Sunday, 28 February 2010

Cover, Edition 226, Sun Feb 28 - March 6

Redeeming the body traders

KETACHUKWU Teena Iroegbu has a humble background. At 13, she lost both parents. This compelled her to muster rare courage that saw her through the trying challenges of life. Today, she is a Communications consultant, working in the Nigerian entertainment industry and beyond. From the Nigerian Music Awards, which she managed for three years to BBC World Service and development communication in rural areas, she has garnered rich experiences that put her in position to mentor young girls to lead good lives. In this interview with ABOSEDE MUSARI, she talks on the entertainment industry and her passion to rehabilitate girls, who have been forced into prostitution.

Background: I am a communication consultant. I’ve been doing this for eight years. I studied Theatre Arts and Mass Communication as a combined course at the University of Ibadan. I write scripts and also serve as a consultant for the BBC World Service. Mostly, I work with NGOs to develop communication strategies, especially, when it has to do with development communication in rural areas. I run an outfit called CultureAfrik, and we handle all aspects of theatre, dance, choreography, stage productions and the like.

Past jobs: We have managed the Nigerian Music Awards in the past three years. We handled the entertainment and logistics. We’ve been working with BBC on World Service Trust. We’ve worked with Society for Family Health and FCDA.

Assessment of Nigerian music industry: The industry has evolved into something great compared to the past, when it was Fela, Sonny Okosuns and a few others. Now, the game has really stepped up and, so far so good, I’m proud to be a Nigerian, when it comes to music. Right now, the artistes are competing favourably in the international scene and they are making us proud.

What about dance? Entertainment generally in Nigeria used to be relegated to the background. It was not something people were proud of, just like football. Once upon a time, football was nothing to be reckoned with. Parents used to beat their children, when they went to play football. But now, every family wants to have a footballer among them. The same way, entertainment is going through a stage, it is still evolving and would surely get there.

Which artistes do you work with? At the last music awards, we worked with Mama Gee, Kween and Djinee. We have worked with Sunny Neji, P-Square, and a number of others.

Your experiences with Nigerian artistes: Many people believe they are saucy because they are stars, however, with me it hasn’t been that way. Maybe it’s the way people relate with them. People have always said Mama Gee is a difficult person. She tried to show it when I met her, but I think what helped me is that we both studied Theatre Arts and there is a kind of discipline we were taught. I was the director and we were taught that the director’s word is final. She had to comply with my instructions. We turned out to be good friends and worked as a team. Another person I enjoy working with is Sunny Neji; he is a levelheaded person. He keeps to time, does his job and leaves. I don’t think, I have had any bad moment with any artiste I have worked with.

Your passion? I am very passionate about the things I do. I have had an independent mind since my early years because I lost both parents at 13 and had four younger ones to take care of. That helped me to develop much faster. I stopped being a child at 13 because I had to be responsible for my siblings. That made me to understand that I had to work extra hard. I had to be creative. I had to start thinking of what I could do to make money. I went into dancing and I was paid for it. I did writing and acting. I washed clothes for people to make extra money. A lot of people in that situation ended as prostitutes, but God’s grace kept me. I have a project to help prostitutes to come out of the situation. In 2007, I interviewed 750 prostitutes in Abuja. I spoke with them one on one. I wanted to know why they were into that kind of business and because of that encounter, many of them made plans to leave the trade.

How far have you gone with that project? I did that research with sponsorship from World Bank through FCT Action Committee on AIDS (FACA). They gave me some money and I employed people that joined me to carry out the research. More than 60 of them were ready to quit and to start a trade, but at that point, the World Bank withdrew the funds and we couldn’t continue.
It was a tough time for me; the girls were calling me because they saw me as someone, who had come to help them. There were so many girls and it would cost about N350, 000 to set each of them up in business. This is because one has to take them out of those slums, to give them descent accommodation to make them change. Then, you pay for them to learn trades. When they finish, you have to arm them with equipment to start business. If you bring them out of prostitution without giving them a decent means of livelihood, they will go back to it. Unfortunately, most of them have gone back because there was no fund to help them through.

Were any of them able to survive on their own? About two of them said they were going back to their hometowns. We interviewed a girl that used to pay men to sleep with her, just for the fun of it. We found out that some were into prostitution because of greed; they wanted to have more than their parents could afford. For others, they were pushed into it by problems. However, the message is that no problem should be enough to drag one into such trade. This was the reason we wanted to help them.

Would you still go on with the project if you find a sponsor? I have gone back to the project already. I am in the process of registering it as an NGO, so that I can get help. I have got an office. I have personally started going back to some of those places, where I met those girls. It is my project and I am going head-on. I believe that with time people will assist me. Right now, I am putting in the little money I have into it. This issue gives me sleepless nights. I have decided not to wait for the big organisation to give me money to start. I have located places around the satellite towns where I can meet them. I met one that was 13 years old. The need for money for family upkeep drove her into prostitution at that young age.

Your programmes for 2010? We want to go into TV production, producing soap operas, films, reality TV and talk shows. We’ve been doing events and theatre, but now we want to go into productions. Also, I want to organise workshops for young women because of my passion for them. People don’t see women as people that can come up with good business ideas. When a young woman goes into an office to discuss business, instead of listening to what she has to say, the man is busy looking at her body and what she could offer in kind. I am going to have workshops to teach women on how to avoid these things.

Dreaming Lagos beauty...

I’M in a shopping plaza in Lagos Island. I can hear different sounds. Chatter boxes of both refined and crude people sync and out of tune. Sounds of hooting cars, arriving and departing. My ears suffer for the next hour or so. I try to move away from the tone-deaf and rhythmically challenged area, but all to no avail. I can feel the sweat pour down my body. This is one odd place to have an interview, but the show has to go on.
Everybody has come to shop like Queen Lott Onu, managing director of Queenikky International. She looks at me and winks as she sights me from afar.
Clad in a black pant and a halter neck, Lott appears so calm even from afar. She climbs the stair, sinking her shoe on the hard floor gently. She urges me to tag along. She whoops in relief as she almost trips.
In a very gentle tone, that almost seems conspiratorially, she says, “I thank God for giving me the inspiration to imagine and create the Okin Oge Cultural Beauty Pageant.”
Lott gushes in earthly, soulful tunes, as we settle down to a chat. “I also thank Him for making it possible that the pageant received the blessing of the Lagos State government, especially the Ministry of Tourism and Intergovernmental Relationship and also, the Oba of Lagos, His Royal Highness, Oba Rilwan Akiolu 1.”
Her voice cackles in a girly manner. The leggy lady says with delight, “the pageant is well thought out to recreate the soul of pageantry in the country. The focus will be on our cultural values and heritage as a people. It is distinct, rich and creatively designed to be like none at the moment.”
She adds, “it is hoped that the pageant will bring out the intellectual and cultural essence of our young girls, and point them to the path of integrity, enterprise and moral rectitude.”

ANCHORED on the premise of promoting Lagos cultural uniqueness and tourism, the pageant aims at further enhancing the image of the state, as the centre of excellence and also bring cultural renaissance and to present the qualities of African beauty and rich cultural heritage.
Another goal of the pageant is promoting self-esteem of contestants. It offers “not just a place, but a particular way and stringently limited terms with which to negotiate a sense of self.”
The cultural beauty pageant is slated to hold on May 29 at Lagos Oriental Hotel, VI; and the qualified contestants will be camped at Vantage Beach hotel and resort by ocean side, Lekki Phase 1.

BEFORE Lott conceived the pageant, she had an undying passion for showbiz, which in fact, led her into modeling, from where she began to organize shows.
Today, she does not only organise shows for corporate bodies, but also manages models for business developments.
With a clientele base that cuts across the country and some African countries, the catwalk queen is also into calendars modeling, billboards, TVC and corporate ushering.
Her dream is for Nigerian models to be treated with respect, dignity and integrity. She also looks forward to the day Nigerian models will work and earn good wages like their counterparts in the western world.
Yet for all her passion, she is so reserved that you wonder if she’s actually aloof. She says softly, “our ultimate goal at Queenikky is to continually provide professional services to our clients. We also crave for a situation where those from both the public and private sectors would always encourage and support models and the industry, because it’s an industry with huge potentials.”
She says wistfully, letting the sentence to hang. “Another of our aim is to build a modeling school soon, thus becoming consultants to affiliated bodies… globally.”
She shrugs when asked the difference between the pageant and a similar one sponsored by the state government. “Our pageant aims to synthesise the functional and symbolic qualities of African beauty embedded in its rich cultural heritage.”
Echoing the thought, which in a way is the feature of the more than one hour conversation, she says, “we intend to redefine the texture and typology of what we mean by beauty from an African perspective. Our desire is to present to the world, our own construct of what an African queen should represent. We want to deepen the definition of beauty from the African root.”
While saying that the event will have cultural dance and rhythm competition, visits to traditional rulers, orphanages and social centres as part of activities lined up for the queens, she stresses that the emerging Okin Oge of Lagos (Ceremonial Queen of Lagos) will be unique in that she will perform a lot of duties.
Lott shakes her head, her face softening, she enthuses, “the emerging winner of the pageant would walk home with a cash reward, trip to Ghana and a brand new car.”
The team behind Okin Oge of Lagos project is fully prepared to take beauty pageant in Nigeria, indeed in Africa to a new and exciting level which would be akin to the Oscar Award in the United States of America, says Lott.

LAST year, she treated children and staff of the Surulere, Lagos-based Heart of Gold Children Hospice to a scintillating Children’s Day party/special visit.
Aside from the cash and several gift items donation, Lott and her team, also came with a popular disc jockey, who spent several hours dishing out good music to the admiration of the elated children and staff. The visit climaxed with a dancing competition.
Lott hinted that the need to show love to the less privileged as well as to formally unveil her foundation, were the reasons for the visit. She further promised to do more for the needy in the society through her Queenikky Foundation.
“This visit really touched my inner most part, and from this day, we have promised to make it a yearly thing. Such children need love and attention. We must continue to show them love, no matter their fate or level of physical challenges.”

PRINCE Kenny Mobolaji Bakare, Project Coordinator says, “the event will be the best of its kind because it will enhance long standing support for Lagos State culture, tourism and youth development drive by empowering our young beautiful ladies who shall showcase beauty with brain during and after the event for a life time opportunity”.
Bakare adds the pageant is going to set a new standard and “this is a heart warming experience for me and my partners as we conceive a package that will entertain, educate and form a social platform for our young and intelligent young ladies to fully express themselves.”
At the grand finale of the pageant, 21 young ladies from all the local councils in the State will showcase their beauty, intellect and social acculturation.
The Okin Oge queen will be crowned by the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu and she would be a cultural ambassador that will be the new face of Lagos carrying out social and humanitarian acts that will benefit the society.

Striding with Oprah Winfrey

EVERYONE who has encountered Ifunanya Maduka’s CV since she emerged The Future Awards Professional of the Year 2010 has been very impressed. At barely 26, she is Dean of Students at the world famous Oprah Winfrey Academy for Girls. Here she shares a bit of her story:

Ever since The Future Awards 2010, there’s been a buzz around the name Funa Maduka — like everyone is excited to discover this young Nigerian —how does that make you feel?
It’s a humbling and grateful feeling, and I’m excited too — especially if it inspires those younger to achieve more.

Tell us about yourself
I think one is defined most concretely by her passion. I’m passionate about making a difference in the world; it’s what drives me each day.

What was your response when you were first contacted on your nomination for The Future Awards?
I was impressed by the initiative, first and foremost. It’s wonderful that there’s a movement of young people working tirelessly to get our country back on track. It was an honour to be identified as being part of the “new future” of Nigeria.

Describe your work?
I’ve been the Dean of Students of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls for three years now. I am responsible for the creation of a management structure for the division as inaugural Dean of Students at the academy. I served as special projects manager to Oprah Winfrey, a former Wall Street financial analyst on the Goldman Sachs trading floor with the firm’s International Sales Desk and worked with Former President Clinton’s HIV/AIDS Initiative in the Caribbean.

Interestingly, you have worked with big names such as Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton, how did you get the jobs?
It was tough; there were lots of interviews for both roles. Both were demanding jobs, but I grew tremendously from both experiences. I was given freedom to innovate and that was important to me.

So young and being Dean of Students is surely unusual; how do you feel being a Dean?
Yes! I can’t tell you how many times I introduced myself, as Dean of Students and the person, disbelieving would only hang onto to the word “student.” The next question would be, “so, what grade are you in?” But my youthfulness helps to relate to the girls, it’s important for administrators to stay close to the ground. Youths need adults to communicate to them in their language – I’m not talking about slang – so, they will not think you are corny. It’s about taking the time to really listen and understand them. I believe that I have learned more from my students than I have ever taught them.

Any plans of creating the Academy in Nigeria?
The foundation is fully focused on the school in South Africa. It takes time to get a school fully established. Besides, the Academy is only beginning its fourth year in operation; so, it’s one step at a time.

What are the challenges you face as a young administrator and how do you overcome them?
It’s not easy being the youngest person in the boardroom, I’m sure you can imagine the challenges. But I think it all comes down to respect. I respect what those older, younger, junior, senior, to me have to say and I accept that learning is a life long activity. Also you’ve got to be confident, when you have confidence in yourself, others will have confidence in you.

Your profile reads project manager, then financial analyst, later Charity works, and now an administrator — it’s all very Nigerian, the ‘hustle’ spirit, isn’t it?
That’s funny, I’m sure my profile must look that way, but none of this was planned at all! I just kept working hard and thank God for the doors He has opened for me.

For a 27 year old with this extensive CV, what are the heights left to conquer?
I definitely want to continue my education; I’d like another degree, so that’s my next goal.

Should you get the same offer — DSA — in a tertiary institution in Nigeria, would you be interested?
I think it would have to do with the mission of the institution; that’s what attracts me to any organisation. It’s going to sound ethereal – but what’s the soul of the organisation? What do they believe in? Why do they exist? If the answers to these questions align with my own intentions and what I might offer, then sure, I’d consider such offer.

What impacts have you made in your field/organisation in the past one-year?
It is definitely with my students. At the end of the day, after all the meetings on policies and programming, it was the mentoring and coaching with my students that meant the most to me. This is true for anyone, who works/lives with children – every moment is a teachable moment. By impacting one, you can impact many.

Have there been any missteps in the job that stand out in your mind?
It’s hard to remember a specific example… mainly because I mostly hold on to the lesson and not the misstep. One lesson is always to trust your instinct; it’s your most important tool. I have doubted my instinct once, too many times, but I am getting more confident in trusting it more and more.

People say ladies are more emotionally complicated than males, how do you cope as a lady managing other ladies?
Girls are not encouraged to be “real.” From birth, we are told to be sweet and nice all of the time. Society says that your goal as a girl is to make everyone like you. We’re discouraged against showing anger or disappointment. As a result, we hide these feelings with the hopes to appear “good and happy” all the time. Whereas boys will just fight — girls (because we’re taught not to confront) will gossip and whisper. So, my job is coaching the girls to understand that it’s right to be angry, and more so, to tell others that you’re angry, too. We must aim to raise authentic leaders and that begins with the simple – but challenging task – of being true of whom you are and how you feel all the time.

What would you say has been the highlight of your career?
I think being part of the foundation of the Academy was definitely a highlight. It speaks to my life cause – creating more opportunity for girls’ education across developing nations.

Having tested the best of Africa and America, do you think there are disparities in the professional strides of both worlds?
I think Africa allows more opportunity for innovation than America – particularly in the professional fields. Everything here is new, we are constantly creating — new businesses, new ideas. While it might have already been done before in other countries (some might say, we’re still “catching up”), in countries such as Nigeria and South Africa, we have the opportunity to explore, challenge and redefine old theories and methods. That’s what the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy is attempting to do within the field of education.

Why did you leave Nigeria? My parents, both of them, received scholarships to study in the United States; so, we immigrated as a family, when I was very young.

Are you ever coming back to live or work here?
I’m definitely not ruling it out, every visit I make; I always want to stay longer. We’ll see what God has in store.

What’s your definition of the phrase ‘The Spirit of a true Nigerian’?
A loving, compassionate, hardworking and honest spirit. I love that as a people; we maintain a solid inner strength and resilience, it’s our determination that makes us to stand out.

What was your reaction to the Nigeria terrorist man’s attempt?
I reacted similarly as I have to do to other terrorist attempts, with sadness and disappointment that one could be so blinded by hate. His singular act does not reflect on all Nigerians.

If you have three minutes to change something on earth what would it be and why?
Every girl on this earth would be educated, because when you educate a girl, you educate a nation.

Any role models/mentors?
My mother, first and foremost, I don’t think I’ll ever find a more loving and giving soul on this planet. While there are many mentors who I thank for contributing to my development, she’s the one who built the foundation.

What is your driving force?
I have a strong faith and a close connection with God. He is my rock; my faith keeps me centred and definitely keeps me going.

Do you have any plans for marriage, soon?
No, not yet, I’m single.

What would you say is the greatest lesson, life has taught you?
To Love; every day, every hour and every minute.

What would you call embarrassing moment?
Ha! I will keep these to myself, although my students would probably share some.

You’ve met Oprah personally. That’s a dream for many people! How is she?
She is incredibly warm, kind, intelligent and funny. Everything you see on TV is real, there is no off screen/on screen duality. She is as genuine as they come. She’s a woman with a phenomenally generous heart.

Everyone talks of Oprah visiting Nigeria — why hasn’t that happened?
I can’t speak for her, but I know she appreciates the support of all her fans. She recently recognised Nigerian author, Father Uwem

So… taxes...

(Strictly for the young)
TAXES. I understand them in principle. You give money back to the state so the state can do more work.
The concept of paying taxes is actually really cool. The idea that somehow, the money you give is then used to do amazing things in the country.
And while my generation might not have grown up with that idea instilled in us, it is slowly but surely being learned. So now we have to get used to the idea of paying taxes. All the million versions that there are.
So no, we do not mind paying tax. But may I just ask the Federal Inland Revenue, and the state level, why we pay so much and still get so little?
They say we are paying for things to get done, but we still have no power.
I could have said, ‘consistent’ power, but let us face it. We spend more hours in darkness than we do in the light in Nigeria.
So, why do we pay our taxes consistently when we have no consistent government-generated electricity, and still have to buy generators, back-up generators, diesel, petrol and candles.
Why are we paying our taxes when the roads are bad and in some areas, are getting even worse?
I hear you now pay taxes when you buy a new car? But should we not be given money back for all the damage done to our shocks by the bad roads?
So we pay our taxes but still sit in traffic or six hours?
When will we get a ‘sitting in the sun’ rebate?
We pay taxes but we do not have running water.
We pay taxes and then queue at the station for hours, and pay double the amount for the 10 litres of fuel we can afford to buy.
Has anyone sat down to calculate the new average standard of living? Does anyone know how much a small business spends just to stay afloat?
Where are the concessions? The benefits?
There is nothing wrong with taxes. But what do we get back?
A dream?
A promise?

Chop money talk

(Just Life)
SHE’s getting married soon and perhaps, because I have been married for quite a while now, she thought I’d be able to give her some tips on marriage.
I realised she was serious and so, couldn’t laugh because I mean, really who am I to give anyone any tip about marriage.
I told her as much. I told her that if there’s one sure thing I have learnt about marriage, it is that what works in one home won’t in another.
Time and time again, I have encountered situations in some homes that have left me speechless mostly because I know that such a thing would never occur in my home.
And sometimes what causes a problem in one home is what brings the members of another family together.
I like to watch the somewhat controversial TV programme, Wife Swap and you’ll notice that the wives are usually taken out of their comfort zones (their homes) and taken into homes where things are done a little differently.
I guess the whole idea is to let each person appreciate their spouses, their lives better.

ANYWAY back to the matter at hand. I could tell she was a little disturbed about what she wanted to ask and since she insisted I let her anyway.
I must admit that I was curious to know what could be bothering her. She asked ‘How do you get your ‘chop money’? Is it weekly or monthly?’
‘Chop money’? That’s the question. That’s what you want to know?’
‘Yes ma. Right now he is giving me weekly and I want to know if that’s okay’
‘Well, it all depends. It depends on what suits you, what suits him and what suits your family but remember that as your family changes what may be okay now may not be in a few years.’
‘What about how much to ask for?’
Ah, that one is more difficult to answer o because it all depends on your incomes, your wants and needs, and how much you intend to put aside for a rainy day.’
‘My friend said she gets 20,000 per week but she has two kids. I don’t know if I should take something less as we don’t have kids yet.’
‘Let me tell you something, few women tell the truth about how much they really get because we want to avoid being judged. If they think you are getting 20, then they could tell you 20,000 if they feel you are equals but the amount can change depending on who is doing the asking.’
CHOP money talk no dey finish. Men have numerous horror stories about how we, women, inflate our housekeeping bills to allow us buy luxuries.
Well, every woman for herself and all that but I believe if we were sure we would get most or all of what we asked for we probably wouldn’t need to lie to get a little extra.
Besides, most women put their children first so when we ask for more money than you think we need, it is usually because we want to get something extra for them, which we know you, the husband, will most probably not believe they need.
A dear friend once advised that I double our needs and keep whatever is extra for all those extras that we sometimes need to get -- be it clothes, ice-cream or whatever for whomever.
I wanted to know how she dealt with her conscience and she wanted to know who should be responsible for all her expenses if not her husband!
And if he wouldn’t pay knowingly then she would have to make him pay one way or another.
I like to joke that I have ‘misappropriated my house keeping funds’ to be able to buy one thing or another. But I know it isn’t really a joke and now you and my dearly beloved much adored spouse knows too!

Simple ways to discover your true lov

ONE of the greatest emotions in this world is that of love. When a person is in love, he/she will begin to side-rule some of his/her personal principles to accommodate the other person’s behaviour and attitude.
It is even believed that nothing is wrong when love is right. One of the greatest sources of happiness is seeing and being around those you love.
Today, as you think of actualising your plans of taking your prince charming or Cinderella out for a lunch or dinner with your gift romantically wrapped with ribbons alongside your scintillating rose flower, it is important that you understand that you were created to discover, develop and deploy your true love.
Remember your first love. For some girls, their first love lingers on their mind and they polish that memory when they retire to their bed at night and fantasize. It is believed that first love never dies.
Trigger your childhood memories. Once in a while when someone books a coaching session with me to get direction on how to find their bearing in life, I ask them if they can remember what they were good at childhood.
The truth is that you can develop your ‘childhood talent’ into a skill and make money by doing what you love.

Don’t be too much in haste. There are times that a guy is too desperate to get a girl. For this reason, he may be choking the girl by not giving her a breathing space, and that will have a negative effect. In real life, you have to learn how to follow due process. Every product will need to pass through a process; otherwise, the output will be bad. Don’t be worried because you don’t know what you live for. You can employ the services of a professional life coach to help you discover, develop and deploy your talents.

What belongs to you is yours. When you find out that a girl is giving you unnecessary problems, it could be an indication that you are with the wrong person. That is why it is better to make your friend become your life partner than to make your soulmate become your friend.

Don’t over-labour yourself. Once you realize that you are over-labouring yourself that could be an indication that you are in the wrong place. Your job is meant to bring you joy. If what your present job brings does not make you fulfilled, then, perhaps, you are doing someone else’s job.

Find your place. Every animal has a natural habitat. A fish cannot fly. When a fish is in the pond, it does not struggle for survival. It survives naturally. But once the fish is outside the pond, it will start struggling for survival. So if you don’t want to struggle for the rest of your life, carve your own niche.

Love grows. It is believed that communication, togetherness, and understanding are the backbone of every relationship. When there is chemistry between two people, staying together will make the love grow.

Spend time to develop your talent. Your talent is like raw gold, and it has no usefulness until it has been processed. Your talent will not make you successful until you develop it into a skill.

Make sacrifices. One proof of love is the degree of sacrifices you can make for the person you love. When you discover your talent, then you need to make sacrifices to develop that talent. Don’t kid yourself. In the words of the defunct Plantation Boiz “The road is rough and tough but you have to be strong, hold on to your dreams in what you do.”

Success is a habit. I realized that the easiest way I can advance my career is by developing my skill habitually. That is I’m always attending seminars, going for training, buying self-help books and listening to tapes. You too can advance you career. You have all it takes to make yourself a success. Take charge!

The A – Z of water packaging business
(Biz tool Kits)
Whatever business you intend starting must come from within you. It must stir you up from the inside. However, you can also get some insights into what kind of business to go into by reading up on sample businesses like the series we are running now. In fact, as one professional put it, “Many individuals are not really sure of what business to start – but they know they’re in love with the concept of entrepreneurship. If you aren’t positive which business to start, don’t apologise: As long as you pour the same enthusiasm into a venture once you pick your star, you can be as successful as the individual who always knew which field to enter.”

Snapshot of Business: Water packaging business provides packaged water products to quench the daily thirst of people. This business is an evergreen type because it will continue to be relevant as long as there is human civilisation. Even as you read this piece, you might be sipping a packaged water product.
• Start-up cost as low as N10 million or more depending on the size of investment
• Potential first year earnings: N30 million
• Breakeven time from initial investment: very rapid (can be between one to two years)
• Future growth potential: very high
• Dynamic, fast-growing industry
• Possible for small business or cooperative-based organisations
• Not much staffing required especially at the beginning

Background to business

The Earth has 1,386,000,000 km3 of water total but only 2.5 percent of that is fresh water (i.e. 35,029,000 km3 or 9,254,661,800 gallons of fresh water).

Why is fluid important?
Water is essential for the growth and maintenance of our bodies and is an important component in the diet. The British Dietetic Association guidelines state that an average adult should consume 2.5 litres of water of which 1.8 litres (or 5 x 330 ml cans; 7 x 250 ml glasses) must be in fluid form, the remainder being obtained from foods. For children to maintain their correct water level of 60 to 70 per cent body weight, they need to consume up to 2 litres of fluid every day. This intake needs to be increased during periods of hot weather or during and after periods of physical activity in order to avoid dehydration.

What are the effects of dehydration?
Dehydration is caused by consuming too little fluid and can cause symptoms such as headaches, tiredness and loss of concentration. Adults eliminate around 2.5 litres of water per day, through urine, perspiration and respiration. In children, this varies greatly according to the outside temperature, age and activity level of the child, as well as other factors. Children do not instinctively drink enough to replenish the fluids lost during prolonged activity or play periods and evidence has shown that they consequently become dehydrated. Research has shown that children are more likely to drink sufficient liquid to replace lost fluids and maintain hydration during activity when presented with flavoured beverages.

What are our main sources of fluid in the diet?

The body gets its water from three sources:
• Water itself or in beverages;
• Water in solid foods, which contains wide ranging amounts from 5 per cent in biscuits, 60per cent in steak to 90 per cent in the juiciest fruits;
• Water produced in the body as a by-product of chemical changes that convert food into cell material (about 10 per cent).
Water is the major ingredient of all drinks and a wide range of drinks is available to fulfil this role. Carbonated and still drinks are 86 per cent water, dilutable drinks are 65 per cent water undiluted and 86 per cent when diluted, fruit juices are 90 per cent water and bottled and sachet waters are 100 per cent water.

Packaged water products?. Water is classified as bottled water or sachet water (pure water) if it meets all applicable standards, is sealed in a sanitary container/package and is sold for human consumption. Bottled/sachet water cannot contain sweeteners or chemical additives (other than flavours, extracts or essences) and must be calorie-free and sugar-free. Flavours, extracts and essences, derived from spice or fruit, can be added to bottled water, but these additions must comprise less than one percent by weight of the final product. Beverages containing more than the one-percent-by-weight flavour limit are classified as soft drinks, not packaged water. In addition, packaged water may be sodium-free or contain “very low” amounts of sodium. Some packaged waters contain natural or added carbonation.

Olotu is the CEO/Lead Consultant, DEAIM Innovative Resources Ltd.,

Dried figs

THE history of figs could be traced back in time. The Bible and other ancient writings have mention of them. The Romans believed figs were a gift from Bacchus, the god of intoxication, and an apron of fig leaves covered Adam and Eve’s nakedness in the Garden of Eden (some scholars maintain that the forbidden fruit Eve picked was a fig, not an apple).
Dried figs are available throughout the year and they are prepared either by exposure to sunlight or through an artificial process.
Carbohydrates are the most significant nutrient in dried fig. Most of these carbohydrates are made up of monosaccharide or simple sugar (glucose and fructose) and a small portion of disaccharide (saccharose), which are broken down to provide energy to the body.
Dried figs are also good source of B group vitamins, potassium, calcium, dietary fiber, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron, zinc, flavonoids and polyphenols, plant-based antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body.

Uses and preparation of dried figs

Dried. Dried fig is highly concentrated in sugar, vitamins and minerals. They are available all year round. Soaking dried fig overnight rehydrates them before eating.

Boiled in milk. Half–dozen dried figs cooked in a half-liter of milk is an excellent cough remedy and expectorant especially particularly if few spoonfuls of honey are added.

Fig cake: These are prepared from dried figs, almond nuts, and aromatic herbs. They provide a great deal of energy to the whole body.

Use in some recipes. Dried figs can simply be eaten, used in a recipe as is, or simmered for several minutes in water or fruit juice to make them plumper and juicier.

Health benefits/ healing power

Treat bronchial disorders
Rehydrated dried fig or dried figs boiled with milk have a pectoral (chest action) that fight against infections. They relieve cough, facilitate expectoration and soothe the respiratory tract. Their use is recommended in cases of chronic bronchitis as well as acute respiratory infection caused by cold and flu.

Helps lower high blood pressure (Hypertension): Low intake of potassium-rich foods, especially when coupled with a high intake of sodium, can lead to hypertension. Figs are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure. Also, soluble fiber in figs binds with cholesterol containing substances and prevents their absorption by the blood thereby reduces or prevents hypercholesterolemia (elevated cholesterol level).

Prevents obesity (excess fat in the body): Fig consumption produces a sensation of satiety or feeling of fullness in the stomach because of its high dietary fiber. Fiber and fiber-rich foods have a positive effect on weight management.

Promotes healthy bowel function (cures constipation): Rehyrated dried figs (dried figs that are soaked in water) can be used to cure constipation. Fiber in dried figs helps stimulate the peristalsis in the intestine and move the faeces.

Cures anaemia: This healing power is due to dried figs high iron content.

Prevents cardiovascular disease: Dried figs contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids, which help in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and improve immune function. They are also a good source of potassium, important in helping to regulate blood pressure.

Cures fatigue (tiredness): The sugar in dried fig is assimilated in the blood to provide energy to the body and prevents tiredness.

Protects against postmenopausal breast cancer
As with many fruits and vegetables, figs are a good source of flavonoids and polyphenols, plant-based antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body that causes cancer. Also the insoluble fiber in figs protects against colon and breast cancer.

Bone density promoter (prevents osteoporosis)
Figs are good source of calcium a mineral that has many functions including promoting bone density. Additionally, figs’ potassium also counteracts the increased urinary calcium loss caused by the high-salt diets, thus helps to further prevent bones from thinning out at a fast rate.

Our music is dying slowly, and still smiling (4)

By Femi Akintunde-Johnson
THOUGH, the process I described last week may not hold true for all of today’s young stars; a large chunk of them follow scripts similar to that foolishness. So, you can easily assume that the so-called stars of today are on their way to the dustbin of history. Can they do something about it? The real question is: Will they do something about it? The answer is probably no! When you make the kind of money they have access to; or live in the esoteric falsehood of charmed stardom spawned by a consuming society, it is very difficult for such people to grapple with.
In any case, only those who have original talent can survive any reorientation. And then they must possess the common sense and willingness to reinvent themselves; wisely investing whatever they have amassed from the aberration; and studying diligently the course taken by their more illustrious forebears. Not depending on recorded CD’s to perform live music!
The other day, Wande Coal, a young artiste, revealed in an interview how Don Jazzy (a notable new culture producer and entrepreneur) discovered him. The producer realized he could sing, and went on to lay tracks for him. All Wande needed to do was to put his voice to the ‘sound’ created by Don Jazzy. He had no idea how the music was stringed, synthesized and laid. He just threaded the beats through his own natural muse, and lyrics long suppressed simply gushed out. How can such an artiste last long? How will he ever be able to sustain a band; remix and restructure his beats, and remain relevant, long after his name is no longer able to stick on D’Banj and Don Jazzy?
Let me give some examples to illustrate my point. During the course of reporting music, I would visit Femi Kuti while practicing on his sax. All by himself. He’d spend hours puffing at his instrument; nodding quietly as some compositions coursed through his brain…you need not be told that the genii of music were releasing creative toxins that needed to be charted, sifted and stored. It was such a beautiful thing just watching him evolve and create. I have also witnessed Lagbaja in his quiet, contemplative, compositional elements…I am always awed at their incredible devotion and concentration. There are few others too.
So, when such musicians refuse to “die”, it is simply because they can reposition, reinvent and revitalize their craft and style on a platform that is alive, evolutionary and controllable by them: the band. Talent and band management can go a long way to make you live long beyond the immediacy of your music.
Look at Pa Fatai Rolling Dollars. What will make an 83-year old musician come back strong, after a 30-year hiatus? Beyond packaging and timely intervention: his old band created the music a new band is now regurgitating in ‘hip’ baggage. Suddenly, we realize that “Won Kere Si Number” of the 60’s can find some level of acceptance in 21st century. If Dollars can be stabilized by more focused and energetic management team, his wintering days will be far greater that his youth.
Another is Commander Ebenezer Obey, who along with Sunny Ade, clutched the Nigerian musical world by the jugular for two decades. Though some critics lampooned him for returning to secular music long after he abandoned it for the Lord’s vineyard, I think they are myopic. His musical antecedents had illustrated that the best of his music were embellished in biblical imagery. He sang God before he ‘met’ God. Even Paul, the greatest of the Apostles, recognized that a minister of God must not be a burden to his church. Paul returned to his tent-making job even after planting several parishes. His credo: He who does not work should not eat. Running a music band is his work. He can return to it, not only to consolidate his position as a composer of extraordinary talent, but as a successful manager of men and music. Except it’s proven that he exalts men over God, the ex-Miliki man is justified to return to music, albeit with distinct modifications, to reflect his new pristine status.
So also can Onyeka (after politics), Igbokwe (after business), etc…because they have undeniable capacity to manage the sustenance of timeless music: the band. I end my case, for now. or

Emotional stress

ALL emotions have physical manifestations. Negative emotions such as anger, hatred, worry, anxiety, jealousy or even envy are corrosive and are capable of adversely affecting those who harbour them. Anyone desirous of living a good and productive life should be careful not to display or indulge them too often. Take worry for instance. It is simply a feeling of apprehension or fear. It gives some sort of uneasiness to the mind and affects whatever activity the individual engages in, as it tends to paralyse all rational thinking and logic.
Worry arises from many factors. Because of the enormous pressure and responsibilities many are grappling with, they become troubled and anxious. In this day of competition, people are under pressure from all sides — deadlines, bosses, family, societal expectations and personal desires among others.
The fallout from this is the poor state of health of many people globally. Many are suffering from all forms of stress-related clinical conditions such as insomnia, muscle tension, pain, headaches, digestive and cardiac problems and high blood pressure among others.
It can also affect them socially resulting in isolation, brooding, nervousness, frustration, lack of concentration, indecision and a general loss of control. This same emotional problem has been known to send some to premature death while turning some others to pill consumers. The worst stricken have ended up either in psychiatric hospitals or rehab homes.
Research has, however, shown that most worries are unfounded. Indeed, 92 per cent of what people worry about may never happen while nothing can be done about it if it is a past issue. Accordingly, only eight per cent of what surrounds us is worth thinking about.
Some of the recommended remedies for worry and anxiety are:

Changing how you think: An ancient philosopher, Epitetus said: “Men are not disturbed by the things that happen but their perception or opinion of things that happen.” So, if the source of worry is a mistake, it is better to just learn from it and not brood over it for long. Another philosopher, Santideva said: “For every problem under the sun, there is either a solution or there is none. If there is, look for it but if there isn’t then why worry about it?”

Controlling your emotion and situations: Become a problem-solver for worthwhile problems. Identify the things that tend to irritate or annoy you and learn to avoid or deal with them. It is equally beneficial to learn to be calm in all situations. If things go wrong, you don’t have to go wrong with them.

Living for today: As it is said, “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift and that’s why it is called present. Banish the past from memory particularly if it is distasteful, hurting or ugly. Learn to plan for everyday and if you are not able to meet certain targets, don’t be too hard on yourself, leave them for another day. Anxiety over the future robs today of its strength. Allow tomorrow solve its problem.

Re-adjust your schedule: Learn to relax at every given opportunity. People who worry a lot have problems relaxing. So, while waiting for a friend or a bus, calm your nerves by reading a good book or listening to soothing music. If you have difficulty in sleeping, take a footbath to clear the head and chest. Eating light before bed also helps a lot. Incorporating exercise into daily activities boosts the general sense of wellbeing.
All the above notwithstanding, learning to strike a balance in all things is very important. Wisely making provision for the future and striving for a full and interesting life can maintain emotional balance. Individuals must learn not to depend on anything or anyone for happiness. This is where the spiritual development of one’s life comes in. It takes special place in the scheme of things.

Ashoka… Tall And Majestic

A look around some gardens and major cities in the country will show that the Ashoka tree has found some space on the landscape. In the Lagos metropolis for example, Ashoka is the major streetscape tree being planted as part of the greening project of the state government. Major roads already have this tree lined along them.

Interestingly, some organisations across the world have adopted it as their means to freshness, coolness, and for its constancy, unwavering and, of course, majestic tallness.
Ashoka is native to India and Sri Lanka but it has been introduced in gardens in many tropical countries around the world. Its botanical name is Polyalthia longifolia and it is of the family of Annonaceae (sugar apple family).
This tall and elegant evergreen is also known as Indian Mast Tree. It grows to over 30 feet tall in a narrow columnar shape. Its glossy green, long, narrow leaves have attractive wavy edges that look very graceful with its downward-sweeping branches.
However, sometimes wide-spreading slender branches issue from the straight trunk and form a compact symmetrical crown. In fact, one might mistake it as a tree without branches, but in fact an Ashoka when allowed to grow naturally (without trimming the branches out for decorative reasons) grows into a normal large tree with plenty of shade.
There are some benefits of planting Ashoka tree. It is commonly planted due to its effectiveness in alleviating noise pollution.
It has a single taproot that goes down till it hits water. This means it can be planted in a small garden where there is not much space and one still wants to plant a tree; or in large compound. Also, it has no surface feeder roots and so will not constitute a barrier to free movement for pedestrians and can be grown near buildings or compound walls without it causing distress to buildings and other adjoining structures.
It can be grown as a hedge tree with spacing of four to six feet to make a virtual wall of greenery. Though it reaches a height of over 30 feet, it can be trimmed to a lower height, thus making it very versatile for privacy screening.

It s all about shirt n’jeans

STILL in his young age, Adebiyi Olusegun Michael is a photo artist of note. Born in the 70s, he attended Ross Cottage Primary School, Akoka and Doregos Private Academy, Ipaja for his primary and secondary education. He later moved to Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, where he studied Computer Science. He switched to photography, when he encountered the art, which he saw as a tool for immortalising moments, and the emotions they carry with them. The founder of Michael Adebiyi Photography shares his styles vision with DAMILOLA ADEKOYA.

Family Background: I’m the only guy out of four children. My mum is a retired banker, while my dad, was into business.

Definition of fashion: It is what you think looks good on you.

Style of dressing: Very casual — a shirt and a pair of jean. I’m not a too serious dresser!

Uniqueness of style: My creativity. It stands me out in almost everything that I do.

Favourite colour: I like blue. It looks pure and cool on me.

Favourite designers: Any design that looks good, I have no specific one, actually.

Stylish Icon(s): TY Bello, I just love her style.

Signature scent(s): I use Droope and I also like Givenchy, though I don’t use it.

Most cherished possession: The faith I have in God, is what I cherish so much.

Most expensive item: My camera; I value it a lot.

Food: I love plantain, nothing more.

Turn on: I like to be in a happy environment.

Turn off: Gloomy environment!

Happiest moment: Everyday is a happy day for me.

Most embarrassing moment: I can’t remember one.

Describe yourself in three words: Friendly, crazy and creative

What can you not be caught wearing?
Basically, no feminine stuffs for me!

Motivations: It’s just God in all generalisations.

Inspirations: I’m inspired when I see my self as part of someone’s inspirations.

If you were given an opportunity to change something in Nigeria, what would it be?
It’s the mindset of people; I’ll make them believe more in themselves.

Philosophy of life: In life, I believe there is greatness in every human beings, and in one way or the other, one could exhibit it.

Cupid on runway

RECENTLY, some Nigerian clothiers and designers came together for a show to unveil the latest trend. Tagged Cupid Fashion Fair, it was organised by Rukkies Boutique and Ethnic Models at the Colonades, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The fair started with an exhibition, which lasted for hours, later, a fashion show followed in the evening, where top boutique owners, make-up artistes, hair extension distributors and designers unveiled their 2010 trends.
Models appeared on the runway in Asian, western, African wears ranging from casual, corporate, formal, cocktail, evening, wedding, bridal and other outfits.
Kaftan, bou bou, one-shoulder, gypsy jeggings, leggings, tights, jeans, pieces skirt, flare, bustier, opaque tight, pantyhose, shirts, ball dress, patches skirt, animal print, bum short, sleeveless, halter neck, metallic, sequins, pants, saris, kurtis and salwar kameez were some of trends on display.
Created by fashion experts, Kurti has managed to find room for itself season after season. On the runway, it came in different styles, colour and fabric such as georgette, plain cotton, chiffon and khadi with embroidery, print with light sequin work and fine detailing.
The classic cover-up is staging a great comeback, especially in all manners of styles to become summer favourite.
From the show, it was obvious that kaftan will swamp the sarong and overpower the paroe to become the mainstay of every woman and man’s wardrobe.
Some of the models stepped out in lovely tree-like pattern, with embroidery, same as long- detailed necklines, well embellished with stones and sequins. The designers used African fabrics such as linen, adire, lace and guinea brocade. However, there were more emphasis on the neckline and the sleeve and the dress hemline.
Evening dress
Glamour is typically synonymous with a big night out, whether you are going to award ceremonies, galas, balls, fashion shows and other events. It’s also usually associated with an over-the-top aura accentuated by loud details, like sequins, fancy embellishments and bold colours.
In the runway was classy, trendy and mouth-watering evening dress coming in different styles, designs, lengths, sizes, fabrics and colours. They were very versatile, feminine, red carpet-worthy that can transform a woman’s look from simple to sensational.
The sari is a graceful traditional Indian outfit for women. It is known to define the beauty of a woman and brings out her grace, elegance and glamour.
Nigerian celebrities and fashionistas have over the years found love in Indian fashion and celebrities such as Bukky Wright, Omowunmi Akinifesi, and some others were spotted on the red carpet in eye-catching saris.
The fashion show also showcased trendy saris, sarees coming in a colourful, floral, dyed, printed, embroidered and plain. The one that caught the audience attentions was when the model rocked the stage in a lovely sarees worn with a long jeggings.

The Phenomenonal Miles Davis

TRUE, the phenomenon called Miles Davis is no longer physically with us. But his personality continues to loom prodigiously over every other in jazz history. Miles is perhaps the most influential and controversial artist in the history of the art form today.
Like Fela Anikulapo-Kuti of Nigeria with whom he has a lot in common, books have continued to be written about the multi-faceted dimensions of Miles Davis’ life, times and career by various writers who are all coming out with fresh perspectives, new revelations and exciting ideas about this extraordinary trumpet player and band leader. Miles Davis was a great showman who combined this aspect with his serious music in a bewildering manner.
When he began to combine visual arts with jazz in the ’80s, Miles looked flamboyantly weird, his hair style draping down behind him, a flowing top tightened stylishly against his slim frame. But the real showmanship was not visible. It was not physically demonstrated. It was observed and felt only in his mode of dressing and general attitude to the music; his behaviour on stage and outside of it; and his extraordinary ideas about the music and its future.
One night, during the summer of 1957, the wonderful but short-lived Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane, Wilbur Ware, and Philly Joe Jones was playing at New York’s Five Spot Café. Monk was an imposing figure, and a unique showman, but that night, only one person was watching him. A small, slim, graceful man, impeccably dressed in the continental style that was then a few years ahead of its time, leaned casually against the bar, smoking a cigarette and listening to the music that Monk was making with two of his former sidemen.
Everyone else in the audience — which was made up of collegians who, at the time probably did not know who he was — was busy watching Miles Davis watch Monk.

In acting classes, it is called “Presence.” In Hollywood, it is called “star quality.” The Madison Avenue expression is “projecting an image.” Whatever the term, Miles Davis had it.
Eventually, it became more appropriate to speak of Miles Davis as a showbusiness phenomenon than a musician. A percentage of his audience felt it had gotten full value for its money if Miles appeared in one of his famous suits.
The striking cover of one Columbia album shows Miles’ lovely wife, Frances, seated alone at a table. At the opposite side is Miles Davis, trenchcoat worn cape style, head bent to light a cigarette from the match held in his cupped hands. Photographed in black and white, it is strongly reminiscent of a still from the Humphred Bogart-Ingrid Bergman movie Casablanca (“Don’t go to the session tonight, Miles”).
The most photographed jazz musician in the world, Davis captured the imagination of a section of the public to which he appealed in much the same way Bogart did, or better still, Bogart’s successor, Frank Sinatra.

Davis once concluded an engagement at the Village Vanguard, the New York night club at which he most often appeared. At the Sunday afternoon performance held on the last day of his booking, the room was packed, and people stood along the walls. The girl singer who appeared first was no more than tolerated, reminding of the ballroom dancers and stand-up comics who, in other days, had the thankless task of filling out Sinatra’s stage shows at the Paramount. Ex-Davis sidemen Cannonball Adderley and Philly Joe Jones chatted in the dressing room.
The singer’s set finished and the lights went up, but no one left. From various parts of the room, the members of the group walked casually towards the bandstand. Davis suddenly materialised from a dark corner of the room where he had apparently been talking with the little son of his bassist, Paul Chambers.
Resplendent in a tight white suit and green sports shirt, he strolled to the piano and, cigarette in mouth, played a few chords.
A waiter handed him his trumpet. He stepped to the microphone, without any perceptible word to the other musicians, assumed the familiar introvert stance, horn pointed toward the floor, and began to play Some Day My Prince Will Come.
The tight sound that prompted British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan to refer to him as a musical lonely heart’s club was heard briefly (the cliche expression “filled the room” would be entirely inaccurate) and the audience applauded wildly. The applause had hardly subsided, when Davis left the stand.
Davis became famous for that sort of action.
When the Davis group played England, a writer complained that Davis himself was visible for no more than 15 minutes during the evening — “stage presence” describes what Miles had but not what he did. He was often not there, and when he was, he did not speak. Those hoping to hear Davis say, “And now, we’d like to play an old favourite of ours, featuring our bass player, Paul Chamber,” or something of the sort, would have a long wait. Even when Bill Evans replaced Red Garland on the piano chair, no explanation was made to an audience, which had been crazy about Garland and his block chords.
Davis gave reasons for his stage attitude — reasons which looked excellent on the face value: “I get off the stand during a set because I’m not playing,” explained Miles. “There’s nothing for me to do. It’s ridiculous for me to just stand there and make the other guys nervous, looking at them while they solo. And I don’t look at them, what’s the point of my standing up there and looking at the audience? They are not interested in me when somebody else is taking a solo. I don’t announce the numbers because I figure the people who come to hear us know everything we play. We have a new record about every three months, and they sell, so the audience must know what’s on them.”
The owner of the jazz club where Miles worked frequently had another reason: “Your jazz fan doesn’t care what the tune is.” And the manager continued by saying,” I think Miles is afraid of the audience.”
Psychoanalysing Miles Davis had, in certain circles, assured the status of a party game. It was likely that his unwillingness to remain on the stand would be construed as an act of courtesy, because, contrary to what he said, the audience would probably be interested in him to the detriment of the soloist, as if Marlon Brando was scratching his head in a corner while, center stage, a competent actor was vainly trying to arrest the attention of the audience with recitation.
It could also be argued that Miles Davis was, consciously or not, one of the great public relations men ever known. Audiences obviously loved his treatment of them, and returned for more. His fierce insistence on privacy was a challenge which many people felt they must break down. Many of them were young ladies, as might be expected. But there were others.

However, no matter what you think about Miles, his career was unique, even in its beginnings. To many young Negroes, music and sports used to represent the only ways to recognition and a decent amount of money (even though this myth has been broken with Obama as first Black President). Davis, who some qualified people thought could have been as good a boxer as he was a trumpet player, did not have that need, he was born in Alton, Illinois, on May 25, 1926. His father Miles II (trumpeter Miles Davis’ full name is Miles Dawey Davis III) was a successful dentist and dental surgeon. When the family moved to East St. Louis shortly after Miles’ birth, his father began to breed dogs, and the eventual worth of that venture was estimated at about a quarter of a million dollars.
Miles became a jazz musician almost under parental protest, a situation which was most likely to occur if the family was white. Some observers felt that parts of Davis’ public aspect stemmed from the fact that he could, if he wished, have retired whenever he chose without economic difficulty, or indeed, never had to start.
But he did start at a very early age. On his 13th birthday, he was given a trumpet by his father; and this was the beginning of a career that saw him to the top.
By the time he was 16, Miles was playing with a local band called the Blue Devils. Tiny Bradshaw came through town, and Sonny Stitt, who was playing tenor with the band, offered Miles a trumpet chair at “sixty whole dollars a week.”
As Davis later told the story in a taped interview conducted by Columbia Records publicity department, “I went home and asked my mother if I could go with them. She said no. I had to finish my last year of high school. I didn’t talk to her for two weeks. And I didn’t go with the band, either.”
But he got another chance, and this time, he took it. The Billy Eckstine band played St Louis and in it were two musicians who were to have a profound effect on Miles -- Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.
Miles eventually left Julliard where he was studying music -- to play with Parker, becoming his roommate. It was probably the most important association, musically and personally, that Miles ever had. Some still feel today that Miles’ public manner stemmed from the laying-on-of hands feeling he had while working with Parker.

Students resort to generator, after five days of darkness

By Kayode Bello
The students of the University of Ibadan residing in Mellanby and Tedder halls of residence have found a way around the epileptic supply of electricity and have resorted into using generator as an alternative electricity-generating device.
On Saturday morning, February 20, students took their mobile phones out, and proceeded to the point where generator could power their gadgets, in the hall. The initiative was courtesy executive members of Mellanby, under the chairmanship of Ige Babatunde, 400-level Law student, to alleviate the sufferings of the students.
Investigations revealed that the cause of the power failure, which is in its sixth day, has been the underground work going on at locations close to Tedder Hall.

UNN to enrol 500 students at New York Academy of Sciences

THE University of Nigeria, Nsukka has reached an agreement with the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) to enrol 500 postgraduate students of the university on the prestigious Science Alliance programme for Graduate and Post-doctoral students of the Academy, simply referred to as Science Alliance. This is major fallout from a recent visit by a delegation from the UNN, which was facilitated by the New York-based Nigeria Higher Education Foundation (NHEF).
A delegation from UNN comprising Dr. Bennett Nwanguma, a senior special assistant to the Vice Chancellor and two development officers, Dr. Nnaemeka Chukwuone and Dr. Ben Ogwo, were in New York recently to sign the agreement on behalf of the university, while the Director of Membership, David Smith, represented the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS). Others present at the signing ceremony were the Vice President, Dr. Ferdinand Ofodile and the Executive Director of the Nigeria Higher Education Foundation (NHEF), Ms Lorette Nixon.
The membership, which has a list price of $52 per member, offers free admission to discussion groups on diverse subject areas, career development resources, such as postdoctoral positions, over 300 e-briefings, reduced registration fees for the academy’s conferences, thousands of scientific articles in annals of the academy of science – the oldest scientific publication in America – and much more.
According to Dr Nwanguma, “an agreement of this nature, which guarantees access for our postgraduate students to current literature as well as an opportunity to interact with their colleagues in other parts of the world through membership of the discussion groups, is priceless.”
The development is in line with the vision of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barth Okolo, to internationalise learning standards at UNN.

ESTABLISHED nearly 200 years ago in 1817, the New York Academy of Sciences was founded in downtown Manhattan by a group of physicians favourable to the cultivation of Natural Science. The third-oldest scientific society in the United States, the Academy, has become not only a notable and enduring cultural institution in New York City, but also one of the most significant organizations in the international scientific community.
Throughout its history, the Academy’s membership has featured leaders in science, business, academia, and government, including U.S. Presidents Jefferson and Monroe, Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur, Charles Darwin, Margaret Mead, and Albert Einstein. Today, the NYAS President’s Council includes 26 Nobel laureates as well as CEOs, philanthropists, and leaders of national science funding agencies. The Academy numbers 24,000 members in 140 countries and 400,000 unique visitors access the NYAS Web site each month.

UNIUYO Law students get new exco

THERE may be hope for a successful electoral process and genuine democratic governance in Nigeria in no distance future. The recent election into Law Students Association (LAWSAN), Uniuyo chapter offices gave room for such feeling by observers, who witnessed the faculty’s election, described as ‘the freest and fairest’ on campus.
The build-up to the election was pulsating, as anxiety heightened on each passing day. Campaigns (especially by the three presidential aspirants) were usually carnival-like.
The façade of the faculty and environs were awashed with posters of all sizes and designs with the imposing lager than life pictures of the three presidential candidates (who were doing every legitimate thing they could to out-wit each other) being the cynosure of all eyes.
Momentum reached feverish point on manifesto day (election eve) with candidates displaying their oratory prowess, leaving the would-be electorate perplexed about who to give their mandate.
The turnout at the election was very impressive. Students from other faculties trooped in to witness firsthand the most anticipated event of the school year. It took more than eight hours for accreditation and voting to be concluded.
The LAWSAN electoral committee, led by Mrs. Alice Asukwo (a 400 level law student) had its hands full as they tried to ensure a hitch free exercise. Surely they got it right. Voting was concluded with the teeming crowd agitating for release of the results as dusk was fast approaching.
Result released saw Mr. Uwem Uko Umoh, emerging as LAWSAN president for the next academic session.
Observers were unanimous in acknowledging the credibility of the entire exercise.
“I wish Maurice Iwu were here to learn from you guys,” commented a medical student. “You have lived up to your reputation,” was the assessment by another observer. The newly elected executive was inaugurated on February 12.

RIVCOHSTECH: valentine dinner thrills staff, students

THE night of Sunday February 14, will remain a memorable one for staff and students of Rivers State College of Health Science and Technology (RIVCOHSTECH) as they were treated to a special dinner to mark the Lovers’ Day.
The dinner, held under the auspices of the Joint Christian Campus Fellowship (JCCF) and the Chapel of Reconciliation, the college’s non-denominational/interdenominational worship center, featured a drama sketch and symposium.
The drama sketch performed by the college’s theater arts group and the symposium, which had group discussions by the fellowship heads led by the President of the JCCF, Godstime Mordecai, focused on the origin of Valentine’s Day, its significance, how it is celebrated and its implications on the lives of young people today.
In his keynote, the college’s Chaplain, Pastor Pius Ugwem Jeremiah, urged the staff and students to appreciate and imbibe God’s kind of love, which according to him, “does not encourage immorality and youthful lusts,” but manifests “itself in rendering selfless service to others”.
Jeremiah, who is also Deputy Provost of the institution, noted “Nigeria will be a better place if people practised God’s kind of love.” He enjoined the students to “reflect on the virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our reference point on ideal love”.
Highlight of the event was the offering of special prayers for the management, staff and students of the institution and especially for the college Registrar, Mrs. Owanate Patricia Lawson, whose birthday coincided with the dinner.
Some students who spoke to Campus Life expressed joy at the programme, saying its essence, which is to educate and enlighten people on the real meaning of Valentine’s Day and disabuse their minds on the wrong ways of celebrating it, was fully captured.

Queen hands out awards to universities

UNIVERSITIES of innovation, excellence and world-leading research have been rewarded with prizes presented by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Among the winning projects were initiatives to train African teachers and develop workers for the oil and gas industry.
The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education recognise colleges and universities that have contributed to the intellectual, economic, cultural and social life of the United Kingdom. The ceremony took place in the palace’s lavish ballroom, which was attended by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Princess Royal, who is chancellor of London University, one of the winners.
Aberystwyth University’s institute of biological, environmental and rural sciences was recognised for being a world leader in plant breeding and genetics. It has developed varieties of grasses and crops, which give farmers a greater yield while also reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the process.
Institute director Wayne Powell said: “What we have been doing is providing the underpinning science and technology to provide new food varieties and doing this in a way that is going to mitigate climate change. My colleagues have been doing an amazing job producing new varieties.”
Another winning institution was the Open University, which has been working with African academics to train 200,000 teachers via the Internet. One teacher each from Kenya, Sudan, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria involved in the project attended the ceremony. Jenestar Wanjiru, 38, a Kenyan primary school teacher, said the project “is very useful because it gives us the teaching methodology, which we can use, in the classroom to great effect.”
Though he’s making his mark in journalism working as an entertainment reporter with The Sun newspapers for years and now with the National Life on the same beat, music making is another side of Tony Ogaga Erhariefe, which many do not know about. In fact, he actually started out a musical artist before delving into journalism. Today, Ogaga, as he’s fondly called in the entertainment industry, is gradually retracing his steps back to his first love, even as he remains a journalist.

OGAGA developed special interest in music at a very tender age after listening to the New Edition’s Candy Girl. For him, if the group, which was made up teenagers, could come up with that album, then he too can. Luckily, he had an elder brother, Ese, whom he describes as his greatest musical influence.
“Though he has no album to his credit, he always sang with me at home those days; I’ve always wanted to sing like him.”
Teaming up with the likes of Justice Atigogo, Yomi, Lilian and Ola in Festac Town, Lagos, Ogaga started Gold Feet, an Afro-Pop music group. Though they had the dreams of becoming recording stars someday, the group failed in its effort to come up with quality recordings.
After Gold Feet went into limbo, Ogaga hooked up with his elder brother, Eduvie (Lord Flash), who’s now a Dominican Priest, and they started another group, Fire and Fury, around early 90s.
“That was the age of the reel to reel recording; software was still a long way off then. We recorded tracks such as Boat of Love, When She Says No, Party Night, Are You Ready etc.”
The group later re-branded into Heart & Soul, with R&B singer, Steve Ferguson and Thompson Okonobi, popularly called Tommy Smart, joining. They spent long hours rehearsing their songs, but the dream was short lived as they all got admission into school and faced their individual academic pursuit.
Ogaga was at the University of Benin between 1992 and 1996, where he studied Linguistics, before heading for Nasarawa State for his National Youth Service. It was after his NYSC that it dawned on him that of all Heart & Souls members; he was the only one still willing to pursue the dream.
“It was heart breaking,” he frowns. “We did everything together, shared our dreams together, and they abandoned me halfway. I was particularly mad at my elder brother (Lord Flash); he’d always done everything for me.”

AFTER a brief stint with a group led by African Prince (Victor Iketubosun), Ogaga went solo again, with the aim of recording his works someday. As at that time, his elder brother had joined the seminary school.
“For a couple of years, I was just drifting. Then in 2001, I did my first R&B recording, Giant In U, at Strong Towers Studio. The job was produced by Joe Ojas, who later emerged Best Producer AMEN Awards 2002,” he recalls.
It was while working on his second track that Ogaga met Rabbi of the now defunct Def O Clan, who co produced his track Bandits in Uniform, alongside Remi. The track focused on corrupt security officials but the amateur video shot on camcorder by DXF, was equally controversial. “Within its first week on air, the song got to number 4 on Emma Ogosi’s MBI Top 10 Countdown. However, due to its controversial message, most TV and radio stations did not air it and it was later withdrawn from circulation.”
With his song out of circulation, Ogaga withdrew from music and joined The Sun newspapers in 2002 as a reporter, but later moved to National Life in 2007 as the Deputy Showbiz Editor.

AFTER a long break from music, the journalist/musician has completed work on his debut album, which he tentatively entitled Shakara. The 20 tracker Afro-pop work has songs such as Bandits In Uniform (remix), Giant In U, Party Tyme, Kiribumbum, Wahala De, Allah Na Gode, Ya Kpe Obaro, But Why, Baby Wuye, No Fear and others. Aside from Giant In U, which was produced by the duo of George Nathaniel and Forster Zeeno; Remi produced all other tracks, with Ogaga co-producing.
“For me, music is purely a passion; I’m not into it because I want to make money. I see music as a veritable tool of expressing my innermost feelings and ideology. Most of my songs are either motivational or touching on social issues. I use my music as a tool in preaching about the need to discover oneself and one’s potentials. I tried running away from music, but something keeps bringing me back. I’ve finally accepted my fate knowing that my future would not be complete unless as a singer.”
Meanwhile, The Down Syndrome Association of Nigeria (DSAN) has endorsed Tony Ogaga’a Giant In U as its theme song. In a letter addressed to the artiste signed by the group’s Media & Publicity Officer, Kanu Ahaoma, the group says, “we are glad to inform you that your song, Giant in U, has been adopted as the theme song for DSAN. We find the lyrics inspiring hence our decision to identify with it. Henceforth, the track would be performed at all DSAAN events both locally and internationally.”

His music is change

Though an upcoming artiste, Moses Paul, otherwise known as MO, could simply be described as a gospel singer with different flavour. He’s in love with soft rock, just as he’s attracted to hip-hop and other genres of music. In fact, he describes himself as unconventional.
With two albums to his credit, while work on the third is on going, MO prefers touching people’s lives, singing about love and life, rather than the usual songs about Jesus.
“About 20 to 25 years ago, gospel singing was only about Jesus, but we can actually sing about life, love, and giving; God is all of these. I’ve always believed that the gospel means good news, not only about Jesus.”
He continues: “If you sing about love and bring healing to homes, that’s good news. Whatever it is that can put smiles on people’s faces is good news. I’m a gospel artist not because I sing about Jesus but because I sing about love, life and change,” he says.
Mo’s unconventional view about gospel singing began during his days as a choirboy in church; he joined the group at 10, but later took over five years later. It was in the group that he learnt the basics of singing.
For sure, Mo didn’t like the usual way songs were rendered, so, he decided to change the style.
“I took over the choir and brought in people, who thought they could not sing because my idea of singing is different.”
Professionally, Mo started singing eight years ago when he released his first solo effort, Make A Difference, followed by Shakabula. The works are a fusion of soft rock, hip-hop, rap and dance hall.
For the third album, Be The Change, the gospel singer is working with some notable Nigerian artistes including the self-styled Area Fada.
“I’m working it at the moment and I’m bringing Charley Boy, Samsong and others on board. I opted for Charley Boy because I like his kind of person; he represents change. I’m for change, Jesus is about change.”
The geographer turned musician also has a dream for Nigeria.
“I want to see a N100 shop, where products will be sold for N100. I want to see people buying their houses at young age. I want to see corruption dead. I want to make a difference in the music world with quality and excellent works. I want to see Nigeria being able to use music as a tool to make a change.”



Blacktribe denies feud with Faze
Though it’s yet to get to the public domain, there are feelers that the long-standing relationship between the Kolomental crooner Faze and hip-hop group, Blacktribe, has gone sour.
This is not unconnected with a verse in one of the lyrics in the group’s (Blacktribe) new album, Addicted. The track, which is rumoured to be causing controversy in Festac Town -- where the acts reside -- is titled Wondale featuring 2Face Idibia.
In a bid to put things straight, Young Chief, a member of the Blackribe, has finally opened up on the matter.
“We don’t have any problem with Faze; the concept of the song is for everybody to dance and be happy. The verse that is currently causing this controversy is where I sang; “why you dey stand alone, abi your name na Faze? We don’t want any maga wey go dull the place!”
Asked why he described Faze in such context, Young Chief claims that, “Faze is reputed for doing his things alone, moreover, his first solo effort was titled Faze Alone, while the second one was titled Independent. So, since the lady in the video had decided to stand out from the crowd, I described her as Faze. With all due to respect to Faze,” he concludes.

Soforte partners Sony Music on distribution
Sony Music UK has entered into an agreement with a Nigerian automated distribution company, SoForte Entertainment Distribution. According to the terms, Sony has been authorised by the outfit, to make available whenever there is a demand for Nigeria music anywhere in the world.
The working relationship between the two outfits for international retail distribution was sealed few days back at the corporate office of Sony Music in the UK. The relationship covers international standard packaging for labels and artistes working with Soforte Distribution. Sony on its part would ensure product supply to its partner retail stores worldwide, as long as demands come from them.
According to Gbenga George, CEO of Soforte, this is the beginning of the dream Soforte has for the industry in line with its blueprint.
“Nigerians living abroad can go into any major or minor media retail store anywhere in the world to request for their favourite Nigerian artistes’ works from the stable of Soforte. The standard of works in Nigeria of today is of international quality, and that should reflect in the quality of our CD/DVD packaging.”
Meanwhile, the company plans to roll out an advance distribution technology system this year, which promises to take the industry to a whole new level. This involves the introduction of an automated CD/DVD vending machine, which is similar to the ATM machine. These machines would be deployed at strategic places around the country to make CD/DVD purchase easier for consumers. The good thing about the initiative is that it guarantees original CD/DVD, as well as royalty payment to artistes and labels.

Kingsley (KC-Presh) is engaged
It all started like a rumour, but it has finally been confirmed that Kingsley of the music group, KC-Presh, has finally engaged his new heartthrob, Cynthia Ijeoma Oduah.
Gist has it that the Sokoribob singer proposed to Ijeoma -- a former VJ with Nigezie -- earlier this month, while both lover were on a trip to Dubai.
“Ijeoma is the only one for me,” Kingsley confirmed when contacted.
It was later discovered that the musician actually planned the trip as a way of creating a special experience for his bride to be. He finally proposed while they were on a balloon ride, gliding across the Dubai skyline.
Ijeoma first said, “Its a lie!” Then few seconds latter, she responded, “yes!”
Both lovers had dinner together and latter lodged at the seven-star Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah. They have already completed their official family introduction, with a brand new car for Ijeoma as an engagement gift.

Lara George, Timi, Efe and Eric for Keep Moving launch
Lara George, Efe, Timi Dakolo and Eric of Idol West Africa, will be performing today at the official launch of Onos Bikawei’s debut album, Keep Moving.
Billed to hold at the Grand Ball Room, Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, the event, which will be anchored by the duo of Steve Onu (Yaw of Wazobia FM) and Mc Abbey, will open with a special red carpet reception/cocktail at 4pm, while the event proper starts at 5pm.
“I’m happy that at lat, we are coming up with album. But the most important thing is that the product is worth the efforts. I thank all the people that worked on this album and also my fans that have waited so long for this album to come. Keep Moving is finally here,” she said.
Meanwhile, some of the tracks in the album, such as Dance, are already on air in most radio and TV stations across the country.