Posted in Activity

My daring experience at The LCC

A lot of holidays, like the Easter break, is a time many get to hang out with family and friends, and for some others, it’s a time to really sit back at home and relax, easing up the stress from work.

Now for me, as usual, I never actually set out to go out and what-not, although I and a couple of friends had already talked about hanging out this year weeks before, I hadn’t really made up my mind.

So the Easter Monday started out with me chatting them up in the WhatsApp group specifically created for this purpose (yes, I guess it was necessary. LOL.), asking to know if the outing was still on. We had initially made suggestions of places to go which included the annual GidiFest, Wakaa theatrical show and the Lekki conservation centre. And after much deliberation, we eventually opted for the last option.

I didn’t have a particular preference as all three were entirely new to me as opposed to my usual ‘going to the cinemas’ hangout option. So I welcomed any idea that was settled for. Our meeting spot was at the residence of the ‘chief initiator’ of the outing. I arrived first and shortly after, another friend arrived. So it was just us three.

Our ‘chief initiator’ wasn’t ready…yet and it was only after we had arrived that she called for an UBER. At this point, it was about 1pm and I thought to myself “hope we won’t end up going to see power rangers like this.” Because at this point, I was beginning to think she was trying to sabotage the planned outing as she kept talking about power rangers all the while.

Thankfully, soon enough, the UBER guy arrived and we were well on our way to the Lekki conservation centre.

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Feeling Pretty excited. Not sure whether it was for the outing or cos it was my 1st UBER ride.

There was no traffic and in time, we arrived at the centre. We proceeded to pay a total sum of N2,500 as entrance fee and for the canopy walk.

From here, we were asked to wait in a room with other people waiting to take a tour on the canopy walk.

Shortly after, we commenced on the walk and after covering quite a distance, with monkeys staring at us and running up the trees and lots of selfies being taken, I was beginning to think this was all it was to the canopy walk.

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I be like: Hmm…so this is why I paid 2k5 ni
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Issa forest adeventure.

Mind you, I had heard people say LCC before now but didn’t quite know what to think of the place.

Soon enough, the actual walk started—the canopy walk which happens to be the longest in Africa. We were instructed to climb the canopy, only 6 people at a time.

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The first walkway gave me the first doze of adrenaline as I kept looking down to see how high we were. I remember swallowing really hard at the sight of the distance between me and the bare ground. I was in the sky and there was no going back.

As I climbed, I wrestled with my inner guts which kept throwing questions at me and the fear I could feel so closely, severally tried to render me immobile. I had to keep pushing forward because I obnoxiously kept telling myself that I only needed to get to the end of this hurdle and it would be all over.

Well, I did get to the end and alas, I realized there were about 6 more of the walkway to climb which ascended even higher as you go on.

All three of us were pretty shaken up and even more when we noticed that the other trio didn’t follow us as expected.

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Her facial expression says it all.

We couldn’t go on and so we just stayed there, waiting for someone to join us. We soon began to consider going back down the same way we came when another lady, who introduced herself as Titi, said it wasn’t possible and that the only way was up.

It was in this moment that I looked up and saw a caution sign that had the expected height possible while on the canopy walk, boldly written and remembered that upon starting this daring adventure, the tour guy had specifically stopped us to read the caution board mounted at the entrance of the canopy walk, then I realized what I had done to myself.

Funny thing is, I did read but hastily because I was so much in a hurry to get up on it already!

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The sign that didn’t get the attention it deserved.

Good thing, with Titi here now, we were able to continue the walk, like we had any other choice but this time we had an ‘expert’ leading us.

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Apparently, Titi had been here several times in the past.

And so on each ‘hurdle’, we breathed deeply and just totally cut off eye contact with what was lying beneath us—a distance so great.

There was even a point where after Titi had gotten off, and it was just us three, she began to ask us to be careful as we approached the end, as a portion of the construction seemed weak and was really shaky. So she said or maybe she was just saying that to pull our legs. Lol. A strong wind blew and we really started to panic. We just froze and held on to the ropes until it was calm again.

I kept my cool all the while even though I was deeply terrified by this experience. I actually kept saying this in my head: “Just keep walking, you’ll be fine.”

Afterwards, we tried out a restaurant that serves seafood kinda meals.

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Mussels…first time. Looked nasty but tasted great!

Now, LCC has been on my lips. If you haven’t been there, you gotta go try the Canopy Walk. Get your adrenaline pumping!

It was a very daring experience for me, probably the most daring thing I’ve ever done…yet. Just as I told the tour interviewer, I don’t see myself doing this again. But who knows, I just might become a ‘Titi’ to someone another day.

In the end…

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I came, I saw and I conquered! First pic taken comfortably…of course at the end of the walkway.

 

 

Posted in Activity

The F.R.E.E Conference

This career-shift event was organized by Jimi Tewe, a Career and HR consultant and I got to know about it through a friend after she tagged me on an IG post. I proceeded to register and didn’t really think much of it. The only information I had about locating the venue was that it was somewhere in Ikeja and frankly, it wasn’t difficult to locate at the end of the day.

I arrived a couple of minutes after 10am, which was the slated time of the event, quickly registered and proceeded to grab a seat before a friend whom I had mentioned the event to, a couple of days back, came over to where I was and offered me a sit. Apparently she had saved a spot for me.

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Amy wayne and I. DISCLAIMER:this picture is not awa real face. Please. lol.

At the time I arrived, one of the speakers, Omilola Oshikoya, was already speaking to the audience via a pre-recorded video. She took us through her days of being a full-time employer to now being FREE. It was an amazing journey, one which could only have happened because of the direction of God in her life.

Next speaker was the smartmoney woman, Arese Ugwu, whose story helped me understand that “when you step into your purpose, you will attract your helper.” I remember her saying that at 16 she had started interning in the corporate sector.

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The SmartMoneyChic, Arese Ugwu, sharing life tips.

Plus she got me like: What was I doing at 16?

The next speaker, Mr Ubong King, had so much to say that even the fastest fingers wouldn’t be able to put down. Ok, maybe it’s just me. Thank God the organizer also made audio CDs of the event available. His story was inspiring and left me with the happily-ever-after effect.

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Mr Ubong King aka The Troublemaker

Some of his words in quote;

The problem is not location but your imagination.

Whenever you see ‘somebody’ ask for the story behind their success.

Until passion hits you, you are going nowhere.

Anyone who gives you free food is stopping you from thinking for yourself.

If you are waiting for salary, you are suffering from vulture disease.

If you want to be rich, multiply your sources of income.

Pain is the down payment of gain.

Bend yourself in resources, else there will be no sources for you.

Whatever you eat, and continually eat, will eat you up eventually.

Passion without motivation will lead to frustration.

If you want to be something in this life, copy until you become.

The only way to get out of trouble is to enter one.

I’m pretty sure if he was given more time, other speakers may not have had a chance to speak. That’s how packed and ready he was for the conference.

Next was a panel which consisted of three great achievers, all doing great things in their various industries.

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Meet the first panelists: Foluso Gbadamosi, Ife Tokan & Tolagbe Martins (L-R)

To sum it all up, I’ll be sharing some of their words in quotes;

Good relationships is essential as it helps you with setting up beneficial structures- Foluso Gbadamosi.

Play to your strengths. Make use of the free stuff and build yourself in the ‘waiting’period. Package yourself!- Tolagbe Martins.

Endure with common sense.

Integrity is very simple yet priceless.

Invest in your integrity because it is very important while you are enduring.

You don’t need money to do anything. Its all about relationships.

– Ife Tokan

Net on stage was the second panel.

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Olawale Ayilara, Stephanie Obi, Kunle Idowu (popularly known as Frank Donga) & Gladys Ajiri-Okoro (L-R)

Again, words in quote;

Fall in love with failure first. Mistakes will increase your experience at the end of the day. Make as many now, not when you are much older and cannot afford a mistake.- Olawale Ayilara.

If your feeling comes from a place of love, you will excel at whatever it is you have decided to do.

Take in as much information that tickles your fancy.

Leverage is key! #DontCreateAMonsterYouCannotFeed- Kunle Idowu

Appreciate the success of others.

Going to school only provides an avenue to be better at what you do. There’s something already within.

What you do today, you reap tomorrow- Gladys-Ajiri Okoro.

At the final segment of the conference, the organizer took us through a deep session where he spoke about purpose, more like an introduction to his book but the profound thing about his session was when he talked about the levels of awareness- a visual representation of the stages involved in purpose discovery and I absolutely loved it because I immediately identified with the stage I am in that instant.

 

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Mr Olujimi Tewe dropping bomb messages.

See below the LEVELS OF AWARENESS which I’ll try to explain below;

DOMINANCE

Purpose

CONFIDENCE

Mastery

STABILITY

Practice

EXPLORATION

courage

CONFUSION

Exposure

IGNORANCE

From the flow chart, on the onset of self-discovery, one is ignorant of who he/she really is and from being exposed to certain areas (I’d say when one begins to see or experience things outside from the ‘comfort zone’) confusion sets in. Now, to move to the next level, courage must be exhibited from which he/she will now become very receptive to exploring things they never thought they would try out. By now, he/she is getting acclimated to the out-of-the-norm stuff and may probably have chosen an area of deep interest. What does he/she do at this point? PRACTICE! He/she puts into practice all the knowledge they may have garnered relating to that identified area of interest in order to move further up the ladder. Hence, stability. In order to then attain confidence in that subject area, he/she needs to do further study so as to advance and become the best in the field. When this has been achieved, he/she is well on their way to aligning with their purpose and then becoming a DON i.e he/she achieves dominance in the subject area.

I’m guessing there’s a thorough explanation of this flow chart by the author in the book. So this is just my understanding of the levels of awareness.

Below are some of what he also shared;

Your purpose is served in ETERNITY while your career is lived in REALITY.

The thing about purpose is that it can only be revealed.

Discovery is the result of exploration.

Show your interests with your actions.

If you count out GOD, you have discounted your future.

Just when I thought I had been blown away by the powerful messages, then came the final speaker, the iconic Fela Durotoye, whose session ‘took me to church’

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Mr Fela-Duroteye doing what he does best- enlightening us.

while sharing his wisdom through acronyms lettered A-I which goes thus;

  • A-Awareness
  • B-Belief
  • C-Conviction
  • D-Decide
  • E-Execute
  • F-Follow-through
  • G-Grow
  • H-Help
  • I-Inspire

His other words in quote;

The gap between been inspired and inspiring others depends on following God’s instructions.

No better thing can happen to a man than for him to be working on what he’s living for.

Ambition is vision bordered by self. (Not good)

Love is a genuine desire and consummate pursuit of the very best well-being of another. You can rule without love but cannot lead without love.

By the time he was through with his session, we had all held hands and prayed together and it really felt like a church service. Attending this conference was a blessing to me because I not only got to meet great minds but also got gifted with THE PURPOSE BOOK, a recent publication by Jimi Tewe.

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My devotional for the month of March. So much wisdom shared.

This was possible after the last speaker requested that anyone who wanted to purchase the book and give it out to people present should step out. This was after he had asked for people who really wanted a copy but couldn’t afford it to come on stage. The sponsor list was so much that I think 80% of the total population at the event got a copy to take home.

I am currently reading my own copy, one chapter per day, as each day I find a lot to take in. My hope is that I will go on to live the life God has called me to as I read this book and meditate on HIS WORD.


This post doesn’t even cover enough of what the event had to offer. So I strongly recommend that you get a copy of the audio CD through Eniola on 08055194404. You should also try to get a copy of the book too.

That’s all for now. Till next time, remain an “expression of God’s creation!”

 

Posted in Activity

About the tedxLagos Ideas Search 2017

Prologue: The year has started out quite in a fun way for me. only barely two months into the year and I have began to explore one of my several altruistic interests.

Unlike the slayfestival, the firm decision to be at the tedxlagos ideas search 2017 was arrived at right after the previous event. And of course, I was there as a volunteer. A week to the event, I received an email directed to all volunteers, with each of us assigned to a specific work section for the event. I had been assigned to the venue section and so I was expected to be at the event venue, Muson Centre, Onikan on Friday at 8am. I couldn’t be there so I sent messages to let the organizers know.

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I missed being a part of the team that put this amazing stage together.

Saturday morning came and after meeting up with two other volunteers, by 6:35am or so, we were well on our way to the venue location. We arrived by 7:16am and proceeded to receive our shirts and tags.

 

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Mirror selfie time

Next thing on the list was selfies.

 

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Smart volunteers 😉

 

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I was advised to never post this pic…anywhere. LOL!

Soon, we were debriefed by one of the head organizers of the event and I was re-assigned to work at the VIP registration area which meant locating the tags of the guests as they arrived and handing it to them.

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Busy hands.

Come to think of it, there were several tags whose owners I looked forward to meeting but they didn’t show up. *sad face*

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Soon, we began to hand out tags.

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Guests…Speakers…Journalists came through.

Before we knew it, the hall was full with people from all works of life.

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It’s about to go down!

After some time spent handing out a couple of tags, I and another volunteer proceeded to grab breakfast.

 

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This very enticing dish by @cafejadelagos. FOTO CREDIT: @Rotimi Okungbaye.

Just after one bite, I knew I had to go back for more (yes, blame it on the VERY edible catering). We resumed duty back at the registration stand. As time passed on, we realized the guests were appearing to not show up anymore, so we quietly ‘fled’ our duty post and went into the venue hall and took our seats. We were right on time.

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TED Founder, Chris Anderson was with us. His first time in Lagos!

The first speaker was a young lady who had degrees in Engineering, Economics and Education and to cap it all, she was a Harvard Alumnus who was now a full-time visual artist. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I truly admired her and was low-key happy to just see her talk about what she did with so much joy.

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Source: @tedlagos via Instagram

THERE were too many speakers who shared so much that only by watching the video recording would you be able to get all that the event had to offer. In the meantime, find below some speakers and a quote from their talk.

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All Photos above by @tedlagos. For the video of the entire event, follow @tedlagos2017 on Twitter/Instagram. I hear it would be dropped on that page pretty soon.

It was a wonderful experience…yet again, volunteering. I think a major highlight of being a volunteer at this event, for me, was at the end of the event, when all volunteers were invited for ‘a-2-sec fame’. LOL! That’s literally what I heard some of the organizer’s say. And in fact, it was! We stood there and in unison, took a bow with the audience applauding us. I truly felt like I had done something great for humanity in that moment.

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In that brief moment, I hoped to speak on the platform someday.

We were even invited for the after-party at Westwood Hotel, Ikoyi.

 

.Real BIG thanks to the TEDxLagos Ideas Search 2017 team for the opportunity. See you next time!

 

Posted in Activity, Da diaries

Bonus service to my Nation

Participating in the general elections was an interesting aspect of my service year. As a corper in the election year of 2015, it was mandatory to partake in the elections. The general elections originally slated to take place on the 14th and 28th of February 2015 for the Presidential & National Assembly and Governorship and State Assemblies respectively got postponed to the 28th of March and 11th of April due to poor voters’ card distribution and the Boko Haram menace at the time. So the need for ‘corper participation’ was paramount (of course I’m referring to the former).

I remember one fine Friday afternoon, during CDS, when news came that we should all report to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office. A number of us were unhappy about the request, some others like me were curious. I didn’t even stop to think about the risk of conducting elections as many others were talking about at the time. The office was only a stone’s throw (ok, make that 6 stones) away from the LGA where we were. I and a friend took a shuttle where we met a lot of other corpers waiting in line…already.

What’s ‘corper-ship’ without queue?

We were asked to put down our names after which we waited for a brief announcement where we were officially told that we would be participating in the general elections as adhoc staffs. As a number of us started to murmur, the speaker immediately added that it was mandatory and tried to persuade us saying that we didn’t need to worry about our safety and that we would be paid. By paid, he actually meant stipends that were tagged things like ‘bicycle allowance’ meaning transportation money, and feeding. However, a number of us didn’t participate in the end even despite all the threats. It really wasn’t actually compulsory though. I was interested, regardless.

So the election duty kicked off the following week with those of us who showed interest being stationed at different registration centres where we distributed voters’ cards to the recipients. This was something we had to do up until the week before the elections. It wasn’t the way it was planned from the onset but as the election day drew nearer, due to stats showing a large discrepancy between cards given and cards still in the commission’s possession, and the other reason mentioned initially, the election day had to be postponed by about six weeks. This was also done in a bid to fulfill a fair election.

Working with INEC was actually another major event that took me away from the boring CDS of NYSC. So every Friday and Saturday, when morning came, I would dress up in my khaki and leave for the INEC office where I would be handed my box full of voters’ cards. I would then proceed to sign in.Not signing in upon arrival meant no stipend for the day, as payment was made at the end of each day after we had the remaining cards returned, if any. Mind you, even before we were handed the cards, we were made to sign an undertaken drafted by the court of law which said something about getting arrested if any electoral material in our possession was tampered with (don’t worry, I didn’t need to get my lawyers. It was written in plain English and I understood that I wasn’t signing my death warrant or anything like that). In all sincerity, I was scared a little…just a teeny weeny bit, not enough to make me withdraw from participating.

Distributing the voters’ cards was quite an arduous task, in my opinion, and it wasn’t because of the droves of people who came out and more than often rushed to collect their cards, it was rather because of the difficulty that came with ‘managing’ the crowd. I mean doing this meant tolerating different ‘peoples of the world’.I’m talking ALL SHADES OF CRAZY. I didn’t mind though. Sometimes I just laughed at the way they would often push themselves like babies. Meanwhile, these were full grown adults–peoples’parents. There was a day when they raised their voices at me for not been on time (which wasn’t my fault. No, really). I had to make them understand that there was a delay at the office and assured them that the only reason why they wouldn’t get their card would be simply because it wasn’t in my possession. So I redirected those who fell in that category to the INEC office. There were days when that would work and then there were times when it seemed as though they had made up their minds from home not to cooperate.

On such days, I had Abraham who would calm them down on my behalf. You see, after a couple of weeks spent  distributing cards, I had made a number of acquaintances who appointed themselves my P.A of some sort. Abraham became the main P.A. He was in his late 20s and I must say, he really came in handy. It was good having him around to keep ‘his people’ in check. I figured they were his people since he knew practically everyone who came around for their cards.There were days when just as i was packing up to leave for the INEC office, I would have someone rush up to me, requesting and sometimes begging to collect their card. I really couldn’t turn them down. I would then unpack, sort their card and tick their names in the register. Yet again, there were days when it was a no-no. We were actually given a report back time by the officials, so my decision to stay back was determined by the time. If I checked the time and it was already getting too late, I would ask the person to check back the next day.

During the pre-election period, some of us actually got lucky to meet ‘the generous at heart’-those who often gave gifts ranging from money to food, just as a token of appreciation. Some felt the need to do this because of the stress and disappointment they were faced with in collecting their cards, same reason why some people never even bother to come around for their cards. A close ally who was also participating, after meeting back at the INEC office, would tell me how much ‘token’ she had received at the end of each day. There was even one time she received a hot plate of pepper soup. And this was recurrent. Meanwhile, I never got anything. As each day passed, I started to think she had some sort of lucky charm following her and the annoying part of it was that she barely gave out cards. Some days, she would indicate giving out just two cards whereas in my case, I would get nothing after giving out up to 70+ cards.

LOL! Is this life not a HOT pot of beans?

After about a month dedicated to sharing cards, it was time for the training proper. We were expected to attend several scheduled meetings in which we were taught how to use the Smart Card Reader as well as given general election knowledge.

We actually got manuals.

In it contained all the essential elements of a successful electoral process which included tips, instructions and guide for the general election activities/conduct. The election week was the ‘happening week.’I remember on several occasions where we would get notified by a contesting party, requesting to see all corpers. On one of such request, we were offered sits and addressed after which they handed us ‘gifts’ (I’m sure you know what is meant here) saying they appreciated our spirit of service which was demonstrated in our participation in the election. shior! They were using scope to bribe.

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I be like: what’s my own?

I wee chop the money and still do my job as it should be done. After all, it’s national cake meant for all of us that you are giving me a tiny portion from. We would walk out smiling, calling our friends who were unaware of the invite to come collect their own portion of ‘the national cake’.

Weeks before the election, we were asked to frequent the INEC office in order to get information on the centre we were to each preside. As a rule, all corpers were made Presiding Officers of their polling units. This, I came to understand, was because the commission felt that way they were able to hold someone accountable should in case electoral materials got missing. This therefore made all other participants (non-corpers) report to the corper placed above them.

From my perspective, INEC was quite disorganized towards the election day. On the eve of the election, I remember roaming about the office searching for my name and polling unit up until it was late in the evening. The crowd was massive.

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A weak attempt at describing the crowd at the INEC office.

They had pasted the information quite later than expected. Meanwhile, by now I had already gone home and packed a few things to stay at a friend’s place at Festac. I decided it was better to do so since my unit, Agboju in Festac, was farther from home. No need risking leaving home too early and heading to the unit. After having spent time locating my unit, I found it. Myself and all those allocated to the same polling unit area were expected to report to a school compound (it was one of the Govt sec schools) where we would pass the night against the election day. Their reason was to prevent any delays in conducting the election. Upon arrival at the school compound, thinking we would have beds to ourselves or at least mats, to my surprise, we were going to pass the night on the bare sandy floor. It was utterly distasteful and annoying because we had been assured of ‘proper accommodation’. Not cool. I couldn’t turn back now. I had already made the firm decision to participate except of course if the risk was too obvious to ignore.

Some others left soon after to lodge at nearby hotels while others who had friends/relatives within the area passed the night there. For the rest of us, the floor was our bed. So I slept that night on the bare floor, under a tree, with its branches poking my back. Such discomfort! All for you, Nigeria.

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It was a cold night too.

I tossed and turned till dawn when the Electoral Officer of the polling zone summoned us and made an announcement. It was about 6am-the day was finally here for the Presidential/National Assembly election. In no time, we freshened up (not baffing tinz o, just brush teeth and wash face) and took turns (indeed) to get our electoral materials which consisted of markers, collapsible ballot boxes, pens, stamp, tons of forms differentiated by a unique combination of letters & numbers, ballot papers, just to mention a few.One would think collecting the materials was one easy thing. We literally had to drag materials with other teams. Each Polling Team consisted of four members with distinct duties. My team members were great to work with.

Apparently, the electoral materials weren’t even enough.

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They got me sooo…

By the time it was 8am, which was the time slated for the voting process to commence, the officials had already began announcing that we move out to our various polling units. Like this was our fault. I just couldn’t understand what was going on at this point. Thankfully, my teammates and I were fast enough to get through the crowd to grab all the essentials listed in the manual. A couple of minutes after 8am, we were well on our way to our unit, conveyed by a bus hired by the commission. It wasn’t much of a distance from the school compound but for safety reasons, particularly to avoid a hijack of the materials by political thugs and whatnot, the ride was necessary.

As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by a few of the electorates and election observers. We then proceeded to unpack and setup the various voting points as described in the manual. I tested the card reader as well, more like a calibration. Election took off minutes after with accrediting the voters’ cards presented to us by the electorates. This was necessary to prevent counting the votes of fake voters’ cards (cards not issued by INEC), after which we proceeded with the election itself which of course involved handing out the ballot papers to each voter as they stepped up to us and directing them to the voting point where they were expected to thumbprint the paper before folding neatly and placing into the ballot boxes.

As the election continued, we soon had issues with the card reader-it stopped reading. I knew we had to get it fixed and fast so as to prevent postponing the election for my unit. We had been briefed earlier that in an eventuality that the card reader develops a fault, we should send it back to the INEC officials for a replacement, but if they were unable to either fix it or get a replacement, we would have to conduct the election the following day. I didn’t like the sound of that, one bit–conducting election on a Sunday? No, please.

As soon as the card started acting up, I immediately sent one of my team members to take it to the office as instructed, while I addressed the electorates as they were already beginning to murmur and become disorderly. Dealing with people is a really big deal. I really had to try and manage the situation till they were calm again. Soon after, we began to hear reports from other units about their card readers not working too.

Even with the postponement of the election, INEC still wasn’t quite ready?

After about almost an hour, my team mate returned with the card reader saying he met a technical officer who rectified the problem. You can imagine the relief I felt. So we resumed the election and by 2:00pm we were done with it.

Now, the main work had just begun- the documentation.

There were numerous forms which we were expected to sign, stamp and file. It included forms stating the number of ballot papers used and unused, number of electorates turnover and things like that. Another major task which we had to really checkmate was making sure that our records of the number of electoral materials handed to us and those used up tallied. If they didn’t, we had some serious explaining to do. So that too scared me a little but from the onset, I made sure to state everything clearly.

After counting the votes, we then announced the results and in my unit, the current ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) won the election. We packed up after documentation and headed back to the school compound for submission. Back there, we met a number of other teams who had arrived earlier, awaiting the arrival of the Collation Officer whom we were to submit the results to. I proceeded to submit the electoral materials left to the Supervisory Polling Officer and joined in the wait. It was quite frustrating waiting under the sun hot, knowing I couldn’t just leave without ‘proper handover’ (My team mates could leave though). At about 4pm, she arrived. We were now on a queue to make our submission. This took longer than expected as people ahead of me who had issues in tallying the report were made to correct their mistakes on-the-spot or face court query. I just wondered why she didn’t just ask them to go back and try again later. Instead she kept the rest of us waiting.

The wait was too real. Some of us even cried. It was that serious.

Standing for hours just to make my submission was where the real work was, I soon realized. I kept checking the time because after last night’s experience sleeping on a bare floor, I thought it wise to stay at my friend’s place who lived in Festac. Although it was farther from the school, at this point, it was anywhere but here. At about 10pm, there were only 3 people ahead of me and soon enough I successfully made my submission. It was really late by now and after seriously second-guessing myself, I chose to leave the school and flagged down the first biker I saw. It was almost 11:30 by now. After passing through a lonely, dark road, I arrived at my friend’s place. I met her mom and siblings in the sitting room who gave me a really warm welcome. I was so tired. I don’t think i have ever been that tired…ever. They served me food and water which I readily ate and gulped like a hungry lion. My friend was yet to return home and it was almost midnight. Soon after, I managed to walk to her room and dozed off. I was so deep into sleep that I didn’t notice when she got back. By the next morning, I took my bath and was on my way back home.

The Gubernatorial election which was held on the 11th of April had the same process. At the end of it all, I was really glad to have participated in the National General Elections.

LESSONS I LEARNT FROM THE EXPERIENCE

Regardless of some let-downs by the commission, the experience overall was a good learning opportunity so I thought to also share a few of the lessons that came with it. They are;

  1. Working with INEC demystified the entire election process. Yes, it was only after working as an adhoc staff with the commission that I realized it wasn’t really a big deal after all because before now, I used to think it was something that only highly trained people were assigned to do. Definitely not corpers.
  2. I think it helped me develop better people skills as well as improved my communication skills. I learnt how to relate with even the most aggresive person in a gathering. They can’t kill you, don’t worry.
  3. When someone tells you they will provide accommodation, don’t relax just yet. Try to first find out what they mean by the word ‘accommodation’ and see if it tallies with your own understanding of the word.
  4. Election work in Nigeria is not for the faint-hearted. Don’t even try it o. Although participating was kinda a secret dare to myself, I’m glad I didn’t regret it…totally.

A small GLOSSARY

Ballot papers- a long slip containing all parties contesting in the election.

Collation Officer- someone who collates all results from a specified polling area.

Electorates- people who came out to vote.

Electoral Officer- the head of the Commission’s office in an area council.

Electoral process- activities carried out in steps during election.

Election Observers- people (domestic and foreign) appointed by respective organizations and accredited by the commission to observe the elections. Journalists are included and party agents.

Poling Team- a set of four people assigned to a polling unit.

Polling Unit- a designated location where registered voters cast their votes on election day.

Presiding Officer- someone in charge of all activities at a polling unit on election day.

Smart Card Reader- electronic device used to verify the biometrics of an electorate.

Supervisory Presiding Officer- supervises the conduct of poll in a cluster of polling units.

(Source: INEC official manual for the 2015 General Elections)

The experience in general was really expository which was an avenue to test my strengths. It literally pushed me to my limits.

Have you ever worked with INEC? How was your experience in a nutshell? For those who haven’t, from what you have read, do you think it’s something you would like to try? Feel free to share below. I’d love to hear from you.

Again,

Thanks for reading!

Posted in Activity

My volunteer experience

As I stood on the railway corporation compound, looking at all the beautiful people and activities I was surrounded by, I asked myself “why did you ever think it would be okay to deliberately miss this event?”  I had seen the proposed SLAYFESTIVAL reposted by the ‘Bruce Lee of Visuals’ Ms. Kemi Adetiba, on her Instagram page weeks back and immediately got interested and thought, “It would mean a lot to actually meet her in person.” So I took a screenshot of the page as a reminder to register. I didn’t make the quick move to register which was at a cheaper price because I was seriously considering another program slated for the same day. If you must know, it was a FREE TRAINING on graphic design which I already had a seat booked. As the day got nearer, I couldn’t decide on which I should forsake for the other. They were to be held at different venues and within the same timeframe.

Like… which has the greater benefit?

On the week of the event, it began to look like the SLAY FESTIVAL was tempting me to choose her as the reposts were beginning to crowd my IG feed. I would overlook and scroll down only to find more reposts by people but one particular repost by an old friend got my attention and I had to ask questions. It was now Thursday the 19th. Upon enquiring, I got to know she was actually going to be volunteering at the event. This explains the constant reposts she had been doing all week. She told me all I had already known, by now, about the event as I had checked the event organizer’s website (severally) earlier in the week. I knew I had missed the ‘early bird’ registration deadline and I could barely afford to even make the payment. She told me that I would then have to make the payment for late registration. Ol’ boy! My loss, my fault. I thought.
My “neural accumbens” by now was in a hyperactive state and I expressed my desire to volunteer too. She sent me a number and asked that I call and try and see if more volunteers were needed. I tried the number a few times but no one picked up the call. I was losing interest again and by Friday morning, she sent me a message to try calling again, which I didn’t do, by the way. I forgot (PS: making and sometimes taking calls are a bit of a herculean task for me. I’m trying.)

Later that same day, she requested that I send my email address (hyper active state activated…again) saying that the organizers seem to be needing more volunteers. I did send the mail. She asked me to pray that I get a reply. I left my mobile data on during ‘the wait’ which was unusual, for me (those who know know) and kept refreshing my mail just to be sure it wasn’t been delayed by network or anything at all.

After about thirty minutes spent on the refresh tab, I finally got the mail. Yipeeee! God wants me to attend this event o. I thought, happily smiling. I was slated for the afternoon shift but arrived HOURS earlier than expected. Hollup…

The journey to SLAYFESTIVAL

I knew how to get to Yaba, which was the location of the venue but had to figure out the exact place. So I got my friend again to confirm the route which was quite clear. I got dressed and headed to the venue.

From Yaba, I alighted (based on the driver’s direction) on a pathway which was apparently supposed to be a ‘shortcut’ to the venue. Although another commuter suggested that I stopped somewhere further the road, the driver insisted he was right saying he had dropped many other people with the same address earlier in the day. He couldn’t be wrong. After ‘crossing rivers and climbing mountains’ (it was actually just a bridge) I was soon on a railway track. Where’s this place o?  It was looking like the sort of place where someone could get snatched or murdered and no one would hear them scream. I walked up to the first ‘approachable’ person I saw, which was a somewhat old man, to ask for directions and while I was busy trying to read out the address sent to me in the mail, he said, smiling “na that place wey dem dey do something, abi?” with a smile on my face I said, “yes, sir.” It was to be a long walk along the tracks but he felt I needed a ‘guide’ and asked a middle aged man who he knew to go with me. It was quite a distance and we introduced ourselves and chatted as we walked.

                 Guardian angel or nah? 

In no time, I was at the entrance of my destination of about an hour. I quickly called my friend and got directions to the volunteer stand where I got my pass. I walked in and it was a beautiful sight. There were so many people in attendance and the TWP creator, Kemi, was on at the time I arrived. I got directions to get my very own fabulous SLAY shirt, got changed and was now on the carpet. Ready to slay. Lol! It was 12:34pm.

I looked around and soon bumped into another old friend (PS: old friend= we went to high school together) I really wasn’t surprised to see her here and it’s not even because my other friend had told me she might be coming as a guest.

Look who I bumped into, Oga madam herself

I was assigned to the activities area of the event which at the time was a simple task of handing out cold water to guests. It was a small task than I had imagined volunteering at the event would be. It made me feel like a hero (in a type of way. Call me the thirst-quencher…hehehe) like some would actually come up to me thinking it was for sale and I would eagerly say “it’s free” like it was my money I even used to buy the water I am dashing out.
Several speakers came on at intervals to share their advice, give opinions and answer questions on maximizing opportunities in the media industry. Some also shared their journey of how they got to being the media experts that they are today.

M.I Abaga was Live at the slay festival

We had speakers from various parts of media. In music, we had M.I Ababa, in movie we had Kemi Adetiba and Mary Njoku. For TV personalities, we had Toke Makinwa, Zainab Balogun, Keturah king and many others, as well as the smartmoney lady, Arese Ugwu. there was of course a session with the founder of the biggest makeup industry in Africa, Tara Durotoye and her husband, Fela Durotoye both which turned out to be the major highlight of the event (for me, at least). [Check my IG page for short clips: @ritsgorge.]

A session with Toke Makinwa and Arese Ugwu
The power couple: Fela&Tara Durotoye

They each shared lots of amazing advice and tips in maximizing the vast opportunities available to everyone looking at getting into the media industry ~check out @onewordadvice on IG for some short clips~
The organizers of the event also did a wonderful job in making master classes available and hosted by experts in the industry who provided the attendees with tips for getting one’s business moving forward. There were also several vendors who had pure Nigerian products on display. I got to know about quite a number of brands which I never knew were in existence. They were amazing too. We also had a number of artistes who gave really thrilling performances.  They had me wondering why their music wasn’t trending.

toke
Toke Makinwa gave out signed copies of her recently published book.

Towards the end of the event, I had eaten to my fill thanks to Maggi and their jollof rice variety (which I think would have been just great as concoction jollof though but it’s alright) and a Chinese cuisine by a vendor whose name I didn’t take note of. I also had cakes and cookies (got my buds happy) and sharwama to cap it all. As we got ready to leave for our various destinations, fireworks repeatedly got fired into the sky, it was like Christmas all over again.

It was truly a day WELL SPENT and I was so glad I had this fantastic experience. I made new friends (which I think are all amazing, by the way).

Special thanks to @kyindykay and @Sheleadsafrica for the opportunity to volunteer and be a part of this event.

Till next time, ama keep slaying!!!

Posted in Activity

My day at the GSK YP Program

​Today was—in one word—exceptionally amazing. Like, I can’t really use a word to describe how today was spent but I’ll just stick to that. 

And it wasn’t even planned.   

I woke up today and like any other Saturday, I did my chores and had breakfast. Just when I was about going into the “chilling” mood (which is basically seeing a couple of movies on my lappy), I got a call from a high school mate of mine who has actually been looking into facilitating a possible employment for me at GSK for a while now. He was calling to remind me of a program which he felt I should attend. So I quickly scrolled to my text messages and found out that the message containing the event venue and time which he had sent the previous day was somehow already marked ‘read’ and without me actually reading it. The slated time was 11am. By now, it was already 10am. 

Reading the message a second time, I didn’t feel it would be right to attend. I mean, this is a program organized by GSK and was targeted at young pharmacists. It literally read: Young Pharmacists’ program (YPP). Not Biochemists. Or maybe I was finding reasons not to go. “And for what?” My conscience asked. “Movies?” It answered. So I gave him a call to point it out to him but he insisted I go. Which I did. 

Trust me, by 10:10am I was dressed and headed out. Taking a route I perceived would be fastest, I arrived Orile at exactly 10:57am. From there, I took one more ride straight to the venue. See me pressing phone, completely relying on the driver to alight at my stop (something I knew isn’t the right thing to do), only to be taken further down the road up to the final bus stop. Thankfully, he agreed to take me back to my destination. I got out and walked into the building. Upon arrival, the first man I met said, ‘Rita? Thank you for coming.” LOL! I smiled shockingly in affirmation.

 I was asked to sign-in immediately by another man who then proceeded to ask, “So where do you practice?” Now, I just let out a laugh…quite long one. He laughed too. And almost hesitantly, I gave him a brief intro on how I ended up at the venue. He went on to assist me in filling the sign-in which included my place of practice and so on.

 I felt really good knowing I was the first to arrive for the program. Even when I thought I was already too late, especially with the very vivid imaginations I was having on the bus about how I would have to walk into a room full of people. But nah! I was in fact very punctual as the speakers too had not arrived. I even got a prize from being punctual—a ‘pen-drive’. It’s actually a pen with a USB drive attached at the base. I didn’t know until I was told. So we good. 

Arriving first, I had the opportunity to choose a spot I felt was the most comfortable (away from the AC path, at the back) only to be asked to move forward as the seats in front were not yet fully occupied. That was how I ended up sitting literally in a face-to-face position with the speakers. This was risky as during the course of the program, the speakers kept giving me eye contact, mentioning things they needed me to validate. One even asked, looking at me, the cost of a Ventolin inhaler and I only stared as other people echoed the answer. LOL! 

The seats awaiting the limited number of participants
At around 12:30pm, the program kicked off with one of the medical representatives of GSK anchoring the event. I got to know that the program is actually an annual thing held in all states across the nation and this was the last one for the year. 
Then came the speaker of the day, Lere Baale. A man I soon came to know as an embodiment of greatness. I always knew that there are much greater people in this life than those we often hear about and this man proved this belief of mine. A humble and ‘brief’ man working with the abundance of God’s grace. He shared a lot with us, from his life story to his several accomplishments both as a pharmacist, a consultant for major firms in top industries and a director in Business School Netherlands, Nigeria. He has acquired vast experience across numerous industries including FMCG and Telecommunications. Talk about diversity! 

There was so much to learn from him that if I decide to go into details, I may end up writing a book. But let me just try to mention a few highlights of his presentation. His presentation was centered on and in fact titled: thinking out of the mortar. From what he shared about his humble beginnings, dating as far back as his university admission, I was able to have a better understanding of how pharmacists differ, and in a big way, from Doctors, who are known to have a kind of superiority complex. I didn’t know until today that a point grading system existed which determines how suited one is for a course. In respect to the two aforementioned professions, the required points for pharmacy turns out to be higher than that of medicine. This may actually be the way it is/was in his university, I must add, before somborry reads this and begins to attack me. Hehehe! 

On reading, he spoke about the need to read ‘value-adding’ books and not fictional books but didn’t fail to state that there are actually select fictional genres that are still a good read such as those with a scientific aspect; such books that push you to question the author’s thoughts or views about their writing. He also made mention of reading biographies of great people instead of romance novels and others such as those.

The only picture I have of that day and my eyes are closed. Sheesh!

He also gave tips on success as well as made emphasis on the need to read other areas asides those related to one’s formal education. He also boosted our confidence. Yes, I said “our” by telling us about how much skills are grasped during the course of training to be a pharmacist and I believe the ‘extra package’ he spoke of are also things I gained too from studying Biochemistry. Of course you do remember I mentioned it was a program to meet with young practicing pharmacists, right? But I actually didn’t feel left out. I could relate to some (most) things he talked about. Biochemistry isn’t that much different. So I think. I mean, we are all in this together, right?In conclusion, he charged us to constantly challenge ourselves. It was in fact a fantastic experience and I am so glad I was a part of it. 

I don’t know, I may be wrong but I feel there’s a saying about the best things happening to you when you don’t actually plan for it. But just in case it’s a first, remember you heard it here first *winks.

Oh my! I cannot end this post without talking about the ‘long-throat’ item 7 we were treated to. Yes, I like food. I remember telling a school mate this and she laughed at me. I am a foodie and a proud one too.

So this item 7 ehn, it was a full-course buffet service. You know when there’s so much to choose from. SMH. I was even dulling when the other attendees started packaging the food in take-away packs. “So GSK actually called us to eat,” I said to myself, playfully.

 I mean, who gives you food with free take-away packs and a large bag to carry the food with. Only GSK! LMAO! It was literally an eat-in and take-away service.

As I was ‘packing’ the food, I just remembered that my mate who asked me to come for the event had actually spoken about the food service at GSK. I had no idea it was this grand. I mean, there was appetizer, a variety of main meals, dessert and drinks. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  GSK made my day!

I would love to be a part of the GSK team. Don’t begin to think I have the wrong motives. I value what they represent—wellness–and I hope to be a part of such a pacesetter in such an advancing industry.

So that was how a Biochemist (and most likely the only non-pharmacist there present) was the first to arrive at a program targeted at Pharmacists. Impromptu. And I have my old school mate to thank for such an opportunity to meet with such greatness.
Till next time,

Do more…feel better…live longer.

Source: The ‘lappy’ archives

Dated: 27th August 2016

Posted in Activity

On learning…again

​There’s so much I have come to understand about life that each day never fails to teach me something new. And I know it is an un-ending process; one I’m happy to undertake.

 As a persona with an incline to being self-taught in almost anything I show interest in, I have been able to garner a vast reserve of knowledge; many of which I sometimes remember and meditate upon in my personal time. 

You see, for me, learning isn’t just secluded to reading a pile of books, not that books aren’t good in the sense of it, but it’s more than that. 

Lately, my ‘knowledge providers’ have come to be totally different from what it used to be 2…5yrs ago. Thanks to the internet, I can feel connected to people hundreds of miles away. 

Social media tops my list because just by following up with intellectuals on Twitter, I have been able to learn a lot from new words to daily happenings on a global scale. And this most often come with more than just a cliché report but with an in-depth analysis of the subject matter of interest. 

Again, subscribing to newsletters and email sign ups on other people’s blogs which I find informative have also had their share of contributions to my self-development; many of whom never fail in sending in a recently published article of theirs or growth hack tips and even videos amongst others. In fact, the idea to start a blog was partly, but in a huge way, influenced by the numerous blogs which I have come across; many of whom possess a great writing prowess which I admire. 

I think I can be like them too. Ok, maybe not like them but I’m willing to try.

More so, another very great source is an app called Medium. Medium is actually a more refined way of writing and self-publishing. It’s like WordPress but with an extra icing and cherry on top. With its very easy access, just about anyone; be it an aspiring writer or a well published author, is welcome to publish. It has no barriers and even allows for use of tags in order to give your article a wider audience making it a highly interactive platform. 

You really should look that one up.

Furthermore, having conversations with people, old or new (the new are highly welcome, by the way) is also a way I have found to be an avenue to learn things I didn’t already know. And you know what? The best part about having these chats, for me, is that it’s actually a way of sharing what I know which I think is a great way of retaining the knowledge.

The last but not the least way of learning (in my opinion) is through movies. 

Yeah! I am a movie lover. There are a number of movies which I have seen in my days and by the time the cast list came up, I had learnt a thing or two. If you don’t feel like movies teach something too, then you better check what kinds of movies you see. :p 

Sometimes when the subject of learning is often brought up, I just can’t help but be marveled at the well of knowledge available to people on the internet. And to think many choose to use the internet in the most unproductive ways irks me.

I mean, there are so many apps which one could simply download to learn a thing or two, depending on what interests you. I for one, just started out (for the second time) learning a foreign language on one of such apps. It hurt me to recently learn that one of such apps, dedicated to offering courses on a wide variety of subject areas, is no longer free. I was like: Whoa! Now, I don’t have only my data to worry about but physical money too? 

Don’t get me wrong. I know nothing good comes easy… and I should state now that I believe that whatever made the owners take that decision must be born out of good intentions. The good news, however, is that there are tons of other apps which still offer courses for free. So no worries.

One area I still hope to fully grasp is how to actually earn from the internet. I mean, I’m like: I actually spend a good part of my twenty-four hours on it so why not earn while I’m at it. Although I have earned from it, to an extent, through a number of freelance platforms, there’s actually more ways to it. This I know.

A lot of these habits of mine have actually been taken up maybe, just maybe because I am an unemployed graduate who’s looking for productive ways to pass time. Or Whatever it is, I only hope that it’s already a life-long habit so that I do not ever stop learning. 

I’m sure I would find new ways, if it should get to that. 


From the ‘lappy’ archives

Dated:20th July, 2016.