Celebrating Independence - 419 Reasons to like Nigeria

October 1st is the independence day of Nigeria, and it's been 51 years since the country got independence from Britain. While we have nothing much to celebrate, today, I'm joining hundreds of other bloggers and social media users on a positive campaign for Nigeria, facilitated by ‘The 419Positive Project’.
For too long, Nigeria and Nigerians have been readily associated with the online scams, financial crime and impersonation - termed ‘419’. However, beyond the unfortunate stereotyping, there are several positive characteristics and cogent intriguing traits of the country Nigeria, and its people. Some of these are highlighted below as part of the ‘419 Reasons to Like Nigeria’ campaign which enlisted 100 volunteers and bloggers to share reasons why they like Nigeria. These reasons echo the voices of Nigerians, with resonating similar themes.
The full list of ‘419 Reasons to Like Nigeria’ is available www.419positive.org  
The list of contributors to ‘419 Reasons to Like Nigeria’ is available here
If you would like to say something positive about Nigerians and Nigeria, please do so here.

419 Reasons to Like Nigeria

v  I like Nigeria because it is a land of endless opportunities and possibilities. Nigeria is one country whose true potentials I believe the world is yet to experience. I believe Nigerians are sharp, brilliant and accommodating people. Giving the right enabling environment the world will marvel at what Nigeria will become.
v  Nigeria is the most populous black nation - and a buying one at that. From a capitalist point of view, this makes for great investment opportunities.
v  The fact that Nigeria currently lags behind so much - in infrastructure and developmental terms - hints at the size of the potential for innovation and transformation, and at the huge number of vacancies that exist for 'transformers'. What I think this means is that the world will be hearing a lot about Nigeria and high-achieving Nigerians (in the public and private sectors) in the near future.
v  The Nigerian Green and White flag is a notable national symbol. The green color symbolises agriculture, seeing that the country is endowed with masses of arable land, while the white colour signifies unity and peace. Other national symbols include the Nigerian Coat of Arms, which depicts an eagle on a black shield, tri-sected by two wavy silver bands, and supported on either side by two chargers. The national motto underlies the coat-of -arms: "Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress." Her national symbols convey great meaning to its people.
v  The Nigerian accent is currently ranked by CNN Global Experiences as the 5th sexiest accent in the world.
v  Nigeria is home to Nollywood, one of the world's biggest film industries.

v  Something great to like about Nigeria is our cultural diversity. A strong affinity exists, despite our differences. Learning about other ethnic cultures in my country really helped me personally relate to other cultures when abroad.
v  I think the food is tastier in Nigeria than that I have found in other countries.
v  Nigerians live a communal life style. The extended family is part of the immediate family in a Nigerian home.

v  Nigeria has produced many world class musicians. A notable mention in this regard is Fela Anikulapo Kuti. A Broadway show titled ‘FELA!’ was produced in 2009 depicting the life and times of the Afrobeat musician.
v  Nigeria’s movie industry, Nollywood, is reputedly the 3rd largest film industry after Hollywood and Bollywood, and has grown gradually into a $250 million industry in more than 10 years.
v  Nigerian indigenous musical instruments are unique, soulful and rhythmic. They comprise the popular Talking Drum, producing proverbial and storytelling sounds, the Shaker (shekere), the Udu drum, the Lute, the leg and arm Rattle, the Omele, the Ogene (Gong originating in Eastern Nigeria), the Ekwe drum and the Kakaki (A 4m metal trumpet popular in Northern Nigeria). Many of these instruments have been incorporated in South American music over the years

v  Nigeria     Nigeria is a nation blessed with rich human and natural resources. As the 8th largest exporter of Oil in the world, with the 10th largest proven reserves, our blessings cannot be overemphasised. No earthquakes, no tsunamis, no droughts, an evergreen land. The rest of the world should live here.
v  The beauty of the Nigerian state cannot but leave one in awe. Blessed with captivating physical features and abundant wild life. From the rolling hills to the vast plains in the North Central Nigeria and the forests in the South, the beautiful scenery of the country is more than breathtaking and with the wildlife spread all over the country; Nigeria is surely a beauty to behold and a tourist's delight all year round.
v  Nigeria is blessed with tremendous agricultural resources. Cotton in the North, Cocoa & Oil palm in the south amongst many others. The flag is green for a reason

v  Nigeria has the largest population of any country in Africa. Approximately 1 out of every 2 West Africans, 1 out of every 4 Africans, and 1 out of every 5 persons of African origin is a Nigerian.
v  Nigeria is the largest contributor of troops to the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) and by extension, is the largest force for peace and stability in West Africa.
v  A Nigerian will stand out anywhere you find him/her, from Libya to London, Tokyo to Timbuktu. Well known examples include Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston Rockets, USA), Olumide Oyedeji (Seattle Sonics), Tunde Baiyewu (Lighthouse Family), Sunday Adelaja (Ukraine), Chris Aire (US), etc.

v  Nigerians are intelligent, brilliant minds who have proven their mettle in various fields - Wole Soyinka was the first African to win the much coveted Nobel Prize for literature in 1986. Chinua Achebe’s classic novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ was ranked as number 14 in a list of top 100 books in the world by Newsdesk in 2009. Others include Cyprian Ekwensi, Mabel Segun, Chimamanda Adichie and Helon Habila whose literary works have won both international and local awards at various times.
v  We have budding fashion designers. Yes! It's a line every Bunmi, Amaka and Amina has decided to tow but to disregard the effort and originality of our Fashion Designers would be disrespectful. Tiffany Amber, Lanre Da Silva and Deola Sagoe are building world renowned brands, not to mention the legacy developed by the likes of Abba Folawiyo, Maureen Onigbanjo, Remi Lagos and Zizzi Cardow.
v  Nigerians have excelled in the fields of economics and finance, managing well established global bodies. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the current Minister of Finance, was until recently a Managing Director at The World Bank.  Obiageli Ezekwisili is currently the Vice President for Africa at The World Bank. Mr Adebayo Ogunlesi is a first class graduate of Oxford, and Managing Partner of Global infrastructure Partner (GIP), a concessionaire of London’s Gatwick International Airport.
v  We take technology and expand it in ways those who created it could not have imagined. For instance, take the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) which allows you to send broadcast messages to all addresses on your contacts list; Nigerians recently found a unique way of advertising the different businesses they do. Someone started a message highlighting the fact that many people in Nigeria are entrepreneurs or provide a service and included his BB PIN in the message and sent to all his contacts with the charge that they state the service they provide, include their PIN and send on to all their contacts too. This seemingly small campaign has gone “viral” with whole lists of entrepreneurs and their BB PINs being passed from phone to phone. This is a clear sign of the ingenuity of Nigerians!

v  Nigeria is the 7th most populous nation in the world (over 160 million) and most populous in Africa - a gold mine of energetic, determined and talented people in each and every field. From Lagos to Aba to Kano, the Nigerian business spirit and desire to succeed is visible. It requires just proper harnessing of these human resources before Nigeria becomes the super power she was meant to be.
v  Nigerians are passionate, friendly, welcoming, hospitable, and well cultured people. The average Nigerian reflects a combination of vivacity, intelligence, energy, talent, and resolution.
v  We are a nation of people that can hardly hide their excitement at seeing family and friends. Some misconstrue this thinking we are loud but let's just say we are EXPRESSIVE! If you see us on the streets of New York making a big ruckus and hugging? No sweat. We are just happy to see each other.

v  The Giant of Africa: Not ignoring the current challenges, eventually, when we get our act right, we will reign supreme on the global scene. We have the potential and as is much touted by the Warri people - "Naija no dey carry last"
v  The 'survivor-mentality' hard-wired into the DNA of Nigeria's people. The fact that against all the odds (and there are many of them), Nigerians continue to live, hustle and seek to triumph. It is not by mistake that Nigeria is regarded as one of the "happiest" countries in the world, despite its challenging economic and social conditions.
v  We are hardy. The average Nigerian does business under circumstances that are unimaginable to people from other parts. In a place where there is no power, no credit, and scant regulation, people do business and do very well for themselves too. If you can make it in Nigeria, you can make it anywhere in the world.

v  Nigeria is an amazing tourist haven and is home to the Obudu Cattle Ranch, located in Calabar. It is only 45 miles from the Cameroon border. The Obudu Plateau is spread over 40 sq. miles and is 5,200 feet above sea level. The Obudu resort features a Gorilla Camp where tourists may observe gorillas in their natural habitat.
v  Nigeria has two UNESCO world heritage sites, the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove and the Sukur Cultural Landscape in Adamawa. UNESCO world heritage sites are places designated as being of cultural significance.
v  Nigeria has produced great footballers like Teslim “Thunder” Balogun (the first Nigerian to play for an English Club – QPR), Segun Odegbami, Muda Lawal, Stephen Keshi, Rashidi Yekini (who scored Nigeria’s first ever goal at the World Cup), Nwankwo Kanu, Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha, John Mikel Obi, Osaze Odemwingie, to mention but a few.
v  Nigeria has excelled in athletics over the years, still holding continental records in the 100m men and women, 4x100m men and women, 400m men and women, among others. Over 100 skilled Nigerian professional footballers played in First Division leagues in different countries all over Europe in the 2010/2011 season, 9 in England; 8 each in Finland, Norway; 10 in Ukraine and 7 in Sweden.

v  Nigerians, despite our diversity are a united people who always strive to help one another. With 774 local government areas, multi religious and ethnic affiliations, 36 States, and population of over 160 million, we still stand undeterred to move forward together.
v  Even outside the country, Nigerians remain united. This gives a quiet assurance somewhat that you can get on a plane and go to any country of the world and find a Nigerian there who will not only make you feel welcome but will go out of their way to be of really good help. I have experienced this several times on my travels and each time it amazes me how all I need to be is a Nigerian, not Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa and once I run into another Nigerian, I will immediately feel at home.
v  Our greatest strength lies in our diversity.

The ‘419 Reasons to Like Nigeria’ Campaign is in partnership with ‘The 419Positive Project’.

Blog awards still make my heart smile

Yes, they do. In 2 years of blogging, I've gotten my fair share of awards. Still, each time someone thinks me worthy, it's new all over again. Melanie of Feather Pens, Tartan Dreams said; "this is my first visit to Myne’s blog. And I was impressed. A beautiful lady with lots to say. I subscribed immediately."
Thank you Melanie for joining my site and for the Versatile Blogger Award. I hope I have the chance to keep sharing my different facets with my readers.

- Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
- Share 7 things about yourself.
- Pass this Award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it!

Rule number one is sorted, so let's move on to the next. OK, I forgot to say that the danger of awards that ask me to talk about myself is that I may run out of stuff to say, LOL..but not yet.

1. I am the second of three sisters and one brother.
2. Thanks to a road trip last summer, I've now visited about 10 states in the US.
3. There are 5 cities I consider part of who I am, Enugu, Asaba, Abuja, Edinburgh and Seattle
4. Love for my husband is still shacking (intoxicating) me after 2 and half years of marriage.
5. I am TTC and I'm wondering if I'm out of my mind.
6. At just 5'1, I'm shorter than most people.
7. I try to exercise self control, but my sweet tooth gets the better of me most times.

Now to the tagging...I've come across several blogs recently, especially with the platform building campaign. The following are just a few whose writing keeps me going back for more.

http://zouzousmuses.blogspot.com/ - Zouzou's Musings
http://duchessdiscussesdisability.blogspot.com/ - Duchess discusses Disability
http://publishness.blogspot.com/ - Angela Brown
http://christinerains-writer.blogspot.com/ - Chritine Rains - Writer
http://toinlicious.blogspot.com/ - Toinlicious Words
http://www.medeiasharif.com/ - Medeia Sharif
http://thewritersfunhouse.blogspot.com/ - Modulations
http://fashiondivvah.blogspot.com/ - Life is what you make of it
http://lola-x.blogspot.com/ - Lola-Land: The re-invention
http://www.thewritingreader.com/blog/ - The Writing Reader
http://isetfiretotherain.wordpress.com/ - Ramblings of a Diva
http://aneclecticmuse.blogspot.com/ - An Eclectic Muse
http://apysworld.blogspot.com/ - Priscy's World
http://www.alicross.com/ - Ali Cross
http://lucianochinwe.blogspot.com/ - Luciano's World

Stand a chance to win A Heart to Mend from RWOWA

Romance Writers of West Africa (RWOWA) is a group dedicated to the growth of African romantic fiction worldwide and I am one of the founding members, YAY! We have set up our website, and will be rewarding our subscribers each month with a book from the published members. For October, the group will be giving away a free copy of my bestselling debut novel, “A Heart to Mend.*

How to enter:
- Subscribe to RWOWA. The email form is on the right lower corner of the website.**

- Follow @RWOWA on twitter

- Like the RWOWA page on Facebook.

One lucky winner will be selected at the end of September. The winner will be announced on 1 October 2011. Sorry I'm bringing this news so late, but that means you have to go, go, go ----

*E-book copy

**This giveaway is International. Contestants must complete a minimum of 2 of the above criteria to be eligible. Email subscription via the RWOWA website is mandatory. Contestants can choose between following on twitter or facebook and are encouraged to do both. Please mention @rwowa on twitter when you follow, or leave a message on our Facebook wall when you join so your entry can be confirmed.

PS, Hope your week is going well so far?

How to Express Love to your Wife

Sometime ago on Facebook, someone shared on how express love to your husband. This was shared in the Just Us Girls group by a man so I understand he's talking to his audience. So, I'm closing my eyes to the sexism in the list, that's a post for another day. But I feel there's a lacuna in that hardly any relationship expert advises the men, so this is my own version of how to express love to your wife. Enjoy the rest of the list after the break. More love to us all...
1. Say “I love you” often to him her.
2. Tell him her often that you are happy to marry him her.
3. Cook his her food promptly.
4. Listen to him her when he she talks.
5. Pray Talk with him her often.
6. Sit on his her lap when you are alone, and also in public.
7. Tell him her he she is handsome, brilliant and wealthy everything to you.
8. Occasionally, take his her food to him her in the bedroom before he she gets up especially on weekends.
9. Sit down with him her as he she watches football her favorite show or any other programme on TV.
10. Learn some things about his her job and discuss these with him her.

11. Scrub his her back for him her in the bathroom as you take your bath together.
12. Write a love letter and post it to him her in the office.
13. Call him her on phone just to say, “I love you”.
14. Give him her gifts often.
15. Tell him her that the best thing that ever happened to you after your salvation is him her.
16. Ask for his her opinion often and follow it. This will boost his her ego.
17. Sit down with him her in the living room and place your head on his her lap when alone, and also when people are there.
18. If your children do anything good, tell them they took after their father mother.
19. Take the first move in bed. Tell him her gently “I want your touch, my love,” Don’t be ashamed demanding. He She is your husband wife, not a slave.
20. Write love poems for him her and read it to him her as he she is relaxing
21. Welcome him home with a hug.
22. Ask for forgiveness when you offend him.
23. Never disagree with him publicly.
24. Laugh to his jokes even though you have heard them so many times. It shows him you love him.
25. Read the Bible to his hearing.
26. Never disagree with him when he disciplines the children.
27. Always allow him to teach you and ask questions.
28. Hang his picture in your office and in the room.
29. When he is not driving and you are travelling together, place your head on his chest or lap and sleep off.
30. Love his mother and other relations.
31. Never raise your voice when talking to him.
32. Whisper in his ears when he is in the crowd and tell him “I love you”, “you are handsome”, “you look like a king”.
42. Ask him what do you want me to do better in my cooking?
43. Write and paste a romantic message for him in the bedroom.
44. Help him to massage his body; spend time on the back, thigh, tummy, chest, face, buttocks, leg, etc.
45. Send gifts to his mother often
46. Give him the needed attention
47. Prepare his favourite meal for him
48. Dress well and walk smartly
49. Help him as he dresses out for an outing
50. Appreciate him at the end of the month in company of the children for taking care of you throughout the month.

Read More top posts;

How to have lasting online romance - http://www.mynewhitmanwrites.com/2012/11/how-to-have-lasting-online-romance.html

Safety tips for online dating - http://www.mynewhitmanwrites.com/2012/08/safety-tips-online-dating-social-networking.html

Arranged Marriage versus personal choice - http://www.mynewhitmanwrites.com/2012/11/arranged-marriage-versus-personal-choice.html

Can Online dating become lasting love? - http://www.mynewhitmanwrites.com/2010/07/can-online-love-become-lasting-love.html

How to Express love to your wife - http://www.mynewhitmanwrites.com/2011/09/how-to-express-love-to-your-wife.html

9 Ways to know when you're in Love - http://www.romancemeetslife.com/2012/11/9-ways-to-know-when-youre-in-love.html

How to Find out Reason for relationship breakup - http://www.mynewhitmanwrites.com/2013/03/wanting-to-know-reason-for-break-up.html

Steps to a successful relationship - http://www.romancemeetslife.com/2010/10/steps-to-successful-relationship.html

How to deal with unrequited love or the friend zone - http://www.mynewhitmanwrites.com/2012/12/unrequited-love-lets-call-it-friend-zone.html

Campaign Challenge II : Imago

One hand holding his nose, Paul fought to keep his balance as he took wide steps, avoiding the lacuna between the slabs he was walking on. Beside him rose a concrete wall, topped by nails jutting into the night sky. He should be home, but the restaurant where he washed dishes had closed late, and one of the chefs had suggested this strange shortcut to the bus stop.
Tiredness washed over him but he tried not to oscitate, keeping in mind the miasma from the gutter beneath. His stomach growled as Paul recalled the kitchen during dinner hour. A deeper growl echoed some feet away in synchronicity and Paul peered into the darkness, his heart beginning to race.
Two glowing eyes emerged from the shadows followed by the rest of a massive dog. A security light suddenly came on, glinting off the shiny coat of the dog as it began to bark. Snapped into action, Paul took a step backward, and then another. The dog stood before a gatehouse, and in the mirror of the glass doors, appeared as two.
“Get him!” Someone shouted.
The dog and its image leaped forward as one, saliva dribbling down their jowls.
Paul ran.

The Challenge from the PBC was:
Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should:
include the word "imago" in the title
include the following 4 random words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate," "synchronicity,"
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post.
For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!
I had to look up most of the words before I started. Oscitate means yawn, synchronicity is synonymous with unrelated coincidences, lacuna is a gap, and miasma is bad air. I used all four words, there is a mirror in the post, and this is exactly 200 words. Hope you like my effort. For those not in the campaign, feel free to write yours and link to this.

Picture Weekend - Revenge, my tiny Afro

I learned a new phrase last night, double infinity.

It's from the new ABC show, Revenge, which I watched on the Friday showing. We missed the premiere on Wednesday cos we went out but now the show has definitely found its place on my must-watch list. Growing up, I struggled with the revenge side of my scorpio, and it's a theme that still holds a fascination for me (see A Heart to Mend). Anyway, I went on wiki and found that the TV show is an adaptation of "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alex Dumas, and I'm a huge fan of that book. There's been a lot of changes obviously, but I'm already liking that the two main characters are strong females, terrifically acted by Emily VanCamp, and Madeleine Stowe, and I look forward to how the writers will pull it off.

On to my hair, I cut my it in late March and the second picture was taken in the second week of April. The first was taken just this Wednesday, and if I do say so myself, I think the hair is growing. As you can see, the front grows faster than the back, giving me a punk look, lol...

Funny thing is, I've not really done much with it. I've put it in corn-rows a couple of times, once in single braids, and then when I was planning to go put extensions to cover/protect it (weaves or braids), I had the fall. I'm hoping to fix it up soon though. Hopefully it will get some rest from the frequent combing, I think it's beginning to shed more than usual and winter is on the way. :(

Have a great weekend all, mwah!

Abia gang rape suspect identified – Nigerian Minister

This is the best news I've read on this matter since it broke.
"The minister said, “More than 70 per cent of the information we have on the rape will not be said here for obvious security reasons. But I can tell you we have information on it.
“The girl is not a student of Abia State University. She was raped in an off-campus residential area of students.
“One of them (suspects) has been identified conclusively.”
Although the faces of the rapists are not seen in the video, the minister said the National Human Rights Commission was on top of the situation.
He said, “Some legal experts have told us that it may be difficult to convict the rapists because the video does not reveal the face of the victims.
“The National Human Rights Commission is working with the Ministry of Youth Development. The commission, which is headed by a competent lawyer, is on top of this case.
“This is law, if we can not press for rape, there are other charges that we can press. I can assure you that justice will be done.”"
Read the full report: The Punch:: Gang rape suspect identified – Minister

It appears the Punch Newspapers have taken up the story and you can get a lot of information on their website.
House of Reps ask IG to find perpetrators 
Women groups are mobilising for legal battle

There are some less reliable reports out there, like 24/7 that lists names as "perpetrators" when it should rightly be suspects. Their names and FB pages were then circulated on twitter to serious backlash. In actual fact, those are persons of interest, some of who may have come forward, willing to help police investigations. If you have passed on the wrong initial report, please do post a retraction.

On a final note, I know we're all charged up about this case, I am too. But when we want to avoid flash in the pan reactions that may boomerang, we should allow due process to take its course. By so doing, our police, civil society and judicial system can learn, and build their muscles, and proper structures can then be embedded for the long run.


WIP: You have nothing more to prove

Continued from WIP: It's what you're not doing that bothers me.

“Stop this, mama. I can’t listen to this anymore. Stop it!”
“You stop it!” Her mother snapped, springing to her feet. “I can’t believe how ungrateful you’re being. So many single girls of your age will jump at this opportunity.”
“Then go and offer it to them. I don’t need it, I don’t need you to order my life, and I certainly don’t need any man, let alone a mother’s boy like the one you have described.”
“A man who respects his mother is to be admired, so don’t go shooting off your mouth. Any woman will tell you those men on good terms with their mothers will treat their wives well. And don’t tell me you don’t need a man either, every woman needs a man! Yes, I said it.” She added at Dunni’s sharp glare. “You think because you’re in America you’re spared? You better wake up and smell the coffee or is that not what your American friends say? Or are they not all married, or with their own men? Why will your case be different?”
Dunni got slowly to her feet. The headache was now a full blown hammer thudding behind her eyes. She wanted to crawl into a dark place and just cry.
“Mama, I won’t stand here and listen to more of this. I am going to the kitchen.”
“Dunni, Dunni, how many times have I called you, Dunni?”
This was a favorite tactic of her mum, calling someone’s name several times as a way to assert authority. Dunni stalked past her and then stopped. Her father had just walked into the doorway. He was still in his pyjamas and they hung on him.
“What is going on here?” he asked, “I heard your voices from my room.”
“Talk to your daughter o,” her mother said turning to face both of them with a triumphant look on her face. “Dunni doesn’t know when people want something good for her.”
“Do you know about this?” Dunni asked her father.
He sighed, shut the door and went to sit on the bed Dunni and her mum had vacated.
“Please sit down, both of you.”
Her mom sat on the only armchair in the room and Dunni sat beside her father.
“Did you?” she repeated.
“Did I know that your mom discussed you with her friend? Yes, I do. Is it so bad that we both want you to get married and settle down with your own family?”

Dunni expected it to hurt more than it actually did, but as she looked at her father speak, all she felt a gritty knowledge that he was being realistic. Though she didn’t know they would go as far as arranging a marriage for her, it wasn’t as if this was the first time it was being mentioned that they’d want her married sooner rather than later.
“But Dunni, we haven’t been making these plans all this while you’ve been here while keeping you in the dark. If you must know, I told your mother a couple of days ago about your plans to move back to Nigeria and it was only then that she went ahead to agree to her friend’s request and arrange for you to meet the woman.”
“I’m meeting the woman?” Dunni asked.
 “Yes. And let’s get this straight,” he continued, over her mother’s mutterings. “We’re not going to force you to marry this man. But it would be great if after seeing his mother, you make the effort to meet and get to know him as well, that’s all.”
Dunni looked away from him and stared at her twisting fingers, feeling self-pity wash over her. She prided herself on her independence and the ability to achieve what she wanted. Really, she had expected to get married before now, it just hadn’t happened. It felt so shameful that her parents had to find someone for her. She shook her head and exhaled.
“Now, don’t feel bad my dear. You did say you were planning to come back to Nigeria soon anyway. This only makes it easier for you. We respect that you’ve achieved a lot professionally, but you have nothing more to prove. Don’t you trust we’ll only choose someone we feel is worth our precious, accomplished daughter?”
Dunni looked over at her mother whose only sign that she was still part of the conversation was a shaking knee. Her head was bowed and so Dunni could not see her expression to know what she was thinking.
“I want to see you settled with your own husband and children before I die, and as we know, that may not be long now,” her father said.
Dunni looked at him, her mouth dropping open in speechless shock. Her mother burst into noisy tears, with harsh prayers interspersing her sobs.
“Baba Dunni, how can you say that? God forbid bad thing. I reject it in Jesus name.” She went on for a couple of minutes, rejecting the wishes of her enemies and calling on anyone to help to plead long life for her husband.
Then she turned to Dunni, “Why are you so stubborn, eh? Do you want to kill your father for me? Don’t we deserve our own grandchildren?”
In the end, Dunni gave in. She knew when her mother crossed from genuine fear to wanting to get her own way but she didn’t mind, not now. She listened as her mother quickly wiped her tears and began to praise her friend who Dunni was to meet that evening. She would be the perfect mother-in-law, her mother raved, so sociable and generous, and she did not pry in the son’s life. As for the potential husband, his name was Tunde, and he was from one of the foremost political families in Ilorin. Dunni bit her lips as her mother listed his very impressive achievements. Tunde had a great job, a position that paid him so well that he could afford to travel abroad anytime, sometimes going along with his mother. With his mother dreaming that he would go into politics, Dunni stood the chance of one day being the wife of a governor, or even the first lady of the president of the country.
She sniffed when her father got up and left them, assuming everything was settled. She had agreed to have a discussion with the prospective mother-in-law and to meet the eligible bachelor when they got back to Ilorin. Anyway, that was what she told her mother. Dunni stood up and finally pulled the dressing gown over her pajamas. In her mind, she plotted. 

Speak up and stop the predators

UPDATE: Like Ginger pointed out in the comments, the onus should not just be on the girl and I totally agree. It is on us all. Some people are putting their money where their mouth is. #eienigeria

I read Seun Odukoya's blog and discovered that Abike Dabiri is calling on the rape victim in this video to step forward. Seun says it's not that easy to speak up, and I agree.
In my final year in University, I was harassed for sexual favors by one of my lecturers. It was not in exchange for grades and he did not threaten to fail me. Maybe he did hope to scare me, after all I was young and under his power. He was in his forties, and one of the top lecturers in the department. Of course I had heard stories about his womanizing ways, but when he showed an interest in me, I thought it was only because I was billed to be the best of my class.  

I frequently went to his office for one thing or the other, sometimes with classmates, and other times alone. That day, he called me specifically and I followed him. I left the door open but after we spoke for a while, he went and closed it. He sat beside me and told me how my intelligence turned him on and asked whether I was interested in a relationship. Confused and embarrassed, I said I wasn’t and got up to leave. He asked me to pass him some files on the floor and when I bent over, he touched my backside. Then, I wished the floor should open up and swallow me.
While inside I was so humiliated and scared, I tried to show a bold face. I glared at him and walked out of the room. For a while I avoided him, and I did not tell anyone what had happened. But I couldn’t continue missing his classes, and when I returned, he pretended that nothing had happened, smiling and chatting with me. I followed his lead, and put it behind me. I was a big girl, wasn’t I?
Although I later started talking about it when the issue of sexual harassment in school came up, I never made a big deal of it back at the University. I went to his house when his wife had a baby, and attended his mother’s funeral. I didn’t want anyone to suspect, I didn’t want to be one of the statistics. I could almost hear people asking, what were you wearing that day? Why were you alone with a male lecturer in a closed office? I didn’t want any part of that. I was the perfect victim.
Why do I say that? I’ve since come to realize that the predator’s greatest protection is the victim’s silence. Sometimes I wonder how many other girls that lecturer lured because I remained silent.
But why do we remain silent? It goes back to those questions people will ask. And it is not just people, it is authority figures, vice chancellors, courts, leaders. They will ask, "Why is she making noise, after all, he didn't do much. She should just move on. She must have done something to deserve it. We know this man, he is too respectable to do that. He is a married man with a family, why does she want to wreck his home? She’s just a bitter girl, out to destroy an illustrious career." And on and on…
Back to the video making the rounds. I’m sure the young men that gang-raped the victim and made the video were counting on society’s self righteous judgment against her as we’re seeing on blogs and social media. They must be counting on the victim being shamed into silence and preferring to move on with her life. That is their protection. 
And that is why I join in calling for the girl to report to either the police or preferably a charity that can represent her. She is the only one that can quickly identify those men. Keeping silent will not heal her trauma, in fact most therapy require you to talk about your abuse. Also, imagine if these beast are left to roam, who knows how many more lives they will destroy? They need to be identified, and their power demystified.
In a chat on FB, someone in Abia State where this happened says the news is already dying down, the view is that we bloggers are just making noise. A friend who works with Radio Nigeria says the only clear way forward for their investigative reporter is to speak with the girl, as other avenues may be to resource intensive. We can already see the Governor and School authorities ready to close the case.
So this is a call to the girl and those abused in the past or in the future. Please speak up and do not protect the predators. Stand forward and stop the cycle. HUGS.

WIP : It's what you haven’t done that bothers me

Do you remember this post? Those was early days indeed, but that scene remains a part of my WIP. I've revamped it using the feedback and comments I received back then. Enjoy...

The sound of the switch as the light came on woke her. Dunni stretched, blinking blearily in the harsh fluorescence. The sound of music playing in the background did not help the small scrimping at the back of her skull, and when she saw her mother standing at the bedroom door, she groaned. It couldn’t be morning already, could it? It seemed like just an hour ago that she had gone to bed. Folarin and his siblings had stayed till late, eating dinner with  her family and then after her parents had gone to bed, her cousins had lingered, catching up on family gist.
“Dunni, get up.” Her mum said. “You need to make some more chin-chin, I noticed it’s finished and you know how much your dad loves your chin-chin. We’re already in the kitchen, have been since 4am. I sent Funmi to come and wake you up about an hour ago so I don’t know why you’re still lying down there. Get up jare.”

Dunni turned over and tried to shut out her mother’s voice. However, her mother must have opened the door wider because the music from the living room became louder. Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way. Dunni gritted her teeth; didn’t they know Christmas was over?
“Dunni… Dunni… ” her mother was standing right over her head.
Cracking open a half-shut eye, Dunni saw a ladle tapping against the colorful apron. When she raised her head, the glower in her mother’s eyes made her shrug off her blanket.
“Alright, alright… I’m coming.” She muttered, pushing her legs over the side of the bed.
“I know you’ll like to sleep more, but is it my fault that last night you and your cousins finished the chin-chin you already made? And you know we have to finish cooking in time to get ready for the memorial service this afternoon.”
“I know, Mama. But you agree the chin-chin was great?” Dunni tried to smile through squinted eyes at her mother. It was a bit cold in the room and she looked around for her dressing gown to put over her night gown.
Her mum smiled and beckoned Dunni to follow her. “Come on, maybe it won’t take so much time to make the chin-chin since you’re making a smaller batch. You can sleep later…”
One of the cooking women interrupted them from the now wide open door, “Mama Dunni, the meat is almost done. Should I transfer them to the oil in the frying pan?”
Dunni eyes were drawn beyond the woman to the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree in the living room. The tentative light of dawn filtering in through the drapes gave the outer room the feel of coziness which had fled hers since her mum switched on the overhead light in the bid to wake her. She wiped her eyes and stretched again.
“Just turn off the heat on both, I’m coming,” her mother replied.
When they were alone again, her mother sat down beside her on the bed, the ladle going tap, tap, tap, on her thigh. “Before we go to the kitchen, there’s something I want to tell you.”
“What is it, Mama? Dunni hadn’t had enough sleep, and there was the incipient headache coming on. “Maybe we can talk later in the evening.”
 “That will be too late,” her mum said in a low tone. “I thought I could avoid speaking to you about this and have events run their course but I’ve realized that won’t be fair on you.”
Dunni’s heart slammed into her ribcage and she blinked in dread. “This isn’t about Dad, is it?” She dropped the gown she’d been about to put on and gripped her mother’s hand.
“No, your father is fine. This is about you.”
“What have I done?” Dunni dropped the hand and shifted away, a new kind of chill swamping her.
 “It is what you haven’t done that is bothering me, Dunni.” Her mother dropped the ladle between them and spread out both hands. “You haven’t gotten married, that’s what!”
Dunni could guess what was coming next. This wasn’t the first time her mom would be having the marriage talk with her, in the past few years, it had featured in almost all their phone conversations. However, since her return for this vacation, her mother had mostly left that task to the friends and relations that came to the house. Dunni waited to hear how her mother would approach the talk this time. On her part, she would try to play it cool.
“Time is passing o, my daughter. When am I going to dance at your wedding and carry your children, eh?”
Dunni remained silent, but her teeth clenched in anger.
“You don’t want to talk, eh? OK, I want you to do something for me. There’s someone I’ve arranged for you to meet. Are you listening?”
“I’m listening,” Dunni mumbled. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing but she would hear her mother out first before speaking.
“If you want me to feel guilty, I won’t o. Do you know that all, and I mean all, the girls your age that I personally know are married. You are overdue to settle down, Dunni, and that is the truth. I was confused when you were with that your white man. While I didn’t want you to marry someone of a different culture, I also wanted you to get married and be done with it. But no, you wasted two years with him. Yes, wasted because what do you have to show for it? Nothing. It is more than two years now, and still you do nothing.”
As pain spread through her in a dull ache, Dunni mustered a reply, “What did you want me to do, Mama? Chase men along the road?”
 “You and this your sharp mouth.”  Her mother pursed her lips and shrugged, adjusting her Buba neckline with a long hiss.
Dunni knew what her mother refrained from saying. That it was her snarky and sarcastic talk keeping men away from her. After all, she was attractive enough, everybody said how good looking she was. They didn’t have to talk about her shape, she knew it drew men like bees to honey. Sometimes it wasn’t the type of men she wanted, like that Babs from the trek. She didn’t regret how she had dismissed him.
“Anyway,” her mother continued, “if you don’t want to do something, then I will do it for you. But, you must get married before your next birthday, that is all I know.”
Dunni couldn’t help smiling. “Have you become a soothsayer now, mom?”
“I haven’t, but like I said I have planned for you to meet a potential husband. A friend who also has an unmarried son and I, have decided to take matters in hand. Her son is old enough and capable too. We believe you’ll both make the perfect couple.”
“What! You can’t be serious, mom.” 
“I am o,” her mother adjusted her blouse again, avoiding Dunni’s wide eyes. “The woman will be here for the memorial service and she wants to see you. The son has agreed to marry whomever the mother selects for him and I know she will not turn you down, my own daughter! But she wants to see you and talk to you first, she's a wonderful woman…”
“Mama, you don’t really believe I will go along with your plans?”
“What is wrong with you, Dunni?" Her mother jumped to her feet, "Marriage has proved to be something you cannot do for yourself and here you are charging for me. Abeg, go and sit down! See, if everything works out as I have been discussing with this my potential inlaw, we can set your wedding date for once you make Associate at your job.”


This is a long scene so check back on Wednesday for the continuation. Have a great week!

Blogger Ball #7

This is an intro for those coming from the Blogger's Ball 7. You're welcome to my blog.

Welcome to the SheWrites Blogger Ball!

Myne Whitman is my pen name. I live in Seattle with my husband from where I write and blog full time. I am also the publisher and managing editor for a critique and social networking website for aspiring Nigerian writers at Naijastories.com.

My two books, A Heart to Mend and A Love Rekindled are self-published, and I'm working on my third. The first, AHTM, recently got to no 1 on the Amazon UK Kindle bestsellers list for Inspirational Romance and also Romantic Suspense. The links to read the reviews are to the left, and below that are links to my blog topics.

Thanks for coming over, and I hope you'll join my site. See you over at yours soon.

Picture weekend - Mountain Climbing

Hi people, hope your weekend has started well? Mine will be fairly laid back, we're going to see Contagion later today, and I'll probably try to do some writing. On the latter, my work in progress (A Fiery Love) has some mountain climbing scenes in it and I've been doing some research online to get the setting in order. But I also have to describe how the characters feel, you know, how they're out of breath, the feeling of satisfaction when they get to the top, that sort of thing.

So, a couple of weeks ago after my cast was removed, we decided to do something we've been putting off because of my broken arm, tackle one of the lower peaks of a mountain near by. A friend joined us and we set out. The first picture is of a dry waterfall. We went at the wrong time, I guess. The grove was all set up, but no water. Boo! like one small girl we came across with her family said.

I was trying to channel a Cougar, which the mountain was named after, you know, blend into the background :)

The trek was excruciating at points, we took some detours to see the sights, like this small lake in the clay pits. When we finally got to the top, the view made it absolutely worth it.

The view from the top of Lake Sammamish.
Well, Dunni and Babs will be getting some real to life writing of their Erin Ijesha treks through my experience of Cougar Mountain, lol...

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and see you Monday with an excerpt. Mwah!

Friendship - Can we not agree to disagree?

A topic has been flying around blogsville for the past couple of days and  with posts, counter-posts and comments, the battle lines were drawn. I am a strong proponent for social rights and while in Edinburgh, I worked to promote gay health and rights, but that doesn't mean I'm blind to the feelings of those who feel uncomfortable with homosexuality. I don't think it's right to demonize them as stupid, sad, ignorant, close-minded, judgmental, archaic, etc; which was what it seemed most of the counter-posts were about, or they were providing platforms for others to throw the insults.

See, I can be very sociable most times but I find it difficult to make friends. This is because I can hold different opinions from most people on various topics. Also, I find cliques very confining because it seems that once a group has agreed on one thing, the members are expected to agree on everything. And this is so difficult for me because my mind sometimes works in seemingly illogical and sometimes contradictory ways. So, when I see people I think understand difference, it gladdens my heart, be it in real life or online.

This blog, and blogging as a whole, has introduced me to many people some of whom I would count as friends. I wrote somewhere that I started this blog with my book excerpts because it takes time for me to become personal with people. And over time too, I have become more open and free to speak my mind, on this blog and on others. So an email I received yesterday hit me with the power of a blow.

On said topic, my comments were subtle for both sides since I've learned it's usually unproductive trying to talk to people when they're ranting. However, after the first couple of rebuttals, I couldn't help feeling that the so-called "anti-gay" were the under-dogs and I don't react well to bullying. On one blog I let down my guard, but turns out I yawaed badly, and I'm now left feeling like a leper. My bad.

On gay rights, as on such sensitive issues that include religion, I prefer not to debate, but provide information in a respectful, non-combative manner, and give people time and space to come to their own realizations. Even at that, I have to  accept that some people may never change their mind. After all, I did not jump out of the womb all open-minded and informed, we can't all be the same, and I am not perfect.

In conclusion, can we no more agree to disagree? And still remain friends?

PS: I apologize to anyone who may have been offended by my comments on the issue.

PPS: Comments on this post are closed.

Are there husbands and wives in Nigeria?

As some of you may have guessed from my last excerpt, I'm exploring the issue of people going back to their home countries to look for a wife or a husband. @tobdon asked on Twitter, "huh? are husbands in Nigeria? RT @Myne_Whitman: WIP - Coming Back to Nigeria for a Husband?" He also asked if there were wives too. Good questions, lol...

Now I know that older people do it more. A girl friend won the green card and most people advised her to find a boyfriend and quickly make him a fiance, or marry the next available guy before leaving for America. Some guys I know in the US and UK have had friends and family recommend potential wives for them from back in Nigeria. These guys have not been to Nigeria in years, and funny enough, the plan is to carry out a long distance courtship and then ship the wife over after maybe one trip for the wedding. Hmm...I've seen it work o, but most times, the result is not so good.

So it baffles me that young people when they're ready to get married also start thinking of travelling back home to find a partner. I don't understand why they can't just look around them and consider the people currently around them wherever they are. I know from figures there's obviously a wider pool of people like you where you come from, but surely one doesn't need an ocean to find a drop of water. There's nothing written that says your countrymen or women (from source) are better marriage material, or is there?

My dear readers, please help me out. What has been your experience of this. Do you know anyone it has happened to, and how did it work out? Have you been involved? Do you plan to do it yourself? What do you think of the whole thing? Let's talk...