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Noble Igwe, Jennifer Ukoh-Osamwonyi, Anita Adesiyan, Laide Daramola, Sarah Sanni headline Film, Fashion & Arts panel 

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New media is changing the face of the arts and entertainment industry, presenting novel opportunities alongside challenges for industry practitioners. At the 2022 New Media Conference themed ‘The Viral Economy’, which held in Lagos over the weekend, influencers and pacesetters across the fashion, PR, film, and arts sectors deliberated on the different ways that viral media can be leveraged for growth.

“The world today is more digitalized than has ever been in human history and this has revolutionized communication and many facets of life,” said Oluwatosin Ajibade, Founder/Convener, of New Media Conference and OloriSuperGal (OSG) Media. “Understanding what the Viral Economy is, the opportunities and challenges it presents for all, and how to position within the space is imperative.”

According to Noble Igwe, Filmmaker, PR, and Founder, 360Nobs, viral media have both positive and negative sides because they can amplify the right conversations and the wrong ones too. He further added that an important advantage of new media is the borderless reach and visibility that it offers to creatives.

“New media has come to help things get farther. A whole lot of people appreciate Nigerian music and fashion all over the world because they find posts about them on Instagram and other social media platforms,” he said.

Sarah Sanni, Muralist, Ceracerni Art Hub, noted that while new media can help with virality, it should not be an end, but rather, a means for artists to expand their business and sell value. “Sometimes some artists do not want to upskill and improve, and they are comfortable with just going viral,” she said.

“You should move past going viral and see the next thing that you are to do. Are you prepared for the next thing and is your business speaking to your audience?”

Furthermore, the Virality in Fashion, Arts and Film panel which was moderated by Anita Adesiyan, PR expert and Country Manager for MTV Shuga Nigeria, advised creatives to stand out and not lose their identity and authenticity to social media trends. “It helps to have an identity or unique self in whatever platform you are using to market,” said Laide Daramola, Media Executive, and Filmmaker. “There is a space for knowing what works but also there is a space to think creatively and come up with new strategies.”

Meanwhile, Jennifer Ukoh-Osamwonyi, PR Manager, Showmax, Nigeria emphasized the importance of storytelling and curating content targeted at one’s audience. “What is also important for PR is your message and what you are putting out per time,” she said. “Sometimes your message might not even change but because of the platform type, they have to be modified.”

On copyright issues, the panel pointed out that the legal system must be improved to support the work of creatives. The panel recommended that the legal processes should be made more efficient and responsive. “It is important that people use trade marking for their works or design,” said Noble.

“This way, they can minimize the risk of having their work designs stolen.”

The session ended with the speakers encouraging creatives to use their craft to effect positive change in society and contribute meaningfully to their community. The New Media Conference 2022 was held on October 29, 2022, in Lagos at the British Council Nigeria office with attendees from across the continent. The New Media Conference  2022 edition focused on how viral media is shaping different facets of human interaction including arts, technology, finance, fashion, content creation, and politics. The event was hosted by Isabella Adediji, the founder of Yellow Tamarind Productions, a media, and PR company based in Lagos.

The event is powered by OSG Media and supported by the British Council.

Media partners for the event are News Central TV, Goldmyne TV, and Media Room Hub. For more information, visit www.newmediaconference.ng

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ECOWAS Court nullifies ECOWAS Commission staff’s dismissal

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The ECOWAS Court of Justice has nullified the dismissal of Mr Momodu Cham, a former staff of the Commission, saying it breached Article 69 of the ECOWAS staff regulations.

Cham had filed the suit following his dismissal from his position as a Procurement Officer with the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (GIABA), a specialised ECOWAS agency.

The applicant, a community citizen residing in Banjul, Gambia, had joined the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) and its President, as first and second Respondents, respectively, in the suit challenging his sack.

Delivering judgment, Justice Dupe Atoki, the Judge Rapporteur, held that the cessation of Cham’s salary by the Commission before the exhaustion of the appeal process was arbitrary, unlawful, null, and void.

According to Justice Atoki, the action of the Commission is contrary to Article 73(b) of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

The Court, therefore, ordered the Respondents to pay Cham his salary arrears and other entitlements from January 2021 to June 2021, as compensation.

It further ordered the Commission to pay Mr Cham’s salaries and emoluments from July to December 2021 as compensation for the unlawful dismissal.

“Requesting an on-the-spot response to charges without prior notice or an opportunity to prepare a defense violates procedural safeguards outlined in the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

“The regulations are designed to ensure an Applicant’s rights are fully maintained until the Council’s final decision.

“Consequently, the summary dismissal of the Applicant by the 2nd Respondent breached Article 69 of the regulation.

“Therefore, the cessation of the Applicant’s salary and other emoluments after invoking the right of appeal is a violation of Article 73(b) of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations,” Justice Atoki held.

The Court, however, declined to grant any orders for mandatory injunctions against the Commission and reinstatement of the applicant .

The Applicant had contended at the trial that he was suspended on July 11, 2019, following a forensic audit report by Ernst and Young UK, which implicated him in irregularities related to the purchase of IT equipment for GIABA.

He said that on Jan. 26, 2021, he was summarily dismissed, and his salaries and emoluments were withheld in violation of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

Cham had prayed the court to grant him several reliefs, including a declaration that his dismissal was arbitrary, null, and void.

He also sought an order setting aside his dismissal and the immediate payment of his salary arrears and other entitlements from January 2021.

The applicant had also prayed for his reinstatement to his position as a Procurement Officer and compensation for costs incurred in prosecuting the suit.

The Respondents, in their defense, had however, maintained that the applicant was properly suspended and later dismissed following a forensic audit report and a subsequent query.

They had also argued that the dismissal was appropriate due to the allegations of gross misconduct, embezzlement, theft, fraud, and abuse of trust.

The three-member panel also had Justices Gberi-bè Ouattara, presiding, and  Sengu Mohamed Koroma, as a member.

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Tinubu names National Theatre after Wole Soyinka

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President Bola Tinubu has named the National Arts Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, after Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka.

Tinubu announced this in a tribute he wrote to celebrate Soyinka in commemoration of his 90th birthday.

The tribute dated “Professor Wole Soyinka at 90: Tribute to a national treasure and global icon,” was personally signed by the President and made available to journalists on Friday.

Tinubu expressed his delight to join admirers around the world in celebrating Soyinka, adding that July 13 would be the climax of the series of local and international activities held in his honour.

Tinubu wrote, “Professor Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel Literature Prize in 1986, deserves all the accolades as he marks the milestone of 90 years on earth. Having beaten prostate cancer, this milestone is a fitting testament to his ruggedness as a person and the significance of his work.

“It is also fitting we celebrate this national treasure while he is still with us. I am, accordingly, delighted to announce the decision of the Federal Government to rename the National Theatre in Iganmu, Surulere, as the Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts.”

Tinubu stated that Nigeria not only celebrates Soyinka’s remarkable literary achievements, but also his unwavering dedication to the values of human dignity and justice.

When he turned 80, I struggled to find words to encapsulate his achievements because they were simply too vast. Since then, he has added to his corpus with his series of Interventions, which have been published in many volumes.

“Professor Soyinka is a colossus, a true renaissance person blessed with innumerable talents. He is a playwright, actor, poet, human rights and political activist, composer, and singer.

“He is a giant best riding not just the literary world but our nation, Africa, and the world,” he averred.

According to the President, Soyinka is one Nigerian whose influence transcends the Nigerian space and who inspires people around the world, explaining that since his youth, he has been a vocal critic of oppression and injustice wherever it exists, from apartheid in South Africa to racism in the United States.

“Beginning from his 20s, he took personal risks for the sake of our nation. His courage was evident when he attempted to broker peace at the start of the civil war in 1967. Detained for two years for his bravery, he narrated his experience in his prison memoir, ‘The Man Died.’

“Despite deprivation and solitary confinement, his resolve to speak truth to power and fight for the marginalised was further strengthened.

“Our paths crossed during our struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election,” Tinubu stated.

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Tinubu sympathises with victims of building collapse in Plateau

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President Bola Tinubu receives the news of the tragic collapse of a school building, which resulted in multiple deaths and many surviving victims in Jos, Plateau, with profound grief.

His spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, in a statement on Friday, said the President described the incident as a huge loss to the nation, as well as a devastating development – too excruciating to imagine.

“The President condoles with the bereaved families, families of all the victims, and the people and Government of Plateau State.

“President Tinubu commends emergency responders, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), security agencies, and all citizens involved in the search, rescue, and resuscitation efforts.

“The President assures the people of Plateau State of his fervent support at this difficult time,” said the statement.

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