Meet the man told to leave Saudi Arabia for being ‘too handsome’

Omar Borkan Al Gala

Meet the ridiculously good-looking man who was reportedly told to leave Saudi Arabia for being too handsome.

Omar Borkan Al Gala, an actor and photographer from Dubai, was given his marching orders along with a number of other men at a cultural festival earlier this month.

With his perfectly formed cheekbones, captivating gaze and well groomed appearance, it’s easy to see why authorities felt so threatened by his good looks.

They were so worried, in fact, they thought the United Arab Emirates delegates might corrupt impressionable women at the annual Janadriyah Festival.

Good looking Continue reading

Pilot at 20: Nigerian set record as youngest commercial licensed pilot in Africa

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Favour Odozor: Youngest commercial pilot in Africa

20 year old Nigerian, Favour Odozor has set a record as the youngest commercial licensed pilot in Nigeria and Africa.

He just graduated alongside 15 other trained pilots at the Afrika Union Aviation Academy (AUAA), Mafikeng, South Africa by completing all the required 37 flying procedures in record time.

I feel really inspired by the achievements of this young man. You have made yourself, your family and the whole nation proud.

#DCCSocialMedia: Understanding Social Media Evolution in Nigeria

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Daystar Christian Centre held a Social Media Business Seminar tagged “Understanding Social Media Evolution in Nigeria” on Saturday 13th, April, 2013. The main aim was to help entrepreneurs reach a larger market and tap into the enormous potential of Social Media. The event held the Annex 2 of Daystar and was also live on twitter via the hashtag #DCCSocialMedia. The guest speaker were Deolu Akinyemi, Japhet Omojuwa and Chude Jideonwo and they all carried the conversation via their respective twitter accounts. (@deoluakinyemi @daystarng @Chude @omojuwa).

Here are some excerpts from twitter:

“Your job is to cut out all the noise and focus…you need not join every platform” ~ Chude

“Not every new platform is meant to be used by you” ~ Chude

“Your choices must be informed by utility” ~ Chude

“BlackBerry may not be effective everywhere in the world but it is a very effective tool here in Nigeria” ~ Chude

“Find where your audience is” ~ Chude

“Follow your market wherever it is. Big businesses know they should follow their market. Where are they? Follow them!” ~ Deolu Akinyemi

“As a business owner, you need to have values you are offering to clients.” ~ Deolu Akinyemi

“Your values should be clear. Once you have values, then you need to identify those who need them.” ~ Deolu Akinyemi

“when i tweet, i don’t see numbers i see human beings” ~ Omojuwa

“Any time i tweet fooltball there has to be something behind it” ~ Omojuwa

“there are 2million google searches every second” ~ Omojuwa

“272,000 dollars is spent online every second” ~ Omojuwa

“On Social Media platforms, don’t see numbers, see humans” ~ Omojuwa

In all, the seminar opened the eyes of many prospective and actual entrepreneurs to the vast resources and limitless opportunities that abounds online via the effective use of social media. Attendees were taught basic principles about value creation, finding the right audience and achieving best results by monetizing their efforts.

To get a full gist of what went down use the hashtag #DCCSocialMedia to follow the discussion from the guest speakers as well as reactions from various people on twitter.

I AM INNOCENT BUT I SPENT THE LAST 13 YEARS OF MY LIFE IN PRISON

The encounter that will live with me for a long time

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It was a sunny afternoon in Lagos and I had just boarded a bus from CMS when a man in a blue polo shirt and black trouser, who looked emaciated and a bit unkempt, stood up to speak. He introduced himself as Daniel and was quick to point out that he was not a madman neither was he a beggar; he just wanted to share his experience.

The man regained his freedom on Wednesday 13th March, 2013 after spending 13 years behind bars. He was arrested in 1995 alongside 708 other people by General Sani Abacha’s operative as part of a suppressive measure against anti-government crusaders following the mass protests that greeted the cancellation of the June 12, 1993 election and Abacha’s rise to power. These indiscriminate arrests were known in the Southwest as “Won ko #Roga” and more often than not innocent people were usually the victims.

After his arrest, Brother Daniel was remanded in Ilesha Prison where he was until 1998 when a riot broke out and some inmates escaped following the news of Abiola’s death. The escapees we later recaptured and the prison authorities decided to relocate them. The prisoners were transported under inhumane conditions, a great number of them were squeezed into a Black Maria, they could not sit or stand comfortably coupled with very poor ventilation. Brother Daniel thought his end had come.  They were scattered all over Lagos –Kirikiri, Ikoyi and Badagry – and the prisoners believed that it was in a bid to frustrate their friends and families who might want to locate them. He was remanded in Kirikiri.

During his 13 years stay in Prison, Brother Daniel only had two court dates that did not yield into anything meaningful. They were fed twice daily – Half cooked beans in the morning and Eba with terrible soup in the night. Often time they spiced their food with ajinomoto that had been smuggled in to enable the swallow the food. The only access they had to information was through the radios wardens brought with them when they made rounds. The living condition is unfit even for animals and they had very little going for them in the way of care from the wardens. The little respite they had was from RCCG, other church missions and Major Al-Mustapha who provided food, medical supplies and assistance to pregnant inmates.

More on prisoner welfare in Nigerian Prisons

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There he was in the bus, fully given his life to Jesus – the only thing that sustained him all through his time in confinement. Fresh out of prison with no money in his pocket, no idea where to start from, no assurances about his welfare and security, no guarantees on how the society will react to him and no compensation for the years he had lost and for the pains he had suffered. After addressing us, he was lost in thoughts every now and then, interrupted by commuters offering him money, some N20, some N50, others N100 and he expressed heartfelt gratitude to each of the donors. As he was about to alight, I squeezed N1,000 note into his palm, he was too stunned to say thank you and was almost moved to tears. My only prayer was that he could find meaning in life again…. And joy!

A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS

–          How many innocent Nigerians are currently rotting in Jail?

–          How many of them have dreams, aspirations, loved ones and desire to live like you and I?

–          Why is the standard of living so poor? Is the point of incarceration to debase their minds or to correct them?

–          Why would you release an inmate without making adequate plans for his welfare and security at least to help him find his feet and adjust back into society?

–          Why do the billionaire thieves get pardons and national awards while common ones/innocent people rot in Jail?

–          What is wrong with our (in)Justice system?

–          Is there hope for Nigeria?

YOU AND YOUR “USELESS” BUSINESS IDEA – Oluyomi Ojo

I have been opportuned in my few years of experience in the design business to come across different kind of people, organizations, teams, businesses and events and I must confess, I marvel at the way ideas are been worshiped  I have heard speakers speak about ideas in ways that can make entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into some demigods. Saying things like “ideas rule the world”, “ideas make the world go round” and “all you need to get a break is a brilliant business idea” Every now and then I hear people say “you got to protect that idea”. Here is the bad news; our ideas are as useless as a dirt. Ideas don’t rule the world neither do they make the world go round.  And please do note that when I say ideas, I mean every kind of business ideas you can ever think of.

A larger percentage of ideas been protected or even the ones being pitched around will never go anywhere, and it is important to know that these ideas are bound to fail not because they are invalid or because they are not brilliant, most of them will fail because of only one thing. Just one thing- EXECUTION.

All kind of people have absolutely brilliant ideas, just thinking about them, writing them down in some documents they guard diligently, discussing them with friends, family, associates and waiting for them to say WOW that’s a great idea! But in the end do absolutely nothing to make the ideas come to life, or having poor execution.

My job as the Director of Magic (yes! I do magic) at Urbanbaze as thought me a lot about ideas and executions, being in the business of selling ideas to clients as turned me into a student of understanding ideas and execution. Three years ago, we had an idea that was absolutely brilliant, we were sure it will change the way brands engage the youth market. It was so great that we talked about it at every meeting. But it was just an idea, a mere pregnancy that can get aborted. We decided to push it, we pitched it to some Nigerian brands and multinationals that we were sure wants innovative ways to engage with youths. Meetings after meeting, and as usual, all the pitched faded into complete silence or truthful rejection like “Guys, we are sorry, we tried, we couldn’t get management to approve it”.

One of the meetings, the manager walked up to me, shook my hands and said “you see, let me tell you the truth, no one is ready to buy into an idea that has not been executed, go back to your drawing board, create a product with it, give us a better reason to believe in it, come back and pitch, I believe it should fly, and if it doesn’t fly, well you have a product, so you can easily pitch it to other prospects”. It was like a veil was removed from my eyes, as we drove out of their premises, I knew we have all we need to make it happen. We gathered every resources we had, built our product, went back to pitch the same client and that was it. After eighteen months of pitching around, we struck gold. My lesson, it’s not the idea that will take you there, it’s the execution.

Truth be told, when an idea is yours, being biased about it is inevitable, it’s like your baby and you are likely to believe it is brilliant even if it’s not. An idea is just a starting point, it is the first step you take on a journey that may last your entire business career as an entrepreneur, which is why what you do with it and how you do it is more important. When next you come up with an idea that seem great, these few tips among others can help you strike gold.

  1. Spend more time working on your idea than you spend discussing it with people who won’t make any contribution than just nodding their heads and saying that’s a great idea.
  2. Start with anything, anywhere, making as many mistakes as possible. I was at a Google event and their team put us through how to execute ideas, they don’t wait, they just start immediately, learning how to make it work while doing it.
  3. Look at how your ideas can be monetized, by fixing problems for people or firms with it. If your idea can’t fix a problem, you are not different from a mother who just learns a new way to change a baby’s napkin, when others have moved on with diapers.
  4. Find people around you or far from you who can help make your idea happen and don’t just approach for favor, tell them what’s in it for them.
  5. Kill your own baby. That is be ready to allow your ideas to change or metamorphosed from what you first came up with into what the world needs, more often than not, your initial idea that seemed great is just a lamp to lead you to the real deal, clinging to it may stop you from making things happen.
  6. After all said and done, don’t ever think of protecting your idea, rather think of protecting your execution, a finished product or a service ready to be rendered, Google didn’t patent the idea of a search engine, Apple didn’t patent the idea if an iPhone, they patented the product itself. So no execution, no protection.
  7. Be aware that no one is ready to buy into your idea if there’s nothing in it for them, so while developing it, always look at the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) part for every stakeholder which include you or your organization, your prospects and every other person who might have a stake in it. Let your prospect know what your ideas can do for them, is it awareness? Will it increase their bottom-line? Put the values first.

Via @under40prenuer