Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why go home?

I would like to start first of all, by saying that to some Nigerians, Naija isn't 'home'.
This could be for whatever reason. They might never have fully identified with the Nigerian way of life, or they have been raised abroad and thus to them, their home could be America, England, or any other country in the world.

To those Nigerians who have schooled abroad - should you come back to Naij?

I believe the answer is Yes. We have educated ourselves abroad and have gone on to work abroad for a while, using your brain power and creative potential to allow various other countries and companies flourish whilst Nigeria, that so badly needs such brainpower, starves.

In order for Nigeria to truly progress, we all need to come back 'home'. A lot of people who come back quickly get the hang of things whilst others take a little longer to adapt. Nevertheless, if you make a good network of friends and family, Nigeria is a lot more fun.

We are all gifted in many ways, academically and otherwise. It is imperative that we use such gifts in a country that not only needs our ingenious ideas but also needs a new wave of people. People who are active and no longer passive, people who are dynamic and most of all, people who are willing to put the work in.

It shall not be easy, I by no means want to paint a pretty picture, however, Nigeria believe it or not is a land of opportunity. There is so much you can do in Naija, as long as you keep striving and build the connections necessary.

I would like to go back home someday, and give back all the knowledge that I have received. Be it in outreach programmes, Academy's, or in the world of fashion.

Yes, I said fashion - just you wait!

I met a guy recently who went back to Nigeria right after his degree and got stuck in right away. Some of you might have heard of his project. The Ingenious Youth.

Here are a couple of links -
and the founder on Youtube:

In a period of five minutes I was never more amazed and inspired by any individual - kudos to him.

What I am trying to get at, is that it is not impossible. Even those that have given up hope. There is still hope for Nigeria - you.
For those who don't feel Nigerian - here's a little something for you. Come back, explore the land that you are from - see whether you like it, and if not, fair enough. Just know that Nigeria does need your help and guidance.

Much love,

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Why should we wait?

The answer is we shouldn't.

Why do we have to wait for the government to do everything. They can't even get around to doing what a government should be doing so how can we expect them to deliver. We've been waiting for years and years and yet nothing has been done. 

I am so proud to be one of the blessed people able to witness a Nigeria united in outrage. 
What am I talking about? Occupy Nigeria.

Everyone had their doubts. Where, why and how did it all start?
Good questions they all are, however, the main point is that Nigerians are fed up, the youth especially. 
For the first time, I saw a Nigeria active - I'm sure that defo shocked the government. So much so, they ended up reducing the fuel price. Unfortunately, not to the amount asked for, but at least they did budge. 

I know I keep going on about this, but this is the main fact.
For years we have sat by and discussed this and its time for us to be more active about change in Nigeria. 

The older generation have failed us, and so its time for the youth to take over and make a change in the Nigeria that we so love and grew up in.

What do I mean? Well its not over yet, I mean we still have many of the older generation taking charge and are in a position of influence to do something new. If you know that you are well connected, or your family is, or you know people who are, encourage them to start funding outreach programs in various sectors aiming to aid different people. There was a fundraiser last Christmas to raise money for the Motherless Babies home. That didn't unfortunately go to plan, but it was started by the youth for the next leaders of tomorrow. This is the kind of example we should be following. You don't have to be a billionaire, but if you haven't noticed, we are all a very talented bunch of people, and we all know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone.

Start talent shows that showcase Nigerian talent, try and get sponsors to fund it, get people from various sectors interested and present to advertise and to show up. Before you know it you could have something big, lying unnoticed.

If young Nigerians all came together to make a difference small by small, slowly but surely, there is no reason why Nigeria cannot change.

Someone told me the other day that Nigeria's population is made up of 75% of  the youths. That freaked  me out, however, when I got to thinking I realised what are the government, and the older generation doing about it?
Why can't companies aim to set up training programmes for the youth in various industries. If they are good enough after training, why not hire them? I believe there is more that can be done for Nigerians by Nigerians, so why don't we get started. 

All the youth need is hope, and an opportunity to know that they are loved and can be who they want to be if they put their mind to it.

We the fortunate few, can do something about that. Let's not wait for the government - let's change things now!

Brave. Bold. Daring.

This blog is inspired by many Nigerians who have broken the mould so to speak.
They have inspired and continue to inspire a new range of Nigerians. 

I wanted to lay tribute to them, for all they have done so far, and to encourage them to continue in their many areas of expertise.

Just to name a few that have come to my attention:

The writers: 
Ayanam -
Afam -
Adaeze: and her facebook page:

Michelle Bello:

Fusionkelvar:, and

Fisayomi Longe:
Modupe Adebowale:

Henrietta Mac-Pepple:
Lala Alakija:
Feyi Adesanya:
Ify: (Breathtaking)

Rotimi : and

Adey: and
DJ Cuppy:
Newly launched 'BEATZ' Magazine:

Friday, July 27, 2012

How do we do it?

How to we go about changing and helping Nigeria to progress? 

That is the million dollar question.

There is no right or wrong answer.

My philosophy has always been to educate myself not only in the conventional sense, but actually to spend time studying Nigeria. Understanding Nigerian politics, studying the people, and trying to find a way to fix it.

This is not going to be a one woman/ man job, but I believe the answer is in the YOUTH.

I'm not trying to be sappy, but it's the truth. We sit down and we listen to our granparents or our parents tell us how Nigeria used to be. We sit and savour in that nostalgic moment.

However, when looking at how the older generation has handled Nigeria, they act as their parents did. 

They wallow in greed, intellectually discuss the need for change and some find excuses when corrupt.

"Thats the way Nigeria is, or that is the way Nigeria is always going to be."

Backtracking ever so slightly, lets look at this scenario.

You are in the car with the driver, (I have been guilty of this scenario too), he takes the wrong turn and LASMA catch him. LASMA are the Lagos Road Traffic Police.

LASMA: Oga, you no know sey that you no fit take this wrong turn. (Boss, you know you should'nt have taken this wrong turn)

Driver: Yes sir, pele. (Sorry)

LASMA notices you in the back seat, after already analysing the kind of vehicle you are in, and seeing how put together you are in the back seat, to him, this is the prime opportunity for him to get something extra.

LASMA: Sista, fine geh, how are you. (Sister, beautiful girl, how are you?)

He attempts to speak proper English in order to appeal to the cultured woman you are.

Girl: I am fine thank you Oga, but I beg, make you let us go.

LASMA looks at you in shock at the fact that you have broken out in Pidgin English (Broken English), as he realises this will be harder than he previously thought he decides to up the stakes.

LASMA: Why should I let you go, don't you know you have broken the law. You have entered the one way  and so...

Girl: I understand sir, but I need to go and pick up my baby sister at the airport. She is there alone and without me there with her anything can happen.

LASMA: Your sister ehn, your sister ehn, well I'm sorry but you must get ready to pick up the car at the police station. Unless...

Driver: Says something in Yoruba (I do not understand) and the Police Officer slightly agrravated says.

LASMA: Oya, if you give me something now, you can go.

Girl: I don't have much money on me, like I said I am on the way to the airport.

Unknown to the police officer, she has 15,000 naira, the equivalent of about £60 in her purse.

LASMA: Oya, how much make you give me.

Girl: Here's 5,000 naira,  to the driver - Uncle Micheal, let's go.

LASMA: Thank you ma, enjoy your day.

See how he has now called you Madam, due to the payoff.

I promised myself never to do that again, and  since that day I haven't.

Now the driver as we drove off, told me that I gave him too much, and he would have let us go with a smaller amount. I told him to focus on his driving so that we are never in such a situation again.

In that higlighted scenario we have seen corruption, greed and manipulation.

The police officer, isn't paid what he should be paid. System of pay and regulation in Nigeria is the worst. Someone needs to see to that being changed.

An honest man, wouldn't have asked for the money in the first place and would have impounded the car.

That would have been an inconvience to the person in the car and to their daily plan, so  they paid him off.

Its all about opportunity and convinience in Nigeria. How do we fix that?

For 1) Be the honest person and refuse to give a bribe. Let your car be impounded, most likely because the police guy is a lazy bugger anyway, he won't even take the car. If he's an honsest guy then that's fine. Have your car impounded and don't be so silly next time.

We always complain of corruption within the govt and don't realise that we too are guilty of it, even in the smallest way.

2) The bigger issue, pay regulation. I don't know how to go about fixing that save from being governor, or a minster. But on a smaller scale pay your staff they way they should be paid, treat them well, clear your conscience.

3) Tell your driver to be more careful, make sure he's actually had driving lessons (ID's are faked all the time). He might be driving your kids someday, then what?

4) Most importantly: keep up to date with the recent law changes, which actually do occur, that way you're not in a pickle and if the police try to swing a fast one past you - you can't be fooled.

With the older generation, all is not lost, but the younger ones, we are the future leaders of tommorrow (again not to sound sappy), but it's important - don't give or take bribes - be the honest man.

Nigerian Potential

It is so good to see young members of our generation exploring the many talents that God has given them.

I come from a family like most of us, who are a prominent or a well-to-do Nigerian family.

They are all sorts: lawyers, bankers, accountants, doctors, business men and women, economists, politicians...



Take a deep breath...

As you have probably noticed, a lot of Nigerian families have a system. The children tend to go down the professional career path 'cause to be honest, that's all we've ever known or been exposed to. 
It is no one's fault per se that we do not grow up wanting to be psychologists, vets, teachers, artists, photographers or hairdressers. It is just not how the system works. 

I remember wanting to be at least two of those things listed above, and that was met with the greatest rebuttal. 

"It is not going to put food on the table. Do this degree first and then you can do what ever you want." 

To some extent our parents are right.

I mean with the financial downturn and the fact that majority of the Nigerian Society do not have time to talk about their feelings, or pay for a vet to check out their pets; what job can you do that will give you financial security?

However, over the past four years I have seen a change. I have met people who study all sorts, Art, Photography, English, Psychology etc. Fellow young Nigerians, like you and me. 

People are not only openly discussing their success, whether in Fashion, Music or Writing, but they are also actively pursuing them as careers and some have done amazingly well for themselves. 

I have had some regrets, with some of the decisions I have made, but I hope that they were as God has planned them to be. Stepping stones in my life. 

So to all the young people out there who are making it, who are working on it, or who are exploring it. Kudos to you all. Keep at it. 

Parents, support your kids. There are already a million people out there who are praying for your child to fail, don't be one of them.

Young Nigerians out there: as we know, breaking the mould requires courage, risk-taking, and a lot of passion.

SO Wake up people. We live in a different world now.