November 28, 2011


I spent a plane ride to and from Lagos, in the company of David Ropo Lawale's book - 21st century Joseph and it not only cured my aerophobia (see previous post) but it blessed me and i was thoroughly entertained. David has a lot of content and there is a blessing in the way he uses it, I hope you see that too in this interview, Enjoy!

OMONAIKEE: You write about the biblical character, Joseph and flesh out the story with vivid descriptions of his life as it would be if it was set in the 21st century. I found your Joseph to be a quick wit, a stylish dresser and a man shocked out of his sheltered life by the hateful betrayal of his brothers. Joseph was a happy-go-lucky kid who had to grow up fast because of the hard events presented in his life, do you relate with the life of Joseph?

DAVID: Yes I do relate with the life of Joseph. He was a young man that seemed to have “impossible” dreams that made him a legend. Im a pictorial person. I love to think out of the box. I love to try out the rare things. Growing up, I’d always had dreams about myself and where I was going. While I was in the banking industry, I kept nursing the dreams. The Banking Industry is a place that keeps you comfortable enough to live a dependent life on the salary and forget your dreams. I had to fight it. Since I pictorial in everything I do, I often picture everything around me having a voice. Life itself has a voice. It often tells us we cant be who we planned to be. I needed to shut it up first by making myself happy. I found out no one will really make you happy. No one will actually celebrate your dreams. No one will believe in you when you build castles in the sky and don’t take visible steps to show your doggedness. The way you’ll see Joseph described in the book has a little bit of me in it. I just love being happy and excited irrespective of how any other wants to make me feel. Life is fun, live it but don’t live too seriously. Enjoy the moments. I also’ kinda’ had an old head on a young shoulder (I grew up fast). Also, did almost everything under the sun before I woke up to life’s reality

OMONAIKEE: In your book, we hear your voice weaving messages of your own into the story. You where also in the book along with your characters, I found that style of writing to be unusual. Why was it important to you that your voice should lend something to the story?

DAVID: I didn’t just want people to read a book and dump it somewhere. I needed a book that would speak to the readers, cause them to go back to it when life’s pressure tries to raise it’s head. I also wanted to connect with the reader. Many ‘mentor’ books from well respected and notable authors entertain but don’t get to relate with you. I wanted to be in the readers living room, swimming pool section, kitchen, library, school, office with him/her. I wanted to dialogue with the various reader’s thoughts without necessarily being physically present. From the numerous feedback we get, it seems it worked. It’s exciting!

OMONAIKEE: You are also a brand consultant and your approach to pushing your book is fresh, how have you used social media and what potential does it offer today's writers and authors such as yourself?

DAVID: True, my approach was a fresh one. Like I said earlier, I like thinking out of the box. It’s a joy to see the method being used now by public figures who saw what I was doing and got in touch. Others, said they were going to use it for their work. Another thing im passionate about is branding and marketing. Social Media is a blessing to the 21st century. Years ago, many paid huge amounts for TV adverts, newspaper ads, etc. Today, things have changed. Many are bloggers, people are networking beyond their country. Social Media will get your work to nations you never taught of in seconds. You can network the world from your living room. I get calls/messages from Dubai, Malaysia, UK, Zimbabwe, South Africa e.t.c over what I do simply because of social media sites. The 21st Century Writer must understand the speed at which people can get to see his/her work via social sites. Facebook for example has over 500m users. That’s like the population of 3 major countries put together. Any wise author will ride on that platform. Yet, there are still ways of getting the necessary effects, response and productivity.

OMONAIKEE: Connect the dots for me, you have had life experience in other industries unrelated to what you currently do, what led you here David? What's your story?

DAVID: I wouldn’t really say that. I was into marketing. I was once an external marketing rep. for an organisation based in Lagos. However, my passion for empowerment was also in the picture at the time as I got some slight invitations many years ago. I got into the Banking Industry, Prudent Bank to be precise and was there as a credit and marketing officer. I understudied my bosses because I knew I wasn’t going to stay a banker all my life. The Banking Industry is a place where you can acquire a lot of knowledge if you do take it seriously. You get to write credits for schools, hotels, hospitals, contractors, politicians, etc. Hence, in those days of Prudent Bank before consolidation by Soludo, the Bank was particular about your display of knowledge in the field you are writing a credit(loan application) on. So, that takes a lot of research, questions e.t.c. There were times you’ll need to think like a doctor simply because you were writing a credit for a hospital or think like an engineer a bit because you need to defend a contractors request. After Bank consolidation, other banks I moved to didn’t really engage in that, but I was able to learn more on ROA, profitability and the likes. Bottomline, when I consult or train organizations now, I stand confidently because of the foundation received in the banking sector, research and the general school of hard knocks termed the School of Life. Today, im a Business Strategist. Also a performance trainer. My job is to help organizations grow their customer base, rebrand their mindsets for growth, make needed impact on their bottomline and re-create in them a brand customers are not tired of. Many organizations feel their age and experience qualifies them to keep being the forerunners. History, has proved them wrong, both locally and Internationally

Finally, you asked what led me hear… Well, i am very uncomfortable with mediocrity. Very shocked at acts of foolishness often displayed based on the fact that we have celebrated ignorance for too long. I feel there’s more to life than the mansions in Asokoro, Victoria Island or Beverly Hills; there’s more to life than the cars, Rolexes and private jets many want to acquire; There’s more to life than Money. There’s calmness and so much joy when you are doing what you are designed for. Many are frustrated because they are living someone else’s dreams. I'm David Ropo Lawale and I just want to live life happy, fulfilled and able to encourage people to birth their dreams even when it seems slow or financially stupid. In my own comical words, the so called stupid people helped us. Thomas Edison was stupid enough to keep trying, Gani Fawehinmi was stupid enough to go against the military when no one dared, Tafawa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikwe and Awolowo were stupid enough to push for our independence. I am stupid enough to believe in LIVING LEGENDS. I don’t believe you need to die first before the world celebrates you. Michael Angelo, Martin Luther, Shakespeare e.t.c. are legends but they were not living legends. Their legendary status seemed to spread after death. I love to celebrate Mohammed Ali, Steve Jobs e.t.c

OMONAIKEE: Tell me a bit about your christian faith, your testimony of it was very present in your book, what role does having a faith play in your life?

I discovered intimacy and not religion. We all made a religion out of this and termed it Christianity. Truth is the world needs a revolution. We need positive rebels of thought and character and not violence. We need knowledgeable corrections based on truths from the word and not just what has been practiced. Many might find it difficult to believe but God/Jesus never called us Christians. The people that didn’t understand the disciples were the ones that gave them the name. We should live free and happy in the word. Religions will keep battling themselves for supremacy. Religions are systems of the world and no religion out of all religions in the world will want to accept inferiority to the others. That’s why things go physical and violent. We weren’t given religion, we were given Relationship. In the relationship, we have religious(consistent or modus operandi) engagements like Prayer, Faith walk etc. God didn’t call us Christians, He called us Gods (Ps 82:5-6; John 10:34). He didn’t say we are Christ-Like (Christians or a replica). All religions have refused to comprehend this. Oh no!! I aint

With regards the testimony of my faith present in 21ST CENTURY JOSEPH…..Yes, it was. All the stories in my teachings were real life scenarios. Some were me, some others.
"What does Having a faith play in my life?"........Stories like Joseph gets me positively angry. Stories like Daniel e.t.c. They had mental pictures of themselves and went to work at it. Having read those stories, I felt, if they could make it, so can I. Having faith in the Almighty himself helped take some steps I wouldn’t want to take. I resigned from the banking industry with less than $100 to my name local and abroad. I was in debt and my rent was due. I live by one major statement…If Opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door and knock it yourself. I’d rather die trying than not trying at all. Life doesn’t reward you for your similarity, it rewards you for your difference; the majority have never made impact, those that do separated themselves from the majority.

OMONAIKEE: What should we expect from David Ropo Lawale in the near future?

DAVID: I've written 9 books. 21ST CENTURY JOSEPH was the first in the series of 21ST CENTURY BOOKS. Also expect the movie, cartoon and comic versions of each book. Expect David’s voice encouraging you to stand up for the “stupidity” of your dream and desire. Expect strategies that would build and expand what you do. I playfully used to say when I was much younger, you may not like my face when you see me on TV, but you’ll still hear the voice on radio. You may switch off the radio but, my brand of toothpaste will probably be in your house, if you refuse to use that too, my brand of soap, kitchen seasoning, book, etc will be existing in your house. Hey, im not greedy, i'm only exercising my senses. Watch me!!!

Great stuff right? Read the book! When David asked me to write a review, i sent him my two cents bellow:

"I give and i take- I enjoy taking words and giving them back by unraveling meaning, enjoying prose and weaving thought into words again. David's book gave me a lot to unravel and for my labor I was rewarded with a sense of God working out all things for my good. I read and I write- At first I read this book like a writer would, paying attention to David's expressions and the flow of the plot then somewhere in the chapters I became a reader and got drawn into the story by David's ability to paint vivid pictures and his gift to lift the curtain to reveal the humanity of these biblical characters whose stories are set in times far from the ones we live and are tried in. With humor and an animated imagination, David reset the clock and let's us see Joseph in a life we can really relate to. I am blessed and I bless- I heard some things I needed to hear in David's book and I recommend it for anyone who wants to keep company with a mind that has mined insight from the word of God' - Omonike Odi, CEO, Omonaikee

November 24, 2011


The first time I saw a wrap of “gala”, the sausage snack, was in Lagos and that was two decades ago. Since then Lagos has never ceased to provide firsts for me and I didn’t think my last trip would be any different. On a Monday night, I found myself seating in the crowded Murtala Mohammed airport for two hours, waiting to board a flight enroute Lagos from the serene Federal Capital Territory.

My flight had been shifted once already hence the two hour wait. I dreaded the possibility of having it rescheduled to the next morning more than it worried me to seat in the airport waiting and I minded that even less than the idea of flying at night and arriving in Lagos late.

It wasn’t just my fear of running into the gentlemen of the night that irked me; it was flying in the dark and not being able to see anything. Somewhere in my head I reasoned that if the worst happened daylight would provide a better chance of salvation and so the black night held no comfort for me. Consolation was only to be found in the reassuring laugh of Haruna, my long time friend. He teased me out of my anxiety and told me to consider the experience an opportunity to do something new. This was going to be another first.

My flight was announced by a rickety voice coated with an accent I couldn’t decide on.

”Is she a Nigerian speaking like a Lebanese or a Lebanese trying to sound Nigerian?” I wondered, but not for long.

On board, I concentrated on shutting out the piercing sound of the airplane slicing through the air during take-off. Reading on trips was an old habit of mine, it helped to kill time and in this instance it would distract me from my aerophobia so I turned on my reading light and settled into a book.

Overtime i have learned to expect certain things from Lagos; like bumping into a Nollywood star, seeing the ocean, being rudely addressed by a bus conductor and being stuck in 3rd mainland bridge traffic. What I didn’t foresee however, was to be ousted out of my role as observer and given a part in the movie- Lagos.

The pilot announced we were approaching our destination and I peered out of the square glass beside me to see for myself. What I saw immediately made me part ways with my reservations about flying at night. Beneath me was a cosmos of bright lights set in the blackness. The lights sparkled like stars right under my feet and I looked down at them in child -like awe. Then sooner than I was ready, the lights began to disappear one after the other until we plunged into the blackness and landed on earth. As the plane taxied to a stop I spied the moon and felt a tinge of jealously. The fun part of flying was seeing the view from up there and after seeing heaven on earth i didn’t think I would be afraid of flying after that. We’ll wait and see.

If my experience in the air was surreal, the one on the road the next morning was anything but. I set out of my Isolo home, armed with the address of the venue for the event I would be attending. It was Four Points by Sheraton on the island. I had been told to walk to a nearby junction and find a cab and once I found one, I was to negotiate N1500 for the cab fee. That’s what I was told.

I dressed carefully that morning in a smart skirt suit supported on black, suede, Runway Next shoes with heels from here to there. Inspite of the 6inches, I managed to trek out of the pot holed roads of Ire Akari estate to the supposed “nearby” junction. I scanned the area to the left and the right but there was no cab in sight.

I heard my Auntie call them “Marwa’s” but they were called “keke NAPEP” in Abuja and now I could see tons of them going up and down the narrow road. One stopped to let a uniformed child unto the street and I quickly approached to ask the driver where I could find a cab. The driver began a rapid explanation complete with gesticulations and I nodded to encourage sense out of him. The man seating behind him listened for a minute then suggested i join them since they were headed toward the street the driver had mentioned. I lifted the weight from my heels thankful to support my legs on the metal floor of the tricycle.

As I held a rod by the window for support, I wondered if I should be thankful for the intervention or wary of help from these total strangers. I instinctively pressed my handbag close to my body and resolved to be vigilant. Soon enough we arrived at a place on another street where I could see two cars with the sign “hire” set on their tops. I found my feet on the tarred road before asking the Marwa driver what I owed him. He smiled an old man smile and said “No worry”. I was surprised but pleased and took it as a sign of good luck. After thanking the old man, i proceeded to the parked cars.

“VI” I instructed in my strongest no nonsense voice.

“3,500 ” A voice returned. A man in a native tunic and trouser inched towards me and i could see he was looking me over. I hesitated. That was too much for a cab and it wouldn’t do to go back home with a sad tale of how I parted ways with N3500 for a cab ride. My cousins would laugh hard and put it down to my being a JJC . Only a Johnny Just Come, JJC for short, wouldn’t know better.

I shrugged off my cool and barked back, “N1500”

The man adamantly refused and I walked on feigning annoyance like I would have done in Abuja. It always worked without fail. The driver would pretend to refuse only to call back the passenger who showed nonchalance. I took a few steps away but didn’t hear a thing so i turned around in time to see that the man had retaken his seat and was now chewing hard on his chewing stick. He wasn’t budging. So much for luck, I thought.

Nothing else moved in my direction for a while.

Someone had been observing me from the side of the road. He was a security guard and presently he walked over and asked me if I was going to VI. I once again pressed my bag to my sides and hardened my face.

“Yes”, I answered in a voice I hoped sounded confident.

“Why don’t you take a bike to Cele bus stop for N100 then from there enter bus to CMS then when you get there you go get taxi easily to VI”.

I looked at the man for a second, then at the time on my wrist watch. The watch decided for me. While the idea of a bus did not appeal, I reasoned that if I could get to the next stop, I would be further ahead than where I was and would find a more agreeable cab driver. The security man hailed a bike that had just stopped a few feet away. He addressed the man as “Molla”, and I felt a little more comfortable that the “okada” driver was Hausa. I spoke to him briefly in his language and he assured me I would find a cab at Cele bus stop so I pulled my skirt above my knee and attempted to raise a leg. That’s when I heard a tearing sound. The bike man understood and made for lower ground while I recovered from the thought that my suit had just be ruined. It was the lining that had given way thankfully so I repeated the move and hoisted myself successfully onto the bike.

When I raised my head to see there was a dirty helmet in my view,


The Hausa man was pushing the helmet into my hand. I shook my head in disbelief and put the thing over my head with a deep sense of regret. I calculated the price of the hair extension on my head before peacefully coming to the realisation that at least, it was protecting my head from the dirty helmet.

Cele bus stop was many streets later and as soon as I got down from the okada i started asking around for cabs. Twice I was directed to cross over to someplace to ask and i would go across a street, find someone who would tell me where else to go only to return to the first point.

By now a lot of time had passed since I left home. I was an unwilling member of a crowd. People moved around while others waited for buses but when one pulled up only one or two made an attempt to get on it. Thugs moved through the crowd of regular looking people who wore trousers or skirts paired with shirts or native styled clothes. None of them looked like me and I could see I was out of place in a black suit, briefcase, handbag and high- heeled shoes. My hair was getting into my eyes and my false nails where too blunt to pick them all out. I was a contrast to the dirty streets and aggressive people around me. I became worried for my safety and constantly put my hand in my bag at intervals, feeling for my smart phone.

“All the load wey you dey carry go fall you o!”

The warning was directed at me, and I turned around to see the owner of the cracked voice. A short man with dirty dread locks and dirtier clothes was coming toward me. I quickly remembered my survival instincts and barked back at him in pidgin English,

“Na you e go fall, Ode”

I grimaced at the sound of my own voice. Where I got that from, I wondered. A second thought followed the first, as I pictured what would happen if the man heard the insult and turned back on me.

Thirty minutes slowly passed me by in Cele bus stop. At this point, the thought of going back home crossed my mind but again I didn’t know how I would explain myself when I met up with my colleagues who were waiting for me at the event. The last person I queried for suggestions was a LASMA guy, they handle traffic in Lagos. He had pointed me in one direction where I was yet unsuccessful.

“Why don’t you take a bus to CMS if you are going to VI?”

How did they know where I was going? I assessed this new entrant who was offering me bus stop consultation services to see if I was looking at a potential heckler. Had he observed my aimless walking and decided I was a good target?

It occurred to me that I had not heard any conductor call for CMS so I questioned him about that.

“They are calling Orinle. Go to Orinle and from there to CMS”.

The bus was dirty, old and rickety and I was given the seat next to the conductor. I came to respect the man after observing his fearlessness when the bus veered very close to other buses. He never flinched!

I had decided that as long as I was moving closer to VI, I was better off than if I kept waiting at Cele. When I boarded the bus, I noticed that the man who had advised me to go to Orinle, followed me into it, by now my hand hurt from clutching my bag.

We travelled for thirty minutes without incident. I had accepted my fate and now I stepped outside the situation to observe the other players. When we went past one road we happened upon a group of policemen beating up a driver through the window of his bus. The poor driver had one hand in a fist to jab at the faces of the police while the other hand held unto the steering wheel. An old woman behind me wailed in pity as she cursed the police men for heckling the driver for his daily bread. They should beg him for the money not beat it out of him she said in Yoruba. Others hissed their disgust. I continued to stare outside, observing the roads that where being constructed and adjusting my eyes for landmarks I hoped I would recognise.

My mind slowly drifted to the horrid stories I had heard of Lagos. One friend had been robbed in a bus while another related the story of a robbery that occurred in broad day light. The armed thieves robbed from car to car in the congested traffic. From my ponderings, I heard the engine sputter and then stop. This woke me out of my thoughts.

The driver said “Ekpo ni” meaning it is fuel, and a lady from the far back of the bus shouted at him to let us out so we could get another bus to travel in. I was lost for words now and didn’t know who or what to blame for my predicament. Suddenly, i wished I was far away from this situation, as far away as Abuja. I started to pity my legs at the thought of another possible trek. But just as dramatically as the engine died, it regained consciousness and the car came alive. Our journey progressed slowly through traffic and fifteen minutes later the bus turned off the road. On cue, i asked someone where we were.

“This is CMS”, he answered.

I hurried to my feet and with more directions found a garage where a jolly old man agreed to take me to “Four pointi” for a thousand naira. Relieved to be in his cab, i took each tired feet out of my now dusty shoes. As we drove past, I enjoyed the view of the ships docked on the ocean then a thought occurred to me and I snatched out my make -up case to assess the damage to hair and makeup. We made more progress through light traffic while I tended to my appearance. Finally, the cab pulled into the prestigious hotel. I looked at my watch and shook my head in disbelief. It was 10:30am! It had taken three hours to get here.

I joined my colleagues who had been worried and for the first time all morning I felt safe. They were surprised at my story and got a good laugh from it. I had ridden an okada, hung around bus stops, hopped on buses and seen the life of a Lagosian who lives on the mainland and has to catch several buses to work on the island. I told myself I would not do it again but for what it was worth, I had just had another first in Lagos!

November 03, 2011

Crase de sleep, mumu go wake am!


Hmmm, I came here to dust the cobwebs and in response to all the chastisement I have been getting. Thank you loved ones for the koboko words not unlike the ones I have used to flagellate myself. So, I am putting the unfortunate reason why I have left y’all hangin to full use as my topic for this post. I remember the words of fellow writer and professional bb broadcaster whom I genuinely admire for his deep content which he so generously shares every morning. He said “I wont take any excuses, I make time everyday to write no matter how silly it is” so you see, whatever crase you witness in the course of this rambling has been justified under the sacrosanct sanctity of his righteous indignation!And i reserve the right to remain mute, not just silent at the obvious combabulating misuse of words littering this rendition! And if you wondered the difference, being silent is keeping your lips sealed but being mute is looking like a mumu while at it! And a word for “Haruna”-“my new found love for tweeter, is not a crutch!”. Yep I am on twitter every morning, see what I have been up to for yourself - @omonaikee.

Excuse no 1: I don’t have inspiration.

Hmmmm, objectively speaking, inspiration is everywhere na. It’s on the head of the groundnut seller, it’s enshrouded in the thoughts of every conversation, it’s on the mismatched attire of the man who chooses to wake up and wear a lab coat or a pair of pyjamas to the market, it’s on the Abuja babes outfit reeking of all the colors in the rainbow in the name of color blocking and the urban professional’s shiny suit complete with an aloof expression and arrogant swag. Sooo please find something else to use Nike.

Excuse number 2: Baa ni da locaci.

That means, “I dont have time in Hausa”. Mcheew… who does? We all have 24 hours and that has been the ration since you stepped out of the uterus!

Excuse number 3: No internet service!

Chai! Biko, which century are you na? And who told you everything is often perfect for the millions of professional writers, professional bloggers and professional me-sef-wan-write-my-owns out there? Mcheeeeeeeewu !

Excuse number 4: I’ll do it later?

When exactly? When the opportunity makes itself available or when you create time and call it opportunity? Ermmmmmmmmmm, it’s called procrastination and no one ever did anything worth doing by being friends with that darn thing! So set a fixed time every day or week to get down to it, ko?

Excuse number 5: I dont feel like it just yet.

SWAT! Ma begi fu en! I will slap yah face right now o! Who told you, you have to feel like anything? Are you your feelings? Abi, whish kain pepperless oyibo talk be dis? You don’t need Dr Phil to tell you that its not about how you feel! If we all followed our feelings Hitler would be having lunch with Ghadafi and plotting how to use mobile phones to wipe out the world with Steve jobs! Now what was the point again? STOP FEELING!

Ok, this schizophrenic rattling is all I can handle right now or else…… that thing that happened in 1976 will happen!

Dalu o!
This was fun!
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