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learning to do but the most difficult thing about training school is perhaps the fear of failure and the fear of been withdrawn which hung over every class room like a ghost waiting to snuff the hopes, ambitions and dreams out of an unsuspecting trainee.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 

Black Skin is no Longer Beautiful for Some Nigerians

FOREWORD- It took me a while to settle on what the right follow up post to my comeback post will be but then I finally decided on this. Enjoy

We are not exactly friends like that but we exchange drawn-out pleasantries whenever we meet. We did meet again last week and as he beckoned to me from afar, the first thing I noticed was his skin, it was grabbing more attention than I can remember it has the power to. It was not until he was an armlength from me that it finally hit me, my friend has tampered with his black skin.

What is it about light skin for Nigerians?

Immediately I walked away from him I remembered another friend I met at the NYSC orientation camp in North-eastern Nigeria. Over dinner just after a week into the camp activities this lady told me with a hint of sadness in her voice like something unfortunate had befallen her that her skin had become noticeably darker than it was when she arrived. I was left wondering how a slightly darker shade of an originally dark skin could be such a big deal.

Maheeda bleaching Nigerian celebrities.jpegBefore and after pictures of controversial singer Maheeda courtesy of bellanaija.com

Nigeria’s entertainment industry is the perfect example of how black skin can has been turned into some kind of disadvantage. It appears that spotting a yellow skin is considered a necessity for gaining entrance to and remaining in the spot-light. So, majority of our nollywood actresses have taken to bleaching because according to them dark-skinned ladies don’t get as many role offers as their counterparts.

The music industry is also caught in this trend. Girls with skin the color of chocolate have suddenly lost all appeal and so all the ladies featured in our music videos (and our music videos are all about ladies in different stages ofvundress) either as dancers or backup singers must have skin the color of overripe pawpaw.

Read a very fascinating commentary on the life of bleaching celebrities here by popular musician Etcetera

Even banks have been accused of giving preference to light-skinned ladies when employing into positions that involve contact with the customers like the cashiers and customers care officer.

Bleaching has become a modern trend that cuts across every strata of the Nigerian society. So, it’s not a shock this day to see people proudly posting their before and after pictures on social networking sites like instagram. This is exactly what the guy in the picture below did, a sort of marketing strategy too since he’s a beautician with a specialty in bleaching.

bleaching nigerians before and after

Bleaching today is more tastefully done  at least for those who can afford it. And yes, those who have become proud ambassadors of the bleaching cause and won’t stop gracing our screens with their semi-white covering can afford the perfect treatment. So, gone are the days of stigmatization against people spotting bleached skin because you’re not likely to as easily be able to notice the uneven skin tone and all the black patches that give them away in the past.

It’s getting increasingly harder to make criticisms this day but I find the idea of bleaching shameful, very shameful. And if someone could say that people who don’t Snap selfies often might have self esteem issues (more on that later) I think I will say that bleaching is strongly a self esteem issue. 

Back and Hopefully Better

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Back to blogging

It’s been like ages on this platform. Although I’ve tried to keep tabs with posts of my favorite bloggers, I haven’t posted anything in months. That however is changing right now, yes with this very post.

I started this blog to cut my writing tooth, sort of. But along the line I allowed myself to be drawn into conversations, considerations and cares that aren’t necessary at all.

I’ve decided to reclaim the blog. This blog is in my name and that’s what I’ll make it, a repertoire of my thoughts, concerns as well as the most random ‘nonsensical’ stuffs. Yeah, I’m holding nothing back this time.

If you’re wondering to what I owe my new found commitment, I’ll tell you. I recently resorted that I want to be a serious writer and I gathered that one key to that is to write as much as possible.

Writers write!!!!

The truth is during my absence, I often have post ideas dancing in my head and more than a couple of times I proceeded to put a sentence or two down. But you know how this things are, they ended up choked and drained of life by my over rationalizations and all. I won’t let that happen anymore.

I’m surely going to write stuffs that I won’t post here but don’t worry, I’ll make sure to provide the links.

So, let me get on with the writing…… See ya

Is This The Way forward?

1This is Italian MEP Mrs Ronzulli. She took her child to work on voting day in a sling, every so often bending to give the little munchkin a kiss on the bonce.2

This image has been around but I still LOVE it! I have never understood the anti-family stance of most companies and society in general. In my office of the future there would be a place for babies and toddlers to come to work with their parents of both sexes and also a space for pets. It would be paid for in part by the company and the people using the facilities.

I believe that a lot of companies are missing out on great people because of their daft approach to hiring a samey identikit profile of employees and making a big deal out of the fact that women who like to work also produce babies, (shock! Horror!

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Cakes and Chickens

It’s my birthday! There’s gratitude in my heart and songs on my lips.  Indeed to have one’s head sitting firmly on one’s neck is no mean achievement in this country and for that i salute the author of life.  I was going to bake a highly sweetened chocolate cake to mark the day but i thought otherwise. The last time i made one, I was still an undergraduate and I had to do the baking in a friend’s room in one of the female hostels on campus. My roommates especially my bunky could not understand how i could manage to be at ease enough to actually bake a cake from scratch in a room full of girls, of course that was after they had munched the portion i brought them which covered the serrated cake paper in which it was baked to form a top like an ice-cream cone’s.

Being an August-born (a friend told me we are the most populous); I have been denied the chance of celebrating my birthday in school with my mates. Throughout my primary and secondary education, I didn’t have to pack sweets, biscuits and other goodies to school for my mates who would have in turn sung and prayed for me because August is the very heart of the long vacation holidays. Notwithstanding, I have had a few memorable birthday celebrations. The one that easily comes to mind is my 4th birthday celebration and it’s probably due to the glazed photograph that rests against the upper part of our sitting room wall. There i stood, dressed in black suits with hands clasped around a knife buried deep into a two-step butter-iced cake with the caption “SEYI IS FOUR”. I can’t really remember the whole day but fresh in my mind is the fact that friends came around, we took photographs, danced and everybody went back home with takeaways and other gifts courtesy of my parents and notably one of our three neighbors back then. 

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                 From http://www.deenascakesandcookies.com

I’m tempted not to categorize my 10th birthday celebration as a party because there was no cake, just meat pies and malt. The celebration was not in my parents’ house but in an Aunt’s place where i had gone to spend part of the long vacation holiday.  My Aunt bought the white guinea i wore and settled the sewing bills but the refreshment was financed by one of my cousins who i have now lost contact with, she had finished university at that time and she later got married in December of that same year.  My 18th birthday fell within the week of resumption for second semester that year, i had left for school a week earlier because of personal engagements but this time there was a cake. Mummy sent the cake through a family friend who attended the same university and you should have seen how the cake was packed and wrapped. It was a plain cake without icing, mothers and their wisdom! The roads are bad and my dear friend surely had a lot of things to carry (foodstuffs and necessities). Icing the cake would have been an exercise in futility because by the time it would get to me, the icing would have smeared badly with all the beauty gone. There was also a cake last year, a giant oval shaped cake baked by my sweet friend and jointly decorated. I was busy in the laboratory all day with my undergraduate research underway and it was later in the evening that i shared the cake with my lab mates and few friends that were on ground. The lecturers were on strike (it lasted six months), so my roommates were at home.

Every other birthday in between had been good too, eighty percent of those birthdays were celebrated with chicken and jollof rice shared with immediate family members. It’s like a tradition in my family to slaughter chickens to mark important dates, birthdays inclusive. Even before dad started poultry farming, we reared free range chickens and always picked from. We targeted the cocks which would not be released to roam the streets with others in the morning after been kept in the cage over the night. When I was younger, dad slaughtered and cut the chicken to pieces but for about five years now, I do both and dad only joins in  the cutting when he likes.

Today my dear friends, there was no cake, chocolate, plain, butter or fondant-iced but a chicken lost it’s dear life to celebrate mine.