Thursday, 29 December 2011

The New Money Making Venture 

This year I got the highest number of wedding invites than I have ever received my whole life. Everyone just seemed to be getting married this year. There were loads of "aso ebi" offers most of the time and it dawned on me that I must have under estimated the importance of aso-ebi in a wedding. It was a sure banker  every Saturday there was always a “HML Lagbaja” or something similar on BBM, twitter and facebook. As a result of all these, it wasn’t easy to feign ignorance to what seems to be the newest means of making money these days via weddings. It is called "aso ebi" and it is the latest thriving business in town. What is the original meaning of aso ebi? I’ll like to take a walk down memory lane to explain this. The term "aso ebi" is a Yoruba phrase which literally means family cloth. It’s as simple as that. The first wedding I ever attended or let’s say the first wedding I recall attending was my uncle’s wedding in 1994 and I remember my dad's family wore a particular fabric. I can’t remember what the exact colour of the "aso-ebi" was, but I know that particular fabric was worn only by family members. No colleague at work, no church members, just family. And back then I thought it was really cool seeing the whole family in one fabric while other guests were dressed in their diverse personal attires. These days, the "aso ebi" means…erm…honestly I’m not sure what it means anymore… I have a few guesses though;
 a.) A means of making some money (in some cases a lot of money) either by the bride, her siblings, a friend or whoever is in charge of the "aso-ebi".
b.) A way of making your wedding colourful and beautiful, hence the need to sell a particular fabric to your friends.

Others just do it for the sake of it like one of the weddings I attended during the year. I’m not sure what category this wedding falls under…now the reason for my uncertainty is this: the fabric wasn’t pricey at all therefore it didn’t fall into the first category. However, it didn’t fall into the second category either because this wedding was everything but beautiful as it was overly colourful. When I got into the hall, I wasn’t sure if I was at the right wedding because there were about nine other different fabrics that also served as “aso-ebi” which were totally different from that which I was putting on. So when I asked my friend who was a close friend of the bride’s family why there was so much diversity in fabrics, he said (i) the bride’s friends took one fabric (ii) the bride’s relatives took a different fabric (iii) the bride’s mum’s friends took another fabric (iv) the bride’s colleagues at work took a different fabric (v) the bride’s church members took another fabric. I thought I had heard enough, but he continued (vi) the groom’s family took an entirely different fabric with a totally different colour from that of any other group (not like the previous groups worked with any particular colour either, but that of the groom’s family was soooo off point) (vii) the groom’s colleagues at work had another different fabric (viii) his mum’s friends took another fabric and finally (ix) the fabric that his colleagues and friends took wasn’t enough, so they had to get another totally different fabric to sell to those friends and colleagues of the groom who didn’t get the other fabric meant for them. Oh my good Lord!!!! You can imagine how I burst into laughter. This wedding totally looked like a children’s carnival/funfair with all the colours of the rainbow complete. All in the name of aso ebi. I just couldn’t stop laughing the whole day. It would have been a different case if everyone just came in their different personal clothing, but selling out aso ebi and the whole venue still looks like a funfair for children, then I find that very hilarious. 

Now if your reason for having an aso ebi on your wedding day is to add colour to your wedding or to make it look like a children’s carnival or funfair, I absolutely give you my full support. My major concern is when you choose to use the aso ebi as a money making venture. Just for the record, people hardly ever wear the aso-ebi after the wedding day. Personally I’ll hardly ever wear an aso ebi after the wedding day. Apart from the fact that most of the time, the fabric is of inferior quality and may not look as good after it has been laundered, no one wants to go out months after a wedding, feeling all fly and decked up only to find the person next to you wearing the same cloth as you. I don’t find that sexy at all. So if I choose to wear an aso ebi again, I’m only trying to get value for my money as well as many other people. Again I may buy an aso ebi at the cost of N10,000 and refuse to buy a N7,000 aso-ebi. The reason is simple if the fabric in reality is worth N8,500 I’d rather buy it for N10,000 than buy a fabric that cost N1,200 for N7,000 all in the name of aso-ebi… Haba sister is it the money on top of the aso-ebi you want to use to do your wedding??? 

I’m not saying you should dash out your aso-ebi, but why use it as a means to enrich yourself??? If I’m correct, we are the ones doing you a favour by buying your aso-ebi, don’t push your luck by making it hassle for us. A few months ago, someone sold an aso-ebi to me at N6,000. I can bet that I’d find the exact fabric in wuse market for less than N1,500. The only reason I took the aso-ebi was because my mum offered to pay for it or else there would have been no way I was going to agree to use my pocket money to buy it. Recently someone I’m not close to, sent me a message via facebook to be on her bridal train and that the cloth was N20,000. Mtscheeeeeewwwwww!!! Someone I’m not close to oh! I just told her I was sorry I had to resume law school and so I would not be available to be on her train. It’s as bad as the only thing linking us together is facebook, she didn’t even have my phone number! Then I’ll come and sponsor her wedding *long hiss*. Very recently, my younger sister paid N10,000 for a bridal train dress… truthfully, the highest the bride could have spent on that cloth was N2,000. When we saw the cloth on the morning of the wedding, we just shook our heads. Sadly after the wedding my sister just dumped the cloth somewhere I’m sure she will never find it again. It is so heart breaking that people do things like this without the fear of God.

Ps. To all those who are into the aso-ebi business. If you have to do the aso-ebi thing, do it for the right reasons. Don’t turn it into a money  making venture because your guests/friends may buy your aso-ebi quite alright, but don’t think for a minute that they do not know that the aso-ebi is over priced and is triple the cost price and that they have been duped.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Double Edged Sword vs. The Good Samaritan

“Aunty abeg no vex, how much be this blackberry?”  the taxi driver asked me. Remembering my  horrible past experience in a taxi which left me with a vow not to engage in pleasure discussions with taxi drivers,  I was hesitant to answer  however, I managed to drop a disinterested “I can’t remember”  answer hoping that was enough to shut him up at least till I got to my destination and I continued what I was doing on my phone. Apparently the taxi driver didn’t get the lack of interest in the tone of my voice, so he asked again “aunty so you no remember  how much you buy this your blackberry?” at this point I was already officially scared and in my mind I just thought to myself “once again Lade you have been robbed in a taxi!!!”. So I started to look for the easiest means of exit from the moving vehicle I happened to find myself in at the time, in the event that a second person jumped out from the trunk of the car or the back seat or wherever it was he chose to come out from (this seems to be the new trend in Abuja taxis these days). Fortunately I had quite a number of defensive objects in my hand bag + there was no secluded area ahead on our way to my destination, so I decided to relax and enjoy my ride…this time consciously ignoring him. He then proceeded to pass his message across whether I was interested or not. He said he was asking for the price of a blackberry because he wanted to purchase one. He also explained why he needed one. Surprisingly he was quite aware of the basic functions of the blackberry and from all he was saying, he had quite a good reason as to why he wanted the phone. Eventually I found myself conversing with him (yeah I know...I broke my vow *covers face*), I explained to him how the blackberry isn’t exactly a luxury anymore as it used to be in the past and that it was now very affordable, according to what I hear, he could get one for as low as 31,000 or thereabout and blah blah. The astound driver further asked “why people come dey tiff blackberry, dey carry curse for their head because the tin no cost na”. I just shrugged. He began narrating his experiences with passengers who had forgotten personal items in his taxi and how he went about looking for them to return their stuff to them.

According to him, once a certain lady forgot her blackberry phone in his taxi. He said he could have easily kept the phone and used it since he had been looking to buy a blackberry phone but instead he called the last dialed number which was saved with the name “mummy” and he told the person on the other end of the line that the owner of the phone he was using to call had forgotten his/her phone in his taxi and so he was calling to return the phone. The lady on the other end confirmed that she was the mother of the owner of the phone and arranged a meeting point with the taxi driver. It was bad enough that both mother and daughter who had  somehow managed to hook up and were together, kept tossing the driver from place to place until they eventually met him at ceddi plaza after about nearly two and half hours of trying to track them. As it was, they had already wasted his precious time and his fuel. After claiming her phone, the reasonable thing the cheeky passenger could do was accuse the taxi driver of using up all her credit!!!! Can you imagine! He tried to explain to her that it was the credit on her phone that he used to call her mum to inform her of the phone which she had forgotten in his taxi. Anyways the girl left without giving him a dime.

Another passenger accused the taxi driver of stealing part of the money in his wallet when he went to return the wallet to him in his house. And the last story before I eventually got to my destination was the story of a man who also forgot his phone in this taxi driver’s taxi and after he called him, the man asked him to bring the phone to him in Gwarinpa. Note that the taxi driver was in Apo at the time of the phone call and a trip to Gwarinpa from Apo is between N500 to N700 or more depending on your bargaining skills (nothing less than N500 though). The owner of the phone had assured him that he was going to pay the transportation fare from Apo to Gwarinpa. On getting to Gwarinpa, the owner of the phone collected his phone, thanked the taxi driver and gave him N100. Did I hear someone say what!!!! Yes oh!!! According to the taxi driver, the man gave him N100. The driver said he returned the money to the man and said thank you very much. At this point thankfully I had gotten to my destination. I sympathized with him a little and told him not to desist from returning people’s property to them as God was going to reward him somehow. I searched my bag thoroughly for my phones and wallet, paid him his money, made sure all my personal items were intact before alighting from his taxi.

All I can deduce from this man’s stories is that he is not exactly trying to say anybody should give him all the money in their wallet for returning it to them, or the money equivalent of the phone which was forgotten in his taxi, but N100!!!!!!!!! For driving all the way to Gwarinpa from Apo to deliver a lost phone to the owner, accusing him of using up airtime on the phone or worse of all accusing him of stealing money from the wallet if truly he didn’t take from the money is simply unfair. I lost two phones last year within a space of one month. I felt terrible during the period considering the fact that one of the phones was barely six weeks old + it was my dream phone at the time + it was quite expensive too, not to talk of important details saved on the phone , the contacts and other stuff. Then I also had to deal with the thought of coughing out huge sums of money to replace both phones. Honestly I’m not sure which of the above problems I was worried about the most. I hoped that someday, a good Samaritan would bring at least one of the phones back to me. Sadly that day never came. After all said and done, I had to replace both phones eventually.

What I am saying in essence is that if we can spend a lot of money replacing lost phones and other valuables, what will it cost us to show some appreciation and encourage the good Samaritans who are nice enough to ensure that we get our valuables back rather than accuse them falsely. So what if he/she used up your credit? You would have lost both your phone and all the credit either way. The same theory applies to the person who complained that the driver took money out of his wallet. He was going to lose the money and wallet alongside his Atm cards, identity cards, driver’s license (if any) and other valuables. I’m sure we all know the hassle in trying to get these things back. So the next time you want to be mean to that taxi driver (or anyone) who has returned your missing valuables, just imagine the amount you are going to spend and the stress you will go through replacing those items and at least be nice to the good Samaritan. Your niceness and appreciation will definitely go a long way even if you have no money to give. 

Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Art Of Begging And Food Parkinson

Some years ago, a family friend invited my sisters and I to a Sunday service where the sermon  preached was on greed. The pastor equated greed to the Parkinson’s disease and he kept referring to greed as Parkinson. That was one service my sisters and I will not forget in a very long time. I guess those who have seen the movie “ Love And Other Drugs” starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal, understand what the Parkinson’s disease is about. For others who do not know what Parkinson is, the word Parkinson isn’t a synonym for greed neither is it related to the word greed. It is simply a medical condition which occurs as a result of a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Therefore the symptoms of Parkinson include involuntary shaking of the body among others. So in my house, whenever a person is “shaking” for food or being greedy with food, we refer to such a person as having the food Parkinson disease.

Note that this article does not focus on the Parkinson’s disease but on food Parkinson which in my own words means a person’s strong desire for more than his/her own share of food. One of my sisters narrated her experience at a two-week workshop she attended with some of her colleagues at work which was conducted by the organisation she used to work for at the time. During the course of the workshop, they were provided breakfast and lunch for the whole period. The funny part of the story is that this workshop had a budget for only 20 people which was the total number of people who participated in the workshop. It is pertinent to add that these people were all graduates and professionals in their various fields. Sadly when it was time for breakfast, some of her colleagues would hurriedly go ahead of their counterparts and take two sandwiches each with the knowledge that there were only 20 packs for 20 people and this meant that some wouldn’t get any sandwich for breakfast. At noon when they had a buffet served with 20 pieces of meat or fish, some took two pieces each. She further said that this barbaric attitude went on for a few days before a complaint was eventually sent to the organisers who then had to get staff of the organisation’s canteen to serve each individual according to their own share as budgeted by the organisers of the workshop.

My mum also gave an account of her own experience at an official function she attended where she shared a table with a certain permanent secretary of one of the ministries and a director of a government parastatal. She said both men ate very greedily and kept asking for things they could do without.

Both experiences reminded me of one of the law dinners I attended back in my university days, where law students had to struggle for food as if their lives depended on that particular meal. I didn’t join in the struggle and as a result all that was left of the fried rice, jollof rice, salad, fish, chicken etc when it was my turn to be served was beans (I wouldn’t eat beans even if it was the only food in the world).

When I was in primary school, I thought that the art of begging for food, snacks and stuff like that started and ended in nursery and primary school, then I got into secondary school and surprisingly it still persisted. I got into the university and boom…there it was as usual among adults. I haven’t started work yet in any organisation but from what I hear, begging is still in the big organisations. And from my mum’s story, it’s not lacking in positions of the high and mighty. I can understand it when students or young children beg, but even then it is not acceptable and must be discouraged. But for adults, In my opinion that is highly unacceptable.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

My Three Year Crush

I believe everyone has had a crush at some point, but I wont be far from the truth if I say I haven't really crushed on anyone. The reason is that fortunately, every guy I may have had a crush on always has a crush on me too, hence I never have to go through the pain and torture of fantasizing over him and hoping that one day he will notice me and eventually talk to me. So this is what happens; I spot a guy and I'm like "aww he's so cute" or I just keep stealing glances at him, before I say little mermaid, he already walks up to me and starts a conversation and the next thing, we exchange numbers, then we become friends, he reveals to me that he has a crush on me (of course I don't tell him I have a crush on him too), we talk a lot during the period and each time I see him or talk to him, I get huge butterflies in my stomach. Anyways the usual thing is that after a while the "butterflies in my stomach" disappear and the crush fizzles away. This is always the case, except when I have an "unrealistic" crush (celebrity crush).

Note, that I have grouped my crushes into two: my "unrealistic" crushes and my "realistic" crushes. The unrealistic crush is the kind of crush I have on Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhaal, Russel Brand (my celebrity crushes) ;). They are unrealistic because I may never ever get to see them but I just enjoy fantasizing over them (you know Russel Brand has this funny accent and nonchalant attitude which I really like) shikena! The realistic crush on the other hand is the crush I have on the regular guy that I can see and is likely to notice me and eventually admit that he has a crush on me too. However, I once had this "realistic" crush. Let's call him my "stubborn crush" because the butterflies just won't fizzle away. Apparently we had been in the same gathering (may be school, church, neighbourhood, wherever it was...I'm not spilling :p)  since 1999, but I didn't spot him until 2007/ 2008 or there about and gosh he is such a good eye candy. Anyways this crush lasted for three years or a little more than three years. For the whole time I saw him during the period, I always had the usual butterfly feeling. I just wanted to know that he equally had a crush on me... at least that was good enough for me, we didn't even have to get close afterwards. But not noticing me was totally unbearable. So you can imagine how I felt when a mutual friend revealed to me one sunday after church sometime last year  that my "stubborn crush" told him that he had a crush on me...yaaay!!! FINALLY!!! I didn't even know that he knew I existed (you know... that feeling you have when your crush has a crush on u) :D. Anyways this time I decided to act fast, so I stretched out my hand of friendship and we kinda became friends yeah...but everything still remained the same :( I was a bit disappointed though, you know... I thought stuff would happen between us as usual. Well nothing changed except that we are now friends of some sort. So I'm suspecting one of two things happened...its either my friend lied about my "stubborn crush" saying he was crushing on me, or my stubborn crush actually did have a crush on me, but the crush fizzled away along the line...well whatever it is/was, I choose to go with the second option..LOL.

I'm used to guys I crush on, crushing on me in return, since my "stubborn crush" wouldn't crush on me, I made up my mind to brush off the crush. It took some weeks though but it wasn't very difficult to get over him because I haven't seen him in a while (about 4 months) and yes I'm so over my stubborn crush now *dancing alanta*. But because I'm over him now, doesn't mean that I have totally forgotten about him. So in the event that he reveals that he had or still has a crush on me, then I'll know where to take it from there, but until then I remain so over him :)

Monday, 16 May 2011

I Love what Nigeria Can Become (Part 2)

I remember when my family moved to Abuja in 1999, one of the yardsticks my parents used to get the house we moved into was that the house already had a bore hole because there was no water in the area at the time.

Back in the university, I never experienced water run from the tap in my house and the houses of almost every other person except those who had a borehole in their various houses. Everyday until I graduated, I bought water from "mai ruwa" and at night I virtually always had a headache from the noise from the many generator sets of all my neighbours (mine inclusive). However I have no plans to reside anywhere else except my country Nigeria now or anytime in the future. On the other hand I wouldn't judge or condemn any Nigerian who has chosen to go and seek greener pastures outside Nigeria, or those who have gotten so used to the comforts of developed countries and have decided not to come back home.

Let's call a spade a spade and not an agricultural instrument, there is corruption in this country which has eaten deep into the fibre of our society and it has turned out to be the major cause of most of our problems. Corruption is inevitable in every society but then I believe that everybody is likely to be porous as long as the system permits it and apparently the Nigerian system has permitted it. There is no water, electricity is now a luxury, fuel scarcity despite the fact that we are an oil producing nation. There are glitches in the education and health sectors, securing a job no longer depends on your capabilities or credentials, but on who your father is or who you know. There are no consequences for disobeying the law: recently I read in one of the newspapers that the son of a serving minister hit a boy while driving under the influence and the victim died. The family of the boy who was hit said that they have left the case in the hands of God because they know that they will not win a case against a serving minister. The judicial system and law enforcement agencies are not making things any easier.

I had a lecturer who used to tell us of how good the country was when he was growing up and I remember that he once said we (the younger generation) should pray that we never have to tell our children that our days were better than their days. We know that Nigeria isn't what we want it to be yet, Rome wasn't built in a day. Developed countries didn't happen by magic, they worked real hard for many years. they fought wars, they toiled, they went through many revolutions and struggles to make their countries what they are today. If we all choose to run away, this country wouldn't move forward. Being the optimist that I am, I believe there is hope. There isn't much anyone can do single handedly as an individual and that is why I urge Nigerians not to run away, but to come together and collectively we can make a difference.

The just concluded 2011 elections have proven that Nigeria is about to experience a revolution. Nigeria is fast moving from the "dominant" party system it was practicing to the multi party system it was supposed to be practicing. In the past we had leaders imposed on us during the military regime, now we have the pleasure of selecting our leaders ourselves through a democratic process.

This may sound cliche, but Nigeria will eventually become what we wish for it to be. Definitely not today, tomorrow or even in 20years to come, but hopefully the future of our unborn children will be secure here in Nigeria and they wouldn't have to wish their country was like America, because their country will actually be  like America and even better. Got to go now...peace out!

I Love what Nigeria Can Become (Part 1)

Last week my older sister who resides in the U.K came to Nigeria for a friend's wedding. About a week before she came to Nigeria, she called me to ask if we had a working internet connection at home and of course I quickly replied in the affirmative. Why wouldn't I? I have a starcomms modem which in my opinion is relatively fast, and if for some reasons it decided not to function properly when my sister was around, we have a back up multi-links modem as well. So I was sure she wasn't going to have any problems getting connected to the internet when she was around, thus I assured her that everything was set. I even teased her about looking down on my beloved country. What my sister didn't tell me was that she was coming with her work laptop which had already been customized by the company she works for, and so it wouldn't accept installations from any external source (I guess she didn't think it was necessary).

My sister eventually got to Nigeria and sadly she couldn't make use of either of the modems because her computer wouldn't accept the installations. The next day she went with my mum to my mum's office hoping she would be able to make use of the "wireless" connection there. On getting there, it was discovered that they didn't exactly have a wireless connection there and for this reason her computer didn't respond to the connection. Anyways we started our journey in search of internet connection that would be able to work with her laptop. Finally she was able to get a wireless connection, but then the network was fluctuating. At last she found a working connection, by then she had missed her deadline. She found it difficult to believe that in this age and time, a wireless connection will be a big deal in any part of the world.

My furious sister began ranting and raving about how messed up Nigeria is, she said she had never experienced any hardship getting internet connection on her laptop anywhere in the U.K. She further complained of how the generator was practically on 24 hours everyday during the period she was around because there was barely NEPA/ PHCN light. I need not forget to add that she once followed us to queue up for fuel during the fuel scarcity when she came over last week. Finally she concluded that she was never coming to settle down permanently in Nigeria.

Having been to the U.K myself, I totally understand my sister's fury. Coming from a country where the system works more often than not, it is not very easy to live in a country like ours where nothing works. For example I was in London between December 2010 and January 2011 during the period I totally forgot that there was anything like power shortage. I watched youtube videos at a stretch like I was watching a dvd unlike back in Nigeria where a 3 minute video will be buffering for as long as 10-15 minutes or even more. I knew I was safe on a zebra crossing even when a car was approaching in the distance because contrary to what I am used to in Nigeria, once on the zebra crossing, a pedestrian has right of way. There was water gushing out from the tap all the while I was  there even though my sister didn't have a bore hole in her house. In fairness to the British people, I was enjoying the comforts of their society plus I was having a good time with my family.  Nevertheless I wanted to come back to Nigeria. Funny enough the morning I returned to Nigeria there was no electricity at home, however I was very happy to be back home. We may not have our acts together as a nation, but we definitely have a few things going on for us and I guess that's what I was running back to.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


1. I have a very strong personality.
2. I love myself: therefore I enjoy my own company best.
3. I have a morbid fear of dogs.
4. I have a penchant for perfumes and sweet scents.
5. I have the following bad habits:
 *I find it tasking to keep in touch with people (but on a serious note, I love you all *big hug*)
 *I unintentionally do not have any respect for time
 *I'm a "procastinator".
6. I'm slow to anger but not swift to forgive (I didn't say I don't forgive at all).
7. I do not enjoy any form of laundry, notwithstanding I do not appreciate shabby and untidy dressing.
8. Contrary to people's perception of me, I'm a friendly person.
9. If you want me to do something, do not yell at me or threaten me.
10.I have the talent of laughing: I laugh all the time even when there is nothing funny to laugh at. With no intention to rain on anybody's parade, if I always laugh at whatever you say, don't think you are very funny, I'm prolly just being me.
11.I'm a whiz at literature, but give me a scientific equation to solve and I'm like bambi lost in midtown Manhattan.
12.I'm no mediocre.
13.I'm very optimistic.
14.I function best when I'm under pressure.
15.I used to be an ardent fan of celebrity gossip...I'm still in the game though.
16.I do not appreciate people especially the male folk asking for my blackberry pin instead of my phone number.
17.I'm not particular about anything such as favourite food, colour, car, drink, water and blah blah.
18.I LOVE my family...they are a big part of me because nobody looks after family like family.
19.The real me is a very nice girl with a very good heart, however, I can be mean...more like cantankerous.
20.I have always been very ambitious: when i was younger, I hoped to be president in the I'm older, I hope to be the Chief Justice of Nigeria. I'll take whichever comes first in due time. If Goodluck Jonathan can do it, I can do it ;).
21.For me, leaving my house without a wristwatch and a bracelet/ bangles is equivalent to going out without clothes.
22.I'm allergic to pepper, I have a severe allergy to cooked onions, I do not eat beans, semovita, wheat, couscous and gbegiri soup. I'm not a fan of fufu, eba, boiled yam and potato. Apart from those mentioned I guess almost every other meal goes for me. Apparently I'm not a foodie person.