Sunday, December 14, 2014

A love letter to Daystar Christian Center...

With the boo, at the 2014 Carol Service - today

I was overwhelmed at the Daystar Christian Center Carol Service today. I cycled through the plethora of expressions available to me; I shouted, screamed, danced, talked, and cried. I love Daystar Christian Center, and no - don't get me started on the Adeyemis' or Pastor Kenny. I have nothing but admiration for Pastors Sam and Nike Adeyemi and Pastor Kenny Afolarin; they ooze so much elegance and simplicity that I just want to group-hug them tight and never let go.

For a 'mega-church', Daystar has remained simple and unpretentious. A very strong Cell Group system ensures the church is big enough to contain everyone, but small enough to know every member. Daystar also has a huge focus on Social Responsibility - and is always seeking means to leverage its scale to positively impact society. The simplicity of the teaching is amazing. I have never been interested in Greek words and Hebrew translations or transliterations; English is just fine. What I want to know is how to live closer to God, and how to apply the Bible at work tomorrow, in crazy Lagos traffic, in a conversation with the Boo, or in deciding how to eat healthy.

Daystar more than meets that need.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Some Advice to a Young Professional

For a few days, I have pondered sharing my thoughts about being a young professional with other young professionals. Not many pieces advising young professionals are written by their peers, so it was easy to conclude that this was worth the effort. I’ll be straightforward – my advice is based on my limited experiences and learnings from mentors and books. Feel free to keep what you like, and discard what you don’t.

Here goes – some advice to a young professional, from another young professional.

Learn. Whether you’re an Engineer, a Front Desk Officer, or a Sales person – your first few jobs are huge opportunities to learn about yourself, about the world of work, and about what excites you (and what doesn’t). What you learn will be more important twenty years from now than what you earn. Never stop learning. Learn on the job. Learn from others. Reflect. Read. Watch TED Videos. Attend short courses. Learn!

Contribute. Add value – more than is expected from you. Apart from helping you feel great and confident, you’ll be well placed to ride any unforeseen waves. It’s difficult to be let go if you’re pulling more than your weight, and it’s easier to move on if you have solid results under your belt. Either way, you win. Beyond routine tasks, determine how to exceed expectations in your current job, and just do it!

Save. Delay gratification, but don’t become miserly. Many of us get our salaries, then pay Telcos, friends that sold us stuff, Mechanics, Relaxation Bars – and never pay ourselves! All that hard work, and nothing stays with you? Pay yourself first! Set aside a portion of your pay to invest and exploit opportunities – no matter how little. Spend what is left afterwards. Make budgets. Leverage compound interest. Setup escrow accounts. Prepare for rainy days.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thoughts on Interstellar (The Movie)

In what is arguably my first late-night movie (started showing at about 7.30pm) - I saw Interstellar tonight. And I loved it. It was tough to decide if I liked it more than October 1 - but in the end the little boy that fell in love with stars came to the fore - and Interstellar edged to the front.

This is not a movie review. If you want one, Google "Interstellar" and you'll find all the summaries you'll ever need.

Here goes:

1. Interstellar is a fantastic movie. Interstellar is a fantastic movie. Interstellar is a fantastic movie. I could repeat that a thousand times and it would not quite capture how I feel about the movie. I loved it. I will see it again; not once or twice - more times than I can count. I loved Interstellar. It was worth every kobo!

2. If you understand Interstellar - congratulate yourself - you're smart! I saw Interstellar tonight with about fifty-five people, and halfway through I could tell only one young lady "got it". Well, maybe I'm exaggerating and there were a few other 'silent admirers' of the movie like me; but bottom-line is most people seeing it did not get it! For the first time today I heard people snore at the cinemas. And at the end of the movie - one woman said to her husband (I saw the rings plus she was carrying a baby) "Filmu ta wo yi o ye mi ooo", and he responded "ki ti e ni title movie owun gan?"*

If I get to interview for a non-conventional firm in future, I'll use Interstellar as a gating question. i.e. "Did you see Interstellar? Explain the plot in five minutes". :) :) :)

Update: It's so 'unconventional', there are quite a few sites explaining the movie. I like this Youtube video.

3. God willing, and if Jesus tarries - I want at least one little girl. God please give me a little girl.

4. I respect the ingenuity of the human race. While the film might be rife with inaccuracies concerning space travel, the truth remains that mankind has come a long way from our hunter-gatherer days. Agriculture, Medicine, Technology, the advent of Corporations and many other factors have engendered our growth as a species.

I trust that we can work together to heal the world and make it a better place, to make the most of earth - a resource we manage in behalf of future generations.

Rant over. Off to Quora to read more and more about Interstellar!

* wife - "I don't understand this movie we just saw"; husband - "by the way, what's the title of the movie?"

Monday, November 10, 2014

What do you do with Death?

This morning I studied about fear during devotion, then picked up my phone to read of the Monroe's death in a plane crash - and fear came rushing on the back of questions. What if...? Why...? If...

Thankfully, I read this post by Ola Joseph Kolawole immediately after the Forbes piece confirming their death, and I could feel peace flooding my soul.

While still sipping from the refreshing and reassuring cup of God’s comfort over the death of a church member that passed away shortly after the delivery of a new born baby, another tragedy hits—world class!
Perhaps you have not heard, but Dr Myles Munroe, his wife, his daughter and 6 other people died in a plane crash just yesterday. Very sad.
The man, I must say, influenced my life in many ways, especially in radically transforming my relationship mentality by giving me a paradigm shift—by his message titled “The Myth of Singleness”.
The rather interesting thing is that he was supposed to be hosting a Global Leadership Forum starting today. (He was about landing in the city for the conference when the crash occurred). On his website, he uploaded a one-minute video advert which he recorded in his own voice, and the advert ended with these words: “...COME, I’LL SEE YOU THERE”.
Yes, the Leadership forum is still going to hold as I saw on his official facebook page minutes ago (because that’s what he would have wanted), BUT HE WON’T BE SEEN THERE.
I shared a picture nugget from a message I preached last Sunday in which I said “One of the most painful realities of God’s Sovereignty is that NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE PRAY, NOT EVERYONE WILL LIVE LONG!” How true!
But what do we do with death?

Continue reading...

Friday, October 31, 2014

I DIDN'T SEE THIS COMING! (Memoirs of a Comic Fanatic) (Guest Post)

There was a minute silence. He took a look at my work on his laptop, paused, looked at me, then looked back at the screen of his system. I wondered what was going through his mind.

"Sir, I'm afraid your work won't sell", he shot at me.

"Pardon???". My throat suddenly developed an unusual dryness. I heard him but then it sounded like I didn't.

I had been carrying this comic work about for close to four years now, going from pillar to post, looking for a publisher with no meaningful outcome. The life of an hustler...

"Mr Makinde, you heard me. Your work won't sell. I mean, look around you, who still reads comics in this environment?", he swallowed a lump.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Randoms - What does our top Internet destination say about us?

Baring ubiquitous websites such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter - what does the top internet destination for citizens of a country say about their country and their values?

Does it mean anything that Linda's Blog is visited more times than the Wikipedia, Vanguard and Punch websites by Nigerians?


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fiction: What A Shock...

The world slowed to a blur as I ran towards the office building.

I’d kept the Central Executive Committee waiting for fifteen minutes now after awakening an hour late, and I couldn’t bear to think of the impact on my reputation. I wondered if Shereen, a known stickler for punctuality, would overlook my lateness and consider my proposal based on its merits. And I wondered what Yetunde, the young and smart Head of Communications would think.

I lengthened my stride as I reached the Security Guard, blasting past him as he rose from his easy chair – infrared thermometer in hand. The daily checks and attendant small talk were becoming tiresome. Today was not the day.

My bag bounced off the railings as I dashed up the stairs two at a time. One look at my face and people began side-stepping to make way for me. They all knew I would never run like a crazed demon without good reason.

The Security Guard held the door open as I reached the top of the stairs, and I muttered silent thanks as I bounded through. My hands were hard at work with my Bag already, undoing the zipper and powering on my laptop. Thankfully, I never shut it down and it was only ‘asleep’.

I stopped for a few moments outside the Conference Room to catch my breath, then opened the door and stepped into the brightly lit room.The ice hit me like a wave.

All eleven members of the CEC were seated, staring blankly at me. I scanned the room looking for a warm face, but found none. My legs went weak. I grabbed the Multimedia table for support, then mumbled a weak greeting.

No one responded.

My short rehearsed apology about Lagos traffic fell flat. If anyone understood, it didn’t show on their faces. After all, if they could get in before 8.00am – why couldn’t I?

I kept my eyes on their faces as my trembling fingers found the VGA cable and plugged it into my laptop computer.The projector came on, and as if on cue – the blank looks turned into a mixture of disgust, shock, and anger.

Bewildered, I looked down at my Computer screen at the same instant that Shereen spoke, pointing at the Projector Screen – “what the hell is that”?

I couldn’t believe what I saw on my computer, so I turned to look at the Projector Screen, then fainted.

It was a naked couple splayed on the screen.

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tomato Jos - KickStarter Project Has Got Me Raving!

This morning, I have been tempted into making my first KickStarter Pledge.

This Tomato Jos project is absolutely fabulous, and unlike many other projects I've seen people rave about - I think this actually solves a real problem and creates a world of opportunities for Nigerian farmers and their families.

A few questions:
1. Are there Nigerians doing stuff like this with other crops / in other areas? And are there platforms where they're showcasing their work today? (So we can support them too). - Update: yes!!! Evidently there are quite a few young Nigerians (the big boys like Dangote don't count) employing this model with various crops...and I have been so buried in my own little world that I had no idea how much was going on out there!!!
2. Why did it take two Americans to package this like this? (I daresay a few Nigerians must have thought of this first)... Should I (and we) be collectively ashamed - or happy? Update: like the team graciously clarified below, it's one person from America and one person from Ireland.
Watch the video above (lovely layer of Flavor's "Tomato Jos" towards the end), and see details below. Go here to view on KickStarter.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Copyright Max Lucado:
A few Sundays ago, my heart swelled with love as Pastor Sam (Daystar Christian Center) took an offering to be sent to Liberia, Sierra Leone and other EVD ravaged countries as aid. I was struck by the empathy and 'Christ-likeness' of the move, and it blew my mind that he had set the target to give $1,000,000.

I gave as much as I could to that cause right away, but I've wanted to do more since then. You probably know how I stopped watching CNN temporarily after James Foley was beheaded. There's Ebola ravaging Liberia, and I teared up yesterday while listening to Johnson Sirleaf's letter to "The World". There's Boko Haram, and the 200+ girls that were kidnapped months ago; for the first time yesterday - I couldn't muster the words to pray for their safe release at a Sunday service. There's the upcoming election in 2015, and the attendant uncertainty. There's the rising gap between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots' in Nigeria and indeed around the world. There's the many natural disasters happening right, left, and center.

What then is a brother to do?


Today, I'm grateful for a chance to join Max Lucado's "Pray First", and I ask that you join too; if you can. You do not necessarily have to stream. Just ensure to raise your voice in prayer to God starting 12.00am tonight, for at least 30 minutes.

And then when we're done praying, let's do.

Do. Volunteer. Give. Help out in anyway you can.

Remember, we are the world.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Financial Times on Nigeria's handling of the Ebola Crisis

So, truth be told - aren't we all proud how well Nigeria handled the initial Ebola scare? It was great to see the Lagos State Government swing into action immediately Patrick Sawyer's case was reported, and for once - we saw a bit more cooperation between Federal and State Agencies than we are used to.

The Financial Times did a nice piece titled "Nigeria's Hard-Learned Lesson For Quashing Ebola", and I was particularly interested in a paragraph indicating the power of "mind over matter". Here is an excerpt:

The psychology of patients is key. In Nigeria, according to World Health Organisation officials, those victims who believed that only medicine from the west could save them, mostly died. Those who lived, would not have done so without simple H2O combined with the rehydration solution. “All of them decided to survive. Because they wanted to survive they forced themselves to take more oral rehydration solution. The mind has huge power over the body. That’s not talked about enough,” says Dr Eilish Cleary, the Ebola expert.

Go to to read the full article.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

For the Love of #Casillas

I'm not all that old, but I daresay a lot of younger Real Madrid fans don't understand why we, the old breed, love Casillas. You see, he's the only remaining link to a glorious past.

When next you see him walk onto the pitch, remember that he played with greats such as Hierro, Salgado, Carlos, Makelele, Figo, Zidane, Raul, Morientes, Beckham, McManaman, the first Ronaldo, Owen, Guti, Robinho, Cannavaro, Nistelrooy, Reyes, Karankar, and a host of others. He's been Madrid number 1 for THIRTEEN years. Think about that for a second.

When next you see him walk onto the pitch, remember the beautiful saves he pulled off in the 2002 Champions League Final after coming on as a substitute for Cesar Sanchez, only 21 years old at the time. No offense meant, but this was before many new-age footie fanatics could even spell 'Chelsea'.

When next you see him walk onto the pitch, remember that he has been voted into the UEFA Team of the Year for six consecutive years, has won ALL major club and national championship titles - (including 3 Champions League Titles -1999, 2002, and 2014), and won the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper Award for five consecutive years.

When next you see him walk onto the pitch, remember that even the best of us sometimes falter.

When next you see him walk onto the pitch, take a few moments of silence. And celebrate the beauty, the brilliance, and the courage of Iker Casillas.

Unrepentant ‪#‎CasillasBaby‬ and ‪#‎RealMadridFan‬.

NB: I finally found something non-intellectual I'm absolutely crazy about.
My next goal-keeper love is Courtois. Once Casillas hangs his boots, I shall shift base!

Friday, October 03, 2014

October 1 (The Movie)

I'm starting to do a lot of unpaid adverts these days, but this is yet another one.

October 1, the movie, was a great one! It was absolutely worth every kobo of the N3,000 I and the Boo paid to see it at Silverbird Galleria, and I was somewhat sad when it came to an end after 2 hours and 23 minutes. Movies like that should never end. They should play on endlessly in a ceaseless loop, odes to the brilliance of their creators.

The film explores a variety of issues, such as paedophilia, tribalism, and racism; all weaved into the fabric of a tale about a serial murderer. Two young boys from a village are sexually abused by a Priest promising to help them with Higher Education, and one cuts his pursuit of education short to return to the Village and farm the land - while the other completes his education, but returns to the Village bitter and trying to make the town pay for the sins of the Priest.

Kunle Afolayan is an amazing director, producer, and actor. I first saw him in Saworoide, where he played Aresejabata (I think, correct me if I'm wrong), and his growth over the years has been simply amazing. I love what he stands for, and I love the quality he brings to Nollywood. (Think Figurine, or Phone Swap).

By all means, please see the movie. And preferably - from the right channels if you can, so that Kunle Afolayan and his great team get the due recompense for their work. i.e. let's enable them to make even greater movies in future!

Go to Wikipedia for some background on the movie and a plot summary.

PS: Do not compare this movie to Half of A Yellow Sun. Both are set around the same time, but HOAYS explores a base and deep issue that is nearly sacred as far as I am concerned. Both of them are priceless works of art that should be enjoyed. That's all.

Happy Holidays!

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?)...

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!

Monday, September 22, 2014


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:

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!

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.
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,

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?


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.


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,

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.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Help Save Yomade Balogun...

Yomade, Before.
Does she wonder if she will raise enough money for the kidney transplant? ... Does she sometimes breakdown in tears when no one is looking – an endless “why me” stuck in her thoughts?

Yesterday, I tried to blog about Yomade Balogun. I tried hard, but the words wouldn’t form. I must have written no less than six opening paragraphs. I deleted them all. No words, absolutely no words, were adequate to convey the depth of my emotion.

Today, I must try again – even though not much has changed. I must force myself to find the words, fully cognizant of their inadequacy, in the hope that they might move even one person to action.

Yomade is 26, first of three children, and a graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University. She lost her dad to a ghastly motor accident in 1992. A few years ago, she started her own company – “Adornare Clothing and Accessories” – where she trains other tailors and makes clothes under her own label.

Yomade is a regular young lady, with dreams and aspirations of her own – but for an ailment that threatens the very fabric of her existence.

Yomade is battling renal failure.

Sometimes, like tonight, I sit by myself and wonder what might be going through her mind at that instant. Does she wonder if she will raise enough money for the kidney transplant? Does she despair at having to depend on Dialysis Machines for her continued survival? Does she sometimes breakdown in tears when no one is looking – an endless “why me” stuck in her thoughts? Does she sometimes break out in fervent prayers – beseeching God for her healing?

Hopefully, one day – I can ask her for myself how it felt to go through these trying times, and if this battle for her life changed her perspective on living.

But today, we need to take action. Indeed there is so much pain in the world, and frankly speaking – there is very little that we can do. But sometimes, ‘little’ is all it takes. My ‘little’, and your ‘little’, and ‘little’ from a few hundred people – and we can together give Yomade a chance at an healthy life again.

See below for account details. Give, cheerfully - even if it's just a thousand. Coldstone Ice Cream can wait. That fancy extra top you really don't need can wait. That movie can wait...

You just might help to save a life.
Account name: Balogun Yomade Yewande
GTB: 0130520176
DIAMOND BANK: 0051136447
ZENITH: 2084974783.
Yomade, During. One day, soon by God's grace, I'll put up a picture of her looking healthy and chubby again - with the caption "Yomade, After".
People have mailed me asking for more details, ala 'proof'. Go to BellaNaija and Obajeun.Com to view other posts. I have also included some scanned letters from her hospital after the cut.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Thoughts on Death

Three people I know directly or indirectly passed on within the past week. They were of different ages and at different stages in life: one a grandfather who had clocked 80, one a young father, and one a young mother.

In the past few days I have found myself constantly praying for peace for the families and friends they have left behind (really - what else could one wish the bereaved?), and thinking again - and again - about death.

Sometimes I wonder how it feels to be dead. To lose all consciousness of life on this plane, not for a while, but forever. To be unable to console family and friends as they ‎wail uncontrollably. To lie there, seeing nothing and feeling nothing, while strangers poke around the body conducting autopsies and later preparing it for burial. To no longer be able to defends one's self against accusations of any sort. To no longer be able to spend any of the money one has gathered and probably spent a lifetime protecting. To have someone else clean out one's dirty underwear and rummage through the many other secrets one has left behind. To not attend the many birthday parties, matriculation ceremonies, and graduation ceremonies of children and other dear ones left behind. To not be there to hold a spouse on a cold night or work through a difficult decision with them.

I could go on and on, but you get the drift.

The interesting thing is how inevitable all of this is. Rich, poor, old, young, sickly, healthy - we all die someday. And like in the overused cliche, the sum of our lives will be represented in a hyphen between two years.

What then is important? What then can humanity do in the face of such helplessness? What then can we do in the face of such inevitability? What then can we do within our Circle of Influence, seeing as death is within the Circle of Concern?

We can choose to live.

We can choose to die as empty as we can. To live our dreams now (within our means), rather than put them off till an uncertain future. To give now, even if we can only give thousands today as opposed to millions at an uncertain date in the future. To love now, and fully - even if a scarcity of resources limits us in its immediate expression. To learn now, ‎and find fulfillment in putting our learning to work - for there is no distinction between preschoolers and Professors in the grave. To work hard and play hard in complementing cycles. To "make the most of every opportunity, because we live in evil times". To fear God, and obey His commandments.

To live, love, and learn.‎

We never know what the future holds, but we can live in the "now", with eternity in mind.

May the God of all peace by Himself grant peace to the bereaved in due course, and may He be with us all.

Cheers to the new week.

Turns out I blog about death a lot. Read my previous posts about death here:
1. Thoughts on Goldie's Passing (2013).
2. Thoughts From A Funeral (2012).
3. What Will You Be Remembered For (2009).

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Randoms:: No More CNN, Contentment, Dr. Adadevoh, Ebola

1. I had an addiction to CNN. Until today. I'm done, at least - for now. There's so much pain in the world, and CNN does a good job at forcing me to share in that pain. It's either ISIS, or Ebola, or Israel vs. Palestine, or something else! I know hiding will not take away the pain, or change anything for that matter, but let's hope it stops the nightmares and helps me sleep easier at night.

PS: I made the mistake "of life" and watched the video showing the beheading of James Foley after seeing the news report on CNN. That's probably the worst choice I've made this year. This is the part where I go to bed singing "My Heart Will Trust".

2. My friend, Wale Osideinde, wrote a good post on his blog about contentment. Again I am reminded of my favorite line from Acres of Diamonds: "He was a contented and wealthy man -- contented because he was wealthy, and wealthy because he was contented". Go to Wale's Blog to read the full post, but net - "Godliness with contentment is great gain". Given - we can't all be the richest man or woman in the world, heck - not even in most of our neighborhoods.

It is completely pointless to compare your life/wealth/career progression/achievement with another. It's a lot more important to raise the bar for yourself and aspire to be the very best you can be.

Am I suggesting that you become complacent? No. I'm saying gratitude for what you already have is a great place to start. Life is a long race, and in the end - it's only with yourself.

3. Yesterday, I was saddened beyond measure at the news of Dr. Adadevoh's passing. Chxta wrote a great post that more than adequately conveys the pain I feel, and more importantly - echoes my thoughts that her (and Justina Ejelonu's) actions be immortalized.

4. This is for all the Health Workers on the front lines of the fight against Ebola and other such diseases. We respect you. We admire all that you do. We know the world would be a very different place without you. We thank you.

PS: Go here to download Acres of Diamonds for free if you'd like to read it. Again, it's available for free because it's long past Copyright.


Monday, August 18, 2014

It's Okay to say "No" Sometimes...

You know what I thought about on my way to work today? Of course you don't - because you don't live in my mind. I'd like to share with you though, so - here goes:

Sometimes we try to be nice to people by not saying "no" when they make inappropriate or inconvenient requests of our resources (such as time or money), but then - having accepted to help - actually do nothing, because it was a request we simply couldn't have granted in the first place.

In this case, the other person - the one we tried to be nice to by not turning them down, leaves the experience even more hurt than they would have been if we had said an outright "no" at the beginning.

Addressing this is quite easy, really. Next time you're about to say "yes" without thinking, hold-on and double-check. If you know you're not going to do it, there's no point setting the wrong expectations.

Just say "no".


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Randoms:: Dolly Parton, Nuhu Ribadu, Real Madrid

This post is a collection of randoms. Now that you have been warned - here you go:

1. Dolly Parton made great music! Singing along to "Here You Come Again", "Double Dart", and "You Know I Love You" (songs from 1975) this evening, I have to 'give it up' for the power of music.  For example, I get a kick out of knowing my Mother grooved to "Jolene" back in the day, and I can listen to the exact same song with the original instruments and all today. That's awesome stuff!

Only thing is - I think she had a bit of an inferiority complex, and it showed through in her songs. Listen to "Joline", "Here You Come Again", and indeed most of her songs - and you'll 'see' what I'm saying.

2. So Nuhu Ribadu has defected to the PDP? I don't even know what to think. Tyma thought I would laugh at her, but laughter was far from me when I first read the news. That says a lot about politics in Nigeria. We are a really, really long way from 'enjoying the fruits of democracy'. But then - why am I so surprised? The APC and the PDP are basically made up of the same people. Neither party has a manifesto worth the paper it's printed on. Both parties are bereft of sound ideology and principle. Abegggggie - let the macabre dance continue.

3. My mother narrowly escaped a fatal accident yesterday. Thank God with me. Right now, I just can't imagine life without Mrs. Ko.

Casillas baby!!!
4. Football is BACK! Thankfully, Madrid won the Super Cup... (no need to specify which Madrid, there's only one authentic Madrid)... Now hoping we can go all the way this new La Liga season and win a record 33rd title - (and maybe defend the Champions League successfully while we're at that). If none of this happens though, I won't be flustered in the least. Winning La Decima last season is enough to keep me happy for another two seasons!

That's all for tonight :)
Cheers to the new week, people...


Friday, August 08, 2014

Circle of Concern vs. Circle of Influence: What are you choosing to focus on?

I made a choice recently, to focus on my Circle of Influence (or what I can control) - rather than my Circle of Concern (the many things that concern me, but have outcomes/results I can neither influence nor control).

It is a choice that has changed my life.

Many times, we obsess about the things we can not influence or control. We obsess about what people say about us, rather than focus on how we can lead better lives on an everyday basis. We obsess about the rain, rather than buy an umbrella and get on with life. We obsess about what we will do when we have money :), rather than take steps to make money.

According to Stephen R. Covey, truly "proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about... Reactive people, on the other hand, focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern. They focus on the weakness of other people, the problems in the environment, and the circumstances over which they have no control".

Next time you find yourself starting to moan about a situation or circumstance - ask yourself first, is there something I can do (or cause others to do) about this situation - and just do it. If there isn't, accept the situation and move on.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference." - Reinold Neibuhr.
Cheers to the Weekend!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Three Years of Awesome 'Online-Published Fiction'

In 2012, I wrote this story about falling in love with two women. It felt quite ordinary to me, but it was released to 'widespread acclaim'. I love this story because it contained an experiment that delivered satisfactory results... I once read that a master storyteller starts from the end of their story, proceeds to the beginning, and the ends with the middle - so I decided to try it. Without fully fleshing out the plot, I wrote the three paragraphs I wanted to end the story with - then started off the story with them. The results were fantastic. Go here to read "How I Fell in Love with Two Women". (I'm sending you to Facebook so you can also view the comments).

In 2013, I wrote "Things We Do For Love". It was about a lady's attempts to get her lover a job - regardless of the personal cost to her. In what I consider a huge sacrifice in a relationship, she was going to sleep with a guy she detested - if it would get her Mofesola a job. This story also contains an experiment after a fashion. Versus my forte of picking a central character and writing the entire story from their perspective, I decided to write this one from two perspectives - hence, alternate episodes were written from the viewpoints of Ikepo (female lead) and Mofesola (male lead). In addition to this, I also wrote these alternate viewpoints in different time-tenses. Ikepo described events as they happened, while Mofesola was narrating in past tense. I love how it all came together at the end. Go here to read "Things We Do For Love". (Again - I'm sending you to Facebook for the same reasons above).

This year (2014), I have decided to put my short story into a book instead. It will contain quite a few 'experiments' too, and I will offer it for free when it is done. While you wait however, I thought to give you "Recision" - a story of betrayal, love, and forgiveness - written in beautiful prose by Enekabor Ehinomen - my Mentor. This one is hot and fresh, so I choose not to give you any spoilers. Go here to read "Recision". (This time, you're headed off to Ehis' blog).

Shout out if you love these pieces...

Cheers to the coming week,

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Half of a Yellow Sun (The Movie) - Thoughts

Half of a Yellow Sun (the movie) premiered in Nigerian cinemas yesterday, and I went to see it today. I came away from the screening with a cornucopia of thoughts, and I wanted to share some of them here…

First, HOAYS is an excellent movie! Apart from a few anachronisms like a late 90’s style Ox fan in a 1960 room and a few 2000+series handbags used by characters during the Civil War, the movie was worth the nearly two hours I spent seeing it. The movie theatre was packed full, and I was proud a Nigerian-directed movie pulled that kind of crowd. Great work, Mr. Biyi Bandele.

Second, I didn’t quite like the fact that Mr. Bandele looked outside of Nollywood to find his lead characters. While the boo argued that his use of Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton in leading roles made the movie more appealing to the international audience – the proud (and possibly illogical) ‘Nigerian’ in me wished there was more Nollywood ‘leadership’ in the movie. For example – why wasn’t Genevieve Nnaji casted as Olanna?

Third, Onyeka Onwenu was such a natural! She killed it!!! I totally fell in love with her portrayal of “Mama”, and was quite sad when she died (in the movie – of course)! Sorry – but that there is a spoiler.

Last but not the least, at the end of the movie – I was reminded of my long-standing admiration for the Igbo people. The fact that they bounced back from the killings and persecution that went on unabated in the late 60s to yet again permeate the top echelons of Nigerian society today is a testament to their perseverance, long-suffering, and innate excellence.

I am grateful the Censors Board overcame their fears (with a little external prodding I believe) and released Half of a Yellow Sun for public viewing. We must tell the stories of the Civil War to young Nigerians; yea – we must teach its lessons to the coming generation.

We need to do what we can to ensure we do not repeat our fathers’ mistakes.

Net – watch “Half of a Yellow Sun”. It is well worth your time.
1. There’s some nudity. You might not want to see this one with kids.
2. It’s not entirely like the book. Prepare for a somewhat-related story, but again – NOT the book.
3. I shed a tear (well, more like a few tears) when Olanna's wedding reception was disrupted by Federal shelling... War :(, oh War :(.


Welcome to August; It's Never Too Late...

Welcome to August.

While thinking about the new month yesterday, it struck me that it's the eight month of the year. Little by little, "play by play", 2014 draws to a close...

I wanted to share with someone out there...that it's never too late. It's never too late to articulate your goals and reach for them. It's never too late to take baby steps towards the future you have always desired. It's never too late to take the first step towards breaking that negative habit that has held you down all this while. It's never too late to take the initiative and change your life...

Today, you have 100% of your life left.

Happy New Month.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I'm Grateful...

I've been very grateful of recent...

For Life. I had a few classmates at Primary and Secondary School who are now part of history, only remembered by what they did when they were here. You probably had a few friends who are now dead too. Truth is - you and I had (and continue to have) no control over the reasons for our continued existence. Supposedly healthy people drop dead "all the time"; unwitting drivers minding their own business and staying in their own lanes get rammed by drunks; Medical personnel entrusted with managing our physical and mental health sometimes make fatal mistakes... In the lyrics of one of my favorite songs, "I am here today, because God kept me". And I am grateful. You probably should be too.

For Love. My family (comprising two siblings and both parents) is an awesome one. All you need is two of us in the same room or on the phone - and there's seldom a dull moment. I am blessed with an inspiring, fun, and absolutely fab boo. I have fantastic friends: junior, peers, and seniors; some of whom have called me "brother" since I was four, and others who have known me for under a year. And very importantly, I am privileged to have challenging role-models, mentors, and some who combine both roles. No man is an island, and I am grateful for all those who understand my past, believe in my future, and accept me just the way I am.

For Learning. I mentioned role-models, mentors, and role-models/mentors already. They get a double mention - because they are that important. In fact, everyone who comes in under the "Love" category gets another mention here. I'm grateful that I can read, that I have books to read; I am grateful that I can watch and understand TED Videos and Coursera courses, and that I have the requisite resources. Teaching during NYSC helped me realize that not all 14-year olds' can read and write fluently (in English or their local dialects) - and I'm grateful for all my teachers too - past and present.

In closing, I'm grateful that I awakened this morning full of plans for the future, with the gift of yet another 24 hours to live, love, and learn. You probably should be too.

PS: This one is for you, E. Thank you!

Cheers to the rest of the week,