection are no longer public enough if they’re not broadcast to friends, family, enemies, and complete strangers. We’re here for those moments though, egging on lovers to push the boundaries of rationality in expressing just how much they love their partner.

On the flip side, the pressure to claim that significant other and shield them from potential competitors or replacements is real, and there are studies that say social media has bred a new level of paranoia and mistrust in relationships. From sliding into private messages (also known as Direct Messages on Twitter and Instagram), to the curse of the misinterpreted emoji left as a comment, to spats that end in publishing nudes that were exchanged in times of peace, even to pedophiles grooming and then abusing teenagers (and thankfully getting their comeuppance), there’s just as much evil as there’s good online.

A little while ago, poverty porn was an issue, with international organizations attempting to clutch at our hearts (and purse) strings by depicting suffering across Africa. I was always embarrassed to watch those calls for help, especially when there would be three in a row (in whatever order); one to raise money to provide water for an African child, another to adopt a pet tiger, and another to stop cruelty to dogs. I was never comfortable with them, probably will never be.

Say hello however to Poverty Porn 2:0, the new version enabled by social media. We are in the age of philanthropy that must be broadcast to the world. And so without recourse to the dignity of the human beings in question (adults and children alike), people feel it is acceptable to film and broadcast their acts of charity. It is arguable that the publications inspire others to do good but is that really why we do it?

What is social media to you? How has it changed your life from the first social network you subscribed to?

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Thinking of what we now know as Enough is Enough Nigeria always leaves me with three feelings

  1. Pride – that I was a part of something whose influence transcends the shores of this country
  2. Despair – that five years after, the issues that gave birth to are still the issues we’re grappling with now
  3. Hope – that there is hope for Nigeria, and our labor will not be in vain.

It was one email, one random Friday afternoon. Late President Yar’adua was terminally ill, unavailable to lead the country, and so many ‘leaders’ arose and plundered, taking turns to rape an already battered country. No one could ascertain whether he was alive or dead, no one had access to him, and there was no talk of a succession plan because some people had sworn they would rule by proxy.

And then I got that email from Chude, asking “where is the outrage;” wondering how Nigeria’s youth demographic, about 65% of Nigeria’s 150 million strong population, was going to stand by and do nothing while evil doers ensured there was no Nigeria left for us. My favorite line from that email was, “We are in the majority. We have the power to actually make change happen. So what is our excuse? What will we tell our children – that we lay down and took whatever they hit us with?”

We couldn’t have been more than 20 copied in that email that led to the ‘Enough is Enough’ protest to the National Assembly on the 16th of March 2010.

Photo credit: Enough is Enough Nigeria

Photo credit: Enough is Enough Nigeria

I remember the nights leading to it; the nocturnal meetings, and the letters we wrote. I remember all of us having to make the decision not to join the ‘Save Nigeria Group’ rally which held around the same time, refusing to be the ‘pop culture element’ but making a statement of our own. I remember reading up on the possible things that could go wrong during a protest, and gathering tips like onions countering the effects of teargas. Now that I think of it, I wonder what would have happened if we really had to use onions on the day.

And so on this day, exactly five years ago, I was at my cubicle at the BBC, having received a stern warning from my late aunt (God rest her soul), not to join any protest. Matter of fact, she’d made me wear a skirt and heels to work so I wouldn’t be able to go.

At 9am, my colleagues Alkasim and Matilda, disappeared from the office for various reasons, but I stayed, trying to be obedient. By 10am another colleague asked me to leave because I wasn’t being useful; that’s how restless I was. I caught a cab home, changed into trousers and my Enough is Enough tee (which I still have), and ran to Eagle Square.

The most beautiful rainbow kissed the clouds that morning, and I remember a few of us getting emotional because God was literally smiling down on us.

And then we set out, voices and placards raised, demanding that our government keep the promise they made about 6000MW of electricity, and stop the fuel crisis that was the stuff of legend.

There were many moments I will never forget from that morning, like Dele Momodu pushing through the human barrier the soldiers formed on the way to the National Assembly, Audu Maikori almost getting shot, and the absolutely scorching sun. I also remember musicians like Omawumi and others leading us in song, and I remember almost falling out of one of the trucks. I remember the Sergeant-at-Arms saying he wasn’t aware of our gathering and procession, when he had in fact received a letter days before. And yes, I remember Alkasim, Matilda, and I almost getting queried for leaving the office.

Photo credit: TalkNaija.com

Photo credit: TalkNaija.com

From ‘Enougha Enougha’ on Facebook, Enough is Enough was registered (in a very roundabout way that still makes me smile), and through the Register, Select, Vote, and Protect (RSVP), #ShineYourEye, #OurNass, election debates and monitoring, Revoda, etc. continues to work with other organizations (local and international) to ask questions of our leaders, and demand some sanity in the chaos that is sometimes us.

That protest laid the foundation for the #OccupyNigeria and #BringBackOurGirls movements, simply because it showed that young people are aware, care, and dare to force good governance from those who have the privilege to serve.

Here’s a big happy birthday to EiE, to the inaugural board and leadership, and to Yemi Adamolekun, who has steadily steered this ship through it all. May our oil never run dry, our arms never go weary, and may we see this Nigeria we dream of sooner than later.

Happy birthday!

I’m horrible with writing about death, but then I guess everyone is, and at some point or the other in life, we will have to do things we’d much rather we didn’t. Even the death of an enemy leaves a sour taste, talk less of a friend, family member, or in this case, someone I really admired and would have been super privileged to meet.

I watched a TedTalk at the end of 2013 Mr. Dumor gave on reporting stories out of Africa, and he should know, he’s been the face of BBC’s Focus on Africa from the inception of the programme in 2012. Everyday. His talk was so funny! Beyond the laughs, I was totally smitten by his confidence, his eyes, alive with excitement and maybe mischief and I was upset when it ended.

I told myself that I would meet him in the New Year, and even though I didn’t immediately have a plan to do that, I purposed to try.

On the evening of the 17th, I was chatting with a much older friend of mine, and Komla came on. I mentioned I was a massive fan and I wanted to meet him, and this friend said they’d been in the same class at Harvard and sure, he’d facilitate an introduction the next morning. I was super excited, and the only thing that stopped me from insisting on an introduction there and then was the fact that it was a little late, and I was literally on my way home.

And then about midday the next day, I saw on Twitter that Komla Dumor had passed. What??? “Cruel jokers”, I thought, racing to BBC’s website to prove they were wrong. BBC didn’t carry it immediately, but staff were already tweeting condolence messages.

Just like that, he was gone. Aged 41, Komla Dumor passed of a suspected heart attack. One day on TV, gone the next day. The uncertainty that this life is.

I grieved like I had lost a personal friend – because it was yet another reminder that life is short, and we must do whatever we need to do as soon as we can. Grieved all the way to Instagram.

Screenshot 2014-06-02 05.40.16

And so today, exactly six months after, somehow I can now write and bid him farewell, hope he’s in a better place, and tell him he was a shining light for us young uns.

More importantly, I pray for God’s great comfort on his family.

Rest in peace Komla Dumor.

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Hiya! So I’ve found that the saying ‘easier said than done’ rings true. I didn’t think I would say this of myself but, here I am, eating the humble pie and wishing it tasted better!

At the beginning of this week I said I would do a chronicle a day for the rest of the week to make up for the time I had spent away from the blog. I think I started well (like we all do when we make a new resolution) but I didn’t put up anything yesterday.

I paid tribute to a friend I lost to cancer early this year, did my bit at lifting everyone’s spirits, and described a trip I took to Funtua last year. After that, it seemed like every force on earth (and beyond) swore wouldn’t write anything again. That in itself is a story but it’s not for today.

So a friend and colleague at Uni who cared enough to ask why I didn’t put up anything yesterday (shame on you if you didn’t ask) wrote something which i have posted below. Say hello to Andrew Watt people!

“As a Brit, my collected knowledge of Lagos and Nigeria comes from  Nigerians I have met and programmes on the television. Last year, the  BBC screened a three-part series called ‘Welcome to Lagos’ which showed some Lagos citizens living in squalid and dangerous conditions, making a living in any way they could. Coming from a country which has many people who believe the state owes them a living and sit on their backsides all day, I found their stories inspirational and fascinating. In fact it should be compulsory viewing for anyone who lives off the state. So, as a tribute to the people featured in the series, I decided to write this short poem.

Welcome to Lagos

For some who live in Lagos,

Their world is full of strife,

But you won’t hear them complain or moan,

Though poverty is rife.

In the Olusosun rubbish dump,

Life is very hard,

But some still have the Midas touch,

With the stuff that you discard.

Vocal Slender has a wish,

And every bit of scrap,

Brings him closer to his dream,

To live instead off rap.

Joseph is a trader ,

With two kids and a wife,

But he will work in any place,

If it improves their life.

Makoko is sandy slum,

Built next to the sea,

The houses are a mish mash,

Of various debris.

Chubbey is a fisherman,

With 18 kids in tow,

But wherever there’s a way to earn,

He’s always in the know.

Paul works at Ebute Metta,

He operates a saw,

But on funerals his money’s all been spent,

So he must sleep on the floor.

Handworking sandboys Dan and Kissme,

Make a living from the sand,

In a day they fill two dumper trucks,

Collecting it by hand.

These inspirational people,

Nigerian by birth,

Work and play in Lagos,

And are a gift from God to Earth.”

Market in Lagos

Image via Wikipedia

Thank you Andrew! And that’s it for Day 5!

Cover of "Shrek (Full Screen Single Disc ...

Cover of Shrek (Full Screen Single Disc Edition)

This chronicle was written March 15, 2010 but has been adopted for this week… Ok?

Ok, so like donkey in Shrek 1 I’m singing “on the road again”…or maybe I’m humming it. I’m not singing because I like the fact that Shrek is slowly into a Nollywood cartoon; part 3 wasn’t necessary at all! And did I tell you DreamWorks has announced there’ll be Shrek 4 and 5? But I digress, that’s a story for another day.

I’m on the road to Funtua, somewhere in Katsina, homeland to Nigeria’s one time absentee president (and no, I did not go for his funeral)! In fact, why don’t we leave the reason why I went there and concentrate on the journey to and fro which is always the fun part? Ok? Good.

So, the rest of the crew picked me by 6.30am (don’t forget I couldn’t sleep a wink the night before), and we set off. Pretty uneventful till we got to the border between Abuja and Niger State. Some guys in weird-looking uniforms (dark red and green) stopped us (had barricaded the major roads anyway so we didn’t quite have an option) and said they were environmental sanitation officers and they had blocked the roads so people would stay home and clean. Yeah right. One of us went to their boss, spoke to him a bit and they let us go. Curious to know how he managed that so easily, I asked what he said.

Crew guy – good morning, we’re from the BBC, going to Funtua for an important assignment.

Environmental guy – what is BBC? (And I thought we were known)

Crew guy – don’t you watch TV?

Environmental guy – oh, is it the one on TV?

Crew guy – (exasperated, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me look) yes

Environmental guy – ah, you should have told me sir, you should have specified (as if there are two BBC’s). Erm, my name is Official XYZ and we’ve been working diligently at this roadblock, trying to encourage people to clean their homes because we believe that health is wealth. (Suffice to note that by this time I was holding my sides in laughter). Oga (power had changed hands), would your people like to film us so you can show people that the environmental board in this state is…

Crew guy (cuts him short, knowing that power had changed hands and taking full advantage of it) – I told you we’re on an urgent assignment. On our way back, we’ll film this area for a special report.

And that my darlings, was how we were allowed to pass, and explains why I saw one of them saluting us! Moving on, we passed through Zaria (naturally) and we stopped at Rahama Restaurant to get a drink, pee, etc. I liked the place, it was pretty arranged. The guys selling suya were pretty much like bankers; with counters (numbered) and there was a supervisor guy (much like a branch manager) walking around and giving orders. I had to go so I went to use the surprisingly extra clean block of WC or pit latrine (choose your choice). Only thing that baffled me was, there were like a million kettles there, the floors looked so colorful! I mean, even if they were prepped for lunch/pee hour rush, they overdid the kettles abeg! Let me sum up the Rahama experience by saying this chronicle is one week late because I was critically ill after I got back. Please read between and under the lines.

Moving on, ABU Zaria gives life to the term, ‘University Community’, it’s so big! I mean, we were driving for more than twenty minutes and it was ABU on both sides of the road! At some point the walls of the school finished (and I don’t blame the wall – I would have finished too, the school, staff/students quarters, farms, etc stretched on for miles on end)! According to a tale, Sir Ahmadu Bello of blessed memory dreamed/proposed that ABU would start from Kwangila (contract bridge area), up to Funtua. Guess what? He achieved it to an extent because the school stops at Zaria Academy, and that’s a few spits from Funtua.

Makes me wonder what our leaders dream about: is it how to ‘import’ exotic women for their lewd pleasures, how to amass wealth through theft, or how to hoodwink the very people they pledge to guide? But again I digress, and I apologize.

Ok, so we continued going, abi? Somewhere in Shika, we saw a lorry load of guys waving sticks and machetes in the air. I was told they were hunters singing ‘battle’ songs. I was also told that if this (A) got into the bush and met another group (B), they would abandon their hunting expedition and start showing off their magic (juju), wrestling with each other (in other words, gingering their swagger)!

Ok, thanks to the Fairy God Father, we got into Funtua in peace, and on time too. I said I’d spare you the ‘why’ but I cannot but share these –

• No male shook my hand! Not even when we were introduced to the family of the person we went to see. (And there I was thinking I’d get air kissed or something)!

• There were so many little (aged 2 – 5) children running around in the streets! It’s almost like every family had enough kids to start a nursery! Jeez! (I found out though the communal head of the area we went to had just died and because of the peculiar way they mourn, all the little children were handed over to caregivers while their parents were in clusters; men in one place and women in another).

• There were so many dilapidated buildings! Some of the buildings (supposed to be schools) have campaign posters on them! Talk about a messed up conscience.

• Funtua has light o! As a matter of fact, I think ‘over light’ is worrying them! From the time we got there till we left, there was light, and full current at that!

Ok, that’s that about Funtua, didn’t see anything on the way back because I slept! This chronicle won’t be complete however if I don’t talk about the famous panty bomber who incidentally is from Funtua. I wanted to pay his family a visit but erm…..changed my mind just in time!

You know, back in January last year I tried to do a Mutallab chronicle but it didn’t click. One hour after and it still hasn’t come o, just imagined some stuff and I want you to imagine with me now. Just like 25 for Haiti, what if artistes the world over decided to do a song for Mutallab? I imagine the lines would be close to…….

No, how about you tell me what you think the lines would read like?

P:S – Day 3 of one chronicle a day this week! 4 days to go!

after the bumpy rides! In this picture Debola, Blaze, Amara, Debie, Hauwa and the FGS herself!

Do you do this sometimes; lie in bed at night and replay the events of the day in your head? Sometimes it makes you smile, other times you’re just grateful that day is over and you have the privilege of a gift called tomorrow.

That’s what I’m doing now and I just thought I should run it by you (maybe you can share yours with me too…but only if you want to ok)? And yes, the day in question is Saturday, the 1st of May (my birth month)!

Ok, so I was up at 6.30am (funny since I could barely sleep the night before)! I loaded some stuff in the washer and then gave myself 101 reasons to get on the treadmill.

43 minutes and a soaked outfit later, I was feeling high! Drank two glasses of water and watched 1gospel for about twenty minutes; there’s something about South African choirs that always starts my day on the right note. Made breakfast for my people, hung out my clothes to dry and then barely had enough time to get ready for the 5th Annual HIV and AIDS Conference holding at International Conference Center.

About the conference, do you agree that the level of disorganization we display sometimes can be amazing? Earlier in the week, my organization applied for media passes to the event. We were asked to download forms from their site, fill, attach our passports, get the head of our unit to countersign, and then scan the documents back to them. We did all that and they sent us a mail saying they had received our information and were looking forward to receiving us.

Men and brethren, my colleague and I got to the venue of the conference that beautiful Saturday morning feeling confident and extra sexy. We sashayed to the registration desk only to be told “I don’t know what BBC WST is, it’s not on my list of accredited media”. What!!! I was upset on two levels:
• She didn’t know the BBC? Seriously?
• What was the reason for the bottle necked registration we were made to do if it wouldn’t be used?

It was finally sorted out and we were shown the hall where the conference would be holding. Let me ignore the group of people we saw facebooking on a laptop inside the hall (not even on a phone) and say that we were in there till tea break.

In the break out session after tea, we sat in on a ‘designing and implementing youth focused programmes for and by young people’ presentation done by Fadekemi Agarau, the beautiful lady behind Education as a Vaccine. Let me just say this, I enjoyed it. As for the really silly questions some of the participants asked afterwards….what can I say!

Ok, so I left the place soon after and settled in at my favorite Chinese spot, OX. Debie and Debola (should I have said D2) came soon after and we left for Wonderland!! Speaking of which, Debola and Debie….hmmm…….

At Wonderland we had to wait for the rest of the cabal (Amara and Blaze) and there was the thing about them taking a picture of the signage outside Wonderland just to convince us they were really here!

They came in (with pretty Hauwa) and we went on the roller coaster ride. Apart from the fact that it wasn’t fun for me (I was practically hyperventilating by the time we got out), Blaze (in his wisdom) was tweeting when we were on the ride so…. (you guessed right), his BB fell and he lost his ball(s)!

Audu (bullet dodger and leader of the cabal) showed up at this point with the delectable Zel (fresh from the ‘East’) and we moved (gingerly) to the pirate ship. “What happens in the cabal stays in the cabal right”; meaning I won’t tell you of the cabalians who were praying and reciting different Psalms while the ship was swinging precariously and then bragging when we got off! It’s more fun for me to tell you of the oldish man who sat with us and how I prayed his heart wouldn’t stop! Come to think of it o, even if it had stopped, we had Dr. Zel on board!

We met Leslie, Chichi, Chioma Ejidike (was great to see the lawyer in the making especially after so long) and Folusho (who graciously captured the fear on ‘their’ faces while we were in the pirate ship)!
Ah ha! I forgot the bumper cars we rode in (and the males who wouldn’t stop hitting us with their cars! Somehow I thought pranks by males ended with the advent of manhood but nooooo, not these ones!!!! Any wonder why there are so many accidents on our roads today)?

After that we moved to the water slides and one of us said he was so terrified his name was Terry! And we had to keep him with us by holding his wife… I didn’t call any names o! By the way I forgot to mention the couple we saw on the ‘endurance bicycle’ (for lack of a better name), and the theories on relationships just looking at them inspired!

Then we moved to the……guys what was the name of that last ride? It had a 5 bit harness so I knew it would be the koko! And it was o, round and round and upside down, I was puking by the time we came down!

And then we left, happy, grinning, and very excited! To the members of the cabal who made it, you are ‘bankable’!  To Stanley, Matilda, Nze and the other cabalians who didn’t make it, YOU MISSED!

Moral of the story? The cabal had fun! Seriously though, take some time off to relax. It is necessary; make sure to utilize the weekends you’re not at work (since most of us don’t have weekends anymore)! Be with your friends and share laughs, jokes, hugs; whatever you do, just have fun!

By the way, have an extra refreshing weekend!

P:S – I actually wrote this on the 1st of May this year (2010). I chanced upon it this morning and it made me laugh so hard, I had to share!