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Thursday, July 21, 2016

I wrote a Poem after a long while

I slept pretty early yesterday and woke up to many missed calls. But I needed that sleep and I'm glad I got it. Only challenge now is that I'm awake at this awkward hour. I have been thinking of a reasonable strategy to reach more audience with my project which I'm involved in full time [This baby here >> www.elearn.ng].

I get a lot of "wow, nice concept", "we need this". If for every "wow", I got a Naira, I will be rolling with Uncle Aliko right now.

*inner voice screams* "Stop lying Michael!"

Whatever. *shrugs*

So, the other awesome part of this well deserved rest is that I was actually woken up by the muse. When this happens, I know something cool is popping. Right there in my half-awake mode, at 1:30am, the first few lines came into my subconscious...It was beautiful. I shrugged it off. Then more lines...No way...I woke up and penned typed it up in my phone's notepad.

Earlier in the day, I had read something beautiful around the same theme from the awesome Somto. We did an awesome collabo sometime ago on a poem about Nigeria. It was really cool. In case you want to check it out, it's still available, although it could use some editing.

This time last year I was in Venice, Italy and I happened to stay there for a couple of months. July is usually a month where one of the amazing festivals called 'Redentore' happens.  So they practically build a bridge every year that links one part of Venice to another island called Giudecca. Then close to midnight, there is a display of fireworks and people camp out till late, out in the open, eating, drinking and soaking in the beautiful night view of Venetian waters. Sigh. I hope to go next year as I was told by my friends that this year's was even more awesome. Anyways, fingers crossed.

So, when you read this poem you will understand where the inspiration came from...here you go.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Let me Rant today

So today I went in for a meeting to seek for sponsorship on a project I'm planning and the outcome wasn't too good but that's not even my major issue. I am very concerned right now about the future of Nigeria. Okay hang on, that's normal anyways. To be more specific, I am very very concerned about the state of the educational system in this country. Now I'm not even going to begin with the issues at all. They are numerous. I remember doing a podcast assignment where we were talking about access to technology and quality of usage impacts the digital divide.

We were meant to take different country perspectives and I obviously was talking from the Nigerian perspective and it made me more aware of how far we have to go. While others debated around quality of technology usage, my major issue of debate was even around technology access as quality of usage would have been a case of putting the cart before the horse. Penetration of technology is still relatively low. Relatively.

So this project I'm planning on a good day is as a result of government's neglect to the overall educational system but there seems to be a myopic view to it all even when you try to help. It's like a man who house is on fire that prioritizes finishing the late night news to putting out the fire. Sooner or later, someone's going to be suya.

I remember going for a meeting around Marina and on my way, I passed by a lady buying some items by the road side and two small girls were around her pleading for some money/hand out. And she goes "Go and work". I was almost forced to stop and ask her what she meant. 5 year old girls at 10am in the morning should go and work. Work where? I understand that as humans we tend to be very comfy as long as we are okay and our immediate environment is okay...and that's fine anyways. However, there are some who don't have it easy as you and someone has got to do the job of salvaging the situation, take initiative and put their money where their mouth is.

I personally love people who walk the talk. If you must talk, then by all means walk and work that talk. Too many analysts who do nada. They are good at breaking down and analyzing issues but solutions? Na.

Government has not done much to salvage the situation and if Africa is said to have a youth population of about 60% and we aren't bothered about how these youths will be educated/enlightened, then we are chilling on a ticking time bomb. It's only a matter of time...

There is so much and I choose to make an impact in my own way using technology to enhance learning outcomes.
What is the role you will play on your end in developing Nigeria/Africa?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Business Lessons from Lagos Traffic

So I struggled with sleep so much that I slept in my sleep. Haha. More like 'Inception' happened. It was my body who had the upper hand this time. Greatness one day at a time is anchored on the foundation of consistency. It's how habits are formed. Taking that shot once a day which turns to twice a day, every hour and you're hooked.

Today was spent at a video shoot with a client amidst responding to tons of emails, putting out fires and trying to balance an already tipping social life. So I have resolved to strike that balance because it is what puts spice in everything.

So today on my way home, I was thinking about how much we have to learn from our environment. Let's not even get started with nature on it's own which is not my focus. I mean everyday life. The moments spent in Lagos traffic commuting home are usually one of my most reflective moments. Before it used to be doing laundry at late hours which has not happened in a long while.

I personally feel there's a lot we can learn on corporate business from the so-called informal economy in Nigeria. In it's crudest form of application, I feel hawkers in Lagos traffic can teach one a lot on business. I'll take a few of the things we can learn from them:

Lagos Traffic [Image Credit]

Product Availability: There is virtually nothing you cannot buy in Lagos traffic. Trust me I mean literally nothing, from live chickens to landed properties to food items to...anything. Now one mistake you can make as well is to make eye contact with a typical Lagos traffic hawker sales personnel. Asides having a huge range of offerings, you always find them when you need them, traffic spots. Hardly will you see traffic without a hawker sales personnel. There's hardly shortage except you see the KAI officials [responsible for regulating such activities] on their trail.

Sales and Marketing: The client prospecting to sales closure game is strong as anything. All you need is make eye contact and they are kind enough to shove that fresh Gala sausage roll in your face and advertise all the wares on display just in case you may change your mind [which you most likely will]. They make you hungry even when you never planned to be. Another key skill is cross-selling and key partnerships. Once you buy that gala, the same Gala guy may ask you to try to take another brand of sausage roll in case your plan was to grow sausage rolls on your head while the Lacasera soda drink seller is right on queue with a chilled drink to 'wash down' the snacks. Epic Closure game. Did I mention that they sell in motion and run after your vehicle while calculating your balance and packaging your purchased items. No downtime man. Hardcore sales.

Tenacity: I am tempted to believe Usain Chukwuemeka Bolt was once a hawker in Lagos traffic. Now let me give you a typical scenario. You are in a fast moving traffic and out of your wickedness sudden realization, you remember you have to purchase some snacks and your flick your hair to the side and you whisper a melodious "Psst...Gimme one Gala". Now hold on for a second, you only made an open call for RFPs, in this case Gala. No one needs to tell you the 100m senior boys race just started as you will see about 5 grown men chasing after your moving vehicle with boxes of sausage roll on their hands, money on the other, slippers flipping into the air as they race to be the first to reach you. Now once the lucky one reaches you, the follow through game is strong. They are always smart to leave their wares on your fast moving vehicle while they count your balance and hand you your goods. All this while, the only thing they are focused oon is closing that sale.
Street Hawkers Peddling their goods [Image Credit]
Only after that sale is closed do they remember their rubber slippers as they now make their way back to locate the poor footwear. Sometimes, we neglect the core of our business [whatever that is] to focus on mundane things while forgetting that at the end of the day, not selling = no business.

There's surely a whole lot more to learn and this list is not exhaustive at all. I must rest now as tomorrow is another day. Media interview at noon and of course focusing on the core for the rest of the day.

Wow...time's far spent.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Get up 8 times!

I have spent the last 18 hours in front of this PC non-stop and ideally I should be tired and exhausted but I am definitely not giving up just yet.

So I tried fixing an email activation problem on a platform we just launched and it finally got to work some minutes ago. Almost 1am but it feels so beautiful to see hard work finally pay off. I will definitely get up happier knowing that things will get better.

I am learning to understand failure better. For whatever it takes, I can stare it in the face and stand my ground. NO more safer routes and familiar terrain. That's boring. Greatness like I said in my previous post is achieved one day at a time and part of greatness demands a shift from the norm, the usual, the common, the majority and a transition to the uncommon, the unfamiliar terrain.

That is where ability is truly stretched and flaws are probably more evident. However, our seemingly visible flaws are only a revelation of blind spots which helps us take action to correct them. Like the Bible says, the righteous man shall fall seven [7] times and will rise again [Proverbs 24:16]

Fall down seven and stand up eight. Success is good if it doesn't get to your head and failure isn't so bad if it doesn't get to your heart. So don't be afraid of failure. Get UP NOW!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Greatness One Day at a Time

Hello Everyone!

As awkward as this seems, it feels great to pen down a few words that have been on my mind this past week but first allow me to welcome you to this amazing second half of 2016.

There are many things to be thankful for and as I saw it put somewhere, the world needs a BIG TIGHT COSY GROUP HUG right now.

Image Credit
Everything seems to be upside down and chaos seems to be the order of the day. This is where individual responsibility comes in as we individually in our little areas of influence choose to be the light. The tiniest ray of light is potent enough to dispel any force of darkness.

Let us be the light in our schools, work places, street corners, living rooms, churches, mosques, etc. Just a little light for a start and watch how influential the light spreads. Let's repay hate with love, anger with kind words, rebellion with reasoning, and what have you.

As Mother Theresa said, an eye for an eye make the whole world go blind.
Image Credit

On my end, I have decided to take my quest for greatness one day at a time. One idea at a time. One decision at a time. Consistency is the key thing and however little I will take baby steps to achieve my goals and I urge you to do same.

I wish you all a great week ahead! Speaking of greatness, now let me dust some thick cobwebs here. Haha!

Friday, March 27, 2015

As we match to the polls tomorrow...

Hiyaaaaa *waving*

*sips cup of rich creamy Latte* It's barely 24 hours to the D-Day and these past few days have never been so dramatic in Nigerian politics, listening to the news and all. I saw one picture a friend used as his BBM display picture showing a crowd of people at the airport and it was quite surprising, disappointing, and many things at once. Most saddening fact was that it had now come to this. Typically people go to their countries to vote but oh well. As concerned citizens, all we can do is use our weapon (the permanent voter's card) to cast our votes, pray for the peace of this nation and hope for the best.

I remain optimistic about Nigeria being transformed for the better though some will differ, but when all else fails, hope remains. It's all I've got, it's all some of you also have (well...except for the dual citizenship passport in your back pocket, giving you the flexibility to jet out any moment. Hahaha! lucky you.). But for a number of Nigerians whose lives are built in  and around the country, Nigeria is probably all we have as at now and if it scatters, we are impacted also.

Image Source

I find it very surprising though, when people with close ties with Nigeria in one way or the other curse the same land and speak negative against it. To what end is this? This is not an attempt to ignore the issues we have which we are all aware of. We know there is corruption; that topic is overflogged. We know the system is messed up, we know we have leadership issues and that majority of our youths are either unemployable or underemployed talk more of taking up leadership positions. We are aware of the insurgency issues, gender inequality with respect to educating the girl child, not leaving out the alarming school dropout/completion rates.

Yes, Africa is rising (although it's becoming a rather over-used phrase), but what is our role in all of this?

Firstly, we need to be 'critically' aware of these issues before we can engage meaningfully in our individual capacities. There is a huge difference between pointing out obvious issues and engaging critically. One talks about the problem, sometimes knowledgeable with statistics at their fingertips which come in handy for challenging dissenting views on Social Media, not forgetting the priceless joy of winning beer parlour arguments. Action is rare with this group. The other group also understands the problem, may not be as knowledgeable but always probing to unveil the 'why' behind the problem and seeks out ways to contribute to its alleviation. 

As we all know, talk is cheap and sometimes of no value. Let our PVCs do the talking. 

I hear you ask, won't the votes still be rigged? Possibly...I can't say but one part needs to be done before we can address the next. The 2011 elections experienced one of the highest participations of Nigerian citizens in ensuring they cast their votes, monitored the counting and waited till results in their local governments and wards were announced after which they posted on social media. This year also has seen much interest cos really people are TIRED!

Image Source

Secondly, we need to identify our area of contribution. 
Let writers impact, 
let teachers mould,
let artists design, 
let musicians inspire, 
let street sweepers do their thing, 
let preachers edify,

let's just do all with a purpose with God at the center of it all as we render our services to the benefit of our family, society and nation at large.

Come March 28th, I pray for the peace of Nigeria. I pray that the innocent blood of precious lives that have been wasted on this land will not be in vain. I pray our lives will blossom and March 28th shall be the dawn of a new era for this nation in Jesus name!

Still it is important to ponder...what part will we play?

P.S. After I wrote this, I stumbled on this short 7-minute clip by Pastor Sam Adeyemi of Daystar Christian Center which captures part of what I said and even more.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Crazy Schedules + more food pictures

I think I may have just spent a full hour catching up with blog posts I missed. I have actually had one heck of a stressful day yesterday but it was worth it. I really had mixed reactions to the numerous posts I read.

First, I was vexed for Atilola's ordeal, then smiled at Toinlicious mention on her post last year and giggled at her new love while wondering where Relentless has been.

My schedule has never been crazier yet I have resolved to keep God at the center of everything I go through cos that's the only way I can stay sane.
So, I resolved to do something which as simple as it sounds has worked magic. I noticed that what I do most times when I wake up is to pick up my device and then check notifications (welcome to 2015). From doing that, I end up clicking one interesting link which leads to this juicy news article that talks about some trending video that I must quickly watch before I'm jolted back to reality by a friend's chat notification...Voila! half the day is gone.

So what I do now is just talk to God first (not like I've been so disciplined to remember always though). I just speak into my day and command how it should go and then plan it. It's been so helpful and you should try it. There are also tools that help you stay disciplined if you have a task at hand such as Stayfocusd , a browser web extension which blocks selected sites from your browser that may be time consuming to you within specific time periods/days based on what you configure  (did I hear you say Linda Ikeji, or Facebook) and also another app is Time Doctor which helps you keep track of what you do per time on your PC and present's a daily report. You can also add users and track their time spent of certain activities (for the Entrepreneurial ones who feeks a need to measure staff downtime, you may like this)

Sincerely, my usual paper to-do list does the trick most times and I rarely use the apps but if you're into them, then cool . :)

By the way, here are more food pictures below. Oh yes! I just discovered the tasty goodness of grilled carrots. It started with some random thoughts on what I could do with left-over carrots and I decided to Google about them and I saw a recipe. Those things are awesome!

Grilled plantain (Boli), Grilled carrots, tuna sauce and titus fish

I found out that cooking makes me kinda relieved when I feel stressed and maybe in my subsequent posts I'll show you what I made one time I was really really stressed. I took it all out on food. Turned out good (surprisingly. Haha!)

The picture below reminds me of when I used to have time to cook over the weekend and dish in packs but right now...no breathing space.
Just normal spaghetti and fish sauce
Then last Christmas was amazing! God really favoured me cos I had like 3 crazy deadlines to meet up with so I practically worked all through Christmas yet had time for some fun with family. But this picture below was one of the highlights which was a family dinner event I was invited to. Maybe in my next post I will share my reservations with huge looking turkeys and fine looking bananas. *sigh* All the same, it tasted awesome!

The huge Christmas turkey, pork slices, etc.
What do you guys think of the Grilled carrots? Have you tried it before?

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Recovering Blogger

So now that our election has been shifted and it is likely that it may be shifted again from the new date of March 28th, I have serious concerns for my beloved country, Nigeria but then this is not the topic of today's post.

So I was looking through my past blog posts and was like wait o, there is a trend here. I post once, leave for a while, come back and apologize and then awayyyy again. So that's why I posted that guilt-inspired first post of the year some days ago on our election instead of following that trend. This is not to say that I'm 100% sure it won't happen but I shall try cos I miss this place!

My bio
I decided to update my Twitter bio from 'Creative Writer' to 'Recovering Creative Writer' because that is what I am right now. So so much has changed and I hope to update everyone with the relevant info that matters so I don't bore you.

Also, I have added a new title to my bio which is the Foodie aspect! 9jafoodie I hail o. I am honing my cooking skills at the moment and I must say some meals have turned out great while some? Chayeee...Diariz God. There was one beans I made one time like this ehn...if you see the way salt was competing for relevance with maggi...hmm...life of a pseudo-bachelor. 

I can also say my faith in God is something that has evolved over time and each day I learn more of his goodness and mercies. I am unapologetically grateful for how far he has brought me and the courage He has given me to take up this writing thing again and bless lives.

As simple as it may seem, I have struggled to define reasons why I write and to what end and kinda lost hope in trying to. But I'm thankful for friends who pushed, encouraged, threatened, appealed, pointed gun to my head and other things.

Another thing I'm dealing with is the current exchange rate which is not very cool AT.. ALL. The snapshot on the right was some days ago and all we can do is hope cos this isn't funny. I so much miss Naija in a weird way (yea, I know right...indirectly informing you as it is part of what I haven't updated you guys about so deal with it. Hehe)

But on a more serious note, it's not funny considering that my humble naira keeps falling like a meteor and it may get worse if elections don't hold as planned...which is likely from the indications.

I will share pictures of some of the things I made in subsequent posts but before that I have a deep throbbing question, have you ever wondered where BIG ideas come from??? Have you sat down to think about it? Like, have you?

My brethen, it is from this sizzling bowl of eba, okro and fish that I have chosen to torment you with show you below. Even the note can testify. Serving it in a plate was also a waste of precious time. Please don't judge.
"Big ideas are born from a bowl of eba" - Anon
 Hope to write up a poem or something soon. Peace!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My thoughts and expectations on the Upcoming Nigerian Elections

It's exactly one week to the general elections in Nigeria and one cannot ignore the discourse that has been stimulated by different interest groups in the days leading to the February 14 Presidential elections.

Before I continue, I'd say a warm happy new year to you if I haven't said so and if you are a Nigerian, you owe this beloved nation your vote.

Four years ago, I did a short interview on this blog and tried to feel the pulse of some passionate individuals who had one or two things to say about the elections. Today, the passion is even more and I must say like you may have heard from various quarters, it's too close to call. In 2011, we could say to a large extent that Goodluck Jonathan was going to win largely due to the power of incumbency and considering the fact that Boko Haram was not as pronounced as it is today. However, in 2015, it seems we have gone through many phases in Nigeria and I will not bore you with what you may already know or have heard in the media.

I have spoken to people and the discussion seems to be centered around the same ideas on the path of those supporting the two main opposition parties (i.e. APC and PDP). The APCites, chanting the change slogan, believe they have had enough of the PDP administration while the PDPites on the other hand can't seem to see anything APC may have to offer. As a result, it has mainly been a case of attack and defense while issue-based politics is a rather distant phenomenon.

But however, the case may be there are some realities we fail to acknowledge or may have become too familiar with such that we fail to see its importance and I'll mention a few. The list however is not exhaustive:

- The Power of your vote really counts. Get your PVC, forget the traffic or hot sun and bikonu, cast that vote of yours for the change you want to see (no pun intended).
- Beyond the elections, after either Goodluck or Buhari may have won and assumed power (since they are the 2 top contenders), we need to understand that magic won't happen. We need to take off the band aid we have had on for years, roll our sleeves and deal with our issues. No magic is going to happen after February 14, 2015. We still have a long way to go (the reason, if properly analysed is worthy of a Post Doctoral thesis topic).
- Pray. Ignore that urge to reply that Facebook post by someone saying something about your preferred candidate and just pray for Nigeria. Truth is, there are far more bigger and deeply entrenched problems than we can imagine and beer-parlour politics and Twitter activism can only go so far.
- Pray more. Need I say more.
- After praying, DO. We tend to talk a lot. Talk that leads nowhere. A bulk of the deciding votes come from the masses who are not lambasting each other on Facebook but can easily be bought with N200 recharge card vouchers. Their votes are as powerful as yours and you have no right to think less of them unless you face what they face on a daily basis. I am however in no way endorsing such acts.
Talk is cheap but action is much needed.

I expect that this election would stir up some interesting discussions around how we can move Education forward (it has to come first cos that's my passion), Power, Infrastructural development, Youth empowerment programs, tackle poverty and other pertinent issues.

May God bless Nigeria and may the best candidate win come February 14 2015.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Thankful for a New Phase...

It feels very awkward as I type this post and this was one of those very rare impulsive moments. What makes it rare is the fact that I haven't blogged for a year! (never knew it was that long). I feel so rusty, out of touch, think of other words that can describe it.

So it just occurred to me that 'Hey Michael, when are you going to get around to have that courage of picking up on your blogging'. Then I went to my blog address (luckily I still remembered), signed in to Blogger and here I am. It feels weird and slightly good all at the same time but I'm happy that I got around to do it.

A whole lot has definitely happened since the last time I blogged. I guess I'd have to visit some new interesting blogs and the courage to say hi again at the existing ones. Gush! I miss this place.

I miss the awesome people I met here...Toin's blog, Aunty Relentless, Retired Feyi (Yes/No?), D-I of life and destiny, Atilola the seasoned spoken word mama (lol), Sisi Yemmie our blog maestro.

Today was one of the many good times I had this year...Had fun and all