Category Archives: Ganiyah Writes

You Are Invited: U.S. State Department

The Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, met with Diaspora Leaders at the State Department on Tuesday, June 30 2015.  About 30 Diaspora leaders, including Yours Truly were invited to the beautiful State Department building to discuss and brainstorm on ideas for strengthening the impact of Diaspora in the implementation of US – Africa policy and programs.  Those invited to attend represented a wide cross-section of stakeholders representing NGOs and Advocacy groups, private sector, faith-based organizations, and others.  Melvin Foote, the President of the Constituency for Africa (CFA), served as the moderator.  Mr. Foote was quite pleased with the meeting.  Said Foote, “It is great that the Diaspora can have such an intimate discussion with the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs inside the State Department.  Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield truly understands the potential of the Diaspora in impacting in Africa, and wants to bring that talent to bear.  We are already talking about follow-up discussions aimed at  strengthening and deepening Diaspora engagement with Africa”!
Here is the message I sent to the amazing Ms. Nicole Peacock who organized the meeting:
First of all, I will like to say a very big thank you for organizing the African/African Diaspora working group meeting with Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield. I truly hope we can have this interaction with her and among ourselves at least once every quarter or at the very least twice a year. I think this type of group is what will ensure that the US-Africa policy is alive, that African change makers work together and most importantly that we can break this African immigrants vs. African-American divide that keeps holding us back.  Since many of us feel the pulse of our communities back home, we are in good positions to informally advice the U.S. government through this interaction on policies that will truly benefit our communities. I can honestly go on and on about how much I gained in less than 2 hours especially the partnerships that I am now forming, but I am sure you get the point already.”
Some Photos from the event….

The 6 Crazy Folks and Their Tipsy Driver


They had to take a bus that night, spending another night in the station was not an option. They soon began arguing about which of the three vans to board, this is normal with this group. They spend so much time arguing and fighting one another. So much so that folks wonder why they still insist on traveling and working together. “How hard can it be? If you can’t love and respect one another, bring something to the table and be fair, why don’t you all go your separate ways,” people tell them. But those people don’t understand, these 6 crazy fighters are hooked on the same drug and they are dependent on each other. Their children have inter-married, they are tenants and landlords to one another, and they have robbed one another. Let’s just say is a complicated mess!

But hey I digressed. Back to the motor park….eventually they picked Mr. Save Me oh God’s (SMOG) bus because 1 of the men knows him from Church, another feels some kinship ties to him, 2 couldn’t care less as long as they had comfortable seats in the rickety looking van, the last 2 folks were outnumbered so they had to go along. So off they went to the amazement and shock of onlookers and other drivers in the station who kept yelling, screaming and predicting their impending crash along the way.


SMOG didn’t make any promises, so no disappointment here: he didn’t use his seat belt, slept to the point of snoring at times, placed one hand on the steering and the other was texting away on his cell phone. He picked up and dropped conductors along the way, in short there was no method to his madness. The two passengers who vehemently opposed the choice of SMOG kept complaining angrily as they journeyed on, the ones who couldn’t care less fought them for complaining without providing any alternatives, they instead resorted to praying and fasting for everyone’s safety. The ones from his church and hometown thought everyone else was insane for daring to complain about SMOG, the best driver in town, hands down!

But SMOG wasn’t fazed by all the noise, he was just being himself. One mile to their destination, as usual, they were arguing about whether or not to get another van and driver for the second leg of their journey, next thing they got to a dead-end: a broken bridge and nothing but a sea of water laid ahead. Everyone was asking SMOG how come he didn’t anticipate this and find another path to their destination. At first he denied there was any water in front of him, and his kinsman and fellow congregation member agreed. “What do you mean there is no road ahead, where are you seeing the water? You all just make stuff up because you never liked SMOG from the onset” They yelled! There was so much commotion in the van, it was unreal. As the 6 folks fought and yelled, SMOG kept driving towards the sea. “Yay! Arghhhh!!! No! Jesus! Allah! Why?! Oh no! We are dead oh! Somebody help us oh!!! Don’t let us die like this oh!” Everyone was screaming and yelling on top of their voices. The entire village soon heard their voices, it was clear something was happening, and it didn’t sound good at all. The other drivers who had been shunned in the motor park kept reminding everyone that they predicted this doom but strangely didn’t really mention the alternative route SMOG should have taken.

What happened next couldn’t be more shocking………….

God Bless Nigeria!