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ASF partners with the Ooni of Ife, Swedish Embassy Nigeria, ViacomCBS Africa, The YD Company for the WIFTI Summit 2022 in Nigeria

L-R – Bada Akintunde-Johnson (Country Manager, ViacomCBS Networks Africa), Inya Lawal (Secretary, WIFTI), Carl Michael (Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria), HRM Ogunwusi Adeyeye Enitan (the 51st Ooni of Ife), Helene Granqvist (WIFTI President), Nicole Ackermann (President, WIFTI German Chapter), Yetty Ogunnubi ( CEO, The YD Company).

In anticipation of the Women in Film and TV International (WIFTI) Summit set to take place in Africa for the first time, WIFTI has appointed Ascend Studios Foundation (ASF) as the implementing partner for the WIFTI Summit 2022.

Ascend Studios Foundation led by Inya Lawal is working closely with WIFTI led by Helene Granqvist, Women in Film and TV Africa (WIFTA), Forum of Women in Film and TV (FWIFT) led by Joke Silva to build alliances and partnerships with local and international organizations.

Ascend Studios Foundation (ASF) has announced its partnership with His Imperial Majesty the Ooni of Ife, the Swedish Embassy in Nigeria, VIACOM CBS Africa, The YD Company as some of the organizations supporting the Summit to its maximum potential.

The summit is a bi-annual event that provides women an enabling environment, access to film and TV funds, reduces gender stifling barriers, and positions women in places of power within the entertainment industry.

Themed “Telling Unique Stories with Film, Music, and Dance”, this summit aims to incorporate the aspects of film, music, and dance to advance the funding, creation, and distribution of stories that reflect the thriving, socially aware film culture around the world. To achieve this, various multicultural diversity in film, music, and dance will be established to serve reflection of various cultures of arts, stories, and values.

The Summit will train thousands of creatives, have a significant international presence, and host attendees, partners, and film offices from all over the world. The Summit will also feature an incredible line-up of A-list Film/TV Actors, Musicians, Dance players, as well as International and Local organizations interested in the creative economy.

As a part of the event, there will be networking and facilitated training sessions, both in-person and virtually, by industry experts with significant aspects of the industry to learn, while also introducing new trends, strategic thinking, and business models to drive the ever-evolving entertainment industry.

Speaking at the Courtesy Visit held at the palace of the 51st Ooni of Ife, the Secretary of WIFTI, Inya Lawal, commented on the significance of these partnerships. “It is such an honor to have His Excellency – the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, as well as other executive members of WIFTI from Germany and Swede; the Country Manager for VIACOMCBS Africa and the CEO of the YD Company at today’s Courtesy Visit to His Imperial Majesty – The Ooni of Ife. Having this summit in Nigeria is truly reflective of the grace Africa carries and the potential that is yet untapped. I look forward to attendees from all over the world experiencing the beauty and richness of our culture in person, and fostering business relationships” she stated.

In addition, the 51st Ooni of Ife, the imperial majesty Ogunwusi Adeyeye Enitan, expressed his support for causes related to women empowerment, especially Nigerian women. He went ahead to thank the WIFTI Summit team for bringing this event to Nigeria.

Bada Akintunde Johnson, the Country Manager for VIACOMCBS Africa, emphasized the need to tell untold African stories highlighting that VIACOMCBS Africa over the last 16 years on the continent has stood strongly for empowering young Africans and amplifying their amazing stories to the rest of the world through their channels like MtvBase and BET as well as the MTV Africa Music Awards. Partnering with WIFTI is another way to demonstrate our belief in crafting and sharing a positive African narrative to the world through the exploits of women in film and television.

Carl Michael, the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, while highlighting the Swedish government’s commitment to this initiative, he explained that the government is always interested in women’s empowerment programs and WIFTI is the right platform for the cause, being a major organization. He also added “Economically, countries struggled with the pandemic and lots of women lost their businesses. This is a great opportunity for those in Nollywood to solve some logistics concerns while they journey through the path of recovery from the pandemic economically.”

The President of WIFTI, Helene Granqvist thanked the Ooni of Ife for the warm reception and partnership opportunity to promote film and TV in Nigeria. She added, “At WIFTI, we have three important pillars Connection – to connect all members; Knowledge – to share knowledge, experiences, and industry information; and Visibility – to be seen and acknowledged. The start of the Forum of Women In Film and Television in Nigeria is great and very symbolic for carrying out this vision to the rest of the world.”

Giving the final note at the courtesy visit, Nicole Ackermann, President, the German chapter of WIFTI, revealed “we are building the bridge from Germany to Nigeria where you can share your story about the rich culture and heritage in Nigeria and Africa. So, we are building this bridge to bring everyone together through the vision of WIFTI”.

For more information on sponsorship, partnerships send an email to info@ascendstudiosfoundation.org


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The U.S Consulate, Ascend Studios Foundation Graduate 2020/2021 AWE Participants

Drawing from a pool of over 15,000 plus applicants from women-owned SMEs across Nigeria, 200 women entrepreneurs and 50 special participants have graduated from the 3rd cohort of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a U.S. government initiative that supports women entrepreneurs around the world.

The program has been designed as access for Nigerian women entrepreneurs to gain university-level business and management training, strengthen their networks, and grow sustainable businesses.

Working with a local partner, Ascend Studios Foundation, founded by Inya Lawal, an alumna of the Fortune-U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership program, the U.S. Consulate has successfully supported the training of 470 women entrepreneurs *since 2019* through the AWE program to date with plans for future cohorts.

As part of the goals of the AWE program to support the comprehensive rehabilitation and reintegration of returned migrants, 50 returned migrants from Libya, Italy, Lebanon, Saudi with an entry-level educational background and business skills were also selected to participate.

During the intensive 4 months of the program, training sessions were facilitated by industry experts and mentors. The participants were also privileged to learn through to DreamBuilder, a blended business training course developed through a partnership between Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan. There are 13 courses, and they are all core business courses. The platform teaches everything related to business from finance to management, to marketing.

On the final days of the program, participants were camped at the Ife Grand Resorts & Leisure, Ile-Ife, where they experienced a series of activities including networking sessions, debates, pitch competition, product showcase, mentoring sessions, and a celebratory dinner.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard expressed her pride in the women’s dedication and hard work to strive to be outstanding in their businesses. She further revealed that the 2022 call for applications is in the works and encourages the graduates to spread the word and potentially become mentors for the cohorts to come.

Mary Beth Leonard, The US Ambassador to Nigeria

To wrap up the in-person program and graduation, Inya Lawal, President of Ascend Studios Foundation said that women entrepreneurs rank low in financial management despite their hard work and resilience. She also noted that some of the growth opportunities that the participants had discovered during the program, would still require adequate funding.

To address this, she called for more financial training for women entrepreneurs, especially in financial management. “I think it is very important to train women in that aspect. It is not all about giving them money, it is about teaching them how to sustain the money they have been given as well. The two have to go side by side,” she averred. She added that the Lagos State Empowerment Trust Fund is supporting Lagos Based participants with funding.

Inya Lawal, President, Ascend Studios Foundation

She expressed her utmost joy to have been able to host the women at the graduation ceremony which was put on hold last year due to pandemic restrictions. She thanked the US Consulate for their partnership, as well as all speakers, facilitators, and mentors – Joke Silva, Yemisi Ransome Kuti, Bada Akintunde-Johnson, Emmanuel Tarfa, Naomi Osemedua, Sola Owonikoko, Yetty Ogunnubi, Adebisi Odeleye, and all others who made the journey to celebrate with the women.

Participants who graduate from the AWE program become a part of the U.S. government exchange alumni community, providing access to a vast network of like-minded and highly regarded professionals across the world.

Participants got support from Yamaha during the AWE pitch competition where they shared their business projections and pitches. The winner, Pamela Odan of Krylbry Spices was awarded 2 dispatch bikes, 2 dispatch boxes, and 2 helmets while Adaora Akojuru of Bera Tomato who was the first runner up went home with 1 dispatch bike, 1 dispatch box, 1 helmet, cycle oil, servicing contact for 6 months and Esther Abumchukwu Mgbemeje, the second runner up received 1 dispatch bike, 1 dispatch box, and 1 helmet.


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LAGOS TO LONDON BOOK LAUNCH – BRITISH DEPUTY HIGH COMMISSION IKOYI

Author, Lola Aworanti-Ekugo

The physical launch of the fictional novel, ‘Lagos to London’ by Lola Aworanti-Ekugo took place on Tuesday the 30th of November 2021.

‘Lagos to London’ book tells a story of the reality in Nigeria today where most people are leaving the country in a bid to seek greener pastures. The novel takes readers on a journey of two Nigerians, Remi Coker and Nnamdi Okonkwo from different backgrounds. They leave the shores of Nigeria full of hope to further their education abroad. Remi, who is from the prestigious Coker family is expected to return home after her law degree to run the family law firm, while Nnamdi, frustrated by the federal university, strikes plans to escape Nigeria and never to return. The story follows their journey of newfound freedom, the realities of life in the United Kingdom, and the dilemma of whether to remain or return to Nigeria.

The event was an absolute success and was graced with the presence of dignitaries and important guests such as the Chief Host, the British Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn-Jones; the Keynote Speaker, Architect Tonye Patrick Cole mni; Lead Pastor of the Elevation Church, Pastor Godman Akinlabi with his beautiful wife, Pastor Mrs. Bolarinwa Akinlabi, Pastor Kola Fayemi, Lead Pastor of TEC Ikoyi; Sir Olutoyin Okeowo and his wife, Lady Adejoke Okeowo; Deputy Managing Director of First Bank Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, Managing Director, Ecobank, Mr. Patrick Akunwutan and a representative of the Honourable Minister of State- Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu S. Ogah, to mention a few.

Also present were students from Chalcedony School with their principal, Mr. Odeniyi Odewale.

The launch, anchored by MC SACO, began with art exhibitions from various artists namely, Oyelade Oyewole, Kareem Oyeneye, and Merenini Williams, who through their artworks, gave their interpretations of ‘Lagos to London’, and promoted the relationship between both cultures, and a beautiful saxophone performance by Fikun Saxofix.

The opening remark was given by Ben Llewellyn-Jones, the British Deputy High Commissioner, and Chief Host of the event. He expressed his love for the book and the story it tells. He said, “Lagos to London touches on relevant discussions, speaks to the cultural exchange and how the relationship between the two countries can grow.”  He went ahead to encourage people to buy the book.

The author, Lola Aworanti-Ekugo, then stepped forward to give a short remark about the background of the book and expressed gratitude for the support and participation of everyone present. She noted that Lagos to London was inspired by her story of leaving Nigeria during her teenage years. In her words, “While it was beautiful to leave the country, it can also be difficult, and many people lose their way. This is a book that inspires you to follow your dreams and find your own path whether it be in Nigeria or abroad”.  Lola hopes that her novel will impact lives and help people discover themselves. She hopes that one day it will be incorporated into the school curriculum given its emphasis on shaping and empowering young minds.

The Keynote Speaker, Architect Tonye Patrick Cole mni co-founder, and former group executive director, Sahara Group went ahead to praise Lola’s artistry, acknowledging that he could easily relate to almost all the characters in the book. He expressed, “The writing was truly delightful, the tension from Remi was poignant and real. The book tells a story of each of us.”

Afterward, excerpts from the book were read by Africa, Development Finance & Corporate Government Expert, Mrs. Cecelia Akintomide.

Following this was a short book review session anchored by Oreoluwa Lesi. The book reviewers include Lanre Fatimilehin, President Oxford & Cambridge Club of Nigeria; Chiamaka Obuekwe, Travel & Entrepreneur/CEO Social prefect tours; Chioma Nwachukwu, Student of Chalcedony School; and Richard Ajayi, Founder, House of Dairy. For Richard, “This book encourages young people to be tenacious.” According to Chiamaka, “This book is phenomenal.” Chioma said, “It’s hands down one of the most relatable books I’ve ever read.” Lanre reiterates a major theme in the book. He says, “The book is about choices.”

Sir Olutoyin Okeowo did not hesitate to praise the author’s artistry. He commended her for a job well done.

The book was officially launched at 7:10 pm, after which Mr. Chibuzor Duru, the representative of the Honourable Minister of State- Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu S. Ogah, gave the goodwill message and noted that some copies of the book will be shared to people.

Giving the vote of thanks, the mother of the author, Chief Mrs. Oyenike Aworanti, described Lola as multi-talented and narrated her journey into becoming a published author as a great achievement.

The book was virtually launched on the 30th of October 2021 by the Chief Launcher, Fola Oyeyinka, Partner, Blackrose Group, and Former Presidential Advisor, who described the novel as “a well-written book with potential for great impact”.

Proud partners and sponsors included Sweet Sensation Nigeria, BellaNaija, The YD Company, Globuf International Consults, and Lake Investment Partners.

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MEET THE SPEAKERS

In anticipation of the official launch of Zone, developed by AppZone Switch, a subsidiary of Appzone Group, meet the speakers who will be discussing the intricacies of financial transactions and payment platforms in Africa. Join some industry leaders – Ladi Asuni, Stanley Jacob, Adedeji Olowe, Chioma Nkechika and, Osahon Akpata online on Friday, 10th December 2021 from 5 PM at the launch. 

Zone forms the foundation of Appzone’s plans to build out Africa’s first decentralized payment network which will allow inter-bank transactions to be processed directly between banks without the involvement of any intermediary.


Adédèjì Ọlọ́wẹ̀ is the CEO of Trium Limited, a Venture building, and capital investor. Before this, he was an Executive Director with SystemSpecs Limited (Remita), one of the largest fintechs in Nigeria. He was also the Divisional Head of Electronic Banking at Fidelity Bank Plc., where he was responsible for the turnaround of the bank’s digital business. He was previously responsible for United Bank for Africa Group’s payment card business across 19 countries.

Alongside other industry veterans, he founded Open Banking Nigeria, the nonprofit driving the development and adoption of a common API standard for the Nigerian financial industry.

Adédèjì was also with Atlas Mara as the Vice President of Cards and Payments, FirstCity Monument Bank, and Access Bank Plc. He was an Advisory Board Member at Verve International (a member of Interswitch Group).


Osahon Akpata is Head, Consumer Payments at Ecobank Group, a pan African Bank, where he drives the execution of the bank’s payment strategy across its 33 African country network, leveraging digital solutions to meet consumers’ payment needs.

Prior to joining Ecobank, Osahon led the Implementation Practice at McKinsey & Company’s Lagos office, where he worked collaboratively with several CEOs, business executives, and public-sector leaders, to develop and implement successful strategies in very competitive industries across West Africa.

He began his professional career in Finance at the corporate headquarters of Johnson & Johnson in the US as a financial analyst and transitioned into the company’s sales force where he had an award-winning career over a decade, winning several accolades including the coveted President’s Trophy reserved for the top 5% of the salesforce.

Osahon holds an MBA from Columbia Business School in the US and a post-graduate diploma in Strategic Partnerships from IMD Business School in Switzerland.


Stanley Jacob is a Payments Executive and Business Leader with a strong drive for partnerships, strategic digital transformation, emerging payments, and financial inclusion.

He is currently a Director at Mastercard. He is the Vice President of the Governing Council for Fintech Association of Nigeria (FINTECHNGR) and was the immediate past Chairman of the Committee of e-Business Industry Heads of Nigeria (CeBIH).

Prior to joining Mastercard, Stanley was the Head of Consumer Payments for the Ecobank Group, supporting 33 countries across Africa, and doubled as the Head of Distribution for Ecobank Nigeria. He also served as the Head of Digital Banking in Standard Chartered Bank supporting retail markets across Africa.

Stanley is a licensed Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Cards & Payments Professional (CCPP), an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (ACIB), and a Fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration (FICA). He holds an MBA in Technology Management from ADBU India, Post-Graduate Diploma in Digital Business (PGDDB) from Emeritus Singapore, and has completed executive management courses from Columbia Business School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Fletcher School of Law &  Diplomacy (Tufts University), Terry College of Business (University of Georgia), amongst others.

He is currently a Doctoral Researcher at the Universidad Catholica San Antonio de Murcia (UCAM) in Spain with a research focus on Greening the Banking & PaymentSystems as a key component of achieving the global climate and sustainability objectives.


Chioma Nkechika is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in Business Planning, Financial Risk, Business Relationship Management, Risk Management, and Corporate Finance. He is a strong business development professional and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School.


Ladi Asuni is a Partner and Lead for KPMG’s Emerging Technology, Data & Analytics service in Nigeria. He has over 17 years of experience delivering digital and technology-enabled business transformation and performance improvement solutions for top and mid-tier institutions across different industries. He has successfully led and delivered large and complex enterprise technology and digital transformation programs impacting cross-functional stakeholders and end customers for some leading banks operating across Africa. Ladi is an active contributor to digital thought leadership and has presented views on emerging digital trends, the evolution of digital banking channels, payments development in Africa, and Open Banking.


For additional information on Appzone Group, please contact the Group Chief Marketing Officer, Efosa Aiyevbomwan – efosaa@appzonegroup.com


About Appzone

Founded in 2008, Appzone is Africa’s no.1 Fintech Software Engineering firm which builds innovative proprietary solutions that digitize Banking operations, interconnect financial institutions, and provide individuals and businesses with a broad range of payment services. With a team of over 160 professionals and clients in seven countries, they process over $2 billion in transactions annually serving 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance institutions. The platforms issue 18 million cards and disburse over $360 million in loans annually while managing $200 million in deposits and 10 million hosted accounts. They are working with the brightest minds on the continent to digitize and completely automate financial services. Their vision is to have one dominant financial operating system built for Africa by Africans.


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APPZONE TO HOST INDUSTRY LEADERS AT THE UNVEILING OF ZONE, AFRICA’S BLOCKCHAIN PAYMENT INFRASTRUCTURE

On Friday the 10th of December 2021, captains of industry and leaders from the payment, finance, and technology spaces will converge at the prestigious Eko Hotels and Suites as Appzone Group, sub-Saharan Africa’s leading fintech software company unveils Zone, the continent’s first blockchain platform for payment processing.

Developed by Appzone Switch, a subsidiary of Appzone Group, Zone forms the foundation of Appzone’s plans to build out Africa’s first decentralized payment network which will allow inter-bank transactions to be processed directly between banks without the involvement of any intermediary.

Speaking about the event, Mr. Uche Elendu, CEO of Appzone Switch said: ‘’We are happy to officially unveil Zone as a decentralized blockchain-based payment infrastructure that enables real-time settlement of fiat transactions, both in-country and out-country while enabling the retail distribution of stable digital currencies including Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) in Africa. Because of the impact that the innovation will have on the payment and finance landscape in Africa, we are bringing together industry leaders across the payment, technology, and finance industries to see firsthand how the Zone platform is positioned to power a truly cashless society.’’

In addition to core functionality like payments authorization, and real-time settlement, the team at Appzone Switch are looking to evolve the platform’s digital token for settlement into a stable Pan-African digital currency that is fully compliant, approved by Central Banks, and backed by a basket of fiat currencies in Africa. The plan is for Zone to manage stable coin wallets for regular individuals on the same distributed ledger that currently facilitates payment authorization and settlement. 

With 10 commercial Banks in Nigeria already connected to the network, Zone provides Banks and Fintechs with simple APIs for various types of transactions including account-to-account transfers, merchant payments, and cash transactions at ATMs or agent locations. The platform’s architecture achieves high throughput and record transaction success rates while eliminating typical reconciliation issues that delay refunds to customers where necessary.

Physical attendance at the Zone unveil event is strictly by invitation but interested participants can register to attend the event online.

By connecting every financial service provider to Zone’s decentralized payment network, Appzone Switch envisions a future beyond cash where payments are frictionless and instantaneous within and between every African country so that Africa can accelerate trade and economic prosperity.

For additional information on Appzone Group, please contact the Group Chief Marketing Officer, Efosa Aiyevbomwan – efosaa@appzonegroup.com


About Appzone

Founded in 2008, Appzone is Africa’s no.1 Fintech Software Engineering firm which builds innovative proprietary solutions that digitize Banking operations, interconnect financial institutions, and provide individuals and businesses with a broad range of payment services. With a team of over 160 professionals and clients in seven countries, they process over $2 billion in transactions annually serving 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance institutions. The platforms issue 18 million cards and disburse over $360 million in loans annually while managing $200 million in deposits and 10 million hosted accounts. They are working with the brightest minds on the continent to digitize and completely automate financial services. Their vision is to have one dominant financial operating system built for Africa by Africans.

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NIGERIA’S SANMI ADEGOKE BECOMES THE FIRST BLACK RECIPIENT OF ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AT THE UK PROPERTY AWARDS 2021

CEO, Rehoboth Property International (RPI), Sanmi Adegoke has become the first black recipient of the Property Awards Entrepreneur of the Year award which he received at this year’s ceremony held at the Intercontinental at the O2, London.

Property Week is one of the biggest property publications in the UK and this award category is the highest in the property industry. Celebrating 25 years of the ceremony & Sanmi being one of the first black recipients of this award, speaks volumes of the milestones he has achieved over the years.

Over the years, Sanmi has demonstrated to the business & property world his unique entrepreneurial flair, vision, and innovation within the UK commercial property scene. Legacy is at the core of Sanmi’s ethos & he strongly believes in creating an ecosystem for black businesses. Speaking on his thoughts on receiving the award, he expressed, “As a business, we are familiar with the barriers minority ethnic groups face and the importance of representation, therefore this is something we advocate for in our dealings to ensure there’s a level playing field for everyone. If I can, you can. As a man thinketh in his heart so he, therefore, if you can think it, you can certainly be it”.

Developments like The Hill Hub serve as a place for entrepreneurs and creatives to thrive, collaborate & ultimately be successful.

The Hill Hub is an award-winning private office and co-working space that was converted from an old police station in Dartford. Completed during the pandemic and despite a number of barriers throughout this process, Sanmi & the RPI team persisted by getting planning permission and also completing it. The Hill Hub is the fruition of the hard work, labour, and tenacity seen throughout Sanmi and the RPI team.

2020/2021 has been an incredible yet unprecedented year for Sanmi and the team at Rehoboth Property International (RPI). During the peak of the pandemic, they managed to complete an astounding development, secure deals all around the UK, and contribute towards the narrative of black ownership.

Featured on the likes of BBC, Property Week, The Times & The Voice magazine; also participating in various panels at this years’ UK Black Business Show and partnering with top global investors from the diaspora, the only way is up for Sanmi and RPI’s countless works in the industry.

He is keen on showcasing his love for the rich culture of Africa and demonstrating this through his actions.

For more information or inquiries, please visit https://rpinternational.co.uk/ and follow on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

For references, please contact: communications@rpinternational.co.uk

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THE UFC WELTERWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION KAMARU USMAN JOINS 5FIVE4FOUR LIMITED, THE OWNER AND DEVELOPER OF THE AFRICAN KNOCKOUT (AKO)

We are proud to announce that the Undisputed UFC Welterweight Champion, Kamaru Usman is joining 5Five4Four Limited and the African KnockOut (AKO) to lead the development of mixed martial arts (MMA) in Nigeria and Africa.

Known as the “Nigerian Nightmare”, Usman is also the Number One ranked Pound-for-Pound fighter in the UFC and one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. The Nigerian-born Champion has always been proud of his roots and is looking forward to his homecoming to develop the skills of indigenous athletes, a goal that aligns with the mission of 5Five4Four Limited and the African KnockOut (AKO).

Season 1 of the African KnockOut (AKO), West Africa’s first MMA reality television show produced by 5Five 4Four Limited in Lagos State, Nigeria, and broadcasted on DSTV SuperSport channels across 46 African countries.

With Kamaru Usman’s achievements, knowledge, and leadership combined with 5Five 4Four Limited footprint, track record, and infrastructure in Africa, the world’s fastest-growing sport has now fully touched down in Nigeria, creating the pathways for African athletes, towards professionalism to exhibit their talents and image locally and globally.

We invite lovers and fans of combat sports all over Nigeria and Africa to join Kamaru Usman and The AKO Show in our journey to archive MMA excellence in Africa.

Follow @theAKOshow on Instagram & Facebook  & Twitter and visit the website www.AKO.show to get updates, as this exciting journey with the Pound-4-Pound King Kamaru Usman has begun.


About 5Five 4Four Limited

5Five 4Four Limited is an African-oriented MMA promotion company and the producer of the African KnockOut (AKO) show, with the mission to promote African talents and help develop MMA into a major sport in Nigeria and Africa. To achieve its goals, 5Five 4Four Limited has established collaborations with private and governmental sports organizations like the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA), various promotions, different media, and advertising groups, fitness brands both in Africa and abroad, establishing a network that will form the base of building the African MMA ecosystem.


About The AKO Show

The African KnockOut (AKO) show featured 14 Nigerian middleweight fighters living together in a closed training camp, that created an environment filled with emotions and dramas from starting lifelong friendships to rivalries that stirred up never before seen competitive sides of all the fighters taking them through a series of challenges in an all-or-nothing knockout tournament.


Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman

Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman is the current UFC Welterweight Champion of the world. He is also the winner of the 21st Edition of the Ultimate Fighter. Kamaru Usman defended his title 4 times and is currently on an incredible 15 fight win streak. The Nigerian American who was born and raised in Auchi, Benin City, lived in Nigeria until he was 8 years old when his family relocated to the United States of America. Usman made his professional debut in November 2012 and has fought 21 times, winning 20 (9 by KO, 1 by submission and 10 by decision).

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AAYANFE CREATIONS TO HOST THE ADIRE FESTIVAL IN DECEMBER

AAYANFE CREATIONS is an African Fashion Enthusiast brand that uses Adire Fabric to create beautiful and timeless designs infused with cultural memories. Started Aayanfe Creations in the year 2015 and went fully into Adire Business in May 2020. The goal is to be the largest producer and distributor of Adire in the world, create more platforms for active participation of Youth in the Adire Industry and change the narrative of Adire from fabrics to other creatives like Adire rug, wallpaper, chair, etc.

With a mission is to create timeless cultural memories with Adire patterns, designs, and prints at a glance, and moving forward on that agenda, they are set to host the largest gathering of Adire Stakeholders in the World called THE ADIRE FESTIVAL on the 10th of December 2021 at The Banquet Hall, Conference Hotel, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.

The Adire Festival would host all the stakeholders in the Adire Industry from the dye makers to the fabric weavers, to the fashion designers, batik makers, Adire makers, Fashion Stylists, users of Adire, and lovers of Adire, Art, and culture.

The Festival aims to achieve the following:

  • To celebrate African Heritage and culture through Adire Fashion.
  • To unite all Adire stakeholders and encourage collaboration.
  • To encourage the participation of youth in the Adire Business which would encourage creativity and infusion of technology.
  • To change the narrative of Adire from Fabrics alone to other creative materials like Adire wallpaper, rug, chairs, curtains, etc.
  • The Adire Festival also focuses on increasing the GDP of the African continents by providing more job opportunities and providing export opportunities for youth in the Adire Business.

The event agenda includes:

  • Panel sessions on the traditional Adire and modern-day Adire
  • What can be done going forward to embrace global attention?
  • Trainings on batiks and Adire making.
  • Fashion show to cap the event.

The keynote speaker for the maiden edition of The Adire Festival is Princess Aderonke Ademiluyi, the CEO of African Fashion Week and the COO of Adire Oodua Hub. The festival will also host special appearances of Royal Fathers, US consulate representatives, government officials, Africans in diaspora, exhibitors, and fashion designers.

The maiden edition of The Adire Festival is in partnership with the US Department of State, International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), The YD Company, The Borderless Trade Network, and many more to come.

To attend, please register here.

To register for the exhibition and fashion show, please click here.

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ZIGGY CAPSULE COLLECTION LAUNCH | YOU ARE INVITED | 

YettyD will debut her limited-edition capsule bag collection, Ziggy Collection, in collaboration with Morin. O on Saturday, November 13th, 2021 at the Morin. O store, Lekki Centro Mall, Admiralty Way, Lekki, Lagos.

YettyD, a fashion lover, entrepreneur, designer, illustrator, and more, will launch her ZiggyCollection, which will include eight (8) designs inspired by her love of zig-zags, patterns, and pastel colors, to commemorate her 40th birthday.

YettyD chose to collaborate with Morin. O, a long-standing luxury leather brand that has been in business for over a decade, because of its craftsmanship and reputation for delivering meticulously timeless pieces to bring her designs to life. 

The collection will be available to shop from Saturday 13th November 2021 at the Morin.O store, Lekki Centro Mall, Admiralty Way, Lekki, Lagos.

The evening promises to be filled with exquisite sights of luxurious fashion and ambiance.

The doors will open at 4 p.m. Come celebrate, shop, and eat canapés and cocktails!

Please RSVP at yd@yettyd.com to attend, or register here


About Yetty D

Yetty D is no stranger to the fashion and design industry, having grown up in an Arts and creative family, owning a fashion label for many years, and now handling PR and image-making for many lifestyle businesses.

A leading professional in the fashion, arts, and corporate industry with experience spanning fashion, PR, marketing, creative image branding, and event management.

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LAGOS TO LONDON: THE JAPA SYNDROME

The long-awaited launch of the fictional novel, ‘Lagos to London‘ by Lola Aworanti-Ekugo, took place on Saturday, October 30, 2021. The book launch which was held virtually via Zoom, was a complete success, with the attendance of notable speakers to grace the event.

The launch, anchored by Ejiro Esigbone, started with an opening remark which was delivered by the husband of the author, Kelechi Ekugo. He emphasized the challenging, but gratifying journey his wife, Lola had to embark on to finally write the novel, ‘Lagos to London’. Speaking about Lola’s journey to becoming an author, Kelechi said, “Life is a journey of huffs and bumps.” He also noted that the reason for the ‘japa’ exodus is as a result of the great economic decline in Nigeria and the novel is a missing piece to help reflect on the ‘Nigerians in diaspora’ narrative.

After the opening remark, there was a short session for the book review. The novel was reviewed by Oreoluwa Lesi, Founder of Women Technology Empowerment Centre, and Damilola Olisa, a Media and Communications Professional. According to Oreoluwa, “The whole book told a story and it was a cohesive story with great impact.” Damilola, in his review, said, “I’m not surprised that Lola was able to come up with a fantastic story, the realities of the novel are too vivid.”

In a video review, Founder, Terra Kulture, Bolanle Austen- Peters said, “Beautiful book. Tells the story of contemporary Nigerians in the diaspora.”

The author, Lola Aworanti-Ekugo, thanked everyone for their presence, reviews, and support. She also spoke about her experience in the United Kingdom, where she lived for 13 years, before moving back to Nigeria. Her experiences touched on culture shock, job searching, and settling into life in the UK. Lola said, “It’s important that people can have a view into life abroad so that they can decide where they want to go and if they go whether they want to stay or come back.” She went ahead to say that she hopes that her book will inspire people who are trying to find that path whether in Nigeria or abroad. To summarize the book, Lola said, “The book is like going to the UK or abroad, without leaving your seat.”

Next on the agenda, was a short panel session titled, ‘The japa syndrome: The stark reality of Nigeria today‘, moderated by UK-based TV & Radio Presenter and Producer, Esther Alade. Members of the panel included Stephanie Coker, Nigerian on-air personality and a television presenter for MTV Base Africa and Ebony Life TV; Anthony Oduwole, Co-Founder and CTO, VertoFX, Dr. Dipo Awojide, UK Lecturer in Strategy/Career & MSME Coach, and Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-Founder Piggyvest. The panelists shared their thoughts and experiences around immigration.

Stephanie, speaking about her experience in the UK, before moving back to Nigeria, said, “Back then, it was complicated to be African because people didn’t understand our culture.” Also speaking about her move back to Nigeria, Stephanie said that it was difficult to adjust. According to her, “Nigeria is not an easy place to move to, but with thick skin, you can make it big once you adjust.”

Anthony, who left Lagos for the UK about 20 years ago, highlighted the disparity in the educational and teaching culture between the United Kingdom and Nigeria. According to him, “The educational system in Nigeria is good, but could be better. Learning should be more critical thinking and analysis”.

“I grew up with the conviction that I was born to make an impact.” These were the words of Odunayo, who narrated her experience of how she had several opportunities to leave Nigeria, but eventually made a decision to build a company with her now Co-Founders in Nigeria. Speaking on the challenges that starting a company in Nigeria posed, Odunayo said, “There is no other country you will live in like Nigeria that poses a challenge to building a company.” She then went ahead to point out that those challenges are also what makes the process worth it.

Dr. Dipo, who relocated from Nigeria to the UK, emphasized the importance of having the right information before deciding to relocate. He said, “Information and mentoring would have helped me make better decisions.” He also advised young people to go out and see the world and get access to as much information as possible.

Close friends and family of the author also had a few words to say about her.

Tega Desi, Technology Risk Oversight Manager, Natwest Group, a childhood friend of the author noted that Lola is inspiring, focused, hardworking, dedicated, resourceful, and a go-getter. She also commended her on doing a great and articulate job on ‘Lagos to London’ and mentioned that her next book should be her biography.

Founder, The YD Company, Yetty Ogunnubi, described Lola as family. She also said, “Lola is a fantastic soul and selfless friend.”

The father of the author, Mr. Olajide Aworanti, thanked everyone for their participation and support and expressed his pride in Lola’s new achievement.

The novel ‘Lagos to London’ was officially launched at 1 pm by Chief Launcher, Fola Oyeyinka, Partner, Blackrose Group, and Former Presidential Advisor, who noted that the book has stirred a good conversation. He described the novel as “a well-written book with potential for great impact” and encouraged everyone to read the book.

The closing remark was delivered by the author, who encouraged everyone to stay resilient no matter the challenge. Lola also hinted that another book project, a sequel is in the works.

Proud partners and sponsors included Sweet Sensation Nigeria, The YD Company, Globuf International Consults, and Lake Investment Partners.

‘Lagos to London’ is available for purchase on:

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Order from Okadabooks.