It’s Been Ages! Now, I’m Back to the Blog!!!

Dear friends,

It’s been ages since I last blogged here. I cannot find the exact words to qualify the wide range of experiences that filled that period of silence. I have missed my regular interaction with you, my ever-faithful readers. Though, I managed to maintain my regular columns on Bella Naija, I have had to endure what I’d call bouts of (mental) fatigue. You know when you can only read, but keep struggling to even scribble a draft for a blog post. Some commissioned essays, sadly, eventually had to be cancelled. My schedule was so haphazard that I always ended up too drained to sit, focus and just write… Now, I’m sure you’ve had enough of my first paragraph of rambling.

I would like to intimate you of developments in my writing since October. Last month, I decided to work on more regular posts so I came up with strategies to ensure I write more consistently. I began the “On Becoming a Man” (OBM) series on Bellanaija.com where I hope to share my thoughts on crucial matters that I continue to examine as I approach the mid-twenties. It’s been great writing the first four bi-monthly episodes, yet challenging. I must admit that it could be really difficult being so real in one’s writing without becoming vulnerable. Many times you are forced to think twice before spilling some details, especially when they are about you, albeit minute they might be. However, the truth remains that readers readily connect with analogies and relevant (well-told) anecdotes. It is also easy to feel you don’t know enough to be writing about becoming a man. But, that series is meant to be about my observations as I journey through this season of life, and which should/could stimulate discussions amongst readers; it is not necessarily an attempt to tell adults what to do with their life. In summary, I intend to keep experimenting with the voice and hopefully I’ll get that ‘perfect’ voice soon. Perhaps, I might just continue with that journey of reflections and self-discovery beyond my next birthday, if Christ tarries. [See the previous posts here: http://www.bellanaija.com/tag/on-becoming-a-man/]

The other major project I have embarked upon, which I am sorry I have not mentioned yet on this blog, is the Bella Naija Photo Stories. It is a series of photo documentaries based on several fundamental developmental issues in Nigeria. I am collaborating with two photographer friends who are equally doing pretty well in their primary focus – photography. It’s been a beautiful work of synergy and I am very glad being a part of the project. Through a series of fortnightly posts on www.bellanaija.com, Africa’s foremost fashion, entertainment and lifestyle website where I am an Editorial Assistant, we explore the lives of regular, often voiceless Nigerians on the streets who are often overshadowed by the rich and powerful in the society. We have run the first four episodes so far touching on the traders in the informal sector of the economy, waste and environmental pollution and control in Lagos, women of the ‘underground’ economy and commercial motorcyclists in Lagos. You can catch up on all the previous episodes here: http://www.bellanaija.com/tag/bn-photo-stories. The BN Photo Stories series is scheduled to end in the first week of January 2012.

Finally, the end of 2011 is upon us and it’s time for evaluation of the outgoing year. I do not promise many blog posts next month, but I can assure you I’ll be back to my blogging ways. It’s been a whooping 19 months since I started and it is only necessary that I explore more possibilities about my approach to writing /blogging in the New Year. I took a bold step to move to a self-hosted domain in September 2011 and it’s been increasingly rewarding. I would like to spend the most of December reviewing all the blog posts I’ve made since inception and adding a few useful skills to enhance my blogging experience, whilst strategizing and exploring ways to improve in my art and be more effective and consistent next year. Till we see in the next post, be good!

Photo credit: jasonleslie.blogspot.com

Website Review: BellaNaija.com – All That’s Cool on Naija

BellaNaija was created on 1 July 2006 as a blog, but five years down the line, it has morphed into a full-fledged website with well-written material for that avid community of Nigerian internet readers. It is certainly one of the most popular websites of its kind in Africa – enough for its founder to appear on Oprah and CNN! Every day, over twenty thousand unique visitors from across the globe check in for inspiration, entertainment, and useful information.

Columns range from News & Features to Movies & TV. The Music column is a dynamic platform for both the underdogs and the established in the Nigerian music industry. Relationships, perhaps the most frequently visited of all ten columns, has a predominantly female community converging to discuss love, life partners, heartbreaks and marital stress. Comments can get as long as 750 words! Beautiful writers like Glory Edozien, Ejire, and Wana Udobang always bring fresh perspectives to seemingly over-flogged subjects.

The Wedding section is another high-traffic corner – readers swallowing the latest weddings, and commenting on planning, gowns, décor, photography, love story, exotic cars, and expensive suits. Career and inspiring stories are not left out of the mix with periodic features and in-depth interviews with some of Nigeria’s best – innovators, young leaders, and entrepreneurs.

Whatever gets on BellaNaija immediately gets cool, and it’s testament to the incredible hard work of the team behind it. Well done guys.

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This review was first published in the Issue 2 of Y! Magazine (October-December 2010), but has been slightly modified here.

Interview with Chineloma Eleodimuo, UNIBEN’s first ever Female SUG President!

By Gbenga Awomodu

I recently interviewed Chineloma Eleodimuo, UNIBEN’s first ever female Student Union President.

Times have changed, really. The days when women were mostly relegated to the background in intellectual and social discourse are finally giving way to a new era in a modern society where girls and young women are being empowered to take on leadership roles and make constructive input in government policies and business establishments. It is reported that a certain Naja’atu Mohammed was the first female SUG president in Nigeria at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in the 1983/84 session. On Tuesday, February 2, 2010, history was made as over 48,000 students of the University of Benin, Nigeria, went all out to exercise their voting rights. For the first time since the inception of the school in 1970, the only female among the eight contestants, was announced winner at 7PM. She did not have the grandest publicity, but her campaign tag, “Change is Possible”, seemed to have made the victory sure, taking many people by surprise. But with the new office has come more responsibility!

Here’s the link to the full interview on BellaNaija.com.