Posts Tagged ‘Nigerian Blogger’

I haven’t blogged about a flight in a little while, and since my Christmas holiday series looks like it might be forever I thought,”why not chronicle a standalone activity?” Why keep my faithful readers starving for gist? Yeah?

So, here’s about my 72-hour trip to Lagos for the Social Media Africa Awards. I had a blast! From the welcome event for panelists, to hosting the morning summit and learning so much, to the fabulous awards event in the evening, I had a great time! A couple photos below.

My girl Emilia and I!

My girl Emilia and I!

Pre-Summit/Awards party. Left to right Japheth Omojuwa, Emilia Asim-Ita, and me!

Pre-Summit/Awards party. Left to right Japheth Omojuwa, Emilia Asim-Ita, and me!

Hosting the morning Summit. Whoop!

Hosting the morning Summit. Whoop!

Presenting awards with Omojuwa...

Presenting awards with Omojuwa…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let’s talk about the bit that gets me the most, the flight! Now, I’d bought a Dana ticket for 11am for Abuja – Lagos but due to circumstances beyond my control (when last did you use that phrase) I couldn’t make it and therefore had to look for something else to fly with.

Settled for a 5.50pm Air Peace ticket, and that automatically meant I had 4 hours to wait at the airport.

By the way, here’s one way all these airport touts defraud the gullible. So, while I was walking between the ticketing buildings trying to get the earliest possible flight, two guys came up to me and said they had a ticket for a 1.30pm flight. Time check? 1.42pm. And I’d just left the airline’s counter, where at 1.25pm I was told I couldn’t get on the flight because they’d completed boarding. I said so to this ‘official’ and he said he knew but that the flight had just been delayed (he showed me a radio, as in he’d just been told and all) so to give him my ID and phone number and he would go print off a boarding pass; also said to follow his colleague to their office.

Office ke? Everything had sounded legit up till here, especially since this colleague started heading towards the car park. I said I’d wait there, so he stayed with me. 6 minutes later this ‘official’ comes back and acts like he’s in a super hurry. Asks me to give him 30, 000 naira and then go with his colleague to board the plane. I didn’t know when I started laughing. I asked for the boarding pass, dude said it was with their other colleague who was by the plane. So I asked if he would release 30, 000 naira to two random men who’d promised him a seat on a plane without a boarding pass, without a receipt, and outside the ticketing hall. Silence.

Still smiling, I asked for my ID and when he hesitated, I said I’d ask the army guy close by to collect it for me if he didn’t want to give me back. He handed it over. I smiled, and went into the hall where I procured a ticket.

Anyway!

Sitting in one of the lounges was worth the 3, 000 naira to be honest – I got to charge all my devices, had a bite to eat, and worked off their WIFI cos SMILE doesn’t have coverage at the airport yet. Was a really good idea.

Before I forget, not to be mean or anything but if we’re going to take our shoes off can the screening areas have a queue for people who feel/suspect their feet might be smelly? Biko! It’s very unfair to make everyone else go through the torture of inhaling the gunk. Would anyone high enough in the system think about this please? #ThingsThatBringWorldPeace

Back to the lounge. There was this older man talking so dirty to a lady (or a guy – these days you don’t know) loud enough for people outside the airport to hear him. So disgusting, like super vulgar stuff. Ear phones to the rescue, thank God for Sennheiser’s noise cancellation that actually cancels out noise!

Then it was boarding time – yay! By Nigerian standards, the flight was early. We took off at 6.09pm instead of 5.50pm. Not bad if you asked me.

Flight was alright. The pilot gave his announcements in English and then in French. Nice touch, reminded me I have lessons to take!

Why do I, who is greatly affected by scents, always get the ‘not-so-nice-smelling’ people when I fly? Who did I offend? Of course I took the window seat, and this gentleman with a ‘stale + nixoderm (I had eczema in secondary school so I know that smell) + something else I can’t place, wouldn’t stop peering slightly over to look through the window. Did I mention he had curls in his hair? Yuck.

Anyway. Hello Lagos – first time here this year. We got in ok. Grateful as always for safe travels.

Good morning!

Happy New Year! How did you spend the holidays? Did you have a good, restful break? I did. I sure did! I spent time with family in San Antonio, Houston, and of course, London. What a great time of refreshing, of love, of fellowship! I will blog about that trip in due course, don’t worry…

What are you up to this year? What plans/goals? Are you in the New Year resolutions gang? I stopped bothering with those a few years ago, prefer to work towards goals following on from the previous year. Profits me more to be honest. Are you on your way to ticking off those goals? January’s almost over!

What’s new, wherever you are? In Nigeria, we’re living and breathing the coming general elections – exciting, yet very tense times. One piece of advice if I may? Go out and vote. Please, go out and vote if you have your permanent voter card. If you don’t have it, try to collect it. Do it.

It’s 4am, and I’m working and watching my nephew sleep like a clock on my bed – dude is literally turning round in his sleep! He’s formed the habit of coming in for a cuddle at bedtime these days; sometimes he falls asleep here, other times he leaves. Today was one of those ‘sleep with aunty Boo Boo’ kind of days. God is gracious I tell you, who are we that He entrusts the care of these precious ones in our hands? Truly gracious.

What’s new for me this year? Work (duh, lol) – God is opening great and effectual doors and I am more than grateful. Like, jaw-dropping doors, and I can only receive grace to be effective, efficient, and of course to remain grounded.

What else is new? I have a new-found love for all music of South African origin. I’ve become hooked on people like Solly Mahlangu, Keke Phoofolo, Zaza, Benjamin Dube, Ntokozo Mbambo, etc! Vocals are incredible, the intensity of their worship, I’m in love! And I found this site where I can sing along to the lyrics of my favorite songs – what a blessing!

What says I can’t push off to South Africa to watch either (or all) of them in concert this year? My birthday is in May so that’s a gift idea for you. Yes you!

This was intended to be quite short and so let’s stop here. I pray this year is all you dreamed it to be, and I ask for grace and strength so that we all put in the work it takes.

Have a fabulous 2015!

Love,

FGS.

 

First off, no it’s not yet 2015 where I am, still got like 3 hours to go…so start the party without me! Can I just digress real quick and say I can imagine God is having an absolute laugh with these time zones? I think it is genius (of course it is, God is behind it) even though it is one of the hardest things for me to work through!

Anyway, let’s talk about 2014, wrap it up real quick. 2014 was super interesting for me, like really, really interesting. I remember that at the end of December 2013, I was just relieved the year was over and nothing else could go wrong. The things my eyes saw, dang – I’m sure I was the definition of pain, patience, long-suffering, and endurance. I lost people really close to me to death, accidents, etc., and I remember one day I was at the point King David was in the Bible where it said “he cried till he had no more power to weep”. Like I was so cried out, I couldn’t be paid to produce a tear!

Not saying there wasn’t any joy in the year o, of course there was. Just that balanced on a scale, the unhappy easily outweighed the happy (same way everything this current government can claim it has achieved falls flat on its face when it is mirrored against the insurgency/insecurity plaguing the country). People, events, family, friends made 2013 special, there were bright spots in 2013 but it was a difficult year. It was.

Blessed  be God however who causes us to forget the sorrows of the former years, whose love and mercy cancels out our transgressions and qualifies us of things we otherwise wouldn’t be deserving of in a million years. Yup! That’s the God I serve!

In January I felt such a strength within, felt like I knew exactly what I wanted to do with myself – the heights I wanted to attain, the circles I wanted to roll in, and generally, I projected what I wanted to be writing about now. That inner strength carried me through the entire year.

“From your lips to God”s ears” was more than a saying for me this year – I saw/handled things I didn’t even think I was ready for. Like, at some point I was cancelling/rescheduling holidays because I had to accommodate new work! I woke up one day in April and looked at my calendar, and it made me smile. A big, toothy, cheshire-cat type smile…little did I know God hadn’t even scratched the surface of things He had lined up for me!

From addressing 60+ people from three continents at The Hague, to that speaking engagement at the House of Lords, to starting a teaching career (social media of course) both professionally and to youths at church, to working with a team to write a book in 5 days, it didn’t stop. On, and on, and on. God used people to open up fresh opportunities, to push me, force me to be/do better, to push myself, to keep at it. Dr Titi Banjoko, Justina Mutuale, Emilia Asim-Ita, Jacque Onalo, and all the others, God bless you!

And when I crashed in November, God healed me. I was exhausted, my body was screaming for rest. I remember waking up one day and having a mini panic attack because I felt overwhelmed. But God was there, and He healed me, showed me what/how to get through it. And I’m grateful.

My family? Rock solid. Love em to bits! My baby boy is advanced way beyond his age, speaks clearer than any two-year old I know/I’ve known. God is increasing all of us on every side. Momma finished her PhD this year (at 62, whoop); Grace and Progress Family Chapel was born this year too, and is doing great! God is building His church, and nothing can stand against it! I love, love, love you guys!

To Tokes, who knew that meetings in December 2013 would forge a bond so strong we now feel like we’ve known each other for years? Wunmi, bestie of life and destiny, whatever would I do without you? Our latest iyawo!! To Francesca, my personal support system and human chill pill, thank you for sharing your house and heart with me, for real talk, and for that Sunday in April you prayed for me when I literally fell apart. To my sister Adaora, thank you, thank you, thank you. Chief Sista, I just love you. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, I  do!

To every man of God whose word blessed my life, whether in person or online, God bless you. I never sat under a teaching that didn’t bless me, and for that I’m grateful. Very grateful.

For safe travels in 2014 (and it’s been my most mobile year), for provision, for protection, for healing, for direction; the fact that I’m alive is more than enough reason to bow down and worship.

Here’s to incredible things in 2015!

 

 

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Depending on who/where/what you are, this season might either be the “most wonderful time of the year”, or just another day filled with dread, rancour, or even worse, nothingness.

I’ve spent the last 20 odd minutes browsing through social networks as people exchange the warmest greetings with friends, family, and loved ones. And it made me think that there might be some who at this time won’t be unwrapping gifts from Santa, heading out for a day of festivities (maybe debauchery), or staying home to host the tons of people who will visit to share a laugh, drink, and a bite (and maybe a pressie or two). And so this is my message to you, you, and you.

Here’s my list, you’re welcome to add to it.

1. Nigeria’s security forces, especially the rank and file, and even more for the ones serving in the North East. Merry Christmas to you keepers of our land (second to God of course), first in line for whatever havoc Boko Haram and other evil entities think up per time. Especially under the poorest of conditions, the most demotivating remuneration, and appalling, unacceptable gear. The petty extortion on the roads, allegations of human rights abuses, appearance of cluelessness on the one hand, on the other you are our heroes. And to the ones who were sentenced to death for mutiny (apparently more soldiers have been added to the number), you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

2a. Internally displaced persons, who by no fault of theirs, have become refugees in their own land. Merry Christmas to you now without homes/farmland/livelihood, now dependent on the selflessness of groups like #SantaGoesToYola #ChristmasOnTheStreetz (God bless you guys), and the pungent hypocrisy of politicians who only visit for the photo ops. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering, I cannot imagine the questions you sleep and wake with every day, I won’t even try to imagine the conditions you currently face, despite the fact that you have state governors, house of assembly members, local government chairmen, and all the others who from the comfort and safety of their plush mansions in Abuja condemn the insurgency.

2b. Families who have lost brethren to the insurgency. Is it ok to say Merry Christmas? Whatever could be merry about it? From October 2010 and the bombing at Eagle Square, families have sent off their loved ones to work/school/play in the morning, only to receive their lifeless, decapitated bodies in the evening. Some have not been fortunate to receive more than a body part, some others, nothing at all. Where do I start from? Is it the Buni Yadi boys? Or the ones blown up while standing at morning assembly at Government Technical Science College in Potiskum? The hapless ones who got blown up in mosques, churches, bus parks, markets, malls? My thoughts and prayers are with you today and everyday.

3. Parents of the Chibok Girls. We must never forget there have been many kidnapped before these girls taken on the 14th of April, and many taken after (less than 10 days ago it was 185 taken from Gumsuri, a village near Chibok, also in Borno state). Eight months after, it’s moved from windy tales to the ‘only thing that matters’ – the elections in 2015. Never mind that Boko Haram might be breeding an army (one of the girls who escaped was four months pregnant in September, that there are chilling stories of how many times they get raped), and that these girls are walking shells of confusion, hurt and psychological trauma. All that matters to our government is getting re-elected in 2015, whether there are any of us left to vote or not. I am not a parent, but I felt separation anxiety for a toddler on his first days at school; I cannot imagine your grief (which has killed some), or your disappointment in this Nigeria we call ours.

4. Dr Stella Adadevoh’s family. Very special mention must be made of this strong, principled daughter of God who single-handedly (shame on the government for accepting the praise for her work and then wheedling out of giving her a national honor) put a plug in what would have become the biggest outbreak of Ebola this year. You (literally) died so we could live. You are our hero. Today, and always. Merry Christmas to the family you left behind.

5. Nigerians. Merry Christmas to us, wherever we are. We weathered another year, bumps, warts, and all, and must (all things considered), appreciate the fact that we are alive to see another year come to an end. Some of us have lost friends and family to disease or natural causes (rest in peace Lami, aunty NK), children have been born; loves have been won or lost, life has been what it has been to us. Devaluation of the naira, extreme insecurity, abysmal electricity, and the general feeling of hopelessness aside, we’re here. Still here. And it is at least one thing to be grateful for.

Merry Christmas.

December 25th 2013 – one Christmas I will never, never, ever forget. For starters, it wasn’t exactly the ‘white Christmas’ I had planned because it rained rather than the romantic snow I was expecting.

Just as well that it didn’t snow though, because there wasn’t any romance to be had either. Due to circumstances beyond my control (also known as not in any way directly orchestrated by me, lol), I became single two days to Christmas. Not like my partner would have been with me on Christmas Day anyway.

Good thing was I had spent the greater part of the 23rd and the 24th cussing myself out for not going to Nigeria and spending the holidays with my family (not an orphan remember) but hey, we live, we love, we learn. So, by the 25th I was spent, and determined to have a day devoid of self-pity, regret, or any form of sadness.

So, what did I do on the day? I woke by 5am, spoke to a friend like 40 minutes after, and we must have talked for an hour or so (thank you so much). Then I watched ‘Eve’, a sitcom my niece introduced me to on YouTube before she left for Nigeria. Hilarious!

Then I downloaded a few songs (Solid Star’s ‘Oluchi’, Flavour’s ‘Ada Ada’, Labirinth’s ‘Express Yourself’, Maverick Sabre’s ‘I need’, and Dr Sid’s ‘Surulere’). And I worked up a sweat dancing to them. Whoop!

What else did I do? Yeah, I spoke to my sister, brother-in-law, and the highlight of my day? BooBoo telling me ‘eeeyah’ (the sound he makes when he gives one of his many, many hugs). Plus he kissed the phone when I said to ‘give aunty kiss kiss’, and I felt it from here! Warm fuzzies!

I spoke to my folks, chatted with my darling brother, watched a bit more of ‘Eve’ and then I must have dozed off. I woke up about noon, had some cereal, did my laundry (thank you Lord, lol), did quite a bit of writing and responding to emails, and then about 6.30pm I went downstairs again to have my Christmas dinner. I had beans, plantain, and turkey, and then I had a lovely chocolate cheesecake for dessert! Yum! #TeamFood

I watched episodes of Hustle, renewed my crush for Adrian Lester, finally caught up on recorded episodes of X Factor USA (is it me or does that show need a complete overhaul both in England and in the US), and after a bit more writing, my day was over.

I was changed and in bed by 12.10am. And I slept very well.

Thank you Jesus.

P:S – Written @5am on the 26th of December 2013. I wonder what Christmas next year will bring?

I wish, I wish, I wish. If all my wishes came true, beggars would ride (fly sef), Boko Haram would be history, Nigeria would truly exemplify ‘Giant of Africa’ in words and in deeds, and my darling Aunty Pat wouldn’t have succumbed to cancer. Nah, she wouldn’t. She would have beat it so bad she’d have obliterated it, never to trouble anyone else, never to cause anyone the pain and suffering her exit left us with. The emptiness, gaping void…

I miss her everyday – the memory of her in my heart is living, breathing, possessing a full life of its own. There is so much to catch up on, stories to exchange, gossip to whisper (and laugh about), shopping and travel to get through, foods to cook (her fried rice is legendary and till date the only way I know to make it) – there’s so much she’s missing out on because she’s not here!

I miss her. Kai. I miss her in ways I cannot explain.

All the prophecies she’s made (about my friends and I) have come to pass – plus the ones she said would attempt to stab me in the back o, the things I worried about, things I wanted to achieve – God has taken care of, just like she encouraged me. And she’s not here to laugh and say, “no be me tell you say make you no worry?”

I was in church on Sunday (House on the Rock The Refuge) and in the midst of dancing my heart out in appreciation to God, I teared up with a speed I didn’t think was possible. Why? The choir sang a song my aunty used to sing, even in the height of her pain. Gorgeous woman.

Funny, I was chatting with my sister earlier this evening, telling her of something else God sorted for me today. Guess what, our comments were the same! Different wording, but the same thought: we would have wanted to share this with her, and we just knew what would happen when we did!

2014-12-16 05.58.27

Aunty, quick message to say I love you loads. And I miss you everyday. Keep resting, I can imagine you and Aunty NK are causing quite the ruckus up there, keeping God and the angels entertained. Give them kisses from us here ok?

My best friend got married yesterday. Whoop! Before I tell you all I can about the wedding, maybe I should tell you a bit about her.

I met Wumi in Birmingham in late in 2010, at church (the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Covenant Restoration Assembly, Perry Barr). Someone had gotten his friend to invite me to church, and I remember the morning they came to get me with the church bus, I wasn’t sure I had heard a louder group. But service was great, I fell in love with the church, and Wumi and I started to chat.

I don’t know when I fell in love with her, but I did. Real? Check. No airs? Check. Daughter of God to the letter? Check. Kind? Check. Caring? Check! I could go on and on. Wumi knows me sometimes a bit more than I know myself, and she loves me like that. Just like that.

We’ve been through sick days, heartbroken days, days we were broke (like last to our last 10 pounds type of broke), happy days, excited days, plenty money type of days, we’ve been through loads of stuff together. And we’ve come out stronger. Each and every time.

Ok. Before we have a problem keeping her head in check (with all my praising), on Friday my sister, nephew and I were supposed to fly into Lagos (I’d left Lagos on Wednesday), and then Momma was supposed to come in as well (see how special Wumi is to all of us)? Coordinated the flights so we’d land about the same time. There’s a little race of life story, one in which we forgot to take identification for Boo Boo so like halfway into the trip to the airport we had to run back to the house, and then start flying back to the airport.

Timecheck when we got to the airport gate and met the queue of our lives? 9.49am. Flight time? 10am. Let’s just say we still made the flight, and I’ll spare you the details of us pleading at the counter, racing to the plane, and then finding out that our friend at the airport had actually moved from one airline to the one we were to take! Na wa! To think we were looking for people to help us board!

Got into Lagos ok, Momma landed a bit after, and off to the hotel we went. Can I say money spent on hotels in Lagos doesn’t really go far? And I will leave it like that.

Wumi and Bimbo came a bit after, and then we really got in the ‘wedding’ mood! I had to nip off to Shoprite with our cabbie to buy some items, and Momma and the gang took a stroll. Dinner over, loads of gisting after, gifts presented, it was bedtime! Was I exhausted or what!

Saturday morning, D-Day!

Rushed a shower, and went over to the room where the photo crew, makeup artists et al were already at work. And here the photos begin!

See my girl!!! Gorgeous!!

See my girl!!! Gorgeous!!

Then we milled into our cars and headed to the venue for the engagement…

Gorgeous people!! Just gorgeous!

Gorgeous people!! Just gorgeous!

No he wasn't about to kiss her, he was just 'telling her something'...lol!! This pose was a special request from me to be honest, don't ask me why!

No he wasn’t about to kiss her, he was just ‘telling her something’…lol!! This pose was a special request from me to be honest, don’t ask me why!

Engagement over, it was time to change and head to the church. Did I mention my darling Boo Boo was ring bearer? Want to see his suit? Hotter than fire!!

Boo Boo of life and destiny!!! Dapper as!!

Boo Boo of life and destiny!!! Dapper as!!

Thank God for Beloxxi biscuit which my nephew loves and therefore can be used to get him to stand still!

Thank God for Beloxxi biscuit which my nephew loves and therefore can be used to get him to stand still!

A little side view... God finished work on my nephew walai, like there's nothing else that could have been done!

A little side view… God finished work on my nephew walai, like there’s nothing else that could have been done!

Sharing a kiss and a cuddle with Grandma! Did I mention he always mixes them up? So sometimes he calls the 'Pa', 'Ma'. Lol.. Love him to pieces!

Sharing a kiss and a cuddle with Grandma! Did I mention he always mixes them up? So sometimes he calls the ‘Pa’, ‘Ma’. Lol.. Love him to pieces!

Then, it was off to the car to be sure our super bride was ok, not needing anything, that kind of super FGS type business (he he he). Beautiful, so beautiful!

I'm definitely doing cream/ivory on my day... It's such a gorgeous color!

I’m definitely doing cream/ivory on my day… It’s such a gorgeous color!

Ahh!! Here’s the fun bit! We’d been trying to get Boo Boo to walk with a card that said “Here comes the bride”. Well, on the day it didn’t quite work. Want to know what worked? This photo of him and the little bride – cute as anything!

Two year old and one year old - something says we should stay in touch with the mom as per bride for my boy! What do you think? Baby girl had the cutest smile!

Two year old and one year old – something says we should stay in touch with the mom as per bride for my boy! What do you think? Baby girl had the cutest smile!

I managed to get a selfie with my boy inside the church – don’t even wrinkle your noses biko, anything to keep him awake, he was exhausted!

See his face...my boy!

See his face…my boy! Ignore the sweat on mine biko…

All the formalities done, it was time to head back to the events center for the reception! But first, a few photos!

Mom and the brand new couple!

Mom and the brand new couple!

The couple and the sisters!!!

The couple and the sisters!!! My nephew was two minutes from asleep at this point!

Then it was off to the reception, where I said a few words about the cake and the couple (couple I know, cake I didn’t bake), and the food was really yummy! Tokes came too (yay), and it was really nice to see her!

Then we danced! Wow! Turn up.com! At some point my people had to leave to catch flights back home and as soon as they were safely at the airport (Lagos traffic, sigh), I could relax. I think the number of squats I did yesterday (to pick money) has covered up for all the exercise I haven’t done in weeks!!

It was a really gorgeous day, and I’m so pleased that despite a few hitches that reared up during all the planning. we had a full, fun day. They’re married, God’s name was glorified in everything, and I’m looking forward to being a godmother to their munchkin (guys – take the hint and get to work already biko)!

Wumi and KP, I love you two to the moon and back, and I know your marriage is blessed, is fruitful, and will become an example for marriages everywhere. Success, peace, love, joy, togetherness, great intimacy, patience, I wish you both these and many more. Welcome to the best years of your lives!

Kisses,

Me!

I’ve had a fabulous time in Lagos! Constant electricity, excellently paved roads, the works, Lagos is everything! Whoop, can’t wait to be back!

I can imagine you’re smiling at that.

Here’s what I really wanted to say – Lagos is not working. Lagos is not working. Lagos is NOT working.

Here’s why – on one of the days of this three-day trip, I went from Surulere to Ikeja, Oshodi to Lekki Phase 1, Victoria Island, and then back to Surulere. Bad roads. Scratch that, horrible roads. Even the so-called posh areas had horrible roads.

In August I went to Ikotun, somewhere after Lekki for film production. Slum. Capital slum. Matter of fact that area was chosen because the production was set in a slum. So I have one question, are these parts of the Lagos included in the “Lagos is working” bit?

Eight times out of ten I spend nights in Apapa when I’m in Lagos. Trailers that are yonks away from roadworthiness + horrible, potholed roads make the drive home excruciating each night. God help us if something (or someone) breaks down…

I have been at my bestie’s in Ojota at least twice this year, and the road to hers is paved with potholes as well.

Pray tell, which Lagos is working? Or is there another Lagos a few people (obviously excluding me) are privy to?

To be clear, this is more about questioning that absolute statement that is “Lagos is working”, than pointing fingers at what in my opinion (feel free to form yours in your mind or in the comments) is mediocrity at worst, and an inability to keep up the pace/deal with the issues at best.

It is about being able to query the rate/pace of development in a part of Nigeria, whether I am from that place or not, whether I am resident there or not. It is being able to do this without the discussion being reduced to “Lagos is better than all the other states in Nigeria”, “Lagos is overpopulated, or even worse, “the governor met the state in a really bad shape, you should have seen it before”. Excuses. Yuck.

So the indices for growth and development revolve around those? Really?

Are we happy to accept/grovel for crumbs when we can demand full, satisfying meals? Have we been so deprived that anything goes?

Again, to put this all in perspective, Lagos is touted as the only state in Nigeria that actually works, throw in Akwa Ibom and Anambra (we will question this gist about the current government buying 100 horses for 85 million naira later), and so I see no reason why we can’t hold it to higher standards. Let’s forget the fact that we are chopped and screwed that only 3 out of 36 states seem to have a handle on governance…let’s just forget that for now.

The entire discussion amused and saddened me to be honest – the responses I got, the arguments people put forward, and the fact that unfortunately we still haven’t come to a place where we can debate issues without either resorting to name-calling or making it about personalities.

My thinking? We can debate issues from here till doomsday – talk about overpopulation, Lagos being how many meters/years/continents/local governments below sea level, the current governors’ predecessors leaving a lot of work (and no money) for him, on and on and on. Let’s knock ourselves out with that if we must.

Why a government will abandon simpler, closer-to-the-people initiatives like sorting drainages within the town and its satellite towns and instead focus on sand filling a portion of the state that will be inaccessible to over 90% of the indigenes/residents is beyond me but let’s just leave that there. Please don’t query this particular sentence if you don’t own property around the area – you’re with me in the 90%.

While we’re at it though, let’s allow the still small voice within us that’s saying that the sooner we move away from the half-bread is better than none mentality and demand governance from the people we’ve elected to serve/lead us, the sooner we will glimpse the change we all talk about but do absolutely nothing else about.

I’ll say it one more time sha (cos this is my blog), Lagos is not working.

In the last few days I’ve chronicled the Book Sprint orchestrated by Heinrich Boll Stiftung but facilitated by people (Barbara, Simone, and filed by Louis) from Booksprints.net. Links to those posts are below.

7th – 7th (a.ka. The Day We Got There) – Chronicling the Book Sprint

8th – 8th (a.k.a Day One) – Getting to know you #BookSprint

9th – 9th (a.k.a Day Two) – The Nitty Gritty Stuff #BookSprint

10th – 10th (a.k.a Day Three) – We have characters! #BookSprint

11th and 12th - 11th and 12th (a.k.a Days 4 and 5 ) – Life! Our baby is born! #BookSprint

 

Do you want to know what I got up to the next day? You’re in the right place.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Woke up still on a high from yesterday, albeit with a fresh headache (thanks to our #TurnUp last night, lol). `Went down to brekky, copped the last two boxes of Special K (since I was the only person interested in the thing), and after gisting with Simone, Elnathan, and Kalu for a bit in our workroom, it was go home time.

 

Went off to my sister’s for her to add up the figures in my time sheet for a gig I worked (I am rubbish with math), and then there was the ‘short skirt discussion’ with a policewoman I don’t have the energy or space to recount.

 

Noticed my dongle (Etisalat) had stopped working on my mac so I went to a service center. Ended up in their mobile booth – never been in one before and extreme dilapidation/extremely poor maintenance aside, it’s a really good idea – where I was told I would be sorted. I wasted two hours of my life there without getting the help I sought, short version including phrases like their technician not knowing how MacBook’s work. Long version would include gratitude to the technician for trying, and his patience, and finally for accepting he didn’t know what on earth he was doing! I would talk about Etisalat being negligent in employing technicians who don’t know the spectrum of their environment.

 

Dropped off the time sheet, grabbed a snack, then pushed off to church to see my darling nephew Boo Boo because I knew he’d be asleep by the time I’d go home. Played with him the rest of the time service held for (((photo))), and then I went off to play catch-up with besto (who’d been in town since Sunday).

 

One hour later (including a call to JT), I tried in vain to reach Pearl. SMH. A bit frustrated and incredibly hungry, I went off to Yahuza, got suya and one incredible banana and strawberry smoothie, and then it was home time!

 

Fortunately there was power, so chicken, smoothie, and antibiotics later, it was time to pack! Yep, I’m off to England tomorrow.

#DiariesOfAnAjala

In the final post from the #ChroniclesFromBonn series, you’re invited to catch up on the previous stories. You can find them below

1. #ChroniclesFromBonn – The trip!

2. #ChroniclesFromBonn –Welcome to school, meet the team!

3. #ChroniclesFromBonn – Opening Day

Ah ha! Now that you’re up to speed, welcome to the most incredible of the days!

I had a very interesting conversation with Maria from Ukraine on the walk to the session, which was both saddening and heartwarming at the same time. We talked so much about the difficulties both our countries are facing, and I won’t forget the really big hug she gave me.

So what did we talk about? Loads of things – the unrest in both our countries, Nigeria may be a bit more severe (and multi-buffeted) – including the hopelessness that accompanies ‘international claims/offers for help’. The fact of the matter is that at the end of the day, each country stands alone. There might be some fraternization on the basis of prevailing interests at the time, but at the end of the day, you’re alone as alone can be. Or is it plausible that a country will love your country more than they love themselves? No!

Look at the Nigerian example. More than a month after the American, British, and French governments (and the Israelis I think) came into the country to help with the search and rescue of the 219 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram on the 14th of April, nothing. *Remember this trip was at the end of June* Like sometimes, it’s even hard to believe that any of them showed up.

Moving on.

I sat in on a lot more sessions today, starting with the keynote given by the Federal Foreign Minister, in German. Translators (you know those little devices?) always amuse me. I was reminded of just how much when I used this one. At some point I was listening to both the translator and the Minister, trying to match the words with the translations. Funny only when you take into cognisance that the only German words I know are ‘good morning’, ‘thank you’, and ‘please’. :)

Anyway, so I attended a session that really spoke to me, one about activism and citizen uprisings et al in Africa. It was one I really enjoyed, but one that also annoyed me on several levels. What makes people feel that because a certain form of citizen disobedience worked in country A it will work in country B? I was so amused/impressed/annoyed by the discussion that I wrote this Africa’s Revolution: The Inaccuracy of Labels, thankful to Future Challenges for publishing it.

We (Digital Participation Camp) held our fishbowl session today too, and even though I HATED the idea of balloons (I have a living, breathing fear of them, and the sound they make when they burst), everyone else loved the balloons, the format of our session, and how interactive/fun it was! So, it didn’t bother me a lot.

Then, it was time for the boat ride! Whoop! I ran back to Bonnox, changed into a small white dress, and then I was river ready!

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Gorgeous, simply gorgeous!!

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Party time! Whoop!!

We got on the boat, and it was really lovely! The view, the music from the band on the upper deck where we were for most of the evening, and the food! There was a barbecue going on, so chicken, sausages, potatoes, and a really lovely salad! Then, Aya and I saw an ice cream tray floating around, and we followed it to the lower deck, only to find there was a full on buffet down there, including the amazing potato gratin I had a few days ago!

 

We had a bit, wandered around the ship for a bit, and then went back up upstairs, where it was really lovely to meet Isabel from Irrepressible Voices, and Eva from Tea after Twelve! I first met Eva in February in Hamburg during Social Media Week, and that meeting culminated in this post for their magazine – http://www.tea-after-twelve.com/all-issues/issue-01/issue-01-overview/chapter2/welcome-to-lagos/ – Lagos is truly the greatest city in the world!

I also met this lovely, really tall guy who goofed around with me! I remember staring and saying, “you’re very tall”, and then he said, “are you sure you’re not taller than I am?” Lol! Bless him!

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Wow… I take back every time I’ve ever said I was tall!

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…because life is too short not to have a laugh when you can!

 

Then, it was time for the party!! Whoop! We all went back down to the lower deck, and the GoodFellas played the entire time we sailed to (Sepideh where did we go again?) and back! Incredible music, 2000+ people on the ship dancing and having a really fun evening. Ready to see some videos? Cos I made some!

 

 

 

We docked about 12.30am, and I was so wired from excitement and exhaustion! The girls (Ruth, Aya) and I walked back to Bonnox, not before missing a turn that translated a 15 minutes work into an hour’s trek!

But, we got home ok, and everyone tumbled into bed immediately!!

Next day, the conference ended with speeches and a few other sessions, and the next day after that, it was off to Frankfurt to catch a flight back to Abuja, Nigeria. Bring on GMF2015 already!

PS – I blogged about GMF 2014 for Deutsche Welle, published by Future Challenges – a condensed version of this series. Find that here.