Memorable Moments with Some Family Friends

Baby Rhuno with Kome  and Evi
Prayer time

The holidays have been worth every while with family friends visiting.  The children have been having real fun in company of the little ones.
When baby Rhuno (she’s actually 2years old) came with her parents from Ughelli in Delta State, her presence kept the house in a light mood always. Rhuno would sing every praise song, clap and dance, and she ensured everybody took part in her tea parties. It is wonderful to have loved ones come spend some time with the family.
My daughters were reluctant to let Rhuno go when it was time for the family to leave. We all look forward to welcoming her again.

                                                       With Seun enjoying his biscuites

 Just yesterday, another family friend came visiting with her 2 year old son Seun. The holiday fun continued like they did with Rhuno. Seun liked my daughter’s old school bag and carried it as a back-pack throughout his stay in the house. Behold, he couldn’t cry to go home with it as he slept off and didn’t know when they left for home. See you next holidays Seun!


Gone But Not Forgotten; Mrs Victoria Ozonitsha Orivri

                  Grandma  Ozonitsha Orivri
It is nine years gone (precisely December 23, 2003), but our loving mother, grandmother, mother-in-law is still being missed as though she left this world yesterday. Beautiful in every meaning of the word, she touched many lives positively. ‘Grandmother’, as she was fondly called, was soft-spoken and expressed an undying loving kindness to everyone who was around her. She was richly blessed in her trade and she used every of her possession to serve humanity. And my greatest joy for her remains the fact that she lived a dedicated Christian life.

As a cloth merchant at the popular ‘Balogun’ market on Lagos Island, her neighbours loved her in limitless measures, just as did her neighbours at home. Before her transition to glory, she made every Christmas celebration memorable for all with her variety of foods that she shared. She was expert in making what we all called ‘Delta Special’; fish, chicken pepper soup with pounded yam; Banga soup and Ozi; Ukodo and several other delicacies.

I treasure greatly what I learned from her because I felt very much at home with her; it was way beyond a daughter-in-law and mother-in-law relationship. In fact she was the mother who did not give birth to me, and I was lucky to have experienced her person.


In The Spirit Of The Season

Oops! Christmas  is just some hours away. Thank God for the precious gift of life!  To all of you who have taken time to visit my blog , and those who made contributions  by way of comments, I say a big Merry Christmas and a most wonderful 2013 to come.  In these barely two months of my blogging, I have realized how important people can be in life’s experiences.  Rejoice and share the best of the season.  

One special thing to give this Christmas---volunteering!

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If you have ever volunteered in some way, then you’ll understand what I’m driving at. From my opinion, volunteerism is top on the list of special gifts you could offer at a time like this. When you volunteer doing the house cleaning at the old people’s, not only would you be taking off a lot of stress from those who do the regular maintenance at the home, you‘ll be creating a relationship and leaving an assurance of love in the hearts of the people.  

Besides giving food and clothing items to children at orphanages, spending time with them and helping out with some chores leaves lasting memories of love and belonging. And if you ask me, they would remember you first for the time you shared with them, before any other gift.  Try volunteering today.

My Grandmother Wants To Come Back Home by Oyindamola Thomas

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It’s been two years now since my mum took my grandmother to the old people’s home in Yaba, Lagos. Before that movement, grandma lived with us in Surulere for about five years and she was 84years.  Grandma demanded attention for almost everything, but that didn’t change the fact that she was full of humour. She always wanted the contrary of everything we all wanted and she was serious about it; cold water for bathing when we thought the weather condition demanded us to have warm baths, and the other way round too.

It was a Saturday morning in December, 2010, and mum walked to me and announced she had concluded plans to take grandma to be with other old people. “She will be better off there”, she said. But I was taken by surprise at this move from mum. She wasn’t going back on her decision, not even if I expressed an otherwise feeling about it. Her reason (which I considered excuses) for grandma’s relocation to the home was that there was no one available to take care of her. Mum said that uncle’s wife would not be able to give grandma proper care because she was a young mother who was nursing a set of twin children. She was newly promoted and that meant greater demands on the job. I was preparing for my senior certificate examination and mum didn’t think I could cope with grandmas care-giving.

I got so worried because grandma shared a lot with me while mum was away to work.  Grandma always kept a portion of her ogi and akara for me, and her lunch waited until I got back from school. She asked always if I was fine and encouraged me to make amala and  ewedu my favourite food. Mum didn’t buy my idea of getting a nanny to come in at certain times to take care of grandma. She had a bagful of fears, so a nanny was not the solution for grandma to stay back with us.  Grandma agreed to go to the home after mum convinced her and packed up bags of food and other items she could share with other old people.

Mum’s initial promise of going to visit grandma at least once weekly, started dwindling.  She felt there were good and caring care-givers in the home, and that as long as she was making provisions, she needed some rest from all the troubles. My exams over, my hopes of having grandma back home got slimmer. And every time I go to see her in the home, she wanted me to bring her back to the home she once knew. I’m sad because my uncle and his wife also think mama was better off being in the home where she was being cared for.

I’m asking mum to allow grandma come back to us for a while before I go back to school but she thinks there could be a challenge taking her back. I asked her if she wanted grandma to live the rest of her life in the home, but she did not give me a definite answer. I love grandma and want her to be with her family, so my plans have been pushed to when I’m done with schooling. I’m praying that she remains alive until I’m able to take care of her. But now I also think that mum should know that where grandma is today, may just be good for her when she’s this old! What do you think?


Don’t Do Any of These To Your Children This Christmas

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Christmas celebrations has actually started for a lot of people,  and the children are very expectant of what they’ll get for the celebrations. Mothers too are planning how to manage their resources so that the family is well provided for. 

Issues with the mandatory family visits before the marriage Ceremonies

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As a part of culture and tradition, many Nigerian tribes require that an intending groom pays familiarization visits to important members of the bride-to-be’s family.  

Simeon Olaghere Foundation awards scholarship to students of Mass Communication

Four undergraduate students of mass communication, who major in advertising in the University of Lagos, and the School of Communication, Lagos State University, have emerged as beneficiaries of this year’s Simeon Erimiakhena Olaghere Memorial Foundation Scholarship award.

Akoi-Jackson on the similarity of the art space in Nigeria and his home country Ghana

Akoi-Jackson in CCA
The artist Bernard Akoi-Jackson paints; sculpts and does live performances. His passion for the art is definitely unquantifiable.  With a master’s degree in Art from the Kwame Nkruma Univeristy of Science and Technology, Ghana, Akoi-Jackson teaches art in a school and still engages actively in creative works.

Some of My Visits to Art Galleries in Lagos

Some photos at Nike Gallery; CCA; and  the National Museum, Lagos

One art gallery I visited the most was Nike Gallery. There was always activities going on there and I must say I enjoyed the visits, because Mrs Nike Davies Okundaye is such a wonderful woman who wants to always have people around her. She has been known for her role in empowering women by teaching them the art of adire making.

Sustaining Art Development In Nigeria Through The Ben Enwonwu Distinguished Lecture Series

Picture Source: Omenka Gallery
This year’s distinguished lecture series in honour  and memory of art icon,  Ben Enwonwu was  delivered by renowned printmaker, painter and sculptor  Bruce Onobrakpeya ,with the theme : ‘Informal Art Education through Workshops: Gains and Challenges as lessons  from the Harmattan  Workshop Series’.  The event held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island Lagos, with a gathering of the art community and other art supporters.

Creative Arts: How Keziah Jones, Segun Adefila, others sweetened the season's taste

Keziah on stage

The internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter, guitarist and king of  Blufunk- Keziah Jones, performed a solo concert on the night of the opening event. 

Rare enough, this very special event was topped by a live painting action by Nigerian artist, Native Maqari who combines the traditions of mural-painting with comic and street art styles.

Is 'Omugwo' a violation of men’s rights to being with their wives?

Picture source
 Omugwo is an Igbo word for care- giving to a woman who has just put to bed a baby.

I did the piece on issues with Omugwo after some discussions about negative attitudes from either a mother or a mother-in-law, when they go to give care to a new mother. When another opportunity to talk about Omugwo arose, it turned out not to be business as usual. This time around, a man was protesting that men are usually left unattended to each time their wives went to do Omugwo, either for their sons or daughters.

See how three men expressed their opinions about the issue as it affects men.

Dennis said: “My dad did not find my mother’s Omugwo runs easy at all. It became bad that after an initial six weeks of being with my oldest sister in Benin doing Omugwo, she barely stayed for another one week when the call for another Omugwo came from my brother. My dad initially said no, but had to allow her after my brother insisted and even accused my mother of being biased against his wife. He felt that since my mother did it for my sister, she should also be there for him. So off my mother went to Asaba. The two weeks she was away was like two years. My dad complained of not being given food at the right time and many other excuses. My younger brother and I did our best to help out but he wanted his wife back. On her return, my father just sat his wife down and read the riot act to her, “Henceforth, no Omugwo beyond one week for you, because I also have to be cared for. Let your children know that you have a husband who needs your care and warmth first before any other thing.” Now that I have my own family, I also stopped once and pondered how life would be if my own wife decides to leave me at home and go for one Omugwo for so long.”

Ejiofor: “I would not mind my wife going for Omugwo if it’s the first time. It will only be wise that the mother teaches her daughter or her daughter-in-law what to do and how to bring in a balance into it. A situation where the woman is going for Omugwo the second or third time and staying so long as if the new mother does not know what to do is the aspect I don’t like. The women actually take the opportunity of being away, not minding how their husbands fair during these periods.  Consider it, it is not fair for women to just stay away from their husbands for so long, with the excuse of nursing a new mother.”

Felix: “Osofia saw the danger of jumping off to go for Omugwo. Well, his adventure proved how hard the mothers work to care for a new mother. But I think they should always remember that their own husbands are back at home too. The difficult ones are those who go abroad for Omugwo. In fact they should be given a time frame so that they don’t go and think they have the license to stay for as long as one year. If care is not taken, some of the women even want to be there to nurse like two children before they remember home. How do they want the men to cope for that long period alone? As for me, my father is aging and needs his wife’s care and support so, Omugwo for anybody at that must not extend a week and she knows so.”

What are your views on this?

A life-time Nightmare of Living Apart from My Spouse (True-life Story)

A reader, who prefers to remain anonymous, wrote in to share her bitter experience of not living with her husband when he secured a better paying job in Abuja.

Haliamburi is 2012 Next Movie Star!

The Next Movie Star 2012 (SEASON 8) has finally come to an end and the winner is Miss Halimat Aitsegame, a.k.a Haliamburi.

MTN Afrinolly enlists Femi Odugbemi and Bongiwe Selane to Impact Budding Filmmakers

Femi Odugbemi

MTN Afrinolly, the premier Nigerian mobile application focused on promoting African entertainment; movies, music and celebrities, brought renowned film and TV content producers, Femi Odugbemi and Bongiwe Selani, to share their knowledge and experiences with filmmakers in the second edition of its Afrinolly MasterClass that held on Saturday December 8, 2012, via Google+ Hangout.

CCA is 5, Rounds Off 'The Progress of Love' With Discourse

L-R; Berdard  Akoi-Jackson; Bisi Siva; Jelili Atiku; Wuraola Ogunji, and Valerie Oka


Hearty congratulations to the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), which marks five years of engaging services on the art sphere today.  Managed by Bisi Silva, CCA has proven the worth of its vision to hold a large and diverse collection of books in its Library, thereby encouraging readership for information and education on all about art, artists and great works.

 Elated by this achievement, Silva says,” Our first great achievement which remains remarkable, is that we have been able to grow our library of books from 500 to over 5000 books. This means that even in the absence of anything, we still have a reference point where people can visit and get information about all that have ever happened or created by others.”
                                       With Bernard Akoi-Jackson(left) and Richardson Ovbiegho 

If there be a score card on performance during these five years, then the volume of interactions that have taken place in CCA in forms of exhibitions, live performances, workshops and residencies would place this heart of art on a most enviable position. Silva is glad that they have continued to work in line with the vision, and excited by how the new media have boosted the efforts of the centre to promoting and sustaining art in Nigeria.

Rounding off on the exhibition themed The Progress of Love, which spanned over four weeks with performances and exhibition of works by different artists, a panel discussion held yesterday  with Bisi Silva, Bernard Akoi-Jackson( from Ghana), Wuraola- Natasha Ogunji, Valerie Oka (Ivory Coast) and Jelili Atiku in session.  The discourse raised issues of basically appreciation of performance art pushing the frontiers of art as No-holds-barred.   
Photo credit: Jude Anogwih

A grandmother’s Wish List for Christmas


A neighbour who also happens to be close, brought a Christmas-wish note to me yesterday evening. She could not stop laughing as she read the content of the note to me. She said that her maternal grandmother who resides in Akure sent the note to her through one of her  brother.

After reading the note myself, I sought her permission to publish it. She agreed immediately, still laughing. She was amused because her grandmother wanted to surprise her mother who thinks that she should just be every bit of the 80years old woman that she is, not really minding her dress sense.  No way, because this grandma is thinking youthful!

See the note below and make your grandma happy too this Christmas :


What is the ‘thief’ of your time?

Chugbo is 14years and a senior secondary student in one of the private schools in Lagos. Week days after school, he spends an average of between four to five hours watching ‘interesting’ programmes on television.

The Trouble With Weekend Wives and Weekend Husbands

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At exactly 3.50pm, Onoseh starting clearing up her table. She did everything simultaneously; shutting down her computer, arranging her files back on the shelf, putting away her water flask and handing over her office key to Antonia who shared a space in the office with her.  “Please, I must get to the Airport before 5p.m to pick my husband. The flight  from Abuja  should arrival at 4.30p.m and I wouldn’t want to keep him waiting for too long. Kindly understand with me,” she pleaded.

“Just drop it on that table as usual”, Antonia replied without bothering to raise her head up from what she was doing, “ by now I should be getting used to it that  your Fridays of even some Thursdays as the case may be, are not 100 per cent for us here.”

That did not worry Onoseh anyway, as she picked her bag and made for the door. “See you on Monday”, she said. But just before she shut the door after her, Antonia gave her one for the road. “My greetings to your weekend hubby ”, she said laughing out loud.

Onoseh’s is just one out of so many couples who live apart due to job demands.  The challenge of getting a good-paying job and sustaining it has made many a couple to relocate to towns other than places where the family made out to stay.  When situations as this happen, the spouse who has the good-paying job is forced to go and start off a new life, with hopes that the other partner would also relocate with time. But has it always been so?

Different experiences have shown that  many of such couples end up living apart owing to  countless excuses; some say they have settled in the first town and would not want to move; some others  may not want to move with their spouses because of their children’s schools; while  for some, the complaint is about the high cost of living  in the new place.

The last decade saw a lot of such situation as couples living apart due to job demands in places like Lagos and Port-Harcourt grew. This development cuts across males and females, depending on the person who got the passport to greener pastures.  While jobs took some husbands or wives to Abuja or Port-Harcourt, others found their ways to Lagos or Abuja from Port-Harcourt.  There was also relocation to other towns. They serviced their relationship via the mobile phone, and in cases where the networks decided to fail, so be it.

Of course, we all know that this turn has not been the best for marriages. While some planned their visits for every weekend, others only get to see their spouses on a monthly basis. Spouses have paid impromptu visits only to find their wives or husbands in messy relationships.  While some accept the weaknesses of their spouses, others have simply walked out.

In my opinion, if a spouse must relocate to another city for reason of better job, then the other spouse should be ready to move over shortly after. This is important because  a couple should be together to support each other emotionally just as financially. This decision will help their relationship.  What do you think?



Onitsha culture is alive in ‘Ambivalence’

 His Majesty Nnaemeka Achebe, Obi of Onitsha,appreciating a work on display with the artist, Emmah Mbanefo

A large part of the rich cultural heritage of the Onitsha people of South Eastern Nigeria is  embedded in their art and craft. They have good authority in sculpting and sophisticated traditional    paintings. For them, it is a way of life through which they continue to document their history.

Would your native language go extinct with this generation?

Art work  titled 'Teach Them' by  Olawunmi Banjo

Do you speak your native language at home always, sometimes or not at all? There is a growing concern that some languages might go extinct after this present generation. This fear comes from the fact that many families rather communicate among themselves in English Language than do in their mother tongue.

The issue actually surfaced in my home when I asked my son to get me an item in my native language. First, he was amused by the sound of the word and asked what I was talking about.  I felt beaten that my own language sounded strange to my own child. But then, I knew that the boy was not to be blamed because I only speak to them in my native language sometimes.

In the course of the week, I have taken on the responsibility of consciously talking to everyone in my home in my native language. The children seem to like it but it has been very challenging because I have had to explain almost everything I say in English to them.  And I was worried again if we are actually going to make some progress.

While people ordinarily assume that children tend to learn the local language of  their immediate  environment, it seem to me that it just may not follow that way. I have seen families of Yoruba descent  who live in Lagos, yet  are faced with the problem of their children not speaking their native language.  Even when the parents talk to them in Yoruba Language, they reply in English Language.

A family friend, who is Igbo by tribe, has also complained about her children not understanding every word of her native Igbo Language. She explains that her problem is with her husband who though is Igbo by origin, but was born and raised in Campus Square area of Lagos Island. She laments that her husband grew up speaking Yoruba and still prefers communicating in the language, so she is the only one making an effort to help the children learn Igbo Language.

My Most Memorable Book... Sharing Experiences

        'Eze goes to school’  by Onuora Nzekwu and Michael Crowder 

Segun Adefila has proven that he is on top of his act. With a degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Lagos, Adefila has introduced freshness into stage acts in Nigeria with his theatre group, ‘Crown Troupe’.
Adefila’s Crown Troupe is famous for its innovative rendition of works  that  are flexible enough to be performed in conventional and unconventional performance spaces.
He shares his experience of the book ‘Eze goes to school’, which he read way back as a little boy in primary school, while preparing to move on to a secondary school. His reminiscences of the book were mostly locked in the innocence, struggle and dedication to hard work that Eze showed in spite of challenges he encountered after the passing away of his father.

I read the book’ Eze goes to school’ while I was still in primary school. It is so many years back now but memories of the book remain fresh with me. When I read the book, I did not feel like it was yet another book because I was like Eze’s age too.

I saw the difference in life situations with different people and I think it kept bringing back the message to me. For Eze, going to school meant walking for miles and having to carry load to the market, which was the same distance as his school.
I must say that it helped me become  appreciative of the support I enjoyed, going to school at that age.  I went to go to school then being driven in a car by my father. Though young, I learned to work and follow my heart through things that I believed in.
I remember vividly too, the moral lessons of the book, which were put across through Eze’s experiences. The book shared the importance of having parents talk to their children to be confident of themselves and be the best at their studies. Okonkwo, Eze’s father, proved this when each time he told Eze not to allow anyone beat him to academic excellence.
My memories of the book also remain strong following the lessons that Eze learned while he served his master. He learned the importance of timeliness and focus in everything he did. He learned also, the reward for not taking what belonged to other people, just as his master taught him.
In the book ‘Eze goes to school’, I appreciated what dedicated mothers do to help their children achieve success in good things. I saw also in the book that life makes a beautiful meaning when you interact with people.
I still see the book as ‘a big deal’ that every child should experience by reading. It showed a relationship between the teachers and their pupils. It bred a bond that made teaching and learning interesting. It showed how teachers built up their pupils and confided in them for greatness.
In this book, I saw how Eze was continually encouraged to stand up in healthy competitions. It was not only his father that encouraged him to have a competitive drive to come tops in his class, his teacher whom he did serve also encouraged him to do the same. You could feel the enthusiasm with which his teacher encouraged him to beat pupils from other schools, for him to qualify for the scholarship.
I will recommend that children read this book and have an experience that could shape their thoughts and approaches to doing things as they grow up in life. Eze always had to put in his best at work and it earned him good success.




Showcasing Nigeria’s Rich Cultural Heritage through ‘Rare and Large’ Collection

Chief  Edokpolo showing a painting  to some of the guests

Ekasa, a cultural heritage of the Benin people

Massive and outstanding describe the works in the collection at the second edition of the Ambassadors’ Nite exhibition holding in the National Museum, Lagos, between December 2 and December 9, 2012. They are a true representation of the rich and peculiar heritage of Nigeria, embedded in the works of art jealously kept in the pricey collection of Chief John Edokpolo.

                                  The raffle draw star price presented by First Bank of Nigeria 

Besides the extra-life sizes of the works, they each tell beautiful and historic stories of people across Nigeria. Like a number of other sculptural pieces and paintings on display at the exhibition, the star painting titled ‘ Ekasa: Myth and Reality’  is a  patron’s delight.  It is rich in cultural history and aesthetics. The work tells the mythical story of the Ekasa dance among the Benin people of Edo State, and the spice of the ‘reality’ side of the story is very much alive with the Edokpolo family.

Mufu Onifade,curator of the event, explains the significance of the Ekasa painting as it meets the reality. “The myth that whosoever the Oba takes the Ekasa from during the dance becomes very wealthy happened in the life of Chief john Edokpolo Senior.  At age 17, Oba Akenzua who was on the throne of Benin Kingdom,  took the Ekasa from him while the dance was being performed and it became a reality in his life as he became a very successful industrialist.”

A strong believer in the promotion of Nigerian artists and cultural pieces that can compete with works from any part of the world, Edokpolo’s passion was groomed right from his origin. “I am deeply rooted into the arts”, he said. “My father is from Igun Street, where the best of bronze sculptures are created and my mother is from Igbesawan, where you have the unbeatable woodwork art.”

An Art Patron’s Life’s Lessons for Success

Chief Edokpolo sharing his  message with the audience during the art  exhibition

I spent my Sunday evening in a very entertaining way for the first time after so much running around during weekends. It was an exhibition event that took place in the Lagos Museum, Onikan. It wasn’t my first time of visiting the Museum as I often attend art exhibitions, since I write for the Art Desk in my newspaper. But this was a different experience that actually came from the Art Patron, Chief John Edokpolo whose special heritage pieces of artworks were being exhibited.

World AIDS Day: Need for Behaviour Change and Care For PLWHA

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“Global success in combating HIV/AIDS must be measured by its impact on our children and young people. Are they getting the information they need about HIV? Are girls being empowered to take charge of their sexuality? Are infants safe from disease, and are children orphaned by AIDS raised in loving supportive environment? We cannot let another generation be devastated by AIDS.”--- Carol Bellamy, Former Executive Director, UNICEF.