Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nigeria @ 50 - Day 26: Niger Area

This is the 26th read in the Nigeria @ 50 series
Before this, there was Day 25 at http://www.nonyeanike.blogspot.com/ by Nonye

Ever thought that naɪˈdʒɪəriə is a proud country and a fantastic place to be from?
We can trace our history back to over 9000 years before Christ was born thanks to the Benue and Cross River people - Efik/Ibibio/Annang and more.
I sometimes wish our progenitors were not as prolific in spreading their seed across the Niger Area.
Makes me wonder if we would truly be a great country without our massive population.
What if we were as small as Ghana (23m) or Togo (6.7m)?
Would we still be considered great?
I think so
We have powerful ancient kingdoms that have been around since forever.
The Kanem-Bornu Empire that were centers of Islamic learning and culture. Ife & Oyo kingdoms from which the famed Oduduwa originated or initiated (depending on which side of the fence you sit on), the near legendary Benin kingdom with boundaries that extended to the city of Eko (a Benin name) before it was changed to Lagos by the Portuguese, the Nri-Igbo kingdom (arguably the oldest) that fought wars with the British. The Nok people and their ancient terracotta sculptures. The Akwa Akpa families that founded Calabar and plenty more.

We have an incredible array of old and great historical characters:
King Jaja of Opobo, Usman Dan Fodio, Emotan, Oba Ovonrramwen Nogbaisi, tobenna, Olaudah Equiano, Oduduwa, Idris Aloma...the list is endless

We have a remarkable history. Sometimes even embarrassing.
Niger Area was owned by a company called the Royal Niger Company (you may now call them UAC. Yes. Mr. Biggs) and they sold this entity to the British government for £865,000.
Flora Shaw, a British journalist suggested Nigeria in an article in the Times newspaper.

Because of the slave trade, you can find Nigerian languages, traditions and roots in far flung areas like Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago and the USA.
In Belize, a town was named Eboe Town due to the large Igbo slaves. In the state of Georgia in America, there is also a place called Ebo Landing due to a sad and terrible incident that occurred there involving slaves.
One cannot imagine the amount of black people with Nigerian roots in America.
Douglas B. Chambers, an American historian estimates that 60% of black Americans have at least one Igbo ancestor. Remove the Igbo and put Nigerian and you can make your own estimations.

And the future...

After the BRIC (Brazil, India and China) countries, we are considered to be amongst the next eleven potentially largest economies. A frontier market. Forget the crap going on right now locally. At least the world believes in us. And if they do, who are we not to?

There is a buzz for change in the air...
Especially among the young people and even the old
It is clear that we cannot tolerate business as usual anymore
I dare any local, state or federal government leader to think otherwise.
The elections are coming soon.
Everyone needs to be a part of the the decision making process of this our Niger Area
One (wo)man
One vote

Tomorrow, this continues...
Day 27 in the Nigeria @ 50 series
http://www.comedoes.blogspot.com/ by Comedoes

thanks to Lilith for the picture.
Friday, October 08, 2010

Knock knock

When you hide in the shadows long enough...
You become dark and invisible
Think invincible?

Shadows are only for temporals
No one was meant to live in it

I write because I Am
Friday, March 26, 2010


funny but serious
Wednesday, March 10, 2010


A lot has happened
My J had a boy in January
He's exactly 8 weeks today
So, technically, I'm a father
But the problem is...
The boy does not like me
I pick him up and that's when he remembers to cry
And not just cry cry
With quivering lips for effect
I have a nickname for him
Drama King
DK for short
His mum he absolutely adores
The attention they give themselves does not bother me

Until one Saturday morning
He shares the bed with us and sleeps in the middle
I woke up early, gazing lo(v)(ng)ingly at her breasts while she slept
And DK was doing exactly the same thing
Except that he was drooling

God knows I can't compete with that

I have an agreement with J
Her breasts are on loan to him for 6 months
6 months only
After that it returns to the owner
Now I honestly wish we had this agreement documented and signed.

I thought marriage was the GREAT RESET
I thought wrong
It's a mini one
Fatherhood is the GREAT one
Wednesday, December 16, 2009



Keep being aLiVe
Friday, October 02, 2009


I just finished reading Chimamanda Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun that I should have read a while back.
And suddenly realised that I had no idea of my parents experience during the Biafran war.
So, I paid a visit to my parents and pointedly asked them to tell me their experiences.

Had to drop out of Onitsha Girl's Secondary school because the school was converted to a refugee camp. She then became an associate nurse at Iyi-Enu Hospital very close to Onitsha which had relocated from it's current location to a nearby village - Oraukwu due to incessant bombardments.
She refused to tell me anything further about this part of her life.
I'm not sure why.
Except that I know she lost her big brother to this war.

Finished his diploma from Institute of Management and Technology - IMT Enugu and got employed by Shell in Port Harcourt.
After the war started and just as Port Harcourt was retaken by the Nigerians, Shell closed down its oil producing facilities and rendered him jobless.
He moved to Aba, where he was involved with the Biafran government's local/bush hut refineries that were converting crude oil into gasoline.
Aba was no longer safe and he had to move to Orlu where he worked with a parastatal called Research and Development. Their speciality was to remove the explosives from unexploded Nigerian bombs and use them to build local bombs. They had to cut open the bombs manually.
He told of an incident where they were cutting up one bomb in the workshop and he had to go out for a minute. The bomb exploded within that minute and killed everyone in the workshop.
Work did not stop.
Instead, they dug a pit and created an automated cutter to cut open these bombs inside the pits.
He had to go to identify his closest friend he had just left barely minutes before and he could only recognise the clothes he was wearing. There was no face.
It was blown to bits.
That could have been him.

And I, Tobenna would never have been born.
Would never have loved my J.
And would not be looking forward to my bairn (Parakeet's lingo)

The war ended shortly after and he moved to Lagos almost immediately with nothing.
Except the name and address of a fellow from his village who housed him and countless others until he found a job.

I am 33.
And I am just discovering this about my parents. My Nigerian heritage.
A line in Chimamanda's book says "May we never forget"
Chimamanda in Igbo, literally means, My God will not fall.

Nigeria is 49.
And lost over 200,000 of her people during the war.
Biafra is long dead. 39 years dead.
Along with over 1 million of her people.

Nigeria is 49.
We will learn from our mistakes.
We will learn from our diversity.
I stand tall as a proud Nigerian.
I am the Nigerian government.
The government can not change until I change.
Can you?

Happy Independence, Nigeria.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

It's ridiculous...

when you go to church and they pray for people who are dying and need healing, people who are bereaved and need comfort, people who are broke and need a helping hand, people who are depressed and need motivating. Then they add ladies who are single and need husbands.

Is this a recent thing or has it been in churches since we were kids?
I can't remember hearing that when I was younger.
Or maybe single ladies really should be on that list?

Yes, the scan below is of my soon to come girl. All 21 weeks of it. (yes I called it it. Shoot me)
J believes it's a boy, I know it's a girl. (Why? Because I did the umm 'chooking', so I know)
We will know when the babe comes forth. Not sooner. (The argument about knowing the sex before-hand simpy to buy the proper colours - blue or pink will not be extended here)

And I'm on an extended summer break from blogging too.

I have a psychiatrist friend here in Lagos - Otefe who blogs about his experiences as a 'Dr. Kolo' in one of the most 'kolo' cities I know.
So, hop on over and show the Dr. some normal people love here.
Normal oh. He's had his fill of 'kolomentalists'
Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nokia Maps Nigeria Review

Recently, there has been a media blitz by Nokia and Garmap, both different companies on the introduction of GPS and local maps in Nigeria.
I never gave it much thought until I started seeing huge Nokia billboards advertising this and asking people to go to maps.nokia.com
So I went online and trawled through this site looking for something related to Nigeria.
I clicked on world, selected Africa and it only listed about 8 African countries with maps and a link for non-navigable countries. Nigeria was listed as non-navigable.
What the heck was Nokia talking about?
I was so pissed that I called a friend that worked with Nokia and ranted that his company were mega frauds.
We laugh over it and he tells me to go here.
And so, I do.
Apparently, only a few Nokia phones support this maps thingy. Amongst the few is the popular E71. This phone is one of the most popular phones in Nigeria. Lagos at least. So popular that its now being called "pure water" (named after cheap nylon wrapped water sold everywhere in the country for N5 - N10 /8c) And it costs N50,000 - $320!

I download the Nokia sync application and Maps setup and loader file to my laptop and sync to my phone. Encountered one issue but the website was helpful resolving this.
Voila! Its up and running.

Google Earth for me, was mind blowing when it hit pc's a few years ago.
However the maps for Nigeria was not exactly on par. It was pretty good for some parts of Lagos and Kano, I think, but most parts of Nigeria were not street mapped. And the street names were largely inaccurate. Also, huge clouds blocked out large swaths of Lagos

Nokia maps beta 3.0 is awesome.
It totally rocks!
At least, as far as Lagos is concerned.
I have been using it for about 2 days now and it works pretty well.
You do need your network's 3G or gprs network to download the voice for directions and even some of the maps apparently. However, you can get free WiFi hotspots at some locations in town.
The street maps, so far have been accurate.
The GPS positioned me automatically at my exact location. Though it kept tripping off.
The satellite view gives you pictures of the actual building. I was able to locate and see my office on Lagos Island and my parents home in Aguda, Surulere. I could even see the cars in the mechanic workshop next to my parents home!

Now I know outside the country, this is very much common place.
For us here, it is novel. Very novel.

So this morning, I tried using the directions to get to work and it did a very good job.
The route it chose for me was not exactly the best so I ignored it and made another turn and the nice "britico" female voice said "recalculating route". It went ahead to recalculate the route I was going to use. It even tracked the one-way streets and routed me accordingly. It picks up the churches, restaurants, fast food joints and even filling stations. Too cool!

Garmap, based on their website, charges N10,000 for their maps.
So far, Nokia looks free. But I think I only have a 7-day navigation license. After that, I'd see what options are available. Hopefully cheaper than Garmap.

Vera's radio blog was excellent last Tuesday.
Had the opportunity to talk and chat with GNG, DiamondHawk, Funmie, Queen Vee, Miz Cynic, Naijadude (I think) and a lot more. Bagucci made a cameo appearance but his line cut off. A lot of them stayed on after the radio show to chat on. Me, I had to go snooze. It was 12 midnight on a work day in Naija.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Job Vacancy

Spotted in a Nigerian newspaper - The Punch of 27th May.
Click to enlarge. I hope its readable. Read vacancy on the right.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Random Pictures

All pictures taken with my camera phone, so pls. forgive the poor quality.
Nokia, take heed!

I got this cake delivered to my office on my birthday sometime in February.
First marriage birthday.
I wanted it low key or no-existent.
But no, J had something else in mind.
She surprised me with this and loads of small chops - samosa, hot buns, fried snails, suya meat, and drinks in my office.
'She don put me for high jump'
Her birthday comes up in a couple of months.
I need to start thinking.

Driving in Lagos stumbled me upon these 2 pictures:
This one was on 3rd Mainland bridge (longest bridge in Africa). At dusk.

Open van with Lord knows how many people on it.

And this? Generator on the car trunk powering the huge speaker on the roof. This was a roving DJ and you do not want to know the type of sound the speakers were spewing!

This was an open house MI (Mr Incredible), mini show that J and I stumbled upon at the Silverbird Galleria a few weeks ago. I don't understand why ladies love this fella.
He good though he's just a short black guy. Any MI fans out there?

And the finale?
I was at the NEPA (PHCN - Power Corporation) office a few weeks ago to sort out the usual power problems and I stumbled on this bulletin stapled to their notice board.

Its not too clear off course, but I have transcribed below:

In view of the recent developments in our sector, the National Secretariat based on pupular demand has considered various appeals for a prayer session to seek spiritual fortification in the battle against oppressive administration.
Consequently, Friday 27th March 2009 has been declared for prayers. In this prayer, we have to ask God for the following among others:

  1. O God, destroy them that want to destroy us.
  2. O God, trouble them that trouble us, scatter them that want to scatter us.

  3. Father Lord, if you need to transfer, transfer, if you need to kill, kill, if you need to demote, demote for us to receive the wages of our labour.

  4. O God, let your will be done in PHCN.
Members are therfore urged to give total compliance to this prayer session.

The Struggle Continues.

General Secretary

Emphasis mine.
I leave my comments to myself.
Thursday, April 23, 2009

I think I love my wife

I was actually thinking about it.
I was thinking, do I love my wife?
Was in church a few days ago and the preacher compared the love of man and woman to the love of Christ and the church.

He loved the church unconditionally.
He didn't say, "you are not reciprocating my love to you, so I'm not loving you anymore"
He bore the absolute humiliation and became man for my sake.
His grace (unmerited favour) is always sure.
I treat him like shit but he's always there when I need him.
He gave His life for me.

Wives have an easier task - submit to your husbands.
For husbands, love your wife as Christ loved the church.
Forever forgiving. Unquestionably. Regardless.
Even if it means paying the untimate price.

I felt my eyes water when I thought about this particular love.
Is this really the kind of love I should have towards my wife?
Is this what I feel towards her now?

For almost two weeks now, I have rarely eaten the same meal twice.
I have clean clothes to wear always and have not washed any this year.
Our home is always kept in excellent condition.
When I get back from work after her she welcomes me with a hug/kiss and helps carry my work bag into the room.
We discuss every thing from family to work and her advice is sometimes, definitely God sent.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.

And I'm still thinking....

Yes, I'm in love with my wife.
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