Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Hurray! Asabeafrika is 3 + Why we are thankful…


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Gbenga Dan Asabe, founder, www.asabeafrika.com

This afternoon, I feel like thanking GOD the creator of heaven and earth. He is my first thanks receiving entity. THANK YOU GOD! THANK YOU JESUS!
 I feel like saying ‘Thank you’ to a lot of people but I am restricted by space and necessity. I must not abuse space but I must respect necessity.
Why am I thankful this morning? Yesterday, February 13th, your one and only Africa’s Number 1 Celebrity Encounter blog, Asabeafrika clocked 3. Yes, 3 Years of courageous existence. 3 Years of creative sacrifice.  Three years of messing the glut of shame and blessing the gut of celebration.


Today is my own boxing day. 13th February is my Christmas day. We started Asabeafrika on Val’s day, February 13th 2014. So, every 13th February is our Christmas. 14th February is our boxing day. However, our reality therapy is to Thank God and thanks the humans who sowed the seed of trust during our moment of little beginning. Yeah, we are still struggling, not yet Uhuru. But, we are glad to be here.
In his book Reality Therapy Williams Glasser MD, an America psychiatrist noted that “a therapy that leads all patients towards reality, towards grappling successfully with the tangible and intangible aspects of the real world, might accurately be called a therapy toward reality or simply Reality Therapy”.
The GDA....The journey of a Thousand Years... 
My own reality therapy this morning is that Asabeafrika is 3 and people have sowed into this project to get here. The tangible aspect of my reality is that some good natured people made us feel bold enough to stand our dream; we will give kudos to them. The intangible reality is that, we might not be obliged to mention many, but if we do not mention you here, trust us, we do in our heart.
The GDA granting an interview to NTA in Lagos  on October 8, 2016
The challenge of starting something New….
Taking a Limo shot at an event in Ekiti State
Robert Kennedy was the one who said “Some People look at things as they are and say “Why?”I look at things as they can be and say “Why not?” . And John C. Maxwell, the all time merchant of leadership breakthrough, said “Your problem is not your problem. Your attitude—how you handle your problem—is your problem” and Paul J. Meyer added that “Ninety percent of those who fail are not actually defeated…they simply quit”.
The GDA with Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina
The story of Asabeafrika is a story of courage in a very hostile environment; an environment that puts down creativity, an environment that discourages creativity; an environment that superficially kills creativity. I had resigned my appointment with a newspaper company where I was earning up to a hundred thousand naira a month, sometimes in October 2012.
With veteran journalist & tabloid King, Mike Awoyinfa
The resignation came with a litigation spree that saw me challenging an illogical tag on my person in the court of law. I was suspended for a month over a mundane accusation of being ‘persistently poor in performance’. I never liked that tag ‘persistently poor’. One, I  felt I was a victim of a toxic editor who yanked off my column and wanted to force me to be reporting business when my core competence was in interviews and events. I was never sent for any crash program on how to report business but I came under all sorts of editorial humiliation, condemnation and ridicule. At editorial meetings, my MD practically turned me into an object of ridicule…”Asabe, you are not adding value, you are not adding vaaalue”, he would yarb me before members of staff. Those psyche wrenching words kept hitting me at every editorial meeting and made me feel inferior. I didn’t know who was trying to give a dog a bad name in order to hang the dog between an editor who hate my face and practically stopped my column for almost a year and the MD, who practically picked me as his official hobby for disgusting editorial jabs. But one thing was certain, I was mad.
With Legal Icon, Dr. Kayode Ajulo in Abuja last December, 2016
Very mad. But I kept my cool. So, when a memo finally came in September, 2012, that I should proceed on one month suspension for ‘Consistent Poor Performance’. I knew my individuality was being challenged in the court of self opinion and I couldn’t have reacted less. I came back, resigned and told my lawyers to fight. First, to redeem my battered image and two, get my monies paid. I got all within 8 months. It was a battle. But did I think I could do the battle in the first place? Did I need such battle with an organization I spent 8 years working with in various phases of life? Absolutely NO. I was just mad, I was mad with management, that in trying to throw me out like every other ‘Used and Dump Journalist of yore’ they created a scene from my weakness. They took me away from my core and put me on a beat where failure was imminent. And because they still respected my antecedent one way or the other, they were subtle about it.
The GDA @ Work
They wanted to throw me out but it was to be a gradual process. They planned it in a way that, I, not them, was going to be responsible for the reason to throw me out. By the time they mandated me to go writing business, which I was never trained for, the same editor kept generating memos every other week to nail me for dereliction of duty. So, my file was already tainted with bad precedence. One month suspension was like a saving grace—Yes, a warning grace that ‘look, our next step is S-A-C-K’. I got the message and resigned. It was tough. It was terrible. It was the most difficult decision I made but I had to. I didn’t take the insult of ‘consistent poor performance’ lightly. We settled the next phase at the court of law. I don’t want to go into that for now. But I won!
On a Limo ride with Paul Ukpabio & Tessy Yembra to Ekiti State
Birth of Asabeafrika…
With my Role Model & Mentor, Chief (Dr.) Dele Momodu
That sad experience made me fear to work permanently with any media organization. However, I choose to work in contributing capacity. In fact, I never planned to start a blog, actually. I only planned to work as a freelance journalist. My next place was a famous magazine company that I felt their philosophy tallied with my creativity. But here, I discovered another snag. You worked with an organization where your stories, in most cases are not guaranteed to fly except on some vague conditions. Yes, beautiful place to work, lovely people to work with. But here, you could do an exclusive interview and the story will just lie down there for six months or a year and won’t fly. No reporter worth his onions likes to go out and interview a celebrity and his editor or whoever keeps the story sleeping.
With Mrs. Sammie Ayoka Peters, wife of Afro-Juju music star, Sir Shina Peters. Gave us out most popular interview since we started
You interview someone, the story is buried, yet, when your boss goes out to interview same person, the story is used and celebrated well on the cover. In most cases, those persons you interview, their stories are forgotten until maybe, God forbid, they die. Then, the story is pulled out and used as “His or Her last interview with….”. By then, the interview has more value to the medium but less value to you. I noticed all that in my new place despite the love and passion I had for the place. Young journalists and colleagues will complain to me how they went all out to interview a fascinating celebrity and the story didn’t come out. They will say ‘Oga o lo story yen’. That to me was a very bad one. In fact, it is the fastest way of killing the morale of a journalist. If you report for a medium, and your stories cannot be published in that medium, then, you are as good as a decorated piece of picture casing.
With Kenny St. Best....Gave us one of our first  celebrity interviews  in 2014
My answer to that was to create my own space. Thank God for the white man who is always inventing new platforms that renders whatever the black man is using to do gara-gara, obsolete. It was the era of blogging; it was the era of Linda Ikeji. She wasn’t a journalist and yet she was the talk of town. I asked myself one day in September, 2013, I said ‘Wait a minute! If Linda was not a journalist and she could be successful with what many journalists failed to do, then, I will do well as a trained journalist’. I took decision to open a blog.
With Dr. T.A. Jegede of CAC, Ago Adura, Lagos

Reasons for starting a blog…
With ex-PUNCH columnist Kemi Ashefon....She gave us one of our most read interviews after her unceremonious sack from PUNCH
Three reasons were necessary to start a blog. One, I wanted to escape the bait of energy vampires who sap your energy to do stories or interviews and keep such interviews rusting in the drawer with your morale bankrupt. Secondly, I was too, too afraid of editorial intrigues. I hated toxic editors and their toxic intention to render a bright mind redundant. Three, I needed to brake monopoly of whoever thinks he can use me the way he wants and I will have no right to complain. I hate that statement ‘Ko si Space’ or ‘There is no space’. So, I told myself, ‘I will create my own space’. And I did.
The Starting Point…
With Dr. Johnson Olukotun aka Dr. Jay in Ilesa, Osun State
Sometimes in September 2013, I and a young man whom I believe will earn a big mention sometime not too far in the future strolled into a Café on Opebi lane, Ikeja—Lagos and we opened www.asabeafrikablogspot.com. I was very excited. I was very happy. But my IT consultant said something that caught me ‘GDA, it is all about content. You must start putting contents on this thing that is when it will start to work for you’. Of course, I knew it was all about content.
With Senator Tokunbo Afikuyom, very old time elder friend
We did other strategic meet-ups and we even had a meeting with a very important lady whom I will also mention in a later date. She is the woman who created the first blog for the Bureau of Public Enterprise, Abuja. She gave us valuable IT guidelines that helped us till date. I will reveal her identity someday. I kept opening and watching the blog for six months until February 14th 2014 when we broke with our first story on how Celebrities are to spend their valentine. From then on, we didn’t look back. We kick started and the rest like they say is history.
With Miss Omolola Jemibewon in Iyah Gbede, Kogi State

Worth of starting something new…
When I started, I was still keeping my relationship with the magazine company. I had colleagues who complained bitterly how they went out to do a big interview or story and it was never used. They will cry to me ‘Oga o lo story yen’. And I will tell them, ‘Go start a blog and blog your stories’.
With Gen. David Jemibewon & daughter, Omolola Jemibewon
I kept telling them that but they couldn’t realize what I meant. And I usually tell them that ‘there is no more Oga anywhere. We can only have complimentary hands because the industry is broken loose’. If you think you are Oga enough to hold down people’s creativity, you are just doing it for a season. A time will come (and it has even come) you will not find anybody to even help you write a common gist. So, Kontinu…
Once I started blogging, even though, it never generated enough initially, I lost boredom. If I give you my story and you decide to seat on it like some of them do, I will blog it. If a reporter will cover an important event with necessary PR done and the person will have to be begging you to use that same story since April last year, shame on you. You disappoint leadership. However, blogging brought lots of new inspirations.
With HRH, Oba (Dr.) Augustine Bola Adegunloye the Egbeji Ogun of Nigeria
Thank you, People…
With a female Celebrity in Ilesa...Osun State
 
 I will start the thanksgiving spree. Let me start by thanking those who genuinely believed in us and motivated our little effort. In this trade, you meet a lot of rich people who think you should just be good to them and wicked to yourself. Rich and terribly stingy people who tell you ‘All is not about money’ (And I ask, is all about being poor?). They forget that bloggers pay bills. They engage camera men, photo men and have families to maintain. And it is only on a blog that your event can be valued most and stay for live. It is the best album—online album you can save your event and memories on.
We followed Prophet (Dr.) MKO Tibetan to Ode-Aiye in Ondo State for mum's burial in November 2015
Let me start with Chief (Mrs.) Dupe Jemibewon, this woman is a great creature. She is one of the few Nigerians who treated us like a project that must succeed and paid for some of our services when we started. On two occasions, she took us to Ibadan (Oyo State) and Orin Ekiti (Ekiti State) for the funeral of her grammar school teacher dad, Chief John Bosede Ajayi (aka JB Ajayi). She not only housed us in the best hotel and guest house in town, she equally paid our bills fully. She made us feel like CEOs. In fact, she is the highest paying client we ever had since we started.
Mrs. Dupe Jemibewon took us to Orin-Ekiti in August 2015
On another occasion, when her mother-in-law passed away in Iyah-Gbedde, Kogi State, she equally engaged our service and treated us like kings. I want to say a BIG THANK you to Chief (Mrs.) Agnes Modupe Jemibewon. You are a great and kind woman. She is not the type that will argue or pay you from ruins she made at the party after being sprayed; she pays upfront and leaves you to use your discretion. While leaving Orin-Ekiti sometimes in August 2015, she added a new motivation fee, thanking us for the kind of online presence we generated for her dad’s funeral. She is a mother in a million.
Mrs. Dupe Jemibewon brought us to Iyah-Gbede in Kogi State in August 2016
My gratitude equally goes to one great man from the city of London. He has warned me to stop mentioning his name or thanking him for benevolence extended to me. But I cannot just overlook his kindness to Asabeafrika. I have never seen or met Dr. Oladapo Williams face to face.
Dr. Oladapo Williams (R) He has invested ideas and money to Asabeafrika from far away London. With him is Dr. Johnson Olukotun of BUMP Center, London
But I can define him as a KIND SAMARITAN. Ever since he was brought into notice of our existence by a prominent man of God in London, he has invested in our dream more than any other person we have come in contact with. Dr. Williams is the brain behind our YouTube channel. He gave the idea one morning while speaking with me via messenger in London. He said since I had the opportunity of meeting and interviewing people, I could equally convert the encounter to a motion concept. And the dream clicked. He didn’t stop at saying it. Once he learnt we didn’t have a camera to earn that project, he sent in a brand new camcorder camera, just to launch that dream. He didn’t stop there, he equally sent in a brand new Laptop Computer six months later, just to ensure we are safe with business.
With Hip-Hop Music Icon, 9ice....Gave us one of our first best interviews
He has equally sent us financial motivation at one time or the other when we ran into crisis. I don’t know how to appreciate this man. Funny enough, he hates to be thanked. But woe betides me if I refuse to be grateful for kindness shown unto me. I remember when he sent the camcorder camera to us; the camera didn’t come with a tripod. He had to purchase a new tripod and raised another person to bring it down to Nigeria. That is extreme kindness. I cannot pay all these in a life time. God bless you and your tribe Dr. Williams.
With Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo...Very generous but never arrogant with her generosity...
 Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo has contributed to our success more than anyone else in Nigeria, yet she will never utter a word or make you feel subservient. She is from Borno State in North Eastern Nigeria but her kindness is quite legendary. When I resigned from my former Newspaper Company in September 2012, she was the first to give us a job in Minna, Niger State to cover a wedding ceremony of the daughters of the former Governor, His Excellency, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu in December of 2013.  That rare opportunity brought us into other greater opportunities and we maximized it.
The Sun Newspaper, Copy Manager Mrs. Sylvia Esajere and husband, Mr. Akpo Esajere gave the wedding of their daughter to Asabeafrika for coverage in 2016
Our Generator set, a brand new Termocool Big Boy Model technology purchased in 2014 for this project was a direct fall of Hajiya Gambo’s benevolence. I can never forget her kindness at the beginning of this project. She has since helped us in various capacities that we can not mention here because of space.
With Mrs. Esajere's beautiful daughter & hubby
Prophet (Dr.) Marcus Korede Tibetan is another angel sent to us from heaven. Apart from granting us interviews that has swelled our readership and viewership base on YouTube and BlogSpot, this man of God is more or less a father figure who has connected us to many important Nigerians in the UK and elsewhere. He is from Ode-Aiye in Ondo State—South West Nigeria but he behaves more like a white man. His spiritual kindness and charity is second to none.
We met General David Jemibewon at Orin-Ekiti in August 2015
Same for his beautiful wife, Mama Tope (as we fondly call her), she is an epitome of kindness and a giver of the highest pedigree. Prophet MKO Tibetan is one angel presently living among humans. But, it will be difficult for ordinary humans to understand him. He is marvelous.
Chief (Mrs.) Alake Oshun....Asked Asabeafrika to cover Son's wedding and no one else
Let me give passing kudos to Chief (Mrs.) Alake Adejonwo Oshun, a Lagos business woman who awakened the creativity in us sometimes ago. I had interviewed her two years ago and once it wasn’t used in the medium I contribute for, I simply put the interview on my blog. I never knew she appreciated that gesture deeply. Her son was about to wed and I approached her to buy a page or two in the magazine I contributed for. I will always visit her Gbagada, Lagos abode, pestering her to purchase two or at least a page. Naturally, if she does, I will still put her on my blog as additional report. But one day, she reacted thus ‘See, that your magazine price is too expensive. Let’s put it on your blog and my kids abroad can see it. Your blog is better. Your last interview with me was seen in Canada and America’.
With Actress Tessy Yembra on State at Orin-Ekiti
Those words humbled me. I was shocked at the power and instance of a blog. We later covered the wedding of her son to the younger sister of a Nollywood actress. It was a splash on Asabeafrika. She paid, even if it was moderate.  That gave us an inkling that blog and blogging has come to stay.
We met Gen. David Jemibewon & Daughter at Iyah Gbedde, Kogi State in August 2016
I will never forget Dr. Johnson Olukotun of Bump Center, London. Till date, we still owe him the full publication of his father’s funeral and we will do that anytime from now. The story is timeless. This man is one of the few Nigerians who read us in London. We got to know him through Prophet (Dr.) MKO Tibetan. He came down to Nigeria and engaged us to cover the funeral rites of his late dad in Ilesa—Osun State, last year. His decision gave us hope. And we are highly indebted in gratitude.
With Otunba Dayo Adeneye (D1)...
Let me thank our great brother, Otunba Dayo Adeneye, the Honorable Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Ogun State—South West Nigeria. He has been a pillar of support.
With Chief Ezekiel Olasunmoye Fatoye
Chief Ezekiel Olasunmoye Fatoye is one great Nigerian I can never forget. There are people in this trade who will not give you a dime, even if you need it. But their honor and privileges is more than gold and silver. 79 years old Chief Ezekiel Fatoye is one of them. I have come a long way with this erudite Telecommunication Guru and Godfather of Private Telecommunications business in Nigeria since 2002. His 231, Adeola Odeku—Victoria Island—Lagos, MULTI-LINKS office where he was ED, Operations was one of the memorable places I used to visit as a young journalist in my FAME Weekly days. His world exclusive interviews to Asabeafrika have swelled our readers’ base across the globe. He is an enigma.
With General Sam Momah (Rtd)
How can I forget General Sam Momah? Of course, General Momah is more or less a father to me. Since I knew him on Monday, January 3rd, 2005 in Abuja, he has remained the most honest senior citizen I ever came in contact with in Nigeria. Very honest to bits, he will never cheat you. He will never let you down. I remember during his 70th birthday in year 2013, I was to organize a media conference for him on the occasion. The bureau chief of a popular newspaper house I approached in Abuja later visited the General in the evening, trying to convince him that he could do better, what I am to do for him. This ambitious Igbo editor tried to win the General, who is equally an Igbo man to himself. But the General refused. He later told me about the drama. On the day of the event, the editor refused to show up. But thank God, I was in tune with his MD in Lagos; his MD used the story and picture on the cover to the shaming experience of the greedy Abuja editor.
With AbdulJamiu Abiodun Abiola (Shetima Rasheed of Borno Emirate)
I won’t forget to appreciate my bosom friend, Alhaji Abdul Jamiu Abiodun Abiola for his unlimited kindness to us in times of distress. In business you fall on bad and good times from time to time. Jamiu Abiola has always supported our activities in kind and cash. He has never ever frowned at us once. He will tell you ‘send it’ (You know) or tarry till so-so date. He is born by Yoruba parents but behaves like Hausa (He is MKO Abiola’s 5th son). He believes so much in Asabeafrika.  The same thing goes for my kind and amiable brother, Mr. Oluwafemi James Adejuwon aka Scooba (CEO, Scooba Doors Ltd) He always support us in moment of challenge.
With Lukman Oyewole Lawal (LOL)
I will equally thank my brother for life, Mr. Lukman Oyewole Lawal, one of the best brains Nigeria is yet to discover and use. The day Nigeria start to use the brains of Lukman Oyewole Lawal (LOL) the country will start earning good turns. Since I met this young man during his campaign for Lagos House of Representative, Surulere Constituency 1, in 2015, I have learnt a lot from his leadership acumen. He and his beautiful wife,
LOL & his wife, Ayobola
Ayobola, first daughter of Senator Adegbenga Kaka are epitome of kindness and humility. He is one of the powerhouses of Asabeafrika.
With Temmie Amodu, CEO, Decor Kobo Rentals & Tsoule Events Company
 Mr. Temmie Amodu, the wedding event planner and CEO, Décor Kobo Ltd & Tsoule Event Center has done so well. He is one of our pillars.  He is a great man.
Special thanks to Presidential Spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina who gave us our first unrestricted access into Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of power last December. I have known Mr. Adesina for years; he is a direct offspring of Mr. Mike Awoyinfa and late Mr. Dimgba Igwe, two media geniuses who changed the Nigerian media space in many ways than we can ever think of. Mr. Adesina’s decision to open the door of his Aso Rock office to us last year is a turning point in our trajectory. We are eternally grateful for this gesture. We owe him a larger tribute at a later date.
With My Great brother, Mr. Oluwafemi James Adejuwon, CEO, Scooba Doors Ltd
  
I would have loved to thank more people who made Asabeafrika happen in 3 years. But space restraint us. However, I respect my role model and mentor for life, Chief (Dr.) Dele Momodu, founder, OVATION International Magazine.
What he has done to my life, I cannot finish talking about in ten pages. I will give him a special tribute another day. Chief Momodu is my father, my mentor, my devil’s advocate and my role model extra-ordinary.
With my long time elderly friend, Chief Abiola Ogundokun (Friend of over 10 years)

Let’s close the thanksgiving bazaar here…
THANK YOU. 
Chief (Mrs.) Dupe Jemibewon....Gave us a Limousine Ride from Ibadan to Orin-Ekiti in August 2015
    

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

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