Friday, March 25, 2016

Meeting Chimamanda Adichie...

I was having trouble sleeping, so I thought I would write about meeting Chimamanda, world famous author and feminist, at Yellow Chilli two days ago.

We had just sauntered into Yellow Chilli for an easy evening and were heading for our table when Ehis spotted her. We could not quickly decide whether to engage her, particularly because it meant interrupting her conversation with her companion, but she seemed to notice our conundrum and waved us over.
A woman once got nasty when she asked to take a picture with me and I said no, because I was exhausted and I looked terrible. Another person once said to me – “you must always smile no matter what.” I thought: “how absurd. Do YOU always smile?” I’m actually quite the smiler but I certainly will not smile if I am upset about something. Everyone has good days and bad days and I treasure my human right to have good days and bad days.
I think the idea of celebrity is that you are supposed always to be ‘on,’ always in performance mode. And I certainly can’t and won’t do that. - Interview with

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I miss my parents...

Last night, I had one of those dreams where I was nine years old again. My dad was a hero, my mom was the love of my life, and my siblings were adorable little tots who thought I was a mini-god.

Life was much easier. My biggest worry was probably our old Windows 95 computer that took nearly ten minutes to boot up. I had no clue what terrorism was, what a job entailed, what it meant to make a budget or pay my own bills, what it was to look for fuel like it was an extraterrestrial liquid, or what it meant to save for the 'future'.

This morning I wished I could go back in time, and be a young child again for a few days. My mom would wake me with a hug first thing in the mornings, and my Dad would ring the bell for morning devotion. Simi would sing all sorts of songs that ensured we would be late for school, and Fehintolu would sleep through the entire thing like the rest of us didn't even exist. I can't possibly get started on the noise, the banter, the fights...

Sometimes I think I grew up too fast. Looking back, I was in such a hurry to come into my own, and leave the nest so I could fly. I was obsessed with 'adulting', and now that I'm here - I have these moments where I don't mind giving it up for a few days.

I'm grateful that I still have both my parents around, and I look forward to escaping to Ibadan sometime soon so I can have a few days of pretending to be a child.

I'll leave you with Mary Schmich's words... "Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future."

Have a fab day.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lekki Building Collapse: We Need A Culture of Responsibility

Leaders don't take responsibility for anything around these parts. Their default reaction is to choose one or more from the options below:

  1. Blame a predecessor,
  2. Issue a muted statement attributing whatever it was to God,
  3. Shed a few crocodile tears ala "dia ris God in everything we are doing",
  4. Deny that it happened,
  5. Insist it was the work of their political detractors.

In most cases, they don't do what leaders should do - take responsibility, own their mess!

I am not often excited at someone losing their job, but I am very pleased that Ambode fired the General Manager of the Lagos Building Control Agency, along with other key officers at the agency. 34 people died because the Building Control Agency didn't do their job properly. They had to be held responsible.

I have long argued that we suffer from a dearth of strong institutions, and I believe this is a step towards strengthening our institutions and ensuring they take responsibility for their jurisdiction. People and agencies need to know that they will be held responsible if things go wrong on their watch, and conversely - that they will be celebrated when great things happen.

It should no longer be business as usual, where Civil Servants spend their days watching Africa Magic and selling fabric to each other.

Think what you want about Ambode. He is on to something!


Friday, March 11, 2016

"If I were Dangote's son..." and other excuses...

"If I were Dangote's son..."
"If I had a Bachelors Degree..."
"If I had a MacBook..."
"If I worked for General Electric..."
"If I had a million dollars in funding..."
"If I didn't have bow legs..."
"If I wasn't married..."
"If I had gotten a degree in Engineering..."
"If I had a car..."
"If I had a job..."

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Lekki Building Collapse: Thoughts On Greed & Nigerian Capitalism

Nigerian Capitalism often seems to me to be driven by greed, more so than by a desire to make a honest profit.

Greed is the only way I can explain some of the things that happen here.

Greed is why 18 people died and 15 others were severely injured in the Lekki building collapse, and while we don't have the full incident report yet - we already know someone thought it was alright to exceed the approved number of floors for the building.

Spot the extra floor being added on top of this 'already painted & completed' building?*
It added that it has also been discovered that in a brazen act of defiance and impunity, the owners of the building, Messrs Lekki Worldwide Estate Limited, the promoters of Lekki Gardens, criminally unsealed the property and continued building beyond the approved floors until the unfortunate incident of Tuesday which has led to loss of lives. LASG Press Release.