Friday, 23 August 2013


My dearest  Yemmie recently drew our attention to 2 'posts' about Naija that have been making the rounds and she asked the question .....'Is Nigeria Really This Bad?'. Please go to her lovely blog to read.

I have to say that I didnt watch the video but I read through Tim's write up and I can honestly say that there is nothing he said that I found untrue.

Granted, if we only focus on the negatives, we might become blind to the positives within Nigeria BUT I am not one to shirk from the truth and the truth is that we have serious problems in Nigeria.

We like to deceive ourselves that Nigeria is fantastic but we need to realise that the system we have in place is just not right. We have problems ...

- There is a problem when people feel they have a right to LOOT the coffers of a nation...

- There is a problem when an intelligent person is born into poverty and there are NO institutional routes for him/her to advance educationally.....

- There is a problem when faced with a new law or regulation; the average Nigerian's first thought is 'HOW DO I AVOID THIS LAW/ REGULATION?'

- There is a problem when dirty old men feel it is their right to SLEEP with every female job applicant they come across?

- There is a problem when young girls feel it is normal to BED HOP with men older than their fathers.........

- There is a problem when our young men would rather cross a DESERT than stay in their own country.........

- There is a problem when RELIGION is used to manipulate people into becoming cash machines and murderers.....

- There is a problem when politicians are seen as 'EXCEPTIONAL' just because they tarred one stretch of road.....

- There is a problem when children value MONEY over and above all things....

- There is a problem when contracts are AWARDED, RE-AWARDED, RE-RE AWARDED & RE-RE-RE AWARDED ............without any accountability....

- There is a problem when provision of education has become so poor that we send our children to Ghana...Togo....Poland....India.......JUST ANYWHERE........

- There is a problem when the LOVE FOR MONEY has made kidnapping, armed robbery, ritual murders and extortion the norm............

- There is a problem when we need to fly out of the country for BASIC health care.........

- There is a problem when a DOCTOR can let anyone...but especially...a child or pregnant woman die because the relatives dont have the means to pay for their treatment..........

- There is a problem when our LEADERS are happy to say they are 'flying abroad' for medical treatment......

- There is a problem when the brothers/ sisters we supported through APARTHEID (South Africa) now wish they had fewer numbers of us in their country.....

There is a problem when a country can go from being the LEADING PRODUCER of a product (Palm Oil) to an importer of the same product........

- The BIGGEST PROBLEM is not acknowledging we actually have these problems. Self awareness is teh first step towards growth. I know it hurts to hear but like a parent with a deviant child....sometimes, one has to face the truth before things can change.

We need to stop pretending all is well. ALL IS NOT WELL.

Yes, there is nothing like home......BUT....It sure would be great if we acknowledged that 'Home' is not perfect and we are part of the imperfections.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A Mess All Round

I am always humbled when I meet people who make a difference to other people's lives.

Similarly, I am always given a jolt when I read/ hear something that shows how much this world is messed up.

I don't know how many of you have heard of Dr Kermit Gosnell - the Philadelphia based doctor who aborted/ murdered foetuses over 32 weeks old and caused the death of at least one woman.

I read the Grand Jury Report on this case here with a mixture of nausea and dismay. If you can, please read up what this man is accused of. It makes for gruesome reading

Questions are now being asked about why he got away with it for so long ..........?

While I cannot generalise, I can suggest that perhaps he got away with it for so long, for the same reasons why.........
- Spousal Abuse is ignored until it turns to Mariticide/ Uxoricide
- Racism/ Tribalism is ignored until it turns to Genocide
- Post Natal Depression is ignored until it turns into Filicide
- Sibling Rivalry is ignored until it becomes Fratricide/ Sororicide................

Because we (as a society) are too busy worrying/ arguing about...
- Who is the slimmest
- Who is the richest
- Who has the most 'authentic' hair/ skin
- Who is 'doing well' and who is 'not doing well'
- Who has/ hasn't got married/ had children/ got a job/ graduated etc etc
- Who is the smartest etc etc

This world is messed up enough, please don't contribute to making it worse.....

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Book Reviews

I have been fortunate to read two books by two bloggers recently and here are my reviews (I dont like it when book/ film reviewers give the whole plot away so I will keep my reviews as 'cryptic' as possible):

1. The Officer's Bride by Lara Daniels

This is a romantic tale set in Northern Nigeria and the backdrop is the twilight days of Nigeria's General Sanni Abacha's military rule. The two main characters are Colonel Edward (Eddy) and Nafisah. 

I liked Lara's ability to weave Nigerian history into a romantic story. While the story is all about the romance between two people, one can learn something about a time in Nigeria's history that held so many secrets.
Again, when Lara writes about her characters making love, she displays maturity that keeps the 'love making' within the confines of 'romance' and well away from the 'soft porn' boundaries.

However, I felt that some of the conversations in English were a bit 'stilted' and did not sound like how Nigerians would naturally converse with each other. 

I do accept that translating colloquial  language into print can be difficult but whenever I read a story with a 'cultural setting'; one of the things that makes the 'cultural angle' authentic to me is the use of realistic language / conversations. That is why I loved the touches of Hausa Lara throws in here and there. Beautiful....

Overall, I really enjoyed this novella and I couldnt wait to find out how it would end. I am now eagerly waiting a longer story from this author. Great job!

2. Antonyms of a Mirage by Atilola Moronfolu

This book consists of  prose, drama and poetry - with different personalities commenting on societal issues. 
 I liked Atilola's use of different personalities as I feel most people have different personalities and view-points.This use of different personalities was very creative and allows Atilola examine Nigeria's unique challenges through the eyes of different people. Her ability to use this writing form displays great maturity and insight. 
My favourite piece has to be 'Prayers of Mediocrity' because it exposes the hypocrisy that lies beneath the burgeoning religious hysteria that grips our beloved Nigeria.
However, I felt the mixture of  prose, drama and poetry was distracting to me. I am an especially impatient reader and I prefer to read poetry seperately from prose....Poetry requires a different mindset for me. 
Overall, I enjoyed Atilola's take on societal ills and I do believe she will make a great playwright. I am looking forward to going to the theatre to watch a play written by Atilola one day. For me, that is a natural progression for her.  In the meantime, Great Job Atilola...I now await my complementary tickets!!

Friday, 22 March 2013

An Ode to Achebe

I was a voracious reader as a child .....
It was my way of escaping......
Escaping the drudgery of chores.......
Escaping the  pain of school politics......
Escaping the weight of parental expectations......
Escaping the helplessness of being a child.....
Escaping the frustrations that came with being a daughter.....
Escaping the hopelessness of wanting the unobtainable....
Just escaping!

I read good books... I read bad books.....
I read books every child should read...
I read books no child should read...
I just read.... until the day I picked up 'Things Fall Apart'

Here was an author, who used words......
Like a hungry lover devours his woman - voraciously.
Here was an author, who created characters........
That took up residence in one's brain - indefinitely.
Here was an author, who used words....
I could taste and smell -  completely.
Here was an author, who painted stories.......
That would rival any masterpiece - absolutely.

I have read good books, I have read bad books...
I have read books everyone should read
I have read books that frankly, should not have been written
But nothing has moved me as much as the words that came from him.

Today, I shed a tear
For the passing of an icon
I shed a tear because he is gone
I shed a tear because he died far from home
I shed a tear because his beloved country is still a 'potential great'
I shed a tear because we have lost a great man
I shed a tear because yet 'another great' has left us

Rest in peace, Chinua Achebe
You live forever......
Your Okonkwo lives...
Your Obi lives...
Your Ezeulu lives...
Your Beatrice lives...
Your Chike lives...
Your legacy lives..............

Thank you for coming into my life..
I know you live!

Picture Credit:  Chinua Achebe in 1960 Photograph: Eliot Elisofon/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images Source:Guardian 
Chinua Achebe: 'grandfather of African fiction'. Photograph: Craig Ruttle/AP. Source: Guardian

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Hello and Amen

Hello to all

Apologies for the long absence

I have been busy...then travelling ......and internet access was a challenge

I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year?

May 2013 bring us all lots of blessings, laughter and good health

May 2013 also see our dreams come true


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Chasing Success: L. L. S. F (5)

Thanks to all of you who keep on visiting here. You motivate me to write ..........even when all I want to do is eat, read blogs and sleep. LOL ................God bless you all

In concluding this series, I will go straight to my fifth L.L.S.F (Lessons Learnt So Far). This one is fairly simple: 'KNOW THYSELF - SELF REFLECTION IS A BLESSING'

This is not an easy task. Indeed, it has been said that 'The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself' (Thales, ca. 624 BC–ca. 546 BC). However, if one is able to do this, it makes so many things in life clearer and dare I say it............a bit easier. 

When I say 'know thyself, I refer to knowing who you are including....
- What your family background holds:
All families have secrets and all families have flaws. However, a person can only know his/ her make up if s/he understands more about his/her family. Some people talk about 'generational curse' and how it holds people back. However, I believe more in 'generational stupidity' - when family members repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

Personally, I come from a long line of stubborn, determined women. This can be a good thing or a bad thing...............depending on the circumstances. However, since I know I have this trait, I try to use it to my benefit and avoid situations where this 'stubbornness' can put people off. Knowing your 'family background' does not only relate to common traits and behaviours we share with family members, it can also relate to health related issues. For example if one comes from a family with a history of high blood pressure/ strokes......... it is unwise to drink heavily, eat fatty foods or ignore one's weight.

- What your Weaknesses are:
We all have bad habits and sometimes we can ignore them because they don't hinder us in any way. However, when such weaknesses hold us back, it is imperative we sit up and take notice.

For example, I know a very intelligent man who is great at generating ideas but lacks the determination to follow through these ideas. Similarly, I know a very intelligent young lady who puts people off with her 'I-know-it-all attitude'. While she has 'book intelligence'; she lacks the common sense to realise that others who might not have her academic qualifications might know more than she does................. Again, I know a lady who seems to lurch from one abusive relationship to another. When a pattern is being repeated, it is time to look inwards.

- What your Strengths are:
Yes, it might seem crazy to say one does not know his/her strengths but I challenge YOU to highlight your 5 key strengths.....What 5 things set you apart from others???? This is not easy for everyone. However, it is important to know your strengths because this knowledge is (a) comforting in times of self-doubt; and  (b) empowering in times you are challenged.

- What your Limits are:
This is a difficult one because it takes time and maturity for most pf us to realise/ accept our limits. However, I have found that knowing my limits has been key to keeping my sanity.......When to say NO......When to BACK OFF..........When to accept DEFEAT........When to accept SOMEONE will never change............When to accept you cant change OTHERS

I once knew a successful business man who was always being approached by people with one business idea or another. Ninety nine percent of the time, he ignored these people who approached him. When I asked him how he knew which business to invest in and which to avoid, his reply was 'I
 stick to what I know' Simple !!!  

So, 'Know Thyself'.....Where does one start?????
One of the best tools I have seen used for self reflection is the personal SWOT....which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. When it comes to a personal SWOT, an individual has to answer these questions:
- What are my Strengths?
- What are my Weaknesses?
- What Opportunities exist out there for me to use my strengths ?
- What Threats exist out there that will highlight my weaknesses and cause me to fail/ not achieve my full potential?

I strongly recommend a personal SWOT to all jobseekers and those caught at crossroads (between mutiple choices - of jobs, careers, partners, locations etc) Seriously, it has helped me make some really difficult decisions - especially where I had to consider my strenghts and weaknesses against external factors/ people/ situations I have no control over. If you are interested in carrying out a personal SWOT analysis, do visit here

Before I leave you all, I would like to recap my five lessons learnt:
(1) Knowing one's Locus of Control is important in understanding who/what you allow to shape your destiny
(2) Event + Reaction = Outcome
(3) Recognise your millstones and act accordingly
(4) Be aware of your Personal Brand and how your potray yourself
(5) Know Thyself - Self Reflection is a Blessing.

All I have shared can be summarised in this saying: 'In order to change unwanted habits and actions, it is important to take the time to get to know yourself'  (Darren L. Johnson)

I hope I have made sense. Many thanks for coming back again and again.

May God bless you all

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Back on Saturday

Dear all,

Apologies for the break in transmission ....LOL

Seriously though, I do apologise that I missed my deadline

I will post the final part of the L.L.S.F series this Saturday (08/12/12)

I am tied up at the moment.

Apologies again

Monday, 26 November 2012

Chasing Success: L. L. S. F (4)

Good to see you here. I hope all is well with you?

In continuing my ramblings on 'Chasing Success', I will be touching on my fourth L.L.S.F (Lessons Learnt So Far)

As usual I will start with a preamble:

Recently, I have been reading about Moses (in the Bible). I know we often see him as a great leader who was chosen by God etc etc.......but he was actually a very reluctant leader. 

Indeed, when God first spoke to him and told him he was to lead his people out of Egypt, his initial reaction was one of great reluctance as he asked God: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

To convince him, God showed him some miracles, by......................:
-         Turning his staff into a snake
-         Transforming Moses’ hand into a leprous hand and back again
-         And finally reassuring that if Pharoah did not listen, He would change water into blood

Despite this, Moses still protested...........
Exodus 4.10 “..........I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

Despite God reassuring him, he begged................
Exodus 4.13 "Please send someone else........"

Although He was getting angry, God tried to reassure him AGAIN by highlighting the fact that his brother, Aaron – who was a great speaker could do the talking for him.......

Was that enough? No...still he protested:
Exodus 6.12....“If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips

I laughed when I read this because this is the man who was chosen by God to do a great deed..........and he sounded more 'zero' than 'hero' 

 If I were God, I would have given him a good slap and told him ‘You better do it or I will send thunder on you’ LOL

Seriously though, Moses' example shows that even the greatest amongst us is flawed - so we should not be so hard on ourselves. If God had been a mere human being, I bet he would have walked away from Moses. God saw something in Moses and that is why he chose him. There is something special in all of us.

This leads me to my fourth lesson learnt – BE AWARE OF YOUR PERSONAL BRAND - How you potray yourself often affects how others perceive you.  

To drive my point home, I would like to sell you two products:

PRODUCT A is a drink with the following features:
-         It is refreshing and thirst-quenching
-         Experts say it has rejuvenating qualities and makes drinkers look younger
-         People say it has a very unique taste
-         Lovers of this drink believe it has rejuvenating properties
-         This drink is good for people who are watching their weight

PRODUCT B is a drink with the following features:
-         Some feel the taste is a bit bland and boring
-         People do say too much of this drink can make tummies bloat
-         Certain versions of this drink can cause diarrhoea
-         Taking too much of this drink has caused death in some people
     -         People complain that certain versions of this product can be expensive

Can you guess what the products are? Well, both Products A and B are the same: water

Yes, a product is only inviting and desirable when it is perceived as such. 

Thinking of some favourite brands - Coca Cola, Dyson, Apple, Blackberry, Gala, Peak etc etc....Those who love these brands associate then with positivity. Similarly, the same applies to individuals and their 'Personal Brand':

 If someone is perceived as antagonistic......or......lacking confidence .......or.......cheerful..........or........selfish........or......indicisive.........or........reliable etc etc.....He/she is generally seen in that light most of the time. 

One of my favourite sayings is 'Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan' Too true. It is very easy to only remember the negatives that occur in one’s life but if that’s what you associate with yourself................What do you expect others to do?

 Yes, we can all do a 'Moses' (lacking confidence, courage etc) from time to time but not everyone has the patience of God; so as we are dealing with mere mortals from day to day - we must try to portray ourselves in a positive light.

YOU are the best advocate of your personal brand:
-         Celebrate your heritage. I believe we were all born in different circumstances for a reason
-         Celebrate your gender. There are good things about being male or female.
-         Celebrate your knowledge. I learn everyday – from old and young. No one knows everything.
-         Celebrate your experiences. Failure = Lessons Learnt. Setbacks = Hope for a better tomorrow.
-         Celebrate YOU. No one can do YOU like you can. Manage your Personal Brand. 

Hope I make sense?

I'll be back on the 5th of December for my final LLSF. Till then be safe, be nice.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Chasing Success: L. L. S. F (3)

Good to see you here again. I hope all is well with you

In continuing my ramblings on 'Chasing Success', I will be touching on my third L.L.S.F (Lessons Learnt So Far)

As usual, I will start with a preamble:

When Abby graduated in 1991, her priority was to make sure her younger siblings were well provided for. Her parents were both pensioners and this was the time - in Nigeria - when pensions were often not paid and pensioners really struggled to survive, talk less of taking care of their families.

As soon as she arrived in the UK, she contacted friends to make sure she got a job asap. Through her friends, she got a job as a carer (someone who goes into people’s homes to take care of their needs). Her job involved going into old people’s homes and help them with things they found difficult to do i.e. shopping, paying bills and laundry.

Abby did this job – with two employers - for three years; and was able to send enough money home to ensure her two younger ones could complete their university education. However, this was done at great sacrifice as Abby’s social life was nonexistent. Her living arrangements were also very basic as she chose to rent a room only so she could keep her living costs to a basic minimum. All through this period, whenever Abby called home, there was always one demand or another........... Abby did her best to make sure her family did not lack.

In her fourth year in London, Abby met a special person and they got married the following year in a small ceremony with a few friends. As they began to build a home together, Abby started to question her future as a carer – especially as she felt she was not achieving her full potential. Both her siblings had now graduated and she felt it was time to focus on her future. With the support of her husband, Abby decided to change to a part time job position (meaning a significant drop in income) and return to university - to retrain as a social worker.

When Abby told her siblings and parents about her new position – and that she wouldn’t be able to send money home regularly; she was surprised that her family was very cold. She expected them to warm up to the idea but this didnt happen. It seemed the ‘golden goose’ had stopped laying golden eggs. Saddened, she reminded her younger sister that she had done so much for the family and it was time to focus on herself – to consolidate her own future. Her sister’s reply:
‘Wetin you don do, wey somebody never do before?’ (What have you done that hasn’t been done before)

Broken hearted, she told her mother she was disappointed by her siblings’ behaviour......Her mother’s response: ‘Abeg no vex, you know first born be like dustbin !!! (Please don’t be offended, you must know that the first born child is like a bin – always on the receiving end)!!!

I use this story to illustrate my 3rd L.L.S.F : ‘Real Friends and True Family members should NEVER resent your success – Recognise Your Millstone’

(Millstone = One of a pair of cylindrical stones used in a mill for grinding grain - Also refers to A heavy weight or burden)

Dont get me wrong, we are all competitive. However, true friends and real family members should NEVER weigh someone down.
In most African cultures, we are brought up to put family first – always. However, over time, I have come to realise that some friends and family members can be  ‘millstones’ that can drag you down.

I have to be honest when I say some friends and family members can resent progress and change. That is when we hear comments like:
-         ‘You are not the boy/ girl I used to know’  OR ‘You’ve really changed’
  My opinion: How can people expect someone to remain the same forever?
-         ‘You think you are better than us now because you are now .........’
  My opinion: More often than not, the person asking the question is the one that is feeling inferior
-         ‘Are you ashamed of us?’
My opinion: Except the person who is being asked this question has been behaving like a snob, the person asking the question is likely to be trying to make the successful person feel guilty.

So, as harsh as it might sound – If one wants to achieve one’s dreams; one has to be conscious of those millstones in one’s life.

There is a pidgin saying that goes: 'Twenty pickin no fit play together for twenty years' (Twenty children cannot remain friends for twenty years)..........................Too true. One must recognise one's millstones and decide what to do with them.

May God grant us the wisdom to surround ourselves with people who are good for us. Amen.

Stay blessed, I'll be back on the 26th November.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Chasing Success: L. L. S. F (2)

Thanks for dropping by

In continuing the L. L.S. F series,  (L.L.S.F = Lessons Learnt So Far) I will be touching on my second lesson learnt today. Before I do so, I would like to share two scenarios with you:

Scenario 1:
Yemi was an assistant store manager in a London based fashion store. She liked her job as it involved fashion, meeting new people and talking to people - her favourite things in the world. 

However, recently, she had begun to hate going into work because her new manager - H - was making work a nightmare. Whatever she did was never enough. Even worse, colleagues have come up to her to tell her the new manager was spreading negative feedback about her work - painting her as an inefficient, incompetent worker. Yemi's branch was often visited by Head Office representatives and she noticed H was quite friendly with most of them. This made her take a back seat whenever they came into the branch because she felt every snigger.....every whisper mocked her. 

Yemi didn't know where to turn and everyday she went into work she felt a part of her was dying. She didn't even feel she had the energy to look for a new job as she was dealing with an unemployed husband, a sick mother and two young children. As she walked into work on Monday 3rd September, she felt so drained because she had had a weekend of rows with her husband; dealt with a sickly child and had very little sleep. As she sat down that morning in the office to print out last week's performance reports, she felt totally exhausted. At that moment, H entered the small office and started to whinge about something Yemi forgot to do. Yemi says she cant remeber what happened .................but something in her snapped and the next thing she knew, she was shouting in H's face and threatening to beat her up. Needless to say, Yemi lost her job..............

Scenario 2: 
Like Yemi, Marion had loved her job - till the branch manager-from-hell took over. Again, like Yemi, Marion had a lot to deal with outside work........her husband was always away in Nigeria, her teenage son was acting up; her daughter's schoolwork was suffering and her parents were always calling from Nigeria to remind her that she was not supporting them enough. 

Again like Yemi, she was becoming increasingly reluctant to go to work as she felt the new branch manager - V - was constantly undermining her and making her look inefficient.  Whenever the Area Manager came around, she noticed V was eager to impress him. That meant a lot of running around and trying to make the branch perfect. 

One day, the Area Manager dropped by in V's absence.........for a surprise visit. Marion seized this opportunity to have a chat with him. She avoided saying negative things about V and told the Area Manager all her ideas for improving the branch's performance. She also told the Area Manager what customers were requesting ...........and suggested she put together a formal document suggesting how sales could be improved. The Area Manager was very receptive to the idea and said he'd get back to her.

Marion didn't hear from him for some time.....until she was contacted and invited to Head Office to deliver a presentation to senior officials................That was how her career took off. 

These two stories come from two real life experiences and serve to illustrate my second L.L.S.F. This lesson is a simple equation:              E + R = O (Event + Reaction = OUTCOME)

This equation was passed on to me by a seriously impressive man I met sometime ago and it applies to so many aspects of life. 

We are all faced by different life-changing Events in Life.............and our Reactions determine the Outcome following these events:

- Betrayed by a Husband/Wife ? : Various reactions range from hating all men/women; Becoming extremely Promiscous or Continously seeking love in all the wrong places etc etc 
- Lost A Job ? : Various Reactions range from Securing any jobs to pay bills etc etc
- Abused as a Child ? : Various Reactions range from Feeling Self Hating Continously seeking love in al, the wrong places etc etc
- Failed To Get Admission to study your preferred Course ?: Various reactions range from Choosing another Taking a year out to retake the Avoiding University altogether etc etc 

All these choices, All these options ...............but each reaction will lead to a different Outcome.

I pray we all have the wisdom to be patient - and composed - enough to react appropriately, so we always achieve the best outcomes ....Always. 

I'll be back on November 18th. Till then, God bless you all

PS - Please forgive my delay in replying to comments. I will do so soon. I just like to take my time and read through properly *mwah*