Sunday, 27 September 2009

Cover, Edition 204, Sept. 27 - Oct 3, 2009

Change has changed

THIS phrase was coined by the Hip-Hop World Awards, in 2008. They changed and challenged our perception of red carpet by introducing the yellow carpet. Many celebrities unwound at their beach party, which some of them confessed was awesome. When you change your concepts, you produce awesome results.
The more we grow, the more we change. The more we learn, the more we change. Change is a feature of every organization and managers may need the ability to implement change, to engender growth.
Change helps to achieve better results. If you are not achieving the result you sought in some areas of your life, it is high time you changed.
By changing your approach, you can explore other ways to achieve better results. Five years ago, for instance, there were no DVD.
If you wanted to watch 50 films, you would buy 50 video compact disc (VCD). But with DVDs you can have 50 films in one ‘plate.’
The same effort will yield the same result. If you want to get different results, you have to change your approach to problem solving.

Change starts from your thoughts. There is an ageless truth that when you change your thoughts; your life will change. Organisations can no longer dwell on conventional ideas. Yesterday’s thoughts may not be relevant today. In the words of Albert Einstein “The thinking that has brought me this far has already caused some problems that this level of thinking can’t solve.”

What does not work needs to be changed. Look at areas of your life where you are not getting tangible results. Take note of the actions you took in the past. Since it is not effective, plan a different action. Chances are, you will get a different result.

Your situation will not change if you don’t change. Barely a year ago, I decided to change the way I run my interpersonal skills trainings for corporate organizations. Then, I only teach participants the core skills they need to learn, with practical syndicated sessions, where participants can test the skills they are learning.

The major draw back then, was that I didn’t have a manual for my training. Participants only need to jot down some ideas. Now, my interpersonal skill manual helps participants to remember the skills they have learnt. Truth is, people may forget as much as 75 per cent of what they have learnt after four days. Materials serve as reminder.

Persistence leads to frustration. Here is a puzzle: “How long will it take for a deaf person to hear what you are saying?” It may take a lifetime. Talking louder will not make a deaf person hear what you are saying.

Persistence and change helps to get better results. If you decide to change your medium of communication, you may get your message across to the deaf person. You can use sign language. Here is a formula for getting optimum result that I discovered recently.
Persistence + Change = Success

Change your direction if you are stuck. If you are traveling on the wrong road, no matter how fast you are, you won’t get to the right destination. You have to discover the right path to your destiny. It may be late, when, after getting to he destination you realize you are in the wrong place. Change.

Change your approach until you achieve success. Explore other ways of doing things. Perhaps, there may be better ways to get dressed to the office. There is a better way to do almost everything you are doing right now. A wise man once said “Maintenance culture is a stagnant culture. It is improvement that counts.”
In conclusion, when you have to communicate change, let others see what they stand to benefit. Change helps you to achieve better result, hence, the need to always change your approach.

Rebranding our manners
On the eve of our almost half a century anniversary as a nation, we must stop to consider how far we’ve come as a people. While this is going on at the national and governmental levels, we should not lose sight of the individual, personal angle to it.
At the national level, we have the Rebrand Nigeria Project which is on-going with our charismatic Minister of Information and Communications, Prof Dora Akunyili, at the fore front. Much has been written and said about that initiative and these are beyond our scope here. The aspect of it that concerns us here is the connection between personal manners (or lack of it) and national reputation (or lack of it, too). In other words, how individual misbehavior translates to national reputation. It has been rightly said that it is the actions of the few bad eggs among us that give us our bad name. This is so because bad news travels faster than good news.
Also, Western societies and media have their default modes set on the negatives from Africa and Africans. If not, why wont the exploits of the Kanu Nwankwos, Obafemi Martins, Ayegbenis, Yobos, Babayaros and others who have done well in the English Premier League be sufficient to give Nigeria a good image in the U.K? Why should our Yahoo-Yahoo con art outshine our other less deleterious artistic exports including paintings and artifacts? Why should the activities of a few credit card scammers in the U.S eclipse the excellence of Nigerian medical doctors, lecturers and students in the same country? It is all about believing what one wants to believe.
It is also about making corporate progress such as will shut up your critics. Years ago, to be called an Indian businessman was pejorative. Those Indians that taught in our school system were the butt of jokes. In one case it was said that when it was time to apply for a car loan, the Indian chose to apply for a bicycle loan instead because a car for him was unthinkable in his country. What we didn’t see even in that joke was the delayed gratification exhibited by Indians while we lived it up on borrowed robes.
Today, India is at the vanguard of emerging markets, is a nuclear power, an ICT destination and a flourishing democracy. Who dares talk down on the Indian today? When foreign aid was pouring in for Tsunami victims of 200.. India proudly asked donors not to bother with her. That’s where Nigeria should be. The moment Nigeria as a nation can become an economic and technological power, all our bad names will fizzle out.
The Nigerian has the greatness chip embedded in him. Our leaders have to try to find the right code to crack that and set loose that potential. Our greatness can move from potential to reality with the right leadership. But before that happens, can we become the change we desire in our individual manners? The government has nothing to do with your road manners or cell phone manners, for example. And our electricity situation does not have to improve before you learn not to drop trash on the streets – abi? This is wishing all Nigerians a manner-ful national day. Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation!

Memory boom or doom

Over the years, research has shown that the memory of an average human gets shorter by the years. While many people seem smart and quick to remember in details during their senescent years, a few are not so lucky; they can even forget the way to the bathroom!
Forgetfulness, by the way, is not a condition restricted to the elderly; it affects all ages. We all forget things–– details, stories, dates, appointments, objects and so on; students are continual victims especially during exams. But forgetfulness might not pose a problem until it costs something.
All information seen, heard, felt or read are transferred to a place called hippocampus in the brain. This hippocampus acts as a gatekeeper; it files the most important data for long-term storage in the cerebral cortex, while the less important data gets bounced over time.
Neuroscientists claim that our memory fails us for two reasons; either the information was not properly stored hence difficulty in retrieving the information or the person in question has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, a condition common in the elderly which affects the brain and leads to memory disorder and partial amnesia.
Whatever the reason for forgetfulness, the crux of the matter is that the brain is flexible and can be trained to achieve a superb memory. To test how nimble your brain is, can you list 20 European countries and their capitals without looking at a map? If that proves too difficult, how about recalling the names and surnames of 25 of your classmates in secondary school.
Many factors contribute to forgetfulness; it could be as a result of a disorganized life or diseases but as mentioned earlier, you can boost your memory. As we dedicate time to keep the body fit, we must not leave the mind behind. You can take the brain exercising too! Learning a new language; a new skill; solving hard quizzes, riddles, crossword puzzles; playing technical games like chess are good ways of exercising the brain.
Despite the fact that the brain is powerful, it is still subject to skipping certain details. If you have a battle with forgetfulness, try opening a diary to store details.
Concerning Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, speculations are being made in the medical community whether one should take predictive genetic testing to find out if he or she would develop it in future but one does not need to go that far. Following the above steps is a sure way to avoid memory loss in the future and minimize the effects of forgetfulness to the barest minimum.

One lazy Saturday morning

(Strictly for the young)
I spent the better part of Saturday feeling completely guilty and unable to enjoy the simple pleasure of staying at home, in front of a laptop, chilling with a friend, enjoying uninterrupted power!
Apart from realising how important uninterrupted power is to staying at home (honestly! Most of those you see randomly visiting others or hanging out aimlessly, are people trying to escape the boredom and drudgery of sitting at home in the heat!), I also realised that as a choleric, and possibly as a Nigerian, I have been conditioned to believe that every hour of every day has to be used well — through work!
The choleric works while socialising such that, we can’t even enjoy our own birthday parties! And the Nigerian works every day, then wonders how come they are so stressed! I mean, if we are not taking calls, sitting in a meeting, thinking about work or talking about work, we tend to re-examine our lives and put plans in motion to stop being so unproductive and useless. And yet, we are the same country where the average person gets up at 4am, is out of the house by 4.30am, sits in traffic during the day for at least three hours, and then drives home in traffic, getting into our non-PHCN powered houses at 10pm.
After spending part of that Saturday not enjoying the moment, I had to have a long talk with myself and then things picked up! No food for lazy man... but no life for dead man... so touché!

One benefit of staying in is that you get to watch a lot of television. Now I know they claim watching too much television is apparently bad for you... but what if it is feel good or educating programming? Personally, I love reality shows. Forget all the questions about how real they are, and how they promote ‘Get Famous Quick’ syndrome... The reason they thrive is because they are so entertaining! This season on television is not easy at all oh! If someone is not finally winning the grand prize on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire , then someone is switching with his twin brother on Big Brother! Dance All has families competing for a cash prize and that is just one of the funniest shows! It is amazing to see the fathers and mothers getting into the dance just as much as the children are!
Another show I am growing into is Naija Sings. My favourites are Riola -- because she has a rock(ing) attitude and I think she will give good live shows; and Tarila who has this lovely voice! Some favourites like Ovie have sadly left the competition but like i always tell anyone interested in participating in a reality show competition- winning is NOT everythin! Ebuka? Omawumi? Darey? Jennifer Hudson? Chris Daughtry? Lemar?
No, they didn’t win the shows they participated in! And yet...
Hopefully, the contestants on Project Fame Academy will understand this too! By the time you read this, one of the last five standing (Madonna, Tomiwa, Nicholas, Krimi, Mike) would be the new Project Fame winner, taking some of the pressure of bearing that tag away from Iyanya who won last season!

Of course, the escape that television and reality shows give you last only for a short while. Before you know it, it is back to the real reality- where students are home, journalists are being murdered at home, and generators are working over time!

Clean Breath

By Kikelola Oyebola
If the cause of bad breath is tonsillitis, which has to do with infection of the gum, tongue and mouth, it can be treated medically. Sometimes, however, mouth odour occurs from other causes. These include improper brushing of the mouth; infrequent brushing of the mouth; injured gum that has become infected and plaque.

But even when the individual brushes properly and regularly and does not have damaged gum, it is still possible to have mouth odour if he/she does not use dental floss.
“The use of dental floss is as important as brushing the mouth,” says Dr. Sanya Onibudo of The Dental Clinic, Victoria Island. “Even if the individual brushes 10 times a day, it is still necessary that dental floss be used to get to the nooks and crannies of the mouth. Unfortunately, many people don’t remember to floss their teeth or they just cannot be bothered.”
Since it is often the trapped food pieces in the space between the teeth, which if not removed, give the offensive odour, it becomes imperative that a way be found to rid the mouth of decayed substances.
Of course, it is not as if it is also not necessary to brush properly and as frequently as possible, it is just that the use of dental floss be added to the routine.

It has been recommended that the mouth be brushed at least twice daily (in the morning and at night.) Brushing after each meal is even to be more desired. The morning brushing comes after breakfast, provided the mouth was brushed the previous night after dinner.
The up and down movement of the brush is also essential if the teeth are to be well cleaned. In addition, plaque is prevented from forming with the right brushing of the mouth. The formation of plaque is a gradual thing and can be removed, however, by the dentist even after it has been formed.
“The plaque not only discolours the teeth, it also gives off offensive odour. So, to prevent its formation, one should brush properly and regularly too. And of course, a visit to the dentist at least once in six months is recommended, to ensure that all is well with the teeth and mouth generally,” Onibudo explains.
For those desirous of clean mouth and fresh breath, the use of a good mouthwash is a must, in addition to all else. Certain foods leave the mouth with undesirable odour. This can be dealt with by eating sweets immediately after taking such foods.
If the nature of the individual’s job entails keeping quiet most of the time, chewing mint gum gives freshness to the breath.
Children should, however, not be encouraged to eat too many sweets, sugary foods and milky ones, especially close to bedtime. Parents need to ensure that children brush their mouths last thing before going to bed, especially after consuming sugary or milky food items, as these tend to cause tooth decay.

Nutty Crunch

Nuts never really seem to go out of season but at certain times there are a number of them available for consumers to munch.
The consumption of nuts as part of normal meals is beginning to receive attention. Though this may not be a wide and popular practice. Nuts have their place in the body for growth and maintenance of tissues.
The average Nigerian meal is not structured in the Western style in which you have the first course, then second and dessert, but we can begin to adopt what is good for our health.

Main meal and dessert
In this three-course meal, nuts can feature in the recipes of home-baked bread, desserts, cakes, main dishes, salads and so forth.
Closer home, among the popular nuts eaten alone or with other snack food are palm kernel nuts with roasted breadfruit seeds (aku n’ukwa – Igbo snack), and the widely eaten coconut (agbon – Yoruba) and groundnut. There are several other nuts of nutritional importance like cashew nuts, walnuts, chestnut, hazel nuts among others that are widely eaten but which fat content has generated concern among health-conscious consumers.
A publication, Clinical Cardiology showed a research result stating that, “one of the most unexpected nutritional discoveries of the last decades is that the frequent eating of nuts appears to dramatically improve health.” Researchers at Loma Linda University, California, US, reported a higher incidence of heart attacks on those who eat fewer nuts – say once a month in comparison to having a daily diet of nuts after meal.
Reduction in the risk of heart disease, one analysis revealed, has become possible from the consumption of nuts due to the kind of fat they possess.
Nuts lower total cholesterol and the harmful low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol despite their high fat content, however the fat is largely unsaturated.
Nuts are rich in fibre and high in monounsaturated fat, which is considered good for human consumption.
Researchers at the Federal Institution of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) say there are several seeds that contain extractable quantities of vegetable oil useful for both human consumption and industrial purpose.
While the oil could be processed for food, the direct consumption of these nuts on regular basis has been known to increase longevity. Research showed that they to reduce overall mortality.
Nuts like coconut are reportedly high in fats while their risk of aflatoxin in palm kernel nuts and groundnuts. But a recent study shows that they do not result in weight gain.
Nutritional gains
While it is not yet fully understood, it added however, that eating the combination of nuts offers the best benefits.
They are excellent sources of vitamin E known to protect against cancers.
Other nutrients provided by nuts include folic acid, copper, magnesium, arginine (amino acid), and they are the best source of dietary manganese and certain plant sterols.
Incidentally, the compound is now being incorporated in margarines to reduce the absorption of cholesterol from our foods.
Allergy to some nuts is not altogether ruled out for some persons but overall, this number is likely insignificant.
So healthy eating demands that people should include nuts in their menu.

Lemon fruit (Cleanses and purifies the blood)

Lemon is the aggregate fruit of the lemon tree (Citrus Limon Burum) a spiny evergreen of the botanical family Rutaceae. It is an oval shape citrus fruit and is used as a beverage and an ingredient to some dishes to enhance their flavor.
Lemon tree is like other citrus trees such as orange, grape fruit and tangerine tree. It is rich in Vitamin C, contains Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Flavonoid (a compound that contains antioxidant and anti-cancer properties and prevents other diseases.)

Uses and preparation of lemon fruit
Fresh juice:
Lemon juice is obtained by squeezing the lemon fruit. It has great medicinal value because of its high Vitamin C content.

Seasoning and dressing for various dishes:
Lemon juice when add to foods improves the flavor, digestibility of foods.

Used in preparing some beverages:
Lemon juice is used in some beverages and it has a great medicinal properties.

Healing power of lemon fruit:
Lemon alkalizes the blood; it also facilitates the urinary elimination of the toxic waste material (mostly acidic substances) that the body constantly produces. Regular consumption of lemon fruits therefore helps to purify and cleanses the blood.

Cures anemia:
Lemon should form a regular part of diet for people suffering from anemia because of it high vitamin C content which increase the absorption of iron in other plant – based foods and helps in treating anemia.

Boost the immune system:
Lemon is one of the fruits that strengthen the immune system. This is due to the fruit’s high content of vitamin C and phytochemicals content which improve the body’s immune system ability to resist infections and also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is recommended for people suffering from whether viral or bacterial infection..

Prevents arteriosclerosis:
Regular intake of lemon fruit strengthen the capillary walls, improves the elasticity of arteries and reduces the blood’s tendency to excessive clotting, thereby preventing arteriosclerosis.

Helps build strong bones:
Lemon juice diluted with water can be very beneficial for pregnant women; it actually helps build the bones in the unborn child, this is due to its calcium content.

Prevents cancer:
D – Limonene is an aromatic terpene found in the lemon fruit, particularly in the peel that has been shown capable of neutralizing certain carcinogens. Lemon consumption contributes to neutralizing many of the carcinogens found in foods and the environment and in this way lemon help prevents cancer.

Partying with men of Words

As part of preparation for its 11th lagos Book and Art Festival, LABAF, 2009 9nov 12-15), leading art and culture advocate group, the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), launched its two-month Book Season last Sunday with a near 6-hour Book Party, which served as a platform to acquaint Nigerians with the nine shortlists poets in the 2009 Nigeria Prize for Literature. Endowed by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, the Prize is expected to produce one of the nine as the Nigeria Poet Laureate for the the 2009/2010 season. The winned will earn $50,000 prize money plus other incentives that would be unveiled at a grand award ceremony in Abuja next month. Those present at the Goethe Institut, Lagos, venue of the event, had more than enough to chew from eight of the nine poets that attended. The turn out was massive. Perhaps, no literary event in recent times, in Lagos, has commanded so much enthusiastic audence who sat for almost half of the day listening to the poets give insight into ther creative efforts. For those in the rather obscure culture sector, it signaled a rekindling of hope that all was not yet lost. The event was billed for between 2 and 6pm, but it ran late into about nearly 8pm. The Secretary General of CORA, Toyin Akinosho was the first to read an excerpt from The Yacouba Building, a novel by an Egyptian, Alaa Al Aswany. But it was star performing artist, teacher and self-styled ‘Otunba’ Tunji Sotimiri, that set a sombre yet exhilarating tone to the event when he re-enacted the quintessential activist harangue of the establishment by the late civil rights campaigner and social critic Chief Gani Fawhehinmi. Members of the 2008 Star Quest- competition winning band, Diamond and the Spectrum were on the bandstand. Thereafter, three reviewers gave the audience firsthand insight into the contents of some of the works by the nine writers. In responding to questions, Nengi Josef Ilagha, who had been a speech writer in government in his Bayelsa State, said though he was on the periphery in government, the experience gave him insight into how policies are articulated within government circles. For Dr. Ekwuazi, one time director general of Nigeria Film Corporation, there is a “big similarity between film and poetry because film is about imagery just like poetry”, which makes them seamless movements for him as he transits from one to the other. He also maintains that his new work is largely experimental and a departure from the normal. Also as a lawyer, Ahmed Maiwada does not see his foray into Literature a strange one as most people will assume. So, he says, “if you don’t know Literature you cannot practise Law”. For him “it’s just a natural marriage between Law and poetry”. Ogbowei sees writing as a natural inclination, an urge that needs to be fulfilled, pointing out that a writer does not set out with a view to win prizes but merely to express a creative consciousness. Barrett says he has never been one to seek prizes in his 40-year long career as a writer and would not submit his works for awards except his publisher does. He states that it was his wife that submitted A Memory of Rivers when she saw the advertisement and did not tell him until much later almost in passing because she knew he would have discouraged her. Then his son Igoni Barrett, also a writer, later called to inform him about the nomination. The Nigeria Literature Prize may have done something really tangible for poetry in putting it to the domain of public discourse rather than mere academic exercise. This was Dr. Ademola Dasylva’s view as he responded to certain issues. He maintains that with the prize the “complaint about inaccessibility about poetry” was being effective erased just as it should be for poetry to properly play its role as an art form that people could relate to as a part of their daily lives. Odoh Diego Okenyodo says his poetry is self-discovery as it is a trip through which he is just realising who he is as a writer, as a person. So that his collection From a Poem to its Creator is one long question mark about creator and the created. For Musa Idris Okpanachi (author of The Eaters of the Living), winner, ANA/Cadbury prize for poetry 2009, “things in the world are destinies and destinies are accidents”, and so he publishes out of frustration. Opanachi sees writing as something that excites in him as “interest, hobby and to photograph my society”. All the poets read or performed from their works for maximum effect. Ogbowei read ‘Walking these starving streets’, while Ilagha performed a piece from his collection. Barrett also read ‘Old River’ just as Okpanachi read ‘Crush me’ and ‘I want to marry’. Dasylva read ‘Anthem for doomed youth’ and ‘Globalisation’ from his collection. — CHUKS NWANNE

Ibadan... The Sleuth’s pilgrimage

by Ayodele Arigbabu
SEEKING a breathe of fresh air, the design sleuth recently packed a backpack and hit the road to Ibadan with co-conspirator and fellow design inquisitor, James George, as company.
The excuse was an invitation to speak with some university students at the IrawoUniversity Centre, however, the university being on strike, the trip turned out to be more of a pilgrimage to the two Demas Nwoko buildings domiciled in Ibadan — The Dominican Institute and the New Culture Studios at Oremeji. Architecture is a profound enterprise to engage with for the ones who create the experiential spaces we all love to visit and for those who will keep enjoying the little gifts of visual and spatial experiences tucked into the built forms for them to discover. At Ibadan, we had our fill; I’ll shut up now and let you have a taste...but for the real thing, you need to pay those buildings a visit! Thanks to Tayo Fagbule and everyone at Irawo who were such marvelous hosts, to Demass’ daughter-in-law and her twins, who opened the door at Oremeji and showed us round and to Father Justice at the Dominican Chapel who still shared in our awe of a building he’s experienced for decades.

‘flashy me in colours... but no skinny jeans, pls’

Sophisticated, classy and multi talent US-based Nigerian Rap artist, cosmetologist, make-up artist and hair stylist, Felicia Babalola popularly known as Felyne is definitely rocking the mainstream with her album, titled ‘Opposite twist’. In recent times her singles, ‘My Baby’, ‘My Baby remix’ and ‘Addiction’ has been toping charts. The Kea University Star Search Award Winner of Best Hip-Hop/Rap Performance and Psychology graduate spoke to DAMILOLA ADEKOYA on her fascinating, sexy and irresistible fashion style.

Definition of fashion
It’s all about originality, uniqueness and clinginess. When you are walking out the street, you are noticed and your fashion catches people’s attention.
Style of dressing
I dress like a rock-star and I’m being classy in what ever I wear. I like cut-up jeans, pasting things on jeans, shirts and shoes because in the US, that’s what a lot of people do.

Favorite piece of clothing

I love dresses because they bring out my shape.

Most expensive item

My shoes

Favorite designer

Baby Phat, that is Kimora Lee Simmons’s clothing line. Baby Phat is her brand name and the logo for Baby Phat is cat.

Favorite signature

J. Lo’s glow. It smells great and it is long lasting

Most cherish possession
All my gadgets, including my Ipod and laptop, they’re just so precious to me.

Turn on
Colour combination; it makes me wow!

Memorable moments

The day I hosted a big fashion show in the US. It was memorable because I was really able to showcase my talents in terms of make-up and that kicked up my make-up career.

Most embarrassing moment

When I fell in front of a guy I liked; oh! It was so embarrassing


Music, fashion shows and weddings. It inspires me to want to try and experience what is out there

Beauty routine
Skin care, toner, and cleanser. It helps bring out ones true beauty without make-up

Favorite body products

Dove soap because it keeps me moisturized. For make-up, I love Mac.

Best colour

Red and black. Black, because it goes with everything and red because it just attracts me.

Role model

My mum, because she is very hard working.

Dressing up the beautifulCurve

MoST women in the month of pregnancy hate to think about their struggle wit dressing. Most of their clothes do not fit properly anymore, as a result of the bulging stomach.
It is usually a common sight this period to see the women dressed in long and oversized dresses in order to hide their protruding tummy. Ma’am you can have some fresh breath; that beautiful curve won’t be conspicuous again. For Aisha Abdusalam, a fashion designer of 15 years experience and the chief executive of Avada Couture, Abuja, “one can still dress smartly and look attractive even as a pregnant woman.” The business administration graduate of the University of Jos says her fashion house is putting together a show for pregnant women on October 5 in Abuja. “My focus is on these women because they wear long and big dresses most of the time... I want to show that they can be pregnant and still be beautifully dressed.” According to her, “it’s an idea I’ve nursed for a long now; for me this is just the appropriate time to come out and dress pregnant women.” Tagged Pregnant Beauty Fashion show, Aisha, who in the past, had organised a few shows for young women and girls, says she’s passionate about fashion, and draws inspiration from her grandmother as a child. “My grandmum was a fashionable woman and I admired her a lot as a young child. I started sewing when I was nine, making dresses for my doll babies using needle and thread. I used my mum’s head ties to make the dresses.” AS a student, Aisha was a rich while in the University because she always earned money sewing her friends’ clothes. For her, fashion is not just about following trends, it is about wearing what fits and dressing right for the occasion. “I derive joy in making people look beautiful. I started commercial sewing 15 years ago. I look at myself as one of the best designers in Abuja and I hope to be one of the best in the world. “I get my materials from the local market and I make them unique from what is available around. I take care not to over accessorize my works so as to get the best results. You don’t have to travel abroad to get materials, you can creatively make use of what we have here and still come out good,” she says. Aisha, who does all the designing and supervises the cutting of the clothes, says she has workers who do the sewing in order to meet up with demand. She aims to remain affordable as a strategy for brand promotion.

Nigeria at 49...Pulse of the young generation

Thursday this week, the entity called Nigeria will celebrate its 49th independent. Already, entertainment events and and public discussion forum have been lined up at home and even parts of the world to mark the day. For instance, in the city of New York, United States, Nigerian residents are gearing up for what they tagged ‘the biggest Independence Day ever’, with fuji musician, Pasuma, and others, billed to mount the stage. In Finland, Nigerian Students are already putting finishing touches to their plans to mark the Independence in a grand style on October 2, with the Green and White Gig; at the CAISA, The Multicultural Center, Helsinki. Sure, similar events will be happening in London and even parts of Asia -- indeed everyhere Nigerians are resident. Back home, there is a hand full of concerts, gigs, movie premieres, comedy and others… in different parts of the country to celebrate Nigeria at 49. Children (for those, who are lucky to be in school) by now, would be sweating out in match past rehearsals, while government functionaries are getting set to take the traditional saluteand offer the usual long, sometimes boring and meaningless speeches full of loads of promises but little modicum of sincerity. As usual, there will surely be a public holiday! On October 1, 1960, Nigeria was granted its independence by the British colonial power. The transition to independence was peaceful, with profound goodwill on all sides. The future looked very bright, and as the most populous black nation with impressive human and natural resources, expectations of Nigerians at independence were high both at home and abroad. But beyond the mere survival of the nation, the mood of the nation today seems to be that of despondency, anger, resentment, and seeming hopelessness. Because of the colossal mismanagement of its resources by its leaders (both civilian and military), Nigeria’s future now appears bleak; has been bleaked nearly all of its adult life. The situation in the country calls for a sober reflection by Nigerians on the missed opportunities of the post -independence years, and a critical analysis of the reasons for Nigeria’s failure to meet its post independence challenges and the modest aspirations of its people for a good, secure, and decent life for themselves and their children -- the future leaders. Do we really have any reason to celebrate? If yes, what exactly are we celebrating? Is there still hope for the entity called Nigeria? Is the future still as bright as ever? The Guardian Life sought the opinion of some young Nigerians on the issues and bellow is their individual reactions: Ajuluchuks Ugo Okeke: (Motivational speaker, novelist and journalist) Good a thing Nigeria is 49 years old. Unfortunately, there’s little or nothing to celebrate; though our continuous togetherness as a nation is all worth celebrating. Nevertheless, I enjoin every well-meaning Nigerian to keep praying for that Daniel in Aso Rock whom we are yet to see. Uche Nnaji: (CEO Ouch Fashions, Lagos) We have celebrated enough without results afterwards. Let our leaders show us a long-term plan to give common electricity to the people. Onos Bikawei: (Performing artiste) I think we have democracy to celebrate though there hasn’t been lot of changes. But we have the GSM revolution, which has done a lot for our society; it’s not something so massive but is something worth celebrating. Shola Adenugba (Artiste) There are a few things worth celebrating about Nigeria at 49. We have a failed state but a successful social system where politicians can loot freely and the law enforcement either— look away or aid them; our universities are in a bad state; roads are bad; no power supply…yet, the people are strong and intelligent. I think the relative peace and the Nigerian exuberant spirit is worth celebrating. 49 years after, Nigeria can boast of bright musicians and entertainers and we have proven that society can exist in spite of no social amenities. Hassan Taiwo Soweto (National Coordinator, Education Rights Campaign) Today, Nigeria is a classical example of a failed state. If we dare look back, we will realise that given the enormous resources that Nigeria has and the sordid picture of mass poverty and destitution that prevails at the same time, indeed Nigeria was better off 49 years ago. Close to 80 per cent of Nigerians are poor and a lot of them are jobless. Many companies are folding up leading to a colossal loss of jobs. Our health sector is on the verge of collapsing, with Nigerians dying like flies from ailments that could be treated in our backyards. When it comes to education, our hearts bleed. 49 years ago, thousands of students, irrespective of their social status, had access to education up to tertiary level due to the free education policies of the then government. Those days, students had subsidised meals of chicken, coffee and tea at university cafeteria whose services equaled the best restaurant in town. Hostel accommodation was conducive with pillowcases, mattresses with free blankets. No Nigerian student today has received anything free, not even a free cube of sugar from government. Segun Adefila (Artiste) 49! 49!! 49!!! Hmm! Dubai, Malaysia, Nigeria. Half a word is enough ke? The difference is clear. Ibukunolu Babarinde At 49, there is nothing on ground to celebrate; the situation here is still a tale of pity. Nigeria is still several miles away from what a nation should be, and the confidence level of the citizens is reducing greatly towards zero. One day, nobody would talk about patriotism, because the Nigerian phenomenon is still a mirage. Speaking for the generation in which I have found myself, it is rather unfortunate to have been born into an enclave like this. Change is all what we need, but what ideology will drive the change? On what platform will the change come? Definitely, not with the existing political gangs that have made mockery of our democracy. Magnus C. Abraham-Dukuma Without being dishonest, as a people, we have some sort of gains and pains to celebrate. We have our emancipation from our white overlords and colonial masters to celebrate. Neo-colonialism still smacks us in the face, however, without being economical with the truth, we’ve had more pains than gains through the years. What more to celebrate than a dearth of the right leadership and nationhood. What more to celebrate than political killings amidst the nest of killers and a cabal of con men with a sprinkle of lethal dross; a celebration of darkness and poverty amidst abundant prosperity; a celebration of incessant strikes by ASUU, NASU, SSANU, NUPENG, PENGASSAN, NUT and a host of others; a celebration of failed political promises; a celebration of political hypocrisy and administrative profligacy and brigandage of the highest order; a celebration of police brutality and soul-sickening ordeals…Too much pain than gains! But we cannot give up hope on Nigeria. It’s still our fatherland, our home, and there’s no place like home. We still love Nigeria. We therefore cannot stop praying for visionary leaders and doing the little we can in our little corners to precipitate the much needed change. Abimbola Ojenike (Legal Practitioner) I couldn’t help seeing a reason for celebration in a nation that retains the topnotch on the global index for everything deplorable. I would be guilty of imperfect narration to recount a sad history of 49 years that has led to the complete alienation of the hapless masses of Nigerians. In fact, it’s a providential favour of sort that we still have the feigned statehood called Nigeria. But I think what is most disheartening in our present situation is not the gloomy social, economic and political posture itself but the emerging common consciousness that seriously doubts if Nigeria will ever get to the place of our dream. The people are fed up of hoping against hope. They can hardly believe the dreams of a new Nigeria until it becomes a compelling reality but how can we have the change if the people for whom the change is meant cannot believe the change? Bolaige Alabi We have nothing to celebrate at 49. What are we celebrating? Is it road? Most of them have become death trap across the country. Imagine at 49, we are still running after 6,000 mega watts of electricity supply, while other African countries such as Ghana were celebrating one year of stable electricity supply. What of education? Worst of it all, President Yar’adua abandoned his country with over three months strike and educational mess, then flew to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to join president Abdul –Aziz to commission University of Science and Technology. I remember what my late daddy said about Nigeria in year 2000 AD, “a fool at 40…” he had said then. Yemi Ademowo Johnson (National Coordinator of Young Humanists Network) At 49, it is infuriating that Nigeria is still far off from achieving true secularism; miles away from guaranteeing the rights of the irreligious (humanists and atheists); neglected the rights of the Nigerian child being molested as witches in different parts of the country; witnessed an increase in homophobia; initiated trickish dealings with the Niger Delta militants; and remain firmly rooted in crass religiosity and moral bankruptcy noticeable in corruption and bad leadership. With all these, I’d rather call for reflection rather than celebration. What is there to celebrate, anyway? Civil rule? Darkness? Poverty amidst Plenty? Alas, the time to reflect is now so that we can, maybe, have something to celebrate next year. Asim-Ita Emilia At 49, though there’s nothing to celebrate, there’s so much to be done. That we will be great as a nation is no doubt. That we are ready to work towards this state of greatness is the big issue. Olugbenga Adebanjo Nigeria’s journey of nationhood in the last 49 years has been a mixed bag. If I were to be entirely emotional, I would conclude that the Nigerian project has been a complete flop. But if I were to be more realistic with myself, I would say that the process of getting the foundation right (upon which the process of nationhood hinges on) is still some percentage out of the safe range. So, what is the foundation on which a nation is built? Good Governance! In times of adverse difficulty, the Nigerian somehow lives for the name, Nigeria. This optimism is the thread, which holds the nation and its peoples together. If there is anything to celebrate, it would be more of a stoic celebration. Anthony Nwanne Iwediunor (Leader, the Diamonds, winner Star Quest 2008) Despite the fact that people say a lot of ill things about Nigeria, we remain the fastest growing country in entertainment. Today, there’s nothing like freedom; we are free here. Our weather is very good; we don’t hear too much of natural disaster. I believe we are still growing. No matter what, we must celeberate Naija. Naija oni baje o!

Retro Today

By Oyindamola Lawal
IN recent times, the fashion trend, especially among ladies, is tending towards a complete embrace of what obtained decades back. Traces of styles from the generation of our mothers in the 60s have been creeping back into reckoning. Whether colourful or drab, fashion forward or laid-back, tailored or relaxed, designed or tie-dyed, the 60s fashion was simply exciting; it was a smorgasbord of styles which affected every facet of life and strata in the society.
The other styles that dominated the 60s fashion were in a lot of ways more of a departure from what had been the status quo. Dresses continued to lead the ladies fashion scene, encompassing many of the fashion styles from street casual, feminine to cool mode. But the key characteristic for dresses this season is definitely the prints, taking 60s-80s retro designs including stripes, geometric, optical, large flower prints in distinct and vivid colour for the mode. One fashion item that not only survived the sixties and was also worn by the young and old, short and tall, mainstream and radical was the mini skirt. And of course, nothing showed off the mini better than a good pair of boots. According to veteran models and designer, Tony Jones, “Fashion is cyclical. Like I will describe it, it is an unknown spirit, you don’t know in what form it will come back to you whether round, straight, rectangular, mini or maxi. But it is left for the acceptability of the people.” A former lecturer at Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Jones, famously known as the fav male model in the 70s, added: “There are forces behind every existence of fashion; one is the material existing at that particular time, which could influence the mode of fashion. When fashion creeps in, you watch the way people accept it and the material turns out to be very good. Recently, woodin came in and the Ankara material from Holland, popularly known among ladies as java guo started fading off. Woodin became preferred because of it peculiar designs. With that, people started depending on Ankara, which brought the ladies to frontline on the use of Ankara to substitute for the European cut.” The Empire waist look was introduced in 1958 and was adopted by teenagers, who wore leather shifts with knee-high black leather boots. By 1964, the teenage influence caused the hemlines to creep up, and most teenagers were wearing mid-thigh length shifts as daywear. In addition to that, sweater-dress, which is one of the trends for 2010 was also very popular with young people from 1961 onwards, until the mid-60s when other innovative designs were introduced. 1965 saw the premiere of culotte dresses in op art or vibrant coloured patters, which were most popular as evening or party wear - the freedom of trousers but with the look of a full skirt. In 1966, dresses like the tent, or baby doll, dresses in transparent chiffon, worn over a contrasting slip, often sewn-in were in fashion. Speaking of the changes, Jones adds: “I think there is similarity except with slight improvement. That is the way they are been worn with other accessories.” 60s fashion in Nigeria Let us sub-divide them into various classes. For instance, the pre independent period says more about the remote period of Nigeria’s development – the military and civilian era. Before independence, we had the European type of fashion reigning, such as English dresses, which were popular among the Christians and well-educated people. I think it was taboo for anybody who was not educated to put on tie or wear suit. So people preferred to wear an outfit that goes well with their level. During this time, fashion reigned in the church more than anywhere. It was not common to see people wearing native dress to church, especially men, because of the missionary influence. It also reflected in the way school uniforms were designed. It was common to see students wear their school uniforms to church, especially in the catholic community. You find the Muslims in very simple outfits but not covering their head with shawl as you find today. The use of shawl was very common among elderly ones. During the invasion of the military, French suit came into existence because of the influence of the neighboring countries (Togo etc). Everybody wanted to have the outlook of the military fashion. It didn’t end up with the society. It even went deep into the military itself. Before independence, soldiers were wearing shorts not trousers, that was where fashion started changing.” Head Gears in the 60s “The first headgear was associated with the music of Roy Chicago of Onilegogoro, which was influenced by Mrs. Folawinyo Abbah and that was during independence. It looks like what we have now but in a calabash form with a very trendy knot in front.” Fabrics in Nigeria “Adire was in vogue, but we now have it more developed because of the technological development. The method we were using in those days was very crude. Nigeria was not exposed to foreign countries, whatever we have here, we were trying to utilize it and we have a few numbers of people who were influenced then. Mrs. Ayegbusi had adire industry and showroom on Oil Mill Street in Lagos. It was so easy for us to purchase a well modernised adire which lasted longer compared to the one from Abeokuta. The one in Abeokuta washes easily. Bobby Benson was an influence. He used adire to design suit. Adire was also used in some hotels but not has versed. It was used for shirt, blinds, French suit, tablecloth, bed sheet, among others. Creativity of the 60s in today’s fashion “The round neckline you found in blouse was a scoop of buba. The open sleeve of buba, which was slightly voluminous for open ventilation, is reduced by use of elasticity. The short shape is been converted to a kind of compact form, a blouse joined to the lower one to make a kind of maxi.” Skirt “Permanent box pleats were popular in the early 1960s, as were reversible skirts, usually tartan, and from 1961-64, it was inverted front and back pleats. In 1966, the next skirt innovation introduced was the mini-skirt. Widely acknowledged to be the brainchild of Mary Quant, within a year it became a must-have in every ladies wardrobe, especially those who had the legs for it. At the time, skirts were often paired with a matching sweater and matching set of tights for a uniform look. Hairstyles “The hairstyles of the 60s were the antithesis of those of the 50s. Most of the simple styles from the 60s are still quite common today, but recreated into different forms, particularly the bob, and won’t look out of place. In 1961, ladies started using hair accessories like barrettes and ribbons, curls, bob and fringe complemented the clothing and attitude of the time. Make-up The 60s look is quite easy to pull off and is still used in many fashion layouts and advertisements. Eyes require the most work and for a dark look, it is best to have a few shades of dark eye shadows (ranging from grey to black), and mascara. By 1961, pale had become the fashion for the face, with girls blending their own shades of lipstick at home and white eye shadow cream one of the top sellers. Eyes became the focus and were darkened considerably to contrast with the pale faces. Dark eye shadow, liquid and kohl eyeliner, and mascara were used in abundance and smudged on eyes. Lips became paler, until girls began using white lipstick and could go no lighter. Iridescent nail varnished to match the lipstick”.

Excitement builds for Pan-African Universities Debating Championship

By Tope Templer Olaiya
The Pan-African Universities Debating Championship (PAUDC) organizing committee has announced the University of Botswana as the host of the second Pan-African Universities Debating Championship in Gaborone, Botswana from the 12 to 18 December 2009. The championship will bring together universities from 15 African countries plus numerous debate trainers from the United States, South Korea and South Africa.
Tebogo Mogotsi, sponsorship director and also a veteran debater, revealed that so far 15 participating countries that have confirmed attendance are: Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia; Uganda and Kenya will participate including Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa from Southern Africa.
Mogotsi expects 25 universities, among them the Universities of Nairobi in Kenya, Botswana, Jonnanesburg, Limkokwing, Free State (last year’s winners), Rhodes, Fort Hare, Namibia, Lagos and Calabar in Nigeria.
The championship is also expected to have participants totaling about 500 debaters, adjudicators and 12 trainers, making it the biggest debating tournament ever on the African continent. Also 40 Botswana school students are also expected to participate as debaters, volunteers, timekeepers and runners. The week-long tournament will be hosted at the University of Botswana main campus with among other socials, the grand opening ceremony, Cultural Expo night and the Grand Final at Phakalane Golf Estates.
“This intensive competition requires each university team to take part in eight preliminary debates over six days. The highest-rated teams go forward to knockout rounds, with the champions ultimately named during a Grand Final at the Golf Estates,” Mogotsi added. He further noted “in addition to the actual debate tournament, there will be formal training workshops and interactive forums with leaders in business, ministers, civil society and government. The debating championship will also provide a forum in which African university students can be exposed to new ideas, discuss a range of topical issues and be challenged to think critically.”

Training youth in leadership skill

With six years left to reach the goal mark of the Millennium Development Goals, the Federal Ministry of Youth Development recently organized leadership training for youth leaders and student activists across tertiary institutions across the southwest zone. The delegates numbering over 180 participated from 36 tertiary institutions.
The training was targeted at redirecting the thoughts of the delegates towards sacrificial and selfless service, create awareness of government reform programmes and policies, inculcate self confidence and the spirit of entrepreneurship and expose them to role models that can ginger them towards cultivating desirable leadership tendencies.
It commenced with an opening ceremony, which had in attendance the representative of the Vice Chancellor of Covenant University, representative of the Special Adviser to the President on MDGs, representative of the Lagos State Commissioner on Youth and Sports, and the convener of the training, Mallam Yusuf Adamu.
The seemingly insolvent ASUU strike was also addressed and participants pleaded profusely on the need for students to return to school, as education is the only assurance of a brighter future.
The participants were urged to be conscious of the fact that they are leaders of today not tomorrow and to strictly adhere to the principles of leadership, anti-corruption and patriotism that LEAP Africa represents.
The students were taken through military exercises to keep fit, learn tolerance and encourage hardwork. Each participant was given a certificate of attendance and was duly reimbursed for the cost of transportation.
The experience could be summed up as being informative, entertaining and educative, and it ended in a grand style with a colourful closing ceremony when a crop of students who are due and ready to take Nigeria unawares were unveiled.
However, the question on the lips of inquisitive participants was if the budget for the programme was judiciously used. Other question that arose was why despite the fact that the beautiful ones were already born, the ugly ones have refused to die and why the budget for education is the substitute for that of road construction.

2011: To Serve Nigeria is not by Force

Back in those days, when I was in the secondary school, we used to engage ourselves in frivolous activities and youthful exuberance, which we took pleasure in. One of such is the remixing of the national pledge …I pledge to Nigeria my country, to be faithful, loyal and honest, to serve Nigeria “is not by force”…instead of ‘with all my strength’.
Though it sounds unpatriotic, probably because we were discouraged from having faith in our country from disloyal minds; now, looking at the phase, it makes a whole lot of sense with regards to the coming 2011 elections.
Looking at our electoral precedents, it is pertinent to drum this into the ears of our political office seekers, so as to avoid the mistakes of the past.
Our politicians should take a cue from their colleagues in other countries like the United States and neighbouring Ghana, by giving room for free and fair elections at all level. They should begin to see the electoral process as a necessary machinery of competition, and not political rivalry; or the unpopular, horrendous, do or die style, which suppresses the wish of the people as expressed by their votes for the candidates of their choice.
It is also noteworthy to emphasize the importance of the acceptance of defeat by our politicians so as to ensure a healthy democratic system. The electorates also have an important role to play; to follow strictly the election protocols; adhere to the democratic rule of one man, one vote, and defend their votes, doing so with an objective mind, showing by example how to serve Nigeria with all our strength.

For Nneka, MOBO, Channel O Awards

Though the event was her official unveiling as the performer for the IoN International Film Festival scheduled for Port Harcourt, Rivers State, I got an opportunity to chat up Nneka Egbuna on her recent nomination for this year’s MOBO and Channel O Awards coming up next month.
As usual, the Nigeria-born Germany-based artiste, was her usual self— friendly but tough with words. One minute, she sounds friendly and tender; within seconds, she’s an activist, championing the cause of the black continent.
Though light skinned, Nneka is a living witness to racism; she got humiliated several times in Germany for her skin colour. Yet in Nigeria, her type is usually called oyinbo. All these experiences influenced her style of music, which is gradually putting her in the spotlight from a very humble beginning.

“When I left Nigeria for Germany, I was totally on my own without friends and family. My trip wasn’t really planned; I never wanted to step out of Nigeria. All I wanted was a better life,” she recalls.

On arrival in Germany, the Anambra State native was placed in the Asylum Information Facility; a place where people who are homeless are kept, for about three months with other homeless kids and a lot of foreigners from other countries.
“Eventually I got out of that facility and got a place of my own though it was also financed by the state. I started school and started learning the German language but I was lonely and I needed something to hold onto and music was the only thing that gave me that solace and so it became my family.”
Despite all the challenges, Nneka had just one convenient means of communication— music. Luckily, she got a record deal with which she paid her way through school.
“It was a big relief for me,” she muses. “Music gave me the opportunity to travel around the world and have experiences. Personally, music gave me even more courage and a healthy dose of self-esteem because before I left the country, I did not have any self-esteem.”

Combining her studies with music in Germany was a very difficult task for Nneka, but she had no option than to cope.

“That was very difficult but I struggled through it because I was brought up in a home, where education was paramount; my dad drummed that into me. He made me to understand that a beautiful voice or face amounted to little if there was nothing in the brain. Despite the fact that he did not pay for my studies because maybe at the time he may have thought I would grow up to be a wayward person, I wanted to prove to my family that I was capable of making something with my life by the help of God and I think I have been able to achieve that.”

Today, Nneka has three albums to her credit, with the fourth coming up early next year. Her first effort, Victim Of Truth was released in 2004, before No Longer At Ease, which was titled after the popular Chinua Achebe’s novel and the latest work, Africa To And Fro.

Which of the songs got you the nominations?

“The nominations came from the hit single, Heartbeat from the album, No Longer At Ease. I shot the video in Ogba, Lagos and it got me three nominations; one Channel O and two MOBO.”

The nominations wouldn’t have been a big deal for the Archaeology and Anthropology graduate, if not that both awards were tied to the African consciousness.

“That made them a very big deal for me,” she quips. “Channel O is an African channel and thus, the award is continental in scope and this fact made me very happy because it meant Africa acknowledged my music. Prior to now, I’d heard people say my music was too oyinbo for the African palate. It was not that I did not want to sing in Igbo or Urhobo, but I needed to keep to my style because I wanted to reach a wider audience with my music. I’m happy that not just Nigeria television stations, but also a Channel O, which is an African channel, has acknowledged my music as African.”

… And MOBO?
“The Music Of Black Origin (MOBO) nomination is another thing all together; the name alone made it quite a big deal and it made my day and if I should win the award, that should something serious indeed.”
Did you ever think music would take you this far?

“Never! Especially this Heartbeat video; not that I did not do it with all my heart but it was something we did very fast. We actually spent two days working on it because we had to submit it that time, so, we did everything sharp sharp. I submitted it, came back to Nigeria and did the MTN show with Tu Face. Surprisingly after two days, my manager calls me to say MTV put the video on number one. The response to the video has been overwhelming, with people trying to reach me from all over the world with requests for gigs. That is how the Heartbeat video has taken me places.”

Though half-breed, Nneka considers herself an African; not minding her skin colour and long hairs.
“I’ve always said that skin colour does not have any bearing on being African; though I actually experienced this form of racism, especially in school where I had this professor who refused to give me my scores for a dissertation I submitted. First of all he was concerned about the topic because he said it was personal; I was writing on The Term Nigger In Present Europe and he thought I would include too much of my personal point of view into it.”
And what happened? “He said if I was to do that, I should make it just a small paragraph and that was exactly what I did. Eventually, after writing a 30-page thesis, he said I did not have enough references even though I had about 20 of them. He said to me, “you black people are good in singing and I have done so much research into your music, so, I wonder why you are not satisfied with what you have? I have found out that you guys are good at playing basketball and sports…” he was boxing us in a corner. I went to him three times thinking he may have had a bad day the first time I saw him, but he remained adamant and the third time he really let his venom spew over me so much so that I left his office weeping. I ended up doing another seminar and got my scores.”
So, do you consider yourself to be a rebel?

“Rebel is actually a good thing as long as I am not a dictator or spreading negative energy; then cool; I stand for love and the truth. Though I won’t say I’m a rebel, you said so and I claim it.”
From all indications, Nneka’s life experience, especially on the streets of Warri, greatly influenced her style of music.
“They made me do my music with ‘consciousness’ because I am still learning. Also the way and manner I grew up has made me very proud of being a Nigerian. Though I wasn’t too proud before I left the country, I later experienced what it felt like when people give you a colour and I was proud to be part of something profound, my roots. So when I am outside I am always very proud to say I am a Nigerian from Wafi.”

As for the upcoming ION International Film Festival, Nneka already has a plan.

“I will not only be performing just songs, but also try to educate the youths that one does not need to travel out of the country to make it in life. So I will basically be raising awareness on self-growth and national pride among Niger Deltans.”

Nneka wrapped up the chat with a commentary on the country’s music industry.

“We have everything here but the only thing I see is the fact that we have to invest more time and patience. We need to develop more education and a passion for our creative works because we have all the resources. When it comes to performance, I noticed people do playback a lot and the thing be say we even pay to watch. It’s sad that Nigerians will pay to watch a massive show and when you get there, it is playback they do. If that was all they were expecting, the guests could as well sit at home and slot their CDs and listen to the songs on their own.”

Seyi serves fresh beats
In case you’ve been wondering about the whereabouts of Palongo music exponent, Seyi Solagbade, then you have every reason to be at the White House, Toyin Street, Ikeja, Lagos this evening. The artiste, who has just wrapped up his third album, No King As God, will be thrilling his fans in a special live concert to mark the official release of his latest work.
The saxophonist, who is well known around Europe, having toured round the continent, will seize the opportunity to give a dose of his Afromusic style to his large fans, who have waited patiently for the new album.
“I was busy doing shows around the world; I was not really interested in making an album. I started from the stage to making albums, that’s the way I was brought up and that’s where the power is”, he said.
The 12-track album, which is already gaining massive reviews in the media, featured songs such as Fakky Crazy, New Dance, Ayawani, Comurado, Show Boys, Show them Africa, Maromi Pin and others.
“I’m a show man and I’m inviting my friends to come and enjoy themselves and even play if possible. I plan to bring in young people, give them platform to showcase themselves that day. Mainly, I just want to perform.”
Don’t expect to see the usual 14-man Black Face Band at the event; the Black Face Band has taken a new shape.
“It used to be a 14-piece band, but has changed to nine people now. However, the music remains the same. It was difficult taking the whole band for tours outside the country, so, it’s necessary for us to break the number. Aside from that, I just wanted to put the music in a very small package.”

Seyi belongs to the group of artistes, who are not worried about the strong influence of hip-hop music in the country’s music scene, especially among the youths. To the light skinned multi-talented instrumentalist, music is all about culture.
“I’m not worried at all,” he says. “A music scholar once said that if you take your culture away from your music, then you are out of the way; originality is the basic thing of life. I’m not condemning anybody, but their music is seasonal in the sense that they come and go and that’s because originality is not there.”
He cited Fela Anikulapo as a typical example of how best to be original.
“Fela is gone, but if you play his song now, you will see the reaction of people. I’m not worried because what is good is good. The industry is improving in a way, but I don’t know when we are going to stop promoting mediocrity. When the corporate organizations want to invite a big band to play, they don’t pay, but they can get the boys that will mime their CD and pay them millions.”
He continues: “Abroad, people appreciate you based on your music. I’m doing music because I love what I’m doing; I was born into it. Originally, my plan was to combine different kind of music together. I want people to be listening to my music and be hearing different stuffs at the same time. It’s about fusing the genres of music together.”
Asked the secret behind the energy that comes with his stage performance, Solagbade explains, “I don’t take drugs to perform; what I do is to discipline myself. I think it’s natural for me to perform with such energy, but I stay away from women before any show. Many people see me and they believe I take one or two things, but the truth is that I’ve never done it in my life. My own is to play music and when the inspiration comes, I’m on.”
Meanwhile, Seyi’s former wife, Feyintolu, used to be an active member of the Black Face Band, where she was a backup singer and dancer before their marriage hit the rocks.
“Her absence has no impact in my music; even her presence had no impact. I intentionally created that space for her in the band. Right now, we don’t have dancers; we have all male band. She’s out of the system and she’s out of everything for life.”

Obesere on Stingomania Records
Paramount King of Fuji, Abass Akande Obesere, has signed up for Stingomania Records. Obesere, who was one of the two highest selling artistes during the glorious days of Sony Music, has finished work on his first hip-hop album, Revolution, which will be realed on his new label.
The 12-track album featured some top Nigeria hip-hop artistes such as 9ice, Lord of Ajasa, Timaya, Uncle Promise, Eazy Lizy and Young Trybson. With Revolution, Obesere has pioneered a new genre of music for himself which he calls ‘Fuji-hop’, a fusion of Fuji element with heavy hip-hop; the track with 9ice, Kin Noso, and in Gbose yewo, says it all.
In his new work, Obesere has an Igbo song, Ka Anyi Gbaa Egwu, with which he aims to attract the Ibo audience, where he believes he has wide followership as well.
According to the CEO of Stingomania Records, Ope Banwo, “We are ecstatic to sign and manage a megastar with a cross-over appeal like Obesere. We are also doubly excited to partner with him in leading the Fuji-Hop revolution that will finally merge the fans of Fuji and Hip-Hop under one music umbrella with Obesere as the paramount king of Music as the leading force. We can’t wait for the Revolution album to hit the airwaves.”
A nation-wide tour with top hip-hop act has been planned for the album, which is due for release in October.



Zizi Baby, Watch That Rear Right Tyre

AT exactly 4.03pm on Wednesday, September 23, T4T saw a black Infiniti SUV pulled up at the Nitel Junction on Isaac John Street, GRA, Ikeja. What attracted one to the shiny black wonder on wheels, was the customised number plate, ZIZI. The mind flashed to Nigeria’s ace designer Zizi Cardow. You don’t know dear ‘ol Zizi? Shame! Zizi aside being one of the country’s best designers proved she could also dance when she featured in the now rested Celebrity Takes 2 dance reality show. T4T peeped through the tinted glass but it was not Zizi that was at the wheels. However, the yellow paw paw face of the designer reflected on the passenger side. She nearly deceived me, but Jesus is still lord. As the SUV drove off, another thing that caught the attention was the right rear tyre. Aunty, that tyre don dey eat fast, so please change am fast, I no wan hear o o. To God Be The Glory!

Kefee Has Moved On, Please
FRESH from a disastrous marriage to music producer Alec, female singer Kefee, whose divorce case is still on in Delta State, has declared she has moved on in life. And of course, she has struck it big, with a luxury apartment in Lekki (rumours say she bought the house, she denied anyway), a flashy car after rumours had it that her estranged husband seized her car. Kefee was on Facebook chat with T4T recently and she confirmed that she indeed has moved from her Ogba-Ikeja suburb to millionaire playground, Lekki. As you read this piece, Kefee may have began her UK/US tour with Timaya and co. Geez, dear Kefee, my prayer is, when I grow up, I will like to be like you. Amen.

Timaya Vs Empress Njamah... Armageddon II
THE Afro hip hop act Timaya made a gesture of one having sex when he mentioned his embattled girlfriend, Nollywood star Empress Njamah’s name, I knew, it was just a matter of time before things will fall apart and the centre will not be able to hold. Timaya, the ever proud, self acclaimed Egberipapa I of Bayelsa, while picking up an award recently dramatised how he apparently makes love, when he dedicated the award to Empress and others. It shows how much he valued Empress, and trusts the actress; she read between the lines and bided for her time to strike. When it came, Empress took possession of Timaya’s car, a nice pay off you will say. Unless you are not in Nigeria, that is when you will not hear of how Timaya went to Empress’ church on a Sunday morning and attempted to retake possession of his car. He got the beating of his life according to reports. Lesson to learn from Timaya’s drama. There is always a huge price to pay when a man hinges an affair on the kind of gesture Timaya did on stage. For Timaya, he enjoyed that ‘thing’ (see video of the award and gesture) and he paid dearly with a car. Smart Empress, drive on sister, man na mumu.

Zack Orji Has Done It Again!
YOU may be wondering what Nollywood star and later day African wrestling champion De Ultimate’s spokesman, Zach Orji, has done again. Fine, Uncle Zach has been on T4T’s case for a long time now, anytime he sees T4T at celebrity hangout, O’jez, there is one particular question he always ask. Now, Uncle Zack, wen fowl dey peck somtin for head all the time, naim be say im wan swallow the tin. Like what I always tell your fellow Nollywood star, Sonny McDon; the carrier of salt does not wish for rain to fall. A word is enough for the wise. Next time, I will tell the world the question you always ask me; and of course I will ask you mine in return. Remember your left, Uncle Zach!

Bovi’s Married Please
JUST as I was telling you last week how comedian Bovi hammered and moved to Lekki area of Lagos, news filtered in that the Delta State native was getting married. I was not invited, but we got what went down at the celebrity wedding in Maryland, Lagos. But the lesson to learn from Bovi’s sharp sharp marriage is this, when a man is becoming successful, the wisest thing to do, is to get married, if not, Lagos gals will finish him and he fit use paper bag carry im tins run back to im village. Smart Bovi, you jump Lagos gals pass. HE is alive.

Kunle Afolayan Owns This One, Please

MOVIEMAKER and actor Kunle Afolayan has shut critics up finally. His latest movie Figurine is expected to be a blockbuster and he has been very excited about the development. He carried his excitement a bit far recently when he met T4T on Facebook. Kunle got a huge compliment from T4T who has been privileged to see part of the movie, after saying thanks, the producer quickly added. “There is no issue about this film, it is my own o o.” Who ask you weda na you get Figurine or not? Oh, I now know why he had to add that for my ears only. Kunle was embroiled in a protracted battle over who owns his last movie, Irapada. The court had to declare another chap owned it; but the issue was resolved later. This made Kunle to go back to the board and come out with a statement, Figurine. It is good when a challenge like this brings out the best in a person. Congrats, Kunle, Figurine is truly yours, no controversy.

Rita glows from the United States

Done with an aspect of her brief as Ambassador with the telecommunication giant, Globacom, popular actress, Rita Dominic heeled to London and the United States to ‘rest’ and; to touch base with her family. Moviedom caught up with the Imo State star actress and the exchange did not end without a word about what Rita termed the greatest lie of the century — her involvement in the raging Monalisa Chinda and Dejo Richards marriage break up. In an interview with a national daily and in a couple of other newspapers, Victor Segun Dejo-Richard had named Rita as one of those who ‘destroyed’ his marriage to Nollywood actress Monalisa Chinda

I am in the states to rest
What I am doing in the States? I am just resting. I have been working so hard, so I decided to take a little vacation. I went to see my brother and sisters in England and; now I am in the states.

My fans should have no fear

GLO has been wonderful. We have been promoting GLO Text for millions and getting a chance to meet the millionaire winners. I also hear GLO 1 has arrived so I am so excited to see what it will do for telecommunications services in Nigeria. My fans should not have any fears. I am still around. Endorsement is part of the job and it will not make me be missing in action at all. What GLO has done is to indirectly bring positive change to Nollywood. Years from now, historians will mark this time in Nollywood history and GLO will be praised for it.
Me, Monalisa and Mr. Dejo Richard I’ve been away on vacation for twoweeks and was unaware that they had separated. Two days ago, my line started ringing and it was some members of the press asking questions about statements made by Mr. Richards. I don’t know him and have never had any communications with him. I was not close to Mrs. Richards when they got married, so, this is like a joke. It is obvious that he is trying to use discussions they had about me while married to gain cheap popularity. Every interview Mrs. Richards has had in the past five years, she has made it clear to reporters that I was not her friend. So how could I have influenced the crash of their marriage? I’ve worked very hard to stay away from these kinds of scandals but it seems Mr. Richards is intent on dragging innocent people down with him but his plan will not succeed.
Don’t know what could have led to this
You have to ask them if there was any rift that led to this assumption. From Mr. Richards’ utterances, it seems that there is a lot of anger directed towards me and other actresses. Before now, it was just a rumour but now, I know better and; as I said, it seems Mr. Richards is intent on dragging innocent people down with him but his plan will not succeed. He will not.

The gist about your wedding

Ha, it seems that these days people have learnt how to make smoke without fire. It is important to marry a “real man” and it seems there are few out there. God will bless me with a real man, and I will let you

Around and about Nollywood..

The Figurine arrives October 2
The world premiere of Kunle Afolayan’s latest movie, The Figurine, will hold on October 2, 2009, at the Genesis Deluxe Cinemas, Lekki, Lagos after an advanced screening on October 1 to commemorate Nigeria’s Independence Day anniversary. The film, which will also be premiered in Abuja on October 8, Port Harcourt on October 9 and at the Odeon Cinemas, London, on October 17, will open simultaneously on October 2 at the Genesis Deluxe Cinemas, The Palms, Lekki; Ozone Cinemas, E-Centre, Yaba and Silverbird Cinemas, Victoria Island. The Figurine is centered around two friends, Femi (Ramsey Nouah) and Sola (Kunle Afolayan), who discover a carved artwork in the forest while on the compulsory National Youth Service Corp scheme in Araromire village. Against Femi’s advice, Sola picks up the mysterious artwork, which bestows good luck on him. He becomes a successful man with a happy family, but the story changes suddenly after seven years. Things go awry and the two friends and Mona, Sola’s wife, have to contend with unseen forces to get their lives back on track.

Mba drops hint of a new law for the censors
The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB)’s enabling law is to be amended to provide more stringent punishment to those who violate regulations on film distribution and exhibition according to a News Agency of Nigeria report. The Director General of the Board, Emeka Mba, said the proposed amendments had been tabled before the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Beyond amending the sanction in the act to meet with present reality, Mba disclosed that one of the changes would also involve the Managing Director of the Nigeria Film Corporation (NFC), Jos, serving on the Board of the NFVCB and vice versa. This, according to Mba, is to avoid tension experienced in the past between both bodies. He reasons that the NFC’s membership of the governing board will enable it appreciate the level of work done by the film censors as well enable the two agencies identify areas of cooperation. The report also quotes the Censors Board as saying that the Board had taken into consideration the convergence in the information and communication sector and the role of technology in the industry, a reason Mba stressed the need for the NFVCB enabling law to be amended to fit into the trend in the modern technology of a rapidly changing world. Established by Act 85 of 1993, the NFVCB is the official regulatory body for the film and video industry in Nigeria.

Omotola takes campaign to Freetown

Popular Nollywood actress Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde was in Freetown, Sierra Leone recently as a part of the Amnesty International delegation to launch a campaign against maternal death. Accompanied on the visit by the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Irene Khan, Omotola, who is popular as ‘OMO T’ was a visible part of the launching of a report, Out of Reach: the Cost of Maternal Health, which uses graphic and personal testimonials to show how women and girls are often unable to access life saving treatment because they are too poor to pay for it in Freetown. Reports indicate that Omotola and Khan’s visit to Sierra Leone marks the start of Amnesty ’s action against maternal mortality in the country. A very busy actress but with passion for humanitarian activities, Omotola has been working with Amnesty International to raise awareness about the high incidence of maternal deaths in Sierra Leone.

Here is ION Film Festival

Organizers of the international touring film festival -ION International Film Festival, have confirmed that the feast will still hold in Port Harcourt between December 9 and 12, 2009. Dubbed ION International Film Festival Port Harcourt’09, the touring film festival, which moves every year to a new location around the globe in an effort to promote global awareness, peace and unity will make its debut in Africa with this edition in Port Harcourt. The festival has been staged in Los Angeles in 2007, then Dubai in 2008 and now Port Harcourt. It is expected to move to Istanbul in 2010. This is the first time ION lands in Africa and will be hosted in Port Harcourt on December 9-12 , 2009. ION launched the call for entries in 12 official categories on 1st April and submissions are welcome by filmmakers before the deadline of 30th Sept 2009 - International submissions can be done through or Those wishing to make submissions from Nigerian should check submission details at Again, call for entries will close on 30th of September 2009. See or for details.

Why we shifted 6th Abuja
International Film Festival, By Duker
The organizing committee of the 6th Abuja International Film Festival has issued a formal press statement, informing that the festival earlier scheduled for the 22nd to 25th of September 2009 in Abuja has been regrettably shifted to allow for maximum participation of delegates, visitors and participants as a result of festivities after the Islamic Ramadan period. Signed by the Festival Manager, Ebiere Ajibola Bodude, the shift in date will not affect the programming of the festival this year, as it will also afford the organizers ample time to plan for the event. The new date has been fixed for the October 27 to 30 at same venues of Musa Yar’Adua Centre and Bolingo Hotel, Abuja. The Festival has so far, received 211 entries of which 43 are from Nigeria and the remaining 168 from other parts of the world. Some of the major entries received include Run Game (S/Africa), Close Enemies (USA/Nig), The Figurine (Nig), POW (Canada), Mauroo Shampoo (Brazil), Storm of Emotions (Israel), The Kiss (France), Four Element (Portugal) and others.


Producer- Amebo A. Amebo

Director- Mr. Gossip

Actors- Nollywood Celebrities

The crack in the actors fold deepens

Just when we make up our mind to black out any gist from the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) something bizarre happens. Anyway, someone called from Port Harcourt during the sallah break that stars have invaded the Rivers State capital. We gathered that the Garden City have been taken over by popular Nollywood actors, who identified themselves as delegates to the national election of the AGN that will be conducted by the ‘olding’ actor, Sam Loco Efe. Election ke? We asked and the fellow confirmed that all was set and that indeed Sam Loco was addressing the delegates as we spoke. Anyway it was with baited breath that we waited for the outcome of the election. And when the sunset, our phone buzzed and the voice at the other side confirmed that the AGN now has a new President in the deep actor, singer and voice over artist, Segun Aina Padonu aka Segun Arinze. The actor of many credits reportedly ran over the equally popular actor Charles Awurum to emerge -- in the words of the waka pass who filed in the report -- ‘the third democratically elected (not appointed) President of the AGN’. The waka pass also informed that the actor and television show host, Abubakar Yakubu emerged National Public Relations Officer of the guild while Chuma Onwudiwe was elected National Secretary. One waka pass who heard the news with Moviedom almost asked for a bottle of his usual to celebrate Segun’s victory but he froze action when we read a text message we got from the Chairman of the Interim National Working Committee of the AGN Kanayo O. Kanayo. The text message read: ‘Ejike Asiegbu has ignored the court order and went ahead to conduct illegal election to put Segun Arinze as President. No other positions were contested for. Please ignore any SMS saying Segun is President’. This text caused ‘things’ not to flow after that news from Port Harcourt. So, where do we stand? Nowhere oooo. The matter should be between Black Arrow… we mean Segun Arinze and those who are occupying his presidency. We mean now that Asiegbu has joined the list of the ‘former’ by commission or omission.

Achor Ugenyi finally shows up

Although we have not set eyes on him and he has not returned our many calls to his only GSM number that we know, a recent widely circulated email message has it that the ‘former’ or is it ‘immediate past’ Secretary General of the embattled Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Achor Ugenyi, has finally resurfaced. Hard as we tried to get Ugenyi to ‘look us in the face’ and confirm most of the tales that have been making the rounds about him was like trying to get to Aso Rock with or without appointment. Anyway we got this forwarded email message from the ‘factional’ leader of the Actors body, Kanayo O. Kanayo, who just wanted to prove to waka pass that the walls that the embattled President of the AGN Ejike Asiegbu was clinging to has since crumbled. The message was a scanned newspaper report of an interview that Uncle Achor (as we, his younger colleagues call him) granted and where he suggested that he relocated to his hometown to receive treatment when Asiegbu couldn’t raise funds to treat him. Well we read through the interview Achor granted and this is the part we thing that Kanayo wanted us to see. Hear Achor: ‘There can never be two presidents at the same time in a guild or association like ours. Talking about the impasse, when we were sworn in, according to the constitution that was operational then, we had a two-year mandate, which was supposed to lapse in 2007. In the course of the administration, there was need to review the constitution. After we did that, there was congressional meeting on the 27th of June 2007, where the new constitution was adopted. After the adoption, a communiqué was raised, which of course, highlighted a summary of the decisions reached. We were given an extra one year in 2007 to conduct election at the state and national level. Based on this new development, our tenure including the one year extension expired in 2008. So, there can’t be two presidents. Most of us that served in the exco have since moved on. Anybody insisting we are still in office is deceiving the general public. There is no division in the Guild. The person in charge of the affairs of the guild is KOK’. Now to Uncle Achor from one waka pass: ‘did you move on because your tenure expired or because you had to go treat yourself when you couldn’t extract a commitment from Asiegbu to treat your ailment’? Our email and number has not changed!

Omotola was at Silverbird
Hey, how could we have left out the fact that we saw popular actress Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde the other day at the galleria. No, she didn’t come to see the vexatious film District 9, which has not allowed Auntie Dora Akunyili to drink water and keep cup. The actress who is popular as Omo T or Omo Sexy was at the Galleria as one of the honoured guest at the premiere of Stephanie Okereke’s debut movie as a director, writer and producer, Through the Glass. Her white coloured Infinity jeep was conspicuously parked in front of the galleria with the usual customized plate number –OMO T. Anyway, we didn’t see her when she drove in oooo, but one waka pass, who stood sentry as she alighted, said she really took her time to step out of the car as if to say to fellow celebrities like Oby Edozie who came with motor vehicle that e no easy oooo. And by the way, if you drive anything less than a jeep in Nollywood, your vehicle is categorized as ‘motor vehicle’. We are working on a list of those who drive cars and those who drive motor vehicles. To God be the Glory.