Politics

Lets go back; waaayyyyy back: From London to Lekki…

I type this in shame (holds head in hand) as I feel I have done you a disservice (I haven’t blogged since May but hey whose counting?!) But it is with good reason (my limp and pathetic attempt at an apology); I travelled back to the Motherland!! I went home to a place that is nothing short of exuberance, culture and endless history. Yes I went back to Nigeria.

The purpose of the trip was two-fold: 1) my beautiful friend and mentor (she is all things rolled into one) had her traditional engagement (#GetYourManGurrllll) and  2) I wanted to scope out what progression has been made since my last visit, which was exactly two years ago (2011; I know your maths is impeccable).

My homies/sisters - with the beautiful bride!

Me and my homegirls posing with the beautiful bride!

And how refreshing it was to see the huge strides that had been made by way of development!! Very stark difference to the picture that the BBC has painted in the past; nothing further to add…

Given that there has been so much discussion of late on the rapid rate at which African economies are developing (many African countries can boast of a GDP growth rate of more than 6%) I thought I would weigh in and offer my own take on the matter. But I won’t bore you with academic perambulation; on the contrary, I have done a ‘Top 5’ list of key things I want you to note (I had so many other things I wanted to say…did someone say part 2?!) This is my take on Nigeria, one of the most populous countries in the world. Our land is beautiful and bursting at the seams with potential; enjoy… 😉

  • Mainland versus Island – Lagos is divided into two areas: the mainland is what is traditionally known as the older part of Lagos (so places like Ogba, Surulere are found on the mainland) and the Island is the newer part of Lagos (e.g. Lekki, Ikoyi, Ajah). Just like the Palm Islands in Dubai, the area was sand filled to create a place that is symbolic of modernity, progression and of course money; purchasing land on the island comes with a hefty price tag but it is worth it considering how much calmer it is than the traditional parts of Lagos.
Mainland - Balogun Beach

Mainland – Balogun Market

Shoprite- Lekki

Island – Shoprite- Lekki

Shoprite in Lekki- Island

Island – Shoprite in Lekki

  • Babatunde Fashola – the current Lagos State Governor and one of the best politicians to ever grace Nigerian soil. He has transformed Lagos for the better and it continues to get better and better by the day. As the lovely Sena would say ‘I have broken bread with the locals’ and I have heard nothing but praises for Fashola. From the taxi driver to the business oligarch, Fashola has been a breath of fresh air and a definite contender for the next presidency.  He has introduced measures designed to improve the life of every Lagosian and not just the rich and famous. From his introduction of the brand new Lekki-Ikoyi cable bridge to public buses to his courageous efforts to crack the whip on corruption, he truly represents the future of Nigerian Politics.
  • The ‘resource curse’ – Nigeria is a paradox. We have an abundance of natural resources (if you don’t know, ask somebody, preferably Dangote) which should breed ground for steady trade and boastful profit margins but instead widens the corridor for corruption and illegal trade (case in point- Oil. Niger Delta. Need I say more) I think this is one of the biggest battles that Nigeria must contend with; curbing traditional practices of patronage and corruption should continue to be placed at the top of the political agenda over the coming years. Yes we do have the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which have made desperate attempts to nip it in the bud but the journey is still far; corruption is perhaps the greatest impediment to economic growth; more needs to be done.
  • The steady rise of the middle class – part of the rapid economic growth that Nigeria is currently enjoying could be partially explained by the rise of the middle class. Business owners, professionals, those within the entertainment industry…they are indeed enjoying the fruits of their labour. Consumer habits show that the up and coming middle class continue to come out in the droves. And with the likes of Shoprite in Ikeja (MAC has recently opened ladies!) as well as in Lekki, the middle class have limitless choice. And of course if you can’t get it on home soil, they are choosing to fly out to Dubai, London and wherever else just to get it; it’s by all means necessary!
  • Infrastructure – I think this is another area that must be considered as a major priority in the next general election. The improvement of the transport corridor is critical for business and growth and I think this is one of the biggest hindrances to successful trade.
View of the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge from the car

View of the new Lekki-Ikoyi bridge from the car

My beautiful friend and sister Oyinkan showed us the new Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge which has cut her journey time by more than half as it links Lekki straight to Ikoyi. The bridge no doubt is breathtakingly beautiful; it’s a work of art and this is exactly the kind of attention to detail that needs to be rolled out across all major roads in Lagos. The roads on the Island are mostly of a very high standard but this standard needs to be maintained throughout the whole of Lagos; there are some roads that are so treacherous that treading carefully is literally an understatement.

Island beauty

Island beauty

I cannot wait to see how Nigeria continues to transform over the next 10 years and I think as I continue my plight to become fluent in Yoruba (my supposed ‘mother tongue’) I will definitely be travelling back more regularly. I had a blast! God bless Nigeria!

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Career, Politics

J.O.B= Just Over Broke: why entrepreneurship has become the ever enticing model

Johanna Goodyear, Dreamstime stock photos Hit that button!!

Johanna Goodyear, Dreamstime stock photos
Hit that button!!

 

I am not one to usually take to the timeline of twitter to rant but Tuesday proved to be the exception to the rule (follow me @lady_writes). God knows I tried that morning; (patience is a virtue that I am still desperately trying to cultivate) but by lunchtime, I just about lost it.

 I usually have a pleasant journey into work since discovering that the DLR is a far more reliable alternative to the dreaded, doom and gloom of the jubilee line. My journey is laced with beautiful scenery, a guaranteed seat and finally but most importantly – AIR; I actually get to breathe. On Tuesday however, my journey was marred with delays, disgruntled commuters coupled with unbearable humidity (cue *blank stare*) But my horror hadn’t fully matured. By the time I got into work, the tea point was broken and all the toilets were blocked with this foul orange gunk that produced an odour that can only be described as offensive; will it ever end?! And I think that was what really sent me over the edge; I had reached breaking point so I took to twitter and hurled a barrage of insults at the ‘system’; the system that has truly been ‘selling us dreams’ (cheers Kofo for the befitting phrase) by leading us to believe that a 9-5 is both gratifying and rewarding. I have come to realise that it gives us one thing and one thing only: a false sense of security. 

 Now I don’t hate my job not by any stretch of the imagination. I like my team, I like my role, I like my organisation and I love the environment. BUT I do find that the whole 9-5 thing can be quite soul destroying at times: the dreaded feeling of living from one pay check to the next …or the back and forth dialogue that usually takes place between the financially prudent You and the reckless-You-Only-Live-Once You. I didn’t imagine that life after uni would resemble this at all. Now I finally understand why those that have gone before me have constantly emphasised – ‘enjoy it whilst you can.’

 In an age where redundancies have become an intrinsic part of organisational structures, pensions are slowly disappearing and payday loans have been exposed for what they truly are (interest rates work out to well over 1000% on an annual basis –WTH?!) entrepreneurship has not only become a viable option but in some cases the only option.

 With budding entrepreneurs surfacing every other day from the technology haven, Silicon Valley; our friends across the pond should not be the only ones that are revelling in the success of defying the traditional norms of the capitalist system. Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter (also a college dropout) was scoffed at when he pitched the concept of being able to share your thoughts in less than 140 characters. But obviously we know who is laughing all the way to the bank now as in literally (by 2014 it will be worth a cool £800 million)

 I am not suggesting that we hand in our resignations tomorrow (HA!) but you might want to think about starting something on the side to bolster your monthly wage. Heaven forbid that we remain a ‘slave to the wage’ (such a cool idiom thanks Bola) until we are 65 (sorry scratch that, it’s now 66). I mean who wants to work until they can barely stand and then survive on a miniscule allowance every month?! With George Osbourne continuing to paint an even foggier picture of the future of ‘Great’ Britain,’ we are left with little option than to take a cue from Margaret Thatcher and rescue ourselves; we can no longer rely on the state to help us. Kudos to the Conservatives who have indeed tried their best to reverse the rapid rate of unemployment (the £2500 start-up loans scheme created for those aged 18-24 has now been expanded to those aged up to 30) but it still doesn’t suffice. It’s time we took matters into our own hands quite literally. Pick up a pen and write that business plan!

Until the next time! Xxx

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Career, Politics, Womanhood

Thatcher’s Legacy: reawakening the discourse on feminism?

Unless you live under a rock, it is near enough impossible not to have heard that an iconic figure, mostly known for her drastic reforms in the 1980’s, passed onto glory this week (church rhetoric it has become an intrinsic part of me). Like her or loathe her (my dad spared no words in providing a detailed account of the radical changes that occurred whilst she was in office), Margaret Thatcher provided perhaps the most significant lesson on feminism since the suffragette movement. And how ironic that the woman who was coined the ‘Iron Lady’, would in fact personify the very thing she hated – feminism. For that reason, rather than demonise her, I have decided to give credit where it is due to a woman who gave women a voice everywhere. Here are my top 5 reasons as to why I would hail her as a trailblazer:

  • First female Prime Minister – undeniably, she implemented tough austerity measures; so much so that George Osborne looks like a wet wipe in comparison. And it is inexcusable in terms of how difficult the lives of community groups such as miners were made as a result but we cannot negate the fact that she smashed the concept of the glass ceiling in the truest sense by becoming the first and only female UK Prime Minister. In a field that is heavily dominated by the ‘male, pale and stale,’ she reached unprecedented heights through hard work, tenacity and a sharp blue suit.
  • Extending the ladder – whilst she has often been criticised for not promoting enough women (she believed that women should be promoted on merit which I don’t think is too far off from the truth) she still ensured that Baroness Young was promoted; a promising political figure at the time which inevitably tells me that she didn’t necessarily buy into this idea of the ‘Queen Bee’ syndrome. Additionally, despite the fact that men were still paid more than women in the 1980’s (no change there then) she actively sought to increase the full-time pay for women and in turn empowered a generation; she revolutionised a patrilineal society.
  • Have your cake and eat it too – unlike Condoleezza Rice (Condi- it’s all love) she actually had a husband and a set of twins to boot. Now if that is not a clear example of ‘having it all’ then I don’t know what is especially given the social infrastructure at the time; it couldn’t have been easy. Thus, the word inspirational doesn’t even come close to describing how this makes me feel, I think the word elated has a more resounding ring to it. As a graduate of Politics and a strong believer in the family institution, her life has served as a gentle reminder that I can in fact do both; I can be a Mother and a Manager.
  • Brawn Beauty, brains, wit – Thatcher was intellectually equipped; an astute Barrister, a Chemical Scientist and a seasoned politician – need I say more? She indeed was able to put her money where her mouth is all whilst looking immaculately dressed; she was the embodiment of the demure, timeless, classic look.

So forgive me if I refuse to join in on the ‘Thank-God-Thatcher-Is-Dead’ parties. Maybe it is because I am unable to truly identify with hundreds of people whose lives were affected by the stringent measures that she put in place; I don’t know. But what I do know is that had a man adopted the same uncompromising style of leadership, I am pretty sure he wouldn’t have faced as much criticism. Food for thought. Another thing that I am absolutely certain about is that her life and the things that she exemplified, has done more for me than the watered down slogans and anthems that has been belted out by what is now being perceived as the new modern day ‘feminist’ – cases in point Beyoncé. So long live the Thaterite legacy; her life has reawakened the much needed discourse on feminism and what it truly means to be a woman without limits.

Until the next time! xx

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