BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
This is the story of a talented Nigerian musician whose craze to belong at all costs led him into trouble in the United States of America.
Oyindamola Emmanuel popularly known as Dammy Krane who was arrested on Friday by the police in Miami, Florida for grand theft, credit card and identity fraud, was living a fake lifestyle and posting photographs of his exploits on Instagram to impress his fans.
Nemesis caught up with him when he contacted a private airline, Tap Jets, and used a stolen credit card to give himself a luxury treat on a private jet.
He didn’t stop there, he posted photographs of his enjoyment on his Instagram page.
Tap Jets claimed responsibility for handing the singer over to the police tweeting that he attempted to book Tap Jets flight using stolen credit card numbers. They vowed to prosecute him to the full extent of the law.
Such a crime in America could carry a maximum fine of $1,000 or so, and a sentence of up to one year in the county jail. As the value of the property received increases, so does the penalty. Felony credit card fraud in which property of significant value was obtained might be punishable by a $25,000 fine and 15 years in prison.
Tap Jets revealed that although they are not proud to have had Krane arrested, it was their duty to protect other companies from the fraud that would likely continue.
According to the airline, 24-year old Dammy Krane had the Jet App on his Samsung Galaxy S7 with which he made the bookings, and he continued to use different cards for the transaction until he used up to five.
According to Tapjet, the details on the card entered was different from the details given and the zip code.
”His accomplice also tried to purchase flight on another phone with yet another card. Total of 5 cards in an hour till one worked. We are 100% confident that our app was on that phone and order was placed via T-Mobile network from cell tower located in Miami area.
•Says, “You can teach your husband if he’s not good enough”
SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM...THE CLASSIFIEDS ADS WEBSITE: Nollywood actress, Chinazo Ekezie, will tell you she was born with the acting DNA in her system even though she has struggled so hard to rise through the ranks in the movie industry. In this interview with Star Tracker, she talks about her take on the Nigerian movie industry, sexual harassment, premarital sex, love and sentiments people attached to marriage. BY ROTIMI AGBANA How did the acting craft begin for you? I started acting as a child. I started doing stage plays when I was about 8 years old, so I’ve always acted. But I started acting professionally between 2009 and 2010. Before then, I had done some school plays and gone for some auditions, but between 2009 and 2010 I decided that this was what I wanted to do.
Since you started acting professionally, what has been your fascination with the movie industry?
Well, I can’t really tell but what I can tell you is that in recent times there has been a lot of growth in Nollywood, it’s no longer the normal things that were obtainable. Nollywood has grown, it has opened up and it’s opening more, it’s giving more young people the opportunity to do their thing, it’s no longer one sided unlike before. Film making generally fascinates me, I didn’t really have the flair to be a film maker until maybe three years ago, but now whatever I look at I want to make a movie with it.
Is it true that the movie industry has been taken over by prostituting actresses?
Well, I can’t know about every other actress, I just know that some people take this job seriously, it’s a career for a lot of people, so if there’s any form of prostitution going on in the industry I don’t know about it. Once you say you’re an actress, the next thing they ask you is how many people you have slept with. I seriously don’t know if it’s happening. Chinazor Ekezie
You mean you have never been sexually harassed by a producer or director?
No! Nobody has ever sexually harassed me, but there are a couple of people that have asked me out on a date, including directors and producers. If that is sexual harassment then I don’t know because they did it properly. I’ve never found myself in that position, and maybe that’s because I don’t rush things, I also don’t plan to be in all the jobs, I get what I get and the ones I don’t get I’m okay with it. Desperation can make anyone do that but in my case it has never happened.
Have you dated an actor before?
No, and I cannot because I have this thing for privacy, yeah, I love privacy a lot, and my job has made it that I have to be out there, so I don’t want to be with someone who is out there too. I would want a safe place where I can run back to all the time; you know, I see it that I should be with someone who is not into entertainment at all, someone who is not even interested at all, that’s what I like.
What’s your ideal man?
A man who listens because I can talk a lot sometimes (Laughs). He has to be a God-fearing man, if he fears God, there are some things he can’t do. A God-fearing man doesn’t mean a man who is going to church but a man who has fear of God. I also want an understanding man; if he reads something bad about me in the papers or on the internet he won’t conclude, he would like to find out first, and when I say something about it to him he would believe me.
Can you marry a poor man?
Are you talking about a man who doesn’t have money at all for basic things or what? (Laughs) No, I can’t marry a poor man, it’s not right to marry a poor man; I am a woman, I need to be taken care of, I need to be cared for. When I say I need to be taken care of I don’t mean I want to be travelling around the world all the time. When a woman depends on a man, when a woman has a shoulder to cry on, when a woman has someone she can talk to about things that hurt her and stuffs like that, it makes a woman a better person. Women are just created to be cared for, yeah, believe it or not. We function better when we have someone who can at least help us out with 70% of our daily needs.
What is your take on premarital sex?
You want my pastor to call me on the phone, right? But I will tell you the truth now, growing up, we were always taught that we shouldn’t have sex, we shouldn’t do anything before marriage, but now that I know better, or now that I’m grown and with the kind of experiences that I’ve had, and that of other people, I think it’s kind of important to have premarital sex. Seriously, because you have your lifetime to spend with this person, so I think it’s important you need to find out what they like, how they like it, if they like it, if they are teachable, because some people will tell you that if you don’t like how your husband makes love to you then you teach him. A lot of men are not teachable, a lot of men think teaching them how to make love to their wife is a crime. Yes, a lot of men think it’s a crime for a woman to say don’t do it this way, do it that way, aren’t you a woman, why should you have a preference? A lot of couples’ sexuality don’t match, no matter how hard you try, and once you marry and you are not having good sex I don’t think you will be happy. I don’t think any woman would be happy if she’s not having good sex with her husband, it’s crazy. And if I’m to spend the first 6-7years teaching you how to have sex with me, I’ll be frustrated.
What would you do if after marriage your husband becomes impotent?
Marriage is for better, for worse, because I expect that if I get married now and I have issues with fertility, my husband will stand by me, so yeah, I will stand by him. When there is any situation, no matter how tough it is, it’s sorted by love, family pressure is secondary, if you let family pressure affect you, you might even lose your love for your husband. I think two people who are ready to work things out, ready to spend the rest of their lives together should build a wall around their relationship.
What do you think is responsible for the recent urge for actors wanting to produce their own movies?
Nollywood has opened up, there is opportunity for people to market their movies without going through people anymore. Now, you can do it yourself, you can even have your own YouTube channel. It basically revolves around making money. I’ve have co-produced a movie, but it’s not out yet, I also intend to produce a movie someday, but I need to be to be very sure that I’m ready.
Have you ever found it difficult to come out of a character you played in a movie?
Yes, it happens to me a lot. There was a time I played the role of a stutterer, after we finished shooting the movie, I kept stuttering for a whole week, I couldn’t stop it, I found it very difficult to. There was another role I played where the girl was always tilting her neck to one side, after the movie shoot, I kept tilting my neck for like a month just the same way I did while playing the movie role.
What are the most challenging moments of your acting career?
I remember as an upcoming actress, and I mean way back, when we were nobodies, when we needed to prove ourselves that we could act; back in the days when they had to pair us in a room, three or four girls in a room, I had to put up with a lot. You can imagine being in a room with four other people and at some point not getting paid after a stressful job, producers will tell you “What is your problem?”. The not getting paid part is quite sad; I won’t lie to you, because we had to make money out of this craft. But a lot of people still don’t believe that someone who plays one or two scenes should be paid, that is one thing I would love for us to correct in Nollywood. But then again, that was my challenging stage as an actor, when you don’t have enough money but you still find a way to rush to the audition ground and then rush to the location and you’re thinking that by the time you are done with 3 or 4 scenes you are going to get money, nobody will answer you, but not any more now, I get my money before I leave my house, (Laughs), with the price of fuel! Hell no!
SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: Recently turned 70 and juju legend, King Sunny Ade is billed to perform at this year’s edition of the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The event is an annual music and arts festival, which takes place at the Empire Polo Club, Indio, California, USA.
Organised by Golden Voice, a subsidiary of AEG Live as of 2001; the event features many genres of music including rock, indie, hip hop, electronic dance music as well as art installations and sculptures.
The Merciful God crooner is to share the stage alongside other international artistes including Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Beyonce, Bon Iver, DJ Snake, DJ Khaled, Tory Lanes, Hans Zimmer, Radiohead and more. As at the time of this report, the Juju legend is yet to be scheduled on a date for his performance. This year’s edition of Coachella holds on two weekends between April 14 – 16, and April 21 – 23. Last year’s edition saw Nigerian trio, The Young Fathers of Liberian and Scottish origin participate at the event alongside African acts such as Black Coffee.
KSA commemorated his 70th birthday ceremony on Sunday, December 11, 2016, at the Temple Balmoral Marquee, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. A major highlight of the event was the auction of one of his famous guitars, masterfully painted by award-winning artist, Victor Ehikhamenor.
The auction, which was moderated by United Auction House, was ended at N52.1 million. And on the night, KSA serenadeD guests with the best of his hits, in a career spanning 50 years.
SPONSORED BY HIRING234.COM: Hundreds of artistes are gearing up for this year’s One Lagos Fiesta (OLF), an event meant for the celebration of the culture, art and people residing in Lagos-the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria and Africa’s mega city.
Artistes, such as D’Banj, 2face, Tiwa Salvage Seyi Shay, Olamide, Banky W, Don Jazzy, Adekunle Gold, Waje, Korede Bello, Dare, Wizkid, among several others.
The One Lagos Fiesta is expected to usher in the new year with over 480 hours of fun and entertainment in various neighbourhood in Lagos.
At a news conference on Thursday in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde said the government is putting finishing touches to make this year’s edition bigger, better and bolder.
Ayorinde said in line with the vision of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, the event would continue in its tradition of holding across the five zones as it held last year, including Ikeja (Agege Stadium), Badagry (Badagry Stadium), Ikorodu (Ikorodu Town Hall), Lagos Island (Bar Beach) and Epe (Epe Recreation Centre).
He said this year’s edition would stand out, saying instead of the five days that it held last December, this year’s would run for eight days across all the zones, commencing from Christmas Eve on December 24 till the wee hours of the New Year.
He said the reason for the expanded fiesta was to keep Lagosians, especially the youths, happy and creatively busy.
“You will recall that we have just had a successful maiden edition of The Lagos Street Party (TLSP) last weekend, in which the popular Ahmadu Bello way in Victoria Island was turned into a carnival and concert ground.
“While TLSP delivered on its mandate to formally usher in the Yuletide season in Lagos and create an additional platform for creative enterprise to flourish, OLF will fulfill its traditional obligation of ending the year on an entertaining note and usher in the new year with fun and fanfare, while carrying along every part of the state in line with the governor’s electoral promise that no part of Lagos will be left behind,” the Commissioner said.
Ayorinde said this year’s edition of the One Lagos Fiesta would also see the introduction of a talent hunt exercise tagged ‘Lagos’ Got Talent’, which according to him, sought to discover, celebrate and reward exceptional talents among the youth or the young at heart in the areas of music, dance, comedy and other creative stunts.
Explaining how the talent hunt would run, Ayorinde said that interested participants could register online at www.onelagosfiesta.ng as well as in the five zonal offices including Multipurpose hall of Eko FM, Agidingbi Ikeja, Divisional Information Office, Lugard’s House along the Badagry Marina, Divisional Information Office, Ikorodu, 1, Oriwu Street, Ita Elewa, City Hall, Lagos Island and Divisional Information Office, Epe, Chalet Road, beside Lagos High Court, Oke-Oyinbo, Epe.
He said registration for the talent hunt show would run till Wednesday, December 14, 2016, while those selected from the audition would have an opportunity to perform at the OLF stage in each location between the 24th and 30th of December with the two finalists from each zone slugging it out for the final showdown in Victoria Island on the 31st of December.
“If you are talented in any of these areas and you are looking for a platform to showcase your skills and begin a rewarding journey to stardom, then this year’s OLF is the platform you need,” Ayorinde said.
Also speaking, Co-chairs of the One Lagos Fiesta Committee, Acting Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Adebimpe Akinshola and Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh, said that winners of the talent hunt show would be handsomely rewarded by the State Government, adding that arrangements had also been made for varieties of A-list and upcoming artistes from all music genres to thrill participants.
They also assured that adequate security measures have been put in place to ensure safety of lives and property throughout the course of the fiesta.
SPONSORED BY BUY656.COM: Memry Savanhu is a Zimbabwean actress, filmmaker and an entrepreneur based in Lagos and partially London. She studied drama in London and filmmaking at New York Film Academy in Abu Dhabi. Memry has featured in many Nollywood movies including Lagos Cougars, One Fine Day, On Bended Knees and soon-to-be-released Nigerian historical drama, 76. In this exclusive interview with Guardian Woman, she speaks why she chose to settle in Nigeria and her role in ‘76’.
You are probably the most recognised Zimbabwean actress in Nigeria? Was the transition to Nollywood deliberately?
I am unaware of any other Zimbabwean actors or actresses who have featured in Nollywood before. I would like to think that I am breaking new ground and paving the way for aspiring Zimbabwean actors and actresses who wish to further their careers. There is another Zimbabwean personality called Vimbai Mutinhiri who has ventured into movies but has made a name as a television presenter.
My transition into Nollywood was deliberate. I saw the growth and potential in African film making and wanted to be a part of it. Nollywood is the largest and most successful sector of the African film industry so naturally I felt this was the best place for me to work. I saw the potential to tell my own stories and share my talent with a wider African audience. It was also an opportunity to introduce some diversity to Nollywood.
What prompted you to relocate to Nigeria? Has it paid off for you?
For me to work in Nollywood successfully I had to be based in Nigeria not just from a practical stand-point but also from an experiential viewpoint. Being based in Nigeria allows me to engage with the people and culture which is valuable for me as an actress and a producer. It allows me to relate to the people whose culture I portray in films.
I feel that I have been largely accepted by the industry and the move has had a lot of positives. But as with anything in life I also have experienced my fair share of challenges. However, with time and experience we will improve as an industry.
How did you get to be starred in 76, a movie inspired by ? How was the experience working with Rita Dominic and Ramsey Nouah?
I had previously worked with director, Izu Ojukwu on my first ever film in Nollywood, The Distance Between, and ever since then he has become one of my mentors. As a producer, we worked together on The Distance Between, which he directed. I was very impressed with his work as a director and I felt we have chemistry. He is an amazing director and is someone who I always eager to work with. When the script was sent to me I was amazed by the storyline, but I had my doubts regarding the suitability of my strengths for the role. At the time I felt that there were other more suitable actresses. It came as a bit of a surprise when Izu informed me that I had the part.
However, because of our previous work together, I knew that he was aware of my ability and in that respect I can see why I was selected for the role.
In addition to working with Izu on The Distance Between, I had also worked with Rita on that film. She displayed a fantastic work ethic and professionalism and she continued to exhibit the same qualities on the set of 76. Both Rita and Ramsey are an absolute pleasure to work with. I have learned a lot from both of them.
One of the themes of the movie relates to strength of soldiers’ wives. Does this speak to your personal life in any way?
The film is based in the 70s and my experience of that period is through the eyes of my mother. Although she is not an army wife, she experienced the latter stages of the liberation war in Zimbabwe during that time. Those who were not directly involved in the fighting had to provide support to the guerrillas. For most women it meant providing meals as well as intelligence and my mother was one such woman. She is proud to have played her part in liberating the country and serves as an inspiration for me. In addition, the 70s were a time of struggle for most Africans politically and we are bound by that struggle; it unites us because we can relate to each other’s experiences regardless of whether you were in Nigeria or Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe, your country of origin, is facing biting poverty. Do you have plans of speaking against, and perhaps, of correcting some of the ills that led to the situation?
I do not think that poverty is confined to Zimbabwe. As a country we are going through a phase that is obviously challenging for a lot of people. I believe that this is a phase, a season. However, I also believe in Zimbabweans. We are resilient and hardworking, and will overcome our challenges as a nation. Often the biggest challenges are what builds future character. The lessons that we are learning now will equip us for future challenges.
Are there specific Zimbabwean cultural and historical narratives you wish to make into movies?
There are but nothing that I can specifically identify at present. However, I would like to bring some of my cultural and historical influences into my work in general. It is inevitable because one is shaped by their culture and experiences. I would also like to bring in other African influences, not just from Zimbabwe, because I believe that our continent is blessed with diversity of culture and history. We have a lot of shared values, cultures and experiences and also have a lot of unique qualities. There are a lot of untold stories in Africa and we have to tell those stories to the rest of the world in our own unique way.
You produce and act, which of these comes easier for you? Do you plan to specialise in either of the two later?
I am more of a producer than an actress. It comes more naturally to me and I plan to venture more into production than acting in the future. I am a story teller and that is my strength. Acting confines me to stories that are being told in the eyes of another person and I feel this limits me as an artist. I would like be free to tell stories in my own way. There are a lot of stories that I would like to share with the world. I would also like to control the process because there is a lot more to experience as a filmmaker in making a film. That is not to say that the stories that I am a part of as an actress are not interesting or engaging. 76, for example, is a brilliant story and I enjoyed being a part of telling it. However, I would like to summon all the resources that the African continent affords us including different languages and locations. There are many exotic locations that would make amazing film locations around the continent.
Having been in Nollywood for a few years, what do you think industry practitioners need to do to make Nollywood better?
Nollywood is relatively new compared to Hollywood and Bollywood, the two other titans of the film industry. We are learning and improving as we go along. There are obviously still some challenges. For me the biggest challenge as an actress is scheduling and time management. We still have challenges with time management and meeting deadlines.
The other area where I would like to see Nollywood improve is in distribution. At the moment distribution is rather limited to Nigeria and Ghana. There is growing interest on the African continent and there has to be a more concerted effort to distribute films across the continent. The market across Africa is potentially very large. Without the widespread access to the internet that Africans abroad enjoy, it is necessary to find ways of distributing films using conventional methods to all corners of the continent.
Has being a single mum impacted the way you work?
Not at all. I am just like any other person with responsibilities. I am not unique. There are other mothers and fathers out there who have a lot more to juggle with a lot less resources than I have. I feel blessed to have my children and to be able to pursue my dreams.
Who is Memry Savanhu?
I am a proud African and a child of the Zezuru tribe. Primarily I am a mother, daughter, sister, niece, friend and peer. I am people person who loves to give. I am happiest when I am giving whether as an actress or giving back to my community. I evoke people’s dreams and emotions. I raise a mirror to society while at the same time giving it hope and aspiration. I am very grounded. My mother taught me that strength does not mean losing your humility. Even though I am an actress I am very private; an introvert. When the acting and film-making is done, and all that is associated with it; the awards ceremonies, the premieres and promotional events, I prefer the comfort of my private space.
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Chiquemagazine.com: President Muhammadu Buhari formally married off his daughter, Fatima, to Malam Yau Gimba Kumo on Friday in Daura, his home town. The wedding took place at the President’s residence on Mai’adua road, Daura at about 2.40 p.m. Here are some faces at the wedding:
Go here: https://www.chiquemagazine.com/photos-faces-at-buharis-daughters-marriage/
President Buhari and well wishers during the wedding
Fatima Buhari (L) with former chief Physician to the President, Prof. Sadiq Wali at the wedding fatiha to Alhaji Yau Gimba Kumo in Daura, Katsina state on Friday
Fatima Buhari (M) with friends and relations
The Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Faruk (m) at the wedding
Go here: Chiquemagazine.com:
As Anambra Broadcasting Service, ABS, organiser of the Miss Anambra Beauty Pageant installs another Miss Anambra today, in Akwa, the state capital, following the sudden removal of the reigning queen, Chidinma Okeke, there are indications that trouble looms ahead as the embattled ex-beauty queen has alleged a threat to her life for wanting to unravel the mystery behind her dethronement. Miss Okeke was dethroned after the allegedly sex tape video of herself and friend hit the internet.
The dethroned queen called for a press conference Thursday, to unravel the circumstances surrounding her predicament, but the forces behind her ordeal are said to be spiting fire, warning her against the consequences of what she wants to do.
However, the ex-beauty queen day morning took to her Facebook page to raise alarm following the threat to her life. In her post, wrote, “Good morning all. This is Chidinma Okeke, Miss Anambra 2015, considering the need to make the world know the truth about the trending scandal and what we have been going through before, then and now I decided to address a world press conference at the NUJ press centre Awka today. But from the moment I made public this intention I have been under siege of threats by my black- mailers and traducers. They are seriously threatening to shoot me at the press conference if I ever open my mouth to say real truth about the ugly episode. My life is under serious threat if they succeed in killing me today the world already know my traducers the truth is unearthed.” Meanwhile, tongues are wagging that some power brokers in the Anambra Broadcasting Service, organizers of the pageantry are behind ex beauty queen’s ordeal. According to an unconfirmed online source (Secret Reporters), Chidinma has been having an affair with one of the top management staff of the organization. Troubled started after she refused to cooperate with the said ‘oga’, who wanted his other friends to also have a taste of her. She was said to have been threatened, and could not bear the pressure any more, hence she decided to surrender the Kia car and her crown. Recall that the video released late last week, showed the Nigerian pageant winner in an explicit scene with another woman, who at first was not identified. Okeke spoke out immediately after the video began spreading on social media, saying that the video was actually another person and blaming what appeared to be her appearance on trick photography. The attention of the management of the Anambra Broadcasting Service, organisers of the Miss Anambra Beauty Pageant has been drawn to a video with lurid contents purportedly showing former Miss Anambra, Miss Chidinma Okeke (Miss Anambra 2015).
However the organizers of the Miss Anambra Beauty Pageant, Anambra Broadcasting Service, ABS, released a statement condemning the act. “We wish to make the following clarifications – “The said Miss Chidinma Okeke who is allegedly linked to the lurid content in circulation has served-out her term as Miss Anambra 2015 and handed over the crown in line with the terms and conditions of The Miss Anambra pageant. “We condemn in clear terms any amoral behaviour/ conduct as suggested by the alleged lurid content in circulation and do not condone such. “It is on record that The Miss Anambra Beauty Pageant has been a platform to empower Anambra women and celebrate our rich culture and heritage.
Chief Tony Okoroji, the Chairman of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), on Tuesday, said that he would soon launch his record label to be known as “TOPS Record Label”.
Okoroji told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that his label would soon rock the music industry with a group of outstanding young Nigerian talents.
The former Chairman of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) disclosed that Kasi Anuforo, a.k.a. “KASI”, upcoming musician was the most talented under his tutelage.
“KASI is a bomb waiting to explode and when she explodes, all the girls in the music industry must go back to the drawing board because she is set to rewrite the rules.
“KASI is natural and has inspired me in many ways. I cannot wait for Nigerians and the world to experience what I have seen in her,” he said.
Okoroji, who mentored “Dizzy K Falola” to stardom with the hit track “Baby Kilode” in the early 1980s, added that he was capable of spotting an exceptional talent when he sees one.
“I have spent a lifetime in the music industry. I have seen talents in different shapes and colours.
“I am not sure that I have met any talent so real and genuine like that of KASI,” he said.
Okoroji said that his label, which was a hot music production, publishing and distribution company, would strive to carve a niche for itself and KASI in the music industry.
“I am confident that KASI will rock the world and TOPS label is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that she gets a roll out like no other,” he said.
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The remains of late singer cum music producer OJB Jezreel was on Friday taken to church for funeral service at The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Grace Chapel #129, Ogunlana Drive Surulere, Lagos.
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She was taken out of primary school at the age of 12 to marry a man in his 40s whom she had never met before. At first, Balaraba Ramat Yakubu enjoyed the presents she received at the wedding and the golden ornaments decorating her new home, but she had no idea what marriage was about.
Today, that illiterate girl who didn’t even know how to boil water and who, one year and eight months after the wedding, was finally sent back to her father’s house in disgrace, has become one of northern Nigeria’s most well-known writers and the first female Hausa-language author to be translated into English.
“If you know where I came from, you’ll realise how much I have fought,” says the 57-year-old author of nine novels.
Resentment resounds in her voice when she speaks of the end of her first marriage. “It still pains me,” she says. “My husband never told me that he loved me, that he wanted me. And then one day someone just came and took me back to my parents.
“He said I was too young. Didn’t he know that when he married a child?”
Yakubu used this traumatic experience in her novel Wa Zai Auri Jahila? (Who Would Marry an Ignorant Woman?), published in 1990, in which 13-year-old Abu gets pulled out of school to be married off to a big-bellied man more than three times her age.
But like Yakubu, Abu does not remain a victim: She finds a better life through education.
The book is a statement against child marriage as well as a plea for girls’ education, something that was not the norm during Yakubu’s childhood in Kano, the largest city in Nigeria’s predominantly-Muslim north. Girls in her father’s family were not allowed a Western education; they were sent to Quranic schools until they were reready to marry – preferably before they had their first menstrual period.
According to a National Literacy Survey from 2010, almost half of the women in northern Nigeria cannot read or write in any language.
The only reason Yakubu attended primary school at all was because her mother had sent her there in secret. At the time, she recalls, she was the only girl among her grandfather’s 80 female grandchildren who went to primary school. When her father discovered it, his response was the arranged marriage.
Her older brother, Murtala, was vehemently opposed to the wedding, but could not stop it. He was the one who had encouraged her mother to send his little sister to primary school in the first place. “My brother had only my best interest in mind,” says Yakubu, who still does not like to talk about his death. Forty years ago, her brother, who was by then Nigeria’s military ruler, was assassinated in his car on the way to Dodan Barracks in Lagos.
Yakubu was 17 years old when her brother died. Until today, she refuses to read anything about Murtala Muhammed’s murder, and she has never visited Lagos’ National Museum, which exhibits the bullet-riddled Mercedes in which her brother was shot. But she misses him every day.
After her first divorce, her mother again became her co-conspirator. Yakubu had pleaded with her father to allow her to enrol for knitting and sewing courses. What she didn’t tell him, though, was that those courses had introduced her to a centre for adult education.
So when she went out with her sewing machine, it was actually to learn how to read and write Hausa, the language of the largest ethnic group and the lingua franca in the north of Nigeria. “Only my mother knew,” Yakubu remembers. “She helped cover for me when my father asked where I was.”
In the meantime, she sewed as many baby dresses as she could in order to sell, this serving as an alibi for all the time she spent away from home.
When one day her father found her primary school diploma in her bag, he reacted by revealing to his daughter that he’d found another suitor. Yakubu was 15, but gladly accepted the marriage: She was happy to have completed elementary education and felt she was now mature enough to face a relationship.
Very quickly, though, it became clear that she had learned too much to fit into the role of the obedient wife. Always reading the newspapers and asking questions, always looking up words she didn’t know, she was too independent for her spouse’s liking. In this marriage, she had her first child, a son, but after three years, she was again sent back to her parents.
When she returned home, she announced to her father that this time she was insisting on continuing her education. And he accepted. “Maybe because he’d grown older, he was now much softer. That was my hallelujah moment,” she says.
At 18, she started her studies at the Kano State Agency for Mass Education, where she would eventually teach Hausa to other women.
Able to provide for herself and with a fulfilling career, Yakubu still hadn’t given up on matrimony. But in Hausa society, a single adult woman is not respected, and she tried marriage two more times and had five children in total. Her fourth and final marriage, which she describes as a happy one, ended when her husband decided to take a second wife. “I knew what I wanted now and refused to take the abuse that I’d taken before,” she explains.
Now, she is no longer looking for a man, even though she knows how the community perceives her.
“A happy divorcee is viewed with suspicion. People describe me as strong-headed because I don’t need a man.”
The bookshelves in her modest two-bedroom bungalow display all nine of her novels – well-known titles, some of which are even listed in the secondary school curriculum.
“These days, I’m fortunate: When people see my name on something, they want to read it,” Yakubu says, leaning back in the couch in her sitting room and rearranging her white chador.
Her popularity did not come overnight. After she published her first novel in 1987, religious leaders would preach against her, and she would receive threatening letters denouncing her and her children, which she described as “the most hurtful thing you can do to a mother”.
Lost in her story
When Yakubu starts writing, she writes everywhere: in the kitchen, in the car, and even on her phone when there is no pen nearby. Her grown-up son Muhammed remembers how he and his siblings would know their mother was in her writing mode. They would find her on a mat in the living room, resting on a pillow: a pen in her hand, lost in her story.
Her children knew better than to try something naughty though, because however enthralled their mother might seem, she always kept an eye on whatever her offspring were up to, Muhammed adds.
With a smile, his mother recounts how she involved her children in the writing process. “My handwriting is bad, like an old doctor’s. So I used to let my children copy what I’d written. That’s why I was certain I wasn’t doing anything wrong, and I knew Allah would see that, too. Do you think I’d write anything unfit for my children’s eyes?”
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The current Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Unoaku Anyadike, tells Ademola Olonilua about her style
Have you always been a fashion inclined person?
I would not say that I have always been fashion inclined hundred per cent. I just like to stand out and wear what I think is good on me and feel comfortable in it. I will not wear what is trending especially if it makes me uncomfortable. If I don’t like it, I will not wear it.
Does that mean you do not follow trends?
No I don’t follow trends. If it comes and I like it; feel good, comfortable and it complements my looks, then I may indulge in it. I just wear what I feel comfortable in.
What clothes do you feel comfortable wearing?
I am more comfortable in dresses and jeans, but I am not a fan of skirts. I can wear them but it depends.
Why don’t you like wearing skirts, don’t you like your legs?
I did not say short skirts, the skirt could be long and nobody would see my legs. I don’t hate them but I do not feel comfortable wearing skirts. I would rather wear dresses.
What would you never be caught wearing?
I would never be caught wearing leggings with a short top. I hate that outfit even though a lot of people wear it. I think it is awful and that is one thing I know I would never be caught wearing.
You don’t seem to like wearing short dresses?
Is there a reason for wearing short and revealing dresses? I know girls do it but that is not me. It does not depict my kind of person. I do not like to reveal my body because it is the temple of the Lord. Why should I reveal my body?
How often do you go to spas?
I love going to spas and I would advise people to take time and visit them as often as possible. However, I am very particular about what I put on my body. I mind the kind of cream, soap, and facial cleanser I use. I do not just put anything on my body especially my face. I like going to spas for manicure and pedicure but before anyone rubs anything on my body, I really need to know what they are applying on my skin. Every girl should make out time for such pampering, but it is not easy.
The trend now is bleaching, as a dark complexioned girl, have you ever considered that?
I have never at any point thought I should be fairer than the way God created me. I don’t think it is a good trend for people to follow. Who says you are not beautiful the way you were created? Who says you must be fair to be beautiful? It is not a good thing to bleach at all.
Have you always been comfortable with being a slim girl?
When I was in primary school, I was very skinny. I remember my parents used to complain to me then that I seldom ate. Every day, they counted my ribs for me and whenever I ate, they told me that one rib had disappeared. I have always been a skinny person. When I was going to the boarding house, my parents were very scared because they thought I would not eat. They asked me to promise them that I would eat and not starve myself. It was not intentional; it is just that I am not a big fan of food. I eat only when I am hungry.
What is your fashion fetish?
I think it is perfumes because I love to smell good. I rather get a compliment about my smell than my shoes.
What is the fashion item you cannot leave home without?
To be honest, I don’t have. I wanted to say my eyeliner but I have left the house so many times without it. I am not a big fan of make-up. I can’t leave my house naked so I think it is going to be my clothes. I can’t leave home without my clothes.
Why don’t you like make up when that is the craze of the moment among ladies?
I apply make-up on my face only when it is absolutely necessary and that is because the make-up artistes always tell me that I need the make-up because of the lights and camera. Most times when they want to do my make-up, I ask them not to apply foundation but they say on television, they get all the angles so I need the foundation for the contours and highlights. If I had my way, I would just go out in a simple and plain way. I can do make up but a very light one. I don’t like make-up that makes you look completely different. I like something that compliments me. There are some people that heavy make-up does not work for. Every girl needs to know what suits their body, I know what suits mine and heavy make-up does not look good on me. People tell me especially my mother and sisters. I am not a big fan of make-up.
What is your most cherished fashion item?
It would be my jewellery box and it was given to me by my mother.
Why did you cut your hair?
I cut my hair because it was breaking. I used to have very healthy hair but because of relaxers, it started to break. My hair began to cut on its own before I decided to cut it. It was in a miserable state, so I cut it. I was not aiming to copy those that are claiming ‘team natural hair’. When it grows to the length that I want, then I can relax it and start taking proper care of it again.
How often do you work out?
I don’t work out at all and it is because I have not had a reason to do so yet. I would at some point anyway. I wanted to start about a week ago but different things came up and I forgot about it. I will at some point because I have the tendency to go big.
It seems you don’t have tattoos and extra piercings, is it intentional?
I only have the piercing I was given as a child. I don’t like extra piercing. I am okay with the one that I have. Tattoos are not just for me.
How has your reign been as the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria?
It has been interesting and this has been a different journey for me entirely. I will say that it has been alright.
Is this your first beauty pageant?
This is not my first beauty pageant. I used to go for pageants when I was in secondary school. I attended Queen’s College, Yaba, Lagos. I partook in my first beauty pageant when I was in SS1. I was Miss Haiti because we chose the countries we wished to represent. We had managers who coached us and taught us how to do pageants. I was the first runner up in the contest. I went for Miss UI, in the University of Ibadan in my 100 level. I was the first runner up as well in the competition. I was to go for MBGN in 2014 but I opted out because I was sitting for my exams. It was either I went for the pageant and have an extra year in school because I would defer my admission or contest the following year. I chose to sit my exams and contest the following year.
What did you study?
I graduated from the University of Ibadan and I studied psychology.
What was your parents’ reaction when you informed them that you wanted to contest at the MBGN?
My parents were very supportive; they are not like some other parents that would discourage their children. They have always known that I would go for the pageant and they knew that I went for it in 2014. They did not stop me then, so in 2015 they were very supportive. Besides, this is not my first pageant. They knew it would get to this point and they were supportive just like my sisters.
What impact have you made in the lives of Nigerians as the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria?
I have been able to impact on the lives of people through my pet project which is on endometriosis. It is a health disorder that affects women. I chose this particular disorder because a lot of girls do not know about it. I just want to create awareness about it because it affects women. We don’t know the cause and there is no cure for it. I want to create awareness so that women can go for medical check-up and if they realise they have it, they can manage it easily. I used to have terrible menstrual pain which is one of the symptoms and that is how I knew about the illness. I would go online and read about it and when the opportunity came, I chose it as my pet project.
Read excerpts on Amazon. Go here: https://www.amazon.com/Rags-Fortune-Chukwuma-Oraegbu-ebook/dp/B00FCLAC7I
Amara Kanu, Ex-Super Eagles player and legendary footballer, Kanu Nwankwo is stunning in these new photos she released to mark her 30th birthday.
The photos of the gorgeous mother of 3 were shot in London by London-based photographer, Alero Marcel where she absolutely slayed the pictures. Amara bagged a degree in Architecture, and has worked for interior decor companies for high-end London houses and even designed for London Marriott hotel. She married her husband at the age of 18 and they will be celebrating their 12th anniversary in a couple of weeks.