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It’s been a week full of activities for me and I bet it’s been same for you too. On Wednesday 30 March 2011, I became a year older. It was a memorable day and I was humbled by the many phone calls and text messages received. My Facebook page was abuzz and very much alive with hundreds of birthday wishes and greetings. The frequency was so overwhelming that I had to log out of my FB account for some hours! “All those for just me!?” I thank God for life, for good health, for love, for family and for friends.

The Late CD John

Meanwhile, whilst the greetings were on, here on Gbenga’s Notebook!, I observed from the back-end that this blog had received three particular hits through a search engine and guess the phrase that brought up my blog three times? “is gbenga awomodu dead” My last name is not so common therefore it is most likely someone was trying to find out if I was still alive or not – what an irony on such a day!

In retrospect, I think what could have prompted that search may have been in relation to a piece I had written on Monday 28 March 2011 on Bella Naija. There, I had written a tribute cum plea-for-caution following on the death of three of Nigeria’s entertainment practitioners within the space of six days. CD John, a young and fast-rising comedian had died around 7AM on Thursday 24 March 2011, some hours after a ghastly motor accident – the car he was driving had run into a stationary car whilst he was on top speed. It was just three days to his birthday. On the night of the day CD John died, Chidinma Mbalaso, another young person (22 years old) who had been working on her career as a model and stylist died in a ghastly motor accident whilst returning from Kaduna to Abuja in her new car. A motorcyclist had crossed her path suddenly, prompting her to swerve and lose control. She died in the early hours of Friday 25 March 2011 after frantic efforts to get people with the same blood group to donate some blood for her. On Sunday 20 March 2011, a Yoruba Nollywood actor had also died in a car accident between Lagos and Abeokuta (Ogun State). The man, Ishola Durojaiye, popularly known as Ahmed Alasari, had just released his debut movie and things were just beginning to lok really good for him on a new level when he lost his life. All these deaths and many similar occurrences, considering that car accident was a common denominator, prompted the article. To read the full piece, click on this link: Gone Too Soon – Remembering CD John, Chidinma Mbalaso & All Our Dearly Departed.

Olujimi Tewe

Also, on Monday 28 March 2011, I had a piece on BN. It is an exclusive interview with Olujimi Tewe, a Human Resource Management Consultant and founder of Inspiro Consulting. Since relocating to Lagos in 2002 for his NYSC programme, he has worked in five companies and risen to become a Senior Manager in the Nigerian banking industry. Now the CEO of Inspiro Consulting, which he started in 2010 after resigning his top level job at Bank PHB, he constantly seeks to provide career solutions to the unemployment and under-employment issues in Nigeria from a professional perspective. The host of a radio show called The Interview every Tuesday on City 105.1FM, he is a Pastor with Kingsword Ministries International and an Inspirational Speaker. In this interview, the author of “Where Did all my Money go?” and “Getting a Good Job Easily”, shares about his journey of self-discovery, phenomenal career leaps, mistakes job-seekers make, marriage and our nation Nigeria. Click here to read the full story: Career Leaps, Faith & Success – The Olujimi Tewe Story

Lastly, yesterday, Friday 1 April 2011, my interview with Lola (Akinmade) Åkerström was published on BN. Lola is a freelance writer with travel and documentary photography experience on six continents. Her work has appeared in numerous reputable publications, online and in print, including: Vogue, BBC, National Geographic Traveler, Travel Channel’s World Hum, San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes Traveler, Sherman’s Travel, Fodors.com, ISLANDS Magazine, United’s Hemispheres, AFAR, Guardian UK’s Been There, Smithsonian.com, CITY Magazine, The Away Network, Transitions Abroad, and The Matador Network. A creative IT professional with over fourteen years of experience in providing enterprise solutions, she has finally embraced her preferred passion.

Lola (Akinmade) Åkerström

When Quark Expeditions, foremost polar adventure tour operator, announced its search for a blogger to follow its 20th anniversary expedition to the North Pole, her entry was the very first one submitted, but she eventually missed the top 5 by three votes. I was not happy because I rooted for her all along, but something struck me about her. Despite losing in a rather suspicious way to some people who most likely had cheated in amassing hundreds of votes within the last few hours, she drew a long list of everyone who had voted for her and/or canvassed for votes on her behalf, and wrote a very long blog post to thank them. I could feel her tremendous energy and sense her strength of character from across the oceans! I made up my mind to interview her ASAP! So finally, in the exclusive interview, Lola talks about her North Pole dreams, GIS career, marriage to her Scandinavian husband, travel writing & photography, and lots more. To read the full story and have a peek into her photography, click on this link: Proudly African, In Love With Scandinavia & Exploring the World: Time Out with Lola Akinmade, Award-Winning Travel Writer & Photographer.

So, that’s all people. It’s been a very eventful week and things can only get better in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. I’d like to hear from you, so kindly drop your comments or send me an e-mail. Thank you! –GN!

Photo credit: Hi Magazine; www.fotolighthouse.com; Lola Akinmade