“You are Welcome” – My diary of Lagos, Nigeria

“You are welcome.”  “You are welcome.”  In the three days since I landed in Lagos, this is the phrase I have heard most.

From the gracious team at the luxurious Wheatbaker Hotel where I am fortunate enough to be staying –

Willie, who said he watched all my shows.
Willie, who said he watches all my shows. 😉
Cynthia cooked an amazing omelette!
Cynthia cooked an amazing omelette!
More the the impeccable team at The Wheatbaker Hotel in Lagos
More of the impeccable team at The Wheatbaker Hotel in Lagos

– to the esteemed journalists and managers of various media outlets including The Nation and Business Day newspapers and TVC and The Channels radio and television networks.

The editorial staff at Nations - One of Nigeria's top newspapers!
The editorial staff at Nations, one of Nigeria’s top newspapers.
Meeting with the Kayode Akintemi, the GM of Channels TV
Meeting with the GM of Channels TV
After being interviewed by Business Day's Kemi Ajumobi
After being interviewed by Business Day’s Kemi Ajumobi

I am visiting Lagos for the first time.  Working with my local strategic partners, Amplio Consulting and SwiftThink Limited, I’ll be conducting a series of strategic communications training sessions and workshops between now and July 18.  We kick-off activities tomorrow with the Find Your Edge Summit here at the Wheatbaker.

My incredible partners - Ayo and Folake Owodunni  from Amplio Consulting and Ayoola Jolayemi of SwiftThink Limited. Go, Team, Go!
My incredible partners – Ayo and Folake Owodunni from Amplio Consulting and Ayoola Jolayemi of SwiftThink Limited. Go, Team, Go!

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday between 9AM-5PM participants will have an opportunity to practice real hands-on techniques and develop new skills from me, veteran CNN correspondent and international communications consultant, and my new friend and colleague Richie Dayo Johnson, a local and proven leader in communications training, etiquette and business savvy.  The Summit is open to the general public and registration is ongoing.  Click here to learn more!


This morning, I spoke on Radio Continental to explain why communication counts – especially in the digital age where you can be instantly judged by a global standard.  And later, I met the talented hosts of “Your View,” on TVC to share some secrets of better communications to get results. At every place, the people have been warm-hearted and congenial. These first three days have been very rewarding.

Your views

Yes, it’s true we have driven through scenes of poverty. And yes, it’s true I have a machine-gun toting federal police officer riding at all times in the front seat of my car to stem off unwarranted stops.

Meet Abdul, my bodyguard, my friend.
Meet Abdul, my bodyguard, my friend.

But one by one, individual by individual, I am meeting an incredible number of accomplished people.  Nigerians who are proud of their country and are committed to making it a better place.

folake and me

I feel very welcomed indeed.

Chukwugozie onyeobula nilee (Thank you all!)  

In gratitude, Gina

P.S.  Are you Nigerian? What are you most proud of?  Are you not Nigerian? What do you think? Looking forward to hearing from you! Ciao –




20 thoughts on ““You are Welcome” – My diary of Lagos, Nigeria

  1. I am just glad you took time to see Lagos for yourself and created an opinion first hand. I know it would have been mostly pleasant as at our core, Lagosians, Nigerians are good people. I personally don’t know you but you seem a figure to recon with in broadcasting. I Hope you visit again soon when it gets even better.


  2. Great. I hope you have a pleasant experience in Nigeria and its lovely to have you around. Have fun and enjoy our hospitality, may not be much but its the heart that counts. Good to know so far you have enjoyed it.


    1. Thanks, Rita! As an adult, I have lived or worked in a wide variety of diverse cities including, but not limited to – Cairo, Bucharest, Paris, Arezzo, Baltimore, Washington, Seattle, Atlanta, Denver and Orlando, Tunis, Jakarta, Phnom Penh, Struga, Amman, Dubai and now Lagos. No matter where I travel, I never pay attention to stereotypes or over-generalizations I may hear before my visit. I take each person as they come. One by one. And somehow, I seem to meet inspirational individuals everywhere.


    1. Thank you, Opeawo, for taking time to write to me. I am only one week in now to what I hope will be the first of many inspiring visits to Nigeria. I look forward to meeting you too.


  3. I am so happy that you actually took time out to get to know Nigeria a bit more. I’m nigerian and lived in Lagos all my life I’m proud of my “people” the woman who sells bread every morning to keep her children in school. The young man repairing tires to make money to eat. I think these are the people who make Lagos and Nigeria at large what it is. There’s poverty and corruption but Nigerians are not sad people by nature, the negativity we see most times is circumstantial. The government, our image and stereotypes associated with Nigeria are a single story. I’m proud of all the other stories that are trying to be heard.

    Thank you for capturing this!


    1. Dear Lolia,

      Thank you so much for reading and reaching out. Everywhere I travel, I am struck by the difference between the generalizations and the real committed and earnest individuals whom I meet. Everyplace has its quick stereotypes; it takes time to get to know any place and any one deeper. Never judge a book by its cover, right? I look forward to meeting many more unique people. Kindly, g


  4. Gina its great to have you come to my country, its also heart warming to have someone from your clime see and say positive things about my beloved country. i wish i could bequit you with our ankara wear, made from my stable fashion house Reoskoncept as my own way of saying good to have you here and that indeed we are good people and a great nation. do have a great time.


    1. Rita, thank you so much for reaching out, writing and for your kind words. I keep getting asked “How to you find Nigeria?” And I keep answering, “I am finding it one amazing individual at a time.” I am very intrigued by your idea to partner with us with your fashion house. I was actually just thinking to suggest such an idea to my partners. Appearance is certainly one of the first ways we make an impression and communicate a message, isn’t it? I look forward to being in touch! Kindly, g


    1. Dear Segun, Thank you very much for writing. I am enjoying Lagos very much. Regarding the food, I used to think I had a penchant for spicy food, but pepper soup is raising the bar for me! I love it! Also, I like pounded yam very much, but discovered if you eat it with a knife and fork, you get laughed at! Every day is a new adventure. Thanks again!


  5. Hello Gina,
    It was nice having you at our Wiscar book review. Your wealth of real life experience you added to the review made us see that indeed having a great career is possible. You are such an inspiration and down to earth too. Really and truly so, it is never too late to start chasing after one’s dream. Your personal experience gave my dreams the much needed wings it needed to fly. Thank You
    Modupeola….WISCAR mentee


    1. Thank you so much, Modupeola, for welcoming me to WISCAR, for listening and for reaching out to write. You are already on the right track by embracing the opportunity to be mentored. We all can benefit by sharing our experiences and encouraging one another to DECIDE TO BE GREAT. I look forward to keeping in touch! Kindly, Gina


    1. Doctor! Thanks for writing to me here. I have received your email too and will respond more fully on Monday as I am preparing to travel this weekend. But, quickly regarding your internship job: Do you know anyone personally at the National Hospital to whom you can reach out? Do you have strong referrals you can leverage? Think about this application strategically. What else can you bring to bear? Is there a contact/ name on the application to whom you can email directly and inquire about status? All politely of course. It is often difficult to apply for something “cold” and get chosen strictly on merit alone. Often a connection or relationship will help you “find that edge.” I look forward to hearing from you. You are welcome to email me again! Good luck!


What do you think? Baci!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s