My aspiration is to be one of the builders of a world of equality, a world where diversity is respected and value for people's lives is paramount. A world where religion and culture are not used as weapons of dispute and destruction, where leaders serve and not steal, where everyone does not pretend to love each other but does so straight from the heart.
Early in November 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature released its approved
2015 Flash Fiction Short Story entries. It enabled the public through the
social media to vote their preferred story after which the judges will select
winners from the top voted stories.
The idea is to promote upcoming writers in Africa whose stories
are unpublished. Three winners will receive the following prizes:
e-book promoted online and via SMS.
Runners Up (2)
cash prize (each)
Sounds very promising?There begins the exciting journey of friends rallying round ZebraCrossing, one of the entries on the Etisalat Flash Fiction. The author of this satiric piece
that focused on poor service delivery, bad governance and people’s
lackadaisical attitudes is Ajisafe Michael Oluwafemi.He is
a promising writer who maintains Flexing Essential Random Thoughts (FERT), an
online page where his works are posted for his teeming readership. Ajisafe’s
friends in Nigeria and Overseas rallied round his story creating an active
support group. More than 10 friends reached over 500 online friends each to
vote for Zebra Crossing. In 10 days, his story got over 3000 votes!
is when the problem started. Etisalat prize displayed “bytes exhausted” message
on his story link and the story was gone!We contacted Etisalat to report this sudden “technical glitch”. No reply
was received and neither was the story restored for another two days! When the
story was finally back, we continued voting and sharing on social media
resulting or over 1,900 shares on groups and individual pages (this was
displayed on his link) not to mention the personal messages sent to friends.
But the celebration was short lived when the story suddenly disappeared again on
the same day. Then voting closed shortly
after on the 25th of November 2015. On the 28th of
November, it was discovered that Zebra Crossing is totally gone from Etisalat’s
webapage, replaced with “error 404” and“this article not found” messages.
had personally taken interest in all the 156 approved entries
and voted some captivating stories alongside my friend’s entry. I know for a
fact that we had the highest votes as at the time the story disappeared and I
had taken screenshots of the voting details. The smartest move of the century!
Ajisafe's friends decided to contact Etisalat upon realising this new development. But our email
was of course never replied. Then we decided to go on their Facebook page and
on Twitter to expose this date rape experience of Zebra Crossing tagging their
judges and patrons. Etisalat has initially shortlisted 50 top stories from
entries that received over 2000 and less than 300 votes but the highest voted
story at our last inventory was not among this list! Finally, after
some 48 hours of unrelenting public outcry of many of us demanding to know what
happened to Zebra Crossing on their 2015 Flash Fiction Category, Etisalat
finally gave into our pressure. Etisalat replied and promised to look at the
issue and give feedback. This is promising but I am not deterred to follow up.
Thus, the issue did not rest there.
thereby restored Zebra Crossing and one other story - that now made the first spot - making the list 52 instead
of 50 and Zebra Crossing at number two. I looked through the updated list and I noticed another glitch. Zebra Crossing vote history was gone and share
history on Facebook and Twitter displayed zero! What? I quickly checked other
stories and their votes and share history were intact! There ensued another
circle of tweeting to ask why. Finally, Etisalat released a separate list
showcasing the top 52 stories with voting details, authors names and stories
titles. Informing the public @etisalatread that this is the list the judges are
reviewing. While on their Etisalat Prize for Literature webpage, the votes and
share history of all the shortlisted entries are removed.
am a still baffled at these inconsistencies and Etisalat’s lack of transparency
to tell us why in the first place we have to be having this conversation. A
large telecommunication company like Etisalat cannot be having bytes issues at
3000+ votes. It sounds ridiculous and to take out a story that did well on its
Flash Fiction category is suspicious to say the least.
am therefore asking again for Etisalat to tell us the reason behind this
unpleasant situation. Nobody has forced the company to give back to the society
through African Literature promotion. It is a corporate responsibility that
Etisalat has chosen and carrying on with this duty without hidden agenda or
bias will be the way to go. If we had not had evidence to back up our claim
that Etisalat is bias or has sabotaged a story, it would have gone noticed.
put this matter to bed, it is desirable that Etisalat tells the Internet
community what happened in the first place. What happened?
is a peace and conflict doctoral fellow and assistant lecturer at the
University of Pretoria, South Africa. She is also an alumna of the African
Leadership Centre, Nairobi, Kenya, King's College London, London, UK and
Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. Her research interests include human
security, conflict transformation, citizen journalism, feminism, gender, and sexual
Due to our public outcry on social media, Etisalat Prize for Literature has restored #ZebraCrossing on its #2015FlashFiction category. It is now at the top #2 after Etisalat released the list of its top 52; now consisting of two apparently sabotaged stories! No explanation is given for why these two highly voted short stories disappeared! Published on their Twitter @etisalatreads is the list of the top #52 reflecting their voting details. I am at peace with that and I hope the list will be presented to the judges to make their final decision. I hope too that #ZebraCrossing wins!!!
After the public outcry of many of us demanding to know what happened to the highest voted #ZebraCrossing #shortstory in the #2015FlastFiction of #EtisalatPrizeforLiterature, the story was restored. But the issue did not rest there.
The story was restored but in the exchange between #EtisalatPrize and me or through its twitter handle @etisalatreads, no tangible explanation was given on why a popular story on their page disappeared from the final top 50 list!
Something fishy is going on. I am convinced now because before the #ZebraCrossing #DateRape outcry, the top 50 stories have all the numbers of votes and their share aggregates on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. But now, the voting detail is gone!
The story is now 52. Meaning there is one other story affected in this #daterape. Now with no voting detail, how do the judges gauge the public receptions of these stories? Now what is left are details of Facebook, Twitter and Google+ shares. Every other story now has those details except #ZebraCrossing with its 1900+ Facebook, 35+ Twitter and 12+ Google shares as at the time of its disappearance.
This is becoming more interesting because it seems that EtisalatPrize deliberately sabotage #ZebraCrossing. But why?
Why has this continued even in their effort to right
this wrong due to our public outcry? I ask EtisalatPrize to please be
very transparent and trustworthy by displaying all the voting and share
history of all the top 52 stories on the #2015FlashFiction.
Recent Display of Voting and Share History
Previous Display of Voting and Share History (second to last screenshot)
Etisalat Prize for Literature Coordinator, we are reaching out again to
seek clarification and justification for abruptly eliminating Zebra
Crossing with the highest numbers of voters from the 2015 Flash Fiction Competition. Thus:
the undersigned demand to know from Etisalat Prize for Literature why
Zebra Crossing by Ajisafe Michael Oluwafemi #2015FlashFiction short
story link was displaying "error 404" and why with its highest votes of
3000+ did not make the 50 top stories just released yesterday! Stories
that amassed 2000+ to 200+ votes made it but not Zebra Crossing! What
Michael Oluwafemi is a promising writer who maintains Flexing Essential
Random Thoughts (FERT); an online page where his works are posted for
his teeming readership.
A number of us, his friends,
were excited about his being shortlisted for the Etisalat prize and
created a loose and active support team that shared the link to the
story via social media, and encouraged friends to read Zebra Crossing
and vote for it if they liked it. We were very excited to watch
endorsements for Zebra Crossing grow, exceeding our expectations by
amassing over 3,000 votes; the highest on the 2015 Flash Fiction
Category! You must then understand our confusion when the article's link
started responding with 'bytes were exhausted", "error 404" and "this
article not found" messages. Now followed by a complete exclusion of
this story in the top 50!!!
We've tried to contact Etisalat via emails and no response is received. Neither are we getting any response via Twitter nor Facebook.
Etisalat Prize for Literature chose to include the online platform in
its short stories decision but why disregard the wish of the same online
platform by not reckoning with their votes? This is not about winning
but about fairness and transparency!
We demand to know what is going on!!!
See screenshots of evidence for more that 3000+ and 1800 FB share.
Yours in solidarity, Toyin Ajao on behalf of the undersigned.
I don't know how I feel about this but it is for a good cause. I have decided to close this blog not because I have run out of ideas or I am no longer interested in women and social issues but I have to make a crucial decision. I still remain a blogger and an activist. But at this point in my life, I am transitioning into the academia. I started my PhD a few weeks ago at the university of Pretoria. I will be focusing on the roles of citizen journalism in conflict transformation in Zimbabwe, looking at public perceptions. I have a research work on the sexual minority discrimination and the draconian law passed recently in Nigeria to "jail the gays". I want to work on getting this published. Now, I have three years of commitment to contribute to knowledge in the field of peace and conflict in Africa by taking a multidisciplinary approach and fill the dearth of knowledge in social media and conflict transformation. I will be lecturing too while at it.
This is a new and exciting journey that will require my consciousness, awareness and mindfulness on this quest. When I get a hang of this, I will fuse my activism with academia and I want to be a researcher and a lecturer with a difference. At least, in the next four years or so, I want to make meaning and continue to think of best approaches to finding sustainable solutions to human security challenges in Africa. I have nurtured and loved this blog for six years. I have met wonderful people, I have developed good friendship with amazing people and we have generated practical ideas of change together and to some, we have fought on principles and values. I have wontwointernationalawards with this very blog just writing from my heart. Also, two Naija blogger awards for best use of activism and most likely to become a talk show-host. I say thanks to you all for sticking with me; with my grammatical errors and outstanding contributions. Interview Thursday is a series that I will never forget as it was straight-forward honest opinions from the members of the Blogshere that I interviewed on serious issues and personal issues. I thank you all.
Some Africans dislike that part of history that told how their fathers
fell from grace to the grass to sandy soil For this, they shy away from
debates. Africans that chose to degrade their fathers and make mockery
of their Ancestors are like muddy waters, their vision are unclear,
never afraid to analyze and engage them, you'll find out that they are
I also give kudos to
the White man. Those that venture into athe unknown and became my
fathers captors for a successful expedition. The battles that captured
trade and commerce, culture and tradition and the image of God of my
fathers. I Acknowledge it. This might be the only way to learn and detox
yourself of hate against innocent White men. However, we can not learn
alone how to socially integrate with the white communities without
economy independence and development of our own communities and science
to preserve our unique way of life.
Economy independence is the
war we have to fight. Within our communities and against imperialism
and economy enslavement by the western world. If we lose this battle,
Africans would remain in slavery forever.
A wise man is always
learning from his mistakes. If our ancestors were once a slave. It is
your duty to know and learn from their error. So that what befell them
will not be your portion. Beware of those who claimed your fore fathers
worship lesser gods. Protect your household from your brothers that
hides behind Christianity, Islam and Atheism to camouflage their self
hate for everything African.
Any religion or ideology that
teaches you that you are sons and daughters of savages. It is an
oppressive tool or it is you that has misunderstood what it teaches.
Know this about your brothers who pride themselves on modernism and
false platform of progress. They will tell you they don't have a race,
that they are citizen of the world. But they are quick to flash their
red and blue passport.Take Pictures in front of Buckingham palace and
the Statue of Liberty. And proclaim their new citizenship.
When did the British stopped being a gentlemen due to the inter
connectivity of the world through the World Wide Web (WWW)? When did
American stopped being cowboys because of the sudden rise of China? Only
African men and women wants to be everything else but an African. As if
their African identity stopped them from been a resident of this earth.
To justify their anti African stands. They will quote white
supremacist. That killed, raped and loot their inheritance. Why would an
African want other Africans to accept the definition of Sir Lord Lugard
of the Niger area people now called Nigerians today? How can African
elders want wise young Africans with unlimited pride in their culture
and tradition; take them seriously if they continue to use the
description of P.W. Botha to qualify Africans?
Why is the so
called African elite, would even attempt to defend such description of
Africans? Why do we allow the world to call us the, 'third world?" When
our natural resources developed everywhere else but Africa. Why do we
pride ourself how well we have adapted to foreign cultures but not how
well we have developed and evolved culturally and scientifically? Only a
crab rejoices about the size of his stomach and buttocks, looks at
everything with humongous pair of eyeball's but without a head.
If the eyes are well rested, one would see the tip ones nose. To you,
the Monkey might look ugly, but that is the jewel in the eyes of the
Monkeys mother. When push comes to shove. The world has a name for you.
It does not matter the color of your passport or your present
citizenship. The world is not blind or ignorant about where you came from. Why is it so difficult for you to accept that fact?
I would not lie to you it has not been easy. At the same time I love
me for me. I am a Yoruba African. A Yorubian by birth from Oyo Ile. I
have no problem accepting every good and bad of my people. I have no
shame in telling you the greatness of my ancestors. And part of my
culture and tradition I wished never existed. Why would you think I
should be furious when you call me, "Afrocentric?" It could be the same
reason why Europeans are Eurocentric. Just saying.
Even if you
find me across the Atlantic Ocean. I would not change but grow old and
frail into a better 'Omoluabi.' Don't get me wrong. Africa can not
survive in isolation. At the same time, Africans can not be respected in
this modern world as a perfect caricature others. We have to stop
believing in the independence of Africa that was documented and thought
in our schools. In reality, Africa is still a plantation. She can never
be free until you liberate yourself from the invisible shackles of