Category: Meet

Meet: Arit Okpo

Arit Okpo is one of Africa’s fastest rising media personalities. She takes risks and sheds light on issues that are mostly ignored in Nigeria. Unafraid to express herself, Arit is definitely worth meeting. Enjoy.



– Who is Arit Okpo?

Career wise, Arit is a media entrepreneur. I provide media services ranging from production, event hosting, voice overs to writing for a wide variety of contexts and formats. Personally, Arit is a traveler, walking through life and building a life brighter and more colourful than I have ever dreamed


– How would you say your early life has shaped you?

I grew up with a mother who did everything doable. She was an extremely hard worker and from an early age, I learned that hard work wasn’t something to run away from or be afraid of. I was also a very imaginative child, and I think that this freedom to lose myself in my imagination has carried over to a life in the media and as a writer


– What’s one of your most memorable experiences from childhood?

Gosh I have so many…hmmm…ok, my nursery school featured in one of those NTA exchange programs. I got to present an episode for NTA IMO, wearing traditional gear. It’s funny that over 2 decades later, I ended up doing it as a career

–  Take us on a brief journey through your professional life

Hmmm, where do I start? Ok, I started my professional career as the assistant to a school owner, in about 6 months, she promoted me to assistant administrator. I left after a couple of years and moved to Lagos where I worked as an artiste manager for a while. Back to Abuja, I did some work in PR, Production and then back to education. It was during my second stint in Education that the opportunity at Ebonylife came about

– *  From working at Tender years to producing for Ebonylife TV, how did this happen and why?

Ok, I had been working at Ebonylife for a year or so when I started to feel that I wanted to explore my horizons further. I sat down and wrote a 25 year plan, starting with registering my educational consultancy and ending with me as Minister of Education (no jokes!) 2 months after that, I got a call from Mo Abudu. She had remembered me from The Debaters (a reality show that she executive produced) and wanted me to come host a news show on the Channel. I quietly folded up my life plan, threw a side eye to Heaven and took the job


– We have been major fans of EL Reports and the Crunch, please share what your aims were for both shows.

For both shows, the aim was to make news a conversation that the everyday person could relate to. We end up in a lot of bad situations as citizens because we don’t know what is going on in the country or we don’t think that we need to know or care. I wanted to make news mainstream. I wanted to raise topics and have people say “Oh wow, I didn’t know that was happening”. And I wanted to do it in easily digestible fashion, so that people didn’t get overwhelmed. I think I succeeded

– In an ever changing entertainment industry, what would you say are the challenges faced by creatives in Nigeria?

Creatives need to learn the business of their craft. So many creatives don’t understand the market value of their work, and this is fine if you don’t need your craft to feed you. But if you expect a career from your craft, you must learn the naira and kobo of it. Many creatives in Nigeria keep getting cheated and eventually disillusioned, because they get into business partnerships with people who aren’t looking out for their interests. I think we also operate in a culture that doesn’t really understand the value of a creative in an enterprise, so we are often unappreciated or under-represented

– Quality Content is King yet it is struggling to see the light of day , what are your views on this?

I think that Quality Control is an evolving process and it is happening little by little. The viewer is becoming more discerning and so the industry must evolve to meet that. We also cannot get lazy with the fact that the public doesn’t know better. Even if people don’t know that they should expect better, the industry needs to constantly raise its standards to compete with the best around the world

– What are your interests and given the opportunity, what issues would like to address within your industry?

My interests are the media as a platform, not as an end in itself. I’m not interested in being on TV for publicity or popularity sake. I want to be able to utilize the media to talk about things that matter, to highlight underreported issues and to celebrate people flying under the radar.

– We noticed you’re natural and proud, have you always been and why?

I haven’t o! I have beautiful permed hair for a long time, then hair damage and general peer pressure made me contemplate the big C. After mulling over it for a year, I finally chopped off two thirds of the permed length, transitioned for 8 months and then chopped off the rest of the perm. It hasn’t always been an easy journey, I was sure I was going to perm it at the end of the 1st year. 2 and a half years later though, we’re still here this hair and I

– If you could travel the world in a day, where would you go first?

Ah…maybe to Oron, to spend some time with my grandma. I miss her

– From producer’s perspective, what kind of content would you create to add value to the Nigerian society?

I love the Nigerian culture – its variety and fluidity. How we celebrate, where we come from, why we believe and do the things we do…these are the things I would love to share. Let’s go back to being crazy about our origins

– If you could have a soundtrack for where you are in your life right now, what would it be?

Unwritten – Natasha Beddingfield




Meet: Andy Madaki

Andy Madaki is the friendly techie and PR expert. He is a Principal partner at iBlend and is the Curator of Abuja Global Shapers. Friendly, kind and extremely smart, Andy is that person with more layers than you could imagine, Meet him and enjoy.




  1. Who is Andy Madaki?


Ans: Andy is a not so young man from Benue State, who loves life, music, tech, business, politics and food


  1. Take us through your formative


I grew up in Makurdi, Benue State. Went to 3 secondary schools pretty much because I was failing from one to another. Finally got into university at 16 and studied Sociology. After my NYSC I left Nigeria to the UK for a Masters in Computer Forensics. Now I have always been interested in Business and registered my first company at the age of 18. It was a modelling agency in Benue State. I started working during my summer breaks since i was about 9 years old.


  1. When did you discover your love for technology?


At the age of 9 my dad registered my brother Eddie and I for at a computer training school. So that was when I fell in love with technology. Went on to work at a computer centre for a while then also at a phone store between the ages of 12 to 16. I was generally drawn to gadgets and technology.


  1. Did you ever find the tag ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’ offensive?



Not at all. I think it is funny because it is an unnecessary tag to be honest. Geeks have goon from being the rejected to being the cool kids. Who knows, some day society will decide to  make geeks uncool and what happens. I am not a fan of tags




  1. What are your interests outside work?







  1. What do you do? ( please ignore this question if you answered it in question 1)


I am an Information Security Consultant and a Communications Strategist


  1. From a ‘tech perspective, what would you say are the challenges faced by SME’s in Nigeria and how would you address them?


Two major things: Access to funds and Regulation. As a startup or entrepreneur it is easy to have an idea and maybe even start the concept into a product or solution. The problem now becomes government regulations which may block your services or cost to much for you to implement. This could lead to SMEs folding up.


High interest rates in for loans are not favourable as well and this poses a major challenge to new businesses and SMEs



  1. Last year, you had NIITEX, a tech exhibition, in Abuja. Please tell us about it.


Most tech events hold in Lagos as it is seen to be the commercial capital of the nation and this in my opinion is not the true reflection of the tech ecosystem. NIITEX is the Nigerian Innovation and Information Technology Expo. This event aims to create a platform for entrepreneurs and innovators in the technology space especially in the North and Central region in Nigeria. Last year was our first event and we had a lot of support from several organisations from government to private sector and telecommunications.



  1. What going trends do you think we are yet to fully tap into in Nigeria?


To be honest, the world is now a global village and so I can say we are tapping into every trend however we do not have the capacity to sustain most. I will say we are catching up pretty okay. What we need is infrastructure such as internet access




  1. Lagos is light years ahead of Abuja in business and entertainment, why do you think this is so?


Do not let the packaging fool you. Most lagosians in the enterainment industry make the bulk of their money when they come to Abuja or other states for work or events. Lagos has the record labels, distribution companies, sponsors and all that but at some point “see finish” happens and so they need to stretch beyond their coasts. What Abuja needs is a confidence boost and to support talent from within. And so, i don’t think Lagos is light years ahead of Abuja.




  1. What challenges do you think Abuja businesses face, other than funding?


I think in Abuja we are quite laid back because it is the seat of government which means majority of the workforce are government workers. So there is a level of contentment or maybe laziness. This also affects us because the decision makers for a lot of private owned corporations like the the Telcos are based in Lagos. So it is easier for Lagosians to build and use a network of decision makers than those of us here in Abuja who need to get to Lagos in order to get the right signatures or support.


  1. Tell us about your role in iBlend?


I am head of research, analytics, innovation and talent management. I am big on changing ideas into marketable services or brands. I work with the team on conceptualisation and efficient service delivery as well as best strategies to reach any client’s target audience.


  1. How do think appreciation for quality content outside mainstream entertainment can be achieved in Abuja?


We need to develop mainstream content before we even go outside. Research is important in everything. We need to understand why people in Lagos do certain things and succeed while others fail. Most people surround themselves with fanatics who are not objective about the work they put out and this leads to mediocre outputs. We need to first of all put out good content and market it properly



  1. What is your take on #iStandwithNigeria

For me, I believe in Nigeria. Regardless of political affiliation, tribe or religion, we must hold our government accountable. We saw Inflation rise in 15 months, we saw living conditions worsen. it became important to tell the government to sit up. I don’t care if some people were paid for the protest or sponsored, for me it is all about holding our leaders accountable.


  1. What inspires you?


Problems… I love solutions, I can’t see a problem and not fix it.



  1. What would be the soundtrack for where you are in your life right now?


I lived – One Republic


  1. What 3 countries would you choose as roles models for Nigeria.




United Kingdom


  1. If you had the chance to fix Nigeria, what three sectors would you address first?






  1. What would be the top three things on your bucket list?


Sky Diving

Visiting every continent

Consulting for a world leader







Meet: Ibrahim Suleiman

Ibrahim Suleiman is a multi-talented creative and one of the newest additions to the cast of Tinsel. An artist in various forms of expression varying from dance to writing to architecture and more by night, he is your bespectacled, bearded Captain Quest


Who is Ibrahim Suleiman?

Firstborn of Aisha Edna Suleiman.

Child of God.

Creative, Multitalented, Chill.

– Tell us what it was like growing up in Kaduna

Wow…growing up in Croc City was simple. I miss that the most, the simplicity of life. School, lunchboxes, mother’s baking, Voltron super ted and sesame street. Friends who were like extended family. And the beautiful weather. And kaduna was SO safe!!! Like we didn’t have a fence until I was in Uni!!!

– What are your major influences in life?

My Mother. She was my everything.

Creatively, my influences are diverse. From the cartoons I saw as a child, to Michael Jackson, to Robert Ludlum, Ted Dekker, The Wachowski brothers, Guy Ritchie, etc. The list is endless, as you can imagine seeing as I am very interested in different forms of artistic expression.

– How did you develop your sense of humor?

Hahaha. Mahn…it would just HAVE to be hanging with my mom and sibs. My family is ridiculously funny. I am the least humorous in my home. That should tell you something.

– As a multi-creative, list your talents in order of preference.

Dude. This one no possible o. Hahaha.

I’d say artistically, I have seasons.

Sometimes Digital Art has all my attention.

Few weeks later, I get a dance project and I breathe dance. Then it could be Acting, or Writing or Architecture and so on. It just depends on the season really.

– Is there anything you can’t do that you wish you could?

I honestly wish I could play the piano.

Or rap! Yes, I wish I could rap. Lol

– Define ‘Dream Catching’ as a creative entrepreneur

Hmmm…if it harnesses your creative energies and it can make a difference in yours and the lives of a bunch of folk, chase it down, catch it and work it until it blows up

– What’s your dance story in summary?

Wow…That’s a whole book’s worth of story telling you’re poking at o.

I picked up dance on the campus of ABU zaria at the age of 17/18. Then I got saved, joined YWAP and was made the head of the dance department (SOULDQUEST) we went on to put up over 100 dance based concerts on almost every federal university campus in Nigeria and a number on campuses in Ghana, Benin Rep etc. Then we went on to win The Malta Guinness Street Dance Africa 2008.

After that, I became a brand ambassador for the brand, did tvcs for them, GTBANK, MTN, interswitch, etc.

– What would you say was your first big break in entertainment?

Winning Malta Guinness Street Dance Africa

– At the time, what did you like about it the most and the least?

I loved the fact that we had a access to a larger audience.

Didn’t dig the impression people had that if you’re an entertainer, you’re a heathen.

– What valuable lessons have you learnt from the Nigerian entertainment scene?

Everyone has an angle.

Talent is never enough.

Maintain your day ones, they’ll help keep you grounded.

Call your mother daily.

The brands don’t care about your values.

Never burn bridges.

Help as many people as you can, but remember to keep climbing.

Save up.

– As a creative what do you prefer, working behind the scenes or in the limelight?

Working behind the scenes.

There’s more money there. Lol.

– What do you consider to be your biggest achievement to date?

To be honest…I don’t think I’ve achieved much as an entertainer.

As a person, now that’s a whole different story.

– Having worked with a lot of young talent over the years, what are the major challenges they face?

They are in such a hurry, it is heartbreaking. So instead of being a steady flame for 2 decades or more, They’re just a firecracker for a festive season.

– So Captain Quest, if you could have a super power other than dance, what would it be?

The thought process of the human mind fascinates me. So I’d love to read minds.

– Tell us about SeekYou Art

SeekYouArt started off with me attempting to find myself creatively every day.

Basically take what I learned yesterday, apply it in different ways today and see what I learn from the process which I’d use tomorrow.

It then inevitably evolved into a series of pretty dope pieces of art and a couple of people started placing orders for wall art. Then t-shirts. Then mouse pads, dogtags, tote bags, etc.

Lol, it has been quite an experience of learning and growing and making money hallelujah

– If asked to describe the last 12 months in 3 words, what would they be?

Loss. Recuperation. Growth.

– If you had to travel what would be the two things you would not do without?

Besides personal hygiene stuff?

My digital work device and bank cards.

Meet: Xoxa Icha

Xoxa Icha is an artist in every sense of the word and she expresses herself through various mediums. From producing content for BBC to running her own art business, she is definitely a creative worth meeting. Enjoy



  1. Who is Xoxa?

This question has such a strange effect on me. It sort of messes me up thinking of what to say. I never really know how to answer it…

If it’s ok to be honest, the truth is, I’m still getting to know who I am…I know what I am. Who I am, I guess if you don’t mind waiting it out with me, we would find out together. Let’s hope the rest of the interview helps us get a little closer to the answer.


  1. What was growing up like for you?

Growing up for me was good… no really good. The more people I meet, the more I know and appreciate the fact that growing up for me was really good. I know that now more than ever. Looking back, there are things that I think I may have wanted a bit differently, but overall, I know that all of it is a part of the me that is here now and I’m grateful. A good foundation isn’t common these days. I’m really privileged to have had one.


  1. What was your first creative outlet?

I guess it must have been seeing my parents, who are/ were both such creative people in different respects. My dad built a lot of the stuff in the house, it made home unique, I guess. The décor in our home was reflective of their creativity. Old photos tell the tales but I can remember a lot of it.  So yeah…my parents were the first open window to creativity. I started out tracing pictures through transparent paper and colouring them in. I went from there to copying pictures that I was interested in. I drew cartoon characters and things from story books. Drawing from inside my head (as I used to call it) was tough…for a while. I could never really let it out.

Then art classes, art clubs and excursions…and time came along to help.


  1. What do you do and why?

I make art. Many kinds of art. Mostly impossible art. My expression has been called that before…’impossible’. I do it because I can’t help it! It consumes me from the inside out. People pay me for what that consumption produces. The money is good…very good. I mean I live in the capital city! But it’s about so much more than getting paid. Those lines I draw…in the colours I choose, those are parts of me I give out and no stated amount can afford that.



  1. Asah-Bara, BBC… the juggling game.

This is one of those things that I can write a book about. Working at the BBC, depending on which side of the coin you are on, is demanding to say the least. Working in production in the way that the BBC does it is not at all for the faint hearted. It’s been an almost 9-year long journey. Inside, there’s been a knowing that this won’t be my forever. I guess knowing and understanding clearly what my dream is has done a lot to help me juggle all those very heavy balls. An average day would be me working from 9 till well past 5 at The BBC, coming home changing clothes and getting straight to work on my art. Sometimes, it would mean finishing up as quickly as I could at the office to come home and work on my art- work all night and be at work when the sun comes up. I would be at bazaars on the weekends and back in the office on Monday delivering excellent content [and I’m not just saying].

I’ve been accused of working too hard and not having time for fun. When I look at what their readily available definitions of fun are, I choose over all that the success I am steadily becoming.

Turning out art in different forms, both for the BBC and for Asah-Bara has done so much to show me my deep-rooted strength as a woman and has gone a long way in building my spirit.

There A little while ago, I would have had to politely pass this question as my contract with the BBC would have made it difficult to answer considering that it would be a published interview.

After nearly 9 years of working with the BBC, I was glad to resign my job in December of 2016. I’m looking forward to the challenge of new journey of building my dreams with these two hands…literally.



  1. What Birthed Asah-Bara and what does the name mean?

I get this all the time. It usually follows a series of questions targeted at my colourful background and where it is that I come from. The name I was given sort of seems to scream south African. I won’t lie, that has helped a bit in some situations. Ok. Focus…dot deviate. ‘Asah’ and ‘Bara’ are two separate words. They are both ancient Hebrew words. They both mean ‘to -make’ but in two different contexts. ‘Asah’ is the ancient Hebrew word for the creative power of man. That is, the ability to make things from what God has provided. ‘Bara’ is the ancient Hebrew word for the creative power of God the Father, the master Creator. That is, His ability to create from nothing. He says ‘be’ and it becomes. That is ‘Bara’. My love for ancient Hebrew drew me to seek and find these words and exactly what they meant. Putting them together made perfect sense to me because as far as I am concerned, that is what design is! The union between ideas [ that only God can give] and the basic things He has made available to us to implement those ideas… that’s what births design! You can come up with the coolest idea [that’s The God factor in you at work] for a chair, for instance.  The chair needs to be made from something. Whatever that chair is to be built out of has its origins somewhere among the things that God gave us on Earth. So, I put the words together across a hyphen. There you have it: Asah-Bara!

I believe that this name is completely inspired by the Holy Spirit [ I’m a born again Christian and I stand unashamed].

The journey to this name and how it came is gist for another day.


  1. What are your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur and tackling them…

In a country like Nigeria, where basically nothing but your spirit works…di challenge plenty! Yes please…read it in pigin. I believe in quality, but Nigeria and the general Nigerian mindset is so abused that even bad work looks acceptable. When it comes to me doing my craft, no questions there. The wahalla starts when other people get involved and you need to manage poor work ethic, no respect for deadlines…bad work and having to hear that I can ‘manage it’. The strength to tackle it comes from knowing where I am going and being determined to stand out of the overwhelming crowd. Coming down to the general mediocre level of work service in Nigeria is not an option. I would rather quit. If I’m doing it, it must be done excellently well…and believe me, I’m doing it! That’s the Spirit of God at work in me. I can’t take the credit.


  1. What are the greatest lessons in life from your personal experiences over the years?

-The world will challenge everything you think you are. It takes a lot to be the original you in a world full of copies. […and they say cloning humans hasn’t worked yet. Story…]

– What makes you different, is what makes you beautiful

– Who you are on the inside matters more than anything else on the outside. You’re locked up with that person when everything/one else goes away and they all do.

– Don’t ever pretend, the real you must come out… eventually.

– Good friends…true friends are very hard to come by in this world



  1. Who is The most inspiring person in your life and in what way

Omo! abeg, make we leave dis one. I don talk taya and the questions wey remain still plenty! Lol.


  1. Which three people do you look up to in the creative industry….

I’ve been dreading answering this question considering that there really isn’t anyone doing what I am doing. I’m sorry to say it but I don’t really have a role model in the creative industry. We hardly have a solid creative industry as per hand-made work and visual art. Music and film yes, but visual art and true hand-made original work…naah. There are a few, but not enough to make an economic mark or a global mark. I’ve done a lot of research about creative industries and the impact they can have on a nation economically…believe me, we don’t really have a creative industry here…so role models, I haven’t found yet. O wait, Nike Davies Okundaye …She has my deepest respect.


  1. Ultimate goal in life…

*singing* I wanna be a millionaire, so freaking baaad’…

No, but seriously, [I still want to be a millionaire but…no wait, I’m already a millionaire! I need new aspirations!] I want to be a force that will drive the hand-made industry in this country. It’s a huge thing…some days it looks impossible, like this country is too hurt and too broken to bother about art when the basics are not even in place. I pray I have the strength and the grace to see it happen in my lifetime. I really want to see our culture and heritage restored to a place of everyday pride, not ceremonial entertainment.

Me black and white looking ip


  1. Top three things on my bucket list


I don’t have a bucket list…hmmm. I wonder why I don’t have a bucket list. Did I say that out loud? I don’t want to think up something for the sake of an answer, really don’t have a bucket list and I’m not sure why.



  1. The soundtrack for where I am in my life….

My mental play list is scrambling…I know literally thousands of songs… even music without words. This is too hard to dig through abeg. Forgive me if I pass. This is me passing. Ok. I have passed.


  1. Greatest achievement

I’m not sure it has happened yet. That’s why too many options are reeling through my head searching for an answer. An answer does come to mind though. It would probably not rank as an achievement in the eyes of the world [then again, it just might], but it was an achievement that in many ways keeps the wind in my sails and keeps my head lifted and shoulders back. I won a quiet war. It meant as much as it did 2 years ago when it happened as it means now. I know an appropriate opportunity to talk about it will come. I will be patient till then.

For the sake of not walking away from this question without a clear answer, I would say my greatest achievement was my first solo and maiden exhibition- ‘The Whispers of the Weave’ show. It totally sold out and had over 700 visitors over four days. It was the official launch of the Asah-Bara brand.

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