Recently, I met with two women who used to work part-time for me. Both women are married, have children, are young and are financially poor. Both women also have educated husbands who have no jobs so whenever I see them, I usually pay them much more than they have worked for just because of my soft spot for the children.
They came to see me on different days this week, both looking malnourished but rather than give them money again, I thought I should help them set up businesses. When the first woman came, I asked her what kind of business she could set up with a certain amount of money. She told me what she could do with even less amount but her mindset was just too shallow. I wanted something else for her that would bring much more profit so I suggested she managed another business that I had planned a while ago and she was extremely excited about it. There and then, we planned our budget and she went ahead to find a suitable location for her proposed business. Everything would fall in place, I could see the future of what we had planned and I was ready to pool every resource available to get her there.
The following day, she came to see me.
“Ehn aunty, about that business, my husband thinks it is not wise of me to go into it because of my 10 month old baby”.
Say what??? After talking to a few people who were willing to help her raise capital, she comes to me with such a flimsy excuse?
I admit, I felt anger and pity for her at the same time.
The other women said that her husband told her that she would become proud if she starts to make money before him. She did not want to lose her marriage.
It’s a shame, I tell you, how marriages that are meant for two people to support each other is just an institution for jealousy. Is it not better to be unmarried and free to make choices that to be stuck in a marriage that holds back your success?
It was sometime in 2014 when a young lady vowed to her lover that she would never to be as foolish as her mother who decided to leave all her certificates and degrees for full time housewife duties and let herself be bullied by her husband. Even when her lover tried to explain to her that it was her father’s duty to mould his wife – by way of encouragement – into a fulfilled woman, the young lady would have none of it.
She constantly blamed her mother for everything that was wrong in the family, for her father’s bad habits and her phobia for marriage and she wished that her mother would stop being lazy, but the fact is that somewhere in the words that her lover spoke to her is an element of truth that this young lady would have to accept. The woman would always want to listen to her man and the duty falls on him to support her or at least explain clearly to her why a choice she wants to make is probably not the best.
I’m unhappy with those families; the women for being too weak and the men for being weaker. It’s a shame the children will be the ones who suffer for the poor decisions their parents made. I have done my bit in helping the women and I now understand clearly why I probably will not bother with married women but will put my entire focus on young unmarried girls who think that marriage is an institution that they can go into because they think that what they feel at the time is love and that the earlier they get married to anyone who comes along, the better for them.
It’s a big shame on our society that some people will continue to remain poor and beggarly no matter how much you want to help them, and all in the name of marriage.
Some days ago, I put up a new page where I explained why I wanted to add interviews to the blog. There are few interviews on blogs that discuss the path hese young people took to their present occupations and the challenges they faced. See more information about this on the interview page. Today, we meet Su’eddie Agema.
Su’eddie Vershima Agema is an editor, publisher and development worker. He is the team leader of SEVHAGE Literary and Development Initiative, a Nigerian charity and Executive Director at the SEVHAGE Publishers imprint of VERSHAGE enterprises. He blogs here and here. He is @sueddieagema on Twitter and Instagram. He can also be reached at email@example.com.
Recently, there has been an increase in crime rate and the perpetrators are mostly youths whose excuse bear an undertone of resignation because there is no job for them, what do you have to say about this?
There is no excuse for crime, at any time. Things might be difficult but it is the difficulty of the times that should inspire and propel us to think deeply and innovatively. There are jobs everywhere but the major problem is we refuse to think out of the box. We have to learn to always think out of the box and look for problems to solve. Once you solve any problem, you will be sought after. Once you are sought after, you will be paid. The major flaw most of us have is impatience. We only look at the travails of the second and forget that there is a second later, a tomorrow that we have to work towards. Things might be difficult but if we set our hearts to it, we can triumph over the second, over the season and make the future to count.
Can you tell us what led you to go into the business you are currently in?
I became an editor and publisher largely because of a dissatisfaction with the state of editing and publishing in the country. I love books and I love to see well told narratives packaged right in the form they deserve. It is often disturbing to read a book of potential or grace littered with mistakes that could have been done away with or in a package where you would weep. So, I wrote proposals for collaboration with some publishing houses and also did work for some. Sadly, those proposals were turned down and so, in the end I decided to get into the business. On the other hand, going into the development sector – which is not business – was borne largely out of a desire to help change the society through what means we could, legitimately. We had been doing different services but generally without a formal structure. Eventually, we decided to go ahead doing what community service we could but under a proper name. Thus, SEVHAGE Literary and Development Initiative was born.
Is your course of study in anyway connected to your current job?
Yes, they are. I studied English for my first degree and you get the idea of how it would affect editing and publishing.
Would you say what you do is profitable?
Yes, it is profitable on many fronts. While for a start, publishing is not mega bucks inclined (we make bucks though), especially when you are not directly into educational books, there is a lot that happens on the other front where you are affecting lives and changing futures. What greater profit? There are those books that put a big smile on your account’s face too.
How does it help the Nigerian economy?
When we publish books, they are sold and the authors make money for them. The turnover for them is usually different. We have some clients who have sold up to two thousand copies of their books. Now, imagine that we published the entire work at say, six hundred thousand naira. The author on her part will sell each book for a minimum of a thousand naira, or more. That means the entire books will go for two million naira. What is the profit? One point four million naira. Is that good or what? But on the other hand, our publishing house works with different editors, writers, graphics designers and people who we commission. We pay them. There are those who volunteer; those ones learn skills. Need I mention again that when you read those books that we publish, vistas are opened and doors opened to help people earn? So, if you look at it on the overall scale, we are affecting the GDP in diverse ways and still yet, looking for more ways to see how we can play our part to do more.
Do you think the young ones have a role to play in shaping the economy?
Young people? Yes, young people have shaped the economy in a million ways and are still doing so still. We are the energy force of our society in every sector. Go to the streets, we the ones hustling, the drivers, the motorcyclists, the conductors driving you from here to there. We are the leaders of several companies, not taken too serious but working away our youth in order that figures would match and monies would be made. There are a select few of us who have dared to start businesses or lead organisations and associations, taking bold decisions in trying times, conserving and building and doing so much more.
I guess I have answered that to some point already, no? Check the GDP of any nation, it is largely a factor of the strength of their youth. While in some nations, like ours, you have mainly old people in positions of decision making and as leaders of industries, there is a breaking of that stronghold. But even when we are not in those sectors that we can directly play to change the economy or shape it to our tune, we are working in diverse ways to see how to do things that will turn the tides around. It takes a little survey of any industry to make sense of it. The beautiful part of this is that most of these young people shaping the economy have done so through grit and hard work without waiting for the heavens to simply come and give them the grace to move.
Do you think everyone should be an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is a personal decision and not everyone has the ability to swim the murky waters – if I can borrow that phrase – of business. There are also others who can’t run businesses and who would rather follow than lead, who would rather be paid then pay. If you force them down that path, you would get tragedy on your hands. But considering I think that everyone should have enterprising skills, I would say not everyone should be forced to be a FULL TIME entrepreneur but if anyone has a flair or entrepreneurial skill that can be fully utilised, please, go ahead and be one!
Do you agree that people have enterprising skills?
Yes, people should have enterprising skills as it will help keep them alive. Money is a big necessity for life, living and relationships. If you don’t have it, or know how to manage it, you are in sooooo much trouble. So, it doesn’t matter if you are working, own a business or are jobless. You ought to have some idea of enterprise so you don’t become a burden to yourself and everyone around. Plus, it helps to pave a leeway in case you need to make a run.
What is your long-term vision in your quest to improve the economy through your business?
On the publishing front, we are seeking ways to make books more profitable so that writers can make a living off their books – to some point, at least. As we expand, there will be more opportunities to staff who would earn. We are working to ensure that at some point, we would work with some people, including some of our published authors, to do empowerment campaigns on many fronts including education and finance.
What can you say to those who have dreams but do not have opportunities to live their dreams?
Life is too short to wait for opportunities which might – or might not come. We always have available options which we can fashion to become what we want. Remember that saying; when the preferable is not available, the available becomes the preferable. Don’t let your dreams die, pick them and make the most of it.
Please tell us how you got the funding to start your business.
Savings started largely from my savings – meagre as it was. Maybe it wasn’t up to ten thousand at the time. I also solicited clients from all around and kept on working from what we got. So, as clients paid for their work, we kept on. We didn’t really wait till we got funds. There are projects we hope to do and there are places we want to get to. There are times when carrying out certain projects are even an issue. Key thing is we have kept on moving on, using what strength we have, not waiting for any funds from anywhere. Scratching the earth like the chicken, and hoping that somehow, we will get the worm to eat. When we don’t, we smile but go on praying the grace of heaven upon us all.
What challenges have you encountered so far?
That is too big a question that I am not sure I can simply just start answering in one breath. Naturally, the Nigerian economic climate is harsh and publishing is not one of the topmost choices of business for any sane person. We have issues of distribution of books across the country and also, the rising cost of paper occasioned by the increasing dollar exchange rate – the falling Naira. Paper is imported and so, naturally we have to pay in hard currency for it. There are also other minute issues but the key thing to challenges is not celebrating them but seeking ways to overcome them.
Do you think you are at that point in your business where you can accept interns if they want to learn from you?
Easily, I can say YES. An emphatic YES. We can accept interns and have accepted interns. The beautiful part of our work is we can have interns working from any place as long as they are ready to work, and are accessible especially via phones. Having the internet and a computer is a bigger advantage. So, yes, we have rooms for interns in different departments from editing to general writing, secretarial duties, blogging and the like.
Finally, what advice would you give to African youths?
There’s are a million things to say to us, African youths. Key thing is we have a future that we shouldn’t compromise. We can be a source of development and change in our societies and environment. We don’t need to wait for anyone to kick-start our journey to success and uplifting our society. The time is now, the activity is what you can do in this second to bring a change. As our President, Muhammadu Buhari would say; CHANGE begins with you. Change begins with me. We are CHANGE.
This was first published as a Facebook note in 2011.
They had the best of times, and the worst. Both scaled through tough times, and kissed when it was good.
In him, she found a companion. In her, he found a sweetheart; loving, patient and of course, naughty. She was young and naive, he was mature and experienced but times passed and along came the hunger and thirst for more. He had not the ability to quench them. She had her short comings, he loved her as she was. But as is typical of young ones, she needed more.. More attention. She needed to feel safe with him. She felt him slipping away, she thought she deserved more. She wasn’t to blame, its how life is.
He couldn’t meet up, he never paid attention. She needed to enjoy her youth, he couldn’t just take it all away! She had to play with fashion, flow with the tide. He had to be with his friends, spend some money, convince himself that she understood perfectly.
But she could understand no more. She was stuck with him, scared to leave, scared of change.
They deserved more, she deserved more. It had to happen, someday.
And when it happened, they both were apart.
Each wondering…. WHAT WENT WRONG?
I tell anyone who calls me one, that I’m not a writer.
I think people who are called writers are those who take writing serious. I only write when my emotions are in sync with my fingers and most of the things I write are left unread for years and this blog is a reflection of my personality.
I decided to post some of my unedited and unfinished poems on the blog for a short while because some kind hearted writers have loved some of my posts, offered to edit and gone ahead to submit in some monthly publications. It’s amazing!
So if you are led by the spirit, you can use what I post as skeleton for yours, edit, add some more lines or stanzas if you want and post on your blog with a link to my blog. There’ll be a new category called ‘SNIPPETS’ so you can just go there to find my unfinished works in case you miss my updates.
All posts on this blog are mine (©Aidee Erhime)unless otherwise indicated.
This one is titled ‘FRIEND ZONE’
“Let us speak of the day you died
The day the night came when the sun shone
When we danced to the ryhthm of the roll
Then wrote on your tomb
Here lies Aries
Queen of the friend zone”
Facebook: Aidee Erhime
A boy will dream again tonight, of his many cars and houses. He will dream of wealth, women and employees. A boy will dream again tonight and wish he would live longer in the land of his dreams. He will count his years waiting impatiently for the day he’ll eventually wriggle free from the clingy protection of his parents. This boy will wake and say to his friends, ‘I dreamed of more houses and wealth’ and they will hold their noses with one hand, snorting and laughing. They will call him ‘The dreamer’ and he will snap his fingers at them, ‘You will see’.
The young boy will grow and be happy. His father too will be. ‘You are now a man’, his father will say and the boy, with nothing but his bag of dreams and hope, will open his arms and say to the world, ‘I am now a man!’
Now shelter and a car, he will be gifted. ‘A roof over your head and a vehicle for your comfort’, his parents will say. ‘Never forget that you are a man’.
With this zeal, he will work. Harder each day, he will work and everyday he will smile because life is not as complicated as they made it seem and even though he is now a man, his mother’s breasts still give him life but soon he will crave firmer breasts unlike his mother’s and faced with a bevy of choices requiring only his money, he’ll explore his youth and test them all.
One day, a stone will hit him; the first stone of many. Firmer breasts will leave him for the next hive and he will shed shameful tears, wondering whether to return to his mother’s breasts.
But I am a man! He’ll say, I’ll dream again.
A man will dream again tonight, of a gentle hand and a loving smile. He will dream of budding breasts and wake up craving to be in the arms of this one. He will stare at faces and chests, he’ll give all to find the smile and touch those hands. If I find these, I’ll be whole again. This man will say to his friends, ‘I dreamed of a creature with smile like a crescent moon’ and they will hold their bellies and laugh at him. They will call him ‘the dreamer’ and he will smile at them, ‘you will see.’
Shelter and car soon disappear, tiny stones become hail, his confidence melts but men do not cry. Smiles and breasts he has seen, none exactly like he had dreamed for when he thought he could shed a tear, their gentle hands had hardened. Do you not know that men do not cry?
Soon hope smiles, one hand holds him close.
‘Cry, baby, cry. Men are first humans’.
He sleeps and dreams like a boy again and when he tells his dream to the one with the gentle hands, that one smiles.
A fresh burst of confidence, a man will understand now that the hailstorm will be tackled by two but he soon will crave firmer breasts and with his money, he’ll find them and forget the one with the gentle hands.
I see the passion in your eyes when you tell me how much you like me. I see the truth in the words you say. When you say I have been part of the drastic growth you have experienced and that I have helped greatly in shaping you to the man you currently are, I believe you. I know how desperately you wish I would remain a part of your life, not as a mere friend but as a lover, a partner and very likely a wife.
When you openly express your gratitude to me and do little things just to make me happy, I want to love you too. When I look at you, I see a man who listens. I see a man I can work with, dream with, live with.
Mama once said it is better for a lady to be with the one who loves her. She will grow to love him, mama said. I believe her, more from experience than from obedience.I have loved men who do not deserve a microsecond of my attention and though I tell you when we have our beautiful talks, that I do not think about men as I should, I lie to myself and then to you!
I lie like I do about the young man that I like a lot. The one in whom I see greatness in. The one I know I like, to that point that I usually find myself dreaming of making love to him. He is the first young man I’ve ever liked this much. I am scared that I will let what feelings I have for him take over my senses and this is why I do not look into his eyes when I talk to him. I know that he knows that I like him a lot. I know that he knows that I am scared of what may be an inevitable end – hate. I also know that he knows that I know that he likes me too. I fear that our likeness for each other is merely a facade, like dry gum swab which can easily be peeled off from a finger. Every time I think of him, I think I am letting lust get in the way of my feelings.
It is probably just his confidence that attracts me, or the fact that he is a work-in-progress, or perhaps his soft curly hair or his endless optimism. I want to convince myself that these are not reasons enough to like a man this much.
I say he only likes my hips and loves my brain. These are not reasons enough, young lady! But do I care?
I think I like his body too, young and adventurous. I want to know, how strong is his game? Will he kiss my nipples and bite them just like I want? Will he let his small man stay in me even after he comes? Will he smell my hair and say that he loves me? Will he stare at my body and marvel at its beauty?
This young man likes me, I know. He said it to me the other day. He said,’ ‘I love you’ and I smiled because somewhere in my heart is a small voice that nudges me to take my time and somewhere else is a loud voice that pushes me to go on and live!
So I push away my fear and one day I say to him, ‘I think I love you too’ or did I? I don’t think so. These words I fear to say but caution to the wind is accepting that I want him in me and telling him same, seeing each other every other week to fulfil our sexual cravings and knowing that the love he declared for me is nothing compared to the one he shares with the other lady who covers her hair.
This adventure saddens and excites me and each dose of excitement pulls me away from the knowledge that genuine love would happen for me but I say to myself, this young man loves me and this is a lie.
So my darling, when you tell me that you are in love with me, I think of the men who have said same to me.
When you say you never want to see me suffer, I think you are reading to me a script.
When you say you admire my strength and affection, I think you are merely trying to buy into my weakness.
When you scoff and say you can never marry a woman from your tribe, I think of those who said same to me.
When you can’t control the urge to hold my hands, I think you need reassurance that life can be lived and dreams can come true. I do not let myself think that you hold my hands because you love me.
I brush away thoughts of us together, not because I do not find you worthy but because whether or not I accept it, I am a broken lady. Look beyond the strength I exude and see the fear I nurse. Loving a man is never enough. I’d love to love you beyond your expectations, to cheer you through your journey into success. Indeed you’ve seen the extent to which I go for those I love but love shared to all is to me better than love lavished on one.
Do not believe what I say about the mistakes I made with past love. Do believe that they do not stop me from loving but do not believe that I have not taken down lessons from them; mental lessons that play out when another comes to declare love to me.
I want to love you in a special way but I can’t. Knowing how I’d thence be called your partner and would not be able to declare the love I have for others without first wondering how it would make you feel, scares me. Knowing how that special love would eat into my soul that I’d be in a level of social bondage, irritates me. I’d rather love everyone, my darling, and love you same way. So no, I cannot give you that special love you crave.
In a recent discussion, I was quoted as saying a woman can walk out of her marriage if she is not comfortable. I never said so.
The person who quoted me said he drew this conclusion from my post on Tiwa Savage’s marriage. I’ll like to clarify just because I do not feel comfortable when people misquote me and from search terms, I know this blog has shown up on people’s browsers when they looked for answers on their marriages.
PLEA: This is an unedited and impulsive rant. If you find any grammatical error in it, kindly do a mind edit.
Whether the debate as to which of the two sexes (male, female) is more victimized in today’s world, will die anytime soon is not known to me. If I was to give an absolute answer though, I’d say the talk intends to live a very long life, perhaps longer than that of Methuselah.
I worry. I worry for our girls who are soon to become women. I worry that we are too immersed in our culture that we fail to evolve with changing times. I worry about what we’ve learned as ladies, about our struggles, about our fights and I wonder whether I’ll live to see the day our myopic mentality is trashed. Continue reading
No, I am not anorexic, Thank you very much. Yes, I am thin. No, don’t tell me to eat more. Society says “Real men love curves… ” I don’t give a hoot what society says.…