The Naijastories Christmas Nostalgia Contest

NaijaStories.com is pleased to announce another online writing contest titled “Christmas Nostalgia”. The purpose in running this particular contest is to encourage Nigerian narratives in Non-fiction even as we celebrate the season. There is just something very heartwarming about reading true to life recollections.

In Nigeria, only politicians and war generals seem to write or need (auto)biographies, but this should not be the case. In order to prevent collective amnesia, a communities memory is painted in by the personal stories of the individuals that make it up. Naijastories therefore, wants to encourage memoirs, diaries, and non-fiction of the personal variety.



Dates for Contest:

The contest opens December 12 and submissions end on January 5th 2012.

First round Polls – January 6th – 12th

Judging – January 6th – January 12th

Final Judging – January 13th to January 19th 2012

The winner will be announced by January 20th 2012.


Prizes :

There will be one (3) overall winners in this contest.

First Prize – 100,000 points ($100)

Second Prize – 70,000 points ($70)

Third Prize – 30,000 points ($30)

There will also be 7 consolation prizes of 1000 points each


Contest Guidelines:

1. You must be a registered member of Naijastories.com.

2. Submit your entry as a post with a title that defines your entry.

3. In the body of the post, provide the following;
a, the year and location in which the incident you’re recounting happened,
b, since we cannot determine your reality or fiction, the only rule is that the entry must be written in the first person, “I”,
c, stories should be set in or around the month of December or the 25th specifically,
d, we encourage happy or funny recollections but this is not mandatory .
4. Your entry should be between 500 and 1000 words.

5. Put the entry in the category of “Christmas Nostalgia” and press the button, “Submit for Review”.


Contest Procedure:

There will have 3 stages for determining the winner;

Stage 1. – All the entries that meet the contest rules will be put to the public poll.

Stage 2. – At the same time, the Naija Stories team will score all the accepted entries. This will be added to votes polled on NaijaStories.com to select the top 10 entries. These will proceed to the last round.

Stage 3. – Ikhide Ikheloa will select the winners. (Read about Ikhide HERE)


Judging Criteria:

- The initial site editor will make sure that entries stick to the criteria of non-fiction and the use of first person.

- Second round judges will be checking for clean use of the English language, so polish your grammar and keep typos to a minimum please! We will also be looking for creativity, so go on and give it your all.

- The final judge will be looking for great writing. Be genuine! Be unique! Be original! Use this as an opportunity to pay tribute to the best/worst/funniest Christmas of your life.

If you have any questions, please send a mail to info@naijastories.com.

New Year Giveaway - Win a copy of one of my books

This New Year giveaway blog hop is hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer with several blogs taking part - Check the full list of participants. My Giveaway is open to people in the US, UK, Canada and Nigeria between Dec. 30 - Jan. 3, 2012. Winner will receive a paperback copy of either of my two novels; A Heart to Mend or A Love Rekindled. You can read the books' synopsis on my Free Reads Page.

Also, to thank you for coming, my novella - Scores to Settle - is FREE on Kindle for the duration of this giveaway. Both Scores to Settle and Love Happens are also available in the Amazon Prime lending library. I hope you enjoy. :)



To enter;

1. Mandatory - You must be a follower of my blog, (the Google Friend Connect gadget is to the right) and leave a comment with the book you prefer and your email address.
2. Optional - Like my Facebook Page and leave a comment on what you plan to do for New Year's Eve.
3. Optional - Follow me on Twitter @Myne_Whitman and tweet me your New Year Resolution.

I will send the winner an email on January 4, 2012. Here's wishing you all a Happy New Year and good luck!

WIP - Leave Dunni Alone so She can Get Married!


“Who’s there?” a voice called out as Babs pushed open the metal gate to the vicarage. He recognised his father's voice and called out a greeting as he followed his friend into the compound.
Kingsley briefly greeted his father before moving down to the small guest house behind the main building. Babs went closer to the ground floor balcony where his dad sat alone.
“Ekushe, sir,” he greeted, prostrating fully to the ground.
“Welcome, Babatunde. I hope you and your friend did not have any problems out in the town?”
“No, sir. Everything was OK.”
“Good.”

“Goodnight, sir.” Babs turned away to leave.
“Wait a minute; I want to talk to you about something.”
Babs went back to the balcony and leaned on the rails, waiting for his father to speak.
“I was speaking with one of my parishioners some minutes ago, Mrs. Sofola. You know her, don’t you? We met her…”
“Yes, I remember her.”
“She said you interrupted her meeting with her future daughter-in-law, the Fayemi’s first child, is that true?”
That wasn’t exactly how it happened, but Babs saw no need to split hairs so he simply nodded. Feeling like a schoolboy being reprimanded, he continued listening to his father.
“She complained to me that you spoilt her chances of getting to know the girl, and she was afraid you had distracted the girl.”
Babs didn’t know whether to be outraged that the woman was spreading rumors about him, or happy to know that Dunni had been not unaffected by their encounter that day.
“What happened that day?” his father asked.
“Have you forgotten, you sent me to get you something from your desk.”
“Yes, I remember now. But that was before the time I scheduled for Mrs. Sofola’s meeting with…” his father stopped, and then pushed on, “never mind. I just thought to mention it. You’ve helped me around here in the past, and I wouldn’t want you to spoil that. The Fayemi’s and Mrs. Sofola are arranging a marriage between their children, and they’ve asked me to do what I can to support them. Please don’t interfere.”
 “Aren’t we adults, Dad?”
“What do you mean?”
“Yes, I actually met Dunni Fayemi in your office, but while I don’t mean to upset your parish members, I won’t live my life to their dictates.”
“I should’ve known you’ll say that.” His father sighed. “Are you planning to marry her?”
“That’s none of your business.”
“So the answer is no. And it is my business because you also met her in my office for crying out loud.”
“I actually met her somewhere else first.” Babs replied.
“Look, Babatunde. Her parents and future in-laws are my parishioners. The young girl needs to be married for her sake and for everybody concerned, and you shouldn’t take that lightly.”
Babs knew his father as well as his father knew him. They had passed the stage where the other was trying to establish dominance over the men. It had happened subtly, but by the time he turned 30, he had noticed that his father spoke to him no more like a child, but like he did to other men. Their relationship, while still not effusive, had become even better after he began to help his father with fundraising and his general church administration.
But he was also not the young man he used to be; hot-headed and fierce, chaffing at the restrictions that always surrounded them as children of a priest. Don’t do this, don’t do that, remember who your father is, his mother would usually say. Maybe that was why he had been so rebellious in his late teens and early twenties. His mother would often sigh in relief that he’d not gotten any girl pregnant during his wild days. It had become easier after he got a job and moved out, and then of course, his parents had left Lagos and couldn’t keep such a close eye on him.
“Babatunde, I’ve tried not to comment on your personal affairs even though your mother regularly fills my ears, but this one is right under my nose! Show some respect.”
“I will never disrespect you, Dad, and you know it. But what’s done is done. I’ve made my feelings known to Dunni so the rest is up to her. Now, I’m going to bed…”
“Promise me you won’t push her.”
“Goodnight, Dad. I’m not promising anything.
“Don’t call her, and don’t encourage her to break the marriage arrangement.”
Babs did not reply as he walked away.

______________

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas? Enjoy!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Today, I'm going to be featuring Nigerian musicians who have caught the Christmas fever. In the picture is Goldie Harvey, whose single, "We no be mate o", was fixed in my mind for a while. Eva Alordiah and Ese Peters in the video are lovely friends on Facebook and Twitter. They also have loads of talent and I know that much accolades await them in the coming years.

So here's wishing everyone a Fabulous Christmas and a great New Year in advance. Be safe and have fun, but don't forget, this is a season for giving. :)

I love you all. Mwah!



Chika Onyenezi - Sea Lavender (Guest Author)

Chika Onyenezi was born in the idyllic city of Owerri, December 1986. He grew up in Amakohia a little village with a cool, pure stream running through it northward into the West. His literary career began very early as a child poet. Later he tried the short stories genre and penned Whiteman’s Blood. His very first short story, Whiteman’s Blood has been anthologized and critically acclaimed. It achieved “second runners-up status” in a short story competition sponsored by Spiderthief Publishing. It was then published in an anthology, Funeral Pants and other Stories. Later, he wrote his first novel, Locust Invasion. An undertaking that encompassed six years.

During the writing, he met an American poet, John E. Cashwell and his wife Anna online. They volunteered to edit the full manuscript of Locus Invasion because of its historical significance and creative ingenuity. Kimpa Vita Press, Norway, will publish Locust Invasion with more than fifty percent of the profits supporting special projects in Africa. During his Bachelor’s degree study in Computer Science at Caritas University, Onyenezi co-founded CAULA (Caritas University Literary Association) and raised a literary spirit among many students there. He is currently in European Peace University for a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies.

Enjoy my interview with Chika below....

When and why did you begin writing?
For me is a different story, I see writing as an obligation I have to fulfil. If I don’t, a vacuum will forever remain. When I was a child, I was fascinated about the process of creating books. I started dreaming of becoming a writer at the age thirteen. Dreams come through with action, so since then I have been writing. Always eager to improve my craft, studying the masters in the art and forever fascinated by the magic of creation which writer’s possess.

What inspires you to write?
I am inspired by nature and my surroundings. I never knew how beautiful where I grew up was till I left the place. You will see me still going back to the stream down our street even in my Biography. I don’t think I can ever stop being inspired by it and surprisingly it followed me into Sea Lavender. Earth is full of amazement, am getting a different angle here in Austria.

What was your publishing journey like, from thinking of the book idea to holding it in your hands?
Actually i bought a book from a vendor in Enugu; it was the work of Duane Schwartz titled Cobb’s Landings. At the back page I found the website of the publisher, A-Argus Books. So I wrote then about my book Sea Lavender. After two months I received a mail that my book has been accepted for publication with a traditional contract attached and an advance. I signed up with them.

What is the synopsis of Sea Lavender?
The voyage of Adrian, son of Ibem, tells the story of a wrongful coming of age. At a tender age he suffers the loss of his innocence; it marks an event that haunts his path through eternity. Lost in a mirage of “life shaped as a sea voyage upon majestic and malevolent waves,” the sailor Adrian begins to recall events that molded his existence. Beginning with young Adrian in the arms of Her; a maid that raped him at the age of four, he remembers the event darkly as the large mahogany door standing upon its hinges.

Sea Lavender bends a window that reveals the warped manifestations of cultism, violence, death, crime, and corruption at the highest levels of society. Defining one man’s life; a man that could be your neighbor, a man you might find gentle extending a hand of help, a man you might fall in love with, Sea Lavender foreshadows a highly complicated, emotional and provocative journey into the darkest night of human existence.

Do you have a major theme that runs through it?
Wrongful coming of age

What books have most influenced your writing the most?
Gap Creek by Robert Morgan

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
That is a difficult choice to make, but if I must choose, I will go with William Butler Yeats; his poems feed my imagination. I tried following him toThe Lake Isle Of Innisfree once, but is a difficult journey. I hope to make it up there one day.

What books are you reading now?
Am reading a book that my classmate Bradley gave to me after reading the synopsis of Sea Lavender, he thinks there is some sort of connection between my story and the book. The title is Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes, a lot. I think Myne Whitman has done a lot for literature in Nigeria, Adimchinma Ibe for opening a new chapter in Nigerian Literature. I respect Kiru Taye, whom I follow her blog and lots of others worth mentioning.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes, giving my writing the breath of life. Without this breath, sea Lavender would be a failure. I was challenged to put things as they are. I couldn’t hide the fact that my character joined a fraternity in the University. If Sea Lavender will survive the taste of time, it needed the truth as it is. So after thinking it over in my quiet times, I used the name of a real cult in the Nigerian university system. But that doesn’t make it the truth, is only historical and still bears the marks of fiction.

Another thing was ending it; I needed an ending that was more experimental than normal. It is a fact that a narrator in the first person point of view cannot die, magically I gave my readers the ultimate power to choose if he survived or not. I had to think it for days before coming out with a perfect solution to that. The end of Sea Lavender is debatable.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a favourite Author actually, but I have books that intrigue me, like Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, he can mine emotion from a heart of stone. Am attracted to Dubliners by James Joyce; the style makes me keep reading it over and over, the simple language and structure is something worth learning. Franz Kafka holds a spell in the art of storytelling; I respect him. Wole Soyinka’s Prison Notes is like my bible, I read it always. I will not forget For who whom the Bell tolls by Ernest Hemmingway; the simplicity captures me. It goes on and on and on.

What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?
The Nigerian publishing industry is not at its best now. We have uneasy situation there. Most of the works published by the major guys in the block are works of Nigerians who have made it abroad. This situation is discouraging a lot of upcoming authors. Well, am dreaming of the day when big publishing companies like Penguin and Heinemann will move into the market and explore the local talent. But till then, upcoming authors will have to either publish abroad or self-publish. There still one other option left, win an award!

What comments do you have about the reading culture in the country?
For me, Nigerians read books, but the question is: what do they read? Are they patronizing the local industries and indigenous authors? That is where we have problem. Nigerians are reading works of popular western authors. These books also are far cheaper than books published in Nigeria and readily available with super quality. You see we know the symptom’s, but how about the disease? It’s up to the local industry to cure the disease.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love feedbacks, so feel free to contact me and tell me how you feel about my book. But like my Editor puts it, Sea Lavender will break your heart.

Do you have an online presence, Facebook, Blog, Twitter or a website?
Yes, I have a fan page on facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chika-Onyenezi/169087263132048 and a twitter acount http://twitter.com/#!/ChikaOnyenezi, my website is currently under construction.


Where can we buy the book, both in stores and online?
The kindle Edition of Sea Lavender was recently released by my publisher, is available in amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005UIBW6S/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb and Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sea-lavender-chika-onyenezi/1106603938. The paperback will be out soon, but you can place an order from my publisher’s website http://a-argusbooks.com/Storelavender.htm, soon it will be available in bookstores in USA and also online bookstores like Amazon.

Mid-Winters Eve Giveaway - Gift Card Amazon US, UK, Canada

As this year winds to a close, I have been taking stock and counting my blessings. Writing-wise, it has been a marvelous year for me, with my first book, A Heart to Mend becoming an Amazon UK #1 Bestseller for Romance. I want to use this opportunity to thank all my subscribers (You can join by email or GFC), and book lovers everywhere who spread the word and made that possible for me and my books.

This Gift Card giveaway blog hop hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer and Oasis for YA. Several blogs are taking part, with lots of amazing gifts for book lovers. So if you're interested, Check the full list of participants.

In my giveaway, 3 lucky people will each win a $10 Amazon Gift Card (US, UK and Canada). To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter Form below. There are 4 entries, and you must leave a comment on this post to qualify.


Good luck and Happy Holidays!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

WIP - I Have no Intentions of Getting Married yet


Babs stood where she left him, her rejection ringing in his ears. When it was obvious she wasn’t coming back out, he walked back to where his friend waited, thinking over their discussion. He still found it hard to believe that she would actually go on to accept the arranged marriage her parents were planning. Even though he’d only met her just over a week ago, it appeared out of character that she would follow through with it; her personality just screamed independence. In fact, it was that very independent and outspoken personality that made him think she was the ideal person for a holiday fling.
He considered if it were possible she was leading him on, creating an elaborate plot to get him even more interested in her, but for what? He already desired Dunni, and had made it plain to her. So it was either she felt the same or she did not. He couldn’t believe she was trying to trap him into a situation where he might be forced to marry her. He wanted to say again that she didn’t look the type, but he had to keep in mind that he barely knew her. That they had seemed to connect on a physical level might not really mean anything in the long run.
“So, who is she?” Kingsley asked when he got back to him.
“I met her during the hike to Erin-Ijesha last week.” Babs replied, beginning the short walk back to the vicarage where he was staying with his family.
“Now I know why you were in such a hurry to spend your entire annual leave here in Ilesha,” Kingsley smirked.
“To see my family?”
Kingsley guffawed. “To see more of that fine ass, you mean.”
“You’re an engaged man, keep your eyes to yourself.”
“I’m not a dead man.” Kingsley retorted. “And it seems you have a thing for her.”
“What do you mean by, thing?”
“Well, I saw that you were really keen for her to join us at the Suya place.”
Babs shrugged. Yes, he did have a thing for Dunni, and there was no need giving his friend a hard time over it.
“When are you seeing her again?” Kingley laughed, slapping him on the shoulder.
“I’m not sure.”
“Why not?”
“She’s playing hard to get.” Babs kicked a stone as they turned a corner.
Kingsley laughed again. “That’s not very usual for you, is it? Most women would be falling over you by now. Hmmm…she lives in America, right?”
Babs nodded, an eyebrow raised as he wondered where Kingsley’s thoughts led to.
“Maybe that’s why she’s not playing ball.”
“How are those related in any way?”
“Don’t be daft, Babs. Not many women want to go into one night stands.”
“Who said anything about a one night stand? Not that I won’t take that if it was the only thing on the table, but we could have several weeks together if she wasn’t so stubborn.”
“Listen to yourself, Babs.” Kingsley shook his head.
“What? I’ve had girlfriends who were very happy with the arrangement.”
“Are you sure?”
“Definitely. You’ve seen some of the girls.”
“Are we talking about those your affairs with Lagos big girls that come to our office with their company branded cars? You call those one night stands?”
 “OK, not that. But the longest only lasted for three months. Isn’t that short enough?”
“It’s long enough for the women to imagine they would change your mind sooner or later. I’m sure you didn’t tell them at the starting whistle that you just wanted to use them and dump them. I have seen your wooing style, I’m sure the women appreciate the chase. Too bad I can’t use them anymore myself or my fiancĂ©e will kill me.”
Babs kept silent as Kingsley rambled about his own relationship. To be honest, it was only with Dunni that he’d come out plainly to suggest a fling, because he’d thought the circumstances of her vacation warranted haste. With his previous girlfriends, he wooed them slowly and they’d just happened to fall quickly into bed with him. But there had been incidents with past break-ups where some of the women had claimed he deceived them. They said that by dating them exclusively, and being very attentive while it lasted, he’d made them think the relationship was more serious than what he said. He’d always found that funny. Why would they discount what he’d plainly said for fantasies in their head?  
 “If you ask me,” Kingley continued as their destination came into sight, “not only are most women unlikely to take up your offer of a short fling, at a certain age, they’ll slap you for even daring to make that suggestion.”
Babs laughed. “Hmmm…maybe Dunni did come close to doing that once or twice.”
“You see? It’s because she doesn’t live in Lagos or even in Nigeria. Like my girlfriend will say, women need easy and steady access to a man to keep hopes of marriage alive.”
 Babs had never thought of it like that. Only with the last girlfriend had he remotely thought of marriage. Shade had been introduced to him by his sister and at first, she had appeared like the type of woman he wished to marry. To all intents and purposes, she was a tame woman that would not give him trouble or interfere in his business ambitions - a wife that would give him children, while he embraced the staid life of a respectably married man. Before long however, she had became too clingy and nagging, trying to monitor all his movements and how he related and behaved with the people around him. And while he considered that marriage was some years away, she had begun to plan the ceremony immediately they slept together for the first time.
After a few months of dealing with her paranoia, he’d changed his mind and walked out of the relationship amidst her tears and tantrums. In fact, it was only this last month that she hadn’t called him to take her back. At the end of it all, he’d decided that when he settled down, it would be with a confident woman who understood his out-going personality. One part of his mind pointed out that Dunni matched those specifications but he shushed it.
“Just as well, as I have no intentions of getting married yet,” he said to Kingsley.

Romance Writers of West Africa Bumper Christmas Giveaway

The RWoWA (Romance Writers of West Africa) Bumper Christmas Giveaway is still ongoing. There will be 12 books by 5 authors and 7 winners!

- His Treasure by Kiru Taye (eBook to x1 International winner)
- Love in Paradise and Love at Dawn by Lara Daniels (Paperbacks to x1 US/UK/Nigeria winner)
- A Heart to Mend by Myne Whitman (Paperback to x1 US winner)
- His Sin and Obsession by Netty Ejike (Paperbacks to x2 Nigerian winners)
- Stormy Defence and Beyond the Lady by Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku (eBooks to x2 International winners)

How to Enter:

1. *Subscribe to the RWOWA website by completing the Email Subscription form on the website.

AND

2. Follow @RWoWA on Twitter by clicking the twitter button @RWOWA OR ‘Like’ the RWOWA page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RWOWA

OR

3. Leave a comment on the Giveaway Post indicating your Facebook / Twitter name / email. Also indicate your location so we can pick you for the right book. E.g. US, Nigeria, etc.

The 7 lucky winners will be selected on December 30, 2011. The winners will be announced on December 31, 2011.

______
*Email subscription via the website is mandatory. Contestants can choose between following on Twitter or Facebook or both. Note that not all the books are available in all locations. See the book list above for details of availability.

Contestants must complete the above criteria to be eligible.

Rock your Curves - Omotola, Mercy Johnson, and Toolz

I was doing some blog rounds the other day when Atala looked at my screen and did an imitation of a whistle. He was looking at this picture of Omotola Jalade, and asked if her backside was for real. I looked at his popping eyes and laughed assuring him that it was.

So, this post is an ode to curvy women. If you've got it, flaunt it. That's what Dunni in the book I'm currently writing does, and I tell you, Babs her love interest, definitely can't keep his eyes, or his hands, away.

If like me, your figure has the makings but is not really a coke bottle or an hourglass, be proud of what you do have. I promise you, everyone will still say you look good, if you carry yourself with enough confidence. Patapata, use Victoria's Secrets and Body Magic to create some wonderful illusions. I do think the ones below are real, if just a bit photoshopped. :)

Continue reading for the pictures, and do have a great weekend...



 Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde



Mercy Johnson


Toolz



How to Raise Kids without Losing it - Pamela Evbota (Guest Author)

Pamela Evbota is passionate about helping women discover their purpose and she blogs at www.ladiesnetworking.com. Today, she shares with us some tips on purposeful parenting. Pamela is also an author, and her "Define Success on your Terms, 25 Simple Tips" is available on Amazon Kindle for $0.99. Her new book, ‘How to Raise Kids without loosing it’will be available  for online purchase this week via Creatspace as well as on Kindle. To win a free PDF copy of the book, leave a comment on this post sharing any tips on how you parent your own children, and still manage to stay sane. :) Enjoy Pamela's article...

Four Ways to Parent like a Small Business Owner

It is time to take parenting like a small business - with a strong desire to succeed and achieve desired success daily. Our modern day lives are daily bungled by various activities and we are pulled in several directions as mothers. The guilt is piling up about our inability to be at our kids’ school events as working mothers or the inability to sit and enjoy sweet nothing conversations with our kids. Parenting requires innovative ways and support to turn our feeling of being overwhelmed and inadequate to feeling strong as to what direction we want our lives to be.

Here are 4 supports pillars for the mum who desperately wants balance and support in her life.

1. A coach – To help you bring out the best in you. Your coach could be your mother, mother in law depending on your relationship with them. To me the best coach is God. He will help you through the tough times and stressful days of motherhood.
2. A mentor – Which you can emulate. The mentor could be your mum, a neighbour. It has to be someone you hold in high esteem and appreciate her parenting style.
3. An Accountability Partner – To keep you accountable on your plans and other life issues. Being a mother is not all there is to who you are. You need someone that can help to hold you accountable on other dreams that you might have. An accountability partner keeps you on track. We all need an accountability partner in our lives.
4. A Dream Circle – This is a circle of trusted friends that you dream with. Circle of friends that will cheer you on as you pursue your life purpose. They are there to help you achieve success in business or your job for being a mother is just a fraction of who you are.

You need a team in place as you go through the emergencies and unplanned situations of your life as a parent. A team experienced in various fields of emotions and advice, a team that will not let you down. Above all you need to be a strong willed person to survive the terrain of motherhood.

To Your Success,
Pamela
Synopsis - Mothers, what is your identity outside of being a mother do you know what your identity is? Being a mother or a wife is loaded enough. Just top that with having a job or a business. All these roles can be pretty demanding and we are always expected to perform each task at 100%. The first step in keeping it altogether is knowing your strenghth and when to ask for support. ‘How to Raise kids without Loosing it’ is written in an everyday story manner where every reader can relate with the various situations as the writer herself.

How to Raise Kids without Losing it! will be available for purchase in Nigeria Dec 16. If you would like to pre order the book please also say so in the comments.

On the Budget and the Removal of Fuel Subsidy - EiE Nigeria

Some days ago, I got this press statement from EiE Nigeria (Enough is Enough) on the current national debate about the planned removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government. While I ultimately believe in the restructuring if not removal of the fuel subsidy, I believe EiE makes some valid points in this release. The budget has been released now, and it is even more obvious that the economic team of President Goodluck Jonathan haven't done much work in replugging the funds from the proposed subsidy removal into relevant sectors of the economy. Read the statement and tell me what you think.


_______________


December 12, 2011. Lagos, Nigeria – Despite the concerns raised from different groups and individuals, President Jonathan will, tomorrow, present the 2012 Budget to the National Assembly excluding the provision for fuel subsidy.

In her two appearances before the Senate Joint Committees on Appropriation, Finance and Petroleum Resources (Downstream) for the public hearing on “The Operations of the Fuel Subsidy Scheme in Nigeria,” the Minister of Petroleum represented the Federal Government’s position as follows:

"The fuel subsidy structure is inefficient, costing us N600bn (~$3.75bn) in 2010 and N1.3 trillion (~$8.125bn) from Jan – October 2011. The Federal Government cannot continue to pay as it’s unsustainable. By removing the subsidy, the savings will be used to provide critical infrastructure and services. Currently, only a small percentage of Nigerians (the marketers, middle & upper-class Nigerians) benefit. When removed, more Nigerians will benefit."

In the words of a Yoruba proverb, the Federal Government has, yet again, left leprosy to treat ringworm. While we understand that the current cost structure is unsustainable, Nigerians can no longer afford to pay for government’s inefficiencies. It’s too expensive (financially; productive man hours and human lives) and it’s also NOT sustainable.

Issues to Consider

1. A lazy, thoughtless approach
The government clearly finds it easier to undertake an unwise blanket removal of subsidy than engage in the discussion of trimming the inefficiencies in fuel subsidy management and in the running cost of government. The language is also deliberately confusing – one minute it’s ‘deregulation’ and the next it’s ‘fuel subsidy removal’.

2. How much subsidy?
The Interim Report on the Process and Forensic Review of NNPC by KPMG states “Based on our analysis, subsidy over-deduction for 2007, 2008 & 2009 was estimated at N2 bn, N10.3 bn and N16.2 bn respectively. A rough estimation of subsidy payment on product losses for the period under review (2007-2009) is estimated at N11.8 billion.”

Clearly, the subsidy management regime is fraught with waste, graft and insincerity; evidence that the ‘N1.3 trillion’ does not accurately reflect the amount of petrol imported or consumed by Nigerians.

3. A matter of trust?
To counter the argument that Nigerians do not trust the government to wisely manage the ‘savings’ from the removal of the fuel subsidy, the government is planning a subsidy savings management program. The details were shared by the Vice-President in a meeting with some civil society organisations on Friday, December 9th. Why has this plan not been made public? The questions and concerns that arise are obvious ones:

a. How does the government plan to calculate ‘fuel subsidy removal savings’?
Will these savings be the theoretical cost of the subsidy – minus cost of corruption – or the current (inflated) figure? Also, how does the government intend to remit same to this proposed quasi-government agency? Will this necessitate the setting up of another special account, in the manner of the Excess Crude Account?

b. The Obasanjo regime wound down the widely acclaimed PTF because it served as a duplication of the work of the ministries.
We agree with this approach.

c. Setting up a new body means an increase in recurrent expenditure for staffing, salaries, pensions, cars, running costs etc. This is UNACCEPTABLE.

4. No Effect on the Poor
The government’s assertion that the subsidy removal would have little effect on the poor is quite simplistic. The resultant increase in the price of PMS would drastically increase the cost of food, transportation and doing business, shutting down many small enterprises which directly or indirectly depend on the price of petrol remaining low. The middle class is the engine of growth by way of consumption and the SMEs that create jobs. Any strain on them is negative for the economy.

The Way Forward

The government should take a more measured and sustainable approach that takes into consideration all stakeholders in the Nigerian project. They need to:

1. Reduce Cost of Governance
The government must drastically cut down the cost of maintaining public and civil servants – security votes, multiple advisers, fuel guzzling convoys, excessive foreign travel and estacodes etc. Expenses such as (a) the Vice-President’s residence awarded to Julius Berger at N7 bn ($43.75m) with a request for N9 bn ($56.25m) more; (b) disbursement of N250 billion per year in ‘security votes’ to the President and Governors; and (c) a N1.7 trillion wage bill (2012 Budget) are criminal and unstainable!

2. Reduce Cost of Subsidy
Why does NNPC get 445,000 barrels of crude a day that it can’t refine? In 2006, there were 3 marketers; we now have 77. According to BusinessDay, “the increase has also been linked to this year’s elections and it has been suggested that the subsidy programme became an avenue for patronage extended to those with political connections.” Significant savings can be made on the bandied N1.3 trillion if the government will prune out the “briefcase marketers”, clean up the NNPC/PPPRA to plug waste and leakages, and tackle smuggling.

3. Restore or Sell the Refineries
This is of critical concern and priority. Increasing the capacity of our refineries would reduce the amount of fuel that needs to be imported into the country. How much has been spent on repairing the refineries in the last 12 years?

4. Provide Power
According to a 2009 report by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC), Nigerians spend N797 billion yearly to buy fuel for powering generators. In 2010, President Jonathan said the cost of fuel (to power generators) was $13 billion. NERC’s estimates 32% of generator fuel is PMS. This means Nigerians spend about $4.19 billion or N646 billion on petrol, while the rest goes to diesel. Imagine how much fuel import dependence we can curb if this government fulfills the often-repeated promise of improving power supply in Nigeria!

Why has the government not presented a policy document or engaged openly and directly with Nigerians on this issue? Why the rush to remove the subsidy when other holes have not been plugged?

Enough is Enough Nigeria will continue the conversation by hosting a public Town Hall Meeting within the next 10 days to discuss the issue. In a country that provides no social services and the average citizen provides all basic utilities – water, electricity, and security; the government cannot remove the bread from our mouths while it continues to feed fat on its princely cakes.

We will engage in words and action. Enough is enough!

###

EnoughisEnough Nigeria (www.eienigeria.org) is a coalition of individuals and youth-led organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through advocacy, activism and the mobilization of the youth population as responsible citizens. The coalition includes The Future Project; Paradigm Initiative Nigeria; Education as a Vaccine (EVA); Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND); RISE Networks; LYNX Nigeria; Chocolate City Group; EME and Light Up Nigeria.

EiE Nigeria created the RSVP (Register|Select|Vote|Protect) Campaign to leverage technology, especially social media to mobilize significant participation from citizens in the 18-35 age bloc in the 2011 elections and beyond.

What do you think of Adoption - will you adopt a child?

So there was this discussion where a woman asked if she should leave her husband since they're childless. Apparently, there's nothing wrong with her fertility but the husband has low sperm count. I was surprised at the number of comments that called on the woman to consider adoption because I somehow assumed that most Nigerians do not accept or support adoption.

I've heard of some couples who secretly adopt and try to pass the child off as their own. I've heard people say they can never adopt, or advice people they know to adopt. They bring up all sorts of reasons why it's a bad idea to adopt, most of them emotional and maybe based on tradition. We don't do it in our family, they say, or what will people say? Others ask, what do you know of the child, and what if his/her parents have a shady past or background?

Personally, I've always been a supporter of adoption, and still hope to adopt a child someday, as a baby or a child. I will definitely advise any couple struggling with fertility issues to adopt, I read somewhere that it actually reduces the stress on them and may ease their own conception. It's also a way of giving back that is very non-self serving, if at the same time, very rewarding. In this instance, I kinda think nurture trumps nature. My parents brought up a lot of children, including relatives and househelps, and even if they didn't legally adopt them, it is the same difference. I don't agree it is not our tradition.

I'll quit rambling now.What about you, what do you think? Would you adopt?

WIP - Never a worse Place and Time

They walked in silence for the first few minutes, thoughts running riot in Dunni’s mind. She was beginning to come to terms with her attraction to the handsome hunk walking beside her, but she wished she’d met him in different circumstances. She sometimes imagined they’d clashed in a boardroom on different sides of the table, the heat sparking between them as they vied for a high profile account. For weeks they would ignore themselves, only giving in after she had won the client. Then he would invite her for a drink, forgive her for besting him, and they would find out how much they had in common, which would include Suya.
“So who’s the wrapped suya for?” Babs asked. “Some young children around?”
“None of mine, if that’s what you’re asking,” Dunni replied, “they’re for my parents and me too.” She smiled at the thought of eating the tasty meat again.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to insinuate that you’re…”

Dunni waved the rest of his words away. She was in too much of a good mood to be offended, and she knew he meant no harm. Most Nigerians usually wrapped bits of what they had at an outing for the children back at home, and her father actually still did it.
As their destination came into view, Babs stopped and turned towards her.
“How can we see again? I am here for only a week more, you know.”
“Why should I care about that?” she asked flippantly even though her heart began to thud in her chest as he took her hands in his. This time, she did not pull away, hoping to wean her body of the novelty of him. Her palms tingled in his, almost like they were pulling her whole body towards him. She stepped back deliberately, but left her hands where they were.
He covered the small distance between them in one step. “Don’t tell me you don’t know.”
Before she could reply, he ducked down and kissed her. It was a brief kiss, nothing more than him touching his lips to hers, but as she watched him lick his lips like he had just finished a delicious meal, a slow heat bloomed in her. The now familiar smile stretched across his face as if he recognized the look on her face, and he moved in close again.
Dunni was now ready for him, and pulled away from the arms he was about to wrap around her waist.
“No more kisses.”
“What?” Babs leaned back, “You can’t be serious.”
Dunni looked quickly up into his face to see if he was annoyed, but he was smiling wider.
“You can’t kiss me like you did in my father’s office and then say no more,” his voice went low and caressing, as his thumb rubbed back and forth over the lines in her palm. “I still think of that kiss, you know. You don’t want to know about the dreams I’ve had. Hot, sweaty…”
“Enough!” Dunni turned away, scrabbling to hold on to her defenses. It would be so easy to give in to his seduction, but he was so wrong for her. There couldn’t have been a worse place and time as well.
“Tell me the truth.” He came to stand beside her, waiting till she looked at him before continuing, “Would you really have nothing to do with me?”
She blurted out the thought foremost on her mind. “You’re so wrong!”
Immediately the words escaped, Dunni knew she had to gather her wits.  It wouldn’t do to expose herself so much to him. She had two more weeks left in Nigeria and she had to remember that her father was her main reason for being here. After her vacation, her life was back in the United States. She shook her head as she recalled his earlier words. The guy was only giving them one week, while she was building castles in the air. In that moment, a way to keep him away occurred to her. As she turned it over in her mind, his voice interrupted.
“How do you mean? You’re here on vacation, and I have some days off to play with as well. We’ve both determined the attraction between us, and I for one can’t wait to explore it fully.”
“You mean you want us to get married?” Dunni threw down the challenge and faced him. She almost smiled as he seemed to jump a foot.
“What?” he snapped.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that I’m home to find a husband. So, unless you’ll take me up on the offer, then no thanks, I can’t start an affair with you.”
She enjoyed the sight of the little o his open mouth framed as she plowed on. “I don’t have enough time as it is, so that would just be a distraction.”
He finally pursed his lips, and spoke. “Are you toying with me?”
Dunni couldn’t help laughing at that stage. “Why would I do that? You can ask your father if you doubt me. My mother introduced me to him on Christmas day. Didn’t you wonder what I was doing in his office with that woman?”
“Mrs. Sofola? Go on,” he urged when she did not say anything else.
In the darkness, his deep-set dark eyes had a hypnotic quality that she found hard to resist. Dunni wondered if she was not talking too much. What had started as a way to get him off her back was turning into a catharsis of her frustrations with her mother’s manipulations.
“Talk to me, Dunni.”
Now that they’d spent more time together, he was far from the cocky lothario she had imagined that first time she saw him. While his handsome sexiness was undeniable, he also had a softer, more compassionate side, the side that she had seen as they chatted with his brother at the suya spot. She exhaled gustily, going on to tell him about the needling from everyone about her non-married status, and how her mother had decided it was time she did something about it. “Well, she and Mrs. Sofola have agreed that I am to marry her son.”
“And you will? Marry this man, I mean.”
Dunni nodded, looking away. Of course she would do no such thing. But if this would keep Babs away from her, she would use it.
“Do you know him?” she asked in the silence that followed.
He shook his head, slowly. “I’ve met Mrs. Sofola a couple of times through my father but I don’t know her children. But does it matter who he is? You don’t look to me like the type of daughter that would do something just because her mother wants it.”
“And how would you know that?” Dunni flung her braids behind her.
“That tells me,” he gestured at her hand, still at her shoulder. “And have you forgotten so soon how we met, and the names you called me?”
As he spoke, a twitch pulled at his lips and Dunni smiled back at him. Echoes of their first meeting washed over her and at that moment she felt closer to him than she’d felt to anyone for a long while, except maybe to her family. In the next moment his arms were around her waist, cradling her close to his chest.
“I want you so much,” he murmured into her hair, his breath fanning her ear. “Give us a chance and I swear you won’t regret it.”
Their bodies were flush against each other and she felt the evidence of that desire against her lower tummy. His heart hammered against her breast but as far as she knew he felt only one thing and one thing alone for her, and that was not enough. She believed in love, and she knew Babs was the kind of man she could lose herself in. She closed her eyes as he drew her closer to him, blowing softly against her neck and moving his hands up and down her arms, barely touching her skin. When those large warm hands moved over her shoulders to cup her chin, she knew she had to be strong and push down her own feelings, or she would be lost.
Dunni took hold of his wrists and pulled them slowly away from her face.
“I stand by my words.”
“Really?” Babs asked, “even after what has just happened?”
“Yes.” Her voice was low as she walked away, not looking back when he called her name. She was glad to push open the gate to her parent’s and then close it, putting the feel of his eyes on her back, behind her.

The Big Love Christmas Giveaway - Nigeria

The BIG LOVE Christmas Giveaway - Making a wish come true, will run from the 1st to 31st December, 2011 providing an opportunity for Companies, Individuals, Families, Groups and Celebrities to give back, no matter how little. Their aim is to improve livelihoods by creating access to items/products/support services that some people would otherwise not have access to/ or be able to afford.

To achieve the needed reach, this initiative is driven by technology through a comprehensive website portal – ‘www.thebiglovegiveaway.org’; where the givers can register their gifts and potential receivers can also register to get specific gifts based on the stipulated criteria for each one. A mobile phone application has also been developed to serve smart phone users and get more people to participate.


Also provided is an opportunity for those who do not have access to the internet to benefit from this initiative through ‘Love Boxes’, which will be packaged with a variety of products received from Givers and relevant to the group or person receiving it. Thus far, commitments in gifts is to the tune of about N1million and more people are still registering to give.

The Big Love Giveaway is the brainchild of Abosede Alimi, a communication and development professional, She was the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Keystone Bank Limited (Formerly Bank PHB Plc) until October 2011. She began her career in Development about 8years ago at ActionAid international Nigeria, after graduating with a BSc in Political Science from Igbinedion University. Ms Alimi participated in the first Nigerian business reality TV programme, the Bank PHB Intern show in 2007 where she emerged 2nd runner up; exhibiting skills and talents that endeared her to the hearts of millions of TV audience that followed the programme on air.

Ms Alimi recently earned a distinction from the University of Reading, UK where she studied for an MSc in Communication for Innovation and Development. Back2Basics Concepts (B2BC) is conceptualized as a development organization aimed at using simple innovative solutions/ideas in media communications, design and technology to solve social, economic and environmental problems. Abosede leads the team as Innovations Director.

How It Works
Simply log in to the website @ www.thebiglovegiveaway.org; register to be a giver or receiver of a gift in one or more of the categories. You do not pay at any point. Participating as a giver or receiver is free. The process of registration has been made as simple as possible and Facebook allows you to do it in less than a minute.

How to apply for a gift?
Simply click on the category from the category list, go through the list of gifts in that category and select the field ‘apply for gifts’. Fulfill all criteria and requirement where applicable to be a receiver of the gift. You will be contacted by email if you are the recipient of a gift you applied for. The BIG LOVE Giveaway team will contact you with details of where to pick up your gift and what to bring for proper identification. Also, there will be general announcements on gifts that have been taken, so check the website from time to time.

Like the Big Love Giveaway Facebook Page

Six out of Ten women in Nigeria are Unfaithful?

I don't know what to say to this news which has been floating around recently. The Durex Sexual Well-being Global Survey conducted by the condom manufacturer, interviewed 26,000 people in 26 countries and ranked Nigerian women as the most unfaithful in the world.

Daily Times reports  that "the top two countries with cheating women are Nigeria, with 62 percent, and Thailand, 59 percent. 39 percent of Malaysian women also confessed to having betrayed their partners. Russian women came fourth at 33 percent while Singaporeans are fifth at 19 percent." From a link I got in the comments, I went to the Durex survey methodology page where I found the following information.

- The survey was conducted during August and September 2006 by a research agency called Harris Interactive.
- Random samples of participants aged 16 + or 18+ were sent an email invitation to participate in the survey.
- The sample was primarily sourced from Harris Interactive’s internet panel.
- An online approach was adopted in 25 countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands,New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, UK, USA.
- For Nigeria a face-to-face/self completion approach was adopted, due to the low use of internet and telephone.
- They used a sample size of 1,000 for the majority of countries surveyed.

Which brings me to my conclusion. A sample size of just one thousand is just too small to reference a population of at least 70million women in Nigeria. Also, a face to face interview method tells me that the sampling was not as random as the other countries. I think the location and manner this method leaves it open to more prejudice than an online sampling. For instance, it is very probable that only women in Lagos were sampled, or women found at sexual health clinics, or women who might not really understand the questionnaire. Vera Ezimora also thinks Durex left out the fine print.

With all that said, I'm not vouching women as saints. Women cheat, and where it is likely that men cheat a lot, it is also more likely that the numbers of unfaithful women will be high. Is this the case in Nigeria? You tell me.

Gift Card Giveaway - International

WINNER ANNOUNCED - Congrats to Jacqui Odell : USA

This Gift Card giveaway blog hop hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer. Several blogs are taking part, with lots of chances to win gift cards and book prizes. Check the full list of participants for more opportunities to win. My giveaway is one $10 electronic gift card from Amazon.com/ co.uk/.ca. The rules are;

1. You must be a follower of my blog - the Google Friend Connect gadget is to the right,
2. Leave a comment with your Country/Continent and your email address.

Thanks and good luck!

White Trousers no go put me for trouble!

Dat morrin as I wan baff na so I dey put ear for dis babe music, Omawunmi, dat song wey she sing say, ‘If you ask me, na who I go ask?’ My madam don comot tey tey and I know say before she go come back e go still tey, so I say before I baff make I carry my body go upstairs for her and oga room. E get one fine white trouser wey she buy and I be one go taste am because I hear say person yansh dey come out well well for white trouser especially if you no wear pant or you wear g-string. Before I go continue my tori make I talk about my madam and oga dem.

My Madam: She no too good, she no too bad. Sometimes when I go market come back late, she no go even send me. She go just talk say, “Ehen, I know you went to see your boyfriend. Thank God you didn’t stay too long. Now hurry into the kitchen, my baby would soon be back.”

And sometimes when I wash clothes and the ting still get small stain, she go talk say, “You are too dirty Mary, sometimes I wonder if your undies are even clean”; and the annoying ting be say na infront of oga she go shout the whole ting so tey my oga come dey look me one kain.


My Oga: He no too good, he no too bad. Na to dey blow grammer up and down like say im be professor, but I hear say im no even finish unifersity say as im papa die, d guy jus use im papa money push im business so tey the business come grow yakata, now my oga na big man. The man no dey eye me o, na jus jeje all of us be for house.

Myself: Eferibodi know say I be cool babe. I no dey like wahala, na only to dey wish say one day I go be like my madam. I go get housemaid full ground. One go dey wash my clothes, another one go dey iron my clothes, another one go dey cook my food and the last one go dey go market, abi wetin man pickin want again for this world?

So make I continue my tori. As I enter dem madam room, I jus go straight to the wardrobe because I no wan waste time. I rush comot my wrapper, come wear the trouser. Omo men, if you see as the ting fine for my body ehn, you go wan tief me! Na as I dey comot the trouser na im I hear person dey come the room side. Omo, see as I dive enter the wardrobe, even Jackie Chan for give me award. The door open and as I hear my oga voice dey talk with im phone, e be like say dem pour cold water for my body, wetin I go talk say I dey do for dia room?

“Yes, it’s fine. I was thinking we could go for that art exhibition taking place at the art gallery.”

I no know wetin the pesin reply am but I hear as im laff.

“No, Tunde. I am married and you know I wouldn’t stray. If you bring that lady over to the exhibition, I may persuade wifey to come with me and that could be quite unpleasant for the lady and yourself. Quit trying to make me fall man, I wouldn’t do anything to hurt my wife. Look I’m going to put you on the speaker because I want to take off my clothes”

Chei, Oga abeg no comot your cloth, abeg! God where you dey? But e be like say even God dey use me play as my oga comot im cloth finish come even mess on top.

“You are crazy men! Why would you fart like that with me on speaker?” The voice from the phone ask my oga.

“Really, that’s a ridiculous question. I can do whatever I want in my house. Moreover I am alone.”

Abeg Oga you no dey alone o, no mess again abeg. Kai! The mess smell no be small. Shey na de food wey I dey cook dey make oga mess smell like this?

“Hey man, I’ve got to go. I want to have my bath and freshen up before wifey comes home. We’ll talk later.”

My oga cut the call come enter bathroom. I manage come outside as I say make I look for my wrapper wey I throw inside wardrobe wen oga dey come, na im one big abarra land for my back.

“So this is what you and my husband do, when I am not around?!”

All my body shock and piss nearly comot as I bin hear madam voice for my back. Una don forget say I no wear pant and my yansh jus chook outside as I bin wan bend down carry my wrapper. As I turn face madam, I jus weak because I know no how I wan take talk am. Make una helep me!

________

What to do, what to do?

This is a short story by Enoquin. Read more from her on Naijastories.

Vote for Naijastories to win $1000 towards our anthology at the World of Betters website.

Help me win $1000 from the World of Betters Campaign

Some of you may know about my work with Naijastories.com. The website is now about a year and half and still going strong. We are currently working to publish an anthology of the best stories in the first year. We hope to get the best quality book we can, and also ensure that we can distribute and promote as widely as possible. We would equally like each writer whose story was selected to receive a paperback copy for their libraries. However, our budget is small and I've been thinking of a way to raise more money to ensure these goals.

I believe that by publishing and promoting this anthology, we will be making the world better for both the readers and the selected writers. We'll also be encouraging other upcoming writers, both on Naijastories.com and beyond, to keep writing. If this makes sense to you, vote for my entry at the World of Betters website.

Thank you.

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