Thursday, 31 December 2015

My 2015 story : Oluwaseun Temitope Emmanuel

Oluwaseun Temitope Emmanuel is a final year student of Elect/Elect Engineering at the Federal University Of Petroleum Resources. He decided to share his own 2015 story after reading the 2015 story of others. His story is a story of a dream in progress. In his words ''quitting now won't hasten the whole process" and "rushing things either doesn't guarantee maximum success". I'm sure you would enjoy this piece. By the way, Temitope has been a friend for some years now, a friendship that started from 2go. lol. And I can vouch for his being ambitious and hardworking. Read this short piece, you are sure to enjoy it.
For me, the year 2015 started with a lot of dreams and ambitions. I can remember vividly at 12:01am when the shouts and jubilations of “happy new year” was everywhere, I felt that feeling of a success time bomb running through my veins. I was so optimistic that within the next 364 days that I would do something great. I was so ambitious, head bent on starting my own company, an online company; a social media network, "first of its kind" as I will tag it. 

As at the time of writing this, by 20:49pm on 28 December, 2015, I'm sure you probably might be wondering already if this my big dream was actually accomplished or if it was just another “initial gragra”. Well you could be right to think either way,  cause, now, I’m somewhere stuck between both. I mean I was able to start something but somewhere along the line things happened, factors to make me quit on the whole big dream came up. Things didn’t go as planned, challenges of all sorts were faced. The process of achieving my 2015 big dream has really been a slow one and definitely has not been smooth sailing. But, I can say this, "quitting now won’t hasten the whole process" and “rushing things either doesn’t guarantee maximum success”. One thing for sure, I started something which certainly I’m going to finish and the whole world will see and appreciate what I’ve done, so at the end the whole sacrifice and efforts will be worth it all. "Good things don’t come by easily". "Putting God first every other thing will follow". With this, I know I’ve not failed myself.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

My 2015 story : Chiagozie Udeh (Eco-Generation Ambassador to Nigeria)

Chiagozie Udeh is Eco-Generation Ambassador to Nigeria, Climate Justice Ambassador and a Radio Host. I have only seen very few people with his kind of passion and dedication. He is always keen to learn and acquire knowledge. I'm sure you remember it being said that knowledge is power. Personally, I expect more from him next year. His 2015 story is a diary of his travels this year and his journey in pursuit of his dreams. I'm pleased that he took out his time to write this and I'm sure you would enjoy it.

It started with goals, goals I hoped to achieve within 12 months. I had enjoyed the previous year making great exploits and earning rave reviews as an On-Air-Personality especially with my host of the major programmes in my radio studio. It was as rewarding as it is exciting. I earned rare joy knowing how happy I made my listener but I knew my satisfaction was still far off.

I am passionate about a few things; Writing, the Media, the Environment, Entrepreneurship and above all, Africa. If I had any fear for them, it was attending to one more than the other. I so wished I could give them all the same level of attention. But as I came to realize, it has to be phase by phase.

So, I started the outgoing year(2015) hoping to do more in each field. I had been the Eco-Generation Ambassador to Nigeria as an enviro-activist for close to a year and I have been quite active but I felt I needed to deepen my foothold in environment activism globally. I needed to be part of a huge international summit in this field to further strengthen my position as a young advocate.

So, the year progressed and on one cool evening in March, I got an invitation email to the Global Youth Summit 2015 in Germany on Climate Change. I had applied for an opportunity advertised in my network for the Climate Change summit in Munich, Germany. I read the email again and again to be sure. I had applied close to, if not, on the last day for application.

So, I traveled to Germany for the summit and it was a marvelous experience. I met amazing people whose passion for the cause probably matched mine. At that summit, everything started. I held talks with businessmen, climate scholars and negotiators, activists, it was just too awesome. I met fantastic Africans who have now become my genuine brothers outside Nigeria. We shared many things in common evident in how easily we connected with our jokes. From Malawi, Rwanda, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and Nigeria; we all came to Munich. At the end of the summit, a new journey started with the network formed in Munich. Some of the evidences will soon launch in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.

I owe special thanks to Pascale Naumann, a great German lady with a pure heart, for ensuring I had a successful trip. Special thanks to these heartwarming ladies including Marieke Ehlers, Helge Bork, Elena Dreher, Carolin Büttner and Stefanie Haug  who gave me a great impression of German ladies and ensured a hitch-free summit and also to Ian Eveleigh for his tireless works and then Felix Finkbeiner, whose hardwork with Plant-for-the-Planet and UNEP, brought us all together.

Returning from Germany well equipped with information on the cause I am advocating, I was met with invitations for another summit in Uganda and one in Tanzania, the former on Africa and the latter on renewable energy. I couldn't attend both owing to the hectic schedule I had but I knew a journey has started. One that I will surely enjoy lastingly.

I was having an internship before the Munich trip and was completing it when another invitation came this time to attend the AU Agenda 2063 Youth Summit at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa. My schedule made me doubt my chances of attending but who wouldn't love a trip to the AU headquarters? Thankfully, I completed my internship and had time to prepare for the trip. I flew to Nairobi and then, to Addis Ababa to a really warm welcome (something I later realized to be a routine in Ethiopia), not being too sure what to expect, but dig this; it was really an awesome and magnificent time I had in Ethiopia with over 200 African youth delegates from across the world. Ngozi Emmanuel, who had just returned from China, deserves a special mention. She was on my neck to make sure I will be flying to Addis as she was invited too.

In Addis Ababa, I enlarged my already large passion for Africa. It was there that I publicly said for the first time; "I am first African and then anything else". Such was the passion. For the first time again, I learned about some African countries still under colonial rule including Chagos Archipelago, Comorian Island of Mayoette and the right to self determination of the people of Western Sahara. I felt immense responsibility for my continent and wanted to be more involved. I made my recommendations count at the plenary and General Assembly sessions of the summit but still feel I could do better in the implementation.

That is what I feel probably more concerned with most, than with the avoidable situation in Burundi caused by Pierre Nkuruziza, who prefers an illegal presidential term to tons of human blood, Burundian blood indeed.

In Addis Ababa, I felt this is truly where I belong in the heart of Africa making policies and decisions that will drive our continent to her dreamland. The network opportunities was huge and inexhaustible and for the AU Headquarters, you can never take enough photos there. Bitania Lulu, Hindia Mahmmud and Sofanit Beza were some of the great minds from Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development for Africa (YALDA), that made it possible. They already know how proud Africa is of them.

I flew back to Nigeria knowing that I won't be attending the COP 21 in Paris as my schedule had become even more hectic and unavoidable. But Addis capped an awesome year for me. 

I won't forget the numerous high profile media trainings I attended within the country one especially made possible by a great soul that is helping me become the best in the field and sourcing training opportunities on my behalf without me knowing, Ifeyinwa Aronu, (you will see more of her soon when she decides to fully unleash her potentials). And to crown it all, was a secret African media survey we had in Enugu in which I was the youngest of the 12 panelists and facilitators from Nigeria, Namibia and Cameroon. The report will be made public in the first quarter of 2016.

All these I had planned as goals for 2015, as I tried but didn't muster enough will for such the previous year. If 2015 didn't leave enough naira or euros note in bank account, I surely laid the foundation for the inflow.

In all, not one of these would have been possible without the grace of God which has never departed me. I had prayed about all and he always answered with some inexplicable favours and ceaseless blessings. I will ever remain grateful to my creator and I am sure to have an utterly super-awesome 2016 with him.

Peace to Africa!

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

My 2015 story : Daerego Ekine

His name comes to mind whenever one is looking for a model in the Garden City. He has made his marks as a model and a model coach. He calls himself an aspiring designer and hopefully, his label would be launched officially by next year (say I didn't say that). lol. Daerego Ekine is a graduate of marketing from the University of Science and Technology, Nkpolu, Rivers State, Nigeria. He's a freelance marketer. Most times, our smiles hide our ordeal and that is the story of this young man for 2015. Don't forget you can share your story also, just write and send to Read...

The night of 31, December 2014 was a night filled with so much prayer requests and expectations of many kinds for many aspects of my life  and for many people.

The 1st week of January 2015, I remember I had decided to make my new rules, cut down a lot of habits, make new sets of friends, live another kind of life, not living God behind. So that he would give blessings, favours, and all. As time went on, little or nothing was coming in, monetary wise, connections and dreams not working, subtle set back and family crisis.
I wondered if it was a test. I just recovered fully from a health challenge (PEPTIC ULCER) which almost would have ended my family with getting sympathy and pity. I am a very religious young man, aside that, I had plans to give my all and deep dedications to God, hahaahhahaha! God is wise, you can't out wise him, especially if you feel you can do things by yourself. As usual, we went on till the normal 21 days fasting in my church. OMG! God must answer my prayers, I did participate. 
After my church had her usual enigmatic and historical programme which takes 5 days of God's powerful reign on health challenges, deliverances, breakthrough, upliftments, I was expectant. I had participated in the programme, doing my ushering duty with all dedications. I had prayer points and I was expecting a testimony. I am a graduate of almost 5 years, an orphan, who seeks the face of God, and gets help by chance. It used to be very rosy, I had so much to give out, especially clothes, shoes, toiletries. I had boys, who I distributed stuff to. I am a model and a model instructor, every young designers who comes into the industry in Port Harcourt City would always want to use my face cos it doesn't only sell fast, it helps announce a fashion brand fast.
Now you are wondering about what I can do. Well, I'm well informed and experienced in both the corporate and craft worlds. I ran interviews and trainings to add to my resume. But, where is the capital and opportunity?  In a state like Rivers State where everything is 'politicised', even as minimal as the opportunity to be employed may be. Unless, of course God's grace and chance do people get certain opportunities if they do not have god-fathers.
I am not supposed to say scarcity, (you know church things), lols. Well, I hadn't a lot for almost 6 months. I was unable to shop for a pair of jeans, shirt. The only thing I was just able to get easily was toiletries, perfumes and body sprays. Till October, just when I thought this year is almost ended, and things would start falling into places, 'kai! Na there wahala burst'. There was not just scaarcity of money, or scarcity of chaw. My fiance broke up with me, some persons in my street cooking up rumours about me, rumours that made my family hold meetings for my sake. 'O boy!' This went on till November.   

I didn't stop seeing the light, I stopped going to church. I became angry not just with myself, but with God. Psychological trauma, I didn't care about life, bad habits started to build. I started telling my pastor friends that God has his favourites. My friends were shocked to see me talk that way. I disliked my sister for fighting me for my stopping to serve in church. I defended myself by reminding her of the days I served God and how nothing happened.
On my own, I'd lock myself up and cry to God asking him how he wants me to end up. I angrily talk to him, ask him questions. Out of frustration, I wanted to practice another religion. I was broken by love, and strengthened by love too. But all in all, recently, unexpectedly, I received a call and had a phone interview, and went on to have an oral interview. I started out to make my ways straight with God. I'm not perfect, but I am positive. It's all gonna end well. #hoping #pensive #trusting 

Let me use this medium to say that,no matter what happens, the only way back to happiness is through God, yourself, and yourself too. Cos, once I depend on someone, if I go wrong or wanna make my decisions myself, I would be quick to be reminded several times about my source of 'semi-survival'. And guess what, God is helping me, I'm still gonna work on my projects, bring my dreams alive again. God willing.

Monday, 28 December 2015

My 2015 story : Jennifer Ezeonyeasi

Eaglestrendy24 Blog has been a trending blog in recent times even though it's new. The owner of the blog Jennifer Amaka Ezeonyeasi (Jenniejasco) is a final year student of mass communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. She hails from Umuezenneji, Urualla in Ideato Local Government Area of Imo state, Nigeria. Her story actually reminded me of the popular saying, 'tempus fugit...' considering that I still remember giving her my condolences after her father's death. She's a strong girl and passion personified. In her story, she mentioned HotChocolate tv which I encourage you to anticipate. Don't forget to mail your own 2015 story to Have fun...

2015 has been a great year I must say. A lot of bitter and sweet memories. The year didn't start off on a very great note for me. As a matter of fact it started off very bad  as I'd lost my DAD from an illness on January, 31 2015. Yeah! What a way to start the year, right? It wasn't easy anyway, but we're still getting through it. I never had specific goals for 2015, especially, for my career but within the year, things just came up.   

I'm someone who's very passionate about the media, specifically, entertainment and photography, so after my dad's burial in March, I started looking for ways to penetrate the media industry. I mean, I felt I had to start something no matter how small before I graduate. And then, the blogging idea came up. I was quite discouraged at first for a number of reasons of which the major was because I always thought that to own a blog I needed to pay a website designer to design one for me but thanks to my cousin, Terry who told me that I could get a blog for free on blogger.
On 1st April, 2015, I officially launched the blog,, strictly an entertainment, lifestyle and fashion blog and the hustle began from there. It's not been easy getting news and having the time to post them, considering that I am also a student, but, I'm doing my best. And with the likes of Linda Ikeji and co one could easily get discouraged as a blogger and always feel that people would never leave Linda's blog to come read yours.  Lol, but 'mehnnn' I didn't care, I kept doing my thing and I'm still doing my thing and my views keep increasing on a daily basis. besides mine is strictly entertainment gists so I could share readers with my aunty Linda and Victor Ugoo Njoku I thought'. *winks* I'm not gonna be a full time blogger anyway, it's just a step for me which will soon pay off. *smiles* This same year in the process of blogging I conceived another idea which I hope to pursue unfailingly in 2016. I'd be vlogging next year, so you guys just watch out for HotChocolate tv on YouTube it's gonna be very unique in its own way.
So far, I'd say in 2015 there was the good, bad and ugly, but in all God was really faithful. 2016 is gonna be better, trust me, so I'd say to anyone reading this post, just start something, no matter how small or insignificant it may look at first, don't make excuses at all, time waits for no one. Don't let people talk you down, do something you're passionate about, dare to be different too. I mean, lots of people were like, 'you are almost graduating, just wait till you graduate before you do all these thing'. But, I thought to myself that laying a foundation first wouldn't harm, right? It's something I am passionate about too so I can't get tired or easily discouraged, I have a target and I'm gonna hit it eventually. Merry Xmas and a very Happy New 2016 to you all.
You could keep up with me via these accounts... 
Facebook : Jennifer Amaka Ezeonyeasi,
Twitter : @mz_lytskin @ET_24media
Instagram : @mzjennie_lytskin
Email :
Google+ : Jennifer Ezeonyeasi

Sunday, 27 December 2015

My 2015 story : Prince John Onyeme (Face of Delta Pageant)

Prince John Onyeme is the Face of Delta Pageant. His journey into modelling started this year and he has recorded successes ever since. His 2015 story is quite short and inspiring. How best could the story of counting one's blessings be told other than the way Prince told his story. There's a learning for you in this story, enjoy. Meanwhile, if you want to share your own 2015 story, write and send to

Like every other cross over night, mum wanted us to break the "happy new year" news in church despite the bombings in the north where we reside. In no time everyone was shouting and rejoicing for the cross over, but not me. I just wore a fake smile. I was grateful for another new year and for life but the uncertainty of the future weighed me down. I am in my twenties and I'm not getting any younger and I have a whole pile of things to do, legacy to create, hearts to touch, with no idea of how to do so. I was born on the 6th of January, so seeing the new year was not an opportunity to start over but a reminder that I've gotten older and that I'm yet to accomplish as much as I desired to.
As the year went by, I decided to just go with the flow instead of just anticipating what may or may not happen. I love to sing, I love God, I love science and I love fashion. So, I decided to just live my life in the most humble way possible and appreciate any opportunity I get along the way. Being the only male child of my mum, I am surrounded by my siblings who love me. That doesn't mean that I get the "special treatment". As I started appreciating and counting my blessings, starting from the people around me, I got more hopeful for the year. And hope was all that was needed to rekindle a quenched fire. So, for the first time I started modelling and became the 2nd runner up of the Mr. SUG pageant in Delta State University, Abraka. Then, in my second pageant this very same year, I won the Face of Delta Pageant. I am truly grateful for this year but I am more hopeful for 2016... more stable power supply, less orphans on the street, more job oppotunities, more affordable and accessible health care services. I am hopeful for a better Nigeria 2016.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

My 2015 story : Angel Opoku, CEO Black Belle Events

Whoever said that good things come in small packages would rephrase that to 'great things are small packages' were he to meet Angel Opoku the CEO of Black Belle Events. I'm sorry I can't share you pictures cos I wasn't permitted to do so. Lol. Black belle Events offers all round event planning services. Ms. Opoku combines running Black Belle Events with graphics designing and schooling. She received the offer to share her 2015 story with gladness and in response offers the story of an 'ambitious girl who hopes on God to breath on her hard work'. I'm sure you would want to meet her after reading this. Feel free to forward your own 2015 story to and it would be shared over here. Read through... 

There is not much to say, it’s not a typical story with a happy ending or at least a conclusive one. It's my story, the story of an events planner cum graphic designer. 
My dad died when I was 13 and my mom has been the one taking care of us ever since.  So, I grew up with an independent spirit, always wanting to work hard for myself. That for me is possible, my mom proves that every day.   In my bid to get something to do, I learnt how to use CorelDraw and Visual Basic.Net. The latter is for designing soft wares. At the time I didn’t have a laptop but I had a desktop, almost immediately I got admission into the university and of course couldn’t carry the desktop to school. It practically killed me as I could not practice nor improve. Sometime this year, I bought a laptop. So, I got back to CorelDraw, it was a bit rusty but I got back. I wasn't satisfied, so I started taking tutorials on Photoshop and now I can say; I am a whole lot better, not my best still, but everyday I strive to get better. At least, it pays some bills.

Events planning started during my last holiday as a means to solve people’s events need which is usually to have a flawless event with little or no stress. I had not planned for a company initially, but I began to run one as more people gave advice, more publicity was done and more contracts gotten.
It has been a challenging year, working hard to be the best and going to school, the result has been lots of stress, less sleep and less food. It has also been hard to not combine my personal life with work. I’ve wanted to keep them apart but it becomes harder by the day with people having huge expectations from me because they feel I run a company or friends thinking I have lots of money when I don’t have any because my company is just starting and is at  an investing time not a spending time. It's not been a particularly fruitful year, a lot didn’t work according to plan.
And as I write this story today, I'm not writing a success story yet, I'm not writing the story of one who has tried seven times and has finally made it big through success and determination. But it’s not a story of failure either, it’s not a story of one who has given up, rather it’s the story of one who wants more from life, the story of a young ambitious girl who hopes on God to breath on her hard work. I'm not there today, I don’t have it yet but there is tomorrow and what it will bring I can’t wait to see.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

My 2015 story...

2015 has come and is going, to give way to 2016. Christmas is here again, a lot of gifting and rejoicing happening. Pens coming down to write resolutions and plans for the new year, reflections over how 2015 went keeping lot of us busy. Holiday and lot of travelling and tickets booking. Human suddenly turning busier than the bee. And after a week, we are back to our normal life and bustle and hustle.   

The story of 2015 would be hanging on our lips. In 2015 did I do this and not do that. In 2015 should I have done this and shouldn't have done that. Regrets would be in the air, hopes also, the desire to keep on keeping on, decisions to let go on life entirely. We all have our stories and our tales to tell about 2015.   

Our stories aren't so different from that of our neighbours, only that we didn't pay attention that we all are acting the same life script. Striving to make ends meet, striving to pen our names on the sands of time, living our lifes for our loved ones. Same old journey made on recent routes.   

The challenges are about the same, the successes. The usual ups and downs of life. The no failures, no success rules still apply. The would never be satisfied expectations. The once in a lifetime experiences. The been there done that and the never been there, won't do that speeches. 

What exactly is your tale? What story do you have? You think it should be shared? You would will others read about it? Would you will to read others stories of 2015?   

I have 2015 stories of young Nigerian youths to share with you. There are stories of our dream chasers. Just be here everyday till the new year comes to learn about what life offered to these ambitious young persons for 2015 and how they grabbed at several opportunities.   

And if you would want your own story to be shared, write and send to me via : 
Email : 
Whatsapp : +2348161902037 
BBM  : C001B7ED1

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Up and Coming : Yung Elmee

From Life Beer Carnival, Nnewi to Rivers state Carnival and Hero Festival at Awka, Yung Elmee has been making mad waves and getting air plays. The Port Harcourt born, Abia state origin, twenty years old artiste with real name, Miracle Chidubem Smart Ubani in this exclusive interview related the reality of the struggle to fame by upcoming artistes. To listen to his latest song, 'The Sound', download at   

What's the idea behind the name Yung Elmee? : El to the mee(miracle). El to me doesn't mean anything. I just had to take the El because I like the El in Eldee de Don. I love the El, the mee is just the Miracle and the Yung was given to me by a friend. I used to be Mr. Elmee, but the friend suggested that I was too young. 
So would you go back to Yung Elmee when you get older? : When I get older, I don't think that I'd be Mr. Elmee, let's just skip that part. 
Why did you decide to do music? : I didn't decide to do music, music decided to do me. I was born into a music scene. My mother used to be in the choir. I grew listening to her kind of sounds, she plays gospel songs. I blended like that. So, I was born music. 
At what stage did you decide to do music and what prompted the decisions?  : Since I was eleven, I just loved music and decided to go into it.  

What inspires your music? : Ehmm... My environment, my situation. Music to me has two parts. The natural part where you wake up with a melody, with a chorus in your head and the physical part where you use your brain, sit down to choose a title, and then write a song around it.  

What part of your life has been affected by your going into music? : I would say my education, but I give God the glory. Then, my friends, when I got into the music scene, they were people I hung out with that I no longer hang out with. I try to take care of my self, try not to get lose. Awka would say, 'not to get casted'. So I try not to cast myself. 
How do you react to your listeners negative opinions to your songs? : To be frank, I haven't got any negative feedback from my listeners before. The negative comments come from my siblings, my close friends, my relatives and my cousins especially. They are the ones who sometimes complain that my songs are not 'sweet'. You know they say that a prophet is not respected in his home town. I get more of positive comments outside my home.  

How is your music affected by your gaining negative feedbacks from your relatives and close friends? : They like very tush things. Those who listen to my songs won't think it to be done by an upcoming artiste. I get inspired by the comments and it makes me always try to get better knowing that if they get to like any of my songs, it would be appreciated more by my listeners.  

How do you improve your art? : We improve any how. (laughs). We improve. I improve everyday. Every day of my life, I try to learn new things. I do new things every day. Each day I wake up, I decide to do something different.  

What's your view about the Nigerian music industry? : It's nice, people say that we are growing. I think we have grown to adolescence. At this point, we have known some things about life. We are breaking boundaries, we are growing beyond the market. Every body wants to do a collabo, just like Akon and D Banj, Drake and Wizkid. I think we are doing better.  

How do you define good music? : The words, the message passed I believe is good music. Good music is the music you listen to and understand. Even when the song is about women or a dance hall, it should still communicate and people would still get something from it. 
What challenges do you face as an upcoming artiste? : Basically, it's finance and sponsorship. Money to record new songs and promote those songs. Then living up to standard, wearing tush clothes, so that the guys and gals would feel you. I travel to overcome this by investing my monthly income into music and when I get paid for shows, I still invest in music.  

How supportive is your family and friends? : Good, nice, my mother is very much in support. Though, she would always tell me to avoid women. She would always tease me about that. She encourages me to pray and she likes my songs. My father didn't know, I never told him about it, and when I did, he asked me to choose between music and school. But, then I was surprised when I found out he had one of my songs as his ring tune. (laughs). They like the fact that I am doing something good.  

How do you combine music and school? : It's hard, it's very hard. When it comes to the popularity part, some times, it's really very embarrassing when my fans come to meet with me. It's usually surprising also knowing that I have such die-hard fans. Then, some times in class while a lecturer is giving note and you are getting inspirations. And most times, I end up writing down the inspiration in stead of listening to the lecturer and taking down notes.  

How do you relate with women considering your mother's warning about them? : (laughs).  I'm not so much caught up with women. The ones that come close, you just have to form for, celebrity shits. (laughs). We handle them well, the ones that come, you take them in and the ones you can push out, you push out.  

Role models? : Jesse Jags, I love Timaya, on the foreign scene, Ed Sheeran and Wiz Khalifa.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years? : In the next five years, I should be breaking boundaries. I should have settled down, my record label should have grown. I should be helping people achieve their dreams. I would be as popular as Wizkid, as legendary as 2Face, then have an empire like PSquare.    

You can reach Yung Elmee on
Twitter : @YungElmee
Instagram : @isYungElmee
Facebook : Yung Elmee  

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Unsung : Nzube Akugaranwa, CEO Zubby's Foundation

It's not unusual to see people take career paths different from what they have studied. Many study courses they have no interest in just to please their parents. The rate at which this affects productivity can't be neglected. Nzube Akugaranwa, the CEO of Zubby's Foundation saw the need to offer career guidance to teenagers and to encourage youths to pursue their dreams against all odds. She's determined to reach out to teachers and parents as well, who she believes should offer encouragement and support to their students and children respectively in the pursuit of their dreams. In this exclusive interview, Ms. Akugaranwa talks about the challenges she's faced with, in running her foundation. She also mentioned the foundation's plans for 2016. Enjoy...

What is Zubby's Foundation about? : Zubby's Foundation is formed as a result of having passion for the development and well being of the youths. We were bothered about why the youths do not do so well and why they shy away from certain things. We decided to assist in exploring the talents in our youths. We decided to offer guidance and counselling to the teenagers in secondary schools and help them explore their talents through competitions knowing that competitions bring out the best in people. Basically, what we do is to harness young potentials.

What programmes have Zubby's Foundation organised? : So far we have been moving to different secondary schools in Port Harcourt where we started. We visited Bereton Nursery and Primary school and Besona Nursery and Primary school, we also visited Holy Rosary Secondary school. We held seminars. Some of the school gave us the opportunities to counsel their students one on one after our seminars. From there we discovered that these children have related problems as regards the courses they do in school, why they do not do as well as their parents expect. We discovered that these children mostly flow on what their parents decided for them and not what they want. We found a lot of talented children who do not explore their talents because their initiative are limited to what the society portrays as best.

How receptive has your programmes been? : On the part of students, the students give warm receptions. They are happy to have some one to talk to, someone that comes down to their level, to understand their feelings not someone who already decides for them before asking for their opinions. They are free and open minded. They love what we do. On the teachers part, most of the schools we visited responded positively. Most times, when we leave, the Guidance Counselor takes up from where we stopped. We help them understand these students. On the parents level, we haven't really gotten access to the number of parents we want, but I believe that teachers and school proprietors and management staff are parents also. The parents are the fundamental, if we can get to  the parents, we can get to the kids. We are looking for the best strategy to get to the parents and make them understand the need to allow their children do what ever they want to do with their lives provided that it is legal.

What plans do you have to sustain your programmes making sure that the impacts of it doesn't wear off? : I keep contacts with the schools we have visited. Some of my team mates are in Port Harcourt and they go to these schools from time to time to check out the problems the students encountered after we left the school. We advise the schools to keep records of each students' problems. So, when we get to the school we address those issues they weren't able to address. We meet these students individually and if they is need for a seminar, the school contacts us.

What challenges do you face in running Zubby's Foundation? : Time is one major challenge. The way I want to run my foundation isn't the way other people would run it. Most times, I do not bother my team mates with certain issues. I have the passion, and the way I pursue my passion isn't the way others would. Sometimes, I tell them to do things in a particular way and I don't get the exact results I expect and because of distance and my academic schedule, I may not be able to do things the way I want to do it. We face financial challenges, hosting the seminars, videoing them, getting things for the students, some times, the school management complain of some of the things they need in their school, expecting us to finance them.

How do you beat these challenges? : They have been individual financial supports. There are some individuals we have met, some of them are students who share the same vision but who are not in the forefront leading this campaign. They make their donations. Some firms, like Nigeria Navy Secondary School Ogbomosho, owned by mum have been very supportive.

Talk about your leadership skills that help you work with your team mates : I have one strategy for that. I do most of the things I want to do by myself. This makes them realize that I do not solely rely on them, making them know that I am not being bossy nor asking them to do things that I can't do. I still report to them and I am very transparent when it comes to leadership. I respect every one of them. Some of them are older than I am, some are lecturers. I see myself as their servant and I usually listen to hear from them. I listen to their opinions even when it counters my own opinion. I don't force my opinions on them, because that would give an impression that I want to do things on my own. It's not about being the boss, it's about doing what one has passion for.

How do you manage the financial aspects of the team? : What I tell them for now is to put aside every personal interest. I tell them that they would come a time, when we would have partnership with the government, partnership with a lot of companies like record labels, modelling agencies, schools, money would start coming. By then, honestly, they would appreciate being with me from the very beginning. But for now, I appreciate them by giving them gifts anytime I can. I don't have to wait till I have everything to appreciate them.

You mentioned partnership plans, which organisations are you currently in talks with? : I have written lots of proposals, but I have not received any positive response for now. The kind of firms I want to partner with are studios for those who like photography, then modelling agencies, institutions, learned persons, persons who are passionate about academic pursuit. Let's look at Prof. Igwe, a lecturer in History and International Studies Department, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka. He is the leader of UNIZIK Debate Club. I believe that with him by our side, we can achieve a lot.

How supportive is your family and friends? : My mom is my biggest support. She has been my inspiration, she is an academician, she is very supportive and she understands what I do. You know parents, some times, she would be like, 'you have been harnessing other people's talent, has anyone harnessed yours?  You have talents also.' (laughs). Aside that, she is very supportive, my siblings; my kid sister doesn't really know much about what I do, my elder brother is very supportive, morally, ethically and financially.

What has being the CEO of Zubby's Foundation gained you? : One thing that I have benefitted is satisfaction and self purpose cos that's what the foundation is based upon, helping people actualize their vision is my passion and my mission. I have earned respect. When people see you on a normal day, they don't know what you are capable of, but, when they begin to see your innovations, they begin to accord you some kind of respect and by that you begin to affect the change you need.

How has being the CEO of Zubby's Foundation affected your relationship and social life? : Actually, I'm usually very hot tempered, but being in this position, I realized that my hot temper won't pay, so it has helped me learn how to handle my anger issues. It has made me kinda reserved and coconservative because I am now almost always thinking, thinking of doing new things, thinking of new ideas, new reforms, thinking of ways to implement my ideas. It has brought me to the point that I am now. It has helped me morally. Right now, I see myself as a role model, people expect to see in me what I advocate for in our youths and teenagers. They watch to see if I have achieved what I want to other youths to achieve, and to see if I explore my talent as I advice others to. It has helped me build in myself those things I want to build in others.

What programmes do we expect from Zubby's Foundation next year? : The first major programme would be a debate competition at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Auditorium. We would involve as many people as possible. We would introduce a new style of debate, that is the British Parliamentary Style of Debate and this style is not known to UNIZIK students. We would collaborate with UNIZIK Debate Club. The second major event would be to organise a singing contest that will involve as many people in Anambra state as possible. Before the programme, we must have gotten positive response from the various record labels we have written to. The winners of this contest would be signed to our partnering record label and we see to it the sponsorship of their debut tracks. We would also have seminars in different secondary and primary schools.

Where do you see Zubby's Foundation in the next couple of years? : Let me narrow you, two years from now, Zubby's Foundation would be in everyone's lips. I see Zubby's Foundation become a house hold name. We are working towards having a platform through which we can be reached online, in our offices, and branches, we would also be accessed one on one. When we are able to accomplish our partnership deals, our outreach would be easier and faster. Imagine, having the backing of ministries of education in various states. In two years time, I see our youths rebranded, I see a lot of talents harnessed by Zubby's Foundation.

Your words to our parents, teachers and students about career guidance? : Our teachers and parents especially, have a huge role to play based on their children's career. We want to use this forum to advise parents to watch out for the things God himself planted in their children, things they do not necessarily need to stress themselves to do, they excel in these things naturally, they should encourage their children to do these things that they are naturally good at. A lot of teachers are in the habit of destroying the children because these children failed once or twice in a particular thing which they may be gifted in. These failures may have been caused by the child having a psychological challenge at the time or by any other factor, but the way teachers some times respond to this situation can kill a dream. We recorded some of these situations during our seminars. There are a lot of courses that can be studied in the university. There are a lot of things one can do to make money if money is the sole aim of going to the university. But, it's about self satisfaction, which I suppose is the main reason for life. Parents and teachers should guide our children properly. I want to encourage the students. There are a lot of things they want to do, but the society and the parents keep telling them that they can't. They just have to be determined, never giving up. Students should learn to strive for the right things and to always discuss with their mentors. With these we can produce youths that can compete internationally with other youths.

You can reach zubby's Foundation via:

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Up and Coming : El General

El General whose real name is Sabastian Etim is a hip-hop and RnB singer who started his career in 2012. After a three years break, he's back with the release of his 'Sky is low' and 'Celebrate'. You get the links to download after the interview. El General is from Akwaibom state and is presently a final year student of mass communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka. In this exclusive interview, El General who picked his name from an online Egyptian friend revealed how he prepares himself before going to record his songs. And you would be surprised to know that he would have been a footballer were he not doing music. Have a nice read through.

When did you decide to do music? : I have always wanted to do music anyway. Let's say I started practicing since 2011, but my first official studio recording was 2012. That was immediately after I gained admission. I did a hip-hop song.

How was the reception of your first song? : For a start, it was something I did just for my peers, to tell them that I can sing. It was accepted, in the sense that I didn't really promote it. It was just for my friends, but, some how, it went far.

What inspires your music? : I would say... it may sound funny, sometimes, when ever, I'm in situations that I feel like expressing myself, I feel like singing. Most times, what actually inspires my music is my having a problem I wish to tackle. So, I either get inspired by the problem or get inspired by the solutions I have for the problem.

Why did you decide to do your kind of music? : Most times, artistes are defined by their exposures. I am actually exposed to foreign music more and so is my love for foreign music and rappers. I'm more exposed to hip-hop. My opting for hip-hop and RnB is because I love the genre and I think I can fit into the genre. I love communicating with people and the genres are the ones with which I can communicate to people best.

What other artistes do you listen to and why? : I'm basically influenced by one person, though I don't want to be in anyone's shoe actually. I listen to the likes of 2Chains, The Game and Kenderick Lamar.

What kind of brand do you want to build as a music artiste? : I would want to build a brand that would help sell hip-hop, allowing them say exactly what they want to say, not necessarily using vulgar words though. I want to build a brand that can chip in hip-hop in everything I do, even in gospel. I want to build a brand that gives vibe to music.

What do you do before going to the studio to record your songs? : First of all, I get inspired. Most times, I write music at night, at quiet time. Sometimes, I find out that I'm in a situation, I pick out what I'm troubled with and try to make music of it. It could be heartbreak or anything. So, basically, I'm inspired first, I sit to write, listen to lyrics from other rappers, I pick up my words and put them together.

How do you define good music? : Good music is any music that is widely accepted. Music that passes message. Music that can actually reform, but, most importantly, music that passes message to the audience. Music that the audience can relate to.

What challenges do you have so far? : Let's say that part you are writing, folding papers and throwing, starting over again to get another lyrics. Going to the studio and seeing people with dope lines. You are voicing in the studio and the producer tells you to go home and rehearse more. Those things can kill someone's morale. You can feel intimidated and all.
What do you do to improve your art? : Basically, no matter what ever you do, put God first. I pray, I practice, I do more of free styling.

Do you have plans to leave music and go into the media being that you study mass communication? : I may not leave music, but it wouldn't be bad combining music and presenting. Look at Ehis, even though he doesn't sing, he features in music videos and still presents. Even VJ Adams, he sings as well.

If not music, what else? : If not music, I would be a footballer.

Your last words to other upcoming artistes? : Consistency. And I believe every upcoming artistes should be consistent and believe in themselves. There are some very good people who don't get anywhere because they don't believe in themselves. Believe in yourself, do something, even if just once, you never can tell.

You can download El General' Sky is low at and Celebrate at

Reach El General on Facebook as Sabastian El General