About Me

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Hiya! Just a quick intro :) I lived in Nigeria for more than half of my life (so far) before moving to England and I have seen the best and the worst of both worlds. I was greatly inspired by the #OccupyNigeria protests and this blog is my way of #occupying. A lot of us compare African countries to the Western countries and I will mainly be talking about the positive things that I have observed and learnt in my few years of living here. Payme’s 2Cents is for all who dare to dream to see changes in their lifetime. It is for those who dream to see environments where 'helping' thrives. I will be giving my2cents worth on how we can work towards getting things to change for better. It would be great to know your opinions, so please leave comments. Remember to keep sharing posts that you enjoy. Follow @payme_my2cents. Thanks a lot for visiting!!! Enjoy my2cents :).

Sunday, 21 October 2012

One bit at a time

"Brooding endlessly about Nigeria would only make us bitter and a bitter you WILL NOT improve Nigeria, a better you WOULD."

It is a country where N300million buys a table at a gala event; a country where the citizens have to actively engage in fundraising to save lives; it is the country in which the most active of the governors (well, relatively speaking) has recently had an epiphany and now apparently believes that jail is the answer to everything even when it comes to beautifying your house; the first lady of the country is also a state’s permanent secretary, in absentia of course. This is Nigeria.

Oh, the list didn’t include the indefinitely suspended Dana Crash Inquest or the impending arrival of the N5000 note which we “can decide to not collect in the bank”. I once said the slogan for most things related to our government/leaders should be “we are not trying to make sense; quit trying to understand us”. No one wants to be the messenger of doom; however, it is getting harder to intentionally focus on the positives. I am not writing this in order to tell you about how hopeless Nigeria is. I am writing to inform you of the part that you can play in changing your immediate world, starting from the comfort of your bedroom.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Hi guys, I came across this poem and thought to share :)

I'm starting with the man 
in the mirror
I'm asking him to change
his ways
  And no message could have 
  been any clearer
 If you wanna make the world
a better place
 Take a look at yourself, and
    then make a change.

By Siedah Garrett & Glen Ballard

You want a better Nigeria? Start by reading It's On You

Monday, 9 July 2012

10 #EndtheStory Questions for ‘SeunWrites’

"I know we have a lot of beautiful stories in Africa and we must find the African writers that will tell them beautifully" 'Seun Salami
‘Seun Salami is the author of ‘The Son of your Father’s Concubine’, a collection of short stories. He also works as a full-time editor at a publishing firm in Lagos, Nigeria. In this interview with Payme, ‘Seun talks about his first writing competition End the Story with which he is encouraging young creative writers to complete one of his popular stories, ‘The Sex life of a Lagos mad woman’ published on Ynaija.com where he also contributes stories from time to time.

What inspired your love for writing?

Reading. I say that because I did not set out to be a writer early in life. I wanted to be first a pilot and then an architect at different stages of my life. I also loved to draw. But when I would read books, published books, I would often find myself using a pencil to make corrections in what people have written. Afterwards, I began attempting to write them the way I thought they should have been written and then one thing led to another and so on and so forth.

What do you hope to achieve with the ‘End the Story’ competition?

We have a lot of fantastic writers in Nigeria as you already know. I always say I’m your favourite writer’s favourite writer (laughs) and that’s by faith, okay, because that’s what I want to become. But then, some people who have read my work have said, Oh, ‘Seun you write so well and all the other washings they give you on twitter. But truth be told, there are several other aspiring writers that are exceptionally brilliant. How do I know this? I have quite a number of protégés already on and off twitter, even though I still consider myself an aspiring writer. I have never met many of them before. I would read some of their works and go, Wow! So I have always known I had to be able to find a way to engage writers and get people to tell their beautiful stories. Sometimes people just need some form of platform, and those platforms are not enough. You dear (Payme) for instance, I got to know about you after my friend (Omojuwa) did Superbloggers. So we need these platforms. With End the Story, we hope to find three exceptional writers that I can help in my own little way to improve on their art and get better at what they do.

Monday, 2 July 2012

July 3rd...The Month After

"...and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him."

1 Thessalonians 4:14b

The carelessness of it all shook me to the core; that part about “it could have been prevented” kept floating in my head for days. 

Nigeria is a cause I believe in. There was a period of time that it looked like we had awful news daily. It was bomb blasts and then the tanker explosion with about 27 cars I think. June 3, while at church, my TL was filled with the news of the most recent bomb blasts, feeling numb, I went to bed and then woke up to gory pictures of the Dana Crash. I am sure that at that point a lot of Nigerians like me were at a loss. I kept thinking “when is this going to end?” I could not help the tears as more news about the circumstances of the crash kept coming out. First, it was that the plane was to be repaired before detouring to pick passengers in Abuja, then the one about how it was on the ground for about 20 minutes before exploding etc. etc. As time went on, although no one knew the exact circumstances surrounding the crash, the general consensus still appeared to be “it could have been prevented”.

Monday, 28 May 2012

You Have A Voice - USE IT!

“…And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent.” Martin Luther King

Twitter, Facebook – wherever you look, you really cannot escape ‘The Politicians’, their praise singers and their critics. We are all in one of these groups and I do not see this as a bad thing. However, I have noticed that most of these politicians sell themselves to us as ‘have been’ or ‘would be’ greats. Their tweets and updates range from being inspirational to mind-numbing.

While it is true that only a small percentage of Nigerian youths are on social media sites, social media remains a powerful tool and its potency should not be underestimated. President Jonathan in a way successfully exploited facebook during his presidential campaign. Despite the fact that another election would not be held for another three years, past and future aspirants are coming out from every corner. Before you know it, 2015 will be here. They know that they have their work cut out for them as the #occupyNigeria protests have stirred people up and Nigerians are becoming more interested in what their leaders are up to.

I am here to say, do not lose your minds people! It is time to get out of self pity; it is time to forget the noise; it is time to THINK.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Interview With Bella Antonio (Felisbella Foundation)

"We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone." Ronald Reagan

Hello everybody, meet Bella Antonio! She is the founder of Felisbella Foundation Angola, a Christian Non-profit organisation aimed at helping Angolans. She took some time out to answer some of my questions and I hope you get inspired. Enjoy!!!

Hello Bella, tell us a bit more about yourself please.

Hello, I grew up in England (Bristol to be precise) and I currently live in Chatham. I just finished my degree in Diagnostic Radiography at Canterbury Christ Church University. As you already know, I am the founder of Felisbella Foundation.

When was Felisbella Foundation established?

Felisbella Foundation was established on 10th April 2010.

What motivated you to start the foundation and what is/are its aim(s)?

Angola was a country that was at war for at least 27 years. Being born in such a war climate, I believe it is enough to motivate anyone to help their fellow brothers and sisters who are less fortunate. I had always wanted to do something as such since I was a child and when I felt that God was calling me to start the foundation, I went ahead and started it. The aim of the foundation is to better the lives of those affected by the war in Angola.

Monday, 7 May 2012

A Call to Serve - Ogunyemi Bukola (Superblogger II Winner)

"The turn is now ours to act out our parts"

Here lies Nigeria, penned in an inglorious spot,
But it is no time to dole blames to the past,
O kinsmen, hang not your heads in reproach,
Though we must weep,
Let our tears water the seeds of hope,
Lest the hearts be rend beyond repair.

The foundation is fouled, the righteous is helpless,
A great responsibility has devolved on us,
To remedy the past and redeem the future,
Twice the hurdle that awaits us,
Twice the distance we must trek,
To reclaim the lost glory of our land.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

I Love Nigeria BUT...

"It is more difficult, and it calls for higher energies of soul, to live a martyr than to die one" Horace Mann

Nigeria is a country on the verge of socio-political breakdown due to the constant plundering of her God given resources by a minority. Nigerians that have had to leave home and set up their lives in more developed countries know that it is possible to have a government that provides for the basic needs of its people; if only our leaders are half-willing. Note that I said ‘basic’, just basic.

Understanding or relating with our leaders has to be devoid of logic isn’t it? Anybody that has taken the time to study Nigeria will know that there is little or no logic applied to the way it is run. It is not run for the sake of humanity. For most, Nigeria is a business and the business owners, the cabals, are in no way going to take their hands off of her anytime soon.

We all know of Nigeria’s issues and can recite them off-hand without pausing for breath. From subsidy scams to Boko Haram’s bombs to ridiculous states of academic institutions to the high rates of unemployment (Happy Workers Day?) and so on, and so on.

Q - “So, how do we go about solving these?”

A - “Ermm…ermm…”

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Just Before You Go...

"Where there is no vision, the people perish."
Proverbs (29:18)
The Arab spring was kick-started on the 18th of December 2010 in Tunisia after Mohamed Bouhazizi’s self-immolation. Civil unrests spread rapidly through the Middle East and North Africa. Rulers were forcefully removed from power and there are still unrests in full swing in some countries such as Syria and Bahrain.

The removal of fuel subsidy in January 2012 led to a wave of #occupyNigeria protests. Nigerians inspired by the Arab spring took to the streets in order to demand for their rights. As faint as the line was, it was obvious that there were two different groups out in January – the ones who simply wanted to have the increase in price of PMS reversed and the ones who wanted to make their voices heard against corruption and the lack of accountability on the parts of our leaders.  There was a problem during the protests though – that faint line.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

UNITY - Ogunyemi Bukola (Superblogger II Winner)

"Upon the conduct of each, depends the fate of all" Ogunyemi Bukola

Views from high towers,
Make others look smaller.
This is the illusion of ego,
The difference is mere distance.

All beings are tiny under the sun,
This is the reality of our worth.
From hills or valleys, the shortest man
Will clearly see the sunshine.

We have learned to fly the air like birds,
And swim the sea like fishes,
But we have not learned the simple art,
Of living together as brothers.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Faux Naija!

“Reality denied comes back to haunt.” Philip K. Dick.

One of my favourite words is ‘beautiful’. Proves I am Nigerian! Gosh we love beautiful and big things – gigantic houses and cars, dresses, shoes etc. Even when unaffordable, taking out a cooperative loan is not a hard thing for most. The need to have everything picture perfect has now resulted in what I call ‘under the carpet’ syndrome.
We do not mind living in denial as long as our issues can perfectly fit under the carpet. We hide the mentally challenged relatives in the boys’ quarters, hide the students whose parents cannot afford socks and books at the back of the classroom during inspection, hide poor citizens by destroying their shops and houses and we hide the suffering masses in gigantic places of worship.
Blatant hypocrisy!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Why I Am Nothing! - Japheth Omojuwa

"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal"  Albert Pike

I have since come to the realisation that I am nothing. I am nothing by myself except when established in the reality that God made me. All that I am, He made. In that sense, everything I have and all I am belongs to The One who created me. That is the reason I am always taken aback when people say they are self-made. I am not self-made. I cannot be self-made. Nothing cannot make something. God made me and all I am, He made; all I seemingly make, He makes. The true me is God playing with a man. That consciousness means that I am always ready to give back.

I do not have much. In fact, I do not have anything. The little I seemingly have, I am always willing to give. When I look for opportunities to give, it is not because I have a lot. It is because I do not want to keep what someone intends for someone else. I am a channel to bless other people.

If I am a good writer, it is because God made me so. I have a responsibility not just to make the world a better place with my God-given ability but I must as a matter of responsibility replicate that ability in several other people. Every move I make to the top, I intend to take as many people with me. My business as a human being is to make more people see the reality of who they really are: that they can do a lot with what they have and only by doing much with little will they be able to do more.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

You Dare Not Stop!

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society” Jiddu Krishnamurti

There was a warning from the US that another terrorist attack was imminent in Nigeria during the Easter period. I was not shocked and I read articles with the warning with a ‘here we go again’ attitude. I then woke up on Sunday morning to the news of a bomb blast in Kaduna. I simply locked my phone and got ready for church. I did not get teary for the lost souls, I did not go through the usual rants and I did not preach...I said nothing.

Midway through the service, it hit me - I had become 'them' (albeit outwardly). I had inadvertently become one of the people I see as uncaring; the ones I call ‘selfish’; the ones who would not bat their eyelids while their neighbours wept. I knew I was neither uncaring nor selfish. I cared deeply. Maybe even too much that it really hurt. I do not think that I can find the exact words to explain my frustrations but I know I was deeply angry. Was this how 'they' felt? Helpless?

Sunday, 8 April 2012

My Easter

He is mine; I am his
He died,
He rose,
He is alive,
He won.

He made it
God Vs Hurt
God Vs Fear
God Vs Anger
God Vs Shame
God Vs Failure
God Vs Depression
God Vs Me

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

My Pastor (The Man, The Myth)

...it is of no value and only ruins those who listen... [NIV]
                                                                2Tim 2 vs. 14 - 19

Oh, forget about his being human. Forget that he is a teacher of ‘God’s word’ and not actually God. He is my ‘god’.  He is perfect or at least close to perfect. I must never hear of his failings or questions about his ministry as it reflects badly on me. Do you not realise that having an infallible pastor earns the church members bragging rights? What do you want people to think of me if they saw that my pastor is the one being talked about negatively in the news?

That bible verse, the one that says ‘by their fruits you shall know them’, well you should not really talk about his bad ‘fruits’ as it makes me look bad. It makes me feel judged like you are questioning my reasons for attending the church. You see, my pastor is a ‘god’ and he should not have to explain things to mere mortals.
Who says your judgement is right any way? Are you not judging his fruit by your own flawed fruits? I would never go to a church with a pastor whose fruits are as good as or worse than mine. Any news about my pastor’s wrongs is false. Like I said, he is a ‘god’ with a perfect relationship with his wife – they never argue or fight. His wife is perfect too – as gentle as a dove. You mean their children? They are straight ‘A’ and tongue-speaking children.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Interview with Oluwaseun Fakuade (BEACONS Nigeria)

        "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world" Anne Frank

Payme’s 2Cents is all about promoting citizens’ participation in the development of Nigeria. I am excited to introduce Oluwaseun Fakuade, the Project Director of College Board, Nigeria. He has been working hard to raise awareness about the power of the citizenry in improving the development of our communities as well as the political system of our country through his BEACONS Nigeria group. He has been really generous as he took some time out to answer some of my questions. I hope you get inspired. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

It's On You

"If we wish to free ourselves from enslavement, we must choose freedom and the responsibility this entails."
Leo Buscaglia

Do you remember that time your mum decided to heat up the stew but forgot it on the cooker? On realising, she ran to the kitchen with a worried you in tow. Upset, she grumbled angrily, turned to you incredulously and asked “how could you not smell burning??!!!”
One lesson that I think most if not all parents unconsciously teach us kids is that of ‘misplaced responsibility’. I can go on and on with examples.
I must admit that when I first resumed school in England, I hated the word ‘responsibility’. I had always been an ok student – I did my home work, tried to study etc. However, none of this was voluntary. There was always a sense of ‘trouble’ if I did not do them. Teachers would beat me if I did not do my home work and parents would beat me if I failed exams. This system was alright till I got to England. My teachers would say something like “it is your responsibility to get your work done”. I had to do things out of the willingness of my heart.
This is not an article about the extremities in the disciplinary methods employed in different countries so please read within context. I did not hate ‘responsibility’ for any dark reasons. I simply was not used to it. Students were not completely left alone in that we had our teachers’ support whenever we needed it but they did not spend all their time breathing down our necks. We had to face the consequences of our actions and inactions (albeit some consequences would not worry a Naija girl! e.g 15 minutes detention lol).

Sunday, 25 March 2012

MY JOURNEY SO FAR - Joseph's Birthday Message

Happy Birthday to me!

As I grew, the song was there. Its melody keeps beckoning and begging me to sing it.
How many of us know that Life is supposed to be some sweet music whose melody and rhythm bestow Great Glory to God—the Earthmaker?[i] That’s the most recent life lesson that I’ve learnt…and it’s the same that I choose to poetically share in this BIRTHDAY PIECE of mine. It’s a summary of My Journey to Purpose discovery—or more poetically speaking, the discovery of my own part of the Grand Orchestra of Life!
I will share summarily and very poetically 5 scenes. The first will depict how hard it was  ACCEPTING, UNDERSTANDING, AND LIVING MY PURPOSE. Really, how many of us are convinced about our purpose? Yet, the truth is that we’ve all got one! The second will depict A TYPICAL TEMPTATION (and the devil has brought tons of them my way ever since I found The Truth). The third will depict how I found MY LOVE[ii]—who shares the same purpose—same song—with me. (If you are yet to fall in love, you will not want to miss that part...lol). The fourth will be about THE PAIN OF IGNORANCE as I’ve seen in some people that I’d longed to reach out to but who thinks they need no help. And the fifth (the last) will be about MY RESOLUTION and MY RECOMMENDATION—call it my Birthday Gift to You.

As I grew, the song was there—it has always been! It hangs upon the wind and settles in the meadows wherever I walk. I knew its lovely words and could have sung it from start to finish while I dwelt in the mind of the Earthmaker before the beginning began, but there I was racking my brains to remember the flow of the stanzas. I feared to sing the few bits[iii] that had been permanently etched into my frailty. I feared it won’t be as melodious. And for all I knew, the real song had a harmony and melody that was far too perfect for human ears to understand, and yet indispensable in bringing out the God-colours and God-flavours of this world. I was born. . .to sing a MESSAGE!
God knew that without His help, I won’t be able to sing the song so He kept prodding me. "Sing the Song!" the heavens seemed to cry again and again. "The world never could be complete without the melody that YOU ALONE can sing." But I kept drawing back, sighing that the song that the Earthmaker gave me was higher than the earth, and worse still, I don’t seem to remember it all. So in my agony of longing and reluctance, the atmosphere around me kept arguing back. But as I type today, I’ve gotten enough courage to sing the melody…as far as He reminds me!
It is strange how oftentimes the air speaks. We are sane as long as we hear voices when there are none. We are insane when we hear nothing and worse, we are deaf. Many midnights, the song stirred me to awareness, and with its haunting melody, it drew me with a curious mystery to stand before an open window. In rhapsody it played among the stars. It rippled through Sijuwade Nursery and Primary School and deepened in the four walls of Henry Alex-Duduyemi Memorial College. It swirled in heavy strains from Ambassadors College to Obafemi Awolowo University till it was tied up together and rehearsed again and again in Gombe State. And finally, here I am!
But I’ve not always been like this.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Our Educational Abyss 1

"The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next." Abraham Lincoln.

Students hoping for places in Nigeria’s universities would be sitting their UNIFIED TERTIARY MARTICULATION EXAMINATION (UTME) tomorrow. Best wishes guys!
This got me thinking about the education I left in Nigeria. I could not help but remember the imbalance in the standards of education in different schools, both public and private. I grew up in Ife and there were some public schools that were deemed ok as well as some private ones that were labelled ‘really good’.  University education follows right after secondary school.  The common belief is that students who are in Colleges of Education and Polytechnics are there because they failed JAMB (UTME is organised by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board so the exam is commonly called JAMB).

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Any Means Necessary

"It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little - do what you can." Sydney Smith

An article titled ‘Any Means Necessary’ on BBC caught my eye this morning. It was aimed at portraying the views of the victims of the Lord Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony.
I woke up some weeks back to find #KONY2012 trending on twitter. It was about a video made by a non-profit organisation ‘Invisible Children Inc.’ aimed at increasing public awareness and pressuring government forces to intensify their efforts to capture Joseph Kony. As with any issue in our world, the video generated both positive and negative reactions. 
Over the weekend, another hashtag ‘#saveOke’ caught my eye. It was for Ighiwoto Okeghene ‘Oke’, a young man who has been bedridden for six years due to having diabetes. He has injuries that are not healing and his whole health is failing him. #saveOke also generated positive and negative reactions.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Dammit...I Deserve Better!!!

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” Maya Angelou

So I am extremely upset right now! The 2012 budget for Nigeria is out and it has got tensions running high. A recurring question ever since #occupyNigeria started has however caught my eye.
“What else do you expect?”
This question is usually instantly followed by the seemingly pious ‘lower your expectations and you would not get disappointed’ rhetoric.  Even in our personal lives, we use this expression a lot.
Here is my own question though - “Since when did suffering become synonymous to humility?”
Why should I not expect more? Do I not deserve it? What is the point of friends, family members, churches, schools, government etc. who think nothing of me? Who constantly expect me to put up with mediocrity? Am I so lowly that I have to be resigned to feeding on crumbs? Do I really mean nothing that I have to accept being constantly robbed in broad day light?

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Remember To Be Scared

"The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children."    Dietrich Bonhoeffer    

How many times have you been told to live for the moment? I think we focus so much on forgetting the past and living in the moment that we actually forget the future – the future of our kids, of our brothers and sisters, our future. Seemingly negative emotions can be beneficial when used to kick start positive actions; the trick is to not let the emotions rule you. 

Let’s talk about FEAR!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Payme's profile on www.omojuwa.com!

This happened a little over a week ago :)


She is the very first winner of our SuperBloggers series. Considering the plans and ideas we have for this writers and bloggers competition, I am particularly excited because our first winner is not just a person of competence but also a lady with a big heart. She chose to donate her cash prize to a charity called 1Child1Book an organisation founded bY child songstress Tosin Jegede. She took time out to introduce herself to us. Enjoy the short profile below.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Violent Acts - Lasting Change?

   "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."
                                                                                          Mahatma Gandhi
Do not dismiss this as the musings of a naïve girl. Dad has always spoken to me about Nigerian issues (politics, tribal and religious segregation etc.) for as long as I can remember (we are side-kicks lol). We would vent our frustrations, suggest our solutions, and talk about possible miracles that could lead to change – all in our sitting room. Then we would end it all with the resigned knowledge that our country has such a long way to go – conversations like this end up with me feeling deflated when I realise how much ground we still have to cover has a nation. 

I believe I am not the only one who feels like this and I know that these feelings of deflation and frustrations drive the passion behind the on-going calls for protests be it online or on the streets. There are positive and negative effects for different actions, so my question is this: 

Have we really thought about our modes of protests?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Heroes and She-roes

This article has nothing to do with abusive relationships!!!

                      "Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women's denigration of themselves."
                                                                                               Betty Friedan

I have recently been thinking about some issues to do with the female gender and in light of today being International Women's day, I would like to share one with you :)

There are many beautiful sayings in my language (Yoruba) that describe how much of a blessing mothers are, for instance ‘Iya ni wura – mother is gold’, ‘Orisa bi iya o si laye – there is no idol like a mother in the world’ etc. I am sure that other languages have their own ways of expressing these sentiments. However, there is another saying that is frequently used when praising mothers which does not sit well with me:  

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Truth?

While growing up, we were told things about how big the world is; how it was waiting for us to launch ourselves. We believed if we stuck with school, stuck with our arts, got high grades and graduated successfully, we would be fine. That was until we got thrown in the deep end and roughly woken from our slumber. We start out being simple, nice and kind but end up as hard and cynical adults as the realisation that our expectations have been unrealistic dawns on us.   

Maybe if we had been told the truth about the world all along, we would have learnt to make dreaming and acting our second nature; we would have been focused on working hard and looking for ways to create the environments we dreamt of. Maybe we would not have been expecting to have things laid out for us; we would not have felt like the world owed us anything and our thoughts would have been about what to give.

Monday, 5 March 2012


"Nothing will work unless you do" - Maya Angelou
In light of my previous post, I would like to give some tips on how individuals or groups of people can raise money to support the projects that they have in mind in order to help their communities. I do not expect people to trust strangers with their money, so knocking from door to door, asking for donations will result in little or no funds. Organising activities which would involve donors’ participation would generate more trust. Here are a few tips on how to get started. Enjoy!
I will advise to start with one project and then build on the success of that. Projects can vary from buying books for your school library, organising a fun day out for the less privileged kids in your area, to organising a grand immunisation scheme awareness for illnesses like Polio, Lassa Fever etc.
Make sure you know how much money the project requires before you start. You might even get discounts from suppliers who know you are working towards a worthy cause. Be very efficient and realistic with your plans. You gain trust when people can see that you are truly on top of things. Disappointing people is not the way to go!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

To Nkem

            "Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone." - George Washington

This is to the memory of my childhood friend ‘Nkem’ (not real name).

I have been quite heartbroken and sad this week; angry too. I have just been told about the death of one of my childhood friends. She passed on four years ago and knowing about this is extremely painful but knowing the cause of her death makes it even worse and this is my way of grieving for her. I think writing will make me feel temporarily better and I hope it does her memory justice. 

We were childhood friends (neighbours). She was sweet and extremely nice. She had three siblings while I have one. We lived in a compound with four flats and a boys-quarter with about five rooms. Her family had three of the rooms in the boys-quarters – one room served as the sitting room (the dad sometimes slept there), the second as the bedroom and the third was their kitchen.  They were poor. Her parents were into farming – mainly Cassava. They trekked for miles to and from their farms daily and on the weekends, Nkem and her siblings went with them. My parents were not rich but we were ‘OK’. There were three other families in the flats and at least one of the parents in these flats had white collar jobs. We all lived in the same compound but still appeared worlds apart. The kids in the flats went to private schools. Nkem and her siblings went to public schools. As kids, it never mattered, we ate together and played together. The flats were all bungalows so we had lots of space in the compound for all types of games – hide & seek, role-plays etc. Childhood was amazing. I remember my sister's 4th birthday – we all had pure unadulterated fun, the type that only kids could have.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Nigerian Dream?

Growing up in Nigeria, I knew I was going to become a medical doctor. It was not a hard decision and I know that a lot of people especially Africans would understand. Back home, science students blessed with good grades are expected to end up as Doctors or Engineers and social-science/art students would become Lawyers and Accountants. Well, I could not really stand Physics so Engineering was out of it for me pretty early on. For students who ended up becoming medical doctors, the route taken to reach that goal was quite straight forward: finish secondary school with high grades, write Jamb and get admitted to study medicine and they were very much on their way. This isn’t the route for everyone but in my environment back then it was the most common route.

Compared with a few people that I know, I actually had a little driving force: I did not want to be a Nurse! Before you crucify me, my dad is a Nurse. A really good and passionate nurse if I must say and I admire him a lot. So my reasons?  Well, I must have been about 9 years old when I got admitted into hospital because I had typhoid (“the lollies being sold outside the school gates are bad for you, you don’t know where the water’s from” my mum warned, but Payme had to find out the hard way :|. The things we put our parents through ey!). Back to business, there is one thing I hate about hierarchy and that is the ‘rudeness’ that people with no professionalism bring with it. And I am sure Nigerians can testify to it that right from primary school to places of work, ‘SENIORITY’ is the order of the day. I saw how some of the doctors talked to the nurses like the nurses were less important and I did not like it – there goes my first reason. Also, while on my hospital bed, I was being pampered and treated nicely and I would like to think that this was because the nurses liked my dad who was their colleague at the time plus he was also a unionist. He was not a paediatric nurse, but even in his absence, the nurses were really nice. But there was a stark difference between the way I was treated and the way the other kids in the ward were treated even with their parents present. They got their drugs, injections etc. on time but there was a distinct lack of empathy and the nurses/doctors were sometimes impatient when it came to reassuring the worried parents. I knew this difference was because they regarded my dad as one of their own and being his child, it was simply natural for them to be nice. Right there and then, as a child, I decided I was going to work in a hospital (albeit for selfish reasons) – there’s my second reason. So, I was going to work in a hospital and not as a nurse but as a doctor. Simple!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Our Nigeria?

♫ Nigeria, my beloved country, working together is our aim ♫

I remember listening to and singing this song as a child, especially on children’s day (May 27). Are those match parades still held? Good times!

I am fully aware of the complexities surrounding Nigeria, from our politics to the economy and I know that the problems will not just disappear neither will one solution suffice. I am not for any political party be it PDP, ACN, ANPP or the labour unions. This is for Nigerians like me - ordinary citizens who are tired of hearing or reading about the same old things. My aim is to get us to think about the place we call home. I still stand by one of my previous posts titled 'Is a united Nigeria feasible?'. However, knowing what I know now, I probably would have written it using a slightly different approach.

Why is it that after nearly 52 years, Nigeria has not developed to the point of having things done in a real democratic way? Can we blame the majority of the Northerners who want to live under Islamic rule? Can we blame the Easterners who want to be able to enjoy the benefits of living in an oil-rich region? Can we blame the Westerners who want more support for their agricultural practices? Can we blame Nigerians who want to be able to practise their religions freely without the fear of being attacked? Can we blame the Nigerians that think each region should go their separate ways? Can there ever be a united Nigeria? Is the Federal government system working? Should Nigeria be broken apart?

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

My issues with Davido's music video 'Dami Duro'

                           “Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”  Saint Augustine

To start with, I know that this is just a music video and it is one of hundreds of videos with similar themes. However, my issue with it is very relevant to the present day attitudes of a lot of us young people and it is the most recent video that I have seen since starting my blog. This is why I’m choosing to write about it. 

Can someone please tell me what the first 30 seconds of the video was all about???!

Poor waiter who unfortunately had to wait on a group of arrogant and self-obsessed boys made the ‘mistake’ of asking if they were going to pay for their drinks. The response he got was the intentional spilling of ‘expensive’ bottles of wine before having huge wads of cash slammed on his tray. 

The message?  
I am rich and I can do whatever I please no matter how egocentric I look. 

My Issue:  
I have a problem with the sheer arrogance portrayed in this video. I believe this is one of the roots of the major problems facing this generation. It is partly responsible for the current spate of scams, stylish or outright prostitutions and even armed robberies. A lot of young people involved in horrible things like yahoo, aristo (sleeping with older men for material gains) etc. mainly do it for this 'Big boy/Big girl' effect.  Yes there are other factors such as parental upbringing, environmental influences etc. that contribute to these but having the despicable behaviour glorified in music videos does not help matters.