All posts by Gary

MultiChoice’s Factory seeks talent

The recently launched MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) has put out a call for applications.

The Naspers-owned pay TV company recently launched a 12-month pan-African film and television academy for aspiring media professionals and entrepreneurs. The MTF Academy aims to provide students with the skill sets required to work in the television and film industry.

Entries are open until July 5 and aspiring film and TV creatives can apply on the MTF website . A total of 60 individuals will be selected from 13 countries to become students. Classes will begin on October 1 in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

The MTF initiative comprises three parts, the MTF Academy, MTF Masterclasses and professional database MTF Portal. The MTF Academy students are expected to produce content for television and film that will air on MultiChoice’s TV platforms DSTV and GOtv.

MultiChoice described the initiative as “a social investment initiative aimed at igniting Africa’s creative industries and growing them into vibrant, economic powerhouses.”

The company added: “The African continent is steeped in a rich and diverse history of living passionately through language, art, music and colourful storytelling. As the continent continues to change rapidly, the entertainment industry has become ever more relevant. MultiChoice Africa has identified an opportunity in this fast-changing environment – one that will leave a lasting impact on the creative industry as a whole.”

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First Creative Nigeria speakers named

Lagos-based media agency Think Tank Media & Advertising has announced the first speakers for July’s Creative Nigeria Summit.

The two-day event will see speakers address the issue of digitisation in Nigeria with the theme, Content: The Future of Nigerian Television in a Digital Era. The event will be held in Lagos on July 17 and 18.

The speakers will include top media executives and broadcast journalists with decades of experience in television and film, many of whom have impacted the industry through innovation.

They include:

• Bada Akintunde Johnson, country manager, Viacom International Media, parent company of MTV, Nickelodeon, BET and Comedy Central

 

 

 
• John Giwa-Amu, co-founder of Red & Black Films

 

 

 

• Sanjay Salil, founder of Media Guru and one of India’s top media entrepreneurs
 

 

 

• Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife, a television and film production company

 

 

 

• Avi Armoza, founder of Armoza Formats and one of Israel’s top television producer/distributors
 

 

 

• Anahita Kheder, senior VP, Middle East, Africa and South Eastern Europe, FremantleMedia International
 

 

 

• Jason Njoku, CEO and co-founder of iROKOtv, one of Nigeria’s leading VoD platforms
 

 

 

• Emma Smithwick, film and TV producer and scriptwriter

 

 

 

• Jeff Kalligheri, CEO of Waterstone Entertainment, a production and financing company
 

 

 

The speakers will address more than 2,000 media professionals in various sessions at the Summit, which will include masterclasses, panel discussions and workshops.

Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, is expected to deliver the welcoming address at the conference.

For more information and to register for the event, click here.

Think Tank Media & Advertising is an independent media planning, media buying and creative agency working for both local and international clients.

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Kwesé TV aims to reinvent African TV

Sub-Saharan pay TV platform Kwesé TV aims to change the narrative of Africa’s media, according to a top exec at its parent company Econet Media.

Zachary Wazara

Zachary Wazara, executive director at Econet, revealed that Kwesé is focused on ensuring Africa can access content without having to rely on pay TV.

“The free-to-air [FTA] business is intended to extend TV’s reach in Africa, recognising the fact that not everyone can afford pay TV. In Nigeria, for the Fifa World Cup, our [FTA channel] Kwesé Free Sports has signed up with Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria so that instead of 4.5 million pay customers watching the World Cup, we can now take the World Cup to between 100 million and 120 million people,” he said.

According to Wazara, Kwesé is changing the way people see pay TV, ensuring its sports channel is available to everyone on not just satellite TV but terrestrial as well.

In the past, Africa’s sports programming has been available on pay TV, but Kwesé Free Sports “gives the average African an opportunity to watch Formula 1, NBA and boxing at the highest level, to watch every single sport that is out there,” whereas before they were restricted to soccer, he said.

“Our objective is to begin to introduce different types of sports at international level, so we can also inspire our kids, by saying, ‘It’s not just about running, but more. Like tennis and rugby.’ Which is primarily why we introduced Kwesé Free Sports in 23 countries,” Wazara explained.

“Kwesé TV, which is our satellite business, competes against other brands that you know out there in the market. In Nigeria, our satellite TV has got the best clarity.

“Our objective is to do with satellite TV what was done with prepaid mobile – ensuring that anyone out there can have satellite television.”

In related news, Kwesé has just launched mobile app Kwesé iflix, which allows for flexible in-app subscriptions.

The subscription plans include three days for N250, seven days for N500 and 30 days for N1,000. Customers who download the app now get an opportunity to view 32 World Cup matches for free.

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Kwesé partners iflix for mobile app

Pay TV service Kwesé TV has unveiled a mobile service in partnership with iflix, including live coverage of the World Cup.

Mayur Patel

Kwesé iflix offers all-round video entertainment and access to numerous programmes and premium content, as well as live 2018 Fifa World Cup matches.

Mayur Patel, Kwesé iflix’s CEO, said the service is aimed at the mobile generation who prefer to watch TV on the go and want unlimited access to content.

Kwesé iflix can be downloaded for free from the Google and Apple app stores. In-app subscription options are available to customers, including one-, three-, seven- and 30-day VIP passes.

Iflix launched in Nigeria last August, three years after it began operations in Malaysia.

It partners with more than 220 studios and distributors, which allows it to offer a wide range of movies and TV drama series, locally and globally.

Kwesé is fast becoming one the leading pay TV network in Nigeria. It is also one of the three TV platforms in the country to have exclusive rights to air the World Cup. The others are SuperSports (on DSTV and GOtv) and StarTimes.

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Big Brother Naija’s Bakre unveils vlog

Tobi Bakre

Big Brother Naija: Double Wahala finalist Tobi Bakre has launched a vlog titled Tobi Live.

Bakre recently released the first episode of his YouTube channel where he addresses the topic of internet trolls alongside guest presenters The Delphinator and Elozonam.

According to them, the issue of social media trolling is a fast-rising concern that needs to be nipped in the bud before it causes real damage.

The launch of Tobi Live is part of Bakre’s new career after he was named as Big Brother Naija’s second runner up in April.

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EbonyLife ON captures Castle & Castle

Legal drama series Castle & Castle will air exclusively on EbonyLife’s VoD service EbonyLife ON from July 1.

Nollywood’s Richard Mofe-Damijo in Castle & Castle

Billed as the first legal TV drama in Nigeria, the show centres on a family who struggle to remain united and keep the family law firm running despite numerous challenges.

It is produced by Isioma Osaje and Temidayo Abudu, and directed by Niyi Akinmolayan, Tope Oshin and Kenneth Gyang.

The series features the likes of Richard Mofe Damijo, Dakore Akande, Blossom Chukwujekwu, Denola Grey, Eku Edewor, Deyemi Okanlawon, Blossom Chukwujekwu, Dorcas Shola  Fapson, Ade Laoye, Diipo Ayo-Adeusi and Anee Icha.

EbonyLife TV focuses on a pan-African audience, creating original TV series and films such as Fifty The Series, The Governor and Sons of Caliphate. Launched in December 2017, EbonyLife ON aims to provide the network’s services to a global audience.

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LFA stages first writing masterclasses

The Lagos Film Academy (LFA) has concluded its first TV writing masterclasses, which featured scribe Chris Ihidero (Fuji House of Commotion, Hush) sharing his wisdom about the TV business.

Chris Ihidero

According to the writer/director/producer, being a TV scriptwriter entails more than just talent. “In TV, there’s never enough time or money. What is crucial is to know, as a writer, when to compromise and when not to. Learn not to give excuses,” he said.

Other coaches at the masterclasses included script editor Ijeoma Ogwuegbu-Uduma and TV producer and director Olufemi Ogunsanwo.

Ogwuegbu-Uduma has edited scripts for various TV shows, including Tinsel and MTV Shuga. Ogunsanwo is one of the directors of Africa Magic’s Ajoche.

The masterclasses were concluded with First Fridays, an event that provides a platform for Nollywood professionals to network.

The LFA aims to equip aspiring scriptwriters with the necessary skills and information to succeed in the TV industry.

Ihidero has directed over 100 hours of TV, including Fuji House of Commotion, Shuga, Now We Are Married, VIP and Hush.

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StarTimes ‘to help Nigerian youth’

African pay TV platform StarTimes has disclosed that it is working with the Nigerian government to boost economic growth by empowering young people.

William Masy

William Masy, overseas PR director, brand and marketing at StarTimes, disclosed that the Chinese company is promoting digitisation and youth empowerment by working with the Nigerian government in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Masy revealed that the company will offer mentorship and technical programmes for Nigerians.

“Demographic rates are fast increasing and so is the pressure of job creation,” he said. “Our two countries need to work closely to provide the relevant job training opportunities for youth. And we are intending to build our manufacturing base in Nigeria.

Nigeria is “cherished by the Chinese government” due to the countries’ similarities, and China hopes to share “opportunities targeted towards strategic economic growth.”

However, Nigeria’s government could do more to ensure the success of the initiative, according to Masy. “We need favourable policies and it is good that our partnership is yielding positively and we can boast of Nigeria achieving digital migration.”

StarTimes is one of Africa’s leading pay TV companies. It recently acknowledged Nigeria as its largest market, with three million subscribers.

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Evangelical church sets up TV channel

The Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) has launched a television station based in the Nigerian city of Jos.

Rev Jeremiah Gado

ECWA TV will aim to reach out to audiences in Nigeria and the rest of Africa by providing evangelical content such as spiritual messages and gospel events.

The channel joins a number of media platforms operated by ECWA, including a radio station and a magazine.

Speaking about the new station, Reverend Jeremiah Gado said: “The addition of ECWA TV to its existing Radio ECWA and Today’s Challenge Magazine makes it possible for ECWA to explore a broad spectrum of ministries designed to provide platforms for Christians within and outside ECWA to proclaim the Gospel of God’s kingdom to the whole world.”

“Through ECWA TV, God’s eternal love to the world would be proclaimed in a world filled with prejudice, hate, conflicts and confusion. Another focus of ECWA TV is to address the daily challenges Christians and humanity face in a dynamic world that presents humanity with more choice of evil than godly standards.”

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StarTimes unveils VoD service app

Pan-African pay TV company StarTimes has launched its VoD service with a new video-streaming app.

The StarTimes app carries more than 70 channels

The Chinese-owned company, which recently disclosed it has three million pay TV subscribers in Nigeria, also said it will give discounts to the first 40,000 app subscribers.

Customers who subscribe to ON Sport on the app before June 14 will pay only N450 (US$1.25) to have access to its programmes and watch all 64 Fifa World Cup matches live.

However, those who purchase after the offer expires will have to subscribe to the service at N1,500.

The StarTimes app boasts of more than 70 channels, featuring sports, entertainment, movies, music and more. As well as the World Cup fixtures, the app will include Bundesliga, Serie A, Ghana Premier League, ICC and Ligue 1 matches.

Tony Tuo, StarTimes’ OTT operation director, said: “Video streaming is a future trend and StarTimes hopes our service will pioneer for African digital TV industry.

“It is impossible to miss any moment of the World Cup with our app. There is absolutely no need to worry about the weather condition, signal quality, electricity or being in transit,” he said.

The StarTimes app can be downloaded from any app store, including Android and iOS app stores, as well as the StarTimes website.

“Wherever you may be, with just a steady internet connection, the StarTimes app will get you fully entertained,” said Tuo.

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StarTimes hits 3m subs in Nigeria

China-based pay TV company StarTimes has acknowledged Nigeria as its largest market, after reaching three million subscribers in the country.

William Masy

The company, which operates DTH and DTT platforms, also revealed it has more than 10 million subscribers in the 30 countries in which it operates, but Nigeria makes up its largest market in Africa.

“Nigeria is currently the largest market for our products and services. We currently have three million subscribers in Nigeria,” said William Masy, StarTimes’ PR director.

StarTimes is aiming to build a factory in Nigeria to further establish its presence, he added. “As soon as we are able to secure location rights, we will definitely establish our factory in Nigeria, because Nigeria is our big market,” he said.

“With a global vision, StarTimes began to expand its services to Africa in 2002 and has been working closely with African governments in promoting digitalisation and information.

“StarTimes has introduced more than 480 quality international channels, most popular African channels and Chinese mainstream media channels. These programmes are broadcast in languages including English, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Swahili, Hausa and Yoruba.”

StarTimes is a subsidiary of Beijing-based StarTimes Media. It is one of Africa’s leading pay TV operators, active in 30 countries and serving 10 million subscribers. It offers a variety of channels from family entertainment to sports.

The company has recently inked a volume deal with content provider ABS-CBN in the Philippines and added Christian channel LoveWorld Plus to its bouquet.

StarTimes is also working with the Nigerian government to deliver economic growth by promoting digitisation and economic empowerment for Nigeria’s young people.

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LITV invites Magodo Mums to line-up

Magodo Mums & Their Single Friend

Reality TV series Magodo Mums & Their Single Friend has joined the list of forthcoming original shows to be made available on web channel Linda Ikeji TV (LITV).

In anticipation of the official launch of LITV, the channel’s CEO and creative director Linda Ikeji announced the latest addition to the reality series set to join the channel.

Magodo Mum & Their Single Friend will highlight the daily lives of five women, four of whom are married. It will take viewers through a journey of their friendship, drama, love lives and occasional conflict.

According to Ikeji, the show will also address the stigma of being single in Nigerian society. Magodo Mums & Their Single Friend is produced by Precious Talker and has Ikeji as its creative director.

Other unscripted shows due to debut on LITV include Oyinbo Wives of Lagos, Gidi Girls, Ajegunle with Love, Highway Girls of Eko and King Tonto. LITV was due to launch on June 1 but has been delayed.

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BBC’s Our Girl explores Nigeria

Our Girl stars Michelle Keegan as a British Army soldier

BBC military drama series Our Girl is back for a third season and will feature storylines set in Nigeria.

Our Girl, created and written by Tony Grounds, will be partly set in Nigeria as lead character Corporal Georgie Lane encounters challenges during a rescue mission in the north of the country, an area prone to Boko Haram attacks.

Corporal Lane, played by Michelle Keegan (Coronation Street), is still grieving the death of her fiancé, who was killed during a tour of duty in Nepal, which makes her susceptible to impulsive behaviour.

The third season consists of 12 episodes, divided into three blocks. The current episodes are the second block. Two episodes will include storylines set in Nigeria. Some of the previous episodes of the series were shot in African countries including Kenya and South Africa.

Our Girl will air every Tuesday at 21.00 on BBC First on MultiChoice’s DSTV pay TV platform. The series airs in the UK on BBC1, produced by BBC Studios. It is distributed internationally by RLJ Entertainment.

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Script2Screen star

Anita Abada is a tenacious and vibrant lady with a flair for weaving stories together that pop on-screen.

Hailing from the South-South region of Nigeria, Abada followed her dreams of becoming a screenwriter after graduating from the University of Benin. In pursuit of those dreams, she decided to participate in the Script2Screen Africa reality TV show.

Abada spoke to Content Nigeria’s Gabriella Opara about her experiences on Script2Screen, being named the best scriptwriter on the show and her plans.

Anita Abada

What led you to participate in Script2Screen Africa?
I am enthusiastic about filmmaking but most especially using filmmaking as a tool to address social ills. When I stumbled on Script2Screen Africa’s audition posters, the theme – Film as a Catalyst for Revolution – caught my attention and I really wanted to be a part of that movement because I share in the vision and wanted my voice to be heard.

How has the experience been so far?
It was educative and intriguing. There was a lot to learn from every activity and mentor that was invited to the house.

Who was your favourite mentor?
This is a very tough question, I must say. Every mentor that graced the Script2Screen Africa house had something unique to offer. Though we spent more time with some than others, and we grew fond of those we saw on a regular basis, every mentor there had something essential we could tap from their well of knowledge.

You were named the best screenwriter. What helped you achieve this?
Two words: hard work and grace.

Team work was an essential part of the show. How did you cope with working with others under pressure?
I believe a team thrives better when it works in unity, and that was exactly what my team capitalised on. Everyone respected one another’s opinions and ensured the priority was executing our project and not individual differences.

Who was your favourite team member to work with?
Everyone in Group 3 was amazing and pivotal to every project.

You and your team worked together to produce a short film. Tell us about it.
Working on our last short film, The Catalyst, wasn’t an easy task. We had our ups and downs, but we focused on our strength and ensured we gave the project our best shot. In the end, we were glad we were able to put together such amazing work in just 48 hours.

What was the inspiration behind it?
Just like the Script2Screen Africa tag – Film as a Catalyst for Revolution – there was a need to address social ills and bring them to the consciousness of the public.

What have you been up to since the finale of the show?
I am still following my passion for movies and writing. I see to the daily running of my co-founded website – Afri Reviews (www.afrireviews.com), an all-African movie review platform – and I also work as an independent screenwriter.

What is the secret to a good script?
Every scriptwriter should have a unique style and be unapologetic about it. Be creative about the way you tell your stories.

Tell us something unique about yourself.
I am a scriptwriter who explores the use of diverse languages in storytelling. I am passionate about telling the African story in a unique and colourful way.

Script2Screen Africa is an annual reality TV show produced by High Definition Film Studios (HDFS), which aims to train aspiring filmmakers.

Anita Abada was among 60 participants who took part in the seventh edition, which aired from March 24 to April 21 on Silverbird TV, Africa Movie Channel, Wazobia, WazobiaMax TV and AIT.

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MultiChoice opens talent academy

MultiChoice, owner of pan-African pay TV platforms DSTV and GOtv, has launched a new initiative to boost the African creative industries.

John Ugbe

MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) is intended to improve the African film and television industry and comprises three parts: an academy, masterclasses and a portal.

It began with the launch of a regional academy, which offers a 12-month educational curriculum, in Lagos. Others are located in Kenya and Zambia.

Sixty applicants from 13 countries will be admitted to the MTF Academy, which will begin classes on October 1. Applications are currently open and will close on the June 5.

John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “The film and television industries have not developed at the same pace as other industries on the continent, and not for a lack of talent, passion or imagination. We are abundantly blessed in these areas. However, the space given for this expression has at best been limited and, at worst, been relegated to the fringes of the mainstream economy, leaving in its wake, unfulfilled dreams, unexplored talent and unwritten stories.”

Femi Odugbemi, the director of the MTF Academy, West Africa, said: “We must consciously build capacity so that our next-generation filmmakers and producers can also create wealth and create employment by being entrepreneurs.”

MTF Academy students are expected to produce content for TV and film which will air on DSTV and GOtv.

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Soccer star Mikel to front Kwesé TV

Kwesé TV has named Nigerian footballer John Obi Mikel as its first brand ambassador as the 2018 Fifa World Cup prepares to kick off in Russia.

John Obi Mikel

Kwesé TV said Mikel will represent the company across Africa and will feature in all of its advertising campaigns.

Joseph Hundag, CEO of Kwesé’s parent company Econet Media, said: “In choosing the right personality to partner with our brands we wanted someone who embodies what we stand for as an African broadcaster.

“Mikel represents exceptional sporting talent and is loved by fans across the continent. His commitment to excellence and his work to improve the sporting talent of the next generation of athletes made him the perfect choice for us.”

Mikel said: “It’s a pleasure and honour to be asked and today become the official ambassador of Kwesé TV.

“I am excited to work with a media network that is redefining broadcasting in Africa. As in my football career, it was important to me to represent an organisation that puts fans and customers first.”

Mikel is one of Nigeria’s top football icons. He is currently a midfielder at Chinese club Tiajin TEDA and captain of the Super Eagles, Nigeria’s national team.

He is also the founder of the Mikel Obi Africa Children’s Sports Foundation, which Kwesé TV will invest in. The foundation aims to alleviate poverty by empowering young Africans through sports.

Kwesé TV is the official broadcaster of the World Cup. It will air matches on its free-to-air channel Kwesé Sports and also make them accessible live on terrestrial TV and radio stations.

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Kwese Sports to air World Cup live

Terrestial televison audiences in Nigeria will be able to view the Fifa 2018 World Cup live after the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON) reached an agreement with free-to-air network Kwesé Sports.

John Momoh

The deal will see Kwesé Sports air 32 live matches of the World Cup, being held in Russia this summer, on terrestrial TV.

John Momoh, BON’s chairman, said: “We are focused on providing the best services to our audience and clients. And by combining the wide and national coverage of our members with Kwesé’s offering, we can ensure that all Nigerians have the opportunity to watch the matches and cheer our great Super Eagles to victory during the World Cup when watching free-to-air TV, regardless of wherever or not you are in Nigeria.”

Zakary Wasara, CEO of Kwesé Sports Nigeria, said: “What is really important for us is to make sure that all Nigerians are able to have access to the World Cup.”

Kwesé Sports also recently signed an agreement with Aim Group, parent company of radio stations Nigeria Info, Cool Fm, Wazobia Fm and Arewa Radio, ensuring that 32 of the 64 matches are aired live on radio.

Kwesé Sports is the official broadcaster of the 2018 World Cup, which starts on June 14 and ends on July 15.

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Spacecom signs with African company

Israel-based satellite operator Spacecom has reportedly signed a US$55m four-year deal with an African company.

Spacecom has yet to disclose the name of the company but has said that operations will begin with its Amos-17 satellite (currently being constructed by Boeing) in 2019.

Amos-17, which is set to launch in July 2019, will replace Amos-5, covering the African continent and operating from 17º east, offering coverage of Ka-band, Ku-band and C-Band HTS services.

The two parties in the agreement each have a ‘break’ clause if regulatory permissions are not forthcoming by July 15.

Boeing Satellite Systems International is building the satellite and SpaceX will send it into orbit on a Falcon-9 launch vehicle.

Spacecom is a leading global fixed-satellite operator, offering tailored end-to-end communication solutions to the media and broadband industries. It is owned by Eurocom Holdings.

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Around Naija brand ambassador named

Reality TV show Around Naija has announced retired Nigerian footballer Kanu Nwankwo as its brand ambassador.

Footballer Kanu Nwankwo

Organisers of the show said: “He has brought smiles to the faces of Nigerians worldwide and put Nigeria on the world map with his footballing and humanitarian exploits. He has united us with his goals and mesmerising skills in the beautiful game of football.”

Kanu Nwankwo said: “I have had many proud moments in my life, but this is special. I am the official ambassador of the Around Naija reality TV show and I have the privilege to promote the cultural heritage of the Nigerian people.”

He is one of Nigeria’s footballing heroes, with many accolades from premier leagues across Europe and Fifa competitions. He is also the founder of the Kanu Heart Foundation.

The reality show, which is scheduled to begin in July, has just concluded its nationwide auditions for 37 participants.

Around Najia will air on TV stations nationwide and aims to focus on the cultural diversity of a unified Nigeria. Participants of the show are expected to be on the road for three months, visiting the country’s tourist sites. One participant will win a star prize of N10m at the end of the show.

According to its organisers, the show is the first of its kind and promises to be fun and engaging.

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BEN TV founder to run for president

Ali Soyode, founder of European ethnic satellite channel BEN TV, has declared his ambition to run for president in the 2019 Nigerian elections.

Ali Soyode

Soyode, convener of YES Nigeria, said his mission is to empower youth, develop the economy, make tribalism extinct and ensure the armed forces and police have the resources they need.

“To me, police officers are as important as any officer or executive in Nigeria. Their job is not to protect only those that have the resources to hire private security officers, but to deal with anyone breaking the law and safeguarding the property and belongings of the common people,” he said.

Addressing dignitaries, well-wishers, YES stakeholders and the press, Soyode, who is also known as The Bridge, said he chose to run for the office after deliberating and discussing it with elders and young people in his community.

“We have the youth and the experience of our elders and both are needed to make Nigeria a greater nation,” he said.

Soyode is the founder and former CEO of BEN TV. Launched in 2003 on Sky (channel 175), BEN (Bright Entertainment Network) TV focuses on creating content for Africans in the diaspora.

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