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The Challenges of a Nigerian Creative

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“A creative is a person whose creative work shows sensitivity and imagination. A person who grows or makes or invents things. illustrator – an artist who makes illustrations (for books or magazines or advertisements etc.)” – http://www.thefreedictionary.com
A creative is someone who can think up ideas and or execute them, a person saturated by ideas and innovations. Creatives are smart people (not necessarily book-smart) and they are everywhere around us. They are not limited to any field or to a specific walk of life.
Being a creative in Nigeria, especially if you are looking to make money from it, is pretty difficult. There are several challenges that creatives encounter in Nigeria and I’ll like to talk about a few.

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Maximizing ideas and making profits off them is a sport in Nigeria. Most creatives are just freelancers, not because they like doing charity work, who no like money? Most of them do freelancing because that’s their only hope. A very large percentage of creatives are actually earning less than they deserve and a relatively larger percentage are not getting zilch from their works. Yet, they are expected to keep churning out works every now and today just to stay relevant and build their portfolios.
Let’s talk about the stigma. One would think being a creative comes with societal appreciation and adulation but far from it. In this part of earth, its quite the opposite. The average Nigerian Creative is seen by a lot of people as a failure, tagged lazy, an olodo, a person of lesser intellect. Should we describe the insults usually hurled at them?
Na poetry we wan chop? How many drawings you wan sell before you go buy car? You’ve been writing since 5 years yet you still stay with your dad, like, when will your writing pay? You want me to marry you, is it these paper ideas and plans our children will eat? Your mates are working in Chevron, you dey here dey say you be brand influencer. Mr Innovation, hunger go beat you scatter ehn, no go find job. App developer? hahaha, oga na cyber cafe you for open. Website developer when dey drink garri, you better sell your lapee or make you use am do yahoo.
Another problem is what I termed ‘abroad privilege syndrome’. Many investors have this rubbish mindset that the tech guys abroad are somehow smarter, that the abroad artists are somehow better than our local ones, that our poets, writers, engineers and all creatives are substandard and prefer out sourcing jobs outside the country. If my own countryman doesn’t believe in me, who will? Oyinbo?
The pressure that creatives go through is actually very burdensome and worrying enough, then top that with a country that is failing or at the brink of social, political and economic suicide and you have a rough idea of why Nigerian creatives sometimes give up on their ideas and sometimes, themselves. They result to making money by quicker, mostly illegal, means like cyber fraud, rituals, robbery, kidnapping and several other horrible vices. Some of them eventually end up dead or in jail. Wasted. Some others who were not evil-minded enough to result to these, and yet still sinking deeper from societal pressure, end up taking the seemingly less painful and quicker route; suicide. Our graveyards are littered with broken dreams and buried ideas. Tragic
This is not to target anybody, its just to show the world some of the challenges that creatives go through in Nigeria. The lot of us are struggling to keep up in an environment that spits on our works and scorns our resolve or beliefs in our ideas. If you’re one of those creatives going through tough times, I feel you, I understand you and believe me, our time will come. Whether here, Canada, UK, US, China or any other country that regards us, we will survive and we will breakthrough. We are Nigerian Creatives and we will keep fighting and hoping on our ideas, till our world is painted in the colors of our dreams.
Keep faith!!

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Do You Carry A Weapon Everyday?

At this point, you just read the title and you’ve started asking yourself why Kayode is about to tell you how to carry dagger and promote violence. At this point, the Nigerian in you has seen the title of this post and in a bid to be smartly-stupid, it has jumped over conclusion and started calling men, like me, scum for even suggesting that you should commit a crime under this lawless canopy, Nigeria.

Far be it from it that I promote such. I’m just here to show you the errors of your ways. I’m like your Moghalu today; so get ready to aspire to enquire who forgot to tell Maguire to off the fire.

I’m sure you’ve been in situations where you’ve been put on the spot. You’ve been the centre of attraction, this time, negatively. For instance, what happens when someone insults you, when you’re challenged, when you’re in a place of discomfort? What’s your escape plan? You don’t have? In this country where the sane people are as much as the amount of snow in Nigeria? Shame. Ask me mine? I’ll tell you.

I’ve learnt that you need weapons. This world isn’t like those Korean movies where Jin Hyu is in love and after few seconds it’s happily ever after. Tufia! Here? Everything dey end in tears, my gee. So, how do I cope? Easy.

On the day of my creation, as surprising as it is, clay finished, thus, in a bid to manage, God gave me this model body using less than half the clay available. So physical fights have been a no no for me. Spiritual? Let me not talk before I misyarn. So the only way I’ve been surviving is- my mind (brain). Remember I said God used less than half of the clay for my body, the remaining was put into my brain. I realised this some time in my early teenage years and since then I’ve girded it around my loins. Yes, this brain, is my weapon.

Ever since I learnt this, it’s been sweet living for me. The fact that I think quickly has made it easy for me to overcome any circumstance. You insult me? Before you end your sentence, my brain has thought up 70×7 ways to reply you. You put me on the spot, this brain helps me wriggle out. You even get physical with me, I’ll use my brain to give you that kind Peruzzi slap and we become besties after – Pamilerin et. al. 2019. Locking horns, my mind against any problem is bringing an AK-47 to an after-round-one play. My mind is my weapon.

Bad sides? Sometimes, I have too much sense, I end up not having sense. The brain doesn’t function when it comes to care, affection and love, or it functions too much and that becomes a problem. However, I’ll rather be a smart person with little love capabilities than become a dumb lover boy – no offense Tony Umez. My brain, my power. I’ve also noticed that people go through life without having weapons or not having the right weapons. Small problem, they’ve folded. Small slap, they’ve started reciting Psalm 119 and all its verses. Small difficulty and they’re panicking. You need a coping mechanism. Yours might be music. If them slap you, you begin sing. It might be your 6-packs. You can beat everybody but 5+5 is parallelogram in your head. It might be your sexy body. Different strokes from different soldiers.

So what’s yours? What do you think is your biggest asset? What do you think gets you out of trouble the most? What solved your problems the most? What’s your weapon? I hope it’s the right one and I hope you carry it everyday.

Shalom

Dating Mysteries

On an average how many times should someone date before he/ she eventually finds the one? Okay, let me rephrase in my own terms, how many times should one be in and out of a relationship before he is she starts giving up and contemplating a loveless forever. Seventy times seven? How many times have you dated, my guy? Talk true. You don turn calendar ba? So many dates. Aren’t you tired?

Pilot

People usually do two types of relationships. The real one and the play-play one. The real one is the one that starts and lasts for at least 6 months (or at least that’s what I think). The play-play one usually ends in 2 weeks, or at most a month. Also, it is a term attributed to friendships that tried to enter the dating arena but got kicked out by bouncers. Or those secondary school pinafore and ‘gator’ love

The first the same as the next?

How was your first heart break? This particular detail escapes my mind somehow because devil no dey feel heartbreak nau. However, I think my lowest came at a time a girl broke up with me because I was distracting her from her WAEC. Not TV, not Instagram, not Twitter or the the BBM, it was tiny Kayode with scruffy hair and a sense of fashion as bad as Vic O’s vocals that was distracting her. That was when I felt the pain of betrayal and heartbreak. Wherever you are, *******, I hope you’ve opened a school to help other students focus on WAEC. Iranu.

The promises and lies

It’s when a relationship has scattered that you will now realise that your lover was actually a big liar. I mean, how can he say you’re the only reason he wants to wake up daily and you’re the air he breathes and your stupid ass will be saying ouuu baby. Break up and you’ll realize that you’re not more valuable than Indomie to some people, and it’s even the small Indomie. You’ll promise to buy her the world yet you’re changing Airtel sims every 3 months just to get double data.

Purpose

You people that go into relationships with people that you can’t see yourselves getting married to, what’s your exact problem? How do you date someone you can’t spend life with? A wise man once said “let’s see how it goes, let’s see how it goes, na im Festus take impregnate 3 girls“. Define what you want and follow the plan and then hope the process works fine. If the future seems bleak, I opt out. Better now than when you have to decide for yourself and kids

When do we reach the finish line?

Honestly, after several relationships and situationships, I am announcing my intents to retire. I’m tired of learning someone’s best food, learning someone’s favorite colour, learning about another birth date. My head don full. How many more first dates do I have to attend before I find the one? I think henceforth, I will just write down my likes and dislikes on Google Docs. Once we start getting serious, I’ll give you the link so that you can read up yourself because, if I hear one more “what’s your pet peeve, or who’s your best musician?”, I go vex.

Tell me then, how many more relationships do you have in you before you become fed up and start cursing Cupid?

Ekov – Bad Decisions

In the reminiscent spirit, I’m running late to work and I’m in a tight overpriced bus, so, I want to let out my anger. I’ll like y’all to know one person that has been a blessing and a pain in my ass (flat-assed people go through more pain). Here goes – story story, once upon a…( oh shut up).

I once was in a lost place, a dwarf-sized school in the distant lands of Igbesa. I was fitting in with my guys that were fellow mad men; I find it difficult to roll with purely sane people. Anyways, I had been writing previously and all but only for my eyes and the eyes of those big-breasted girls on WhatsApp I always tried to impress with my sweet poems (never worked I must say). I was hoping to see fellow writers around because I am always enthused with trying to decipher their thought process.

Somehow, unlucky for me, I met the worst of them all. An ex-militant with a pen and his mind as his weapon – Voke, they call him. This guy mixed brains and a poor sense of humor together with a hint of wèrè all in one. In no time, we decided to do a poetry challenge together; second worst decision ever in my life. We gained name in that tiny enclave through that and it was all amazing.

You would think I would learn from the disaster and avoid this bad influence, but Ondo people, like me, are stubborn. We decided to make my worst decision yet by writing out the madness in our minds as a book- Conversations in my head. The rave, the success, the hype, the love, what a terrible idea it turned out to be. This guy always manages to make me make terrible decisions that go viral.

You would think that this guy is a saint, to be exhumed of all blames. Yet, this guy went to become even more popular, this time for a beautiful thing. Voke missed a sitter in a football match. A sitter, like Yakubu Aiyegbeni‘s against Korea, that became so known, his name became the S.I unit for sitters and õtús. “You Voked the ball” “Guy, see sweet chance wey you just Voke. This dude had successfully become a football legend in that school. A king.

Now as much as I hate bad decisions, this boy always forces me to make more and more every time and I’m frankly tired. Yet, I expect to make many more terrible decisions with him later on. Anyways, kids, stay off people that don’t bring out the best in you. Roll with people that are on the same frequency of insanity with you. Y’all will be able to crack jokes together while a ladder to the top.

Lastly, have a good week and make sure you don’t Voke any opportunity that comes your way.

Bella Ciao.

The Ayobo Ghandi

I did this for the oppressed.

It was back in SS1 Sciences, Honeyland College. As a star boy, I was always sitting in front because, forward ever and backward never- na wetin dem talk. Classes were usually not dull for me because I was a bright student.

On that fateful day, I wasn’t in the mood for jagajaga mehn. Yet, the gods of boring classes now showered us with Geography on a hot afternoon, just after long break. Miss Omikunle, our brilliant teacher walked into the class with her busty frame, looking a bit grumpy and tired. Who wasn’t?

I was in an argument with Opeyemi over a topic that I can’t really remember anymore. The entrance of Miss Omiks didn’t deter us from keeping the dialogue alive, as it only reduced our decibels to mere mutterings and mumurs

To be fair to my father’s school fees, I wasn’t concentrating and our teacher noticed. She also noticed how I was the one who couldn’t mask my dissatisfaction with Ope’s points- was it even Ope, abi Daniel? Anyways, I heard “stand up

Pleading innocence and leniency would have worked if, and only if, this hadn’t been my third warning. I stood up, fearless and unrepentant, ready to face the music without earpiece. Mind you, I wasn’t a chestolo, infact I was a softie in the act of being flogged. However, today was the day I was destined to be slaughtered.

Hearing my punishment was a shock, I must admit. “Aisida, repeat after me – I am a fool“. This mode of punishment was uncommon to me and for a teacher who had always flogged with all the strength in her being, short people have been games for being wicked. There I was trying to quiz myself on the reason for this sudden change in punishment mode. Then I realized, I had spent 2 seconds and was running out of time.

Then I flashed back at the losses that students had suffered, the pain we’ve had to endure. We were the voiceless and at this point I saw an opening. I knew I had to do it for all the students and score a point. “Aisida, are you deaf? Say, I am a fool“. With an evil grin I boldly said, “Excuse me ma”, a ploy to soften the incoming gbas to her gbos, “you’re a fool“.

Finally, Students 1 – 286616 Teachers. As expected, the response was accompanied with exclamations of utter shock and disbelief but, I said what I said abeg. Teacher was stunned too, I was summoned to the front of the class. The students still shocked and some disapproving of this stunt. “See these ones o, I’m young-Segalink to you guys and yet, no positive response. Ingrates” I thought as I walked towards a fuming Miss Omiks.

The events that followed this are somewhat graphic and disturbing as I was descended on like a petty Oshodi market thief. But, the deed had been done. Like Marley, I felt like a messiac freedom fighter. See me see trouble, am I a rude student. In the end, the act was more iconic to me than the beating and I’ll gladly take that fact to my grave, to Jesus be my glory.

I didn’t care, I had named myself The Ayobo Ghandi.

Ikeja – an ode

Before I start, if you think an ode means a mumu, kindly close this page and know your story has ended here. Ciao. Now, for the rest of you, let’s go.

It’s 7:46pm and the air is pregnant with that smell. The smell of shame, insecurity and bad decisions. Seriously, writers need to have a taste of this experience and regurgitate this pungent feeling on ink.

This time in Ikeja, English has gone home. climbing on the roof of those rickety trains that look like they lack home training. Ignore my pun and focus. You fit chop slap if you no focus. Yoruba now sits on the Iron Throne and governs pidgin and Dothraki (that has to be what those drunks speak). Our Igbo brothers have gone home, everybody dreading the unpleasant smell of igbo.

Before you have my head, I must confess, this scenery is aesthetically pleasing. The lights, the cars, the artistic smear of ripe yellow, the gradient of the dark skies, sometimes sprinkled with star glitters. Picasso would have konji merely by seeing this place. Paint this picture, pulverize the art and inject it in my veins till I pass out. Ikeja fine die

However, you might not feel fine if you somehow find yourself in a defining moment. The men of the night actually play finders keepers with passers-by. One minute you’re tweeting the pains of a stressful day, the next they take your voice from your fingers and restore it to throat just in time for you to shout “Who thief my phone?” Unbeknownst to you, your phone has probably already been sold to someone that’s headed towards Okokomaiko.

The people of Ikeja are so kind, that a walk through computer village with your new laptop bag and it’s accessories tucked inside will be a walk that reduces your load in your bag. Such pretty souls, they don’t even bother to stress you by telling you. They just help you keep your belongings. Afterall, be your brother’s keeper is still valid

Ikeja at 7:50 is not a place for Jon Bellion’s Hand of God to play, or for Asa to echo her Fire on the Mountain hit- although that seems like the perfect theme song to this opera. Here, Zlatan rules- not Ibra o, that one for chop mending for here sef. Rapid beats and the songs in the shepeteri genre ring loud like sounds from a Xiahgxin phone. The struggle for buses, the faux calm when citizens wait for buses in contrasts to the Khaleesi-rage when a 16-seater comes to pick 1276 people. Everybody walking fast, running fast, faster, but no one chasing them.

I bid Ikeja goodbye at 8:09pm, The King of Boys. Entering Ikeja means leaving having lost something. You either lose your phone, your laptop, your destiny, your pride as a man, your mind, or if you’re lucky enough you’ll lose the two guys who have been trailing you from underbridge. I bid goodbye to a place where I’ll still come tomorrow to bid goodbye to again. Only the insane can survive the ancient town called Ikeja

Finally, after much research, I’m convinced that rain doesn’t fall in Ikeja. What pours instead, is the tears of Ikeja’s victims. Legends have it that those tears are what made up the Atlantic Ocean.

What do I know?

It’s all you

The rain falls on all. Rich or poor, great or small, the rain pours on us all.

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Our country, battered and bruised, is rapidly declining. A far cry from when we were lured into this lie called independence, while we remain ‘in dependence’ of huge loans from dubiously over-friendly countries. One glance at the woman roasting plantain at Onipanu bus stop, another look at Mufutau, the vulcanizer sitting on that tattered Dunlop tyre, the conductor, the 23 year old boy looking for 4G network to chat with his American lover, the children, the old, just one look and you can almost telepathically deduce the questions on their minds. Where did the country go wrong?

It is easy to point fingers at Buhari, I mean, the leader is responsible for his followers, right? Surely, he has a hand in our misfortunes. He promised us change, a breath of fresh air, the beginning of a new dawn – a new Nigeria. Maybe we got a new Nigeria, one riddled in poverty and one that reeks of unease, pain, suffering and ultimately, death. Even if not him, at least it has to be our senators right? Those greedy men that dip their hand into our purses and steal just because they can. Could it be the institutions that have failed Nigeria? The police, the army, the banks, the LASTMA officials, the ministries, our pastors, imams, are they not to blame?

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Surely, they are to blame. They have done a lot in bringing the country to this state, but in all these apportioning of blames, you forgot someone, YOU. Have you questioned your input and contributions in the failure of Nigeria? You, yes you, when last did you pay tax? The road to your house is bushy but you clear the front of your gate and ignore the rest because, no be me get street. You scream angrily at a poster of Buhari soliciting for your votes, yet you pay Officer Titus ₦500 so he doesn’t arrest you for not having a drivers’ license. You claim everyone is too impatient in Lagos and it sickens you, yet you step on the gas when you see the red light, at least you can’t afford to be late. What about the young? Frustrated by unemployment, you pick up a 9mm and go to Mr. Secondus’ house to rob him of his money, forgetting he works in a private firm who haven’t paid him salary in 8 months, yet he does his 9-5. I’m sorry Buhari pulled your trigger on Secondus’ wife. A little yahoo here, a little yahoo there hurts no one right? I mean, boys just dey try hustle, so you drain Mrs Adewale’s GTB account of the ₦750,000 you met here, unknown to you that she had planned to use it to pay for the school fees of her children in Bowen University. We can’t blame you though, because, I mean, boys just dey try hustle. NEPA hasn’t given you light, you curse and curse their children but secretly hide the fact that you’re owing 17 months NEPA bill.

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Madam Alhaja, you work in the ministry of environment in Lokoja, but you come to work once in a week just to read Punch and gossip about Ngozi’s affair with the commissioner. After your fourth visit in July, you start applying for your official paid-leave of 4 months. Its not your fault jor, na Yahaya Bello cause am na, ain’t it? You want a new Nigeria but you’re voting the same old people because MC Oluomo promised you ₦2m for a new car. Madness. You campaign for charity, opening an account to save the dying children of Makoko. Donations hit $23,000 and our Volunteer of the Year disappears. We don’t blame you, we blame Saraki. Mr. Politician, your 76-point agenda is so encouraging and we buy your ideas, but what happened to the 58-point agenda you promised to implement when we made you the Local Government Chairman? Since the young people are unemployed, you decided to empower them with guns and cutlasses to secure your next four years. Power to the people as we help them progress, right? The insanity that is Nigeria.

Nigeria is a failure, yet in all of these we feel the need to blame people. We exonerate ourselves and our deeds as factors killing the country. We point fingers but break the law because e no concern me. Will you die if you do right? Why can you not help that neighbour? Since you want to be rich so bad, why not work? Is the government going to clear the weed in your estate? Buhari is the reason why you left your position as leader of choristers to become leader of Badoo boys, right? You know how to blame everybody but who blames you? People are dying in your street, instead of you to investigate the cause, you install 4 bullet-proof doors in your house. So far they can’t get you, all is well. Your action and inaction has finished Nigeria. Our politicians didn’t make us lose our morals, our fragility and selfishness did. You are praying for exchange rate to go up so you can change your $200 for more value. The average Nigerian has lost hope in Nigeria and would do anything to get money for himself, even if Nigeria suffers the effects.

You are our problem, yes you! You and I have finished our country by ourselves. Nigeria is hanging to death and we are the ropes. Sad

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– Aisida Moses Oluwakayode