Monday, 30 June 2014

Author bags awards, now, member of ‘Igbo Hall of Fame’

Chief (Mrs.) Charry Adannaya Onwu-Otuyelu

By Ada Dike

 One of the highly talented contemporary Nigerian female writers and a member of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Chief (Mrs.) Charry Adannaya Onwu-Otuyelu, has bagged an award.
She is now a member of ‘Igbo Hall of Fame’ as Ndigbo Magazine
recently honoured her with the ‘Olu Oma’ Award.
Mrs. Onwu-Otuyelu won the award for documenting one of Africa’s most popular gift (kolanut) sharing, for posterity, has automatically added her to the prestigious rank of the Igbo Hall of Fame.
Recently, she showed her award-winning book titled “Good Morning Mr. Kolanut!” to Daily Newswatch, and said “It took me a decade to get this book published after carrying out extensive research about the ceremony of the sharing of kolanut from place to place nationwide. I even visited the late Emir of Kano, Late Alhaji Ado Bayero’s palace to try to get his views about how kolanut is shared among his traditional people. It was not easy, but I am glad that the efforts I put into the exercise are bringing positive results now.”
   Commenting on the invaluable nature of the book, she disclosed that “When a man saw the book recently in one of my children’s shop, he asked about where I got it from. I told him that I am the author, and he asked after the price. I told him it is N1,500 (One thousand five hundred naira), and he was surprised. He said such valuable book should not be sold so cheap, and suggested that it ought to be N4,000 (Four thousand naira).
   “I told him that I fixed the price low so that every person who value traditional practice of presenting and sharing kolanut could afford it. He demanded for two copies and paid N10,0000 for them. I was amazed that he holds African tradition in high reverence. I was pleased.”
She studied at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, and Island Maternity Hospital, Lagos. She is an ex-soldier of 68 Armed Forces Medical Services, Yaba Lagos.
Besides, Ada is a well known actress, who featured in famous films like Kongi’s Harvest (by Wole Soyinka), Bisi Daughter of the River, T.V Star featured in Village Headmaster, Masquerade, Igbo Plays on IBC TV& Radio and so on. She is also a playwright, model, poet, actress, and prolific writer of children’s stories and novels.
Some of her works include, Ifeanyi & Obi (which earned her the best African Children’s Literature Award in 1988), Our Granny’s Tales, Catastrophe, One Bad Turn (which earned her a chieftaincy title on the day it was launched), Anthology of New Nigerian Writings (edited by Cyprian Ekwensi), Triumph of Destiny, Revenge of Uche, Adaobi, Amaigbo Kwenu (the history of her autonomous community), Jagerren Obi &Andrens Barn (Published by Denish UNICEF), Good morning Mr. Kolanut (A-Z history, Myth Legends, Uses and Disuses, Marketing, etc).
She is the first female director of Imo State Council for Arts and Culture. She was in the team of script writers for ‘BBC voices’ drama series. The Proprietress of ‘Adugo Clinic and Maternity’, Head of Department of Igbo Language and Arts and Culture Department at Imo College of Advanced Professional Studies (ICAPS) is a powerful writer. Her writings and acting has eclipsed her carrier. She has won both state, national and international awards with her works. 

Female sex organs are same -Author, Ayanniyi writes in her new book


In this part of the world where culture forbids one to mention the real names of male and female sex organs, an author, Miss Ololade Ayanniyi, has written a book which x-rays the need for men to see females’ sex organs as the same.
Titled: Vagina Homogeneity, the book which was unveiled last week in Lagos, summed that vagina is the same in every woman all over the world, irrespective of their height, race, size, shape and colour. Ayanniyi believed that it is not the woman that is giving a man the satisfaction he derives during sex but the man’s mind.
Presenting the book, the chief launcher of the occasion, Honourable Justice Ademola Bakre, on a lighter note said, he was in his room with his wife the night he received a message from the author and saw the soft copy of the book in his E-mail. He opened it and closed it immediately after he saw some pictures. “I told my wife that it wasn’t from me. When I got to the presentation venue and read some parts of the book, immediately I heard that my wife was on her way to the venue, I closed it. Though I have crazy friends, they will be shocked when they read the captivating book,” Bakre said.
Honourable Justice Ademola Bakre of Federal High Court, Ogun State (3rd left) his wife, Bukky Bakre (2nd left), Mrs. Osa Akpata-Idowu (1st left) the author of Vagina Homogeneity, Miss Ololade Ayanniyi (3rd right), a guest and Ms. Tinu Ayanniyi at the public presentation of a book - Vagina Homogeneity in Lagos last week
He added that the book makes the truth stare one in the face to the extent that one would have to start thinking deep.
He ignited the hall as everyone laughed when he argued that Ololade was wrong to portray women as being abused instead of men. “With all sense of responsibility, it takes a disciplined man to pass through the streets everyday and resist the temptation from ladies.”
In his review, Barr. Kayode Akomolafe, who was also the compere at the book presentation said the title of the book caught his attention and he hinted that one has to be a courageous person to write a book with this kind of title - Vagina Homogeneity.
“Even in marriages and seminars, the name ‘vagina’ is coded. You will hear ‘flight to Jerusalem’ because it is a reflection of the society. This has led to a lot of ills going on in the society and people cannot talk about it,” said Akomolafe.
He was of the opinion that the title of the book was a departure from the norm. “There is time for everything. The book is positively x-rated.”  
Ayanniyi, according to him, said that women’s sex organs are the same. “She said it in Yoruba, pidgin and English Languages and summarised that there is homogeneity in females’ sex organs. A woman is a woman, though they may have differences in skin colour but vagina is the same.
“It is scary at some points when she described its colours. She was bold and direct about it. Prepare yourself for some shocks if you want to read Vagina Homogeneity. The book is directed at men.”
The reviewer further said that Ololade, being an Economics graduate used business terminologies to write the book and they are –Homogeneity, Cost of Production Return on Investment, Commission on Turn Over and so on. In a Chapter she titled ‘Wanna be Syndrome,’ she suggested that one of the things that may push some men into sampling ‘the homogeneous property’ is because they want to be like other men, but the reviewer said he did not agree with the author.
In Chapter two, Kayode said Ayanniyi corrected the notion of variety is the spice of life and revealed that “No vagina is better than the other.” The reviewer added that sexual compatibility takes place in marriage over time.
“In Chapter Four, the supposed pleasure in sex is a mirage. Chapter Five – Opportunity Cost which means that when you have a chance to do something, the result can be good or bad. Her true self and the fact that she is a true Christian came out in this chapter. She admonished everyone to remember that they are made in the image of God. The Chapter she titled Superlative Magnetic Turnover refers to the consequences of sampling different women in bed. Reading it will get a wise man to think because what you sow is what you will reap,” he said.
Akomolafe described Ololade’s style of writing as artistic as she used poetry, dialogue, prose, fiction and so on, to arrest a reader’s interest.
“The language is plain and direct.” He warned that the book in its subject is not for the faint-hearted.
In her speech, the author of an award-winning book, Market Place Creed, Ololade, said she was inspired to write Vagina Homogeneity due to the news of what happened to a highly respected man after he was accused of sexual assault. One day, while she was lying down, a thought came to her mind, asking her: “If that man were your brother or husband, would you castigate him? “ 
Similarly, the scholar shared how she attended a seminar and one of the speakers, an American, said: “My wife is an entity and her vagina is an entity. I fight my wife and will not fight her vagina. It is mystery we cannot explain. Everybody’s personal life is related to their sex life.”
Ayanniyi also said that the man said they had been married for over 20 years but he has a girlfriend after he had an issue with his wife. “He added that they would be no adultery the day his brain stops working. He believed that the large compartment of brain has sex life.”
 “My utmost desire is for men to be free.  Abuse of vagina has destroyed destinies. It is going to help a lot of relationships if we learn to manage our sex life. There is a point I wrote that if you are in a legal relationship and keeps committing adultery, discuss it with your spouse so that you can stop doing it.
“Men are not weak, that is the way they were created. As women, we have to find a way to supplement what God has put in them.”
The entrepreneur who runs the En-hakkore Foundation, a non-governmental organisation and a support centre for women entrepreneurs which focuses on training, seminars, information dissemination and trade exhibitions warned that: “Do not be deceived, there is no vagina that is laden with diamond, neither is any laden with gold dust, or is there a silver-plated one; they are all homogeneous.”
She gave illustrations of the consequences of extra-marital activities, stressing that it attracts sickness, diseases, guilt, disgrace, murder and untimely death, among others, into one’s life.

What we do at CRIMMD - Dr. Raphael James

Dr. James

James Raphael is the founder and Director General of Center for Research, Information Management and Media Development (CRIMMD). In this interview with ADA DIKE, the founder of the Photo Museum of Nigeria History, the author of many books and the publisher of African Dame and The National Biographer Magazine sheds light on why he set up CRIMMD and the need for Nigerians to read.


What is the Center for Research, Information Management and Media Development (CRIMMD) all about?
At CRIMMD we manage information; media and political research; biographical and autobiographical writings; documentations, exhibitions and script editing. CRIMMD is a non-political, non-governmental, non-profit making but standard research developmental institution.
Situated at 138 Idimu-Ejigbo Road, Idimu Lagos, our museum of photo history is rich with photographs and portraits of the slave trades and its relics, through to the famous Berlin Conference of 1884/85; the era of Explorers (Expedition) of Dr. Mungo Park, Richard Landers and others. The onset of the merchants of the Royal Niger Company of Sir George Goldie through to Lord Fredrick Lugard who amalgamated Nigeria in 1914 and his wife, a former colonial secretary of great Britain, Flora Shaw, who historically invented a name for us-from ‘Niger-Area’ to Nigeria.
Dr. James
We have outstanding landmark personalities: the likes of King Onyeama, King Jaja of Opobo, Queen Amina of Zaria and Bishop Ajayi Crowther, among others. Protectorates governors and all former Governor Generals; fire brand die-hard Nationalist from Sir Herbert Macaulay through to Mazi Mbaonu Ojike; indigenous Governor General; Regional premiers and Regional Governors; Military Head of States and their deputies; Military governors and the Military Administrators that ever ruled in the making and shaping of Nigeria. Civilian elected presidents and vice presidents; and all the first ladies from Mrs. Flora Ogbeyalu Azikiwe to Dame Patience Jonathan; elected civilians governors up to the present time, including Senate presidents and the Speakers of House of Representatives from the pre-independence era to the present time.
A pictorial roll call of Chief Justices of Nigeria; Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administrators/Ministers; Inspector General of Police (past and present); Secretaries to the Federal Government; Chiefs of Army Staff, Naval Staff; Air Staff, Chiefs of Defense and the Ministers of Defense; Comptroller General of Customs Service; Chairmen of Electoral Commissions; Central Bank of Nigeria Governors; notable people in the News; Nigeria women of substance and achievers; Events of the century; the Nigerian Civil War and personalities.
There is a section on “The 12 hour revolution of Isaac Boro”; “The June 12 Saga” The Second World War; The Nigerian Civil War; Biafran Republic, including emblems like stamps, currency, coat of arm and many others – relics of historical significance.
There are in addition, some historical relics like stamps - as well as the history of stamps dating back to the era of the first post office in Nigeria, a branch of the British General Post Office in 1851, to the era when the Royal Niger Company operated a parallel post office and postal administration in the Oil Rivers Protectorate of the Niger Coast territories in 1887, to the period when Thomas De La Rue Coy Ltd of London was awarded the first contract for printing the definitive Postage Stamps for the colony of Lagos in 1868 by the Crown Agents. Our museum has on display hundreds of stamps printed in the last 100 years.
We also have National symbols past and present and a lot more, including different maps of Nigeria displaying state creations from the protectorate era to the present 36 states, old and new national anthem and the composers, amalgamations speeches and all coup speeches, symbols of coat of arms, flags and the personalities behind them. All photographs we have in our museum have profiles.
There is also the book section, hosting great biographies of Nigerians, Nigeria history books, Military books, Civil war books and Who’s who in Nigeria books.
The museum is powered by CRIMMD which established a free public library that was commissioned to the public on December 16, 2004, by the former Federal Minister of Information Chief Sir, Alex Akinyele JP. On December 28, 2008, CRIMMD commenced, visited and donated books worth a million Naira to 33 Media Organizations in Nigeria, as its contribution to boost the reading culture in Nigeria.
It is very difficult to cover in writing the treasure on display in ‘the Nigeria at 100’ Archi-Seum; historically, it is the making of Nigeria in full measure, The collection is awesome, it is a timeless treasure of Nigeria on the move to the next level. You have to visit us to appreciate us.
Dr. James

Can you tell us a rough estimate of the numbers of photographs you have in your museum?
We have about 10,000 photographs of everything that has to do with Nigerian history in our internal hard drive.

Can you tell us the importance of the photographs in your museum?
Everything we have here is telling a story about Nigeria to the younger ones that are coming up. For example, there is a photograph of a Mercedes Benz with soldiers standing behind it that is hung on the wall. I want to assume that that car belonged to General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd). That was the day of the handing over note of Biafra back to Nigeria was signed at the booth of the car. We also have the original copy of the handing over note of Biafra to Nigeria. 
The pictures we have here remind us where we are coming from and enable us to prepare ourselves where we are going to.

How do you generate funds for running your museum and library?
What I do basically is that whatever I get from my research job, I put it back into the centre because the centre is like a hobby to me. I don’t see it as if I am working; I actually see it as if I am having fun.

What do these shells represent?
This section of the museum contains Nigerian currencies. In the past, many West African countries used shells as a means of exchange, representing money. We have different sizes of shells depicting different amount of money.
 We have old currency and coins – dating to the period, prior to the establishment of the West African Currency Board: samples of used various forms of money including cowries and manilas and other strange commodities that were also used as a form of exchange known as barter. I discovered that there were five sizes of the manila currency, originally. We have been able to get four and we are searching desperately to get the last size.
We have samples of the West African coins of 1930’s; the July 1, 1959, Central Bank of Nigeria currency notes and coins; the 1965 denominations; 1968, Nigeria civil war currency denominations; 1973, decimal currency; February 11, 1977 currency denominations; the July 2, 1979, currency notes of three denominations and the February 2007 redesigned currency notes.
I am a researcher so I go out of my way to search for these items. Once I have an idea about something, I go the extra mile to get it and keep it in the museum.

Where do people get cowries from?
They come from the sea. I was at the Badagry Beach two weeks ago and some young men were swimming. One of them brought out something from the sea and called it ‘Sea tongue’. He said he was going to sell it for N3, 000.00. Though I didn’t know what it was, I jokingly told him to sell it to me at N1, 500.00 but he refused. I laughed. Interestingly, the moment he moved, I turned and saw exactly the same thing so I picked it and asked him to buy it. He said he would pay N500. I have kept it and I am also trying to find out what it is meant for.

How do you source for the photographs in your museum?
It has taken me about five years to put these photographs together and my sources are wide because I don’t restrict myself. As you observed, I have a collection of biographies which are up to 156 and most of these biographies have different pictures. So I lift some of the photographs from those books. I got some of them from magazines, old newspapers and so on. I go to the National Libraries and take shots of old newspapers and also buy a couple of the photographs from people. For example, there is a photograph of a champagne wine here for Sir Adisa Akinloye. I remember buying it for N5,000.00 because I needed it desperately. Prof. Wole challenged me to see if I could get that photograph so I got it to prove to him that it is possible.  

What informed your decision to set up the CRIMMD?
When I left Government House, Umuahia, Abia State, and came back to Lagos, I wanted to start something for myself but I didn’t have the resources to do that. So I attended an interview in a newspaper for the position of a Business Development Manager (BDM). On the day I was to resume, they told me that they have given that position to someone else and asked me to take the position of an Advert Manager but I refused.
So I set up the centre but did it in a wrong way. I wrote letters to some embassies in Nigeria, telling them that I have started a centre and I wanted them to donate books to me. Unfortunately for me, the United States of American embassy sent a representative to confirm if I actually have an office and I was using my house address. When they went back and told them that I had no office, the address I used was a residential area, they wrote me a letter saying that I was lying.
I actually felt bad because my aim was to start from my home address, while searching for a place.
Initially, when I told my friends that I wanted to run a free library, they didn’t take me serious. When I opened the library, nobody visited it to read books. We placed adverts in some national dailies and radio stations and printed posters. In my last count recently, we have more than 8,000 registered members that come to the library.

Due to reasons known to individuals, many Nigerians don’t read. So how many people visit your library on a weekly basis?
The essence of setting up the library which is almost 10 years this year was when I noticed that Nigerians don’t read. The only time someone comes into our library and see it filled is when students want to take Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination (JAMB) or West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and so on. Some will even ask me to get them chairs to sit outside. Immediately after the examination, everybody disappears, except those who are preparing for Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) examination. I have thought of it that because we can’t read shouldn’t mean we should forget our history and that was when the concept of this photo museum came in.
Let us bring the photographs that can tell stories. I am sure that the younger ones can testify that. Once they look at the photographs, it makes it easier and faster for them to remember the story you are telling them because they can now know the history of Nigeria with those photographs. Our charges are relatively cheap, we charge N500 per student so I don’t know why schools don’t bring their pupils/students for excursion.
I believe that reading books brings development. Have you realized that those who don’t read go physical? Those who cannot communicate resort to physical combat, and that is what we are witnessing in the House of Representatives. Those who cannot express themselves properly pick up chairs and hit somebody. If we read, we will understand what we are doing and I strongly believe that if Nigerians start reading, there will be a positive change in our society. Let us establish libraries in all streets of Nigeria the way we have churches. When you don’t read you can’t express yourself.
Three weeks ago, I was in Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State. The taxi I boarded who couldn’t make a sentence told me he’s a student of a university. I asked him: “How far is the place we are to Ikogosi?” he said: “Oga, the place is farring (sic) very much.” Tomorrow that guy will graduate and probably wins an election and goes to the House of Representatives. What do you expect him to do? We should encourage Nigerians to read. If we read to gain knowledge it will be much better for us than to read and get certificates. When I want to hire workers, I don’t look at the certificates but discuss with applicants one on one. It is not about certificates but about what you have inside of you. If we realize that in Nigeria, we will make a lot of difference.

Can you give us an estimate of the number of books you have in your library?
We arranged the library last week and at the last count, we have one million and twenty four (1,000, 024) books and over a hundred (100) bundles of magazines. I buy all kinds of books and magazines because students come in from the Lagos State University and other schools. Most times, they tell me that they didn’t see the information they’re looking on the internet. We have general interest books for every discipline, from the kindergarten to the university level. We also do newspaper clipping.

In this era of e-library, e-book and so on, most information can be found on the net. Don’t you think it is one of the reasons many students don’t visit your library?
They are some materials you cannot get from the net. For example, I have African Concord and other magazines from their inceptions which you cannot get on the net. The stories you can get from the net are stories from the year 2000 till date.

What efforts are you making to digitalize your library?
It is a wonderful thing, we are making efforts to digitalize our library but it is capital intensive and we don’t have that kind of money, presently. We have started but it is a gradual thing. But I am looking forward to seeing that all materials we have in the library are digitalized.

How do you intend to ensure that your museum and library stand the test of time?
Interestingly, I am nurturing those who will take over the library. My 14-year-old daughter who is hell bent of becoming a medical doctor is a writer. She spends her time with me in the library when she is on holidays. She wrote a book at the age of six. She is following my footsteps as I wrote my first book when I was in the secondary school. There was a book I wrote about cigarette smoking and wanted the former Minister of Health, Late Prof. Olukoye Ransome Kuti, to write the foreword. I went to the ministry but was frustrated by security guards and his secretary. I visited the ministry for 22 times in a period of three months. On the 23rd occasion, I saw the minister escorting his friend. I was very adventurous then. I blocked him and told him my mission. He asked me my age and whether I smoke. I said no but “I know you smoke sir.”
He took me to his office and I sat on the edge of the chair. He offered me coffee and I handed over the manuscript to him and he told me that nobody accepts manuscripts. I told him I didn’t have a type-writer. He called his personal assistant, Dr. Sodeinde, and asked him to type it. He eventually wrote the foreword of the book. After he wrote the foreword, I made several attempts to get the book published because I didn’t have money. I later got it published while in the university.
During my youth service year, I was able to generate money and made it part of my youth service project. I served in Ondo State where I did a campaign on that and distributed some copies of the book free of charge. When I came to Lagos, Prof. Olukoye was no longer the Minister of Health but Dr. Dalhatu Tafida. During one of the ministry’s event, I implored them to allow me present my book, the minister accepted but other people told me they did not remember to include the presentation of my book to the programme. For the first time in my life, I misbehaved because I almost cause trouble just to have an opportunity to present my book. Interestingly, the little confusion I caused was covered by a television crew – Abike Dabiri and Frank Olize.  
One night, I worked late and my daughter was awake, she told me that she was writing a book. I laughed over it but remembered that was how my father laughed when I told him I was writing a book so I encouraged her that I will publish it. Most of the story she wrote were some of the bed stories I told her but she modified it and created characters and ended the stories her own way. I asked her mother to edit it so that people will not assume I wrote it for her.

Can you give us an insight to your background?
I was born on January 10, 1965. I hail from Abia State, married Princes Folasade from Ogun State and we are blessed with three children: a boy and two girls. Our eldest child is Nigeria’s youngest author at the age of 6.
I attended Isolo Grammar School, Isolo, Lagos State. I am a graduate of Psychology with Honours from the Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti; I hold a Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the California State University, a Diploma Certificate in Computer Desktop Publishing and Diploma certificate in Journalism.
I served as Administrative Officer, Ondo State University Ado-Ekiti (NYSC) from 1992 to1993. I was part what was called “Newswatch Dream Team” after I joined Newswatch magazine in 1994. We were specifically working on “Who Is Who In Nigeria” then and provided research materials for the editorial team.
I wanted to start my own business but immediately got a job as the Special Assistant (Research) to Chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee (NARECOM) in the Presidency, Chief Sir Alex Aknyele in Abuja in 1996.
When I came back to Lagos, I got a job as an Administrative Manager, Nigeria-Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry Apapa, 1997-1999; Media Relations Manager, Slok Group Ltd, owners of Slok Airline, 1998-1999 and I worked as Media Assistant to Abia State Governor, Government House Abia, 1999-2000. I am the Director-General, Center For Research, Information Management and Media Development CRIMMD, Lagos, 2004- date; appointed the Registrar of the African Institute of Entrepreneurship, Lagos, July 15, 2011.
I have won dozens of awards, including: October 1st 2013: HEIRS Outstanding Merit Award for the establishment of a Photo history Museum, March 15, 2013: The CATALYST CREW Prime Merit Award as an Outstanding youth Leader, January 2013: RIMA IM Award for Private Sector for the establishment of a private Photo Museum of Nigeria Political History, June 30, 2011: Gong Magazine, Intercontinental Integrity Award, April 24, 2011: Strongtower Publishers International Man of the year award for 2010, November 30, 2008: TAAC Communications Humanitarian Service Award in recognition of my immense contributions towards the growth and development of Lagos State, November 1, 2008: Igbo Speaking Community Silver Merit Award for outstanding contributions to the progress and development of Igbo people in Lagos, August 9, 2008: Nigeria Police Community Relations Merit Award in recognition of philanthropic gesture to the enhancement of peace and security in Ejigbo and environments and April 10, 2008: African Institute of Entrepreneurial Award for immense entrepreneurial Achievement and contribution to the promotion of entrepreneurship. Others are: February 2008: The Philanthropic Award for helping people with disability in Nigeria; October 10, 2007, Junior Chamber International Nigeria LASU Chapter Merit Award, August 1, 2007: Alimosho Indigenous Students Union Heroes Merit Award for community/educational Development, June 12, 2007: The MKO Abiola Prize for Knowledge Propagation and so on.
 I have also received Appreciations / Commendations Letters, including: October 4, 2007: Lagos State Government Education District VI Appreciation letter for the Development of Education in the District; September 24, 2007: NTA 2 Channel 5 Lagos Commendation letter for encouraging reading habit in the Nigerian Society; October 2005: USA President, Bill Clinton Letter of Appreciation for assisting Katrina victims; February 2000: NYSC Abia State Secretariat Appreciation Letter for contributions at the “NYSC Millennium Festival of Theatre”; March 17, 1997: Queen Elizabeth of England Commendation Letter on General Aguiyi-Ironsi biography.