Category: News


Nigerian Idol Judges Jeffrey Daniels, Yinka Davies andFemi Kuti at the Port Harcourt auditions

The energy levels went through the roof as Africa’s biggest music reality show Nigerian Idol made its second stop this season in the city of Port Harcourt on Saturday, 20 October 2012.

Hotel Presidential, the venue for the audition, played host to a lot of young and aspiring acts – from the excitable to the nervous – all revved up to be Nigeria’s next superstar.

“I have come back to finish what I started last year,” said Oguadu Chinedu, who was evicted from the show last year. “I have always dreamt of being discovered on a large platform like the one Nigerian Idol provides,” said another hopeful, Felicia Pako. “I was sad when I realized Calabar wasn’t selected as one of the states for the auditions, but I was advised to come to Port Harcourt.”

As usual, lead sponsor Etisalat was on hand to ease the tension and entertain the hopefuls. There was music and comedy – headlines by Kay Switch who performed his hit song, ‘Sister Caro’ and Waconzy who performed his song, ‘I Celebrate’.

“We’ve been to Port Harcourt twice before and yet we had an even larger turnout!” said an excited Tiwa Medubi, who is the show’s Project Manager. “It proves something we have come to find out – young people passionate about their dreams and talent are passionate about the platform that Nigerian Idol offers, and it certainly adds a spring to our step as we move to Owerri, where we anticipate even larger numbers.”

The Nigerian Idol auditions now move to Owerri on 27 October, and will hold at the IMO Concorde Hotel, Owerri-Port-Harcourt Road, New Owerri Layout. After this, Benin is the next stop on 3 November and Lagos will host the grand finale on 9 and 10 November, 2012.

This season’s prize is valued at $100,000 and the elements are thus; N7.5 million cash, a recording contract worth N7.5million and an SUV. To register for the subsequent auditions, please visit: or

For more information, visit the website, like on Facebook at or follow on Twitter on Nigerian Idol is brought to you by
Etisalat in association with Pepsi.

The National Academy of Best Selling Authors in Hollywood celebrates Nigerian entrepreneur and maritime lawyer; Mfon Ekpo

Mfon Ekpo, entrepreneur, consultant, maritime lawyer and founder of Premier Pioneers Network was recognised and honoured with the Golden Quill by The National Academy of Best Selling Authors in Hollywood.

The Best Sellers summit and awards gala took place on the 28th of September 2012 at the legendary Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California, where the first ever Oscars were held.

Mfon Ekpo was honoured with the ‘Golden Quill’ for her best selling book,” The Only Business Book You Will Ever Need” which she co – authored with New York times best seller Robert Allen of the Multiple streams of income fame, America’s foremost management expert Brian Tracy, NFL super agent Leigh Steinberg whose career was the inspiration for the ‘Show me the money ‘ character played by Tom Cruise in the Academy award winning movie “Jerry Maguire”, and a host of other renowned world experts.

The book, which was released on the 8th of March 2012,reached best-seller status in three categories on the first day of release – reaching as high as #2 in the Direct Marketing category as well as entrepreneurship and Business Management categories.

Mfon, the founder of Premier Pioneers Network, a platform where professionals from various walks of life come together to teach on areas they are passionate and knowledgeable about, wrote in the new book about “The ‘Voltron’ Formula: Dynamics of Building an Outstanding Team.”

Her contribution in the book also won the Editor’s Choice Award 2012, an award that recognises outstanding contributions in collaborative books.
Mfon Ekpo whose mantra for life and business is “discover, develop, and deploy“also juggles multiple roles as a strategy consultant, professional negotiator and mediator, writer, speaker, singer and songwriter. She has trained people in the art of negotiation, writing, public speaking, ideas generation and implementation since 2006.

Her first book, “Pushing to the front “which she co-authored with Brian Tracy and other thought leaders was also a best seller. Mfon also serves on the board of several companies and is currently the Director of Strategy and Head of H.R at Red Media, a founding partner of the John Maxwell Team and a Member of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. She trains young people on humanitarian issues as a school speaker for the British Red Cross and enjoys expounding life lessons to readers on her blog, The School Called Life.

Other recipients of the award from the National Academy of Bestselling Authors include Michael Gerber, Best selling author of the book ‘E-myth’, Brian Tracy, Best selling Author of multiple books including ‘Goals’, Jack Canfield, multiple best selling author famously known for his book, ‘Chicken Soup of the soul’. More about Mfon Ekpo can be seen on

OMG seals broadcast partnership with Continental Broadcasting Services.

Optima Media Group (OMG), who have brought to the continent premium television content such as Nigerian Idol and Nigeria’s Got Talent, to name a few, have announced a broadcast and marketing partnership with leading electronic media company, Continental Broadcasting Services for both radio and television content.
This landmark agreement was signed on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at the OMG headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria.
“OMG has spent the past few years stealthily re-defining the media space in Nigeria and the continent,” said Ugochi Pedro, Head of Legal and Director of Special Projects of the Group. “This has involved partnerships with content owners and production partners across continents including Freemantle, and Rapid Blue Format.
“We are excited to be partnering with the influential Continental Broadcasting Services brands in extending this frontier and in delivering to the unique Nigerian viewership cutting edge and satisfying content.”
The Optima Media Group is a company operating at the forefront of media in Africa, with activities spanning strategy, content acquisition and distribution. With the African continent enjoying unprecedented economic growth and rapidly integrating into a global media village, OMG stands at a prime vantage point, providing support for brands and businesses across TV advertising and sponsorship, audience viewing demands and satellite based pay-TV, as well as infrastructure needs across the television and film value chain.
“We are very pleased to be working with OMG,” said Mr Richie Dayo Johnson, the Director of Radio Services CBS. “They have continued to lead the way for media businesses across the continent and this is certain to be an excellent partnership.”

Nigerian Idol presents… The Press Idol – As show and media tango in Lagos!

On Wednesday, September 19, 2012, Nigerian Idol held a mock competition to engage its media stakeholders. Tagged, ‘Press Idols’, it discovered the hidden talent in journalists at the Shaba Events Centre Ikeja. It coincided with the official launch of Nigerian Idol Season 3.
The one-off ‘Press Idol’ was anchored by Optima Media Group, owners of the Idols property in West Africa, with sponsorship from Etisalat and Pepsi.
“We thought to ourselves: we are very grateful to the media, which has made this Nigeria’s number one reality TV show,” said Tiwa Medubi, the project manager. “So why not reward them… by putting them on the spot! They are weekly shining the spotlight on the victories and mistakes, challenges and highlights of these contestants, and these was a fun way to enable them live the dream!”
The journalists did not disappoint, putting up thrilling freestyle music performances – popular songs from the old school archives, contemporary hits and plenty of humour and applause as they contested for the grand prize of $1000.
The contestants were randomly picked by Season 3 host, Ill Rymz: the first contestant was Efe Tommy of entertainment show Excite on TV who performed Whitney Houston’s timeless ‘Greatest Love of All’; the others were Hip on TV’s Dayo Ephraim, Yes! Magazine’s Gbenga Saba and Hitz on TV’s Daniel Oramai.
“Let’s just say, some of them chose right when they picked journalism over music,” Medubi said, laughing. “But oh there were amazing pleasant surprises!”
The audience chose the winners – first prize going to Oramai, the second place going to Tommy – who won $500 – and third place to Shaba – who won $200.
“Not a bad one at all,” said Shaba. “Nigerian Idol has constantly engaged and surpassed the expectation of its stakeholders, and it has been an impressive show – this is one more step in a string of surprises we have come to expect from the hit show.”
The launch event also had performances from season 2 winner, Naomi Mac, as well as an interactive session and multimedia presentations. Nigerian Idol season three begins airing on xxxxx and will be shown on xxxxx, xxxx, xxxxx and xxxx. For more information, visit the website, like on Facebook at or follow on Twitter on Nigerian Idols Season 3 is sponsored by Etisalat, in conjunction with Pepsi.


It was another astonishing weekend as an incredible array of brilliant talent was unveiled on the Episode 3 of Nigeria’s Got Talent. Lagos, the country’s commercial nerve centre, proved itself as the city of stars – with magical talent, a depth of music and enough talent to make previous cities, of Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Warri go green with envy.
“Lagos contestants of this show have really made true to the ability of the city to suppress, to thrive and to persist,” said the excited Andre Blaze, who is host of Nigeria’s Got Talent. “It’s going to be an amazing ride!”
The first contestant was Bariyu Yusuf, a 36-year-old doctor wthose comedic skills earned him three ‘yes-es’. The ‘Furious Energy’ dance group’s energetic drama-dance also got affirmative, as did Dapo, Craig and Vince, choreographers, aged 20 and 21, who disguised as females to thrown on a brilliant choreography.
“Oh, and there were those cute little girls – so incredibly talented!” crowed judge Kate Henshaw, who couldn’t resist the charm of the group of three girls whose dance moves got them to the next round.
Magic also took centre stage: Gabriel Ayokojo, also known as the ‘Lion Heart’ pulled unbelievable stunts, playing with fire in his mouth and peeling off a coconut with his bare teeth. “This is is simply ‘juju’!” judge Dan Foster exclaimed. He got a yes, alongside Idowu Dayo, another magician whose trickes included water and smoking – he called his magic trick “The more you look the less you see”.
“For everyone who was on our sets across the country, it was a life-changing experience,” said Adaora Mbelu, who is the show’s Project Manager. “Some performances made you laugh hysterically, and others would just overwhelm you with chills you’d begin to cry. We are hugely honored to have come across such amazing talent as was repeated in Lagos, and are truly excited to share these gems with Nigerians.”
The first-of-its-kind showaalto included martial art performances. A group called ‘United Fist’ – aged 24 – 30 year – got a ‘yes’ from the judges, though a ‘Taekwando’ group called ‘Oracle Team’ was adjudged “boring”. Paul Justice Ogbele, 20, presented a rhythmic rapping performance, and Chuka Solace, 18 and also a rapper, got approval to the next round. Then there was Ekeng Bassey, 29, who dazzled everyone with a sonorous presentation of Westlife’s ‘You Raise Me Up’.
Hosted by Andre Blaze, the judges for the season are radio host Dan Foster, actor Kate Henshaw and entertainment entrepreneur, Yibo Koko, the Airtel-sponsored first season of Nigeria’s Got Talent began to air on 16 September and will run until December 2012. Watch Sundays on AIT (10:30 PM), STV (6:00 PM), NTA (4.30PM) and Soundcity (6:30 PM). Fans in the UK can watch the show on HITV UK Sky 193 (8 PM).
The Got Talent franchise worldwide, which is in its sixth year, has produced many notable performers in the last couple of years including Diversity, Bianca Ryan and Britain’s Got Talent’s 2009 1st runner up Susan Boyle, whose debut album became the fastest selling UK debut album of all time, selling over 3 million copies in the U.S. It is the only talent competition show that is open to any age and any talent with auditions taking the show to numerous cities in search of one-of-a-kind talent.
Nigeria’s Got Talent is sponsored by Airtel and supported by Cool FM, Wazobia FM, Nigeria Info 99.3 FM and Tastee Fried Chicken. For embeddable clips and full episodes of the show, as well as artwork, please visit Like the show on Facebook at and follow on Twitter at

Breath-taking performances! Out-of-the-box talent! ‘Nigeria’s Got Talent’ debuts on AIT, SILVERBIRD TV, SOUNDCITY AND HIT TV UK.

Forgive the viewers if they were spell-bound. The highly anticipated reality TV show ‘Nigeria’s Got Talent’ took display of talent to a whole new level when it hit the screen yesterday September 16, after touring through major cities in Nigeria searching for the most talented Nigerians.
The show premiered on STV by 6pm, TVC by 9pm, AIT by 11PM, and if you were in the UK, HITV by 8pm.
The show took a thrilling twist as 11-year-old Toke Salami who was accompanied by her family members to the Ibadan auditions yesterday put up a heartfelt performance of a gospel song. Nathaniel wowed the crowd using his whole body, especially his mouth to produce a full range of beats, and the Ayan Agalu Cultural Group were also not left behind in the era of approval for the next round, after showcasing their talent which involved passing messages across with the use of the talking drum.
Some contestants were moved to the second round, sadly, some like Stephen Faunwei – whose magic trick turned ordinary paper to a thousand naira – and the Ever Blazer group did not please the judges.
The talent train made a stop at Port Harcourt, performers including the ‘Padlock Display’ by a man that calls himself, ‘Hero of Africa’ who – oh dear – hung padlocks on his eye lids. Just in case he hadn’t left both audience and judges worried enough, he capped it up by inserting j4 inch nails into his nostrils. He was sent packing alongside a 24-year-old man who showcased what can only be described as a semi-dance (he called it modelling, however). Thankfully, another 24 year old, Marilyn Ogechi redeemed the garden city by showcasing a unique talent of playing the saxophone with her hands. She got two ‘yes-es’ from the judges.
“There are reality shows and then there are reality shows,” said the Project Manager, Adaora Mbelu. “The hilarity of some performances aside, in a country where there is an emphasis on lack of opportunities, it warmed the heart to see a wide range of enthusiastic, excellent performers, far beyond music. This is such an amazing country with truly talented people.”
The Airtel sponsored show will air on TV stations across the country from September to December 2012. The Got Talent franchise worldwide, which is in its sixth year, has produced many notable performers in the last couple of years including Diversity, Bianca Ryan and Britain’s Got Talent’s 2009 1st runner up Susan Boyle, whose debut album became the fastest selling UK debut album of all time, selling over 3 million copies in the U.S.
Nigeria’s Got Talent is sponsored by Airtel and supported by Cool FM, Wazobia FM, Nigeria Info 99.3 FM and Tasty Fried Chicken.

How to become a media source and not someone who just pitches

It’s been said time and time again: PR is about relationships.
Although creative ideas and strategic planning are priorities at the agency where I work, establishing authentic relationships with journalists is the key to our media relations success. As opposed to “selling” our clients, we position them as valuable source to journalists. Read More

40 UNDER 40: Chude Jideonwu, 27, and Adebola Williams, 26

Chude Jideonwu and Adebola Williams

For two years, Chude Jideonwu, and Adebola Williams started their business, Redstrat, with N0. They never had an office but were with Efere Ozako and Kaine Agary, at the dtalkshop office in Yaba. They did not have a bank account let alone deposit some money in it. All they had was a registered business name.

“We armed ourselves with talent,” recalls Chude, “and a network of goodwill we had built working for five years with late Levi Ajuonuma, Funmi Iyanda, Gina Harry, Agatha Amata, NTA, Jerome, the counselor, and writing for Tempo, Thisday, True Love and Comet. The Future Awards was hosted in 2006 without a dime in corporate support, but on a network of media barriers with service providers. It’s really a testimony, and it’s also testament that much is possible in Nigeria, in spite of Nigeria.”

Chude and Adebola have always had a keen interest in the media hence it is not a surprise that they have decided to tow that path years later. “I have always been attracted to communication,” says Adebola, who has performed as an actor and anchored events and TV programmes at age 17.

“I was presenting and producing a youth show the same time doing same for a business show on the NTA. Then, I enjoyed selling people, products and ideas to others. My friends would tease that I could sell anything with my mouth. Counselling people is something I’ve also been passionate about. I worked as a counsellor in training for two years. For me, it is about communication.”

In the last few years, RedStrat has evolved from a company that just provides communication services and organise the annual Future Awards to one that understands the imperative of creating value through private sector enterprise. The business for Chude and Adebola fully kicked off four years ago with a name change of the company to Red Media Limited, and expansion of its operations.

“Our business is RED,” explains Chude, “and it’s a community of media brands – Red Media Limited, which is a media and communication firm focused on Public Relations, New Media and Street Activations: Y!/YNaija, which are media content platforms on TV, radio, print and online, holdings in a range of firms operating independently including an ad agency, and our affiliated development firm, The Future Project, which focuses on media for development, In Terms of how it grew, it has always been business.”
With staff strength of 24 people, Red Media services clients like Etisalat, the British Council, BlackBerry, Google, the Nigeria LNG, Nigerian Idol, Heirs Holdings, among others. Y! as a content brand offers advertising platforms for brands like Indomie, MTN, Airtel, Close Up, Nokia, among others. “We are excited by the brands that have connected with what we call our Dankateur spirit,” says Chude, with a smile.

He challenges facing young business owners in the country are numerous, but for Chude and his team, it is beyond epileptic power supply and access to finance. For him, it is more about going up against competitors with in-build advantages when pitching for accounts.

“We face challenges peculiar to other businesses of which Chude has mentioned,” explains Adebola, “some but with years of experience, you learn strategies to combat them. We say to ourselves everyday that we can’t afford to fail, we owe it to ourselves, to the society and to God who has given us all these talents and so we face head on each challenge, day by day.”

Breaking even hasn’t been that much of an issue for the Red Media team because, before they became full-time business owners, Chude had worked with Virgin Nigeria and others while running Red Media. “We had always been clear that we would run a profitable enterprise or else there would be no point to it ultimately, we have always focused on the bottom line,” he adds.
The principles that have been sustaining the business Chude describes as being old fashioned, yet they have become indispensable to the growth of their business. A couple of things have been sustaining us.

First, we live within our means – which means, no matter the temptation we don’t overspend. If we don’t have it, we simply don’t spend it. I have worked in too many media companies that have overreached and sunk, and so I am keenly aware of the dangers. Second, we pay what we owe – largely, we are debt-averse; and when in doubt, we air on the side of payment. Never owed a staff or contractor, for instance, we are insistent that we must pay each bill. Third, we follow the money – everything we engage in has to be profitable, because business really is a matter of value for value. If it’s not making money, it really isn’t business.

It’s not a matter of pretty offices, or sexy cars, it’s about balancing income over expense, and we never, ever forget that.”
Chude says the plans they have for the Y! Brands haven’t even kicked off as they are still keeping their heads down and surviving their first two years establishing their presence firmly. “No dazzle, no razzmatazz, just steady moving. Next year, we are unleashing that brand, and we have a 10-year target at the end of which we’ll blanket the market by His grace. The Future Awards really, for us, just kicked into full gear. I know people will think we are trying to be modest. But in terms of what has been our vision, this year we moved into stride. We are expanding that brand and it starts next year. As always with Red Media, we play our cards close to our chests. So, basically, we’ll be working on these products over the next few years, and in five years, we’ll be telling success stories of giant milestones.”

Both Chude and Adebola grew up in very humble homes. Chude had his secondary school education at Adebola Baptist High School and Mayflower, Ikenne, Ogun State. He studied Law at the University of Lagos, had a masters degree from the Pan-African University.

Adebola tried his hands on Public Relations at the University of Lagos and studied Journalism at the London School of Journalism, marketing at the London School of Marketing and School of Media and Communications at the Pan African University.

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