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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.