About Me: 

My name is Chiziterem Ndukwe-Nwoke. I am 27 years old. I go by “Chizzy  Ndukwe N” because it’s the pen name I settled with from my days writing on  Wattpad (2011 to 2014). Yup, I’m a writer…by passion. 

I’m Nigerian (born, bred, roots), from the Igbo ethnic group. My father is from  Ebem, Ohafia, in Abia State, and my mother is from Amatta, Ikeduru, in Imo  State, both sister states in South-Eastern Nigeria. I grew up entirely in Owerri,  the capital city of Imo State (attended Nursery School, Kindergarten, Primary  School, Secondary School, and University all in Owerri). 

I’m not so far-travelled – have only been to 9 states in Nigeria (none in the  South West, Yorubaland, so far) – making my true exit from Owerri, at the start  of the National Youth Service (a national requirement for every Nigerian  school leaver to follow, working in a nation-assigned place of assignment in a  city different from where one was brought up, for sake of fostering unity and  understanding of cultures, and as a kind of initiation into the labour market),  be the advent of my journeys away from home. I live in Abuja (capital city of  Nigeria) right now, after having camped in Kebbi in the North, and served in  Warri, in the South-South. 

If you haven’t guessed by now, I have a growing wanderlust, and would love  to keep traveling, keeping a travelogue about my journeys, and generally  experience new cultures; food, dance, customs, and language (I already am  a developing polyglot, but have only mastered English – my lingua franca – and Igbo – my native tongue – so far; running bits and pieces of Hausa,  Yoruba, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Mandarin, and Spanish in daily  conversation). 

I have a very convoluted description of myself which I developed some 4  years back (2017 – the year I truly begun an innermost authentic “search, find,  and express” journey of my true self) which goes like this:

“A passion-driven rebellious African bohemian autodidactic literatus, who  can be an arduous maverick sometimes, a bored dilettante at others, and is  given to an eternal discovery of God.” 

which I think is short for, “I’m weird and I like it.” Hehe. 

I’m Christian, but I consider myself very tolerant of other religions and belief  systems. I believe belief is *the* most personal property a person possesses,  and one should be entirely true to themselves with it, and not doing just  because others are, or because they were told to. I also believe that no two  persons can have an exact belief system. This buttresses the importance for  me to be completely tolerant of others. I’m also a believer in the perfect  unison of scientific discoveries and biblical accounts of things. I am not  dogmatic, nor follow any laid down culture-driven doctrine as law. I simply  have faith in, love and worship the Christian God, and work/read to  understand God, existence, and the cosmos better. 

I’m one of those few people who embraces the nerd and geek identity so  much that they make it sexy as hell. Because I believe authenticity, emotional  health, mental health, and balance are the purest pursuits any human can  ever have. As you can also guess, my Social Quotient was the last of my  “Quotients” to begin developing….and truly started in the year, you guessed  it, 2017. 

I go by “tukobos” on Twitter. The etymology of the name itself is a testimony to  my thinking patterns and my personality. I tweeted it one time, like this: 

<Start Tweet> 

“I gave my two cents” 

Cent=American coin money 

Kobo=Nigerian coin money

I’m Nigerian 

“I gave my two kobos” 

“Two” = /tu/ (IPA phonetics) 

“I gave my tu kobos” 

Tu kobos 

Tukobos 

Opinion 

A person with opinions 

A person with opinions on a lot of things 

Basically, a thinker 

<End Tweet> 

Career-wise, I’m a business development executive, having begun my  journey into business development right after the National Youth Service  (NYSC) as a procurements manager for a start up (FJ Services) with a friend  for a year, the head of programs for a 5-year old business and projects  ideation company (Ideosphere) for a year, and the ED, Operations for  another start-up of a former boss’ (Still Wind) for 6 months. It is the truest  manifestation of my penchants for writing, for meticulousness, and for  grabbing knowledge (I call myself a knowledge hound; I’m low-key  Jack..yup, that one of all trades; but I’m a master of creative and business  writing though). I’m currently open for employment and seriously looking.

I plan to retire into creative writing before I’m forty. That has always been the  dream. With my legacy project as the non-profit for emerging writers I  founded (now in hiatus for financial reasons) in my final year in the university,  called “Route Africa”. 

It’s a long introduction, but I guess that’s the cliff notes version of this man  called Chizzy. 

What Inspires You Every Day? 

To be very honest, this has been one of the most difficult questions I’ve had to  answer in my life; not because there isn’t any, or I cannot point them out, but  rather because, where do I start from? 

The thing that gives me the most fulfilment in life is when I can look to my left  or right and find someone who can point to me and say, “I was going through  a rough time, and he came through for me.” 

I do not even desire to come through from financial means, as much as that  too gives me pleasure. I want to be appreciated…(I don’t care so much if it is  what I’m known for, but I value that individual person-to-person-based  acknowledgement; the recipient does not need to announce it  even)…appreciated as a giver, and not a philanthropist. A giver gives words,  gives hugs, gives wisdom, gives testimonies, experiences, loving counsel,  time…and money. A philanthropist offers financial aid for a humanitarian  cause. 

I am inspired by people who share this passion with me. People who give.  Once I spot a genuine story of a person who gave, and others were blessed  by it, it gives me encouragement to want to better myself so that I can give  more.

My favourite set of givers are writers (obviously). It takes a lot to be able to  process one’s experience (personal, by proxy, or indirectly), articulate it, find  the courage to pen it down, and find the even greater courage to put it out  there. Writers aren’t writing to tell you what is good or bad, or which way to  follow. We leave that for holy books and preachers. 

Writers make you feel through words; inspire through words; create relatability  through words – including some academic and business writing – and can  have you “become” through words. 

Is there any gift greater than strong inspiration to form and reform desired  character? 

This inspires me….and so, when I read books or articles or watch movies (I do  both a lot), I peer deeper than the obvious, and imagine myself as the  creators of those masterpieces, and in doing so, I feel invigorated to create  and “unleash” mine, within the conditions of my immediate realities. 

What is some words of wisdom you live by? 

Hmm…okay. I don’t so much keep records of this, but there are few. I’ll just list  them in quotes. Many will be paraphrases of popular quotes, some will be  mine, and I may not be able to cite their original sayers: 

“Do to others, as you want to be done to you.” 

“If you want something, go for it.” 

“If you keep doing the same thing the same way and expect different results,  you are either mad or completely unsalvageable.” 

“Success is not an end point where you win and that’s it. That is magnificently  unattainable. Success is not a state. Success is a path. And the truest nature 

of that path is not the moments of wins; those are part of it, and are joyous  respites that feel nice and encourages; but the defining parts of success are  the moments when you fail less with each new try. That is true success.” (I  came up with this one; helps me deal with disappointment a lot. Also leads  me to the next one). 

“Never let fear stop you from trying. It’s better to say, “I tried it and it didn’t  work and I’m trying something else”, than to remain in that endless whirlpool  of, “what if?”” 

(And also this) 

“Fear should remain in your head as caution, and must not be let into our  heart. Fear in one’s heart expresses itself only as crippling cynicism – the worst  form of pessimism. It hinders. The only time this type of fear is useful is in fight or-flight situations. Aside that, fear must remain in your head as caution.  Because caution admits forward motion. Cynicism doesn’t.” 

As I answer this, I’m realizing there are many others, lol, but I guess I’ve said  the ones at the foremost of my mind that guides me every day. Perhaps, one  last one is this: 

“Nobody is perfect. Accept this. It will help you navigate humanity better. At  the same time, nobility is found in working every day to become perfect. Yes,  it is a state that can never be attained, but each day you put in the work to be kinder in your dealings, more assertive in your actions, more honest in your  activities, and knowing and being true to your value systems, you find that  you approach closer and closer to inner peace. Don’t rest on “nobody is  perfect” and remain a nuisance. Nobody likes a nuisance. People would  rather tolerate you than enjoy you, even (especially) the ones that genuinely  love you. And that is not fair on them.” 

What is Your Ultimate Goal in Life? 

I’ve mentioned this a little when I was introducing myself, and when I talked  about what inspires me. Maybe I can elaborate a little.

I read Petroleum Engineering in school….yes, I’m an Engineer, by degree.  Crazy, right? But I would not have if I lived in a country where someone with a  budding future as a writer can go to college, major in something akin to  literature and come out with hopes of getting a good and well-paying job.  The choice of Petroleum Engineering became entirely money-driven for me.  Through my 5 years in university, I remained a writer, and in that time,  gradually, I found other passionate and creative writers around me, from my  department, to my faculty, and then to the entire school. 

We were all displaced fishes in a kettle. 

Remember what I said about what inspires me? The giving of substance? 

I realized I could give, and so I did. I pushed to create a writers club in a  school of science and technology where these displaced souls could find  fresh air and be themselves, and did so. I picked up and honed writers and  held events – book readings, contests and workshops – to the effect. I  eventually expanded the reach beyond my university. At that point, the club  had become a multi-collegiate non-profit organization. 

Suddenly, I found my legacy. And when I am in a good financial and social  position to pull Route Africa out of hiatus, I definitely am going to do that. 

Personally, my ultimate goal in life is to find a life partner who loves me as  much as I love her (I don’t care if she’s Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, South African, or  Austrian), raise healthy children, body, heart, mind, soul, and spirit as a family,  and die before I’m a hundred as a happy man. 

How Have You Been During the Pandemic, and How Has It Affected You? 

It has been tough. The pandemic, by reported numbers, did not hit Nigeria as  hard…which still surprises everyone till today, as Nigeria is the 9th most  populous country in the world!

The economy was severely hit, and the country seems not to have a cogent  recovery plan up till now. Inflation rates are so high, and a lot of persons lost  their jobs. This fueled the booming migration of the Nigerian youth population  to trading cryptocurrency (Nigeria has one of the world’s biggest pool of  crypto users) and divesting their passions using the digital space, especially  an increase in freelance gigs. 

Personally, the pandemic hit me so hard that I am currently facing the worst  financial time in my life, expectant for a breakthrough through any of the  multiple seeds I’ve sown out there. The company I was working for before  COVID-19 was already having struggles with salary payments, and right when  we were about securing a new client in a government ministry, the Nigerian  government issued a lockdown, and the nature of our business with the new  client could not thrive with the lockdown. It went downhill from there. 

Eventually, out of a mixture of frustration and seeking new avenues, I left the  company in September, and tried the startup I mentioned before (alongside  a lot of menial side gigs that involved my writing, communication and  business planning skills). 

I currently am still hopeful, despite the dread. And I haven’t seen any  member of my family (except my junior brother who visited one time) yet. I  miss them so much. They are all the way in Owerri (brother is currently in  Lagos). 

Soon! 

The vaccines are helping. There isn’t a lockdown now (although, after the  recent outbreak in India, there is word for a new lockdown, as the stubborn  strain in India has reportedly been found in Nigeria as well). 

I am a person of faith. My life and success is in the hands of God. I trust Him. I  am also grateful to Him that no member of my family has lost their lives due to  COVID. When I see what’s happening out there, it makes me grateful even  further.

What is a Message You Would Like to Give Others? 

Stay strong. Don’t fret. Everything is going to be alright. There is light at the  end of the tunnel. You have to remember tunnels you’ve escaped from  before now to know that whatever issues you are going through now – financial, health, mental, emotional, et cetera – is just for a while. 

Stay strong. And remember to always be kind to others. 

And, travel more, yo! Travel and mix. 

What Else Would You Like to Tell Others About Your Life? 

I’ve divulged sooo much already. Lol. Could there be more? Well, yeah, hobbies and stuff I ship. Hehe. 

I love football (soccer), and am an Arsenal fan…not as devout as I used to be  back in the 2000s, but I think my love (ironically, as we’ve had the shittiest  season in 16 years this ongoing season) may be returning. 

I am a Potterhead, through and through. I live in The Wizarding World of Harry  Potter. I’m a Gryffindor. My Patronus is a Bull. My boggart turns to torn pieces  of work I’ve written with my sweat. I was a student of Hogwarts, with a one year student exchange at Ougadou. Right now, I work at the African Ministry  for Magic, in the Department of Magical Mysteries. Hermoine Granger, the  new Minister for Magic in England is my research partner. It’s fun casting spells  without need for a wand. Lool 

I also am in deep love with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the Star Wars  Universe and the Middle-Earth universe.

I think “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen is the greatest song ever written and  performed on planet Earth. 

I play the guitar, the piano, sing and dance in my spare time. Cheerio! 

And, thanks for having me, PGlob. It was my pleasure.

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