Wednesday 8 March 2017

The Women On My Mind

Seeing as it is International Women’s day, I decided to mention a few Nigerian women I admire, a few out of very many.

Chimamanda Adichie. Author.  I could have sworn that I had a picture with Adichie so I could show off but haters won’t let me be great, I cannot find it. Yesterday, I was talking to a friend about a recent Adichie article and he said ‘that one should stop talking’ before I could even say what the article was about. This is not uncommon. I find that many Nigerians feel Adichie should speak less. I do not understand this. Why should she like everyone else not be entitled to her opinions whether they sit well with us or not.  While I do not always agree with her, it is the very thing I admire most about her, that she has her opinions and states them. I like that she’d strong willed and refuses to be bullied by a society that feels they have the right to decide for her, what her thoughts should be.

I believe that artists are given talents not simply so they can make money off it but so they can influence society and that Chimamanda has definitely done. Her Tedx talk; We should all be Feminists has reached far and wide converting many to the bright side. Like her, I want a world where we no longer need feminism because we would have achieved gender equality.

Emem Isong Misodi. Filmmaker.  I definitely have a picture with her. Emem has been a rebel from as
 far back as I can remember.  And it is that rebellious spirit that I believe has contributed to her immense growth. She made her first Film, Breaking Point, with almost nothing. She knew she wanted to make films, so she quit her banking job and did just that. Now many years later, she has several film credits and awards to her name. But what stands out for me is the number of people she’s raised, I myself being top of that list. Let me tell you a brief personal story, when I was a cabin crew, I’d just returned from a trip and they wanted me to make another unscheduled trip at almost midnight. I just couldn’t do it but my boss wouldn’t take no. When I called Emem, she told me to tell them to shove their jobs up where the sun don’t shine.  She promised to pay me what they were paying me till I found another job. She didn’t though, and I had to quickly find another job in order not to starve.  Actually she got me the next job.  Everyone needs a strong support system. My family provide mine.

Mrs M. M. Isong.  Educationist. Also happens to be my mother. My mum gave us everything but most importantly she gave us a free will.  There was discipline, too much if you ask me but on the things that really mattered, She allowed us to choose. For instance, at 14, I no longer wanted to go to their church, she didn’t force me.  They’d drop me at my new church even though she didn’t approve. We chose what we wanted to study, my brother was originally a science student , made his papers but decided he preferred the Arts so his GCE and SSCE results are very different. My mother was cool with this. I can’t really explain my mother, she was liberal and very strict at the same time but suffice to say that she is the greatest woman of all time. Most of what I am is because she raised me.

Mary Olushoga. Entrepreneur. I need to start keeping it short or no one’s going to read it. Mary is the
founder of, a platform powering small business success for African entrepreneurs. Mary is a source of strength  for young entrepreneurs, encouraging them and linking them with investors.  Olushoga recently nominated me for a documentary on West African Women making a difference in their society. The video should be available tomorrow.

Mealdred Okwo. Filmmaker. Fondly called Aunty M, Mealdred is our advocate in Nollywood.
Perhaps because she’s a lawyer or because she’s not afraid to be politically incorrect. She speaks up  for what she believes in.  I feel like no one can find my trouble because I’ve got Aunty M on my side.

Bola Aduwo.  Writer. Publicist.  Aduwo is an ultimate believer in people. She uses her blog to showcase and encourage new talent.  ‘You can’t keep hiding’ She used to tell me. And she’s made sure that I hide less and less.

Tara Durotoye.  Make up Artist.  I am an admirer of not just her work but her person. One would think that someone in the bridal/make up industry would be flamboyant but Tara has maintained her simple and warm outlook.  It’s surprising that Tara is only just turning 40. In a country that seems to work against you, her level of success is no mean feat.

Rita Dominic. Actor. Producer.  I watched her at the AMVCA
and it gladdened my heart. She’s been at the top of the game almost from inception and she is still at the top of the game. Did I tell you that we attended the same secondary school?

Mary Njoku.  Entrepreneur.  Mary is CEO of ROK studios.  Mrs. Njoku has contributed  to the
growth of the Nigerian film industry from her time as an actress, till she metamorphosed into a producer and eventually launched one of the biggest platforms showcasing Nollywood content, ROK TV available both on DSTV and on Sky. Mary is also one of my biggest clients.

Dotun Akande.  Founder: Patrick Speech and Languages Centre.  Patrick Speech and Languages Centre is the pioneer special needs school for children with Autism. Dotun set up the school after her son had been diagnosed with autism and has since then invested a lot in creating awareness on autism and offering support for autistic children and their families. Akande believes that autistic children can lead  normal lives with early detection and advocates for this.

Uche Jombo Rodriguez.  Actor, Producer.  Uche is a major source of inspiration, one of the most hard working people I know, Uche has through hard work and will power pulled herself to the top and has stayed there.  I cannot talk about Rodrigues without talking about how much of a giver she is ; of her time, money and self.

Ansa Kpokpogiri.  Filmmaker. Ansa was one of the best people I ever met. She started her Nollywood career from the bottom of the ladder and through sheer hard work and diligence rose to be one of the best.  She was bold, brave and beautiful. She gave so much of herself to her work, her family and her friends. Many times, I wanted to quit, Ansa urged me on and now even in death, I hear her voice telling me everything will be fine. 

Happy International Women's Day!

Sunday 5 March 2017

Who do Nigerians say that I am?

Do we really love God?

I’ve been thinking about this question lately. We say it, we acknowledge it, but do we really love Him?

I was going to write about materialism and how social media has given us a platform to feed this demon that seems to live in the average Nigerian but after last Night’s award, I decided to write about this so called God culture that we have which for some reason does not actually reflect in our society.

So last night, many of the award recipients thanked God for their awards. At first I thought it was cute then as it continued throughout the show, I started to get uncomfortable. I’m not denying the place of God  in our lives but some of those films were for causes, and no one deemed it fit to mention the cause?

It makes me wonder if we made these films to bring the plight of the affected people to fore, or if we saw it as a platform to bring US to the limelight.  We awwww and oooooo over  the speeches at the Oscars but when we’re given a similar platform, all we can do is thank God?
Like I said earlier, this is not in anyway to deny the place of God but come on guys, When Jesus asked Simon whether he loved him and he answered in the affirmative, what did he say to him? He said ‘FEED MY SHEEP’! He didn’t say announce it to the world, He said to feed his sheep! Because it is not by words that you know God’s children by but their actions.

I think we feel that proclaiming God in public shows how much we love God. No it doesn’t, if anything it sounds hypocritical. You know why? Because our surroundings do not show our love for God, our way of life does not show a love for God, our thieving leaders do not show a love for God.  

That’s why there are so many churches but our society remains in the dark, unaffected by this God culture that we claim to have.

Was it not this God who asked us to love him with all our hearts and souls, and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves?  Did he not also say that there is no commandment greater than these? Can we beat our hands on our chest and say that we obey these commandments?  If we can, why is Nigeria still where it is. Our leaders do not drop from Mars, they are part of us.

While it’s trendy to visit orphanages and blast the pictures all over the media, it would also be great to use the award platforms to bring to fore the plight of some of our not so privileged neighbours particularly if we say that we made a film because of them.  It is not enough to call God at every given opportunity; to show how much we love him, we must show how much we love our neighbours.

PS. God bless Rita Dominic. God bless AMVCA. God bless Nollywood.