#ABookAMonthChallenge

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It’s been a really long while people. Life happens and I can’t even believe that I haven’t posted anything here since May. Wow! I appreciate all those that didn’t give up on me, we keep hustling and stay winning.

Over the past few months, there has been good times and there has been bad times. Experiences are meant to shape and mould us into better version of ourselves if we decide to pick the lessons and forget the drama. I attended a Time Management Class with Olu Ogunlela of Kairos Krunch and my life was transformed. There are so many things I can share with you to get your life in pristine order, but I’m going to leave that lecture for another day.

Today, I want to talk about a challenge I decided to start this November called #ABookAMonthChallenge. There is so much information out there and so much to learn, so I decided to pick back my reading culture, but this time I wanted to do it a little bit different. I planned to read at least one book every month and have other people join me so we can motivate each other and stay on course. I created a WhatsApp Group for this and was amazed at the response as we had over 30 people join the challenge across Nigeria and even had readers from Malawi and Tanzania.

Below is a breakdown of how #ABookAMonthChallenge works via WhatsApp:

For now, we will kick off by each person picking the book they want to read for the month. Later we would do synchronized reading. But for now, lets give everyone the opportunity to pick what they want to read as people might have some books penned down already.

So each person will post the title and the author of the book you are reading for the month, (The format to send in the titles is outlined below).

Name – YOUR FULL NAMES

Month – November

Book Title –

Author –

Email Address –

Phone Number  –

And by the end of the month, we will like to have either a summary or a review of the book so we are sure you have read it. Please write it in your own words (No copy and paste). This entries should come in latest by the last day of the month.

If you finish reading one book before the end of the month, and you want to pick up another book, that’s fine too.

The ultimate Goal is to read about 50 books a year. But we would start slowly and gradually we will get there.

My advise is for each person to work with a reading schedule. Dedicate 30mins to 1hour daily to reading. Write it down somewhere you can see it and set a particular time for it. You can use your phone to set a reminder.

At the end of each month, all the summaries and reviews will be posted online on a blog, so everyone can have a crash course so to say on what everybody has read.

We would also have like a leadership/readership board, where we will be listing names in chronological order based on the number of books each person has read. Whoever reads the highest number of books at the end of the year will get an award/prize.

Let me also mention that we are not restricting our reading to some particular genres. You can read any book you like, be it motivational, self-help, educational, fiction, science fiction, nonfiction, history, spiritual or any other genre you can think of. (Please keep it positive).

If you want to join #ABookAMonthChallenge, kindly click on this link to join the WhatsApp Group Great things are about to happen!

Have a great day people. See you soon.

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39: The Emergence of the Nigerian Macron

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Yes. The French President is 39. What a Wawu!! Sadly, Nigeria is nowhere near achieving this feat, but we may not be so far. Before I say anything else, I want to point out the fact that he didn’t just come from the blues. He paid his dues and disrupted the political system by creating a new party just last year and he is now going to be the youngest president in the history of France. This was a deliberate action! According to Wikipedia, he was a member of the Socialist Party (PS) from 2006 to 2009. Macron was then appointed as Deputy Secretary-General under François Hollande’s first government in 2012. He was later appointed Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs in 2014 under the Second Valls Government, where he pushed through business-friendly reforms. So he has been actively involved in politics for the past eleven years.

Ok. Let’s bring it home. I am not political writer or activist, so this is going to be short and concise. Macron’s achievement, no matter how phenomenal it seems, should not in any way dwarf the efforts our youths are making to disrupt the systems in this country. We have seen the likes of Japheth Omojuwa, Debola Williams and a host of others breaking barriers and carving milestones. To cut the long story short, our youths are stepping up. Look around, there are a lot of young people contesting in the Lagos State LG elections. There is even a 27yr old contesting for the LG chairman position. This is where it starts! If we want to see the emergence of Nigerian Macrons we need to plan towards it.

Now this is where you and I come in. Come out en masse and support them come July 22, 2017. Don’t just sit down at home and be monitoring election results from your iPhone 7 or Samsung S8. Take it to the streets! Don’t just go on Twitter and be retweeting hashtag #OurMumuDonDo. What are you doing or planning to do about it?
Let’s take massive action. The time is NOW! Posting a tweet will not change the situation. Neither will doing a Facebook post or WhatsApp broadcast. What we need is ACTION! Enough of the talk. ‎

When it pinches us enough, we will take action. Nobody coerced the Uber drivers and partners to take to the streets today. It pinched them enough, so they decided to raise dust. Please, let us do the needful. The fact that a Macron has emerged should pinch us to get into ACTION and maybe we might get to see a Nigerian Macron in our lifetime.

I remain yours sincerely,

The BloodyNigerian.

Chronicles of an Insane Intern (Episode 7)

I know this is way overdue and I can’t apologize enough. Please forgive me. Sometimes, life just gets in the way. But anyways, we are back! And just in case you missed the previous episodes, read them here.

CIIN

 

Didn’t you hear me? I said did you collect the boarding passes from Mr. Sam at the office, Mrs. Oluchi retorted with a slight anger in her voice.

I didn’t know I was supposed to…

You didn’t know you were supposed to what? She cuts in.

Is it your teeth that we will use to board the flight? Are you insane… her voice was getting louder. Amy, the Suits series fan I just met, quietly slips away from behind me. Obviously, she didn’t want to be part of the drama.

You are just staring at me… you have nothing to say?

Her voice was nearing a thousand decibels by now. And I could feel the power of a million stares from everyone at the airport piercing through my skin.

I was dazed and overwhelmed. I ‘m sure there is something we can do. I’ll call Mr. Sam and get him to mail me the soft copy of the boarding passes…

I don’t even know where that intuition came from because my brain wasn’t processing information correctly at this point. But thank God I was able to blurt that out, because that seemed to calm her a bit and Mr. Bashir finally spoke.

He’ll handle it, just relax.

I let out a big sigh. As Mr. Bashir took her hands and led her away towards the boarding area. I quickly called Mr. Sam…

Hello Sir. It’s me, Shola. 

Oh, Shola. How are you doing? How was the trip?

We are still at the airport sir, our flight was delayed.

These Nigerian airlines and their incessant troubles; May God help us. What did they say was the problem?

I can’t even remember what they said. But they said the delay will be for an hour, but now they are boarding and we just realized that we didn’t collect the boarding passes from you.

What are you talking about? I told Bukky to give you in the morning before you left the office.

Uhhmmm! You gave Bukky Adeyemi sir?

Yes. Bukky Adeyemi. Or is there another Bukky in the office?

Wow! This is really interesting. She didn’t say a word to me. She didn’t give me sir.

Are you serious?

Yes sir.

What kind of rubbish is this? How did that happen? Let me call her now.

I’m sorry sir, but we can deal with the Bukky issue later. Please can you kindly help me send via mail, a copy of the boarding passes.

Ok. No problem. I’ll send it now. That Bukky girl is in big trouble. All she knows how to do is shakara up and down.

Thank you sir. And I dropped the call.

Right now, I was not bothered about Bukky, I was bothered about boarding. In another 10 seconds, the mail had come in. Thank God! I quickly rushed to the counter to sort out our almost disastrous saga. That Bukky girl is a bloody goat sha. I’m sure she did this on purpose because she wasn’t made PA. Chai! Trials of the job! Dem bad belle people! God pass dem! Who God has blessed, no man can curse!

We were cleared and allowed to go through. Mr. Bashir and Mrs Oluchi walked on ahead, she looked back and I thought she was going to say something, but she didn’t say a word. She didn’t have to, but the wicked glance she gave me told me all I needed to hear. I was still relieved, thanking God I was able to think on my feet and salvage the situation. I looked to the side and noticed Amy was still waiting there. Apparently, she wanted to see how the drama would end or was she waiting for me? I waved my hand to signal her to come over and she did.

I thought you were going to miss the flight. She said.

Hmmmmm! If that happened, I should as well consider myself back in the job market because that would have been the end of my short illustrious career at Freelance Incorporated. But God came through.

Anyways, I’m glad you were able to resolve it.

Yeah. Thanks.

Your boss doesn’t seem like a very patient person.

My dear, you have no idea. Her patience is shorter than a stick of cigarette.

We both laughed and walked towards the boarding area and as we entered the plane; we started walking down the aisle trying to find empty seats. Of course, Morris Chestnut and my CEO were already seat partners towards the middle section. We walked further down and couldn’t find two empty seats on the same row, so sadly we had to split and seat on different sides. As she walked towards her seat, I used the same overflogged boy’s ruse for number collection.

“Are you on WhatsApp?”

Yes. She replied.

I gave her my phone to type her number, which she did. Oshey! I have her number now. We can always take it from there.  As I tried to take my seat, I remembered that the CEO had told me to read through the bulk of files on the plane. So I sat down, brought them out and started reading…

By the time I read about five pages, it was already get boring. So I decided to relax a bit and take in the splendid fact that I’m the new PA to the new CEO and I have a new girl on my radar. Bukky tried to ruin me, but she failed! Everything seemed to be going quite well for me at the moment. I looked across the aisle and I could see Mrs. Oluchi and Morris Chestnut still engrossed in their discussion; I wonder what they were still talking about. Well, it’s none of my business.

From the corner of my eyes, I stole a glance at Amy to see what’s going on with her, only to discover that her seat partner who was a fair and lanky Alexx Ekubo kind of guy, had already immersed her in a conversation. Whaaaat? This can’t be happening. I’ve not even covered all my bases and this guy comes out of the blues. Na wa O! Which kain gbege be dis? I saw her face for a moment and she seemed a bit distracted, half-focused on what the guy was saying. That’s a good thing right? Or probably she’s even thinking about me and wishing I was her seat partner instead of this yellow homo-sapien.

I strained my ears and tried to shut everything else out to see if I could use my innate Professor Xavier gifts to listen in on their conversation. The first thing I heard was… “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man would lay down his life for his…”

Waaaaaiiiit! Lay down his life ke? Why is he professing a love unto death? All this boys sha! Is he Jesus? What is he even saying? Does he think using anachronistic english in 2017 is sexy or what? Or is he truly saying he can die for her? Someone he barely just met 5 minutes ago? Who does that? Anyway you look at it, this wasn’t good at all. See competition O! It’s ok sha. I trust myself, I just have to up my game. She looked back at me and I quickly looked away, I can’t be caught staring.

I listened again and heard… “He has given us power to tread on snakes and scorpions…” This was clearly getting out of hands. Snakes and scorpions bawo?? This guy has obviously watched too many movies; he thinks there are “Snakes on the plane” or what? I may just have to alert the hostesses, we may have an escapee from the insane asylum on board. This guy belongs in prison and chains or in a “penitentiary” like they call it in the abroad. I like the diplomatic way the westerners use big English to try to conceal the obviously averse scenarios. You can just say, I’m going to the “Penitentiary” as if it’s a cool place to relax and have fun.

Then I heard the guy say… “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son…” Oh I get it now. This was a sermon on the plane. Hmmmmm! I hope he is not just using that as a ploy to “enter the place”. You can’t trust all this boys nowadays.

I heaved a sigh of relief, but I still had mixed feelings about this guy, make e no spoil my parole O! Of all the people in the plane, he didn’t see anybody else to preach to? Is this even allowed? What happened to the right of privacy on a plane? Why did he even have to seat there? I should be the one on that seat.

A million and one questions and scenarios were just flipping through my mind; then we heard a loud bang as if something exploded and Whooooooooooooooom! Suddenly, we felt the plane drop a few thousand feet and I felt like vomiting. My head and heart were thumping in rapid beats that Jimmy Jatt and Timberland can’t even invoke. The plane started shaking vigorously and everyone became hysterical. This was more than ordinary turbulence. Are we going to crash? My mind quickly sailed to where I did not want it to go; the Sosoliso and Dana Air plane crashes! Is this the end? Screams of “Jesus”, “Holyghost” and “Blood of Jesus” filled the air. The panic became real as the air masks dropped and we hear the pilot scream over the radio…

“MayDay! MayDay! MayDay….”

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

I Write, Not Because…

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This poem is dedicated to @ThatGurlDuba, because reading through her posts gave impetus to this and brought my writing mojo back. I love you Uche😉.

I write, not because I’m wise,
But my pen wouldn’t sit still even if I try,
I write, not because I’m right,
But with few words, many wrongs can be made right,
If anybody has looked through the good book of 66 chapters,
You would know that a soft word turns away wrath,
And words can mend life, even if in tatters.

I write, not because Chinua Achebe is an icon,
And photographs and autographs will be gold,
But the experiences of life shape your lexicon,
And circadian realities are the stories often told.

I write, not because writers are applauded,
But my mind is a weapon, I’ve got to keep it loaded,
Yeah, that previous line was from the boy Hakeem,
Before they say I plagiarized, I admit it’s him,
Nothing is new under the sun they say,
Though, we can chart a new course every day.

I write, not because “On Becoming” was a hit,
Some even said Toke was a nitwit and had fallen into a pit,
Why not keep the marriage, the façade, Maje and all?
But she took the risk, told it all and she did not fall,
Now she smiles to the bank with buckets of cash she can’t even carry,
And many can only look on with envy, Hauwa, Anita and even Larry.

I write, not because I am the one that conspired,
But by His grace, I am the one that is inspired,
The continuity and where it will lead, only He can tell,
He knows the destination, all I know is it will end well,
I write and will continue to write, till death do us part,
In His might, I am capable to do this right, at least, I know that!

Chronicles of an Insane Intern (Episode 6)

I’m very sure some of you missed the previous episodes, read them there.

CIIN

I was going to tell the porter to give me my bag, when a black Mercedes Benz SUV drove in and blocked my view, the back door opened and…

An incredibly handsome guy steps out of the car, he was wearing shiny black oxford brogue shoes, a grey bespoke tailored suit and his shirt was flawless white; he comes towards the car trunk (in Nigeria, we call this the boot) to pick his luggage, as he passed by me, I noticed he smelled like fresh olives with a slight blend of lavender and cinnamon. He was looking so Harvey Specter in garb, yet had the build and velvety dark skin of Morris Chestnut. To cut the long story short, the guy was HOT in all ramifications!

Please, let me decree and declare at this point that I am not gay in any way, I am just describing what I saw, before somebody will start having inane ideas. Ehn! Ehn! Back to where I was, while I was still busy scoping the guy, the other side of the car door opens and Mrs. Oluchi steps out. She was stunning as usual; her flowery red gown was runway worthy as well as her casual Loboutin shoes. As she walked, she deliberately lifts her feet and leaves it in the air for just a few more seconds so we can see that the base is red. Yeah, yeah, I know, the woman can be so exquisite and vain.

Looking at Morris Chestnut and my CEO now, it was looking like this was more of a vacation than a business trip. I was eager to find out what laid ahead in Abuja, so I walked up front to seemingly help the CEO out with her luggage, but the porters had already hustled it. She was having a discussion with Morris Chestnut and she had a bunch of folders in her hand which she handed over to me as I walked over.

Hey, Shola, it’s good that you are not late again. I need you to read all that’s in those files while we are on the plane and brief me immediately we land.

Yes Ma.

This is Bashir Danjuma, (pointing at Morris Chestnut) he is the CEO of BlueGate Technologies. He will be attending the meeting with us as a supply-partner.

Hi, nice to meet you. He said in a smooth baritone similar only to that of Vin Diesel.

I’m fine, Sir.

They continued on with their conversation as they walked into the airport lobby. I walked behind them trying to see if I could eavesdrop, but I could not hear a thing. I just heard fragments here and there. “Today”, “efficient” and “all night” were some of the words that spilled out to my ears from their discus. Bashir must have said something very hilarious as Mrs. Oluchi suddenly burst out in hysterical laughter. I have never seen her laugh out so loud. Ok. I’ve only known her a few days, I can’t really judge. But right now, in my mind, I’m beginning to really question the real motive of his inclusion on the business trip.

We all ambled towards the airline’s pavilion and we had not even gotten to the airline’s desk when an announcement came over the speakers that our flight for 3pm to Abuja was going to be delayed for an hour due to weather conditions. Haba?! I will not call the name of the airline, make dem no come arrest me, but I will just tell you that their name starts with an “A”. I was wondering why the delay because the weather looked ok to me. There were neither thunderstorms nor heavy rainfall, it was a bright sunny day. Nigerian airlines sha! They can come up with the lamest excuses for flight delays.

We leaned over to the sides to take our seats among the many other passengers on the right side of the lobby. Grumbles and curses were hovering across the hall as people didn’t hold back their restraints with verbal curses ringing in the air. I was not in the mood for such tense negativity though, I walked over to the far right and found an empty seat close to a young girl who looked very much in her teens. She was very calm; she didn’t seem bothered by the delay, so I moved over and sat down next to her.

I looked around to see if I could catch a glimpse of the CEO and Morris Chestnut and I saw them seating by the far end of the Double 44 restaurant, at the gallery of the lobby already enjoying some Mojitos. Alright, they seem not be bothered as well as their conversation wasn’t feisty rather more of pleasantries. I looked back at the teenage girl beside me, she seem to be oblivious of her surrounding but rather engrossed in a game of candy crush on her phone.

Hi, I’m Shola, are you on a trip to Abuja as well?

She didn’t even look up.

That’s candy crush right? What level are you in?

She didn’t answer.

Which kain person be dis? I said to myself. Ok, just one more try. One more try and that’s it.

These airlines can like to frustrate somebody sometimes.

She stole a glance at me from the corner of her eyes and smiled.

Yeah they can, came the soft reply and she drifted back to her candy crush planet.

Ok at least, she gave a reply. There’s hope, let’s take it from there. She had a pair of glasses on, which gave her a nerdy look and she was wearing braces, but she still looked beautiful. She wore white sneakers, a blue jean and a white tee which had the inscription “Keep calm and think Harvey Specter”. Wow! She was a Suits fan! Yessssssssss! So was I! There was my ice breaker.

I don’t think Mike should have taken the deal?

That boy is just an arrogant idiot, came the reply as she paused the game on her phone and leaned back to face me. Now I definitely got her.

He was only thinking about himself. The idiot should have just let Harvey handle it and he wouldn’t have gone to prison. You said your name was what?

Shola, Shola Johnson.

Ok. I’m Amy.

Nice. So how about….

She cuts my answer mid-way… Do you know Jessica Pearson is leaving the firm?

Nope. Wow! I feigned surprise. Of course I knew, but I had to make her feel good. I don’t know where the discussion will lead to. Hmmmm, I know what you are thinking, but naah, it’s not going to lead to the other room. Yeah! Buhari is such a genius!!! Hahaha!

I don’t know what the series is going to look like without her, she seems to be a very dynamic piece of the crazy puzzle they craft in Pearson-Specter-Litt!

Well, let’s wait and see how they pull it off. It might just be as good as how Brian O’Connor’s Character (Paul Walker) was laid to rest in the Fast & Furious Franchise.

I can’t agree with you until I see how it’s done. And as for sweeping off Brian O’Connor, I won’t say anything until I see Fast 8. She said calmly.

Yeah. You have a point sha.

So do you live in Lagos or Abuja? I was eager to move the discussion to more personal issues as the flight delay wasn’t perpetual. No time!

I stay in Lagos. I’m going to Abuja to see my Dad before I go back to school. I haven’t seen him since I got back from school a little over a month ago.

Wow! Men and work right? I understand.

I was going to ask about where her Dad works, but I quickly changed my mind. Who the daddy don epp? Anyways, I will get the daddy details later. Now is the time for Amy details.

I’m sure you are in a private university, so which one? Redeemers, Babcock or Covenant?

Babcock.

Cool.

What course?

International Law and Diplomacy.

Wow. Interesting. That’s a course you don’t hear about very often. I’m sure you having a great time at Babcock.

Hmmmm, Babcock? Let me not even start. Just let me leave it, because if I start, the VC might get me arrested for making derogatory statements about the establishment.

Alright. Let’s leave Babcock. So asides Suits, what other series catches your fancy?

How to get away with Murder and Blindspot.

I haven’t seen those.

You need to see them, they are amazing.

Ok. Will try.

So, what about you? What’s your story?

Not much about me. I work with Freelance Incorporated as an Intern. I was just given a sudden promotion today to be the CEO’s PA. I like movies and scrabble. I love Suits. All the characters are just so on point, even Louis Litt and..

Flight A02343RZ to Abuja is now boarding… the voice of the announcer over the speakers interrupts my introduction.

That’s our cue. I have to go now. I looked up and saw the CEO and Bashir already walking down the staircase.

That’s my CEO coming. I stood up and wanted to leave.

Relax, I am on the same flight as well, Shola. Wait for me.

Ok. Cool. She even remembers my name. Oshey! Let’s go! Abuja here we come.

So I waited. She gets up, puts her power bank in her handbag, picks up her back pack and we headed towards the departure lounge.

We continued our discussion on suits as we strolled. By the time we covered about ten feet, Mrs. Oluchi and Morris Chestnut were downstairs already. She walked towards me and asked…

Did you remember to collect our boarding passes from Mr. Sam at the office?

Errrrm… collect whaaaat?

 

To be continued…

 

You Are The Architect Of Your Life!

meditation

Sometimes, without notice or warning, our lives decide to spiral out of control. We try to manoeuvre the wheel, but it’s just not responding, we try to adjust the parameters, employ new and reasonable tactics, but all to no avail.

“What’s going on?” You ask yourself over and over again.

“I had it all under control, just a few days back! Now, it’s like I don’t even know what’s happening.”

“Am I just an actor, living out an unseen script?”

“Am I being controlled by spirits from another realm? What exactly is going on?”

The more you try to understand, the more the situation becomes complex and you sink into an abysmal maze.

Now you have too many voices in your head all clamouring for equal attention. At this point, you realize you need two brains to process all that’s happening and sadly you only have one and the possibility of getting an extra brain implant is still alien to the world of medicine.

You launch your “power of positive thinking”, it doesn’t seem to help much. You activate your “calm your thoughts” demeanour, it’s not working either. You try to reach out and do a mind-cleansing exercise and this is futile as well.

Then you lean back, sit on a couch and drift into a state of semi-consciousness and it gradually become clear… You have lived life on the fast lane.

No Plans! No Goals! No Ambitions!

You sink in deeper and it becomes much clearer…

The days of procrastination, the mistakes, the heartaches, the ad-hoc attempts at a better life and zero proper planning for the next foreseeable future.

You need the past to understand the present. Where you are today is a culmination of your thoughts, decisions and actions from five years previous.  But the good part is that you have had this epiphany and you are going into the future, not with only hope but with actionable steps to make the next five years better than the last.

You are the architect of your life. You design it. You are the engineer of your life. You build it. You are the president of your life. You rule it.               – Ayoleyi E. Johnson

Life happens to all of us, but the universe tailors its actions to fit our beliefs and expectations. What we focus on, grows and affects us in ways we may not even be able to comprehend. You can choose to orchestrate the universe to do your bidding. Belief is key. Believe in yourself. Believe in your ability to succeed and never give up.

It may be rough sometimes, but your resilience and ability to weather the storm and persevere regardless is the little extra that separates the ordinary from the extraordinary.

Have a great life!

I Am Creating My Future, Are You??

Even though it’s not #ThrowBackThursday, let me just take a moment to reminisce on the old days.

ayThis is me, way back in 2005. That’s over a decade ago. How time flies?? You suddenly bathe your eyelids and eleven years have gone by.

Life can be hard, but only the tough make it through.  Don’t you sometimes feel like turning back the hands of time and go back to the days when you were just a child? No worries! No stress! No rent to pay, no bills to worry about! I sure had some fun days as a child.

I remember back in secondary school (or what you ajebos call High School), when we would wait in school after hours and lure the chickens from the school farm to our classroom using corn as bait. Someone will be waiting behind the door, with a big basket to trap them and we would make a small fire at the back of the class and roast them chickens. Another sure guy would have  brought ijebu garri and we would settle down to eat our stolen meal amidst loud gist and laughter. We wrecked so much havoc on the school farm that the school authorities had to close it down.  Let me not bore you with more sordid stories.

But the good old days swoosh by like a flash and the harsh realities start setting in. I have had the good times and I have had the bad times .The past ten years has been full of ups and downs, hustles and struggles, success and failures. I have had jobs and lost it, I have had a car and lost it, I have made money and lost it.

I have been through situations that I thought was insurmountable, thrown in pits that seemed bottomless, but still I rise, still I fight. I believe the next ten years will be different.

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My life is on course for greatness and there’s no turning back. I look forward to a bright future orchestrated by me. A wise man once said that “To predict the future is to create it”.

I Am Creating My Future, Are You??

 

Chronicles of an Insane Intern (Episode 5)

Just in case you missed the previous episodes, read them there.

CIIN

Dear Shola,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been promoted to a new Position, as Personal Assistant to the CEO. This appointment is effective immediately.

All emoluments at par with the new position will be communicated shortly. Kindly stop by the HR Department to pick up your new ID card.

Accept our congratulations.

 

Yours Faithfully,

Freelance Incorporated.

 

This was sounding so surreal. Was I dreaming? My eyes were wide with shock and surprise. I slapped myself and pinched at my thigh just to be sure I was still conscious. This is a whole new level of spectacle. I couldn’t still believe it. I stared at the letter again and again… Is this really happening? I looked round and couldn’t see anyone in the office, now I was sure I was in dreamland.

This was in absolute contrast with all the events that has happened over the past few days and to think that I came into the office this morning praying not to be fired, only to come and meet this!

I didn’t know whether to scream or shout! I looked up and saw my colleagues, Shade Williams, Bukola Adeyemi, Chris, Tope, Oby, Uzo, Dan and all the others walking towards my table. This was really true. This is really happening!

All one and hundred and one emotions I had bottled up inside decided it was time to escape, so I let out a loud YEEEEEEESSSSS! And a large tear escaped my eyelids and rolled down my cheeks.  It was all too overwhelming.

What’s the matter, Shola? Everyone was asking. I tried to speak, but I couldn’t even utter a word. I just handed them the letter. Amidst teary eyes, I could see shock, envy and jealousy flash across their faces as they passed the letter from one person to the other. Nobody saw this coming.

We knew the new CEO would need a P.A, but we  had all concluded that it would be Bukola Adeyemi, she was the best among us, there was no doubt about that. Some of my colleagues were grumbling in the background and I strained to figure out what they were saying, but I couldn’t. Each one of them managed to mumble a shaky “Congrats Shola” as they all walked back to their seats except Bukola, who said, “This isn’t fair”. Well, this wasn’t my doing. I didn’t ask for this.

Dan and Uzo stayed with me, shook my hands and hugged me several times, all the while re-enforcing the need for me to celebrate this promotion. They suggested The Place on Isaac John Street or Yellow Chilli on Joel Ogunnaike. I told them we will definitely celebrate this.

My other colleagues were all in clusters chattering away, I couldn’t hear them but I was sure the headline of their discussion was “Shola and the Shocking Promotion”. Well, they should. If I was in their shoes, I would do the same. Some of them have been in this company far longer than I have been, completed more projects and some may have even run an escort service for the HR Manager.  (I don’t know this for a fact though, this is mere speculation). Many felt it was their birthright, others felt they deserved it and here was I. The Insane Intern is the new PA. Ah Ah! Splendid!

It’s been a really remarkable day, I finally got myself together and was trying to walk across to Bukola who seats close to the water dispenser at the far end of the floor and try to smooth things out with her, as it was very obvious she was the most hurt person in the room. Halfway through the hall, I saw the HR Manager, Mr. Sam coming down the stairs and he motioned at me to come over. I turned round and walked up the stairs with him to his office.

How are you doing?

I’m fine, sir.

I heard you came in late today.

I’m sorry sir. The traffic was very bad sir.

Anyways, I hope you have seen your letter.

Yes I have sir.

Let me just tell you that I wasn’t thinking about you for this position at all. In fact, I had already picked my candidate for the position, but the new CEO requested specifically for you. I still don’t know why and I am keen to find out. What did you do?

Honestly sir, I am still shocked myself. Because we had a minor altercation yesterday and I also somehow ended up coming in late today, so I wasn’t expecting this at all. 

You had a minor altercation with her?? I will need to know more about this, but not right now as I have to attend a meeting. This is your new ID card. Congrats anyway.

Thank you sir.

I could see the look of disdain in his eyes as he walked out of the office. Life can be really cruel sometimes, so many people not happy with your progress. Well, it’s my time! It’s my season! I am going to enjoy every moment of this regardless of what anybody says or feels. I threw my shoulders back, kept a smiling face and walked in confident strides back to my floor.

As I was walking down the stairs, the new CEO was stepping into the office. She was super gorgeous as usual. Her glowing yellow dress and royal blue shoes were just stunning and adorable. I was too busy with my current line of thought that I didn’t see the table right in front of me until I ran into it and hit my thigh against the side. Ouuuuch! I rubbed my hands on it and tried to conceal the throbbing pain I was feeling.

She came closer… Shola, pls go and home and pack your bags, we are going to Abuja and our flight leaves by 3pm. See you at the airport. The new CEO said as she sauntered past me into her office.

Ok. Ma. This was happening all too fast. I went back to my seat in a hurry, picked up my laptop bag and headed back home. I definitely have to go and do a thanksgiving in church on Sunday. I got home and packed a few things, I had recently bought a new Loius Vuitton luggage bag and this was the right time to “launch” it.

I called Baba Monsurat, the taxi man who lives two houses away from mine with two wives and nine children. Most times, he comes late but luckily for me this time he was right on time. I put my luggage in the boot and relaxed on the back seat as we headed to the airport.

As I sat there, it finally dawned on me that all what was happening was real and I was already on my first official assignment as the new P.A. This was just a trip to Abuja, Yes! But I knew it wouldn’t be long, before there will be a trip to Dubai, followed by a trip to the UK. I hit the roof of the taxi in joy as my emotions got the better of me and Baba Monsurat stole a glance backwards to see if all was well. You can’t blame me for my frenzy. I was ecstatic!

We arrived at the MM1 Airport by 2:34pm, I pulled my luggage from the boot and gave it to one of the porters, many of them scrambling to get their hands on several people’s luggage at the same time and started walking towards the departure hall. I had no idea what we were going to do in Abuja and I just hoped the new CEO would fill me in on the flight. I looked forward to what would happen on the trip and played out many insane scenarios in my head. I was going to tell the porter to give me my bag, when a black Mercedes Benz SUV drove in and blocked my view, the back door opened and ..

 

To be continued……

Chronicles of an Insane Intern (Episode 4)

Just in case you missed the previous episodes, read them here.

CIIN

I think I am going insane, where am I hiking to?

Am I planning to walk all the way to Ikeja from here?

This is one of the days I really wished my brain was functioning at full capacity and I possessed super-human powers. I would kill to have the powers of Flash or QuickSilver right now. Abeg, if anyone knows any “Baba” you can introduce me to, I would gladly oblidge, because right now, my corporate life hangs in the balance and the end of my current illuminati career stares me in the face.

Sorry, did I say, Illuminati?? No. Please, I meant luminary career. What would the illuminati want to even do with a crazy nut job like me? They have better things to do and more reasonable people to work with. If they use me, I can promise that their return on investment will be less than zero and nobody is in business to lose.

“Shola, you are mad! You are here thinking about Illuminati when you are supposed to be thinking about how to get to work so you don’t lose your job”. My inner self scolded.

“What am I supposed to do? I can’t come and kill myself nah?” I replied.

“Focus, Shola, Focus!” He said.

My mind and my eyes slowly came back to the road ahead. The traffic was long and wasn’t even moving at all. I looked at my watch… 9:05am! Both GidiTraffic and TrafficButter cannot help me here. Heavenly Lord, help your boy!

I continued walking, thinking about the next phase of my life, what would I do if I was fired? I couldn’t even begin to fathom the inexplicable torture. How would I survive?

At that point, a man driving in a pink and grey Toyota Corolla corporate cab, stuck in the traffic, waved at me and asked me where I was going, I didn’t even bother to answer him. This guy has no idea what kind of situation I am in, it will be nothing but imminent suicide to sit in a cab now.

Just then, heaven smiled on me and one Hausa man riding a new Bajaj Bike drove past me… If you see the way I chased him ehn? You would think I was chasing someone that stole my One Million Dollars.

I started screaming… “Aboki, wait! Wait!” He didn’t stop, the guy just continued his empty ride with pride. He obviously wasn’t hearing me because I think he had an earpiece on, listening to whatever Islamic hip-hop jamz I don’t know.

I couldn’t miss this opportunity of a lifetime, I couldn’t give up, I ran and ran after him. Luckily, the traffic got him in a tight spot he couldn’t wriggle out of and I finally caught up with him. Amidst spasms of deep breaths, I managed to say “Oga, I don dey call you since”, tapping him on the shoulder.

He looked back in surprise. Removing his earpiece, he answered in very polished English I was amazed… “Good Morning Sir, I’m so sorry I wasn’t hearing you”.

I was dumbfounded; I just kept staring at him. This young Aboki with such polished English riding an okada in this part of Lagos was too much for me to bear. I completely forgot about my troubles and focused on why the young lad wasn’t doing much more with his life. It’s a hard life here in this country, so many promising youths doing menial jobs, when they could have been the next Mark Zuckerberg.

“So, where are you going sir?”, the boy asked. His Queens English on fleek with such poise and effortless array.

I finally found myself again thinking about my preposterous situation, “I’m going to Oba Akran at Ikeja”, I replied. Still looking surprised.

“The fare is N500, sir!”

At this point, I wasn’t bothered about the price, because even if he said it was N2,000, I wouldn’t have hesitated. I hopped on and the journey began. On the way, I was captivated by our discussions that I didn’t know when we got to Oba Akran.

He told me so much about his life. He was a graduate of Biochemistry from Ahmadu Bello University. After his National Youth Service, he decided to move to Lagos in search of greener pastures. His parents died in a very bad accident on their way to Lagos to see him and life has been hard ever since. After a futile job search that lasted six years, he had to take to riding okada to make ends meet and cater for his siblings who were about four in number.

He had even passed my office, before I realized and beckoned on him to stop. I alighted, gave him N1,000 and told him to keep the change. He deserved it and so much more. I crossed to the other side of the road and started walking briskly towards the office. I was too scared to look at my watch. I got to the gate and the security guys were not there, I decided to just slip in unnoticed.

As I got to the entrance, I saw Akpan, one of the security guys coming round the corner.

“Ha, Oga Shola, you just dey come?”

“No, I don come since, I just go buy something”. I lied.

“Ok. Sir”

I opened the door gently and entered the office. Everyone was just staring at me as I walked towards my seat, I greeted them but nobody said a word. No one except Bukola. She has always been the outspoken one.

“Shola, you are so lucky that the CEO has gone out for a meeting, but she left a letter on your table.”

I walked faster and as I got to my seat by the right corner of the office, I saw a white Freelance Incorporated envelope on my table. It was addressed to me. My heart popped into my mouth. I picked it up, it was sealed. I was honestly getting scared, the inevitable was about to happen!

Was it a suspension?

Was I going to be fired?

I didn’t even have to look up to know that all twenty-six pairs of eyes at the office was fixed on me at the moment. I opened the envelope slowly, pulled out the letter and it read…

Dear Shola,

This is to officially inform you that….

 

 

To be continued…

The Lekki Conservation Centre… Escape to the peace and quiet.

lcc

I woke up on Saturday morning around 6am feeling a little drowsy; I must have slept a bit late. But I had to get up, a new day had come. I shook off the impending lethargy and stretched my hands and feet, got into my gear and took off for my morning jog. I was back home by 7am and as I stepped into my room, it screamed at me to keep it tidy which I did. I can’t stand it whenever my room shouts.

I started thinking about the trip I planned to the Lekki Conservation Centre, as I took care of other house chores; I was going with a friend and we were both carless, so how do we get there via transport? I silently prayed that God should bless me with a car, and I wasn’t hazy about it, I asked him specifically for the Nissan Qashqai 2008 Model. I love that car to the moon and back.

It was now 11am and we had planned to leave the house for 12Noon, then I had some impromptu visitors (cool friends) who encroached into our plans, so I had to call my friend to reschedule for 1pm. It’s amazing how some friends just think that they can just crash your programme all the time. No hard feelings, I love them regardless.

We finally started our journey from Iju Ishaga to Lekki by 1:20pm and we made it to CMS by 3:30pm. We decided to take a bike from CMS all the way to the Lekki Conservation Centre to save on time as we all know that you can’t predict Lagos Traffic. The bike ride was an experience in itself, enjoying the cool breeze as it brushed past your face and you leave the traffic behind.

lekki-conservation-centre

So we made it! Here we are at the Lekki Conservation Centre. It was a real escape to the peace and quiet, an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the very crazy and noisy Lagos metropolis. We were greeted by lovely peacocks on the side lawn and a giant centuries-old tortoise. The monkeys were everywhere. They really felt at home and paraded the entire resort.

We still took our chances, placed our bet on nature and bought our tickets at N1,000 each after one of the managers had explained to us that we might not be able to gain access to some parts of the reserve either due to flooding or maintenance. So off we went, starting our expedition with the Trail Board Walk which was built over the nature reserve.

As we later learnt, the trail boardwalk was constructed in 1992 to enrich tourist’s view of the vast resources of the nature reserve which is encapsulated on a mangrove terrain. The trail stretches a length of 2 Km.

lekki-conservation-center-2

Some of the side attractions along the trail are swamp outlook, bird hide, rest stops and the tree house. The rest stops serve as rest points and picnic site for small groups of visitors. They are located at about 250m apart on the nature trail boardwalk.

The Tree House is one of the most fascinating features one can ever come across in an ecotourism zone. The tree house, stylishly seated on a stout dawadawa tree rises above 25m. A well protected ladder is ruggedly mounted behind the tree to enable nature enthusiasts reach to tree house to savour the panoramic view of the tree canopy. It was cordoned off, so we couldn’t get to enjoy the view, anyways, maybe next time.

At the end of trail boardwalk seats what is called the Nature Station – a recreation island in the middle of a forest. It has a semi-enclosed block structure containing the indoor picnic facilities and conveniences. The outdoor has outdoor game facilities for the amusement of adventurous visitors.

This was where our eyes were opened to one of the astonishing beauties of nature; we almost didn’t come this far as the path was flooded and muddy at some point and we almost gave up and turned back. But thankfully, we summoned up courage and we got here, ushered into a world of great aquatic beauty.

Amidst the several recreational facilities at the Nature Station seats two large ponds; a Tilapia Pond and a Koi Pond. The former wasn’t really spectacular, but the latter was really a sight to behold.

tours

I would just let the pictures speak as I don’t have the words to describe the experience. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and it’s really better experienced than expressed.

We spent so much time just admiring the fishes and the splendour of nature and how all this ultimately affects our environment and time elapsed with no significance to us. We later found ourselves back on earth and we realized we had to be at a rehearsal later in the evening. So we started the long walk back to civilization through the 2km trail board walk, and we were greeted courteously by monkeys as we sauntered across.

Back at the office complex, we settled for a meal of Jollof Rice, Plantain and Beef at the Canteen before we headed back into the hustle and bustle of Lagos. It was such a great experience; I will definitely be back at the Lekki Conservation Centre.