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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Air Kisses As I Say Farewell to My Baby

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“So how is it going with you?” She asked me in what we jokingly call her faux Canadian accent. I raised a lone brow in my usual skeptical way. “Real answer or B.S answer?” She gave me the Uche laughter of “You know I don’t do B.S”

That is how easy conversations with my boss are. At that time, I had been at BellaNaija for 5 months and I was struggling with all the insecurities of filling the big shoes of Glory Edozien. Not only had I never performed that job function before, but I was battling with the reception of the audience. Everything I published on the site had at least one comment of “Bella, where is Glory?”

So that morning, when Uche asked me how it was going, I told her honestly: “I don’t know how to write romance. People want to read about love, man and romance. That’s not me. I don’t know how to talk about celebrities. That’s another thing they crave. I just don’t know how to fit my writing into BN. I’m floundering.”

She listened, quietly tapping away on the Pink VEDA, and chewing on her lower lip absentmindedly. There was no doubt in my heart that she was considering my every word. I prattled on longer than I expected; somehow I needed to voice the doubts I had about my new career path.

“Just be yourself and stop trying so hard to fill someone else’s shoes” I gave her another weird look. Without words, using my eyes to tell her it was easier said than done. She continued: “Find your niche, and fill it comfortably. Be confident in your capability and don’t second-guess yourself. Channel YOU into your work and you’ll be fine”

I spent the next two weeks turning over those words in my head; and while in the shower on the morning of the 22nd of October, 2012 it came to me “Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter.” Well, not so dramatic… as I have a weird and convoluted thought process; but by the time I drove to the office, I had the article in my head. It has been three years since the first edition of this column and today, as I write the last article in the series it feels like I have travelled a long and hard road – watching myself grow on the journey.

I have felt all sorts of things in the three years of writing weekly. Joy. Apprehension. Excitement. Fear. Happiness. Frustration. Determination. Fulfilment. I have had to constantly remind myself that this was something I was doing primarily for myself. My goal was to reach one person. If one person could smile, and go on to be a happier person, then everything was worth it.

There were days when I’d be panicked, with no idea on what to write about; then I’d wake up in the middle of the night and it’d be there. I kid you not, it really happened that way. The hardest part of Banter has always been having to structure my thoughts, and then laying them down in the right way.

Sometimes, I’d have the topic, but not enough perspective with which to aptly flesh it out. For this, I had the invaluable resource of the Internet and my friends. Sometimes, I’d have the idea, and the scenarios, but if it didn’t feel right, I’d be unable to find the words.

My relationship with my work is very spiritual. The words only come when I’m at peace. I’ll plug my earphones in and the page fills up. The first draft is usually the easiest; in its rawest form, I’m uncensored and unbridled. The subsequent drafts come with my reading through the lens of the reader and this is when a lot of stuff gets cut out. Two years ago, I’d be terrified of being cut in the comments section. I’d fearfully sit on the fence on issues I was very passionate about – tucking my emotion in, behind careful and comfortable words.

I have gotten bolder and more confident in my work. Okay, that’s not completely true… but at least it’s a work in progress. But writing this column has helped me reach a lot more people than I imagined and for that I truly feel fulfilled today.

As I lay this column to rest, I am eternally grateful to everyone who has read and shared my work.

To my friends, especially The Mo (Kunle Bello – husband of my darling Wonu) who allows me demonise him without fail. He provides the left field opinion on ideas I have, proofreads and scolds. Honestly, we ran Banter together and I love you for being so steadfast in this course.

To Nengz, Bimbz, Anne and Mne… words are not enough.

To my TalkNaija people who have always provided an open door for me to come and bounce ideas.

To Uchenna Pedro… for giving me the idea of the column, giving me room to flourish and supporting my decision to quit it. You’re more than a boss and the world doesn’t know a fraction of what you’ve got cooking.

I have to say a special thank you to everybody who has shared and left a comment. You guys have helped to build the community we have.

So what’s next for me? Well, I am not going to stop writing. I’m currently working on my book. I’m also trying to put together a Creative Writing class next year. Lord knows those are big dreams but I’m going to put my all into making sure they come true. I’m passionate about questioning cultural ‘norms’ and thinking outside the box, so that’s not going to change. Hopefully, I can create something that helps people think and not follow blindly, like sheep.

I love and appreciate what we have built here and we can only get better. Please keep being awesome.

Peace, love & carrot batons.

Don’t forget, Gotomeeting.com | 25th October | 6pm GMT
Send me an email if you want to receive the invite details.

Toodles!

Photo Credit: Charity Adetiba- Howard of LoveSeenPhotography | Shoot Coordinator – Maria Amos & Bab Adetiba | Style Advisor – Seyifunmi ‘CrystalSay4’ Ajanaku | Make up – Kiara Ford (IG @dollfacebykiara)

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

136 Comments

  1. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    October 19, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Hey baby…

    • Blessedheart

      October 19, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      This sounds like Atoke isn’t just discontinuing Monday Morning Banter but also leaving Bellanaija. I’ll definitely miss you but I wish you all the best in your next endeavors. I’m sure you’re only moving on to better things.

    • Diuto

      October 20, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      We missed Glory a whole lot, then Isio went AWOL now Atoke has resigned. Ok o kontinu! Uche Eze Pedro I’m watching you in 5

      We’ll definitely miss you. Pls feel free to change your mind any time, we would take you back.

      Enjoy your new life while we try to adjust to no more Monday morning banter

    • Atoke

      October 20, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      Lol I didn’t resign oh. I am just ending the weekly column.

  2. Hadiza

    October 19, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Hurray its Monday With my dear Atoke. . . . . . .

    • Wale

      October 19, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      Beautiful African woman you, why were you hiding behind stock photos all this time? I would have read more of your uplifting articles if I knew what you looked like,now you look real-I look forward to your book; be proud, live long and prosper??

  3. mrs chidukane

    October 19, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Hmmm, Atoke what is this? Let me pretend I read that all wrong.

    • TA

      October 19, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      @ mrs chidukane. Just like I am pretending I’m reading it all wrong. Must be the weather you know, I just looked out the window to be sure dogs and cows are not flying…blame it on the flu medications I am taking making me inebriated. Wo! let me just go back to bed. When I wake up, the world will be fine again. Fever gone, Atoke still here 🙂

    • Wow

      October 19, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      I kinda subconsciously expected to see just kidding. Nah Atoke cant break my heart like this.

    • Judgejudyjudy

      May 4, 2016 at 1:01 am

      I wish you the very best in whatever endeavour you choose to embark upon Atoke.
      I have enjoyed reading you and have often thought that you’d do well having your own blog/book/etc.
      Good luck!

  4. Tee

    October 19, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Atoke!!! We finally get to see your face. Always imagined how you looked. These are pictures of you, right? Haven’t read the article but assume they are….will read in a bit. Swamped at work. Oga’s coming in any minute!

  5. tito

    October 19, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Whatttttttt! Atoke Monday morning banter is going away???? I always look forward to this column every Monday morning. I can only wish you well and pray for success in your future endeavours. I always relate to your column because it always feel really and straight from d heart. It surely will feel awkward not reading your column on Bella naija every Monday morning.

  6. bumble bee

    October 19, 2015 at 9:45 am

    OMG!!! I always looked forward to reading atoke morning banter.. well some doors have to close for better ones to open, I wish you success in future endeavours.

  7. www.eniwealth79.blogspot.com

    October 19, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Cheers to the wonderful future ahead of you Atoke…

  8. Tolu

    October 19, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Lovely pics Atoke!
    Does it mean there won’t be Atoke Monday morning Banter again? I will really miss you o. Hope it’s a change for something better , challenging and more fulfilling? Holding a party for you here won’t be a bad idea. Uchenna Pedro, please as Atoke’s fan, we’re requesting for an online party for her, where we can drop words on how she’s gone all out to add meaning to our weekly existence.
    Love you Atoke!!!?

    • Oluwatoyin

      October 19, 2015 at 10:04 am

      I agree!

  9. Tee

    October 19, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Just scanned through…read bits about you laying this column to rest. That’s just mean. We look forward to reading it every Monday. How will BN continue to be what it is without your colum?. Ah, Atoke, what did we (your readers) ever do so wrong that you can’t forgive us? Pllllllllleeeeease, you can move on to other things without abandoning the column. I hope this is all just a joke sha. Will return to read the entire thing and it had better just be a joke!

  10. Nammy

    October 19, 2015 at 9:54 am

    In a nutshell, to intetpret what you wrote, you are stopping the weekly writing to concentrate on other things such as your book, but that does not mean you will not thrill us with your writing once in a while, abi?

  11. nef

    October 19, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I can’t believe what I just read. Where, why and how? Will miss reading your “Banter” every Monday. God bless you in your new ventures.

  12. Thatgidigirl

    October 19, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Come oooon!!!! You pipu would just be writing lasts as if you don’t care about our feelings first it was Nicole, then Isio decided to be Indiana Jones, now Atoke??? If Esco tries this with me sha….!! I’m so fragile right now, I don’t think I can get into anther relationship with any writer ???

    • Sugar

      October 19, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      Dr Craig too has gone on Awoooooool

    • Cindy

      October 19, 2015 at 11:01 pm

      Dr Craaaaiiiiiigggggggg???

    • Que

      October 19, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Seconded!

    • Ada Nnewi

      October 19, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      Tell them oh…i’m getting scared to get attached to any of this BN writers again…I have abandonment issues and they just keep magnifying it.

    • tutu

      October 27, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      So true! Its not fair at all. You guys need to consider our feelings and then give us time to prepare our minds. I’m so upset with Atoke and Isio now. Dats not how to treat your fans. This is so sad.

  13. whocares

    October 19, 2015 at 10:00 am

    No, no, no…. *goes back to bed* I am not ready for this at all.. Goodluck with everything Atoke. You have inspired me, especially with my writing. I have that feeling, you know when your friend is travelling and you know you will miss him/her like crazy but you know its for the best and so you dont want to put “baby” in a corner. Let that your book come soon o. Awa ta ma ra several copies po. lool. Aww. chop million kilzes and hugs.
    Ps: You are absolutely gorgeous! Yay for #teamolojumerin.

  14. chee

    October 19, 2015 at 10:08 am

    OMG,atoke why now?, this has become a part of my Mondays, in d shower today I thought to myself ” yeah its a. Monday and I love me some Atoke” well,i’m so coming to gomeeting!

  15. peperempe

    October 19, 2015 at 10:09 am

    I wish you well Atoke but you people should put our feelings into consideration, it should be a gradual thing not just cut us off like this, it is well.

  16. Nne

    October 19, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Aww so emotional.. I wish you great success on your new journey Atoke, may all your dreams be actualised. Amen! Thank you for your lovely articles both the ones I agreed and didn’t agree with your opinion

  17. I Renette

    October 19, 2015 at 10:14 am

    #mixedfeelings
    I’m glad for people like Uche who help us at crucial points along the way. God bless her.
    As for you, Miss Atowkee, be strong. You’ll do excellently and this bold step will pay off.
    Thank you for causing us to laugh, learn and ponder.
    Mwah

  18. Anna

    October 19, 2015 at 10:15 am

    It’ll be sad to see you go! Good luck with everything beautiful..

  19. Jojononz

    October 19, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Atoke!!!!!!!! Why oh why * crying profusely and refusing to eat* You made me fall in love with you and now you are breaking my heart …………

  20. Adaeze Writes

    October 19, 2015 at 10:22 am

    What? What did I just read? No more Monday Morning Banter? Why? How? I had always seen the column on BN but just got really into it about a year ago and now, it’s over?
    Atoke, you are a really gifted writer and I enjoyed reading all your write-ups! Wow! Can’t believe that this is it!
    Good luck in your endeavours dear.
    *Signing out in an unhappy mode*

    • HerExcellence

      October 19, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      u just took d words right outta my mouth. *sigh*
      now that i soo look forward to Atokes monday morning banters….shes leaving.
      nne, i wish u d very best in all u do. u are an amazing writer.
      plz let us kno wen u finish ur book!

      ps: u r soo shappy! plenty ukwu.

  21. Oluwabusola Adedire

    October 19, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Na wa oh.. just like that?

  22. Tincan

    October 19, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Warrahell is this, Atoke? Okay, I promise I’ll start commenting every time I read and enjoy your articles. Please now?! Don’t go! BN won’t be the same without you. I come for the articles. Please now?

    You can’t go actually!! I will hunt you down, I’ll find you and make you write. It’s a threat! I’ll come to the BN office.

    Okay, please now? By the way what was that article about your looks? You are gorgeous. Ebony beaut..!

  23. MIA

    October 19, 2015 at 10:27 am

    This is sad!! we will miss you.

  24. Californiabawlar

    October 19, 2015 at 10:28 am

    So Atoke, loro kan you’re leaving not doing again? All this story, I don’t get o! It’s doing me like a breakup something that the guy shows up on the doomed date looking extra good and fine. Then starts talking about how much of a great person you are and how he’s had a great time, he keeps talking and talking…and then date over. You know he’s broken up with you but you’re left feeling very confuzzled….yes Atoke, right now I feel confuzzled…..
    #scrowling #mycluetogotobed

  25. DuffyDarl

    October 19, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Aww…dearest Atoke, my heart just got broken. You’re leaving us for real?! Inasmuch as I’d like you to continue with your banter, I also want you to move on to greater things; to continue soaring higher. Through your weekly write-ups, I feel I know you on a personal level and I’ve come to love you(well, no homo). I wish you success in your next step and in all of your endeavours. You have no idea how much you’ve inspired me. I feel so sad this morning because of this news. God bless you always, beautiful sissy …xo

  26. Mz Socially Awkward...

    October 19, 2015 at 10:36 am

    ???????

    As @bumble bee stated, some doors have to close for others to open.

    As @Tolu suggested, we definitely need a “parry” to make this official!

    As @Nammy queried, o kwa bidding farewell to MMB “didn’t” mean that you’ll stop dropping BN articles for us every once in a while?

    And finally, you, Isio and Nicole owe @Thatgidigirl a warm group hug, as she don dey traumatized from all of these unforeseen departures…

    Wishing you all the best, darling!! May God Set your feet on the right path and show you Favour needed to meet these new career goals! xx

  27. Pipi

    October 19, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Atoke you are really beautiful..

  28. pwetty p

    October 19, 2015 at 10:37 am

    definitely u wil b missed..nicole left,isio left nd u are equally leaving..dats nt fair but i do wish u d very best in ur future endeavours..much love atoke

  29. Debee!

    October 19, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Still trying to understand the meaning of what you just wrote.. this column made me faithful to Bellanaija, then the likes of Isio really grounded me here and now you all are leaving? I’ll only believe next week Monday, let’s wait and see.

  30. Winnie

    October 19, 2015 at 10:48 am

    All the best Atoke in your future endeavors.

  31. Great Lady

    October 19, 2015 at 10:51 am

    I want to understand, are you leaving BN?

  32. DeeY

    October 19, 2015 at 10:53 am

    I have enjoyed reading your column and wish you the very best. This is a reminder that we should not be afraid to take that leap of faith and move from our comfort zone (I am still trying to practise this myself). I trust you would soar in your new endeavours. All the best!

  33. Dunsin

    October 19, 2015 at 11:08 am

    My darling Atoke, i’m gonnna miss you. Well done. Best wishes in your endeavour.

  34. Debs

    October 19, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Will miss your column monday cakes. Xx

  35. musingsofachristianchick.com

    October 19, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Lol, when I started reading and seeing farewell nd stuff I was like let me hurry to the end where atoke would say y’all got punk’d.
    I have loved reading your articles, I have always looked forward to bella naija every monday for your banter. People like you are why I visit bellanaija.
    I wish you all the best in your new endeavour. God’s blessings now and always. Thank you for your consistency.

  36. Timi

    October 19, 2015 at 11:38 am

    You would surely be missed. Success in all your future endeavours.

  37. larz

    October 19, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Well done Toke. You did well here. I am going to miss this. wishing you all the best.
    Uchenna- there are bosses and there are managers. You have proved to be the latter. Kudos. With that mindset, you are unlikely to fail.

  38. demash

    October 19, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Atoke, your are beautiful – my kind of woman. By the way, you and my wife have a bit of resemblance.

  39. happychick

    October 19, 2015 at 11:59 am

    To think I look forward to your Monday bants Atoke cos it gingers me to face my Mondays …oh well who am I to stop you from spreading your wings unto greater heights…
    I would really miss you no doubt…
    Already missing you in advance for next week Monday…#sighs#
    I wish you well in your new endeavor atoke
    God bless you real good

  40. pos

    October 19, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Waitaminit! Aunty Atoke, so you mean yaa nor doing again??? What did we do? Our comments don’t use to be plenty? Please aunty, gaan continue writing, we will comment and even contribute banter topics! Pliss we’re begging u… Oya just post till december naa. You people should stop all this kain behaviour sef, be giving us a heads up before u stop na, like our boyfriends who cheat(heads up) before they eventually dump us(stop). We love u dear Atoks, go be a Success out there. *air kisses*

  41. Oluwabusola Adedire

    October 19, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Ok, I have recovered from the shock. You are a stunner! I cannot reconcile these images with unpretty. Plus, your mind is very beautiful which means you have a high selling point. I wish you the best in life, you deserve it.

  42. Glowing Sapphire

    October 19, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Well done Atoke. Sudden news, but, love the way you’re leaving when the ovation is loudest. You have done a whole lot through your amazing write ups. Within the blog sphere, I dare say you have a voice, an intellectual one at that. You’ve inspired creativity by creating a picture in our minds through your words in a specially unique way that brings the article alive. Virtually, every of these mondays.. I will miss you here. You are beautiful in and out.
    Thank you for sharing your journeys.
    Best wishes.

  43. iyke

    October 19, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Never imagined you’d be this ‘Black’ and shy, Atoke? … just like me!
    Good luck in your next adventure…Always stay where the love is …..for it will never leave you the same!
    Hasta la Vista baby!

  44. Lola

    October 19, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Bella, where is Atoke??? We need answers. Atoke, you should have given us a sign. I wish you grace as you depart from Bella. Keep being awesome. We will miss your writing. Good luck

  45. Dunni

    October 19, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Awww Atoke, you will be missed! You have a great gift, the gift of writing and of connecting with people with your words, and you do it in such a humorous way. I looked forward to reading your articles and the readers’ comments every Monday morning. I’m happy that your manager allowed you to be yourself and develop your own strengths, because that is how we grow and go from being just okay to outstanding.

    I wish you all the best in all your future endeavors and look forward to reading your book – please hurry up o!

    Lastly, it’s good to finally see the beauty behind the Banter. xoxo

  46. ThatAbiribaBae

    October 19, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    When Gloria Maduka of the Inspiration 92.3 FM Lagos left last year, I was so devastated that I promised myself that I wouldn’t be entangled with any online personality again but then I stumbled on you and Isio and I fell into the trap yet again. Now my fragile heart is shattering for the 2nd time (will I ever learn?)

    Anyway, like a faithful “friend” and “fan” that I am, I can only pray that the All-Knowing Father will go with you two and help you conquer/impact the world with your creative minds/writings.

    All of God’s grace in your book and future endeavours; I hope that fulfilment and satisfaction will never be far from whatever your hand finds doing

    PS – if I’m this broken, I can only imagine how and what Uche (your boss) will be feeling parting ways with 3 amazing features (well at least Isio will come on once every month still) on her blog. E-hug to Uche if she gets to read this…

  47. peyton

    October 19, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Strangely you remind me of myself, and a whole lot I keep putting off. So if you read this thank you for being you. I have not always agreed with all your posts. But I like that you stand for what you believe and defend it. I have taken something today to be myself. At the end of the day its all you can ever be, the satisfaction of knowing you have come to accept who you are.
    Thanks Atoke, and God bless you as you go into another phase of your life. Goodness , love, joy, and a life filled with fulfillment is what I wish you.

  48. deedee

    October 19, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    OMG,I can’t believe this,u are leaving us just like Isio did,am feeling really sad,cos I look forward to reading your column every Monday, I call it the “Monday energizer”,I consider u, Mz SA and Isio as my online elder sisters.U all inspire me with your words and experiences. I will love to be a part of your Creative Writing class. Its always saddening to say goodbye to loved ones.Nonetheless,I wish you well in your future endeavors.Will really miss u ?????

  49. Hanee

    October 19, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    #bringbackourAtoke?? bellanaija just lost a fan because that’s the main reason am here not for all those yeyebrity gossips

  50. Tosin

    October 19, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    🙂
    and beautiful pictures too

  51. Priscy

    October 19, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Atoke, why na?
    Han han
    Lemme Pray for you small

    May the Lord bless your future endeavors and open ways for you
    We will miss you but I wish you the best dear

  52. melinda

    October 19, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    So sad u re leaving the bella naijarians we wish u well…

  53. ThatShyChic

    October 19, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Awww! Our dear Atoke takes a bow… You added some much-needed spice to my Monday mornings. God bless you!! Unto greater things…

  54. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    October 19, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    @TA has not read this yet. This break up, eh….You better call her up and break the news gently to her with “I will never find another lover better than you” playing as sound track.
    My e-Kleenex don finish.

    • TA

      November 18, 2015 at 11:32 am

      My darling Bobos & LB, hmmm see me o. It has taken me all of 8 weeks to recover from the shock of Atoke’s leaving AMMB. Okay I exaggerated a bit. Lol! . I was ill,then travelled for work and have been awfully busy since I got back.
      I still find it hard to believe Atoke’s Monday morning banter has gone to rest. This column is the singular reason I started commenting on BN or any other blog. Atoke hooked me and dragged me out of my laidback read-only couch.
      There was a friendly warmth, girl next door vibe to her articles. The articles were relatable. They became part of my Mondays. I still come here every Monday hoping to read something from Atoke. ? …
      @ Atoke mi, if you ever read this, just wanted to say never stop writing. You were born for this my darling. I wish you the best in the path you have chosen.
      Adios!
      P.S.: Is it too late to join your meeting room on Google hangout?

    • Atoke

      November 20, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      Hey you!

      I woke up to this message and I am typing this with a stupid ass goofy smile on my face. I am currently writing something about my BVN experience. Lol I started writing it yesterday and I got lazy. I’m gonna finish it now that I’ve read this.
      I’m so glad you enjoyed reading AMMB that much. Lol I did enjoy writing it too. (lol not all the time sha but Shhh don’t tell anyone)

      The hangout has passed oh. Lol I was just stammering and gesticulating out of nervousness. I think I should do another one sha… but I need an easy software that people won’t have to stress to download and all that senrenren.

      Okay, let me get to work now.

      Thanks to everybody who read this column.
      I’m humbled.

      XOXO

  55. God'sfavgirl

    October 19, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Hollup nigga hollup war ris all dis Kai y does Nigerians like breaking pples heart sef, u pple wee just come give pple comfortable atmosphere nd just dump dem wen u like abi see dis one wee nt work Nicole left I did nothing isio nko I talked not buh u I agree nt u had beta start Goin 4 restrainting orders bcos ama stalk nd hunt u down till u continue writing back at BN no try me oo I didn’t say u should nt pursue ur dream In fact I encourage u “u go girl” buh pls don’t dump me nw plsssssssssssssssss I love u nd miss u dearly aunty atoke

  56. Eyitayo

    October 19, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Success in all your endeavors Atoke! You will surely be missed

  57. X-Factor

    October 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Wow! My darling (Mz Owiat)I can’t believe I am so overwhelmed with different shades of emotions…..the banter was my perfect way of connecting with you from across the oceans
    I am still dumbfounded….but Hey I am so so so glad you are living a most purposeful life….considering the fact that you almost strayed into the sciences at some point growing up ( Please permit me to famz a bit here )….
    Thank you for fighting to get your groove back…
    Thank you for using your talent to positively affect your circle of influence…
    Thank you for not holding back in challenging conventional norms….
    Thank you for making us laugh…
    Thank you for stimulating our intellect…
    Thank you for making me believe….
    Thank you for inspiring me!
    You have indeed fought a good fight and you deserve that place in the league of champions…Welcome to the future you’ve waited for!

  58. Angel Deco

    October 19, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Monday mornings officially boring……

  59. slice

    October 19, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I have sincerely enjoyed your column n thank you for the hint you dropped prior to this announcement. It helped prepare me a lil bit. May life be kind to you and may losses stay far from you

  60. Pamilerin

    October 19, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    So what is Monday on Bellanaija without Atoke’sMMB? Reading this feel like an heartbreak. God bless ur new venture. Madam Uche, I hope. The. Next editor will be as super as Atoke.

  61. lafayettebunny

    October 19, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Oh Atoke, best wishes as you move on. I”ll miss the banter and all the sensible comments made by BN fam. It is always easy and mind jogging to relate to your articles.We sure appreciate you.
    But wait o, “na your face be dis??” Ebony naa nii. Cute, hugs & kisses.

  62. serene

    October 19, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    I’m sooooo sad, Atoke. I hate goodbyes. I wish you well. May the road favor you my friend

  63. Chinma Eke

    October 19, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    No more Monday morning banters? I knew this was coming! When all the ‘writers block’ articles began, I knew this day would come!
    Haba, that’s not nice. I get it isn’t easy writing articles weekly, but you should have considered us your readers before taking that decision.
    Anyways, we wish you well, best of luck with the book, make it a smashing one!

  64. Author Unknown

    October 19, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    It’s your curtain call! Great to finally place a face to you. All the best in your future endeavours, and may the joy of the Lord be your strength.

  65. nwanyi na aga aga

    October 19, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    *sighs* I dont do well with break up or goodbye stories at all. Atoke mi, so you are going now? *sighs* Atoke when you first came on board, I was one of the people asking where is Glory, later I removed Glory from my heart and formed a relationship with you. When Isio started her appear and disappear, I said Atoke mi shall always be here. Then one day you said “Adieu” I felt it, I felt you will soon stop sending this column. Atoke mi shebi when you went to Obodo oyibo you were writing from there ni? Chai! I will miss your Monday Banter o. In fact bella I will stop going into relationships with these your columnists biko my heart is always aching, they always leave, they always leave…
    I wish you Success in your new endeavor dear. Please let us know when your book arrive. More Success Atoke mi! Odigba!

  66. The real D

    October 19, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Let me start out by saying I wish you Godspeed with your future goals and aspirations, you know we, the BN community of readers and commentators, will always be happy to hear from you. And since I have no gift or interest in creative writing, in fact English comp was my least favorite class in college, I know I will most likely not be joining any of your groups but it will be nice to see/hear/read up on your progress and know how you are doing once in awhile as you have become family (the heart kind) to many through this forum.
    Was I surprised reading this today? Nope, I had that gut feeling after reading your column last week about having an announcement. Someone likened it to a breakup, it is like the proverbial “we need to talk” you know what is to follow is never something the listener wants to hear. Nevertheless, we are always encouraged to leave when the ovation is the loudest. You Ms Atoke have done just that!!!! Wish you the very best.

  67. Adenike

    October 19, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    For real, I hate goodbyes! Wharris dis! But life has to go on! I will miss you Atoke. I read your articles, and got inspired. I would say my writing and creative thinking is better cos I read some morning banters. God bless you and best wishes with your future endeavours.

  68. Blackbeauty

    October 19, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Aww! ? I honestly feel like crying. Too emotional for someone whose hormones are already all over the place. I will honestly miss you, MMB, you were part of my life every Monday morning.
    But, we set you free with warm thoughts and prayers as you go soaring. Fly high and make us proud.
    Lovely pictures btw, it’s nice to finally put a face to the name.

  69. MIA

    October 19, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    I’ve been battling with cold, plenty work on my desk and the thoughts of the work waiting for me at home and i just decided to check out BN to cool off a bit and i see this? I’m clearing my table and going home. I want to wake up to a better tomorrow.

    Atoke, thou shall be missed!

  70. Girly

    October 19, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Will surely miss u Atoke. I open Bella naija on Mondays solely because of u.

  71. Toyin

    October 19, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    No foreplay, hello, how was your weekend. Just straight to the point ‘I’m leaving you.’ In case we forgot how cruel life can be.

    All the best in your future endeavors Atoks. I will look out for your new book. Toodles!!!

  72. Atoke's No1 fan

    October 19, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    So today I finally get to leave a comment on BN cos of my darling Atoke, I’m so going to miss your Monday morning banter but I wish you all the very best. And eagerly waiting for that book o now that I know there’s a book coming. Peace, love, cupcakes, celery, cucumbers, carrot e.t.c

  73. shae

    October 19, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    This made me cry! Bye Atoke!

  74. DOO

    October 19, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    I am sad. Very sad! I can only pray God takes you to greater heights. It has been fun reading the Banter every Monday. By the way, you look really good; nice to finally put a face to the name

  75. olajumoke

    October 19, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Wow! My reason for checking up on BN is leaving!!!. Booohoo

    This is the end of an era, but the start of many great things to come for you because you possess greatness within and be rest assured, if the target was to bring a smile on our faces, you definitely brought many to mine; and if it was to make us think outside the box, you definitely achieved that. God be with you, may all your dreams come true.

    And yes, I’m interested in the Creative Master Class, please do it.

  76. Iamme

    October 19, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Noooooo! You can’t leave nau. You were the major reason I looked forward to logging onto BellaNaija on Mondays. Your articles were so relatable and I realized we shared a lot in common, only you articulated yours on here.
    Here’s wishing you all the best and success with your dreams and goals. Atoke’s Monday Morning Banters will surely be missed!:(

  77. amaria

    October 19, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    First isio now atoke ! !! What is left for non- celebrity gossip loving peeps like us….

  78. I love Shea butter

    October 19, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Don’t even dare to leave!!??my Monday reading will be boring. Well,all the best on your new book.

  79. Yemisi

    October 19, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Awww, you really made me anticipate reading Bella naija every Monday. Thanks a gazillion Atoke, we’ll miss you. Go and soar.

  80. babygiwa

    October 19, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Omg. Where do I start from? The MAJOR reason I like this blog is leaving me like a lover that never cared. Only that Atoke cared and gave her best! Yes, your articles were IT. You are extremely creative and smart and may the journey ahead be made smooth by God’s grace. I LOVE YOU!

  81. is it because of last monday's post?

    October 19, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Atoks baby,

    Tell me the truth. Is it because of last monday’s post?
    http://www.bellanaija.com/2015/10/12/atokes-monday-morning-banter-permission-granted/

    You had been receiving love, hugs and kudos all these while but last week’s own was out of it and BNers really bashed you. I guess you opting out because of this.

    Listen dear, BNers dont have any issue with your personality but with that post. To me personally, i guess you tried to feel among and follow the trend- men bashing feminist and you went to write about permission granted. Ladies know the truth but would like to say another just for female pride.

    Most commenters went against the article and it seems to me this got to you. If that is the case, you should withdraw your resignation letter and farewell.

    Btwn, you are so hot!
    Toolz got nothing compared to you. You are the perfect definition of an African woman.
    Hips dont lie!
    Nice sparkling sets of teeth
    cute nose.. i want you!

    • Atoke

      October 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      eL Oh eL

  82. Theurbanegirl

    October 19, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Good Luck Always Atoke! William Better Not Leave ? Lol

  83. Tari

    October 19, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Best Wishes Atoke.
    May your gift continually make a way for you.

  84. Koffie

    October 19, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    I read the title and actually thought we were going to be talking about air kisses. I didn’t hesperrit rara. There’s an end to all things but I, like so many others, will miss your column very much. I pray you achieve your goals and find fulfillment in your other writing kinikan. I should mention that I love the air of mystery you kept only to come and stun with these pictures just as you’re drawing the curtain, I especially like the one in which you were laughing. And for the records, you don’t look short cos I always pictured short as in Aki and Pawpaw style. You’re beautiful madam (unpretty ke) and your mind is even more so. Adieu Atoke (right back at ya) :* :* *air kisses*

  85. me

    October 19, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Noooooooooooooo. Chai! Atoks bhet why na? We will miss you dear.

  86. Ruby

    October 19, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Atoke…this is definitely a shock. I am sad..sincerely.
    I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. I will miss you.

  87. Fade to black

    October 19, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    All the best pretty lady!

  88. zee

    October 19, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    ive always been a silent reader but i just had to comment. i feel my heart has just been broken. But in all i wish u goodluck and Gods grace. Goodbyes are indeed hard.

  89. Rynyx

    October 19, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Waoooh, atoke. No now. isio gone, atoke gone, dr craig missing, seun tuyo awol, bellanaija whats happening? This is hard but i guess life must go on. All the very best, hope you always have reasons to smile, same thing your article did to us, sure made me smile.

  90. @TomzPouty

    October 19, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! ?????????
    I am a very picky reader and writer too…….but the 2things I go to catch up on on this site is your column and the weddings section!!!!!
    I was just asking a friend if she reads this column while waiting for the page to load and then u hit me with this ???.
    I am sorry I never left a comment!! But that’s how it is with sites(u have to depend on analytics to tell u the real number of readers)
    PS: my third name that only a handful of people know is “Atoke”. ?
    Sigh!! *it’s time to wrap my rant up* ?
    Thank you for d years of keeping me interested…
    All the best ?

  91. Seemee

    October 19, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Thank you oh. All these super-cool people commenting. I’m thinking maybe she had informed or hinted some people before today. Ehn, so I’m wishing you Godspeed and all but explain better what is going on here.

  92. Neo

    October 19, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    All is well that ends well! To endless banters on endless mediums.

    Love you baby!

  93. semesee

    October 20, 2015 at 12:01 am

    God bless you Atoke!

  94. mabel

    October 20, 2015 at 12:33 am

    I’ve started writing again Atoke. You inspire me. You know what they say about teachers who leave their students stranded? Imagine if that was what happened to Pushkin? Don’t you want to see me win one of the writing competitions that you posted some months back? Oh well what can my tears possibly do. You’ve gone and quit already. Without even discussing it first. Just know that I’m very UPSET and let that make you toss and turn. Oh I wish you all the best only cos I love you. Maybe I should say that more often. Maybe then somebody like Esco won’t dream of leaving. Esco I love you.

  95. Blazing

    October 20, 2015 at 4:09 am

    I pray for higher grounds and greater exploits for you Atoke. Thank you so much for your inspiring posts. You and Isio are the reason I visit Bella naija.
    P.S. You are B.E.Autiful!!!

  96. Teris

    October 20, 2015 at 8:22 am

    ohh. oohh.. kai..
    a lot of the comments reflect my thots. sadsweet. and then sad. but then really sweet.
    wish u the best as u forge a new/clearer path…
    Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter… adieu.

  97. BT

    October 20, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Hi Atoke, My heart stopped beating for a bit while I started reading because I thought to myself; is she really going away? I guess this is it. Please could you consider your own blog?
    Praying that you live your dreams and fulfil destiny in grand style.

  98. Lady Cate of Nigeria

    October 20, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Atoke!!! Finally a face to the name! I m going to miss MMB a great deal. I feel like I know you personally through your writing.
    Here’s wishing you the best in your future endeavour.
    Do write us once in a while. E-hugs and E-kisses

  99. Glory Edozien

    October 20, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Atoke!!!!! What an excellent way to end banter. I felt the emotion in every word. Thank you for continuing to question our social norms in an elegant manner. As you know, banter was my trusted companion during my lunch break and it never failed to entertain, so I will miss it very much. I have always, always, always, always admired your style, consistency and commitment to writing, so I am confident that the future is filled with brightly lit stars, awards and accolades.

    I wish you the best of luck as you embark on your new writing journey. May your writing muse remain perched on your shoulder and may you continue to find many more outlets to question, entertain and share your creativity.

    And as for shoes, we both know your feet have always been bigger than mine.

  100. aSILENTreader

    October 20, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks for using your gift to bless us.

  101. Johnspeaks Uwangue

    October 20, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    As a Motivational Speaker/Writer, I have so read Atoke’s articles that I had to be careful when writing inorder not to engage in subconscious plagiarism. I command Atoke’s physical or spiritual hand to continue writing on this column. Do I have an Amen?

    • aj

      October 28, 2015 at 3:15 am

      Amen!

  102. Facebook.com/JohnspeaksUwangue

    October 20, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    If we must succeed, then we must be a regular practicer of ‘forward’. It is the greatest move we will ever make. I can remember vividly when i had to put a stop to a weekly radio broadcast that i had started in order to focus more on passing my final year exams cos of the loads of carry over courses i had earned (lol). Fast forward to two months later, i was compensated with a T.V slot and also an opportunity to speak to more than 5,000 people weekly. Just move forward ATOKE

  103. I love atoke

    October 22, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Atoke , isio broke my heart by leaving, now you want to leave…. Am actually crying now because you are my friend, companion, mentor……please don’t go I am begging you, please

  104. bisqo

    October 23, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Atoke,
    I shall miss Monday morning banter.
    I shall miss the comments, the excitement and furor some of your articles caused amongst us, your audience. I have laughed with you, cried with you and you have in ways you may never know truly inspired me. I always look forward to reading your column and it will be a really hard habit to break not to check every Monday at work…
    Wow, wow and another wow!

    Congratulations on your new book, I pray it makes the NY Bestseller list., I pray you become a household name like Chinua Achebe and I pray God answers your heart’s desires. Amen iJMN.
    I remember now some of your write up, the Banky W one, the one about “It is well” when someone loses a loved one, the one about family needing to say I love you more and forgive and forget… I feel like I’m rambling but I truly will really miss you…

    Be a butterfly, shine brightly, stay colorful and do YOU.
    I wish you all the best in your future endeavors…
    Uche, Glory, Isio una do well o… Atoke always had the nicest things to say about you. Thanks for all your love, support ad encouragement in Atoke’s journey…
    I’m so glad she’s not resigning!

  105. Diddie

    October 23, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Ahn Ahn what happin now? Well….Im a big fan of your column and look up to you for inspiration and motivation.
    Wish you greater accomplishment*Hugs

  106. Ese_sleek

    October 25, 2015 at 7:29 am

    hmmm….OK oooo
    To think that I would ever become emotional attached to a blog writer or even TV or radio personality always gives me this assurance that all is possible with God…
    BN, so u people av decided to be breaking hearts, abi?????
    Isio did hers and came back bribing us…
    Atoke , u now…
    mmmmm, this is heart wrecking..
    All the same, I thank God for using UCHE Pedro to bring this wonderful minds to us..
    wish u all the very best Atoke and I pray for God’s unending favors on you…
    To all the wonderful people I always looked forward to reading their comments( Mz S.A, Mrs chidukane,Dr. N,Neo, T.A, Bobosteke & Lara Bian, Thatgidigirl, etc) I hope you all don’t run away too…
    na wa ooo ..nothing is really forever…chai……smh
    I can’t even imagine channels Tv-Chamberlain usoh or his gang members playing dis kind one, if I hear ooooo
    Love u plenty Atoke…E-hugs

  107. tunmi

    October 26, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I used to read your column on the train while commuting to school. BN was a major part of my mornings. I will miss your articles and the comments, goodness gracious the comments. You know your people sha

    Good luck.

  108. Motunrayo

    October 26, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Ronke, wow, u are looking hawt!!!, well done, just went looking for you……noticed I didn’t see ur column today, ur column made my Mondays, will miss it, keep shining, looking forward to reading ur book.

  109. adelly

    October 27, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    My mondays were never complete without reading “Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter”. A piece of my monday’s would be missing but hey a girl gotta move on. All the best in all your aspirations. Peace, Love & Cupcakes……….!!!!!!!!!!!

  110. your fan

    October 27, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Well done. I hardly comment but love your writing and mind! All the best x

  111. Itohowo

    October 28, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Farewell Atoke…..there are very few like you.

  112. james_lani

    November 2, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    I never had the patience to read articles till the end until I started reading your weekly columns about six months ago. The pull I derived every time I immersed myself into your world was insatiable. I always wanted more! You sure do have a way with words. I guess this is the end of the road for now. Thank you Atoke. I wish all the best and godspeed. 🙂

  113. YMC

    December 8, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Wow, Atoke. Na wa O! It’s several weeks after your final post and I still find myself looking out for your Monday morning banter on BN! 🙂
    I miss you! Stay well…
    Xoxo

    • TA

      December 19, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      @ YMC , me too. I still come to BN hoping to read something from Atoke 🙂

  114. Sam

    January 16, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Thanks for an eventful and creative 2015…. Cheers!!

  115. luchy

    February 20, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    you seriously dont expect our mondays to be d same without atoke’e monday morning banter. you have been awesome, you have made me smile countlessly. may God strengthen you and may his grace abide with you as you move to the next step. you are favoured!

  116. Footemes

    June 23, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    My take on the ‘allowance’ issue is that people have to generally be careful especially women. My experience has been that it is very easy to become a yoyo in any relationship.It seems to me that it is just human nature to want to laud it over the weaker person . While you may want to pick your battles,it is also important to be on one’s guard to avoid being treated in a despicable way all in the interest of the all elusive peace. My two pence.

  117. AKboy

    June 18, 2017 at 7:04 am

    Atoke, please don’t go….this column is actually amazing…it will be sad if you ended it….except you can guarantee you will bring something better

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