Biggest Lessons Learned This Year

I’m going to be 23 in a few days and I wanted to share some of the biggest lessons I learnt as a 22 year old. I hope they help some of you and save you the stress of learning them the hard way.

First things first,

1. Avoid having just one source of income:

The hustle in Nigeria is very real. Sometimes you can be employed and your bank account will not know it because salary does not enter like that. So, get a side hustle, if you can get a second job that allows you work remotely. I could have learnt this the hard way but I’m grateful I didn’t and it payed off. The pay for your side gig doesn’t have to be fantastic because this could just be to supplement your income and keep you alive should someone owe you salary.

2. Savings are still a thing:

The honest truth is that it’s very difficult to save if you live in Nigeria but savings will keep you alive. Take away a portion of your monthly income(s) and keep it somewhere, it could be really small like N5,000 a month or really large. It depends on how much you make. Just make sure something is being saved. Here’s a tip, open a bank account and do not collect a debit card and dont download the bank app. If I’m being totally realistic with you, you most likely will dip into your savings before you want to, but at least you had savings to start with.

3. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture:

This is something I continue to grapple with, because for a lot of us young people, our present jobs or internships are not where we really want to be but we have to pay the bills to fund our dreams. I’ve tried to not lose sight of my dreams, I keep reminding myself about them and keep working towards them. Whether it’s furthering a career, going back to school or an alternate career path, don’t get lost in the sauce you’re currently in.

4. Do your job well:

There are a lot of things that are complain-worthy in the workplace on a daily basis, one thing you don’t want anyone complaining about is your work ethic. At the very least you want every complain about your work ethic to be left without a leg to stand on. Do your job well, show up to work on time, let everything you need to do be done before you work closes. Part of doing your job well is that you ask questions and are completely clear on what is expected of you. I tried to do this a lot this year, I always asking and trying to understand what was expected on every given task and I like to think it paid off.

5. Learn:

For the first few months this year my reading habit was out of the widow. Scratch that, I didn’t have a reading habit because I wasn’t reading anything. I’d like to tell you that there was some larger than life reason why that happened but it was just laziness. I had to sit myself down and remind myself how important it was to keep learning and acquiring new information and after that talk I stood up and went to find something to read. To be honest it doesn’t matter much whether you’re reading novels or some philosophical book about purpose of mosquitoes, just make sure you’re reading something.

Let me just add that you don’t get points for finishing every book you open. If the book wasn’t what you thought it would be dump it and move on to another one. It’s not by force.

6. NYSC is a waste of your time so give yourself something better to do.

These are some of the best lessons I’ve learnt this year. They’ve helped me, I hope they help you too and if there’s any tip you want to add, the comment section is wide open. I’d love to hear from you.

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What the PDP convention tells us as we enter the 2019 election season.

With the election season entering top gear, Nigeria’s opposition party PDP, decided to have its convention and finally settle a two year leadership tussle that had seen the party fall behind APC. With Atiku Abubakar, arguably Nigeria’s best branded politician moving back to the party from APC, the convention should have been a moment to put APC on notice and inspire Nigerians, it did not live up to the expectations.

While the convention had all the ingredients to motivate PDP’s core supporters, it was more of the same political rigmarole in a time when Nigerians are looking for something else.

The results of the PDP convention are worrying for a plethora of reasons. For one, Nigeria’s two biggest thug life governors, Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike and Ekiti state governor Peter Fayose put what was left of PDPs old guard on notice. The party, in 2016 had agreements to zone the chairmanship to the south-west, Wike apparently didn’t get the memo as he put his weight behind Uche Secondus and shoved out heavy weights like Bode George and Otungba Gbenga Daniel.

Despite Bode George’s rants about this in a press release, it is difficult to be sympathetic to a man who after many years of “service” is a crystal clear representation of the crop of Nigerian leadership that has led the country to the conundrum that it is now in. In fact Bode George is crying because for the first time in a long time he has tasted a medicine he had distributed to so many over the counter and that is joyous to behold.

But the joy is a short one because a PDP at the beck and call of Wike or Fayose for that matter is not really the type of party that Nigeria needs and it doesn’t matter whether they are the opposition or in government, like APC, they’re just not it.

The absence of women and young people in PDPs core positions show that the party is not ready to change or reinvent itself to the times. It is not even prepared to pretend. With Fayose’s stomach infrastructure and Rivers state’s money PDP may do well for themselves come 2019, but history has told us that what is good for PDP or APC for that matter is not always good for Nigeria.

What then can ordinary Nigerians do? Time is ticking and with APC and PDP at the forefront of Nigeria’s leadership tussle the projections do not bode well for an inspirational or impactful election season.

There are a lot of small impact things we can do, one is to join political parties whether it’s APC or PDP. We need to get in there en mass and we need to stamp our foot down and not settle for more of the same.

Second is to become open and comfortable with the idea of exploring options outside the PDP and APC. Some of the smaller party candidates we will see in the coming months may or may not have a profile of Atiku’s popularity and they will definitely not have the bank of the two political titans but can we not automatically assume all of them are incompetent? We need to settle and examine their proposals and plans on a case by case basis.

Third, vote PDP or APC on a policy basis. Elections in Nigeria are rarely ever about the policy, sometimes they are about proposed actions but never about the how to (the plan). They are always about the person and the party. We can’t afford that in 2019. Support whoever you want to but make sure you know and agree with what they want to do and how they say they want to do it. Ask questions!

Finally vote! Your vote matters, it counts, your vote can decide a ward and that ward can decide a state. It matters. Do not sell it and if you must eat Ayo Fayose’s rice, still vote with your conscience. Nigeria cannot afford for you to be apolitical, get down in the grind put your ears to the floor and consult your brain. God help us and let 2019 be favorable for all those who want Nigeria’s progress.

How I tried and failed to be good at sports

I once told the story of how I wanted to play football but that’s not the total story. I have in fact, failed excellently at being very good at any and every sport. I am going to give you the entire, never before heard gist, sport by sport and failure by failure.

Football

To my American readers, its football, not soccer. How will you qualify for the world cup when you keep calling the sport the wrong name? Lets all respect ourselves. You don’t hear us calling the NFL, American Rugby do you?

Football is a very big deal in Nigeria and in my school, you could get really cool social points for being good at it. In primary school, try as I did, I never made the cut for the team. There was even a time that my Dad had told the coach not to include me in the team. It was so perplexing because the coach was never going to select me to begin with. It’s wasn’t like he was having issues with his squad depth.

I was probably bad at football because, I wasn’t fit or particularly active. I have always been a bed bug and back then, I had a mortal fear of getting tackled. You couldn’t really blame me considering the fact that my schools football field was made up of sand and small stones.

In secondary school, I managed to get into the football team for my house. The only reason why that happened is because we weren’t good at football. We came third out of four houses in junior secondary and fourth out of four in senior secondary school. I only recall scoring one goal in six years of playing in secondary school and it was in a very random friendly game in Js 1. That is why I resonate so well with Mikel, I prefer passing back. I will however admit that one goal in six years is really really bad, especially for a winger.

I retired’ in SS3 after assisting my house to last place in the annual inter house sports. I was the head boy and the two head boys before me had seriously injured themselves in SS 3 playing football. I was not ready to test my luck. God forbid bad thing.

Basketball

If there was a game I should never ever have attempted it’s basketball. I was terrible at it. Absolutely terrible. I never understood the rules and I never knew what I was doing. I was like a square peg in a round rim. Don’t even bother giving me a free throw, I missed every free throw I ever took and even threw a number of them out of the field. You could have called me a traveler because that was all I did with the ball.

Handball

My total career playing time for handball is probably 10 minutes, if you include training sessions. I don’t consider my career failure in handball as an actual failure because I always knew that the sport was not for me. Unlike basketball where I was deceiving my generation.

Shout out to our Js 3 handball keeper, Micheal Olorunfemi who helped us win the competition despite dislocating an arm before the game.

Track & Field

For whatever reason I’ve always thought I could run. Maybe because when I’m running the breeze bowing back at me tricks my mind into believing I’m moving mighty fast.  When someone is running beside or behind me, that’s a different story. In fact the only race I think I have confidently won against my age mates is a sack race I won for my house in primary school. A very important victory if I do say so myself. I woke up from a nap and went to win the race. #BOSSLIFE

In secondary school, my closest friends were some of the fastest people in the my  set. My best friend Arinze was (because old age and too much food have ended his career prematurely) one of the fastest people in the set. When he and I would race, for the first 2 seconds, in the race, I would be in front but by the end it would look like an abominable something. Let’s just say, if I was the standard for human speed every one would be on performance enhancing drugs.

My condition became an entirely different matter when my sister started winning medals for discus. As for me the only thing I could throw were wrong answers in Math class.

As for high jump and long jump, I’ve always considered myself as a very law abiding human being and I don’t like to fight with gravity.

Volleyball

My career failure in volleyball is the most painful because its the only game I felt like I really should have been good at. Well that and tennis but I have never actually played tennis. I think with Volleyball there were just better players than me and since it wasn’t a game that people randomly played I never really had a chance to practice.

FIFA

I feel the need to include this because with the rise of E-sports, God knows how long before we start playing FIFA at the Olympics. The truth is, how good I am on FIFA depends on who I am playing against. Let me put it like this, if you play Legendary on FIFA, you will wipe the floor with me. Anything lower than that you will most likely beat me except the gods of our land show up that day.

I want to know, what is the most embarrassing moment you’ve ever had while playing a sport. Tell me all about in the comment section.

The Loose talk podcast: My biggest takeaway from the interview with MI

 

Image from Pulse

This episode of loose talk podcast is a defining moment in music history, where an artist with the antecedents and status of MI, stepped into the verbal ring with two of the greatest entertainment journalists in Nigerian history. A lot of jabs were thrown, a lot of knock downs and comebacks, there were a lot of calculated punches and spontaneous outbursts of passion. There was also a lot of ego, enough to have a healthy conversation but a bit over the top at times. The episode is a nearly 3 hour podcast that is definitely not going to be fun to watch, or listen to on mobile data but if you love music, especially, African music or African hip-hop in particular, you need to listen to or watch this episode of the loose talk podcast.

The single most important moment for me, in the podcast’s entire three hours was when MI, Osagie, Loose Kanyon and AOT2 went back and forth over an alternative music platform to iTunes for MI to base the numbers of his Chairman Album. Osagie said that over 90% of Nigerians do not have access to iTunes and majority of Nigerian iTunes users are not even in Nigeria. Remember last November when Nigerian banks positioned themselves as enemies of the music industry and all but eliminated the only platforms for Nigerian artistes to make money off album sales. It is sad and in some ways infuriating that, when Nigerian music is once again pushing continental boundaries our artistes are barely making any money off it directly.

MI’s Chairman album is one of the highest selling albums, if not the highest, since it’s release in 2014, it has made about $120,000 (over N43 million) according to MI over three years. There were a lot features on that album, so all the collaborators have to get paid, producers, sound engineers, marketing and PR teams, the record label has to get paid. By the time all the due diligence is done, MI is taking home a lot less than that and remember, this is money made over three years on what is arguably the highest selling album, in that period. Now, imagine how much up and comers take home. A lot have given up and release entire albums for free on Soundcloud hoping to parlay whatever successes into getting an endorsement and high profile gigs.

It takes an unbelievable amount of time, energy and human resources to make an album. Even musicians with near zero talent hire writers, producers and engineers that know the work and all those people have mouths to feed. So it is extremely important that if you can, pay for your music. A number of Nigerian ATM cards work on Deezer, and UAE iTunes store and Apple music, although most Nigerian songs are not on that store. If you have a dollar card you should be able to access Apple music. You can also try barter cards where you can fund a dollar card in your Naira account.

I also think Nigerian artistes, record labels or at least record label backers and entrepreneurs need to talk to themselves and see how they can parlay their influence and resources into either bringing a foreign player like Pandora, Amazon music, Spotify or Google play music to come in, or improve and expand an indigenous platform like MTN music plus, cloud 9, iRoking or Spinlet. The market is ripe, the music is ready and if we play our cards right this will be the dawn of a new age. What we cannot do is sit here and allow this opportunity go to waste.

 

Lagos Island for Dummies: An UgoTalksAlot Guide to Life Lagos Island Ocean

The Island. The créme de la créme of Lagos. The title in all fairness should go to Banana Island in particular, but let’s be honest and objective with the goals we set in this life.

A lot of people live and swim work on the Island because a lot of businesses are situated there. Some people live there to be close to work or other necessities, others live there because JJC carried them there but like everywhere else, the Island has its pros and cons, so here’s what you need to know to make your life a little bit easier.

1. Bring Your GeePee Tank

Remember how I wrote  in a previous post, that there is is no water in Lagos and you need to bring your borehole? Well, this doesn’t apply to most places on the Island. There is plenty of water in Lekki and what you need is a Geepee tank to store all that water. The only issue is, the water doesn’t come from the tap, it comes from the sky and the ground. You may want to consider buying bowls and buckets for packing water from the floor. Also, it may be a wise financial investment to buy shares in the company that makes Dettol because it will be your best friend.

2. Buy a Boat

Does this man have two heads?

A boat is an investment really. If you can afford one, you should probably get it. With your boat, you can enter the ocean and row over to the mainland while your mates are growing old on third mainland bridge.

When everyone is destroying their cars, you can just roll out your boat and enjoy your life. Who needs to go on a cruise ship, when you can row your way across Lekki-Epe Expressway?

Jokes aside, let us take a moment to pray for our friends & family in Lekki and VGC. As the bible says, we should also enemies in state house that have refused to fix drainages. 

3. Bring your gutter.

So as you can see, gutters do not exist in on the Island. Especially in Lekki. They are a myth. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you want to go there, bring your own from the mainland. On second thought, mainland drainages get as dem be too sha. Maybe you can rent some from Ibadan or Osogbo to buy gutter and bring, theirs is not amazing but it’s much better. 

To be fair, even when the government attempts to create gutters, Nigerians in typical Nigerian fashion will turn it into a dustbin. 

4. Invest in insecticides.

Island mosquitoes are mosquitoes that have gone abroad to gym and they have come back. Yes, IJGB mosquitoes are an actual thing.  These mosquitoes have body, they are woke and they can suck all your blood at once. You won’t even see them coming, you will just start feeling your blood disappear from your body.

Because I like you, I will tell you what to do. Just buy one big Raid, one big Baygon and a medium-sized Mortein. When you have bought them all,  just use them all at once. Make sure you finish everything, then mosquitoes will die. Or at least I hope they will.

5. Your Bank Account Should Have Sense Small.

You want to live on the Island and you don’t have money? You think they share houses for free in VGC? Everything here has rent price on top. Even your house rent has another house rent added on top of it. Even if you buy a house or build your own property, the Island will still collect rent from you.

Think of it this way, rent is so comparatively expensive that everyone has to chip in to help. So if you walk into Ebeano Supermarket to buy something; there is the standard price, then there is VAT, then there is Lekki VAT, then there is rent. So at the end of the day, something that costs N1,000 elsewhere will go for N1,500 or N1,700.

There is also the small issue of the toll gate. That small money you will pay every day. At the end of the month, you would have paid someone’s minimum wage salary. With that one alone, you suppose know say Lagos Island no be for small pikin. Well except the pikin is an OBO (Omo Baba Olowo), rich man pikin.

 

If you know this lifestyle is not for your pocket right now, don’t worry we have you covered. You can check out our guide to Lagos and subscribe to get notifications about our upcoming city guides. You know, I care about you and I’m just trying to help your life.

Don’t forget to comment and share. You don’t know who’s life you are saving.

Lagos for Dummies: An Ugotalksalot City Guide

Lagos. Home to between 12 and 21 million people -depending on who you ask. The land of opportunities, wealth and traffic from hell.  Lagos is what Nigeria wants to be when it grows up, what almost every other state in the country can only dream about. If you blow in Lagos, you have blown in Africa. But with all of it’s glamour, Lagos can be very overwhelming. So let me help you break it down, so you don’t get confused.

  1. There are many smaller Lagoses

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Lagos is divided into 5 parts:

Lagos Mainland; where most of the regular folks stay,

Lagos Island; for the rich big boys and girls, high life lovers and some longer throats.

Banana Island; for those whose fathers are close friends with Dangote, or people who are just mad.

What I like to call ‘the Ogun state annex’; all those people living in Ogun state but claiming they’re in Lagos

And finally, there is Ikorodu; because that place is so far it should be a state on its own. The beautiful thing about Lagos is that she does not discriminate. Whether you live in Ogun state, inside water or on sinking sand, we are all Lagosians.

  1.  We  are Lagos and we are plenty

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Let me give you some perspective, if you ask the New York Times, there are roughly 21 million people in Lagos. The UN says that Ghana’s population is about 27 million, New York has 8.4 million people, London has a little more with 8.7 million people, Berlin has 3.5 million people or that Paris has a little over 2 million people, you get my point? So, if you think you’re just going to walk inside Lagos with one Ghana-must-go bag or Louis Vuitton suitcase (I don’t discriminate), and come and out hustle the hustlers that have been here since, you are very silly. But not wrong, it’s still possible.

  1. Bring your own water. Lagos has none for you.
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Image from Nairaland

If you are thinking about moving to Lagos, make sure you come with your pumping machine. If you can bring your borehole, that is even better. I’m not kidding, bring your borehole with you. You will just create a small space in your compound, or estate and drop it there.

Why? Because Lagos State, unlike other states, does not supply water to its residents. Well, technically, the Lagos State Water Corporation says it supplies water to maybe 30% of Lagos residents, but, I personally have not seen any house that doesn’t have a GeePee tank pretending to be a DSTV dish.

  1. The most important word is BUS

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You may also know it as danfo or molue or whatever you like. But you know what? Bus na bus.. If you come to lagos thinking you can taxi your way around town, oh my God, you’re not even ready. Also if you think that a big boy like Lagos would have a train system that could get you to most places, you are also not ready. It’s not like Lagos doesn’t have money, I mean this is the biggest boy in all the 37 lands (Abuja included), Lagos just has more important things to do. Things like finishing the $6bn Eko Atlantic and Banana Island.

  1. Where will you base?

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Finally and most important thing you need to know, where will you live? If you’re expecting me to answer that question, you’re not serious at all, you can stay there and keep waiting. I should leave my blog and start finding accommodation for you? Are you okay at all?

With all that being said, welcome to Lagos. Bring your patience, your GeePee tank and your hustle; don’t say I didn’t warn you. Have a nice stay.

All Images unless otherwise stated are from  Rotimi Okungbaye check him out!

Stay; A short film

Watch the teaser for Stay, a short film by Ayomide Adeleke. A terrible incident leaves Femi, played by Baaj Adebule haunted and he will do anything to get his life back. The film also stars Diana Eguwatu and Shalewa Ashafa. Stay was written by Ayomide Adeleke and it is also his directorial debut.