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WSICE rolls out the drums for 10th anniversary, Soyinka at 85

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WSICE rolls out the drums for 10th anniversary, Soyinka at 85

 

Ahead of the 85th birthday of Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka on July 13, the programme directorate of the Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange, WSICE, has scheduled Friday July 12 -Monday July 15 for the celebration of the literary icon; and as well to mark a decade of consistent programming, which has featured over 10,000 secondary students and more than 200 local and international  resource persons, who have served as either speakers, artistes, mentors to the students and youths among others.   

 

 

The WSICE, which staged its maiden edition in July 2010 – to mark the 76th birthday anniversary of Prof. Soyinka, is a prime project of the OpenDoor Series, anchored around Soyinka’s humanist principles as enunciated in his body of works and his consistent patriotic engagement with the socio-political and cultural affairs of Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.

 

Remarkably, the 2019 edition will also mark a grand return of the OpenDoorSe-ries/WSICE to Lagos, where its maiden edition was staged, then at the MUSON Centre. Also, as was the design at its birth, the Project will extend its programming beyond its traditional base in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

 

 

While the mostly students/youth-focused programmes like Essay Writing, Workshop, Youth Creative Expressions (Do Your Own Thing, DYOT) etc. would still take place in Abeokuta, Ogun State, which had served as traditional base of the programme in the past eight years; the mentoring session will hold in Akure, Ondo State. The adult session – Advocacy session, drama, dance and poetry performances, film screening, book presentations etc. would hold at the Freedom Park in Lagos.

 

 

“July 2019 is, indeed, a landmark for the WSICE project primarily motivated by the life and career of the quintessential artiste – dramatist, poet, theatre director, teacher, culture scholar and public intellectual. Clocking 85 is as well a milestone in the life of the illustrious son of Africa; distinguished father of Nigerian and African arts and cultural heritage, who is also an iconic global citizen.”

 

 

The Co-Executive Producer of the WSICE, Teju Kareem, stated, “The OpenDoorSeries/WSICE is not to be misconstrued as a mere celebration of Wole Soyinka’s date of birth — the man is not, in anyway, really interested in such vanities as staging a party to celebrate his yearly birthday — but the project is designed to celebrate the quintessential artiste as an eminent promoter of the good of humanity.

 

And especially to set his exemplary philosophies and visionary ideals as promoted in his works and lifestyle as veritable examples for peoples across race, gender, age, religious and political persuasions, especially the young ones, who need models they can relate to.”

 

 

Kareem further stated: “The resolve to take the 10th anniversary celebration to the Freedom Park, which remains the topmost hub for artistic productions and creative expressions in the country, is partly in recognition of Wole Soyinka’s status as the patron saint of the Park, and of creativity in Nigeria and Africa.” The renowned theatre designer, scenographer, and chief executive officer of the popular production outfit, ZMirage Multimedia Company, promised that the 2019 edition of the annual programme, will unveil the future characteristics and direction of the project, which he co-founded with the theatre director, Professor Segun Ojewuyi, of the United States-based GlobalNewHaven.

 

 

According to the programme outline, activities for the celebration begins on Friday, July 12, with an advocacy session – exploring Soyinka’s body of works to reflect on the concepts of Rights, Honour, Respect, Patriotism, Tolerance & Humanism. It will hold in the Kongi’s Harvest Art Gallery, Freedom Park. Same day in the afternoon, there will be formal presentations of books: “Memo on our Future: Essays by Nigerian Children as inspired by Wole Soyinka’s Visions” — a compilation of winning essays by past winners of the annual WSICE essays competition; “Igho goes to School”, a children book by the culture journalist, Anote Ajeluorou, which reprint has been facilitated by the WSICE — to be distributed to about 1000 students across the country; Introduction of The Soyinka Impulse: Essays on Wole Soyinka (ed. Duro Oni and Bisi Adigun; published by Bookcraft Publishing) – a collection of presentations by various scholars during an international conference held on occasion of the 80th birthday anniversary celebration of Soyinka five years ago.

 

 

Also slated to hold on Friday include Children/Youths Programme — presentation of Childe Internationale by Creative Majesty theatre company. Venue is the Kongi Harvest’s Art Gallery/Amphitheatre; Projection Theatre — held in collaboration with the American interdisciplinary artist and activist based in Los Angeles, California, Rebecca Jackson-Moeser; and Musical and Poetry session, featuring a coterie of performers at the Food Court, Freedom Park.

 

Scheduled to hold on Saturday, July 13, include essay writing competition at Ijegba, Abeokuta, featuring 85 students from various schools around Nigeria, preselected to (as has been the tradition since inception of the OpenDoorSeries/WSICE) symbolically signpost the 85th birthday anniversary will participate in the essay competition.

 

There is Do Your Own Thing & Sightseeing ((Ijegba)  &Abeokuta city), where the 85 student-finalists are given an opportunity to exhibit their innate talents through other mini competitions like Spelling Bee, Dancing Competition, fashion Parade, Debates and cul-tural exhibitions. Theatre enthusiasts will feted to the stage presentation of Soyinka’s play Childe Internationale by Creative Majesty in collaboration with Park Theatre, AmphiTheatre, at Freedom Park.

 

On Sunday, July 14, it will be time for ‘One on One with WS’ and announcement of Results – (Ijegba, Abeokuta). Also, the 85 finalists will be hosted by Professor Soyinka at his Ijegba Residence, where they engage him in conversations, and draw from his fountain of wisdom, and knowledge. Announcement of the winners of the Essay competition will made at the event.

 

Highpoint of the celebration include the stage presentation of Death & the King’s Horseman, by Live Theatre Lagos in collaboration with Park-Theatre.

 

And on Monday, July 15, the celebration heads to Akure, the Ondo State capital, for Mentorship programme, where the first lady of Ondo State, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, founder of the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria, will mentor the 85 students alongside other 500 senior secondary school students’ from Ondo State on the project theme; and presentation of WSICE @ 10 books: Memo to our Future…& Igho Goes to the Farm, as well as the formal presentation of “The Soyinka Impulse: Essays on Wole Soyinka (ed. Duro Oni and Bisi Adigun; published by Bookcraft Publishing).

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‘The Lion King’ rules box office

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‘The Lion King’ rules box office

Disney’s “The Lion King” blew past industry expectations with a huge box office opening over the weekend.

The film, which is a reboot of the studio’s 1994 animated classic, has made an estimated $531 million worldwide in 10 days of release. That includes an estimated $185 million opening this weekend in North America. Analysts had projected that the film would make around $150 million for its domestic opening.

“The Lion King” also made $98 million in China — the world’s second largest movie market.

Directed by Jon Favreau, “The Lion King” has an all-star cast that includes Beyoncé, Donald Glover, John Oliver and Seth Rogen all lending their voice work to the film.

The film is the 9th highest-grossing opening ever, the biggest opening for the month of July and for a PG-rated film. “The Lion King” was also the second highest-grossing opening of the year behind “Avengers: Endgame,” which this weekend passed ‘Avatar’ as the biggest box-office blockbuster ever.

“The Lion King” is another huge hit for Disney. The company has dominated the 2019 box office and now owns five of the top ten highest-grossing films of the year.

“‘The Lion King’ had a perfect release date, great marketing and above all boasts iconic characters that have resonated with audiences around the world for over two decades,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, told CNN Business.

The film brings to life the animals of Pride Rock using photo realistic visual effects. It won the weekend despite bad reviews — the film has a 55% score on review site Rotten Tomatoes.

Audiences were more favourable. “The Lion King” garnered an “A” CinemaScore from moviegoers.

“The Lion King” gave a much needed boost to the domestic box office, which has been struggling so far this year. The 2019 North American box office was down roughly 9% heading into Friday. Because of “The Lion King,” this weekend’s box office totals were up roughly 51% compared to the same weekend last year, according to Comscore.

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Police: Why we invited Dakolo, wife

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Police: Why we invited Dakolo, wife

The Force Headquarters has confirmed an invitation to gospel singer, Timi Dakolo, and wife, Bisola, for possible interrogation.

Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, while confirming the invitation, said it was consequent upon an ongoing investigation.

It will be recalled that Bisola had, in an interview sometime last month, accused the senior pastor of the Commowealth Of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo, of rape.

The allegation had attracted protests in Abuja and Lagos, leading to the stepping aside of the embattled pastor.

Mba said: “The Nigeria Police Force is confirming that its operatives today (Saturday) 20th July, 2019 served official Invitation Letters on Bisola and Timi Dakolo.

“The invitation is sequel to an on-going police investigation touching on the wider and highly publicized case involving Bisola Dakolo, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo and others.”

According to him, a letter of invitation was different from warrant of arrest, adding that the move was aimed at obtaining information from the couple.

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Police: Why we invited Dakolo,wife

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Police: Why we invited Dakolo,wife

The Force Headquarters has confirmed an invitation to gospel singer, Timi Dakolo, and wife, Bisola, for possible interrogation.

 

Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, while confirming the invitation, said it was consequent upon an ongoing investigation.

 

It will be recalled that Bisola had, in an interview sometime last month, accused the senior pastor of the Commowealth Of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo, of rape.

 

The allegation had attracted protests in Abuja and Lagos, leading to the stepping aside of the embattled pastor.

 

Mba said: “The Nigeria Police Force is confirming that its operatives today (Saturday) 20th July, 2019 served official Invitation Letters on Bisola and Timi Dakolo.

 

“The invitation is sequel to an on-going police investigation touching on the wider and highly publicized case involving Bisola Dakolo, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo and others.”

 

According to him, a letter of invitation was different from warrant of arrest, adding that the move was aimed at obtaining information from the couple.

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Uncovering the Different Personality Traits of the BBNaijaPepper Dem Housemates

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Uncovering the Different Personality Traits of the BBNaijaPepper Dem Housemates

Twenty-one days after Big Brother Naija Season fourcommenced to rapturous applause, four housemates – AvalaIsilomo, Ella and KimOprah – have kissed goodbye to the opportunity of winning the ultimate prize worth N60million. 17 housemates remain guests in the BBNaija House, but one or more may be evicted on Sunday.

 

It has been a rollercoaster ride for the remaining 17 housemates, as they have had to adapt to each other’s personalities as theylive and work together. Readjusting themselves to a new order has been difficult as seen in their various tasks last week. Virtually everyone was opinionated and unbending. They lost their first wager as a result and received some stinging comments from their invisible landlord, ‘Biggie’.

 

There has, however, been a marked improvement in their attitude as evidenced in last Thursday’s task, despite their horrible attempt at singing for the Pepsi Know Da Lyrics” challenge earlier in the weekBig Brother jocularly told some of them not to attempt going to a studio for any recording session. For the first time during BBNaija Season 4, the “Pepper Dem” gang rehearsed and performed in unison. Impressed by their collective performance, Big Brother decided to reward them with their wager for next week, although it still followed with some punishment for their previous behaviour.

 

 

But while they may now be working harmoniously as a team to avoid Big Brother’s sledgehammer, the strong individual inclinations remain palpable.

 

For example, some of the housemates have been quite blunt with how they express their opinions regarding activities in the houseor topics of general discussion. This, however, has resulted in a few clashes and war of words amongst themAn example will be the shouting match between Tacha and Frodd over the use of the bathroom. Things escalated pretty fast but was later contained by the other housemates. 

 

For the housemates who seem to take their tasks preparations with a level of seriousness, Mike, Frodd, Sir Dee and Gedoniwill easily fall into this category. They are quite competitive with the tasks and as such considered threats by the other housemates. But Mike will desperately need to improve his pidgin English as he struggles in tasks that involve verbal communication in that language. Case in point would be his hilarious rendition of Teni the Entertainer’s popular track ‘For your case’ during the Pepsi challenge. His struggle to pronounce some words in the song left social media in stitches

 

In a house where unlimited quarrels are certainties, the resolver-in-chief definitely has to be Seyi. The grandson of the late politician, Obafemi Awolowo, seems to have relished his toga as the chief diplomat. He also seems to be spurring his fellow housemates with all his motivational illustrations about lifeproviding relevant examples at every given juncture, a trait that has seen some of his co-housemates brand him a talkative. He also touts himself as the guy in the house who empathizes with the ladies and has also assumed responsibility over certain activities such as kitchen organization, even though that usually ends in a disaster.

 

Jeff, Diane, Nelson and Tuoyo seem to be in the cool-headed team, as they have remained calm so far despite all that might have been thrown towards them. Asides Jeff, the remaining three majorly speak when necessary. Nonetheless, these four housemates also seem to be the most confused of the lot. Their actions have depicted that they are clearly interested in finding love in the house but are quite confused on who to settle for. Jeff’s interest seems to have waned with the eviction of KimOprah but seems he still has his eyes for other ladies in the house. Nelson and Tuoyo are in a love triangle fix with Diane, who has acknowledged the interest from the duo but is interested in Nelson. Meanwhile, Nelson has also fixed his gaze on Jackye, who has maintained (for now) that she is not interested as she had a blossoming relationship outside before entering the house. To be added to this group is Frodd, who has jumped from one female housemate to another and is currently hovering around Esther, who has vehemently rejected his advances, thereby leading to a flood of tears.

 

With the eviction of Ella, Khafi appears to be the only female housemate with a sonorous voice capable of making a dejected person come back to life. Her stimulating vocal range might have been the key to finally unlock the heart of Gedoni as her guy in the house. Khafi has shown that she is not afraid to confront anyone, bringing her strong traits as a police officer into play. She, however, secludes herself at every given opportunity with Gedoni, a situation the bearded folk has expressed his reservations over.

 

The same situationship looks to have captivated the heart of Ike, who has slowly withdrawn from his bad boy, gangster-like attitude into the tender arms of his love interest, Mercy. Ike, who gave viewers a moment never to forget after the housemates’ second Saturday party with the stealing of Omashola’s coins, has considerably dropped his controversial antics and has become a lot calmer. But it remains to be seen if he will maintain such an attitude to the end of the show.

 

So, whose personality trait will help get him or her across the finish line on day 99? The drama continues LIVE, 24/7 on all DStv packages on channel 198 and on GOtv Max and GOtv Plus packages only on GOtv channel 29/Ghana 129/Uganda 329.

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I regret not paying attention to my education –Yvonne Nelson

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I regret not paying attention to my education –Yvonne Nelson

Along with the many positives of her career, notable Ghanaian actress, Yvonne Nelson, has come out to point to a part that is not all that progressive. According to the 33-year-old mother of one, acting made her unserious with anything that had to do with education and scholarship as disclosed in an interview with Joy FM.

 

“I would go on stage every Saturday in SHS. I had to rewrite some papers. I was so into entertainment that I didn’t take my schooling serious.

 

You can easily mess up and not make it to university. I regret not paying attention to my books so when I see kids of today, I tell them to pay attention to their books,” she said.

 

Despite stating her regrets, the “Swings” actress expressed her pride in being able to graduate. And perhaps in a bid to make up for failing to pay full attention to her studies back then, she has stated her willingness to go back to school, this time for her Masters degree.

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Wizkid’s third baby mama blames domestic abuse allegations on hackers

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Wizkid’s third baby mama blames domestic abuse allegations on hackers

A day after she accused Wizkid, the father of her child, of domestic abuse via her Instagram account, Jada Pollock has blamed hackers for the outbursts. The UK-based manager and Wizkid’s third baby mama, disclosed this in a post on her InstaStories on Thursday.

 

“My account was hacked in the late hours of Monday morning and my Instagram account was compromised. I can guarantee that the statement written was not by my hand. I can only apologise for any confusion, this may have caused. I have now recovered my account,” she wrote.

 

On Wednesday, when she had announced their split, writing: “From today, Ayo and I will no longer work together. I have been in an abusive relationship with him for years. Covering up for him time and time again and I am tired.

 

“Wiz continuously puts his hands on me, leaves me with bruises that I cover up from the world, including my friends and family,” Pollock wrote in parts.

 

The relationship between Pollock and Wizkid started on p r o f e s – s i o n a l terms before the birth of their child, Zion, with the woman praising Wizkid in May for his commitment to their son, Zion and describing him as an incredible father to their son.

 

Reacting to the domestic violence allegations levelled against the former Empire Mates Entertainment act, his second baby mama, Binta Diallo, was quick to react just a day on Wednesday to the lengthy write-up now denounced by Pollock.

 

Binta Diallo, Wizkid’s second baby mama who is of Guinean origin, seemed somewhat entertained with the drama. Taking to social media, she wrote: “Karma is a bitch ain’t it.”

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How Wizkid performed into 29th birthday after Braxton, Tiwa Savage

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How Wizkid performed into 29th birthday after Braxton, Tiwa Savage

It was the 29th birthday of Nigerian music superstar, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, better known as Wizkid, on Tuesday and Saturday Telegraph can reveal that the singer performed into his birthday on that day.

 

Born in 1990, July 16th every year is the birthday of the Starboy Entertainment boss and he moved into his new year doing what he does best -pleasing his fans on stage.

 

It was at a classy event in Lagos to mark the 60th birthday of the publisher of ThisDay newspaper and proprietor of Arise TV, Nduka Obaigbena and taking to the stage just after Tiwa Savage, who had just performed “Malo,” a song they recorded together, Wizkid himself emerged on stage on cue.

 

From mounting the stage minutes past 11pm, Wizkid soon turned the hall packed full with governors, senators, private sector titans and many others, into a concert venue when he launched into his monster hit, “Ojuelegba” released as part of his 2015 album, Ayo.

 

 

With other songs including “Fake Love”, “Soco” among others to come, Wizkid was still performing by the turn of the 12 midnight, his 29th birthday on earth. The graceful birthday event witnessed a roll call of the movers and shakers of Nigeria, with the political, business community, academia, media and even entertainment well represented.

 

At about 9.11 pm, American music star, Toni Braxton, took to the stage having been preceded by her impressive all-male dancers.

 

 

Backed by two guitars, drums, a two-pronged organ set, back-up singer among others, the crowd, especially the ladies, quickly took to the renowned American singer who performed songs including some of the wave-making hits of the late 90s like “He wasn’t man enough for me”, “Un-break my heart”, “Breathe again” among others in an hour-long presence on stage.

 

Shortly before 11pm, Nigeria’s leading female music star, Tiwa Savage, took to the stage, opening with her single, “All Over” before launching into a medley of songs including “Manya” with Reekado Banks and “Malo,” a duet with Wizkid.

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Fashion items are to be discarded every three months –Aaron

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Fashion items are to be discarded every three months –Aaron

Feron Aaron popularly known as Fashion King is a fashion designer and the CEO of Feron Fashion academy. In this interview with DEBORAH OCHENI, the Nigerian professional lingerie designer spoke about his fashion ideology, at major outfits in his closet and more

 

How best can you define your style?

 

I will say my sense of fashion is stylish, I have a very strong taste when it comes to fashion. My cut is being stylish, I don’t like conservative dresses and they must have a stylish details.

 

What determines the kind of outfits you wear?

 

Jacket and turtle neck is my brand that you will always see me in. On a casual day I wear just T-shirt. What kind of outfits takes up most space in your wardrobe? My brand is turtle neck and jacket and they take up most spaces in my wardrobe.

 

What will you never be caught wearing?

 

Aso-ebi, Ankara is too long in the market and I don’t like it. I feel it is lack of creativity that is causing that. What is the most expensive fashion item you have ever bought? I don’t buy fashion items, I design them. I make shoes, bags and other fashion items, I don’t wear wrist watches.

 

What is the influence of the name ‘King of Fashion’ on your business?

 

It is my heritage and not a title; I am a king by destiny.

 

Do you consider any fashion item indispensable?

 

It depends on my personal view and what I represent in fashion. I don’t like classic items there is a fashion circle and one is meant to dispense with fashion items at least every three months.

 

What kind of shoes holds special appeals to you?

 

I wear sandshoes and I like them very stylish. I hate flat shoes because it makes one to look sloppy. My shoes must have heel that I stand on to look solid.

 

Which fashion item catches your fancy most?

 

Accessories and perfume

 

What is your signature perfume?

 

I love feminine perfume but I don’t have a particular brand.

 

How has it being paying bills through fashion design?

Fashion is a very interesting thing and it is very easy to pay bills through it.

 

Who are your popular clients?

 

I design for governors and celebrities. Example, ex governor of Akwa Ibom State, Goge Africa and many others.

 

Your lingerie line was launched   sometime in 2013. Before then, what were you doing?

 

I have been in fashion since1994; the lingerie line is just a subsidiary of Feron brand. I design for both males and females.

 

Looking at the Nigeria environment, do you have any issues showcasing your lingerie on runways?

 

I don’t have any issues for now because it is the second time I am showcasing, it is real lingerie and not Ankara. I do contemporary global fashion.

 

At first, I was actually challenged when I wanted to show women how to dress for everything such as swimming, sleep-ing, sex, love and all that. I wanted to make very sensitive intimate garments but was worried about who will model them.

 

Initially, I felt no model will want to wear them but all that became history when I decided to do a modelling auditioning.

 

After the auditioning, models were ready to wear it for free. Nigerian girls are very daring and our youths have moved from where we started.

 

What inspires your various creations?

 

I am naturally gifted in fashion, it flows from the inside.

 

If I am happy and psychologically stable I will flow very well. I don’t easily get distracted because I don’t love too many things but I love women. I am inspired by beautiful women and I personally like curvy women.

 

How do you feel when you see your clients in your designs? I feel satisfied. As a talented person, I derive joy from the outcome of my work and not the money.

 

One have to pay through the nose to get your services, does that encourage patronage?

 

Fashion is not cheap; the price is mainly determined by the style and fabrics.

 

How has it been working in the midst of women, have you ever been harassed?

 

Yes but fashion is very sexy and one has to be diplomatic about it. It is natural that women love intelligent men, I am very friendly and I am not a gay.

 

It is something that I’m used to; I dress and undress women so, I try to be very sensitive with women.

 

What informed the decision of becoming a fashion designer?

 

The desire to promote the business of fashion in Nigeria

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I wasn’t born with a silver spoon- DR. OLATOKUNBO AWOLOWO-DOSUNMU

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I wasn’t born with a silver spoon- DR. OLATOKUNBO  AWOLOWO-DOSUNMU
  • ‘I wanted to be a doctor from age 4, Papa (Awo) had no hand in it’

 

Dr. Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu is a medical doctor and the youngest daughter of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. She bared her mind on growing up, decayed health sector while advising women married to great men to emulate her mother’s legacy. She spoke to FLORA ONWUDIWE who was at her home town in Ikenne, Ogun State. Excerpts…

 

You are a naturally beautiful woman and looking young at 71; what is the secret?

 

It is just the grace of God; there’s nothing else whatsoever. I don’t have any beauty routine. It’s just the grace of God. I think it is also genetic. If you saw Papa and Mama even in old age, they both looked young. Even Mama at the age 99 didn’t look too bad. Ultimately, it is the grace of God.

 

What would you wish for at your age?

 

Nothing more than I am now; peace of mind, good children, a good life, comfort, peace, just generally feeling at peace with where I am. What would you consider as your biggest regret in life? None whatsoever, not a single one.

 

You are the fifth of five children, what was your growing up like?

 

It was very interesting. Being the last child, of course, everybody dotted on me. I enjoyed favours from my parents, from their friends and family. It was good growing up.

 

Who influenced your life more between Papa and Mama?

 

That is impossible to determine although Mama was the one that interfaced constantly every day; she was there.

 

Although, she had her business, her shop was on the premises of the house, initially, and then she moved to Gbagi much later. But she was the one we saw constantly. But Papa was also a presence that was there. Mama always reminded us of Papa, what he wanted and what he liked.

 

She always talked about him. So, we knew what he wanted and what he didn’t like. The few times that we got to spend with Papa, he made them count, they were very memorable times with him. Of course, we always heard about Papa in the house and in the news.

 

He was what he really stood for, his integrity.

 

Could you share any memorable experience while growing up?

 

They are so many, whether birthdays or other memorable occasions; generally, just sitting down chatting with Papa were good times.

 

So, it would be correct to say that you were born with a silver spoon?

 

 

I don’t know about that; I wasn’t aware.

 

You see this is the trouble, people look at those in office today and think that that was what it was like. It wasn’t like that in Papa’s days. They were just doing a job and that was what they were doing.

 

Like I told you Papa’s income took a hit but we thank God that Mama was working, that was why it didn’t show.

 

She never went to government house. The only time she went to government house was when the trouble started in 1962 in Bell Avenue. Even when he was Federal Commissioner of Finance, he rented a house in Surulere that he lived in; he always rode in his car.

 

So, there was nothing spectacular at all about that, he didn’t have excess money, he didn’t send us abroad.

 

When my sister and I went to the United Kingdom, that was during the crisis, it was because it was too distracting for us here.

 

He decided that Mama should send us away. It was only because he knew mama could afford it because he had nothing; that was how we went abroad.

 

So, I don’t know about silver spoon. So, there was nothing spectacular about us at all.

 

But that is how the society looks at the family?

 

That is because that is what they see now   long time now. But reading it now, of course, it evokes all sort of memories.

 

During your school days, you were driven in the best cars, attached with security…

 

Absolutely not. Papa had his own car that took him to work, then there was a back-up car. I think it belonged to Mama. That is the one that took us to school, if it was available and brought us back, if it was available.

 

If it wasn’t we walked, yes we walked to school and walked back home. And it was quite far like my primary school was in Molete and we lived in Okebola in Ibadan. So that was quite a distance in the hot sun. And the ground was always hot, those crisp soles of shoes conducted heat very severely. Your feet got really hot from walking. But we thank God in those days there were no kidnappers,n there was no worry about safety or security, so we did that safely.

 

Did your mother allow her children to do domestic chores or the housemaids were there to assist all the time?

 

Yes, there were plenty of them; we were encouraged to tidy up our rooms first of all and to do little things in the house. We didn’t cook in the house but we went to secondary school where you had to cook.

 

What was the relationship between you and your classmates; were you selective and only interacted with mates whose fathers were almost of the same status as your father?

 

First of all, I didn’t even believe that my father had a special status. I did not know. I am telling you seriously, I was not aware. Secondly, the kids were all children of ordinary people.

 

We went to ordinary schools. I went UMC demonstration school, they were like those government schools. There was no class distinction and there were no classes anyway. Even the children of the other ministers went to the same school.

 

The Attorney General’s son went to local government school, that was where he went to primary school and he still maintains some of his friends and some of them are in Abuja.

 

We were taught that human beings were human beings. In that regard we were all the same, we were taught to treat people the same and to see ourselves as the same. We didn’t go to school elites. There was university staff school at a time, we didn’t go there and there were elite schools in Ibadan but we went to ordinary schools.

 

Did the teachers treat you specially?

 

They were never intimidated at all; the teachers were not.

 

 

They just did their job and that was it. They were never made to feel that this is the premier’s child, no, and I have no recollection of that. I only got accolades and recognition on the basis of my school work. If I did well that was when I got it. If

 

I came to school and my hair was untidy, I got punished like every other child. If I did not take care of my uniform I got punished like every other child.

 

 

In those days, the headmistress was a family friend and they were all very down to earth people. So, if you did anything wrong just pray that headmistress left it in school and didn’t report you at home for a second ration. That was the kind of life we lived.

 

Could you recall any instance of a   teacher flogging you?

 

That happened a little bit, not flog, but more of emotional distress. That happened in Saint Ann’s Secondary School. It wasn’t my teacher, she was my older sister’s teacher. She was supposed to teach history or so, but my sister used to tell us stories that every time this lady came to class, she used to pick on her: your father did this, did that, and that was during the crisis; it really became a problem and you know sometimes children can be very cruel too, when the crisis started, we saw some people carrying father’s portrait. We told the principal, she tried to sort it out; these are the lessons we learnt to build our moral fiber and emotional strength in life.

 

 

Your studying medicine, was it a personal decision or a result of Papa’s counseling?

 

 

It was my personal decision. When I was in medical school, this was in 1969, Papa was in government[H1] at and he led the Federal government delegation to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London. While I was there with him, one of his former colonial secretaries, Mr. Wole Brown, came to visit him and he saw me and asked me ‘how are you and what are you doing.’ I said I am in medical school, and he said ‘so you made it. You always wanted to be a doctor since you were this high.’ Apparently, I decided that I wanted to be a doctor since the age of four. You know parents love that kind of thing, and they kind of enforce it all the time. Throughout my schooling I was always better at Arts- English Language and Literature – than Sciences. I could so easily have shifted, but I just made up my mind that I was going to be a doctor and God made it happen.

 

On you return, how does what you met on ground compare to what it is now in the health sector?

 

There was absolutely no comparison; I came back here immediately I qualified. I didn’t stay back to do my house jobs. I came back to Nigeria for my house jobs. That time, Nigerian hospitals, certainly the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, were accredited for full registration with the General Medical Council (GMC), which is the regulatory body for doctors in the UK.

 

That’s where you get your registration, that is where you get your licence to practice. At that time, you could do your house jobs in UCH and be registered fully. If you qualify for medical school, you apply for pre-registration to work as a house officer and when you finish your house jobs, you are fully registered to practice medicine. Based on that as soon as I finished my house jobs in the UCH, I was free to go back to the UK and work because I was also fully registered in the UK. That is no longer the case now, it has not been the case for many, many years. If you qualify in Nigeria and finish your house job in Nigeria, you still have to go and take tests in the UK in other to be deem fit to practice medicine in the UK. So that is one major difference.

 

Then you have the condition of the facilities that were available to work with, now they have all sorts of equipment and all the time there is one problem or the other and the conditions for teaching medicine here are quite different.

 

When I first qualified those were the days, when Saudi Princess came to Nigeria for medical treatment at UCH, but now the movement is in the other way. So, most of the doctors vote with their feet, that is they leave. Of course, abroad they call them highly skilled migrant workers.

 

They are looking for doctors and nurses and other kinds of medical professionals, so if you belong to those professions and you pass the test you will have the red carpet and you are good to go.

 

There are so many Nigerian doctors now in the UK not to talk of the U.S. and everywhere you can imagine in the world, you find Nigerian doctors. I went to Botswana and the medical practice that was there and talked about and trusted was owned by a Nigerian doctor; that was 1995. And they are doing very well, they have a good life, the kinds of things that make life meaningful for any individual they can have over there.

 

The opportunities are there as long as you know your job, work hard and sky is the limit. I met one when I was practicing in the UK cardiovascular surgeon and he was trained at the University of Ilorin.

 

He was referred to as a miracle worker because the most difficult cases were usually referred to him. Of course, he did very well, financially. I think he has relocated to Canada now. He is doing very well, so rather than coming home, he relocated to Canada. So, the conditions are completely not the same at all.

 

When I qualified, I couldn’t wait to get back to Nigeria. As a matter of fact, I came back by boat; there was still boat travelling between UK and Nigeria like two weeks intervals; it was like cruise that was what I came back on.

 

On a boat to Nigeria?

 

Oh yes, two weeks, it was lovely, MV Orion and we stopped at Las Palmas, different places. I had my ticket when I was studying and any time I felt like sleeping or leaving my desk, I would put it right in front of my desk, looked at the ticket in front of me and said to myself ‘I am on that boat.’ So that energized me to continue my studies. I could not wait to get back to Nigeria. These days people who study here can’t wait to get out.

 

What advantage do couples of same professions have over couples of different fields?

 

 

A total understanding of what the job entails. If you are a doctor and your husband is a doctor, you have to go for call duties. Weekend calls, calls during Christmas, calls during family events that you can’t go. Of course, the understanding will be there that this is what it is. Well somebody from a different profession will understanding, but not fully.

 

You are a medical doctor and married to doctor; most times you discuss patient, does it not make your marriage boring?

 

Not always. It gets boring but we can talk about cases, may be difficult cases, interesting cases, we learn from each other and that is good. But then we talk about other things as well. How did you meet your husband?

 

I knew him when we were in Nigeria, his father was the administrative secretary of the Action Group and he was my brother’s friend. And when I was in Bristol, he also came there and that was it.

 

 

You said Christ visited you at the age 45. How?

 

I gave my life to Christ. I was born into a Christian home. I was baptized when I was a few weeks old. You know how it is, you don’t really know what it is all about until something happens and then you do understand; that‘s what happened to me. I was at Full Gospel Christian Business Fellowship Breakfast, Lagos. I don’t know why but it was on that situation, that’s what happened.

 

What would you say you took from Mama that helped you in marriage?

 

Calmness of spirit, it helps me in life generally. She was calm, she didn’t lose her temper. She didn’t pick quarrels with people; those were the lessons I learnt from her. Her industry, her willingness to support the family, she was always there, her discipline. Even when Papa was angry, she was always quiet, those were the lessons I took from her.

 

You named a foundation after Mama; what legacy did she leave behind that you are propagating?

 

 

In her own right she was a leader; yes she was a political leader. She was a fantastic helper for Papa while in office. She never encouraged him to compromise his integrity and she supported him. For example, if he was tired or he was busy, and there were people coming, she was able to take meetings and talk to them and douse whatever it was that was the situation. She was a leader in her own right. She understood what her husband was all about and she was a role model to women everywhere. Just life generally, her character, her relationship with her husband, the fact that she demonstrated very clearly that you don’t have to lock a woman up, that women do have a role to play even as spouses of great men or in their own right. She went out to campaign, she stood in for the Federal House of Representatives election in 1964 or 1965. They boycotted the elections, it was a pity, but she took Papa’s place and was leading the Action Group (AG) into the elections. In her own right she was a political leader, she showed what women can do. Her fortitude in the face of a whole lot of trouble is what was most remarkable about her. She didn’t question her husband’s life mission, she never did, she didn’t say why all these troubles, I am tired, I have had enough of this. Never, it was always you want to do this, what do you want me to do? Where do you want me to go? And after the travails were over, in the Second Republic, Papa came out again; most women would say politics again, she was out there with him. She was always identified with his life mission.

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PRETTY MIKE: Weird photos with women merely stunts, I empower them

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PRETTY MIKE: Weird photos with women merely stunts, I empower them

King of stunts and baron of night life, Mike Nwalie, known by the showbiz moniker, Pretty Mike, has led an incredulous social life that mystifies him. But in this interview with LANRE ODUKOYA, he spoke about life beyond stunts, business, alter ego and humble beginning.

 

Beyond knowing you to churn out a plethora of stunts, what do you do for a living?

 

Well, a lot of people know me as Pretty Mike, and in recent times, Pretty Mike of Lagos. Some people call me social media influencer because everybody has become social media influencers. In fact, I think we should have that degree in the university because it’s now a big job that some now claim to be experts in. My primary business is night club. I’m a night club owner. I own several clubs in Lagos and I’ve had several in the last 15 years.

 

The first one was Q-Club which I opened when I came back from the US in 2008 and we closed Q-Club after three years and rebranded it to Club Uno, then to Club Scandal. I more or less gave the mainland, Lagos, a break.

 

Then I moved down here- Adeola Odeku on Victoria Island, Lagos, with my elder brother and started Club Cubana. We have put up another structure in Ikeja. We are taking it back to Ikeja and it will be opened this year. Cubana is a big brand and we are pushing it from state to state.

 

How did the inspiration to join the night club business dawn on you?

 

I schooled in the US.

 

When I came back to Nigeria I didn’t know anybody and a lot of people kept asking me how I have been so successful, how I became so popular. When I came here I figured the only way to drive traffic to my business was through controversy, this is what people enjoy, you have to stir up something and let them ask; ‘who is that guy?’ ‘Wetin him dey do?’ ‘Oh that guy, oh we go check him place up’.

 

That was how it started. That’s why you can find some people who end up saying ‘he is a controversial guy’.

 

With several stunts I have pull over the years, some people had called me an attention seeker but to me, it’s a way of life.

 

 

Could you give some insight into your educational background, from which field of study did you emerge?

 

This is the kind of question I always run away from; the reason is because Pretty Mike has always been a mystery, people are always trying to dissect me; who is this guy, where is he coming from. Anyway, I studied Computer Science in the University of Houston. I wouldn’t say I am successful yet, but as you can see, I’m just pushing it.

 

What I found out that I was doing tactically in my college days was I was throwing the most elaborate parties in school. Back then, if you didn’t attend Pretty Mike’s party, you were nobody. One of the good things about the US which is one of our problems in Nigeria is that most college students have a job to be able to sustain themselves.

 

The society makes it so conducive that you can work and still go to school. The students work and make enough money to buy cars and get nice apartments. Even when my friends were doing that, I refused to work because I always have independent mind, I don’t like people shouting at me. I was into entertainment business and I was making more money, but the good thing about it was that I had more time to myself and still lived a playboy lifestyle.

 

After my university, there was a strong drive to come back to Nigeria, a lot of my friends also came back and some couldn’t survive it; they asked me how I managed to survive. Most Nigerians in Diaspora want to come back, but they have a couple of problems. There are a lot of questions to be asked; when they come, who will help them with the foundation? And when they do come back, what kind of experience do they have? Some of them have bad experiences and they go back to tell others.

 

 

One thing about Nigeria is that everybody has to be on guard, you cannot afford to lose focus. You can’t lose guard with your father or mother. Your father will take advantage of you and still be laughing with you. We are in a society where everybody is a lion, even the young ones are cubs aggressively growing up to get their own share.

People talk about how we must change the country and I ask how?

 

 

Who wants to change it,   the lions?

 

Because every lion wants to be a king. Suppression is in our blood. It’s such a huge paradox that Pretty Mike who many think is an abuser of women is putting up an empowerment foundation for women.

 

How do you explain this?

 

That is where many people got it wrong. I’m one of the humans with the largest hearts when it comes to empowering women.

 

Even when I was invited by the former governor of Lagos State to tell my story about the circulated rumour that I was abusing women, I dazed him with statistics of women who have been provided various degrees of help through me. I made him know the government establishments cannot get to certain places.

 

Some people need certain individuals they know would not condemn but listen to them. Only people who don’t know me would say I take advantage of women. But for those that know me they would tell you I’m one of the biggest supporters of women.

 

Honestly all I do is a women’s right movement which is why I’m running a non-profit organization for this cause. You see all those images you saw were for stunts.

 

When the ladies were finally ready to return to their abodes, I ensured that I greased their palms with good money. My plans for PM Women Development and Empowerment Foundation is to empower young women in colleges with different kinds of skills.

 

That way they won’t need to look up to men for money either on campus or when they’re done schooling. I will be starting with 1000 college girls in the Southwest.

 

If I tell you I am going to target the whole of Nigeria, I will be lying to you.

 

We are going to kick off from the Southwest- from UNILAG to Babcock and other schools. Sometimes people think that these private university girls don’t need help, they’d tell you that their parents are rich.

 

They even need more help than some of the students in public universities.

 

What I found out about kids from well-to-do homes is that a lot of them lack attention and as a man in a night life business, I see a lot of them. They come out more at night than most of the students in public universities, their requests for cash is like vampire.

 

Students in public universities club once in a while, but those in the private universities, when they go out, they go all out.

 

Empowerment cannot just come from one side, if I give them cash it doesn’t mean I have empowered them, one has to educate. So, we are going to have business training. We are going to be asking the students what they are interested in doing and when we are done training them, we put the cash in their hands and we cannot also put cash in their hands after training without having some form of monitoring.

 

We are also going to have a legal department that is going to champion all their legal needs. Apart from the legal department we are also going to have a counseling department to know people they can talk to and most people that will be in charge of this will be ladies because women tend to open up more to fellow women.

 

How did your parents react to the stunts when they started causing commotion?

 

Let me even amaze you the more. My father thinks I’ve not done enough. There was a time I went to a function with some dwarfs with calabash on their heads. When my father saw the number of dwarfs, he complained that I should have gone with more than two dozens of them. He understands what I do and has encouraged me every step of the way.

 

My mother is a very spiritual person. In fact, my mother is the only pregnant woman I know who fasted ‘dry’; that’s without food or water for 40 days and survived. I was raised in Deeper Life Church, so that way you can understand I had a near perfect upbringing and there should be no question about my spirituality. God can call me tomorrow to lead His people and the world will know that for this man who had seen and been through all of these to embrace Christ, God is indeed his caller.

 

What’s your take on this nagging  COZAGATE?

 

Well, the matter has gone to court and we should wait to see how it pans out finally. I will not say certainly this or that person is guilty as charged, but it’s clear that this is an indication that women are becoming more courageous. You’ve heard of betrayal by pastors because they are the only ones apart from parents that girls revere, don’t worry, in the fullness of time, you will be shocked to your marrows to hear about how medical doctors abuse these girls. It is going to have a spiral effect- those other unsuspected people abusing will soon start getting mentions and then we will all know that we need a lot more to do in protecting our vulnerable young women.

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