Dear ibinabo,ignore the noise we love you Hazeez Balogun

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Dear Ibinabo

Keep Shining

After reading the ignorantly written crass against you by a colleague of mine just a few days back, I was drawn to anger. I quickly pulled out my sword (laptop) to attempt a defence for you. How dare he? The man does not know the half of your story and was writing like a half baked journalist despite his years on the field.

Not soon after, I began an ‘epistle’ that I believed will set the record straight and pay the writer back in his own coin, then I got a Facebook alert. I found out that you had really replied to all the allegations levelled against you.

It was emotional for me to say the least. Not the content, I already knew those, but the fact that you wrote it in the first place! You are not one to dwell on negativity. This is not the first time such is written about you. Your cool calm persona usually allows these things pass, allowing God to do the fighting for you.

I was like, “why is mama giving this guy the attention he’s craving. Any response will only give room for more low-lifes to throw stones” – and they did. I read all the comments, about a thousand of them, I read them all.

Then the original writer even added brimstone to the fire by posting another write up in which he summarised both his initial one and yours while justifying the need to write in the first place. I was infuriated because the whole thing was filled with holes and contradictions. But the deed is done.

So why did you respond in the first place? It is not in your character. I stopped writing my response and pondered on this for a while. I wanted to call you to ask, but I know if I did, you will dissuade me from writing a response.

Something is wrong somewhere. Something has broken. You have been pushed to the wall and something must give. I never thought it could happen. I thought the interior of you glowing skin was made of elephant hide, tough as nails. You couldn’t take it anymore.

I stopped what I was writing, highlighted every word I had typed and pushed ‘back space’.

I should not be writing to the one who tried to break one of my sources of inspiration. I should be writing to you instead. I thought I was writing an ‘epistle’ (a long letter) in your defence, but to think of it… the original epistles were words of encouragements from one Christian to other Christians.

So I am writing you something that will lift your spirit. I am writing you about the progress of the children you entrusted to me.

For those who are reading this along with you, I would explain what I mean by ‘The children you entrusted to me’

I do not want to go back to how we really met, I will just leave a link here to the last write-up I did on you on this same matter. It contains all.

The Ibinabo Fiberesima I know – Nigerian journalist writes – Nigerian Entertainment Today

Ever since then, we have been really close.

I remember one day you asked me to come see you. After chatting for a while, you told me about an idea you had. You wanted to do something that will honour the life of late Dr. Giwa. I was very excited. We brainstormed on what to do for a while before we ended up with a great idea.

We would go across the country and chose five children who have dropped out of school due to lack of funds and give them scholarships.

My head was racing 100km/hr. More and more ideas on how to organise the scholarship scheme ran through me.

“We’ll register an NGO, launch it with your Nollywood colleagues in attendance. We’ll make noise about it in the media, afterall, that is my field.” I can remember you shaking your head as I was saying these things. You were not buying it.

“Hazeez, I don’t want noise. I want to do this for God and my conscience. We are not registering anything or launching anything. I want to change the lives of these children and that is all.”

And that was the beginning of the journey. I and another colleague, Gbenga Bada set out to look for the most needy children. Children who have dropped out of school. We found Treasure, Laurence, Lekan, Nifemi and Promise.

Treasure is actually a child of one of our colleagues who is now late. The media house he worked for did not pay the family a Kobo. All other children had similar stories.

The day their first cheques where given to them, was on your birthday last year. You did not want to make noise about it, but I convinced you that it would be a good idea if the children and their families came to enjoy your birthday party with you.

It was a lovely experience for the children and their family and also for you. I remember you even took one of the children and his mother from the party venue to your place where they slept off.

Since that day, you have been prompt with the payment of their school fees. Weeks before school resumes, you send the money to my account, while I in turn make sure all the children’s scholarly needs are taken care of.

This is just one of the things you do that the public do not know about. You are not one of those that go to motherless babies’ homes, share Indomie and take pictures to splash all over the internet.

In fact, since others will be reading this, I know you will still fight me for revealing these things.

I however think its time the public knows that you are not the devil like some want them to believe. Because you have chosen to be quiet with your kindness does not mean you should be portrayed in bad light.

Did anyone even know that you changed a lady’s life last year? Did they know you sponsored a young Nigerian to represent the country at Miss Earth in Philippines? That is not including all the other young ladies who participated in the qualifiers in Nigeria that took something home.

I am always quick to tell people that despite our friendship, I have never asked anything from you before, but I can mention numerous of my colleagues you have helped out. Those you help pay their house rents, some school fees, some just cash to live. You don’t make noise about such things, your heart is just pure like that.

Anyways, to lift your spirit, I am happy to announce to you that all your children are doing well in school. Two of them came first last term.

Attached are videos of three of them thanking you for what you have done in their lives.

Please mama it is these happy people you should concentrate on. Continue to impact your community. It may be too late now, but I believe Okirika LG still needs you. If not now, then next time. Don’t let the bad belle of some people deny the people of Okirika good governance.

We all saw your good works in AGN, the public at large needs you.

Keep on smiling. Your frown no good at all. Lol.

I love you, my wife loves, my family loves you, your children love you, your people love you.

Keep shinning.
Hazeez Balogun 

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