2020 — What A Year!

Rotimi Okungbaye
10 min readDec 31, 2020


Hurray!!! We made it! Photo by Zimmani

Wow! We made it to the end of 2020, what an unprecedented year!!!

This is the first time I am writing a year in review, in fact, I was not going to write it until Simi said I should write it.

This is me taking Simi’s advice to write about my 2020 experience and I will try to be as open as possible, also, there will be a lot of photos in this review.

January — June

First day of work in 2020

2020 started on a perfect note for me; I had my family with me for some time, and it was just good having positive vibes all around. I was even super excited to resume work in the new year, having spent a tangible amount of time in December 2019 planning for 2020 with the entire Africa Marketing & Communications team at Andela. Everyone was excited and ready to work hard and give their very best but alas, 2020 happened. I am sure God must have been smiling at all our plans.

Q1 2020 (Jan — early March) was not so eventful for me, it was just me doing my typical activities. I went to work, served in the Church on Sundays and Wednesdays (mid-week service), spent time with family and of course, my girlfriend. In fact, I think I lived quite a boring life in the early part of the year and I didn’t know it was going to get a lot more boring, no thanks to the pandemic.

First time I saw someone with a mask and gloves

Everything changed for me in late March when Andela decided to start working remotely after the Coronavirus began to spread in Nigeria, this was just a few weeks before the entire country went into a lockdown. Even though in the past I had started experimenting with working from home on a few days, it was still a new terrain for me. It was just weird that for the longest time I had to wake up, freshen up (or not 🙈), have breakfast (maybe) then start joining calls and all.

As we humans always do, I adapted and I started enjoying working from home. Honestly, I don’t think I ever want to stop working remotely. I can imagine the number of useful hours I would have wasted in 2020 if I had to be commuting to the office. In fact, it has had a positive effect on my health, so yeah, 2020 came with this blessing.

My first lockdown company All-Hands in March

Permit me to share some valuable tips that have helped me to work from home effectively:

  • Take hold of your time!
    If your company has work hours (9–5) or whatever it is, stick to it! Work only within those hours and never let anyone set up a meeting outside of your work hours. Sometimes, you may need to compromise because of that colleague in a different timezone or something important can come up that requires your attention even outside your work hours. Always make sure your colleagues respect your time, take hold of it!
  • Have a workspace in your house
    Having your own workspace helps you focus better and it helps you create that mental model that your workspace is for work and work alone. Whenever you want to work, you go to your workspace and when you are done working for the day, you leave it and go elsewhere. If you don’t do this, you may not just be working from home but also living at work. Everyone may not have this luxury but just try to find a way to clearly differentiate work from other things.
  • Get a good internet service provider or more
    The greatest good you can do to yourself is getting an excellent data service; not all ISPs are great in Nigeria but some people have learnt to use multiple services so that they can switch once one has issues.
  • Get an alternative source of power
    Getting an alternative source of power is important if you can’t afford to get an inverter, you should try to get a generator. Your excuse for not getting that task done cannot be because your laptop battery died. O wrong nau!!!

I’ll stop here for the tips, let’s continue with the review.

During the lockdown, we were not only suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, but we were also suffering or enjoying (depending on how you see it) from the Banana Bread pandemic. I also joined them, in fact, I did a lot of cooking during the pandemic. You can check #ChefRote on Twitter to see all the things I cooked that I documented.

I baked Plantain Bread instead

I felt good about myself so I decided to fry puff puff, but my first attempt was quite a failure! 😂

My first attempt at puff puff

As they say, every failure is a lesson and an opportunity to learn and grow.

My 2nd attempt, the puff puff are no longer flat. Praise the Lord!

Now to the not so sweet part of everything.

In May, I lost my job due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the company’s finances. Being the 1st time I have ever lost my job; I was distraught, very sad, bitter and I really cried because I just could not believe it. I mean, I loved this company, gave my best at all times and I’m such a sweet boy who would do no one any harm. 😊

The news was everywhere.

Until I dropped my laptop and other work tools, it still seemed like a dream.😴

My work tools

After all my crying and unhappiness, I realised that these things happen and it doesn’t mean I was hated or underperformed or was such a bad egg that the company singled me out. 134 other people were laid off as well, so I prayed about it and made sure I felt peace before moving on.

I really just miss some of the wonderful people I worked with at Andela, especially my team across Kenya, Egypt, Uganda, US & Rwanda; we were such a formidable team.

Our last crazy photo together

The next wise thing to do was to start jobhunting but I paused for some weeks before I started, I took the time to rest, play and make myself feel better. I am grateful to God for the gift of friends and Egbons who really supported me, and even connected me to a number of people who were hiring. There’s a lot to say here but I will just leave it at this.

Here comes the birthday boy
My birthday was on the 1st of June and I clocked 25, so I decided to do a photoshoot. I was just 15 yesterday and now, I was celebrating 25 years on earth. Thanks to Zimmani for these beautiful photographs.

You can see the other photos here.

July — December

I can boldly say that the 2nd half of the year made this year my best yet.

I joined Flutterwave in July

After some chats, I was offered a Product Marketing Manager role at Flutterwave and I immediately accepted it. I have been a big fan and friend of the company since 2017 and I was happy to finally be able to add value to the company from within. Honestly, this job was the best thing that happened to my career this year. Without even talking about the benefits that came with my role, this job has helped me to grow significantly. I’ve had a great experience so far; I have an amazing team with a brilliant team lead who is always ready to push and help you succeed.

Flutterwave welcoming me in the weekly newsletter

Before joining Flutterwave, I barely wrote articles. In fact, the last time I wrote anything was on my Medium page and that was December 31, 2017. However, since joining Flutterwave, I’ve been actively writing articles to help our users make the most of their Flutterwave account and so much more. You can view our blog to see some of the articles I wrote.

August is usually a big a month for me because it houses my sister’s and girlfriend’s birthdays and our dating anniversary. Well, we also did another photoshoot to celebrate my madam’s birthday/anniversary. This year made it 2 Years since we started dating and I can’t wait to do more beautiful years with her.

You can see more here.

Of the many things that happened this year, asides from the pandemic and everything that followed it; I think the #EndSARS Protests is arguably the most important event this year. It not only showed the power of unity, it showed us how effective we can be when we finally agree that enough is enough.

EndSARS yesterday, today and tomorrow

My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one to the wickedness and sheer evil of Policemen and every other security agency. For those people who joined the protests and later lost their lives at the Lekki Toll Gate, we will never forget you and you will live on in our hearts. Thank you for your sacrifice. 🕊

I also appeared in an ad this year, I became Ambassador Rotimi. You can watch the ad in the video below:

My favourite thing about December has to be #RebootCamp2020 by Celebrating Church International. I had such a great time at Apostolos, I streamed services from Port Harcourt, Abuja and was physically present at the camp in Lagos.

In fact, my life is forever changed because of #RebootCamp2020 and I really can’t wait for the world to see all that God will do through me in 2021 and beyond.

Fun fact: I am a member of my church’s photography team and I totally enjoyed serving during the Reboot Camp just like I have enjoyed serving through out the year.

One of my favorite photos from Reboot Camp 2020.

I shared some of my favourite photos from #RebootCamp2020 on my Instagram page, you can check them out here. The photography team shot these beautiful photographs.

What am I grateful for in 2020?

  • The gift of family and friendships
    I gained a lot friends this year and I am so grateful for them. I can’t start mentioning all of them but I love them all.
  • My girlfriend
    She made this year a wonderful year for me and I am grateful for her, I can’t wait to get married to her, of course, when the time is right.
  • God and Church
    I experienced immense spiritual growth this year. I am so grateful to God for the opportunity to serve in His house and for the gift of a wonderful church.
  • Photography — #RotimiShotIt366
    I didn’t do a lot of photography this year except for family and church. However, I am really happy about my 2020 challenge. I wanted to post a picture a day this year and I have done so. In fact, only Day 366 is left and I will post it after writing this article. I joined the challenge after it was started by Feyi Fawehinmi. You can see Feyi’s photos here and mine here.
  • A good job
    I am grateful for my job at Flutterwave, I thank God because I didn’t expect this miracle but it happened. God really does care about you.
  • Life
    If there’s anything 2020 has taught us, it is that life is precious and while you have it, live it to the fullest. Add value to people, organisations and to your world. I am grateful to God for this life that I have and I will forever be using it to help people.

I have to be very honest, 2020 started really well then everything just started happening and it went downhill or uphill, depending on your experience. From the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and everyone on that ill-fated helicopter, to the COVID-19 pandemic and then the #EndSARS protests and to the so many things that have happened this year. 2020 has been quite a year!

So 2021, what’s up?

Honestly, I have not properly planned for 2021 but I believe it will be my best year yet! I will be 10X better, stronger, wiser and healthier. I will not only speak these things to existence, I am ready to put in the work to ensure I have the best year ever! I know I will be doing a lot of things next year, taking some important decisions and experiencing a lot of growth.

Jackie said it right!

This is what I believe! It doesn’t matter what the year brings, all that matters is I have the One who created the years in me and so I walk in line with God’s will for my life in 2021.

It doesn’t matter what the year brings, I will be ready!

I can’t wait to share all the wonderful testimonies I have in my 2021 Year In Review article, see you all next year. ✌️



Rotimi Okungbaye

I enjoy taking photographs, I work as a Product Marketing Manager at Flutterwave, I am a Christian.