Monday, 10 May 2010

Cover Edition 230, March 28 - April 3

The colours of ‘Mr. President’

HOW did Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, affect our affections that we have secretly adopted his style and colour? Open any paper and there he is, welcoming everybody to his style.
Mr. ‘President’ has managed to entice everybody into his corner with his rich Ijaw regalia, without any crinkled look of a worried man, even though the load on his head is very heavy — economy, dilapidated infrastructure, lack of social amenities, crisis upon crisis, crises, so to say.
There’s a popular saying that he has patience, no pun intended, Patience is his wife’s name, and so he has been able to mark himself out as a man of style and colour.
Accessories and ornament complete an outfit and help to personalize a person’s look. For the acting president, it’s the jewel-encrusted buttons on his long robes, which have made dramatic statements for him.
Writing in Smashin’ fashion,, the acting president’s style was described as vertical. The fine striped shirt (by Rocawear) reveals his sense of style. “Everyone knows stripes are the way to go, but how often do you see them rocked in such vertical proportions! Yes, the black sewed-down shirt with white vertical stripes might be a fashion sin for most, but not for Goodluck Jonathan. In fact it only complements his gold string…thing…with…circular things on it…”
The hat is an essential part of his fashion ensemble! The solid black Fedora, a low, soft felt hat with a curled brim and the crown creased lengthwise, never leaves his head is a statement all on its own.
So the fedora, like his striped shirt, has helped him appear hip, hot, and intimidating, no matter what anybody says.

I am non-conformist’

HIS love and passion for music made him set up the — Toyin and Friends, a musical group , when he came back from the United States in 2005. Born on January 11, some decades ago, Toyin Adebola, who is from Ogun State, had his secondary education at Government Secondary School, Gwammaja, and ended up at the Government Technical College, Wudil, Kano. His tertiary education was at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he read technical education. The Chief Executive Officer of Lakeside Energy Limited, who started his musical career as a drummer in 1990, recently organised the Toyin and Friends concert. Themed Worship Unscripted, it featured a lot of gospel artists, including Cohbhams. He tells DAMILOLA ADEKOYA what fashion means to him.

Family background: I’m from a polygamous home. I’m the first born of my father. My father worked and retired as a staff of the Ministry of Education, Kano and my mother worked with The Nigerian Aviation Company (NACO), also in Kano until she retired about two years ago.

Fashion: It has different interpretations depending on who is creating it, but for me, I think fashion is an expression of who you are, well expressed in what you are wearing. I don’t go with what’s in vogue, for what is in vogue for me is what I am comfortable with!

Style of dressing: English; a shirt and a tie, that’s me! But occasionally, I do some native stuff.

Uniqueness of style: Everything about me is basically different. My carriage stands me out. I also hate conforming to what’s in vogue.

Favourite colour: I love brilliant colours, to be precise. I like black and red. I also like white and purple because they are sweet and strong. I love them combined not specific.

Favourite piece of clothing: A nice shirt and trouser.

Stylish icon(s): Maxwell, he dresses so beautifully. Most times, he’s always on a nice shirt on trousers with jacket. When you see him, one has no choice but to love and respect him.

Role model(s): Rev. Sam Adeyemi, he is my ultimate role model and then musically, it’s Fred Hammond.

Favourite food: Vegetable Salad.

Favourite designer(s): Base London, because they are not the regular designers. They have very unique designs of Wristwatches and Shoes and I love them because they are not very popular.

Most expensive item: My house!

Most cherished possession: God.

Describe yourself in three words: Passionate, powerful and simple.

Turn on: When everything is just in order

Turn off: Disorderliness.

Happiest moment(s): When I got a job in Conoil because I waited almost 15 years for that.

Embarrassing moment(s): When my visa to United States was turned down the second time.

Favourite food: Vegetable Salad.

Favourite designer(s): Base London, because they are not the regular designers. They have very unique designs of Wristwatches and Shoes and I love them because they are not very popular.

Philosophy of life: Life is like one’s best currency. It’s ones most valuable asset, so spend it wisely, do not waste time and be as productive as you can.

If you were given an opportunity to change something in Nigeria, what would it be? Our mindset, it is terrible!
GROWING plants indoors is one way to make a space feel inviting and warm. This is normally done in containers. This type of gardening offers flexibility for people with limited garden space or lack of time for elaborate gardening outdoors. Plants can be attractive decoration that add a softness of line and provide a bit of nature indoors.
Bringing the plant indoors may mean that the ideal location of a plant for decoration may not be the ideal spot for plant growth. This therefore means that inadequate lighting may be a problem that the gardener may be confronted with. With more and more number of people working outside the home for long hours, there may be little sunlight penetrating through the window or exposure of the plants to sunlight if not taken outside.
At some periods like the rainy season, there may be a stretch of humid days during which time there is absence of sunlight. Supplementary lighting through electricity can go a long way for the plants. Electricity is a way to provide light for plants that do not receive adequate natural light.
Flourescent tubes are good sources of artificial light available for plants in the home. Cool-white fluorescent tubes are more desirable. Fluorescent tubes come in different shapes and sizes such as u-shape, circular, square or straight.
Avoid incandescent light bulbs because they are not particularly good for this purpose. They are a good source of red rays but a poor source of blue. The heat they give out is too much for most plants. But if they must be used, they should be located away from the plants, thereby reducing the intensity of the heat the pants receive.
For indoor plants, a large variety of containers are available. Plant should be done in tubs, pots, crocks, sacks, bowls and wooden boxes that have good drainage.

Charly Boy... Oh Gawd!!!! I Am Pissed Off...

Recently, maverick Charly Boy embarked on his six-year old dream of publishing. His magazine Charly Boy is in its third edition come April 2010; and the multi-skilled artiste told Anote Ajeluorou recntly in Lagos that th new project is all in the process of consolidating the Charly Boy Brand. Lagos. Excerpts:

How has the experience as a publisher been?
It’s been most profound. Like I always say, we will continue to be students in the school in life as we indulge in different experiences, and because of the people who have come before, people like Kunle Bakare, Mayor Akinpelu, Seye (Kehinde); because of their tenacity, I’m inspired. And, I have always known one thing: no matter how a thing might appear, no matter the stumbling blocks, the obstacles you encounter, that if you are consistent, you will definitely come out tops.
So it’s been challenging; the magazine or publishing business is not a child’s play but like you know, I have always been somebody that will never run away from challenges. I’m facing it squarely; in fact, a lot of people who have seen the magazine get back to me to say it’s a good start. And if it’s a good start, it can also get better. They like the quality, and they like the direction. What is left is by my staying power and how I approach matters.

What exactly is the direction?
Well, it’s geared towards the upwardly mobile, young Nigerians; for the first time, it’s not a masses thing I’m doing. It’s for those between the age range of 18 and 40. The magazine represents all the values that the brand Charly Boy stands for —doggedness, consistency, humble beginning.
It doesn’t matter what background you are coming from, whether it’s the most wretched background, as long as you believe in your dreams and follow your dreams with doggedness and consistency and you remain focused, then whatever your dreams may be, you’re likely to succeed. So failure should never be an excuse.
The magazine seeks to find young, enterprising people who, from nowhere, through hardwork and initiative, are carving a niche for themselves.
We want something to inspire, we want something to motivate; and you know that the reading culture in Nigeria has dwindled so badly. So our style, our approach is a little laid-back; it doesn’t look too serious. It looks playful, which is my forte. I don’t take myself seriously even with deep and profound things. I like to do them from a very playful perspective; so that is what you have in the magazine.
The approach is very visual from one page to another; it has pictures and an outlay that will hold your attention and we don’t want to make it too wordy; very few words but very deep content because Nigerians don’t have that discipline. So this is what the magazine represents.
Those are the people we are targeting and, so far so good.

There is a column titled ‘Pissed’ and there is another ‘Street University’. What are they about?
Ok ‘Pissed’; the column is run by me. It’s about all the stuff that upset me about Nigeria and being Nigerian. They are the things that piss me off about living in this country, about being part of a system that is not working. I’ve given so much to the development of this country; I’ve done so much yet I don’t understand why I feel I am useless.
I have said so much but I don’t understand why nobody is listening to me. I have been behind so many campaigns, and I have fought so many wars yet I don’t understand why I feel I have done nothing. So I’m pissed. It’s my anger about being a Nigerian living in Nigeria that is on that page and, I think to a great extent, it expresses a lot of people’s anger because we are angry at the same things.
We are angry that you and me should be better off than what we are today if we have an enabling environment. But the point is that we don’t have an enabling environment, and why don’t we have an enabling environment? Is it your fault or my fault? No; it’s the leadership fault. But then again, does that exonerate us? We are all guilty of inaction and the little action that I have done, I don’t know whether it is worth anything and so it keeps me wanting to do more.
Some of the people you have addressed with the project are alsocurrently local government chairmen, members in Houses of Assembly, and even governors. And they have also failed.

So where does that leave this bracket of vibrant Nigerians for whom you collaborate?
You see that is what I’m saying. Sometimes I feel I haven’t done anything. I don’t know why I keep feeling there is nobody listening. I don’t know why each time I turn around, the few people that I think I can trust, who I think can hold the candle, and do the right thing, suddenly go bad just because they got into the system and they have been corrupted by the system, they have been polluted by the system.
And I’m thinking, Is it going to happen to all of us? I’m trying to hold my own but I do know that I have met a few exceptional Nigerians, who have held their own and have insisted that unless you come and kill them, they will not change from their position from what they know is right.
Now, I don’t know how this is going to happen but I know that one thing they are building is to keep reinforcing the call for followership because Charlie Boy has moved from just being a celebrity or a very popular person to some kind of iconic image. Now what to do with that is to keep building that followership not because I want to run for anything but because as an agent of change, I’m also involved in the politics of change. I know and I pray that at one point or the other, we will get our own Obama.
How, I don’t know but when he does come we will be ready and I have an army of youths to fall behind him. Or we will get our own Jerry Rawlings. How, I don’t know but I think a Jerry Rawlings will be better now because a lot of people need to be lined up and shot for the atrocities they have committed against the youth of my generation, the youth of this country. They have stolen their future; so imagine the kind of youth we will be breeding in the next 15 years. They will have been affected and polluted by the system. Our values have derailed; everybody now is in the mad quest for money. We are all acting like we are all bewitched.

Back to your magazine, was there a shock in transiting from music to magazine, and have you abandoned music as well?
I have never really been a musician!

What? So what have you been doing in music?
I have never really been a musician. I believe a musician is someone who plays, reads and interprets music. I cannot do any of that; so, I’m not qualified to be called a musician. I’m an entertainer! I just use different media, different fora to express myself. I’m a communicator, and a good one at that. So I use different media. I use the medium of music but that doesn’t qualify me to be a musician. I don’t believe I’m a singer. I can open my mouth and hold some notes. I can’t play any instrument so I can’t claim to be a musician because I’m not.
But then again, it’s all about communicating. And who is my audience; my audience is the youth and music is part of what we do to keep that brand on top because that was how the brand started and that was how people identified that brand as a musician. So that doesn’t qualify me as a musician; that is a great injustice. It’s more than that; it’s gone way beyond that.
You published your book biography a few years ago. How was it received?
I don’t do things to judge how people will receive it and I don’t do things because of patronage I’m going to receive for it. I do things because my spirit tells me that it is the appropriate time to do something. Just like some people asking me, how is your new album with Dr. Alban?
For some people, there is a cost factor for them. But I’m not a business person; maybe that’s probable why I can never be rich. And, I don’t want to be rich; I just want to comfortable enough in life to pay my bills, and finish training my children and that is it; and have a small cubicle to retire to.
I’m not driven by money. So when I say, which one is my own, it’s not because I’m stupid. It’s just that I’m not wired as a business person, and I don’t think business. I’m a creative soul and I want to remain like that but I thank God that He has managed to put in my path things to sustain the things I do.

Between magazine and Charly Boy brand
You tell me! Of course, it’s the most misunderstood brand but who gives a damn really about what people think. It’s about what you believe; and what I believe is pure and wholesome. What I believe is very positive.
So if the brand was set up to shock timid, myopic, backward Nigerian out of their ways, and those Nigerians are still myopic, timid and backward why should I reduce the value of the brand? Sometimes you see me running around with okada people, with area boys, how does he understand their language?
So the beauty of that brand is the fact that it can blend with anything, any situation and with anybody. And, there has never been a brand like that in the history of this country. We know people to stick to one thing and only one thing. But that brand can be used for different things; so I don’t blame people who misunderstand its intention.

The invention of lying

YOU’RE probably wondering what kind of subject title this is, so, I’ll explain. It’s lifted wholesale from a Ricky Gervais acted and co-directed movie I watched on the plane as I left the country on Wednesday morning (By the time you’re reading this, I would have been back in Nigeria a few hours. I have a show to run)
So in the movie, Mr. Gervais lives in a country where nobody lies, they do not have the ability to. Waiters tell you they took a sip of your drink as they brought it down to you, your secretary tells you you’re a loser, women tell you they do not find you attractive the moment they meet you, or one woman tells another on sight, “I find you threatening”.
It’s a strange movie, one that stretches the mind that makes you think “What if?” What if we all were unable to lie? What if we were compelled to tell the truth to all we met, to all those who asked us to have relationships with them, to all those we were engaged or married to, what would we really say?
There are relationships based on pity, on fear, or on mutual convenience; there are people of indeterminate sexual preferences in relationships designed to please the judgmental eye of the world. But on a planet where we had to tell the truth, what would we really say if lying had not yet been discovered?
Man says to woman: “I really would like to have a relationship with you. I think you and I are a perfect match.”
The woman replies like Jennifer Garner did to Ricky Gervais in the movie, “I do not find you sexually attractive and do not think we are genetically compatible. You are fat and will give me chubby children with snub noses.”
In some ways, in all our minds, we all have these conditions, which we never really spell out. “We do not come from the same social background”, “Your father is a rustic farmer and would be a terrible in-law”, “your family would embarrass mine in public.”
Some of these excuses might appear shallow to a few people but we all have ours in varying degrees. One that The Whisperer was affected by in the past? If you shared genes with a strange person, that is you had a sibling who was garrulous, too loud, too offensive, too in-your-face, I would feel you were tainted in some way and would be unable to have a relationship with you.
Odd, but it affected many situations I was in then. In some way, I would feel you were tying me to someone I would rather not have wished to make personal acquaintance with.

IT has been three years since I began to write this column. Three years since I stood with Jumoke Verissimo and Ayo Arigbabu on a quiet Festac Town road at dusk and spoke with them of my desire to write a column on relationships with a different style, three years since the editor of The Guardian on Sunday, Jahman Anikulapo, joined that conversation being the man who had the final say and whose only fear then was that I would not be consistent in meeting deadlines because I was a busy man. I am glad for the opportunity I have had to reach many people, for the people who have written in to say the columns have been of help, have added perspective. I do not claim to be a Dr. Phil and have no desire to become one. The idea is to tell it like it is.
What would you tell your partner today (or a prospective partner) if you lacked the capacity to lie? Some of us should be called “ever-ready”. I have met people, both male and female, who could reel off lies the same way others switch channels on a television with a remote control. But what would you really say to your partner of two years if you lacked the capacity to tell a fib? Would you say “this has been the most beautiful experience of my life and I hope we have another fifty years of it” or would it be “Let me out of here this instant! I’m catching the midnight train to Georgia”
Ricky Gervais, in that movie, became the first man in the world who could tell a lie. I have told myself I am going to tell my truth as much as I can. Where it might cause unwarranted pain, I might hold my tongue but generally now, I won’t be restricting the “flaming sword”.
If I do not want your company, I shall tell you so (I lie in this matter. I have always told anyone whose company I did not want, of the exact nature of my thoughts. It appears cruel but it pays all the parties concerned in the long run)
The Whisperer has directed ‘The Ultimate Face-Off’ — The V Monologues versus The Tarzan Monologues” every Sunday for three weeks now and it has sold out show after show. Now I understand the true meaning of rave reviews. A columnist I hold in esteem wrote to say I had “arrived” as a director and a scriptwriter. That made me smile.
I ‘arrived’ a long while back; but he’s only just taking notice. Remember it’s my inability to lie since I saw the movie that makes me say this and not my legendary arrogance. I have learnt the truth of the lines in Rudyard Kipling’s poem, ‘If’. “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat both impostors just the same, then you will be a man, my son.”
In the monologues, which close at Terra Kulture this Sunday, at least for a while, I have triumphed mightily but I look at success now with the eye of a sceptic. The success of the Monologues is not what makes me who I am. I have always been this way; it just took some people a while to find out.

NEXT time you are having a heart to heart talk with your partner, remember to tell it like it is. Life is too short to be saddled with a situation you are in just for the convenience or because the world might look at you funny if you are alone for any length of time. It’s your life, live it like you know the true meaning of that phrase.

Who gets Terra Kulture’s nod for phase 2?

I SPIED him out there on the lawn through the glass façade he must have once sketched while designing the building, Goke Osibodu of design / identity assets company MOE with his children, chatting away with Bolanle Austen-Peters of Terra Kulture.
It is on rare occasions that you meet the prime accomplices to a crime on the very scene where it was perpetuated.
I walked out of the restaurant to say hello and then asked the most mundane question I could think of just to stir up something. If you had a chance to change something in this building you did here, what would it be?
Trying to sound all smart and spontaneous without revealing that I’d just paraphrased a similar question asked of a totally different subject by a totally different person just moments ago. He thought for a moment and confessed that he wouldn’t change a thing, granted that the client — Mrs. Austen-Peters had added a few thing after he’s handed the building over to her, but he was happy all the same.
Austen-Peters was just as happy, particularly with the African themed furniture in the restaurant, which she confessed would be carried over into their new project, an extension to the present facility, being planned for the adjoining plot which had been recently acquired and cleared for temporary parking space.
Nosy-so-and-so that he tends to be when it comes to design matters, the design sleuth seized the opportunity to ask who would be designing Terra Kulture Phase 2.
While Mr. Osibodu glossed over the question, Mrs. Austin-Peters was straight and direct. The South African firm @126 Group, an integrated design firm led by the dup of Nick Ristic and Jack Neeves, which had made a few incursions into the Lagos design scape were doing the honours while MOE Identity Assets would be handling the interiors… Mr. Osibodu didn’t seem to have her time when she needed his architectural expertise she sort of intoned, while the architect looked away sheepishly.

GEEZ, in a recession bitten third world economy, some architects still have the luxury of being too busy for certain clients, especially clients like Terra Kulture - a prime culture venue in the country’s hippest city that could and did allow some leeway in terms of quirky notions like African themed furniture and ramps that curve to the first floor like primeval suspension bridges… is MOE still that busy building all those Guaranty Trust Bank branches they chew their way through like school kids chewing through their favourite wafers?
When I grow up, I want to be like Mr. Osibodu and be too busy to answer briefs from clients like Terra Kulture, busy enough to let a South African firm do it while I concede to squeeze in the time to just do the interiors… for old times’ sake.
But it wasn’t only Goke Osibodu that was in the building on that night, there was also Alan Davies of James Cubitt Architects who the design sleuth was too happy to say hello to though I can bet my spectacles he was struggling to remember where we’d met before (he can be forgiven, he’s come a long way) and Theo Lawson of The Lawson + Odeinde Partnership, who graciously took the design sleuth down memory lane on an old pet project that had found a life of its own.
Meeting one’s former bosses at a book launch is not something that happens to you every day especially when you are a layabout like the design sleuth, but if there’s vodka and campari and red wine and small chops and Seun Kuti and the Egypt 80 band and good company peppered with delectable ladies to go with it, then it gets all that more significant. It was the book presentation for Outsider Inside — longtime serving expatriate, Keith Richard’s book on his experiences in and out of different board rooms in Nigeria and…the Design Sleuth was nicely snuzzled…you must have figured that out already.,

Ogbazi… From runway to studio

Nigerians living abroad, whether in Hollywood, Paris, London or Milan, are breaking barriers in the movies, music, fashion industries and sports, too. Many of them have etched their names in gold. The story of Jason Ogbazi is no different. In a few years, he has transited from the art studio to the runway, along the line, becoming a famous photographer and a model for international labels. MARK EHIDIAME JOHN speaks with him.

My name is Jason. Jason is actually ‘Son of God’. If you pronounce it the way it should, it becomes Jah son — the son of Jah — that is, Jesus from the Greek mythology. You know our names have a lot to do with what we are and the way we act out our destinies. I mean, look at the acting president, Goodluck Jonathan, and how he has managed to get to where he is now. He is Goodluck and he has had good luck in his political career, I’m not saying I’m Jesus Christ, I don’t even know how to pray, but because I have great belief in God, certain things just come to me naturally.

So, as a painter, how did you get into modeling?
Well, while I was in London, I used to go to the gym a lot to keep shape. So, when I was working out in the gym one day, somebody approached me, asking if I would like to model. And I answered in the affirmative, yeah! They organised a photo shoot with a major photographer called Darren Paul. So, he shot my first portfolio and sent them out to a lot of modeling agencies and eventually, I got hung up with one, BMA Models, in the outskirts of London. So, everyday they send me articles, to cast a particular product in fashion line or something; that was how I started modeling. I did a lot of fashion campaigns for companies such as London fashion, Adidas, Guess Jeans and Costa Coffee among others.

What about the photography...?

In retrospect, I think the whole photography thing just came natural to me, you know at a point I decided that I will not model anymore; I will rather be behind the cameras, that’s how my whole photography career started. With some training and advice, I started. I have worked with top photographers in England such as Paul and a whole lot of fashion photographers in London.
What is your area of specialisation?
I do creative photography. It is the kind of photography, where we pick different pieces of photographs to create something beautiful. I’m somebody, who likes to be original in what I do; I started adding my own originality, so, whenever you see my photographs, you know it’s me.
What was your experience as a student in England?
I was a normal Nigerian youth living in London and trying to make it. You know, going to school and working in some of the offices and then, somewhere along the line, this modeling thing started to happen and somehow, my life had a shift in focus. It got a major shift that took me towards art, art is all I could think of, is all I could see and everything about me became art, you know I couldn’t do anything else but art! I mean I sleep and live art, I can’t imagine a day without doing art.

Has photography been rewarding?
Of course, it’s been very rewarding, but I guess in Nigeria here, if you’re a mediocre, you won’t get anywhere. You have to do top photographs for advertising, billboards or working for large companies to make big money. But just shooting normal people won’t give you the money. Well, if it were abroad, you could make so much money with that but here, it’s not so. You cannot really sell your photographs for good money because importance are not attached to it apart from the learned and exposed ones who know the real value of photography. My customers are mostly people, who have traveled wide and see what photography is, they can pay big buck for paintings and photographs.

Partying MTV Africa @ 5

All of a sudden, Tribeca Nite Club, Victoria Island, Lagos, has become the choice venue for most event organisers. Just few months after the opening, the club has already hosted major shows including Femi Kuti’s Grammy reception party, Mr. Nigeria contest, Beat FM party and numerous album launch gigs.
One wonders why the building has suddenly taken over top rated concerts in Lagos. Could it be for the location or the state of the art equipment, which the club boasts of? Well, the reason is best known to event organisers, who seem to be bent on staging their gigs there.
However, Tribeca club got more than it could handle recently, when MTV Networks Africa and LG Mobile teamed up to celebrate the fifth birthday of music channel, MTV Base.
The celebrity-studded show, which featured notable Nigerian artistes on stage, also witnessed the official launch of LG Chocolate phone series – BL40 and BL20.
By 8pm that evening, Adetokunbo Ademola Street was jam-packed with all sorts of vehicles ranging from SUVs to posh cars… just name it. The packing that night practically reduced the roads to single lane each; in fact, there was no parking space. Most guests had to make do with Bar Beach, but not without settling the area boys, who must have made enough cash that night just keeping watch over the cars.
From the main gate to the poolside where the performances held, the whole place was filled to capacity, yet hundreds of guests were still at the gate with their IVs, struggling to gain access into the venue. It got to the point that the organisers had to temporarily shut the gate in a bid to create more spaces in the already jam-packed venue; it was a night of ‘who is who’ in the country’s entertainment industry.

With frontline DJs such as Jimmy Jatt and DJ Humility on the console, you don’t expect anything less than the best. Regarded as the best in the country, both DJs surely gave good account of themselves.
The stage, which was constructed on top of the swimming pool, came under heavy performance from the likes of Mr. Capable Banky W, Eldee, Omawunmi, MI and Naeto C, who were specially contracted by MTV to thrill guests all through the night. Other entertainers at the party include DJ Zeez, Azadus, Kevin Chuwang Pam (Big Brother Africa), Mode 9, Djinee, Knight House, Sound Sultan, YQ, Jesse Jagz, Lamii, Kel, Kanayo O Kanayo, Dakore Egbuson, ID Ogungbe and other distinguished guests.
Though not a night of Long speech, the General Manager, LG Mobile Communication, Mr. Steve Koh, congratulated MTV Networks Africa for delivering high quality entertainment through its MTV base channel over the last five years.
Koh noted that the partnership between LG Mobile and MTV is part of efforts to enhance the visibility of LG Mobile as a trendy, hippy and fashionable brand, stressing that both brands have a lot in common and much more to deliver on the platform of this partnership.
“We at LG Mobile are very passionate about what we stand for as a brand — innovation, stylish design and reliability. The partnership between LG Mobile and MTV Networks Africa is pursuant to these values. There is no better place to restate these values than a place like this. This is gathering of stars, respected for their excellence in service and performance especially among the teeming population of Nigerians and people from all walks of life.”
According to the GM, “the Chocolate - BL40 and BL20 are precious mobile devices specially designed to accentuate your statement of class. We reckon that Nigerians, and indeed Africans, fans and friends of MTV and the array of stars here present, deserve a touch of class and the Chocolate phones from LG Mobile comes handy, on time and on this day to spice this celebration of achievement that has redefined entertainment in the past five years.”
A complete touch screen mobile device and fourth in the Black Label Series of mobile phones, Koh informed that, “the LG Chocolate BL40 phone has a 4.0 inch wide HD LCD screen with 800x345 pixel resolution to maximize visual experience. This allows combination of a range of natural colours, create sharper photos, make videos more true-to-life, games more natural and documents are more readable. With its 5mega pixel camera, the LG Chocolate BL20 combines state-of-the-art technology with beautiful designs features such as auto and flash that enable it deliver the highest performance.”
Banky W, Eldee, Omawunmi, MI and Naeto C were among the first set of Nigerians to own the sleek mobile phone; they got it free of charge at the event; though Banky W gave out his freely to one of his fans just few minutes after the presentation.


MUSON Choir recreates St. John Passion
The MUSON choir accompanied by the MUSON Symphony Orchestra, will today recreate Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion. Scheduled to hold at the Agip Recital Hall of the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, the concert will kick off at 6pm, under the baton of Emeka Nwokedi.
In the cast for the the work that tells the story of the death of Jesus Christ, are seasoned artistes including Oguchi Egbunine, a fine tenor who plays the role of Evangelist linking other principal characters and the choir. Others are John-Paul Ochei (Bass) who acts Jesus; Taiwo Jayeola (Bass) playing the role of Peter and Uzo Emenanna (Bass) playing Pilate’s role.
Other soloists are Francesca Boyo (Soprano), Mary-Ann Agetu (Soprano), John Eclou/Stanley Okoli (Tenor) and Obinna Ifediora (Bass), while Tosin Ajayi, and Alaba Akinselure, will man the organ.

Black Night with Mode Men
All is set for this year’s edition of the Mode Men magazine’s anniversary show tagged Black Night. Now in it’s fourth edition, the show, which is conceived as a black carpet show, is billed for Saturday, April 3, at the Marque, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, with a special dinner for guests.
The event will be spiced with music performances, fashion show, comedy and a raffle draw, with proceeds from the auction going to charity.
According to the publisher of the bi-monthly lifestyle magazine that celebrates men and their achievement, Abubakar Tafewa Balewa, the celebration will not be only about eating and drinking as funds will be raised for charity purposes as part of its social responsibility.
“Nigeria being the most populous black nation in the world, we are iconic in the celebration of the African/Nigerian man. We also intend to use the occasion to raise funds for an orphanage in Lagos, as a way of our social responsibility.”
To be anchored by the duo of Leroy Owugah and Bimbo Akintola, notable among entertainers billed to grace the event are the King of comedy Ali Baba, Julius Agu, Basket Mouth and AY, J. Martins, Jesse Jagz, Jaywon, Femi Adeyinka, Silver Saddih, Lim Gizzy and Emco amongst others. Five top Nigerian fashion designers will also showcase their new collections on the runway at the event supported by Wisemen Apparel, Federal Palace Hotel and Cytech communications.
It would be recalled that last year’s edition of the show raised funds for the purchase of goods for Pacelli School for the Blind, Surulere, Lagos and Dooshima Education Foundation in Makurdi, Benue state.

Nigeria artistes back Yaw’s Private Lies
Top rated Nigerian artistes have thrown their weight behind broadcaster Steve Onu (Yaw), who will be staging a play, Private Lies, today at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. The artistes are expected to spice up the event with performances.
Written by Tyrone E. Terrence and produced by Yaw, the four man casts will feature the popular broadcaster, Steve Onu and actor Jude Orhorha (Gbenro of the award winning sitcom, Fuji House of Commotion). It will also feature the duo of Sontonye Green and Kaybee Emokpaire, up coming acts, who were discovered during an auditioning for the play.
According to Yaw, a Theatre Arts graduate of the Lagos State University (LASU), the play is being staged as part of his efforts to revive live theatre in the country.
“Live theatre cannot die because it has been there for ages and will continue to live. Also, the message of the play is very vital to us as Nigerians, whih informed my choice of selecting it.”
With Emma Uduma as director, Private Lies is a story of love told via an intricate web of lies, hatred and betrayal. Two couples; Jeff and Barbara on one side, and Sam and Rose on the other, find themselves locked in a familiar but yet complicated situation that will see them sacrifice years of friendship as well as nuptial vows to satisfy their most pedestal passion.
The first show is expected to kick off at 4pm, with performances from Ruggedman, J Martins, Jaywon, Dagrin, Obiwon and General Pype. While the second show billed for 7pm will feature Ali Baba, Basket Mouth, Teju Babyface, Koffi, Owen Gee, Klint Da Drunk, Ay, Tee A, Seyi Law, Emeka Smith, 9ice, Banky W, Weird MC and MI.
For every ticket purchased, the audience will have the opportunity to shop at Sixth Sense between April 2 and 5, at a discount rate, while designer OUCH will be giving away lots of gifts for every VIP ticket. There will be free Power Horse drinks, while ten lucky guests will get return tickets to Abuja courtesy of DANA Air.

Teeth 4 Teeth


Wande Coal ‘Watches’ Yaw On Radio
CAN someone please tell Wazobia FM to either take off hip-hop act Wande Coal’s promo on presenter Yaw or edit it? Wande at the end of the skit advised everybody to keep ‘watching’ Yaw (watching on radio o?) every morning. Nice work Wande Coal, but since when did people start watching programme on radio? You need to be flogged, anyway, the hip-hop act has a history of goofs. Wande, at one time, wanted to shower praises on Guinness Nigeria Plc. for their good works on the entertainment industry at an event, but ended up thanking Nigerian Breweries; it took the compere some efforts to whisper to him before he came back to his senses.
Verdict: Wande Coal needs to be frog-jumped for him to be wise.

Ateke Tom: The Leo Mezie connection
YOU will be wondering why I have been on Nollywood star, Leo Mezie’s case for quite some time now, especially since he got married. Well, if you are indeed concerned, then tell Leo to stay at home because as long as he or other celebrities come out, they will be spotted by eagle eye T4T. Last week Friday night, Leo was restless, making calls after calls. Then at about 9.30pm, he raced down the staircase and shortly appeared with some stern looking characters, all looking like actors out of a Marlon Brandon Godfather movie. The bowel of the celebrity hangout stood still as ex-militant and Niger Delta warrior Ateke Tom walked in with his large entourage. The aura of power will make even Goodluck Jonathan go green with envy. In fact, I won’t go into the details of things that followed. So, ex-militants can groove that much? Well, you won’t blame Tom, after years of being in the creeks and fighting; amnesty has made all free and so, it’s time to show the stuff one is made of.
As for Leo, hmmm, I trust he can take care of himself bcos dis new friend wey Leo get so na big frend o o.

... And talkative was in the groove
COMEDIAN Talkative was one of the people that made the Ateke Tom’s groove thick; a knife would have issues cutting through. He was all smiles as expensive drinks and rich food found their way to the reserved table for the former warlord. Who no go smile for dat kain situation?

Talkative and Goodluck Jonathan
ACTING President Goodluck Jonathan is perhaps not the only person that will share from his good luck. Comedian Talkative, reports say, have relocated from whereever he had been hibernating to the seat of power, Abuja, since Jonathan assumed office as ‘Acting President’. It’s no news that Talkative and Jonathan have been enjoying a father/son relationship since the latter’s days as Governor of Bayelsa State. The rumour mill revealed that as soon as Jonathan was announced ‘Acting President’, Talkative was on the plane the next minute to Abuja, of course, with several proposals. One of his oncoming films on Niger Delta first known freedom fighter, Adaka Boro, was top on his brief case. When T4T accosted him last Friday, he denied the report. But there is a noticeable change in his body features since Jonathan became the nation’s top man. Talkative was lean some months ago, but now, he looks as fresh as eja aro (point and kill fish). Advice: Talkie, make hay while the sun shines because your Godfather has just some months on that seat, that is if Yar’Adua and Turai do not pull another stunt like they did with the return from Saudi Arabia. No be me talk o, na amebo people dem o.

E-Money, KC Presh and The Sengemenge Family
I FEEL happy writing this report on the hottest and youngest millionaires in town. Who are they? You have not been moving around if you are still asking this question. Hip hop stars KC Presh and the elder brother of the K in KC, Emeka alias E-Money are the people making Lagos tick at the moment. They are called the Sengemenge Family (just like in the Mafia, where you have the Gambino, Corleon etc families). They move about in a large convoy of Hummer jeeps with revolving lights. If they happen on your club any day, you can go to sleep for the next three days because you definitely will run out of drinks and foods since they invade often with about 30 people excluding mogbo moyas (gate crashers) at the place. While Ateke Tom was holding the celebrity hangout in Surulere to ransom that Friday, the Sengemenge family was some metres away, just by the stage, showing the stuff they are made of. At intervals, E-Money would cause rain to fall on the in-house band, a wad of N1000 bills. It got to a point, the leader of the band was so confused, he almost fainted. Ateke Tom on his part will reply with two wads of the same denomination. It was a ‘contest’ of no winner. T4T’s wife was forced to ask, at a point, if those bills were real money. My dear, they are real money, being spent by real people. My initial excitement evaporated as we drove home in my rickety Tuke Tuke car. Show me the man that won’t feel slightly worried when he just witnessed young people spraying N1000 notes. But, I was consoled that Jesus is still lord and we shall make it in His name… Amen.

D’ Lecturer at it again
SINCE comic act D’ Lecturer bought his car that many say is not better than T4T’s Tuke Tuke, he has since stopped coming to celebrity hangouts to search for who to drop him at the next BRT bus station for onward transmission to Akute, a suburb of Lagos, where reports say he is planning to buy his country home (he currently lives in a flat at a ridiculous low rent a bad belly says can only pay for a single room’s rent in Surulere).
Saw the petit comedian when he came to town (as if na anoda state im dey stay). He was all smiles, spotting a designer shirt with his name inscribed on the breast pocket, the comic declined all entreaties by his friends to buy some shacks. He rather began a systematic thumbing of cigarettes from people’s packs on the table. You can take the man from the ghetto; you cannot take the ghetto from the man.
Na talk I talk o.

Ubaka… Return of the ‘rejected stone’


HIS story is like that of the rejected stone, which ended up being in the head corner position. The filmmaker, JOSEPH UGOCHUKWU UBAKA, did all he could to be accepted as a filmmaker in the country, but no one gave him a chance. In frustration, the Enugu-born filmmaker, whose debut feature, Trapped Dream, received the special jury prize at the 29th edition of the African Cinema Festival in Verona, Italy, left for Senegal, where he was accepted. An actor, screenplay writer, director and producer, Ubaka was born and raised in Enugu. He had his secondary education at the National Grammar School, Nike, Enugu. It was while in school that he nursed the ambition of emerging a top entertainer. Ubaka sang, danced and acted and was a regular feature of the school and most off-school dramatic, music and literary events. But it was music that appealed to him the most. The tall, well built filmmaker wanted to become a successful rap musician in the mould of L.L Cool J. So far, the alumnus of the Berlin Talent Campus, who has worked extensively outside the shores of the country and received commendation abroad, speaks with Moviedom.

The AMAA 2010 nomination
Well, I am glad that the movie, Lilies in the Ghetto, made it to the very last round, which is the nomination stage. I understand that the academy received well over 500 films and for your work to get to that level and even get nominated means a lot. So, I am happy, though I was expecting that I would be nominated in the cinematography category. I think we did our best there but again, you can’t have it all and perspectives are different. I mean, I looked through the list and discovered that there were some quality jobs there. So, I look forward to a good outing at AMAA, and like I said, somewhere, there is no better recognition than the one from home.
Decision to become a musician
My elder brother won’t hear of it. He hollered all day and told everyone how I wanted to end up on the streets. And true, at that time, those who were musicians were not taken seriously even by the society. It was just like football then. Today, everyone is encouraging his or her ward to either be a musician or a footballer. Way back then, it was looked down upon. So, my elder brother objected and I had no option than to obey.
Living in Bondage inspired me
So, when it was time to choose a course of study upon admission, I finally applied to study Political Science at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. But that decision didn’t keep me away from the arts. As I took classes in Political Science, I wrote scripts and sought acting opportunities. It took the success of the phenomenal Living in Bondage -- a film that is believed to have spurred interest in home video production -- for me to rediscover my love for the arts. It rekindled my interest in the arts. It got me thinking seriously about filmmaking as a career. That was when all those things I did during my early school days came in handy.
I wrote my first film script in my second year
By the second year into study, I had a script ready. That was when I wrote my first feature screenplay titled End of the Road that has not yet been produced. The story treats the highest level of cultism in our higher institution of learning. It was my own way of campaigning against the vice. But I couldn’t get anyone to breathe life into the script. So it remained with me until I left Zaria with a degree in Political Science.
No one gave me a chance in Nollywood
Upon graduation, I left for Lagos. To be relevant and to have your art aired, Lagos was the place to be. I looked out for acting and or scriptwriting opportunities but no one wanted to give me a chance. I was not known enough to pen a script to be produced or not a selling face for a movie role. Once, I had a nasty encounter with a notable producer, who in spite of the quality of my proposal, blatantly refused to understand my vision and passion for cinema. I had gone to see a so-called executive film producer in Nigeria, who had not gone to university, let alone, attending any film school; he talked me down, without knowing what I could offer. He said I was good enough to play waka pass (extra) and that I should forget about talking to him about script writing or any other thing about filmmaking. It was so devastating. I was tired of everything and I thought the best way out of it was to go train and return.
I got a break in Senegal
A year after, some Pan African filmmakers, who are resident in Dakar, Senegal, and I, created a legal film association called Filmi Gët (atelier des recherché cinématographiques). This was in 1999. It was the same year that Filmi Gët, in collaboration with Forut Media Centre de Dakar, produced our documentary fiction titled Ganaw Keur. I worked as assistant director on the set of the documentary that was selected at the festival d’ film d’Amien. In 2000, I got directing and co-production credit. That was when I directed and co-produced my first short written fiction film titled Jungle Justice, in collaboration with Bureau Pan African Communication, Media Centre de Dakar and Filmi Gët. My long stay in Senegal paid off when in 2003, I was among 12 young filmmakers that were sponsored to receive filmmaking training program at the Media Centre de Dakar, under the Tutorship of Fred Rendina, an America-trained filmmaker, who has worked with HBO television station. A year later, I was in Germany on the bill of TV5, a France based Television station. I was sent to Berlin to receive training at the Berlin Talent Campus, a major skill acquisition programme of the Berlin International Film Festival. I returned from Germany and made it straight to France for an exchange programme on filmmaking in Lile, France, under the sponsorship of Masion Jeune de la culture (MJC), Valencia, Spain. My turning point as a cinematographer came in 2003. That was when I directed and co produced my first documentary film project titled L’homme D’ Gardio in collaboration with Filmi Gët and PeriPlan International Africa Film Festival in Lile, France. It was my first time experience as a cinematographer. In 2005, I signed an international co production deal for my first fiction film titled Europe by Road. The film was released in April 2008. The film came two years after I directed and co- produced my third short fiction film titled Hearth Break in collaboration with Filmi Gët and Media Centre de Dakar.
Trapped dream is my word to African Youths
My award winning Trapped Dream is a call to African youths to have a rethink as the future of Africa lies in their hands. Since the 1930s, the dream of African youths is to migrate to the western world in search of greener pasture or fabled Golden Fleece. This dream, over the past two decades has unfortunately taken a dangerous and frightful dimension. So I want them to see and learn from the movie that there is no easy life anywhere. The future of Africa lies in their hands and they have a duty to salvage it and make it a better place for everybody and generations yet unborn. Individual families, organisations and governmental agencies, too have fundamental roles to play in reversing this ugly sore festering the youths.
I look forward to doing something here
Now back home, I look forward to working on home soil. I am open to collaborations. And I am willing to contribute my quota to the growth of the development of the industry. And you see Nollywood will rise again. It is only going through a phase that other industries have gone through. It will come out of its present distressed state. I know that for sure and I hold strongly that filmmaking is a serious professional business not all comers’ affair, so there is still hope for Nollywood.

Around and about Nollywood...

CFC showcases films n Switzerland

COMMUNICATING For Change (CFC), the non-governmental organisation that has since 1998 being in the forefront of raising awareness of environmental and social issues, was invited by CARITAS, the African Mirror Foundation, Nigerian in Diaspora Organization Europe, the Swiss African Forum, and the Afro-European Medical and Research Network to present their films on female genital mutilation (Uncut! Playing with Life), democracy and good governance (Film Democratic), and HIV & AIDS (Bayelsan Silhouettes). The films, according to information contained in the e-newsletter of the organisation, was presented to a diverse audience of stakeholders in Bern, Switzerland. CFC’s Executive Director, Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, gave a presentation on how media can positively impact development by showing excerpts of CFC’s films and sharing lessons learned and research findings from national behavior change campaigns in Nigeria. A lively discussion ensued regarding the need to address harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM), within migrant communities in Europe, the need to ensure open dialogue and collaboration between experienced development groups in Europe and Africa, and the need to keep up the pressure in calling for anti-FGM national legislation in Nigeria. The audience commended CFC for projecting a balanced, homegrown view of local development challenges to a global community by producing films that portray issues from a positive standpoint.

Gyang, CFC partner is Producer of the Year
THE CFC, through its e-newsletter, has announced that one of its partners and talented writer, producer and director Kenneth Gyang was awarded Screen Producer of the Year 2010 by the prestigious Future Awards, at a ceremony recently held in Lagos. Kenneth has worked with CFC on various projects, including co-Directing CFC’s Democracy and Good Governance films with Tunde Kelani in 2006, whilst completing his films studies at the National Film Institute (NFI) in Jos. Kenneth also worked on CFC’s Bayelsan Silhouettes film series as an Associate Producer in 2007 to 2008, and most recently directed one of CFC’s latest films on Nollywood, as part of the Red Hot! Nigeria’s Creative Economy series, which will be launched this year. “I have huge confidence in the quality of my work so it was great to receive the award”, Kenneth said after being named Screen Producer of the Year. ‘Since 2006, when I crossed paths with CFC, I have been grateful for the team’s encouragement and support, which has helped me to develop my skills and progress in my career.’ ‘Kenneth is one of Nigeria’s most talented young filmmakers’, commented Sandra Obiago, Executive Director, CFC, upon hearing of his award. ‘We are very proud of his achievement and believe that empowering youth like Kenneth has enriched the Nigerian media landscape and given an important voice to our creative youth to tell their own stories.’ Besides partnering with CFC, Kenneth has also worked with the Goethe Institut, the BBC World Service Trust, the Society for Family Health (SFH) and Johns Hopkins University, USA, and is currently working on his first feature film, Confusion Na Wa.

...And Innovating for Africa gets AMAA nomination
INNOVATING for Africa, the 22-minute documentary from the stable of Communicating for Change on Dr. Oluyombo Awojobi, who built a clinic from scratch with no government assistance and external funding, is on the nomination list of the 2010 African Movie Academy Award dubbed AMAA 2010. The documentary, as directed by Deji Adesanya, is in contention with four other documentaries – Wamba Ngoma from Tanzania, Peace Wanted Alive from Kenya, Bariga Boys from Nigeria and En quette d’identite from Burkina Faso. The documentary — uncommon service tells the remarkable story of Dr. Awojobi, who has served over a hundred thousand Nigerians in an area (Eruwa in Ogun State, South West Nigeria) where access to quality healthcare facilities and equipment is scarce. The AMAA award proper comes up on April 10 at the Glory Land Cultural Centre, Yenegoa, Bayelsa State.

It’s 71 entries in all for Zuma 2010
THE Nigerian Film Corporation has announced the receipt of 71 entries for all categories of the film festival at close of submission of entries.
Entries closed on February 28, 2010. A statement from the secretariat of ZUMA Film Festival (ZFF) 2010, which is in its fifth (5th Edition) indicates that the quality of entries received are encouraging going by the timely response by both Nigerians and foreign filmmakers to participate in the festival. A breakdown shows that of the 71 entries, Nigerian filmmakers account for 51 while 20 are foreign. The number of potential exhibitors for the film market of the festival, the statement added, is also encouraging as everything is being done to ensure that it is a success. The 2010 edition has Global Images: Global Voices, as its theme and it seeks to strengthen the bridging of existing gabs between developed and developing film cultures. The focus on the Global nature and impact of film as a medium of expression is to encourage filmmakers and film making nations to undertake the globalization of their films without losing the rhythm and practices that make each artistic culture distinctively different. ZUMA Film Festival (ZFF) 2010 holds at the Nicon Luxury Hotels, Abuja from May 2 to 6.

Waka pass…

Producer- Amebo A. Amebo
Director- Mr. Gossip
Actors- Nollywood Celebrities

Chioma Chukwukah Akpotha’s watching her weight
WE have not seen leading Nollywood actress and Glo Ambassador, Chioma Chukwukah Akpotha, lately. One waka pass, who attended a presentation ceremony organised by Glo recently in Lagos, said the actress looked so trimmed that it would be hard for anyone to tell that she had ‘downloaded’ twice. In fact, we were told that the AMAA 2007 best actress in a leading role appeared in a size ‘small’ polo as against the size ‘extra large’ observers think she should be wearing based on the fact that she had visited maternity ward twice. True, waka pass was told that the Chioma that attended the presentation ceremony that day was looking as kinky as the Chioma that oga Akpotha married about four years ago. Nne, you may have to give ladies of your type a talk on how to look trim fit like you oooo. We don’t want to mention names, but I think people like … and ... will benefit a great deal from the secrets of your kinky look. We are sorting out issues of venue and date. But you can call us, as we will need your abstract for pre-workshop publicty. Nne, am sure you still have our numbers. Try the MTN or our NITEL line if you can’t reach us on Glo.

Segun Arinze is Omoni Oboli’s biggest fan
LEADING Nollywood actress, Omoni Oboli, should count herself lucky that she has a huge fan in the deep actor and President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) Segun Arinze. The singer, voice over artiste and actor, whose real names are Segun Aina Padonu, admires Omoni acting abilities greatly. Or what else would make an actor, who should be concerned that he didn’t get a nomination or mention, call the secretariat of AMAA 2010 to find out why Omoni did not get a nomination in the leading actress category? In fact, the waka pass, who sold this gist to us, hinted that presido was on phone for several minutes on the matter. The only reason he advanced was that Omoni ought to be nominated since the movie, Figurine, was nominated in the best film and best directing categories and even Ramsey Nouah that sparred with her got a nomination. Anyway, we were told that he hung up when he was asked to see the other movies in contention and compare Omoni’s performance with those in nomination. We gathered that Presido laughed out loud when he was told by another waka pass, who saw the movie that the only time Omoni was prominent in the film was when she started ‘fighting Figurine’ and after that she slept for the better part of the film until the point she opened her eyes at the end of the film’. They said Presido was just answering ‘hum, hum’ meaning that himself fit never see the film wey him dey do lawyer on top so’. Not to we talk am ooo. But like dem dey say here:

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The city of garden

IN September 2009, I was in Port Harcourt on two occasions, and something kept drawing me to the city. Last week, I had opportunity to be in the city again.
It was in the afternoon when my phone rang. It had gone on for some time before I picked the call. I was in the peak of production and was not ready to be distracted. My phone rang again. The caller this time was my friend in Port Harcourt.
After some exchange of pleasantries, he asked: “Greg, how about seeing Port Harcourt this weekend?”
In a spontaneous fit, I accepted an invitation to see the Garden City once more. But I was incredibly nervous. The image that flashed into my head was that of militants wearing headscarves and bandana dancing (maybe bobbing back and forth at best) in small tight circles, in a completely belligerent manner. There had been arguments as to whether security had really returned fully to the city.
I remembered that only recently Warri was rocked by bomb from a set of people, yet to be unmasked.
It was an opportunity to unplug, perhaps, step away from life in Lagos and explore the Garden City.
By the time the plane touched down on the tarmac, my mind was fully prepared for the Garden City experience, which has always been exciting. I got into the city and everywhere was cool.
The country had witnessed relative coolness and many flights had been cancelled these past weeks.
As soon as I got to GRA, my mind went straight to the roast yam, plantain and fish, a favourite menu in this part of the country, which I ate the last time I came.

RIVERS State has a landmass of 11,077km? Its capital city Port Harcourt is one of the fastest growing metropolitan cities in Africa; is strategically situated, making it an economic hub servicing the South East and South-South regions.
The state has two major refineries, seaports, airports including an international one, and is easily accessible by land, air, rail and sea.
Politicians seeking territorial relevance without building any basis for sustainable legitimacy resorted to encouraging misguided youths to form violent gangs, which they branded as “cults”.
These criminal groups unleashed terror by day and night on law-abiding citizens in Rivers State. Indiscriminate killings, kidnapping and molestation of people where brazenly carried out.
Above all these were the inexplicable failure of the state (government at all levels) to enforce the law. The government was unwilling or unable to enforce the law. In consequence, near anarchy ensued and miscreants became laws unto themselves.
This was the regrettable state of affairs before Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, assumed office in October 2007.
Upon assumption, the government had no doubt in its minds that the principal task before it was to restore law and order in Port Harcourt and in Rivers State as a whole.
It was clear from the on-set that the provision of security through the enforcement of law and order is the primary constitutional basis for the existence of government.
Ensuring the security of lives and property of its citizenry is therefore the highest responsibility of government.
Port Harcourt, with its robust nature, has a vibrant social life with booming entertainment that is well entrenched. Just like its steaming commercial pulse, its social life is on the upswing with numerous outlets.

In the evening, my friend was in my hotel room. The time was almost 10pm and fear gripped me that I was going out in the city where “your next door neighbour may be a ‘kidnapper’, so I thought. The adventurous spirit in me urged me on.
As soon as we drove out, my friend asked, “where do we go now?”
I was silent for some minutes. “Circular Avenue,” I heaved, remembering the place I stayed when I came for the Garden City Literary Festival.
Suddenly, the car came winding down the narrow Circular Avenue GRA, and rolled up to a halt in front of a popular hotel on the street. I was excited when I saw a troupe of ladies ‘mounting guard’ on the road. It was as if the whole girls in Port Harcourt had milled down to Circular Avenue. They were all there — all shades of colour and height.
“These people will make I good story,” I muttered aloud.
“I know you wanted to see the other side of Port Harcourt; its seamy side, but nonetheless a perfect way of saying that the Garden City is safe. Don’t you think so?” my friend said.
I nodded, “Yes!”
The night was crawling in gradually and I didn’t want to miss out of the human traffic in the avenue.
Later, we moved and our first shot was D’s Place, a sit-out in D-Line. We guzzled wine for the two hours we spent there; as we waited for the night to wear on.
We sat in a far corner of the table and watched, as people streamed in and out.
There was a characteristic note of intimate conversation between everybody. I was just interested in my drink.
My friend left his seat to join them. My heart almost leapt out of mouth. I thought I would be introduced as a journalist, it would have meant there won’t be opportunity to have a little knowledge of nightlife in the city.

WE left D’s Place about 12midnight for some other clubs, Baracuda, Casablanca, name them. We were everywhere. It was more like a rehash of previous visit. The clubs we visited were all located in almost the same enclave in GRA. Actually fees are not just fixed in Port Harcourt’s club. However, every good one has its fancies. Bongainvilea is not entirely on fees, it’s about being classy and there are few restrictions. Casablanca is really all-comers, but sometimes operate on moderate fees. Casablanca is one place to catch real fun.
With a well established clientele and right balance. The girls are all gold diggers, like any place you get a mixed crowd so be firm, pleasant and select wisely.
Wine Bar is elitist and classy; The Wish is all-comers so also are Baracuda, Little Angels and Illusions. However, in all, your money tells your class and the class of girls you hang out with.
Besides, a bottle of beer or energy drink costs a baseline of N500 while a good wine or whisky goes for at least N6000; champagne is minimum of N30,000. The girls are very friendly, very hot, mostly clean, good fun and up for anything... at a price.
Some go as high as N10,000 per night, but those that enter Port Harcourt from Aba go for N5,000 or slightly less. You can drop into any of the clubs from Friday and it will be a pleasant environment to socialise.
At Casablanca, we had great time. The music was pretty good, with the DJ offering up a mixture of local hip-hop and the standard rotation of RnB/Top-40 nightclub hits. We saw a lot of ladies, who looked like drug addicts, skin weathered by crack, with bodies squeezed into body-hugging dresses. There were girls shimmying their hips to hard-hitting hip-hop bass on the dance floor, and those flinging themselves, wholeheartedly.

At about 4am when I got to my hotel, I was totally fagged out. I had somehow forgotten the reason for my visit. Port Harcourt now peaceful, come and enjoy the city.
Maybe the governor will confirm it. I was eager to hear from him the next day, which actually was when he will make a presentation to members of the Diplomatic Corps on security in Rivers State.

Amaechi: Why I go out at night without escort
THE governor said one reason he goes out to public places at night is to reassure residents of Port Harcourt that peace and nightlife have been restored to the state. Governor Amaechi,, who stated this Sunday night during a dinner with foreign envoys in Government House, Port Harcourt, said his free movement at anytime of the day was an indication that the security challenges were virtually over.
“If the security challenge is as bad as I hear, I will not take the risk of driving out in the night without escort,” Governor Amaechi said.
He cited instances of his late night movements to visit places and people. He said that as a young man, he attends nightclubs sometimes, stressing, “I do that also to reassure the citizens that they are protected, first by God, and through human instruments put on ground by the state government for the safety of their lives.”
The state’s Chief Executive thanked the envoys for honouring the state with their presence as they would exchange knowledge, which would lead to changing the perception about the state, adding that the assumption that whatever happened in the Niger Delta was in Port Harcourt was wrong.
He gave an example of the bomb blast in Delta State, which was ironically said to be in Port Harcourt in some quarters, while the kidnap incidences in the neighbouring Abia State was also painfully attributed to be in Rivers State.
Responding on behalf of the envoys, the Ambassador of Czech Republic to Nigeria, Mr Jaroslav Siro, said Rivers State and Niger Delta are very important to Nigeria, which is a major economic as well as business partner to their countries.
Mr Siro said the international community appreciated the handling of the recent constitutional problem in Nigeria and hoped that future issues would be addressed maturely, especially the forthcoming general election in 2011, which they hope to be conducted in a transparent manner.
He commended the Rivers State government for the initiative, and for what they are doing in the state, and urged the people to support the governor in achieving his laudable objectives.

From Ikenga, honour to entertainment icons

MD Ikenga, Chris Nwandu presenting the plaque to Shaibu Husseini at the Rutam House. In the background is veteran broadcaster and journalist, Benson Idonije


For their role in building the country’s entertainment industry to its present flourishing state, Ikenga Entertainment recently honoured some Nigerian media practitioners. Tagged the Society Entertainment & Style Editors Nite Of Honour (SESE Nite), the event, which was held at the White House, Toyin Street, Ikeja Lagos, brought together forerunners in the country’s entertainment industry under one roof.
Spiced with music performances by some up-coming artistes – a deliberate move by Ikenga to give young talents that desired opportunity to showcase their talents on a big stage – the award ceremony, which is in its first edition, was divided into four different categories; Sese Pointmen, Sese Icons, Sese Czars and the Post Humous award.
Among the 13 Sese Pointment awardees at the event include Ogbonnaya Amadi of Vanguard Newspapers, The Guardian’s Shuaibu Hussein, Azu Arinze of Encomium Magazine, Charles Nwagbara of Hight Society, Justin Akpovi-Esade of HiTV (formerly of The Guardian), Bola Salako of Silverbird, Tope Olukole of Nigezie and others.
Recipients of the Sese Icons awards include Kenny & D1 of Primetime Africa, Femi Akintunde Johnson (publisher Treasure magazine), Jacob Akintunde Johnson of Silverbird, Femi Sowoolu of Radio Continental, Kunle Bakare of Encomium magazine, Mayor Akinpelu of Fame Magazine and Ruth Osime of Thisday and The Guardian’s Jahman Anikulapo,
Bashorun Dele Momodu (Ovation Magazine), Ladi Ayodele, Bisi Olatilo and Muyiwa Adetiba were among practitioners that got the Sese Czar awards, while Post Humous awards were presented in the memory of broadcaster Steve Kadiri, Ifeanyi Ikennor, Hakeem Ikandu and Wale Olomu.
Some dignitaries at the event include DG, Nigeria Film & Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Emeka Mba, Charles and Amaka Igwe, Emma Ogosi, Dele Abiodun and a host of others.
Speaking during their visit to The Guardian to present awards to the duo of Jahman Anikulapo and Shuaibu Hussein, who were on official assignment as at the time of the ceremony, the president of Ikenga Entertainment, Chris Kehinde Nwandu, informed that, “the initiative is borne out a genuine need for us to identify media practitioners who have over the years, remained in the vanguard of promoting the phenomenal growth we have noticed in the entertainment industry in the area of movies, music, fashion and style, society and even comedy. Most of them have remained unsung, so we felt there is the need to celebrate them.”
In his acceptance speech, the Editor, Anikulapo, commended the initiators for their foresight, which he noted, would encourage young journalists in their quests for excellence in the field.
“Chris is one of the people that played a vital role in music reporting in the country and I’m happy that he came up with this initiative. I don’t usually participate in awards events or fancy awards and generally, but I’ve watched Ikenga Entertainment for long now and I know their contributions to the industry. It feels good to be honoured by people from your constituency; I feel honoured by this award.”
Anikulapo also charged the organisation to do more in the area of training for young reporters in the field.
“That’s the only way we can get the best out of them. I think Ikenga can do more in terms of organising workshops and training for practitioners. A lot of the entertainment journalists concentrate more on writing about celebrities instead of reporting music and movies. I believe there’s urgent need to re-focus practitioners towards the part of professionalism and Ikenga is in the right position to do that,” he said.

New laws of power

(Life Coach)
THE world will stand still and listen when powerful people step to the centrestage and speak. Powerful people know their onions and seem to possess what makes other people to flock around them in numbers. If you care to learn the laws of power, then this article is written for you.
Few days back, a friend of mine was in my room and after we discussed over some issues relating to my business, I went outside for a moment and returned to see my friend reading a copy of this article.
He was so fascinated about the article that he began to ask me questions. He told me that he had been wondering why people like to flock around me; and that this article has answered the question.
If you are ready to be a people’s person, if you are ready to talk and people will listen to you, if you are ready to make friends and influence people positively, then read on. I will share with you principles that will work for you because they worked for me.

Go the extra mile for others. I realised that in life, the people that are more inclined to help you are those you have helped in one way or the other. This is coherent with the equity theory, which states that in every relationship, people evaluate their gains and pains. An average person wants to be friends with people that are better than them. That is, people they can gain from. A powerful person learns to make positive imbalances in his/her relationship with others by giving more than they receive.

Be a giver. When you are always giving, the other person may feel indebted to you in some ways. Moreso, understand that every human may be selfish or self-centered by nature. Therefore, you may not expect others to make sacrifices for you when you have never sacrificed anything for them.

When you help others, you help yourself too. Remember that when you point a finger at the other person, the remaining fingers will be pointed at you. Renowned motivational speaker and writer, Zig Ziglar, says this: “You can get anything in life by helping enough other people get what they want.”

Make history. Be a part of someone’s history. Some people come into our lives and go like that, while some come into our lives and make us better. Your success story may be incomplete without some people who gave you a helping hand when you felt like throwing in the towel.
Few years ago, I was at an event and Professor Pat Utomi was a guest speaker. He said: “There are two types of immortality; seeing God face to face, and living in the heart of men.” You can be immortalised in the hearts of men. It will be bad if after your physical death, everything about you dies. You can die physically, and still be alive, only in the hearts of men.

Be principled. One thing common to powerful people is that they are principled. They don’t just do something for the fun of it. They do everything they do for a reason. They know what they want in life and know exactly how to get it.

Discipline yourself. Let people know your core values. Start now by identifying things that matter most to you in life, and prioritise that list.
Remember that being powerful is not about manipulating or oppressing others, but by understanding the new laws of power.

Your New Year resolution is still achievable

(Biz tool Kits)
THE third quarter in the year is almost drawing to a close, and you might still wonder if there is need to talk about your New Year resolutions at this time.
If you ever set a goal at all for 2010, this moment might just afford you the opportunity to pause and take a look at how much success you have made in reaching your objectives at this time.
One thing is clear: we all woke up into the New Year thinking of how to better run our lives, make more money, achieve more success and make fewer mistakes.
This means that New Year’s resolutions are decisions made to commit to change programmes in certain areas of our lives.
Whether you believe in making New Year’s resolutions or not, two things are clear: if you must leave where you are now, you must stop living the way you’ve been living your life or stop doing what you’ve been doing.
Jim Rohn put it strongly, “If you don’t like your life, change it. You’re not a tree!” You, as God’s created being, have the in-built capacity to change and transform your life. Two, even if you don’t make New Year’s resolutions as such, as long as you plan on the things to achieve for yourself in 2010, this article will be useful to you.
Things you can do to still achieve your New Year’s resolutions in 2010.
Be specific and reasonable with the goals you set. Know what areas you want to change in your life in 2010 and then be reasonable about how you intend going about them. Set priorities. Start with small goals and work your way up to the big ones.
Don’t bite more than you can chew: Take it easy on yourself. You’re human, not a machine. Don’t set too many goals, which will then be hard for you to keep and cause you to fail and feel disappointed and hopeless. Make about two to three goals at a time.
Be very clear about the bad habits that you wish to kick out of your life or goals that you desire to achieve.
Write your goals down: After you’ve clearly realised and defined your weaknesses and bad habits, write them down in a notebook. Write down all your goals in a notebook. This will make you mentally and physically committed to taking action. Bad habits are all the behaviour and personality traits that block your way in life and make it difficult for you to achieve your dreams and ambitions.
Picture your goals daily: Read your goals at least twice a day, first thing in the morning and also before you go to sleep in the night. Mentally picture your goals. See yourself in your mind’s eye succeeding with all your goals and ambitions. Smile and tell yourself all the time that you have the willpower, the self-control and discipline to run your life and to achieve all that you desire. This is a good way to programme your mind and thoughts.
Go for and obtain tools/resources that can help you actualise your goals and ambitions: You need to obtain the necessary tools and resources you require to make your goals and ambitions succeed. Information and its correct application is power. To search and obtain the right information is going halfway to solving your problems.
Read good books on subjects that can help you achieve your goals: The more you read good books, articles and magazines the more educated, intelligent and sharp you’ll be. You can find time to read. Any time you have free time, read a good book!
Network with family members, friends and colleagues: Go out and meet your friends and discuss solutions to their problems as well as yours. Join clubs, associations and groups and mingle with others. Make friends with those who share in your passion and are going your direction! Be bold and communicate with others.
Olotu is the CEO/Lead Consultant, DeAim Innovative Resources Ltd,

Students protest at French Village

ACADEMIC activities were paralysed in the Nigeria French
Language Village, Badagry, Lagos on March 15, when students
from different tertiary institutions undergoing their Year Abroad Programme, module and diploma studies staged a protest
against the authorities of the institution.
The students, who were demanding for a better living conditionbegan their protest in the late hours of Sunday, March 14. It first started as a mild protest, which grew into a big one the next day, as students were unable to bath due to power outage and scarcity of water.
The angry students closed the two gates leading into the school while they threatened to disrupt lectures until their demands are met.
A student, who spoke to Life Campus, said: “This has been going on for long, since we resumed in January. Power supply has been unstable, and no water for us to do anything. We students are treated like dogs. We are packed in the hostels. Everything is so bad and yet we have paid our school fees, which covers all these facilities.”

(Dayo is the E-in-C of the Union of Campus Journalists, UI. )

Panel on UNN riot submits report

THE Administrative Panel of Inquiry set up to investigate the immediate causes of the January 16, 2010 violent students protest at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) recently submitted its report to the Federal Government. The panel also assessed the extent of damage caused by the demonstration.
Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, while receiving the report on behalf of the government, expressed appreciation to the Governing Council and the management of the university for rising up to the occasion to pre-empt a situation, which would have meant a very long time closure of the university, and probably more devastating physical and psychological impact than it did.
Though details of the recommendations contained in the report were not made available, Afolabi gave the assurances that the report would be studied and all necessary assistance will be given to the authorities of the university with a view to promoting conducive learning and teaching environment that would enhance academic activities.
The report was in two volumes. Volume one contained the panel’s full report of investigations and recommendations, while the second volume contained the 34 Memoranda received by the panel.
While commending the panel for timely submission of the report, Prof. Afolabi urged the management to be firm in implementing the panel’s recommendations.
He also urged the Governing Council and management to pay priority to security in the university community to forestall such occurrences in the future.
Earlier, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Prof. Samuel. O. Igwe, while briefing the Permanent Secretary, had said that what had been a peaceful demonstration by the students against rumoured increase in fees turned violent because some disgruntled elements in the university used the occasion to settle their grievances against the authorities.
He confirmed that the institution had resumed full academic activities as well as started the implementation of the recommendations of the panel. Giving insight into the recommendations, the panel chairman, Chief Patrick Adaba said the recommendations when implemented would contribute immensely to the achievement of a better teaching and learning environment in the university.

Nigerian scholar visits UA Fort Smith

FULBRIGHT scholar, Dr. Femi Faseun will be at the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith on March 29-31 to work with university and high school students and to perform at the International Festival on March 30. Dr. Henry Rinne, chair of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, said one of the purposes of Faseun’s visit to the local campus is to conduct a workshop for student percussionists.
“He will discuss how the drums function as a communications tool in the African culture,” said Rinne, “and he will also speak to an African history class. In addition, we have scheduled him for appearances at area civic clubs, where we expect him to address the Nigerian political climate as well.”
Faseun will appear at International Festival 2010, scheduled for 5:30 to 8 pm on March 30 in the Stubblefield Center. Takeo Suzuki, executive director of international relations, said Faseun will be a special guest at the event and will perform on the drums. The festival has a $2 admission, with optional food tickets available.
Faseun is currently a visiting Fulbright professor in the Department of Music at North Carolina Central University in Durham, where he teaches African music courses. He is a renowned music scholar who has published in both local and international journals and is the founding head of the Department of Theatre Arts and Music at Lagos State University, where he still lectures.
Faseun, who has taught music in the university system across