Monday, 21 March 2016

Lagos Theatre Festival 2016, more than a festival

This year’s extraordinary and biggest gathering of arts in Lagos, Lagos Theatre Festival, is indeed a unifying arts event and a tool for social and economic development.
Organised by the British Council, the highly successful festival which ran from February, 23rd to 28th 2016, showcased over 100 performances from producers such as Bani Productions, Comic Republic, Creative Arts Collection UNILAG, Make it happen Productions, Thespian Family Theatre, Troopers Arts, Women in Arts and many more including four International productions from the United Kingdom. The festival was held at several venues on Lagos Island and the mainland at 20 venues including British Council, National Arts Theatre, Freedom Park, Terrakulture, Bogobiri, Muson Centre, University of Lagos, among others.Some of the shows among others were: Fela Son of Kuti, Sad Pink, I Dream of Lagos, Next of Kin, Itan, The Wait, Every Single Day, Dialing Love, Bogobiri Open Mic, Boboye and The Duet.

Book mirrors what Pyrates Confraternity is all about

At the launch of Dolapo Sikuade’s book titled, “The Theatrical Aesthetics of Wole Soyinka and the Pyrates Confraternity,” A critical Work on a unique African Cultural Paradigm, held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos last week Thursday, February 25, 2016, many speakers shared their views on Pyrates Confraternity.
The book launch attracted many great scholars including the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka; Emeritus Professor of English, University of Ibadan, Professor Ayo Banjo; renowned poet and scholar, Professor John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo; and many others.
Reviewers of the book are: Dr. Tunde Awosanmi Ph D, Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan and Prof Emasealu, Department of Theatre and Film Studies, University of Port Harcourt. Below are the statements made by some personalities at the event:

Why I give out books freely -Dr. James

Dr. James

Founder and Director General of Center for Research, Information Management and Media Development (CRIMMD), founder of the Photo Museum of Nigeria History, publisher of 'The National Biographer Magazine' and author of over a dozen books, Dr. Raphael James, in this interview with ADA DIKE, speaks on why he donates books to individuals and organisations as well as his newly set up skills acquisition center.
Apart from the ones you requested online from authors, are all the books you are giving out donated to you or do you normally buy some of them?
I bought the 6000 books I donated to media houses. In most cases, I have been buying books. But there are some Nigerian authors who have given me five copies of their books each.

British Council unveils Entrepreneurial Africa: London Showcase

Since 2013, the British Council has run a series of enterprise challenges across Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Sudan. Broadcast on TV and online, these initiatives have directly engaged 12,000 young entrepreneurs and reached a further 20 million young people.
The Entrepreneurial Africa London Showcase provides an opportunity for young African entrepreneurs to connect with people in the London start-up community. By making relevant contacts the aim is to help entrepreneurs find potential partners to help scale up their businesses with organisations in London, in a mutually beneficial way.
During a three-day programme,  emerging entrepreneurs from the British Council’s enterprise challenge series will attend training workshops, open talks with UK entrepreneurs and study tours. The entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to pitch their businesses and participate in a panel discussion on innovative approaches to supporting entrepreneurship in Africa.


 Kenyan singer Akothee releases new single: Give It To Me featuring Nigerian singer – Flavour. Give It To Me is a certified banger that will set ablaze dance floors across Africa. Produced across Kenya and Nigeria, Give It To Me is produced by Nigerian producer Masterkraft with the video being filmed in South Africa by Godfather Productions.

Akothee says, “Since putting out Ashawo, I have seen Flavour as a mentor and I always wanted to work with him. It was a lot of fun and hard work while recording Give It To Me. Everyone involved in the project, from Flavour and his manager Benjamin to Masterkraft, gave their all and I did the same. I hope Akothee fans love this and dance to it.”

Give It To Me on YouTube:

Please find the song and artwork attached in your email. Feel free to share widely within all your networks.  

Akothee is releasing Give It To Me in the wake of her hit collaboration with Tanzanian singer Diamond. The music video of their song Sweet Love (released January 2016) has already surpassed a million views on YouTube. Other notable Akothee songs include Djele Djele, Shengerera Mama, Akothee Katika and Mkenya Halisi.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Nigerians in UK set to honour Uncelebrated Nigerians, unsung heroes on September 24

Information reaching Newswatch Times has it that Nigerians in the United Kingdom (UK) intend to hold a special awards ceremony for the those uncelebrated diasporans who work tirelessly but get no recognition as part of an ambitious plan to highlight the good work the teeming numbers of hardworking do for society.
Due to take place on September 24, 2016 at the Mayfair Banqueting Suite in east London, the event has been tagged the Uncelebrated Nigerians Awards UK. According to its organisers, “It will be a classy gala dinner that will attract community leaders, guests from Nigeria and high commission officials.”
Organised to honour ordinary Nigerians in the UK who are excelling in numerous fields, the awards ceremony is being put together by the same committee that organised the Nigerian Centenary Awards UK in 2014. At a recent meeting, the committee elected several officials to run its affairs and organise the event including journalist Ayo Akinfe as coordinator, former Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (Canuk) treasurer June Douglas as vice coordinator, healthy eating medical campaigner Dr Nkem Ezeilo as secretary, Agatha Ewruje as assistant secretary and accountant Ayo Oyebade as treasurer.
Other prominent community members on the 40-man committee include former Canuk chairman Chief Bimbo Afolayan, current Canuk first vice chairman Chief Alex Achebe and its assistant publicity secretary Theodora Ibekwe-Oyebade.  Also on board is the current mayor of Hackney Sade Etti, her predecessor Susan Fajana-Thomas, former mayor of Lambeth Adedamola Aminu and the former mayor of Enfield Kate Anolue.
Mr Akinfe said: "Over recent years, there has been an explosion of awards but unfortunately, what we have seen is that the same people are getting them every week. Consequently, we have decided to reach out to ordinary hardworking Nigerians in the UK, who get very little recognition and honour them.
"This event will be different in that we will be handing out awards to traffic wardens, chefs, care workers, civil servants, mini cab drivers, cleaners, hotel porters, school keepers, security guards, nurses, ambulance drivers, firemen, etc. We will be honouring 56 people as Nigeria will be 56 this year and for most of our awardees, this will be the first time they come to an event."
Chief Achebe added that the idea behind the event is to reach out to those members of the community who Canuk has not been able to reach so far. He pointed out that the venue can take 800 people and it is expected that a majority of those who attend will be first timers, who will from henceforth be absorbed in community activities.
Dr Ezeilo said that the process will be highly transparent as a website will be set up at www., with members of the public asked to nominate people. She added that a sub-committee would ensure that all nominees met the criteria established by the committee, which included that relatives of members cannot be nominated and that everyone suggested is of outstanding character.
According to Mrs Ibekwe-Oyebade, the event will be highly publicised within the Nigerian media in the UK like Trumpet, Nigerian Watch, Ben Television and African Voice. She added that there will also be a concerted effort to reach out to every nook and cranny of the UK as Nigerians are everywhere.
Mrs Douglas added that the event will start at 6pm prompt and will involve Nigerian cuisine, entertainment and stand-up comedy. Among the guests that will attend will be the acting high commissioner Mr Simon Ogah and several prominent dignitaries are also expected from Nigeria.
Chief Afolayan said: "The beauty of this event is that for the first time, it is recognising people who have been ignored in the past. Once they have received their awards, the list will then be forwarded to those who organise the Queens Honours List, so they can consider them for further recognition too.
"When I was Canuk chairman, we worked tirelessly to reach out to as many Nigerians in the UK, so I see this as a continuation of that process. We will be asking other community bodies like Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, the Nigerian Committee of Elders and the Nigerian Women in Diaspora Leadership Forum to get their members involved too."
Mrs Ewruje stressed that some of the proceeds from the sale of tickets will be donated to charities that support and help Nigerians in the UK or those back home in Nigeria. She pointed out that the rationale behind this is to be able to encourage more unsung heroes, especially those just toiling in fields that are not theirs, to realise their potential by being able to realise their dreams.
Malcolm Benson, a prominent movie director and producer and the chair of the publicity and marketing sub-committee added that the committee would ensure that all parts and segments of the UK and Nigerian community is made aware of this event through a series of media campaigns. He also pointed out that as there is a need to avoid the event appearing elitist or London-based, hence, most Nigerians who perhaps feel marginalised would actively be encouraged to engage and participate in this event as well as other community activities.
Henrietta Abraham, the chairperson of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK South said: "This is a great initiative aimed at recognising all those silent stars. We at NIDO will be giving it our full support as we believe that all those honest, hardworking and unsung Nigerians deserve some recognition too."
Cultural icon and entertainer Ayan De First, who is the chairman of the sub-committee of sponsorship and partnership, will be responsible for attracting sponsors. He said he will approach all the companies that serve the Nigerian diaspora market and are looking to break into it, offering to provide them with a platform to sell their products.

Active Citizens National Study Visit supports social action opportunities for young Nigerians

The British Council in partnership with Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto is organising the 1st Active Citizens National Study Visit in Nigeria. During the week long programme, a group of 60 Active Citizens from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Bayero University Kano, Federal University Dutse, Global Youth Leadership and Girl Child Foundation, Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, Sule Lamido University Kafin-Hausa, Young Men’s Christian Association and the Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative will join their hosts from the Usmanu Danfodiyo University to learn how they have created projects that have improved the lives of communities in Sokoto.
The visit will be hosted by the Usmanu Dandfodiyo University as part of the British Council Active Citizens’ programme. The programme works with young people, educators and civil society organisations to run social action projects that have a positive impact on their communities.
Mohammed Ahmed, Director Society at British Council said “The National Study Visit is an opportunity for the great network of partners we have in Nigeria to share their experience of leading change in communities across different parts of the country, learn about the incredible cultural diversity of Nigeria and inspire each other to develop new collaborative projects.”
Modinat Adetoro, an Active Citizen from Lagos State Polytechnic adds “With the Active Citizens project, I can impact the lives of female students around me to make them see leadership as what females can also embark upon instead of just being bookworms”.
During the National Study Visit the Chief Host, Vice Chancellor of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Professor Abdullahi A Zuru  and Chief Executive of the British Council, Sir Ciaran Devane will present His Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III with an award as the Royal Patron of the Active Citizens programme in Nigeria.

British Council, Zenith Bank Plc, others poised to empower young Nigerian entrepreneurs

The British Council, Zenith Bank Plc, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Samsung on February 3, 2016 launched the second cycle of the Enterprise Challenge.
Designed to test the business skills of young Nigerian entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 years, the competition, which is made up of three tasks, according to its organisers, provides a platform for young, brilliant entrepreneurial minds to further develop their business skills and bring their innovative ideas to the fore for possible future development.
This was disclosed at a press chat held in Lagos last week Friday and compered by Mr. Desmond Omovie, Communications Manager, British Council.
Speaking at the event, Director, Education & Skills, British Council, Tomi Soyinka, said the Enterprise Challenge aimed to develop capacity and provide a platform for young people to develop their ideas.
According to her, they received about 2000 applications from across the country in 2014. But in 2016, they recived10, 000 submission and 20 brilliant people were selected in the first two tasks of the Enterprise Challenge. “The three-day event is designed to provide a core grounding in business contexts and promote networking opportunities for the top candidates with established, successful entrepreneurs.
 “After the boot camp, the finalists will face the final panel of judges. The winners will receive a financial grant worth N1.5million and N1m for the first and second respectively, courtesy Zenith Bank plc. They will all benefit from continued support from the initiative’s partners. In addition, the overall Enterprise Challenge champion will receive a fully-funded scholarship to attend a five-day entrepreneurship foundation course at the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship in South Africa plus a mentoring session in London with world renowned entrepreneur and Founder and Chairman of Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson.”
Also speaking, Airport Manager, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Justin Bell, said the in 2015, Virgin Atlantic celebrated 15 years of flying Nigeria–London. “We recognise and support the drive of Nigerian people towards education. We are absolutely overwhelmed and delighted to be part of the sponsorship of the Enterprise Challenge. We are overwhelmed by the turn out of this year’s Enterprise Challenge submission,” he said.
Director, Business-to-Business, Samsung, Mr. Charles Ojei, said, “We have always been there, supporting various youth entrepreneurship, innovation and so on. The core of achieving the success of the Enterprise Challenge competition is technology.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Branson Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa, said Branson Centre, set up to assist inspiring entrepreneurs through training programmes, mentorship initiatives, will be excited to have people from Nigeria going through the same entrepreneurship journey.
On the June 14, 2014, Eseoghene Ise Odiete and Nasir Yammama emerged winners of the maiden edition of the competition. They had the opportunity to meet with and be mentored by one the UK’s foremost entrepreneurs and Chairman of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson. Ese founded and runs Hesey Designs, an online store selling African-inspired accessories, through which she empowers and mentors young African women. Nasir created a remarkable mobile phone app called Verdant, which aims to help crop farmers across Nigeria.

New National Museum will create job for youths, artisans - Ambode ...As Minister lauds Gov's vision, bold initiative

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday explained the rationale behind his decision to transform the National Museum in Onikan, Lagos to a world-class edifice, saying the development would go a long way in creating jobs for the lower strata of the society and in turn boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state.
The Governor, who spoke during a joint inspection of the museum alongside the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the decision of his administration was born out of the drive to deploy culture, tourism, hospitality, entertainment, arts and sports to tackle the problem of unemployment, especially among the youths, artisans and young professionals, among others.  
It would be recalled that Governor Ambode had pledged to transform the National Museum into a modern-day cultural edifice which would be of international standard during a courtesy visit paid on him at the Lagos House, Alausa by Mohammed about two weeks ago.
Governor Ambode, who spoke after he was conducted round the premises of the museum by the Director General of National Museum, Mallam Abdallah Yusuf, said his vision was to combine everything at the disposal of government to address unemployment and also develop the talents of the people.  
He said: "We are here to inspect the state of things and what we have found out is that we actually have enough space that can accommodate a new museum and the partnership is something I think will benefit the whole country.
"We have behind us here a project that is going on and it is a multi-layer car park which will go a long way to compliment what we plan to do here. So, this is a new beginning. With this kind of partnership, we hope to achieve a lot for the state and the nation," Governor Ambode said.
While fielding questions from journalists, the Governor assured that the project would be completed before the celebration of 50 years anniversary of the state next year, and that the whole idea was also aimed at bringing consciousness of the people to the historical facts about the state and the nation.
He added: "Again, we are not just doing this because we plan to complete the new museum for the  Lagos@50 celebration, but this is more or less a legacy for the state government.
"We actually have a program called THEAS which stands for Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment and Arts and Sports for excellence but the truth of the matter is that this is not only about revenue generation; it is about job creation. My emphasis is about creating jobs for the lower strata and that is where you are going to get all our athletes, the younger ones, our drivers, our artisans and so on to be busy and keep them moving by combining everything that we have from sports, from tourism and so on and before you know it, the GDP of Lagos grows," the Governor said.
On his part, Mohammed assured that he would spare nothing in ensuring that the project is a reality, and that serious efforts would be put in place to ensure the completion within the stipulated time frame.
He commended Governor Ambode for walking the talk barely two weeks after promising to transform the museum to world-class, saying the project was the biggest collaboration so far between the state and federal government on tourism and culture.
The Minister added: "For the Governor to come here today is eloquent confirmation that he is ready to walk his talk. What we are aiming up for here is another hub for culture, another hub for arts and another hub for entertainment and if you look at the location of this National Museum, this is where the history of Nigeria started.
"Around us here are historical monuments and what we are trying to do about it is to bring all these historical monuments like the lsland Club, like the Yoruba Tennis Club and the old Brazilian culture together in a lovely form and I must again thank the Governor of Lagos State for not just his generosity but for the vision.
"He has looked at the big picture not just the small picture. He is not looking at four years or eight years but he is looking at what legacy can we bequeath for Nigeria and Nigerians and I can assure you that this is one project that will be devoid of bureaucracy. We already have a timeline within which to achieve this and the fact that the Governor is here just in two weeks after his promise to transform the National Museum speaks volume about his intention," Mohammed said.