I say no time eh!


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Banking, the ills: workaholicity and "no time!"

The “I say no time eh!” phrase by top Nigerian ragga artist Timaya best describes my condition in the in last four months, in which time I haven’t blogged (though “no inspiration eh” comes a distant second). Right now at 9.21 am it’s one of those precious weekends for me and as I type this on my generator-powered battery-weakened laptop in Makurdi I await the start of Nigeria’s game against Japan in the on going Olympic men’s football event. So what have I been up to all this while and what’s happened to the time? Here’s what.

I’ve since completed my bank’s ten week entry level training programme in Abuja and have been deployed to Makurdi branch in our North Central Region. Yes, my love affair with Benue State continues having served here (NYSC 2006/2007) and been back shortly afterwards for a short business venture.

Training school was fun no doubt but I also learnt a tremendous lot and had my mind opened to many new perspectives of life. Part of the gains of the training was being able to make my first ever visit to a prison…Kuje Prison Abuja to be precise. Banking being a profession based on trust, integrity is a necessary value and so the visit to the prison apart from its social responsibility import was to show us how low we could sink if we lost our integrity. The funny thing though is that Kuje Prison wasn’t at all like what I expected; it looked more like any well maintained Government boarding house secondary school in Abuja except that the inmates couldn’t leave the area…ever! There were the sober religious type, the ashamed from-a-comfortable-background type but most looked like the average Joe on the street type. Some buildings were recently painted, the compound was neat, there were a lot of new structures and the effect of charitable donations/support from the public/NGOs could be seen. Me thinks that being a population database poor, non safety and security conscious country an escape from the prison would be easy and have the least of consequences. Anyways I digress.

Back to the subject it feels good to be in banking. The opportunities it offers you are endless but the effize of the profession is too much; one could easily get carried away! One could also get “carried away” by the pressures of the job. The demands are heavy so to be on top of ish you’ve got to be sharp and proactively continuously learning. Worse still like I said at the beginning one’s time-crunched! We’ll survive though.

And survival starts with watching my first Dream Team 4 game at the Olympics in a short while. I almost can’t believe I missed their first match…an Eagle’s match!” Work sucks at time! I can believe though that the Abuja Stadium disappointed yet again spectator-wise at the Man U-Portsmouth game a fortnight ago. To the best of my knowledge the only time its stands ever filled up for a football match was The All African Games 2003 u-23 men’s final between Nigeria and Cameroun. As expected a large portion of the crowd got in for free and a much larger portion of the crowd of football lovers in the city just couldn’t be bothered. We shouldn’t loose hair or bother too much to when ever Nigeria goes out of a football tournament. Football is an art not a science and even with the best of preparations one could still falter. Someone’s bound to loose…It ain’t gonna be me though. Ah game time! Excuse me while I do the needful. One!

Happy Customer, Happy Bank, Happy Trae



Happy Customer, Happy Bank. Intercontinental Bank PLC’s (IBPLC) slogan.

In the words of Durella “shout alleluia Papa God e don do am”! Yes oh, I’m now more or less a staff of IBPLC! On Monday I along with over 40 others started a 10 week training (Intensive Orientation Programme) at their Garki II branch in Abuja. We’re what are called Executive Trainees, on that entry level ish; but what’s more it’s all on merit baby!

You see I’ve always loved IBPLC right from when I opened my first real savings account with them in my undergraduate days, so the step up to actually work with them is like on the dream-come-true level. This is how my journey went, it might have been quite long but it definitely was worth it:

1) October 2nd, 2007: submitted my CV to a very close friend who’s in the system already somewhere in Niger State.

2) November 17th 2007: along with over a thousand others I wrote the company’s recruitment aptitude test in Jos, Head Quarters of their North Central region. Rated my chances of making it to the next recruitment stage very high and had fun reconnecting with acquaintances from my NYSC, University and even Secondary school days.

3) January 18th 2008: Had my Interview and medicals along with 71 others in (a bloody cold) Jos. Rated my interview as having gone very well, and meanwhile enjoyed the youthfulness of the environment and the energy floating about.

4) April 21st 2008: after a very lengthy sometimes really crazy wait was finally called to start training/resume work with the bank.

Do you know that I almost completely missed the training save for a very good friend? It's a long story sha. Anyway I know Banking’s not easy and I’ll now be having much less free time and lot’s more commitments but I’m highly positive minded and I’m ready to make every moment count. There are a lot of people I won’t forget in a hurry in my quest for the IBPLC job, I’m unable to name them all at this point in time but from the bottom of my heart I want to sincerely thank you all. Peace, love and respect; one!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Purple Hibiscus” and me



The print version of Purple Hibiscus as available at Nu Metro Media store, Ceddi Plaza, Abuja

I recently got paid and so I decided that the right thing to do was to walk into the Nu Metro Media Store at Ceddi Plaza, Central Area Abuja for book and window shopping (the place reeks of affluence; it made me want to grab a gun and shout “stick em up!”). I finally settled with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Purple Hibiscus”, her other book “Half of a yellow Sun” and Sefi Atta’s “Everything Good Will Come”. The 3 books have been ringing in my ears for months now as I‘ve been seeing the buzz about them everywhere I go in the Naija blogosphere.

I’ve just got through Purple Hibiscus and if you asked my opinion I’d say it’s a good book, but I’m somehow not so awed by it. You see to me a great work of art is art that knocks me off my feet that upon consumption I’m like “this is genius! How did the artist manage to do this?” But in the case of Purple Hibiscus I could relate with pretty much everything the author put into her book and I understand where she was coming from characterization wise, that in a good month with the right inspiration and guidance I could well have written the book myself.

She’s a simple crafting-superb product kind of writer, such that I didn’t have much cause to consult a dictionary while reading like I would have bothered with other novels. And she was very minimally descriptive in her writing; she just wanted the story to flow. The book is not exactly autobiographical but reading it I felt as one with all of her experiences she put into writing the book. Detailedly:

1) Via many years of being a read and write freak online I understood the consciousness she put into the characters Obiora, Aunt Ifeoma and Amaka (Although she made Obiora wise above his age. I think it’s very much the exception for kids to be capable of that level of consciousness at that age. Being highly pro-Nigeria I could relate with Amaka’s alternative musical taste and philosophical stance).
2) Having frequently visited my village over the past few years I was happy with her apt depiction of village life in Igbo land and I was impressed by her great love for her Igbo roots.
3) Having had my university education in Nsukka between the year 2000 and 2006 I very much felt at home with the novel.
4) Having witnessed military rule in my awakening teenage years I could very much identify with the plot of the novel.
5) I went to a seminary secondary school but now considering myself a very liberal Catholic I could very much identify with her religious views as painted in the novel.
6) In life I’ve known what it means to be rich, middle income earning and poor, so I understood the extremes painted in the novel.

I’m now off to read “Half of a yellow Sun” and “Everything Good Will Come”. I hope they’ll sooth away my annoyance with Chimamanda for allowing Kambili's mum poison her dad.

Udeme Junior was also a great man



Udeme Junior, Chris Rock, Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer…your average man

Like his father Udeme Junior (Jnr) was a great man, but unlike his dad it wasn’t flying planes and drinking Guinness stout that did it for him, it was sex. To him it was just as normal a pattern formed by drops of greatness as any other could be and as such once he was on he had to be on. Nothing in his thinking came close to an orgasm, not even Nigeria winning the FIFA World Cup beating England, Ghana and Brazil along the way.

When it came to sex he liked it the easy way; with prostitutes (a.k.a. ashewos, ashawos, ashis). A major pro for the addiction being the large variety of options available to choose from and its programmability. And so when he bothered to care he was always left bewildered how the monogamous oriented managed.

He relished the scoping (observatory) ritual before the pounce where he would check out the stats of the ashis with the term well-proportioned as the benchmark. Flirtatiousness, sassiness and willingness to engage in small personal talk also racked up points for a girl in his books but loud mouthedness was a definite no-no.

Another stat that had become important to Udeme Jnr was that majority of the ashis he came across were of Igbo origin. A finding similarly obtainable in a lot of other amateur demographical research he had done. Once again he was left bewildered, pondering the reliability of the census system.

But tribe aside he had discovered that for all ashis pleasure servicing was just as normal a job as any other like bus driving or journalism. And staying true as typical Nigerians he’d come to understand that most of them were unfit to hold on to their titles. The rare breed that loved and mastered the art were hard to come by but when you did find them they left you feeling fulfilled like Cyprian Ekwensi’s Jaguar Nana for they were masters of the bed whether in faking or not.

Sadly though there was no redemption for his buddies as everyone exploited and looked down on them. They had to pay all sorts of bills and take care of all sorts of minor to major expenses. No real friendships were formed as the only relationships they built, with marketers and randy men were never unconditional. Daily life for them was a vicious cycle of smoking, drinking, fucking, dancing and mouth running. That being not much of a surprise considering the fact that most of them were school drop outs. Of course there was always the option of the higher class better-learned prostitutes in bars and on the streets to choose from but somehow Udeme Jnr had found himself more of a brothel monger.

The brothels were often a long narrow row of small rooms with the goods being displayed in front illuminated by red lights. Entering one Udeme Jnr observed the usual: a small bed, a small window and feminine interior decorating. Depending on the worth of the ashi the room might have also boasted of a fan, radio or TV. Taking off his clothes the instruction by the ashi that he should hang them on the wall nailings embarrassed him but soon the rush of blood to his dick enveloped him as she expertly wore him a condom as dexterously as a blind village woman peeling egusi/melon seeds.

It was time for the business, missionary position front assumed she guided his dick to her lubricant filled vagina and Udeme Jnr was resolved to pump away having not being encouraged to breast suck or engage in meaningless foreplay. Reading her mind she probably didn’t have time to waste and would exploit any chance presented to her to get her money without rendering full services.

The deed being done she cleaned his dick up with some tissue, the touch of her hands on his privates teasing him in an uneasy way making him reminisce about the crazy girl with the foul smelling cunt he fucked last week who kept pushing him for more when he had just about had enough. While he dressed up clumsily She flinged the evidence into a small basket at the side of her bed and prepared to freshen up for the next client.

He paid and bade her a quiet farewell at the same time thinking of how generously he would have tipped her had the sex been better. The guilt feeling came upon him but he consoled himself with the words “it’s just sex” and a silent prayer to drop the habit and keep the STIs away.

Family planning, the Nigerian parent and the Nigerian youth



What happens when you don't plan well for your kids

The blogpost you’re about to read can be summarized into the following sentences: well-to-do families beget successful children, while underprivileged families beget unsuccessful children. The underprivileged children that are lucky enough to make it good are few while children from well-to-do backgrounds have all it takes to make it big hence keeping the status quo. In addition if a couple is struggling with life but want a better future for their offspring their best bet is to birth only the number they can adequately take care of. Read on though to get the full picture.

Family Planning as used in this post does not just mean making the decision to have children but also making in-depth arrangements on how you intend to raise them.

Drawing from what Al Pacino said in The Godfather Part III (Don Michael Corleone addressing a letter to his children): “the only wealth in this world is children; more than all the money, power on earth, you are my treasure”, what truly matters or gives happiness in life is enjoying the children you raised. If you choose not to have them like Jeremy Weate of naijablog it’s ok but if you choose to the least you can do is to be a good parent and raise them well.

If you know financially and emotionally you can only properly take care of 1, 2 or 3 children then by all means stick to that. Don’t birth a battalion of kids and then end up: sending them out to live with relatives, always complaining that there’s no money when requests are made, loosing sleep over how to pay their school fees, abandoning them after their tertiary education but expecting them to perform miracles and bring you the goods (parent of a doctor, lawyer, senator etc).

Why I’m hammering on this is because ideally it’s the right thing to do. You do it for your children and they in turn will do it for theirs. There you go: a pleasant cycle of happiness (as against the vicious cycle of poverty we see too much in Nigeria). Just the same way you plan to marry right in order to avoid having sickler kids or ugly children which could make you look bad is the same way you should plan to raise children who can achieve greatness in order to be adequately taking care of in your old age.

In the western world you hear about parents starting very early to save for their kids’ college/university education fund but in Nigeria too much of the time it’s the hand to mouth or live-one-day-at-a-time existence, condemning children to a hard frustrating life. The result is there for all to see: 22-26 year old Nigerian graduates still largely dependent on their parents while their mates abroad are very much independent, married and some with children of their own. And the fact of work being not so easy to come by as it is abroad compounding the whole problem.

That’s why at times I don’t blame the children of well-to-do families, the type we like to call ajebota. A few of their parents might have acquired their wealth dubiously but at least they’re able to give their children the kind of education and comfort with which ideally nothing can prevent them from reaching the pinnacle of their success. They go to the best schools, socialize best, go on tour during holidays and they actually live their life enjoying the money that works for them and their parents (not the other way around…think rich dad, poor dad).if they want to be entrepreneurial when they reach adulthood they’re sure of full financial support from their parents which plays a big factor in their success. Look at the young people of the recent Future Awards, 90% of them were able to blow because of their parent’s moral and financial support. Not the no-money-to-pay-school-fees, go-to-night-vigil-as-Jesus-is-the-answer story the children of the less privilege have to contend with. People like Asa, Dimeji Bankole, Denrele Soundcity are testament to the advantages of having strong parents. Those that make it from grass to grace, on their own with minimal efforts from their parents are actually very lucky as for every one of them that succeeds a thousand others fail. Examples of this kind are John Mikel Obi, Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme (Aki and Pawpaw), 2face Innocent Idibia, Agbani Darego etc. It's actually kind of like the no-finance-no-romance creed.

Now for the wrap up I’ll have you know that I’m not parent bashing. I know what effort they put into our lives (not less what my parents did for me) and that life is a long process with changing situations that can mess up original plans. I’m just annoyed that too many parents get it wrong from the start. Capisco...capiche…capeesh?!

trae_z: aspiration 2008



The title of this blog post might read like many a Nigerian political campaign catchphrase. I guess that’s a little amusing, in actuality though it’s an outline of my aspirations and dreams for the year 2008. I’ve never being one for New Year resolutions or very clearly defined career paths or life goals but this comes closest to that.

One of the first decisions I’ve made this year is to make a name change. I’ve tinkered with something like this before but this time it’s for real and as a result of more matured reasoning. I’m dropping the A from my hitherto official initials “T.R.A.E.”. I chose the A at Confirmation (a Catholic religious ceremony) to turn my initials from TRE to TRAE. But now that I consider myself a liberal Christian and have also gotten sick of owning 4 names I’m reverting back to what my parents named me: Tochukwu Raphael Ezeokafor. The fact that my middle name still starts with an R and A means that I’m still good for the name/initials TRAE. Cool!

Politically with regards to Nigeria I’m at a “siddon look” level this year because nothing surprises me anymore. Reuben Abati spoke my mind exactly in his The president’s ‘missing ears’ article of The Guardian of January 4th. Yar’adua’s is fucking uncharismatic and too passive! Having someone like him as our president is like being married to a wife that’s drama free but is boring in bed and in lifestyle. Pathetic!

Employment wise I’m looking forward to getting down to the nitty gritty on my first real job (like many people my age I also wouldn’t mind getting into banking; I’m at a promising recruitment stage on two different fronts so fingers crossed) and the work related networking that’ll come with it. My experiences at two recruitment exercises last year tell me that although I’m not exactly the life of the party I’m damn good with people.

I’m aiming to make real money this year. It’s the only way to go if I want to play my position well. More so it’ll put an end to the quarrels I can’t seem to avoid at home. Real money-great finances should also enable me have a less sober outlook on life, give me the full confidence to look for love and get a much needed fashion boost.

I want to be in tune with the arts in 2008. Attend shows and musicals, make a lot more social outings, master the art of public speaking and write better and more frequent. I also want to bring myself to finally record another song, this time with rock cum ragga vibes.

Physiologically it’s time to do away with laziness by being consistent at my weight lifting; I also look forward to having greater peace of mind by finally going for an HIV test.

Finally as regards to football I just want to see great games all year round. Sadly though I don’t think our making it past the group stages at the African Nation’s Cup is a given this time around.

All in all that’s as far as the weatherman’s guess (my aspirations) goes because no one knows tomorrow. If you can’t take it from me than take it from the French born Nigerian soulful rocker Asa. I wish you a great 2008, peace!