Am I Light-Skinned?

I understand the title of this post probably looks ridiculous but it’s a genuine question I’ve asked myself since moving to Nigeria. Here’s why:

I was born and bred in beautiful Barnet, North London. Unfortunately, some of the characters I came across were not as pleasant as my home-town. I vividly remember being called a Paki by loud-mouthed idiots that were not brave enough to leave the cars they hurled racist words from and say it to my face. My Pakistani friend at university didn’t believe me when I later told him about this because let’s face it, you would have to be more foolish than a fool to call a black person a Pakistani.

Being racist is stupid — no doubt about it. Some racists, like the ones I unfortunately encountered growing up, reserved that special type of foolishness that still amazes me. I read an interesting article today about the secret double life of Nicky Crane — a gay neo-Nazi that organised and participated in many unprovoked violent attacks in London against ethnic minorities. In a television interview in 1992 Crane said,

“Adolf Hitler was my God…He was sort of like my Fuhrer, my leader. And everything I done was, like, for Adolf Hitler.”

During Adolf Hitler’s regime, historians say 50,000 homosexuals were branded criminals and degenerates and as many as 15,000 died in concentration camps. Like I said, being racist is stupid.

20131205-173859.jpgYet, despite the confusion displayed by the people mistaking me for being from South Asia, I was very aware that I was black. I went to a secondary school with few black people and I don’t remember anyone ever saying anything about the shade of my skin colour. Black was black. Even when I moved to a new secondary school with lots more black people, black people’s skin shade was hardly brought up in discussions.

I’m the darkest in my family so I didn’t for a second ever consider myself fair-skinned. I remember years ago meeting my little sister near school and my friend saw her and said,

“Man, your sister is so pretty! She’s so light! What the hell happened to you?!”

I kid you not.

So, you should by now understand why I’m confused about this recently new notion that I’m light-skinned.

Since moving back to Nigeria a few months ago, I’ve been hearing left, right and centre things along the line of:

Kai, you’re so fair!
Yellow pawpaw!
Afin (Yoruba for albino)

Me?

While waiting for my colleague to get money from the cash machine yesterday, a lady approached me and asked me to stand in the shade. My other colleague with me said that if she was in the sun without me, the lady wouldn’t tell her to move to the shade. She said the only reason the lady was concerned was because of my skin colour! I remember constantly being told in a previous job here in Nigeria to stop making calls under the sun and move to the shade before I turn dark…again, I kid you not.

I’m forever telling people that I don’t care what colour I am. I like when I get tanned because my skin looks fresher and more golden. I can not imagine what would possess me to ever think about damaging my skin just to make it lighter. I told another colleague (check out her blog here) the title of this post and asked if she thought I should include the fact that I don’t bleach my skin at all. She said the first thing everyone reading in Nigeria would say is that I probably do bleach! Argh!

I’m still surprised when I’m called light-skinned because I’ve never seen myself as anything but black. I’m obsessed with my skin being smooth, not the shade. So although I’ve asked you if I’m light-skinned in the title, the truth is, I don’t actually care. Do you?

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Should The Nigerian Stock Exchange Change its Name?

I came across an article this morning that said Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State wants  to rename the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) after Lagos. My first reaction was why but after reading his reasons, it seemed perfectly reasonable:

“I think the time has come for us to begin to look at the legislation that was passed during the military administration, that is decrees and acts. I think that was when the Lagos Stock Exchange became the Nigerian Stock Exchange, in unification for the country,” Fashola said.

helloThe NSE was established in 1960 as the Lagos Stock Exchange but it was renamed in December 1977 as The Nigerian Stock Exchange. Put into context, this name change is understandable as it occurred seven years after Nigeria’s civil war (Biafra). This is why it’s likely Fashola was correct to say that the change in name occurred in an attempt to unify Nigeria.

Yet, when I looked at the comments for this story on Linda Ikeji’s blog, (I know, great source right…) I discovered most people didn’t seem to agree with Fashola and I:

“Story, Story. Why should we copy them.”

“Nigerian stock is better.. Sounds united.”

“Padi mi, calm down pls. Lagos is NOT everything.”

“Oga Fashola you are not the one to decide…leave dat one for our oga at d top Joe.”

Hmmm. These comments made me pause and take a moment to think about why people would oppose changing the NSE’s name to what is best global practice. After all, as the Governor rightly said,

“…we have the Johannesburg, Paris, New York and we don’t have the American Stock Exchange or German Stock Exchange while there is a Frankfurt Stock Exchange and so on.”

I asked a few colleagues what they thought about changing the NSE’s name to the Lagos Stock Exchange and the first thing they said was that it would spark controversy. Really?

I understand that many Nigerians feel there’s an ideological divide among those in the North and those in the South, so the timing of the name change isn’t great. Also, it is true that we are again in desperate need for policies to help unify our nation. BUT what’s in a name?

I mean this seriously.

What difference does it make if the NSE is called Naija Stock Tings (NST)? I’m being serious.

So, my questions to you (because I’m attempting to write shorter blog posts from now on), are:

  • Is it actually rational to oppose changing the NSE’s name for sentimental reasons?
  • Do we not have more important issue in Lagos to change like the terrible state of the water on the Island?
  • What if any will the impact on the country be if the NSE’s name is changed to the Lagos Stock Exchange?

What’s clear to me is that Nigeria isn’t united BUT I’m not convinced changing the name of the NSE will change anything (for better or worse) other than its current name…

Why I gave God my iPhone.

When I was 11-years-old, my Sunday school teacher told my class and I that she had a magical gift – she knew what would happen before it happened. As she spoke about her God-given gift, I sat thinking about how awesome it was to have a superhero as a teacher. Church didn’t seem so boring anymore.

Growing up in a pentecostal Christian home exposed me to many more people like her that claimed to have the same powers. It was in my early teenage years that I understood these people were not modern-day marvel characters but modern-day bible characters. These prophets were followers of Jesus Christ that believed they heard directly from God. It was God that generated their fortune-telling abilities.

Yet, no matter how many pastors told me what my husband would be like or what job I would have, I grew-up struggling to believe the validity of prophet’s revelations. That struggle ended when my former Sunday school teacher (who had become a pastor) spoke to me one evening after a mid-week church service. I was in my first year at university and living away from home for the first time. I had lost the luxury of food shelves magically being restocked without my help. Without my darling mother around, buying cereal became as important as buying textbooks. So, when the service ended, I tried to hurry out to buy my beloved breakfast choice.

Alas, my plans were foiled by my smiling pastor who evidently wanted to continue preaching. As she spoke to me about something I’m sure was God related, I thought about how annoying it would be if the supermarket closed before I bought some cereal.

“Wow, God’s telling me you really like cereal,” she said.

What the…

I’ve haven’t told this story to many people because the first time I shared it, it sounded silly. Why would God take time to tell someone I like cereal? I only think about what happened that day when I’m faced with someone who has a message from God, especially when it’s about me.

That wasn’t the first time someone shared information about me that they believed came from God. A pastor once told me that God said I would get a B in my GCSE Maths exam but I didn’t for a second believe I would. I used to sit next to one of my friends in my maths class who was as talkative and playful as I was. In fact, I’m not sure who distracted who the most out of the two of us. I’ll never forget the day when my teacher told both of us (and the class) that we would fail the paper, get a D and have to redo the exam in sixth-form. Although my maths result was the lowest GCSE grade I achieved, getting the B that I had been told I would get, made me the most proud.

I’ve since been told by a prophet that I would work for the BBC, which I did – twice. The terrible stomach pain I used to constantly endure was revealed to a pastor and eventually stopped – just as the pastor said it would. Yet, until the cereal occurrence, I remained a ‘doubting Thomas’ in regards to believing people who claimed to hear from God.

Perhaps being told I would get a grade B motivated me to work harder? Maybe hearing I would work for the BBC encouraged me to work through their painfully long applications? Could someone have told my pastor about my stomach aches?

It’s possible. But I still can’t explain how my pastor knew I was thinking about cereal that day in church. So, as “silly” as the cereal revelation sounds, I’m sharing it with you because I now realise that’s the day when I not only started to believe God speaks to people but also when I truly began to believe in God’s existence.

There isn’t a rational explanation for someone being able to read my mind. That is, unless believing something supernatural happened is included in the explanation. I’ve decided to pin what happened to the big being upstairs.

So, a few months ago when a prophet here in Nigeria revealed an extremely intimate detail about my family to me, I believed him. I wasn’t the only person that indirectly heard from God. Affairs, promotions, marriages and even deaths were revealed to my church congregation during his three-day visit. We were all amazed.

At the end of the service the prophet told us that God told him to tell 30 people to drop their phones on the altar as a sacrifice to God. I watched people rush forward to do so. I sat down, crossed my arms and whispered, “God forbid.”20130201-110352.jpg

The next day, the prophet preached, got everyone excited with prophesies and closed the service. Just as I was about to leave, the bishop (my uncle), told me the prophet wanted to speak to me.

I slowly walked up to him – terrified at what he might tell me and waited for him to speak. He asked me what I wanted and I told him that I didn’t want what he had told me the previous day to happen. He asked me what I would sacrifice to persuade God to answer my prayer. Money I thought – I’m accustomed with giving money to church. But to my horror, I heard myself say that I’d give God my iPhone!

God knows how much I loved my iPhone. It was my first one (always been a Blackberry babe) and I had only used it for two months. I was surprised when I told my deeply spiritual mum what I had done that instead of being commended, she told me,

“God doesn’t need an iPhone.”

I guess thinking about what God had revealed all those years back about me liking cereal had something to do with me accidentally giving my phone away. This was the second time in my life that I felt certain that God was speaking to me through someone else. Only this time, I lost more than food.

Now, I’m not sure where my ex-iPhone is. Perhaps it was sold and the money was used to further God’s work here on earth… That’s what I’d like to think but who knows, the prophet could be out there somewhere asking Siri where he can find another church congregation that gives precious items to prophets.

I’m not too fussed about what happened to my phone. In the bible, in most cases, an offering to God was a sacrifice only presented to God. In reality, the offering was used as provision for those involved in it – priests and prophets, etc.

So, I’m glad I symbolically gave my iPhone to God. Whatever it’s used for, I’m glad to know despite how difficult it was to give up, I have enough faith in God to believe I’ll be blessed for doing so. After all, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” (Psalm 126:5 KJV).

Should Women be Bishops?

The Church of England (CoE) decided on Tuesday that women should not be permitted to serve as bishops and I couldn’t be more displeased with their decision. The proposed legislation, which would have paved the way for female bishops needed to gain two-thirds majority support in each of the synod’s three houses – bishops, clergy and laity – but fell short by just six votes in the House of Laity.

When I first read an article about the vote I assumed that the I’s would have it. As a female Christian, I am eager to see the consecration of women as bishops approved. Since the line between the church and state is blurred, I am interested in the decisions that determine who holds authoritative positions within the church and you should be too.

Whether or not you’re female or a Christian, the General Synod‘s decisions are your business (in the UK) because 26 bishops are allocated seats in the country’s legislature; the House of Lords. The measures approved by the Church’s Synod are part of the law of the land and this powerful body sits on a portfolio of investments worth a staggering £8 billion. It’s a national institution whose supreme governor (ironically a woman), reigns sovereign over everyone in the country. In my opinion other churches that are not CoE and do not have political power, should have the right to decide if they want to be backwards thinking and not have female bishops. The CoE however has too much power and political privileges to be left to their own devices when they can make terrible decisions that impact the whole country.

It’s no surprise that Members of Parliament and campaigners are now undermining the case for bishops to have a say in making laws. Some have even called for bishops to be thrown out of the House of Lords altogether, while others want to see the powers of the CoE reduced. Labour MP Chris Bryant, a former vicar, tweeted,

“Would be nice to see men refuse to be consecrated bishops till women included. And pm refuse to nominate. And lords refuse bishops.”

The fact is, if priests and the head of the CoE can be women, it makes no sense that bishops can’t be. It appears a huge majority of the Church’s bishops and clergy agree with me as while 324 synod members voted for women bishops, Church voting rules meant that just 122 votes against were enough to block it.

The role of women in the Church had been a thorny issue for the CoE since the Church’s inception. There are countless rational reasons to believe women should be able to be bishops and just as many sexist reasons why they shouldn’t. I can not ignore the fact that the votes reveal there is a general consensus in the CoE, which began ordaining female priests in 1994, that the role of a bishop should also be open to women. I naturally believe women should be able to hold any office in the church. This is largely due to the fact that I was baptised in a church that is lead by a woman and also because I am an undercover feminist. So I appreciate I am perhaps biased in my thinking.

Radio 4’s Today programme posed the question a few days ago: “What would Jesus do?” In other words, would Jesus support of oppose female bishops. This question is brilliant because despite our personal beliefs, it’s wrong to completely ignore the theological arguments in this debate.

So what does the bible have to say?

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Timothy 2:11-14). The apostle Paul, restricts women from serving in roles of teaching and/or having spiritual authority over men because of the way mankind was created and the way in which sin entered the world. Yet, the bible presents many women who held positions of leadership in both the Old and New Testament.

Priscilla and Phoebe in the New Testament are presented as faithful ministers for Christ. Priscilla and her husband Aquila brought Apollos into their home and they both discipled him, explaining the Word of God to him more accurately:

“And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.” (Acts 18:24-26 KJV)

Paul himself writes that Priscilla and her husband Aquila had a church in their house. This means that contrary to his own instruction for a woman not to teach, a woman who in her church taught biblical principles to a man, “more perfectly,” was worthy of Paul’s praise. Was Paul confused on what the role of women in the church should be? Perhaps but I believe that Paul was in fact only restricting the women of Ephesus from teaching.

The book of Timothy was written by Paul to Timothy, who was the pastor of the church in Ephesus. I was taught in church that the city of Ephesus was known for its temple to Artemis, a Greek/Roman goddess. Women were the authority in the worship of Artemis so this could have triggered Paul’s conviction that women should not teach. Although Paul does not mention Artemis worship as a reason for the restrictions I believe that context should never be ignored when interpreting the bible. If context is to be ignored, then why do most Christian churches bring context into explaining why Paul said women shouldn’t braid their hair, or wear pearls or gold in the same passage? “Then in like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” (1 Timothy 2:9 KJV)

I know I’m not the only female Christian that dresses in costly array both inside and outside of church. I was taught that Paul said this because the women at Timothy’s church cared more about their appearance than the teaching from the bible. Context is key to understand biblical scripture in this day and age.

I’ve read and heard so many different views on whether a bishop should be a woman. When I read 1 Timothy 3:1-7, the description of a bishop helped me to better understand why people who apparently follow the same faith as me, believe it is wrong for a woman to be a bishop:

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

Hmmm, pretty clear here that Paul either assumed only men would want to be a bishop or he believed it to be a post to only be held by men. Yet, there are many examples in the bible that Christian males and females follow irrespective of the gender the speaker is addressing:

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27, 28 KJV)

So I guess since I’m a woman, I’m free to lust after guys without the burden of committing sin? No? Jesus was led by the spirit of God, not by religion. He broke protocol and spoke to, touched and even dined with people He shouldn’t have; according to Jewish customs. But He did everything in love. He accepted the stones the builder rejected. I believe that if Jesus had voted on Tuesday, He would have voted in favour of female bishops.

I remain convinced that a woman should be able to be a bishop. Female priests have become indispensable, making up a third of the Church’s 11,000 clergy including in senior positions as archdeacons and deans of cathedrals. If the church wants to remain influential in the legislature, then it ought to look more like the people it’s meant to represent. We’re not just talking about religion here in this debate, we’re talking politics. The CoE isn’t a typical church so we shouldn’t be blasé about their business – it’s our business too.

On that note, I’ll end by saying that the CoE’s history in my opinion is nothing to be proud of. It’s a product of government interference, established by naughty King Henry VIII who appointed himself as head of the Church in order to divorce his wife. The CoE this week had a chance to really make history and prove that it’s legislative role is justifiable. I’m saddened to say that until the CoE decides women deserve to be bishops as much as men, I don’t think the Church deserves to have the political privileges it currently has.

Why do Nigerians Take the Law into Their Own Hands?

I remember years ago in university hearing someone sing, “Ole! Bring matches, tyre, carry am’ go!” I was shocked to discover just how gruesome the pigeon English lyrics translated into English was, as the song was catchy and sounded funny. The singer is actually asking for matches and a tyre to kill the suspected thief (ole) by putting a tyre filled with petrol around the victim’s chest and arms before setting the tyre alight. This barbaric practice is also known as ‘necklacing’. I once asked my dad why in this day and age this still happens and he told me I’d have to live in a country like Nigeria to truly understand. So, here I am living in Nigeria and I think my dad may have been right.

Last Friday, a mob attacked four students from the University of Port Harcourt (Uniport) in Rivers State. The young men were stripped naked, had tyres put around their necks, and were beaten by people from the Aluu community with wooden sticks, before being set on fire.

The killings, which were videotaped and posted online, sparked outraged among many Nigerians who were angry people had taken the law into their own hands. I can’t count how many blackberry broadcast messages I received about the incident. Although I was horrified by what I read and saw, since the lynching of thieves is not as uncommon as one would hope, I was curious to know/understand why people here seemed so moved by this particular event.

My younger cousins were the first to tell me about the murders. They received bbm messages with links to the video. I dared not watch as the description of the killings coupled with the before and after pictures of the guys was enough to warn me that I would most certainly cry watching. I asked my cousins if this was the first time they had heard of this type of thing happening and they said they were fully aware that thieves suffered this treatment here. What shocked/upset/angered my teenage cousins so much was the fact this incident was filmed and published on the internet. Seeing the faces of the young men that are no more, has shocked this nation in a way that’s necessary.

At long last, the discussion about Nigerians being disillusioned with their police force to the point they are prepared to take justice into their own hands, is happening among the people and those in authority. Mob justice in Nigeria has been accepted as a norm among citizens here for far too long. The sad truth is that the extrajudicial executions of crime suspects in Nigeria shows how profoundly devalued human life has become here. However, the fact that many people here seem outraged by what happened to the four students gives me hope that there are still people here that want to help create a better Nigeria.

Since Friday’s murders, many versions of the story have appeared in the press. I’ve heard that the students killed were cult members and were actually on their way to kill someone. I also read that the boys went to collect money from someone owing them money and failing to do so, took his laptop to hold until he paid up. Someone even told me that the boys were shooting at people and the mob got them once they ran out of bullets.

What angers me the most is when people attempt to excuse the barbaric act as necessary due to the incompetence of the law enforcement agencies here. That’s a rubbish excuse. I don’t care what the boys did. So long as we have prisons here, suspected criminals should be kept there. There is no justification for what that mob did.

If there is, then shouldn’t the nation’s oil thieves have tyres round their necks by now? What about all the governors that have embezzled money from their states for luxurious cars and homes? Are they not thieves as well? No, they should be brought to justice, just as the four boys should have been.

The Federal Government, security agencies, state governors, Senators, and members of the House of Representatives urgently need to discuss the following:

Police are unresponsive.

Police are unwilling to patrol high-risk areas after dark.

Police are ill-equipped.

Insecurity has become a constant companion for many Nigerians.

Money talks – too many criminals are free as a result of bribing their way out of prison.

Participants in mob action need to be prosecuted.

Vigilante groups either need to be replaced by competent police/army men, or be registered and offered adequate training to bring suspects to justice.

The standards for recruitment and training of police officers should be significantly improved.

Police officers need to be paid more and given better benefits.

ETC.

Oh, the list could go on and on but if these points are addressed, Nigeria will become a better place. I can’t justify mob violence on any level so I’m not entirely sure why Nigerians take the law into their own hands. All I am sure of is that it’s wrong. I hope the folk in charge come to the same conclusion.

Why I’m Glad to be Back in Nigeria.

If you read my last post you’ll probably find the title of this one ironic. Two months ago I happily left Nigeria thinking I’d only return once my family there complained I hadn’t visited in years. Yet, here I am – back where I almost vowed never to be again.

Most of the people closest to me have asked me why I’m crazy enough to want to be back. I had just settled afresh into life in London and it felt so good being around my family and friends. Despite feeling adamant I was ready to plant my roots in London for good, I found opportunities (well they sort of somehow found me), pulling me right back to this troubled West African land.

When I asked myself why I was leaving again, I was disappointed to find that it wasn’t because of a natural pull towards my motherland, or the belief I was needed in Nigeria to make it a better place. It just isn’t that deep. I’m back because of an opportunity that’s arisen. If a great opportunity came up in Syria I would probably move there because I just don’t love my homeland or any land enough to forgo a new opportunity just because it’s out of my comfort zone.

I understand that this way of thinking isn’t for everyone but neither is my profession. Right now I have the energy to travel around the world and learn new things while I’m at it. I don’t have baggage in my life to complicate my passion for travelling so I can’t think of a valid reason to avoid beginning a new life away from home, if there’s a chance it will make me, a better me…

Here’s the thing with a new experience, it can be daunting and sometimes feel really uncomfortable but the really important things happen outside of your comfort zone. Someone once told me when I was getting nervous about moving to New York that I would really find out who Enô is while I was away. Being stripped of the influence friends and family have over you will do that to you – make you really find yourself. Sounds super corny but its true.

I found this note. Can’t remember where but it really made me smile:

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Couldn’t have put it better myself. The title of this post perhaps should have been, “Why I’m glad to be relocating.” Nigeria might not have been my first choice but my new job is. I can’t wait to share what I’ll be doing with you but until then, wish me luck. In Nigeria, delays in job start-dates are unfortunately common.

Be adventurous, see the world and learn something new.

Why I’m Glad I left Nigeria

*SPOILER ALERT* Contrary to what the title of this post suggests, you’re not about to read a country-bashing entry.

This time last year I was in a state of utter confusion. I was living in New York and loving it – had made great friends, had a cool place and really loved my job. However, I also knew if I didn’t get my ass out of America in a months time, I’d probably have immigration folk sending me back on a one-way (never to return) ticket to England!

Leaving far too many belongings behind, (thought I’d be back in a jiffy) I left to London excited scared of what the future had up its sleeve for me. I desperately wanted to return to New York ASAP but evidently Mr. Future had a different idea.

I spent most of my days watching daytime television, chatting with my sister and playing with my nephews. I freelanced writing stories for an American news startup for a few hours a day but still felt totally jobless. It was time for change and Nigeria seemed the best place for that change.

If you read the post I wrote just before I left London for Nigeria to start my new job, you’ll see that deciding to relocate was not an easy decision to make. I had to say goodbye to my family and friends (and constant electricity) with the hope that I would have an amazing adventure without getting kidnapped!

My eight months in Nigeria was definitely the craziest period in my life! There were days where I was ready to throw in the towel but then there were also days that I truly felt moving out there was the best decision my dad I had ever made! At work I was pushed to achieve and encouraged to be as creative as I could. Despite the many challenges any journalist or even worker will inevitably face working in Nigeria, my confidence, skills and wisdom definitely rose. Nigeria has a way of forcing you to be decisive, slightly aggressive and most importantly, street-smart – areas I definitely had room for improvement in.

Nevertheless serious events in my Motherland really made me homesick and ready to leave. I was still prepared to stay after the fuel subsidy crisis but the mother of all disasters occurred after. Exactly three months ago I lost someone incredibly dear to my heart. He wasn’t killed by the car crash he was in but by incompetence, mismanagement, negligence and greed. The same killers that were responsible for the Dana Air crash that took place a few days ago.

In this day and age, a patient in Nigeria with serious injuries could face not being attended to until morning if they were injured at night. Someone with internal bleeding could be sent to another hospital because the hospital is ill-equipped and doesn’t have blood. In short, many Nigerian hospitals suck so God help anyone who gets a serious injury there…

Perhaps if I hadn’t experienced my loss, I wouldn’t have been able to fully comprehend why many Nigerians on my Twitter timeline tweeted such bitter anti-government/anti-Nigerian establishment tweets like these:

“@Austinokonakpan: We have given them reasons to ground Dana but who can help us suspend this terrible leadership in Nigeria?”

“@Steve_eko: 4get about d national flag, if most politicians fly their greed at half mast for just 1 second we’ll have a better country”

“@omojuwa: How many times have you been driven in a Lagos bus where you suspected the driver was “managing” the brakes? #Nigeria”

“@Mekus_Mekus: Pls FG suspend DANA and jail all the Indian owners”

The fact is, there is sooooooo much work to be done in Nigeria. More than I’m prepared to wait for, which is why I’m (sadly) happy to not be there any more. I’m someone who gets incredibly frustrated by the lack of good governance I see in the world and thus find it difficult to live where I see the result of bad governance daily. When I lived in New York I actually tried to stop reading articles about UK politics shortly after David Cameron became Prime Minister. I was sure his party’s changes would grind my gears so I decided to be a wise monkey (similar to my attitude towards watching Nigeria’s football team).

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Things did get bad and I only managed to abstain from UK political articles for a day or so anyway! I could follow what was going on but from a distance. A bad attitude? Definitely. Alas, I found myself exactly a year after the general election booking my flight back to London. Perhaps frustration can be deemed a virtue when it motivates one to fight for positive action? I think that’s Nigeria’s saving-grace – the people’s frustration. It is what makes them take to the streets and demand for change….So although I’m glad to be away from the fight for now, I’m sure (if I know myself well) I’ll at some point want to be back fighting. Not a physical fight but the good fight I like to believe I can have via my reporting.

So as usual, this post has been incredibly therapeutic as I have come to realise exactly why I’m glad I left Nigeria — I’m a big baby not ready to “fight”. Since I said goodbye to the greatest man I knew, Nigeria stopped feeling like home. I lost the one person that made me feel confident in my decision to move there in the first place… Perhaps one day Nigeria will again feel like home but for now I’m happy to be in my other home – London.

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