Thursday, 28 February 2013

Is Esther of Kish still alive???

Yes. She is Olanike Okeowo. Some may know her as Olanike Ogunsanya. She is Esther of Kish.

I met Nike in JSS 1 in Olashore International School in far away Iloko-Ijesha, Osun State. She was the small lady with  the low cut and a wide smile. And one of my random memories was the fact that she was in Red house. lol (imagine the things i remember)

Our school routinely appraised students and usually announced the top 10 best students in the school every half term and end of term at the School Hall. Olanike was a regular member of that elite team. It appeared to everyone that her mind processed information faster than some of us including me. (docking my head)

She was brainy, smart, beautiful and definitely never got into trouble. She was the perfect student.

Fastforward several years.

The girl I knew as one of the 'brainest' people had transformed into a beautiful woman. She represented the woman I hoped to be. But despite the fact that she lived in one of the choicest areas of Ikoyi, had a lovely husband, two beautiful girls, Olanike was not done. And at that point she took up a craft and like Esther from the Bible who said 'if i perish, i perish', she plunged into her craft.

At this point, I wondered how this brainy lady could give up a career, beacuse it did not take a seer to see she was cut out to work with NASA or be a neurologist. She was that brainy, believe me!

A look at her hand crafted jewellry changed all my lofty dreams for her because she showed that the God of creation lived inside of her.This lady had employed her mathematical 'brainyness' into crafting jewellry! (Who does that?)

I was impressed ( and i don't get impressed easily).

I write this day to celebrate a woman who chose family over career. She charted waters unknown by applying her mind and focus. And even though she was comfortable in every way the world could imagine. She found a job that accommodated her passion and her family. She pressed to make a difference in the world.

Today she adorns brides, socialites and ordinary gals like me. Yea. Lemme boast a little. The Nigerian Glam squad recently wore her pieces.

Take a moment with me to appreciate this woman.

She is indeed Esther of Kish.

(Esther of Kish is handcrafted jewellry by Olanike Okeowo. |Every piece is made by her. Every piece is a product of her love)

What is your excuse?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

First date patter with George Essien; Psyches Major

I was nervous,I had become phone buddies with the man with the sexiest voice on the planet. And even though I know my voice was equal to the task, i knew i still had to represent on our first date.

It was a friday in January. We had mutually decided to meet at one of those restaurants in Victoria Island and had fixed 1pm for our first date.

By noon, i tried to round up work on my desk so i could run out to meet my new 'beau'. Unfortunately, the big bad wolf, my boss 'Ikem' held me back and asked me to do something on Share transfer for a client. If only he knew the dagger i'd rather transfer to his heart that day.

I was bummed because i needed to go for my first date.

At our rescheduld time, i hand straightened my one nation black pinafore, a shirt and carried my patent black Mulberry bag to complete my ensemble confident that my appearance would leave him weak in the knees. (Little did i know, it didnt!) he he he

I appeared at 5;30 for a meeting that was supposed to be for 5:00 and no, i wasn't trying to make him sweat. I was just trying to make him sweat **wink wink**. When he rose to greet me, I immediately noticed he was wearing a stripped shirt and a pair of good looking jeans and his famous 'Gucci' shoes. i sighed in relief, (thank God the dude knows something about fashion)

He looked nice and nothing like the 'houseboy' image I had of Calabar boys. He in turn told me i looked like a girl he liked when he was younger. We psyched ourselves a bit as per first date and ordered food.

I watched him eat and noticed he had incredible table manners. Me, I was cautious like hell. I mean don't get me wrong, I wasn't trying to impress him oh, i was just trying not to embarass myself. (Yea, I am something of a tomboy)

He talked about how he wanted to be a lawyer and i talked about how i wanted to be a broadcaster. It was like I said earlier 'psyches major'.

We talked about some dreams, shared some experiences but I wasn't sure we would go on a second date. He talked nice, looked nice and there was an abundance of attraction but i wasn't sure if he would ask me out again.

Then the phone call came in, Ikem was calling. A client needed some document in my possession.. I became agitated. I needed to run.

He remained calm and just organized how i would get out of the restaurant to my office in good time. That sealed the deal for me. He took charge.

Need I say, we had a few more dates that led to an eternal joining at the hips.

Which is why when he and I look back, we laugh at how we psyched each other on our first date and thank God that we are now comfortable with each other and tell the truth as it is.

But sometimes, i wish we could go on a first date again. The new feelings, the new attraction, the first date patter.

It is just through my eyes, he may have a different version.

You didn't know my pain

Am I barren? That is what she thought after the first three years of marriage passed and she had not taken in.

As she flashbacked to her wedding day in March 2005. She remembered how she walked down that aisle in her white dress and looked lovingly at the man who would soon call husband and the dreams they had for their life together. This issue of not getting pregnant was one she never thought about.

Then she took medical steps to ensure that all was well. She visited the doctors and a gyneacologist. And they all had some story and position about the delay.

At this point her faith wavered. She realized there was a problem. She prayed so hard, she fasted, she sought counsel but it didn't amount to anything. She was afraid she may lose the heart of her husband, she was concerned that her body may fail in bringing a precious baby to this world.

Then they advised.

Do an IVF. Take a chance. You won't know if you don't try.

And she did. She went through the painful process of an IVF, she crossed her fingers and hoped she would take in. She did not.

Then against all odds she did another IVF and another one. And the three times, it wasn't successful.

They violated her body with needles in the name of injections. She swallowed tablets like she was eating popcorn. She put on excessive weight, she suffered hormonal imbalance, facial hair. Ibilola she said, it was like i was in hell.

Then the reports came, she had high blood pressure and her sugar level was high.

She was tired, she was sad. It didn't look like she would ever have a child of her own. Time had flown by and her marriage was seven (7) years old and there was no child to show. In her words- the years were horrible. She was emotionally, psychologically, financially and mentally drained. The drain almost paralyzed her.

Then her brother got married in June 2012, she was so busy organizing that she felt her recent fatigue was as a result of it.

As it turned out, it wasn't.

My beautiful friend was pregnant.

After seven long years, after 3 failed IVF's. She took in naturally.

And even though the pregnancy was stressful, she delivered a beautiful baby girl on the 21st of February, 2013.

Writing this post makes me want to burst into songs of Alleluia.

I say Praise God, I say congratulations my darling Fazuan. She will bring you joy, she will bring you more peace.

Always remember...everyone has what they are struggling don't know the pain of your neighbour...Be kind...Just because.

Facts; (IVF's cost a little over a million naira). Every 2 out of 10 women are barren.

Did you legalize 'agberos' by your consent?

For a while, i have noticed the menace called 'agberos'. I see them at every turn when i have the opportunity to board buses and okadas. And yes, i do both.

This particular day i boarded a bus from ajah to obalende because  i purposed to observe the damage this illegal sect cause. I made sure i waited for a bus where i could sit in the front seat with the driver to observe their actions first hand.

First an agbero in his thick weed smoked voice cries 'owo e da' (where is your money). He haggles to collect 200 naira for 'security' from this bus driver. He is shortly followed by another agbero selling his ticket of 100 naira for 'loading' and another 100 naira for 'parking'.

I was so upset by this that i shouted at the agbero and asked on whose authority he was acting. He just gave me a dirty look and stated that he had to 'deliver' his quota and continued to do as he pleased. The driver thereafter warned me to shut up and not give them cause to deal with me.

I stared in shock at the audacity of the man.

But i couldn't blame him because a bunch of boys/men who can run (and whose skills should be used in the track & field) are used by unscrupulous elements to obtain money illegally from hardworking men such as the bus driver, bus conductors and okada riders. It is the way we have been subjected to. It is the way we seem to have accepted.

Back to my story, by the time we left ajah, the bus driver had paid about 600 naira in illegal taxes to agberos. But my darling bloggers, this was not the end.

By the time we got to Bonny Camp round about, the bus driver stopped to buy another ticket of N100 naira for crossing that zone. At this time, my heart sunk!!!

And upon inquiry , i discovered that this taxes he paid was for the morning shift. In other words, if he decided to work in the afternoon and evening, the same type of taxes awaited him.

Now, shall we do a little maths? The bus to obalende carries 4 people on 3 rows at 200 naira each plus one in front. This totals N2,600 naira. He pays about a 1000 to agberos in illegal taxes, he needs to buy fuel. What exactly is left to feed his family and children?

This opened my eyes to why bus drivers are always in a hurry on the road because they have to make a lot of money in the window of the tax they have paid.

Many people i know and grew up with hardly board a bus. But let everyone know that we have legalized this illegal sect by our conduct. We are not asking questions, we are not fighting the wrong meted on us by local governments and this state government.

And this post hasn't answered any questions i have, it has just left me wondering if you legalized agberos?

Definition of agbero
A man (usually young) who chases after public buses and okadas to collect 'illegal' taxes and remits them to unknown elements.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Liar Liar, Pants on fire!

Dear Mr Governor,

I on behalf of concerned Lagosians will like to ask why did you banish Okada's from the roads?

1. Is it because you are such an insensitive governor who does not concern itself with the pain and feelings of the general populace?

2. Or is it because are drunk on power?

But then Eureka!!! We understand it now

3. You banned okada's so that your private military force can do the okada business by themselves. Yes. We see them late at night haggling prices with commuters, because lets face it, who will challenge them?

They have made so much money from riding okada's following the state governor's ban on the Okada shinding. that i am sure some of them have completed their building projects.

Lets face it Mr Governor, do you think we dont know that your laws are selective and you choose who to enforce them on. Infact with all your tax aggressiveness, i will like to know if Mr Bola Tinubu pays tax and to whom (well, thats for another day sha!)

So i'll say what everyone is afraid to say; Liar Liar, pants on fire!!!

Fat, Fierce and Fabulous

 The world tells us 'biggness' is a disease. We take it, we hide it when we go to the market and they call us 'orobo'. We think there is something seriously wrong with us.

Most of my life i have been big. In secondary school, i was bigger than most kids, and you know how that goes, the jeering, the mocking. Infact, early in secondary school, two particular boys used to mock me about my weight and bow legs. And i would just cry and cry and cry.

By the time i was leaving secondary school, i was so conscious of my body that i never wore skirts that didnt reach my ankle or jacket that didnt effectively cover the upper part of my body... until i got into the university.

I got the privilege to do my first year as a law student in Lasu (a place where i have made the best friends i have till date; Bolanle square, Yemisi Agweye, Oyinkan Oluboyede) and there i met a group of people who just loved on me. I mean loved on me. Feeling that confidence from all that love resulted in me getting rid of my long skirts and wearing shorter skirts, going around without the jacket et al.

Soon i took it to the new level, i started understanding my body, started observing what looked good for my frame. I never tolerated anyone who wanted to talk thrash about my body. Infact if they tried, they would get a retort that would leave them spineless for a month. (thats how good i was)

And after the university, i blossomed, i became fashion conscious. I wore heels, wore neckpieces and for me i developed a mantra to show chubby, fat ladies everywhere that we may not be stick thin like them Agbani, Kate Moss, but we know how to rock clothes, attitude and confidence.

I am confident now, i hardly think of my stature until i am reminded by Uncle that i need to exercise. I discovered something important then-Men are attracted to confidence.

To my truckload of chubby lady friends- Aisha Pereira, Atibi Dan-Jumbo, Ijeoma Mouka, Oyinkan( u thought i forgot u, impossible)Oluboyede, Theresa Onwordi, Fazuan Bai and so many others i forget at this time, Remember you are beautiful, smart amazing women and i raise the plastic cup of water currently on my table to you and i say remain chubby, beautiful, fierce and fabulous.

NB: I am running to exercise before my husband reads this oh, i suggest you do the same. Just for health purposes. he he he he.

I still believe in 'Epe' (Yoruba word for curses)

I met her as a teenager and we struck a friendship that the would survive petty jealousies, boyfriends, absences and you know the usual.

We lost touch for a while  but when she heard i had a surgery, she came and stayed overnight to nuture me even though my house was knee high in a deserted area and she had to go to work early in the morning.

I give this background so you will understand the depth of love and history i have for and with this lady.

Then in our routine check-in's she says to me 'Ibilola, Emeka has a wife! He is married' The emoticon of the surprise i felt is yet to be created. My heart broke into a million pieces for my friend who had waited years beacuse a man gave her his word.

Yes, I know Emeka, I met him about 2005 when he pursued my friend Zainab with passion. He pursued her with love, attention, gifts. Everything a woman could think of.  Thinking back, I might have even beeng jealous. I desired what they had.

Everyone expected marriage at the rate they were going and Emeka did not disappoint. In 2010, he came back from an international trip and wowed everyone by proposing to my friend under the  skylights, music and food. Lots of it.

We put wedding plans into gear. We checked out halls, googled wedding dresses and shoes, checked out wedding bands, infact I offered to sing (and yes I can sing! ***ntohhhn***) cost of caterers, aso ebi, lingerie. Secretly,had planned to establish myself as a wedding planner of class with her wedding! I mean you know how we do!!! (Aderonke, yes, i borrowed your phrase, sue me!)

And then in February 2013, she received an international call from London, from a woman claiming to be Emeka's wife. She said they have been married since 2007. And as if that blow wasn't hard enough, the wife puts him on speaker phone and tells Emeka to tell Zainab. He did. He was married.

I try not to curse but I believe that a man who deceived another human being like that will swim in an ocean of 'epe'. You expect the lady to concentrate at work when all she will do is second guess herself, her worth, her values.

Congratulations Emeka, you have created a monster!!!

But she will rise above it, she has me and a host of friends who truly love her. She will get past this and she will love again.

I live the rest to Almighty God and I say Zainab, it may not look like it now but in the words of beyonce 'you dodged a bullet.'

Its just through my eyes>>>

Monday, 25 February 2013

George Essien's Voice; Killing me softly!

I heard he had a good voice, i heard he had a style...modifying the words of the song made popular by Lauryn Hill describes the man of my heart. They call him George Iniabasi Essien.

My husband has one of the sexiest voices in the universe and many people suppose that i was drawn to him and his on air personality. But here is the truth, naaaaaaaaa!

In actual fact, when we met i had no idea who he was, i never listened to sports radio because well there is no love lost between excercise and me. I say this with all sense of shame.

Back to my story, we met on facebook. Yep. Mark Zuckerberg, take that! We had a mutual friend who decided to chat me up on a certain day i was bored. And i had this picture on my profile (a picture my husband says was calculated to deceive young men, funny! looks like it succeeeded in deceiving him, he he he) of a young and innocent lady.

So we met. And then. We married.

But my rant today is not about how we met but about how his voice is amahzing. You may say i am biased but you wont understand till you hear it.

Baritone smooth, delivery suave, knowlege smart are some of the ways he holds it down on air. I am sure very few people can compete with him yet. He is shy and would never describe himself this way but guess what I am his wife and this is what wives do.

Well its through my eyes. And i have got piercing eyes.

If you dont believe me...find out!!!

IA out!

I mutter under my breath 'Lagos is not working" ssshhhhhh

I sit in my office in the 9th floor of one of the buildings in the central business district in Victoria Island and for some reason, my eyes veer towards the secondary school called Kings College. As if seeing with the same conduit pipe, my colleague states 'if the Lagos State Government owned the property of Kings College it would have sold it to private companies by now'

I laughed because well its the natural thing to do but it got me thinking, just how many public schools are there in Lagos state? We hear so much about how the government of the day is working! I daresay they are working on building roads which is in conjunction with private companies. The new order of the day- The Public Private Partnership.

This government has been meticulous with collecting tax, from the Land Use charge to Tenement Rates to VAT to the numerous hidden taxes we pay everyday. In this we can boast like Paul, our Government is working!

Fact; between Victoria Island and Ajah axis of Lagos state, there is just one public school. Why has the government not built more schools, employed educated teachers and not half baked teachers who are breeding half baked students.

Yet the state government is working! How are you working when the intelligence and education prowress of the next generation is like a castle laid on sand.

You collect toll fees, you ban okada 'motorcycles' on the roads, you refuse to build roads, electricity is still a big problem, you charge us for everything. We cannot pay rents without borrowing, we cannot buy vehicles without mortgage, we cannot leave the life we wish because well you need all the money for important things such as; moneyto pay for the hanger that houses your private jets, you need it to spray 'those people' when you attend events, you need it to strategise how you will own the whole of the western region of Nigeria, you need it to throw lavish birthday parties, you need it to send your children to the best schools abroad while the educational system rots here.

Then after the university education, you want these two sets of people to compete for the same jobs. I cry for you. Because you cannot take this wealth you are acquiring with you when you die.

I can only mutter under my breath that 'Lagos is not working". I do not want your paid private force which you call the police force to shoot me in the head for airing my opinion.

And No!, i am no coward, i just want to see my grandchildren

Dear Employer, Are you building an institution or an animal farm?

Dear Employer,

1. Are you building an institution that will outlive you or a farm that will pay for your extravagant lifestyles?

2. Is it true that in your journey to the top, you have lost your humane feelings?

3. Granted you run a business but do you genuinely care for those you have employed?

4. Is it true you create cartels in the workplace and reward those who are loyal to you?

5. Is it true you remove one from one position and give the other when they do wrong? I understand you don't have consistent punishments.

6. Is it true that your henchmen use tribe as a means to push certain people to the top

7. Do you claim you don't know or you turn a blind eye to some of the rubbish you know they do?

8. Is it true that your employees have no career progression with you? Are you sure your employees can pay their house rent, buy vehicles, pay for their children's school fees?

9. Are you staying in tune with current employer codes in different parts of the world or you blindly build an institution that will follow local practices?.

I have heard so much my ears burn! What are you doing?
Do you not know that one day, you will account for every of your action. And if God has put you in charge of some people, do you not know that God will ask about their well being from you. O evil and perverse generation.

I only ask you to do what is right and if you do not agree, then I want to hear from you.

Its just through my eyes.

Are you crazy???

I sat at the edge of a public bus held up in the ritual evening traffic...and there he was with the faded hoodie, desperately trying to sell me some chewing gum. A heavy duty vehicle almost struck him down because he wanted to sell his merchandise worth a little over a dollar. And all i could scream in fear was 'Are you crazy?'

Of course i could shout that and look down on him because i am considered better off. But as if that wasn't a brush near death, my guy continued to pester me to buy his gum.

What he is Nigerian.

The power of persistence, the power to succeed against all odds. He is a reflection of the thousands of many Nigerians who push against death, against strife, against an insensitive government and against self to reach the top

He is like many of us...Nigerian & Proud.