The first independent TEDx event in Abia State Nigeria was successfully held recently in Abayi on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at the Eldorado Event Center in the industrial capital of Abia State with the initial theme “Build The Future”.
The novel event attracted Students, youths, entrepreneurs, academia and technocrats.
Some of the distinguished personalities who spoke at the event included Clinton Tochukwu Chukwueke, Inventor and change agent; Grace Ihejiamaizu, Founder Opportunity Desk; Chidindu Mmadu-Okoli, Content Strategist and Medical Laboratory Scientist; Laiza Elizabeth Kalu, Founder MANIFEST Network; Akudinobi Tony George Chidi, Visual Thinker and Founder Hammerhead Group; Emeka Nobis, Thought leader, writer and coach.
The speakers in line with the theme discussed Narrative Medicine: The power of storytelling and the future of healthcare; Erasing limitations: Building the future with your voice and influence; Changing the future through building ideological movements; Build the future: objects of African Heartsong; amongst others.
Abayi has joined major cities in the likes of Owerri, Marrakech, Euston, Paris, Silicon Valley, Oxford, Lagos and 1600 other places that have held TEDx conferences, all organized by passionate volunteers.
TEDxAbayi is licensed by TED, a US-based not-for-profit enterprise devoted to the propagation of ideas worth spreading. It celebrates and spreads locally-driven ideas in technology, science, entertainment, design and business, through conferences in more than 100 languages across the world. In January 2017, Omotayo Olorunfemi was licensed to host TEDxAbayi as a standard TEDx event for Abia.
TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. TED believes passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes and lives. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas that are collectively shaping our world. But a TED conference is broader still, showcasing important ideas from any discipline, and exploring how they all connect.
I read a very nice story about the #UbuntuCulture in #Africa and the motivation behind it. Found it #TooGoodNotToShare . An Anthropologist proposed a game to the African tribal children. He placed a basket of sweets near a tree and made the children stand 100 metres away.
He then announced that whoever reaches first would get all the sweets in the basket and said ‘ready steady go!’ Do you know what these children did? They all held each other’s hands, ran together towards the tree, divided the sweets equally among themselves and enjoyed the sweets.
When the Anthropologist asked them why they did so, they answered #Ubuntu Which means – How can one be happy when the others are sad? Ubuntu in their language means ‘I am because we are’.
Now this is a wonderfully Strong message for all generations. Let all of us always have this attitude and spread happiness wherever we go. Let’s have an #Ubuntu Life. What a great message on coexistence. I AM BECAUSE WE ARE Please help me spread it.. #IAmBecauseWeAre.
CREDIT: Sunil Sawhney is an ex CEO/MD Pepsi Nigeria
The Millennium park is considered the largest public park in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. It was inaugurated by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom on the 4th of December 2003. The park is such an alluring and stunning location, beautifully conceived and designed by the Italian architect Manfredi Nicoletti. It is no surprise that it has quickly become one of the main attractions in Abuja and one of the must-see places in Nigeria.
Here are 4 interesting reasons you should visit the Millennium park this season.
1. Take Advantage of the Spectacular View for Photo Shoot Sessions
The park has some of the best views that you could ever imagine. Its landscape is made up of a lush green field with corridors and walkways and fountains bubbling beautifully at virtually every corner. In addition to this, the park also has a very traditional and rigid Italian Style Garden Layout with a rectilinear path as its entrance that is completely paved with Roman white travertine. The path layout is based on a trident geometry separated by huge polygonal pools, and the roads are crossed by a series of multi-coloured bushes going from yellow to red with a very particular wave-like course. Amazing right? And it’s even better when all that is captured by a camera or in a photograph. It provides a perfect setting to liven your photos and photo shoot sessions.
2. Admire the Park’s Vegetation and Wildlife
The Millennium Park is the largest park in Abuja that covers an area of 32 hectares. A section of the park, which is reserved, is made up of beautiful untouched nature and stunning vegetation and wildlife. There you can find a system of terraces at different levels containing some of Nigeria’s mountain vegetation, savanna, deciduous forest, rainforest and brushwood as well as greenhouses for butterflies and tropical birds. It is such a great setting to admire and relax in by yourself or with friends and family.
3. Explore the Greenhouses for Butterflies and Tropical Birds
The side of the park with the greenhouses for butterflies and tropical birds is perfectly open for visitors to explore and admire the butterflies and different bird species available at the park. If you’re a nature lover, it’s even all the more better for you.
4. Enjoy Picnic Dates and Events with Family and Friends
With all the stunning landscape, luscious vegetation and beautiful wildlife to explore and admire, the millennium park is a great destination for picnic dates with family and friends. It provides a beautiful, suitable setting for such dates, it has swings, slides and obstacles, and is such ideal location for children to play and lovers to have some alone time.
Ojo Obaniyi, a 40-year-old resident of Ibadan has applied his skill in weaving in an unusually creative way to advertise his business – raffia palm cane weaving services.
Obaniyi has covered the interior and exterior of his Volkswagen pickup with raffia palm cane, including the entire car body, the wheel caps, chairs, steering wheel and dashboard.
Ojo Obaniyi is one of the most talented Nigerian inventors! Before creating hand-woven car he has practiced the craft for 20 years. Ojo Obaniyi is one of the most talented Nigerian inventors!
“I wanted to prove a point that it is not only the educated elite that can make positive changes in society. We, the artisans, also have talents to effect a change and make a positive impact in the society,” Obaniyi says.
“That is why I decided that I too must do something that will make people to recognize me and to know me across the whole world.”
“I decided prove to the world that African and indeed the entire black race have very talented people.”
Ibadan (where Obaniyi is from) is the capital city of Oyo State and the third largest metropolitan area by population in Nigeria.
Here there are a lot of raffia palm cane weavers. But only Ojo Obaniyi due to his car has managed to attract the global attention of the whole Internet.
Every man should have at least one good suit. The first thing to do before you drop what could be hundreds or thousands of dollars on a well-made suit is to consider what you need the suit for.
Whether it’s a crucial job interview, a nightlife odyssey with old friends or the day you bid farewell to bachelorhood forever, looking good instills confidence.
Here are a few tips:
1.Pinstriped Suit or Professional suit
This one’s our pick for the fashionable entrepreneur, an uptight banker or an employee who knows his style. A pin-striped suit is similar to a linen one, darker than the stripe one and should be worn with a shirt and matching tie. This suit is perfect for a business meeting or anything to do with the word ‘professional’.
We also believe that your dress code in the office influences the power you have over your colleagues/employees. A pinstriped suit will ensure that this influence is at its highest.
2. Dinner Jacket
The dinner jacket, commonly known as a tuxedo, is perfect for a sophisticated evening meal or meeting her parents for dinner for the very first time. This means that a dinner jacket creates a lasting impression if you want to look charismatic, stylish and classy, cultured and refined. Tuxedos can be avoided for business meetings but at the same time can be a great option for a business party.
3. Velvet Jacket
A well-cut, good quality velvet jacket is versatile and can be worn elegantly for many occasions. But mainly, it’s perfect for a night out at a posh club or dinner and drinks with your friends. It is comfortable to wear and gives you a sharp look. Wear your velvet jacket with dark jeans for contrasting, dressy and stylish attire.
4. Vintage Suits
A vintage suit is a traditional three-piece suit comprising of trousers, vest and a jacket made up of the same two fabrics namely polyester and wool. This can be worn in a retro-classic style for business outings or can be played around with colours and styles for a young look. Each suit can be worn in four universal styles: The Italian suits that are the most famous; the American style which is more youthful and fun; the British style places emphasis on elegance, class and sophistication; and the Mandarin style which reflects its oriental culture.
Nigeria, the giant of Africa is not only blessed with the best rainforest, flora, it also has exciting wildlife sanctuaries and preservation centres that are located in different parts of the country. So, if you are a wildlife lover, you do not need to visit South Africa, Kenya or Tanzania to see the wild. There are lovely and beautiful wildlife destinations in Nigeria.
Here are some of them.
1.Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary
Experience the amazing wildlife at Afi mountain sanctuary.
The wildlife reserve is a preservation centre for chimpanzees, gorillas, drill monkeys and many other endangered primates. It is also home to large migratory roosts in Africa.
It is located in Cross River State.
2. Yankari Games Reserve
The Yankari Games Reserve will always top the list of Parks to visit in Nigeria. The Park was established in 1956 and opened to the public in 1962. It is located around Gagi River, South East of Bauchi Town. The reserve covers 2,058 sq. km. of savanna woodland and is inhabited by elephants, baboons, waterbucks, bushbucks, oribi, crocodile, hippopotamus, roan antelope, buffalo and various types of monkeys.
3. Ogba Zoo and Nature Park
The Ogba Zoo covers about 750 acres and was established in 1966 and sits comfortably on Airport Road in the ancient Benin Kingdom. You will see the King of animals – lions, chimpanzees, giant tortoises, rock python, peafowls and many more.
4. Gashaka Gumti National Park
The Gashaka Gumti National Park holds the title of the largest National Park in Nigeria covering about 6,402 Km and it is situated in-between Taraba (Gashaka and Adamawa (Gumti). This natural habitat is home to a wide range of plant and animal life from the leopard to elephants, lions, wild dogs, antelope, forest hogs, golden cats, birdlife, insects, reptiles and aquatic life. The mountain is a stone throw from the Chappal Waddi, which is Nigeria’s highest mountain.
Jos Wildlife Park
The Jos Wild park attracts inter- and intra-visitors yearly. The park is located in the Rantya area of Jos. It is home to species of rare animals like elephants, lions, hyenas, birds, chimpanzees, baboons and monkeys. You are guaranteed a swell time in Jos as the park is only one of many tourist destinations in the state
Ikechukwu Eric Ahiauzu, is a singer and songwriter better known by his stage name Ric Hassani. The 27-year-old has been fully immersed in the music industry for over a year now and has managed to make his stand in the music industry as an unsigned artist. Ric currently has two award nominations for the 2016 Headies: ‘Best Vocal Performance’ alongside the likes of Brymo, Darey, Shaydee and Wande Coal as well as ‘Best Alternative Song’ both for his 2015 single, ‘Gentleman’.
Ric is inspired by the works of Boyz II Men, Craig David, Chris Brown, Sam Smith and Justin Bieber. He is slowly rising into the ranks of Timi Dakolo, Darey Art Alade and Praiz. At the moment, Ric is one of Africa’s emerging stars and has garnered the attention of the masses in a short time with his smooth vocals and intriguing fashion which is a blend of Western attire in Africa print.
Guess you’re wondering how he came by the stage name – Ric Hassani? Eric chose a nickname Hassani from TV series Fresh Prince.
How did your career as a musician begin?
I am the last born of five and all my elder sisters were in the church choir, a classical choir. They rehearsed for hours after the church services. The choir was mostly adults, and I was about eight or nine years old at the time. I grew up in an Anglican church so the choir was very ceremonial and respected.
During their rehearsals, there were meat pies and as a kid all I wanted was to have some. So, I forced my way into the choir and just became ‘the kid everyone liked’ and the best part? – Because I was the youngest, I now became the one they delegated to go from pew to pew sharing the meat pies!!! My life was complete.
I became a part of the choir, I rehearsed with them for months singing soprano, but never joined them on the main services, only rehearsals. Then one day, the choirmaster called me aside after I had just shared out the last batch of meat pies, gave me a new piece to sing, sat by the organ and said: “Oya, as I de play, just start de sing make I hear“. And I sang the whole thing, solfa notations and all. He then said, “Come Sunday morning, pick a robe and join us”. That’s how my career started.
Why did you choose the alternative genre?
I would not say I am alternative. I think that most times, people tend to call a new or different sound that they aren’t used to alternative, but I best define myself as a pop artist.
You’ve become widely popular very quickly. How have you been taking that?
I must say it is humbling. The more known I get just makes me want to work harder because it means that more people are watching and I cannot disappoint them. So, it makes me want to put my head down and work harder.
How do you feel about your nomination for the Headies?
Headies is a platform that I have dreamt about. It feels very surreal that I am now nominated. And again, for an independent artist as myself who isn’t signed to any record label it is really a big deal. I am really thankful to God for that. I’m thankful to God for a lot, it’s a very good feeling.
Are your parents supportive about your career choice?
Right now, they are more supportive than ever and it makes me happy. I think the bottom line is our parents just want to see us happy and fulfilled and comfortable. It is not so much about what we do; because as parents they have invested so much into us children and they just want to see that all that energy and sacrifice they have made is worth something. My Dad is the most excited especially when I am travelling out to another country to perform and then my mum is the most excited about awards, she will be the first to tell all her friends at work and at church, and she will send the most broadcast messages on WhatsApp to her contacts forcing all of them to vote [laughs]. That they are happy about what I am doing means the world to me and it gives me a kind of; joy and affirmation.
What inspires you?
Love. I am really inspired by love. I watch a lot of marriage proposals on YouTube and it really inspires me to write really nice and honest love music.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to continue to do more work like I always have. Fashion is also something that I would like to delve into but I would only do that when the time is right. I have also been working on my debut album “The African Gentleman” for a while now so hopefully I get to release it soon, but all in God’s time.
Words you live by.
A big shot is only a small shot that kept on shooting.
Quite a number of Nigerians have a negative perception about Nigerians from the Northern region. Nevertheless, there are some things that they do not know about these people.
Today, we round up some fun things about Northern Nigeria.
1.They have wonderful tourist attractions
From the Palace of the Emir of Kano to the Kano City, Kajuru Castle, the Chappal Waddi in Taraba, and Yankari Games Reserve and much more, Northern Nigeria is blessed with so many exciting tourist destinations. In fact, if you want the perfect getaway, we recommend Northern Nigeria.
When you see a Northern Nigerian man, he is always with his transistor radio. With this radio, he keeps up with the latest news development. Hence, if you still think the Hausa man in your neighbourhood is an information illiterate, you better shelve that thought.
On the streets of major Nigerian cities, it is the Hausa man that is willing to do ‘anything’ to survive as far as it is legal. They are the cobblers, they own small kiosk to complement their jobs as a security guard and are ready to do menial jobs in a bid to continue existing. In fact, they are the unofficial Bureau De Change of many Nigerians. In addition, they offer the best Kilishi and Suya.
4. They are not Boko Haram members
Many Hausas have been tagged Boko Haram members even though they do not have any link with the militant organization.
5. They are very hospitable
Northerners are naturally hospitable and friendly. They welcome you with open arms and of course, they can house and feed you for free. In fact, life in the North is very peaceful unlike what we read and hear.
African traditional religion refers to the indigenous or autochthonous religions of the African people. It deals with their cosmology, ritual practices, symbols, arts, society, and so on.
Because religion is a way of life, it relates to culture and society as they affect the worldview of the African people.
There is a lot to learn about African traditional religions, and a lot of interesting facts to explore. We share 6 interesting facts about African traditional religions.
1.It’s Highly Dynamic
African traditional religions are not static but very dynamic, largely because they are constantly reacting to various shifting influences such as old age, modernity and technological advances.
2. They are Based More on Lived Traditions
African traditional religions are not so much based on faith as they are based on lived traditions. This is seen in the fact that they are more concerned with rituals, ceremonies and lived practices, than they are with doctrines and belief systems.
3. Concerns For Health, Wealth and Procreation are Central To The Core of African Religions
It is because of this core concern that African traditional religions develop institutions for healing, commerce and general well-being of their own practitioners, as well as adherents of other religions.
4. It’s Not Based on Conversion
A practitioner of African traditional religion is unlikely to attempt to convert a non-practitioner into his/her religious beliefs and practices. They simply believe in living their faith and attempting a peaceful coexistence with others who are of differing religious traditions that live among them.
5. Women Play Key Roles in This Religions
African traditional religions have very profound internal gender relations and dynamics. Women, as well as men, play key roles in African religions as there many female goddesses, priestesses, diviners and other figures revered in African religious traditions and practices. The reverence of women, as well as men, in African traditional religions is so profound, that many feminist scholars have used these traditions as reference points to advocate for the rights of women in African societies. For indigenous African religions, the role of gender is complementary in such a way that a ‘confluence of male and female forces must operate in harmony’.
6. It Provides Strong Linkages Between The Life of Humans and the World of Ancestors
As a result of these strong linkages, African religions provide a platform for humans to maintain constant and symbiotic relationships with their ancestors. These ancestors are understood to be intimately concerned and involved in their descendants’ everyday affairs.
7. Traditional African religions have gone global!
The Trans-Atlantic slave trade led to the growth of African-inspired traditions in the Americas such as Candomblé in Brazil, Santería in Cuba, or Vodun in Haïti. Furthermore, many in places like the US and the UK have converted to various traditional African religions, and the importance of the diaspora for these religions is growing rapidly. African religions have also become a major attraction for those in the diaspora who travel to Africa on pilgrimages because of the global reach of these traditions.
There are quite a number of revival groups and movements whose main aim is to ensure that the tenants and practice of African indigenous religion that are threatened survive. These can be found all over the Americas and Europe.
Michael Balogun is one of the few tour operators in the country who has experienced tourism in two different worlds: Britain and Nigeria. Of course, you cannot compare the tourism space of both nations. Thankfully, Balogun aggregated all his tourism experiences in Britain and invested it in establishing Tour2Nigeria-which has been organising tours to different Nigerian destinations. In this interview, Michael Balogun speaks about Tour2Nigeria, challenges of Nigeria’s tourism industry, his top 5 destinations for Christmas and much more. Enjoy
Please tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Michael Balogun, CEO and Co-Founder of Xtrm Tours 2 Nigeria Ltd, a tour packaging company. I spent a couple of years in London and the experience of their tourism sector ignited my passion. Together with my friend Mr Kole Majekodunmi, co-founder of Xtrm Tours2Nigeria Ltd, we were able to give this ignited passion an expression. In Nigeria, we felt we could replicate the same experience in terms of selling the memorable experience to tourist and the rest they say is history.
Can you tell us more about Tour2Nigeria? What does your business have to offer intending travellers?
Xtrm Tours 2 Nigeria Ltd is a registered company here in Nigeria. Tour2Nigeria’s main objective is to make the brand a one-stop shop and hub for everything tourism in Nigeria. Also, the core of our business is to promote inbound tourism in Nigeria and in the process help to create employment opportunities as well as promote the image of the country to encourage foreign investors. We have been using our platform to showcase both the Tourism, Cultural & Art aspect of Nigeria. We believe in giving our clients a memorable experience with our tour and customer service.
How many Nigerian states have you visited? Can you share the most exciting and exciting experience? Any weird experience?
I have visited over 30 states in Nigeria. My most exciting and weird experience will be during a private tour of the Lekki conservation centre, and it was during the Canopy walk which is the longest canopy walk in Africa. I have a slight phobia for heights which I had warned my client about. Halfway through the canopy walk, I heard my client telling me, “Michael, do you know you have been saying a lot of prayers and cursing at the same time?” It was hilarious when we got back on the ground because I thought I was murmuring all that inside my mind. That’s another thing about touring and visiting new places that I find exciting, it lets you push yourself beyond your comfort zones at times. You do things, you didn’t think you could; despite my fear of heights I have taken that canopy walk many times.
As an experienced tour operator, how much should an average Nigerian budget for a tour?
With our research and survey, among other factors like the minimum wage in Nigeria, I can say that it can range from about N10,000 to around N100,000. However, a tailored tour can be programmed around whatever budget you have in mind.
We all agree that Nigeria is a beautiful country. Despite this, some Nigerians still prefer to visit Dubai, Paris, Seychelles and London among others for their vacations. What do you think can be done to encourage Nigerians to tour Nigeria?
Nigeria is a beautiful country blessed with so much history, historic sites, landmarks, festivals and culture, not forgetting the culinary aspect too. We have everything here to make it the biggest and best destination hub in sub-Saharan Africa. The major challenge we have had over the years has been the attitude of the government towards the tourism sector due to the focus on oil and gas. There is a need for DMOs (Destination Management Organisations) to be set up to take full charge of destination branding and creating awareness. These countries like Dubai spent billions of dollars to get to where they are today. Take a look back at Dubai in 1985 and see how far they have come to be one of the biggest destinations in the world.
In your opinion, what are the problems or challenges of Nigeria’s tourism industry? What do you think can be done to fix these problems?
The travel and tourism industry is one of the world’s largest industries with a global economic contribution (over $7.6 trillion in 2016). Our biggest problem in Nigeria is not even the security or infrastructural challenges, but issues of politics, putting square pegs in round holes. We need to have the right people at the helms of affairs in this sector. A lot of efforts too is required from the owners and managers of these resorts and destinations. With the power of the social media, we don’t have any excuse not to do more. Hopefully, our leaders and people in the tourism sector would soon come to a realisation of the importance of the tourism statistics and how much the country is losing out on in terms of revenue and its effect on our GDP.
Based on your experience, do you have any advice for travellers, travel bloggers or any person that might be aspiring to tour Nigeria?
The best advice I can give anyone travelling to Nigeria is to have a clear and an open mindset and make the best of the moment while in Nigeria. This is the best way to enjoy your travel to our beautiful country, Nigeria and indeed to anywhere in the world. For those aspiring to be a travel blogger my advice for you is to give the best opinion of your visits and not just write to drive traffic to your blog.
Can you give us your top 5 Nigerian destinations to visit during Christmas?
Depending on your location within the country: Inagbe Grand Resorts and Leisure, Ikogosi, Lekki Leisure Lake, Agodi Gardens and Calabar Carnival.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to become a tour operator?
A genuine passion for Tourism is the first step. I mean, you should have the passion for bringing culture/history to life. You must be determined and be able to exercise a lot of patience. An excellent interpersonal skill is also a step in the right direction.