Posts Tagged ‘california’

I was invited to this event –


and can I start by saying a big kudos to Play Network for putting this together? To my mind Play is a club/lounge and so the social consciousness and thought that went into staging this event is commendable. More than commendable.

So the IV said 6pm; by 6.30pm I saw a tweet saying the hall was empty so I sat back at home and continued working on the documents I had to ready for this week.

Apparently there was a rendition of the national anthem by Eve Urrah and Magnificent, a welcome address by PLAY Network CEO Charles Okpaleke, and then Adebola Williams presented a speech. Gleaned this sentence off tweets, did I miss anything?

Got there about 7.30pm to meet about 15 minutes of Oby Ezekwesili’s keynote – fiery, hardcore, and igniting. Not like anyone who knows her would expect anything else. Some of the things I took away?

  • “Weak governments produce weak outcomes. Strong intelligent governments produce strong, sustainable outcomes”
  • “You must join public service. Apathy cannot give you the answers/results you’re looking for/expecting

And then there was this!

Screenshot 2015-02-02 14.15.59

Ok, after her keynote which ended with a question on what our (us young people) parameters for measuring competence, character, and capacity were, there was the electrifying performance by JaiyeGuitar. Really lovely! And that rendition of Michael Jackson’s Earth Song? Loved it! Even though that bit with kneeling down was a bit too much for me, I loved it! And yes, my honest, purest thoughts Sir? Don’t sing, just play!

Next up was Frank Nweke who started with a riveting question: what’s wrong with being partisan? He asked because apparently the organizers of the event had come to him as a ‘non-partisan’ organization et al, and he said except this was an event strictly about voter education etc., humans were naturally partisan and he wouldn’t give up that part of him. I agree. Sometimes we act like being political is a bad thing.

His was quite interesting to be honest, hard truths about continuity and how he’s been in the same political party for the past 15 or 16 years (take your sub). He re-echoed some of Madam Oby’s thoughts about change being impossible without active political participation, leadership now being a responsibility rather than an option, and my only grouse with the entire presentation was I was checking the time and looking at the other things we had to get through.

Timi Dakolo was up next, and he performed ‘Nigeria’. Soon as he climbed the podium, half the audience was on their feet; the other half joined less than a minute into his performance. Can I just say that if/when I become president, Nigeria is getting a new anthem? An anthem truly representative of everything we’ve seen, are, and hope to be. Timi Dakolo is an incredible performer. End of.

There were cakes and NON-ALCOHOLIC drinks in the foyer, and it was nice to get a bite and a sip – if I’d organized the event maybe there’d have been an interlude for this to happen without people leaving the hall during speeches but hey, learning curve for Play.

Then it was time for the debate. Whoop! I was excited, watching people go at it mentally is one of my favorite past times. Tolu Ogunlesi was invited up to moderate, and he introduced the panelists. Four for each team (APC and PDP); they sat on the stage while Tolu and Chigurl gave the modalities for the debate. Opening statements from both sides, and then there would be questions from the audience both parties would respond to, taking a minute or so per answer if I remember correctly.

Time check? About 10pm or a couple minutes before.

APC started the opening statements (that way because ‘A’ comes before ‘P’ – in Tolu’s voice). First I noticed grammar (one of the speakers used ‘avuncular’ and ‘nexus’ in one sentence and I almost thought ‘Higi Haga’ was in the building).

And the questions went on from there.

Of course there had to be that Nigerian who would raise his hands to ask a question and then say, “actually I don’t have a question, but a comment”. Sigh.

As the question and answer session went on (and I won’t comment on the strength of their answers because I only remember three names of all the panelists and I zoned out as soon as the panelists started yelling), it was obvious people were becoming just a bit more disorderly, voices were just a little higher than normal, and it gradually descended/degenerated into a shouting bout.

Even among the lady debaters.

Calling everyone to order time and time again. I wondered why we bothered dressing up (code was black tie) if we were going to coming within inches of fisticuffs.

Calling everyone to order time and time again. I wondered why we bothered dressing up (code was black tie) if we were going to coming within inches of fisticuffs.

Somehow we got to the end of the event (with half the hall standing and holding mini debates at their seats), and then Doyin Okupe who was on the PDP team but had not said a word the entire time, was going to speak for his team. And then folks who support APC started shouting. From ‘Sai Buhari’ to ‘APC’, to several other unintelligible things, the event hit rock bottom. They rushed to the front of the stage, chanting, hands in the air, and it occurred to me why young people are very far from being taken seriously, why we are far from the future we seek. It was a riot, and I became afraid. Truly afraid.

There was nothing left. Nothing. Only suits and fancy makeup distinguished the yelping animals I was watching from the thugs we see/have seen on TV.

To be honest, I don’t know what Doyin Okupe spoke for, closing argument or something but you must know this: from listening to him last night, he tweets for himself. One and the same. I will not repeat the things he said here either because this is more about us young people than it is about the elders we keep saying have failed.

I think I saw someone push Tolu Ogunlesi in the midst of this ruckus, and Chigurl was super upset because people were calling her names. All because she insisted on following the announced modalities for the mic going round (three questions from each row).

I stayed till the end – left Congress Hall a few minutes to  midnight. These three tweets sum up my thoughts on this event.

Screenshot 2015-02-02 14.32.19 Screenshot 2015-02-02 14.32.48 Screenshot 2015-02-02 14.32.58We are not ready.


The 6th of November was a truly special day, one of those days that can truly be described as ‘full’, and I’m about to tell you how it went down! Or up, because it ended on such a high!

So, I’d flown into Lagos the night before after spending a few days with my darling parents, was truly a gift to have been with them, and I can’t stop thanking both of them for the sacrifices they make to keep me comfortable anytime I’m around!

Anyway, so I woke up that morning, chest tight, nostrils blocked, the leftover of a bad case of flu that refused to leave me alone. Show must go on abi? So I got ready, and headed to Civic Center where I’d been billed to speak alongside some very renowned speakers at the BrandiQ Symposium. My topic? Politics, social media, and young people – Tolu Ogunlesi had put me forward as a panelist cos he thought he wouldn’t be in the country and then when he found he would be around, he just came to support me. Hallelujah for friends/colleagues like him!

Keynote speaker was former UK High Commissioner Christopher Kolade, special guest of honor was the most lovely older gentleman Apostle Hayford Allile, and there were academics, other top-notch people like that. I was on the stage with people like Martins Oloja (Editor, The Guardian), and to be honest by the time he was done with his speech, the first thing I said when I took the mic was “how do you top a talk like that”? Thanks however be to God who always causes us to do brilliantly, and not shame Him, our families or our friends!

So, what did I talk about? I started with definitions of some key words in the Symposium theme, (participation, stakeholder, tokenism, and young person) and then I asked two questions:

  • How many people in the room have voter cards?
  • How many of us know the heads of our local government areas  (appointed or elected)?

How do we then (as young people) claim to be stakeholders in a thing we cannot participate in because we’re not registered? Really, how? Aren’t we tired of clicktivism? When do we move on to action, in this case enforcing our thoughts/ideologies with our votes?

Then it was off to stats on voting patterns, how social media is a means to an end but must not be misconstrued as the end in itself, and all of that good business. Event was great, I had a really good time! Potential client and writing gig in the offing too! Whoop!

It ended about 3pm, and then it was off to Terra Kulture for a quick lunch, dress change, and then flying down to All Souls Anglican Church in Lekki, where I’d been billed to speak on social media for play or business, from a Godly perspective.

IMG-20141004-WA0001My date was moved to the 6th because I signed up to something (which I have readied a series for) that would start on the 7th.

So I got to the venue late because I grossly underestimated the traffic and side note? Dear Lagosians, Lagos is not working! Your roads are horrible, even in the so-called posh areas. Yuck. Thankful for my Cabbie Abubakar who lives in Ajah and so knew all the hidden routes to take to avoid the traffic. Na wa!

Anyway, got there in one piece, and after the worship session, I was up! It was a small, intimate crowd, and it was structured a bit like this.

I started with 1 Corinthians 10:31 which I paraphrased as “whether you eat or drink, or tweet or Facebook, do it to the glory of God”. The rest of it is below…

  • About me
  • What is social media
  • How do you use social media – Proverbs 27: 17, Hebrews 10:24-25
  • How not to use social media – 1 Corinthians 15:33, Matthew 5:29
  • Careers in/around social media – Matthew 5:16

Pretty simple/straightforward right? The interesting thing really was introducing the word of God to the different points above. I had a marvellous time! I loved the question and answer session, and I have since made a blogpost off a quick consult I did following that event! Something to do with how we use LinkedIn, you should see it.

It gets even better – they gave me a plaque! I was so emotional, it means so much to have received this! And the prayers, aww, kiss of my life!

2014-11-14 05.15.50

Super grateful to JT for dinner, and then it was bedtime, and out of Lagos the next day to join the Heinrich Boll Stiftung Book Sprint in Abuja!

Crazy, crazy, schedule, but I love it!


Another one bites the dust…

Posted: February 9, 2014 in DAY 2 DAY
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Cory Monteith. Michael Jackson. Whitney Houston. What two things do these names have in common? Fame/wealth. Undisputed access to tons and tons of money, acclaim, all that good stuff.

The second thing is illicit drugs/death. Whatever it is they snorted, smoked, injected or inhaled, it led to their death, and very early too. Cory Monteith was 31, Michael Jackson was 50. Talk about lives being cut short.

Exactly one week ago, when I heard Philip Seymour Hoffman had been found dead on the 2nd of February with a needle still stuck in his arm and heroin (a special type called ‘Ace of Spades’) in packets around him, I was sad, then angry, then sad, and angry all over again.

Sad – he died young, he was just 46. He was very popular too, an Oscar award winner, and recently starred in Hunger Games (which by the way I have never watched and don’t think I will ever see because I don’t like fight fight).

Angry – are there not enough examples to prove that drugs are a sure way to die early?

Sad – heartbroken for his family, his wife/partner and their three young children. His parents, and the stigma of being related to the person ‘who died with a needle in his arm’.

Angry – what on earth made him go back to drugs after 23 years of being drug free? Whatever could have entered him all over again? They say his drugs could have been laced with something else. Ok, but why take them in the first place? Why?

I’m sure I could go the sad and angry route a few more times, but I won’t.

Psychologists say anything you do for 30 days becomes a habit – this man had been drug free for at least 8280 days! Then according to a report I read, he started abusing prescription pills, graduated to heroin, and then on to this substance that took his life.

I chatted with someone recently, and he told me the amount of thanks and gratitude he got because he gave him a $5 tip. 5 dollars. Reports say just weeks ago the now late Seymour withdrew $1200 from an ATM to pay for these drugs. $1200 on drugs when the next man is almost throwing a party because he was gifted 5 bucks.

Here’s another reason why I am angry – a child is attracted by the flickering light of a candle, and they want to touch it. Most times we let them because we know once it hurts them that first time, they most likely will not go back to it again. ‘Most likely’ because children have the attention span of a goldfish! Bless them.

23 years after, did he forget? Did he become so wealthy that he felt that the drugs would ‘fear/respect his money’ and not harm him? What was he thinking? The Bible says that the things that are written are unto us for examples.

Just like I wrote the ‘learn from it, don’t be it‘ post when Cory Monteith died, I’m writing again  – say NO to drugs. Say No, and mean it so much that whoever asked you before will be convinced you are not interested. You shouldn’t even be friends with such people in the first place!

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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