Archive: Dec 2013

Jason Njoku is Y!/YNaija.com’s Person of the Year 2013

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Y! Magazine and YNaija.com have announced Nigerian tech entrepreneur Jason Njoku as the Person of the Year 2013.

The editors of the lifestyle publication and online hub made the announcement today Monday 30th December 2013.

The founder and Chief Executive Officer of iROKO, 33, beat Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga, Akinwunmi Adesina and Sim Shagaya, for the honour.

Read the full press release;

Jason Chukwuma Njoku, 33, is chief executive and co-founder of iROKO Partners, an online start up that has revolutionised the availability and distribution of African media content. He is young, big, bold, brash and in his own words, “an asshole.”

He is also the Y!/YNaija Person of the Year 2013.

It is simple really: No one has captured the imagination of young (and many older) Nigerians the way this University of Manchester graduate has.

The outlines of the story are now firmly etched: iROKO partners, founded after Njoku had dabbled in scores of unsuccessful businesses started in his bedroom in London with money loaned from his friend and in a space of three years has become the most talked about internet business this side of Africa.

It was at the nadir of his life, when he moved back in with his mother, penniless after his string of failed enterprises that he picked up on her love for Nollywood films. He also noticed his mother’s difficulty in getting these films and decided to do something about it. He soon boarded a flight to Lagos and entered the trenches, directly engaging the producers and copyright owners, paying money for their catalogue. Two and a half years later, and Njoku’s company has amassed the largest collection of African content online with well over 5,000 titles in the kitty. And, with high profile mentions in Forbes, Financial Times, CNN and the Wall Street Journal, iROKO Partners has been able to attract investors and seed money like no other start up.

Criticised across the technology eco-system for pomp and bluster – and those who do so do not exaggerate – Njoku (and iROKO) is that rare individual that deserves all the praise. He has proven that much is indeed possible in Nigeria, by Nigerians – in spite of Nigeria.

Stories like these read easy on paper but it is pertinent not to forget or overlook the grit and tenacity, the wheeling and dealing that has gone into creating his success story. A story that is still far from finished. With his entrance into the online space, Njoku in many ways pioneered the online Nollywood market and with his success, has created a whole new sub specie of industry for interested participants to dabble into, showing them exactly how it is done.

iROKOtv has built peerless library of content has been dubbed the Netflix of African movies reaching 178 countries with about 1million unique visitors a month. Despite the seemingly grudging resistance to accept his influence at home, he continues to fly the Nigerian flag by sheer willpower, just by doing what he does.

Apparently, he does it excellently. Because, this month, iROKO managed the unthinkable, and successfully raised $8million in venture capital from a group of international investors led by American hedge fund and Facebook investor, Tiger Global. This unprecedented feat – even for start ups across the world – brings iROKO’s tally to about $21million raised in two years of doing business making it one of the most heavily funded businesses in all of Africa.

Then there is the matter of the music arm of the company, iROKING. Pronounced dead in the water prematurely after a public – battle with it’s erstwhile leader, Jason Njoku finally had to re-take charge. While still an unprofitable venture, when compared to it’s elder iROKOtv, it speaks to the stubbornness of his vision, and why investors choose to take risks on people more than the particular idea.

With an average monthly unique visitor-ship of about 5million (according to Njoku), iROKING stands a fighting chance of eclipsing revenue figures generated by the movies arm. Music industry piracy issues will have to be tackled head on and it will be excruciating work, but if anyone has done so, Njoku has proven time and time again that he is unafraid to put his money where his mouth is.

He did this in spectacular fashion in May, when – with his business partner Bastian Gotter and wife Mary Remmy Njoku – he launched SPARK, an exciting new business initiative dedicated to building and grooming profitable internet start ups in Nigeria. After a $10million valuation in 3months of existence, Sparks was able to raise $2million in investment from Lagos to London. This money will be ploughed into expanding the company – which currently has 9 start ups under it’s wings, employing about 130 staff – and providing seed money for it’s babies.

Impressively, Njoku – unlike many Nigerian businessmen – is not unashamed to tell his story, sharing as much as he can about the innards of running a successful internet company at a time when many young start-ups desperately need to learn from the experience of those before them.

Of course, blog posts tend to gloss over the dirt, and for all we know, Njoku may be bleeding money. Still, as businesses like iROKO and those in SPARK typically need an average of five years before profitability, it is enough for now that Njoku is crashing ceilings, breaking boundaries and moving mountains.

Whether his businesses fail or succeed, whether or not Njoku eventually becomes the kind of business leader he already fancies himself to be, he would have already won. Because he dared. And to dare is the hardest part.

For creating a globally respected business from scratch, for continuously innovating, setting standards for others to follow, for building a generation of young business people that might just change Nigeria; and for inspiring a whole new generation to believe in themselves and their dreams, we are proud to announce Jason Njoku as the Y!/YNaija Person of the Year 2013

Wole Soyinka’s Daughter Iyetade dies at 48

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Iyetade Soyinka, a daughter of Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, has died. Ms. Soyinka, who was born June 6, 1965, died at the University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital where she was being treated for an undisclosed ailment.

The death was disclosed in a statement signed by Jahman Anikulapo, an aide to Mr. Soyinka, one of the world’s foremost dramatists and winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in literature. The statement noted that the late Iyetade Soyinka was a student at the Staff School and Queens School, Ibadan before she studied Medicine at the University of Ibadan.

Mr. Anikulapo’s statement described the deceased as “affable, intelligent and sometimes capricious,” adding that she “struggled with her health in recent years.” Despite her health woes, the late Iyetade Soyinka “greeted every day with a smile and doted on her two children.”

The statement, which was issued on behalf of the deceased’s family, revealed that Ms. Soyinka “took ill quite suddenly and passed away while being treated at UCH, Ibadan.

“Iyetade leaves behind two children, both parents, numerous siblings, nieces and nephews.”

No funeral arrangements were announced in the statement.

She leaves behind two children and her parents. May her soul rest in peace…amen

 

Michael Schumacher in critical condition after skiing fall

Former Formula One champion Michael Schumacher is in a coma and listed in critical condition following a skiing accident in the French Alps. The German motor racing legend is being treated in a hospital in Grenoble

Officials at the hospital where the former F1 champion is being treated released a statement late on Sunday saying that Schumacher had suffered a cranial trauma and was in a coma as a result of having hit his head on a rock while skiing earlier in the day. They also said he had undergone brain surgery shortly after arriving at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Grenoble.

Schumacher “was suffering a serious brain trauma with coma on his arrival, which required an immediate neurosurgical operation,” a statement read out to reporters at the hopital said. “He remains in a critical condition.”

Hospital officials declined to provide further details, saying they would release more information on Monday.

It has been reported, though that the renowned Paris neurosurgeon Gerard Saillant had arrived at the Grenoble hospital to take charge of the famous patient.

Mountain police in the region said they had reached the 44-year-old German shortly after the accident, and that they immediately administered first aid. They said he was airlifted to the hospital in Moutiers, closest to the Meribel resort, where Schumacher had been skiing within 10 minutes of the accident.

Christophe Gernigon-Lecompte, director of the resort, said Schumacher had been wearing a helmet and was “conscious but a little agitated.” He was subsequently airlifted to the hospital in Grenoble.

Schumacher was reportedly skiing “off-piste” along with his 14-year-old son at the time of the accident

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher was skiing on an unmarked slope with his 14-year-old son at the Méribel resort. Photograph: Sipa Press/REX

Formula One drivers from around the world have wished Michael Schumacher a full recovery as he lies in a coma after a skiing accident in France.

Soon after news of the accident on Sunday afternoon Martin Brundle, who was Schumacher’s team-mate at Benetton in 1992 and 1993, tweeted: “Let’s hope Michael Schumacher’s ski shunt is not too bad and that he’s totally fixable. He’s a crazy brave skydiving/bike racing daredevil.”

Hours later, when the full extent of Schumacher’s injuries had become clear, he urged: “Come on Michael, give us one of those race stints at pure qualifying pace to win through, like you used to. You can do it.”

Felipe Massa, the Brazilian driver whose injury brought Schumacher back to F1 in 2009, posted a picture of the pair embracing on Instagram, with the Portuguese message: “I’m praying for God to protect you, brother!” In English he wrote: “I hope you have a quick recovery! God bless you, Michael!”

Schumacher returned to the sport to cover for Massa while he was having a titanium plate put in his skull after crashing in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Jean-Éric Vergne, Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton also weighed in, offering best wishes and wishing him a quick recovery.

Romain Grosjean, who finished second to the German legend in the 2012 Nations’ Cup, tweeted: “All our thoughts to Schumi and his family.” Heikki Kovalainen, who tussled with him on the track in 2004 and 2007, wished him a “full recovery soon”. Both gave him the hashtag “#legend”.

Scottish F1 driver Paul di Resta tweeted: “Terrible news about MSC, thinking of him and his family. Hoping for better news and that he can pull through #getwellsoon.”

Stars from other sports also added their well wishes. The retired cricketer Michael Vaughan said: “Forget the cricket. Everyone’s thoughts should be with Michael Schumacher.”

Golf’s Ian Poulter wrote: “Really hoping Michael Schumacher comes thru his terrible skiing accident. Wishing him well.”

The German international footballer Jérôme Boateng tweeted: “Get well soon, Michael Schumacher!” And the Olympic rowing champion Sir Michael Pinsent wrote: “Come on Michael Schumacher – thinking positive thoughts fo

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher was skiing on an unmarked slope with his 14-year-old son at the Méribel resort. Photograph: Sipa Press/REX

Formula One drivers from around the world have wished Michael Schumacher a full recovery as he lies in a coma after a skiing accident in France.

Soon after news of the accident on Sunday afternoon Martin Brundle, who was Schumacher’s team-mate at Benetton in 1992 and 1993, tweeted: “Let’s hope Michael Schumacher’s ski shunt is not too bad and that he’s totally fixable. He’s a crazy brave skydiving/bike racing daredevil.”

Hours later, when the full extent of Schumacher’s injuries had become clear, he urged: “Come on Michael, give us one of those race stints at pure qualifying pace to win through, like you used to. You can do it.”

Felipe Massa, the Brazilian driver whose injury brought Schumacher back to F1 in 2009, posted a picture of the pair embracing on Instagram, with the Portuguese message: “I’m praying for God to protect you, brother!” In English he wrote: “I hope you have a quick recovery! God bless you, Michael!”

Schumacher returned to the sport to cover for Massa while he was having a titanium plate put in his skull after crashing in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Jean-Éric Vergne, Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton also weighed in, offering best wishes and wishing him a quick recovery.

Romain Grosjean, who finished second to the German legend in the 2012 Nations’ Cup, tweeted: “All our thoughts to Schumi and his family.” Heikki Kovalainen, who tussled with him on the track in 2004 and 2007, wished him a “full recovery soon”. Both gave him the hashtag “#legend”.

Scottish F1 driver Paul di Resta tweeted: “Terrible news about MSC, thinking of him and his family. Hoping for better news and that he can pull through #getwellsoon.”

Stars from other sports also added their well wishes. The retired cricketer Michael Vaughan said: “Forget the cricket. Everyone’s thoughts should be with Michael Schumacher.”

Golf’s Ian Poulter wrote: “Really hoping Michael Schumacher comes thru his terrible skiing accident. Wishing him well.”

The German international footballer Jérôme Boateng tweeted: “Get well soon, Michael Schumacher!” And the Olympic rowing champion Sir Michael Pinsent wrote: “Come on Michael Schumacher – thinking positive thoughts for you

Iyabo Obasanjo replies Father Olusegun Obasanjo

 

Senator Iyabo Obasanjo

Here’s the controversial letter written by Iyabo Obasanjo, daughter to former Head Of State Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

It brings me no joy to have to write this but since you started this trend of open letters I thought I would follow suit since you don’t listen to anyone anyway. The only way to reach you may be to make the public aware of some things. As a child well brought up by my long-suffering mother in Yoruba tradition, I have been reluctant to tell the truth about you but as it seems you still continue to delude yourself about the kind of person you are and I think for posterity’s sake it is time to set the records straight.

I will return to the issue of my long-suffering mother later in this letter.

Like most Nigerians, I believe there are very enormous issues currently plaguing the country but I was surely surprised that you will be the one to publish such a treatise. I remember clearly as if it was yesterday the day I came over to Abuja from Abeokuta when I was Commissioner of Health in OgunState, specifically to ask you not to continue to pursue the third term issue.

I had tried to bring it up when your sycophantic aides were present and they brushed my comments aside and as usual you listened to their self-serving counsel. For you to accuse someone else of what you so obviously practiced yourself tells of your narcissistic megalomaniac personality. Everyone around for even a few minutes knows that the only thing you respond to is praise and worship of you. People have learnt how to manipulate you by giving you what you crave. The only ones that can’t and will not stroke your ego are family members who you universally treat like poo (sic) apart from the few who have learned to manipulate you like others.

Before I continue, Nigerians are people who see conspiracy and self-service in everything because I think they believe everyone is like them. This letter is not in support of President Jonathan or APC or any other group or person, but an outpouring from my soul to God. I don’t blame you for the many atrocities you have been able to get away with, Nigerians were your enablers every step of the way. People ultimately get leaders that reflect them.

Getting back to the story, I made sure your aides were not around and brought up the issue, trying to deliver the presentation of the issue as I had practiced it in my head. I started with the fact that we copied the US constitution which has term limits of two terms for a President. As is your usual manner, you didn’t allow me to finish my thought process and listen to my point of view. Once I broached the subject you sat up and said that the US had no term limits in the past but that it had been introduced in the 1940s after the death of President Roosevelt, which is true.
I wanted to say to you: when you copy something you also copy the modifications based on the learning from the original; only a fool starts from scratch and does not base his decisions on the learning of others. In science, we use the modifications found by others long ago to the most recent, as the basis of new findings; not going back to discover and learn what others have learnt. Human knowledge and development and civilization will not have progressed if each new generation and society did not build on the knowledge of others before them.

The American constitution itself is based on several theories and philosophies of governance available in the 18th century. Democracy itself is a governance method started by the ancient Greeks. America’s founding fathers used it with modifications based on what hadn’t worked well for the ancient Greeks and on new theories since then.

As usual in our conversations, I kept quiet because I know you well. You weren’t going to change your mind based on my intervention as you had already made up your mind on the persuasion of the minions working for you who were ripping the country blind. When I spoke to you, your outward attitude to the people of the country was that you were not interested in the third term and that it was others pushing it. Your statement to me that day proved to me that you were the brain behind the third term debacle. It is therefore outrageous that you accuse the current President of a similar two-facedness that you yourself used against the people of the country.

I was on a plane trip between Abuja and Lagos around the time of the third term issue and I sat next to one of your sycophants on the plane. He told me: “Only Obasanjo can rule Nigeria”. I replied: “God has not created a country where only one person can rule. If only one person can rule Nigeria then the whole Nigeria project is not a viable one, as it will be a non-sustainable project”

I don’t know how you came about Yar’Adua as the candidate for your party as it was not my priority or job. Unlike you, I focus on the issues I have been given responsibility over and not on the jobs of others. It was the day of the PDP Presidential Campaign in Abeokuta during the state-by-state tour of 2007 that Yar’Adua got sick and had to be flown abroad. The MKO Abiola Stadium was already filled with people by 9am when I drove by (and) we had told people based on the campaign schedule that the rally would start at noon.

At 11 am I headed for the stadium on foot; it was a short walk as there were so many cars already parked in and out. As I walked on with two other people, we saw crowds of people leaving the stadium. I recognized some of them as politicians and I asked them why people were leaving. They said the Presidential candidate had died. I was alarmed and shocked. I walked back home and received a call from a friend in Lagos who said the same and added that he had died in the plane carrying him abroad for treatment and that the plane was on its way to Katsina to bury him.

I called you, and told you the information and that the stadium was already half-empty. You told me to go to the stadium and tell the people on the podium to announce that the Presidential candidate had taken ill that morning but the rest of the team, including you and the Vice-Presidential candidate would arrive shortly. I did as I was told, but even the people on the podium at first didn’t make the announcement because they thought it was true that Yar’Adua had died. I had to take the microphone and make the announcement myself. It did little good. People kept trooping out of the stadium. Your team didn’t arrive until 4pm and by this time we had just a sprinkling of people left.

That evening after the disaster of a rally, you said you had insisted that the Presidential candidate fly to Germany for a check-up although you said he only had a cold. I asked why would anyone fly to Germany to treat a cold? And you said “I would rather die than have the man die at this time.” I thought of this profound statement as things later unfolded against me. Then I thought it a silly statement but as usual I kept quiet, little did I know how your machinations for a person would be used against me. When Yar’Adua eventually died, you stayed alive, I would have expected you to jump into his grave.

I left Nigeria in 1989 right after youth service to study in the US and I visited in 1994 for a week and didn’t visit again until your inauguration in 1999. In between, you had been arrested by Abacha and jailed. We, your children, had no one who stood with us. Stella famously went around collecting money on your behalf but we had no one. We survived. I was the only one of the children working then as a post-doctoral fellow when I got the call from a friend informing me of your arrest.

A week before your arrest, you had called me from Denmark and I had told you that you should be careful that the government was very offended by some of your statements and actions and may be planning to arrest or kill you as was occurring to many at the time. The source of my information was my mother who, agitated, had called me, saying I should warn you as this was the rumour in the country. As usual you brushed aside my comments, shouting on the phone that they cannot try anything and you will do and say as you please. The consequence of your bravado is history.

We, your family, have borne the brunt of your direct cruelty and also suffered the consequences of your stupidity but got none of the benefits of your successes. Of course, anyone around you knows how little respect you have for your children.

You think our existence on earth is about you. By the way, how many are we? 19, 20, 21? Do you even know? In the last five years, how many of these children have you spoken to? How many grandchildren do you have and when did you last see each of them? As President you would listen to advice of people that never finished high school who would say anything to keep having access to you so as to make money over your children who loved you and genuinely wished you well.

At your first inauguration in 1999, I and my brothers and sisters told you we were coming from the US. As is usual with you, you made no arrangements for our trip, instead our mom organized to meet each of us and provided accommodation. At the actual swearing-in at Eagle Square, the others decided to watch it on TV. Instead I went to the square and I was pushed and tossed by the crowd.

I managed to get in front of the crowd where I waved and shouted at you as you and General Abdulsalam Abubakar walked past to go back to the VIP seating area. I saw you mouth ‘my daughter’ to General Abdullahi who was the one who pulled me out of the crowd and gave me a seat. As I looked around I saw Stella and Stella’s family prominently seated but none of your children. I am sure General Abdullahi would remember this incident and I am eternally grateful to him.

Nelson Mandela’s burial Pictures Coming

The ceremony got under way today, 15th December, 2013 Nelson Mandela’s funeral rites were just concluded with world leader’s present at the event in his home town of Qunu

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Burial Site with Guard of honor

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Burial rites about to begin

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Jacob Zuma addressing the audience

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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela with Jacob Zuma and Widow of Nelson Mandela

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Anti-apartheid activist and close friend of Mr Mandela Ahmed Kathrada made a very moving tribute. He said: “Farewell my dear brother, my mentor, my leader… My life is in a void and I don’t know who to turn to.”

 

Khloe Kardashian files for divorce from Lamar Basket Ball Star

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They finally have done it

Khloe Kardashian has been doing everything in her power to save her relationship with Lamar Odom, and to try and help him with rehab.

But she’s done!

The reality TV star is reportedly filing for divorce today, ending their marriage, which took place in September 2009.

And this will make Khloe a single, worriless woman just in time for the weekend!

We say “worriless’ because even though divorce is hard, these two have a strict prenup so both parties already know exactly who is getting what.

– We will update you with the latest on this , so much for Marriage