When a Right-of-Way Becomes No Man’s Land

There are a lot of things that happen in Nigeria, that if this were the proverbial saner climes, we would be debating whether to commit people to a sanatorium or a penitentiary. Or, if we wanted to spice things up a bit, we would haggle over how many neck-ward strokes with a USB cord would suffice. But before you accuse me of brutal intent, can we explain why anyone is building a petrol station above a high-pressure gas pipeline when suicide is still illegal in Nigeria?

Continue reading “When a Right-of-Way Becomes No Man’s Land”

He was Golden

“Jonah, daddy is dead”. With just four words on the phone, my younger brother informed me that our father had moved on. It had been a fast-paced day from collapsing in church in the morning, to resuscitation, admission in one hospital, referral to a teaching hospital, admission in the tertiary care hospital, and death just before 5pm. Lacking the emotional make-up of most humans, the only time I would shed tears would be as I fell to my knees to tell God He would be responsible for funding the burial and I had no intention of burying two parents in one year, as I worried about my mom. Less than thirty minutes after hearing my father was dead, my mind switched to burial planning mode, and I would come to realise that it takes a village to bury their child.

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Thou Shalt Not Undertake Research

As I picked up my laptop to draft this article, a thought crossed my mind whether the Nigerian antipathy to research and development is in obedience to some religious instruction, or if a fatwa had been declared on any government in Nigeria that dares pay any attention to funding and facilitating research efforts. This thought inspired the title as the best excuse I can conjure for what might be intellectual laziness on a national scale.

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Change, Politics

A Litany of Bad Choices

If you had to choose between eating your cake and having it, what would you choose, and how would you make this choice? Would your choice be logical, emotional, a blend of the two, or a clean random pick? Whichever you choose, you would be aware that every choice has a consequence one way or the other. However, looking at the national development angle in Nigeria, it looks like we make weird choices and later wonder why things took a wrong turn. Whereas there are several factors behind our woes in Nigeria, one common denominator for our dysfunctional state is a litany of imprudent choices.

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Change, Politics

Cry, My Beloved Port Harcourt

There is a popular proverb in Nigeria which states, “The person who has never left his father’s farm thinks the farm is the biggest in the village”. If the meaning has not jumped at you, here’s another version: “Until you leave your father’s house, you will think your mother is the best cook on earth”. There’s some kind of epiphany that happens when you go outside your conventional zone and get to experience life in other areas. This has been my experience with Port Harcourt.  Continue reading “Cry, My Beloved Port Harcourt”

Politics, Travelling

Jerusalem: Land of Uneasy Peace, Religion and Business

This is the fourth part in a series tagged “A Stroll Through Israel”. If you won’t jump into the fourth episode of a Game of Thrones season, you may want to begin with the first article.

Our trip to Israel began with Tel Aviv, then Nazareth, Bethlehem, Rawabi and Ramallah. Having gone through these cities to view Israel and Palestine from a different lens, it was time to tour what is unarguably the most contested piece of hills in this galaxy. From being a space merely contested for mainly political reasons, Jerusalem morphed into the site of a religiously-charged contest, and has now retained the political dimension, making it a hotspot for flares. It is in this context that the #LetsTalkBusiness entourage went on a tour of Old Jerusalem.  Continue reading “Jerusalem: Land of Uneasy Peace, Religion and Business”

Politics, Travelling

A Day for Palestine

This is the third part in a series tagged “A Stroll Through Israel”. If you won’t jump into the third episode of a Game of Thrones season, you may want to begin with the first article.

When you hear or read of the Israel-Palestine conflict, what comes to your mind? If all you think of is chaos, poverty, oppression and bloodshed, no one would blame you. The media have ensured negativity is groomed in people’s minds. However, there is more to Palestine than the media presents. Join me through a day spent unlearning and relearning about Palestine.  Continue reading “A Day for Palestine”

Politics, Travelling

A Stroll Through Israel [Part 2]

Israel meets Palestine

It is commonly said that there are two sides to every story. One thing with life is that we sometimes seek to view life in terms of absolutes—right vs wrong, black vs white, good vs evil—but sometimes life isn’t something that can be linearly modelled as it covers more than fifty shades of grey. In this second part of the series, we relive a day spent partly in Israel and partly in land governed by the Palestinian Authority.  Continue reading “A Stroll Through Israel [Part 2]”

Politics, Travelling

A Stroll Through Israel [Part 1]

The clock had just gone past 8pm local time when the EasyJet plane touched the tarmac at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. It was the end of a five-hour flight that had departed the UK earlier that day. On board were fourteen UK students, stepping into the warm Tel Aviv evening with eyes set on a trip that was months in the waiting. These students were joined by two others who had arrived on earlier flights. For me, it was the end of a four-month wait after an earlier disappointment.  Continue reading “A Stroll Through Israel [Part 1]”

Change, Randoms

Redeeming a Battered Image

Growing up in Nigeria, one phrase continuously heard was “African time”. It appears the world had a meeting and assigned a special time-keeping system to Africans, with Nigerians as the guardians of this time standard. With such a reputation at odds with the famous timekeeping Swiss, stereotypical expectations assume that Nigerians would never be early at anything, even if their lives were to depend on being early. Unfortunately, while some Nigerians try to defeat this stereotype, some others go extra lengths to ensure Nigeria’s battered image remains unredeemed. Continue reading “Redeeming a Battered Image”