Sunday, March 29, 2009

PR Essay 2009

Hey hey! I just saw dis online:
PM News March 20, 2009 15:27,
NIJ Students Shine At Essay Competition
Students of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Ogba, have won the first three prizes at the just concluded essay competition, at the Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
The first prize, which attracted the sum of N100,000, was won by Modupe Abosede Onanuga The second prize of N50,000 was won by Ehidiamen Jennifer, while the third prize of N25,000 was won by Nwaokike Doris.
Twenty-six students out of the 35 selected from six tertiary institutions in Lagos are products of NIJ.
Held at the Muson Centre, Onikan, the competition was entitled “Information Technology as a Public Relations Tool for National Development.”
In attendance were the Chairperson of the Lagos State chapter of NIPR, Mrs. Nkechi Ali-Balogun; Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Prof. Bamidele Badejo; Chairperson, PR Essay Competition, Mrs. Chibuzor Patrick among others.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Starting out in business can be faced by a lot of opposition, especially in a developing country like Nigeria. In my last article, I discussed tips on how I built an online business and how to turn your passion into money. Today, I’ll be sharing with you some obstacles when starting out and how I overcome them.

  1. Lack of Capital: Sometimes in 2001, I desired to own a record label, I did not have startup capital, I opted to write about music instead online. I wanted to open an office to sell stuffs & consult, I did not have cash for rent, I opted to put my shop online. I needed to learn to use a computer in 1999, I couldn’t afford one, I decided to volunteer with an NGO that allows their interns to use a PC. My entire ability has grown out of implementing alternatives to bigger ideas that require money that I do not have.
  2. Fear of uncertainty: Fear of failure always prevents an individual from starting out. One of my greatest fears is losing money. It kept me small for over 1 year. Until I read “Do it, Screw It” by Richard Branson, I never mustered the courage of expanding my online business to six figure until then.
  3. Procrastination: Procrastination is leaving priorities for later time. It causes a slowdown in efficiency and output of individual. I remembered procrastinating about work that needed to be done online. I overcame this determination by writing down my priorities & implementing the most important one, working my way down to the least important. If you are a big time procrastinator like I was, then I suggest you always write down your priorities and ensure you don’t do any other thing until you complete the task.
  4. Ignorance: Ignorance is simply a lack of knowledge. Having a or Ph.D does not make an individual learned about living life to the full or running a business. Ignorance can be conquered by reading books. If you find books boring, then you are not alone; buy tapes & listen on your IPOD etc.
  5. Information Overload: Have you ever thought of doing over 20 things at a go or learnt quite a lot that you don’t know where to start from? Don’t be surprised, it did happen to me as well. I have wanted to do quite a lot of things. I wanted to venture into properties, Own & run an ISP, Start marketing coy, and over 7 other things that I can’t discuss here. Overcoming info overload requires Writing down what you want to achieve, creating steps to reaching the goal of achievement, list resources needed and implementing the written objective one after the other as well as putting up control measures to ensure objective become achieved as planned. Each individual is powerful beyond measure, the only thing holding you back from your dream is you. Therefore take action today…

By: OluGbenga Aijotan


The grand finale of the Vlisco Urban Beat Designers Competition, organized for young emerging Nigerian designers, took place last week during the Vlisco Urban Beat Fashion Event 2009 held at the Eko Hotel and Suites Expo center.

As part of Vlisco’s objective to contribute to the growth and development of the Nigerian Fashion Industry, the Vlisco Fashion Academy was created to train emerging tailors and designers through different capacity building workshops at all levels. Young designers who participated in the fashion academy had the opportunity of entering for the Vlisco Urban Beat Designers competition. However, Bimpe Adebambo, Zainab Hamza, Doro Udeh, Jemimah Otagada, Chineze Araka, Kelvin Wayas, Chisom Ogundu and Ifeanyi Ejimadu were the eight young designers short-listed from the numerous applications received from all over Nigeria.

After a rigorous training exercise, the young designers showcased their designs before the judges during the fashion event, which later brought to the fore Jemimah, Chisom, Bimpe, Chimeze (2nd prize winner) and Ifeanyi (1st prize winner) as the five finalists of Vlisco Urban Beat Fashion Event 2009.

The prizes for the finalists include a customized designer workshop in Holland, a tour of Vlisco factory to learn the design process, 5 Fate Foundation Entrepreneurship program and an opportunity to showcase their designs on the same platform as other leading Nigerian designers.

Some accomplished Nigerian designers such as Lisa Folawiyo of Jewel by Lisa, Odio Mimonet, Lanre Da Silva and Tiffany Amber also showcased their recent collections during the event, which was amiably anchored by Adesuwa Onyenokwe with invited guests and different stakeholders in the fashion industry in attendance.

Hair, make-up and models were provided by Sleek; photography by studio 24 while Timi Dakolo thrilled the audience with musical interlude. The Managing Director of Vlisco Nigeria, Else Hartsema and the event production crew led by Omoyemi Akerele with support from the production team coordinated the overall event in partnership with organizations such as Fate Foundation, KLM, Air France etc.

Photos: courtesy of Vlisco Fashion week!
Picture 1. Ifeanyi Ejimadu - Winner, Vlisco Urban Beat Designer's
Competiton and her model
Picture 2. Odion Oseni (Odio Mimonet - A featuring Designer)
Picture 3. Janet and Asa (Musician)
Picture 4. Lisa Folawiyo (Jewel By Lisa - A featuring Designer)
Picture 5 to 8. pictures of models on runway

by Jennifer Ehidiamen

As published in the Nation newspaper.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


On my way to school everyday, I see this very inspiring billboard sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Youth Development. It reads: Youths be creative. Believe in yourself. Self employment pays. “What a great way of motivating us” I said to myself the first day I saw it. As it seems, no longer will anyone be comfortable being a “Pity me” or “Hippo” generation. Should we all stick to become a Cheetah?

The “Pity me” generation refers to people who won’t lift a finger to help themselves, but rather lie in their own deficiency. They call out to whoever cares to listen and moan about how the world is unfair to them. They enjoy eating other people’s fish and have no interest in learning how to fish.

Similarly, the “Hippo” generation (sounds like hypocrites) blame others for the problems of the world instead of finding solutions. They drive development backward and only seek after their personal interest. They wait to be supervised before taking a move on anything; they have a very dependent nature.

But the emerging “Cheetah” generation is the risk taker, entrepreneurs and those crafting their own ingenious solutions to problems around them. They are the group Pastor Tunde Bakare so often refer to as the new breed without greed, the radical opposition to corruption. They have a heart to serve and understand what servitude in leadership means in all ramifications. They take action and do not wait until they are acted upon to come alive. This generation does not seek money or handouts, but rather preparation and opportunities to enable them achieve their goals.

In the book “African Unchained”, George Ayittey wrote “The Cheetah Generation is a new breed of Africans who brook no nonsense about corruption. They understand what accountability and democracy is. They are not going to wait for government to do things for them….”

The buzz about the Cheetah generation has been on for a while now, but I do not know why Ayittey coined up the term to describe this paradigm shift. The animal called Cheetah, spotted like the Leopard, belongs to the cat family and is most celebrated for being the fastest land animal, a natural sprinter (similar to this jet age?). However, it lacks climbing abilities; it is unadaptable to new environment and not breed-able in captivity. Despite these short comings the Cheetah has the ability to see long distances (in the human sense, visionary?).

I do not claim supreme knowledge for the above, what is disseminated is what I learn from observation (thanks to Ayittey’s book and of course my sister’s knowledge from whom I first heard about “the pity me” generation). Now, the ball is set in your court, what generation do you fall into? There is no option of sitting on the fence.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Turning Your Passion into Money...

Last weekend I was invited to a Youth Entrepreneurship Summit to speak on “Turning your passion into money”. It was obvious that the organiser wanted me to use my passion for PCs and the internet to encourage other young people to pursue their passion. I built OpportunityWorld (an E-business Consulting Firm) from scratch without a dime (yes, I only had N6, 000 in my savings account) to a total turnover of N6.5 Million within 2 years of inception & total sales of N3.5M in 2008 without a physical office. My business empire exists solely on the internet and this was at the time when my peers were busy destroying Nigeria image through online scams.

I’ll love to share a few tips I discussed at that event which can help young people jumpstart a business and stop depending on the already saturated job market.

1. Discover your passion & leverage on it: As I type this, I have been online for the past 10 hrs non stop. That tells you how much I love PC’s and this was how I got started. I created internet tutorials & distributed it for free, but today I sell improved versions.

2. Start for free: The best business success comes when you provide some services for free. I once encouraged a young wannabe makeup artist to start making her friends up for free. If no one notices the makeup or made any comment, it means she needs to improve on her skills. Few days later, she called me that she got her first Job to make up a friend’s sister at her wedding.

3. Choose a mentor & Read Books: A mentor is who you run to for advice on what you are about doing. Books help to improve you & Horne your skills in the area that you are passionate about. On a monthly basis, I read at least two books; attend at least ONE business training. It helps in networking & keeping abreast. Visit website like for free information.

4. Think Big & Start Small: Most times, we prefer to think big & start big. Do you want to run an ISP? Jumpstart by networking pc’s for small businesses. Do you want to become a record label owner? Start by leveraging on marketing with the internet. Do you want to run a magazine? Start with a magazine blog. Always start small!!!

5. Set Target for yourself: Setting targets and taking action helps you improve on your time management skills and ensure you achieve a particular thing within a specific period of time. Always ensure that whatever you do, add value to someone else life.

Are you prepared to follow your passion and turn it into money? This is the best time to start. Take action and start with what you have.

Guest writer: Olugbenga Aijotan is a young entrepreneur. He is currently the CEO of OpportunityWorld.


Have you seen the movie a beautiful mind? It is a 2001 American film based on the life of John Nash, a US mathematician who despite suffering from Schizophrenia during his college years went on to live a normal life. He was awarded the Nobel prize in 1994. His life was depicted in “A beautiful mind” so beautifully that you would want to watch it just to learn more about such critical issue as schizophrenia. In the real world, Schizophrenia is often confused with multiple personality disorder but it is not!

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental disorder characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality, which manifests as hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions i.e. People with schizophrenia sometimes hear voices others don’t hear, believe that others are broadcasting their thoughts to the world, or become convinced that others are plotting to harm them. These experiences can make them fearful and withdrawn and cause difficulties when they try to have relationships with others.

Why am I sounding like a medical practitioner or mental professional today? A few months ago, I was inspired to embark on a research on “Schizophrenia” and its impact in our Society. Thus, I found myself in the first point of call- The Yaba Psychiatric Hospital, for such an elaborate project. I was astounded by the crowd I met at the reception. At a point I turned to the security guard to confirm if I was in the right place and he replied in affirmative.

I was really shocked to have found so many patients at the Psychiatric hospital. Judging by face value, most of the patients were from rich homes, confirming that the rich also cry. But then, reconsidering that phenomenon, it is possible that it is only the rich and a selected few of an average family that are aware of the need for a professional medical treatment for Psychotic conditions. For example, a couple brought in their daughter who was about thirteen years old. The little girl had marks all over her body. According to their report, the marks (physical abuse) were inflicted upon her by a spiritualists from whom they were initially seeking help before they were advised by some knowledgeable good Samaritans to take their daughter for medical treatment.

From this experience, I observed that most people often treat Psychotic cases as spiritual. The patients are stigmatized with all sorts of myths by friends and love ones who ought to seek for help. I also noted that Psychiatric cases seems to be on the rise (perhaps due to economic recession?). Many mentally ill people do not know where to find help, thus they roam about aimlessly until they finally loose connection. At least, we still have hope that patients with mental illness can find medical treatment at Yaba Psychiatric Hospital (with professional competencies). But is this enough intervention?