Posts Tagged ‘Science and Technology’

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!

Onaedo is special. Special because I don’t know if I ever tweeted her before I made the call on Twitter about the #31days31writers project. But I made the call, and she said she was up for it, and she was actually one of the first to send her entry in, so thank you babes! Twitter made real! (Well not completely, yet)

I loved her article, has such an honesty to it I can relate to every word! I would ask why she did the change of name but hey, why don’t you get done reading first? For the 11th day of this project, I present the beautiful Onaedo!!

My name is Olayinka (I have adopted the name, Onaedo), I am a Nigerian, a (non-practicing) Lawyer, veering into Administration and HR, blogging (still a learner) (, and a host of other things that are still in the works.

Writing about my 2013 could take up all your time to read, so I’ll  just stick with the basics and shoot, starting with what I learnt this year.

What did I learn? Well, a whole lot, but the most important one to me is that which I learnt of myself. I learnt, shockingly, that I still had a lot of suppressed anger and resentment to deal with. Not what you might have been expecting? Sorry, but honesty they say, is the best policy.

The good thing though is, I learnt to release them. I learnt to let go and forgive. I realize that people are not perfect and if they knew better, they would do better. I realize that, maybe, that was the best they had to offer at the time and I have made my peace with that. Instead of paying lip service to forgiving and letting go, I actually did and am still doing; forgiveness is a continuous process. Who am I to demand what people can not give when I am less than perfect too? Besides, all those clichés you heard about forgiveness are true, I am a living witness, (somebody shout Hosanna!).

I have learnt, again, to be more at peace with myself and worry less. There have been bouts of feelings of helplessness and a loss of faith, but they have been fleeting too. Right now, I have Peace, Faith and Hope immeasurably and it would be an absolute no-no to trade those for anything in the world.

What I am most grateful for, amongst other things, is life, my family and my friends. I know people who I didn’t think would just leave like that, but they did. A terrible reminder of how fickle and precarious life is, so I am grateful I am still here, with the ones I love and who love me. I realize that nothing is real but love after all, (you should listen to ‘Nothing’s Real But Love’ by Rebecca Ferguson; it’s a beautiful but earnest reminder of the essence of time and love).

To what I would do differently if I could; it’s to have loved more, to have given more and to have been more committed to my purpose, (I have quite a few of ‘would have, could have, should have-s’ but this is top on the list). I have loads of excuses for falling short, but I know, at the end of the day, they are just that; excuses.

Above all, I am (still and always) learning, growing, evolving, yet, being me in the process. My essence, what makes me ‘me’, is what I would not lose.

PS  – I am still not excited about Christmas, I think I need help! Help me please; somebody, anybody!


Wow… I just love her haircut!! Wonder if I’ll ever be able to pluck the courage to do this!

I am excited!! When I sent him a message on Twitter asking if he would join this project, to be honest I didn’t quite think I was going to get a yes. But I did, and with such ease I wondered why I worried in the first place!

I met Pa Ikhide first in March at Excuse Me London, an event celebrating him, Nkem Ivara, Victor Ehikamenor, and a few others. He was so warm, so alive, so down to earth, it was an absolute pleasure!

I present, Ikhide Ikheloa! *cycles away slowly*

The Internet lives

My name is Ikhide. I am a Nigerian. I am an American. I live on the Internet. Every day, new tribes are formed. The Internet is the new nation. That is one thing that dawned on me this year; the Internet lives. Ignore it at your peril.

On the Internet, compassion knows no boundaries even as pain and hurt seep through fences to maim the brave. It is often said that there is a digital divide. That is certainly one way of looking at a world that can seem to offer only a half-empty glass most days.

A counterintuitive approach is to see a digital bridge, a web even, that connects the weak to the powerful, that offers robust voice to the yearnings and aspirations of those who have no voices. Yes, the Internet is the new nation of tribes of thinkers and doers.

On the Internet, words are powerful and they zip around on merry wings. This year was exceptionally expensive for me. Time and accidents conspired to strip my family of the vitality and life of loved ones. In addition to the physical touch and solace of loved ones, the Internet was the town crier of choice, moving buckets of comfort to and from Babylon. And the Internet was the bank of choice helping to ferry resources to those in need.

On Father’s Day, this year, my dad fell very ill.  It has been a challenging season, trying to rescue him from the clutches of a debilitating illness in Nigeria where a “specialist hospital” is usually a large hall filled with desperate patients and not much else in terms of resources. I was touched by the kindness and generosity of many, the vast majority of whom I had never met in person. This essay would be an exercise in despair if not for these wonderful people who came into my life thanks to the Internet. I salute all of them.

Finally, for me, the Internet, as a community of communities, came alive at the recently concluded Ake Arts & Book Festival in Abeokuta. As writers and artists we all came together from all over the world, and in this little place, people, most of whom had only met on the Internet, laughed and loved like long-lost siblings. The atmosphere was electric, perhaps the best celebration of arts and living I have ever been involved in.

And this brings me to my final point. None of this would be possible without the Internet. The Internet is fast shaping up to be the community of choice for writers of African extraction, the best publishing house for our stories, a place that struts our stories as the sum of our lived lives, not as a single story. The Internet lives.

And so this year, as a reader who writes, I am most grateful to the Internet for helping me connect with soul mates and for helping to put even more meaning into my restless life. What would I do differently? I don’t know really, I don’t allow regrets to live rent-free in my head. I live and live well. The Internet lives.

Why does he have two photos up? Well because he asked me to choose, and I couldn't make up my mind between these two!

Why does he have two photos up? Well because he asked me to choose, and I couldn’t make up my mind between these two!

Always excited, sometimes I just go to read the 'chronicles' that accompany his photos on Facebook to get a good laugh!

Always excited, sometimes I just go to read the ‘chronicles’ that accompany his photos on Facebook to get a good laugh!