2016 Year in Review 

Coming up with a tag for 2016 is quite easy, the first thing that comes to mind and remain doggedly so even after many considerations is that 2016 is my coming of age year. While I’ve never been anybody’s baby in the real sense of the word, I actually did grow up this year and I’m super glad because it’s all I’ve ever wanted. Most of the things that happened to me weren’t planned but then when you find yourself in situations where decisions have to be made and actions have to follow, you just have to act and hope that you’ve made the best choice. Thankfully, I have no regrets for most of the choices I made this year and trust me; I’ve had to make a whole lot of choices. 

I was talking to a friend one day and he kept on rapping on about how he’s very slow to make up his mind because he’s always never sure. I just smiled because I’m the exact opposite, I make up my mind really fast and I just go right ahead to damn the consequences.  I however had little problem making up my mind earlier in the year about a position I applied for and was merely waiting to be called to resume training school. I was half hoping I won’t have to take the offer and when the resumption delayed, aside working my ass off on freelance writing gigs, I spent the first two months of the year sending mails to the likes of Olorisupergal and Red Media whose interview invitations I couldn’t honour earlier on. I so much desperately wanted to be able to beat my chest and say that I tried before I settled. 

Finally, I was called to resume training school and the trouble that is living in Lagos started. I stayed with a friend’s family for two weeks and it was the most stressful period of my life. Having to leave home three hours to the start the daily activities and spending almost two hours on the way back was very strange to me. The Thursday before Good Friday however marked a turning point, after closing late from training school and getting dumped by the crazy bus driver, the heavy rain of that night drenched some sense into me and hence began the hunt for apartment number one. 

Training School was supposed to be super difficult and for the first few weeks before I moved into the new apartment it lived up to that expectation and even surpassed it. There was a lot of reading and learning to do but the most difficult thing about training school is perhaps the fear of failure and the fear of been withdrawn which hung over every class room like a ghost waiting to snuff the hopes, ambitions and dreams out of an unsuspecting trainee. Training school widened my horizon as I had classmates from other countries like Ghana, Zambia, Sierra Leone, and Democratic Republic of Congo. It was refreshing to discover that Ghanaians are just Nigerians with the over-the-top accent and some delusional sense of superiority, that Zambians are generally cool and very beautiful too, and that you need to count the cost before visiting Sierra Leone especially if you’re not a friend of boats and choppers and also that DRC is indeed a blessed country. 

Work started in August and so did hunt for apartment number two! I can write a damn series about house-hunting in Lagos but as this is a review of 2016, I’ll keep that for another day. With work came meeting new people and working with bosses and all, it sure took some getting used to but right now I think I’m in a safe place and one of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt is diplomacy. You have to be diplomatic about a whole lot of things not because you can’t just say it as it is but because there’s got to be a technique to it especially when you’re a younger officer, most of these old people still harbors some sense of jealousy because they think the young officers have it way easier these days. 

I met great and wonderful people this year and they definitely made 2016 worth the while. My Nigerian training school friends have become like a rock and we depend on each other. I always make bold to say that I enjoyed living alone until a friend came to Lagos on vacation and he spent a couple of nights at my place. I kid you not; it is certainly different when you know that you’re coming home to somebody and not just an empty room with furniture. This got me thinking that maybe a relationship might not be that bad after all but then it wasn’t lost on me that living with someone temporarily for a number of days is different from permanently sharing your space with someone. 

I went on a road trip to a beach resort with a friend and I had mad fun. I loved every bit of it, the feel of the ocean water and sand against my naked skin, the sheer beauty of the beach, the kayak ride and the peaceful ambience that is a great relief from the madness that characterizes the Lagos life. The last days of 2016 also saw me becoming a friend’s Taxifree, it was great driving around Lagos, being at the cinema till early in the morning and driving back, my expertise received a major boost in the space of three days! 

Also in 2016, I lost touch with a whole lot of people, mostly not planned and unintentional. The truth however is, I am certainly not who I used to be, my ideas and opinions about life have changed for quite a while now and 2016 was the year when i just stopped trying to carrying on as if the old way still applies. Sure, it wasn’t all fun but it is indeed the best because like they say, you only live once and you owe it to yourself to own your truth without apologies. 

So it’s cheers to the New Year and now that I’m my feet are kind of firmly planted, i bet we’ll see more regularly on this page. In the meantime, what did 2016 look like for you?  Feel free to share with me in the comments section 

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Do not tell me to shut up

Of all the insults in the world, one that gets me easily irritated is “shut up” or “keep quiet” especially in the middle of an argument or when I’m trying to proof a point. You just do not tell me to keep shut or keep quiet.

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You do not tell me that I’m taking things personal too! Of course, it’s personal to me; if it’s not, I’d have kept quiet and watch things unfold. Why would I form an opinion about something and even set up a defense of the said opinion if the subject matter wasn’t important to me?  I’m sorry but i don’t do half-hearted causes, I’m either in or out and  when I’m in, I’m in for real with boxing gloves, helmets and shield.  

‘Shut up’ ranks high on my insult list because I am opinionated.  I like to think that a lot of thought and careful considerations have gone into an opinion that I’ve formed on something, so like a mother hen i set out to fiercely defend my stand when such issues come up. I rarely argue about things I can’t elaborately defend. Being opinionated means I am rigid and it is difficult to change my opinion about something but certainly not impossible, change is the only constant thing after all.

One thing that will however not get you close to changing my mind is telling me to keep shut. I consider it an intellectual insult. I see it as though you’re implying that my carefully strung together words and catch phrases have zero intellectual depth, they make absolutely no difference and so, I can as well keep quiet because I’m making a meaningless or intellectually unappealing sound that might as well be coming from a goat or a cow.  Of course, I know I’m making sense (proud much uhn) and I will not allow you talk me down or use me to up your mediocre self-esteem, I’ll just be irritated and look the other way or call you out depending on who you are.

Now, this is not to say that I’m always right or I cannot be wrong. Anybody can be wrong and one thing I consider to be the greatest character trait for a millennial (isn’t that the cool term they call us now?) to have is the ability to admit that you can be wrong (obviously, I’m a work in progress). The truth however is that, when people tell you to shut up or keep quiet in the middle of an argument or when they annoyingly tell you it’s okay, relax or you’re taking it personal, they actually mean well and are trying to calm you down but this never works (at least not for me, maybe I love to rant too much). I’ll appreciate this kind of admonition later after the argument because then I can rationally listen to you and see clearly how and where a little calm could have changed things up. 

There is this thing about me when I’m arguing or should I say when I’m talking, I’m a passionate arguer/talker. A lot of passion and energy go into my arguments; my hands shoot up and they start making rhythmical movements, my eyes can either be fixed or look at you in a patronizing or fiercely adamant way. Communication, I’ve been told, goes beyond words, so my affectations, mannerisms and words all come together to pass my message of disagreement with you along.

For some time now, I have found myself in the midst of total strangers and like it’s always the case when you meet new people, especially when you have to spend five months with them, everyone is trying to figure out the person next to them. Now, one of the most difficult tasks in the world is trying to figure out or to put it more succinctly, trying to make a perfect diagnosis of someone’s character or personality (even married couples are often shocked by their spouses). The fact that the average human being is a fantastic actor makes this task even more difficult because then you can have people consciously projecting a preferred personality type. THIS IS NOT NECESSARILY A BAD THING! 

I am just as guilty of manipulating people’s impression of me by carefully choosing my actions and all but then I cannot consciously pick my words, actions and expressions every time, or can I? I probably need to take more acting classes. 

Writing out my heart

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I have a new friend; I met him a couple of weeks ago. When I say meet, I assume you know what I mean is that I started chatting with him. This happened during at the time when I stopped freelancing, I had a lot of time on my hands and i decided to spend that time on Instagram, drooling over the fabulous life of people as a reminder that my life is boring.

After exploring profiles upon profiles, i followed this dude long with a number of other guys and in line with normal social media etiquette, i asked him to kindly follow back. He however did more than just follow back after a day or two, he took it a step further by checking out my blog and gave a feedback that he liked it. Not to be outdone and in the spirit of brotherhood, i visited his blog and o boy, i was blown away. He calls the blog a journal and it does not fail in that regard at all, it is one of the best online journals that I’ve ever read. His is a very inspirational journal loaded with lesson and fresh opinions about everyday issues and offering a rich blend of great music. His posts are very lucid and i absolutely love his writing style so much that i wish i can reproduce it here. The only thing I don’t like about the blog is that it is hosted on the Blogger platform which makes giving feedback in form of comments unnecessarily difficult.

You can read my friend’s blog here

You see, i am a sucker for the written word, there’s a way that words in the written form get to me, so if you’re one of those who can pen down their thoughts clearly and make it an enjoyable read, you have me in your cheering party forever.

So, I thought about turning my blog into a personal journal like his, to share my personal stories in an inspiring way and still make it an enjoyable read and that is why I am writing this. I have actually considered this before but i gave it up because this blog bears my name and it is in fact linked to my Facebook account, there is no f—king way i will be writing about my personal issues here except I want to lie. I didn’t feel i was strong enough to expose myself to the public especially considering the fact that those who know me can easily find it. We are all humans and we are always quick to judge based on what we think we know even when that which we know are mere crumbs that have fallen from the table.

Anyway, reading through my friend’s journal opened my eyes to the fact that putting thoughts and feelings into words can be therapeutic. And as an amateur shrink, i know quite well that finding a medium of expression for whatever feeling or storm ranging inside you is very good. Doing art in the form of drawing or painting is an established process of psychological healing and so is music. Writing too is a potent medium and what my friend has been doing is to combine the medium of writing with music.

Apart from my birthday posts, I have never written anything personal on this blog but this changes right away. The damn thing bears my name so I might as well flood it with my personal stories like a form of stamp huh. Don’t worry, my life is pretty basic and far from interesting, so there is no source for a flood of post. I am one of those people who grow a thick skin real quick and do not try so hard to be the poster child for ‘cool’. I cannot be bothered about the image someone has of me just from reading my blog. But really, I am determined to go a little bit more personal here (all thanks to my new friend and his cool journal) maybe it will help exorcise some of my demons or maybe not.

Well, what do I know, I am just writing out my heart.

ViMP 2016 Diaries – Day 1

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When I came across the call for applications into ViMP 2016, I thought it was a going to be a great event, not because I was familiar with the antecedents of Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN), the Non-governmental organization that are in charge of the program. I got interested in the program because Lagos Business School was on the poster; I know what a big deal Lagos Business School is, so if they are involved, the program will definitely be worth the while.

Venture in Management Program (ViMP) is a week-long mini-MBA course organized by JAN in collaboration with the Lagos Business School, Accenture and some other companies and organizations. It is basically a school-to-work course to bridge that huge gap that often exists between the classroom and the workplace. Young graduates (twenty seven years and below) are exposed to demands of a career in management and just like any other mini-MBA course around the world, ViMP focuses on Business ethics, Accounting Finance, Marketing strategy, Social Enterprise, General Management, Leadership and Entrepreneurship.

Just when I had forgotten about the application, I got a call one evening like that and the next 5 to 10 minutes on that call turned out to be an interview for a place in the prestigious ViMP 2016. I am writing this from Gran Melia Hotel in Ajah, Lagos, where I and all other participants are housed. Over a thousand applications were received, about 200 were shortlisted for interview (shortlisting was done by Accenture) and 50 eventually made it to the final shortlist. It’s indeed a great privilege to be here.

I checked in a little bit late because it was my first time visiting Ajah and I did not really know what to expect. I had visited Victoria Island several times and I quite know my way around there, so I kinda calculated the distance and time it’ll take like I was going to VI. I could not have been more wrong, Ajah is far!

Yesterday was the orientation, we were taken through what to expect from the whole week and i got to meet other participants, majority of whom are still serving Corp members who have come from places as far as Imo state, Cross River State, and Kaduna State. This one of those days that I am proud to have attended Obafemi Awolowo University, we no dey carry last for anything, I’ve met 6 other OAU graduates here already.

Today is the first day of lecture at the prestigious Lagos Business School, I am looking forward to it and will keep you posted.

Leave the Husband Snatcher alone, she does not know you from Adam

DISCLAIMER: This is not entirely an original idea; it was sparked by tidbits from someone’s rants on a blog I read earlier today. What i have done is to turn the spark into flames (for my mind). Unfortunately, I cannot link to the blog because of some very personal issues

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Many of you probably saw the picture above when it made the rounds on social media a while ago. I presume the picture was shared on social media by a scorned wife. Cheating is one of the age-long challenges that marriages and relationships face but it is annoying to see how the narrative plays out when a spouse cheats and how the blames are apportioned.

If the cheating partner is a man, a woman promptly tagged a husband snatcher becomes the sacrificial lamb. The cheated wife takes her frustration out on the mistress because well, the mistress should have closed her legs. But in a case where the cheating partner is the wife, you would expect that a wife snatcher should rightly take the heat for the offence of a cheating wife, no? However, there is no such thing like a wife snatcher, when a woman cheats she gets blamed for it. It is quite simple enough, she is an ungrateful whore. Isn’t it quite unbelievable huh, women’s inhumanity to their fellow women. 

You see, we live in a society where women are perceived to be inherently guilty. The narrative of infidelity in relationships is a clear proof of this because it does not matter who the cheating spouse is, a woman somewhere will always be blamed.

The portrayal of men like lambs being led to the slaughter of infidelity but cannot utter a word in the face of their oppressive and manipulative mistresses is a tad annoying because we all know quite well that men are generally the initiators of sexual relationships. So, unless you have proof that your husband was dragged, tied, and probably drugged to have sex with someone else, you should never call another woman a husband snatcher. Your husband’s two eyes were widely opened, he knew what he was doing and I bet you he enjoyed every bit of it. I know you have been socialized to always find a way of escape for men, to always try not to hurt their feelings, your whole life has been about making men feel good about themselves even if means you will ridicule yourself or another woman but stop it right now! Stop trying so hard to cater to the fragile egos of men, stop trying to find an excuse for him, stop trying to babysit him, didn’t he call himself a man?

It’s quite simple if you take time to go over it. You gave your trust to someone and pledged your allegiance to him, this person also promised to be your one and only till death do your part. This someone now violated your trust, dishonored his pledge to you and he decided that he was going to scatter abroad what is supposed to be exclusively yours. Yet here you are trying to exonerate him. He is the one you have a relationship and a commitment with; the husband snatcher does not know you from Adam, why do you expect so much from her while expecting very little from your beloved husband? Haba! Let’s talk where the real matter dey abeg. 

I know the morality of the mistress comes into question and we can say that a lady should not date a married man in the first place. But the thing is, these men ehn, they can be very deceitful, now add persuasive to that. They will say all manner of things just to get down with a lady. They can claim to be separated from their wife, divorced and some will even claim to be single and they can actually act for Africa. So, a lady may indeed start believing the tale and even be dreaming of getting married to an already hitched man.

And men, you no dey try o, most of you will just keep quiet and watch your mistress take all the heat for an action you both committed together, especially when it is you who have betrayed a trust. Turn a new leaf, abeg. Ermm, whats that’s phrase again sef, yes, manning up, I believe to man up is to take responsibility for your actions. Stop watching from the sidelines and allow your mistress, a woman you probably deceived, take all the blame and embarrassment. Have the guts to tell your wife to blame you more than your mistress. It might even be a sweet way of winning her trust back. Let’s man up abeg.