Happy New Year – Start 2017 Strong

It’s so good to be alive and to see 2017.  I am especially glad and thankful that I can say to you ‘Happy New Year!’.  May I quickly follow-up with an apology for abandoning my blogcry.  2016 was such a busy year and I barely had time to breathe, the good news is that I have so much more to share with you this 2017.  May 2017 be much better and may I be more faithful to keeping you all inspired and updated. Amen.

Having made my salutation, apologies and prayers, let’s dive right into our 2017 inspirations and  action planswink .

1.Read-spiration  At the beginning of every year, I set a reading goal. read-2016 For 2016, my target was 200 books and I was able to read…drumroll please….202 books!  I am so a boss!   With this challenge completed, I have one step to prove that Nigerians do read.  Now for 2017, my read-spiration target is 100 books.  Why the reduction?  From my 2016 experience, I believe my 2017 will be busier and I think it’s important for me to make SMART goals.  How many books will you read this year?

Action point: Join the 2017 Reading Challenge on http://www.goodreads.com to keep score.  All the best and keep me posted.


2. Starting Strong – It is so important for me to start strong this 2017 and to be intentional about it. No, I’m not talking about New Year resolutions; rather I am talking about writing out my year plan, setting dates and targets for different aspects of my life.  I will be making plans for 5 major life areas this year namely Spiritual growth, Professional/Career development, Family, Health & Fitness and Self-development.  I am partnering with God this 2017 and chose to walk/work with God moving forward. How about you? Yes you, write your year plan and break it into months.  One tip, I will give you is that I tape my month’s plan  on my mirror and I look at it every day to see what I can tick off as completed. It also propels me to keep my eye on the ball.

Action point: Be intentional about 2017, draw up your year and monthly plans. Yes, they have to be S.M.A.R.T – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.


3. Bloggingblogsgers.jpg I commit to writing more and at least once a month.  I would love to do twice a month and have a features and city travel guide.  I have so much gist and inspiration for you and your year.

Action point: Please keep tabs on me, comment, follow, like, share and stay tuned for an amazing ride.

Happy New Year Again and May God Bless You Mightily in 2017.

Best Regards,



BBC, Dubai,Gold & Ugochi

IMG_20150603_182203A while back, I wrote a post on buying gold in Abuja (see here) and another on travelling to Dubai (see here). Somewhere down the road, Elizabeth asked, “Have you ever bought gold in Dubai?”.  Next thing I know, BBC is calling and wants an interview. Check it out http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35935430

The wonders of technology. Just in case you didn’t figure it out, your girl just made BBC! Thanks Elizabeth for the interview.  Do leave a comment on my blog here. Better days are ahead!

– Ugochi.




NOGIG 2016 – The Grand Finale

As promised, here is the update to my last post.  Enjoy!  For those who missed the part 1 this post, check it out here.

The closing ceremony of the NOGIG 2016 held on Saturday, March 5, 2016.  The day started with a heavy downpour in the city of Lagos and I was a tad worried that it would rain the whole day.  At last my fears were unwarranted as by 9.00am the clouds had cleared and I was happily practicing my marching steps wink with my team at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.

The march pass was fun but even more fun was the football match finals between NNPC and Shell twistedIMG_20160305_124727 Yours truly was the President of NNPC Supporters club for the day.  I honestly believe we should have received a gold medal for Best Supporters Club rolleyes .  The NNPC team obliterated the Shell football team with a 3-0 score victory! mrgreen



I also have to say our track athletes did an amazing job.  NNPC men’s relay team was smoking hot all the way to the gold.  I must also recognize, our Didi who bagged the gold in the women’s 100m dash with  time of 13.9 secs (fyi -women’s world record of 10.49 secs).

Truth be told, the games this year was  not for the faint of heart.  All the teams proved themselves to be worthy competitors in all the events and I celebrate all the amazing athletes cum oil & gas workers who participated in NOGIG 2016.  Without further ado, below is the medal table of NOGIG 2016.

Position Company Medals
1st Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria 14 gold, 14 silver and 9 bronze
2nd Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) 13 gold, 15 silver and 18 bronze
3rd Chevron Nigeria Plc. 5 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze
4th ExxonMobil Nigeria 5 gold, 2 silver and 7 bronze
5th Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) 4 gold, 4 silver and 8 bronze
6th Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) 1 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze
7th Total Nigeria Plc. 1 gold, 4 silver and 6 bronze
8th Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) 2 silver and 3 bronze

Representing the Lagos State Governor, Akimbode Ambode was the Chairman of the State Sports Commission, Deji Tinubu while the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports Christian Ohaa represented the Minister, Solomon Dalung. The trophies and last medals were issued out and the  Chairman of the Main Organising Committee NOGIG 2016, Ambrose Imokhai closed the day by saying that the NOGIG 2016 Games were the best organised in recent times and that “every participating company was a winner because no company is leaving here empty handed”.

Do leave a comment/like/re-tweet/share etc.  Thank you and have a blessed week.

NOGIG 2016 Results (so far..)

It’s NOGIG time.  I am so excited this year and I plan to have a blast at NOGIG 2016, the 16th edition.  Don’t know what NOGIG is?  Check it out here.


The 16th edition of the NOGIG competition is holding from February 28 till March 5, 2016 in Lagos state.  Delegates participated in 11 games/sports: Lawn Tennis, Table Tennis, Squash, Basketball, Swimming, Athletics, Golf, 8-Ball Pool, Chess, Scrabble, and Football.

There were a total of 12 companies that participated in NOGIG 2014; for NOGIG 2016, unfortunately the number of participating companies dropped from 12 to 9.  Oil price thingz sad.  Still the show must go on and without further ado, the participating companies for NOGIG 2016 are Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation -NNPC (the mothership), Chevron, Dept. of Petroleum Resources (DPR), ExxonMobil, Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB),  (NNPC), Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Shell (SPDC) and Total.  Also Globalcom Nigeria, the foremost promoter of sports in Africa once more was one of the proud sponsors of NOGIG 2016. My company won the NOGIG 2014, so we are the reigning champions, top dog of the oil and gas industry, e no easy o!

So what did you do, Ugochi? confused On my part, I swim for my company and I participated in the Women’s Breast Stroke Event as well as the Women’s Swimming Relay.   The length of the pool used was 35m.  Women swarm one length of the pool while the men swarm two lengths.  Here are the results for the events I participated in :

  1. Women’s Breaststroke Event
  • 1st Place   – Shell  –  34.72sec
  • 2nd Place – NNPC – 35.31sec
  • 3rd Place – DPR  –    39.06sec

2. Women’s Swimming Relay

  • 1st Place  – NNPC  – 2min. 13.52sec
  • 2nd Place – Shell  – 2min. 30.50sec

Yeap!  I won a gold and silver medals.  Yippee!!! biggrin

The games are still going on and I shall do an update on this post after the closing ceremony scheduled to hold on Saturday, March 5, 2016  by which time we shall know who is still/the new champion.  Bragging rights mode activating mrgreen.  In the meantime do leave a comment.  Thank you.

Check out the NOGIG medal table here.




How do you do …Houston, Texas

Wakawaka – Guess where?

san jacintoA lot of your responses were quite close, some were interesting and others outright funny (e.g. my village, Sambisa Forest :D, Abeg o!) .

The high column behind me is 567.31ft tall and is known as the San Jacinto Monument.   The monument is topped with a 10m Lone star – the symbol of Texas (The Lone Star State). The San Jacinto Monument was built between 1936 and 1939 to commemorate the Battle of San Jacinto and is the world’s tallest masonry tower (Tower of Babel thingz).titanic things.jpg

The monument is dedicated to the “Heroes of the Battle of San Jacinto and all others who contributed to the independence of Texas.” Within the column is an elevator to the observation deck for a picturesque view of Houston and the Battleship Texas – USS Texas (BB-35) in front of which I had my ‘titanic moment’.

So….…Ugochi where is it located?
Answer – The San Jacinto Monument is located on the Houston Ship Channel, Harris County (near the city of Houston), Texas, United States. Its registered address is 3523 Independence Parkway South, La Porte, TX 77571. (Latitude: 29.75157, Longitude: -95.089694)

My Quick 12 Tips for Houston, Texas
1. Free Wi-fi – On arriving at IAH, Houston, enjoy the free wi-fi and inform your family back home you have arrived safely. Also send out a whatsapp message to your family waiting to pick you up at arrivals. 😀

2. Declare it – To declare or not to declare. As a typical igbo babe, and Naija for life sis, I usually fly with some good old local food and spices eg. Cameroon pepper, Auchi groundnut etc. I soo do not need the embarrassment of being pulled out of the line because one small bloodhound doesn’t like the smell of my luggage. I declare on the declaration form (usually given on the plane) that I have food. When I get to the declaration area, I explain and show exactly what I have. At all times, I have been treated courteously and after the search been allowed to continue on my merry way.

3. Leaving the Airport – In the arrival hall, I seek out the supershuttle service. They are the cheapest option available after someone making the journey to pick you up. Travelling solo, use the bus. Travelling as a party, use one of their saloon cars. No wahala.

4. Where to Worship? – I have been watching Joel Osteen on TBN forever. Guess what? Lakewood Church is in Houston!! I recommend a visit.

5. Where to Stay? – Start your search at least 2 weeks before your trip for savings. Do your searches on Booking.com or tripadvisor.com even before you leave home. Houston has something for all income brackets and requirements. Also in your selection, please stay as close as possible to places of your interest. Texas is big o! As in the state of Texas is as big as Nigeria! Please google-map-check your location to your places to visit. I don’t want any emergency calls, biko.

6. Where to Eat? – I strongly recommend going for a buffet. Why? Because it’s cheaper and if you don’t like something, you can try something else without paying extra. Houston has so much variety. E.g. Along Energy Corridor: Great Khan Mongolian Grill, Hibachi Grill & Buffet. Don’t know where to go, just ask your hosts.

To get your Naija Fix in Houston, Try Finger-licking, Calabar Cuisine, United Sisters and Zanzibar on Westhimer.

7. How to get around? – This is where Houston is NOT it. Their public transport system is a sham. Moving around Houston is pricey o! Cheapest option, hire a car for the period of your stay. Next cheaper option, use Uber; download the app and enjoy. The worst case scenario, call a cab 😦

8. Where to Shop? – It depends on what you want to buy. For provisions and groceries, please go to a Walmart. For clothes and other stuff- Katy Mills. Sisters, please eat before you go and pace yourself. Do not spend all your money; remember you will have to go home.

9. Taxes – Another very important item you should factor into your expenses. Every service/product you want to purchase has a tax e.g. cab fare, hotel bills, refreshments, clothing etc. Unfortunately, the marked prices usually do not have this tax included in USA. E.g. A shirt with an $18 price tag when you get to the till will become $21.06 because of tax added. So do not work your budgets based on price tags please.

10. Tips – My people, this one na by force o! Not tipping is considered very rude in most places in the USA. From what I have learnt (so far), it is customary to leave a tip for your waiter, cabbie and hotel room cleaner(with a note).

11. The Weather –  What’s the weather like in Houston?  For a Nigerian, lovely most of the year round.   Coldest month is January (avg. low temps – 6.2 °C); wettest month is June.  I recommend visiting anytime between February and October.

12. and finally…8 Places to Visit in Houston

1. San Jacinto Monument (obviously)
2. NASA Space Center Houston
3. Downtown Aquarium
4. Houston Zoo
5. Houston Museum of Natural Science
6. Children Museum of Houston
7. Lakewood Church (on Sunday)
8. The Galleria

Thank you for reading and do not forget to leave a comment.  I love hearing from my readers.

Read-spiration 2015 Report

Dear Reader,bookworm

Happy New Year!  I trust you are good and you are ready to have an amazing time in 2016.  My report for Goal R aka Read-spiration (see here for details)  for 2015 is out.  So how many books do you think I read in 2015?


The target was 100 books and I read….drum roll, please…..

2015 reading challenge

Yes, it’s true 202 books!!! Hurrah for me! So how many books did you read in 2015? Do tell by leaving a comment.

Also, may I recommend, you set a reading goal for 2016.  To keep yourself accountable, join the 2016 Reading challenge on goodreads .  My goal for 2016 is a humble 200 books.  Wish me luck and stay tuned.

Do have a blessed week ahead.


N.B- Below is a snippet of my year in books, enjoy and don’t forget to leave a comment 🙂 Gracias.

2015 in books

Flowing from my heart…

Good morning dear,

Isn’t today just beautiful? As I walked from the Arik check-in counter to the boarding lounge, this was the thought that ran through my mind. Today is beautiful indeed, the weather is just right and there’s even slight cool breeze in the air that lifts up my words of thanksgiving to our God. Thank you God for being such a good God to me!

You may wonder, why the sudden burst of thanks? annual thanksgiving 1Today is Annual Thanksgiving at local assembly in Benin  and although I am in the boarding lounge (local o! 😉 ) of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja my spirit is very much with my Church Unusual. I feel the presence of God with me and I just want to give Him thanks.

Last Sunday in church, we were all given a “Count Your Blessings Slip”, numbered 1 -12, representing each month of the year. I want to share mine with you, my reason and prayer is that you be inspired and write up your own and give our creator thanks. Yes, you can copy and paste some (not all) of mine in yours 😀

Ugochi’s Count Your Blessing Slip

  1. Journey Mercies: Hmmm…. the sister has travelled o! Yester day, I was in Kaduna and even now I am writing this piece in Abuja airport. I will still travel for Christmas, you know now, Igbo girl things 😉 Faithful God, thank you.
  1. Good health/Pain-free year: I was diagnosed with RA (expect write-up in 2015) about 4 years ago.   Let me just say, it is a very painful and crippling disease. 2014 was my best health year yet. I was pain free 95% of the year. Thank you, God for the gift of good health, I do not take it for granted, I do appreciate it.
  1. Livelihood: You may remember, my write-up on The Taxi-Driver and I (http://wp.me/p4d0wx-5a). Thank you Lord for the job, thank you for BSW, thank you for enabling me to put food on my table, for lifting my head above the stormy waters, thank you for empowering your children. Nagode Jesu.
  1. Walking the straight and narrow: Being a Christian in our current world is not getting easier, thank you Father for keeping me in the faith. Thank you for the body of Christ in Nigeria. Are you rapturable?
  1. Family: The love and support I have from my nuclear and extended family is unparalleled. Oh! if only everyone had a family like mine, the world would be such a better place. My mummy, sisters and brothers, aunties and uncles, big cousins and little cousins and my niblings love you so much. Just by being, you add joy and years to my life. Akwiwu-na-umu, unu emela nke oma. Ndeewo nu.
  1. Master’s Degree: I told the story, (http://wp.me/p4d0wx-6d). Like Jesus, I can say indeed, “It is finished!”
  1. Losing 5kg: Sisters, I know you feel me on this one ^^’. God thank you for making it happen.
  1. New Friends and a larger network: Finding kindred spirits gets harder as the years go by. Thank you Lord for the new value-adding friends you brought into my network in 2014 and the value-subtracting friends you took out (good riddance to bad rubbish).
  1. Keeping this blog going throughout the year, 2014: Hmmm… do not be deceived, this blogging thing is not easy o! To the Linda Ikeji’s, Noble Igwe, Ann Eisevoadje’s, Bella Naija etc. of this world, you na try o! I want to be like you all when I grow up ;). Baba you did it. Ose!
  1. Making it to December , 2014 – If you’re Nigerian, you know that the -ember months are when we record the highest fatalities as a nation. So to make it from January all the way to December, God I thank you for looking out for me and mine.
  1. Meeting Goal R : (see link) So far, I have read over 80 books this year. Yeap! That’s how I roll, (where are my cool shades emotican? 😎) . Thank you, God. How many books did you read?

81 of 80

  1. 2015, a great year! – Yes, I believe in paying it forward and thanking God in advance. I trust my God, I know He will do more for me in 2015 than He did in 2014, so I thank in advance for His mercies, loving kindness, provisions, favour, healing, protection, blessings etc. that will come my way.

The song-track that goes along with this countdown is Hezekiah Walker’s song, aptly named “Grateful” here is a snippet of the lyrics.

I am grateful for the things that you have done.
Yes, I’m grateful for the victories we’ve won
I could go on and on and on about your works
Because I’m grateful, grateful, so grateful,
Just to praise you, Lord.
Flowing from my heart, are the issues of my heart,
Is Gratefulness!

So that’s my 12, where is yours? Write it down now! You may be pleasantly surprised that you have more to thank God for than you initially realised.

Aaahh! There’s the announcement for my flight back home. Got to go!

With a Thankful Heart
-Ugochi Akwiwu
Dec. 14, 2014
N.B – Of course, I would love to hear from you. Do Like this, follow my blog, drop a comment, ask a question and in this instance, abridged Count Your Blessings Lists are welcome.

Open Letter to the Cleaners at Airports in Naija

Dear Madam,

How are you, your family and work? I trust all is well.  I see you and colleagues every time I visit the lavatory at any of our airports in Nigeria and I have been quite perturbed on the culture most of you display anytime passengers like myself visit. cleaner at airport

May I speak frankly just this once and tell you my honest opinion? I am not happy with the way you and co-workers have formed an association of toilet beggars in the name of standing at your duty post!  While I appreciate your salutations when I enter into your ‘office’, there really is no need to go grandiose in this regard.

Secondly, why do you always hide the tissue paper/toilet roll? Please, I abhor this action! 😡 If you can just leave the toilet roll on the roll holder in the toilet cubicle, I am sure I can figure out how to unroll just what I need at my own convenience.

While we are on the issue of dishing out, may I also say that I do NOT need you to dispense the ‘watery soapy solution’ for me to use and wash my hands :(.  For crying out loud, I found my way to the airport, checked-in myself and acquired my boarding pass. I honestly believe that I can somehow manage to pump out hand-washing liquid, turn on the tap, wash and dry my hands all by myself!  The directions and assistance you give are not necessary! :/

Finally, I will like to officially tell you that I owe you nothing. I have paid all the taxes required by the Federal Ministry of Aviation, my air fare and all other fees. Please stop asking me for money for doing all these unnecessary tasks.   I do NOT want them.  May I also say that you are trashing the Nigerian brand and pride by all this sophisticated begging.  Don’t you know that you an ambassador of our country and people from all the world go through your ‘office’ on a daily basis? Where is your national and personal pride? What you and your association members do is very un-Nigerian, hence this letter of complaint.

Please do well to pass this message to all your colleagues and members in your association in the different airports in Nigeria.  On behalf of your clients/passengers who pass through our Nigerian airports, I say thank you for the future change that will come to pass in your approach to us.   This is after all our season of CHANGE as a nation.

May God bless you and God bless the Great Fedreral Republic of Nigeria.

yours sincerely,

– Flight Passenger Ada Ronke Bello.

As usual, your comment is welcome. Feel free to forward this link to friends, share on facebook, like and follow my blog.  Please don’t forget to do the poll below. Gracias. 😀