Sunday, 21 April 2013

Published: Inspiring Words for Ambitious Hearts

 I did not start writing at age 4 or 5 or 6. Nope! I was not another Akiane. I was simply Ayodeji. I preferred reading to writing. I loved comprehension passages and procrastinated about doing my composition homework. It was not uncommon for my compositions to contain few words. For me, writing did not really start until I clocked 13. It was not spectacular. It was simple and ordinary. I think it even started because a Sunday school teacher had given us (I and other teens in the Children's Church) a Bible study assignment. Mr Bassey had asked us to go over the Holy Bible from Genesis to Revelation and extract all the names that were used to refer to God. I did the assignment diligently because I wanted to win the prize. But God gave me a prize through the process. That was how it started.

Many of my friends think I started writing early; their impression is accurately wrong. In fact, the reverse was the case for me. I did not like writing essays when I was in High School. But I loved reading big books. Huge novels, newspapers, magazines and books of art were my favourite. I read many of them and drew cartoons but writing was not just my thing. Apart from the writing of class notes and some jottings, nothing else was worth documenting.

Then, one day, I got into varsity and 1 Corinthians 13:11 was made manifest gradually.

...but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 

I met a young man who first became my rival and later became my roommate and then my friend and now a brother. He was a bookworm; an ever-hungry one. He spent most of his living expenses on knowledge and never got tired of sharing the same. He could write and read and talk and not get tired. And yes, he was a pain in my neck; the kind of person you always have to hang out with though they upset you. It was his writings that made me realise I could write too. It was his passion that made me empty the doubts I stomached about writing. It was his published article that initiated and perhaps, inspired the creation of this blog several years ago. And so, it was to him that this book, my first book ever, was dedicated.

What else is there to say? Why is there a free version for Africans only?
This happened so that the words in Matthew 10:8 may find expression in our continent.

...freely ye have received, freely give.

Get a pdf copy here:

Get the Kindle, Epub & Palm Docs versions:

How can you give back if you feel obliged?
When you buy a copy of the book, you give something to the helpless: an orphan somewhere in Lagos or a widow sleeping in the drainage gets a free gift of love. This will happen each time a copy is sold over a period of one year.

What else? Like the book's Facebook page to see free inspiring updates once in a while.

Finally, visit the blog which (though under construction) contains a page for comments and more details about why the chapbook was published.

Thank you very much for sparing time to read this.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

So General Abacha is Still Alive

What killed Abacha? A heart attack? Duh! Late General Sanni Abacha was killed by a mixture of things. He was killed by Poisoned Apple and Indian Sex and Viagra Overdose and Death itself. Though Abacha had a humble beginning and was not even a well-educated military officer, he rose into power strategically and lived his life as though he were a brother-in-law to the devil. But when his disregard for divine grace reached its peak, he became a public puppet. His name became an object of comic the instant he died.

I did not know people would love to hear of his death that much. Of course, I am aware that he was a prayer point in many religious gatherings, but his death topped the testimony list. The day Abacha died, I was in the market place with my maternal grandmother. As usual, we had gone to the market to buy foodstuffs. We were still there when the news of the Black-goggled General’s death hit the radio waves. Without warning, all the market women grew jubilant. They noised the whole market with the news of a much-awaited death. Nursing mothers threw their babes into the air; some of them had fasted steadily for his death. The male traders started an impromptu party; many of them had struggled to survive during his existence. Little children played hide-and-seek; they had to participate in the celebrations too. The youth drew ridiculous cartoons of Abacha’s face and hung them above their parents’ stalls; they dare not do it during his lifetime. The elderly exposed their brownish teeth with beaming smiles; they had confessed his death upon empty stomachs for many years. Many prisoners were happy; they had been arrested for unfounded reasons and imprisoned without any presence in the court of law.
Just then, I realised that Abacha was a man of influence. The man Abacha had taken the state’s money and put them away in many foreign banks. He had bought a GSM license and was planning to be the one and only Mike Adenuga of the Nigerian telecom industry. He had forced all the opinionated icons in the worst prisons and shut the reckless truth-tellers up with the piercing of fast-moving bullets. He had immortalised himself beyond the judgement of men. No one could ask questions freely or raise solidarity placards in public. If you were a business tycoon and wanted to remain prosperous in Abacha’s time, you had to be on the same page with him; perhaps, worship him and pay obeisance to his idols. Abacha reminds me of the rich fool who informed his heart to merry because he had saved up treasures enough for his lifetime.

The last time I saw the General’s image, I was at the National Art Gallery in Iganmu, Lagos. Thanks to arts promotion, I had to pay just Twenty Naira to see his face again. He was waiting for me in one of the inner chambers. He looked smart and intelligent in his dignifying military uniform. His tribal marks were still sharp and intact. And I could almost tell he wanted to wink at me but couldn’t. On the other side where he really is, they don’t let you wink. They don’t let you eat apples or take Viagra capsules or import comely women. They don’t even let you drink pure (or sachet) water. They only let you have the feeling of an ever-running microwave oven set to maximum heat.
But Abacha is still alive. I see him everyday. I see his spirit in active operation. I see him in traffic where he makes life difficult for hundreds of other road users. I see him in public government offices where he demands bribe before carrying out his official duties. I see him in families where he abandons his wife and kids and chase after shallow aristobabes and dippy concubines. I see him in politics where he attends various shrines kneeling and learning incantations before standing on public podiums to utter sweet lies to the electorates. I see him in hidden places where he is sponsoring manslaughter and throwing bomb parties for selfish reasons. He goes everywhere. He might even be your next-door neighbour.
Abacha died in 1998 but he is still alive. He lives in the hearts of men and women and manifests in the dealings of several Nigerians. There is a website celebrating his lifestyle. Now, that you know what the new Abacha looks, what are you going to do about him? Are you going to let him corrupt you? Or, are you go down on your knees and do something about him?
Abacha (noun): a person that operates under a spirit or evil anointing that makes them embezzle public funds, blackmail and corrupt their subordinates, lavish treasured funds on gigolos, prostitutes and sex hawkers, orchestrates the murder of innocent people and harm anyone who questions their unquestionable authority.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Sex in the City of Excellence


After gisting me with the unsolicited highlights of the escapades performed during his former life, Eddy* said to me, “So, how many times have you had it?” I looked at him as though he was not serious. He was intelligent enough to guess my unmentioned answer. He probably knew his question was unworthy of an answer.

Eddy was my senior colleague at a point in my employment history. I was a university student on industrial training at that time but I had been privileged to mark his job aptitude test during the recruitment phase. He was supposed to be my supervisor but I was the first employee the MD recruited. So, he was inclined to treating me like an equal. The company structure also encouraged it. It was a small fledgling company where each worker had direct access to the MD. Eddy and I shared the same office space and solved official tasks with each other’s help. So, he was more like an office buddy.
Perhaps, Eddy wanted to prove to me that he was once a distinguished bad boy. Or, he wanted to express why the things the Oga on Top did in the office on weekends were below his own rank. I cannot really say why.  But I know he thought I’d be impressed with his record of sexual adventures. Unfortunately, I had read about King Solomon the wise. I knew he had at least 1000 women to himself in his lifetime. I felt no guy in my generation should want to break that record of vanity. If one did, he’d be so dead, Fela would be sending him hot condolence messages telepathically. When I did not respond to the question Eddy alias Mr I-have-lost-count-of-the-number-of-times-I-have-had-sex-with-women barked, “Ah! You don’t mean it. Don’t tell me you have never had it before! Ehn? So, what are we going to do about it now?”

At that point, I felt I had heard enough and spoke up, “Yes, I have never had it and there is nothing to be done about it. As a matter of fact, I don’t feel like I am half as human as you are. In fact, I think I feel more compact. I once considered it as a teenager. But later on, I changed my mind and I do not intend to revert it. Really, I think anyone who would try to make me do it is a devil.” He was really shocked and couldn’t hide its degree. But more than him, I was overtly appalled. He was shocked that I had entered my twenties as what he referred to as “a virgin”. I was shocked that he was shocked at such reality. When he asked me what we were going to do about it. I was pleased to disappoint him again. Since he was a born-again Christian attending a prayerful church I told him he needed to accept the real version of Christ. The one he had installed in his heart was not genuine. “By the way, where did you say you got that version of salvation from again? Hey, let’s just place a call to the heavenly Microsoft crew. You either need a repair or reinstallation bro.” I jokingly said before walking out to renew my mind.

Photo credits:
It’s true that I haven’t had sex before; and honestly, it is not a big deal! At least, it does not affect the price of crayfish at Bodija market. I mean, the fact that I haven’t had sex before is no reason why anyone should raise their eyebrows or form a chuckle. That decision is like one of these things: not driving any car until you get to buy your own car, not keeping a garden until you get to own a house or not buying paracetamol tablets until the hour you have a serious headache. Relative to the eventual act of sex, the decision to have or not have sex bears more weight. If the act comes after the decision, then it may a big deal to those judging you. I think that as a young unmarried person, more energy and focus would be saved if sex were avoided until the right time. Whether or not you’re a virgin, I think you should make a commitment to remaining the way you are until you are really married.

Again, maybe people need to be reminded that the decision to have or not have sex is personal. Whichever way, you know the forces acting on you. Let each man abide in his present state. Virginity is valued morally but it bears no value in heaven. Needless to say, when you are a virgin, you save yourself from many sorrows. Yet, there is no condemnation for those who have lost their virginity. If you are not one, you should not be crucified by others who claim to be; neither should you try to be an Eddy unto those who are “virgins”.

*Eddy is not the real name of that my former colleague.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

ICT Jagbajantis: the Webs Pulling against ICT Creativity in Nigeria
Convergence describes the relationship between content creation, its intermediate distribution and ultimate consumption. Technology has found application in a pool of dynamic fields including media. Today, books, magazines, newspapers and radio & TV are moving into online portals called computed clouds where uncountable consumers can reach them. The preference of service subscription is rapidly increasing and reflecting in the mode of content purchase by consumers. With the pervasive acquisition of smart phones and portable internet devices, even the naive would easily identify this as a future trend. Africans are doing well in this regard; at least, IT products/service offerings like MXit, Obami, Jobberman, 2go, Motribe, PesaPal, 10Layer, to mention a few, practically corroborate this opinion. Nigeria isn’t doing badly either. Two of the highest broadband communication channels in Africa, MainOne and Glo1 submarine cables, are owned by Nigerian companies. However, ICT is a factor that ensures that no economic sector remains the same. So, things will keep changing and people must keep adapting.

By Glasbergen

NYSC should be given some kudos for creating ICT community development units for corps members who are interested in sharing ICT knowledge within their local communities. However, it would be better if NYSC actually creates an interactive innovation competition between corps members themselves; partly to unleash innate potential and also encourage knowledge transfer. 

But it is important to catch them young. In the United States, primary school kids are already learning creative ICT through programming tools like MIT’s Scratch. We should be past the realm of debating the continuity or otherwise of UTME & NECO. School curricula, especially for public secondary schools need to be redressed. Even the present ones are often disregarded or boycotted by teachers who sometimes prioritise extra-occupation jobs over their primary responsibilities. Maybe we are quick to forget that a standard that is faulty coupled with implementers that are suffering will tend to produce educated illiterates.

We need to extend ICT services to rural communities at prices that are pocket-friendly. This is partly a responsibility of the government. Policies that encourage the planting of fibre cables or provisioning of microwave transmission to places outside highly populated metropolises should be developed and implemented. If the cost of offering services to people in the rural areas will create irrecoverable expenses for internet and telecom service providers, none of them would extend their service offerings to those regions. Again, the cost of doing business honestly in Nigeria is still high; companies complain about multiple taxes, several agencies discourage business persons through corrupt practices and special hidden stakeholders such as militants, kidnappers and hoodlums both vandalise business infrastructures and threaten employees’ lives. Eventually, more people flood into metro cities and the imminent population congestion in several urban centres continues to grow into a daytime reality.

During a recent official visit to Co-creation hub (CC Hub) in Lagos, I discovered what other young people outside Lagos might be missing and couldn’t help but ask my host some personal questions. From my findings, CC Hub is more like an open techie garden that accommodates academics, agencies, investors and inventors who plough ideas and incubate them towards solving many of the customised problems existing in Nigeria. I am yet to be a beneficiary of the organisation but I know that through CC Hub, young people meet with their peers virtually or physically to work together on tech projects. Days later, CNN's Errol Barnett had his visit published too.

I think we need more CCHub-like groups in Nigeria and not just in Lagos. After the similitude of India and China, population is an obvious blessing for Nigeria. But if we do not find ways to create population leverage, the negative effects associated with this strength will produce jagbajantis fruits. May such fruits never come in multiples.