Gbenga Awomodu Speaks on #CareerLessons

Career Lessons

On Sunday, October 5th, 2014, I was the Guest on Career Wise Consults (@careerwisenig)’s weekly ‘tweetmeet’, #CareerLessons where I shared some lessons/insights from my career journey so far. While I have not been around for a long time yet, it felt very important that some people would find these observations useful in their respective journeys. I have embedded the tweets below for your easy reference, especially if you missed the live twitter discussions.

Please let me know what you think in the comments section below.

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Books | A Review of Tafa Osisiye’s “Sixty Percent of a True Story”

60 per cent of a true story by Tafa OsisiyeGROWING UP in the 21st century can be fun, especially for the young and vibrant. Different people approach the fast-paced life in the city differently. Some folks are more adventurous than the others.

Tafa Osisiye’s “60 per cent of a True Story” is a confessional spiced with as many elements of fiction as possible to shield its author and other characters from outrage and judgment from the prude and censorious. It captures select portions of the life of a brilliant young man, sometimes too curious for his own good, who navigates through life in the big city that is Lagos.

Osisiye starts out with vivid recollections of childhood far away from Lagos – a distant memory that establishes him as an ever-curious soul. “Am I too short to be in the university?” the teenager asks his elder sister, often changing topics once he perceives intolerance in the disposition of the subject of his torture. The talkative boy soon morphs into a Political Science undergraduate at the University of Lagos from where he eventually graduates top of the class at age 21. Amidst experimentations with sex, booze, clubbing, advance fee fraud and what not, he gets called to be part of a Presidential candidate’s cracker team of young vibrant strategists.

The narrative is sublime and swift. It keeps you glued to the pages as the writer introduces interesting people he encounters in the university. “If people were colours, my roommates were a kaleidoscope,” he writes. “You meet Sir Henry the short and compact man who had been married twice and liked to make long calls at night. Brawn, six feet tall, sports an afro, has bowlegs, walks in carrying a large bottle of 501 Brandy, and has a guitar strapped across his back.” Brawn would introduce Osisiye, “a simple lad from Akure” to weed smoking and other vices: “I met people who smoked the substance and were very intelligent or claimed to use it for creative purposes like making music,” Osisiye muses.

Osisiye battles to understand faith and the religious folks. He tries to keep his sanity as depression forces him to seek help. He learns, unlearns and relearns; always moving with the ‘bad’ guys, yet wriggling out of tight corners and living on the fast lane.

The story begins to fall apart towards the last 40 per cent as the story shifts to the voices of some other key characters – Korede the eccentric and Chris the wealthy – to whom he dedicates entire sections to. The engaging dialogues from the first half of the book begin to give way to lengthy narratives that struggle to hold the reader’s attention. While these sections could have been better strewn together, Osisiye somehow gets the reader moving along.

The shortcomings notwithstanding, “60 per cent of a True Story” is a brilliant documentary of the realities of a young man’s life in contemporary Lagos. It documents the UNILAG that I also attended between 2006 and 2010 from interesting angles. It also reminds one of a similar book – Phil Adel Leigh’s “Diary of a Jambite,” which I read several years back before UNILAG.

Originally published in The Guardian Newspapers.

Writers In Residence: Call for Participants

writingThis is a call to interested writers who wish to take advantage of this once in a lifetime prospect to be recognised on an international platform such as the Port Harcourt World Book Capital is offering. Application is open to emerging writers from all parts of Nigeria with interests in fiction and creative non-fiction.To participate, writers must be Nigerian citizens or permanent residents of Nigeria, be at least 21 years old and possess a portfolio of good quality written material.

Applications for the Writers in Residence programme must include a statement of what they hope to achieve during the residency, a detailed curriculum vitae and a 1200-1500 words excerpt from a published or unpublished work.

The Writers in Residence project will bring together 12 selected writers (published and unpublished) from all over Nigeria to reside in the city of Port Harcourt for 3 weeks. Throughout their stay, they are expected to exchange ideas and engage in intense training sessions that will be anchored by seasoned literary professionals. They are also expected to draw inspiration and ideas for new works based on the theme of the Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014: Books- Windows to our World of Possibilities, which would then be published in an anthology.

The objectives of the programme include inspiring a new generation of creative writers from all over Nigeria, showing the importance of inter-cultural communication and exchange in order to encourage creative collaboration, raising the profile of aspiring writers participating in the programme and enhancing the exchange of ideas, skills and experience amongst the participating writers.

The Residency is expected to foster cooperation, unity and friendship among the writers thereby encouraging national integration and promote tourist activities in Rivers State.


Applications can be submitted through the form below, or mailed electronically to not later than Friday 22nd August, 2014.
All enquiries should be addressed to the Writers in Residence Programme Coordinator via or via telephone on 08023187731.

Read more here.

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Solitude | Saraba Magazine 16 is out, and Meet my Quiz Winners!

Solitude1_ 640x302Today, let me start by announcing the two winners of the short photo quiz from last week *drum roll!*:

  1. Chioma Nkemdilim
  2. Sunkanmi Akinnifesi

Each winner will receive a voucher worth 10,000 NGN ($60) to shop at Laterna Bookshop in Lagos by Friday, August 29th, 2014.

Saraba Magazine, Issue 16 is out!
Saraba is a literary magazine that aims to create unending voices by publishing the finest emerging writers, with a bias for Nigeria, and Africa. They also publish individual and joint poetry chapbooks. The latest edition of Saraba Magazine is focused on Solitude. Here’s a note from the Publishers of the magazine:

Saraba Magazine, Solitude editionHow do we contemplate solitude?

With silence, hands cradling chin, eyes staring into space in an empty room without articles of interest, an atmosphere of quotidian existence of devotion to matters of the heart?

The matters of the mind, perhaps, might be a more fitting description. The heart is often misconstrued as software; it is rather a fist-size muscle lodged in a rib-cage compelled to whip the body into inevitable exhaustion. The mind is the place of memories, the parlour of thoughts, the hacienda of imaginations, the bedroom of introspection, the bar room of puzzlement. The go-to place when confusion dares one’s sanity, when insecurities threaten, when decisions are to be made, when expositions are to be grieved.

Here at Saraba, it might have sufficed to approach the Solitude issue as a blank document made available for download. We could have made our readers write their remarks on solitude. Self-help. Solitude is best experienced not read about—silence makes home in the crevices of the mind, not outside it.

Find here a cache of short poems and short stories from promising writers from Africa, writing in Africa. Follow them as they grapple with different phases of solitude: from avulsion of romantic partners to a search for solitude that leads to a brief stint in a mental institution. And in your solitary experience, while you grasp at the realities of others, ask yourself what it means to be alone.

Have a good read.

Read more about Saraba Magazine here and download the Solitude edition (Saraba 16) here.
Till I come your way again next week be safe.