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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

Thursday, October 3, 2013

When do we draw the line in Giving + New Poem

If you've lived a greater part of your life in Nigeria or had someone fill you in on common occurrences that happen at times, then the subject of 'Giving' might make you have raised eye brows.

For most people, circumstances have probably shaped our attitude to giving. A friend once gave me the gist of a roadside beggar that he used to give money on his way to work every morning whom he later heard was building a house in his hometown with the proceeds from the day's 'job'. I laughed so hard at the passion and  regret with which he used to describe his 'hard-earned money'. Hehe...I saw a really pained man lament.

Let's not even go to the creepy stories of someone disappearing after giving money to a stranger on the main road. Never been proven though.

It's a bit ironic that sometimes (if not most times), giving frees up room to receive more. More like it makes us channels and not reservoirs. Channels are ever fresh with new supplies, reservoirs are kinda stale and can hold on to things for too long. Nothing is hardly ever new with a reservoir and once a reservoir gives, it becomes empty. But a channel, always new and fresh flowing.

I stumbled on this very touching video on YouTube (see below) that just tells a lot about the importance of giving even when it's not convenient at times. Hope you enjoy it.

Meanwhile check out my new poem on Imagination & Creativity.
Enjoy your weekend ahead!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Response to 'Inspiring Blogger Award'

Soo, it just occurred to me that Relentless actually sent this award since like forever. Better late than never I guess. By the way, is it just me or a lot of bloggers have not updated their blogs in a while. Except I'm looking in the wrong places...
A big thank you to Relentless Builder who probably has forgotten about the award sef...

So here are the rules:
  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 3 - 7 other bloggers and link back to them.

Numbers 1 and 2 have been covered...So on to the next 2:

7 Random Things about Me
  1. I can't keep an afro. I will just keep scratching the hair till I peel my scalp. Once the hair gets to a certain level...To the barber kiakia because it starts itching even after lubricating and washing normally.
  2. I have an engineering background, an accounting career (mixed with IT), a passion for education (social sciences) and a writing hobby (Arts).
  3. I cringe at typo errors (haha...do I see your eyes scanning for some here?). I always feel it's intentional and meant to disrupt world peace. Why would you make such errors. Why! :)
  4. I do laundry at late hours. For reasons I don't even know. It just seems perfect and right!
  5. I've been practicing this water therapy thingy I blogged about some time ago and it has been AWESOME!
  6. I'm the most silent talkative I've ever met. If my thoughts could be connected to a loud speaker, you'd be amazed at the conversations and role-playing that goes on up there.
  7. I've never been to Eastern or Northern part of Nigeria before :( I had an opportunity to go to a Northern state recently but the universe just misaligned and made sure it didn't happen. I visited Abuja (if it counts as North though) for the first time in May this year.
Soo, thats it!
And ...I nominate the following bloggers:

Was too lazy to add more. You'd sure enjoy your visit to these awesome blogs. Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Explaining the hiatus

Hello wonderful people,

It feels so kinda weird that I totally went off for months without a word and I really feel I should apologize for that.

I got asked many times why I stopped blogging and truth is I don't know (strange...I know right!). I don't think it was writer's block cos there were countless times I had things to write but I just wouldn't know how to start.

It's funny how a platform that is usually an outlet used in expressing oneself suddenly feels the way I described.

I got carried away at a point with an idea on Education I was trying to push for. A process in which I did learn a lot. I tried registering the blog with a new domain but the silly thing hasn't worked yet.

Well, the good thing is I hope to write more and return to form. Also, I'll be introducing a guest Author soon who would publish under the poetry section. It' s all part of the strategy of not leaving my readers hanging while I'm not available.

I hope y'all understand though. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

He shall be called 'Abiona'...

...Yes...Abiona is the name I would have given the child that was born in my presence by the roadside just in front of a hospital. Apparently, the heavily pregnant mother was just at the entrance of the hospital when her waters broke. Abiona in yoruba language literally means 'Born on a journey'.

I was fascinated at first from where I stood at a distance before it metamorphosed into slight disapproval of the crowd of on-lookers that had started to build-up. Trust Naija now, you will be surprised with the amount of people that had gathered. Within few minutes, some nurses with stretchers had rushed out of the hospital as I witnessed my first outdoor 'labour-room' experience. God is awesome.

Questions kept racing through my mind though, like:
"Didn't she know she was due?"
"Where is the father?"
"What about the germs in the air?"

So many other questions raced through my mind as they've been wandering for some weeks now. I'm sure you guys are weary of my blog stints every now and then. Please bear with me. It sure can't get any crazier and hectic.

I'll also use this medium to thank Relentless Builder for the 'Very Inspiring Blogger' award. Thanks!!!
This was one of the motivating factors to blog tonight plus a lovely piece sent to me through a friend last week.

In other news, I should be at LDP's wedding on May 25th, 2013. Sure it's gonna be another blogger meetup spot. I met Segun Akiode some months back at an Author's Master Class training also where I met Okechukwu Ofili (How Stupidity Saved My life), Bankole Williams (Engaged to the job I hate), Seun Salami (Son of your father's concubine) and Adeoye Adekoya (BrilliANTS).

Twas a powerful session that will make a lasting impact in my writing sojourn.
I'll respond to the award questions in subsequent posts.

Please check out our guest post by Opeoluwa Odeyemi. I saw her article on a friend's phone and just had to ask her permission to publish it here.

Trending: Viaje De La Vida by Opeoluwa Odeyemi

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When is the best retirement age?

It's 2am and I'm up already.
Not quite strange sha, especially as I didn't take a shower before going to bed the night before. Sleep is always interrupted when it happens like this. It's just a silly habit I formed that is now haunting me.

I've been given a slot to perform another piece at an official event in March. I've started writing it though and I think I want to do something out of my comfort which means more practice. *shivers*
First point of practice I guess would be at the monthly poetry reading I normally attend.

So a random thought jumped into my head as I tried to make good use of my awake time. "When is the best retirement age?" Occasionally, I see adverts on BRT buses on various Pension Administrators but one advert slogan that has caught my attention and possibly admiration (for the rhymes anyways) is Stanbic Pensions' which reads 'Today's swagger might be tomorrow's stagger'. Hehehe... I love the humor, yet serious sense of the ad.

So I was kinda thinking...when is the best age/time to start planning retirement?
What would one do in retirement?

We must have heard cases of people who died few years after leaving their jobs which I guess is due to physical inactivity and reduced social interaction. I doubt if retirement is really a function of age though.

I think it's a function of planning ahead though and planning early also. I have this friend who already has his children's school fees till secondary school planned for (he's gotten more than half ready). He's not married yet by the way. Oh sorry, I meant he's not even dating yet! I once thought he was plain crazy, paranoid and all sorts but really it's good to plan ahead. A Forbes article I read went on to give a few solid tips on planning early too.

At least, have a faint idea of when you wanna retire and how you wanna spend it. I believe it puts things in perspective and could even make you know how and where to channel your energy and resources to. Just my thoughts though.
I stumbled on another interesting article on the subject also.

So have you thought about retirement?
When do you think is the best age/time?
Share your ideas...