A biographical sketch

I was born in Nigeria. Growing up I wanted to be a chemical or civil engineer. Although I got accepted to study civil engineering at one of Nigeria’s educational institutions, a sudden twist in fate prevented that dream from becoming reality. I wound up studying mass communications at a different institution of higher learning, and loved it.

Later I relocated to Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous conurbation and commercial hub. It was in Lagos that I started professional writing as a journalist and wrote extensively for various newspapers and magazines. It was also while in Lagos as an intern at Thisweek magazine, now defunct, and published by Nigerian business magnate Nduka Obaighena that fate would criss-cross my path with those of Sonala Olumhense (editor), Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, Lawson Omokhodion (Omolaw), Taiwo Obey, Amuzie Akpaka, Ada Moma, Lanre Idowu, Soji Omotunde and Tunji Ladner Jr., all great writers in their own right.

When Newswatch, Nigeria’s then-foremost news magazine, advertised for the best reporters in the land that “can squeeze water out of stone”, I was one of the hundreds of persons that applied for the advertised positions. The selection process was rigorous and included instruction for each member of the sea of applicants that had converged at a designated venue to fan out into the streets of Lagos for news, write it and take it back to the venue for submission. In the end, only about fifteen applicants were chosen for a face-to-face interview with the three musketeer editors of Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese and Yakubu Mohammed. When it was over about four candidates remained standing, including my humble self.

I was drafted to the publication’s subsidiary, Quality Magazine, where I worked with some of the finest journalists ever, viz May Ellen Ezekiel (R.I.P), Ely Obasi (R.I.P), Luisa Aguiye-Ironsi, Dili Ezugha, Chuzzy Onuora Undenwa, and Prince Emeka Obasi, among others.

After some years of fun in journalism I took a leave of absence and immigrated to the United States. Upon arrival to the U.S I switched profession and furthered my education in a different trajectory, double-majoring in computer science and physics for undergraduate degrees. Graduate work in the area of computer science was successfully completed. I am currently a software engineer and a professor of computer science at an American university.

Meanwhile, since arriving Yankee land I have  maintained a low profile, focusing only on my new profession of Software engineering. I put writing in the back burner, but that was about to change following a 2010 political impasse in Nigeria which led to 78 days of power vacuum.

Thomas Paine in The Crisis Papers wrote “These are times that try men’s souls.” Although Paine made that assertion to a different audience I thought it also applied to the Nigerian political crossroad. Paine’s words weighed heavily on my mind as I watched the Nigerian political crisis continue to smolder like a stubborn harmattan brush fire. This caused me to have a change of heart and return to professional writing. The plan was to use it as platform to weigh in on the Nigerian exigency.

On January 28, 2010 I made good on my plan with an article titled Mr. President, you are wrong! The essay took direct aim at the crux of the problem which was the refusal of late Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua’s to pave way for voluntary handover of power to former Vice President (now President), Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, while he (Yar’Adua) was away in Saudi Arabia for medical emergency. And with that Chris Abili 2.0 was born.

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