The Ambassador; An autobiography of CRE - Forward by Trae



Update!: Thanks to my friends: my crowed-sourced editorial team, this foreword (yes, i now know the correct spelling) was eventually put right! :-)

This is my draft forward to my Dad's upcoming autobiography. Feedback please after reading. Thanks.

With my big sister Cle at Dad's Call to Bar; 14 Feb 2012

It was the great Bob Marley in his song “No woman, no cry” who sang the world famous lyrics: “In this great future you can’t forget your past”. A phrase, testament to the fact that in this constantly evolving wonderful world, a thorough understanding of the past is essential in navigating the future.

Chikwado Raphael Ezeokafor, my father…my dad, knowing that, and inspired by several other autobiographies birthed this book you now have in your hands at the ripe old age of 77. Those who know him like I do would not at all be surprised, being a man with a knack for documenting and analyzing every single step of his life, every blessed day.

A quite amusing but at the same time invaluable trait. A trait which I have grown to greatly appreciate as being amongst the later issues of his offspring born in two batches-a decade apart, this body of work is an excellent historical tool for my young mind as can ever be.

This book is also an invaluable tool for any reader, as a dig through its pages teaches the lesson that hard work pays. And that success is inevitably the end result when opportunity/luck meets preparation.

It chronicles the life of “The Ambassador” as he is affectionately called as he struggles despite all odds to get an education, rides on the back of his scholarliness surviving the Biafran war all the way to a job in the Nigerian Civil Service and is eventually singled out to work internationally rendering over a decade of service to the Nigerian High Commission London-UK and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Uganda.  Topping it all with a call to the Nigerian Bar at over 70 years of age.

I highly recommend this autobiography and hope it inspires, particularly my countrymen Nigeria in these perilous times of ours and motivates who ever reads it for excellence such that in our old age we would also have such great stories to pass across to the generation ahead.

Much peace, love and respect as always.

Tochukwu R. Ezeokafor
(Trae Zeeofor/@trae_z)
Benue State, Nigeria
November 2015

Nigerian Driving License Renewal/Re-Issue; the practical experience



This piece is particularly meant for people renewing (DL expired) or getting a re-issue (DL missing) of their driving license. For fresh applicants you just might have to bow to the Nigerian God.

Most times in this country of ours things are never what they seem … no thanks to graft. And thus one can sadly often not prepare for a task based simply on laid down guide lines. I pen this thus to give a realistic view of what happens nowadays when one attempts to renew or get a re-Issue of his/her Nigerian Driving License. I do this drawing from my experiences getting a re-issue in 2012 at Osogbo, Osun State and a renewal in 2015 at Mabushi, FCT Abuja.

Having good relational skills aside the only two prerequisites you need to attempt this task are 1) Open your head 2) open your computer. Yes, use your brain and familiarize yourself with website of the body in charge. Ensure you understand the guidelines (, fulfill all and ask questions where you don’t (google any difficulties-nothing is new under the sun, ask friends who’ve done such before and ask officials if you know any). These things are actually much easier than we think; the process has been refined severally towards perfection that you really don’t need a middleman. Learn to do-it-yourself or you may end up being the frustrated Nigerian who goes abroad to find out there are no maids and that he’s condemned to use a map and his mobile phone to navigate his way around. I applied and got my passport on my own in 2008; for visas and college admission this rule still applies.

The Nigerian Driving License costs only N6,350. But due to ignorance a lot of people end up paying almost twice the amount going through middlemen. And yet there is no significant difference in time spent processing. The only actual additional cost doing it yourself is that you may end up giving a little tip here or there (N200, N500) just to get the officials to DO THEIR JOB! Nigeria we hail thee! The process is so automated that “runs” is only possible before the capture stage. Once you’ve reached the capture stage you’re home and dry.

1] I had to get a police report or court affidavit showing my driving license was missing. I chose the courts. The payment for the stamping is suppose to be at the bank into government coffers but trust the corrupt clerk to claim bank confirmation takes weeks and to insist you pay directly to her.
2] Fill the form on the website and pay online or at the bank. Easy; I made payment using my bank debit card and printed out the necessary confirmation.
3] Get the Board of Internal Revenue to give you confirmatory receipt. Not so difficult, just had to wait a little for the staff in question to be on her seat back from whatever duty (official or not) she went for.
4] Get the VIO (Vehicle Inspection officer) to certify you fit for driving. Easy; the guy asked a few Highway Code questions and signed my form expecting me to shake body. I smiled, thanked him and went on my way.
5] Presented myself and necessary forms for capture. Given an appointment date and 30 days after that I picked up the original.

1] Filled the form on the website and paid using my bank debit card. Made sure to print out the necessary confirmation.
2] Went to the VIO office at Mabushi to enquire about Board of Internal Revenue receipts confirmation. VIO officer told me to first come forward for testing instead. Tried to cower me into fear by dazzling me with Highway Code questions but after finding out I had already made payment and thus graft impossible he signed my papers and asked for a N500 tip instead.
3] Presented myself for capture the next day, given temporal driving license and told to check back in 60 days for permanent. I hear you can text “NDL STATUS LICENSE-NUMBER” to 33811 to confirm readiness. LICENSE-NUMBER being your actual license number; in my case something like BWX1234XX5.

From the Federal Road Safety Corps Facebook page these are the officials steps to take towards drivers licence renewal and obtaining a new driver’s licence:

Drivers License Renewal
STEP 1: Apply online at, print out the form after filling the required fields and also print out the payment form
Step 2: Pay the License fee online or at the Designated Bank
Step 3: Present your form to the Board of internal Revenue Officer or VIO at the DLC for endorsement
Step 4: Proceed to the Federal Road Safety Corps Officer at the DLC for Biometric Data Capturing
Step 5: You will be given a temporary drivers license that is valid for 60 days

Obtaining New Driver’s License
Step 1: Attend training at accredited driving school
Step 2: The Driving school will present you to the VIO for driving test
Step 3: Pass the driving test and the VIO will issue you a Certificate of Proficiency
Step 4: Apply in person at Driver's License Centre (DLC)
Step 5: Pay the License fee online or at the Designated Banks
Step 6: Present your form to the Board of internal Revenue Officer or VIO at the DLC for endorsement
Step 7: Proceed to the Federal Road Safety Corps Officer at the DLC for Biometric Data Capturing
Step 8: You will be given a temporary drivers license that is valid for 60 days.

Blackberry pet peeves


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It’s been about 2 weeks now since I finally embraced Blackberry and got the Z3. And as the days go buy these little but painful annoyances make cheap data (Globacom’s 3 gigabytes for 1 thousand Naira BIS data plan) the only positive from the purchase.  A very reasonable trade off at the moment; but take that factor away and there’d be all but no reason for me to leave the Android ecosystem. Seun Osewa’s words to me that “"tech heads" don't use BB anymore” now seem all the more plausible.

Here are the pet peeves, if you have a solution, holla:

1) Google Contact Synchronization only works one way from phone to server
Like someone else complained here Google contact synchronization only works one way; from the Z3 to Server but not from Server to Z3. This has seen me deleting and re-adding my Google account every few days. Not the most productive of habits for a person who uses multiple phones.

2) Hotspot connection lags using Windows 8
Unlike Android devices created hotspots, getting my Windows 8.1 to connect via Wi-Fi to my Z3 is usually only possible after resetting my wireless network adapter 2 to 3 times. I can live with that; but for another laptop in my house running Windows 8 it takes the grace of God to get a connection. I’ve experienced no such lags using Windows 7 though.

3) Android Apps incompatibility
I’m made to understand Blackberry 10 OS has been built in such a way that it should be compatible with the majority of Android apps. I’m not an app freak and I use the Z3 more or less solely for tethering and calls, being I also use an Android phone. But of the 3 Android apps I’d wanted to install: OperaMini, Truecaller and SMS Backup + by Jan Berkel, I’ve only been successful with OperaMini thus far. Somewhat diminishing my Blackberry experience considerably.

The Curator



So my blog Trae Days will be 10 years this year, while the domain is coming up to 9. Luckily for me the whole time like Snoop I “kept coming up with funky ass shit like every single day”. Or like my sister Nneoma would say “[born a Catholic, my heart’s a Free Thinker,] producing thoughts in the blogosphere like pure water”.

In layman terms I’m going to attempt to curate my thoughts which have been spilled all over Facebook in the past 4-5 years as much as possible into blogposts on Trae Days so my “body of work” can be unified.

I’m doing it for ME; hoping to take more minutes from YOU; and ultimately aiming to make a better WE.

Much peace, love and respect!

On a personal high



So yesterday evening I somehow found myself at the Dunamis International Gospel Centre. And after all said and done I can't but stand with Karl Marx that religion is the opium of the masses. It's a really strong drug that mammoth of Nigerians are addicted to. A drug which in itself does nothing for the society but to take the inhaler on a personal high. It's a drug people go to extremes to get their daily dosage of, even if it means shoving and fighting each other to get into the auditorium. People just want to be "in his presence", sing, speak in tongues and shit. And when service is over it's back to the rat race. Government workers, politicians and everybody else shortchanging the system, yet still wondering why Nigeria's not working, and playing the American Visa Lottery like our lives depended on it.

Nigeria we truly hail thee!

Through the trees for the wood


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Preface: “Wood for the trees” as an idiom means not seeing the big picture (woods…aka forest) because you pay so much attention to the little details (trees). Barzini was probably right in quoting the opposite “the trees for the wood” as it implies seeing through the big picture/Western propaganda to understand the little detail that matters, how Western powers are innocuously using brain psychology to make us believe Africa is doomed and salvation comes only from the white man’s intervention.

Like the world of virtual reality goes Sylvester Bane Barzini was but my Facebook friend. We had about ten mutual friends between us and so he cropped up while looking for cool people to connect with. Had all the qualities I liked in the online crowd of people I positioned myself to associate with: great sense of humour, intelligence and originality in ideas. And so I sent the friend request in October, he accepted and the rest was history.

Wouldn’t be eulogizing this but for the fact that he just passed, having failed to recover following a supposed terrible road accident a week or so ago while on the job. Remembering my own very similar ordeal in July 2012 and how being God’s son I pulled through, I sigh. It’s a horrible, horrible thing when the good and interesting are gone too soon. More so being he just got married over a month ago it’s even crazier; my condolences to his loved ones. Barzini I pour libation to the gods on your behalf; thanks for everything, see you on the other side while I remember our last Facebook contact from January 27th:

Trae Zeeofor:
Re: The macabre sex chamber of Libya's Colonel Gaddafi Uncovered; where he raped girls and boys as young as 14

In honesty I took the article with a pinch of salt. Could very well be true as absolute power corrupts absolutely. But I'm quite sure the whole story carries much more allegations than fact. And that the whole stuff has just being blown out of proportion in the way Oyibos like to do; painting Africans black and keeping mute on their own atrocities.

Read in between the lines. It's Gaddafi today, it could be any other African leader past or present tomorrow. But in the eyes of Oyibo's, all Western leaders past and present are angels.

Down with colonialism and media control. Up with Afrocentrism; let's learn to love our own!

Sylvester Bane Barzini:
You see through the trees for the wood brother. Many Africans decide to obliterate their mental faculties for the calumny of western propaganda.
Colonel Gaddafi (may his soul rest in peace) was summarily executed but that was fair trade for the West. Their treachery has turned a once peaceful State into an enclave for terrorist, rather than question their wicked deeds they seek to push the limits of sanity by digging into the past of a man they assassinated in his homeland.
I found the piece sullenly vindictive and without place in the land of humans.
A time cometh, when the tragedy would be at the doorstep of every foreign soul that conspired to throw that African state into anarchy. A time comes.... and it comes soon. It would wake them in the morning and cover them when they sleep at dusk.

Usernames and passwords; a personal history


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So my mind went wandering (as its’ naturally want to do) as I was jamming and doing my laundry Saturday morning, and I tried to take stock of the various online aliases and passwords I’ve used in my life’s journey through the internet high way. In the end twas a sweet reminisce which eventually led me making new decisions. Below though is the reminisce reproduced in print just for the fun of it.

The first 5 variables are passwords used, with only the base word of the password given. Actual password used is usually a corrupt alteration.  The remaining 5 variables are usernames, with only the first 3 letters given. The rest are asterisked for security reasons, lols. Top marks to you if able to guess correctly.

This was actually my first password ever. Chosen back in 2001 in my first or second year at the University when the internet bug finally reached Nsukka. Love me do was the title of a song by The Beatles. Back then I was a skinny little 17 or 18 year old with delayed puberty who didn’t have many friends. One of the things I liked to do in my spare time was go to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Library (as it was in its’ old form behind the present building) and read up books on sociology, psychology or the arts. Which back then consisted largely of old books from 70s, 80s and 90s America/Europe.  It was during one of such visits I took an interest in the Beatles whom I had heard of as a child, read up a lot of their memorabilia. So when password choice time came I wanted something personal to me and lovemedo it was cos back then I really just wanted to be loved.

This has become my standard initial password used (lest I forget) before changing to something else when a firm decision is reached. I think it started on my first job when instructed by the IT guy Yinka to choose a number and letter password combination I went with the familiar. Enugu, the State I schooled in at University, and the 1 at the front and back to make it harder to guess. Lols.

Madonna was the only other girl ever I had made a firm choice about and would have married at the drop of a hat. Met her at work in Makurdi in 2008 and kept on and off on her case through Jos, Abuja and the South West up until 2012. I finally dropped out of the chase when the “she’s just not into you” message finally sunk in. Shorty got married last year to some other lucky guy though. Shakara because of the challenge it was to me which in its’ whole form was heavy an institution like “Murder INC” was when Ja Rule ruled the hip hop air waves.

This was chosen as my first portable Wi-Fi hotspot password in 2012 when I went totally Android mad. Illbliss because the semantics is just totally cool in a Hip Hop sense. And Illbliss because the Nigerian rapper who goes by the moniker is an Igbo brother whose flow I totally respect and feel.

This is my present day Wi-Fi hotspot password. Top hats to you if you find yourself surfing beside me when I’m on my phone or laptop. Liquiddeep because I totally adore the South African band and isha Allah will have them play their hit track “still” at my wedding.

We used to have Tom and Jerry, The Two Mouseketeers episode as a child which I loved watching. Towards the end of the episode after Tom is executed, Nibbles (Jerry’s nephew) exclaims in French: "C'est la guerre", meaning “that’s war”. This username was my interpretation of the spelling of that phrase. A phrase I was very fond of quoting as a child while playing with friends.

This username also goes back to my first or second year at the university. My roommate then Chike used to have this Sony CD player, which was the student rave of the moment at that period. And it so happened then that Wyclef Jean’s “guantanamera” was one of the favourite tracks we loved playing on repeat. Wyclef’s love interest in the song goes “Soy una mujer, sincera” which in Spanish means “I am a sincere woman” to which Wyclef responds “Do you speak English”? This username was my roommate Chike’s attempt at mimicking “Soy una mujer, sincera” which became a common alias we started referring to ourselves as at the time.

This one was pure vendetta like shit. The Facebook moniker of some fake ass dude who cramped my hustle a few years ago. The moniker, in my opinion a funkifysation of an Igbo name. A funkifysation I found very cool and eventually found myself using. I also used this as a password at some time.

This one came about from my first visit to Kano. An impromptu unexpected life lesson learning visit. It’s a combination of two words. One the Hausa word for an Islamic rite, and the other the Hausa word for a common fast food up North. This name packs so much meaning to me and is a constant reminder of times past.

This word was born in my consciousness at the end of the Westgate shopping mall attack in Kenya, September 2013. When the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the press. Such eloquence, clear thought, calmness, passion and charisma won me over totally and got me wishing I could feel such pride in our own president, Goodluck Jonathan for even a day, **sighs and resigns to fate**.

An ingenious solution to the inability of Google Keep to recover, revert, undo or restore deleted notes



Update!: The parent product of Google Keep, Google Drive actually does allow you revert to an old version of a file (document) via revision history. It allows for reverts as far back as the last 30 days or the last 100 revisions which ever comes first. But for now this feature (like with Google Keep) only works when accessing the site from a desktop. I.e. History revisions...reverts are impossible from a mobile phone or using the mobile app.


Google Keep is one amongst the many things I discovered from OUR master and mentor Yomi Adegboye aka Mister Mobility. Specifically from his March 2013 “To Keep or not to keep?” post.

It’s a note taking software from Google that’s also available as an Android app that allows one create and edit notes both on desktop and on mobile with the benefit of sync capabilities.

It’s very simple and does the job of allowing me jot down things I need for reference and to be edited on the go. With it I saw no need to upgrade to the more feature rich competitor Evernote.

One problem using it though that has always been a pain in the ass is the inability of Google Keep to recover, revert, undo or restore deleted notes back to their previous state. Evernote on the other hand has this capability/feature, though only for paying customers.

The restore to previous state function has been a life saver in many more ways than one for me on Google Contacts. It allows me time travel…go back in time at any stage within the past 30days to retrieve information from my phone book that once was. It’s pretty much a shame that despite repeated pleas Google hasn’t yet seen it right to implement this feature on Google Keep.

This evening though was the last straw. I accidentally deleted a to-do note I’ve been progressively working on for weeks! And with annoyance and no means of getting it back it got me once again scouring the web for a solution.

In the end I had to return back to base and take a critical look at Google Contacts, the only free app to date I know that does the magic I and millions of other Google Keep users seek. I saw that amongst the many additional contact details field it had, that it had a “notes” field. And viola finding out the field was elastic enough my nirvana was found.

I simply transferred all my existing notes there as different contact entries, knowing for sure that henceforth I’ll never lose data again!

Ingenuous or ingenious na so I go dey do am till something better crops up jor. Take a look at the screen shots below “of the magic” on mobile. Lols.

A Few Words on Sales


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The ultimate salesman makes good grounds on his pursuit of happiness

I’ve had this index like article from SalesHQ bookmarked on my browser for quite a while now: “SalesHQ’s 10-Step Guide to a Career in Sales” and I think it’s totally awesome. Going around it I’ve always wanted to drop some words on what I know about sales. Words I think a 5 years back version of myself would appreciate tremendously.

Consider this; a team could have the best of football managers, with excellent theoretical and practical trainings and also enjoying the best of training facilities. But actual results on the field depends not so much on the manager but on what the team is able to put into practice, combining their individual strengths, working together to achieve…and also to a large extent on the strength of the opposition. That exactly is what sales is like. Performance actuality doesn’t depend 100% on your effort alone. Despite your best intentions you could still come up short. The strength of the brand you’re selling (brand equity) and that of your competitor matters a whole lot, and other socio-political factors around you play their own part too. But none the less, all things being equal and on the average, your quality as a salesman always shine through in the type of performance you’re able to grind out; whether dismal, promising or dismal.

That being said there’s no magic in sales. It’s more of a social science, dealing with the unpredictability of human nature. It’s not a pure science of certainty where adding 1 plus 2 always gives you 3. The top shots in Sales my opinion rose there through a combination of these 3 factors: Preparation, Good communication skills and Doggedness.

1) Preparation
He who fails to plan, plans to fail. It’s as simple as that really. You need to be organized, know your market and know the product you’re selling in and out and its end benefit to the user. Your database or records must be reliable, your books balanced if you handle cash, and your action plans and route plan perfected. Like a soldier in warfare you have to be ready for battle round the clock. As they say success is preparation meeting opportunity. Luck in the long term turns to good luck/success only when well prepared. It’s your preparedness and consequently knowing your onions, market and its’ customers that’ll make you a great judge of Character; the most important C in the 5 Cs of credit. Credit or risk which you can’t do without taking as a salesman. In the midst of your preparation though, you’d be well advised to keep bull shit far away from you as much as possible. It might get you to the top but it won’t keep you there. As a bank marketer a pretty face, a phat ass (a.k.a. bullshit) might get you audience with a big fish but having a brain in your skull is what will allow you retain the confidence of your client so that all jokes aside you can grow the account. Anything otherwise and you’ll just amount to nothing more than a fling.

2) Good Communication Skills
I should probably correct this and say top notch, near perfect or excellent communication skills. You need to be able to talk the talk so you can walk the walk. All the regulars are true: you’ll be addressed the way you’re dressed; first impression matters; the difference between Mr. Biggs and MamaPut na packaging etc. if you’re multilingual the better, as you have a wider reach of people you can connect with. But if like me you’re not proficiently bilingual, you need to be at home with pidgin English, knowing when to switch it up/on so you can connect with your audience. And of course your spoken and written English must be on point. The good thing is that practice makes perfect; you unknowingly get better as you put more effort into it.

One of the first and memorable incidents I have about this was when newly drafted into marketing as a rookie with the defunct Intercontinental Bank. For those who remember it was the “demarketing” era of Erastus Akingbola. We had gone out as a marketing team to prospect a bunch of new recruits at an orientation. The then humble and silently achieving GTB team were also in attendance. GTB’s speaker went first and dished a seemingly innocuous upper cut that had the whole hall chuckling, when he said that his bank was on course to succeed and audience with their MD was possible if one visited their HQ. Erastus Akingbola, our MD had then been recently deposed, later on being replaced by a certain Lai Alabi. But our man Otusi (one of my first sales mentors) who knew his onions and always made sense when he spoke staged a brave comeback when granted the floor. He started with the line that the recruits should have no fear banking with us being that Intercontinental Bank was a “going concern” and thus changes at the top didn’t mean the bank was going under. For that brilliant comeback he got a round of applause. In the end though GTB got majority of the accounts that day but we left with our heads high.

3) Doggedness
In other words you must be unrelenting in your push to make sales. Circa 2007, before the great Banking bubble I remember being a scared shitless youth corper looking up to our LGA “senior corper” then, Kelechi. As he was privileged to be amongst the few in my batch doing his PPA with a bank and earning “good money”. I had pestered him on what it was like being a marketer; expecting some mystic recipes or something. And he, probably fed up with my insistence gave it to me raw. “Trae you want to know what marketing is like? Fine. You go meet a customer to open an account, he tell you to fuck out! You go meet another he “posts” you and tells you to come tomorrow; you go yet again to meet a third and he listens to you, fills the account opening form, giving you an initial deposit alongside. It’s as simple as that”! Lols, the learning point is that there’s no Illuminati with sales; you win some, you lose some and life goes on. For every good deal you make you’ll probably get like 10 rejections alongside but you just gots to keep on going. A few of those rejections though will usually later turn around or give you other leads to success. Whenever you want to despair just remember that in the great hustle of life most things are Pareto 80-20.

A beautiful story


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Giving the toast

So I had my first ever best man gig yesterday. Would have been the second but for my car accident last year (Long story short: broke my leg in July, missed out on the wedding in November). Twas my immediate elder brother's (Ebele) wedding; twas fun and I think I pretty much performed my duties satisfactorily. Here's the skeletal of my toast speech presented below to add to the body of work already available on the subject matter; hehehe. Smoothly scripting it over the weeks to deadline, but despite that still immensely grateful to my big sis Cle for chipping in a bunch of suggestions that polished off the work.

-Good day every one; you could be anywhere in the world today but you’re here with us; thank you for making this happen.

-My name is Tochukwu, a lot of you know me as Trae; I’m the younger brother to Ebele.

-There’s a popular saying about chess; that it takes a day to learn, but a lifetime to master! Trust me on that! I learnt to play chess over 10 years ago but my play today is still very much like a beginner. This can be compared to relationships and marriage. Like chess you could meet someone new today and fall in love in a couple of hours, butterflies in your stomach and all what not. But for you to decide that you want to spend the rest of your life with the person requires months of getting to know and understand each other just like with chess. So I’m glad ladies and gentlemen that this is what we’re seeing today with Andrea and Ebele after about three years. Theirs like their program brochure is themed has been “a beautiful story”.

-One great thing about Ebele is that he has always been a dependable fellow and someone you can always count on. There are numerous times while growing up that he has been there for me in many ways than one. I remembered being flat broke and knocked out in Jos some years back and he coming to my rescue to pay my rent. Ebele is simply reliable! Likewise Andrea is a very good hearted and likeable person, and I’ve always felt that way right from the first day I knew her. Together they’re two of the best people I’ve ever known.

-On that note I'll like us to raise our glasses to the bride and groom. Andrea and Ebele these are my wishes for you, and I’m sure in doing so I speak the mind of everyone here. Wishing you prosperity, a lifetime of happiness, lot of babies and may this your beautiful story be ever alive. To the bride and the groom!!!

With the little bride