Sunday, November 29, 2015

#Ikemofepo2015 : For Mofesola and Ikepo Babalola

Who knew Mofe could look this handsome?
I haven’t had so much fun in one weekend since Joseph got married in April.

As we neared Lagos this evening, I turned to my friends in the car and said, “let’s head back to Ife. We’ll tell Mofe and Ikepo we came back to say hello.” While that was a joke, I sure wish I could have lots more weekends like this one.

615 kilometers driven to, from, and inside Ife; one watch damaged and another misplaced; five meals skipped and three kilograms happily lost; and thousands of clumsy dance steps after – Mofesola and Ikepo are married!


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My First Condom


I will always remember my first condom.

A primary school classmate, who I will call XYZ, took me to a corner of the school playground and showed me an unusually clear balloon. It was shaped differently than all other balloons I had ever seen, so I was immediately fascinated. I thought it was awkwardly shaped for a balloon, and wondered if it would bounce around after we inflated it.

He started to hand it over, but stopped short of giving it to me. He told me he no longer wanted it, but would sell it to me for five naira. I was devastated. Why would he show me such a nice balloon, but demand my entire allowance for the day to let me play with it? My feelings were hurt. I quickly reminded him of the days when I bought him puff puff and choco milo when he came to school without any money.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Daystar at Twenty: A Love Letter (Part Two)...

Pictures from the Daystar Back to School program...
If you told me in University that I would someday join Daystar Christian Center, I would have laughed at you and walked away.

I thought Pastor Sam was the most boring speaker in history. I disliked his habit of picking words carefully and pausing for emphasis. I thought he talked too slowly, and told everyone who cared to listen. I would often fall asleep while listening to his sermons.

I was sure I could not join the church he pastored.

I was wrong.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

On Ben Murray-Bruce and the N5k Social Benefits Scheme...


Ben Murray-Bruce, Federal Senator representing the Bayelsa East Constitutency, recently tweeted this while sharing his ideas to fund a social benefits scheme for unemployed graduates in Nigeria.

I don't agree with his plan and I don't think Nigeria can successfully implement this scheme as things currently stand. Here's why:

1. There is NO confidence that the extra tax will be used for the intended purpose. This may be the most basic issue with taxes in Nigeria. If we disregard the other issues with this proposal for a moment and assume 'salary earners' agree to fund the social benefits scheme from their earnings - it comes down to trust. I, and many other Nigerians, simply don't trust elected officials to manage funds judiciously. And why would we? News media is rife with reports of misappropriated funds. We don't see results of the taxes we already pay!

2. The Social Security Net is a Federal proposal; Personal Income Tax is paid to State Governments. State Governors did not promise N5k for unemployed graduates, the Federal Government did. Except the Nigerian Tax system is overhauled, which opportunity we should frankly seize for more productive ideas, increased Income Taxes simply mean more revenue to the State Governments. States, most of which are already struggling to meet their obligations, would happily jump at the extra income and throw it down the recurrent expenditure drain!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

On ISIS: World At War!

An ISIS execution. Unfortunately, this is not a scene from a movie!
I think the world needs to take a stronger stand on ISIS.

And not just ISIS. I think the world needs to take a stronger stand on ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram, and the many other terrorist organizations that seek to take away our freedom and return us to the dark ages.

It is not enough to ‘contain’ ISIS or any terrorist organization; they have shown what they can do despite being ‘contained’. Terrorists have no interest in cohabiting peacefully with the rest of the world. They have attacked men, women, and children regardless of ethnicity or religion, and have committed heinous crimes against humanity.

Terrorists should not be contained; they should be eliminated.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

#PrayForParis


The Paris attacks were deadly! At least 153 people dead, and lots more wounded. I am heart broken beyond measure, and greatly saddened by this turn of events.

I saw on CNN that ISIS set up a celebratory hashtag on Twitter, and I am shocked even more. What kind of human celebrates terrorist attacks on another human? Is this how divided a planet we have become?

It is unfortunate that the world has allowed the situation with ISIS in Syria to degenerate this far, but firm steps need to be taken quickly. Strengthening national borders is not enough - ISIS will continue to leverage disgruntled citizens for their crazy purposes.

I'm all for Russia's approach to resolving the Syrian conflict and comprehensively dealing with ISIS.

May God be with the friends and family of the 153+ people who lost their lives yesterday.

PS: ISIS did not yet claim responsibility at the time of writing this.