Having Sincerity Of Purpose Will Take You Far In Your Business- Kafayat Oluwayemisi Olarinde

Kafayat Oluwayemisi Olarinde, CEO SKT Makeovers speaks about how she got into the business of make-up and makeovers, and why young entrepreneurs should be encouraged. 

TMG> There are so many make-up artists springing up. What was the attraction for you in becoming a beautician?

Kafayat> Since my secondary school days I had fallen in love with creativity and enhancing people to look stunning. For example, during the school’s end of year party, I would voluntarily help people in little makeovers and tying of ‘Geles’ just to make them look more beautiful for the occasions, especially the cultural dancers. In fact, you can say I’m a makeup addict.

TMG> What excites you the most about the world of beauty?

Kafayat> God created the world and beautified it, so the beauty must continue to exist. What excites me most about the world of beauty is the new trend and I hope this continues forever.

TMG> Are you happy as a beautician and being a student at the same time?

Kafayat> Being a beautician and a student at the same time is one of my greatest joy in life. One of my goals in life is to become a successful entrepreneur which will be achieved, In Sha Allah.

TMG> What does SKT stand for and how did you come with the name?

Kafayat> SKT is an acronym for 
Sincerely Karphy Touch. The nickname Karphy is from my first name Kafayat, while I chose to add ‘Sincerely’ to it because of my sincerity at work and to people around me. I say things exactly the way it is, because of fear of Allah. 

TMG> What motivates you most about the business?

Kafayat> What motivates me most about my Makeup business is just that the business is so cool and easy to do anywhere, anytime and any day, once you have your kit with you.

TMG> What three words would you use to describe yourself while working on customer?

Kafayat> I would like to describe myself as CALM, SINCERE and FOCUSSED. I make sure while I’m working on my customers, I bring calmness and sincerity and focus on what I’m doing in order to have a perfect and stunning finishing.

TMG> What is your philosophy towards work?

Kafayat> My philosophy is having Sincerity Of Purpose. That is, “in anything you do, ensure there is sincerity” and trust me, everything will be perfect. 

TMG> What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring Journalist to a Beautician?

Kafayat> There is nothing strange in being a Journalist and a beautician – the two can work together. As a journalist you have to package yourself and be social and being a beautician will help you out. 

TMG > Did you attend any training course in make-up? 

Kafayat> As a person who is in love with makeovers you need to extract from other people’s knowledge in order to be perfect. Therefore, I was first trained at AmaniFresh makeup school in Abuja, where I got my first certificate. Then I went to RolexGlamour makeup school for upgrading. 

TMG> What other positions have you previously held before?

Kafayat> I once worked as a Reporter at The Authority Newspaper Abuja during my IT year in 2016.

TMG> In case of problems, how do you manage? Do you seek for help from another professional?

Kafayat> I love learning and will always have interest in knowing more. So, in case of any difficulties I look up to other professionals who have more knowledge of the work than I do. I am always ready to learn. 

TMG> What do you do to stay educated about new trends?

Kafayat> Social media has always been my favorite place and that is where I get to know about new trends, especially Instagram. I have so many make-up artists that I follow. 

TMG> What are your challenges and how do you intend to handle them? 

Kafayat> There are so many challenges which I believe can be handled by not giving up, by looking into ways for the business to succeed. And the greatest way to face the challenges is through PRAYERS. 

TMG> Tell us about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career.

Kafayat> One of the things I have accomplished in my career and am so proud of is learning new styles of tying different head gear which has really improved my business skills.

TMG> Tell us about your management style and how you handle your Customers?

Kafayat> I love my customers and I believe they love me too. I have always been sincere in everything I do and with that, I have been able to manage them wisely because, no matter how good you are to people, you can’t be perfect.

TMG> Who are your role models in life and who are the people that inspire you in the world of beauty?

Kafayat> Firstly, the wife of prophet Muhammad (SAW) “AISHA” is one of my greatest role models. Another is my mum, who has and always will be my role model.
People who have inspired me include: Habiba Da Silver, BasmaK, Mercy Aigbe, and some of my IG followers.

 TMG> Tell us something you would like to learn or improve upon as a Beautician?

Kafayat> There isn’t any specific thing I will like to learn now as a beautician but trust me, I’m interested in any new trend in beauty world. 

TMG> How can you encourage other youths not to depend on government for jobs but to be self dependent?

Kafayat>There is no need for more advocacy about being self employed in the country today because it is obvious there are hardly any government jobs anymore. All we can do is to be self employed in order to be self dependent. 

TMG> Do you socialise and when?

Kafayat> I am a fashionista and love going out, meeting new people, knowing more about life anywhere, any day and anytime,as long as it won’t affect my career or schedules.

Successful Farmers Should Be Celebrated As Role Models- Samuel Ibrahim Aleyideino

Samuel Ibrahim Aleyideino is the CEO of Winston Farms Agro Resources Ltd Numan, Adamawa State. They are experts in crop production.

 
 
 
 
 
 
TMG> What motivated you to go into agriculture?
 
Sam> Motivation for me was to create a source of income that is sustainable and will empower the youths in my locality.
 
 
 
 
 
 
TMG> Farming seems tedious; and it’s not really an area you find well-educated people going into although the dynamics are gradually changing. What exactly caught the interest of your company?
 
Sam> Yes, farming is tedious because it requires a lot of physical activity, especially as some parts of the production process is carried out manually. Education is key and I believe it provides the opportunity for financial freedom. This, in my opinion, is why this generation of youth are attracted to agriculture. Also the socio-political reality in Nigeria today is another factor.
 
 
 
 
 
 
TMG> Would you consider your farm as successful in this year’s farming?
 
Sam> Yes, this year’s maize production was highly successful. We thank God for the rains. Our projected target was met and we are hoping to expand next season. The beans and guinea corn are yet to be harvested but it’s looking good also. Most importantly, the youths we engaged during the process are very excited and looking forward to participate more. This is very rewarding for me.
 
 
 
 
 
 
TMG> What do you produce from your farm? And what do you do with them; sell them through off-taker agreement or personal consumption?
 
Sam> We produce maize, beans and guinea corn. We also have demonstration farms for sesame seeds and soya beans. The crops are mainly for commercial purposes. In the future we are looking toward processing.
 
 
 
 
 
 
TMG> What are your present challenges and how do you intend to solve them?
 
Sam> Our present challenges are how to acquire machinery /equipment and infrastructure. We are looking to partner or obtain loans to tackle this problem.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TMG> What is your workforce like? How many people are under your employ?
 
Sam> The workforce is made up of myself and a number of youths. There are also a few skilled workers who were hired during the land preparation process to operate tractors.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TMG> What do you suggest would make things easier for women and youths to be successful in farming?
 
Sam> For women and youths to be successful in farming it will require only dedication and diligence on their part. In fact, in any sphere of endeavour they might choose to pursue these two qualities will serve them well. There is nothing worthwhile that comes easy.
 
 
 
 
 
 
TMG> How do you see the policies regarding agriculture by this government? Are they encouraging to farmers or youths?
 
Sam> This government has done very well in the area of encouraging people to venture into agriculture. They need to do more in the ease of obtaining loan facilities and supervision of existing farms and distribution of fertilizer and other imputs.
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
TMG> Have you had any financial support or loans since you began?
 
Sam> Yes, I had financial support from family and friends. Presently we are in the process of requesting the support of government agencies to meet our expansion needs.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ThMG> What sort of distribution or marketing methods do you use in your farm?
 
Sam> There is a market for the raw products. Once the crops are dried and bagged, it is transported to the point of sale. So there isn’t any special market and it’s very ok for us.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TMG> What advice would you give farmers in the rural areas on how to improve in farming?
 
Sam> Farmers in the rural areas need to collaborate more amongst themselves and also embrace new farming techniques. Information concerning weather and availability of farm imputs usually do not reach them easily, as such, they must make concerted efforts to know more.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TMG > As a young person that’s interested in Agriculture, what way can you advise government to engage and encourage youths into agriculture?
 
Sam> Besides what the government is doing now some of which we mentioned earlier, the way to go about encouraging youth to engage in agriculture is to celebrate successful farmers so that they become role models in our society.
 
 
 

Putting Smiles On People’s Faces Drives Me To Do More- Sylvester The Comedian

Maccollins Afamefuna Sylvester, is a student of political science at Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, (IBBU) Lapai, Niger State. Also into entertainment, he is a stand-up comedian whose stage name is “Sylvester The Comedian”, an Event planner, Actor and also a Radio presenter. 

TMG> What led you into so many things in entertainment industry and what area do you specialize in? 

Sylvester> Watching the likes of ‘I go dye’, ‘Basketmouth’ and ‘AY’ cracking jokes and putting smiles on people’s faces gave me the vision and drive to do more. I specialize in stand up comedy.

TMG> Where was your first stage performance?

Sylvester> My first stage performance was at A day of a thousand laughs.

TMG> What was the experience like? 

Sylvester> My first experience felt good, although I was nervous at first..But then I got the groove and it just flowed.

TMG> Did you attend any professional institution like theatre arts classes? 

Sylvester> No.I didn’t attend any theater arts school.

TMG> Who was your first art teacher and where?

Sylvester> I never had any art teacher…I groomed myself to whom I am today.

TMG> Which famous comedian do you admire? Why?

Sylvester> I admire I Go Dye because he is a man of passion. He started from grass to where he is today and I’m striving to do better than what he has done.

TMG> Which one of your jokes is your fondest of all you have performed? 

Sylvester> My fondest comedy is “The Car”

(Cracking The Joke Below)…. . . 

TMG> Describe the occasions you have cracked jokes at public places.. Concerts, radio, TV? Where and when? 

Sylvester> Yes, I do perform in public..Most are church gatherings, shows and a radio station (Ultimate FM 105.3 COE Minna).

They are mostly in Minna and Lapai in Niger state

TMG> Have you been in competitions? Any prizes Or Awards? Where and when? 

Sylvester> I have been in various Awards and Competitions like Alibaba preshow-Dec.20 and Africa Mega Awards..which take place in November and December every year.

TMG> How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Sylvester> I try my best by covering up the mistakes and act like nothing happened. I will use it as part of the joke without people noticing. 

TMG> Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition? And how do you manage it? 

Sylvester> I normally don’t get nervous before a performance because I’m already used to performing. Comedian’s don’t need to be shy or get nervous. 

TMG> When do you practice for more ideas?

Sylvester> I practice often at night, when the tension is down and the brain works smartly.  

TMG> How do you balance your comedy with other obligations? 

Sylvester> I try not to give one thing more priority than the other by creating a time schedule.

TMG> Do you have a group that performs with you or are you completely solo?

Sylvester> Yes, I do have a group of friends that we often spend time and crack jokes with as a form of practicing and creating more lovely jokes. 

TMG> What are your challenges and how do you intend to handle them?

Sylvester> My challenges mostly are finances. I intend to get sponsors.

TMG> What advice would you give beginners like you?

Sylvester> My advice to beginners is to always be focused and never give up on your ambition because nothing good comes easy and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your career will take a while to grow and mature.

TMG> Is there anything else of interest you do and wish to tell us about?

Sylvester> Apart from comedy, I’m also a student and I manage a business firm.

TMG> Tell us something you would like to learn or improve upon?

Sylvester> For now, I think I’m okay and with my potentials; I’m going to get to the top.

TMG> What way can you encourage other youths to be self- dependent?

Sylvester> I would like them to always be positive and try to get something doing no matter how small as long as it puts a couple of naira in your pocket. My mom also says “anything worth doing is worth doing well”.

TMG> What do you do to relax when you are free? 

Sylvester>  I play video games and listen to music at my leisure and also hangout with friends.

Adding Value To Life Is Most Important To Me- Barden Arewa

Award winning artist for Best Hausa Movie Culture Writer, 2015 and nominee in 7 categories in the AMMA AWARD, Abdallah Abdallah Muhammad believes in destiny deciding one’s future. The singer/scriptwriter and actor popularly known in the Hausa movie industry(Kannywood) as Amdaz, Barden Arewa, shares some experiences of his career as an entertainer.

TMG> Tell us more about yourself and your foray into the movie world:

Barden Arewa> I was born and raised in Kano state, Dala local Government area and I went to Gobirawa Project Primary School  and Army Day Boys Secondary School, Bukavu Barracks Kano State. I’m a singer/scriptwriter/actor at Kannywood movie industry. I’m also CEO Flex Entertainment in Kano.

I would say destiny led me to the entertainment industry. My area of specialisation is singing and script writing.

TMG> Where was your first stage performance?

Barden Arewa> My first stage performance was at the new year countdown carnival organized by Youthafricana in Kano state.

TMG> What was the experience like?

Barden Arewa> My first experience in acting on the movie set of  ‘Ramin Karya‘ helped me meet new people. I also learned that any person who wants to be someone has to work hard till he achieves his target.

TMG> Did you attend theatre arts or acting school?

Barden Arewa> No, I haven’t attended any school of the arts.

TMG> So, how were you able to hone your skills as an artist without formal training? Did anyone put you through?

Barden Arewa> My first teacher was a novel writer, his name is Jamilu Jibeka, he’s the one who taught me how to become a screenwriter.

TMG> Which famous artist and movie star do you admire and Why?

Barden Arewa> I admire Nazifi Asnanic as a music artist, and the movie star, Ali Nuhu, because they are always focused on their future. They don’t want to follow in anyone’s footsteps, they want to carve their own.

TMG> Which movie is your fondest that you have performed?

Barden Arewa> ‘Labarina Series’ by Mallam Aminu Saira (Hausa Movie)

TMG> Have you been in competitions? Any prizes Or Awards? Where and when?

Barden Arewa> My movie ‘Na Hauwa’ was nominated by AMMA AWARD in 7 categories and I also won best Hausa movie culture writer in 2015.

TMG> Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions? Concerts, radio, TV? Where and when?

Barden Arewa> Yes, I do, like Youthafricana show (Kano) Classictrenz(Kano) Sallah shows at Kano, Lagos and Abuja.

TMG> How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Barden Arewa> I believe that nobody is above mistakes, that’s why when I get off set, I will apologize and promise to never let it happen again. We learn from mistakes everyday.

TMG> Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition? And how do you manage it?

Barden Arewa> I don’t get nervous. The crowd gives me confidence when I’m performing.

TMG> When do you practice for more ideas?

Barden Arewa> I always have two hours everyday for my training.

TMG> How do you balance your entertainment work with other obligations?

Barden Arewa> I have plans for anything that I’m going to do. If I know that tomorrow I’m going to perform, I will not let anything come up and disorganize my plans. I make sure my other obligations do not suffer.

TMG> Do you have a group that plays with you? If not, how do you manage?

Barden Arewa> Yes. I have a group of dancers and they are very efficient and productive during performances.

TMG> Tell us about the radio programs, what do you present and what are the response from listeners?

Barden Arewa> I present my songs in the radio programs, and I thank God for the great listeners that I have, they always wish me well and it is encouraging.

I have performed at many wedding ceremonies. I haven’t performed at any TV station yet but on Video CDs and at wazobia FM Kano and also Arewa Radio, Kano.

TMG> What are your challenges and how do you intend to handle them?

Barden Arewa> The challenges that I have now is how to promote my music, but I know one day I can make it, by the grace of God.

TMG> What advice would you give to beginners?

Barden Arewa> My advice to the beginners will be to keep working hard, don’t ever give up on what they know how to do. What is worth doing, is worth doing well.

TMG> Is there anything of interest you do and wish to tell us about yourself apart from singing and acting?

Barden Arewa> I try to make the best use of everything that I am doing now; for people to remember me, even when I’m no longer on this earth. Adding value to life is most important.

TMG What message do you have for your fans?

Barden Arewa> I am always thankful to have great people as my fans, I love them, and I’m happy with them for the love and care they have shown to me. They encourage me and give me hope for a better tomorrow.

TMG> What way can you encourage  youths to be self dependent?

Barden Arewa> My advice to youth is to have respect for elders, study and work hard. If they do that, one day, they will make it big and succeed in any society they find themselves.

TMG> What do you do to relax when you are free?

Barden Arewa> I visit members of my family, hospitals, orphanage homes and prisons to give donations or help humanity.

I Do Not Limit My Abilities- Habeebat Olaoniye Labo-popoola

Labo-popoola Olaoniye Habeebat is a BSc Microbiology graduate from Fountain University Osogbo and the CEO of De Queens Concept.

 
 
 
TMG> Tell us about your business and why you chose it?
 
Habeebat> De Queens Concept is a 2-man partnership business which specializes in baking Cakes. I decided to become a caterer out of passion for cooking and also being a foodie.
 
 
 
TMG> Did you go to culinary school? And what credentials did you earn through your classes?
 
Habeebat> I did not attend any culinary school. I’m hoping to do that before I complete my NYSC.
 
 
 
TMG> If you did not go to such classes, then where and how were you trained?
 
Habeebat> It started out as a part time vocational class. I enrolled in MHR Catering Services during the end of session break in my 100L. I later improved myself by going for further training at Deneb Concepts and I am still learning.
 
 
 
TMG> How many employees report to you?
 
Habeebat> I actually do not have any employee reporting to me. I am on my own for now. It’s just my business partner and I for now.
 
 
 
TMG> What do you do to stay educated about new trends?
 
Habeebat> I go online to check latest recipes, ideas and I attend useful training classes as well.
 
 
 
TMG> What are your challenges and how do you intend to handle them?
 
Habeebat> Time and Competition are the major challenges because you have to always keep up with the standard.
 
 
 
TMG> What do you do to ensure the quality of the food going out to customers?
 
Habeebat> Being a microbiologist also helps, so I try as much as possible to work under the most hygienic conditions.
 
 
 
TMG> How do you take ownership of your position e.g guest interactions, etc?
 
Habeebat> I do not limit it to my abilities, therefore I make use of social media. De Queens Concept is on Instagram, Facebook and also bbm.
 
 
 
TMG> Tell us about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career.
 
Habeebat> My greatest achievement so far is when one of my lecturers in school gave me a contract to bake her sister’s wedding cake and they loved the job.
 
 
 
TMG> Tell us about your management style and how you handle your Customers?
 
Habeebat> I treat my customers in the most polite way because I believe in the power of speech. I am always careful.
 
 
 
TMG> Tell us something you would like to learn or improve on?
 
Habeebat> I would like to improve on my culinary skills.
 
 
 
TMG> Are you a better cook than people in your family or close friends?
 
Habeebat> I think I am a better cook than some of my family and friends because these people always look forward to coming home to get that special taste my food has.
 
 
 
TMG> What way can you encourage other youths not to depend on government for jobs?
 
Habeebat> Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well: do not give up on your passion and empower yourselves vocationally, because the sad truth is that the government cannot provide employment for us all.
 
 
 
TMG> Do you have time to socialise and how?
 
Habeebat> I am not really an outdoors person; I’m more an indoors type and keep myself busy reading and researching on my skills.
 
 
 

A Comedian’s Worst Nightmare Is Not Being Funny Enough – Clement Omokhafe Udupegheme 

Clement Omokhafe Udupegheme is a graduate of Civil Engineering from the prestigious Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma Edo State and CEO, Kings Empire Media, an outfit engaged in Event Management, planning, cinematography, online PR, content creation, Advertisement and Branding. He is also a talented, upcoming comedian. 

TMG> Tell us how you started as a Comedian.

Clement> I went into Comedy because in 2011, while in the University, cracking funny jokes that were really funny came naturally, so people encouraged me to make it official.

TMG> Where was your first stage performance?

Clement> My first stage performance was at my campus’ church fellowship in 2011.

TMG> What was your first  experience like on stage? 

Clement>My first experience was cool because it was a familiar environment and I felt at home and relaxed. 

TMG> Did you ever attend theater art school? 

Clement> No, I didn’t attend Theatre art in school. I studied civil engineering.  

TMG> Which famous comedian do you admire? Why?

Clement> I admire Ayo Makun, popularly known as AY. I admire him so much because of his super creative  ideas, and his never relenting lifestyle.

TMG> Which one of your jokes is your fondest you have performed? 

Clement> The funniest joke I have performed is that of Nigerian women of now and that of old.

TMG> Have you been in competitions? Any prizes Or Awards? Where and when? 

Clement> Yes, I have been in the Minimie Chinchin Comedy Bank Challenge Seasons 1 and 2.

I emerged 6th position with the sum of 100,000 naira and a 12 month contract in the first edition, and came 1st in the second edtion with a cash amount of 300,000 all in the year 2016 in Lagos. 

TMG> Do you perform in public; Concerts, radio, TV? Where and when were these performances held? 

Clement>Yes, I perform in public places such as Churches, Wedding Receptions, comedy and Music shows and I anchor corporate events. I function as an on air personality (OAP) on Ultimate FM 103.9 Minna.

I have performed at the Goal Fest hosted by Surebet in 2016 at TBS Lagos State; Rhythms and Groove Ambrose Alli University Edo state; ITV; Miss Hot legs Benin; Mr and Mrs Ambite 2016; Miss NYSC Niger State, Paiko camp in 2017; National youth and student convention in Benin in 2014, 2015, 2016 and many more. 

TMG> How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Clement> I handle mistakes by being spontaneous. It’s Comedy not surgery so every mistake is an opportunity to be funny for me. 

TMG> Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition? And how do you manage it? 

Clement> For performances I would say no. But for competitions? Yes, because I am not a big fan of completions.

As a comedian, the only reason I will be nervous is fear of not being funny on stage or when a comedian who came up before did excellently well.. So what I do to conquer that is just to believe in myself and my abilities.

TMG> When do you practice for more ideas?

Clement>I practice mainly at night after getting materials from daily activities.

TMG> How do you balance your comedy with other obligations? 

Clement> I balance it by proper planning.. I always create a To- do list for my daily, weekly, monthly and yearly activities. 

TMG> Do you have groups that always perform with you?

Clement>Yes I have groups that always perform with me.

TMG> What are your challenges and how do you intend to handle them?

Clement>One major challenge is sponsorship for events and I hope to overcome this soon.

TMG> What advice would you give to beginners like you?

Clement> For beginners, my advice is to be content driven in order not to be driven out for lack of content. Sit down to learn, get teachers, read books to expand your scope, never be scared of making an attempt, try new horizons and also have a good dress sense.

TMG> Is there anything of interest you do and wish to tell us apart from comedy?

Clement> Yes, Yes, I also design building plans and supervise building construction projects.

TMG> Tell us something you would like to learn or improve upon?

Clement> I will love to learn a little about everything.

TMG> What way can you encourage other youths to be self dependent?

Clement> The truth is there is no limit to what one can achieve when we sow positive seeds in ourselves. Youths should never try to blame anyone for their failure. Tell yourself that if you fail it’s your fault and if you win it’s your gain. Make every move count, set priorities, don’t only dream, set goals and work tirelessly to see them come to pass and above all, employ the God factor because “by strength shall no man prevail”. 

TMG> What do you do to relax when you are free? 

Clement> I handle my phone and watch videos on the internet to relax then in no distant time fall asleep.

Customers May Forget How Much They Paid For A Service But Not How You Made Them Feel – Ama Aibangbe

Ama Aibangbe is CEO/Head Chef, Anna’s House Limited, Abuja. She has focused her energy on honing her skills in baking and cooking to become a culinary expert. Among her achievements are working as a chef for Dangote pasta and the chance to meet stars at an Africa Magic Meet Tinsel Stars event in Abuja. The former Journalist and graduate of English Studies from Babcock University encourages youth to be independent and not wait for government for jobs in order to earn a living.

TMG> How did you decide to become an entrepreneur instead of continuing with your regular 9-5 job?

Ama> I actually started my career as a journalist with zero intentions of becoming an event manager, baker, and culinary expert. It started as a joke, after I presented a cake to my friend on her birthday, her colleagues felt the cake was too nice to be a free gift and not on the shelf for sale. It took a lot of convincing from family and friends to start baking as a business, I  decided to take it seriously and that was how Anna’s House came to be.

TMG> Did you go to culinary school & management classes for events? And what credentials did you earn through your classes?

Ama> I did not attend any culinary school. I consider myself a passionate woman who just loves art; food art, face art and every other kind of art. The internet became my school and with the help of Jesus, I researched and kept trying different recipes and went on to develop my own recipes.

TMG> How many employees report to you?

Ama> I have 5 employees, but whenever there is an event , I get more workers for the job.

TMG> What do you do to stay educated about new trends?

Ama> I keep reading and researching. That way I remain up to date and relevant. I also follow senior colleagues who have been in business for a while. Whenever I’m out, I ensure I check the quality of peoples work,that way, I know if I’m doing better or if I need to really step up.

TMG> What are your challenges and how do you intend to handle them?

Ama> Working with people who do not really understand where you are going and how you want to achieve things on the job can really be challenging. Another challenge is having to train staff and after they recieve training, they leave you.

To handle the issue of getting my staff to do things the exact way I want is to always do it with them ; supervising every thing they do.

TMG> What do you do to ensure the quality of the food going out to customers?

Ama> I make sure I always get really good products, no matter the cost,I get it. I have always preferred quality to quantity. I also supervise my staff so we can get a well finished product.

I try out new products before I use them in my recipes, if it turns out well, I use them, if it doesn’t, I discard.

TMG> Tell us about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career?

Ama> There are quite a few but I will say working as a chef for Dangote pasta was a really big achievement for me. I also got to share my cakes at the Africa Magic Meet Tinsel Stars event in Abuja.

TMG> Tell us about your management style and how you handle your Customers?

Ama> At Anna’s House, we give our customers the best in services and our products because we consider our customers top priority.  People may forget how much they paid for a service, or may forget what you said to them but they will never forget how you made them feel. So we do all it takes to make our customers have a pleasant and delightful experience with us.

TMG> Tell us 3 things that you consider to be your strengths as a caterer?

Ama> We make meals taste as good as they look.

We go the extra in giving customers a wide variety ( we ensure we add healthy options), a neat presentation and beautiful plating.

We have a good feed back policy.

TMG> Tell us something you would like to learn or improve upon an event planner?

Ama> I would like to improve on my marketing skills and my social media presence. I am not so good with striking conversations with strangers, I prefer my work marketing for me.

TMG> How involved are you in the beverage aspect?

Ama> I am very involved in beverage production.  I make cocktails, mocktails, smoothies, fresh juice and natural drinks / beverages. I cater for weddings, corporate events, parties and all sorts of events.

TMG> How do you handle labour cost? If your labour is running high, what measures do you take to control it? Especially with financial issues now?

Ama> I try to limit the number of people I employ, distribute responsibilities evenly and pay according to the responsibilities assigned. That way, I am not over employing. I also get a lot of interns who I train. While in training they also work for me.

TMG> How do you resolve the menu development and overall design during or before an event?

Ama> I always try to work around my client’s budget, but sometimes, the budget compared to their desire is extremely unrealistic, so I always state out clearly what I can do for them within their budget . We agree and settle and work closely together.

TMG> What other back-of-the positions have you previously held before being a caterer?

Ama> I have been a journalist, a make up artist,a fashion designer amongst many other things.

TMG> How unique is your cooking and what do people think about your catering?

Ama> I spice food differently, always trying to give a twist to regular dishes so they can come out differently. People say I am a very neat chef and they always commend our tasty meals.

TMG> What way can you encourage other youths not to depend on government for jobs but to be self dependent?

Ama> I always tell people, there is so much they can do to earn a living without needing capital to start. Youths can render services and get paid for it. That way they can start saving towards their own business.  If they decide to wait on the government,it will really be an endless wait.

TMG> Do you have time to socialise and how?

Ama> I try to squeeze out time for family and friends because my work is extremely time consuming as I work round the clock and only manage to rest.

Humility Is Key To Becoming A Successful Musician- Precious Bala

Precious Bala, an up-coming Artist, says Music is part of her life, that is why after getting a Diploma in Public Administration from Institute of Management and Technology (I.M.T.) Enugu State, she went on to study music.

 
 
 
TMG> Why and when did you start playing music?
 
Precious> Well, I started singing since when I was 5, and I will say music is what I do and what I have passion for.
 
 
 
TMG> Which music school did you attend and who was your Music teacher?
 
Precious> K.V.C Music studio & Music school Abuja. My instructor’s name is Mr Bukunmi. He happens to be my music teacher and he also has a passion for music. So, the courage to go into music came from him.
 
 
 
TMG> Do you play any musical instruments?
 
Precious> I’m still learning how to play the keyboard.
 
 
 
TMG> Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
 
Precious> I admire Simi so much, because she has an incredible and unique voice. I also love her genre of songs.
 
 
 
TMG> What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
 
Precious> I have alot of musical memories but the special one was when I was in school. I went for a music competition in school and I won; it was really like a dream come true.
 
 
 
TMG> Have you been in competitions? Any prizes Or Awards?
 
Precious> Yes, I have, while I was in school and I won. And another one as I was finishing my Diploma.
 
 
 
TMG> Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions; Concerts, radio, TV?
 
Precious> Yes I do perform in public- I go for shows and concerts. I have performed at Bolton white Hotels and Apartment.
 
Green view garden and Redeemed Christian Church of God(Grace Arena)
 
 
 
TMG> How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
 
Precious> I know no one is perfect so I just try to cover my mistakes immediately, right there on the show ground.
 
 
 
TMG> Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?
 
Precious> I do get nervous before performing in a show but immediately I’m on the stage it all goes away. The inspiration comes from the waves of the music sound and makes me feel as if I’m the extraordinary super star on the stage.
 
 
 
TMG> When do you practice – exercises, new tunes, etc.?
 
Precious> Well I go for voice training every Tuesdays and Fridays.
 
 
 
TMG> How do you balance your music with other obligations, if any?
 
Precious> I balance my music. With alot of voice training, rehearsals and above all courage. And on other aspects I don’t joke with my job at law firm. I make sure I don’t joke with time to give my best in everything I do. So I always reorganize myself.
 
 
 
TMG> Do you have a music band or group that always plays with you? If yes, how do you manage?
 
Precious> Yes, I used to be in a music band before but the group no longer holds for now, because most of my crew are back in school. The name of my band is “Harp of David”
 
 
 
TMG> What are your challenges and how do you intend to handle them?
 
Precious> Well not to brag, I’m not having any challenges as per singing. The challenges are only on how to see myself at the top. All the steps and financial aspects to turn things around and see myself as a star.
 
 
 
TMG> What advice would you give to beginners like you?
 
Precious> I’m advising beginners to always be humble if they want to succeed in the music industry and the best way to make it is to be humble and responsible. Humility is key.
 
 
 
TMG> Is there anything of interest you do and wish to tell us apart from music?
 
Precious> I dance as well and I also have passion for modeling.
 
 
 
TMG> Tell us something you would like to learn or improve upon?
 
Precious> Dance. I would love to enroll at a dance school as well. I know I can dance but still want to learn more.
 
 
 
TMG> What way can you encourage other youths to be self dependent?
 
Precious> To be self dependent you need to stop depending on people. Try thinking of what you can do that will not make you dependent but  responsible.
 
 
 
TMG> Do you socialise and when?
 
Precious> Sure I do. I love making friends and meeting new people everyday.
 
 

I Don’t Allow My Disability (Blindness) To Hinder My Life’s Goals– Abdulrahman Awal

Abdulrahman Awal wears many caps as the Chairman Nigerian Association of the Blind, Niger state chapter, National PRO of NAB, SSA to the Niger State Government on Physically Challenged Persons, a teacher and the C.E.O of Mashura Investment Company. He talks about living with blindness, how he has forged ahead and all the wonderful things he is doing inspite of his disability.

Destiny…

It seems that Abdurrahman’s destiny was to create awareness that being disabled was not an excuse to become destitute, nor did it mean the end of the world for him or many others with the same challenge. Since he entered the world, his future had already been set – to make something of himself even though he was blind.

Born on 29th July, 1983 to the family of Barrister Muhammad Awal Bida and Hajiya Larai Awal, Abdulrahman Awal, the fourth out of fifteen children, was the only one in the family who is blind.

Abdulrahman Awal And Siblings

“My biography cannot be told without the history of my blindness. Going by what my parents told me, when I was four weeks old, my dad observed a sandy-creamy coloured discharge around my left eyeball and asked my mother if she had also noticed it. She had but thought that, since I wasn’t crying from discomfort, I must be all right. My dad wanted to be sure so they took me to the hospital for confirmation and that they can have peace of mind. We were residing in Bida, my home town then.”
The Head of the Eye Clinic at the time, Doctor Rasheed, who was an Indian, suspected something but was reluctant to tell Abdullahi’s parents. He prescribed an ointment to be applied for a week and to bring the baby back after a week.

However, within three days of using the ointment, the left eye had protruded to an almost mango-sized growth which eventually ruptured on their way back to the hospital. At the hospital, we were referred to the National Eye Centre in Kaduna.
There, the Doctors confirmed that the left eye was already damaged by cancer and the eye was immediately removed. The doctors revealed from their findings that the remaining eye was also affected so they advised that the baby be rushed to Lagos for a radiotherapist’s attention.

“We had hopes that my remaining eye could be restored, so we left for Lagos for salvation which, unknown to us, would turn my life and world around entirely. In Lagos, after reading the report from National eye Centre Kaduna, the Doctor told us the equipment to be used to
kill the cancer will kill my eyesight too, and “this handsome boy is not supposed to lose both eyes”, he added. So he quickly wrote a report and referred me to a hospital in London. The Doctor stressed that “between now and two weeks if this boy is not attended to, he will die.”

Abdurahman continues, “My parents who didn’t have money nor any idea of what it takes to go to London, were confused. That was the first challenge and predicament we faced. My dad approached his uncle, Major Alhaji Bello Ndayako, the late Makun Nupe, and informed him about the Doctor’s statement. Major Ndayako said “I actually have no such money but let me consult a friend in person of Chief Michael Ibru.”
Chief Ibru was a blessing as he said  he will try his best to rescue the remaining eye because, in his words, “he is too handsome to live without sight”. This great personality immediately called his wife in London, Dr Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank, to get ready to receive visitors and do anything possible to assist them. He took the responsibility of all finances and logistics to get the baby and his parents to London.
“I owe them my humble gratitude till the end of my life,” Abdul said.

In London, after following all due processes, he was taken to More-field Hospital, London, which was the best eye hospital in the world then. Chemotherapy treatment was commenced and after the treatment he was discharged from the hospital.
“However, after a few days, it was observed that the cancer cells still existed in my body which was directly affecting my eyesight. After series of diagnosis and chemotherapy for a month in London, we came back to Nigeria again till the next appointment. Unfortunately, the next appointment with the London hospital fell into the period of 1983 Nigeria coup d’être. This led to all airports being closed and there was no access to foreign exchange. But immediately the airports resumed, my parents flew with me back to London, but they had already lost their appointment at More-field hospital so we had to go to another hospital in London where another chemotherapy was done on my right eye also so as to save the remaining eye.”

By this time, the family’s economic situation became strained as a result of financial implications, challenges in travelling out to London, and probably the missed appointment in London. So when further symptoms were observed again, he was taken back to the National Eye Centre in Kaduna where it was discovered that the cancer cells were already showing potentials of affecting his brain. Unfortunately, the remaining eye had to be detached from its socket in order to save the brain.

“My Aunt, popularly known as Hajiya Gogo Mairiga (late) went to Kano and successfully got traditional medicine that pushed the cancer to its grave. After a year of using the traditional medicine, I was taken back to National Eye Centre for a recheck and the result was fascinating as the cancer cells were found dead and disappeared for long. We were grateful to all that assisted and to Almighty Allah.

Educational background…

As the Nupe Muslim’s tradition of sending their children to early Islamic or Quranic school where Quran is learnt by heart, I was enrolled at Madarasatul Hayatul Islam of Okada Road under the supervision of Mallam Gimba Ahmad Evuti. I was introduced to courses like recitation of the glorious Quran, Hadith, Tauheed, Fiqhu and many more. After that, I began my formal western education at the Niger State School for the Handicapped, now known as Niger State School for Special Education in 1989, and graduated in 1996. I proceeded to Government Secondary School Minna (now Fr O’Connell Secondary School) between 1997 and 2002 for my secondary education. Thereafter I proceeded to an Islamic school called Markazus-sakafil Islam for Qur’an memorization between year 2003-2005. I then proceeded for higher education at College of Education Minna where I studied Islamic studies/Social studies between year 2006-2009. Out of my desire and my parents encouragement and other great helpers who collectively gave me very worthy encouragement, I began the degree program at National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) where I am presently studying Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution.

Career Background…

After the completion of NCE in 2009, as a person with physical disability coupled with a saturated labour market, I searched for a job everywhere unsuccessfully. My friends and I teamed up to create a job by establishing a paint company known as Asgadamas Nigeria Limited. I happened to be the marketing Co-ordinator of the company. But I was later offered appointment as Assistant Education Officer II by the Niger state government in 2011. My potentials as a good speaker and activeness were recognized and I was became the elected PRO Nigeria Association for the Blind, Niger state branch in the same year. As hardwork is part of my character, another company was formed and I was made the CEO of Mahshurah Investment Company, a company that specializes in the production of paint and application; importation of cars and gadgets; interior decorations and in totality, a general Contractor in 2012. In 2015, at the Annual convention of blind people held in Lagos State, I was elected the National PRO of Nigeria Association of the Blind. In the same year, I was elected the
Chairman, Nigeria Association of the Blind Niger State Chapter. Consequently, I was elected the Assistant Secretary General, Joint Association of Persons Living With Disabilities, Niger State Branch in 2013. At an interactive engagement, the Governor of Niger State appointed me as his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on physically challenged persons. Currently, I am a training consultant for people with disabilities.

Contributions to the blind community…

My main aim is to get the society informed about who a blind man is and how to get the best out of him.
I use most of my time enlightening the world of the abilities in our disability and I partner with people and organizations in agitating for rights of people with disability.
I train the blind on various skills in order to attain self-reliance skills such as IT assisting technologies which will give them privacy of information.

Challenges…

1. Government’s attitude towards the blind; government has not taken time to understand the blind man and his needs, that is resulting to lack of adequate funding provision for the blind peoples’ needs.
2. Societal attitude toward the blind- the society is still finding it difficult to believe that a blind man is useful to the society in any other way rather than being a street beggar.

Achievements as the SSA to the Governor…

At least for the first time in Niger State, somebody has been appointed to serve as the voice of the people with disabilities and I have issued a lot of advice to the government on how to get the best out of people with disability in Niger state knowing quite well that the best approach to the eradication of street begging is taking care of the needs of the people with disabilities in the state.

Challenges as the SSA to the governor…

1. I have never received any response for any of the correspondence I have sent to the government, that is to say I have been appointed to be a voice of people with disabilities but I have not been given a microphone.

2. There is no desk allocated to me to carry out my responsibilities not to talk of an office which is essential, going by the sensitivity of the issues of the people I represent.

3. The Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development that I am supposed to report to has not granted me an audience despite my several requests.

Special trainings people with disabilities need to be self reliant…

Special people can be trained in virtually all areas but they require special trainers that can effectively impact the trainings on them.

The government should establish a commission for people with disabilities which will ensure the protection of all their rights, sensitize the general public about the needs of people with disabilities, have a comprehensive data of people with disabilities and structure a good education system for them to make them self-reliant and relevant in the society.

How government can encourage people with disabilities not to beg or go into street begging…

Government should give them a sense of belonging and make all nessecary provisions for them and also give them good orientation on the disadvantage of street begging.

Advice for others not to depend on government…

I will encourage them to look beyond their disability and look for something to do. They should not allow disability hinder them from achieving their life goals.

What makes you happy and relaxed…

I like making friends and I’m very happy counseling people about life in general. I like reading books and also like praying in order to relax.

Challenges Help To Strengthen And Make You Innovative — Tolulope Olaiya

Tolulope Olaiya is the Creative Director of Soleman Collection, a footwear outfit in Lagos that also specialises in men’s shirts and other accessories. In this interview with TMG, he opens up about how his business took shape from dream to reality. 

TMG> How long did you nurse the dream of becoming a designer before it became a reality?

Tolulope> I’m actually a footwear designer and maker, and I specialize in making shirts for men from fabrics like Ankara and Linen.

I had always wanted to become a footwear maker since my days at the University of Jos. It took me about 10 years to actualize this dream but I am happy I did.

TMG> What is your area of interest: designing or tailoring or both? 

Tolulope> I’m interested in both designing and production, but I must confess that the most fulfilling aspect of what I do is when something I have imagined and thought of in my head finally becomes a reality. Seeing the finished product is extremely fulfilling.

TMG> Did you go to a professional school to acquire the skills and what credentials did you earn through the program?

Tolulope> No, I didn’t study Fashion formally, neither did I study anything related to fashion production.

However, while studying at University of Jos, I would spend some of my free time with the villagers at the Naraguta Leather Works. 
That was the only kind of training I got- rather informal. Everything I’ve learnt since has been on the job really.

TMG> What type of clients do you  produce for – men/women; old/young; Nigerians or Western?

Tolulope> I actually serve a mixed blend of clients.

TMG> Who do you find easier to market your products to?

Tolulope> When it comes to footwear, both male and female customers. But for for my clothing line, we sew men’s shirts for now but we’re working on a collection for our female clients. 
We also serve both the young and older clients too, it all depends on each individual’s sense of style and taste.
It would be fantastic to market and focus on ready to wear products but I’ve come to find out over time that because you’re a designer and you also produce, most clients would rather you took their measurements and make bespoke clothing to their specification. I’m not exactly sure why this is the case, but I guess it’s mainly psychological.

TMG> Tell us about the very first outfit you designed and sewed: Was it for you? What were people’s comments about it and how did it make you feel?

Tolulope>  I’m not certain I remember the first pair of shoes or outfit I made because it must have been many moons ago but what I do remember is the first time I saw a total stranger wearing something I had made. It was the most amazing feeling in the world, although I didn’t get the opportunity to tell him he was wearing some of my products.

TMG>What inspires your designs?

Tolulope> I’m inspired by anything and everything in general. Sometimes, I’m inspired by just watching people walking and looking at their footwear; sometimes it could be from just sitting quietly and meditating or  while talking to someone who is enthusiastic about fashion and style.
Therefore, inspiration could come from a million and one different things.

TMG> What is your staff strength like?

Tolulope> At the moment, I’ve about ten employees working for me; 
I have an Assistant, a Workshop Manager and 3 staff who work with him. We also have 3 apprentices at the workshop and presently, there are 2 Tailors who sew the shirts. 

TMG> Give us an example of someone you have trained or mentored. Where did they start and where are they now?

Tolulope> We always have at least 2 or 3 people undergoing apprenticeship at the workshop at a time, a few of them have gone ahead and teamed up with others and are basically independent now. There’s one young man in particular who trained under us and comes to work with us whenever we have large orders and need extra hands.

TMG> What challenges do you encounter and how do you handle them? 

Tolulope> Challenges are numerous but they also help to strengthen  and make you innovative. 
One major challenge we face just like a million other growing businesses in Nigeria is in raising money for a particular project. For instance, you might have a new collection but lack of funds would force you to wait almost 3 months for that particular collection to become a reality.

Most of the challenges emanate from being handicapped financially. At least, for me, personally.

TMG> Tell us about your management style and how you handle your Customers. 

Tolulope> When it comes to managing my staff, I’m actually quite accommodating and I’m a strong believer in that famous Yoruba saying… Kö Shêy Dâ Shêy Which Means, “You Can’t Do It Alone”.
Everyone has something to offer, and I always insist on carrying all members of staff along whenever we’re working on something, including the Apprentices. I Want everyone to feel some sense of commitment to the business because the success of the business is our collective success and not just mine alone. 

TMG> Tell us about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career?

Tolulope> I pride myself when it comes to my relationship with Customers. I’m a firm believer of the motto that says: ‘the Customer Is Always Right’.
Therefore, I’ll do almost anything and everything possible to make my customer happy. And if there’s one thing I have never done and will never, ever do, is to compromise when it comes to the quality of my brand. That has become my strongest selling point till date and something I’m extremely proud of.

Apart from my relationship with Clients / Customers, I’m also extremely proud of the fact that I’ve been able to build a brand that is both durable and affordable. 
I’m almost certain two of our strongest selling points are the durability and affordability of our products, especially our footwear.

TMG> Tell us something you would like to learn or improve upon?  

Tolulope> One thing I’m not very good at and would like to improve on would be the ability to manage my time wisely, especially when it comes to my work time and my personal time (me time!) I find myself almost working round the clock and having absolutely no time to socialize at all. Networking and relaxation of any sort have become totally non- existent. I only get to relax whenever I am ill, and, of course, I’m forced to rest at that point.

Another thing I would love to improve on is book keeping. Even though I’ve got a professional book keeper who does my book keeping quarterly, I would love to be more professional when it comes To My day to day Book Keeping.

TMG> What other back-of-the positions have you previously held before going into fashion?

Tolulope> Once upon a time, I worked as a Public Relations Manager at The Eko Sauna And Gym when they were still affiliated to the Eko Hotel.

TMG> Who are your role models and what inspires you about them?

Tolulope> My role models are not necessarily people in fashion but, when it comes to the fashion industry, I’m a big fan of Adeola Sagoe- I’ve got a great deal of respect for her, not just as a designer but, as a business woman. I’m also a big fan of Oswald Boateng, for the same reasons. He’s an amazing designer and a brilliant businessman.

I’ve got a great deal of respect and admiration for Mr Kunle Afolayan-  the Nigerian Actor, Film Maker, Producer and Director.
I also admire and respect my mother. She remains my number one role model.

TMG> What do you say to other youths to encourage them? 

Tolulope> I would advise young people to believe in themselves and in their dreams. I would also advise them to get an education, which doesn’t necessarily mean getting a degree. These are two totally different things if you ask me. 

Young people should have faith in God first before anything else. Build a relationship with God, that is most important.