Saturday, September 27, 2014

Randoms: Grandpa Adesina, Nigeria's Superstar Men of God, Fabolous!


Yesterday, I attended Chief Adesina's burial ceremony in Ibadan. Riding with colleagues from Lagos to and fro, it was mostly a good trip - until the part where I read through the Tributes. They were very touching, and that was a sobering moment.

It never matters how old the person was when they passed away. It is always painful to lose a loved one. And as we have no control over the inevitability of death in this plane, we can only trust in and look forward to eternity with God - where there will be no death or dying.

I never met Chief Adesina face to face, but his life touched mine in more ways than I probably even know now. For one, his totally awesome son - Deji Adesina - easily became my hero and father-figure as a young undergraduate in OAU. (I was in Part One, Mechanical Engineering; and he was in Part Five, Agricultural Engineering). Also, his reputation as a caring grandfather was legendary, and I can hardly look forward to raising my own children and grand-children without thinking about him.

It's also there in the seemingly mundane things. I wear my wrist-watch on my right hand because Deji Adesina wears his on his right hand, and he does so because his father - Chief Adesina of blessed memory - did so.

Rest in peace, Grandpa. You live on in all of our lives.

*****

I think all sorts of thoughts about the Nigerian Clergy, but I've always been too busy to coherently articulate my thoughts in a long essay. I plan to do this on my next Vacation, but in the interim I'd like to recommend Yemisi Ogbe's essay - aptly named "Nigeria's Superstar Men of God". She has asked some of the questions I've always asked in this piece, and while we haven't arrived at entirely the same answers - I totally recommend her piece as a good read.

A few excerpts below:

Nigeria is one of the most religious countries in the world. Every Sunday, millions of Nigerians fill innumerable churches. Every Friday, half of the country shuts down in observance of the Muslim Sabbath. Nigeria is also number two on Transparency International’s list of most corrupt countries.
In 2004, a member of Oyakhilome’s 10 000-member church, a cashier with the Ikeja Sheraton Hotels and Towers, donated millions of naira to the church – perhaps an everyday event in the context of a Nigerian church, until it was suggested that the church was under no obligation to query the members of its congregation on the sources of suspicious money. It was also suggested that even if there was a possibility that it was stolen money, the church was under no obligation to return the money to its rightful owner.
Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy, one of the most popular Pentecostal church leaders in Nigeria, renowned for huge televised crusades and miracle services and probably a more plausible candidate for the Nigerian presidency, spent the better part of 2001 in a media battle with Reverend Okotie. The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria unsuccessfully attempted to make peace between the two, or at least to get them off the media. Christians and non-Christians expressed disgust at publicly aired arguments between the two leaders. Many Christians felt that neither of the parties accurately represented the Christian. Many non-Christians felt both parties very accurately represented the Christian, especially leaders of Nigerian Pentecostal churches.
Enough of excerpts. Go here to read the full essay.

*****
I re-discovered this really nice song from 2003, Into You, by Fabolous and Tamia (where are they now sef?)...

*music*
I really like what you’ve done to me
I can’t really explain it
I’m so into you
*drops mic and strolls off*

Cheers to the weekend!
Koye.

Monday, September 22, 2014

DAYSTAR KITS OVER 3000 STUDENTS FOR FREE


Towards adequate preparation for resumption of schools, the Benevolence Group of Daystar Christian Centre, Ikeja, Lagos, on Saturday 20 September 2014 held an upgraded edition of her Benevolence Day for our future leaders.

Themed 'Back To School Upgraded,' the enriching event was specially targeted at equipping less privileged children, from Primary to Senior Secondary Schools, with adequate educational materials, gadgets and food to help maximize their academic experience.

The 'Back To School Upgraded' Benevolence Day which catered for over three thousand (3000) beneficiaries from across the state, most of whom are non-members of the church, also served as an unusual platform for educating parents about raising Godly children.

The excited children could not hide their joy as the items distribution session progressed. Some of the items distributed to everyone included school bags, sandals, socks, math sets, books, pens, cloths, food stuffs, noodles, refreshments and the likes.

According to Mr. Akin Ademosu, Head of the Benevolence Unit, the benevolence event is simply one of the means through which the Sam Adeyemi led church exemplifies its message of love to the community at large.

"We have been doing this for the past five years, and it is a non-stop annual project for us. In addition to what you are seeing here today, we are also going to send out more items through our cell systems to minister to those who are not able to come here today. We members of the Benevolence unit have taken this as a ministry and we see it as a huge opportunity to give back to the society, as this is the essence of Daystar as a church," he emphasized.

Annually, Daystar Christian Centre commits huge resources into equipping students for better academic experiences towards a brighter future. The church has maintained her belief for almost two decades that the real essence of a church lies in the positive impacts it has
on the community.

Continue reading to see photos from the event:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Jason's Thoughts on Linda Ikeji


I am a huge fan of Linda Ikeji. I don't hide it. I talk about her every chance I get, and I hugely respect what she has achieved. And now, another boss - Jason Njoku - has done a feature on her.

A few excerpts from Jason's posts:

People always ask me how successful can she possibly be? I suspect it’s somewhere in the $400-700k per year, range. With next to zero operating costs. Abnormally profitable. She doesn’t even pay for hosting her 2m+ readers as she uses blogspot instead.
I remember when the ‘news broke’ that I was getting married, I was surprised she actually bothered to reach out for official comments before writing the story. That’s why when she writes things, I believe them.
She doesn’t even bother with technical guff. Her site is hosted straight from blogspot and the interesting thing this is it’s super SEO optimised for different locales, as I see .co.uk whilst in UK, .com whilst in US and .fr when I was in France a few months ago.
Go here and here to read Jason's thoughts on LIB, the Queen of Nigerian Internet.

Friday, September 19, 2014

P&G CEO Challenge - Opportunities for University students at any level


This advert was not paid for. C/W/S - I'm looking at you.

So, you probably (more like - mostly) know how much I love (and enjoy) working at P&G. Great company with great colleagues, and excellent opportunities for intelligent and hard-working greenhorns to cut their teeth on real-life projects.

(For example, as a young intern fresh out of a Bachelors program in Mechanical Engineering, I worked on sourcing projects worth millions of dollars. It was so unbelievable what I was working on that I quit trying to explain to my parents after a while).


Well, here's a great opportunity for University (and MBA) students at any level to experience working with our leaders and learning from us. We are giving Nigerian students an opportunity to act as the CEO of a multi-million dollar company by working on a brand case-study and developing breakthrough solutions for this brand.

The best team from Nigeria gets to compete with teams from other African countries, and stands a chance to represent the continent at the final round in DUBAI - with other countries from India, the Middle East, and Africa. Plus there's lots of prizes (iPads, all-expense paid trips etc) up for grabs.

Let's show Africa (and IMEA) what we're made of!!! Go here to apply. Like our Facebook Page for more information or to ask your questions.

May the best team win!
Koye.
#pgemp

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Randoms:: Back to Work, Linda's Range, and Pastor Chris

Guess who is back at work?!

Oh yeah?! I’m back to work, babbbbbaaaaaaaayyyyyyy!!! And like I like to roll, here’s a few random thoughts on my first day back in the office – on everything from my just concluded vacation to the Oyakhilome’s ongoing divorce proceedings.

1. Nothing like a selfie to start with. Who doesn’t love a selfie on their first day back at work? It was great to be out, but I missed the office – and I’m glad to be back. Very glad, and very thankful. God has kept me.

Me and my Rabbit Teeth showed up at work advertising Camay :)
2. So Linda bought a 2014 Range Rover for N24million, and Nigerian Twitter went crazy. Public admission: I love Linda Ikeji (I nearly dropped dead the first time I got an email from her, and I stammered non-stop when I called her up to invite her to Beyond Ife). I admire what she has done with LIB, and you just have to give it up for her work ethic. That babe has blogged EVERY day – with only a few exceptions – for nearly EIGHT years! If you think that is easy, start a Blog and let’s see.

I also like what she stands for. In a world where role-models are quite scarce, Linda continues to stand as a beacon of “what hard-work can do”. Every chance she gets, she admonishes young girls to believe in themselves and their dreams, work hard and stay focused, and believe in God. (I'm not saying she's perfect though - I don't know).

You go, Girl!
It’s not my place to judge whether she should have bought a car at that price, and I’ll be honest – there’s no saying what most of us would do if we had that kind of spare money on our hands. What I have an issue with is her ‘announcing’ it (and the cost) on her blog. I think she could have passed across the bulk of her 'inspirational message' without including the cost of the car, and in “today’s Nigeria” – I’m not sure it’s a wise decision to post pictures of your three cars right in front of your house.

Too many kidnappers and robbers roaming the streets these days!

3. At the beginning of my Vacation, I planned to take a 300km road-trip. Well, I drove 482km in total. Thanks to my dad for introducing me to “pleasure driving”. There is nothing like getting in a car and cruising around, parking when and where you want, and seeing sights we’re ordinarily too busy to notice. The birthday was mega-fun, I was grateful for time with the boo, and Wale's wedding was excellent!

Kart Racing at Get Arena with the Boys...
Surprise birthday, thanks to the EG :)
4. So a few people who read my post last year (a commentary inspired by an alleged affair by a popular Nigerian Pastor) have mailed asking me to ‘comment’ on the ongoing divorce proceedings involving yet another popular Nigerian Pastor. Hmmmmm… While I remain ‘vocal’ as ever in communicating my core beliefs, I have come a long way from the post last year – and I’ll try to be more 'balanced' in this one.

1. It cannot be emphasized enough: no Christian enters their marriage with a plan to divorce. Sincere Christians pray, believe they heard God, and sincerely step into His perceived will for their lives.
2. I learnt since last year that an ‘attack’ on one Christian is an ‘attack’ on us all. Though we are many, we are one body. The devil will capitalize on these happenings to distract people, and try to cause many to fall. We need to strengthen people, not cause them to doubt our God and gospel further.
3. Pastors are MEN of God. They are not demi-gods, and they are certainly not God. They deserve our respect as shepherds, but we must understand they are also “work in progress”; they are not perfect.
4. Marriage is a lot of work. A lot of things need to be ‘right’ for a marriage to be a happy one. In Leo Tolstoy’s words, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. Rather than criticize endlessly, we should look – and learn.
5. If you can, spare time to pray for the Pastor in question and his wife. May God touch them, heal their hearts, and turn their hearts towards Him again.
6. It is very, very important to know God for ourselves. Our relationship with God should not hinge on the successes or perceived failures of another man. When we know Him for ourselves, we can stand strong through trying times as these.

Of course - there is a lot that I have left unsaid - for example, I'd be the first person to advocate a separation in the case of physical abuse and/or threat to life (which thankfully is not the case here). In case you'd like to read further, here are links to the following pieces:
2. Of Pastors, Divorce and Scandal (The Woman of Virtue Network).
3. RE: Of Pastors, Divorce and Scandal (Deji Yusufu, for an entirely different perspective).

May God keep us all,
Koye.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

For Wale and Tola Osideinde:: Happy Married Life

*****
I have a love-hate relationship with solitude. I absolutely love to have everyone over and around – talking, arguing and discussing about ‘sweet nothings’, but then I (sometimes) tire of the bustle and wish for ‘alone time’ – only to sink into low spirits when they disperse. Tonight, I sit here alone after the most enjoyable weekend in my recent history, and wish I could stop time.

The groomsmen have all left. Ayokunle and Alaba are off to Akure and Abeokuta – back to white walls and the ubiquitous smell of disinfectant, Joseph Fayese is somewhere staring at yet another Excel Spreadsheet, Opeyemi Awobotu is off to another week of growing KabuKabu, Yomi is thinking of the next million, Pitan and Deji have moved on to other pursuits, and I’m here with misty eyes and a lump in my throat.

*****
Wale and Detola are married.
Wale's grin - priceless!
*****
I’ll be honest, I cried at the wedding. On two separate occasions I took a quick break from being ‘Best-Man’ and found a quiet corner to shed tears of joy. I can’t quite explain why, but the first ‘episode’ was sparked by observing the joy in Wale’s eyes as Tola danced towards him at the Engagement.

Adewale Osideinde is probably the sweetest guy I know. He took me into his Uncle’s house in 2007 when I stayed back in Ife to prepare for MATRIX, and then housed me in Fajuyi Hall through Part Two. On moving to Lagos to start my first job in 2012, he welcomed me into his family house with open arms, and was practically downcast when I told him I was leaving. In the eight years that I have known him, I have run most major decisions through him – and I have come to trust him as a brother.
Headed to church :)
I remember walking Tola back to Mozambique Hall from her first (my second) SCM dinner in 2008. (She wasn’t my date, but I hurriedly escorted my date to her Quarters then returned to the Venue so I could walk with Detola). I can’t remember anything that was said that evening, but I remember that as the day we became friends in the true sense of the word. In the six years since then, I have watched ‘Tola grow into a fine young woman – exhibiting a grace and maturity that transcends experience and age.
On their first Valentine's day as a couple - in 2010. (I took the pictures)
In the four-plus years that they courted before tying the knot yesterday, I daresay I (personally) know no other relationship that exhibited the quality of friendship, maturity, and conflict-resolution that they did. In many respects, they were (and continue to be) role-models for me and others I know.

*****
I am struck by how empty my Living Room feels now that the suits are folded away and Ope and Bunmi have left.

Wale spent every Sunday night for the past nearly-two months here in a bid to beat Monday morning traffic from Iyana Ipaja. Now, that will never happen again. He slept over here just before my birthday last week and was the first person to wish me a “Happy Birthday”; I did likewise for his birthday last year – and we have done this for quite a few years going back. Except Tola manages to travel out alone for a month in May or September, that too will never happen again.

The hangouts with the gang will never be the same again. Too many things will never be the same again.
50% Gang Selfie
When they attend, they can no longer keep late nights with the rest of us single folks; and when they leave or can’t attend, a great deal of the conversation will explore what would be different if they were there.

The exhilaration of the past few days starting with Wale’s Bachelor’s Eve on Wednesday? I doubt I will feel the same again until the weekend before my own wedding.
Gs!
I’ll be honest. I’m crying again.

*****
Wale and Tola Osideinde
I was privileged to stand right behind you yesterday, hold the mic as you said “I do” (Desola – thanks for abdicating so I could do both), and toast to “Happily Ever After” at your wedding reception – but nothing compares to the privilege of your love, and the friendship we share.

I love you two silly, and I’ll be rooting for you till the end of time.

May we be friends forever,
Koye.

PS:
1. I wrote this before the wedding, but was unable to post. I have added sentences here and there to adapt it to the new time of posting (one day after the wedding) - but please excuse any future tenses that got away.
2. A few more pictures I couldn't quite fit into the post:
In the beginning...

Before the Engagement...
Early Days...



Early Days...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Full Disclosure: as I sit here and type this, I have “Forever Young” by Jay Z and Mr. Hudson and “With Long Life” by Israel Houghton playing in the background.

At 7, at Fehintolu's naming ceremony
Now to some history. Starting three birthdays ago, I decided to write a ‘birthday-themed’ post on every birthday. The intent of this was to capture my dominant thoughts on each birthday, and document them in a public manner. Many posts I write, I write with an intention to convey a message to people external to me – but not these ones. These ones I write primarily to ‘future me’ – to remind me of the power and beauty of my youth.

In what is one of my favorite memories ever, 7000+ people at the OAU Amphitheater sang me "Happy Birthday" on my birthday in 2011...
First, gratitude. I read through my birthday pieces in 2011 (un-posted), 2012, and 2013 – and I am dizzyingly amazed how much has changed, and how far God has brought me. The pictures below don’t tell half of the story, but they come close. I’ve had amazing opportunities, done (mostly) amazing stuff, met (mostly) amazing people, and shared these years with amazing family, boo, and friends. Unshaken by the waves of agnosticism and atheism sweeping young people in my generation, the most fundamental belief in my life remains my belief in God – and today I’m immensely grateful that He has kept me.

With Manoj Kumar (GM of P&G Nigeria) on my birthday in 2012...
Next, some poking fun at myself. Still in the spirit of gratitude, one of the things I’m most grateful for is how my torso has gradually expanded (since graduating) to match the size of my head. I tell you! You have no idea how ‘traumatic’ it was to be called “Big Head” and “Monitor” through Junior Secondary School… Malik, Folarin and the Loyola Gang – I’m looking at you here!!! Not to worry if you met me more recently – just thank God for my new-found chubby cheeks.

With friends on my birthday in 2013...
Now, some introspection. Every birthday I think to myself (and today, my favorite Auntie Ogo reminded me) “Koye you’re getting so old”. I’ll be very honest, I don’t want to grow old. “Forever Young” and “Immortality” didn’t become my favorite songs for no reason. But like you probably found out already, there’s absolutely NOTHING I (or anyone else for that matter) can do about it.


So what can I do instead?

Live.

The primary commitment I make to myself today is to live: to overcome fear of rejection, ridicule or failure and just do things; to give blinding focus to excellently executing the ambitious plans I make so well; to “fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run”; to step out in faith when God calls. And yes – to sky-dive as soon as I get the opportunity.

And maybe, just maybe – I’ll be forever young – with memories to spare.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!

PS:
1.    The boo stayed out late last night to ensure I came home to a birthday gift laid out on my table this morning. Aren’t I so lucky?!

With the boo, a few days ago...
2.    Thanks to Wale Osideinde, Joseph Fayese, and Opeyemi Awobotu – who could have chosen to spend last night anywhere else in Lagos – but chose to spend it with me. (And yeah – my brother, Koye-Ladele M. III – who worked, talked, and pleaded his way into coming to Lagos yesterday too).
3.    I always talk about “Living” in connection with “Loving” and “Learning”. My last post about death has more details on the other two themes.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Vacation, Babbbbyyyyyy!!!

I love (for the most part) my job, but tonight – I am immensely grateful that I don’t have to go to work tomorrow. Or any other morning for the next five week-days.

I’m on vacation babbbbbyyyyyyyy!!!

No urgent emails to deal with, no Chisom tapping on my desk and refusing to leave until I do what she wants done, no ‘situations’ with external business partners to address, and no working out the logistics of what time works best for Princess, Samantha, and me to have lunch together.

This is Chisom aka Mrs. Obiora :) :)... It's not like I mind when she taps on my desk though...
Instead, I’ll hug my bed for much longer in the mornings… stuff my already-protruding belly full of my Mother’s cooking…take a 300km road-trip in Nigeria’s beautiful South-West…enjoy a birthday away from the hustle and bustle of life in the P&G office…hangout with the Boo...and stand by my friend and big role-model as he takes a giant step.

All of this in one week… I’m so excited already… Can’t wait to get started!!!

To everyone else who has to work this week, here’s “all the best” from a gloating me... I’m going to milk this week away from work for all it’s worth!!!

Cheers to the new week,
Koye.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Happy New Month; Birthday Wishes


Happy New Month.

It is my birthday in a few days, and I was just reviewing the goals I had set ahead of my birthdays in 2012 and 2013.

It is amazing what written goals can do for us... On not a few occasions in the past, I have had to refer to these 'Five Rocks' when making tough choices on what to invest my time and other resources in, and I was sure glad to have taken time to craft a map before setting out. There's also the little matter of the strong correlation between 'success' and written goals - and I strongly recommend you participate in a little goal-setting exercise ahead of your next birthday if you typically don't.

It gives you a direction for your new year (birth year), and takes stress off you at the beginning of a new year (calendar year). You won't be needing resolutions as you'll have yours already.

I'm grateful today to see a new month, and that yet another birthday is in ten days...and my birthday wish this year is that Yomade gets the N8.5MM she needs to get another chance at a healthy life.

Please help save Yomade.