Monday, 23 November 2020

Movie Review (Citation)

 A Compelling Drama that Exposes Sexual Molestation in Nigerian Institutions.

Anyone who attended one of the universities in Nigeria can attest to the widespread menace of sex for grades. If you haven’t been a victim, you know of someone who has been accosted by a lecturer for sexual demands.

The worst part of the assault is that many victims go through this alone. They often keep silent due to fear of intimidation and stigmatization. They are scared that justice might not be served…because we’ve all heard stories of students who had to change institutions or spend extra years due to situations like this.

The popular Netflix movie, Citation, centres on sexual molestation. Directed by Kunle Afolayan, the movie centres on the life of a smart and brilliant post-graduate student, Moremi, who accuses a popular and charismatic lecturer, Professor Lucien N’Dyare, of sexual assault.

The beginning of the story reveals the consequences of taking the law into one’s hands. The story then showcases the character, Moremi, who receives sneers from passers-by as she walks alone. Suspense is unrivalled as the movie sheds light on what had happened in the past and the situation that gave rise to Moremi accusing her lecturer of sexual assault.


Cast of Citation

Temi Otedola as Moremi

Ini Edo as Gloria

Jimmy Jean-Louis as Lucien N’Dyare

Gabriel Afolayan as Koyejo

Ibukun Awosika as herself

Joke Silva as Angela

Adjetey Anang as Kwesi

Bukunmi Oluwashina as Uzoamaka  

Noteworthy Highlights from the Netflix Original Movie.

Citation marks Temi Otedola’s debut role in acting

It is difficult to believe that Temi Otedola (Moremi) launched her acting career through Citation. Her acting was superb as well as the language switch and expression of emotions. I don’t see any other actor fitting this role as Temi did. Temi perfectly fits the young and naïve lady who spent a major part of her life outside Nigeria.

Citation showcases the African culture

The usage of African prints and the adoption of highlife music are some of the remarkable features of this movie. You cannot help but love Africa.

I also enjoyed the showcase of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). My sister could hardly believe that the beautiful institution was OAU until confirmation was made online.

Citation will take you through Africa

This could be merged with the second highlight but it is quite relevant. Note that Citation was shot in three countries. The beautiful scenery in Senegal and Cape Verde will make you eager to explore countries in Africa.

I love the fact that the movie, not only revealed the extent of sexual molestation in Nigerian institutions but displayed beautiful sceneries in Africa.

Gabriel Afolayan gave a stellar performance

I enjoyed listening to Gabriel Afolayan speak Yoruba. My sister and I kept gushing over his spoken Yoruba. Undoubtedly a stellar actor, he perfectly played the role of a caring boyfriend to Moremi. We should not ignore the intense chemistry between Koyejo (Gabriel Afolayan) and Moremi (Temi Otedola).

The twins’ character

What is a movie of over two hours, thirty minutes without a bit of comedy? The twins’ character and ‘born-again’ sister made smile linger on our lips, despite the tension building up as the story unfolds.

Bunkunmi Oluwashina made us laugh

Should we talk about the hideous beret or the funny expressions she makes when a new revelation drops like an atomic bomb? Bunkunmi interpreted the role fantastically.

We all need to learn a self-defense technique

The move Koyejo taught Moremi was pulled to prevent an incident of rape. I believe a simple technique can go a long way to assist us when we are in danger.

We need to stand for our rights

Citation enlightens us about the importance of standing for our rights. Yes, in reality, most victims of sexual assault are often silenced. However, we could make our significant differences in making our society a better place. In standing for our rights and striving effortlessly to ensure that justice is served.

Moremi’s funny accent

Moremi’s Yoruba is undoubtedly cringe-worthy. It is, however, one of the highlights of the movie.

Ibukun Awosika

The Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and prolific author, Ibukun Awosika, starred as herself in Citation. She acted outstandingly and floored Prof. Lucien N’Dyare in a particular scene.

Lucien N’Dyare deserves an award

It’s rare to see an actor perfectly play the mix of a charismatic lecturer as well as the story’s villain. Lucien’s pretentious smile and notable acting should earn him an award.

The good friend

We all need that ‘one’ friend who would stand by us in times of need; like Kwesi.

Never ignore the red flags

Moremi’s relationship with her professor started innocently. That innocent relationship led to one that was out of control.


Issues I have with the story

Citation does not depict the real story in Nigerian institutions. Most times, sexual assault does not start from a student-lecturer relationship. However, it is nice to see sexual assault being shed in another light.

Victims, often, lose in cases of sexual assault. I believe this story was written in this light to encourage victims to speak up and ensure justice is served, rather than taking laws into one’s hands.


Citation displays the struggle with victims to seek justice and how they become preys to stigmatization. It exposes a society where sexual assault has become the new normal. It is also a wake-up call for all Nigerian students to speak up and ensure that these perpetrators face the wrath of the law.


Citation is a must-watch. Kunle Afolayan is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable directors in the Nollywood movie scene. He never fails in releasing notable movies.

Citation should be watched on a weekend, with a bowl of popcorn in hand and a fluffy pillow beneath your head!




Thursday, 19 November 2020

10 Random Facts About Me


I love my name ‘Maryam’ spelt and pronounced correctly. You’ve won my heart if I meet you for the first time and you pronounce my name correctly.


Food is my second name. I believe food is one of the best things in life. So, if you get close to me, you’d realize that I talk about food a lot.


I’m a hopeless romantic. I write about love. I talk about love. I read about love. I dream about love.


I’m a ‘pepper’ addict. I love my food spicy and hot. I want my nose to run and my tongue to burn while I eat. So, food with no pepper is a no-no!


I love travelling. One of my goals is to explore several cities across continents. I’m just waiting for the ‘kudi’ to arrive!


I’m very emotional. I easily get moved by events around me. I’m the kind of person that would bawl her eyes out while watching a romantic comedy.


I laugh excessively. Yes, apart from being emotional, I also have this weird laugher that I find hard to control…even at odd times. Maryam is the kind of person that would give a burst of throaty laughter in an official meeting.


I love books and movies in no particular order. In my spare time, I also read biographies of prominent personalities.


I’m scared of dogs. Oyinbo calls it ‘Cynophobia’. I still wonder how people get to keep them as pets.


I often think about the unfair treatment of animals in Nigeria and wonder what role to play to stop this common act.


Sunday, 27 September 2020

Review of ‘Love from A to Z’


A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.


First of all, the cover photo of the novel caught my eyes at first sight. Even when I was busy with other books, my mind was still clogged with the book with the ‘blue cover.’ At the beginning of the breathtaking novel, S.K Ali warns us that ‘Love from A to Z’ will be a love story. Her warning made the storyline not to catch us by surprise. The novel will make your heart skip, send flicker of amusement and excitement to your face, and make your eyes misty.

RELATED ARTCILE: My Top 10 Lessons from Sophie Kinsella's 'My Not So Perfect Life.'

About two months ago, I revealed my top 7 books on social media. Completing this thrilling novel, I wished that I had read it earlier on. It would have made it to the list.

‘Love from A to Z’ is a story about two teenagers, Adam Chen and Zayneb Malik, who try to come to terms with the marvels and oddities they experience every day. This captivating love story shows how Muslim teen characters strive to overcome racism, Islamophobia, and a host of others.

The main characters- Zayneb and Adam- who were travelling to Doha, Qatar, meet at the airport and experience something life-changing afterwards.

Zayneb Malik is a teen who is outspoken and courageous. Always ready to stand up for her right, her outspokenness often gets her in trouble. Adam Chen is, however, a quiet and calm-natured person, striving to reflect on the positive aspects of his life.

The novel is written in the form of a diary, where Zayneb and Adam simultaneously reveal the marvels and oddities in their lives.

Zayneb gets suspended from school after confronting her Islamophobic teacher, Fencer. She decides to let go of things that she hasn’t been able to. Adam has recently been diagnosed of multiple sclerosis, and he’s hiding it from his father. His diagnosis also causes him to drop out of school. He is scared of his future, and because of this, he isolates himself from the people around him.

The book centres on the journal entries of Zayneb and Adam as they explore the marvels and oddities and ways their lives seem entangled.

RELATED ARTICLE: Review of  'Stay With Me.'

An intriguing quality about the book is love and hope. Love for the bond Adam shares with his sister, Hanna. His love for his father and valuable moments he shared with his late mother. Hope for Zayneb striving to defend herself against racism she experiences at several places and Adam for dealing with MS.

Zayneb realizes that she does not have feel discouraged to continue fighting against racism and Islamophobia. Adam learns that been diagnosed with MS doesn’t mean that everything is over for him.

‘Love from A to Z’ is a book that got me gripped from the first page. As I read the first paragraph, I knew that I had chosen the right book to read. The artistic description of the first scene also got me captivated:

RELATED ARTICLE: My Ramadhan Reading List.

ON THE MORNING OF SATURDAY, March 14, fourteen-year-old Adam Chen went to the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. A thirteenth-century drawing of a tree caught his gaze. It wasn’t particularly striking or artistic. He didn’t know why this tree caused him to stride forward as if magnetized. (When he thinks about it now, his guess is thus: Trees were kind of missing in the landscape he found himself in at the time, and so he was hungry for them.) Once he got close, he was rewarded with the name of the manuscript that housed this simple tree sketch: The Marvels of Creation and the Oddities of Existence. He stood there thinking about this grand title for a long moment. Then something clicked in his mind: Maybe that’s what living is—recognizing the marvels and oddities around you. From that day, he vowed to record the marvels he knew to be true and the oddities he wished weren’t. Adam, being Adam, found himself marveling more than ruminating on the weird bits of existing.

This is actually the first Muslim fiction I’d be reading- I loved how the characters were willing to defend their religion. I enjoyed their halal love story. I also enjoyed the description of Qatar’s capital, Doha.  

I have a special love for Adam’s character. I enjoyed reading his thoughts and lessons from life. I was fascinated by a particular part of his diary entry:

Everyone told Dad that he was “lucky” that I was so “good.” How he’d done a “good” job, given the circumstances. Of Mom passing away. And being in another country. And converting to a new religion as a family.

What they’d meant was that I was easy to handle, didn’t talk back or push limits. But maybe it wasn’t that I was just good or that Dad had done a good job. Maybe it had been this journal. This way of noticing that even during the suckiest moments in life there was something marvelous to be seen, heard, touched. Or just a tiny awe felt in the heart. Maybe it was going out of my way to try to notice something, this noticing, that had saved me all along.


Notable Quotes from ‘Love from A to Z’

“Maybe that’s what living is- recognizing the marvels and oddities around you.”

“Make sure that you make the beginning of whatever you begin beautiful.”

“I’m not a violent person. I’m not advocating violence. But I am an angry person. I’m advocating for more people to get angry. Get moved.”

“Human rights. For everyone. Because that was the only way the world made sense. When the arc of care went far and wide, it journeyed and battled to exclude none.”

“Your resistance to my existence is futile.”

“This is a love story. You’ve been warned.”

“I was in this weird space of wanting not to be alone and wanting not to be crowded, either.”

“They say friends are the family you choose.”

“But it’s not smooth sailing”

“Life isn’t.”

“Girls like me who see and feel the pains and problems of the world don’t make sense to people. So maybe we’re meant to be alone, or only with people exactly like us.”

“She believed in such a world, where everyone got a turn, a season in the sun.”

“I’m someone who gets consumed by stuff. It engulfs me, wraps me up in its embrace, and doesn’t let me be until I’ve dealt with it.”

“Here’s one thing I CAN figure out and that’s how much I don’t know. How I don’t know what you went through at school. With your teacher. I don’t know about the extent of the Islamophobia you’ve faced. I don’t know what it feels like to be you. But here’s another thing: I DO want to know.”

“Exhibit A TO Z: The root of everything that has gone wrong in my life. Like falling for people without thinking things through.”

“We’re allowed to cry.”

“Never ever quake in the face of hate.”

“Imagine if I transformed this room into a place where someone would want to escape to?”

RELATED ARTICLE: 8 Lessons from the Popular Web Series 'This Is It'

“Since the news was out about my MS, out with my Dad, my friends, and soon with Hanna, it emerged in the real world.

Like a boggart from Harry Potter’s world, it took shape in front of me. Un moving, but relentlessly forcing itself into my thoughts. My MS, it was real now.

I didn’t want to climb the ladder to finish painting the room. I was scared to.

I wasn’t part of any Hogwarts houses, because there wasn’t a house for people who’d rather ruck away, overwhelmed with fear.”

A major part of the book is poetic with deep words for reflection. Adam also made me fall in love with the colour ‘blue.’ Centering on family, love, loss, uncertainties, and friendship, ‘Love from A to Z’ is a must-read.





Saturday, 19 September 2020

8 Lessons from the Popular Web Series ‘This Is It’


The popular Nigerian drama TV series ‘This Is It’ is one that I would never forget for years to come. Apart from the fact that the movie changed the narrative about marriage, it also reveals the challenges that young couples could face in their marital lives and the ways they could solve them.

Portraying the lives of the couples in a way that makes it look genuine and authentic, This Is It is a must-watch for all young adults that are looking towards getting married.

Summary of This Is It.

The award-winning TV series centres on the lives of a Kenyan-Nigerian software developer, Tee, who recently got married to his heartthrob, Dede. The storyline focuses on the challenges faced by a young and inexperienced young couple as they struggle to get used to their new marital life.

The creator of the popular series, LowlaDee, started airing it on her YouTube channel. However, the series was later acquired by several TV networks.

One amazing feature of the movie is the fact that it featured stories from real-life young couples at the end of the series.

Cast of ‘This Is It’


Nick Mutuma- Tomide (Tee)


Chy Nwakanma- Dede Mwenda


Bimbo Ademoye- Kerry


Stan Nze- Sam

Now, let’s find out the 8 lessons from the award-winning series, This Is It


True love will always stand out

One of the qualities that I love about the series is the way they portrayed love in its true form. The love Tee and Dede shares are one that will always stand the test of time. It is genuine and will rarely fade away. And this is the type of love that we want to see in all marriages. The kind of love that will make couples fully prepared to fight for themselves and dream of a happy-ever-after.


“There is no perfect. There will always be struggle. You just have to pick who you want to struggle with.”

This quote is from one of my favourite movies titled Before We Go. This quote explains that there will never be ‘perfect.’ Never! No couple can claim a happy life forever. There have to be struggles. There have to be stumbling blocks at some point in time. What matters is who you pick to struggle with.


Marriage requires sacrifice

If you’re not ready to make sacrifices at some point in time, I’m sorry, but maybe you’re not prepared for marriage.


Family is everything

Even though you’ve finally moved in with your spouse to start a new life, your family will always be your biggest supporter. Also, the family you create with your spouse will be everything to you.


We all need that one good friend

We all need that one person that we can confide and trust in. We must have a good friend that can proffer the best pieces of advice as we struggle with getting used to a new phase in life.


Honesty is key

This is your spouse; someone you’ve promised to spend the rest of your life with. What could you want to possibly hide from such a person? Honesty is key in marriage and it will promote the trust and confidence that spouses have for one another.


Communication is key

One of the key foundations for all marriages is effective communication. The ability of a couple to easily talk about anything and everything with each other will foster their relationships.


Marriage requires patience and understanding

This is self-explanatory. I mean, what is a marriage without patience and understanding?

Have you watched ‘This Is It’? What other lessons did you derive from the movie?

If you haven’t, head on to YouTube and search for the popular web series.


Sunday, 13 September 2020

Things No One Told You Before Graduation

 Things No One Told You About 9-5 Jobs

While still studying at the university, there were times we envied the working class in the society. We would imagine ourselves dressed in suit and trousers, clutching a briefcase and sashaying in pointy heels. We would feel thrilled when we think of the pay that will be added to our account every month. We would grin in anticipation when we imagine ourselves speaking confidently in meetings.

LOL! I laugh out loud in Lagos traffic! I laugh out loud in the faulty organizational structures of Nigerian companies! I laugh out loud for standing at bus stops with rumpled shirts and chewing from nylon of groundnut with your sweaty hands! I laugh out loud in everything 9-5!!!

Okay! *Breathes in and out*

Here are the things that no one told you about 9-5 jobs.



It is actually 6-9

I still don’t understand why we still call it 9-5. Okay. Let’s leave the time spent on the road aside first. It is rare to see a company that actually sticks to the 9-5. You would often see 8-6, 8-5, or 9-6. Some companies even extend this period to 8:00 pm!
Now, let’s talk about 6-9. To work as a full-time staff and meet the resumption time, you have to wake up early and prepare for work. This means you have to leave much earlier. Most Lagosians leave their houses before 6. But let’s say you leave your house by 6:00 am. By then, you’ve started working right? Because you’re on your way to work.

After you close from work, you’ll be commuting back to your house. This means you practically spend the whole day for your 6-9…I mean ‘9-5.’



You have only the weekends and public holidays to rest

…and sometimes you don’t. Being in a 9-5 job is like selling your time to your employer. So, you don’t have the freedom to wake up on a Tuesday morning and decide:

‘No way! I’m not going out today. I’ll lie in bed all day!’



Commuting is the main job

Your major job will be done on the road if you work in Lagos. Imagine leaving the house before 6, spending hours waiting for a bus and draining all energy left in you to struggle for a space in the bus, and exchanging words with the conductor. Then, returning to the road to follow the same process in the evening.

Haha! Please, what’s the strenuous work? The one you perform at the office or the one while commuting?



Monthly salaries can make you too relaxed

Do not forget, I repeat, DO NOT FORGET that nothing is permanent. It is easier to feel relaxed knowing full well that your account will certainly be credited at the end of the month. Remember to never feel too relaxed.

Your job can be lost at any point in time. You might also need to further your studies and gain new skills.



You will have to become organized

As a ‘9-5er,’ it is ideal that you effectively plan your time and create a to-do list. If you don’t, it might be difficult to balance your personal life with your work life. You might find it challenging to accomplish your goals and spend a memorable time with your family.



It will become your second home

Yes, your workplace will become your second home! Remember you will be spending a large part of your day outside of your home? You might not even know your neighbours. LOL! Your colleagues at work will also become your ‘new’ family members.


What are those things you found out only after graduation? Care to share? Send a mail to or


Thursday, 27 August 2020

Interview with S.A Ibrahim


Q- Tell us more about S.A Ibrahim

S.A. Ibrahim is acronym for Sarafadeen Ayomide Ibrahim; an Osun state indigene who has lived all his life in Ibadan. I come from a family of 4 (my parents inclusive). A copy editor, content writer and SEO (Search Engine Optimiser). 


Q- How did you discover your passion for writing?

Writing didn't start as 'writing' for me. It started from having an eye for errors (the simple definition for editing). I remember reading books and jotting the errors therein, in the stead of understanding the content.


I remember avoiding conversations with people because I found their use of the English language offensive. I had, and still have, a strong aversion to blunders. When I read, I subvocalise. So, even if I were made to read a writing stacked with errors, it doesn't sift into my head with the errors; my subvocal self corrects it. 


So, it happened that I stumbled upon an article emphasising the importance of sex dolls. The article had no blunders but the content didn't align with my thoughts as a person. So, in an attempt to refute the work and condemn the plasticity hinged to humanistic affiliations, I wrote my first article. I was bred by a mother who would always reiterate the importance of upholding good relationships with people and, if need be to part, shouldn't be on bad terms and this, to some extent, shaped my view of the world. 


Hitherto writing the refutational essay, I dug into and consumed a lot of web pages and books bought by my mother. This research made me realise that there were happenings that needed recourse in their doings if we were to realistically exist as humans.


Basically, that was how I started. Although, during my pre-teenage days, my mother being a language connoisseur constantly dished out writing assignments to me which she would later edit and give me to pore over my grammatical and mechanical mistakes. 


Q- Tell us 5 random facts about yourself

5 Random facts about me? Wow. 

 1. I see better in the dark than in the light. I am photophobic.


2. I am averse to swallows. I hate them a lot. 


3. I subsist on bread. 


4. I talk, a lot! 


5. I have a very soft heart; seeing people cry makes me cry, too. 


 RELATED ARTICLE: "QING- is not your mate."- A Creative Session with Mr Waduud.

 Q- What is writing to you?

Writing to me now, is an avenue to pour, to express myself in ways that sooth my person. I like to classify writing as an opportunity to share my opinions with people, to let people feel things before they experience it (grief, war, etc). When people feel glum happenings before this experience them, they are nudged to "pity" people stuck in those situations and become more humane. 


Q- What is your major source of inspiration?

 My writing used to be spontaneous; not triggered by anything. But, recently, it has drifted to getting triggered by developing an overly curious mind. So, questions and introspections about the mundane birth them, now. 


Q- What have you gained as a writer?

 I've gained peace and i think, that's more than enough for me. I grew a bottle. I didn't grow as an expressive & this affected my psychological balance. It really did put a dent on it. 


So, I have gained peace from the inside. I can now express anything I want to and its everything, for me. 


Q- Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

I see myself making a whole lot of magic! 


Q- Any plans for the nearest future?

Yes. Many plans. 


Q- What challenges do you think writers face in Nigeria? How can they be solved?

I think Nigerian writers are not getting as much support as they need and deserve. This clime views writers as wretched and this stereotypic nuance can be pillaged if writing becomes one of the most lucrative jobs in the country.


The literary atmosphere here is stiff. Very stiff, even with the quality of works churned out.


Q - Tell us a weird feature you possess that most people do not know

 A weird feature? Hehe. I'd say my ability to blur my five senses. I can blur my eyes in such a way that I'd get the bokeh effect from cameras &, can make my skin passive if I want to. I can use my tongue to block my sense of odor and voice at the same time. Literally, I can leave the present if I want to. 


Q- Your happiest moment

I lose memory of things easily. Pardon me. That's how my brain is. I really do not remember anything that happened to me in 2018.


But, I'd say my happiest moment was when my mom's motor neurons awoke from being supine after a surgery. 


Q- Your favourite colour

Black & blue.


Q- Your favourite celebrity


 RELATED ARTICLE: Interview with Small Island Girl.

Q- Your favourite food

I do not have a favorite food but I enjoy eating bread. 

Q- Who is/are your role model(s)?

Everyone is my mentor and no one is. Haha. The truth is I have a list of mentors whom I overtly take cues from, and, owing to the fact that I am vested in up to ¾ career trajectories, I have many. Sir Jide Badmus taught me word economy overtly and covertly, Michael Akuchie; simplicity, Aremu Adams; fluidity, Nome Pat; language and form, Mark Manson; subjectivism, Taofeek Ayeyemi; style and voice. RMG; imageries and so many of them. It’d be safe to say I still am under mentoring. 

 RELATED ARTICLE: Interview with Bakare Mubarak.

Q- Your favourite choice of holiday destination

Kuwait / any Arabian country. I'd really love to tour the gulf. 


Q- Your social media platforms for fans to reach you

I tweet @essayibrahim2.


My Facebook name is S.A. Ibrahim.