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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:

Order from Amazon.

Order from Website.

Order from Okadabooks.

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ELOY CONFERENCE 2019: MEET OUR PANELISTS (1)

 ELOY 2019                                           

ELOY CONFERENCE 2019: MEET OUR PANELISTS DISCUSSING

USING TECHNOLOGY AND DIGITAL MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.

The 1st Annual ELOY Conference is a part of the initiative of the ELOY Awards Foundation. The ELOY Conference is being used as a platform to educate and empower thousands of women. The ELOY Awards Foundation is about empowering and challenging thousands of women to be more and do more by providing access to resources, business skills and tools for them to be able to grow, transform and sustain their businesses, which will, in turn, benefit their families and the community at large.

50 women will also be chosen to be part of the ELOY Awards Foundation Sustainable Empowerment Program (SEP). This gives them access to Six months mentorship, training and affordable finance. The ELOY Awards Foundation is about empowering and challenging thousands of women to be more and do more by providing access to resources, business skills and tools for them to be able to grow, transform and sustain their businesses, which will, in turn, benefit their families and the community at large.

This year’s edition is themed; “Empower her to Sustain her”.
The ELOY Conference will take place on Wednesday, 13 November 2019 at The Muson Center, Lagos.

Meet our panellists who would be speaking on the topic; “Using Technology and Digital Media to your Advantage”.

Ommo Clark

Ommo Clark is the Founder / CEO of iBez, a software development and training company that builds technology platforms to solve local and business problems and seeks to close the digital/software development skills gaps in under-served communities. She designed the online platforms Handy-Jacks, www.handy-jacks.com that connects skilled trade workers in the informal sector to clients and new markets and Lets-Share, www.lets-share.com.ng (due to be launched Q4 2019) for accommodation seekers to find spare bedrooms to rent in a home/flat share.

Before iBez, Ommo worked with an International Trade firm in Lagos as Chief Operating Officer, Soft Solutions Ltd (Enterpriseware), Lagos as
Head of Projects Delivery & Support, the Icelandic Investment Bank, Kaupthing, Singer & Friedlander, London, UK as Project Manager, the Investment Bank Lehman Brothers UK as a Team Leader in the Mortgage Capital Division and Real Asset Management UK (a software house) as Application Support
Consultant.

She was nominated by the Institute of Attitudinal Change Managers for its Role Model Award known as Honorary Fellow in August 2019,  listed by Lionesses of Africa in 2018 as one of 21 female Technology / Digital game-changers on the African Continent, by Naij.com in 2017 as one of 21 most inspiring women entrepreneurs in Nigeria, by the Lionesses of Africa in 2016 as one of 41 Nigerian Female Entrepreneurs putting Nigeria on the global map and by Ynaija as the 48th most innovative person in Technology in Nigeria – Class of 2015.

Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho          

 

Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho is a seasoned Information Technology professional with over 15years of industry experience in Africa’s largest emerging economy. Her love for technology is ignited by a deep purpose-bridging the digital divide and transforming Nigeria and Africa by harnessing the benefits of digital.

She serves as the CEO of FutureSoftware Resources Ltd.
(Futuresoft), a full service digital & technology solutions company, providing a broad range of business solutions for the scaling African enterprise, to consistently attract and retain its target audience. Futuresoft has over 10 years of experience in designing and managing digital properties and online activities of businesses across various industries.

Futuresoft has serviced over 150 clients across 20 industries and has trained over 750 CEOs and executives in Digital Marketing & Social Media Marketing through a series of training, as Nkemdilim believes that Digital is the key to unlocking Africa’s potential. Under her leadership, the company has been positioned as one of Nigeria’s leading IT &Digital Solution Providers.

 

Jones Bassey

Jones Bassey has over 13 year’s brand and communications management experience working at Insight Publicis with Client’s from different sectors in and out of Nigeria. His background spans across various brands including; PepsiCo, Nokia, Emirates, Visa, Porsche, Emzor, Swipha, Jagal, Heineken, Seven-Up Bottling Company, AXA and Palton Morgan. In the last 3 years he has been supporting local bottling giants Seven-Up, in sustaining double digit volume growth YoY to drive business growth across its key beverage portfolio. Jones Bassey has led award-winning campaigns for brand Pepsi in Nigeria, the most notable being the WARC prize for effective social media strategy and most innovative brand on twitter
for “Long throat Campaign” both in 2017.

Jones believes very much that brands exist to solve social problems. The ability of any brand to grow its market share is a function of how much trust the community places on that brand. This has been his approach to developing integrated campaigns for Client in Nigeria.

Jones is an MBA holder and an alumnus of the famous Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun-Nigeria. He is also a full member of the Project Management Institute.

Lola Ekugo

Lola is currently the Head of the Digital Innovation Labs at FirstBank Nigeria, and is at the forefront of the Bank’s Digital transformation journey through innovation and technology. She is transforming the bank through accelerating the digital journey, Fintech start-up collaborations and innovating on solutions to real-life industry challenges.

Lola is a first-class graduate of Business Information Systems at Middlesex University with scholarship for outstanding academic performance and an alumnus of Imperial College Business School. She started her career as a software developer over 13 years ago in the financial services sector and worked in the Corporate sector across Europe and Africa with various companies including Investec, BNP Paribas, and Commerzbank. In 2010, she received a Portfolio Restructuring Unit Excellence award at Commerzbank for her contribution towards the largest ever CDS auction.

Lola has founded two startups, including Transthat.com, a peer to peer logistics platform and serves on the Tech Committee of WimBiz, the Digital Transformation Committee of JA Nigeria. She is also involved in initiatives to boost tech entrepreneurship and develop the STEM agenda across the continent. Lola has travelled to over 30 countries and is very passionate about the value of efficient utilisation of innovative technologies across different sectors and the world at large.

Oreoluwa Somolu-Lesi

 

Oreoluwa Lesi is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC). W.TEC is a Nigerian non-profit organisation committed to building a more inclusive technology ecosystem, with the next generation of women as technology creators, entrepreneurs and leaders. Over recent years, our work has expanded to explore how technology can improve learning outcomes and better integrate students with developmental disabilities and special needs, such as Autism and Down’s syndrome.

Through her work at W.TEC, she has designed high-quality programming for 27,000 girls and

Women – including camps, after school clubs and workshops. Through these programmes, they have learnt to create technology – including applications, games, websites, short films and other digital content and use technology safely and productively.

Her Network Technology Woman of the Year 2018, Leading Ladies Africa’s 2018 100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria, SME100’s 100 Most Innovative Female-Owned Businesses in Nigeria for 2017, one of YNaija!’s Top 100 Young People in Technology of 2016 and 2014, one of New African Woman Magazine’s Top African Women in Technology in 2014 and with a 2014 ‘Chosen Youth’ Leadership Award from LaRoche Foundation.

Layole Oyatogun

Layole Oyatogun is a Media Personality, Actress and a seasoned compere, A graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Lagos, she started her career co-presenting an entertainment show called ‘Star Dust’ with her younger sister on MITV. She moved on to Silverbird Television where she worked for seven years. While at Silverbird TV, she conceptualized, anchored and produced the Cadbury Breakfast TV show, Page 3, MBGN Diary,  and numerous documentaries, promos and fillers.
Layole is also loved for adding value with her go- to pronunciation tutorial videos  titled ‘Learn With Layole’ on Instagram

Layole has featured in the following movies 30 Days by Ego Boyo and Mildred Okwo, Damage, Unconditional by Uche Jombo, Mrs and Mrs Johnson, U-Turn by Grace Oboba, Trapped, The Inn, Along Bothering Lines and many more movies.

Layole is also a seasoned Red-carpet host, with stints at the red carpet of various Fashion weeks both home and abroad, including; Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Joburg, Pretoria, and  New York. Arise Fashion Week Nigeria,  Lagos Fashion and Design Week, Africa Movie Academy Awards AMAA, She was the only red carpet host at the inaugural ball of President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice-President Namani Sambo in Aso-rock.

She has also hosted events such as Africa International Fashion Week, Nigeria’s Next Super Model, Denizz Fashion Show, City People Awards for Excellence, Africa Fashion Week Nigeria, Luxury Beauty Brunch, Ethan and Harriet Product Launch, ELOY Awards, Green October Event, Advertisers Association of Nigeria  Awards (ADVAN) Weddings and many more.

Layole was nominated at the 2012 Nigerian Broadcasters Award in the category Most promising and young presenter of the year also at the 2013 Eloy awards in the  Female Tv presenter of the year category and the Most stylish female celebrity at Lamode Green October Event 2019

Layole has now established her Production company, Layole Oyatogun Productions for fashion-related Tv shows and Movies, she’s set to take over the world with interesting and captivating content.

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