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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

What Is Bad Is Bad. - AllHeartsAlways

On my way back to the office this afternoon, I came across a heartbreaking scene. It was raining heavily and I was stuck in traffic. Suddenly, I looked up from my phone and saw a young woman with a huge load on her head. She was barefooted and was trying to cross a very busy road. She had a wee baby strapped on her back. He/she wasn't covered at all and was being beaten by the rain. I couldn't believe my eyes. What harm has that baby ever done to deserve such, I wondered? Why didn't anyone else appear surprised and why was no one helping? I could sense her frustration at not being allowed to cross and I feared she would risk her life and that of her baby by trying to beat the fast cars and dashing across the road.

I had a thick and huge scarf with me, just lying on my laps. I grabbed it, got out of the car and ran up to her. I asked her why she's left her baby exposed in such a weather. She said she didn't realize the baby was no longer covered. She had a very thin and very wet veil around her which she tried to use to cover the wee baby. I asked if she didn't mind using my scarf, she couldn't believe her eyes and immediately reached for it. I used my scarf to protect herself and her baby from the cold and rain. (It's one of the thickest scarves I own and was a gift but here was a woman and a child in genuine need of it.)

She said she was coming from Ikeja (a long way from where I found her at Maryland and I don't even know if she walked there) and that her slippers broke in the rain so she had to walk barefooted. I helped her stop the oncoming vehicles and got them across the road safely. I guided them to a shelter out of the rain and asked her to wait for me to turn the car around so I could give them some money and a lift to their destination.

Unfortunately, we got caught in traffic and by the time we got back to where I had left her,  she was gone. I searched for her and even traced her to the area she said she wanted to take a bike to, but I couldn't find them. I felt so awful, like I shouldn't have left them but allowed my driver make the turn. :( Sadly, I didn't even get a good look at her face but I will look out for her in this area and do more for her.

Getting back to my office, I narrated the experience but the reactions I got were mixed with most tending towards, "why are you stressing na, there are many like her around", "how many like her can you help, if you go towards so-so area you will find several like her there", "go up North and see the state they live in there, the almajeris". I was gobsmacked and I ensured I impressed it on them that IT IS NOT NORMAL NOR ACCEPTABLE FOR THINGS LIKE THIS TO HAPPEN. 

I don't care what the statistics are or if I may be mistaken for a person with ulterior motives. The right and best thing to do in such a situation is to reach out and offer help like I did, and render the help if accepted. If all of us did our little bits, then perhaps we would reduce the high number of people suffering in Nigeria. Just yesterday, I wrote this post about all of us being hands-on in making our country better, and this happens today. It is a validation (not that I need any) that I know what I'm talking about when I go on about being AllHeartsAlways. We must help as many as we can whenever we can. We cannot keep turning our faces away when we see people in distress because someday, we might be in need as well.

Be In It To Get It.

It is very easy to sit back and castigate others for not doing enough for our country Nigeria, but have you looked into a mirror recently? Ask yourself what you have done to make things better for yourself as a patriotic citizen and  how have you impacted positively on the lives of those around you. It is not enough to clamour for change, we must live the change we so desire. There is so much to do in ensuring change comes to Nigeria and the onus lies on you and I to see to it that it begins and is sustained. The number of  blissfully ignorant people that can benefit from the knowledge you and I have are way to high to be left to fester in their nescient states.

It is high time we roll up our sleeves and get working because talk, tweets, memes and  status updates are cheap. Let's get acting and quit harping over the same things. It's time sensible, educated, empathic and intelligent people start ruling in our country. These sort of people often shun politics in Nigeria, claiming it's to dirty a game to dabble into. We leave the elective office to knuckleheads hoping they will see enough sense to bring us on board to make change happen. We merely deceive ourselves by that line of thought. We have to be in it, to make things happen. If we, who know better, refuse to participate then we are clearly leaving ourselves open to being led by those that know little or nothing. You are only as good as those you surround yourself with.

There are so many ways to get involved in making positive change happen and I will list a few below:

* Be informed. Read up various articles  and be knowledgeable enough to improve yourself and still impart knowledge.

* Be involved in charity. Give as much as you can to the needy around you so that you won't be the first thing on their menu, the day they revolt.

* Be involved in neighbourhood meetings that seek to bring about improvement to the residences. Don't wait until you are a landlord before you do this. Do it now!!

* Don't look down on others, but rather help people up whenever you can.

* Educate those around you; no matter how frustrating it gets. One day, it will sink in for them.

*Learn to make demands from those who are responsible for your comfort and basic amenities in your constituencies. Get people of like-minds and write petitions, making demands for your rights. I won't go further to tell you to escalate things, if you don't get the desired results with your petitions.

* Don't just be a talker, be a doer.

* Read. Learn. Read some more. Learn some more.

* Get involved in politics on whatever scale as you can, to start off with.

* Give the stuff you don't use out to those who need them. Remember, one man's dirt is another man's treasure.

* Don't just ask people this question "How are you?", ask it genuinely and mean it. If you cannot be bothered about those around you and how they are faring, how then do you want change to come?

* Learn to be your brother/neighbours' keeper.

Let us take charge of the crumbling situations around us and do our best to make Nigeria great again. If you have more ways in which we can all get involved, please share it. It's for all of our good. :)

Monday, 29 September 2014

Boko Haram Shows Off Their Loot - Video

I came across this video last week Friday and it weakened me so much I took an involuntary nap because my head simply couldn't process what I had just seen. The video showed several Boko Haram members on the streets of a town up North, shooting sporadically with heavy and sophisticated weapons. I was gobsmacked at their calm yet deadly lackadaisical attitudes and the manner in which they casually strutted down the streets, clearly with a mission in mind. Even more shocking was seeing them loot what appears to be the armory in an abandoned army barrack. Clearly, we have been indirectly supplying these deluded bunch of damaged fellows the weapons they in turn use to attack us. It was heartbreaking. And if all that was not bad enough, the video showed two hapless soldiers fleeing into the hills. 

It would take a really cruel judge to condemn those two for fleeing seeing the baying bloodthirsty misguided crowd that were relentlessly out to get them. I wonder if they managed to escape, eventually. :( One of them appeared to have been hit because these terrorists kept on shooting at them even as they fled. The end of the video showed some plain clothed people laid face down and I shudder to think of what those beasts would have done to them.

I wish our government would wipe off these scums once and for all. It is frightening to imagine them taking over the entire country. I cannot imagine the terror the Northerners have been facing this whole time. It is gut-wrenching, just imagining it talk less of living it. Most of them appeared so young and so casually dressed for "war", but it makes sense now when we see the army display pictures of their bullet-ridden bodies and we have to wonder if there hasn't been cases of mistaken identity because we think they don't look like the dreaded and feared terrorist they are. Sigh.

Life Hacks (2)

This is another episode of Life Hacks. Life hacks are basically fun-short-cuts to doing things easier and getting better results. Enjoy.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Let's Talk About Old Flames And The Memories They Bring.....

Remember my dear friend and runaway-blogger-to-be, Toyin, who wrote this cracking post in June? Well, she's at it again. Enjoy. :)
Old Flames And The Memories They Bring...

Something happened to me recently that made me feel like Rachael in the Bible. For those of you who read your bible (yes you should as a good shaild of God), you'll recollect that when Rachael was leaving her father, Laban's house, she stole some of his gods. Well, when I was leaving my father's house some eight years ago, I 'stole' (because it was without his permission), some of his books. Management books, fine Christian literature, motivational books, I took them with me. His was such a rich library he guarded so jealously I couldn't resist. Sigh.
So it was that on this fine Thursday evening I took out one of them at work to unwind. It was Stephen Covey's 7 habits for Highly Effective People. As I turned the pages, I found a folded note which was now brown with time and on opening it, I discovered it was a love note I had written to an old flame many years ago. It instantly brought back memories and transported me back to that time. It was surreal, like going on astral travel.
You remember some old flames and it brings back unpleasant memories while for some, the memories are so sweet you wish you could turn back the hands of time (come on now people, let's be honest especially we married folks). Well not too good to dwell on for too long if you are married so that something will not go and happen to something, speaking colloquially 😁.
This one, brought back bittersweet memories. Sweet because we met in an unusual manner. Typical movie script. We met at the airport on Tuesday as corpers flying to Imo where we served, by Thursday we were an item.
We had met on a queue by Sosoliso counter. The airline had rescheduled our flight for the umpteenth time and eventually cancelled so all passengers were told to come get a refund. I was distraught. I already had a funny feeling about this journey and this now happened. While I stood there, I heard a man behind me angrily but coolly expressing his frustration. I turned and saw this slightly taller than 6 foot, lanky guy with a back pack. I assumed he was going on a business trip because he didn't look like he could possibly be a youth corper. I then asked,
'Are you also going to Owerri?'
'Yes', he replied. While we were discussing how we will possibly get to Owerri, a middle aged man who was behind us now suggested we go with Bellview to Port Harcourt and then make our onward trip to Owerri for our eventual journey to Nkwerre where the orientation camp was.
On board, we got on like a house on fire. We did not get to the camp until past 10pm. I was hungry and bone tired. Imagine my shock when I was told we had to register first before retiring for the night and it was such a long queue for registration. He took care of me the first two days we tried to both settle down in camp. He was such a soft spoken, gentleman. Fine medical doctor.  That remains one of the 'craziest' things I have done till date. I initially thought it will be the typical NYSC orientation camp fling but no, things got serious and we were together for a little over two years. Why did we break up? Well, long distance. Sometimes these things doesn't work. He left for Ireland before service ended. We stayed in touch, he came home on a visit, even went as far getting introduced to the family and I subsequently went on several weekend visits with his mum while he was away but still...
As I stared at the note, I remembered his voice, his smile (he had a way of showing his 32), his gentle disposition and usual phrase of, 'Toyin mi fe wahala o'. I remembered his scrawny handwriting (appears all doctors have that), his mum. She took to me from the first day we met. The long phone calls, the pain I felt after the break up. The many nights I stayed up wetting my pillow with tears because the entire time we were dating I was in business school here and had my own fair share of toasters. Some serious, some not so serious. But I was always quick to tell them,
'I'm sorry I am in a serious relationship.'
Imagine the shame so to speak, I had to live with after the breakup. One of them jokingly sang Lagbaja's 'Sisi tani ko fe wa' to me when word eventually got out. Mean guy. We had become friends but he was now married.
This is the poem I found that Thursday evening.
My deepest desires...
I really do need you more than ever.
I need you to be my best friend, my soul mate, my big brother
I want so much to be close to you and be free with you
I want to be able to tell you things as they are not as they seem
I need to know your shoulders are mine to cry on when things are not going as I want
I want to be free to play it by your ears things that bother my soul and are a burden in my heart
I want to be unashamed to strip my heart in your presence
I want to be free to show you things that though I hide from others, they are yours to see
I need your mouth to tell me things that others might be afraid to say to my face
I want your hands to hold and care for me like no one else can
Most of all I want to always know how much I mean to you
Sweetheart, you are my dream come true
Because you bring me so much joy and all I have ever felt since you came into my life is joy
That is why I call you Ayomi, my joy.
I'm holding my breath till you return.

 Now that's my story. What's yours?

Article by: Toyin Femi-Akinlade (@y_toyin)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Henhouse Prowlers in Abuja "Chop My Money" .

Look what I found online!!! The "oyinbo version" of P-Square's Chop My Money. This was performed by the group "The Henhouse Prowlers", who started their Nigeria tour with a special performance at the residence of the United States embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission in Abuja. Enjoy.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Boy Hugging Chicken

This video is rather touching as it shows the pureness of a child's heart towards an animal. There's something so innocent and pure about children that always makes me wonder. I also often wonder why lovely children grow up into awful adults. Anyways, enjoy this video and try to see a boy hugging a chicken rather than a bucket of KFC's spicy wings. #OkBye :)

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Iceland, A Country Where A Human Life Still Matters.

When I came across this piece of news, I was amazed. Apparently since Iceland (the country) gained independence in 1944, armed police has never had to shoot anyone dead until last December and there have been no further shooting since then. Now, some may argue that the population is not that large compared to other countries with huge crime rates and high police brutalities, thereby giving the Icelandic police no cause to shoot anyone. The police hardly carry weapons and violent crimes are pretty rare there. Others may argue that Iceland is a peaceful place with one culture therefore making allowances for misunderstandings, rare. The fact remains that in 69 years since their independence, the Icelandic police force never shot anyone to death for any crime. (Now if they've used other means to kill a suspect or convict, I can't tell you now.) The man who was shot dead was a 59-year-old man with mental illness who started shooting at the police as soon as they entered his building, thus giving them no choice but to retaliate immediately. 

According to Thora Arnorsdottir, news editor at RUV, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, "The nation was in shock. This does not happen in our country. The nation does not want its police force to carry weapons because it's dangerous, it's threatening. It's a part of the culture. Guns are used to go hunting as a sport, but you never see a gun." The officers involved have been put through grief counselling and the police have apologized to the family of the deceased, not because they did anything wrong but because, according to Arnorsdottir it's a respectful thing to apologize as "no one wants to take another person's life".

I think Iceland is looking very welcoming to me on this note and seeing as my quest to relocate to another planet due to the depth of craziness going on in our world right now isn't panning out yet (Richard Branson's spaceship isn't ready yet), I just might settle for Iceland.

Racism Or Nay? - Key & Peele - Alien Imposters

 I found this enlightening skit and I thought to share to give us something to ponder on. The way the skit was acting was pretty cool and even a bit hilarious, however it has generated mixed feelings among different races. While some people feel it is spot on because that is the daily experience for most blacks in some countries, others feel the way the skit has been portrayed is in itself racist against whites. Well, watch and let's have your opinion. :)

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

An Unpardonable Gaffe.

I got off work yesterday evening and on my way home, I went through my twitter timeline to catch up on what I'd missed during the day. A particular tweet caught my eye and my entire senses were heightened in what I can at best describe as a pleasantly-anticipated-shock-belief. I couldn't believe my eyes as I read that there was a possibility that some of the missing Chibok girls, that triggered the worldwide #BringBackOurGirls online campaign, had been released and sighted in a convoy. The first thought that came to mind was the fact that accurate information in Nigeria is very tricky to believe and rely on. For some weird reasons, our government, media, etc always seems to furnish us with very believable lies to keep us sated while they carry out or cover up more sinister things/issues. I didn't want to believe this story but by Jove , it was what we have been waiting on for FIVE months.

I speedily scrolled through my timeline to ascertain the truth in this news. My heart palpitated faster and I felt like my head would explode as I pondered on how those poor girls who had been in captivity would be so delighted that finally, Nigeria came through for them by negotiating their release. I prayed and willed yesterday evening to be the day that we would finally #BringBackOurGirls. The optimist in me refused to be suppressed.

I imagined the unspeakable delight of the parents and the girls siblings. I imagined how the girls would feel, having proper hot meals to eat within the comfort of a home. I imagined the feel of having clean and hot water to take their baths with. I imagined how they would feel with freshly pressed clean clothes on their backs. I imagined the effect having access to privacy and use of proper sanitary towels would have on their psyches. I imagined how they would feel having the arms of their loved ones around them, telling them how much they had been missed and how much they are loved. I imagined how giddy with delight they would be at having access to music to soothe their frayed nerves. I imagined the country and the rest of the world going agog with sheer delight at victory of their return. I imagined much more and I tweeted about my poor heart not being able to take it if the news turned out to be false. I imagined that surely, no sane person would make a show out of such a fragile issue, on which lives depended.

So many press handles (local and international) covered this news, some of them quoting sources from Nigeria's defense ministry. They claimed some of the over 200 kidnapped girls had been freed and that there was an "ongoing operation". I was ecstatic and I imagined how the direct relatives to this girls would feel. They would have probably abandoned what they were doing immediately, dressed up and stood outside their doors clutching their phones in their hands waiting for the call to come see their long lost children.

Despite being warned and advised by a few people not to believe or jubilate over anything Nigerian media/government releases on national issues until after 72 hours, I couldn't hold back nor keep still. These girls have been gone for over 160 days and it would have been cruel not to hold on to or rejoice over any glimmer of hope, thought my ever optimistic self. It would have been beyond pure evil for anyone to have made up such a hoax in the light of the sensitive nature of the case. I dared to hope and believe in Nigeria, in our defense ministry and in both the local and international media which made this claim of the release. I dared to dream and hope and sadly, I was terribly disappointed.

Less than an hour afterwards, news was circulated about a "misunderstanding and case of mistaken identities" about the girls sighted. I couldn't breathe. I felt badly hurt and angry, and I can only imagine the utter anguish of the parents of these girls. It is very irresponsible of anyone to inform media houses and alert them to the fact that there was a sensitized "ongoing operation" without concrete proof. It is cruel to raise the hopes of people and dash these hopes without even a small bit of success on the matter. We cannot continue to tinker with the emotions and intelligence of an entire country and its citizens. Time and time again we have been lied to and our intelligence played upon without so much as one person paying for these tomfooleries. 
We cannot say one thing and then at our own convenience, retract our statement when the proverbial shit hits the fan. The essence of professionalism is for issues to be clarified appropriately before being churned out in a bid to claim temporary glory or victory. I believe someone should be held accountable for last night's gaffe. In some Asian countries, you cannot embarrass the nation like this and keep your job or even your head. What is our problem on this side of the world that we believe it is actually "ok" for someone to make this sort of error and not pay for it? We cannot keep making excuses and allowances for pathetic gaffes like this one, enough is enough please. It is high time we wake up and smell the coffee and realize that there's more to life and living than making do with mediocrity.

Nonetheless, we will not give up on our Chibok girls. We will keep doing all we can until we  #BringBackOurGirls. We will sing a new song of freedom upon their release. We will not stop hoping for their safe return.

p.s here is an audio from a radio station claiming that's General Olukolade confirming that some of the girls had been released before he retracted the statement. I've tweeted at him to confirm whether or not that's his voice on tape. I'm not holding my breath though.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

GidiTraffic - A Most Selfless Role Model....

I joined twitter five years ago after a rather dark period in my life which is how I came about the handle @Survivor17 but I wasn't particularly active on there. However when I relocated to Nigeria about three years ago, I felt the social network site was the best way to help me settle in quicker. I was deeply appalled by the level at which things had deteriorated in Nigeria regarding human welfare. Initially, the more I tried to right as many societal ills as I could around me, the more I was made to feel I was fighting a losing battle and it was a horribly lonely feeling of despair and dejection. I was bent on my spreading the quest for peace, justice, harmony, satisfaction, and so on as far as I could.

slowly felt my way around twitter, watching, learning, chipping in, etc and then one day I came across the handle @Gidi_Traffic. The concept of GidiTraffic was so simple yet so complex and I immediately knew it was going to turn out huge and successful. Here was a person who connected people and made life bearable for all concerned by tweeting traffic updates and thus saving thousands from the stress of getting caught in unpleasant traffic situations. GT spent his/her entire time initially sourcing updates and uploading for all to see, and as time went on, people voluntarily tweeted their dilemmas on the roads and off of it at him/her. It felt like I had met a kindred spirit as I was, and I still am, awed at his/her utter devotion to being #AllHeartsAlways. His/her pay off is "Lending Each Other An Eye" and it reflects in the variety of requests that people send in and how quickly they get answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. One incident that sticks to my mind was when there was a national strike and a woman went into labour helplessly in her house, a midwife saw the tweets for help and help birth the baby safely, all via @Gidi_Traffic. (I get a tear in my eye each time I recall that day)

Before GidiTraffic, there were a few other traffic-spewing handles on twitter but GT was uniquely different because of two things. One, he/she has a wicked sense of humour that is out of this world and secondly you could literally feel his/her genuine passion and care for others. I was drawn to him/her and I have learned a whole lot from him/her in the way he/she relates with others with utmost respect and patience. I have never seen him/her being rude to anyone, not even to the most insolent tweeps. GT's sarcasm is second to none and it led me to start the hashtag #GTReplies (Yes, I started that.;) Oftentimes when I'm thoroughly stressed out, I go through the hashtag and have a good laugh. People have asked me if I'm the one behind the handle and I find it laughable because even I learn positively from GT and aim to be as thoroughly selfless and patient as he/she is.

GidiTraffic's dedication and devotion was soon noticed by all and sundry and in came a grand sponsorship deal from Nokia. The pride I felt in my heart the day this was announced cannot be put into words. Here was a young person whom I watched , through hard work and sleepless days and nights, grow from having a few hundred followers to having almost one hundred and fifty thousand followers and then got a sponsorship deal as a Nokia Ambassador and even launced his/her own Application. Day in, day out GT selflessly and tirelessly churns out life-saving information and helps make life more bearable for Lagosians and Nigerians at a large.

I know it hasn't been a walk in the park for GT as several times, attempts have been made to sabotage his/her efforts and put him/her down. At some point, a particular person took the time to open multiple twitter accounts to spew venom at him/her and slander him/her but GT always kept his/her cool and refused to stoop to conquer this particular person. Despite the antics, which also included stealing tweets and editing GT's handle out of them (clear cut case of plagiarism, if you ask me), GidiTraffic rose above the bile and kept his/her wits and morals about him/her. 

GidiTraffic is an epitome of selflessness and humility wrapped in a cloak of mystery, humour and passionate talent. If you ever require a worthy role model for your colleagues or children to emulate, GidiTraffic is the best example of such, especially in such a downward-spiraling morally bankrupt society as ours. He/she has won several awards and gotten commendable recognitions across the globe such as his/her nomination for a Shorty Award (this award is like the Rolls Royce of social media awards) in the Life Saving Hero Category and he/she was actually in the same category as the Fire Department Of New York. The BBC flew in for the ceremony in New York just to interview him. Dare I say that the concept for the Lagos traffic radio also came GidiTraffic's impact and achievements.

I celebrate his/her achievements with him/her today as he/she clocks three years of tweeting via the handle @Gidi_Traffic.

P.s. The tantalizing mystery of his/her gender remains....... :) ;) ;) 

First taste of chocolate in Ivory Coast

Even though Ivory Coast is the largest producer and exporter of cocoa bean in the world, which are even made into chocolate, many of their cocoa farmers have never tasted the end product of the hard work they put into growing cocoa beans because they are too poor to afford chocolates. 

The video below shows the reactions of some of these farmers after tasting chocolate for the very first time. One of them even said he didn't know cocoa beans are used in producing chocolates because their parents told them they were used to make wine and so they assumed all their lives that the cocoa beans were used to make imported wine! It is as touching and funny as it is sad, their plight is. Life is often very unreal.

Monday, 22 September 2014

This Two-Sided Life..............

I have come to realize that everything in life has two sides and it is in one's own best interest to explore both sides before making decisions or reacting to the words of one person over another. Often times, you can have someone come to you with a really juicy/damning story about another person and because this other person might be capable of what is being said about them based on their natural character, you find yourself nodding in total agreement. Meanwhile, if you take time to probe further, you will most likely always out that the first storyteller did not give you a true of full picture of what actually transpired. Why people edit gist/stories/occurrences to favour them over another rather than tell the truth as it is is something I still struggle to come to terms with. Some people will convincingly and conveniently tell you a total fib or split a truth into two and bring the smaller chunk to you, then they stand around and watch you slay the character of the supposed antagonist based on what they have fed you with. How they live with themselves is simply beyond me.

Another thing you also have to bear in mind about this two-sided life we are living is that it cuts across all aspects of living, yes even up to relationships. You can have a friend you love and respect dearly, whom you confide in on everything about your life and this person might not be on the same page with you in the least bit. While you think they are the bees knees, they will stab you in the back without batting an eyelid simply because of this two-sided life which you had no clue existed. Live and learn dear reader, live and learn.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Dealing With Sin-agog.

By now, nearly the whole world has heard about the Synagogue church building that collapsed last week in Lagos, Nigeria. As if it wasn't bad enough that the congregation of the Synagogue stopped the rescue teams and first responders from reaching the victims of the crumbled building on time, Nigerians were then given the most ridiculous excuse for the occurrence of the incident. It was as terrible and pathetic as catching an elder's hand in the offering bowl and having him blame it on the devil.

You'd think that was the ultimate insult until you realize that the collapsed building was an illegal structure. Reports and news indicate that the building was cleared for approval of two floors but the church raised it to five floors and therein lies the "demon" that caused that awful tragedy. It was an avoidable and man-made tragedy that took almost a hundred lives. If indeed I was to be proved wrong in this Article where I talked about our utter disregard to value human lives in Nigeria, then that building never should have been built to that level without the right planning for it.

As I read reports of how reporters were brutally stopped from covering the story immediately it happened and how policemen stood around and did nothing to address the madness that possessed the congregation from letting the emergency services team and volunteers in to assist the wounded, I became even more upset and bothered about the shenanigans we get up to in this country under the guise of religion. Simply because the policemen at the scene were most likely clad by TBJ (the founder of SCOAN) and on his payroll, these facts robbed them of their common sense and sensitivity to what their core allegiance should be as public servants enrolled to maintain law and order. What a disgraceful era I've found myself in, I mused in fury as more and more reports came in about politicians and government officials from far and wide sucking up to this alleged MOG (Man of God) rather than asking pertinent questions and pressing charges on behalf of the victims of this avoidable tragedy.

To add insult to injury, yesterday a furious journalist Nicholas Ibekwe revealed that TBJ had offered some journalists N50,000 "bribe" to tone the story down. Of all the reporters present at that meeting, only Nicholas refused the money. He's brought forward an audio proof of what transpired between TBJ and the reporters and I think the government ought to look into it fast. I managed to listen for almost three minutes before I furiously shut it down. I couldn't stomach the lackadaisical and casual way TBJ and the journalists reacted to the tragedy and disrespected the dead between 2.20 and 2.30 minutes into the video. They even had the cold-hearts to laugh as he flippantly told them what he wanted them to report, saying things like "let's leave the dead and talk about the living first" as they asked him what he expected them to write! The audacity and effrontery of this man and those disgraceful journalists in this audio makes my blood curl, because it sounded like he knows he will get away with anything.

I wish we could all remove the religious and tribal cloak that is covering our reasoning, see things for what they are and make a move for justice to be carried out for the dead and wounded. The issue here is plain and simple to see that an illegal structure was constructed, help was rebuffed when it mattered and money exchanged hands in a bid to cover up a story. We are, as a country, on a mission to self-destruct if we cannot separate facts from sentiments, tribal and religious bias.

Here's a link

A True Survivor Story (Episode 2)

I started a series in which I share real-life #SurvivorTales from real people across the world. The point of this is to cheer people up and help them get through whatever seemingly bleak situations they may be passing through. So if you know any such people, feel free to share and encourage them. And if you know are a True Survivor or know one, please send me your story at so that others will be inspired by it. :) Previous stories can be read here and here.

To kick this series off, I will be re-posting (unedited) a friend's #SurvivorTales. Her name is Ijeoma Ogwuegbu – Uduma and she resides in Nigeria. Her story is as informative as it is encouraging. I hope her story inspires you as it did me. Enjoy.

Her Story.
Recently, I was on Wana Udobang's show on Inspiration Fm with a lovely young lady named Glory. We were discussing sensitive skin conditions/disorders.
Glory has Psoriasis, an auto immune skin disorder that causes your body to over-produce skin cells, leading to scaly patches on the skin. I have Atopic Dermatitis, also known as eczema, which is a hereditary skin condition that causes the skin to break out in itchy, dry patches.
At some points in my life, Eczema covered as much as seventy per cent of my body, including my face. Today, it covers around fifty per cent.
Having eczema means that when I wake up in the morning, I have to gauge if I have enough mental energy to take a bath. One of the biggest triggers for Eczema is water. This means that when water touches your skin and stays on your skin for longer than sixty seconds, it can lead to itching and a stinging sensation, wherever the Eczema is present on your body. The stinging can feel like dozens of soldier ants, biting you at the same time.
No long, hot showers (water is bad, but hot water is much worse). No long, romantic soaks in the bathtub either. (See my life o!).
I have to try as much as possible not to sweat, because sweat is water and water equals itching and stinging and discomfort.
Hot weather is bad, because it makes me sweat. Cold weather is bad, because it makes my skin dry and flake. Cue Eczema.
Funny thing is, that the biggest thing my skin needs is moisture.
Water, soaps, perfumes, cigarette smoke, chemicals, some natural oils, creams, all these act as triggers for my skin.
The itching is an almost constant, every minute, everyday part of life. Sometimes, it gets so bad that it brings tears to my eyes. Sometimes it makes me dancing, because dancing distracts me from it for a while.
All my life, I've had to live with the many physical discomforts that come with this condition. I've also had to deal with the social stigma.
I've had complete strangers stop me to tell me the reason I has eczema is because I'm dirty. I had fellow classmates compose derogatory songs about me. I've had people slip me notes with prescriptions with drugs they were convinced would 'cure' me of my skin condition. In my preteens and teenage years, I became shy, because no matter how close your friends were, they would think twice before hugging you. In university, I never had the problem of roommates borrowing my clothes to wear, because they assumed my eczema was contagious and they didn't want to risk catching it. I also wasn't allowed to borrow their things for the same reason.
These things affected me for a while, until I discovered the world of books. I could escape into the lands of my books, hang out with new friends without any of them giving me weird looks because I had 'dirty' skin. In real life though, I tried to find ways to 'fix' my skin.  
I can’t count the number of times doctors prescribed antibiotics for me. (There’s a type of eczema caused by fungal infection, but it’s not common and that’s not the type I have.) I’ve been told to rub Lime, Potash, creams uncountable. I single-handedly kept Johnson Wax afloat, by buying all their Nixoderm ointment.(Lol). None of them worked for more than a few days. None of them ‘cured’ me.
Then came the Internet, with its world of knowledge. Finally, I found information that helped me realize that I wasn't a dirty freak of nature, but someone with a treatable, manageable condition. I also found out that most of the things I'd been 'advised' to use were actually making my skin worse!
From my constant reading though, came a love of words. With the love of words, came a talent for putting them together. Even though I studied Industrial Chemistry in university, I make my living now as a writer. So Eczema brought me pain, but it also somehow brought me my livelihood.

I decided to go on Wana's show because, while I may have found that information, many people hadn't. They were still walking around with their ignorance and still passing it on as prejudices to their children. I also wanted to let as many people who were going through something similar know that they were not alone and are just as productive, as important as anyone else out there.
My dear Nigerians, I love you guys, y'all are aggressively nosy, even with ignorance. But if you don't take anything from this post, take the following as 'new' information.
1. Eczema is NOT CONTAGIOUS. If you have a friend or loved one who has this condition and you've been afraid to hug them, look for them today and give them a massive body hug (but ask permission first sha. Lol).
2. Atopic Eczema runs in families. So quit talking crap about people being dirty. You don't know their lives. And even if you do, you don't know what you're talking about. (Now, I’m not saying the person you know who has eczema is not dirty, I’m just saying that their eczema was NOT CAUSED by them being dirty).
2. Yo, stopping someone on the road to give them care suggestions for their skin is NOT COOL. You think they've not tried it all? The best thing you can do for them is to spare them the embarrassment of hearing your voice and KEEP YOUR THOUGHTS TO YOURSELF.
3. If you have eczema or any skin condition you don't understand, go and see a dermatologist. You'll be asked your family history to determine if yours is atopic and a treatment plan will be drawn up for you. Please don't suffer in silence and educate yourself.
4. If you see something you don't understand, educate yourself. Even if you think you understand, still educate yourself. None of it is lost.
5. Again, always, always remember that we are all connected. The person you're rude to or say nasty things to because their skin is different from yours is just as human as you are. They cry, hurt, laugh, have dreams, just like you. Treat people the way you want to be treated. And please, teach your children that it is not okay to make fun of others, just for being different.
I inherited my Atopic Eczema from my dad. While I was pregnant, I was very worried that I would give this condition to my children. I was terrified that they would have to endure some of the indignities I have. Thankfully, neither of my two children have it. For that, I’m grateful.
Despite all I’ve been through, I’m thankful everyday for the life I have, surrounded by a loving family and parents who cherished me and never made me feel unwanted.
Thanks for reading. Please share this information. You might just be helping someone.

Ijeoma Ogwuegbu – Uduma  
Twitter handle - @ijeomaogud