Friday, 30 March 2012

For iREP Docu-Film Fest, a roaring success

By Anote Ajeluorou, Omiko Awa and Florence Utor


‘New Media… is about technology, people, content’


‘In a digital world like the one we live in, reality is fragmented because we’re all creating content one way or the other in what is called digital democracy. Indeed, the new media has come to stay and its effect is pervasive’.
  This was how the Director-General of National Film and Video Censors Board, Mr. Emeka Mba, started his keynote address at iREP International Documentary Film Festival 2012 that ended last Sunday at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.
  Mba spoke on the theme, New Media, New Possibilities in addressing some of the salient issues defining documentary films and filmmaking in a world radically globalised by advances in technology. At the heart of the new media, he said, is embedded ‘technology’ and its multiple applications, and then the ‘people’ that drive or utilise that technology; then there is the ‘content’ that is fed into that technology to create experiences for consumers.
  Mba’s suave presentation on the all-important subject of how new media is impacting documentary and films and how filmmakers can latch onto these new media to benefit was inspiring. He stated that makers of documentary and filmmakers “live in more interesting times as technology (which provides the new media) offers us tremendous opportunities” waiting to be explored and exploited.
  Inherent in the new media is the concept of convergence, which Mba said creates a whole new world of possibilities for those who know how to tap into them. He highlighted some of the opportunities to be derived from the new media by filmmakers and makers of documentary films so as to maximally benefit from the new media, which includes the ‘content’ that sits in these new media or devices. He argued that with the pervasiveness of technology or new media, businesses are changing and so, filmmakers, whether of documentary or feature films, should brace up and meet these challenges and how to appropriate them.
  One feature of the new media, Mba stated, is its impact of sharing on social media networks and the kind of freedom or democracy it offers even consumers, whereby they have become far more participatory in the process of creating or contributing to what content they want to see or watch.
  Mba argued, “Consumers do not just want to consume, but they want to take part as discussants; they decide what they want; they are more participatory; technology or new media has lowered the barrier of entry so that the definition and content of narrative is changing. Indeed, the structure of what is created has changed or is changing”.
  Coming on the heels of the new opportunities new media offers is the challenge of alternative distribution channels for the content so created. You-tube and such other social media network, Mba stated, offer unlimited possibilities for sharing content in a digitalised world.
  
Challenges of regulating in an era of digital media

THE Director General of the Film and Video Censors Board, Mba, said a regulator, like himself, would have serious hard time dealing with the content and quality of what is put on social media, as it would have gone beyond his scope of regulation. He noted, “Regulating in a digital atmosphere is a lot of hit and misses; it could be a nightmarish situation for regulators. However, the essential thing should be about deepening and opening up the market. The philosophy of regulation in a digital environment is responding to changes as they come. I have never used the word, ‘ban’.
  Although audiences tend to be fragmented in a digital world, Mba noted that there would always be ‘content’ and the ‘people’ for whom content is created, and competition and the ability to monetise in the long run, and be able to create new market.
  Not discounting the importance of the stability of the environment in which new media should operate, Mba argued, “we need to live in a democratic system to be able to have all these new media work. More than ever before, information is a global currency oiling the wheel of progress, for us to be better prepared for the future. Information is what is really important for us, the key to development, to create a view for a better future, for us not to be afraid to engage in new media, and take a leap of faith in what we do”.
  Mba ended with a famous quote from an unknown source, which he said would seem to be at the heart of the new media revolution that is also creating new opportunities for those not afraid to dare: “Imagine the past, challenge the present and leap into the future!”

EARLIER, CHANNELS TV chairman, Mr. John Momoh, had spoken on ‘Documentary, Demonstration and Development’, where he reflected on the January street protests tagged ‘Occupy Nigeria’ on account of fuel price increases. Slides of the protests were shown to the audience to highlight what could be termed people’s power, as they confronted their government in a bid to hold them accountable for its actions or inactions. Momoh argued that the documentary film format is an important element in so far as it “is a creative treatment of reality”.
  He also asserted that there is a need to deepen the democratic culture so as to allow what happened during the protests so government would feel the pulse of the people and respond accordingly. With such protests, Momoh “government is kept abreast of what the people expects of it; it also fosters accountability, which is very important” in governance relations with the public. He charged government to also make attempts to let the people know what was going so they could fully understand its policies.
  In responding to a question, Momoh denied the widely circulated rumour during the protest that the Presidency and security operatives had reached out to him to desist from broadcasting images of the protests, which were the dominant news items in the two weeks that the mass action — that crystallized in Occupy Nigeria movement — lasted. He said the only contact he had with the presidency in the period was to ask him to offer suggestion on how the fuel subsidy crisis could be easily tamed; an that invitation he reasoned was in recognition of his status as a citizen with a crucial voice.
   Momoh, who said he was both worried and bemused at the rumour when it went all over town, pointed out that circulation of falsehood as truth is a major challenge that the social media — where the false news was spread — has to contend with.
   He commended iREP team for the festival idea and restated his commitment to the festival, saying, “What do we do with what we have in iREP? We need to reinforce it through partnership like the one we’re having with iREP”, details of which he said would be unveiled soon.   
  The broadcaster, TV executive, who expressed his deep passion for documentary films, said he’d like “to see how TV stations can pool resources together to commission documentaries” as a way of assisting documentary filmmakers so they could come up with better productions.

Documentary... making it profitable, attractable

   Conceptualised on the framework: Africa In Self Conversation, the 2012 edition of the iREPRESENT international Dopcumentary Film Festival screened about 30 films, held workshops and training in production (film and radio) , camera works, scriptwriting (films and news), and gave awards to four eminent Nigerians who have contributed to documentary filmmaking in the country. It was organised in partnership with Goethe Institut and AG DokumentarFilm (German Association of Independent Producers), both of which facilitated participation of a host of international filmmakers from Germany, South Africa and Cameroon, some of who presented films, conducted training workshops and participated in the two sessions of Producers’ Forum, with the objective of devising strategies towards international production and distribution cooperation among producers from the participating countries.
  iREP divided its main theme, Democracy and Culture: The Documentary Film Intervention, to four sub-themes that cover areas such as democracy and demonstrations, new media and participatory democracy, media and nation building as well as potentials of Nigerian films to explore and exploit the documentary format in its production virtues.
  Speaking on her observations of the festival Ursula WeBler, secretary of Filmstadt Munchen, Germany, noted that the festival had a lot of discussion and films about the history of Nigeria, colonialism and corruption in governance. Comparing the films and documentaries she had watched in this festival to those of other festivals in Europe, the operative of the famous Doc-Fest film festival, said the documentaries from Europe are longer and the pictures tell the stories while in Nigeria, the documentaries are shorter and more like a reportage.
  “In Europe, we tell the stories in films and unlike what we saw here, our documentaries are usually longer. Though inadequate fund may make it short, I observed that most Africans are not used to long documentary films”.
  Reiterating WeBler’s views, Barbel Mauch, of Barbel Mauch Films, Berlin, observed that though most African film producers have little funds at their disposal, their productions are impressive.  
  “What I saw yesterday was very impressive and the presentations were good with the topic well-thought out. What we have seen so far will surely change the image of Africa, which my colleagues and I hold of the continent before now. The event has really opened our minds to knowing Africa the more and we hope to go back to our country to correct those negative opinions. Apart from the social media and exchange of films, meeting and discussing in a programme of this nature helps a lot to correct such abnormalities. I was thrilled with some of the clips on democracy (the Occupy Nigeria footages); it revealed so many things about the country, the people and the government, which we do not know”.
  Mauch, who has produced many African filmmakers, especially of the Francophone extraction, and had worked with the Nigeria Film Corporation (NFC) on its Shoot!!! project series inn Jos, urged documentary filmmakers to look for new ways to fund their works, as the model currently in use may make finance difficult.
  She said, “Documentary films can be commercially viable if producers sourced for new ideas such as looking inward and doing stories on the political leaders or those that have impacted on the society from different parts of the country, put them in CD and sell to the people; these documentary films would be bought and watched like any other film at home and in turn bring in the financial rewards”.
  Reacting to some of the observations about the festival, a veteran documentarist and recipient of the iREP Hall of Fame Award at the event,  Mamman Yussuf, said documentary making is a more serious, incisive and professional business that goes beyond just shooting films. It’s more profound and involves the issues and ideas, planning, synopsis and the budget. Because of the huge budget usually involved, government has hijacked documentary making for propaganda use, which to some extent, discouraged many people.
  Continued, the former ambassador to Spain and the Vatican,“Documentary could be for one hour, 30 minutes or five minutes depending on the fund and the audience. In Nigeria, no TV station has a programme dedicated to documentary, so it makes the producers to look elsewhere to air their films and in most cases depend on sponsors.”

COMMENTING on the effects of social media on filmmaking, film producer and director, Enrico Chiesa, director of IDmage, said Nigerians will have to wait till when the Internet becomes powerful to download movies. He also urged producers to be prepared for the necessary changes to come as the sale of films would move from direct CD buy to online buying and placement.
  Enrico, whose organisations recently launched AfricaFilms.tv and mobiCINE, two film initiatives supported by EC ACPFilms, stated, “Nollywood filmmakers should take advantage of this. Today, the biggest problems of Nollywood are DVDs or the CDs and piracy; tomorrow a very large part of the business would be made online. They should be prepared for the online market just as it is done in the U.S. and U.K. Producers are making good money through the sales of film on the Internet. With this, you can easily know the number of buyers, when they bought the films and the amount paid; it’s transparent.
  "Although the online price to rent a movie maybe as little as $4 or 4 Euros for feature films, it cannot be compared to the film being stolen or downloaded illegally; it’s quite better and if they don’t plan towards that, other people may do that at your expense”.

...And the Docu-Film Fest comes to a roaring close

 The iREP film documentary festival came to a close last Sunday at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, featuring the Art Stampede organised by the  Committee for Relevant Art, (CORA). Conceived on the theme, The theme was ‘Where is the Market for TV Documentary?’, the 90th edition of the so-described Artists Parliament staged quarterly since June 1991, was designed to spotlight the economics of documentary film making, spotlighting the potential markets for documentary films, especially on local TV stations -- whether documentary film making pays in Nigeria, whether there’s a market for documentary films in Nigeria and the possible distribution outlets, and what the role of broadcasting stations is in advancing the cause of the documentary format.
  The CEO of Communicating for Change (CFC), Mrs. Sandra Mbanefo-Obiago, who gave the lead presentation, spoke on the power of documentaries over feature films, which she said usually generatequick reactions. She wondered why people are least enthusiastic about documentary film format, giving its inherent advantages.
  A trained film producer and director, whose works include (Cash Madam, Lady Mechanic, Red Hot Nigeria Creativity etc), Sandra gave a detailed account of how CFC was being run, the challenges of raising funds for the documentaries the company made (before it wound up few weeks ago) and stated categorically that for now documentaries are not financially rewarding in Nigeria. She also cited instances where creative treatment of documentary have actually been commercially successful at the box office in other parts of the world.
  Filmmaker, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, who was on the panel that reviewed Mrs Mbanefo-Obiago's presentation, stated clearly, “Documentaries do not make money anywhere but some money ought to come back to the producer so that he can produce others”.
  He lamented the attitude of proprietors of electronic media in Nigeria whom he said regard the setting up of TV stations as comparable to  buying toys. His grouse is when “you take your materials to TV houses, they ask you to pay no matter how developed they are!" an exasperated Ali-Balogun, producer of the popualr film, Tango With Me, declared: "If they don’t have money to pay for the materials, then let them close shop”.
  The producer of yet to be released, Nigeria Autumn (based on the Occupy Nigeria mass action following the January 2012 removal of fuel subsidy), also acknowledged the power of social media where documentaries could be aired but he also noted that internet connection is discouragingly slow in Nigeria. And this limits the potentials of film to get good and profitable viewership.
  Nollywood movie producer and director, Charles Novia, who is currently producing two books and a documentary on 20 years of Nollywood), simply submitted, “When people ask me about documentaries, I tell them to rather go into music. There is also the issue of audience; people enter a cinema and want to be entertained...” he concluded that documentaries are not yet lucrative in Nigeria because the criotical audience size to sustain it is yet to be created.
  However, Obiago debunked Novia’s submission that documentaries are not entertaining, saying, “our (CFC) documentaries get lots of audience and people watch with rapt attention; this shows that documentaries are entertaining”.
  Ali-Balogun affirmed that there would always be audience to watch documentaries if the TV houses made efforts to air them.
 A filmmaker from the North, Mikail Isa Sufi, however, expressed a different angle to the challenge of making documentary films, saying, that most of the documentaries made from the North are about personalities, which nobody is ready to watch. He wondered how documentaries could be profitable when the audience is almost non-existent. He, however, concluded that a way out is for filmmakers to make documentaries entertainning more like drama.
   A London-based filmmaker, Ben Ali, with a different experience from the rest, advised the stampeding filmmakers to think out of the box. He suggested that they could do docu-dramas and bring in Nollywood personalities to act out the roles, which he is convinced people would watch. He stated, “Filmmakers always do the same mistake of doing it the same way; that is why people don’t want to pay money to watch”. Edxamples were thus given of the success of Pennies for the Boatman by US-based Nigerian filmmaker, Niyi Coker (jnr), which has been garnering awards from around the world.
  Mikail, however, suggested that filmmakers should create a market for documentaries rather than depend on TV houses alone for survival.
  Another contributor, Lawrence Ani, a journalist, said, “we tend to look at documentaries as something that must address social issues; we don’t see it as a business but as something that must be commissioned to be done”.
  Professor of entrepreneurship, later-day politician and host of the once popular TV talkshow, Patito's Gang,  Pat Utomi, insisted that inspite of the challenges of funding and sustenable audience patronage, there is a place for documentaries still. He gave an example of his  programme, which he couldn’t continue hosting due to financial constraints but said people have kept calling to ask when he would bring it back; and he did late last year.
  Veteran actress, Taiwo Ajayi Lycett, said people need to be taught a lot of things through documentaries. She said entertainment should actually make people sit up and think, saying, “There are so many issues in this country; we can make people listen to us through entertainment but we have the attitude of poverty that makes us see limitations and keep us thinking that we can’t. We can create our own world rather than consume other people’s view about us. The right thinking will produce wealth”.
  Mrs. Mbanefo-Obiago concluded that there might not be money in the documentary films yet, but  the joy of seeing that you have addressed an issue and it has brought about a positive change to society is spiritually satisfying and uplifting. She gave examples of how the works of nher company, CFC, had led to infrastuctural development in a hitherto government-neglected community in Oyo State; and the inspiring story of Lady Mechanic, who has moved from obscurity to limelight with high networth patrons.
   The iREP 2012 keynoter, Anthropologist, producer of over 30 documentaries from Paris, Prof. Jean-Paul Collyen, admitted that there is a limit to documentaries but insisted that the potential in Nigeria is great and only needed to be harnessed.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Adenowo … The Change evangelist




BY OYINDAMOLA LAWAL
CHANGE is Olajumoke Olufunmilola Adenowo’s passion. The Ibadan, Oyo State-born architect is committed to making change in the society, especially as it affects the womenfolk.  It is this passion that led her to establish Awesome Treasures Foundation (ATF) in 1999. And over the years, her faith based non-governmental organisation has identified, developed and deployed transformational leaders to affect the lives of Nigerians in line with the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs) declared by the United Nations.
  What does ATF aims at?
   She chuckles amid a long breath. “National transformation.”
  As ambitious as that may seem, “it is our aim to raise transformational leaders who will birth a national renaissance — to see a new Nigeria emerge in our lifetime.”
  And the response?
  Adenowo laughs, “I have always been unusually passionate about Nigeria, even as a child. I abhorred waste of potential. When I was in the university, I was actively involved in a group praying for Nigeria every month. Faith without works is dead, so, the next logical step was to give expression to my passion by mobilising women and youth with a clear and strong sense of purpose for the desired change,” she says. “Every position we find ourselves in is expressly willed or permitted by God, therefore every access to human, material and whatever resources must be pressed into the service of God and humanity.”
  She says, “it is obvious that any intervention, no matter how huge and spectacular, is long overdue.”

ADENOWO has over the years used her NGO to empower women and the youth through the provision of: entrepreneurial and skills acquisition to over 6, 000 women; basic primary education to inner-city children; primary health care facilities to over 2000 people; rescue over 150 young girls from being sexual abused and others.
  Aside from all this, her NGO holds several outreach programmes and events such as the National Women’s Prayer Summit — an interdenominational meeting of prophetic prayer for all Nigerian women.
  The prayer summit has attracted dignitaries including the wife of Lagos State governor Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola and her Ekiti State counterpart Chief Bisi Fayemi.
   She says, “ both women were honoured with the ‘Mother In The Nation’ award for their contributions to ATF and the nation. This year’s prayer summit holds on March 17 at the Indoors Sports Hall, National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.”
  What does she aim to achieve with the Summit?
  

Adenowo says, “this is the third yearly National Women's Prayer Summit we are holding. Last year, our theme was Women Against Kidnapping. And this was because of the rage of kidnappers, which made many women to live in perpetual fear. We prayed and we saw a definite change. This year, we are coming against violence and the theme is Women Against Violence. It’s time for women to register their total opposition against violence — from that of the terrorist groups to domestic violence, which has become a silent killer. We are going straight to God, who said the government would be on our shoulders and enforcing spiritually what we desire to see physically. All Nigerian women who have faith in God are welcome. Last year, we had even men of various faith in attendance.”
  Why has ATF focused on women?
  According to her, “no matter how many women we have in leadership positions today, the fundamental problems of the Nigerian women are yet to be addressed. Nigerian women are not even safe; we are not secure in a country where a young girl is bathed with acid for daring to say ‘no’ to a man's advances and the government does not see it for what it is — a crime against the state.”
  The architect adds,  “the perpetrator walks free in the streets while the victim lives in daily mental and physical anguish. It’s worse than slavery! No woman, no matter how personally comfortable she is, should be apathetic about such outrageous incidents. What happens to one sister can happen to another. In essence, we are being told, even, our bodies do not belong to us and random ‘admirers’ can lay claim to it? They can even upload their crimes on Youtube while law enforcement officials tell the victim that ‘she caused it?’ This is the worst sort of human rights abuse possible!”

FOR Adenowo, Nigeria is at that point where the cords of nationhood are more fragile than a spider’s web. To this end, the people need to define their national identity, “and everyone can state clearly what it means to be a Nigerian.” 
  According to Adenowo, it goes beyond the tangibles of a poor educational system and unemployment. The main problem, especially with the youth is hopelessness and disillusionment. “The youth need to have fate in the nation, love the nation and see themselves as stakeholders in Nigeria.”
  She continues, “until we have a corporate national vision we don't have a true nation.  The problems we bemoan such as corruption; lack of focus, waste, lack of meritocracy and others are mere symptoms of a deep-rooted malaise — lack of vision.
  “The country is too endowed, especially with human capital to fail. “We should be the sun of the black race, the role model for every black nation.”
  Adenowo says, “there have been many situations Nigeria has stepped in to assist other countries and I am proud of the role we have played in those instance, which I cannot go into detail right now.  Nigeria as a nation can't go begging other countries to help us; what problems do we have that we don't have the intellectual capacity to solve? What we lack is the will to solve them because of our compromised interests and goal incongruence.”

THOUGH the UN has for years documented that faith-based NGOs are the most effective type of organisations, “we found that the Nigeria populace are not familiar with the paradigm of faith-based NGOs. Some religious people were not comfortable with our overt Christian faith, but the paradigm shift is happening even as we speak. Nigerian Christians are getting to know that Christian outreaches to humanity must be carried out by denominational establishments.”

AS a student of the Federal Government Girls’ College and Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Adenowo received several awards for academic excellence and design skills.
  Upon completion of her master’s degree, she was included in the Who Will Be Who in the 21st Century (Young Achievers’ section) by the International Biography Centre (IBC) Cambridge, England (1991).
   As a chartered architect, she had a stint with Towry Coker and Associates as well as with Femi Majekodunmi Associates before establishing AD Consulting, an architecture and interior designing firm in 1994.
  What is unique about AD?
   “We are brand enhancers and we enhance our clients' investment portfolios. We have deployed architecture to enhance brands for our corporate clients such as Coca Cola, Stanbic IBTC, GTBank and others. We developed GTBank e branches and they immediately became the standard to beat that area. We made competing banks to study what we did for GTBank, so you can say we set trends.”
  She adds, “we enhance your personal brand in a way no luxury accessory, private jet or yacht can. While the other luxury brand enhancers such as private jets and yachts lose their value with time, the building investments our designs represent appreciate rapidly. We guarantee that on completing the construction of any design. Our designs return value on every penny spent on them.”
  Relationship between architecture and ATF?
“There is a definite synergy. AD Consulting actively supports Awesome Treasures Foundation (ATF). It is the sole corporate sponsor. It’s the main sponsor of some of ATF outreach programmes such as Voice of Change (VOC), which focuses on leadership. AD is not just an architectural firm; it is also a centre for personal development as we are focused on the developments of individuals working with us with an aim to raise leaders.  We give young people a chance to show their skills and talents.

For Adenowo, her firm has a peculiar culture for raising leaders on the job at a micro level. Architecture has always been a vehicle for national transformation. Looking at Nigeria for example, both the Federal and state governments are clearly making efforts to deploy architecture as a tool of transformation.”
  Can ATF successfully run without you?
  “There is no success without succession, so, not only do we have key people in key positions to run the organisation, we have plans to ensure that ATF is self-sustaining.  We have members of board of trustees such as Sam Adeyemi, Wale Adefarasin, Funke Felix-Adejumo, Yetunde Holloway and other public-spirited individuals,” she says.
  The Advisory Board is chaired by Idy Enang (MD Samsung West Africa) and supported by other individuals of proven integrity like Yinka Sanni (DMD Stanbic IBTC), Justice Sola Williams (Lagos State Judiciary), Mary Akpobome, Tara Fela-Durotoye and others. The Strategy Team has bright young minds like Lanre Da Silva -Ajayi, Chiadi Ndu, TY Bello, Funke Bucknor-Obruthe and Conrad Adigwe. 
  Different women and youths lead the various groups. ATF also has three judges on its legal resource group. 

BEYOND architecture and designs, Adenowo founded and heads Advantage Energy, a company that provides manpower solutions in the oil and gas sector and has worked on several oil and gas projects with Exxon Mobil, Esso and their subsidiaries.
  The property subsidiary of the company known as Advantage Properties has developed estate properties in the Lekki Peninsula area of Lagos State.
   Adenowo is an alumnus of a number of institutions including of the Lagos Business School, IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Barcelona, Spain, and a member of some professional bodies like the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Interior Designers Association of Nigeria (IDAN) and The European Coaching Institute, and International Mentoring Association.
  Adenowo also anchors a weekly radio programme Voice of Change’ (VOC) on Classic FM.  She uses this medium to raise transformational leaders in the society. She is also known as an inspirational and motivational speaker and has spoken at different conferences and summits within and outside Nigeria including the London Business School, and Harvard Business School (Africa Business Conference). 

   In 2007, she was recognised for her work with women empowerment and was honoured with the Rare Gems Award by the Women’s Optimum Development Foundation (WODEF) in collaborations with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIFEM).
  How does she find time to do all these?
  “I am still striving for excellence and depend on God's grace. I have a supportive husband, trouble-free loving sons and excellent team at AD and ATF! That is what holds it all together,” she says.
 



Monday, 19 March 2012


The adventure of Mr. Pepperoni
 BY GEOFF IYATSE

ERIC Idogun likes food. But not in the sense of just eating every item available. He earns a living from food. In fact, Idogun, who proudly describes himself as a cook, started cooking for the household at a tender age.
  After school, he would sneak out to play football at Agbarha-Otor, a sleeping community in Delta State. “Immediately it is 5pm, I will rush back home to join my mother in the kitchen.”
  Idogun, who holds two degrees in Political Science and Administrative Studies from the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Rivers State, at a tender age, knew he would be financially independent. He also knew — long before he established the first outlet of Pepperoni Foods Ltd (a fast food company with spread across four states of the Niger Delta) — that he would be an employer of labour. But how to achieve the lofty dream, considering his humble background, remained a mystery.
   At the age of seven, young Idogun, who is fifth in the family of nine, would often wonder whether he was actually his mother’s child, as she would leave his older siblings and compel him to stay in the kitchen. But this was a blessing in disguise, as it marked the beginning of his love for the art of cooking.
  In UNIPORT, both male and female friends often ridiculed him for his culinary skills. He was highly sought after during students’ weeks and similar social outings.
  “I would do barbecue and coordinate all cooking activities. The more my friends made jest of me, the more I loved cooking. Gradually, it became part of my life. I could not explain what was in it for me, but I just discovered I wanted to do it,” he says.

WHILE his mates were lobbying to serve in oil companies because of the prospects of being retained, Idogun had no interest in working for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, where he was posted for his National Youth Service Corps’ primary assignment, in 1994. 
  “While my colleagues were making moves to be retained I was looking for opportunity to do business with Shell,” he says with pride. “I registered with the company as a contractor instead of applying for a job. That was because I had always seen myself as an entrepreneur. I eventually got one contract, an engineering job from there. That launched me into oil servicing contract. I also did some for Mobil.
    “In 1996, I stumbled into marine. “I had a tugboat I was managing. I knew I was not doing the job I loved, but needed to raise some capital to start a business I had passion for.”
    Few years later, Idogun encountered somebody who changed his life and helped him to rediscover his passion — food business.   
   “My elder brother’s friend, Leo, invited me to help him set up Kingfisher Foods in Port Harcourt. A month to the opening of the first outlet, he was transferred to Warri. Meanwhile, we had acquired everything we needed to start. I assured him I would take care of it, sharing my time between the supervision of the eatery and my business.”   
  Idogun says, “I started without any condition. However, along the line, I couldn’t continue my business. We opened second outlet the following year, that was 2001 and the third in 2002. By the fourth year, we acquired locations for the fourth and fifth branches. I committed myself fully to growing the business. Eventually, Leo left Shell and resumed the management of the company.”
  The day Idogun’s third child was born marked a turning point in his life. “I still remember where I stood in Port Harcourt when my wife called to inform me of the news. That was the day I had the boldness to confront my boss. I asked — what is my stake in the business? I was not a manager; I was not a supervisor; I had no official title, yet I was in charge. He didn’t have to tell me he was not going to give me a stake, and we had come a long way. He helped me in many ways; yet I couldn’t stay because I was not getting younger.”
     
IN 2005, when he went to Bayelsa for feasibility study, there was nothing promising about Yenagoa, where he intended to locate an eatery. “I visited three times yet I saw nothing that could support fast food business in the town. However, something kept telling me to go back. It was during my fourth visit that I was able to talk to a supervisor at Mr. Biggs, the only operator in the town then, who coincidentally served as my first manager. He disclosed to me that they were making an average of N350, 000 a day. Based on that, I told myself that I could make N50, 000. I concluded I would open the outlet that is still at NTA/Azikoro Road till date,” he reveals.  
  By the time Idogun started, he was already indebted to the tune of N8.5m in addition to N3m personal savings invested. That was the first major risk of his life. Friends and relations querried his decision, but it didn’t mean anything to him because what he was about to do was his passion. He had so much confidence in what he was doing.
    According to Idogun, those who were supplying Kingfisher chickens and other things accepted to give credit facility when he told them his plans. The technician that was servicing Kingfisher gave him the generator he started with. “I was using fans to circulate the two air conditioners I had. That was how bad the situation was,” he recalls with a smile.
  “On June 15, 2005, when I eventually opened; the outlet was a mere glorified Mama Put because what was needed to run a fast food were not there. I was forced to open the place by a comment made by one of the customers. While waiting for show glass, he screamed  ‘what are you waiting for, must you serve from show glass? Common put the food on the counter and serve us!’ The showcase came two hours after we had opened. We started around 1pm, and I still made over N180, 000. It didn’t move me because I just believed it was a welcome sale. The sales of the second day made me cry; it was N398, 000. That was another turning point of my life.”
   From that day, Idogun saw money chasing him. “Opportunity does not come everyday. When mine came, I appreciated and grabbed it because I had hungered for it for many years.”
  
“When I eventually opened; the outlet was a mere glorified Mama Put because what was needed to run a fast food were not there. I was forced to open the place by a comment made by one of the customers. While waiting for show glass, he screamed  ‘what are you waiting for, must you serve from show glass? Common put the food on the counter and serve us!’ The showcase came two hours after we had opened. We started around 1pm, and I still made over N180, 000. It didn’t move me because I just believed it was a welcome sale. The sales of the second day made me cry; it was N398, 000. That was another turning point of my life.”

IDOGUN’s story is a blend of determination, timeliness and adventure.  While he was struggling to raise funds for expansion, Bayelsa State government gave him N15m non-interest loan.
  The Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) was coming and the state government decided to give facilities to hospitality operators to beef up their operations in readiness for the event. That was how Idogun got the free-interest loan that launched his business into phenomenal growth.
     With a headquarters building, a servicing ultra modern bakery and a water company in Port Harcourt, Idogun currently runs two outlets in Bayelsa State and three others in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states. He said the Abuja office of the venture, which is worth N2 billion would be opened this year, while plans are on to establish a model secondary school in Delta State and a farm that would give Pepperoni total control over its raw materials.
    
LAST year, Idogun was selected alongside other emerging entrepreneurs across Africa for the 2011 African Awards for Entrepreneurship with $50,000 expansion grant — an exercise that involved 3,500 companies from 48 countries. Mrs. Tokunbo Ishmael, who presented the award on behalf of Legatum Group (the organiser), in Kenya, said, “Pepperoni emerged winner because of its robust Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes.”
    On this, Idogun said his ultimate joy is to see people around him happy. This informs his philanthropic gesture, which revolves around the provision of drinkable water to people around his home and business. He also provides electricity to the host community of the headquarters at Rumualogu/Elakahia Road, Port Harcourt.
   “Water is freely given by God, so, it should be free,” he says. Idogun adds that the highest level of his humanitarian goal is to build a motherless baby home for the country.
   In Port Harcourt GRA (close to Waterline) where one of his outlets is located, the name Pepperoni rings a bell.  
  Does the sound of Pepperoni make any difference or was it just a business identity?    
  “No, I did a lot of research before I came up with that name. I said the name must be catchy and easy to call; funny to play with and relate to food. To be honest, I have heard people said — it is the name that sells our food,” he says.
   But the chief executive differs. He believes Pepperoni’s food is as good as its name. “They are complementary.  I am a cook, so, I know good meal when I see one. I don’t have to taste it, mere sighting it is enough. I do a lot of observations when I visit an outlet. Nobody spends N1000 on a plate of meal just to eat half of the plate. So when you see waiters picking plates that are half eaten, they go back to the drawing board to find out why. I feel very sad when I see such plates in my outlets. But I smile when they are all empty. That is the best way to measure customers’ satisfaction; it is an instant feedback.”    
   With general managers, managers and several supervisors under him, Idogun says he still cooks when he feels like or when there is pressure. He says he has an apron in every of his outlet, which he uses when the need arises.
   Idogun is not the bossy CEO you see every day. His informal style affects the way he runs his business. He knows all his staff by names and relates with them personally like colleagues. He believes a company should be structured in a way that the younger employees can learn the ropes; hence he disciplines a superior whose subordinate falls below expectations. 
    Like most upcoming companies, Idogun could not get funding from any bank seven years ago. He says, “banks are historians while entrepreneurs are futuristic. Banks want to look at your track records and when you don’t have they don’t commit themselves. That is the problem we have in the country. Entrepreneurs want to delve into unknown terrains to create jobs, but banks are not supportive. They want you to have good history before they can support you.”        

Ikenga In Traditional Igbo Society
By Rose Okere


The Igbo people are found in the South Eastern region of Nigeria. They share boundaries at the North with Idoma and Igala people, Edo State at the West, Efik and Ibibio at the East and Ijaw at the South and South West.
    The Igbo believe in supernatural forces, their belief in ancestral worship has led to the establishment of personal shrine images like the Ikenga, through which they have spiritual contacts with their ancestors.
    Ikenga is known as one of the symbols of power and authority in Igbo culture it serves as a link between the dead and the living. This force (Ikenga) mediates in the affairs of men and assist its owners to achieve success in their chosen endeavours.
    Ikenga is mostly maintained, kept or owned by men and occasionally by women of high reputation and integrity in the society. However, it is mostly owned by warriors and great men. In some parts of Igboland, custodians of Ikenga must either be great hunters, farmers, traders, or warriors, who have made remarkable achievements in their communities.
    Ikenga as an objects, shrine, symbol and idea, that illustrate ancestral powers and authority as well as symbolizes mobility. It is tied to the notion of authority and prestige within the family unit and the entire community. It comprises someone’s personal Chi (small god), his ancestor, cult of the right hand aka Ikenga, power (IKE) as well as spiritual activation through prayer and sacrifice.
    An Ikenga may be discarded, buried or split into two at the owner’s death, since the owner is no longer alive to make personal sacrifices to his personal chi (god) or commune with it. Though, often times, the Ikenga of a deceased man could be kept in the family heirloom as a reminder of their former owner. For community Ikenga, it is usually kept by the eldest man in that community and is passed on to the next upon his death.
    The Ikenga reverberates throughout much of Igbo life. The images of Ikenga are usually found in the shrines of individuals, diviners, cult, representatives of age grades and communities. Some drums owned by some communities usually depict basic Ikenga images.
    Ikenga is specially found among the Northern Igbos of Anambra, Enugu, Delta and some parts of Kogi State, although, some variants of it are found in Ijaw, Ishan, Isoko Urhobo and Edo areas. In these last two areas mentioned, it is regarded as lvri and Ikegobo respectively (Boston 1977, Vogel 1974).
    Among the Isoko people, there are three types of personal shrine images, Oma, which represents the “spirit double” that resides in the other world; Obo which symbolizes the right hand and personal endeavor and the lvri which stands for personal determination. Peek 1981; 1986.
     The various peoples of Southern Niger have slightly different notions of the components of individual personality, but all agree that these various aspects can only be affected through ritual and personal effort.

Description/Motifs of Ikenga   
Ikenga is a wooden carved object which symbolizes ancestral and spiritual powers that is highly revered by the family units and the entire community. It is a spirit that often represents the strength of the right hand. As a carved object, it is best known for its striking formal features most notable is the prominent horn.
    It is also carved in natural form, that is in a complete human form. The object is usually seated or stoops with two prominent horns and stretched hands. The right hand holds a knife and the left one carries either a yam, a head or an animal depending on what the owner of that particular Ikenga is known for. Unlike, the Ikegobo of Edo and Ivri of Isoko, Urhobo, the legs of Ikenga are very prominent.
  The primary meaning of Ikenga horns to the Igbos is power (Ike) especially masculine power – As an essentially male shrine, these images portray manifold aspect of powers, spiritual, economic, social, military and political, which are also specified by other symbols present, especially the recurrent knife and head.
   Ikenga horns are often identified as that of a ram and some look very much like them (G Philip M. Peek 2002). This could be related to an Igbo adage about ram which says “A ram goes to fight with its head” meaning (Ebule ji isi eje ogu). This orderly refers to the aggressive nature of ram when fighting and its sudden perseverance, meaning the repeated and enduring attack on a problem when and if necessary.
   The common occurrence of long bladed knife and severed “trophy” head expresses superiority and success in warfare. It shows the extension of the hand and mind as will power and the sharp cut of decisiveness. The knife also signify the instrument that firmly clears part towards one’s goal i.e (Osuofia) and helps the owner achieve success in either farming, trading, blacksmithing and other life endeavours.
   In addition to the presence of horn and knife symbols, many      other features are found which explain the relevance of an Ikenga to the particular owner. Among these are numerous references to title taking through the depiction of title scar (Uchimark) regalia, elephants tusk, trumpet, stool, staff and anklets. The ones with title attributes are acquired by men only upon elevation to the highest “0zo title” and are consecrated in the presence of senior title holders.
   Some Ikenga also depicts genitalis. This makes reference to make procreativity. The status of a man as a father of a particular family unit is determined by having many children who ensure the continuity of a man’s lineage and his proper reception in the land of the ancestors. Some are also carved in a vulture form signifying the cult the owner belongs to.

Consecration of Ikenga        
Ikenga as a religious object requires consecration before usage. Normality, an Ikenga is consecrated in the presence of one’s kinsmen or agemates by lineage head. Offerings of things like yam, cock, wine, kolanuts and alligator pepper are sacrificed to Ikenga. Consecrations are often more elaborate and occasionally less depending on the financial strength of the owner. But the point still remains that Ikenga is being treated as a spirit (mmuo) which remains with the owner until his death. If the owner is devoted, he feeds his Ikenga on a daily basis with Kola and wine and periodically, especially before an important undertaking, he offers sacrificial blood of a cock or ram to induce the spirit to help him succeed. Afterward, the owner also offers thanksgiving to his Ikenga for making him to achieve success. Success as believed, solely depends on their personal chi, represented by Ikenga and the support of kinsmen.

Types of Ikenga
There are various types of Ikenga individually, community, diviners Ikenga etc.

Individual Ikenga
An individual Ikenga is the one owned by an individual or privately. It is regarded as individual because to the owner, it is his personal chi (small god) which he may decide to commune with from time to time or as the heed arises. The owner of individual, Ikenga must be a full-fledged man in all its ramifications. He makes personal sacrificial offerings to his Ikenga inform of Kola, wine, alligator pepper and blood offering of cock or ram as the condition demands. This of course helps the owner to get favour of success from his personal chi.
     The features of am individual Ikenga depicts what the owner is known for. If the owner is a great warrior, his Ikenga carries a knife and severed “trophy head” signifying the superiority of the owner at warfare or over his opponents.
  The size of an individual Ikenga is usually small. It is usually held by the right hand hence the name, cult of the right hand.
   It is also pertinent to note that when the owner of an individual Ikenga dies, his Ikenga dies with him. His Ikenga will either be discarded, buried or split into two and thrown away since the owner has ceased to exist and is no longer there to make personal offerings to his god.

Community Ikenga
Community Ikenga is the type owned by the entire community of a particular clan. It is usually larger in size and is more visible signifying the collective dignity and achievements of the entire community. It is ceremonially paraded through the community and thus helps to foster village solidarity.
   During the annual festival, all male born during the previous years are brought before Ikenga and thus are validated as community numbers.
   The motifs on the community Ikenga tend to have complex head dress signifying collective ownership. The motifs also depicts what the community is known for, for instance whether they are known as warriors, hunters, traders or predominantly farmers.

Diviners Ikenga
This is a miniature (smallest) version of Ikenga. They are not elaborate in design, although, they are mandatory in any diviners kit. It is mostly owned by women. It is a force that represents the spirit of “Agwunshi” (Evil spirit) which has the ability to accomplish things for the diviners and his clients. The diviner consults his Ikenga when need arises. It helps the owner to make prescriptions of some herbal remedies to their clients especially, one’s for the treatment of madness, childbirth, or any serious ailment that has defied solutions.

Significance
The significance of Ikenga; are as follows:
• It serves as the owner’s personal chi (god)
• It serves as an intermediary between the owner and    
   his ancestors
  It offers religious solutions to the owners.
  In times of war, it offers protection to the owner 
    and assists him to emerge victorious.
• If well appeased, it offers economic assistance to the owner to succeed in his life endeavours.

MODERN TREND
The belief in the efficacy of Ikenga has dwindled significantly, if not totally in extinct. The advent of new religion brought by the colonial masters, the rural urban migration, urbanization and education as contributed immensely to the state of affairs. People now question the real efficacy of an ordinary carved wood (Ikenga) to help them achieve success in their chosen career.
    Despite the prevailing situation Ikenga remains a strong factor in male achievements, success and religion in traditional Igbo society. The relevance of Ikenga is still recognized as seen in the names of some socio-cultural organization that exist as pressure groups. In our modern day society, a good example being the “AKA IKENGA” a youth wing of umbrella organization for all Igbos called “The Ohaneze-Ndi-Igbo”.

• Mrs. Okere discussed this topic with the National Museum Study Group, Port Harcourt, recently
 



Kunle Bakare … 15 years of showering Encomium
BY CHUKS NWANNE

TO some, the man is a strict disciplinarian, a ‘one-man riot squad,’ who will never take any excuse for failure; while to others, he’s an accomplished journalist, who rose through the ranks to become the publisher of one of the country’s most respected soft sell journals. No matter how you view him, Kunle Bakare has made a name for himself; he will always be remembered for his efforts.
   
TODAY, Lagos, will stand still as Encomium Weekly, one of Nigeria’s leading society magazine and awards company, marks its 15th anniversary with a special party tagged White Gig. Holding at The Haven, GRA Ikeja, Lagos, the celebration will not only play host to achievers from all walks of life, but also kick-off a series of activities marking 15 years of excitement, adventure, achievements, hardwork and God’s grace.
   “Celebrating any major event like anniversaries is a very important thing in business. Before now, the people that measure business told us that in the first year of every 10 businesses, more than half of them die. Luckily, the environment for business is becoming more favourable today with more businesses surviving.”
    To Bakare, nothing guarantees success than standing firm and strong.
“However, our own line of business is a very high mortal sector; many businesses die, not because they are not professionals enough. Sometimes, the environment and time are not just right. So, every year you survive in business, we believe should be celebrated. We are aware that luck, perseverance, long suffering, smartness and diligence count in one’s success; but the grace of God and your Karma fortify it.”
    Right from its first anniversary, Encomium Magazine has always adopted celebration as part of the company’s calendar, giving celebrities every reason to take a second look at their wardrobes.  
  “We’ve been celebrating in one way or the other; I remember we started the special edition on our fifth anniversary. With our 10th anniversary, we did the 900 page special publication and started the White Gig as well. So, this is the 5th edition of the White Gig. It’s a very important event for us, especially to say ‘thanks’ to our public, advertisers and associates for their support to the brand over the years.”
     While other similar publications are more interested in repositioning to compete in the already flooded soft sell market, Bakare insists Encomium Magazine is not in any form of competition with anybody.
    “For students of business, a product is not supposed to compete; you must differentiate your product in a way that it’s not one or the other. It must be something different from other products available in the same category.
  “Generally, you compete with anything else, but when you look at it, you cannot say, ‘if I buy Encomium, I won’t buy other magazines.’ What is in Encomium is different from what you find in other magazines; if you buy other magazines without buying Encomium, you are missing something.
  “We have adopted a lot of principles; all businesses have rules, so, we follow the rules to the letter,” he said confidently.
    Over the years, the magazine has taken different approaches, with the aim of distinguishing itself in the market. Some of these initiatives, according to Bakare, are aimed at giving values to readers.
    “A long time ago, we discovered you should not do something other people can do; that means you are in a direct competition with them. We do things differently here; we might be in the same category, but what we do is entirely different. If you pick our weekly magazine, it’s different; our Lifestyle magazine is also different,” he said.
   At a time when it became a popular for people to have photographs of personalities wearing different attires at events, Encomium came up with Lifestyle — a magazine that deals strictly with life and style.
    “Immediately that trend became popular, we started doing something like that, but in other to be different, we interviewed people in those lines of businesses. We did something extra, trying to teach people the tricks of being fashionable; we normally go the extra mile.”
  Bakare’s success story in publishing business is as a result of a particular ideology that drives him.
   “One business editor in the UK was asked his opinion about how to excel as a journalist, he told the guy: ‘you should work harder than your competitor and dress properly; nobody wants to talk to a tramp.’ So, there are many elements to being a successful journalist.”
   He continued: “We operate a system that is different from other journals; we resume at 8am everyday. Journalists usually want to come to the office whenever they like, but we are trying to bring a change in our own little way. So, there are lots of things we do here and if you cannot fit in, no matter how brilliant you are, we will throw you out,” he said.
   

“Any endeavour you do and succeed, it’s not because you are the smartest or most hardworking; it’s by the grace of God. I tell people, I don’t even think I’m smart; I don’t work hard. I try to follow the rules in everything I do. In this world, the people that succeed the most are the average people; they learn the rules, do things other people are afraid to do and are successful. Some brilliant people take many things for granted; there are many talented people roaming the streets. Talent counts, but hard work, being smart and the grace of God count more.”



FROM being just a publishing company, Encomium has become a platform for major entertainment events. From the Green and White Groove to Black and White Ball and White Gig, the outfit has made a statement in the showbiz circle as part of its brand extension.
   “There are many reasons we do our events. People do events all the times, but your event must be easily recognisable; it is called brand extension. It’s not enough to just publish journals; you have to do extra work. Aside from the social responsibility events, you have to do things that would make your public have a very good relationship with you.
  “A lot of celebrities and entertainment personalities are busy; they don’t get to meet one another. So, at our events, we try to bring them together to have warm relationships. By extension, we are encouraging the fashion industry. As I speak, more than four designers have been here today over the event. So, we do a lot of thing for brand extension as well as for the benefit of our audience.”
     For those who know the history of Encomium Magazine and events, venue is one agenda that is always seriously considered.
   “We try to bring people to places they’ve never been. We also try to encourage events places in Lagos. Stars are very familiar with the environment because they play around, but we also try to discover new places for them to visit. Besides, we try to change the environment with decoration; when you see our arrangements, you will understand what I mean. We take out time to plan, which is why we don’t take gate fees for our parties; people just come and enjoy. Once you pass our colour code, you are free to come and enjoy yourself at our events.”
  When Kunle Bakare talks about passing colour code, you have every reason to take him seriously. At one of the events, the publisher had no option than to take a very hard decision, which he recalls:
   “We invited Pa Fatai Rolling Dollar, he was over 80 at that time, and was wearing red asoke. The most we could have done was to give him another white agbada to wear; we could never have allowed him to enter. The man turned back, he did not understand us. The next party we did, as an old man, he obeyed the dress code.”
    To Bakare, there are rules for everything.
   “Even sitting down has its rules; there are ways of doing everything. Our own principle is, if I invite you to my house as a guest, you have to follow my rules. I’ve invited you; if you accept my invitation, you should obey my rules. So, if we invite you to a party and had told you our rules, just respect it. It’s just a party; if you don’t like the rules, you can stay away. We are trying to create a special ambience, so, what are you trying to prove by flouting the rules; there’s nothing to prove. We try as much as possible to give people a minimum of six weeks notice ahead of any of our events. And we are not saying you should buy expensive items; all we say is buy the most expensive item you can afford.”
  


“If we invite you to a party and had told you our rules, just respect it. It’s just a party; if you don’t like the rules, you can stay away. We are trying to create a special ambience, so, what are you trying to prove by flouting the rules; there’s nothing to prove. We try as much as possible to give people a minimum of six weeks notice ahead of any of our events. And we are not saying you should buy expensive items; all we say is buy the most expensive item you can afford.”

LOOKING back to the early days of Encomium, Bakare feels humbled and cautious as well.
   “Any endeavour you do and succeed, it’s not because you are the smartest or most hardworking; it’s by the grace of God. I tell people, I don’t even think I’m smart; I don’t work hard. I try to follow the rules in everything I do. In this world, the people that succeed the most are the average people; they learn the rules, do things other people are afraid to do and are successful. Some brilliant people take many things for granted; there are many talented people roaming the streets. Talent counts, but hard work, being smart and the grace of God count more.”
   
AS a young man, Bakare dreamt a career in the sciences, but along the line, that dream changed.
   “I didn’t always want to be a journalist; at 14, I wanted to be a medical doctor. But as you choose your subjects, you know the direction you are to go. So, along the line, I knew there was no way I was going to be a medical doctor.
   “I wanted to be an architect; up till my final year in secondary school, I liked technical drawing, but that was not enough to be an architect. When I was younger, I used to argue a lot, so, some people felt I should be a lawyer. But by the time I was doing my A-levels, I discovered, I wanted to be a journalist.”
    By his second year at the Mass Communication department of the University of Lagos, young Kunle encountered the National Enquirer, which shaped his love for the pen profession.
   “A friend of mine used to travel a lot, so, he brought some and I fell in love with them. But when I came across Prime People I exclaimed, ‘oh, this is similar to the Enquirer; I would love to work here.’ So, in 1988 while undergoing the national serve; I applied for a vacancy in the Prime People and was successful. As I was serving in the old Bendel State, the company facilitated my transfer to Lagos.”
    After a boardroom crisis in the company in 1989, many staff moved and Bakare pitched tent with Muyiwa Adetiba’s Vintage People.
     “We all followed Adetiba; he’s the godfather of soft-sell journalism. From Vintage I went to Classic Magazine; I worked there briefly and went back to Vintage People from there to GQ Magazine. I worked there briefly before we started Fame in July 1991. I was with Fame till May 1997, when we started Encomium.”
    From all indications, Bakare is a jounalist for life.
    “As a human being I am capable of doing many things… I love journalism. People have beautiful stories to tell and there’s a lot to learn from people. I like interviewing people a lot; I love learning from people, especially from renowned Nigerians. For instance, I was happy to have interviewed Akintola Williams. Sometimes, when you meet very great people, they are very humble; the greatest people are the simplest people. I always tell people, no matter how talented you are, you can only reign for a short time; other people will come. Fame is not forever; fame is for a shot time. You must learn how to respect people.”
     To the publisher, being a journalist has lots of advantages.
   “One of the advantages of being a journalist is that you are allowed to read far and wide. When you are on a regular job, you need to take permission to read.”
    As for having time for himself and the family, “I don’t need to make out time; my job is enjoyment. Aside from the time I spent writing, the other one are for enjoyment. My wife is a busy person and my children are all in school. By the nature of our life, it is difficult for the whole family to be together for a very long time. But in-between, we find time to relax together.”

“Sometimes, when you meet very great people, they are very humble; the greatest people are the simplest people. I always tell people, no matter how talented you are, you can only reign for a short time; other people will come. Fame is not forever; fame is for a shot time. You must learn how to respect people.”


No matter the achievements so far, Bakare sees Encomium as a work in progress.
    “We are going to do the Green and White Groove, we are planning an end-of-the-year party and we intend to launch a book. Journalists have a lot of thing to contribute; we are described as people that capture history as they unfold. So, expect more from the stables of Encomium,” he said.


  Trivia
When you meet Kunle Bakare, especially at major events, the first thing you notice is his great fashion sense; the man is on top of his game when it comes to fashion. Though he dresses for the occasion, the father of two sure knows how to look good; his wardrobe is very rich.
    “To a very large extent, the occasion determines the way I dress; I obey dress code a lot. However, I like wearing different things for different occasions, so, my style depends on the event I’m attending.”
    As for office, “I like wearing natives because I stay for long time at work; I need to feel free.”
     But for informal events, “I wear more of blazers and shirt, but without tie. When it’s a formal gathering, you would probably see me wear a suit and tie. Basically, life is all about how you carry yourself; you are addressed the way you dress.”

Meeting Mrs. Bakare
KB, as admirers fondly call him, belongs to the lucky group of young men, who found their missing ribs without much hassles –– no endless searching and long preaching.
    “Actually, I met my wife in the Prime People; both of us were interviewed for the job the same day. Of all the applicants that came for the job, only both of us were selected,” he recalled.
    Being the youngest among the staff members, it was natural for Kunle and Adesola to become close associates.
    “It was natural that we became closer since other people in the establishment were much older.”
    Having built a healthy relationship for years, the issues of marriage became natural for the two lovebirds.
    “We dated for four years, so, we knew ourselves very well. At a point, it became almost natural that we should get married. In fact, when I told people I was getting married in 1992, it wasn’t a big surprise to many; people knew us together those days,” he enthused.
   Asked what attracted him to his wife, KB simply said, “We are soul mates; we are like a pair that cannot be separated.”
   The union is blessed with two kids, 18 year-old Gbeke and 15 year-old Mofe.