Posts Tagged ‘Nigeria’

Hello people!

So, let’s catch up on my Saturday, and some thoughts accruing from that.

So I woke up to photos published by Dele Momodu in his new The Boss Newspapers about Diezani Allison-Madueke and how cancer has ravaged her body. It reminded me of my first degree, and how a particular lecturer would always say, “the medium is the message”. So, for instance, former president Goodluck Jonathan (and now President Muhammadu Buhari) have a peculiar penchant for talking to foreign media over our local journos. Why? The medium.

I feel like if that interview had been published by anyone else (insert the name of a print publication you trust/favor/think are credible), the backlash and accusation of image laundering would have been greatly reduced.

That said, I don’t like to have discussions about cancer when I can help it because it’s very personal to me, and regardless of who it is, somehow I’m always drawn back to 2013 and my aunt, etc. And I talked about that a bit on Saturday because I think that we’re slowly losing our humanity – this rejoicing we do when harm befalls someone. I talked along these lines when the death of Diepriye Alamieyeseigha was announced, I might publish thoughts on that too.

Another thing that amuses me is the deluded way we now ‘hold court’ on Twitter. Has someone committed a crime? Report to the appropriate authorities. Sue them. Charge them to court. Research, find out how you as an ordinary citizen can strengthen the case against them either by gathering signatures for a petition or writing to your local or national representative. But coming on Twitter to pronounce them guilty? Lol. So unfortunate. Even worse, you hear people say things like “they have to come on Twitter to defend themselves”. To whom/before who? Or else? Who are you again? This thing people smoke/drink that gives them wings should be studied.

It’s a dangerous trend we’re setting; ruining reputations on the basis of what one person (many times faceless) has said. What’s to say it’s not a smear campaign? What’s to say the facts haven’t been exaggerated? What’s to say… I could go on and on. And even if they were true, Twitter is not the place where a murderer or a rapist gets their comeuppance. If, for instance, someone’s been raped, the (logical) thing to do would be to report it. If the Police Station doesn’t treat you right (and that’s the more probable thing that will happen), come; let’s march to the Police Headquarters with you. Let’s write letters, raise a storm online that will translate to offline justice.

But don’t come on social media and ruin people’s reputation hiding behind a computer, especially with incomplete, potentially incorrect information. It’s just awful. Ugh! We say trials by the media are bad, well, mob action via social media is worse!

My mother says if you call someone a thief in the marketplace, if/when you find out the person is not a thief, you won’t be able to call everyone back to say you were wrong. Social media in many respects, is a marketplace, with no barrier. “The phone has become the predominant portal for Internet access,” says David Greenfield, a psychologist and founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction in West Hartford, Connecticut. “Which means you can do it all the time. There is literally no threshold to cross.” So a lot of us have become thumb warriors, wreaking havoc and causing grief either because we’re influential, or because we want to be influential. It almost becomes a competition to see who can be the nastiest, who can be the most brazen.

This is where personal social responsibility comes in. Would you normally say everything that comes to your mind? Hopefully the answer is no. Why do we feel the need to act differently then because we’re online? Why do we not spare a thought before we click ‘send’?

We must as a matter of urgency, do away with the school of thought that says that the things we say online are without consequences. On the other side of the great power/influence that social media affords us are the greater risks. Freedom of expression/speech? Definitely, but with freedom comes responsibility. We cannot be touting freedom as an excuse to incite others to violence, to mask hate (under intellectualism especially), or to provoke mass hysteria.

A lot of us end up with egg on our faces because we jump into conclusions we’ve formed based on one side of the story (we and whoever we influence as we go) when we can look to the appropriate quarters for complete information.

We can do better. Let’s do better.


Sometime in December 2014 I told myself the truth;I had become overweight in a way that wasn’t cute anymore. So I’m naturally big-boned, but I remember looking at myself in a mirror and agreeing with myself that what I was seeing wasn’t big bones, it was fat.

I didn’t like what I saw.

It was difficult to ‘take action’ though, I was in America (Houston to be precise, where everything is bigger), and I remember that beyond one run, and maximum four hours in the gym, I didn’t do anything closely or remotely related to keeping fit, eating right, or working out.

And did it show or what! By the time I came back in January (of course I spent a bit of time in England as well), I was… big (the nicest way to refer to it).

That January I attended an event in Lagos, and a friend of mine who now runs a magazine saw me and my friend Omojuwa and took photos of us for his magazine. I was tagged in the photos and pretty as they are, I haven’t accepted them on my wall because…

I didn’t like what I saw.

I still didn’t take action. Till April, when I woke up one day, and said I was going to hire a popular dietician on Instagram to work me through meals. After the initial conversation and she telling me how much it would cost per month, I spent the next three days trying to get her to take my call. She was either busy, or busy, or busy. I kinda lost count of how many “I’ll call you back” texts I got.

One week Bestie and I decided to go on a fruits and vegetables fast; I don’t even think I was eating any fruits past plums whenever I could find them in Lagos or Abuja, so it was quite the challenge. But we did it! By the sixth day our bellies were running, we were literally living in the loo (sorry) but we went on to the 7th day. No work out at all.

That 7th day I felt different. Something I’d bought in January which couldn’t fit anymore (in April), managed to zip. And all of a sudden, there wasn’t anything I wanted as bad as all my old trad attires (going back to 2012) to fit. By this time I was a size 14, and in the gang of people who blame ‘different cuts by different brands’ for their clothes not fitting.

So I started walking, started going to the gym, and I discovered My Fitness Pal somehow, and I started counting calories. I walked, A LOT. I have a bum right knee so jogging and skipping give me a lot of trouble (except I want to wear a knee brace the next day) so I walked. I remember one day I walked 3 hours at a stretch. Interestingly, I had malaria, I’d just come back from a number of trips rolled in one, so I was exhausted. But I clocked about 19 kilometres that day, and over 26, 000 steps.

That’s true, I got a pedometer (step counter) too – Accupedo; this I downloaded on my phone. Can I just say that calorie counting outside Nigeria is a lot easier for me? Simply because there’s a lot more labelling on foods and so it’s easy to scan bar codes and just move on. Here I have to estimate, but I’m getting the hang of that too.

Here’s the thing, and this probably differentiates me from a number of people on a fitness journey – I still ate (and eat) everything I like, but in moderation. And I work hard to stay under my calorie limit per day. I’ll give you an example. So I have a 1200calorie limit per day yeah. I can have a snickers bar during the day, but because that’s 242kcal, I know that I have less than a thousand left for the whole day. Plus, I know that eating it just before I go to bed is a bad idea, better to eat it in the morning and walk/work it off somehow during the day. Also, the day I eat a snickers bar is the day I must go to the gym. Get my drift?

I think I went for 70 days straight, calorie counting and sometimes these days I don’t count anymore. But I am unconsciously conscious of what goes into my mouth, and whether I need to balance it out or not. E.g yesterday I had a bottle of schweppes (my first in weeks) which is 100kcal, I had moimoi and garri with milk in the morning (I was craving that), and I had coconut rice with cantonese chicken for lunch. I was still well under my 1200 calorie limit but I went to the gym, clocked just under 600kcal with my workout, and had a fruit platter for dinner. So by the time I clicked submit for the day, I was good. Very good.

Then I had cause to go to Lagos a lot and so a friend would take me to the National Stadium, and I picked up boxing. All I can say is, don’t look for my trouble, I can fight now! I also attended gym classes wherever I could find them in whatever city I was in. Lol… There are videos on my Instagram that are as painful as they are oh-so-effective!

By June,  the compliments started rolling in. Which was great because I wasn’t seeing any dramatic changes yet, but I wanted the compliments to continue, so I kept on. More like I was feeding off them; some days it was the motivation I needed to keep going on.

Can I say a big God bless you to my mom as well? Each time I visited, she would cook me veggie heavy meals, and stay up with me while I worked out. God bless you maman!

I bought a Polar I think in July when I went to England, and tested it out with a one hour walk/jog under the intense summer sun. I think I clocked over 1000kcal with that, and I fell in love with it! You won’t find me working out anywhere without my Polar now.

Another thing I did? I danced! Oh boy I love dancing, and when I found out how much I lose per dance session, my feet wouldn’t stay in one place! I also got a nice selection of high energy songs that I listen to while I work out especially at the gym – can’t entrust my fitness or energy levels into someone else’s hands please.

It’s been a long time from that week in April, and I’m officially 12kg lighter, and a size 10. My statistics have changed dramatically too, and I’ve recently sent off a whole suitcase of traditional attires (some of them dating back to 2010) off to be refitted because I’m swimming in them!

Are you trying to lose weight? I’d say moderation over cutting out foods completely, and no, do not work out EVERY day. Your body will break down sooner than later, and it is simply unsustainable. Find stuff you love to do, and increase the intensity as you go. Eat the things you love to eat, but in moderation or as rewards to yourself. Otherwise you’ll get tired too soon, and start to pile it back on. There was a time when I told myself I could only have a soda on an international flight, so I looked forward to those.

Also, acknowledge there will be some bad days, and it’s ok. There was the day in New York (this September) I was so tired and hungry I had stir fry with all sorts of things on brown rice, then I had a slice of chocolate cake with some cream, and I went to bed immediately after. Kai! I felt so guilty the next morning, you’d think I’d killed someone. But, I just picked up with breakfast, and tried to do better that day.

More important, and I’m afraid this is one of the cliché tips, look at your body. Like, stand before a mirror, and look at yourself. The bits you want to change? Look at them long and hard. And then work towards the picture of them you would rather look at.

I have 8kg more to lose (because I want to convince myself that it is possible for me to be that size), and hopefully, the next time I ever write about this journey, there’ll be a photo of rock-hard abs to boot.


I’d like to tell a story (one that is long overdue); one that I hope will inspire you, confuse you (like it did me at some point), and more importantly open you up to do things even you thought you were unable to do. Ready?

So, I studied social media for a Master’s Degree, knew as soon as I was done that much as I loved my job at the BBC World Service Trust (now Media Action) producing the award-winning Story Story, I wanted to start a consultancy, teach people to communicate with their audiences using social media. And I did. I’ve been privileged to work for the best of the best since then.

While I was outside Nigeria, I benefited from a host of events, support groups, picked up tips and tricks, and generally enjoyed the opportunity to share knowledge, learn new stuff, stay on top. Some of these events were as particular as ‘black women in tech’, ‘black women who code’, etc.

I didn’t have that here in Nigeria, and after a while, I grumbled. And moved on. And grumbled, and moved on. I mentioned this need to my friends Fatu Ogwuche and Nana Nwachukwu once, talked about the need to hold an event/create a community of women, and still moved on. I even had a conversation with Iyin Aboyeji of Andela at Salamander Cafe and I remember him encouraging me to stick with women as against males and females for the event. Angel Adelaja of Zahara Spa popped into the cafe for a separate meeting but somehow joined our conversation and promised to support it!

One day in August 2015, I was in the office with Andy Madaki, and I said I was going to hold an event to see how many women were working in technology in Abuja, see what we could learn from each other, and how we could collaborate, and support each other. And while I was talking to him, I knew immediately that if I didn’t commit to it, I wouldn’t do it.

We talked about a name for it and for the sake of pride I won’t mention the names I came up with! By the time I was done with a concept note, Andy coined the name TechHer, and I loved it. And his designer created the logo, and I loved it too!


Then he showed me how to create a Google Form (I’d never had to create one before that day), and in minutes there were six questions and a link on Twitter. In 24 hours 45 women had signed up to attend. I thought, “huh? Where are we going to keep them?”

Our registration form!

At some point we had to close our registration form because we panicked! Then we opened it the next day for another 24 hours because I got inundated with emails. What a great problem to have!

I told my bestie Wumi and my sister Adaora about it; also spoke with Tolu Onile-Ere of PlayHouse Communications, my friend Blaze Otokpa of Blazing Images, etc; by this time I was looking for gifts for our fishbowl raffle. Tolu immediately said his organization would give us N20, 000 worth of data. Whoop! They were our first donors and a much-needed boost at a time when most people I’d spoken to had started disappointing me, stopped replying emails, that kind of thing. *Smile*

I was with my mom and sister in my sister’s office one day, almost pulling out my hair cos we didn’t have a venue. And then I thought, “I’ll just call Jackie Farris”. And I did, and soon as I mentioned what I wanted, she said, “sure, come have a look and tell me what room you want.” Boom! Tears of joy baby! They ended up giving us the gorgeous Exhibition Hall of the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Center, and sound equipment too! Thank you!

My friend Nana paid the stipend for the photographer Blazing Images gave us for the day, and I’m so thankful to Nana, and to Blaze because we wouldn’t have been able to afford their services!

There were also people like Amplified Radio and HolyHill Church who livestreamed, Zahara Spa who gave us a voucher to give out, and every other group who gave us gifts to give away.

Let’s backtrack a bit now.

When by the third day of the link being out, we had over 90 people registered, it occurred to me that this was becoming a little bigger than I’d intended it to be. That meant I needed to think. We decided to build a site and get on social media formally, and here I must thank Dimgba Kalu of Learn Code who built us a pretty website in less than 72 hours. Check on it We’re on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram too.

Where was I? The day was glorious (there’s a roundup here) –  big thank you to my dad for flying my mom in and out of Abuja to support me, to my sister who ended up staying outside the hall to pack the refreshments we got into bags, to Wumi who kept calling to encourage me, to Fatu and Nana – you girls will rule the world I promise – thank you! And to God, who placed the idea in my heart, who keeps strengthening my team and opening doors, we’re so thankful!

Since then, we’ve started a Whatsapp group where we have periodic giveaways, vote on whether Chrome is better than Mozilla’s Firefox, share opportunities, interesting stuff! We also send out periodic newsletters.

What else? On Wednesdays, we profile women in technology who are doing great things, on Thursday we teach a tech-related topic across all our social media, and on Fridays we publicise female businesses across our social media.

TechHer is hinged on three things – support, learning, and collaboration; the idea is to enable whatever women are already doing via technology, and everyday we think of new ways to achieve that. We think of going beyond the call to get women into STEM and are focused on how to keep the ones who are here; how to help them be better at things they do.

We also have to events planned in Abuja this month of November. The first starts on the 17th of November (next week Tuesday), and is ten classes on coding. There’s an entire module prepared for that; please email if you’re interested. It’s free.

We also want to teach our women to design, develop, and manage their websites themselves. That’s on the 27th of November, and is also free. Please register here.

Also, we’re planning a TechHer event for Port Harcourt this December, which I am very excited (and worried) about. I know it will come to pass, despite the odds we seem to be facing now.

So, that’s where we are, what we’re doing, and what we plan to do! From a trickle to a roar! Are you female, curious about or working in technology? You should join us! We might come to your city next!


Exactly one week ago I was in Lagos recently for the #TheREDSummit, the 10th anniversary of Red Media Africa, and the gala in honour of 121 media legends of our time. Truly successful event which I was proud to be a part of. It was exciting to meet people (some I didn’t know and others I’d built relationships with on social media), to listen to different views on media, communication, the next 10 years, etc. Two ladies stood out from all the new people I met; Adenike of Naija Info FM, and Toyin Poju Oyemade – gorgeous women who love God and are fun, down-to-earth, I could go on and on! Truly exciting.

Gala night... so much fun! Rocking my new haircut - love it!

Gala night… so much fun! Rocking my new haircut – love it!

I also enjoyed the time away from work (even though I was pretty much working from my hotel), from Abuja, from the norm. I thank God for the opportunity to travel which always ‘disrupts’; I wonder how bored I would be if I couldn’t ‘up and go’ every once in a while.

I spent a lovely time in Lagos, almost destroyed by the traffic (which is high up on the list of why I  detest the place to be honest). On Saturday I’d gone to the University of Lagos to be a part of the event organised for students in media and communications drawn from a number of schools. I met some really fascinating people, including Anita Erskine, a former Studio 53 presenter who was brutally honest when we spoke about wake-up calls, women helping women, and how she got to where she is now after waking up one morning and Studio 53 was over (for a number of reasons). Love her!

I left with Tosin Ajibade (Olorisupergal), and we were stuck in traffic just leaving Yaba for approximately 2 hours 45 minutes. Sweet baby Jesus I dislike Lagos for the traffic! It was awesome to talk through social media et al with her the entire time (wonder what I would have done if I was in a cab) but I got back to my hotel and passed out!

Speaking of hotels, one day I’ll chronicle the different hotels/hostels I’ve stayed in in this life; this trip was spent between Oriental Hotel and The MoorHouse. Obviously the latter beat the former hands down!

On Sunday I went to brunch with my girl Tokes and her friend (now my friend) Joy; we went to The George Hotel, also in Ikoyi. Hilarious afternoon full of good food (which I love), great laughs, and even greater conversation! I know we shouldn’t (so soon) but I’m looking forward to doing that again!

Then it was back to the hotel, snatched up my things and sped off to the airport. Made good time, checked in, and we boarded a 5.30pm flight on time. Medview. Remember the drama on Wednesday when I flew in with them? That story is here.

So we take off, I’m wedged between a guy with a really smelly armpit and a buxom, really chubby lady. I decide I will distract myself from the fact that I don’t have a window seat.

The pilot comes on to say hello and announces there’s a storm coming over Abuja and he’s going to try to get us there before it, and to enjoy the flight. I settle into the book I took off my friend Chinma (was so good to see her, especially since we missed each other in Boston just last month)!

Next thing I know, the plane LITERALLY drops; taking my stomach with it. The next 10 -13 minutes all I can see from straining to see past the lady’s arm/body are thick clouds, all we can feel is bumpiness, like we were trying (albeit unsuccessfully) to avoid potholes. Everyone started praying (loudly), except the man with the smelly armpit. He just looked straight on.

I was afraid. I’ve seen turbulence, but never  like this. And then someone started saying, “Father if it is your will”, and in my mind I’m like, “I’m under 30. God’s plan for me is NOT a violent death”. And so I willed myself to block her voice out of my mind, and started praying for composure for the pilot.

The longest 11 minutes of my life. I thought of my nephew, and how he wouldn’t remember me, and then of my folks and how crushed they would be. Instructive to note I didn’t think of work, folks owing me (and they are plenty, sigh), or of anything beyond my nephew and my folks.

I snapped out of those thoughts, and this song came to my mind. “Miracle Worker” by Glowreeyah Braimah and Nathaniel Bassey (it’s one of my favourite songs ever) and so I was alternating between the song and prayer.

Pilot (Captain Boye) comes on. Says we couldn’t avoid the storm, and he can’t land so he’s going to go ‘try’ through “The East”. He sounded so calm (and I was really thankful he was communicating with us – God bless him). Cue at least 30 minutes of circling. Lagos to Abuja is approximately 50 minutes; we took off before 6pm and by 7.30pm, we were still solidly in the air.

I started listening for the sound of the wings broadening (I’ve become used to that sound) because it tells me we’re starting to descend. Sometimes I’d hear a sound, but it wouldn’t be it. The woman beside me started singing Igbo songs, and I remembered my mother. And I prayed even harder.

It went quiet for a bit.

Then I heard it. The unmistakable sound of the wings. We’d commenced our descent! I started crying. Then the pilot announced it, and the woman beside me started crying too. She hugged me, and in that moment I felt my Aunty Pat. So I hugged her, and rested my head on her ample bosom for a bit.

The landing was rough but I didn’t care. What!!! People started clapping, shouting. “Praise the Lord, Halleluyah, God is good” rent the air, and people congratulated each other as soon as they dried their eyes. Even the men. Even the hostesses. Pilot was unavailable to the folks who wanted to say hello (I totally understand). Everyone started calling everyone. I rang my sister.

She said she was asleep and when the rain started (apparently it was that intense), it woke her up, she rang me and when my number was unavailable, she knew I was in the air and started praying.

Here's the birdie that brought us home...

Here’s the birdie that brought us home… Notice I wasn’t the one taking pictures…

I got my luggage, got in a cab, tweeted “God himself landed our plane tonight”, and wept all the way home. Get there and guess who runs to get the door? My nephew. Cue fresh tears as my munchkin wrapped himself around my neck. Boo thang didn’t even notice my tears with the 100 questions he started asking.

Exactly one week after that flight, and my eyes are still watering as I type. As I imagine how the story could have ended different.

But it didn’t. And I’m thankful. Today, and everyday.


The weirdest thing happened yesterday… Really scary stuff. I can laugh about it now, but yesterday I was frightened as anything, and really upset at the lackadaisical attitude we have here in Nigeria about security, identities, and things like that. Of course let’s leave customer service alone because that would be reaching for the stars where we have not first learned to walk!

I will provide commentary for my tweets, but they pretty much tell the story.

Screenshot 2015-10-15 05.43.43

So I get to the airport (and ON TIME) because I’ve had a rough time with my health recently and so I’m not in the mood for any adrenaline-fuelled stunts involving airlines and me trying to make flights. I have about an hour to spare and I’m looking forward to a quiet time in the lounge before my flight is called. Then this happens.

Screenshot 2015-10-15 05.49.44

Was really confusing. Would I ask someone to check me in and then not remember? I had a suitcase to check in. Would I ask someone to check me in and not give them the suitcase? I asked these questions, asked if the person presented any identification, nothing.

Screenshot 2015-10-15 05.49.57

One thing that really frustrates me is people upsetting me/others then asking me/them to ‘calm down’. It’s like pinching a child and getting surprised when they cry. What else were you going for? Why should I calm down when you’ve given my boarding pass to God knows who? And then sound like it’s my fault?

They write something on my boarding pass, inform the boarding gate of the issue, then ask me to go wait to board. What if this person…never mind.

Screenshot 2015-10-15 05.50.11

Of course all of this drama meant that I got upstairs to departures and had barely found a seat when they announced boarding. Soooo stressful. I was panicking!

Screenshot 2015-10-15 05.50.24

*is a guy

So I get to the boarding gate and while they’re checking mine, I see another boarding pass with my name on it! My eyes follow the hand holding it up to the face and lo and behold, it’s a guy! Hian! Even better, when I said to him that he had my boarding pass, he started arguing! Said it was his. Uncle your name is not/cannot be Chioma Chuka (which was spelled out on the thing, not initialed o) and then he raises his voice, etc.

Obviously the airline made a mistake (a most stupid one) but you don’t compound it by not having a ticket to hand, talking about your office bought the ticket and checked you in so you don’t have anything on you. What did you present to the officer who gave you a boarding pass? My boarding pass? *Rolling my eyes*

Screenshot 2015-10-15 05.50.40

I was asked to go board while they sorted the ‘other’ Chioma Chuka out, and as I walked to the foot of the plane, I played out all the ways this could have gone really wrong. What if he was a really bad person, like a terrorist or something?

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Very scary. Very unserious too.

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I was terrified. Truly terrified.

Screenshot 2015-10-15 05.51.23

I noticed I was sweating really bad. For some reason I was afraid. So I called one of the hostesses, explained the issue to her, and said I wanted her to check what name was on his boarding pass. In my mind, if he still had the Chioma Chuka one, I would deboard. No two ways about it.

Screenshot 2015-10-15 05.51.38

Said hostess didn’t come back to me, so when the plane was taxiing, I got out of my seat and walked to the front of the plane to ask for the outcome of her investigation. Again I was furious. I was in my seat, breathing and sweating crazy from fear, and our dear hostess couldn’t take two minutes to come back to me with an answer!!

Even worse, this young man apparently just shares one name with me. Therefore, this is a very stupid, incompetent airline, and that official who made this mistake deserves to be whipped. What if I had a bad heart? What if I’d passed out from fear? What if this man was a truly evil person who had evil designs for me or even for that flight?

Screenshot 2015-10-15 05.51.48

Then, they announce during the flight that they’re launching flights to the United Kingdom later this year. When you cannot execute a local flight without incident? Rubbish. I’m still considering my options, I should sue.

PS: I forgot. I wasn’t worse off on the plane! When we touched down there was a Navy guy who got off the plane and said, “ahn ahn! This is not Port Harcourt. I was supposed to be going to Port Harcourt.” Made me laugh, like it was hilarious. Didn’t he hear the announcement about where we were going before he boarded, didn’t the hostesses check his boarding pass, didn’t he listen to the pre-flight announcement, didn’t he… I have a million questions!!

It’s my friend Tokes’ birthday today, and I thought I’d wish her a happy birthday by reminding her of the incredible time we had for her birthday last year! Ready? Not before you say a birthday wish and prayer for her… Done? Story story!

So, I spent most of September 2014 in England, and the original plan was to come to Nigeria on the 6th of October to follow through on existing and new projects. Two weeks to the day, plans changed, thanks to people who not only have my ‘mumu button’ but know when and how to deploy it!

Anyway, my plans changed from leaving on the 6th to the 11th of October because the 9th was Tokes birthday, and she wanted to spend it in Cardiff!

Who is this ‘keeper of my mumu button’? I met Tokes early in December 2013; we were on the same team planning Nigeria Dialogue’s fundraiser for January 19th 2014. Somehow God brought us together and after a meal at Busaba Ethai with Fumbi were we discussed everything from careers, food, to boys, Tokes and I have become literally inseparable. I couldn’t be more grateful for this gorgeous, beautiful-spirited young woman; she’s a real sister!

She’s also CEO of Bubble Tii in Nigeria! They’re on Instagram as BubbleTii, website is and you can find them on 34 Adeola Odeku beside Spice route VI. Call 09093840201 to get your deliveries anywhere in Lagos!

Anyway, before her head swells to uncontrollable proportions, let’s move swiftly on to the birthday do!

So, itinerary for the 9th of October included going to see John Legend play (whoop), and I remember that night we were battling with to secure our seats. Hilarity!

Before we knew it, it was the 9th. Whoop!!

Actually, the birthday fun started the day before; I’d booked a spa date for us at Crystal Palace, somewhere near Marylebone station (oshey GroupOn). It was so much fun!!

Anyway on the 9th Tokes had to drop her mom off at the airport, I had errands to run, etc. Of course we missed our trains, but here’s a photo of the birthday girl while we were waiting for the bus!

2014-10-09 12.28.48-1

Birthday lunch on the train? Hello Burger King! Anyway, a couple hours after (Cardiff is far jor), we got in, and here’s a very big thank you to the man we chatted to on the train who pointed us in the direction of our hotel!

2014-10-09 13.50.10

A couple selfies just to welcome ourselves to our lodgings – the 15th floor at Radisson Blu – and it was time to explore the city! And shop, smh. We decided however to start with Cardiff Castle and Museum and oh, what a beauty!

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The ceilings were everything!

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Now, we got to the there about 4pm. The museum was to close at 5pm, the House at 5.30pm, and we could traipse the grounds till 6pm. So, off to the museum we went! We were all shades of silly inside there!



If I had a gun...tra la la la la...

If I had a gun…tra la la la la…

Defeat the army Tokes, we're counting on you!

Defeat the army Tokes, we’re counting on you!

In solidarity with this nurse. Or the Red Cross. Or...

In solidarity with this nurse. Or the Red Cross. Or…

Then we went in the house, given as a gift to the people of Cardiff. So, while indigenes of the area are allowed in for free, people like us parted with £15 apiece to get in.

But it was lovely. Having a walk through the building, looking at the beautiful ceilings, the furnishing, how the Arabian room was strong with beautiful Arabian scents, it was all really beautiful! And we had the loveliest guide to talk us through everything, give us a bit of history, etc.

Sigh... We're supposed to be grown women o!

Sigh… We’re supposed to be grown women o!

But it was a lot of fun!

But it was a lot of fun!

This guy was the son of the man who gifted this castle to the people of Wales. So we decided to 'marry' him!

This guy was the son of the man who gifted this castle to the people of Wales. So we decided to ‘marry’ him!

Then, it was off to the castle! According to our electronic guide, there were 130 steps to get to the top, and we were determined to climb them all. And we did!


Climb every mountain...

Climb every mountain…


We went from singing ‘wiggle wiggle wiggle’ on the way up to begging God to guide us safely down when it started drizzling because the steps were so steep!

Imaginary friend: Who's that hot girl? Can I get her number?  Me: From up here? Hian!

Imaginary friend: Who’s that hot girl? Can I get her number?
Me: From up here? Hian!

We made it!!! 130 steps!!

We made it!!! 130 steps!!

Got down without incident (thank you Jesus) and after a quick dinner at Carlucci’s (everywhere was pretty swamped), we ran home to shower and change for John Legend’s concert! Whoop! The man himself!

I just love sea bass... #Foodie

I just love sea bass… #Foodie Don’t think I’ve ever eaten this quickly ever!

But first, a selfie, in the elevator!

This is the 'best' photo I can share o!!! The rest? For our private collection!

This is the ‘best’ photo I can share o!!! The rest? For our private collection!

Fortunately, Motor Point Arena, where the concert was to hold, was spits from our hotel so we made good time. And our seats were pretty decent; we were only 5 rows from the stage! Yaaaasss!!



Number after number John Legend serenaded the crowd – what an incredible, effortless performer! He talked us through some songs he’d been on when he was still coming up (I had no idea) and it was really nice that he acknowledged the people who helped him up on his journey.

Sometimes we stood, sometimes we sat, sometimes we screamed, other times we cried; emotion after emotion, Legend worked the crowd! I made two videos, so you can imagine you were there too!

What an incredible night!

Next day – breakfast where I overdosed on smoked salmon and salami, lol. We did a bit more shopping (sigh), and then we literally had to race for our train!

Still on a birthday high!!

Still on a birthday high!!

Tokes can photobomb for Africa...and Europe!

Tokes can photobomb for Africa…and Europe!

Here’s the incredible part. Soon as we got back to BlackHeath I shoved my things into a cab and we started racing to the airport! I know, but there was a flight to Nigeria I couldn’t (literally) afford to miss!

Babes do you remember there were flowers waiting when we got back home?

Babes do you remember there were flowers waiting when we got back home?

Happy birthday sweetie, hope I told the story of this super fabulous day correctly. I’m super glad you convinced me to stay and do this trip with you. We have to do Morocco together soonest! Love you!

Sometime in 1994, we lived in Abuja and I was a pupil at All Saints Nursery and Primary School. Just so you know I attended at least five pre-secondary schools but that’s a story for another day!

Anyway, at this school I had a friend called Aniekan Bassey. She had hair like she was mixed race (I have bad hair- I know), and we were very good friends. Really good friends.

My mom had explicitly stated that I was never to leave the school (I think I remember her saying something like “nothing should ever take you near the gate”) without adult permission, supervision, and accompaniment. And all my time in that school leading up to the incident that inspired this blogpost, I’d done well with that.

Till one day, Aniekan came to me during break period and said we should go greet her mom in her office, which was a government establishment in a very tall building (now that I think of it, I was under 10 so anything would have been ‘tall’). Anyway so I said no, and she asked if I’d been in that building before, and something about getting in their elevator. And I’m sure I’d been in an elevator before (you don’t crave what you don’t know) but I guess like Adam, “the woman deceived me”. Lol.

I don’t remember how we passed the school gate (this is an official indictment on the security guards we slipped past), and after crossing a road or two, we were at her mom’s office! Yippie!

Now, because I’m not a foolish person, I knew I was disobeying my mom. But, elevator! Lunch with her mom! So, I decided I wouldn’t let anyone see me. Right? Now if that had worked you wouldn’t be reading this.

Not only did it not work, it must have been my day cos I ruined my plan all by myself! How? I saw a friend of my mom’s who I found out later didn’t even work in that building but had come for some business. Before I knew it, I’d shouted “hello aunty” and run towards her. Sigh. I only remembered my ‘don’t get seen plan’ after hugging her. If she was surprised to see me, she didn’t really show it so I figured I was fine. We saw Aniekan’s mom, had a bite to eat, went up and down the elevator a couple times, and ran back to school.

The end.

You wish! Of course mom’s friend mentioned it casually to her that she saw me at so and so office with my friend, mom asked me and because I believed my mother had magical powers (tell me you didn’t believe yours had too) there was no point lying. I’ll save you the chastisement bit; you get the idea if you’re Nigerian. If you’re not, ask one!

I don’t know if Aniekan (with the lovely hair) and I were still close friends after that…

Where am I going with this? When I was younger, most of the times I got into trouble were because I was hanging out with people I wasn’t supposed to hang with. Was that the story for you too? Is that still the story?

I was in church last week (I’ve fallen in love with HolyHill Church – you should come) and the pastor talked about a number of things, slipping in ‘vicarious liability’, and it really struck me. What does it mean? Wikipedia says “a situation where someone is held responsible for the actions or omissions of another person. In a workplace context, an employer can be liable for the acts or omissions of its employees, provided it can be shown that they took place in the course of their employment.” So technically, your company becomes a weakness, your undoing. He talked about us spending our time ‘keeping up with the Kardashian’s’ yet not spending anytime with God and wondering how we expect any intimacy with Him, how we expected to renew our minds, live out our purpose here on earth, and even away from that, how we expect to use our time profitably.

Really made me think, even though I’m not a fan of that show or family anymore. Haven’t been in a while actually, it’s like the real life version of the Adam’s family!

Away from church sef, drug users, criminals, etc. If only they said no to ‘chilling’, to ‘hanging out’. If only that person on death row in an Asian country said nah, I won’t carry this substance. If only the politician said no to the meeting with buddies where they’d plunder collective resources. If only.

I’m still figuring stuff out everyday, but I just wanted to share this with you. Sometimes a little ‘no’ today is the difference between a super tomorrow and one filled with sorrow and gnashing of teeth (a tad dramatic but you get the idea).

Any tales (past or present) along these lines you’d like to share?

My bestie Wunmi was around recently, and after prying the remote from her hands so we could watch something other than Telemundo, we ended up with a Nigerian movie. Didn’t catch the name so I’m sorry I can’t share, especially since it inspired this.

To digress a bit, I totally dislike Telemundo. No, it’s not totally about beefing the perfect figures of the ladies, it’s not about the fact that I can tell someone is talking over their voices, it’s not even the fact that the storylines are ‘too much’. I just dislike them. Really dislike them.

Back to the movie. It was a village setting, and of course the village witch was called ‘Ezenwanyi’, an Igbo word/title which transliterated means ‘Queen of females’. Then there was a pharmacist who didn’t seem to be doing well (I don’t remember his name). What struck me about this film however was the fact that this pharmacist went to Ezenwanyi and complained that his business wasn’t doing very good and he needed her help. What help did she offer him?

A potion, which he poured on the street in a part of the village. Anyone who passed on that street immediately became constipated, sometimes for as long as a week with all the attendant, overemphasized symptoms. So swollen/distended belly, pain, groaning, you know our people.

Now, only this pharmacist could cure the sickness, and so he became rich because he would charge a fortune to ‘heal’ them.

There were other story strands in the movie but I remember telling bestie that films like these were the reason why we must remain covered by God every single day. The heart of man is desperately wicked, and there are all sorts of evils flying around which only children of God can be exempt from. Look at the movie for instance; so for no crime or doing of theirs, the villagers who passed that street with the potion just became afflicted?

Just like that. Just like that, according to a song by Temi Dollface.

Let’s expand it a bit further. Stray bullets, cars running into other cars (even parked/stationary cars), light poles falling, whatever ‘random’ evil that can befall a person. Who maketh us to differ? What is the difference between Mr A who passes a road without incident, and Mr B who passes and while he is on the bridge, it gives way and he is destroyed?

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…and I will say of the Lord, you are my refuge, and my fortress, my God in you will I trust” – I learned this Psalm as a song when I was a lot younger, but this movie dug it (the song) out from whatever recesses in my mind it had disappeared to. Valid more than ever in these times if you asked me, when there seems to be so much evil in the air, so much wickedness, and for no reason!


A little more digression; how many of us can trace our escape/deliverance from what would have been a disaster/unfortunate event to someone praying for us? For me, it’s been my mother, but that’s a story for another day! Question is, who are you covering/loving with prayer? Something to think about abi?

Anyway, that’s me for today, just really wanted to share that.

How’s September coming? How has your year been so far really? Going as you planned, or there are some things that could be better/different? Ku ise (Yoruba language for ‘well done’), keep at it, you can’t give up!

Take good care!

Hello folks! Welcome to a new month! How’s the year been? Good? Great? Achieving? Working hard? Feel like there are some things you need to work on, change around? It’s all in your hands!

Let’s start by catching up a bit – won’t dedicate a full post to it because honestly I’m tired of writing about the effects of drug use/abuse. Ditto ranting about drug trafficking, especially to countries where the penalty is death. So, I’m not saying drug trafficking is ok (God forbid), I’m saying that if you have given yourself over to the devil (or allowed the devil to use you according to former President Goodluck Jonathan), why not help your career by staying out of countries where the penalty is death? Na wa.

On drug abuse, and the recent death and internment of Bobbi Kristina Brown, I have a few things to say. Not to her family (who must be in so much grief all we can/should do is pray for them to be comforted) but to the rest of us who are still privileged to be in the land of the living. Not because we’re better, more righteous or whatever. God is just merciful. But we have a part to play.

Illicit drugs were, are, and will always be a bad thing. There is no way abusing drugs (even if it is cough medicine I hear people sniff to get high) will ever produce a positive result.

Michael Jackson – 50.Whitney Houston – 48. Phillip Seymour Hoffman – 46. Cory Monteith – 31. Bobbi Kristina – 22. She’s the latest entrant to the list since the post I wrote titled, “learn from it, don’t be it”. How hard can it be to say no to the first whiff, injection, smoke? What are you even doing amongst people playing rough play like that? Let me sound like my father a bit and say that do you think Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, etc. would be where they are today if they spent their time sniffing whatever it is that ends up destroying the mind and the body? How do we by ourselves become the architects of our own destruction?

Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death hurt me in a different kind of way. This man was an addict, cleaned up, was drug free for at least 8280 days, then fell off the wagon again. And this time it killed him. Would to God he had stayed clean another 6 months from the 8280 days; he might still have been here.

Don’t start. Don’t try it. If you’re sad/depressed/feeling bad, pray. Shop (more like window shop). Go out, hang out with your friends. Call someone close on the phone. Pray. Sing. Dance. Sleep sef!

But in the name of everything pure, leave drugs alone. There is no light at the end of that tunnel.

Love, light, and warm fuzzies,


2015-08-21 11.04.12Have you seen this before? Or maybe I should start with, what’s your attitude to beggars, destitute, and people in difficult places?

It’s manifold for me, and I’ll try to explain. First off, there’s the anger that arises from the ‘yet we have a government and there’s a stark difference between the rich and poor, and inequality, etc.’ part of me.

There’s also the ‘why is this person with this ailment/this old/this young on the streets begging’ part, because I wonder where their families are, etc.

There’s the outrage when I see a young person with two hands, two legs, speaking (English or whatever language), doing nothing but begging. It really annoys me. Why? Blue, white, pink, or even orange collared, there must be something… I broke off on that sentence because sometimes I’m not really sure. Truth is there are no jobs readily available anywhere, but even more in Nigeria. And things like electricity, access to seed funding, etc. mean that entrepreneurs don’t really have it easy, except your daddy is a billionaire. I agree. I still however believe there must be something someone can do. I don’t know, what do you think?

While you’re thinking, here’s what happened to me a few days ago. I had one of the longest days, planning an event. Was running to and fro with my staff buying stuff, getting things ready. And then in the market we see a young man pushing an elderly man in a wheelchair, brandishing hospital papers that were barely legible. I did try to read it from the car but I couldn’t. I noticed a little child in their company though, carrying a walking stick taller than him. I gave them a little token, and we moved on.

After I dropped off my staff, I had to stop to get a new SIM, and to switch between two networks. When I came out of the store, a young man walked up to me, begging. To be honest I thought he wanted to rob me and I was already doing a quick recap of the boxing techniques I picked up recently. Then I figured he was begging and I just shook my head, got into my car, and drove off.

About two minutes from where I left, a very young boy came up to clean my windscreen, and I said no. Normally the next thing they do is beg for money, but this one just walked off really quickly to the next car. And immediately I asked myself a few questions, including what a child that young was doing on the streets past 8pm in the name of hustling.

And then I desperately wanted to give him the groundnuts I’d bought, and a bit of money. Problem, how to get his attention cos he wasn’t looking my way, didn’t turn when I honked, and there was gridlock traffic so I couldn’t move. I finally got to him, and gave him both. His smile (big, wide, pure, with his stained teeth), made me tear up. From my side mirror I watched him look in the wrap I gave him, then start shouting.

Paranoid me, I couldn’t make out what he was saying so I started panicking, especially since I saw a bigger boy running towards him. But that one got to him, and my little friend gave him some of the groundnuts and both of them started eating. And then I started crying.

And then I drove off.

I don’t know… I just don’t know…