Tuesday, July 29, 2008

DRAGONS' DEN NIGERIA

Hi Everyone!
How r u guys doing? Sorry for the break in transmission. Slow internet service is a real downer!!
Anyway, what have you been up to?
I have been enjoying my holiday.
My birthday was this weekend!!! Feel free to leave some birthday prayers in the comment section. Much appreciated. Had a fab time anyway.

I watched the first episode of Dragons' Den Nigeria this weekend. I was really impressed.
Dragon's Den is an entrepreneurial reality show which allows budding entrepreneurs with the opportunity to present their business ideas to 'Dragons' - established business titans who then have the option of investing in their companies. Each player pitches a business scheme, telling us how much they need to float the business. The Dragons can invest as much or as little as they like in return for...an agreed percentage of the business.

Each Dragon can pledge as much money as they like, or nothing at all. But players have to raise ALL the cash they ask for. If an idea need 1,000,000 Naira and the Dragons offer a total of 750,000k, the player leaves empty handed.
The show has had successful runs in various markets including the UK and Canada.

Check out some details below.
You can watch the show on Saturdays & Sundays.
Saturday on Channels 1-2PM
Sunday on AIT 9.30-10.30PM
For those outside Nigeria - You can watch at the appropriate times via JumpTV

The Host - Nwaji Jibunoh. Howard Uni Graduate and current Phillips Consulting Exec

Dragons' Den Host

The Dragons

John Momoh

John Momoh

Media Mogul - Owner of Channels Television

Alex Amosu

Alexander Amosu

Technology Guru / Ringtone Pioneer

Chris Parkes

Chris Parkes

PR/Marketing Leader - Chris Parkes Marketing Solutions

Tokunboh Ishmael

Tokunboh Ishmael

Accomplished Financier - African Venture Capital Association

Femi Tejuoso

Femi Tejuoso

Multi-Industry Private Equity Investor - Helios Towers Nigeria Ltd

Ibukun Awosika

Ibukun Awosika

SME Pioneer - The Chair Centre Limited
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You can read the scoop on the first episode on their website HERE
Niyi Tabiti also has details on his blog
Really positive programme. I consider this as entertainment with a cause.
From the first episode, the production was top notch! Storm Vision did a great job.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

A leading Nigerian corporate Internet Service Provider is recruiting for a Marketing Manager.
Young, driven, entrepreneurial and have a strong interest in Marketing then you should apply.
Are you ready to research, plan, create and execute a marketing plan and brand image for an emerging market leader?
Then this your opportunity
Its an emerging company with a great reputation, this is a fantastic opportunity for you to make your mark.
First Degree with 2.1, Marketing concentration and/or Masters in Marketing will be advantageous.
2 - 4 Years Market Research and Brand Management experience including international work experience will be ideal.
You should be available for an interview in Lagos in the next couple of weeks.
Salary: Competitive

Email your CV and cover letter to bellanaija @ gmail.com
Subject Line: ISP Marketing Position

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis but you are advised to apply early.
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A well established Nigerian fashion label and leader in Children's clothing is recruiting for a brand manager.
Are you interested in fashion branding, merchandising and retail? Do you have experience in all aspects of fashion marketing from
creating show stopping window displays to creating a brand marketing plan? Then this is the job for you.
This will be an excellent opportunity for you to do what you love.
Please note that this is a full time job.

Email your CV and cover letter to bellanaija @ gmail.com
Subject Line: Fashion Marketing Position

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis but you are advised to apply early.
_________________________________________________
Freelance writers are needed for a new online wedding website Sugar! Weddings. Content is needed for the following categories: Planning, Ideas & Advice, Wedding Fashion & Honeymoon. Please email info@sugarweddings.com for more information.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

SATURDAY INTERVIEWS - Liz Benson

Hi! Hope your weekend is going well. Below is an interview with Nollywood veteren, Liz Benson. Its from the Daily Independent Newspaper.
I respect Liz, she looks stunning, its hard to believe she has 3 teenage children...check on it!
______________________________________What would Nollywood be without a certain Liz Benson?
She is not only an A-list actress, she is also beautiful with little signs of having three grown up children. Liz is now spreading the word of God as a minister in the vineyard. For her, that is priority over Nollywood, and everything else. As a matter of fact, when ASSISTANT EDITOR, Jude Nwauzor, met her in Calabar, Cross River State recently, she tried everything possible to avoid the interview, insisted it was better to share the word of God. Once portrayed as a wanton seductress and gold digger, but we met a sober, matronly actress on a different missionary journey.

Have you finally signed out of the movie industry?
God forbid bad thing. I have not.

So, where are you based at the moment because you are definitely not in Lagos, which is the capital of Nollywood?
I would not be able to disclose that. What I would tell you is that when Paul in the Bible was called, he moved around a lot and I'm moving around a lot now and God has not told me to slow down or settle in one particular place. God would be the one to tell me where to be exactly. For now I'm taking the gospel around and anywhere my suitcase lands that is where I would be.

Tell me how did the Lord arrest you for this new role?
It's a long story, which would take a long time to recall.
I have all the time in the world to listen to it.
I want people to know that the Bible tells us that the harvest is plenty but the labourers are few. Even when you look now there are so many churches and all that, but I still believe there is a lot that still needs to be done. God is in a state right now of using whosoever comes forward. I just wanted to be a child who wants to do what would please her father and I found that God turned it all around for my own good because I think it is a wonderful privilege to be able to serve God. Right now I go everywhere; mechanic workshops, motor parks, among other such places to share the word of God because the gospel is meant to be the love of God. It is a privilege to be able to speak about the Cross. I did not call myself; I did not go to a Bible school so I couldn't have called myself. But I believe that just as God opened my eyes to the truth that has always been with me, which is the word of God, I believe that God can open that of others to see what I have seen. Let it not come as a surprise that I'm into spreading the gospel because sometimes I amaze even myself but it is not by my grace. It is by the grace of the Almighty Father and so as many as would submit to God, he would use because God can use anybody or anything. I used to think the same way when I saw bishops and other men of God, I used to believe that God created them to come and work in the vineyard of the Lord. But I have since come to realise that God can turn anybody into a tool for the gospel. Years back, if somebody had told me that I would become a fulltime pastor, it would have been natural to believe that that person did not know what he or she was talking about. But then, there is even more joy and enjoyment in the presence of God. It is not something that I willed but it was the will of God that prevailed upon my life so I'm most thankful.

During the church service to mark the eighth anniversary of Mountain Dew in Calabar recently, I watched you preach and even lead praise and worship, I never knew you could sing. Oh! my God. The word of God says that we should worship God in the beauty of His holiness and you cannot be a true worshipper without having something to say to Him. It could come out in form of songs and the Holy Spirit helps you to present at the table of the Almighty. So, in every form of worship, even for those of us who do not take up the microphone professionally as musicians, we find ourselves being drafted into it. But it's all by the grace of God. It is the Holy Spirit that helps you achieve that. I did not really preach at that service but what happened was that I shared my testimonies and had few minutes of exaltations challenging my brothers and sisters in the church to take up the Armour of God. But I think I still need to go for voice training so that it would all be to His glory.

How big do you want to make your ministry?
It is not about me making it this big or that big. People should understand that God is the owner of everything so it is impossible for you to limit yourself or say I want it this big or this small. Do you know that so many preachers have had cause to say, 'I wish God would take this away from me and let others do it?' But it is impossible because when God sends you on that errand, honestly you have to pray for the grace to be able to obey. So for the ministry and me it is God that would determine how big or how small it would be. When I got into the movie industry I did not set any target for myself but knowingly or unknowingly, all I needed was a medium to be able to express what was inside of me. I believe God has deposited in me concerning his work and that is why my attention for now is to make people understand the love of God, I want people to understand the message in I Corinthians 1: 18 that the preaching of the Cross to those who are perishing is foolishness, but to those who are saved, it is the power of God. So I want people to understand the power of God to be able to share in the love of Jesus Christ, and the love of God. Like my spiritual father, Dr. Immah Isong shared the seven keys to life with the congregation during the eighth anniversary of Morning Dew, a monthly revival service of the Christian Central Chapel International (CCCI). Those keys are very important because they are life. I tell people that it takes the grace of God to be able to give out what God has given to you. It is that kind of spirit that we need to share the grace of God. So I cannot say this is where I want the ministry to be in so, so and so years. I just wish to serve God in the best possible means. I want God to use me and use me thoroughly. Let me be a sign to this generation, I want to be a contributing factor to drawing people back into the kingdom of God. That, for now, is what I can call my goal. I want to be driven by that.

I know your story as Liz Benson, the celebrated Nollywood personality, mother of three and so many others. But I don't know what made you decide that it was going to be God's work you want to do henceforth.
It may sound strange, but I would want to say that for some of us it has been there. I grew up in a Christian home and I think I belong to the third generation in my family that is serving God. My elder sister is a reverend pastor though she resides outside the country. My late father was a founding member of one of the Christian churches in Lagos; my grand fathers (maternal and paternal)were both founding members and elders of the Presbyterian and Qua Iboe church respectively. I grew up in the way of the Lord. And like the Bible said, 'bring up a child in the way of the Lord and when he grows up he would never depart from it.' I grew up with the word of God but I got into the movie industry. But because strong Christian attitudes have been instilled in you early in life and as a child, it draws you back to God. That was why after a while; I gave my life to God in 1996 as a form of saying thank you God because I had gone through an experience where I lost my husband at a very young age, and I was with three children. God made me understand He was the one keeping me but I had always known God. So in spite of my partying, and whatever I did, I knew that I had no other person than God. So, my giving my life to God was to say thank you; though He took my husband He remained the husband of the widow. He was father to my children, which was why I gave up my life to serve him. I did it honestly as a form of gratitude. I had a tanker accident that nearly consumed my life, experienced series of terrible robberies among others. I guess God wanted to draw me back to him. Every time I escaped from these problems, I usually asked God why me? For example, during the tanker accident where over 200 people died, I survived. I asked questions and got answered from the Bible and each time I read the bible I would cry. So, I asked God what He wanted me to do. But He was guiding me towards a particular line, which was why with every step I was getting closer to the word. At the time I gave myself to God, it was difficult to come out and say it openly. It is not like today when it almost like a cliche to say 'I'm born again.' Then people would resent you. So, it was a problem then because as far back as that I would tell them on set that I was born again and because of that I couldn't do this or that but people would not take it serious, they would think it a joke. When it continued that way, I decided to keep it to myself and worship God in private, you know. But the time came when I decided to take some time off completely.

You were reported to have gone to live in Ghana. Was that correct?
No, I didn't go to live in Ghana. I put myself away to be able to grow my spiritual life and develop my affinity with God.

I had to come out in the open about my new relationship and that has been it for me, and I tell you, it has been wonderful. The word of God is so strong, which is why it says, 'I have not given you the spirit of fear.' So, I can come out and proclaim the word of God. He sent me to the movie industry for a purpose, and he is using me in the gospel ministry to be able to stand out and preach the word.

When you see Liz Benson preaching, you should know that it is not by my own power, but that it is by the spirit of God that I stand out to speak. I did not create myself and I believe I'm one of those 'foolish' things God is using to confirm the wise. It has been a long journey. I tell you, being born again is just one step; it is when you experience the conviction that I would tell you, welcome to the kingdom. I say this because without that conviction it is difficult to understand and that conviction leads one to a level of intimacy that when you are not in it, you would know you are missing something. Intimacy with the Holy Spirit is wonderful and beautiful.

Where are your children and what are are they doing?
The two girls are in school in the UK but the other one, the boy just got into school in Yola (Adamawa State).

Why didn't you re-marry when you lost your husband just six years after your marriage?
I had never really looked at it in the past because my late husband and the father to my children was a wonderful man. Even though we had very short time together, he was wonderful to me and to the kids. I have had most of my friends accuse me that I always put everyman that comes to me on the scale of my late husband but I don't think that is the case. The thing is I'm one person who believes that marriage should be without an end, I do not believe in divorce and all that. The man I was married to would love to see his kids doing well. If he were around he would want to give the kids the very best. My husband was an 'A' class person and because he was no more around and because he had very, very great love for me, I decided to transfer that love to my children and that did not allow me to see myself being married to someone else. The attention was all on my children. So, those kids were my direct responsibility since my husband died, I had to abandon every other thing to take very good care of them. That was one very important thing that kept me away from a second marriage because I think of them first even before myself. It was not that proposals were not coming. When the two got into the university I thought about getting married, but life is not all about that. But I have told God that whatever He desires is what must be done. Whenever it is God's time I would see the man who would say, 'Liz, I want to marry you.' I would then go to my father to seek His consent. I would not allow my flesh to take control of me. I know nobody is perfect, which is why God accepts us the way we are. When we wake up in the morning with a smelly mouth, we kneel down to praise God; he accepts our prayers irrespective of the smelly mouth. In the same way, I'm not perfect just like no one is, so I would pray to God that when he gives me someone, it would be someone that I can cope with, someone I can adjust to, someone that we can strike a balance, someone that would be able to take my inadequacies and I would take his to enable us make something out of this beautiful life God has given us. Life is too short to begin to waste it on things that don't really matter. So I look out for the best from God.

There is this belief that since your peers in Nollywood left, the movie industry dropped to all time low.
I would not want to use the word drop. I think it's a kind of restructuring that is going on in the industry. And as you know when there is restructuring a lot of things have to be cleared up. Even for nations at times you experience war, after the war there would be time to clear things up. After that comes the rebuilding, which makes the nation stronger and better. I think Nollywood is in that situation right now, a kind of recess, which I know we would pull through. Other countries have had teething problems and of course they are not to be measured with where we are right now because they started decades back. But then, we are meant to encounter problems. I believe we would overcome these problems because it's most necessary we have the recess because it would make Nollywood better.

Friday, July 18, 2008

9ICE & TONI PAYNE MARRIED

Hi Y'all,
How is your week going? My week has been fabulous! I wish I could dish but I cant.
Anyway, congrats to Oluwaseun Antonia Payne (Toni Payne) and Abolore Akande (9ice) on their registry wedding and traditional engagement. Their wedding took place yesterday Thursday 17 July 2008 morning.
Check out the wedding photos below! Toni looked gorgeous, absolutely glowing! A big congrats to the couple!!!!! I pray that God blesses their union and all their endeavors.




Photo Credit: Jarmoe Silas

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

NAETO C Album Release - BY WANA


After all the months of buzz, the Naeto C Album release party took place a little over a week ago. Here are some pics from the party.

Photos by Seun O






Audio interviews by Wana Udobang. They will be broadcast on an international radio station but I had to put them up for u guys!
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Monday, July 14, 2008

THISDAY FESTIVAL 2008 'AFRICA RISING'

Hi Everyone!!!
How was your weekend? Mine was just….I have no words!
Anyway, I attended the 3rd edition of the ThisDay Music Festival last night/this morning. The ‘Africa Rising’ Event actually kicked off in Abuja last week when Naomi Campbell and some other celebrities planted tree in Nigeria’s Capital - Abuja. On Friday, 11th July 2008, the musical concert in Abuja took place with performances from Jay-Z, Usher, Rihanna along with local artistes including up and coming rapper, MI.

I didn’t attend the Abuja show but here are some tidbits and pics. I heard the music show went well although it started really late as well. Usher did an amazing job, the ladies were screaming. Jay-Z killed it as always. He and Rihanna performed 'Umbrella' together. They have done this only a very few times live in the past. All the guys were drooling over Rihanna, apparently she is the 'freshest' lady ever. Even one of my female friends who met her said her skin is like butter. WOW. Skin like butter + Chris Brown as a boyfriend....do we need more reasons to hate her? lol.
The fashion show in Abuja was unfortunately cancelled and Naomi & Tyson didn't attend the fashion show in Lagos

ABUJA + LAGOS PRE-EVENT
Naomi planted trees in Abuja and visited an orphanage along with Tyson Beckford in Lagos

Usher, Jay-Z & Rihanna performed

Ozwald & Oluchi were there looking fab!

Portraits - Taken in Lagos





LAGOS
So I couldn’t decide if I should go for the Lagos show or not cause I was sooo exhausted on Sunday but I dragged myself out of bed anyway. The venue was the Lagos Polo Club, ThisDay setup a dome for the event. People who paid 5,000/10,000naira were seated outside the dome with a large projector screen to watch. Inside the dome, VIP (50,000) were placed at the end of the runway while Golden Circle (60,000) were infront of the stage/around the runway. The sponsors - Diamond Bank, Access Bank & GTBank all had elavated hospitality suites so they had a good view as well. 'All Access' pass holders watched the show from the stage and backstage. It was mainly Nduka's kids and their friends, the ThisDay Staff, designers, models, photographers, crew etc...rather random bunch actually.

Anyway, the show was supposed to start by 6PM and surprise, surprise….It started almost 4 hours late….about 3 hours and 40 minutes late to be exact.

Started – 9.40PM

The crowd was a mix, many of the usual suspects that you see at every Lagos event but the crowd was dominated by teenagers!!!!! I guess with Chris Brown on the bill, that was to be expected. I have to admit that the new generation of Nigerians are incredibly stylish. These teenage girls and boys are not playin’, they express themselves very well with their style.
Anyway, I picked my spot right by the stage and I had an amazing view of everything!
The host of the show was veteran media personality, Olisa Adibua. He gave a brief introduction to hype up the crowd then comedian Basketmouth joined him on stage to ‘crack’ a few jokes. Soon after, Mary J Blige, the Queen of RnB arrived on stage. She was rockin a denim jumpsuit with grey boots and her signature blonde weave. My first observation was that Mary is fit! She has an amazing body and obviously works out. I also spotted her husband Kendu chillin at the side of the stage.
She started off with her old hits from the ‘What’s the 411’ album and took things from there! I have to admit Mary is an AMAZING performer! Energetic, passionate, fun, vocally on point! I was thoroughly impressed. For all the women in the audience, she had so many positive messages about loving yourself, being confident and all that. I felt her! By the time she began crooning her more recent hits including ‘No More Drama’ and my personal fav ‘Be Without U’, the crowd was eating out of the palm of her hand. Singing along, dancing, clapping! It was a great atmosphere. She closed off her set with her most recent hit ‘Just Fine’.

After Mary’s performance, Basketmouth and Olisa come back on stage. Basketmouth cracked the crowd up with his jokes. He was laid back and funny! While he was performing, the stage was being worked on for the next act so it was kinda distracting. Basket was on stage for a while….he decided to invite some entertainers in the crowd to join him. Ikechukwu did a freestyle version of his hit ‘Wind Am Well’. Wande Coal and D’Banj also cruised the stage for a lil’ while and dropped a few snippets. Don Jazzy, 2Face Idibia and Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha were at the event.
Next up was Chris Brown and to say the crowd went crazy would be a serious understatement. They were DELIRIOUS! But what’s to be expected with over a thousand teenage girls.
I have to admit that Chris is fine! Yes, I am like 5 years older than him but seeing him do his thing on stage was impressive. He killed it! He started with his hit ‘Wall to Wall’ and just took things from there. He, his dancers and his fine DJ…..worked perfectly together. The dance moves were well synchronised, the banter between him and the DJ was slick. When Chris took off his shirt, the crowd went crazy again! Overall, it was just an amazing performance! Even the oldies in the crowd were thoroughly impressed especially when he performed his ballads ‘No Air’ and ‘With You’. At the end of his performance, one of his crew threw his beanie hat into the crowd…it landed in my hands....then ricocheted to the 2 teen girls next to me. They then proceeded to wrangle over it for some minutes. The strongest won LOL.

After Chris, there was nothing for about an hour. The crew was setting up the stage….Logistics! Forever the bane of Nigerian events. I wonder when it will change.

Up next, Joey Crack…Fat Joe. Dude might be fat but it didn’t affect his energy levels. I looked into his eyes and he had a steely stare. He was in the ZONE. He and his crew kept the crowd entertained with hits including ‘New York’ and ‘Lean Back’ when he performed ‘Make It Rain’ some decided to spray some naira notes…There was also a fashion show featuring designs from New York based Lola Faturoti during the performance.
Throughout his performance, Fat Joe kept on saying how it was so great that ‘Nduke’ invited him to Nigeria lol…he said it was many times and it was quite funny. the crowd had to correct him as per its ‘Nduka’. He invited ‘Nduke’ on stage to say Happy Birthday as today is Mr Obiagena’s birthday.
Overall, strong showing by Mr. Crack! He was sweating buckets though.

Another almost hour long interlude to reset the stage. BAD!

Then the fashion started, Chris Aire, the famous bling designer or should I say ‘innovator/designer/gemologist’ as he was described in his introduction video. His show featured bling. Lots of it. The models were all dressed in white and embellished with diamonds. Oluchi, Ojy and other models featured in the show.
Cool.

Logistics/setup break – Almost hour long. BAD!

Next up, Ozwald Boateng. I love Mr. Boateng! He is talented and just sooo fine.
Clothes were on point as always. Cut to perfection. Fabric was lush. Colours were awe inspiring.
Mr. B strutted the stage at the end of his show. U can tell he is a fun loving dude. Loved it. He is sooo HOT!
Need I say it again. Another long break to set up! Bad, Bad, Bad!

My fave Nigerian designer, Deola Sagoe showed her new collection.
Deola has been so consistent over the years but this collection truly blew me away. Her denim is cut so beautifully. I am sure that sometime very soon….Deola Sagoe denim is going to be the ‘it’ jean brand a la Rock and Republic, Seven etc…
The rest of the clothes were beautiful. The models did their thing and showed it off well.
Break again to setup the stage. The crowd thinned out at this point.
Finally the Nigerian artistes.
Mr ‘Julie’, Shank performed. Was cool. The crowd were hyped. His dancers were something else. Very energetic though. Liked it.

To close things off, rave of the moment. 9ice.
He stepped on stage looking suave in an Okunoren Twins ensemble.
The crowd just loved him! Even the security guards who were stoic all night had to sing ‘Street Credibility’ along with him. He also hit us with ‘Gongo Aso’.
9ice closed the show off with a bang!

Ended – Around 4AM

To be honest, I had fun but the late start and all the lapses in logistics really tested my patience. On the bright side, Mary J, Chris Brown and Fat Joe held my hand LOL.
For the numerous people who got free passes – Press and All Access Passes. I think the festival was fabulous for them. For those who paid 5000/10000 naira for regular tickets but then wrangled their way to the front. Great for them but for those who paid 50000 and 60000 for VIP & Golden Circle tickets…..It must have been a little upsetting.
In all, kudos to Nduka. You could see him working and sweating along with everyone trying to ensure that the event was a success.
I see and feel his vision of trying to change the perception of Africa from a poor beggar to a fun loving prosperous continent that is inviting to perspective investors. That said, these ‘Africa Rising’ shows probably cost well over a billion naira in total to fund. I can’t help but think that perhaps there is a different way that such funds can benefit Nigeria and Africa.
After all is said and done, I totally respect the effort. Many sit and criticize but he is taking action.
Hope it works!

**All photos from the Lagos show were taken by me for BellaNaija but by the number of photographers present I’m sure that you will be bombarded with images from the concert over the next couple of days**

Thoughts?