10 and Crystallizing
It was sometimes about mid-1992 and I was a fresh graduate out of College (University). I did not particularly love the completed course of study but bottom line was that I had transited to another phase of life. Growing up, I was fascinated about innovations, electronic equipment’s and automobiles. My room was always a mini lab for all sorts of lightings and wirings. The best gift one could get me then was a magazine about Stereo equipment’s or Hot Cars.
My fascination led to writing. Some of my fantasies included pushing volumes to the limit as well as flooring pedals of anything I laid my hands on (oh! apologies to my Mum’s Morris Marina and Dad’s Fiat 2000 Climatizata). I moved to Lagos in search of the “Lagos Dream” but soon found out that it was not as easy as I had expected. I immediately had to resort to my passion.
As a mini socialite, I hung out a little and on one of those occasions, I ran into Mr. Sola Osofisan who spoke about his Magazine (Crown Prince) and asked if I could contribute articles on new products based on what he picked out of our earlier discussions.
That was the beginning. My first ever published article appeared in a 1992 column of Crown Prince Magazine. Unfortunately, the magazine did not last too long (who said publishing was easy?). I later resorted to my other passion which was automobiles. My early projects happened to be my siblings vehicle; a super Kitted Golf GTI. I was the go to person for any slight fault. This led to continuous maintenance, ownership then more socializing.
1n 1994, I met up with the founding editors of the now defunct Fame Weekly; Kunle Bakare, Mayor Akinpelu and Femi Akintunde Johnson. History was about to be made. I was invited to the press room and asked if I could start a motoring column. “Carliners” as the column was known came into existence making me the first motoring columnist in a soft cell magazine in Nigeria (Verify).
While at Fame Weekly, I found myself in the same editorial room with the founder of the revered column; “Pendulum” Mr.Dele Momodu; one of the most prolific Journalists out of Africa. We had met in College and he was no stranger to me. Fame was so ‘HOT’ back then with the youngest and brightest minds in the industry producing a magazine that was juicy in content and multi diverse in output.
My descriptive and writing technics created access to major motoring events in Nigeria and led me to join the tight knit motoring journalists association. I remember signing autographs at certain events based on the popularity of the column.
It was not too long after then that I eventually moved on to join Encomium Weekly in 1996 after Fame Weekly fell apart. My column was still as constant as the Northern star. I had stated managing an ultra-modern workshop in Lagos and went on to start my repair center while still contributing to Encomium.
Presenting a motoring program on AIT for an entire quarter was an experience I would not also forget in a hurry. Beauty Queen Regina Askia was then the producer of the show which was sponsored by Shell Helix oil. An ultra-modern garage I managed at that time was the natural set.
Sometimes in 1999, Dele Momodu whom at that time had gone into exile (no thanks to his critical editorials against the then military junta) reached out to me via a hand written letter (text messages and emails did not exist in our world) stating that he had founded a magazine; Ovation International.
He asked if I would be interested in creating a motoring column for the magazine. “Roadrunner” came into existence in 1999 and went on to feature super luxurious autos while attracting major car dealerships in Nigeria who placed continuous adverts. Reporting events at exotic locations including Monte Carlo, Milan and Paris to mention a few formed just a fraction of the world of experience acquired while at Ovation. I moved to the USA in 2003 and was made USA Bureau chief.
The cyberspace was an evolving entity. We were still developing photos in labs, printing and scanning prints for shipment back to Africa for production. I realized that the Web was changing and could afford us the opportunity of posting photos for easy access. There were websites that encouraged that. Digital SLR cameras were being developed and in no time there was a shift.
In 2004, I conceptualized an idea to create an online album where celebrants could view their photos in real time without waiting for us to package and post prints as we were used to doing then. ‘Trendyafricaphotos’ was that link. Photos of events I covered then were instantly viewed by patrons who had access to computers.
Unfortunately, I realized that an expressive platform to compliment the photos online did not exist. The thought of a website that would create the opportunity for me to write articles describing events came to mind. Trendy Africa was then conceptualized. I called in my young techy brothers; Temi Kolawole and Bode Ojo to assist with setting up a platform and they gladly consented.
That was the beginning of the journey. For a brand I was fully committed to, Ovation kept me real busy and it was not an easy process to avoid a conflict of interest. 2008, and on a trip to Nigeria, I informed Publisher Dele Momodu of my intention to step aside and focus on my concept. Later that year, Trendy Africa was redesigned on the Web and by 2009; Trendy Africa Magazine went on the shelves. In 2014, we celebrate our conceptualization and remember the smiles, the tears and the crystallization. (Look out for the journey thus far)