Posts Tagged ‘Journalist’

How did I meet Jeremy? I think it was last year, when I spotted him in an Etisalat service centre and I tweeted him to confirm. Somehow it was him, and we met up for a coffee the next day and ended up discussing social media, politics in Nigeria, potential collaboration opportunities, the works. It was such a profound, eye-opening discussion, and I’m grateful for his friendship.

Funnily, I met his partner Bibi two years earlier, and we’ve bumped into each other everywhere since then! Layovers, restaurants, events, Bibi’s pleasant.

Halfway through the #31Days31Writers project, say hello to Jeremy Weate!


My name is Jeremy. I do various things, but I’m happy to say I don’t have a single “job”.  Large chunks of my time in recent years have been spent in faraway places advising governments on making the most of their natural resources.  However, I’m also a co-founder of Cassava Republic ( and I tweet (@jeremyweate). I am not sure I learned anything new this year.  However, the start of it was spent at a detox retreat drinking vegetable juice and psyllium. I learned that you can survive for weeks at a time without eating solid food and be rejuvenated.  I also remembered how wonderful colonic hydrotherapy is. I thoroughly recommend it.

I suppose rather than learning anything new, three things formed a long and deepening narrative thread in my thinking this year.  First, the idea that consciousness is as fundamental, if not more fundamental, than matter.  The signs are everywhere, if we learn how to look: in paranormal experiences, in quantum theory, in the failure to explain consciousness in hard-science materialist terms. It’s curious how vehement and closed-minded the skeptical backlash is.  I hope that in this lifetime, we get much closer to a more balanced view of the cosmos, that integrates the foundational role of reflection and of spirit.

Second, it dawned more deeply on me that our human species has truly trashed the planet, and that very difficult days are ahead.  Just a few days ago, I was with friends who have young children.  All I could think was what a terrible mess we have bequeathed these innocent beings.  There are too many people burning too much carbon, and they and we will have to pay.  Humans may likely survive this century, just as they did when the ice melted 10,000 years ago.  But I fear much civilization will be lost, yet again, and the violence will be horrific.  I hope I’m wrong, and an Elon Musk type genius can invent something (rather than faff about with space tourism) to keep us below two degrees of planetary warming.

Thirdly, I realized that Nigeria really is headed for disaster.  Desertification in the North marching at a mile-a-year, overpopulation, a massive lack of jobs, rising sea-levels (not stopping some from building cities in the sea), a numbskull leadership, a brainwashed followership, a constitution that doesn’t fit the country’s needs. Nigeria is one of the places where climate change is going to have a terrible impact.  Could the storm be more perfect?  The ruthlessly kleptocratic elite will not slake their oil-thirst, unless there is a revolution (or the oil dries up, or becomes unmarketable).  But the potential revolutionaries are too materialistically aspirational to resist the lure of co-option for long.  The unbought and unbuyable are too few in number.  This is an unfolding all too human tragedy, that will have consequences for many elsewhere.  It could be otherwise: can the APC develop a non-oil vision for the country, and effectively implement it?

I am grateful for Bibi, the small group of friends that I have, and for my parents.  Gratitude is better not spread too thin, for riches lie hidden in small numbers.



Alkasim was my neighbour at the BBC World Service Trust in Abuja, and shortly before I left the country, he became my boss. It’s not the fact that he is wise beyond his years, it’s not the fact that he’s a journalist of international repute, it’s not even the fact that his knowledge of history always sends me to Wikipedia (earning me the nickname ‘Wiki kenan); it’s the fact that Alkayy is perhaps the most down-to-earth person I’ve ever met.

I would go on, but before I tempt that humility we all love him for, I present my neighbour, Alkayy!

My name is Alkasim Abdukadir, I am fiercely Nigerian. I work as an international freelance journalist in Nigeria, and the link to my most recent piece for African Arguments is here.

I have always known that after all trials and tribulations light will always come at dawn; this Hausa saying is even more blunt –Bayan wuya sai dadi -loosely translated to mean that after the hardship comes enjoyment.

In retrospect this year though, I came to understand that in the end everything will fall into place, not necessarily the way we want but somehow we will get by.

It is amazing what the human mind can endure/ how challenging the times can get. It is doubly tragic that people can let you down, just because they can, to show their god-complex – from family members to friends to bosses and those whose loyalty really matters.

A family member was out of work for two years, because he lost out in office politics, and it became imperative for me to stand-up and support his dependents not because I am the most conscientious person or the most wealthy, not even because I treasure family, but because it was the right thing to do. I must confess when the  requests came sometimes it was not only heart breaking but also debilitating; the thought of what people in this country go through. Imagine this sms: “Please send us money, we are out of food again, we are cooking the last grains this afternoon”.

How could a mid-level manager end up like this? Life and Nigeria happened, I say.

And then imagine the times, when my paycheck was delayed, the untold misery it caused at the other end was just unthinkable.

This is just one of several episodes of need that surrounded one this year.

I am grateful that in the end, succour came in the form of a new job and a new lease of life for my family member; though pressure still persists from other quarters, the biggest hurdle had been crossed. I am grateful that I didn’t falter nor flee when I was most needed. That I remained resolute, even though it was hard, that I shared of my heart when it mattered most.

If I had another chance to do it again, I would do exactly the same, just that this time I would go a notch higher, because light always comes at dawn.

Dapper!!! Whoop!!!

Dapper!!! Whoop!!!

Vote for my neighbour’s article please!