Monday, March 30, 2015

Nigeria Decides! Follow the live coverage of the 2015 election votes now!

Good morning Diaspora!

Who is following the collation of results?

 Keep up with the 2015 Presidential elections via Channels TV online:



Saturday, March 28, 2015

Election Day Nigeria 2015 - It's time to Vote!

Good morning diaspora!

Today is Election day and I'm in Lagos!

Below is a photo of the Google Nigeria home page (google.com.ng) featuring an appropriately themed doodle of a spinning ballot box in the green white green Nigerian flag colors:



If you're in the diaspora, and want to follow the coverage live, Channels TV is your best bet. They stream their broadcast live at http://www.channelstv.com/live/

You can also download Channels app to smart devices and follow them on their various social media platforms for up to date and independent reporting on election day voting!

If you're home side and you've got your voter's card, do your part and vote! If you can't, stay engaged and join the conversation online.

It's our Nigeria. Let's own it. Let's shape it!


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How did I let this happen?

How? How did I let this happen. I didn't blog in 2013. At all?

Sigh. Okay today is the day of repentance!

But you know the scene has changed so much since a lot of us started blogging back in 2007. Bloggin has so many more competitors or should I say different outlets now that people can microblog on sites like twitter and instagram.

But nonetheless, we shall blog on because there's always time for a good story. Especially one about the extremes of living in Nigeria. I have been in and out of Lagos over the past few months and in true naija style, I've had some pretty interesting encounters.

So if you're still out there, so am I! Would love to read about what you all are up to!



Monday, September 3, 2012

Moving Back to Nigeria for your NYSC?

Guess what I just stumbled upon? A published book for Nigerian graduates overseas who are thinking about returning to register for the NYSC. It's a survival guide called, "The Foreign Otondo," by Kemi Ogunniyi. 

When I was planning my move back to Nigeria in '07, there was absolutely no information in print or online (even the NYSC's website was non functional). So my dearest sweetest mother, bless her heart, had to go down to the NYSC headquarters to get the scoop on the requirements for signing up.

Still I didn't know what to expect at the orientation camp or during the course of the service year. After my ordeal at the orientation camp in October 2007, I wrote a blog post about the Aje Butter's guide to surviving orientation camp to fore warn incoming corpers about those first 3 weeks .

A number of things have definitely changed since I served. For instance, foreign graduates can no longer choose what state they want to serve in. Not good. The option to choose was definitely one of the factors that made my decision to move back easier!

Big kudos to the author for seeing a need and meeting it.  I haven't read it, but the cover looks great! I would definitely have bought a copy if such a guide was available back then - because mmhh....the NYSC experience can be quite the shocker!


Visit www.otondoguide.com for details on how to get your copy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sweet Baby Boy

I haven't abandoned my blog O. Yes, I still live in Nigeria. I'm still married and...now have a baby. How is everyone out there? I know it's been a couple of months...or more like one dozen.

I don't think I can ever give up my blog. I love to write. I love to share. I like knowing I have a place where I can trade stories.

As I type, my sweet little boy is sitting on my lap. I'm feeding him mashed potatoes, which he will only eat at his pace. A spoonful too soon and he presses his lips together and turns his face away.

When I was single, I always thought I knew the kind of mother I would be. Hehehe...Well I've surprised myself.

I've turned out to be the kind of mother who eats her baby's food. Two spoons for you. One for me. So I never really know how much the boy eats. (Cerelac, mashed potatoes, pureed apples - baby food is surprisingly delicious) or if he's had enough to eat.

I'm the kind of mother who breastfeeds exclusively for six months because the pediatrician recommends it's best for  baby, but then wishes she could continue even past six months because washing and warming baby bottles is a chore I definitely don't want to add to my schedule. Luckily I skipped the bottle step entirely because my son is now on to solid foods, plates and spoons. Yay!!!

As a single gal, I used to tsk tsk and shake my head when I see toddlers drinking fruit juice and sodas instead of water. Mmmm...I happen to be one of those mothers whose son has tasted coke, sprite, fanta, juice. But note, I say tasted not drank. When your baby is fussy, cranky and can't be pacified you try all sorts of distractions just for a few minutes of respite.  Thankfully my son prefers water over sugar drinks.

And lest I forget, he eats paper. Just this morning, my mom told me that he grabbed a paper bag beside him. Before she could retrieve it from him, he bit off a corner and swallowed the piece. I do not understand his affinity for paper. But I've turned out to be one of those mothers who when all else fails, hand her son a piece paper, just for a moment of peace...(it calms him down 90% of the time) then when I've caught my breath, I go after the gooey pieces he refuses to spit out.

Ah the joys of motherhood! 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pick a partner, Choose a career, Raise a child...when you're still clueless?

What does a 20-something year old know about picking a life partner?

How much foresight does an 18-year-old have to choose a life career?

What does a young 25-year-old mother know about raising a newborn?

Where does the 21-year-old recent graduate gain knowledge about how to invest all his disposable income?

By the time the importance of investment dawns on him, he's married with 2 children and his disposable income has become tied down by 16 years of paying school fees.

By the time you gain decades of life experience and wisdom to raise your children, you turn around to find out that your babies are adults -- telling you what their own take on life is.

By the time you're older and wise enough to want more than pretty lips and smooth words in a spouse, the dating pool has shrunk so much you fear that love might have passed you by in the haze of self-centered youthful exuberance.

And just when you pass your exams and receive admission into the Ivy leagues of medical schools, you stumble on your hidden talent and passion for fashion.

Ha ha ha. The joke is on us.

Have you noticed how we have to make the most crucial decisions of our lives during the most inexperienced years of our existence?

To think that I have to sow the seeds that I will reap during the rest of my life during the years when I have the least amount of experience and wisdom to do so!

By the time I'm 40, 50, the fruit of those seeds slowly begin to ripen. The previous 2 decades of work (or sloth) begin to show their results. Joy - if that fruit is sweet and juicy. If it's not? Pain and regret!

So I have come to the scary conclusion that I am clueless. I would be a fool to dive into this life pretending like I know what I'm doing. Pretending like I have the know-how, wisdom and knowledge to make generation shaping decisions. Decisions that are seemingly inconsequentially mine to make, yet they ripple down my bloodline long after my 80 - 90 years on earth.

God has a fantastic sense of humour (and infinite wisdom). Woe unto me if I dive into the beautiful adventure of life without basking in his ways, his word and his wisdom.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

When last did you steal second base?

I think I've shared this quote before:
"You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first base" - Frederick B. Wilcox

At several points in my life, this has been my reality.

In my childhood I was soo timid that someone always had to push me off 1st base.

Take for example, Primary 4 - when my class teacher made me Class Prefect much to my horror. Never in a million years would I have raised my hand to respond to the call for interested Prefects. And for good reason. Even as a 9 year old I was quite self aware and knew that I just wasn't cut out for making enemies.

Me? Prefect? So that they'll be waiting for me in the bushes during break time because I'd written their names on the noise makers list? No thank you.

After 2 weeks, and only 2 names showed up on my noisemakers list, my class teacher impeached me without a fuss and found herself a more fearless leader. I was crushed but definitely more relieved to be relieved of my position.

Another first to second base incidence occurred several years later in secondary school. Once again, a teacher nominated me to become a Prefect -- again to my horror. This time, I couldn't worm my way out. She preached to me about how her mind was made up and how she felt I was up to the task.

And much to my surprise, I had a fantastic year in that role and learned a bit about my abilities, skills and talents.

About 4 years ago, I stood on first base again in a whole different ball game. I was a year out of college. But I was afraid to move because I didn't want to strike out on my way to second base. But time was running out. My student status was about to expire and I had to make a decision. And with the clock ticking loudly in my ear, I was once again pushed to make a run for it. So I did. I ran for second base without looking back.
Clinging to security is our natural instinct. Holding on to the bird in our hand while we look for two more in the bushes conventional wisdom.

But sooner or later, always sticking to conventional wisdom will lead to a conventional, boring life.

A life where "what-ifs" are neatly tucked away in the "later" folder. A life where if one doesn't seize the opportunities presented by transition, threats or tribulation, the "later" folder eventually becomes the "it's too late" folder.

And it's not just for the big things. It's also for the seemingly little things: Trying a new hairdresser, taking a different traffic route, saying 'hi' to an uninteresting stranger. Leaving first base to cleave to second.

I've noticed that some of my best gifts in life have come when I let go and just - hang mid air. Many times I've been pushed over the cliff by someone else. At other times, I don't see, yet discomfort or dissatisfaction cause me to leap because I know there just has to be a better place.

And most times, there has truly been a better place.

"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance" - Psalm 16

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Still in Nigeria - Why?

Lagos cracks me up. Seriously.

For 1 hour this evening I was stuck on Ikorodu road at Ojota. At some point, a kpangolo car behind me squashed my bumper, and the driver kept a straight face and pretended like nothing happened. ("Huh? Squash your car? It wasn't me!" Obviously the latest trick in town - pschew!)

We eventually inch along and next thing you know, a grown, healthy, fully formed area boggar (area boy/beggar) pounces on another go-slow resident and starts aggressively praying for the driver - staring him down with crazy gestures and emphatic facial expressions!

If you want to beg, biko beg, if you want to extort and threaten money out of people, then do that. Which one is this combo approach?

I was so thankful all my windows were up!

Oh and right in front of my car was an okada passenger cradling a live ram in his lap! The poor animal didn't even bother to lift its head or move a limb (on second thought, was that ram alive? It had better be!)

And the shocking thing about all this? No one bats an eyelid. Lagosians take it all in their stride, with stern forward facing faces.

The driver who the area bogger accosted didn't even glance in the guy's direction. Not once. It was his kind-hearted sister in the back who reached through the rear window to give the bogger a N100 note. Mr. bogger took the money (courteously and gratefully ofcourse), hurled a few more blessings at the car occupants and moved down the traffic lane to harass the next SUV with a window wound down.

I guess it's just another day in Las gidi ey?

Yeah. Whatever you say. Can someone tell me why I am still in this country?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Becoming a Mrs.

Can't believe it has been this long since I blogged. Hello is anyone out there? Not sure if anyone is still listening, but I won't stop writing...How are y'all doing?

Lots of great stuff have happened since I moved back to Nigeria. Most recently and significantly I got hitched to my knight in shinning armor! Wohoo!

It' s been a period of learning, loving and laughing. How does it feel to be married? It feels...natural. Like this is how I've always lived, even though we dated for just over a year. Perhaps it's because we've been best friends for several years?

I love waking up beside him everyday. No more agonizing good byes at the end of a fun-filled weekend and no more marathon phone calls. Since the wedding day, we've been asking ourselves "So we're really married?"

I was reading the book Saving your marriage before it starts months before we got married and one statement really stuck out to me: that marriage is a lifestyle - aka a way of living. You remain who you are - you've just chosen a different way of living out your life day-to-day. Where most of us get it wrong is when we expect the marriage to be the almighty solution that will save us or deliver us from all of life's woes.

The authors (Dr. Les and Leslie Parrott) say that the love, bliss and healing that we all look forward to enjoying in marriage comes. But it's a by product of a healthy marriage where two partners invest in each other. Not one where the partners are looking to just receive and receive. I certainly found the authors' advice practical before our wedding and now that I'm living in the lifestyle of marriage I certainly understand.

I bless God the Father and thank Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit for leading me into all truth and for the gift of my husband. He is truly a gem. A man of honour. The Lord who knows you and who knows who you will become in the years ahead will only give you the best for a life partner.

Our path to the altar was a real journey which I'd love to share once our year-long honeymoon is over...ha ha ha.

Thanks for stopping by! Now back to the business of leaving, cleaving and loving...(wink wink)!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Marriage Talks 3: Mindset

My attitude towards marriage has slowly evolved through the years. As a bullied teenager, I often dreamed of my future husband and imagined the conversations we would have and the way he would make me feel. Marriage was still at least 10 years away, but I was sure that it would wipe away the pain and loneliness that haunted me back then.

In my late teens to early twenties, those daydreams fell to the background as I threw myself into the depths of books, American college life and…online shopping (well, more like browsing – I was a college student !). I wasn’t looking for Mr. Right; even though I wouldn’t have minded being found by him.  But I was conveniently preoccupied with exploring and spreading my newly-acquired adult wings.

Friends and classmates got engaged and I didn’t feel any stirrings. Once, my best friend called from Lagos to encourage me to take a closer look at the men around me. “ Isn’t there anyone you are interested in?” he asked? 

He had never heard any boyfriend tales from me and had specifically called to discuss my love life.
 
In return I told him that I wanted to focus on the season of life that I was in and assured him that God would send the right man at the right time But the concern in his voice stayed with me. “Did he have a point?” I later wondered. 

Truth was, I liked my single life the way it was. No drama, no pain, no heartbreak.  I was the feature attraction and I knew how to handle me. After all I had been living with myself for 21 years. Ten years before, I couldn’t wait to be married, and now that it was finally within reach, love, relationships and marriage had become an abstract concept.