He doesn’t even know it, but Naira Marley is a cult leader. All of a sudden, there’s an army of Nigerians all over the world calling themselves Marlians. They follow the philosophy of the Great One aka Afeez Fashola, who is only 25 years old. Their doctrine, it appears, is smoke a bouyant amount of weed, rage against the authorities, have a lot of sex, and secure the bag aka naira.
“There’s nothing we won’t see in this world,” they said. “This small girl of yesterday is our CEO. What does she even know?” The staff didn’t like it when her dad brought her to run the company. Some of them are as old as her grandfather. They knew her when she was a little girl and used to run around the office in diapers. Now, she’s their boss.
When we were boys in the 90s, we liked Shabba Ranks. You don’t know Shabba Ranks? Okay wait. His dancehall was beautiful but Shabba himself was ugly. And I say that with all due respect.
Okay, that’s reckless hyperbolism. My grand arrival in that famed continental magazine was anything but sudden. That story took me all of three weeks, plus a couple of extra sleepless nights—factoring in interviews, research, transcriptions, rewrites, edits, and reverts. But one day, just as I languished in one of those Lagos traffic jams on Alfred Rewane Road, Ikoyi, I saw Ayeni Adekunle and Steve Babaeko on the cover of Forbes Africa and I was like, Wait, that’s my story.
Every time I send an idea to any of my friends, I cross all my fingers and say 300 hail-Mary-mother-of-Gods. As I proclaim, “Hey, check this out,” I put a fake smile in my voice and ask like everything’s cool. “What do you think of this one?” While I tiptoe around my room waiting for their feedback, my head screams: Damn, I have gone and done it again. Shouldn’t I know by now that nobody wants to see another hot new brainwave from me!
I’m deeply honoured to be named to the grand jury of the New York Festivals Advertising Awards. Which is a super big deal.
For three weeks, Tope Jemerigbe had waited with nerves on fire for this phone call. Now that she was on it, she knew there was only one answer she could accept from the man on the other end of the line. That man, Tarek Abdelnabi, must make up his mind today or Tope and her people would be out of time. Tope didn’t like to be out of time.
Bankulli is a big man– when he stands beside my 5ft 9.5″ I feel he’s 7ft tall. But he also knows how to perfectly fade into the background. This is probably his superpower. He helps other people shine by staying out of their way.
She’d warned me again and again about my extreme reliance on cashless banking. Did I listen? No. Then one day, we went to the cinema to see John Wick 3. I got to the till. whipped out my Zenith Bank card, gave it to the box office lady. She shook her head. “Cash only. Sorry, POS not working.”
“What’s the role of the brand in this ad!” “For crying out loud, where’s the product in use!” “Are you trying to tell me the brand isn’t the hero of this commercial!”