SPICING UP PHOTOGRAPHY

THE PHOTOGRAPHER WITH A SUPER-BIKE 

 

Photography is the art of creating durable images and it is a new wave most young people are obsessed with at the moment. Probably because it is a job that requires a lot of mobility, or it could be the fact that you can easily setup a work station from your comfort zone, or probably just the fun aspect.

Whatever reason most young people are having a thing for photography, I cannot say for sure. But I sure do know one individual who is really spicing up photography in Nigeria with his style.

Captain Ifeatu Chukwuemerie is a Nigerian based photographer and super biker. His passion for photography and love for super-bikes has taken him across and beyond the country.

I had a conversation with this amazing super biker and photographer. The major lesson to be drawn from his story is; determination.

As long as you are brave enough to start, you will succeed.

BACKGROUND

Captain was not born with a silver spoon. When he moved to Lagos from eastern Nigeria, he served in a food canteen just to make ends meet before he stumbled on photography and it became his passion. He did not allow his background to define him, as he always dreamed big and was inspired by top business executives. Captain is a self trained photographer.

Captain claims growing up was a struggle as he did not have the ideal childhood or anyone to ask him what he wanted to do with his life when he got older. This condition made him realize that he had to take charge of his life and destiny.

STYLE

As a photographer, Captain stands out because he rides a super bike. Although not yet verified, Captain feels he is the first photographer to distinguish himself with the use of a super bike in Nigeria. With the combination of Captain’s job as a photographer and a super bike rider, he has visited almost all states in Nigeria and some West African countries also. When he gears up to ride in response to calls from clients, people are always fascinated and stare in awe and amazement when he arrives.

Captain is also known to capture unique moments in an artistic way he sees and understands, leaving his models or clients looking back at those memories with pride.

Nothing good comes easy. His initial challenge or struggle was being unpopular and not having a lot of clients patronize him. Also, lacking the right equipment at an early stage was also a challenge for him.

With limited resources, Captain pushed himself to be his best and satisfy his clients. He started getting good referrals and invested his profits to get the right equipment for his job. Having the right equipment makes his job a lot easier now.

With his super bike, Captain is always trusted to arrive early to any event.

Captain also understands that the economy of Nigeria is still growing and in most cases, he is flexible with his pricing and gives his clients pocket friendly payment options. In cases where his clients cannot pay in full, a deal is struck where they can pay in installments.

As a way of giving back to the society, Captain provides free photography lessons to youths and unemployed Nigerians who wish to venture into photography in his studio. He plans to take it further by establishing a free photography school in the nearest future for the community. 

As a photographer, Captain claims he is definitely not spared of criticisms and he feels criticism helps him to learn.

Some funny moments for Captain includes; bumping into highway robbery attacks while riding through some states in Nigeria during his tours. He has never been stopped or bothered by these highway robbers. They just tell him to carry on, probably in fascination.

Captain also feels it is wrong for people to assume that photographers are poor. He claims at some events, people tend to look down on photographers, but that does not stop him from proceeding with the job. He tells other photographers that as long as they know their worth, they should not be bothered by such.  Photographers can also boast of exotic cars and properties across the country.

Captain once asked one of his student why he chose photography, his response was: “I want to be like you sir, and own super bikes someday.”  That was a misguided answer according to Captain, because he believes some skills in life take time, passion and mastery to perfect. His advice to young aspiring African photographers is; to believe in themselves, remain consistent and improve every day. “…Of course, along the way, you may get confused and have questions, but like my son would say: ‘Google it!’ To succeed at anything at all you do, you must have a passion for it. You must be consistent. You must endeavor to be the very best at it.”

Captain also has a very supportive family. His son who is multi-talented, while at secondary school won the best photographer award in his school and this made Captain proud.

As a photographer, Captain’s personal goal is to become a person that is looked up to; a role model for the younger generation. On a professional level, his goal is to be a renowned photographer called upon to capture moments and cover events all over the world.

Captain Ifeatu with David Anaka

How we Created Global Entrepreneurs From a Nigerian University

Abdul Rasheed Na’Allah, for 10 years, 2009 to 2019, was the vice chancellor of Kwara State University in Nigeria, from July 1, 2019, before he became the Vice chancellor of University of Abuja.

Prof. Abdulrasheed talks to David Anaka about entrepreneurship in Nigeria, how he led a university to achieve world class standard through entrepreneurship during his tenure and also shares lessons from his latest books.

Presently, the major problem facing well over fifty percent of Nigerian graduates is that of securing a rewarding job in line and synchronisation with their field of study or discipline immediately or in most cases few years after their graduation. Most of these graduates, in a bid to make ends meet and also appreciate those who bore the cost and responsibilities for their educations, have ended up with jobs and careers far from their areas of specialization, interest and passion. They have reluctantly accepted these jobs just to have pay checks at the end of every month so as to ‘survive.’ 

This system or cycle only spells doom for the country because, it limits innovation and creativity, leading further to economic stagnation and backwardness.

This unpleasant story is getting quite different with a new ray of hope emerging through a visionary university executive who has decided to alter a system which only spells doom for the giant of Africa. Prof. Abdulrasheed Na’Allah, the vice-chancellor of university of Abuja, Nigeria, and the pioneer vice-chancellor of Kwara state university, Nigeria (an institution often referred to as the university for community development, because of its role in spearheading several projects aimed at improving quality of life and living standards of communities around the university) is passionate about creating global entrepreneurs and job creators from his institution.

 From Kwara state university’s commencement of activities in 2009, Prof. Abdulrasheed used every opportunity that came across his path to create entrepreneurial platforms and also remind his students then of the university’s expectations for them which includes; becoming job creators and not job seekers, and also turning out to become global players within the business circle as solution creators and problem solvers. 

Prof. Abdulrasheed  embraced an amazing entrepreneurial model for the university that can be described as a positive-part solution to curb the problem of unemployment in Nigeria. This entrepreneurial model adopted by Prof. Abdulrasheed, has created a system  where all students of the university are mandated to go through an intense and advanced entrepreneurial training spread across three years and in synchronisation with their major disciplines. The entrepreneurial training which is broken into theoretical, practical and mentorship stages also makes it mandatory for students of the university to have a duly registered business name before graduation. A registered business name gives each student of the institution the privilege to operate enterprises recognised and backed by the Nigerian law.

 Thus, he set Kwara state university on the track to producing global entrepreneurs yearly and not just mere graduates.

Questions by David Anaka and responses by Prof. Abdulrasheed Na’Allah.

Speaking about some challenges  experienced while implementing the entrepreneurial model adopted for the university at its early stage, Prof. Abdulrasheed had this to say;

Prof. Abulrasheed:

The challenges I experienced at the very beginning was to convince and mobilize all my colleagues especially at the Senate to support the Entrepreneurship training model for our students. Almost all had not seen any University in Nigeria that had done this. There was no single public university and only one private University, then Pan Atlantic, taught entrepreneurship studies. This was 2009/2010 academic year and the idea of adding courses in entrepreneurship to general studies from 2nd year to 4th year was not popular. But I prepared and backed The Centre for Entrepreneurship of the university in its explanations and sought the trust of the university’s Senate that we were doing what was right for our nation. We also had the advantage of the strong review and backing of the Board of The Centre for Entrepreneurship where I was chairman, and where most were successful business gurus. I think the university’s Senate was also encouraged by their comments and strong recommendations.

When asked about recommending the entrepreneurship model to other tertiary institutions in Nigeria, Prof. Abdulrasheed responded with this.

Prof. Abulrasheed:

Absolutely, I will recommend this model, as I am convinced there is no better model out there. All compulsory general course in entrepreneurship! 2nd year are generally introductory to the concept, ideas and practice of entrepreneurship; at other levels, students learn how to prepare and conduct business surveys, establish relationship with  banks and lending agencies, then next level is Enterprise Creation and Management, establishing a company and registering the company with CAC (Corporate Affairs Commissions), to connecting to successful business firms and personalities around the country in a mentor/mentee relationship, providing them role models and advisers, and finally to actually practicing their chosen businesses. By the time a KWASU student graduates from the University, he or she already has grown into becoming an Entrepreneur with a clear choice in entrepreneurship. The next stage which in which a lot more investment is needed is in Incubation, which is a Post-Graduation facility for Kwasites. The Incubation currently is located in the Zango contact office Ilorin,  which needs expansion and to be more functional, so that graduates who still need support and services in their business firms before they can stand on their own will use the KWASU Business Incubation until they feel they can move out and be on their own.

Prof. Abdulrasheed’s view on the direct impacts and results the entrepreneurship model has on the Nigerian economy?

Prof. Abulrasheed:

The direct impact on the Nigerian economy is that KWASU graduates are creating wealth in the nooks and corners of Nigeria. Many may not yet notice them but this nation would soon realize the tremendous contributions of KWASU graduates to changing our nation and mobilizing the God-given resources and talents and population of Nigeria for wealth creation, and ensuring that the number of graduates roaming the streets are reduced, since KWASU graduates are drastically never part of the roaming syndrome. At KWASU  graduating students are told that their University will disown them if they abandon the wealth creation ideas they developed in KWASU and join those roaming the streets. We encourage their parents not to go around taking their CVs to Government ministries lobbying for government jobs for them, but to support them in their training to create their own business ventures and be on their own.

We created a record in this country as a University, with CAC (Corporate Affairs Commissions) informing KWASU that it is the single entity in Nigeria with established thousands of registered companies, mostly by own students. This is a thing of pride to KWASU. Kwasites are all over Nigeria and the world now creating wealth and managing their firms and companies very well.

When asked what the approach of the students to this entrepreneurial model had been like, considering it has taken them out of the comforts of the classroom and exposed them to the ‘real world,’ Prof. Abdulrasheed had this to say.

Prof. Abulrasheed:

The students’ approach have been very exciting and Joyful, as most of them understand the crisis of our nation and how its able-bodied youths suffer from unemployment. Most came into KWASU wondering what the future holds for them, even wondering whether they would join the bodies of unemployed and roaming youths of Nigeria after graduating. Many have their brothers and sisters just sit at home or go around constantly to government ministries looking for jobs unsuccessfully.

So the students are excited about the concept that KWASU is introducing to them from their 2nd year and the Entrepreneurship courses they take up till 4th year. They are proud to own businesses and to practice these business ventures and start earning money even as students. For example, the Farm to Wealth program, part of the Entrepreneurship General study, especially introduces them to Agricultural businesses and how they can turn our fertile soil to wealth, including storage, processing, adding value to the raw material, and more, and finding and delivering products to end users, and exploring e-businesses. What is even more rewarding is the way most students pursue and create original ideas and bring new products to the market, something highly needed by the Nigerian teaming population but never done before! Obviously the customers are satisfied and grateful and become loyal as their needs are being met easily. The students’ excitement in the Entrepreneurship programs is contagious!

About Professor Abdulrasheed Na’Allah   Prof. Abdulrasheed describes himself as an Ilorin boy, but also a Sokoto boy, a Koko boy and a Yauri boy, as he grew up in these towns and cities and claims his childhood experiences especially the Ilorin experience are reflected in his creative and scholarly writing. As a thinker and scholar, his goal is often to take up society matters and unwrap them for clearer understanding. Cultural issues, identity issues and more. As a poet, his poetry come in the mode of popular and grassroots poetry that explore metaphors that are enjoyable and recognizable by the people so that the urgent messages contained therein won’t miss them, even as they enjoy the powerful images and personification and more. A graduate from the great University of Ilorin, who taught there for some years before going to take his PhD from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and later taught comparative literature, folklore, African and African American studies, and worked as higher education administrator in the United States. He also attended programs at Harvard University, all of which prepared him for the leadership role of starting a University of the Twenty-first Century.  

BOOKS

  Recently, Prof. Abdulrasheed launched three books to the public. ILORIN O – Poetry of Praise, Globalization and OBAMA-MENTUM: An Anthology of Transformational Poetry.
 
When asked What salient message the public  can we take away from each book, here is his response?    Each of my 3 newest books has lots of messages that can be taken away from it: the Obama-Mentum is a celebration of the inspiration of the people of the world towards their aspiration for Barack Hussain Obama’s transformational presidency of the United States, and putting in white and black the world’s response to the emergence of a Black President in USA. Globalization is about the effect of the global capitalist and post-human exploitation of the down trodden of Africa, and especially how the forces of globalization have affected the African values and the traditional products like the oral poetry. Ilorin O, is poetry of praise for my city of Ilorin and her people, invoking my people’s love and dreams, and providing for others around the world some knowledge of what it means to be Ilorin.  

COUNTRY FIRST

True-Life Conversation between David Anaka and a Nigerian soldier.                      

(anonymous status adopted for this feature)

There are some special breed of humans who see challenges facing a nation and rather than shy away from such situations or just complain, they make themselves ready and available, and also say; ‘send me to calm the storm.’ These individuals fight for country, they fight for honor and more importantly they fight to win. A Nigerian soldier made me understand what it really means to live for a purpose. Our conversation circled around his love for his job and he also revealed his drive and unrelenting desire to push himself harder and farther than anyone can imagine possible. His deployment to the North-Eastern part of Nigeria has pushed him to hot dark corners where bad things live and fight, an unpleasant environment with constant baptism of fire. His best reward, will be just to see a transformed Nigeria.

      Conversation between David Anaka and a Nigerian Soldier.

DAVID:

A patriot is one who loves and defends his or her country. How do you feel being referred to as a patriot because of your active service and role in the fight against insurgency in Nigeria?

 SOLDIER:

 I really don’t feel worthy to be called a patriot, because I believe that what lies ahead seems bigger than what I have seen so far. However, I am honored to be treated as and also called one. I tell people that; I have missed my targets many  times, I have also read some battles wrong and made some wrong calls. But one thing  I have never done is; to turn my back against an enemy, till they are down. I do not see myself as a warlord. But I see myself as a soldier who is expected to be a victor.

DAVID:

How has your childhood and background shaped you into the man you are today?

SOLDIER:

I am from a small family. I grew up not really being  part of kids who experienced life by engagement but rather, mine was more of observations. These observations I gathered over time from everything around me, formed a cognitive part of who I am now and how I approach issues.

DAVID:

What influenced your choice of military career?

SOLDIER:

The environment I found myself in presented the military as an option. Although, I ventured into other spheres of life at some point, got a university degree, started a fashion outfit, I still found myself craving to serve my country through the military in my mid twenties. The major driving force was the will to serve, lead and be an example worthy of emulation. This will is bigger, much bigger than my might. This is also what keeps me going when the chips are down. My choice to join the Force was the most unlikely but it is a better representation of who I am.

DAVID:

After joining the force, you were deployed to the North-Eastern part of Nigeria at a period when insurgency was on the rise. How did you and your loved ones feel about your deployment?

SOLDIER:

 My first deployment was in North-Eastern Nigeria. I was not quite surprised about my first deployment, because if I wasn’t expecting it then, why am I here. If it was going to be a great surprise to me then I’m not ready. My great country is challenged and I believe my contributions will be history bound. At first, news about my deployment didn’t go down well with my loved ones  but my confidence became contagious and their confidence apparently became my stronghold.

DAVID:

How will you describe your first contact with insurgents

SOLDIER:

 My first encounter with insurgents was more like a reality check. However, I was briefed by my superiors who also took special interest in me, in making sure I acclimatize with the ground. My very first encounter with insurgents was a huge success, although I was in a trance for the first  few minutes before I got my act together and got into the fight. The success of that operation further stabilized my confidence.

My superiors when encouraging our team always say; “the time left is less than the time spent, so don’t give up now.”

DAVID:

Have you incurred losses through your active participation in the fight against insurgency?

SOLDIER:

I don’t count losses, rather I see them as challenges, it’s been total commitment joining the force. But if we understand the state of the nation today and what we hope to achieve tomorrow then we must realize that our efforts are geared towards a future gain. My friends have been awesomely supportive. Yes! my loved ones miss me as much as I miss them, but our faith is solid. There’s no comfort in war, everyday is a blessing.

DAVID:

What style have you approached in Leading the men under your lead to victory, considering you are responsible for some men who are older and even more battle experienced than yourself.

SOLDIER:

Having men under your lead is just part of the structural organization of the job. Being in such position is however challenging especially with men who have been in the theatre for years. It is pretty difficult to maintain decorum and discipline. Leadership is a style and I make it flexible for a common purpose of achieving the sole objective. I find it pretty easy leading my men because I make them realize that our every task is collective and we must achieve it as one body. Never use power to impose discipline, rather make everyman realize that he is entitled to the discipline he pays. I spend more time with my soldiers, I know their strengths and weaknesses, and I manage them accordingly, I create room for each to develop himself and I listen to them closely. We bond like brothers and we fight as one blood.  This alone keeps their morale high.

DAVID:

Have you had moments where you could not control your emotions?

SOLDIER:

 Losing a man is like losing a brother, because together we have built history, memories, and have been a part of a greater good. As a leader, you must be able to maintain the high spirits of your men at all times even when one falls.

One moment that brought tears to my eyes was when we successfully recovered some women and children from insurgents who had been held captive for years, their sight was really pitiful. I offered them bread and they said; they hadn’t eaten bread for over five years, I went emotional.

DAVID:

What are your major sources of joy and motivation?

SOLDIER:

No one can make you happy unless you make yourself happy. An average soldier in war is hostile, the everyday people you interact with are not happy, so, my joy lies in the peace from God knowing that all is well, the confidence and prayers of my loved ones. A puppy dog I  adopted in the North-East makes me laugh. Also, the general success my unit has achieved so far has been of great motivation. Every victory breeds a new height of morale.

DAVID:

What do you have to say about the Nigeria.

SOLDIER:

Our beloved nation is blessed and great, that’s why we have so much uprising. I believe our nation will be better, I believe in a brighter tomorrow. Our youths are using our challenges to foster measures of being self reliant. The transformation is slow but imminent, as soon as we get past this phase of security challenges, our nation will be rock solid.