GUEST POST: 2015 in Review

My very last guest post for the year is from Ibrahim Aliyu Mamman, who writes in all the way from Kaduna state, in this review he talks about meeting Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, drinking palmwine and lots more, follow him in his journey through 2015 .

   For those who care about a such details,  365¼ days  make a year. One wonders why they bother to talk about the ¼. It’s not as if anyone ever notices  that a ¼ is missing in the days that makes a year. if you are a scientist reading this, it is just joking sturvs o!  don’t take me too seriously. Seriously though, why the hell does the extra ¼ of a day matter. So they are trying to tell us that without the 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds that makes the ¼, the period of only 365 days alone can’t make a year? However, what really makes a year to me is not just the number of seconds, minutes and days, but rather the particular moments behind  that period. My 2015 was a year filled with a lot of thrilling, happy and shitty moments. A year filled with adventures, risks and whatnot. So sit back, relax and maybe enjoy, as I give you a shot of the tops that made my year.

     2015 was a year I decided to read more African literature and through the year I’ve read some magnificent books: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adiche, Lagoon by Nnedi Okarafor and much more. The book that blew my mind was “one day I will write about this place” by Binyavanga Wainana. It’s a memoir, a classic. Brilliant in its writing style, very meticulously curated, it encouraged me to read more. The most important thing I gained from The book was a message that university degrees are to some extent bullshit and all that matters is developing a reading habit. It’s an incredible book i wish each and every Nigerian would read. The will spark a “Binyavanga” in you, urging you that “one day you ought to write about this place”

2015 was a year of first though. Some first were of joy while others were shitty, bullshits.  It was a year I got my first “A” level carryover. It was a moment of new experiences (seeing my name on the fail list) and learning  lessons on how the academic system works. It was very sickening giving that I studied the course the most. The C.O had to do more with me not buying a stupid journal that everyone who bought the scrap piece passed. We filed a complaint, which was a bit suicidal Nigerian educational system being as it is, But I guess I should shut up and stop being a typical Nigerian, following every failure with an excuse. Yes, I failed.

    Revolution by Russell brand is without doubt the best book I have ever read. His ideas, the way he succinctly puts his thoughts makes the book brilliant. The book is about revolution (I know you are a little fed up with books about revolutions, I am too) but what makes it different was the new perspective of revolution Russell brought which is “The revolution of our consciousness through non-violent means”. Giving that he was a dick some years ago, people thought it a joke when he was voted the world fourth most influential thinker. Find a copy and read it  I promise, you will challenge prospect magazine on why he wasn’t the second most influential thinker. As Owen Jones puts it, the book is funny, full of charm, and engaging.

    On the 7th of November after a journey, I came home to a spooky letter inside my wardrobe. It could not be the landlord’s message, it certainly can’t be my parents because we traveled together and its the 21st century, whoever it was should have sent me a unanimous text if he doesn’t have the balls to say it straight to my face, I thought.  So I read it and was thrilled to learn it was left by two of my very close friends showing love, friendship and appreciation. It was very touching. The words, the style the letter was written in  and the little shared secrets  brought tears to my eyes. It certainly is one of my tops for 2015

It was a year a year of illegal downloads. I will love to use this opportunity to bless the yahoo boys who never fail in finding internet cheat codes for us. will forever make sense,for providing a platform  for downloads of movies, applications, music’s and much more, all for free. My tops of such download, which made 2015 such a mind blowing year, were Game of thrones (Jon snow was certainly at everyone’s lips), orange is the new black (crazy eyes), modern family and imitation game makes up my movies category. To pimp a butterfly, a funk rap album by Kendrick was certainly a classic that was somehow a subject matter I discussed with the writer Nnedi Okoroafor.  She said Kendrick is unique in his metaphors and similes and even lectured me on how to listen to the Album (in my mind I was like: see her, for her mind she dey think say she dey lecture me about Kendrick). Other tops included the educative shows such as Head to head hosted by Mehdi Hassan and certainly 25 by Adele.


Nnedi Okoroafor, first question I asked her was who she thinks is better between J Cole and Kendrick Lamar

      One thing  I  have always loved about rural movies, especially those of Igbo origin is the way they savor their palm wine. So when I was at Ake poetry evening and was offered a cup, I was contemplating on drinking because of its alcohol level, which a friend said was at about 20%. I took a sip, muffled it around my mouth and I let it stay in there for bit. The sour Chucky sweet taste was absolutely a moment to savour.

I was a little excited when I heard that the man  whom I spent hours under the merciless scorching sun to vote for, would be attending Ake festival. When El-Rufai popped at the festival venue, I was to be one of the many people who attended his panel discussion. I was just suippossed to be a part of the audience  and nothing more, but I was wowed beyond my imagination when  I was introduced to H.E Governor Nasir El-Rufai and was able to  chat with him; Gov. El Rufai even signed my book and gave me a warm handshake to put the icing on the cake. Meeting the governor was a great moment. One I need no diary for. 


With Gov. El Rufai of Kaduna State, He writes like a doctor

           The main person that made me travel all the way to Abeokuta for  Ake Arts and Book festival in November was the incredible Mona Eltahawy. She surely was an eye opener on a lot of issues around the world. So when she tweeted of her coming to Nigeria, I vowed I was going to be there to see her  When after her panel discussion we had an opportunity to take pictures and gist.  it was a thrilling. Such moments when you have like a thousand words to say but only a few comes out. Her elegant red hair was forever charming, the subtle way she said “fuck this” and it certainly didn’t go without her trademark  warning: ‘’GET OUT OF MY VAGINA’’.
When we shook hands, I jokingly vowed not to wash my hands. When I had a dance with her, I said to myself: if this should be your last dance on earth, it was probably worth it, mate! . I also got a signed copy of her book, which I plan to be my first read for 2016.


With the incredible Mona Eltahawy, #GoFeminism


         It was tough convincing my parents to allow me to go on a journey to Abeokuta via Lagos. In all sincerity, I never thought they’d allowed me. The purpose of the travel was Ake arts and book festival which was utterly magnificent .The book chats were spectacular, the panel discussions were  educative, the movies were filled with messages, the poetry night was top notch not to talk about the Ake party where I danced my sorrows off (it that was possible) and The play? It was “wow”,
   The 81 guests of authors, thinkers, artists, and photographers were more humans than humans. I had a chance of seeing the quaint city of Abeokuta with its friendly people and the beautiful and vibrant Lagos state with its forever-unending traffic.
It was a feeling akin to rapture to have been able to stand on Olumo rock a landmark that I have always vowed to see since my interaction with it in my junior secondary school social studies textbooks. The view of Abeokuta from the top of the rock was marvelous. seeing the major shrine, idols of the Egbas, and the grave of some dude who is regarded as an ancestor and whatnot and also how the capital of Ogun state, Abeokuta got its name meaning people of the mountain. It left me reeling with happiness.


Hello from the top of the Rock

It’s a bird….
    … It’s a plane….
    …Its superman… MR BAJI NYAM.
               I wish I was good enough at poetry to write a poem for my top of the year.
But words as they are are not powerful enough to describe such a man.
  We met after his speech at Ake festival with two friends of mine. He scheduled a meeting at his company in Victoria Island, Lagos. The next day we arrived at his office of where we had a meeting with his two other partners. He encouraged us; spoke to us on the importance of diversity, hard work, pluralism and dedication. He showed us around his company, which was exceptionally beautiful and smart. He showed us their most recent ship, named Africa’s inspiration, which really did inspire us and always emphasized on the importance of knowledge, helping and sharing with others


With Mr Baji in his office in Victoria Island,Lagos

   The main theme of his speech earlier at the festival was on how they plan on donating 50 mini libraries to the northern part of the country which was after gifting 200,000 Naira each to 5 writers from the region. This was from a man whose company has no business in that part of the country and only wanted to see the region which is backwards in terms of education prosper
He made me with my two friend’s ambassadors of his company to northern Nigeria and offered a job upon graduation. He always told us to help people from family, friends and strangers and Emphasised to us that no one owes us anything.
Such an impeccable act of kindness from a complete stranger was just unimaginable. a role model in every sense of the word.  Writing such a little piece on as this does but little justice to such a great man but I’ve come to accept that no words I’d write will explain such a man. He introduced us to the governor of Kaduna state and much more. He was truly was an eye-opener on why we ought to read, help others, work-hard and take risks albeit consciously. God bless Mr. Baji Nyam.
     As he does say: “life is all about packaging”. May GOD package us and gives us the opportunity to package others all through our lives.
Happy New Year!!!


Ibrahim Aliyu is a student of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, he likes to share his thoughts at, and hangs out on twitter @IEljuma

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