Saturday, 28 November 2009

Cover, Edition 2 Nov 29 - 5, 2009

What is your financial report card?

(Biz tool Kits)
BY BRIDGET OLOTU
THE world is under a big threat by the growing army of financial illiterates that we have. Some of the social crisis in many parts of the world and in our dear country — armed robbery, kidnappings, arsons, burglaries, assassinations, and other vices threatening our corporate existence, are mostly a fallout and reflection of our lack of financial information.
When that young chap knows he doesn’t have to steal or rob a bank to live a respectable and even wealthy life, he would chart his life accordingly. Most people do what they do because they think they have no hope and future financially.
Until our educational system incorporates financial education into our current educational curricula, we may be raising more educated people who lack financial literacy and who may not be able to grapple with the challenges of the brave new world we live in.

ACHIEVING financial integrity in the New World order therefore should become our focus as individuals and governments.
Even at the government level, we have political leaders who lack financial intelligence. So when the man gets into governance, he runs government business aground.
To improve our financial situation therefore, we need to be able to read, understand and interpret our financial statement to determine where we are, know where we intend to go and how we intend to get there.
What is your financial statement? It is basically the statement that shows what assets you have, what liabilities you have accumulated, what your income is and what your expenses are. That is a layman’s definition however.
Your financial statement is what now produces your financial report card. How can you determine your financial statement and begin to work to improve it?
There are four areas we can determine our financial integrity. They are: assets, liabilities, expenses and income. I’ll briefly treat this from the rear.

Income. Your income statement is one important aspect of your financial statement. It determines your financial future and well-being. You must explore all legitimate ways to increase your income otherwise you’ll be forced to live below your means, or spend more than you earn, thus getting into debt, or you may be forced to resort to some violent activity to help yourself. The more streams of income you have, the more money you make, and the more financially intelligent you are, the richer you can become. To increase your income too, you need to manage your time and money effectively.

Expense. You can tell a person’s future by looking at what they spend their time and money on. Time and money are very important assets. Spend them wisely. Most poor people say they don’t have money to go for more education or to add to their business. But when you look at their expense sheet, you’ll discover they are just kidding. They are actually wasting resources. Watch your habits, your attitude to money, your preferences and appetite. Some people’s financial future will be hurting because of the clothes they wear, what they eat, where they go, the relationships they keep and generally their lifestyle.

Assets. An asset is what puts money in your pocket. So, that house you live in, that car you are riding in, etc, as long as it doesn’t put money in your pocket is not an asset but a liability. And you cannot determine your net worth with such assets until they are actually sold. Another mentor of mine categorises assets into two: productive and non-productive. This means, one asset puts money in your pocket and the other doesn’t. But you know, most people’s financial report card reads “financial failure” because they have carefully acquired more non-productive assets than real assets that should put money in their pockets.

Liabilities. A liability is anything that takes money out of your pocket. The irony is, we all cannot live without liabilities. But smart and financially intelligent people create more real assets to take care of their liabilities. We all need good cars, great houses, fine clothes, sound education, etc. These take money out of our pocket. But they are also necessities. So we need to acquire real assets, i.e. income generating investments, to cancel out these liabilities.
Putting these four items together will help you to determine how much you’re worth, where and what you’re spending your money on, how much you’re earning and why and what your financial future is. These items will produce your financial report card. What does your financial report card read?

Olotu is the CEO/Lead Consultant, DEAIM Innovative Resources Ltd., bridgetolotu@gmail.com






Lane change
(Just Life)
BY OMOLIGHO UDENTA
IT was a Friday and their school had closed earlier than usual. She decided that instead of taking them straight home as she normally did, they would go for a drive. They stopped to get a few snacks and made their way to Ikorodu Road.
Everything was going just fine. They were excited to be out, sightseeing and the meat pies and doughnuts and drinks were filling their little tummies quite nicely.
There were a few arguments about who was to seat where but she was able to distract them by getting them to sing rhymes and everyone got into a jolly good mood.
Just after Maryland, she noticed that there was this traffic build-up on the lane she was on. She craned her neck and tried to see what could be the cause. There was this huge truck making its way rather slowly and majestically way upfront.
As you can imagine, cars were jostling to get on the lane that the truck wasn’t, so there were sharp turns and swerves, which she didn’t like at all; particularly as she had her kids in the car.
She decided to avoid it all by getting on the lane the truck was on thinking that at least this way she’d get to avoid the crazy impatient drivers trying to change lanes.
But it wasn’t until she got on the said lane that she noticed that the doors on the back of the truck didn’t seem to be properly locked, in fact, some clumps of dirt and pieces of paper were finding their way out of the truck and onto the road. She hoped nothing bigger would fall out of the truck!

AHEY hadn’t gone another 20 metres or so when they heard a bang and then the sound of screeching tyres.
A gas cylinder had fallen out of the truck! Fortunately, there was enough space for her to avoid the cylinder as it rolled onto the next lane but the cars on the other lane had to stop to avoid hitting the cylinder.
Fortunately there was no accident, just frayed and shaken nerves. Meanwhile the truck ambled on, totally oblivious to what had happened.
The kids asked why they had stopped in the middle of the road; she turned and saw they were okay.
The truck had still not stopped and she wondered whether to move on or wait a while in case something else dropped out. Some driver managed to meander and make his way out of the web of cars.
He caught up with the truck, which wasn’t all that difficult, as they weren’t doing more than about 30 kilometres per hour. He told the driver about their ‘dropped load’.

ROAD accidents are one of the most common causes of death, especially in those under the age of 45.
Granted that accidents will happen, even when people are careful, but it’s a known fact that many accidents could be avoided if simple precautions are taken. For instance, if the truck driver had properly secured its doors then the cylinder would not have fall out and put the lives of so many people at risk.
They all were fortunate that ‘nothing’ happened but the story could have been so different.

omoudenta@yahoo.co.uk




(Strictly for the young)
BY TOSYN BUCKNOR
MEET me halfway; people always say that. But nobody means it; for nobody knows what halfway is, anyway!
You find that there is someone compromising more (usually the female or the perceived ‘weaker’ one in the relationship), or neither compromises nor clashes occur so constantly that they must split! Once again, you read this and thought I meant non-platonic relationships.
But the truth is, it happens in every kind of relationship; even the ones at work or in school!
There are some human beings that seem to be generally selfless... at least to the world.
One never knows how their families actually feel or felt about them! But it would seem the average person is inherently selfish, and if they had to choose from a set of outcomes, they would choose the one that gave them their own, all the time.
But at work, or even from school, you have to learn to work in teams, as some projects require that. And frankly, if everyone got his or her way all the time, then, err...
Yeah!

HOW do you then know where to draw that line? When to firm, and when to compromise? How do you know the difference between being selfless and being stupid? How much of a compromise can you make before you feel too empty and not quite yourself any longer?
The answer my friend is blowing in the winds!

IN the meantime, I am still trying to figure out what human beings mean when they call someone else ‘selfish’. Do they mean this person is just like them, or do they hate the fact that he won’t just pretend like them? And when they say someone is ‘self-absorbed’?
And my favourite, ‘stubborn’? Although I have met stubborn people! And it is not just that they think they know it all, it is that they can’t just be bothered.
Which is, perhaps, the biggest crime of all!
Personally, I believe it is still all-subjective. Some people get along, others don’t. Some people are more tolerant, others are not. And some people write articles!

SPEAKING of articles... okay, I have no link so I’ll just mention it! In honour of the long weekend that is about to end in 10...9...8...7…, Strictly For The Young would like to put a spotlight on some of the events we heard are coming soon!
• The Experience! Get a tee shirt, get on board! It’s on December 4.
• Painting Mushin! Yes oh! Fela Durotoye, together with some professional painters and volunteer painters, will be painting some streets in Mushin for eight hours non-stop on Sat December 12! If you would like to be a volunteer, please send us an email and your details will be forwarded to them!
• VENUS s.h.a.r.e. The all female networking session for women balancing love, life and career! Emilia Asim-Ita will be speaking, and a doctor will also be in the house! There will be an exhibition, and some spoken word! For more information, please check www.speechgirlbucknor.blogspot.com or www.sharevenus.blogspot.com
• WO.M.EN! The hangout for Women in Media and Entertainment holds on December 20 at Swe Bar!
We will have more information on what is happening in December and do a special on it!

tosinornottosin@yahoo.com

Eko for show

IN pursuit of its desire to become a premium destination for business and leisure, the Lagos State government held a grand show to draw the curtain on the FIFA U-17 World Cup even ahead of the finals on Thursday, November 12.
Fans who thronged the Teslim Balogun Stadium Surulere, Lagos to watch the semi final matches, were treated to delightful cultural and musical performances before the commencement of the matches.
Events of the day commenced as early as 11am when early bird fans got to the stadium and met popular musicians as Seun Kuti and the Egypt ’80 band, Adewale Ayuba, sensational female talking drummer and singer, Ayanbirin, highlife crooner, Buga, old timer Daddy Fresh as well as Gbenga Adeyinka 1st, among a host of others, lined up for the show.
Speaking on the choice of artistes, Kayode Opeifa, Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, explained that, in addition to mass appeal, “we considered musicians with deep cultural contents in lyrics and percussions, hence our choice of the artistes invited for the show. A host of others were indeed willing to perform in support of the vision of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola for this tournament but there was a limit to the number we could accommodate within the time frame allocated by FIFA.”
The second set of musicians lined for the show were mainly wave-making music acts, Klever Jay and Danny who performed to the delight of the gathering crowd. The young duo sang their popular single, Igboro Tidaru and Cunny Cunny Love, and as they did, the crowd sang along with them.
The lads were supplied instrumentals by DJ Jimmy Jatt steel of wheels and they made good the uncommon opportunity.
Though the musical performances were all short and sharp, they did not lack the needed crowd appeal, as the crowd roared to life with the coming on stage of Seun Kuti and Adewale Ayuba.
Seun Kuti capped the performances with a re-enactment of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s Rererun. His appearance on stage lifted the spirit of the crowd as many in the audience screamed and blew into the miniature Vuvuzela they had in their hands. Seun gave an adroit performance that thrilled the crowd. Apart from the major acts on show, other artistic displays coloured the air.
From Lagos Island came Eyo Masquerade, Badagry gave two offerings, the Oya and Akoto Dances, from Epe was the Agiri Dance — a usually elaborate dance held to honour Imale, the fishing town’s deity of the sea. Afterwards came the final display of Fanti – an artistic expression of the cross-cultural experience of Africans from the Diaspora.
The Swiss team responded with equal measure of appreciation as they danced and waved to the crowd as the music and cultural performances were on.
The performances were crowned with spectacular fireworks pumped into the air from two strategic locations around the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

Rekindling the black spirit

BY GBENGA SALAU
STUDENTS of Creative Arts department, University of Lagos began their third yearly African-Caribbean Festival last week with a carnival float involving students dressed in the costumes of countries with black people such as Ghana, Jamaica, Peru, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The float started from the school’s main auditorium through the university’s main road, Distant Learning Institute (DSI) and to the Faculty of Social Science, where the train terminated its exciting parade. The festival however, continued with a series of stage plays performed by each group.
As the carnival train moved round the campus, visitors, students, lecturers and staff of the institution were seen peeping through the windows of offices and cars to have a glance at the colourful parade; some even stopped and parked their cars to take pictures of the carnival team.
The costume of each of the team was done to reflect the peculiarity of each country. They were dressed in the colours of the countries, but the Nigerian communities who were dressed in the traditional outfits of the major ethnic groups.
As the team moved round, the students sang and danced to music dished out by the Deejay and to the admiration of passers-by. At some point, each of the bands displayed dance steps peculiar to the country it represents.
The coordinator of the festival and a lecturer in the department, Mr. Onyekaba Cornelius Aka, in a chat revealed that the University of Lagos’ Afric-Caribbean Festival involves a series of celebration, which is often preceded by a carnival.
He said that the carnival is the first step, before other aspects of the festival that include cultural dances, drama and cooking competition.
“Forget all what Aristotle said about how the Greek invented drama and those stuffs, the truth is that Africa by its nature has always celebrated life. It is only the Africans that have songs and dances for almost everything that they do, from the time they were born to the time they die,” said Cornelius-Aka, who himself had been a notable practising culture journalist before going into the academics.
He added, “there are other things we use to celebrate life. If you ask yourself what was the sustaining spirit for these slaves that were captured and transported to West Indies?; how did they survive the harshness of sea life? You will discover that if not for the African spirit, which is embodied in songs and dances, they won‘t have survived.”
He observed that carnival is an African spirit because Africans love to celebrate, and they celebrate everything. Africans are the only people that celebrate both life and death.
After the carnival team terminated its march round the campus at the new Faculty of Social Sciences, The GuardianLife sampled opinion of one of the students on the carnival:
Omowunmi Dada: “Nothing good comes easy; this whole festival is an outcome of hard work, dedication, discipline and quest for knowledge. Basically, it has been so awesome. It has really tasked us as students because as Nigerians, we have to look into other African countries and other countries where blacks inhibit. The concept is to celebrate black as a colour, to make us understand that all over the world, wherever you find blacks, they are Africans. Fine, slave trade took some of our people to the Caribbean, yet, they remain blacks. They are still Africans and blacks are beautiful, we are one family, though we find so many of us in the Diaspora.”



Elroi… Passion drives the ‘delivery’ girls

These four girls have turned a simple, ordinary duty – showing you care – into a business; and that was what impressed us much about them; and so we hunt them out for a chat.

Please introduce yourselves
Sarah Adeyinka, Head of IT
Seun Damole, Head of Finance
Enene Eko, Head of Logistics
Ifedayo Lawal, Head of Legal/Admin
And we make up Elroi Global Resources.

What exactly is Elroi? What is the meaning of that name?
Elroi means “the one who sees. It is principally a packaging and delivery outfit. Most of our work is done via wi-fi or via telephone. We understand the value of friends and loved ones and between things that demand our attention, it is easy to forget their special days like birthdays, anniversaries etc, so what we do is to do our best to take the stress off our clients and to give them the chance to express their emotions through the medium of their choosing and deliver on their behalf; making that day truly special for that person.

What is the origin of your company? When was it founded?
Sarah and Ife used to work part time as delivery girls while in school as odd jobs. One day Ife thought to herself that since we were so good at this, it would be great if we started this business for ourselves. We knew how to put together amazing packages and had experience in delivery, so why not? She sold the idea to Sarah who liked it. They both sold it to their sisters and so the company grew. Principally, there are four of us running the company. Elroi was founded in 2004; making us five years old now. Wow, we have come a long way!

What is the objective of this company?
We are trying to encourage the culture of love and showing love to those around us. We make it so you can’t use work as an excuse not to show love; all you have to do is call us and we’ll make that person’s day truly special. Another objective of the company is to take the stress off people and help them keep those important to them always feeling special by showing them they care; surprising them with perfect gifts and more that show how much they care and love them.

How was it starting up?
Starting up, like any other business, wasn’t easy. We had to do a lot of publicity and to make deliveries and purchases ourselves —nmost times at ridiculous bargains; but such sacrifices are necessary for growth in a young company; we trusted God that we would do better in time. We lost some deals, and gained some. Money made kept going back as turnover and we found ourselves spending from our pockets sometimes. It was hard but as the years passed, things started to pick up and ease up. We can say though we still have a long way to go but there has been a lot of improvement over the years and it’s a decision we don’t regret. Indeed the eagle outwitted the storm (laughter). We’ll get to where we should be as individuals and as a company.

The group is made of up such diverse people, how do you manage the personalities?

Well, we try our best. This company taught us that being friends with a person does not necessarily mean you can work with them. Sometimes we have our issues but we try to be professional about everything; and to always try to balance friendship and professionalism but never at the expense of the company.

You all have day jobs, how do you juggle your responsibilities?
Wow! We have to confess it is not easy at all! But I guess when something is important to you; you go to whatever length not to disappoint your customers and to make it happen. We had to learn to hire and delegate responsibilities and to get around hardships. Also, most of what we do is wi-fi (on line or over the phone), which helps make things easier.

Why haven’t you all quit your day jobs to work full time on this brand that you are developing?
We are definitely working on that (laughter). The nature of this business allows us to do this, not all businesses have this luxury; some demand constant attention. But we know that very soon, especially with the rate of growth we are blessed with, we would have to face it squarely.

What particular challenges do you face as a growing brand?
Competition, things needed for company growth; sometimes profit isn’t where it should be, and much more. But with each day solutions always come up. Where we don’t see doors we always go through walls and we thank God we’ve made it this far…

What advice would you give someone who intends to start a business but hasn’t because of indecision?
If it’s a business you can run on the side give it a test-run first by the side of your day job (nothing wrong with multiple sources of income), then see if it can fly alone. If it can, then go all in for it. Decide if it’s really what you want. If it is, try it out first then decide if you can go for it fully because in the end, what it brings in financially is as important as satisfaction and fulfillment. Most importantly, be bold and creative, start first and see and may God prosper you as you do.

What does being young and Nigerian mean to you?
Being patriotic. Giving back. Helping your own. Loving life and country in spite of… Working hard and getting results no matter what. Ability to do anything no matter what!!! Fighting for change.

thefuturenigeria@yahoo.com

From Maria-Anthonette, a gift for motherland

A RECENT survey in the United States revealed that Nigerians make up 30 per cent of the total number of foreign professionals working in the country. The implication is that Nigerians, who are in the professional cadre in America, are outnumbering most Europeans and Asian nationals. To recognize and reward these professionals, the Apex Ambassador Award has been initiated to celebrate Nigerians in the Diaspora, who have excelled in their various professions. Initiator of the award, Maria-Anthonette West-Osemwegie, spoke to OYINDAMOLA LAWAL on her project.

Apex Ambassador Award
It is an award that seeks out, appreciates and celebrates outstanding Nigerians and organisations owned by Nigerians in the Diaspora.

What does the award hope to achieve?
It hopes to correct the negative perception of Nigerians abroad and to prove to the world that Nigerians are indeed contributing positively to global growth and general well being.

Why the award?
Over the years, Nigerians abroad have been portrayed in bad light. Headlines are made on issues of drug peddling, human trafficking and fraud, if it involves a Nigerian. Meanwhile, many Nigerians in the Diaspora are contributing immensely to their countries of residence. Most times, when a Nigerian breaks a record, the individual’s Nigerian origin is mentioned. Their resident country usually takes all the accolades while the individual and his or her country of origin is left for the public to figure out. This award aims to correct all that.

How is AAA different from other awards?
It is the first of its kind that will appreciate individuals and celebrate our country, Nigeria. The award will go beyond the ceremony, as it would involve both local and international media and at the end produce a TV documentary on outstanding Nigerians in the Diaspora, which will be aired on various local and international TV stations.

Are you collaborating or partnering with any group?
We are planning of collaborating with some government and non-governmental agencies. We’re very open, as the project is huge; therefore, collaboration at different levels is definitely necessary in order to achieve an impeccable status.

Brain behind the award
Well, the initiator of the award is Maria-Anthonette West-Osemwegie of Trannes-Formme. But, she’s definitely not the one giving out the award.

What’s Trannes-Formme all about?
It is a relatively new outfit. We’re into concept development, business networking, event management and coordination. Concept development is our integral function — ideas rule the world.

The selection process
The selection process is going to be in stages. The project research team and award will sort and determine the names of proposed awardees,check out their performances and categorise their fields. The public will then decide on who gets the award. It will be made available to the public to vote online and via text messages from around the world.
Criteria for qualification
The criteria for qualification are quite straightforward. The individual must have performed exceptionally in his or her field of endeavour; excel or set a record in their country of residence and the world at large.

‘I’m Black, cool and forgiving’


INNOCENT Eke is from Obinze, Imo State. Born on January 2, 1983, he attended St. Paul’s Anglican Primary School, Idi-Oro, and from there, proceeded to Ransome Kuti Grammar School. After his secondary education, he has been in music. The rap artiste, who is fourth of his family, tells DAMILOLA ADEKOYA what fashion is to him.

Definition of fashion
To me, it is something simple.

Style of dressing
I dress like a rapper. I wear a pair of jeans a T-shirt and my sneakers.

Favourite piece of clothing
I do not know, but all I know is that I cannot get all dressed up without a touch of black in whatever I put on. I also think I love my chain, however, let me say, I do not wear bling bling things so much.

Most expensive item
I think it’s the collections of my cloth; they are pretty expensive.

Most cherished possession
My family; I can’t just trade any of them for anything.

Favourite colour(s)
I love blue and black, especially the combination of it.

Happiest moment(s)
When I’m with my friends, it makes me happy.

Embarrassing moment(s)
It was when I was performing on stage and the whole thing just turned upside down.

Describe yourself in three words
I’m cool, playful and forgiving.

Stylish icon(s)
I love Nick Dog and Puff Daddy, but locally, I love Wande Coal and D’banj’s style of dressing.

Favourite designer(s)
I think I like all sorts of Gorgio Armani; he’s stylish! I also like Versace

Signature scent(s)
I use Smart.

Favourite food
I love Moin-moin with fried rice and chicken

What can you not be caught wearing?
I can’t be caught wearing a pair of palm slippers, especially outside my house; it’s absurd for me.

Role model(s)
I look up to Nick Dog as my role model because I love his lifestyle.

Philosophy of life
Love your neighbor as yourself, because you never can tell who he is the next minute.
If you were given an opportunity to change something in Nigeria, what will be?
I think I will love to change the economic state of this country because it’s nothing to write home about.

Home run cuts for Oligo Tissew

BY BIMPE ADEBAMBO
‘Oligo tissew’ is a label created by Nigeria-born, Britain-educated and US-based Christopher Enuke. He coined the name, which means ‘refined cloth’.
Before designing for Oligo Tissew, he attended Otis Parson and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. He has a variety of experiences at companies from denim to knitwear. His designs have been spotted on stars such as Cameron Diaz, Eric Bennet, Halle Berry and so many others.
Oligo Tissew is held by its parent company Oliver Twist whose philosophy of the orphan who made it good holds true.
This label holds Christopher’s passion for design, but more than that, it is his way of giving back. He set up a scholarship fund in Nigeria so that village children can improve their future; and the success of Oligo Tissew line enables him help ensure the salaries of the village teachers.
He is happily married and almost always takes a bow at the end of his shows with his family!
His designs have been featured in American and British Vogues and many other magazines and he is a staple at the LA Mercedez Benz Fashion week.
beampeh2000@yahoo.com

Isham at Emerald Gardens

THE Isham Fashion and Style Fair was held recently at Emerald Gardens, Lekki, Lagos. Isham, which means beauty, has its origin from the Kagoro Language in Kaduna State. It promotes total beauty from within radiating outwards.
Themed Future African, the inaugural fair had bold expression of colours and panache.
Conceived to illustrate the expression that all the exhibitionists, runway designers and models in the fair are part of the emerging generation of fashion icons not only in Nigeria, but in Africa at large, the show featured 20 exhibition stands, all displaying various items ranging from clothes, jewellery and shoes to both traditional and modern make-up and beauty ranges.
According to the organisers, “the Isham Fashion and Style Fair was formed with their desire to promote total beauty. We desire to use fashion as a platform for the exposure, empowerment and promotion of Nigeria’s emerging designers; by developing and supporting creativity and entrepreneurship in young and emerging talent in the Nigerian market and across the continent. We want to strengthen the fundamentals of the Nigerian collection, establish a stronger voice, develop business opportunities, and become the gateway to success for upcoming designers. We intend to strengthen ties between the “creativity” of designers, “craftsmanship” of manufacturers and “trading” of the apparel and retail industry.”
The high point of the evening was a show featuring works of apparel and accessories by seven designers. They are Ahme by Amen Buzunu, a graduate of International Studies and Diplomacy from Ambrose Alli University, whose designs are inspired by everyday independent woman.
Mohamed Oluafunmi Mohammed of Mohani label, whose works replicated the true African woman, infused her own sense of style, which extended to couture. Detailed ion her styles, she showed vintage cuts fresh for the runway,
Gloria Abba, the designer behind the Indigo Flair label showed the beauty in plus size. Abba brought clean structured lines with minimum detailing, Ishben, whose owner, Ishioma Onyebo, is a model, showed edgy and funky styles. She also played with colours. Beautiful Heritage Design Company created designs from beads and semi-precious gemstones, while Kems Style of Kyenpiya Nastu worked with ankara to bring out the versatility in the fabric. Drawing inspiration from the African woman, she has over the years created designs that are detailed and comforting. Firebrand showed cool top class designs for individual who believe that positive self-expression does not have limitations.
The show also had musical entertainment from some of MUSON’s best and solo performances by some very talented artistes and an award ceremony recognising the contributions of some outstanding individuals to the fashion industry in Nigeria.

Fordham University goes Twi

By TOPE TEMPLER OLAIYA
As from next summer, Fordham University, United States, will start teaching Twi at the university's department of African and African-American Studies.
The motivation, according to the chairman of the department, Prof. Mark Naison, is as a result of the growing number of people who transact business in Bronx using Twi as the medium of communication. “It is amazing to see people communicating in Twi, not thousand, but tens of thousands; especially churches, African shops, African Restaurants and food joints.”
The private university is taking the lead in this area due to its location and will be the only university in New York to offer Twi. All is set for the Twi class to take-off during the summer section of 2010, with 40 students in class One
Mr. Kojo Ampah Sahara, a Ghanaian studying at the RoseHill campus of Fordham University, where the programme will be held and leader of the African Cultural Exchange, an umbrella organisation that promotes African culture and values, hinted that a seasoned Ghanaian professor based in Connecticut, Ben Hayford, would handle the course.
Twi, specifically Ashanti Twi, is a language spoken by about 10 million people in Ghana. It is one of the three mutually intelligible dialect of the Akan language; others being Akuapim Twi and Fante, which belong to the Kwa language family. Kwa means a group of African languages in the Niger-Congo group spoken from Cote D'Voire to Nigeria.
The university says it is proud to undertake this enterprise, as it will help teachers, social workers and others, who would be working in the Bronx communities, where Twi is spoken.




At LASU, history students graduates in style

WHILE the last is yet to be heard about the crisis pitching students and staff against the Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), graduating students of History and International Studies treated themselves to an eventful and exciting passing-out ceremony with a series of activities, which included a novelty football match between the graduating males and females, love feast and testimony day, and a graduation party.
Opening the weeklong ceremony, president of the Students' Society for the Study of History and International Studies (SSOHIS), Awosoro Gbenga, said the outgoing students have a lot to cheer about. “We have every reason to thank God, because since our 100 Level, the department had never lost any student or lecturer.
“Moreso, the level of academic training has prepared us for future challenges, which must be frontally confronted.” He therefore enjoined the graduating students to be good ambassadors of the department and the institution.
However, for Elias Josephat Onyeama, chairman of the organising committee for the graduation ceremony, it was an evening to heave a big sigh of relief. He said, “Today, the 500 Level students of this department have come of age. We have bagged our degree in History and International Studies and we are now certified diplomats for Nigeria. It is not easy serving a group of people with diverse opinions and characters. For example, it was a big challenge getting approval for the Aso-ebi for the set, as it proved almost impossible to get a simple majority vote for particular attire that was finally chosen, but at the end, we have organised a befitting graduation ceremony to be remembered for a very long time.”






RSUST to re-open soon

By MAGNUS ABRAHAM-DUKUMA
STUDENTS of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology may return to campus for normal academic activities soon. This is coming on the heels of a meeting of members of the school's governing council.
The council met recently to review the remote and immediate causes of the crisis that led to the closure of the school, while fashioning possible solutions to the problems with the view of re-opening it for academic activities soon.
Arising from the meeting, which lasted for close to four hours, the chairman of the governing council, Retired Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, said they were optimistic that within the shortest possible time, things would return to normalcy in the school. However, he could not guaranty when.
About three weeks ago, the school was turned into a war zone, when an armored tanker with scores of policemen invaded the campus, shooting sporadically, manhandling, and arresting students. Their efforts were geared towards quelling a peaceful protest of some students on campus. The students were calling for the resignation of their Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barineme Fakae.
They accused him of incessant hikes in fees, introduction of various scratch cards in a bid to inflict hardship on the students, poor handling of students' results, insensitivity to students' welfare, maladministration among other allegations. The students shut the three entrances to the institution.
In the bid to quell the protest, the police came to the campus. Innocent students who were in their hostel were brutalized and beaten with guns and machetes. Those who were arrested were later released.
Sequel to the crises, the administration ordered the evacuation of every student on campus, and for over three weeks the school has remained locked since October 29.
magcadi@yahoo.com






Zain Africa Challenge:Four Ghanaian universities to compete
FOUR universities have qualified to represent Ghana at the Zain Africa Challenge holding in Kampala, Uganda, next year. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Valley View University, University of Developmental Studies and University of Ghana, Legon, qualified for the championship after sailing through the national qualifying series held in Accra.
A statement signed by Ms. Carmen Bruce-Annan, corporate communications manager of Zain Ghana, said the Challenge programme was part of the company's corporate social responsibility towards promoting education in the Africa region.
The competition, she says, also seeks to develop the intellect of Africa's youth and highlight the excellent education opportunities that African universities offer to their citizens.
The 32 competing universities come from Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia with the ultimate prize of $50, 000 to the university, while each representative of the university receives $5, 000.
The quiz questions cover a wide range of topical areas including history, science, African culture, geography, literature, music and current events. This is the second time Ghana is participating in the programme.




Dilemma of an artist

BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
AT some periods in the career of an artist, it becomes very challenging to impart more on the profession and explore new grounds. The painter, Edosa Ogiugo is in such dilemma: To take a break from his outside work to face the challenges of taking his art, and indeed the nation’s visual art scene beyond the present state.
“I am worried,” he declares.
Ogiugo is sure one of the busiest and most sought-after visual artists in the country. He may not be as prominent on shows, the challenges of meeting demand of collections as confirmed by his work schedule and volumes of canvases in his studio, are enough to testify of his proficiency.
The irony of it, is that these supposedly indices of buoyancy, he explains, “are my main source of worry.” So, much time and intellectual imput are invested in a particular work, only for it to end up in one person’s collection, he notes, adding that “this shortchanges the artist and the society at large.”
A piece of work, he argues, is expected to be in circulation to as many art enthusiasts as people, not just the privileged few. He expresses worries that in this part of the world many people do not embrace art piece.

BUT despite his almost 25 years of post-school practice, Ogiugo still lay emphasis on high volume production instead of masterpieces.
Naturally, as the print becomes more popular, it shoots up the prize of the original, hence the stronger the artist as a brand. His strong belief in print as the pedestal for stronger and wider appreciation of art led him to be part of an innovation to promote the outlet when Peter Madiebo of Hue Concepts organised the exhibition, Giclee last year.
The show, which featured his works and that of Alex Nwokolo, Abiodun Olaku, Segun Adejumo, Ebenezer Akinola and Kelechi Amadi-Obi, had each print tagged at 15 per cent of the original price.
And it must have been an agitation he embarked on before that show; in 2007 he was signed on by a U.S. based art promotion group, Grand Image, as one of its African artists, whose works would be reproduced in prints and marketed by the organisation.

IN the art business, where artists hardly engage art managers and promoters, coupled with the lack of corporate support, the onus rests on the artists to share his studio time with other engagements. In addition to his agitation for print, his dream is to run a studio “as a business concern that will outlive him”. More importantly to Ogiugo, is to harness what he described as “seemingly ignored aspects of the art business such as manufacturing and sales of quality art products, branding and advertising.”
When he joined the United Kingdom-based Fine Art Trade Guild in 2003, the world of art he probably never started opening up. So, it is time to bring all that to bear at home. He discloses his plans to establish an art academy; with the aim of sharpening talents and teaching art business – which students hardly get at the tertiary institutions.
With such vision coming from Ogiugo, who is the President of a group of professional body, Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria (GFA), add up to the distinct gathering of such groups, when he led GFA to the group’s maiden induction last year, a fresh breath of air appears on the nation’s art landscape.
However, Ogiugo’s dream for the culture sector is similar to the group’s vision. “Maybe there is a similarity, but GFA has so much on the table to offer, and there can never be a clash of interest. The collective effort of the group remains paramount,” he assures.

At High Vibes Festival, it’s Gangbe Brass Band

BY BENSON IDONIJE
THE just concluded High Vibes Festival in Accra, Ghana, realised the need for the preservation of highlife in its pure setting. It also acknowledged, in practical terms, its evolution and fusion into modern variants, including burger highlife, Afrobeat and even straight-ahead jazz, driven by African rhythms.
Highlighting the various perspectives of these musical dimensions with sounds from various parts of the West African sub region as well as central Africa – with the raw sound of King Ayisoba, the conventional highlife of The Ramblers, the sounds of Takashi, Amandzeba, K.K.Fosu, Gyedu Blay Ambolley), Kwabena Kwabena – all from Ghana; Seun Kuti and the Egypt 80, Nigeria; Miatta Fahnbulleh, Kamaldine, Guinea; Sainstrick, Congo, and Gamgbe Brass Band from the Republic of Benin, it was a jazz festival of sort even though in essence, it was a celebration of highlife. Many issues however came to light, bringing with them, a new consciousness.

AS a matter of fact, viewed against the papers presented at the symposium that ushered in the concerts, the realisation dawned on the inaugural festival that highlife is not the exclusive preserve of West Africa, but a product of all Africa; the flavour of highlife is used to spice up some of Africa’s other great musics.
Among other things, it became clear that highlife is one of the first examples of a fusion between the old and the new, and a prototype for all African pop. To many anglophone, the name is used generically for any African guitar pop.
It was also seen that its modern big band style, which began with Emmanuel Tetteh Mensah of Ghana and Bobby Benson of Nigeria, has evolved to burger and hiplife in Ghana, but has reached out to Afrobeat in Nigeria.

SEUN Kuti was the top of the bill, and he lived up to this billing with an electrifying stage presence demanding of high level energy. But the biggest surprise of the concert came from the Gangbe Brass Band from the Republic of Benin who amazingly demonstrated the great sense of musicianship, introducing a high degree of ‘art’ into their performance by playing the finest of jazz, interspersed and punctuated with melodies of the folkloric type-propelled by African percussion – to define the music’s true African identity and origin.
With an instrumental line-up comprising trumpets, trombone, tuba and a tenor saxophone added to give the ensemble the harmonic flavour of something in the reed family, along with West African percussion and vocals, the band held the enlightened audience that filled the National Arts Theatre, Accra, spell bound.
The Gangbe Brass Band, which has become popular all over the world, played mostly tunes from their new album, Assiko.
The album is all about “taking a position, a willingness to act and to proclaim that the time is right, that the time has come to start working seriously and profoundly together to develop this country, without ever losing sight of the world.”
The band is instrumentally strong, but they also send out inspiring messages through their songs. One of its most impressive performances was Beautiful Africa. “Long courted and squeezed like a lemon,” the song says, “Africa, the mother of humanity, stands and will forever hold its ground, resisting the plagues that destabilise it: exodus, pillage, ignorance and the draining of human resources.” “We must keep faith and ask everybody to be optimistic,” the melody line continues, “because Africa, fertile as it is, grows and will continue to grow. Even so, it has limitations and we must be careful to ensure that it can re-establish itself as quickly as possible. In order for its branches to grow larger and bear fruit, all its capacities must be directed towards the eyes of its native populations and most of all, in the eyes of those who have left it”. This slap in the face of faith is what they are trying to communicate in this beautiful song.
Instrumentally, the eight musicians who constitute the Gangbe Brass Band are accomplished musicians, a feat that is immediately recognisable from the robust and clean ensemble sound. It then becomes obvious that individually, they are proficient as they begin to prosecute their solo lines with articulation and creativity.

I HEARD groups like Sakhile in South Africa at one of the Northsea Jazz Festivals and thought to myself that it was one of the greatest Afro-jazz groups on the continent. But I was confronted with a new element when I heard Gangbe Brass Band in Accra, Ghana last week. In the case of Sakhile, it was an all-percussion affair with rhythms and bass guitar to give full accent to the rhythm. And of course, the dominant factor in terms of the music’s fluidity was the flowing lines of the tenor saxophone played by the leader of the group. Quite an awesome sound.
As a contrast, Gangbe offered an all-star performance where all the instruments, especially the frontline are proficient.
Most of the hornmen that today parade themselves as superstars are just hiding behind the effects of ensemble sounds. Some of them have not even properly articulated their tonal conceptions and so still sounding blurred and immature even after decades of music making. But it is amazing that all the members of the Gangbe group are masters of their various instruments, and sound authoritative in terms of clarity and phraseology.
Benin may be a small country tucked in some corner of West Africa, but its rich culture is constantly being trumpeted worldwide by the Gangbe Brass Band, whose members are proud to be able to hold their own with the entire world as far as the elevated music called jazz is concerned. And they beautifully fuse it with rhythms and folklores from their motherland.
The word Gangbe means sound of metal in the Fon language, and the band has literally been beating that metal since 1994, telling all who care to listen that a dynamic band from Benin is marching on extreme vim to conquer the world.
Gangbe has taken its eclectic sound across Africa and to Europe and North America and Brazil. What the musicians always appear to demonstrate is that it is possible to marry the old and new, the traditional and modern to achieve an exciting fusion that transcends borders.
The Gangbe Brass Band perhaps owes its success to a sense of unity and commitment arising from the fact that it operates as a collective as opposed to the situation where a leader assumes authority and directs affairs alone. It has won awards at home and abroad. The group’s appearance on the High Vibes Festival was an inspiration for all African musicians who are still wondering if it is possible to make it big on the international scene with music that derives its main source of inspiration from African elements. The group also eloquently demonstrated that to drive African music to international pop mainstream, the vehicle is jazz, just jazz.
The example of the Gangbe Brass Band should be a lesson to all African musicians, especially instrumentalists. The message is that musicians should spend hours practising their instruments daily, doing scales and exercises, otherwise they would remain static.

AHE Gangbe Brass Band was formed in 1994, but it did not come into the limelight until five years later when it participated in the Pan-African Jazz Festival in 1999 at the Du Bois Center. The audience did not know them, but they came on stage and (exactly the way it happened at the National Theatre, Accra, Ghana last week) within a short while, impressed all with their distinctive use of Beninois rhythmic patterns, the establishment of riffs of the call-and-response types especially of the brass family and the use of counter-pointal dueting, by horns.
Formed by eight young jazz musicians who had previously been playing in different bands, the Gangbe Brass Band has remained formidable, blending traditional rhythms with jazz harmonies.
The band sees itself as ambassadors of world music, claiming that as musicians, they are assuming a role. As a result of their international exposure, their spirits have travelled across the world, and have been influenced by new musical traditions — jazz, blues, swing, funk; and the link with Africa as the point of departure has been woven regardless of frontiers. This is a link that should be optimised because all these new musical forms of the 20th century are in some way a gift from Africa to humanity.
“One can only weave new fibres at the end of an already existing string,” as they say in the song Miwa from their new album. The Gangbe Brass Band has been weaving this new string for many years now and it is hoped that they will inspire other musicians in Africa to take over.

Lil H: The boy is not so little

BY CHUKS NWANNE
When Ahmed Tawati Ojeikere jumped from the crowd into the basketball court, requesting for the microphone to freestyle at the Face Off show held last year at the Expo Hall, Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, many didn’t take him serious.
Aside that the contestants had all taken their turn before his sudden appearance, to many, especially those, who never saw him on stage before, Lil H, as he’s popularly known, is still a minor as far as the freestyle contest is concerned.
“Ah, what’s this small boy doing here,” one of the guests quipped.
Having seen Lil H on stage once and knowing the stuff he’s made of, I initially wanted to play his attorney, but on a second thought, I resolved to let the ‘poor’ boy prove his worth.
As Lil H clutched the microphone in his hand and let loose his tongue, the crowd went wild in excitement. Artistes such as Tuface, D’Banj, P-Square, Sound Sultan, Banky W and others, who were part of the gig, all jumped from their seats to lift Little H up. With that resounding applause from music stars themselves, it’s natural for other contestants to throw in the towel; for sure they all did and Lil H carried the day.
At the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA-organized Hip Hop Conference held recently at the National Theater, Iganmu, Lagos, Lil H was offered another impromptu opportunity to showcase his stuff. As usual, he delivered; he even got a warm embrace from the Rub-A-Dub Master, Ras Kimono, who was part of that event. From all indications, this Lil H boy is a star.
“That was just a quick background arrangement,” he reveals during his recent visit to The Guardian Life. “I just decided to step out and do something for the crowd. I’ve done over 50 gigs in about four to five months, so, I don’t think there’s any upcoming artiste in my status that has had the opportunity to do such,” he boasts.
Don’t you think your age is an advantage?
“Yea, I think it’s part of the advantage, but again, it’s about my brand; it’s about what I have; it’s about my management; they got my back any day.”

The first child of his parents, Lil H unconsciously started listening to music at a very tender age. Before long, the spirit of music had arrested him.
“I woke up one morning and started singing around the house; I was singing to Joe’s I wanna Know what’s on your mind… I was just dancing all over the house. In those days, very early in the morning, my Mum used to play music while we got ready for school. That was my first encounter with music.”
From listening to slow jams, Ahmed delved into rap, with the late Tupac Shakur as one of his favourites.
“Where you are and things around you are big influences; Joe influenced me positively because then, we were only listening to slow jams when we were growing up. But the first time I heard rap music on our radio, it changed my point of view of music; I resolved to become a rap artiste,” he says smiling.
What was the reaction of your parents when you opted to play music?
“Oh, my Mum was 100 percent against it,” he exclaims. “My mother never wanted a rapper son; she wanted me to be a much different person than that.”
Like what?
Like a doctor, lawyer… somebody that will make a great impact in the society,” he notes. “But I just wanted to be who I’m destined to be.”
… And your Dad?
“Of course, he toed my Mum’s line. It took me a very long time to convince them that, ‘look, this is who I am, let me pursue it.’ But over the years, they’ve come to give me their support. I’m happy today to say that I have their 100 percent support,” he enthuses.
Asked how he combines playing music and his academic works at Orchard College, Lagos, Lil H, who had just finished his JSS 3 exams says, “It’s a simple timetable; I always try to separate my music from academics. I put aside reasons to differentiate them so they don’t clash into each other. Music is entirely different from academics and they don’t mix up; I don’t really want them to clash; so, I space them up,” he sings.
To be honest, will you say you do well in school academically?
“Honestly, yes; I think I do very well to my own satisfaction.”
Lil H recalls his first major performance on a big stage.
“Ah, that was Sony Ericsson show in 2007, at Planet One (Maryland, Ikeja, Lagos); that show brought me to limelight. Thanks to my record label, Laface Entertainment for that opportunity.”
How did you manage to pull that one?
“That day, I took the whole thing as fun; I was just dancing and enjoying what I was doing. Finally, it all came out fine. To me, it was all that really matters to me; that was where I started building my confidence.”

With his single, Naija, on air, plans are afoot for the release of his full album later this year.
“Naija is a remix of a song by TI and Rihanna, but my album is coming out as soon as possible; it’s not how long but how well. For now, we are still looking at different ideas on what we can build around the title.
“I want to positively influence people with my music; I will love my music to be a means of inspiration. Let them listen to me and think of doing what I’m doing more and better, that’s the goal I want to score.”
For Lil H, Naeto C, MI and Mode 9 are the best around.
“These are the three hottest rappers you can find in our industry; I listen to them from my ipod every time. I pay attention to the content of their lyrics and they inspired me a lot.”
You believe in lyrics?
“Yes, I strongly believe in lyrics; the content of the lyrics is the song itself,” he quips. “Most people nowadays listen to the beats, allowing the sweet melody to take over their minds. But they forget that the original thing is the lyrics. That’s why I try as much as possible to make my lyrics audible so that people will hear what I’m trying to say.”
Though Lil H seems to have lost count of his perfromance, his gig with Wyclef Jean remains memorable.
“He was in Port Harcourt for a show, but had to come down to Lagos to catch a flight back home; that day was Sound Sultan’s album launch and both of them have close relationship. So, he was at the event. That day, he, Sound Sultan and I performed together; it was a moment of joy for me. Mims was here for the Soundcity Music Video Award recently and we performed together also,” he muses.
Are you wondering how Lil H manages his fame among his peers in school? Well, for him, it’s no big deal.
“The thing I love about my friends is that, whatever happens is nothing out of the blues for them. For instance, if I come back and say I went for this show or that show, which might be one of the hottest shows in town, it doesn’t jingle a bell for them,” he declares. “To me, I’m a kid, they are kids; they can do what I do.”
He adds: “But they respect me a lot, which I really appreciate. They never wanted whatever they are saying to get into my head. They try as much as possible to sound normal with me; that’s the characteristics that makes me want to be with them.”
How are you parents feeling now?
“My father shows more interest in what I’m doing musically and my mum checks on me; they are really taking me serious now.”
Aside music, Lil H has plans of becoming a broadcaster.
“That’s what fits my personality now,” he says.
Asked how he feels about the applause, screaming and cheers that usually come with his performance, Lil H says, “there are three things that come to my mind; happiness, enjoyment and fun. I’m just happy for everything. You see people who are much older than me, cheering at me and loving what I’m doing; it just puts me on the high note.”
What’s your target as a musician?
“I want to be the youngest Nigerian artiste to attain the Grammy award.”
How do you want to achieve that?
“By hard work and motivation.”













For Rite Angle, highlife is the way
Having successfully released their debut album, Arise & Shine, last year, the duo of Chika Onwukwe and Sunny Ojeanya of the Rite Angle International Band of Nigeria, have thought it wise to re-brand their music with a new work titled Ezinwanne Amaka.
Though their first album, a highlife gyration, enjoyed airplay on radio and TV stations, especially in the Eastern part of the country, the group believes it’s time to go back to the roots.
“It actually took us a very long time to come up with the first work because we wanted to experiment with a lot of things; if you look at the album, we fused highlife and gyration music together. But from the beginning, we knew the direction we wanted to toe. In this second album, we’ve decided to be natural,” Chika said in a recent chat.
The official release slated for December 3, in Awka, Anambra State capital, will see the band perform live for their teaming audience. It featured songs such as Ewgu Si Na Chi, Happy Home, Ofu Obi, Na So Life Be and the title track, Ezinwanne Amaka.
On their decision to go highlife fully, Chika explained that, “it’s high time we started promoting what we have. No matter how well you sing hip-hop today, the truth is that, hip-hop is American; you can never be more American than the Americans. I think it’s time we look at highlife music and see a way of promoting it internationally. Our mission is to sell the culture and tradition of our people to the whole world through our music.”
For those, who see highlife as a brand of music for the old, Chika has a different opinion.
“I’ve heard a lot of people say that, but I consider that shallow thinking. It’s unfortunate that the Americans and Europeans pay so much to see highlife and Afrobeat musicians perform, and here we are talking of highlife being for the old. I think we need cultural re-orientation for our youths; everybody is crazy about hip-hop, yet, we cannot develop our own. Rite Angel has come to bridge the gap.”
Chika observed that the country is on the verge of losing its highlife tradition with the demise of highlife greats, who promoted the music in the past.
“Osadebe is no longer here, Oliver De Coque, Sir Warrior of the Oriental Brothers, Captain Mudi Ibeh…a good number of them are no more. Today, how many young people are still interested in continuing the tradition? We can’t let that die.”
He continues: “We need to drop this idea of running after foreign brands. When makossa music came, Nigerians went crazy over it, even when we barely understood what they were singing. The likes of Awilo and Kofi were very popular here, yet, when you talk of our own music, people say ‘it’s for the old; I don’t even know where they got that idea from.”
Meanwhile, Rite Angle is planning for a music tour of Ghana to promote the new album.
“That’s the next step for us; we are still making contacts with our people over there and by God’s grace, it will come to pass. For now, we want to get the album into the Nigerian market before we start thinking across the boarders.”
With most of their songs in Igbo language, one wonders how the group intends to market their music in Ghana for instance?
“You have to understand that music is a universal language. Ghana music was very popular here some years back, even when we don’t understand their language, so, ours will not be different. It’s all about making good music that could attract attention.”
So, what happens to highlife gyration?
“Sure, we will still play that depending on what our fans want. But now, we want to concentrate more on highlife,” Chika hinted.
There are indications that the band will soon commence monthly highlife show in Lagos, with Surulere tipped as the ideal location.

TEETH 4 TEETH

BY JUSTIN AKPOVI-ESADE

At K C’s brother’s wedding

DO you know the singing duo K C Presh? Good, then you must know the brother of one of the singers, KC (can’t place his name) but they sure look alike. Well, the issue is, the guy made the whole of Lagos to know just how rich KC Presh are now, when he married recently. The singers, in fact, scattered the wedding reception with crisp N1, 000 notes. They rented a Limo for their brother as the official wedding car and ensured that only Champagne was served throughout the event. A source, who told the story, was amazed. T4T is happy for these young men, who also bought themselves two Hummer SUVs to attend the wedding (if na dem dey marry, na Jet dem for buy). How life changes, these are two ordinary guys who were struggling to feed some couple of years ago. They were always hovering around Charly Boy’s caravan he called an office, singing skits in his Charly Boy Show. Now, see small boys wey don hamma. But wait o, make una remember una left o; musician no dey reign for ever o. Felix Liberty some time ago, buy Mercedes Benz Cyclone...
Na dia I talk reach o.


... Still On K C Presh
T4T had cause to go green with sweet envy when on Sunday, the latest millionaire singers in town stormed O’jez, perhaps to show off their wonder on wheels Hummer. As usual, the over 100 swirling lights on the body of the two monster cars, caused quite a stir at the parking lot of the celebrity outfit. Then in a swagger that will make P Diddy shrink in envy, KC Presh and KC’s brother that got married came down in a blaze of glory. It was a sight to behold, money is good! The waiters fell over themselves to make them comfortable as over four tables were added together. Moet and all kinds of labels were lined in-state waiting to be ‘buried’. A mental calculation of what was on the table in a flash was enough to buy an Okada.
Wen small pikins get money pass im senior, na bros dem dey call am. So, bros KC Presh, make una remeba una senior bros o o.


Diggitty Dunhill’s Smart Move
SINGER and fringe Nollywood actor, Diggitty Dunhill, pulled a fast one that evening that K C Presh stormed the popular hangout on National Stadium complex, Surulere. T4T was climbing downstairs with Dunhill and the general agreement was that the evening was a boring one and so it was home to the family. As we watched the scene and the commotion being caused by the superstars, Dunhill’s face was ashen. And before you could say ‘hey’, bros Dunhill had taken a seat by the heavily laden table. What surprised one the more was that, he totally ignored T4T as if no be two of dem dey waka come before. See how life be? Anyway, Dunhill, na who no like beta tin?

Fear Of Kidnapers...
... IS the beginning of wisdom for Nollywood stars this Xmas. With the kidnap and release of Nollywood actor, Nkem Owoh, all the stars, especially of Igbo extraction, have vowed never to set foot on home soil this Yuletide. Victor Osuagwu and Ejike Asiegbu were overheard discussing the issue in low tones at the celebrity hangout. Victor has gone far by bringing his aged mother to Lagos and Ejike is working on plans to extract his over 80 years father to Lagos.
Who say eye wey dey cry no dey see road?

ogbuus@yahoo.com

‘Nollywood could vanish in a few years to come’

BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI
THE need to review trends, business policy and regulatory environment of content in broadcasting, particularly the imminent change from analogue to high definition in the country, is one of the reasons organisers of BOBTV have decided to stage a mini-version of the event. Scheduled to hold in Lagos, at the Protea Hotels, Ikeja, on December 8, beginning from 9am, the founder, BOBTV, Amaka Igwe revealed would have experts meet to examine content delivery systems in a high definition broadcast environment. While adding that this is not another ‘talk shop’, Igwe, producer and director of Fuji House of Commotion said the one-day event would feature local and international content available for acquisition in the New Year and also, an exhibition on the latest technologies for high definition, broadband as well as software. Igwe spoke to Moviedom in Lagos.


Couldn’t it have waited till BOBTV 2010?
It is not about urgency, but more like a promotion of content direction for the New Year and as government is coming out with policy on high definition, we thought it wise to have a chat on that at this point.
Why content and not distribution?
Yes, we should be very concerned about distribution and as you know, we have made efforts in this direction. However, are we saying we are not yet in El Dorado as per content? Anyway, the conference is on distribution on HD platform, therefore, the need to pay attention to HD content.

A dozen communiqué in Nollywood and no action
Well, unless the talk is done first, there would be no action, anyway. BOBTV talks have caused actions to be taken both by government and private individuals, so, the effort is not fruitless.
Local content on our television stations
Surprising, they are. The snag is that anything goes: the good, the bad and the ugly, all in the name of local content. But it’s a good start.
And BOBTV 2010
Great stuff: new technology, great networking, great ideas, policy formation ... the usual and more.

Nollywood after UNESCO’s ratings
Of course, it would drop; (UNESCO had after a survey voted Nollywood second best movie industry in the world) and not that I really care about such ratings. Nollywood has been in decline over the past two years and very few people have noticed it. Unless something drastic is done, Nollywood may totally vanish in years to come.





Around and about Nollywood...


NFC/ US Embassy relationship bears fruit
BARELY three weeks after the maiden edition of the Nigerian Film Corporation/National Film Institute/American Film Week, whose objective is to provide a platform for the exchange of information on the film cultures of the two nations, and also opportunity for Nigerian motion picture professionals to get acquainted with new technology in film making ended in Jos, the US Embassy has selected Mr. Ishaku Gumut of NFC to benefit from the International Visitors’ Leadership Programme organised by the US Department of State in Washington DC. The programme, Film in the US, is scheduled to hold from January 11 to 30, 2010 in Washington, United States. According to a statement from the organisers, the programme will provide an overview of the American film industry to participants. Similarly, participants will be exposed to the historical evolution, current trends and impact of new technologies on the American film, the diversity and scope of American filmmaking — from Hollywood to independent and ethnic cinema organisations. The participation of Gumut in the Leadership programme therefore underscores her determination to constantly position the Nigerian motion picture industry through positive exposures of the nation’s filmmakers to international workshops, training programmes and film festivals.

Entries for AMAA 2010 still open
THE Africa Film invites filmmakers to submit their Feature, Short, and Documentary works for consideration by the 6th AMAA, the premier Africa film Awards. Each completed entry form must be accompanied by all the supporting materials listed on the submission forms, including the synopsis of the film, the list of credits, marketing stills of the film, filmographies of the directors and producers, 10 DVD copies of the film and proof of the right to submit. Only films produced and released between December 2008 and December 2009 would be entered for the 2009 celebration of African Cinema to be held in 2010. will be announced in Ghana in February 2010. AMAA will hold on April 10, 2010 and will be televised across the world. Submission forms are downloadable from the AMAA Awards website. For further information, please contact AMAA at info@ama-awards.com.

It’s time for Chinese Film Week in Jos
THE third Nigerian Film Corporation/National Film Institute/Chinese Film Week holds in Jos, Plateau State, on December 2. Venue is the main auditorium of the NFI, Jos. The film week, a collaborative effort between the NFC and the Embassy of People’s Republic of China, Abuja seeks to strengthen cultural and bilateral relations between Nigeria and China, using film as a platform. It is also predicated on the rich film industry of China and Nigeria respectively and their global impact on culture and entertainment. It affords both countries opportunities to share experiences in the art, science and technology of film making for global outreach. The weeklong event will begin with an official opening ceremony to be attended by representative of the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, the Cultural Counsellor, Mr. Shan Baoxiang and other key staff of the embassy as well as top management staff of the Nigerian Film Corporation to be led by Mr. Afolabi Adesanya, managing director. In addition, the week will feature exhibition of Chinese cultural artefacts, arts, paintings and photographs illustrating the uniqueness of the people’s and places of China. Some selected Chinese and Nigerian films will be screened during the event. Talk shows, discussions and interactions between Nigerian filmmakers and film students will form part of the events for the film week. The film week is opened to members of the Chinese community in Jos and its environs, film scholars, film enthusiasts, filmmakers, film students and members of the general public.

Jos Business School donates computer to Film Institute
THE ICT Unit of National Film Institute (NFI), Jos, has received a set of computer from the Jos Business School on November 20. Presenting the gifts, Chief Ezekiel Gomos, CEO of the school said the quality of work/production of students and the need to support the institute called for the donation. Gomos said his school was proud to be associated with NFI, which, according to him, had done much to film studies in Nigeria in its few years of existence. Gomos said the school would partner NFI in the development and improvement of its programmes through sustainable relationship. Responding, Afolabi Adesanya, MD, NFC and Chairman, NFI governing board, thanked the management of Jos Business School for the donation. Adesanya said the gesture is not only encouraging, but also a pointer to the need for partnership with the Institute.

Entries for Zuma Film Festival open
ALL is now set for the 5th edition of ZUMA Film Festival organised by the NFC. Scheduled to hold in Abuja from May 2 to 6, 2010. Call for entries opens on Tuesday, December 1 and closes February 28, 2010. The theme is Global Images, Global Voices, which according to the organisers, seek to consolidate on the gains of previous editions. Emphasis will be on bridging existing gaps between developed and developing film cultures as universal themes and global best practices will be adopted. The focus on the global nature and impact of the film medium will be encouraged during the film fiesta and at the same time platforms for filmmakers and filmmaking nations to globalise their films without losing the rhythms and practices that make their artistic cultures distinctively different will be provided. A statement from NFC said that entries should be accompanied with a two minute trailer must be submitted in three copies and must be on the DVD format with the typed synopsis on A4 paper-size. Submissions, the festival organizers said, would be accepted in the Competitive and Non Competitive categories. The Competitive category includes Feature film, Documentary, Children film, Student film, Animation/cartoon, Short film and Emerging talents while the Non Competitive category includes; films on Nigerian Panorama, Universal films, Diaspora & African films, Retrospectives /Tributes. Interested participants can make enquiries by e-mail to md_nfc@hotmail.com and md@nigfilmcorp.com. Similarly, entry forms can be obtained and returned to any of the Corporations offices in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Jos. ZUMA Film Festival, a major activity of the Nigerian Film Corporation is designed to provide a platform for the recognition and reward of excellence and creativity in the Nigerian motion picture industry and other film cultures around the globe.

NOPA holds December 4
THE Association of Movie Journalist (AMJ) now sets ALL for the third edition of the yearly Nollywood Outstanding Personality Award (NOPA) organised. Slated to hold at Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, on December 4, the event will see Adim Williams, Chinedu Ikedieze, Osita Iheme, Kate Henshaw, Dagogo Diminas and Johnathan Gbemutor receive NOPA Awards. Other awards will also be presented to deserving people in the industry.





Waka pass…
Producer- Amebo A. Amebo
Director- Mr. Gossip
Actors- Nollywood Celebrities

Where has Patience Ozokwo heeled to?
THERE is a producer who doubles as a director and actor, who has commissioned us to find and make sure we get the fiery actress Patience Ozokwo across to him by ‘water or by fire’. The producer, who is also a member of the Board of Trustees of a warring guild in Nollywood, hinted that the actress eloped from his set and did not leave her last known address. ‘She is holding down shoot of our soap opera’ the diminutive director lamented. He then swore to deal with her. In fact, he declared that he didn’t want her back on his set any more. Not long after that, his phone rang and the person on the other end was Auntie Patience. We thought Baba Producer would tell the actress off, but whoooosaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. He almost got on his knees to ask the actress back on set. Well, we were later told that the producer ‘never even pay Mama Gee. Say na abeg helep me level dem dey’. So na which one oga producer come dey rake for?

Was Emeka Ike coming from a location?
HOW come star actor and by the grace of the ‘Board of Trustees’ of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Vice President, South East, Emeka Ike, was looking unkempt at the AMP/Eko International Festival event held at the National Theatre on Wednesday? One waka pass mentioned that the Ike he saw that day was looking as though ‘water has not seen his body for days’. Not only that, the waka pass said the star of Snake Girl and other films came to the event without his belt; a reason he spent more time dragging his pair of trousers to cover his red and black boxers than he used his hands to shake people. We gathered that the actor and school proprietor didn’t sit through the discussion session on Nollywood, yesterday, today and tomorrow. They said he made out of the hall, way into the discussion and as he did, he struggled to keep his loose trousers in check. Anyway bro, long time. We offered ‘defences’ for you but the waka pass no gree! The defense: ‘we bin tell am say you just leave location and we insist say the Emeka wey we know, na always fine boy’. We say if at all e happen, may be na because you dey in a hurry to attend the programme, so you no look mirror’.
How about that? To God be the Glory.

Abuja Carnival… The Hit, The misses

BY ANDREW IRO OKUNGBOWA
NOVEMBER 21 was not like any other Saturday morning for most residents of Abuja, especially those in Garki Village, Area One, down Festival Road and Eagle Square, as drums and songs woke them up.
In rhythm with the ecstasy of the celebration, they all poured out to the streets in their hundreds to watch the long cultural procession, reminiscent of the 2006 edition.
The evening of Saturday witnessed a more glorious outing with the Eagle Square, venue of the opening ceremony, covered in glittering colours and motifs of different hues, accentuated by the captivating and glitz appearance of the over 30 states including Abuja, Ghana, South Africa and Egypt delegates that were on parade.
The various troupes thrilled the audience with different dance moves and gyrations as well as exhibiting captivating theatrics, opening the four-day event.
With the high tempo of Saturday’s opening many people expected the second day, Sunday, to rise to the occasion too, but thanks to the youths and children, who entertained the audience with different theatrical performances.
Sunday evening witnessed a polo game, which was one of the newly introduced events to the carnival. It was a good outing by the different teams and players that were on display as they entertained with their masterful equestrian skills.
The durbar event was another of the evening’s showing with Yobe and Borno States being the only two states that showcased the rich durbar cultural heritage for which they are famed.

HOWEVER, for many followers of the carnival, this year’s durbar event did not quite hit the bull’s eye as the absence of many of the traditional durbar participating states was obvious — a minus for the entire package.
The evening was more of a time to relax and savour some of the finest and upcoming Nigerian artistes, who entertain in dance drama and other theatricals. The venue was the amphitheatre of the Arts and Craft Village.
For many, who took part in Monday’s event, the masquerade and boat regatta presentations somehow compensated for the failings of the previous day.
Again, the masquerade show was taken to the streets of Abuja where the artistes from the participating states enthralled with zestful acrobatic and artistic displays of various kinds.
Bayelsa, Delta, Kwara, Kebbi and Rivers States exhibited their mastery of the sea with each cultural float battling for supremacy and honour on Jabi Dam, venue of the rich display.
The evening of Monday, too, was quite memorable with the command performance held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel. The national troupes of Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Egypt as well as troupes from Cross River, Jos and Nasarawa States gave impressive but energetic dance performances.
On Tuesday, the various troupes put on one last befitting performance at the Eagle Square, venue of the closing ceremony. The best adjudged states in the various performing categories were honoured and celebrated for their creative and innovative.

MTN’s Musical Show
ONE of the major highlights of this year’s edition of the Abuja Carnival was the contemporary musical concert that held for three nights from Saturday through Monday at the Eagle Square.
The telecommunication outfit was at its best providing fun and excitement for hundreds of youths, who patronised the carnival for three nights to savour the various vibes and tunes on display by the musical acts.
There was no dull moment for many of the audience members, who described the event as delightful. For the Regional Marketing Manager, North, Shehu Abubakar, who was part of the celebrations, the occasion afforded the firm an avenue to bond with a vital part of its clientele base.
He described the entire carnival as a befitting platform for the actualisation of his company’s aspirations, part of which is the promotion and celebration of the country’s cultural heritage.
He said the outfit would continue to throw its weight behind the carnival while urging all Nigerians to embrace the yearly cultural feast because of its benefits to the country.

The Last Word
ABUJA Carnival 2009 may have come and gone with its thrills and colours, but not without some issues that must be addressed by the organisers if the carnival is to achieve its ultimate goal, which is to make the country an international tourist destination and to encourage domestic tourism.
As acknowledged by the Artistic Director of the carnival, Prof. Rasaki Ojo Bakare, the performance this year would have been higher than the previous editions, but for the twin constraints of time and fund, though he scored the event a great success, stressing that the fact that it held at all is a feat to be celebrated.
If the dream of making Abuja Carnival a viable venture and by extension the Nigeria tourism industry, as expressed by President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua, at the opening ceremony, is to be achieved then the country must braced up to the challenges facing the carnival.
The first major challenge is that of making it a real tourist event. In this regard, the concept and organisation have to be reviewed to make it all embracing and people-orientated. The carnival lacked this ingredient hence has failed to attract following from the people. It takes awesome time and resources to achieve this; the Federal Government, which is the promoter of the yearly feast, has failed to realise this.
The government for now has the responsibility to massively fund the project until such a time that the private sector can buy into the dream. Also, the organizers need to start early preparations for the event. The practice of appointing an organising committee yearly on ad hoc basis and three months to the schedule period and frequent change of dates are critical issues to be addressed too.
What is needed is a carnival commission with a clear mandate and tenure, say three to four years at the first instance, with the members drawn from mainly the private sector while government only assist with logistics where necessary.
Of course, the members of the committee should be tested professionals who have both the capacity and international clout to extend the frontiers of the carnival. Now is the right time to set up such a committee with the necessary empowerment given to it, otherwise the fortune of the carnival will remain threatened as can be seen from its beleaguered history.
Finally, the government must show political support for the carnival as former President Olusegun Obasanjo tried to do, though it was misdirected and not properly applied.
So far, this present regime has treated the carnival with disdain. President Yar’ Adua must be the number one promoter and audience of the carnival, if the event is to win the confidence of the community. Staying away from the yearly celebration as he has done in the last two editions is not good enough for the image of the carnival.