- Private partnership, solution to Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit
Biola Lawal, the C.E.O. Ashton & Dave travels and holidays limited, a holiday and Logistics services organization, is a dyed-in-the-wool professional with experience of over 25 years traversing oil and gas, hospitality and tourism. His retail travel company, FlyBoku, was recently rated Best in Nigeria by the Institute of Export and International Trade, United Kingdom. The tourism enthusiast spoke to LANRE ODUKOYA about his professional endeavours, mega plans to curate the Happiest Place on the continent while addressing tourism deficits in Africa and how to turn unsung African treasures to goldmine
Congratulations for the honour done your company, FlyBoku, as the market leader (Best in Nigeria) by the Institute of Export and International Trade, United Kingdom, how does that feel?
Thank you. It feels good and we’re thankful to God. Ultimately, it’s about having a vison guided by global standard after spending 25 years in the US working for some of the best Fortune 500 Companies. These are mostly American and European companies, from Disney, Coca Cola, British Petroleum to Nike, Marriott, Delta Airline among others where I’d worked in different capacities.
In what capacities did you work with these companies?
The last job I did as an employee was as a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of an oil and gas company. Hospitality and tourism are a passion for me. I started my career in the United States working for Sky West Delta Airline which is a regional airline in the US before going for my master’s degree. I worked for Disney, a leading name in hospitality which is one of the drivers for me when talking about having Badagry as a tourism hub.
I think it’s important. I’d done management consultancy and what do you have there? You actually build strategies, review processes, create opportunities for companies to be better in what they’re doing and how they do it- it’s people, process and technology. It’s that technology that took me to SAP, a global technology company where I work in strategy and transformation unit, again working for some of the biggest companies in the world to help transform their companies in terms of strategy, process and technology.
So, I gathered a lot of experiences around the world. So, by way of background I came back to Nigeria to become the Chief Strategy Officer for Oando to help them drive a new strategy around a diversified oil and gas conglomerate, an indigenous one for Nigeria. And I think we did so great there. We listed in Nigeria and Johannesburg and we created a lot of value including moving upstream. I also helped to put technology across the operating entities.
There’s a technology called Oracle which is basic application and database that we used to streamline and make the company efficient. I was essentially both the Chief Strategy Officer and the Chief Information Officer for Oando for four years.
Before you left the shores of Nigeria for studies and work abroad, what was your earliest dream and what was the first course you studied?
I studied Economics and Finance at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State and I served in Makurdi, Benue State before I travelled out of the country. First, I spent a short period in Canada in Banking before I proceeded to California in the US, part of which I shared with you earlier when I talked about working with an airline.
From Economics and Finance you later found a fresh passion in travel and tourism, at what point did this additional vocation become part of your journey?
My mother is a princess from Badagry and it’s a tourism town. I lived with my grandmother until I was 10 years old before she passed away. So, if you go to Badagry you’d know it’s a hospitality and tourism place. So, tourism is in the blood and I wasn’t quite conscious of it when I was younger. When I got to the United States, in my first job with the Delta Skyways Airlines I got exposed to aviation and tourism there taking pictures and watching different exciting things. After that, MBA, I worked for Disney, a home of tourism and Disneyland is considered the World’s Happiest Place where families can go and experience fun. Here I’m talking of the original Disney where Disney actually started. Most people assume that Disney is all about what they see in Florida or Orlando, no, that’s the secondary Disney. The first Disneyland is in a place called Anaheim in California. It’s in an orange county.
Is it as large as the one in Florida?
It’s a bit smaller because that was the site where they started from. Disney World came from the concept that one man wanted to build the World’s Happiest Place and the whole pace was just a useless orange grove of trees and he went to conceptualise it and said, why can’t I build the world a happiest place about 70 years ago? Why can’t we build around a vision like that? So, I’m inspired by a great vision and much more that vision, I’m much more impressed by strategy and the ability to execute. In my case, when I worked for Disney, I left that industry and for like 15 years I worked for the oil and Gas industry.
I finished a pretty good career because I ended up as the CFO of the first Nigerian listed company on New York Stock Exchange, CAMAC which later became Erin Energy. I got it listed public as a CFO, I then came back to Nigeria. But because the passion for tourism has always been there, I wanted to continue with the passion, so we made some significant investment in FlyBoku.
The concept of FlyBoku is tourism and travel helping people to create an experience. If you want to go somewhere whether it’s domestic or international, let’s have a platform that can give you a reliable, accessible and affordable product that’s also fun. Mr. Boku is like the travel doctor that helps you do that, it’s a digital idea. So that’s the reason we created the slogan, “Mr. Boku will take you there and must bring you back.” The idea is if you have Expedia in the US and have OPODO in the UK, we should have something that cuts across sentiments, language and tribe. So, I wanted a Pan-African brand that we can develop give to the rest of the world. That’s what my vision is about.
Is FlyBoku a product from ASHTON and DAVE Travel and Hospitality Company?
That’s correct. Ashton and Dale was primarily to create an outsource travel and logistics company for corporate bodies. And we started that in 2007 and even while I was away in the US, the company was running here. We then saw over the last five years the impacts of technology and how it’s creating opportunities for individuals to be able to consume services. So, just as you’re able to buy physical things online, you have to be able to buy tourism and travel products. So, FlyBoku was then created as an offshoot of Ashton and Dave Travel and Hospitality Company. They’re separate companies but complementary in terms of offerings.
Fly- Boku is offering experiential travel and tourism. So, we have something called Discover Africa- I think Africa is under-explored in terms of tourism experience and if we don’t sell Africa who is going to sell it for us? We prefer to go to the US and the UK, it’s okay but we must be able to attract the rest of the world to see what we also have in Africa.
We cannot start waiting for a perfect time when everything is fixed to start. We must start looking at what is unique to us and we then curate and create tourism products unique to us in Africa around our culture, fashion, food, music and so on. We have some tourism assets already, let’s also create a physical infrastructure, our roads, airports, visa process must all work together to make it easier for people to want to come and experience Nigeria. I was in Kaduna recently, Nigeria is vastly blessed and many must know that so much is in Nigeria and it’s not just about Lagos. I went to a resort centre which had a stable of horses where you can actually go and enjoy what I call ‘staycation’.
You could have similar experiences you would get when you go to certain parts of the Caribbean. With the right services, if you want to ride a horse, use the pool, chalets are there and you could have similar experience but we create infrastructure to make it easy for people to get there and experience 5-star, 4-star service as you would find in any part of the world. We need partnerships to be able to achieve this because we cannot wait on the government to do everything. Government should focus on creating an enabling environment, security, basic infrastructure but let the private sector drive tourism products and assets.
How much of partnerships and consolidation have you done to ensure that the proposed multibil- lion dollar Badagry tourism centre comes to fruition and doesn’t end in paper works?
Well, those who know me know that we try to focus on execution. In other to execute, you must identify the key building blocks of what you’re trying to do particularly when you’re trying to do something big. I’d tell you we’re in the project planning phase with the partners and it’s premature to discuss a lot of details for obvious reasons. I’m an indigene of Lagos State from Badagry and I am very optimistic that we can create a cornerstone of tourism that not just Nigeria, but the West Coast of Africa and even beyond can come and enjoy as a tourism destination. We’re in very deep conversation with the partners already but the idea is also to ensure that the local community is part of the project early enough.
So, that was why we went to meet with the Akran of Badagry. That was a strategic movement to ensure that the communities have a stake in the project because tourism generates a lot of job, income and there’s multiplier effect. One of the things we’re trying to do there is to ensure there’s a cultural centre that will highlight the cultural history of Badagry but beyond, I’m not ready to divulge all in details but there’s a lot we’re working on with the partners on the table. The key thing is ensure that the support is there and in executing, there are no too many roadblocks on our way.
Are there legislations from the government likely to impede the success of the planned project?
Well, we will cross that bridge when we get there. We will approach the government in due course and tell them this is the project and this is what we need to get support. I don’t like condemning broadly the challenges we have in our society or the government agencies. Many times we have to focus on what the end goal is. When Walt Disney started Disneyland, he started with nothing. It was not about the government but about the conceptualization of ideas and he began to bring partners together. Financing partners, constructing partners, content partners and so on. I’ve worked in that environment and I’m very clear about what we need to do and who to attract to make this a successful project.
You’ve been privileged to have worked for different blue chip companies and you own your companies now. In all honesty, which is more financially rewarding between the salary-paying jobs and being an entrepreneur that you have become?
I started working for different companies and 25 years later I’m my own boss. I don’t think I can have all the experience I have to float my company and be doing well as I am today if I had not worked for some of the companies in Fortune 500, they’re of global standard you know. What is important is not all about how it rewards in monetary terms but how much fulfillment you find in giving wings to your own dreams. I’m very passionate about youths, I have a youth academy called Boku Academy where I train youths in the nexus of technology, travel and tourism. I try to make them self-employed, so I give them the infrastructure, computers and so on and make them work. So, they’re like their franchise of FlyBoku but they’re working for themselves.
Impart Artists Fair: Showcasing African art on global scale
Securing gallery representation could seem an arduous task for artists. While it is possible to do it alone, it is hard to understate the importance of a supportive, dedicated gallery. LASMARA has come to bridge the gap and much more with Impart Artists Fair.
The maiden edition which took place at Alpha One, Eko Atlantic, Lagos, spans the entire art circle with an elaborate ceremony.
The décor, sight and sounds during the opening at Eko Atlantic make everyone feel deeply with art, and the pool of artists from around Africa comprising Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cameroun, Ivory Coast, Sudan, and Ghana among many other African countries proved that art traverses globally.
“We want to really put African art on a global scale; we have to use the tools we have as Africans. Also, to be part of the global picture, the tool we have now is technology,” the founder of LASMARA, Hana Omilani, said.
She added: “What we plan is to go to different cities in Africa. We will be going to another city shortly, but we need to secure some of the logistics.
“The plan is to go to more cities in Africa, if we do it once a year it is not enough, some artists came even though the application has closed months ago, many came physically with their works. It is important we do it in Africa, Nigeria first, we can go somewhere else after telling our story first from here.”
Tagged ‘Art meets Tech’, the show indeed boasts of the latest technology. Many who could not be at the fair physically enjoyed live streaming from the fair ground. The fair has many interesting activities: workshop sessions, among others.
“We want people to see and experience art the way they have never done before; in a more relaxed atmosphere,” the enthusiastic Omilani who is from Eretria, East Africa, and married to a Yoruba, said.
She reiterated that with Impart Artists Fair, they want to play a positive and catalytic role in advancing the dynamism of the arts and culture scene in Africa through a series of engaging and technology-enabled programmes and events across Africa and beyond.
“We want to help artists who do not have an online presence to get on board, bring them out of the wood, assist them, make sure that the contract is in their best interest and that is what the fair is all about.
“And create a platform for democratising art across Africa by making art available to everyone and providing emerging artists with much needed exposure to local and international markets. If a gallery wants to sign an artist, that is fine.
“All they need do is to talk to us. We have more than hundreds. It is not just the galleries; it is also for institutions and museums.”
For the participating artists it was a dream come through. The works in the fair show painstaking efforts put in the realisation of the project, both in terms of selection. Haneefah Adam, a Nigerian self-taught multi-disciplinary artist who specialised in food art, proved her expertise with mind-blowing works. The artist explores issues related to identity, culture, and representation in the society. Her works include: Ewa Agoyin (medium, fried plantain, beans, red pepper, ugwu stalk, leaf), Abula.
Works by a Nigerian artist, painter, writer and photographer, Uche Edochie, were also on display at the fair.
His themes, characterised by the dominant human forms, emphasised the importance of personal conviction, capability and responsibility in reimagining and redesigning reality in an increasingly uncertain world. His pieces, ‘Adana/Pride of Blackness’, Acrylic on canvas; ‘Chaos and Calm’, Acrylic on canvas; and ‘Money, Power and Paranoia’, adore the wall of the fair venue.
From Sudan comes Omar Kamal. The artist who grew up in El-Gezira State in Sudan is fascinated by the local markets that took place every Friday, only having access to a pencil, he started sketching and his art journey began. Today, Kamal paints with acrylics, and he still finds the scenes of the market fascinating. His works in the fair dwell on culture and surroundings.
Also from Sudan is Hussein Mirghani. The artist came prepared. He believes representation art is the foundation of other art forms, and paints every day scenes in and around Sudan. He finds that watercolor paints best represent these scenes because it closely resembles how the human eye and mind sees the world.
Fitsum Berhe, born and raised in Addis Ababa and later Asmara, is an Eritrean artist living and working in Nairobi Kenya. He explores the authentic African portrait in this post-colonial, digitalised, interconnected and globalised era in Africa. His works include ‘Questioning Identity 1’, ‘Questioning Identity 3’, among others.
Imomoh Asemokha’s works are predominantly in the painting and print media where he uses colours to communicate several metaphorical allusions. His broad spectrum oeuvre spans across a number of thematic range which seems to be borne from a certain creative restiveness.
His is a path rooted purely and guarded by intuition, a path where he seems to constantly reinvent the self.
Other artists whose works were on display include: Joseph Obanubi, Ibe Ananaba, Ato Arinze, Barak Eleziolu, Kobina Nyarko, Mark Noina, Chukz Okonkwo, Rafat Omar, Abdelmgeid Afifi, Romeo Temwa, Victor Asowata, and Azuka Nnabuogor.
Busola Dakolo vows to appeal as court dismisses rape suit
Busola Dakolo, celebrity photographer and wife of musician, Timi Dakolo, has said she will appeal the ruling of Justice Oathman Musa of a High Court of the FCT at Bwari, Abuja which dismissed her rape suit against the senior pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo.
Ruling on Thursday, Justice Musa had said the matter amounted to injustice and an abuse of judicial process as the case was empty and purely sentimental, adding that the suit was aimed more at cruelty than obtaining justice. The court also awarded costs of N1 million against Busola while noting that the fine should have been 10 times higher because the court’s time was wasted.
However, in a statement by her lawyers, Mrs Dakolo, wife of singer, Timi Dakolo, said she would appeal to a higher court.
“The court ruled that the matter is statute-barred because the events that crystallised to the cause of action took place 16 years ago and that the claimant Mrs. Busola Dakolo has only six years within which to seek redress in court in line with the statute of limitation,” the statement said.
“We are mindful of the decision as delivered by the court, presided over by the Hon. Justice A.O Musa. We are equally observant of the fact that the Court omitted to address the cause of action, the subject matter of the suit in determining whether it has jurisdiction to entertain the said matter.
“While we acknowledge the time of the court, we know in accordance with the Nigerian judicial system that the Court’s decision is not final as it is glaringly contestable.
“For all intent and purposes, having seen several sponsored misleading news reports in the media, we are duty-bound to state that the court has not and did not exonerate Biodun Fatoyinbo. As it stands, the substance of the matter has not received any judicial attention.
“Biodun Fatoyinbo through his lawyers have only argued that the court should not allow the matter to proceed to trial because it is an event that occurred long ago and hence out of time.
“We shall therefore in this circumstance approach a superior court to intervene for a better appreciation, and take a more expansive view of the suit considering that the subject matter is one that is novel in our clime,” the statement reads.
The ruling came after Fatoyinbo filed an objection and an affidavit at the court and demanded N50 million as damages, saying that Busola’s statements were false and concocted to embarrass, scandalise, and ridicule him.
He argued that from the inception, she sought the attention of the media and press, and brought the civil action even while police investigation was ongoing.
Busola had in an interview in June accused Fatoyinbo of raping her while she was a teenager in Ilorin, Kwara State. Following outrage on social media and protests over the allegation, Fatoyinbo took a break from the pulpit but returned later.
AKA demands apology from Burna Boy ahead of show in South Africa
South African rapper, AKA, wants Burna Boy to apologise to him before he visits South Africa for his forthcoming grand performance.
This is another indication that the lingering rift between the duo is yet to wane.
The South African rapper took to his Twitter page on Wednesday, where he posted a series of tweets. He demanded that Burna Boy apologises for the statement he made a few months ago during the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
“Ek se …@burnaboy all we want is an apology. We know is not perfect. But we took you in as our own before you reached these levels. You say you are an AFRICAN GIANT, prove it. Leadership. I am willing to swallow my pride and put an end to this division. @burnaboy Are you?” he tweeted.
It didn’t end there as AKA went on to respond to a tweet from a follower who tweeted about Burna Boy attacking AKA.
“He’s so petty! @burnaboy go still knack am something!”, the follower tweeted. Then AKA replied with a tweet that should give Burna Boy a reason to re-evaluate his trip to South Africa.
“This is not a joke. Mina, I still want to go perform in Lagos and make it back safely to my family. Don’t you want the same for him?” he tweeted.
D’Banj, ex-manager, Bankulli in messy fight
Nigerian producer, artiste manager, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Bankulli, visited Pulse Nigeria for an hour-long chat about his career, his come-up, his career as a manager and connector.
Bankulli is known to have worked with Beyonce and Jay Z. He has writing credits on Watch The Throne, Jay Z’s collaboration with buddy, Kanye West. He also wrote and performed on Beyonce’s album, The Lion King: The Gift. About a year ago, his recording of Kanye West dancing to ‘Immediately’ by Mystro went viral on social media.
During his visit to Pulse, Bankulli narrated how D’Banj met Kanye West at an airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Then, he was D’Banj’s manager. But when Pulse posted that cut of Bankulli’s narration on Instagram, D’Banj responded. D’Banj in his response said Bankulli was economical with the truth.
But Bankulli has fired back at D’Banj. He also blasted the Nigerian singer. First, he responded to D’Banj’s comment on Pulse Nigeria’s Instagram page. He writes, “Hmmm… I was thinking what truth you are looking for at this stage of your life. Keep your energy for your career and loved ones as you shall find the truth and the truth shall set you free. Be safe son.”
Then a few hours later, Bankulli blasted D’Banj on his Instagram page @Bankulli. His words read: “Doing Drugs will not help you but worsen your case ( I heard about White powder ) a shining prospect and you use your bad character to bloat all away. Hmmm… It is never too late to go and seek truthfully the forgiveness and truth you seek …look inward, change your lifestyle, stop lying to yourself that all is well but go back to the source so that all can be well with you. You have done so much evil to many people that we both know and today I speak for them all. Cc @iambangalee ( Dbanj Aka The Kokomaster alias kokomycine… *Drops mic*”
You may recall that, in June 2016, Bankulli made an appearance on Loose Talk Podcast and discussed working with Jay Z, Kanye West, Seyi Sodimu and D’Banj. During the episode, he gave further details of how D’Banj met Kanye West with no difference.
Living in Bondage: Breaking Free sets records with N25m in first weekend
In the recent ranking released by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN), Living in Bondage: Breaking Free has emerged top of the country’s box office after raking in over N25 million in its first weekend.
The newly-released Nollywood movie starring Ramsey Nouah, Kennth Okonkwo, Kanayo. O. Kanayo, Nancy Isime, among others, is ahead of Terminator: Dark Fate in terms of earnings as the 2019 American science fiction action film raked in N12.6 million.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil grossed N8.2 million to rank third on the chart while Gemini Man and Joker secured N2.4 million and N2.1 million respectively to round up the top five.
The ranking means Living in Bondage: Breaking Free has set a new record for biggest opening weekend. The record was hitherto held by The Bling Lagosian which ammased N23.4 million to become the biggest opening for a Nollywood film earlier in 2019.
It is also the highest opening for a non-comedy film, a record formerly held by Kemi Adetiba’s 2018 hit movie, King of Boys.
“We are already breaking records and rewriting history – Highest opening weekend Nollywood for 2019. – Highest opening for a non-comedy film. – Highest single day for a Nollywood Film in 2019. – Highest public holiday total for a Nollywood film in 2019. Thank you Africa,” producers of the movie wrote in reaction to the feat.
It listed its records in a Twitter post as: “Highest opening weekend Nollywood for 2019.
– Highest opening for a non-comedy film.
– Highest single day for a Nollywood Film in 2019.
– Highest public holiday total for a Nollywood film in 2019.
Nathaniel Bassey, Tope Alabi, others prep as ‘Unusual Praise’ features Entrepreneurship Scheme
The 2019 edition of the annual mega gospel event, Praise Unusual, will be held at The Periwinkle Estate, Freedom Way, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. The mega outdoor praise session is themed, ‘Declare The Glory Of The Lord Among Nations’. The event which is targeted at Nigerians across all tribes and faiths, will be held at 5pm on Friday, November 29, 2019. Some of the gospel singers expected to grace the show and share the session with congregants are: Nathaniel Bassey, Panam Percy Paul, Chioma Jesus, Tope Alabi, Big Bolaji and BJ Sax among notable other great performers.
The star-studded event is staged by The Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki Phase One, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 1004, Victoria Island and The Catholic Church of Assumption, Falomo, Ikoyi.
The organisers of the show have upped this year’s outing with an empowerment scheme to lift men and women battling with austere times by introducing a more rewarding entrepreneurship programme alongside the mega praise session. They therefore seek partnership from
The Unusual Entrepreneur Entrepreneurship Programme, Lagos Foremost Church-based Entrepreneurship Programme, is set to empower 250 ‘smart’ men and women members of the church from the entire Archdiocese of Lagos. These entrepreneurs will be awarded with prizes ranging from N50,000 to N1,000,000 per person. Apart from the money, they will also be provided with mentorship, business training and other critical support they require to succeed long term.
Launched in 2018, the vision of the Unusual Entrepreneur is to be the pre-eminent faith-based entrepreneurship programme in Nigeria that unlocks the obstacles Nigerian entrepreneurs face as they grow their start-ups by equipping them with the necessary skills, support, training, mentorship and funding to build strong and sustainable businesses, which will scale over time.
This year, The Unusual Entrepreneurship Programme has entered into a strategic partnership with Ecobank Nigeria to provide all banking support and funding to the selected entrepreneurs in the 2019 cohort. Announcing the partnership in Lagos, Mr Valentine Ozigbo, Chairman of the Unusual Entrepreneur, said that, to be eligible for the programme, applicants must meet the following criteria;
Business must be a Nigerian or legal resident in Nigeria (Lagos), business must be for-profit, applicants must be willing to attend all training and mentoring exercises organised by the programme and all applicants must be at least 18 years old.
Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Oritsefemi, others storm DJ Neptune’s Lagos gig
Imohiosen Patrick, better known as DJ Neptune, has ended this year in a grand style with his concert, Sounds of Neptune, held last Saturday at Muri Okuntola Park, Victoria Island, Lagos.
For the concert, which attracted big names such as Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Oritsefemi, Jimmy Jatt, Neptune gave a good account of himself despite being his first major concert.
Speaking with journalists after the show, the popular DJ admitted that it wasn’t easy to set up the show as he wanted to give people a different experience. He said: “Being my first concert, a lot went into it in terms putting things together. I was so happy with the outcome and the venue was full. There has been pressure to do this over the years but I like to take my time when I am doing things because I want to get things right. Even for my album, ‘Greatness,’ I didn’t heed to pressure; I dropped it when I felt it was necessary and everyone saw the outcome. I believe in doing things at the right time.”
Neptune said he deliberately shunned popular Lagos concert venues such as Eko Hotel & Suites and Federal Palace because he wanted people to have an undiluted experience. He added: “I saw Muri Okunola Park as the right venue for fun. I had the option of using the Balmoral Hall, Federal Palace Hotel, but I still settled for the outside ambience. We should not always think that an enclosed environment is the only place people can have fun. Everyone who came out to support me had fun. There was a lot to eat and drink, and there were amazing performances too.”
Admitting that there were fears he nursed before the event, he said it was normal for humans. He said: “No doubt, there were concerns till the day of the show. I was afraid of the weather too because I knew rain could make things hard for me. People were worried for me but I put everything in God’s hands and it turned out to be exactly what I wanted. I thank all artistes who came out for me – Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Dr. Sid, Jimmy Jatt, Skibbi, Oriste Femi, Slimcase, Reekado Banks, Pepenazi, Broda Shaggi and a host of others. I have been there for many of them; so, I guess it was time for them to pay me back.
“For four weeks, I have not slept well. I was literally sleeping with my laptop beside me. I would wake up in the middle of the night exchanging emails, doing researches for my show. Sounds of Neptune is here to stay and it will be an annual event. I will take it outside Lagos next year and we could also do London next year too. There will also be campus tours, pool parties and houses parties.”
Africa’s first teen channel for December 1 launch
Never before has this been done and in the history of broadcasting in Africa, the first indigenous television channel for Teenagers in Africa launches on December 1st in Lagos.
“Teen Africa TV is a new and exciting niche television channel poised to be the FIRST platform for Teenagers in the African Broadcast Space, running for 24 hours daily across African countries and targeting first line audiences of pre-teens, teenagers aged 13 to 19 and second base young adults and the family. Our programming has the best of original content in genres of talk shows, lifestyle, educational, entertainment and events.
“We are creating the biggest content library and resource for teenagers across Africa and we have the best of ORIGINAL content on the channel. TATV will also be online and our projections in the next two years is to launch in the United Kingdom on the B SKY B Bouquet, giving the Diaspora African Teens a taste of the pulsating values and creativity of the African Youth Experience. There’s nothing like this and we are building the biggest visual ecosystem of teens and young adults in Africa,” its founder/CEO, Charles Novia, stated.
On December 1st 2019, in a spectacular ceremony which has been tagged ‘The Biggest Teen Party in Africa’, TATV will have its official launch which will be attended by teens from across the country at the Balmoral Events Hall, Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos. The event will be transmitted live on terrestrial and satellite television and also streamed live online and already has teenagers excited at the thought of their own indigenous channel coming out soon.
Afterwards, the station will be on DSTV and Gotv and also online streaming platforms and is seen as the next big revolution in Nigeria’s media history.
Fans hail Teni, Frank Edoho for new ‘Billionaire’ video
Fans have continued to praise singer Teni Akpata and veteran television host, Frank Edoho for the newly released video for ‘Billionaire’.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the video, which was released on Thursday, quickly garnered positive response as fans described the concept as nostalgic.
Starring cameos from comedian, Broda Shaggi, ‘Billionaire’ video is a parody of defunct hit television show, ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’.
Appearing as ‘Who Wants to Be a Billionaire’ in the video, Edoho returned to host, reining in his legendary hosting skills and the suspense he earned the limelight with.
In the video, Teni sits as a contestant, playing to win one billion while her song plays in the background.
Set in the 90s, the TG Omori-directed flick also featured actress, Tina Mba and a host of extras who played Teni’s support club and cheering as she won.
Since the video’s premiere, fans have taken to social media to commend the return of Edoho to host as parody of his hit show as well as Broda Shaggi’s hilarious take on the winning question.
@Ugbedeojo wrote: “Teni’s ‘Billionaire’ video is so nice. I love the part where Frank Edoho hosted ‘Who Wants to Be a Billionaire.”
@HeroNation tweeted: “The video is my video of the year. Thank you for this song. Great video concept and thanks for bringing back the good old days memories of Frank Edoho.”
@Omotola said: “Mad concept. Broda Shaggi was crazy as usual and thanks for bringing back the boss, Frank Edoho. The best always remains the best.”
@Zinnivibes wrote: “The concept is mad. Using one of our best all time television shows as the setting required a lot of creativity. Nice one.”
Why I haven’t produced any movie in five years, by Kelani
Veteran filmmaker, storyteller, director, cinematographer and photographer, Mr. Tunde Kelani, in this interview with TONY OKUYEME, shares his thought on the movie industry, the need for a vibrant reading culture and other issues
Last Sunday at LABAF, you observed that the Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood, started on a shaky note due to poor reading culture, and that there is need for filmmakers to read… Can you explain further on that?
I just want to encourage young people to cultivate the habit of reading primarily for pleasure. Comparing my own of formation, during my primary school at Oke-Ona United Primary School in Abeokuta, we had a library. And at that time private schools were not that common, it was just a public school, but we had a library. My friend, Dr. Gbolade Oshinowo, who was a Special Adviser to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo on Political Matters, was the librarian then. And between us, we just read everything. That was how I encountered the literary triangle of J. F. Odunjo Odelana and D. O. Fagunwa. I must have read all the five books of D.O. Fagunwa at that time because when I arrived from Lagos to the family compound, my grand-father, and, in fact, everybody in the compound was telling the story. But barely three or four years after I started my primary school, I read D. O. Fagunwa’s books then. I read Igbo Olodumare, Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole; these were the two that really fascinated me. But I finally read all the five books. I felt these materials are not accessible to the young people, but I am happy that Prof. Femi Osofisan has actually adapted them as plays in English language. At least, they can start from there. D. O. Fagunwa prepared us for the future because there is a lot of sermonising; there is the concept of grooming people to be of good character, to be ‘Omoluwabi’.
So, I would go to anywhere that I find a group of young people either in schools or programmes to encourage them to read. In fact, a school called me recently and told me that some students want to come for an excursion and they usually would come to meet me in Abeokuta, and for an hour or two hours I can read and they can read, and so on.
That is the kind of thing that concerns me, and that is probably why I have done more adaptations than any filmmaker in Nigeria, or, perhaps, in Africa. Most of the films that I have done are adapted from books. It is an opportunity for me to celebrate the authors, who I really admired. They were geniuses; they have done so much to fuel my imagination which I continuously put on screen. Out of the three movies that I want to do now, two of them are adapted from books; only one of them is fiction based on historical account of the protagonist.
So, what is the way forward?
When I look at the movie industry in Nigeria, and in fact, African cinema, I think the next level is to begin to make meaningful films, to begin to look at films that entertain and impact the society, social-political awareness. We have thousands of literary materials that we can work on. We should begin to look inwards, tell our own authentic stories and not follow Hollywood blindly.
When I was in secondary school we read everything we came in contact with. I noticed that there is a lot of distraction now, with social media, the new technology, many children want to play games rather than read. So, what I did in the case of my children is that I forbid games on our computers, so they can’t play games ion their systems; they can’t even watch television until 5pm; and they can’t change the channel unless they come and take permission from adults. Somehow we must lure young people into reading. That is what I am doing.
So, reading is very imperative for filmmakers…
I thought it was obvious that filmmakers should naturally see that connection between the superior art forms, which starts with the literary, then design, then music, and then from there to movies. We need to produce films that are richer in themes, than just making films about mundane things. I think it is a waste of recourse.
Where do you see Nollywood in the next five years?
We are living in a very fast-paced technology world. Five years is a lifetime. If you can dream it; if you can imagine it; then it can be done. So five years is a long time, so, in the next five years Nollywood or whatever we would call it, would be clearly established as a big player in global cinema.
What is your advice for the young ones on how to get better?
They need to read, learn. How do you expect people who are not developed yet to start making films? What kind of story would they tell if they don’t read? We were lucky we didn’t start like that. You start education in your own language and culture, and gradually add English, and gradually ease into every comparative literature from other places and so on. And then you are interested in your community, in your environment. I combed the nearby streams, rivers and the forests as part of development. I followed the Osogbo artists; I followed musicians and so on. That is part of building, getting ready to do something. So, I think young people should really be interested in something. I followed Fela Anikulapo Kuti. I got inspiration from all our creative uncles throughout television days and so on. These are experiences. So, young people should treasure their experience, look into the community, and then learn how to express themselves in images. That is the way I think that they should go.
When I was in primary school every end of the year each class must produce a play. You must take part in drama; you must join the literary and debating society. So, I think teachers, particularly, should involve children more in these creative activities and not just read to pass exams.
What has been your greatest challenge as a filmmaker?
The greatest challenge primarily is funding. Also the environment itself, I don’t think it is easy to make film in a country that cannot produce electricity. That is what has fueled piracy because there is no platform commercially to make the industry sustainable at the moment. So, Nigeria has to invest in those things. We have to invest in broadband internet access. They talk about streaming; the market for streaming is actually not in Nigeria. You cannot worry about electricity, and then use mobile data to watch films. It is too expensive. So, the streaming at the moment, for me, is for the diaspora. Most of us filmmakers, we are not working as we should. I have not released any movie in the last four or five years.
I haven’t recovered from the piracy of all my works. I have lost the business; I have lost everything. Everything I have done has been pirated. I have not recovered from it, but I am not giving up, I want to go on, but look at the options, and then look at how truly it can be sustainable. The infrastructure in Nigeria is underdeveloped. Altogether, maybe, we can boast of 200 screens; the USA has 40,000 screens; India has more than 13,000. So we have barely started, we still have a long way to go.
Any plan to into politics?
I can’t. It is not possible for me because I decided long time ago to stay with the arts. Politics is for people who like it, who understand it. I don’t. What I do is to use the medium of film, cinema to address or to share my cultural experience. Everybody knows what I do. I am into language, culture, history. There is a lot that I haven’t done that I have to do before I die. But, certainly it is not politics.
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