The year started with so many uncertainties for me. I had ended 2015 on a low, despite the release of my debut spoken word poetry album-Freedom. I had made some really bad financial decisions in 2014 and had a serious melee with some childhood friends during our December retreat in Makurdi. But as upbeat as I can be, I stayed hopeful that 2016 was going to be awesome and far better.
January rolled by pretty quickly without much fuss. My team and I successfully staged the January Jam of Freedom Hall at the roof top lounge of Barcelona Hotel in Wuse 2, Abuja. We had a blast! The turnout was massive and we all had so much fun. By the second month, I delivered my Honda Accord for repairs. The previous year, I had a major road accident that almost claimed my life. Thank God I am alive!
By March, I was posted to a new unit of my bank. I resumed at my desk in Abuja Main branch on March 7th, 2016 after a long period wrought in rumours, tension and hearsay’s. Nobody was sure which direction the bank was twirling towards. We all just had our bits of information which we confused ourselves with during table talks and corridor gossip.
My new colleagues were cool when I resumed. However, some things were really weird in my new unit as I tried to settle into my new department as quickly as possible.
By April, office work was at its peak and the economy was on the move. I had to always juggle between working as a banker from 8am to 7pm during work days and performing poetry at various events which was almost every other Saturday or Sunday.
In between, I was working on my page collection of poems- “There is a lunatic in every town”. My schedule was full and killing me.
My MSc exams at ABU Zaria started in May. So, I was compelled to make those long trips to Zaria on Fridays, chill in Kaduna on Saturday nights and then hit the road on Sunday morning, heading back to Abuja.
July, was the break through month in a way, apart from the salary, the side hustles started paying big time. I got some nice architectural design contracts, which I executed to the delight of my clients. I got the big invite to be amongst 35 poets invited from around the world for The Lagos International Poetry Festival (LIPFEST) to hold in October, 2016. That was a big “tick” on my calendar of “goals-for-2016”. I got the invite in an email – It was going to be an all-expense 5 days adventure- performances, trips, excursions and networking with other like minds. Yes, I was finally going to see the bard himself and the oracle of my art- Wole Soyinka. I couldn’t wait for October to come.
LIPFEST didn’t fail. It was all I dreamt it would be. The hotel was classy-the reception, food, the people,all amazing! They treated us like “wordy” guests. At that point, I wanted to be a poet forever. I made new poet friends Lekpele and Ladan Osman stood out, both from Liberia and United States respectively. And yes, I also got Tade Ipadeola and Efe Paul Azino to do blurbs for my book! So came November and more beauty followed and finally, my publisher got the cue. We are working on my first collection of poems as I write this -There is a lunatic in every town. It would be out by February 2017 and that is how the near year would start!