Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Red carpet photos from Soul Diaspora's premiere in Lagos

Award winning film Soul Diaspora had its Nigerian premiere at the Ozone Cinemas, Yaba on Saturday January 28. Odera Ozoka's story about the troubled life of a Nigerian immigrant in Los Angeles days before the 9/11 attacks won the 2009 African Movie Academy Awards for best film from a director in the Diaspora. Lead actor Saidu Abu also got a nomination for his gritty performance in the best actor category. On Saturday, the Lagos audience got a look at the film sthat has garnered so much praise at many festivals worldwide. Personally, I wasn't disappointed. Can't speak for others who came in expecting a regular Nollywood melodrama. Director Odera had warned me ahead of time that this was not "a date movie" when I asked if I could come with a friend. It's a noirish story of loneliness in a foreign land, stereotypes, hate, culture shock and the anger and suspicion that followed the attacks on America in September 2001. No plot spoilers here because the movie will open to audiences later this year and I would like for everyone to get shocked by the tragedy of the movie. Here are a few photos from the red carpet event.
Nollywood actress Steph-Nora Okereke

Nollywood actor Emeka Ike

Director Odera Ozoka with his Mother

The film's star Sadiq Abu

"Chuks" and "Ene" of Tinsel

Journalist Lolade Adewuyi, film producer Clotilde Delavennat and actor Sadiq Abu

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Women of #OccupyNigeria

Waka music singer Salawa Abeni joined voices with the people at the Gani Fawehinmi Park on Tuesday. Beside her is Joe-Okei Odumakin, a fiery civil society leader who in her own right has become a rallying point for the masses.
 The OccupyNigeria protests have continued into the second day and my attention has been drawn to the role of women in the demonstrations. They have played big roles as much as men in the struggle against tyranny against the Nigerian people by their government. Here are a few of the women I captured during these protests.

Journalist Lolade Sowoolu tweets on her mobile phone during protests at the Gani Fawehinmi Park

Star actress Bimbo Akintola showed up at the OccupyNigeria protests in Ojota to denounce the government

Activist Chioma Ogwuegbu displays her Nigeria colours at the OccupyNigeria protests in Ojota

This young lady joined the protests against fuel subsidy removal at Ojodu.

With a smile, this young lady asks the government to rescind its decision.

Monday, January 9, 2012

#OccupyNigeria: The birth of a neighbourhood protest

Dayo Fadugba leads a handful of young men at the start of the protest in Ojodu
 I was privileged to be part of the beginning of a protest in my neigbourhood as the #OccupyNigeria protests against the removal of government subsidy on petroleum commenced today. Dayo Fadugba, former publicity officer of the Obafemi Awolowo University students union, called a group of young men together on Sunday night to sensitise them about the issues on ground. I got wind of it and attended. The stage was set for protests on Monday morning and I was duly woken up by Fadugba's phone call at 7:16am informing me that they were about to commence.

Without as much as a shower, I jumped out onto the streets, camera in hand, to meet about seven young men, Fadugba inclusive, as they sang around the Ishaga Ojodu-Abiodun area denouncing the government position. We moved from house to house, street to street urging parents to release their young people to join in the protests that affects one and all.

Fadugba said: "You provide water for yourselves, you subsidise your own electricity, you send your children to private schools, they graduate but cannot get jobs and the government wants you to keep quiet, what has the government done for you? If you fight you may win but if you don’t fight you have definitely lost".

From a handful of people, the crowd grew into almost a thousand signifying the anger of many Nigerians at their government's anti-human policies. We moved towards the Ojodu-Abiodun Police Post where Emeka Nwonyi, the divisional police officer, asked the young men and women to protest peacefully even as he acknowledged the fact that policemen also feel the pinch of the policy.

The procession then moved to the Berger Roundabout where it occupied before moving on towards Omole and onwards to Ojota where the larger #OccupyNigeria party was being held.

From seven people to more than a thousand, there is power in the peoples' anger.
A banner says: We no fit shout

Writing the signs

Protesting for his future

Bring an end to corruption

No to fuel subsidy removal

Fadugba addresses Emeka Nwonyi, divisional police officer of the Ojodu-Abiodun Police post

Young people are angry at their government

Emeka Nwonyi, DPO Ojodu-Abiodun Police post addresses the protesting crowd 

Nothing that goes up ever comes down in Nigeria

From a small beginning, the crowd grows into a mammoth and moves to Berger Roundabout

Clapping against government tyranny

Fuel price hike portends hell for many Nigerians