Archive for the living with atg Category


Posted in living with atg with tags , , , , on February 19, 2010 by ayenithegreat

When Funmi Iyanda’s new show TWF debuted on February 7, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment.

On the surface, you’d think I had no reason to: I had never met the lady, not to talk of being friends with her.

But I had known her for years – first through Tempo, where she became one of my favourite columnists; and later through her Breakfast TV show New Dawn. Fun mi is my kind of woman: Bold and brave; fierce and fearless; intelligent and independent-minded; restless and roaring; deep and devout. You’ll see it in her eyes; in her movement; her dressing. You’ll see it in the way she asks her questions, the way she agrees and disagrees; the way she fights and loves. This, is one passionate wo-man.

And it’s no make-believe, as you’ll find when you meet her in person.

The first time I ever saw her up close, was on Oxford Street in London. I had just stepped out of MacDonald’s when I spot a young lady I suspect is Ms Iyanda. I walk up close to confirm she’s the one, then spend the next 30 seconds debating if to walk up and introduce myself or not. I’ve been trying to interview this woman for years. Now here she is, in a strange land, alone.

The pedestrian light turns green and she crosses the road. I follow, keeping a small distance. Then she heads straight into Primark, and within seconds, is lost in the shopping crowd. I stand there, for what looked like an hour, scolding myself and imagining what the different editors I’ve worked with would have said, if I told them I saw Fun mi Iyanda alone in London, and let her ‘escape’.

‘‘Ol’ Boy you no serious now. You no know say na cover be that?’’ Azuh Arinze, my editor at Encomium would have said, while insisting I search the whole of Primark and ‘fish’ her out. If I fail to find her or get the interview, Azuh’ll suggest I ‘‘capture’’ what I saw, in ‘‘beautiful prose’’. He liked ‘‘beautiful prose’’.

‘‘Mr Man, o je je k’ori e pe (you better get your act together). You better don’t come back here if you don’t do that interview. K’o ya maa gbe London’’, Encomium publisher Kunle Bakare would have told me over the phone. According to Bakare’s law of celebrity journalism, when you see a target, ask for an interview there and then; not a later appointment – it might never happen! Standing in front of Primark, I remembered how Bakare would never forgive me for failing to interview Kokoro and KWAM 1; and how he scolded me for fixing an interview appointment with Lagbaja, when I could have done the interview right there at his album launch in 2006.

I remembered Gabriella Osamor, my editor at THISDAY, and my heart nearly missed a beat. She wouldn’t even give you a choice. With you faraway in London, she’d tell the team at the Monday meeting: ‘‘Ayeni said he saw Funmi Iyanda in London. Can we use her for cover this Sunday’’? If everyone) especially Shaka Momodu and Nseobong Okon-Ekong) agrees, then you’re in trouble – God help you if the interview doesn’t happen.

As I left Primark and headed for the underground, I warned myself not to ‘mistakenly’ tell anyone I had just let Funmi Iyanda ‘escape’.

I soon forgot the incident; I soon forgot about her. Until I saw the promo materials for the new show Talk With Funmi. First I saw pictures of her trip across Nigeria, and then I saw videos : the eye-opening conversation with the Hunter in Ondo; taking soccer lessons from Fashola in Lagos; riding through the Okada phenomenon with Charly Boy; getting initiated to Galala and Suo, in Ajegunle; amongst many others.

This is the right time to finally interview this woman, I say to myself, as I crawl through Youtube and Google, searching for the TWF trailer and other info. Finally, the real talk show queen is going all the way to put a beautiful, proudly Nigerian show together. Finally, we’ll have the one woman who understands the A to Z of presenting, interviewing and guest-examination take over and save us from pretenders masquerading as the real McCoy.

Finally, I resorted to blackmail to get to talk with Funmi Iyanda.

‘‘Ayeni, Talk With Funmi is debuting on February 7. Please I want to send you a story to help us use’’, the caller said.

So I answer: ‘‘No problem boss. But first, get me that interview I’ve been asking for. It’s almost four years now, remember?’’.

The interview happened on Tuesday.

‘‘So what do you think of Oprah?’’

‘‘I’ve never wanted to be Oprah. Chief Olusola, who should know, gave me one of the best advice of my life when I was starting out. As a 25 year-old, I went to interview him, and he said that what are you r plans? I said I wanted to be the Barbara Walters of Nigeria. And he looked me in the eyes and said you, with your longish self, and your longish name, will never be the Barbara Walters of Africa. He said you’re going to be the Funmi Iyanda of Africa…’’

I was a fan before the interview; a fan for years. When I left after over two hours, I was no longer a fan. I had become an AC.

A split unit, actually – not a window unit.



Posted in living with atg with tags , , on December 20, 2009 by ayenithegreat

Wow! It’s been more than a minute!

Can’t believe i’ve been away from here for sooooooooooooooo long!

The past few months have been work work work work and work.

Question i’ve been asking since is : who invented work sef? Can’t we all just rock and roll and bump and grind and play and play and play and play and play and play…..?


And now the whole year has flown by again. 12 full months!

I’d like to say i’d take sometime off, elope with the Mrs, embark on some naughty adventures, and enter the new year all renewed and rejuvenated. But i know it’s all a wish – a silly wish. Cos i’m gon be working my ass off – writing and editing and proof-reading and strategising and plotting for the coming year.

Yeah, i know you pity me. I pity me too!

But It’s not all hopeless o.

I manage to rock while i work; especially since i’ve discovered my ‘drink of the year’ – Red Muscadel. Talking of Muscadel, since Gbemi introduced me to the sweet, wicked liquid, i’m proud to say i’ve converted everyone of my friends (sad i can’t name names!). Those that are yet to be converted, are those yet to kiss the bottle.  Yes, all it takes to fall in lust with the Muscadel is a kiss!

On a rather serious note, i’m winning new converts elsewhere too! It’s at – the online entertainment news centre founded by my new company BlackHouse Media. is the official website for NIGERIAN ENTERTAINMENT TODAY (NET) – the  journal that’s re-inventing entertainment reporting in Nigeria.

Since we launched on November 23, the comments have been awesome; and i’d like to invite you to please stop by; go through what’s on offer, and leave us your honest comments.

I’m happy i’m keeping my promise – if you check back, i told you earlier this year i was converting this site to a more personal blog; cos we were working on something major. So now, i’ll leave you to check out every day for your daily dose of entertainment news, reviews, gossip, analyses, features, events and pictures. While i embark on a mission to engage you with bits and pieces of happenings in my work and life.

Merry Christmas folks! And a very rewarding 2010 in advance!



Posted in living with atg on July 3, 2009 by ayenithegreat


MJ pic

The slideshow of the life and times of pop star Michael Jackson is still playing, even as friends, fans and family members continue to pay glowing tributes to the man who provided the redefinition of modern pop music.


It is expected that the late singer’s body will go on public view in a matter of days ahead of a funeral reportedly slated for next week.


Jackson, who died after suffering a cardiac arrest on Thursday June 25, was the most iconic pop star since Elvis Presley, and his rare talent and career achievements – in spite of myriad personal troubles and an eccentric public-private life- have stamped his name in the hearts of millions of fans around the world.


Just like James Brown, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley and Fela Kuti, Jackson had remarkable personal failings, amazing contradictions and a huge potential to self-destruct.  With a blessing of the gift, and the burden of a curse, it was inevitable that he’ll live a life dominated by magic on one hand; and absolute madness on the other.


So, he broke chart records, sold millions of albums, got ladies weak in the knees, recruited fans all over planet earth, dined with presidents, married Elvis Presley’s daughter, and won awards like they were going out of fashion. But, for every fine move, there were-unfortunately- a bundle of mishaps, waiting to rear their ugly heads.


The mishaps of many ramifications, and a media desperate to feed the public with endless jackson-mania –expectedly- connived to steal attention from Jackson’s art; making sure that when we pictured Michael, the man we saw was not a successful singer-songwriter-performer. What we saw, instead, was a weirdo, a freak, a paedophile, a liar. What we saw, was the image of an addict, a spendaholic, and a man-trying-to-be-a-boy.


If the media conspired against Michael, it could be said that he himself was part of the conspiracy. He fed lies to the press, pulled poorly-thought-out PR stunts that eventually backfired, and lived a very very bizzarre private life; one whose content is staple food for the tabloids. He got a nose job. Talked of buying the bones of ‘Elephant Man’. Cooked up the story of the oxygen chamber, saying he was going to ‘‘live forever’’, like ‘Peter pan’. He even got sperm donors and surrogate mothers when he wanted to have kids…


With increasing damaging coverage and post-surgery repercussions, Michael became a sad story and a sorry sight. And many wished he would just die, before his demystification reached full cycle.


And death- that’s what it took to remind us all; including the media, of how much we still adored the boy-man. It took Michael dying for us to celebrate him again. He may have failed to make the much anticipated comeback, he may have been on the bottom calibration on the barometer of media opinion, and he may have stopped being the ‘king of pop’ long before even he realised it.


But, when Michael’s heart stopped pumping blood last Thursday, no one could have predicted the outpour of love and emotion that followed – even from the media!


Did we really love Michael that much?




Michael’s death, last week, has brought up a plethora of interesting debates. Among them: who was greater in life and in death? Michael Joseph Jackson? Or the equally legendary Elvis Aaron Presley who died at 42 in 1977?

 I’d like to know what you think!

what i’ve been up to

Posted in living with atg on April 7, 2009 by ayenithegreat

i’ve been busy asking those close to me one simple question: who invented work?

why don’t we just pluck money on trees and look forward to manna falling in the evenings and all that? that’s the kinda thing i wish for, each time work consumes me and the 24 hours in a day are not even enough to meet my many deadlines.

Work, oh my Gawd!

but i guess i’m a bit lucky cos i do what i love and i love what i do. can’t imagine what it’d be like if i was working in a bank – or a micribiology lab. ok. maybe i can imagine : suicide?
on a bright side though, i shouldn’t be complaining. cos just as the work load has increased, some other things have followed too . . you know, when your bank manager starts visitng you in the office, and sends you cakes on your birthday, then you know your bank balance is something to cheer about….

and, what have we been up to? driving PR for some of the most gifted nigerian acts right now

i’m sure you know Darey’s long-awaited album is now out. have you had a listen? what do u think?



and, have i told you that the masked man Lagbaja is dropping a new album in a matter of weeks? we’re excited to be working with the great musician, and we’re even the more excited, cos what’s coming is nothing like you’ve heard before….


hman? the nu kid on the block is burning hot! you’ll know what i’m saying when you listen to his debut album ndoli ndoli…


and then there’s TWO – the vetearn showbiz couple who are getting ready to drop their fourth LP.


have you seen etcetera’s nu video? hello!!!!!!



and, please if you know any aspiring djs, rappers or dancers, please tell them about dj jimmy jatt’s battlefield. forms are on sale at the place, gra, ikeja and d competition starts on april 15th…


i know so much has been said about this year’s hhwa… so much! from the good to the bad and well, the ugly! but then, don’t they say the bigger the head, the biger the headache? the awards for urbane music and hip hop culture is leading others by kilometres, and, if i was an artiste too, i probably would be querying my manager if i didnt get a nomination… i’d be glad to see more music awards around here though.. more awards, more events, to match the kind of activity going on right now..



and finally, i must give kudos to a young man i admire greatly – Jeremiah gyang! you really need to get a copy of his love album dropping in a matter of days…. if you dont like the sound, i assure you i’ll refund your money… yeah, i’m that confident!!!!!!!

and, don’t worry on my behalf, i still find time to kiss my daughter, and my wonderful mrs….


have i added any weight? nah! if you have a weight gain solution, pls gimme a cal!!!!


i’m out guys!

Why MJ Must Come To Nigeria!

Posted in living with atg on March 16, 2009 by ayenithegreat
if you really wanna be startin' somethin' MJ, then Africa is where u should be heading to...

if you really wanna be startin' somethin' MJ, then Africa is where u should be heading to...

Okay, so you’ve heard? Embattled pop giant Michael Jackson is making a comeback.


The 50 year-old icon, told the world two weeks ago, that, beginning from July 8, he will be staging a series of concerts at the O2 arena, in Greenwich, London. ‘‘This is it. I just want to say these will be my final show performances in London. When I say this is it, I mean this is it’’, the singer told fans at a brief press conference last week.

Michael last had a concert in the UK about 12 years ago; and really, many fans who grew up in the nineties remember him more for his many troubles, than for his earth-shaking videos and performances. But Michael is not all about child molestation, excessive surgeries, freak stunts and nose jobs.


Apart from giving us the best-selling album of all time (Thriller, 1983), Michael revolutionized the concept of musical videos; influenced a generation of singers and dancers; and many who have seen his concerts will tell you that a Michael Jackson concert is like no other. The closest I’ve been to an MJ concert, are testimonies from Keke and D-one, and from his friend and biographer J. Randy Tarraborreli. So when I heard the news of his upcoming UK gigs, I immediately logged on to the site and joined the presale frenzy. It’s probably my only chance of seeing the boy-man perform live; and I’m not about to miss it for anything.


And it was while discussing MJ and his upcoming gig with my friends that I realised the organisers, AEG, might be making a very costly mistake. Why take the singer to London, where the fans and the media are not particularly crazy about Michael? If he’s really trying to make a comeback, why go to a city where he was nicknamed Wacko Jacko in the first place? A city where he has suffered bad press more than anywhere else? Why take Michael to a city where economic recession is biting hard and almost everyone is struggling to pay bills? And then, come to think of it: why take the poor guy to a city where they can only peg the highest price for tickets at £75 (that’s just about N20, 000)?

You see, if those people knew what they were doing, they should have simply brought Michael to Nigeria. The guy is so broke; he has sold his Neverland ranch. His image is in tatters, and he so badly needs to make commercial success again. I think Nigeria is the only place he can get help. Not London, Not Bahrain, Not America. Definitely not the O2 arena!


Apart from repeated visits to South Africa, Michael has scarcely stepped foot on any other African nation. And, at this point where everything else has failed, he might just need to start wooing African fans and the big spenders scattered around the continent.

In Nigeria alone, I can assure you that thousands of ‘fans’ will be willing to cough out as high as N500, 000 to book a VIP seat at an MJ gig. They’ve paid N50, 000 to see Jay Z, Beyonce and the rest. They paid N100, 000 to see Anita Baker. They buy tables at major concerts and awards for up to N1Million. So I am certainly sure that for a Michael concert, many ‘bilgs boylz’ and girlz would be willing to take a loan to register their presence. And corporate Nigeria? You don’t even want to go there. All the brands will fall over themselves, battling for different tags: title sponsor, co-sponsor, sole sponsor, part sponsor and even ‘sponsorer’.

By the time they collate the cheques from all the major brands, they would have made enough money to cover all expenses; they’ll be counting their profit, and begging Michael to play more cities for more days.


And, coming to Nigeria will also be good for Michael’s ego. For someone who’s used to fans wailing and fainting anytime they catch a glimpse of him; for someone who’s used to being ambushed and fans doing dangerous stunts just to catch his attention, I’m sure he was more than disappointed that there were no freak occurrences when he appeared in London last week. If he had held the press conference in Lagos, believe me, even journalists and cameramen would have fainted. Instead of a group of photographers and cameramen that covered his London press conference, the one in Lagos would have been attended by Editors, publishers, TV station owners, bank MDs, and, maybe, even the Governor.

Many big men would capitalise on ‘photo’ opportunities while even the biggest of our stars would scream and beg Michael for autographs. Michael would be happy. And he would feel like a star, once again.


Only problem is, because we are not exactly sure if his ways with children are now clean, we will not allow our kids to go near his hotel room or his backstage suite. And, because our weather might not suit his make up, surgical masks, and what’s left of him original skin, the promoters might have to pay for him to travel with a team of plastic surgeons (who, I know, will also demand that a full theatre and surgery requirements be shipped in ahead of their visit).


So, while I plan to still attend the London show in July, I hope someone will take up my points with the AEG group, or any of Michael’s reps.


I’ll make it a point of duty to attend his show at the TBS, national stadium, or International conference centre.

who ‘n’ what i’m lovin’ right now!

Posted in living with atg on March 16, 2009 by ayenithegreat


i’m loving lagos governor BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA at the moment. loving the road works, the solar stret lights, loving the side walks; the scenery, and the fact that dude has been able to win almost everyone’s trust. i hear he doesnt want a second term…. well.. just in case he changes his mind, i’ll be too glad to vote for him in 2011…


and also, i’m loving DAREY ART ALADE. the young man is making good music! God, how much i love his new materials! i’m loving dude’s new image, direction, music and ideas… and i’m definitely loving the people’s reaction. tells me that if you take your time (and have the resources) to do proper stuff, Nigerians will appreciate. f all that talk of naija mentality, nigerian audience and all other bs. we love good stuff. good cars. good houses. good decor. good wine. good women. we love good music too!

if you’ve ever spent as much as five minutes with me, you’ll know how addicted i am to my BLACKBERRY. yes o! since EMMANUEL MALAKA introduced the gadget to me few years back, i’ve never spent a minute without the most revolutionary mobile business tool ever invented. yes, i said so. take me to court! when i realised my wife was battling with my bb for attention, i quickly got her one. now, i’m the one begging her for attention. jokes apart, the bb makes working very convenient for me. my emails come right in, real time, and i can quickly read and respond. i have my internet on the go; and -thanks to bb messenger- i can keep in touch with clients, friends and family, without bearing the usual sms costs… no wonder obama couldn’t resisting taking his curve to the white house…

you need to know MARIAM! no, not mariam abacha. not maryam babangida… nah! not any of those ones who have joined thier hubbies to gag and rape us. i mean MARIAM at no 4 Ogundana street. MARIAM who gets me all kind of food from olosan, to iya mayowa, corporate rice, chopsticks and TFC. the young lady knows the best food joints around. and she’s become my adviser on food affairs. i’m not very good with food. if i had a choice, i could go without eating for weeks. but MARIAM  bails me out everyday; especially at times like this when i’m a temporary bachelor (more on that later). ‘ ki ni mo maa je l’eni, madam?’ i’d ask her as i stroll into my office. she’ll reply with a smile ‘mo n bo. e je kin sare da aunty diamond lohun’. then she’ll come upstairs few minutes later ‘ewa ati dodo l’eje l’ana. se kiin ba yin ra iya mayowa, abi corporate?’ the young girl never complains, never frowns, and combines running errand for the entire HHW office with cleaning… i hope she goes back to school someday, so she can be the best that she can be.. i av to encourage her to – that’s the best gift i can ever give her…

i’m really liking this young lady called TOSYN BUCKNOR. been a fan since the first time i saw her postcard with bayo omisore. then i heard her music and i fell in love. i admire her talent. i love her energy. and i confess, she’s one of my fav writers. no matter where i am or what i’m doing, i’ll read anything TOSYN writes. and even when i dont agree with her views, i usually enjoy just reading the way she strings her words together…


i may not leave comments all the time, but i’m a regluar visitor to most of the nigerian BLOGS on the internet. in no particular order, my fav would be:,,,,,, and i keep discovering more by the day and i must say, that except for a few, most of the blogs are original, well put-together, inspiring and very very informative. how i wish those of us who write for conventional media would borrow a leaf from these citizen-journalists… hmmmm…


my friend ABISOYE FAGADE is running for governor in 2011. tell me why i”m not gon be lovin’ dat?! brilliant, smart dude. hardworking (and fun-loving, too!) and visionary young man who understands the role of guts ans determination in man’s journey. he’s been on this for a while, and that he’s eventually been able to come up with a clear agenda and plan-of-action, show’s he’s paying more than lip service to his ambition. so when you hear me say ‘oyo si maa dun’, you’d better recognise!

and, finally, i’m happy my gateman (we call them ‘maiguard’ around here) ADAMU has stepped up his game. since we moved into this new house, i’vee been very upset with the dude’s attitude. he’s never around to open the gate, he takes the full day of on fridays, and starts reminding you of his salary from the middle of the month. myself and other occupants were about demanding that the landlord sack him, when he turned a new leaf. all it took? increasing his pay! yes, we took the risk, and increased his money even while he was still acting irresponsible. these days, he opens the gate even before i enter my street, as if he can perceive my car from a distance. he puts of my gen when NEPA restores light, and even offers to wash my car… yes, i’m definitely feeling you right now ADAMU. and if you keep it up, i just might recommend another increase… or would you rather, a promotion?!

i’m out guys!

respect the WO-MAN

Posted in living with atg on March 16, 2009 by ayenithegreat


how and why has it taken me so long to put up another post?!

i do sincerely apologise for the break in transmission. now i know i need to pay more respect to bloggers who manage to drop a few lines every other day. it’s not as easy as it seems – especially if you’re someone like me, who :works like a slave; lives in a country where everything is upside down; procrastinates like he’s paid to do so; and combines babysitting with other full time jobs.

yes, my girlfriend had our first baby on february 10. we had the customary naming ceremony seven days later, and i’m still in shock. no, it’s not about how much love folks showed me and my family; or how we consumed so much drinks i was wondering some breweries would close up. it’s the pain and pleasure of staying in the labour room with Dotun for over 30 hours; seeing her in pains, so much pains, and not being able to do anything about it. between sunday night (february 8) when i drove her to the hospital, and tuesday (feb 10) when she eventually put to bed, nothing else mattered. nothing.

here’s a girl i love, lying helplessly on a hospital bed. feeding on oxytocin because labour would not come; and bearing the characteristic pain of induced labour. for the first time since we’ve been married, i’m seeing her in such unbearable pain, and i am sad – knowing the pain, the torture, was inevitable.  the pain may last for 30 hours or more, but the joy that comes afterwards will be with us for a lifetime…


was i scared? yep.

 i’ve heard of so many women dying during labour. i’ve heard of so many ugly incidents. and it definitely did occur to me : ‘what if she doesn’t make it’? but i stayed positive. she stayed positive too. and instead of senseles despair, we prayed. we had good friends who prayed with us; and family who stood by us.


and so it was that around 5:pm on tuesday feb10, the naughty lil’ baby girl came, right before my eyes, into this beautiful world. ‘that’s your baby’, the doctor announced. but he didn’t have to. i had seen the baby’s head a few minutes before, i quickly gave Dotun a sign saying ‘ don’t worry, it’ll soon be over’. and i monitored the delivery progress every second from then. the room was well ventilated, but i was sweating profusely. sweating even more than the poor girl that was in labour. i was supposed to be taking pictures and video recording. but my trembling hands could handle no such tasks. even my mind was fidgeting, and my legs too weak to stand firmly.

‘i thought you wanted to record your baby’s arrival?’ one of the trainee nurses asked.

i looked at her, tried to gather my thoughts together, then opened my mouth. but my dry lips only parted momentarily. i could not utter a word.

and then i wept.


when they brought out the baby and i heard her little, innocent cry, it dawned on me that Dotun and i had brought a life into this world. it dawned on me that the suspense was over; that i can still have my friend and partner back… it dawned on me that i was now a father. soon, someone’ll be running round our over-sized house, with sagging diapers, shouting ‘da da’, ‘pa pa’ or ‘daddy’….


then i looked Dotun in the face again, saw the state she was in, even though relief was planted on her face; and i wept for what must have been the millionth time.


why do we men like to do so much shakara? when it’s the wo-man that does all the work? i’m sorry it has taken spending 30 hours in a labour room for me to realise this; but i admit that we men need to give the wo-men more kudos. they’re our mothers. they put thier lives on the line so we can have our own life. and that’s worth more than anything.


you see, Dotun has done so much for me, since i met her at that quadrangle in UI about eight years ago -from practically using her pocket money to cater for me, semester after semester, to helping me find faith in the church again, and encouraging me to follow my dreams, even when it didnt make much sense to her… she even defied her parents’ wish, left everything else that mattered and stayed with me while i was hospitalised and bed-ridden for weeks in 2004, shortly after losing my mother…  but now, she has given the ultimate gift; she has finally done that thing that ushers her into the wo-man’s club. the tears she shed; the pains she bore; the sweat on herbrows; red in her eyes; the torture she endured… and the physical changes she has had to go through -all just so our baby can be born. Gawd!


i salute you, wo-man. i salute you, mother. and i wanna encourage you too to appreciate that wo-man in your life. it could be your girlfriend, you wife, your sisters or your MOTHER.


by the way, we named the baby after Dotun. for me, nothing else woulda been appropriate.