Jun 23, 2007

A Night With Timi - The Event

The date was Friday June 15, 2007. The location was the 1st floor, Planet 44, Victoria Island, Lagos. The event was "A night with Timi", organized by members of the Timi's Fans Club. E-mails had been sent, phone calls made and awareness had spread from one Fan to the other. The TGIF mood was in the air as it was a Friday evening and so, all roads led to Planet 44. Guests started trickling in as early as 6pm while the organizers were preparing the venue. Two large banners were put up, chairs were arranged, the sound system was tested while a collection of Timi-style songs was being played. There were lots of surprise moments as people who had only been communicating via e-mail for weeks finally saw themselves face to face. There were such exclamations as "So you are Aziza!", "Where is Fred?", "Is that Nkechi?", "Who is Shaddyplus?", etc and other remarks as is expected in such a union. Guests were soon seated and food and drinks were ordered while the kick-off of the program was awaited.

The event started some minutes after 7pm with an introduction from the two MCs (Ibrahim and Omua). First up was an opening prayer which was taken and promptly Amened to by all. It was easy to see that the audience was getting apprehensive. Where was Timi? Everyone seemed to ask. Unfortunately, Timi was stuck in Traffic, as is customary in Lagos on Friday evenings. The MCs tried their best to alleviate the anxiety and it seemed worsened until suddenly the good news came "Timi is Around". At this point, the lights were switched off and the guests were implored to keep silent and wait for a cue before making any sound. Timi was not aware of the size of the fans that were seated and so a surprise was planned for him.

Eventually, after some minutes Timi ascended the stairs led by 2 members of the organizing committee. The lights came on, there was a pause for a second and suddenly ... wild frenzy. Fans went crazy with delight at seeing Timi within a few inches of themselves. Order was thrown to the winds for a few minutes as people hugged, shook hands and took pictures with Timi while some members actually shed tears. Timi himself was totally awed. He hadn't expected anything of such a magnitude. He tried to regain his composure as he posed for picture after picture, hugged fan after fan and shook hand after hand. Finally, thanks to the MCs and some committee members, order was restored and the program resumed.

The next item on the agenda was a talk about the Fans club promptly taken by Ier Jonathan. With great oratory skills, Ier talked about the origin of the fans club and recounted experiences from early members about many a phone line which ran out of credit used to vote for Timi, and many a boss who discovered that their phone had been "stolen" by their subordinate to voting purposes. Everyone could laugh it off because it had paid off and Timi was the Idol. Ier also spoke about the vision and the aims of the club.

Next on stage was Jedi, a popular stand up comedian. The place reverberated with humor as Jedi did what he best knew how to. He captivated the audience with jokes which were centered around the Idols competition. The highlight was when he lamented that he had no fan club despite his years in comedy whereas Timi already had a dedicated fan club within just 3 months in the limelight. Time ran out, and soon Jedi had to leave.

Up next was a poetry recital for Timi read by Bode (A member of the fans club). Titled "Timi You Rock", it was written by Toni Kan, an award winning poet, essayist and short story writer. Not surprisingly, it was well composed and left people overwhelmed and Timi speechless.

The next event was a talk show tagged "10 questions with Timi". Staged in an Oprah Winfrey/Funmi Iyanda style setting, the presenter was ... you guessed it, Me! A list of questions had been pre-compiled which included both personal and general questions. Questions such as "Do you wear boxers or briefs?" and "Are you a virgin" drew interest from the audience. Timi answered all his questions well, cleverly evading the embarrassing bits and even introducing some humor into some answers.

Gifts were presented to Timi and an award plaque was presented by Aziza Uko on behalf of The Fans Club. Timi then gave a vote of thanks and said a few words of prayer for his fans, after which there was no holding back the crowd as they jostled for pictures with Timi. Timi himself took pictures with everyone he could and didn't turn back anyone. His gentleness and humility were quite apparent throughout the program, and the fans were very happy that their votes did not go to waste. Not long after, Timi left for his hotel leaving a crowd of accomplished and happy fans. And so ended a night with the first ever West African Idol, Timi Dakolo.

The Event in Pictures

Waiting for Timi.

The Entry


More Frenzy!

Timi Dakolo, The First West African Idol.

Ier Jonathan - Talk about the fans club.

Jeddi - Stand-up Comedy

Bode - Poetry Recitial

Timi & I - 10 Questions With Timi

Timi and Aziza Uko - Presentation of The Award Plaque

Timi with Plaque - Vote of thanks

Timi and Fans (L-R) KD, TMan, Fred, Timi, Andrew and Femi.

Timi and more fans

Timi and I

Timi departs.

Aziza Uko - Founder of the Fans Club

The organizing committee - (L-R) Tayo, Nkechi, Ken, Ier, Aziza, Fred, Edikan and Andrew (squating)

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Jun 20, 2007

Omar VS Umar. Who Shall Win?

President Umar Musa Yar'adua needs no introduction. He's the president of Nigeria. Mr Abdulwaheed Omar is the President of the National Labor Congress (NLC), having recently taken over from Adams Oshiomole who occupied the position for 2 terms. These two men are currently in a battle, albeit indirectly. Events leading to the battle were put in place by Outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo when he increased fuel price from N65/ltr to N75/ltr, increased VAT from 5% to 10% and sold off the Port Harcourt Refinery to "people of unknown track record in refining" (As put by NUPENG and PENGASANG) all as part of his "farewell package". These moves proved very unpopular to Nigerians and the NLC not being one to sit back in such times has declared a nationwide strike. The strike became effective today and is to last indefinitely.

President Umar has barely spent a month in office and NLC President Omar is also new in his position. Both have a point to prove and both have tried proving it. Upon being informed about the pending strike, President Umar suspended the 10% VAT and reduced fuel price to N70/ltr. This was not acceptable to the NLC. It was either N65 or an indefinite strike. If President Yar'adua agrees to this, it will show a sign of weakness and might determine a lot of what will happen during his tenure as President. On the other hand, the NLC President also needs to make his mark and show himself strong. Hence the elephants fight, and the grass feels.

At this time, I personally think it would be wise for the NLC to suspend the strike while giving the Federal Government an ultimatum to take the price back to N65. The FG has made an effort and shown a sign of goodwill by reducing the price halfway. The NLC should also back off. Some would however argue that N70 was the intended price by the FG who knowing fully well that the NLC would protest decided to set the price above the desired price so they could "arrive" at N70 after negotiation. This makes sense and might or might not be true. The important thing now is that the NLC has already scored a goal. It's time to sheath their swords and allow Nigerians get back to work.

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Jun 12, 2007

A Lady of Many Colors - Chimamanda Adichie

It's probably stale news that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie won The Orange Prize for her book "Half of A Yellow Sun". The Orange Broadband Prize for fiction is one of the United Kingdom's most prestigious literary prizes, awarded annually for the best original full-length novel by a female author of any nationality, written in English and published in the UK in the preceding year. This was not her first time on the shortlist. In 2004, she was nominated for the same price for her first book "Purple Hibiscus" but she lost to British Writer Andrea Levy, writer of "Small Island".

Chimamanda has come a long way. At just 30, she has achieved excellence in her career and great fame. Set to follow (and exceed) the footsteps of great novelists like Chinua Achebe, her two books have already sold tons of copies.

Her first book "Purple Hibiscus" is a story recounted by a 14-year-old girl, which captures the conflict of a family whose patriarch is staunchly Catholic. Against the backdrop of a corrupt, crumbling society, the implacable force of religious fundamentalism plays out not against secular humanism, but against the animist practices of tribal elders.
Her second book "Half Of A Yellow Sun" is set during the Nigerian Civil war in a dusty university town. It's a book about moral responsibility, the end of colonialism, ethnic allegiances, class and race—and the ways in which love can complicate them all.

I call her a Lady of Many Colors because she has evolved from Purple to Yellow and now finally to Orange! Who else should have won the Orange prize if not she? I wonder what the next color she has up her sleeve would be, but I know I won't be disappointed. Congratulations, Chimamda, you deserve that prize. The sky is the beginning and there is no limit.

Coverage of the event (and pictures) can be found on Molara Wood's blog here.

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Jun 10, 2007

BlogVille Idols

Everyday I get more surprised at the level of potential hidden within Nigerians, which is quite evident in many of my fellow Nigerian Bloggers. The smartness and innovative spirit of the average Nigerian cannot be put to question, many have demonstrated great abilities. Some time ago, Solomon Sydelle began a chain blog post called The Nigerian Proclamation, a voice of protest to Nigerian leaders which hit the BBC website on the handover day. Presently, another idea has manifested. The smoke has barely cleared from the stage of the Idols West Africa and the American Idols competitions when in a bid to spice up blogville, 2 young Nigerian female bloggers (Pink Satin and Naija Opeke) came up with a brilliant idea to replicate the singing competition on the blog platform.

They name it Blogville Idols, and the idea kicked off with this post and this post. Receiving a large comment base, it soon evolved into a dedicated blog. It's centered around a plugin from snapvine, which allows people to leave voice messages via a phone call on any site that uses the plugin. How the idea became apparent to Pink Satin and Naija Opeke, I have not the slightest idea. Presently, there are 15 contestants in persons of Sparkle, Chicala, TaureanMinx, Bobby Taylor, Idemmili, Lurlar, Nigerican, Diary of a G, Everybody loves a Naija girl, I'm a babe, Naija Dude, Mimi, AbujaBabe, 2ndCorin5:17 and d Last King of Scotland. The producers are Pink Satin and Naija Opeke and work under the label Pink Peke Productions. Consultant to the show is Ugo. The host is Cheetarah and the judges are Naija Vixen, Bimby Lads, London Buki and Myself. There shall be a grand prize for the winner which has not yet been announced.

The competition will kick off tomorrow Monday, June 11, 2007. Contestants will phone in to record their songs and after the entries are closed the judges will give their comments. After this, bloggers can vote for their favorite singers. Anyway, enough said, you can follow the event here, and don't forget to cast your votes. I believe this will make the news once again. Nigerians, we're leaders in whatever we do, and we're headed towards greatness. Good luck to all contestants.

Official Judge
BlogVille Idols.

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Jun 7, 2007

FRSC. Practice What You Preach!

FRSC is an acronym for Federal Road Safety Commission, a commission whose primary objective is to maintain safety on Nigerian Roads. This they do by ensuring that road users abide by road rules and regulations. Some of these include checking to see if drivers have their seat belts on, watching out for road offenders, dangerous overtaking, making sure cars have appropriate "C Caution", and making sure each car has a fire extinguisher. Allow yourself to be caught violating any of these rules, and you should be ready to sacrifice some precious time, as well as part with some valuable cash.

That said, I'd like to bring your attention to the pictures below. They came out on Page 16, The Guardian Newspapers of June 1, 2007. Some passerby had taken them and sent them to The Guardian. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, see for yourself.

In the picture is an FRSC official car with the engine apparently on fire. People are running around looking for ways to quench the fire. Some are trying to gather sand to throw on the fire while an FRSC lady officer is running with a bucket of water. As illustrated in the Guardian, a question comes to mind, where is the Fire Extinguisher? We all know that the Fire Extinguisher is the best when it comes to quenching fires... and ironically, many Nigerians have been harrassed by the FRSC because they had no Fire Extinguishers. So now where is FRSC's fire extinguisher? Someone should please tell them to practice what they preach.

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Jun 4, 2007

Yar'Adua. Hope For Tomorrow?

Six days ago Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, handed over the reins of office to his successor President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, the man who was announced as the winner of the elections 36 days earlier. Those 36 days have been packed with events. There's been lots of drama in the news and beyond. There's been issues and societal tension. There's also been humor in the form of e-mails which include the "Lords Prayer" and the "Yar'Adua's Presidential speech". Governors have been reported to be on standby for flight be it by Jet, Plane, Car, ABC transport, Molue, Okada, Horseback all in a bid to escape Mallam Nuhu ... and the EFCC. Atiku decided to stay in the U.S. and watch proceedings on TV. OBJ rounded up his regime by giving us some farewell gifts including but not limited to Sale of the PH refinery to persons with no track record in refining (which has caused discontent for NUPENG and PENGASANG), increment of fuel pump price by 15% - N65-N75 (a move that'll ultimately increase inflation) and an increment of Value Added Tax (VAT) by 100% (5%-10%). What better gifts can Santa provide? But I digress, that's a story for another day.

I want to focus on the man Yar'Adua and the great task ahead of him. Now that he has been sworn in, there are three schools of thought among Nigerians.
1. He'll be an extension of Obasanjo's government, be controlled exclusively by Obasanjo and consequentially the Nigerian situation will remain the same.
2. He'll break away from Obasanjo's hold, and rule Nigeria his own way which will be worse than Obasanjo's regime.
3. He'll call Obasanjo's bluff, and lead Nigeria in a positive way without fear or favor of anyone, develop the economy and make Nigeria a much better place.
I am a product of the 3rd school of thought, and I advise everyone to do the same. It's time to forget our predictions and our magnifications of Y'aradua's supposed weaknesses. Let's look on the bright side. Let's magnify the good things that come with him. He is educated (something that has been lacking in our presidents past), his origins are well respected (the Yar'Adua family is known and respected), the fact that he declared his assets during his governorship (suggests honesty and transparency).

President Yar'Adua himself know what Nigerians think of the electoral process that put him at his current position. He knows what Nigerians think of his predecessor. He also knows the state of the country's economy and most importantly, he knows what needs to be done to move the nation forward. He knows that Nigerians think he will be no better than OBJ, but this will be a good time to prove them all wrong. I really hope and believe that this will be the break Nigeria has been waiting for. It is known that any man will work better where there's less "Negative Criticism". Therefore, let's hold down the Critics in us and allow Yar'Adua to do his job. Let's refrain from grading the script before the start of the exam. Yar'Adua has committed himself to honesty, accountability, transparency and an absolute fear of God. Let's give him a chance to bring action to his words. Nigeria shall be great.

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