Tuesday, 30 December 2014

What if...



She stood there speaking to herself with a myriad of questions for just one person…

What if I suddenly discovered that everything I ever believed in was false?

What if the ones I hold closest to my heart end up being the ones who have spent their entire lives keeping secrets from me?

What if the one thing I want the most always seems to elude me?

What if the things that were once precious have made me ask… what truly is happiness, and how can it be measured?

What if my whole life has been built on a lie?

What if the concept of faith and belief, is all a farce?

What if love does not actually exist?

What if I am beginning to question my very existence?

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Uh oh!



Uh oh!
On hearing that exclamation and a scream to follow, his mother instantly knew that there was trouble! As harmless as that exclamation sounded, her oldest son only used it when he had a serious situation in front of him.

They were a family of six, very closely knit. Mrs Idoko stopped at having three children initially, but years after , she wanted another so badly, a girl. She was tired of these three soldiers staring back at her with hard faces all the time. She wanted to be able to dress her girl in pink, use ribbons on her hair and eventually when the girl would grow up, she would have someone who would whine to her. Every girl would run back to her mother at some point she liked to believe. Well, she did. A lot!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

My new favourite thing



Something that’s fast becoming a favourite for me is watching people. 
I’ve been doing this for some time, but I am realising more, how much I enjoy it.


At airports, social gatherings, it’s amazing the stories the mind could form from just observing.

Airports make a great scene – raw impatience, politeness, lateness, cluelessness, all forms of emotions are usually displayed. Have you witnessed any extreme reactions from someone at an airport? Intense!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Haunted

Drops of lime
Beats of fame
Wrong decision
No one knows the pain

Drinks, laughter and joy
Blood, sweat and tears
Bawling uncontrolled
Darkness enveloping

Shutting the world out
Nobody knows the pain
Just there for the gain
Around only when it's rosy

Loved ones become the enemy
Angels are the least respected
One moment is life changing
Bringing with it joy abounding

Healing words from total strangers
Hurtful ones by the ones called friends
Shifting notions
A price too heavy to pay

Counsel once given
Caution thrown to the wind
Riding wild horses
Bitter sweet memories to cherish forever

Blood is thicker than water
The saying as true as can be
Time may heal
But the layers thicken






Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A day in traffic




On my way home one day, the whole place started to darken.
A storm was on the way.
It started lashing down, the heavy downpour was the heaviest in a few weeks.

The street hawkers ran for shelter under a bridge
But a few remained hawking right there in the rain
I saw someone buying a drink from a guy who was completely soaked.
The person rolled down his glass just enough to take the drink and took the glass up so quickly.

I could see the rain pouring but like I was not convinced, I rolled my glass down just a little and the rain slapped me to wind up quickly. And as is normal with rain, traffic slows down due to poor visibility.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

This post was written by Abj Loving, Abuja Living about my sister here. First published on Monday, October 6th. I just had to share :-)

Young and In Charge: Odachi Abah

Over the course of the last four weeks, we have met young people with an interest in acting; this has shown that Nollywood is an industry that has come to stay one that is providing jobs for the younger generation, one that keeps them away from crime and one that should be encouraged. Our young person of the week today followed her love for theatre, but eventually her love for making people look beautiful took centre stage. What our young persons of these last four weeks have taught us is that, parents are becoming more and more supportive of dreams that were hitherto seen as unconventional, today we see our person of the week’s dad come up with the name for her company and even helps with the registration. The time to start working on your dream is now, it is never too late, today I am proud to present our young person of the week, she is young, she is beautiful, she is brilliant, she is creative, she is the whole package, she is young and she is definitely in charge, she is Odachi Abah.
Tell us a little about yourself.

Ok… I’m Odachi Abah (#widegrin# at full name), a freelance makeup artist, I was born on the 25th of March in Zaria, I am from Benue state, Idoma by tribe. I’m the fifth of six kids to Steve and Alache Abah. My family is my everything and I am thankful for them every moment that I live. I love what I do and I’ll definitely want to get to the peak of my career. I love food (but have to work hard to keep my weight stable :-)
), music, makeup, fashion. I smile a lot, laugh hard and say very little.



Tuesday, 14 October 2014

My time in Cross River State



Yesterday was my birthday and I am thankful for all the love and good wishes that I received. I received an early birthday present that had been on my bucket list for some time.

Thanks to the long Eid weekend, my very special someone whisked me off to Obudu, then Afi Drill Ranch in Cross River state. We had two working days as public holiday, so we were gone from Friday 3rd October, to Tuesday, 7th October.

I had heard wonderful stories particularly about Obudu Cattle Ranch/Mountain Resort but what greeted us was amazing. Although it was a long drive, the journey up there was smooth, we went in a group and contrary to what the other travellers thought, they found that the road was in better condition than they expected it to be.

As we drove into the famous Obudu Cattle Ranch/Obudu Mountain Resort I could not contain my excitement, it was beautiful. I thought I would be terrified by the winding road but going up, the view had my total attention.  The Mountain Resort is about 5,200 feet high (1,576m above sea level). See some pictures of the beautiful scenery.

Obudu Mountain Resort

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Ill treatment by the Nigerian Police



So my sister, Odachi Abah was featured earlier this week on this post. But yesterday,  08.10.2014, she got asaulted by a Police woman in Lagos.

I was having lunch with a friend when a picture came into my phone. I screamed and my friend with whom I was having lunch kept asking what the matter was. I simply showed her the picture, she became so filled with rage. It was a picture from my sister with a caption: ‘ I was assaulted by a Police woman this afternoon’. It didn’t look good! I tried to speak to her but she could not talk, she was at the Police station, the unit where the woman in question works. She went to file a complaint.

Eventually Odachi wrote her account of the assault below:

"On the 8th of October 2014 I got assaulted by a Police Woman. This is what happened. 

On my way home after my NYSC clearance from Oshodi-Isolo LGA, Lagos State, Nigeria, with a friend, Maduka Benson, our vehicle (Maduka was driving) entered a hole which pulled part of the car bumper out. The Police woman controlling traffic kept shouting at us so my friend driving was trying to tell her that our bumper had pulled out, but she insisted that he moves away from there. A gentle man asked my friend not to drive or the entire bumper would pull off the car. He crossed to the other side and helped us fix the bumper so we could move on.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

GRATITUDE CHALLENGE



First it was the ALS ice bucket challenge. Now it's the gratitude challenge she said!

Her statement got me thinking. The ALS ice bucket challenge became so popular on social media. People from all parts of the world had fun with it. But what is this ALS all about?

The ALS Association is the only non-profit organisation whose mission includes providing care services to assist people with ALS and their families through a network of chapters working in communities across the nation and a global research program focused on the discovery of treatments and a cure for the disease.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralysed.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Is human trafficking happening or not?



Mama Itohan was in the kitchen singing as she always did while carrying out her chores. She heard her name being called from outside so loudly that it made her jump. "Na who dey shout my name this afternoon" she answered.

She ran to hug her friend whom she had not seen in at least three years. "Ivie na so you just waka comot from village, I no come see you since?!" Ivie looked good and somewhere in Mama Itohan's heart she wondered why the gods had not yet smiled on her. She had been in the same village with Ivie until her disappearance three years ago with no forwarding address.
The two women spent time catching up and laughing heartily like old times. They grew up together and had been closest of friends for as long as they both could remember.

When Mama Itohan asked Ivie where she had been, Ivie only told her that she had moved to the city and quickly changed the topic. A secret she intended to keep.
Mama Itohan's children returned from school and were equally excited to see their mother's friend. Unfortunately, they knew their mother would neglect them for the rest of the day. She had not even cooked for them. Itohan swung into action and made sure a meal was prepared for herself and her siblings.

Ivie had been studying Itohan, her mother noticed and asked what the problem might be. Ivie then told her how Itohan was growing into a beautiful young woman and she would like to take Itohan to the city. Itohan would be her children’s nanny and in return, she would ensure that Itohan completed her secondary school. It would be up to Itohan to choose if she wanted to continue schooling after then. Mama Itohan leaped for joy, her child would become the star in the village, she thought to herself. She accepted the proposal without even checking with Itohan.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Something Gave, Something Remained

Remember my post Something's gotta give? I got a message from a follower asking me to look at the sequel he wrote to my post called Something Gave, Something Remained. It's so nice to get this sort of feedback :-)

Here it is:

His Version (Part One)
He gently sat by the cement block, eyes squinting as he flinched from his aching bones. The pain subsided to the smell of seawater as he stared at the sunset, the sea waves clashing in the distance a soothing to his ears. Closing his eyes, he folded his hands and leaned back. A ritual he had always performed was about to start.
The plane's shadow quickly cast over him, its engine roar a familiar sound as it climbed higher in the air. He could hear behind him some kids running drunk with excitement and vigor. By the time he counted up to ten, he opened his eyes, and the plane, no bigger than a water drop, entered the clouds, vanishing from sight.
It was always at this juncture, once every 4 or 5 years, that he would stand up and jog home, prepare the remaining children for the week ahead. But this time was different: He had just seen his last born drift into the clouds, as all pilots did. But more importantly, like his five children; one by one, he had seen them grow up from babies to adults. Each child in their own way, living to further their lives. He caught himself sighing, wondering if it was from satisfaction of a father or the realization that he was could not have done it alone.  Rising up with his walking stick, people passing by would see him and smile first, for he did not need to walk like a king with a kingdom. Somewhere in his wrinkled face and sunken eyes, was the thing you need not describe in words. He knew this, because they smiled first, and that was why he smiled back.
47 years have passed since they asked themselves what was on their minds that night. He could still remember her face when he spilled his guts on impulse, fearing embarrassment. Even more surprising, her reciprocation with her own fears/worries made him realize what few came to know: that to love is to be vulnerable.
She gave up so much, He thought to himself in the present. He had an idea growing from his strong-willed family, friends and enemies included. They all said something had to give, and when he remembered his mum singing it in his ears he would shrug it off. But after so long, the statement was three quarters true for him, and four quarters true for her.
He remembered her face when she started using his surname, when the first child came to life and life's hardest challenges arrived. He remembered her face in all of life's milestones. Time and time again she gave, as all who truly loved did. A little of her time every day, to be with him where she could be crunching at work. A little of her time she gave after tucking the kids in bed. The minutes added up, and by the time the children had come and gone he knew he did not need to count the time anymore: he lived for her and her alone.
He remembered when the women came after him, when the fear of being unfaithful looked like it was more than the love for her. He smiled at naive he was, for as time took its toll, behind every new wrinkle on her face was a story he shared. Behind every slight stumble she had was a tale where he had to stand twice as strong for her to lean on. Laughs shared, fights fought, tears shed, and moments together moulded a picture with more depth and meaning than any fashion model could exude. If beauty was in the eyes of the beholder, she had made him see more than he could have on his own.
As he thought about these things he arrived at the house that had bore witness to their story. The children were gone now, and by the time he had reached for the door handle he remembered the smell of her cooking.
They were right. Something had to give.
Fear gave way, and Love remained.
Part two (Her Version) coming soon…..

Friday, 29 August 2014

Anthea and Chris...The wedding pictures

Remember Anthea and Chris? The story in pictures:

TRADITIONAL WEDDING, JULY 26 2014






Anthea was dressed in this attire and taken out by her lovely friends to be identified by her husband-to-be.











Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Memoirs from Maiduguri



Things are not as bad as I expected them to be in Maiduguri, Borno state. I expected to meet a war torn and destroyed place, I was disappointed…there are new structures, good roads and business is thriving for some. It is life as usual. The part of the journey that was most scary was between Potiskum, Yobe state and the outskirts of Borno state. There were numerous check points at every few kilometres with different categories of people: soldiers, police men and civilians who make up a part of the Joint Task Force.  

Our driver showed us places where attacks had taken place, we saw burnt cars, burnt buildings, deserted areas, holes in the roads from bombs. There was this particular place that had the saddest story…over a hundred and fifty people were ‘slaughtered like chickens’ the driver said. He was very vigilant as he drove, he knew the terrain. He mentioned that the attackers would appear dressed in military uniforms and attack the real military with such sophisticated weapons that they could be left defenceless.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

#BringBackOurGirls

It has been 100 days since Nigerian girls were kidnapped from Chibok as they sought to be better people by going to school. Unfortunately, these girls are yet to be rescued and the #BringBackOurGirls campaign has brought world recognition to what is happening in North Eastern Nigeria.

This post is dedicated to those innocent girls who await rescue as we keep hope alive and stand with their parents asking for them to be brought back alive.











Thursday, 17 July 2014

Something's gotta give

They sat and talked, laughing and smiling, looking into each other's eyes and kissing like lovers always do.
He was crazy about her. He loved her so much she got frightened sometimes.
She loved him, she did, but she wondered if she would remain happy if she spent the rest of her life with him.
She had so many questions...she didn't want to give up her career and fun in the bid to be married.

She knew something had to give but she wasn't sure what it would be.
She had friends complain, not once, of what they could have been but children came along...
Were these friends happy being married? That she could never tell.
She wondered if she could not have it all: love, fun, marriage and a career.
How could it be balanced properly? But they all say something's gotta give...


He couldn't imagine spending the rest of his life without her.
He loved her and would do his best to keep her happy. It was fast becoming his priority.
Sex with her was mind blowing! She had been the best and most open minded of them all. She was always willing to try and beyond that, she would initiate. He felt like a novice around her sometimes but she had a way of making him relax and try out his wildest fantasies. Who wouldn't want to keep a woman like that?!

But he wondered if it would always remain that way. She is a keeper, she is good around the house and fits in very well in social gatherings. But he wondered how that body may change with children. He wondered if she would end up being one of those women who would no longer want sex and how, just how he may handle it.
He would like to stay faithful but would he be tempted?

What's wrong? They both asked at the same time. . .unknown to each of them, they both had straying thoughts, on the same subject...


Thursday, 10 July 2014

How do you feel about the insecurity in Abuja?



So I was asked today by my friend who does not live in Abuja how I feel about the insecurity in Abuja.

My answer to her was simple. I have chosen not to live in fear, anywhere could get hit. Besides, if I were marked to die today, death could meet me even on my bed. Nevertheless, I will not put myself at risk or ignore warnings that may be sent out. She agreed to that opinion and mentioned that she has a burden to pray for Nigeria. I encouraged her to please pray as I know that prayer goes a long way and I pray with pain and tears for my beloved country also. However, everybody in Nigeria is praying and that is part of our problem. We spend all the time praying and forget to think…the same God who is being prayed to, created brains for a reason.

Religion, the cause of so many woes?

Violence is being perpetrated in the name of religion, everybody claims to be praying, so who is thinking and who is acting? The Nigerian government cannot solve all our problems, many have alleged that the Nigerian government has failed in its duties anyway, a stark reminder being #BringBackOurGirls.

A person I think prays a lot but has stood out and really impressed me is Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili. I read an interview she recently granted to Metropole magazine about her role in the Chibok #BringBackOurGirls campaign and she mentioned very clearly that she had had enough of just getting over events and moving on, so she had to do something or else she would have been disappointed in herself.

Nigerians, how many of you can speak of/to yourselves like this? All we do is complain, it has got us nowhere. I saw a billboard with our President's face and a quote from him saying something like real Nigerians are not terrorists…are we in denial? And for how long? Maybe that myth has since been demystified? But on the other hand, could that in some way mean that we are too lily livered to act?

Different people have called for prayers at different times and on different levels but after the prayers, what happens? I doubt that God will come down from heaven to do what he has enabled human beings to do. I also do not doubt the efficacy or power there is in prayer, but I have to challenge you if you pray, to think. What could be done differently? You do have a role to play. In what way have you demanded that the government plays its role and have you played yours?

Monday, 7 July 2014

Anthea and Chris...2

If you missed the first part, you just have to read it here.

For those who have followed the story, thank you for being patient ;)

Chris asked Anthea numerous times what her plans were for her birthday (August 2013). Anthea didn’t have any real plans so he scheduled dinner for two.
.

Earlier in the day, Anthea’s brother, Mark and a friend, Ogba, went by to see her. Some of Chris’s friends and his sister, Tima, also checked on her to give their birthday wishes. Her friends suggested that they go clubbing after the 'romantic' dinner so Anthea was made to promise to call them afterwards.
At 7pm, Chris picked her up.  On their way, he suddenly stepped on his brakes stating that he forgot to get Anthea’s cake because he had ordered a birthday cake for her. They were already late for dinner so they decided that it would be picked up the next day as Anthea ordered a cake for herself also. 

When they got to the venue, a Chinese restaurant, he asked to go upstairs although downstairs was almost empty. Anthea wondered and somewhere in her heart was anticipating a surprise as she walked in but was disappointed, so she voiced it by saying she was expecting to see the place full but he simply smiled and told her that their table was upstairs.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Anthea and Chris


The Meeting
2nd July, 2012. They had spoken twice before then. Anthea was looking for a flat to rent in Abuja and Chris happened to be the real estate agent.

Her version
During the house hunt, we chatted and laughed through the house inspections and the drive. It was like we had known each other for a long time. I am normally quite reserved so I even surprised myself on meeting this ‘stranger’.  
A week later, he called me to inspect some place which I liked and I currently live at. He was very helpful as he always checked on the progress of the work being done in preparation for my moving and assisted where necessary. He asked a number of times to have drinks but I would never avail myself. I was single and not searching after the experiences of my previous relationship.

Cherish! She was my neighbour and a little friend of ours, " OMG, where is Cherish! I need to thank that girl!" This is what Chris says to me every now and then (lol) as he believes Cherish helped in getting me to pay attention to him.  She would always ask me "Aunty Lola (Anthea) is uncle Chris coming today? Aunty Lola I want to see Uncle Chris, Aunty Lola can I speak to Uncle Chris with your phone?" Those were her questions, and for the first time I put a call through to him, he was surprised/happy but when he answered, it was Cherish (lol).

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Up and About Nigeria - rejoinder



From my last post, I got a very detailed reply via e-mail from a friend. Waking up to that was such an amazing thing, that I decided to write a follow up post with his comments. 

I say a very big thank you to all of you who follow my blog and come here to read whatever it is I have to write. Please keep the comments coming, they make it all worthwhile :-)


That was a very great piece by Ene and I thought I should lend my thoughts to some points she raised. Yes, Nigeria just reached her centenary year as an entity and quite frankly, many aspects of her nationhood leaves a lot to be desired. However, there are many contributing factors to this and I feel obliged to respond to two main issues: History and the state of historical artefacts. I would not mention much about the economic aspect as that can be an article on its own. What I may want to clear up is that Nigeria was not referred to as a ‘giant of Africa’ because we had actually attained that status. It was in recognition of its enormous POTENTIAL in terms of population and material resources that gave us the moniker. We were just ‘work-in-progress’.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Up and About Nigeria



Have you ever travelled around Nigeria with the motive of appreciating the diversity in the different cultures, ethnicities and complexities that make up the country? These are things worth celebrating.
Nigeria has so much that is yet to be tapped, Nigeria has so much potential, Jim O'Neil's MINT theory states that the concerned countries economies have the potential to grow rapidly in the next three decades. This has been said about Nigeria over and over though. Nigeria has been called the giant of Africa, it is the most populous black nation. But does a country not need to appreciate what it has and its past to move forward?


Nigeria celebrated the centenary of its amalgamation this year, but I have to say that there was no real impact on Nigeria despite the series of events that were held for certain people in Abuja. I would have thought that this would be a time to dwell on the things that haven't worked, and what makes Nigeria the country it is, then come up with ideas to make the nation stronger.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Goals



Precise steps,
no distractions,
attentive,
speaking when necessary,
bold decisions…

Open to learning,
networking,
set goals to achieve,
sleepless nights,
blood and tears…

Courage and self confidence,
Belief and accountability,
Failure and enthusiam,
Creativity and planning,
Curiousity and hard work,
Living in the moment…



Anxiety and patience,
Accomplishment,
Humbling,
Springboard for more…

Chasing dreams…


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Unsure



I have been unsure about many things lately…
About what to write, about how to add value, about where the world is heading.
Too many bad things are happening, too much hatred and anger is tearing our world apart.

My beloved country has been thrust in the spotlight for horrible things lately,it is frightening.
There are wars all over the world and for those who are students of the bible, I am unsure if these are those times when there would be wars and rumours of wars that the bible talked about...

I am unsure of even some of the people around me,
unsure of what to expect, unsure that I can be the change I want to see,
unsure that the little things I do to make a difference matter,
unsure about my future, my career, my plans...

I am unsure that in the near future we will have a world where children would play freely with other children,
unsure that a child could walk into a neighbours' house with no fear of harm,
unsure that the future generation will understand the value of hard work,
unsure that a child will be taught not to take advantage of people, or that a child will know to use things and not people,
unsure that a child will ever know a world of no discrimination...

I am unsure why I am even writing this post but I will publish it all the same…
I have unfinished stories but I am unsure if it alright to work on them or if it is alright to carry on with life like nothing affects me because everything that happens, does. 
In this short life of mine, I have had some bad experiences, I have been robbed at gun point and I was a witness of a bomb blast.

I am unsure if some people may be bothered by some of these events,
unsure if the #BringBackOurGirls campaign matters to some as it has been called a hoax,
unsure if the #NyanyaBomblasts or the #JosTwinBombings have moved certain people
unsure that any value is placed on human lives,
unsure if the #StateofEmergency and the #MultipleBombings that happen in the North Eastern region of #Nigeria, or the #EthnicViolence in the #MiddleBelt, or the #Pollution in the #NigerDelta has pushed the relevant authorities to take bold and decisive steps to curb it all.
I am unsure but glad that despite all these calamities, Nigeria has managed to remain one country.

Unsure and wondering, one step at a time, living everyday like it is golden.