Let’s be clear about one thing- wealthy people get away with many things in this Nigeria. What can I say…theirs is a privileged kind of life! It only goes to show how some people are indeed above the law and as a matter of fact use the constitution as their foot mat. But then again they are the privileged ones! Imagine that while some of us have to attend grammar schools, others are flown in private jets to exotic places like the Swiss Alps to attend private schools. Even those whose parents’ are “patriotic enough” to let them study here end up attending schools where a term’s tuition for a single student can pay the salaries of nearly one hundred [UNDERPAID] civil servants. That’s not all. Have you [yet] heard the story about some rich Abuja kids who literarily fly from Abuja to Lagos everyday to attend school? I mean, they fly into Lagos every morning, get chaperoned to the school and then fly back to Abuja by the end of the day… under-aged school children those are! It’s almost incredible, right? Well how about those fancy men and women who simply cannot “risk their lives” by taking local flights from Abuja to Lagos; so they fly to London instead and from there head to Lagos!
In the world of Nigeria’s super rich, life comes with less worries. Everyday is like Christmas, and no place could be better than home. These super rich black humans would rather do their shopping in Paris than actually live there. And the reason is not farfetched- there are numerous privileges they enjoy by being rich in Nigeria which they cannot enjoy elsewhere. Therefore, they travel often but always return home. Home sweet home, they say as they touch down at MMA. The ladies among them, (who are fanciful by the way and consumes the latest high fashion items from the best designers) have just flown first class from Europe where they shopped for lipsticks and luxury gowns at Chanel and other well-lit stores in the main streets of Paris. The men on the other hand are good money spinners themselves. They would always import the latest cars and purchase properties in choice cities across Europe, the Americas and of course Dubai. Also the extremely wealthy ones acquire private jets to be able to fly around, in most cases either borrowing or stealing to do so. All of these things keep happening in the very place where most people find it difficult to buy yellow garri and cook okra soup for dinner. Sad stuff!
This is the sort of high end fashion stores where fashionable and wealthy Nigerian women spend their money. Nothing wrong with it…life should be good this way.
Now just so we are clear again, I actually do love rich people. I know a couple of them personally, and I’d love to be so fucking rich myself when I grow up. *Winks. The problem I have with the privileged ones however is that most of them get away with serious offenses! You are probably familiar with the likes of Obanikoro, Stella Oduah, Allison Madueke, Bode George… I mean, the list is endless. These people stole billions of naira and never got to face the full weight of the law. But then again there are other stories of crimes committed by wealthy Nigerians we don’t get to read in the dailies. Sometimes last year, a friend of mine in Abuja was walking home from work (because he couldn’t pay the bus fare) when he got knocked down by a fanciful middle-aged rich woman. She simply carried him to the hospital, dumped his a** there and ran away. But that incident was one that ended nicely because a similar incident (also in Abuja by the way) ended tragically. This man was crossing the road when another fancy car crushed him to his death…
These crimes never get investigated. These wealthy people (some of them), they abuse their employees and their house helps and nothing happens. They are the MDs who receive fat salaries and give peanuts to the ones that actually work hard for the money. And when serious economic recessions loom, they quickly sack thousand of employees so that they may continue earning fat salaries. For their crimes they get nothing near a reprimand. Their stories are unlike the petty thief who get cut to pieces and burnt for stealing petty stuff like bread, transistor radios, cheap cell phones.
I am speaking out on this topic because I believe there needs to be change in our justice system. But most importantly, the impoverished masses must be enabled out of their penury. The time is now!
But as bad as life was, it felt good not having to hide under the canopy of the forests. I no longer had to run for cover as I did each time the shelling began. The new found freedom felt good and so I dedicated my days to feeling good, playing [the entire time] with the other children in the open yards. We played football with the human skulls that littered across my community. Those were the skulls of the unfortunate people who were not fast enough to escape the village as the Nigerian soldiers advanced upon us, as well as those stubborn enough to leave. There was this story of Eze for instance, a brilliant Science teacher who ran mad because of too many books in his brain according to legend. He had just been brought back to the village to be cared for by close relatives when the war broke out. Every day he sat in his late father’s easy chair telling all who cared to listen that the Biafran warlord Ojukwu was up to the task of crushing the Nigerian military. The day the Nigerian soldiers advanced deep into Biafra down to small town Igbere, Eze remained seated in that chair and refused to run with the others to the forest; he believed Ojukwu would save Biafra. Months later as we returned from the forest, we met his skeleton on the easy chair in front of his father’s house, but his skull was missing. There was no doubt to me that his was one of the skulls my friends and I kicked around in the form of football. But then again, there were those who were courageous enough to return home [in search of food/valuables] before the war ended. Perhaps my father’s skull was among those; my young mind could never know the truth to that. So I kicked those bones while having my fun, disregarding the elders’ warnings that we could get seriously injured. We were young and free, never caring about the risks of life. After all, what more violence could befall a tween who already nearly escaped bomb shrapnel cutting him to shreds! We saw enough violence to last forever, and the risks posed by playing with those skulls (with their jagged and sharp edges) meant nothing. Unfortunately, in the end the older people’s warnings came to pass when serious injuries resulted in infections that led to deaths. And it wasn’t until then that the bones were finally gathered and incinerated…
Forlorn Gaze is a soon to be published novel by Emmanuel Benson. #Anticipate
He makes the ladies beautiful, literarily painting faces for a living! That’s Kilo Francis Abiola, one enterprising young Nigerian who decided to be his own boss instead of wallow in unemployment. I’ve known Kilo for some time now, right from the time he set out to conquer the Lagos makeup scene up until now that his startup employs others. He turned his passion for beauty into a business, and that is a success story that needs to be told. So I had a chat with the young man to discuss makeup, fashion and business. I can only hope that you enjoy this and be inspired to also turn your own passion into an enterprise especially during these difficult economic times.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Nice to meet you, Francis. Now do tell; how did you get your start in the makeup business?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA: Nice to meet you too Emmanuel. I’ve been reading your blog loyally for sometime now by the way. The thing is I never really planned to be a makeup artist. So I wouldn’t even recall how I started the business. It’s something I suddenly found myself doing and as the days got by, it became bigger and better.
EMMANUEL BENSON: So it’s more like a good story of passion turned into venture; yes?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : Absolutely.
EMMANUEL BENSON: So what has been your experience in the craft so far?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : It’s been a ride with humps and free way… Just like any other occupation. It’s been majorly fulfilling for me and I’m not regretting making this choice. It’s even more beautiful as I am male in the beauty industry.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Exactly the next question for you- what is it like being a male in a female-dominated field like the makeup industry; do you encounter either special challenges or special privileges?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : Special challenges are- 1. trying to break into the beauty industry as a male makeup artist. 2. the mockery starts when question like “do you have a girlfriend?” is asked constantly. It makes one uncomfortable being a starter. But as times goes on one gets used to it.
EMMANUEL BENSON: I learnt male beauty experts get lucky and often have more clients because the clients (who are mostly females of course ) are fascinated by them. Any truth to that?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : As for privilege for male makeup artists, the respect escalates after one has made a name for [themselves]. And this respect is mostly from people who have either patronized you or heard about you. So it makes it easier to market one’s craft being male. A lot of women find male makeup artists amusing too so they always want to patronize them believing the males in the beauty industry are perfectionists. So yes! Very correct…
EMMANUEL BENSON: Okay. So is the beauty industry in Nigeria booming at the moment?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : Absolutely! Its good way to be self-empowered and not have to wait for a white collar job before paying basic bills.
EMMANUEL BENSON: So then you are making all the money in Lagos or nah?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA: Lol! If I’m making “all the money in Lagos” i probably will have my own fuel station by now and won’t need to go queue to buy petrol.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Lol. That’s right. But you’re certainly making money; no?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : If getting paid after doing my job is what you call “making money”, then yes I am.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Good. Would you ever consider doing something else?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : Oh yes. i intend to switch to TV soon.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Really? As a presenter or what?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA: Yes…
EMMANUEL BENSON: Well then congratulations in advance. I guess there is really no need to put that International Relations degree of yours into foreign policy use of any sorts then…Lol
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA: Absolutely not. But for the records at least, i went to school. Lol
EMMANUEL BENSON: That’s right. So, your clients seem to be mostly high-society ladies. Are you even affordable to the average Nigerian woman?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : I have a budget package for every woman. Anyone contacting me can be rest-assured they will look beautiful with a budget-friendly package.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Budgets! It seems to be quite organized. Do you do all the jobs alone or have you assistants?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : I have assistants. Bookings gets over the top crazy sometime and I can’t do every client myself.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Just for the records, how long have you been in the profession?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA: 4 years.
EMMANUEL BENSON : You have grown quite well in the craft. Congrats. But do you get to be a part of film projects or do you do mainly everyday facial beautification?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : For now just bridal and party guests makeup and of course photo/video shoots. I hope to go into film makeup in the nearest future.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Do you have anybody you look up to for inspiration?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA: Honestly no one! I’m my own inspiration.
EMMANUEL BENSON: I mean like other beauty experts… House of Tara madam for instance. No one at all?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : None at all.
EMMANUEL BENSON: Okay then. What is your assessment of the fashion industry in Nigeria?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : It’s been major source of employment for many. It has grown from a little baby to a grown woman and birthing means of livelihood to both old and young Nigerians. It’s amazing how one can live comfortably with just making people look super pretty for their events. So in all, I say the fashion industry right now is rewarding.
EMMANUEL BENSON: That’s correct. But what are some of the things you’d rather see done differently?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : Well, not too much though. It’s just that some muas are abusing the makeup artistry. I see overly made-up faces and I don’t get why there should be tons of makeup on one face. I’d really like to see face look sultry and not hideous!
EMMANUEL BENSON: Like masquerades right? I’ve seen such faces too; trust me
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA : Lol, you bet! (Laughter)
EMMANUEL BENSON: Well it’s been nice having this chat. Any last words you’d like to add?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA: Thanks a lot. Having this chat is refreshing. Thank you again.
EMMANUEL BENSON: You’re welcome. Would you mind leaving your contact details so that prospective clients in Lagos may contact you easily?
KILO FRANCIS ABIOLA: Oh sure thanks. Instagram ID is make_upbykilo and contact number is 08033112726.
It was a big event, and as always those who are truly deserving of the awards were recognized. Frank Raja Arase won the Best Art Director Award for the film The Refugees, Best Director by Akin Omotosho for Tell Me Sweet Something, Best Makeup Artist in a series by Louiza Calore for Ayanda, the Best Lighting Designer (Movies/TV) award Stanley Ohikhuare for Common Man and the Best Cinematographer won by Paul Michaelson for Tell Me Sweet Something. Still on awards for people who worked off the camera on major film projects, Jose Guillermo won Best Sound Editor award for the film Cry, while Best Picture Editor award was taken home by Ghanaian Shirley Frimpong-Manso for Rebeca; Best Costume Designer was won by Uche Nancy for Dry while the best award of the night as far as we are concerned (i.e. the award for Best Writer for Movie and TV series) was won by Trish Malone for the series Ayanda.
For the actors, big winners include Adesua Etomi who won Best Actress in A Movie/Drama/TV for her role in Falling with Daniel K. Daniel winning in the best Actor Category for A Soldier’s Story. Best Actress in a Comedy was won by Funke Akindele for Jenifa’s Diary with her onscreen boyfriend in the same TV series Folarin Falana winning Best Actor. Best Supporting Actress was won by Tunbosun Aiyedihin for Before 30 while Sambassa Nzeribe won Best Supporting Actor for the film A Soldier’s Story. Emerging actress Kemi Akindoju won the highly coveted Trail Blazer Award for 2016.
Moving on, the Best Documentary award went to Remi Vaughn for Faaji Agba and Best Movie (Southern Africa) went to Joyce Chavura for Lilongwe. In the same vein, the Best Movie award (East Africa) went to Elizabeth Miachael for Mapenzi and the Best Movie (West Africa) went to Genevieve Nnaji and Chinny Onwugbenu for Road to Yesterday. There was no award for a film from North Africa. The Overall Best Movie award however went to Stephanie Linus for Dry.
There were other categories and a number of merit awards given. We shall now look forward to next year’s ceremony.
For your overview, here is the list of winners in a glance:
– Industry Merit Award : Bukky Ajayi & Sadiq Daba— Best Overall Movie for Dry: Stephanie Linus :
– Best Director: Akin Omotosho
– Best Actor in a Drama : Daniel K Daniel :
– Best Actress in a Drama (Falling): Adesua Etomi :
– Best Movie – West African (Road to Yesterday):Chinny Onwugbenu, Genevieve Nnaji, Chichi Nwoko
–Best Sound Editor, Marquex Jose Guillermo
– Best Movie – East African: Elizabeth Michael :
– Best Movie – Southern Africa: Joyce Mhango Chavula :
– Trailblazer award : Kemi Lala Akindoju.
– Best Actress in a Comedy (Jenifa’s Diary): Funke Akindele :
– Best Actor in a Comedy : Folarin Falana
– Best Cinematographer award: Paul Michaelson:
– Best Supporting Actress – Tunbosun Aiyedehin (Before 30)
– Best Supporting Actor – A Soldier’s Story – Sambassa Nzeribe
– Best Documentary:Remi Vaughan-Richards
– Best Indigenous Language Movie/TV Series – Usekwu Igbo – Paul Igwe
– Best Indigenous Language Movie (Yoruba) – Binta Ofege : Abiodun Jimoh and Jumoke Odetola
– The AMVCA 2016 for Best Local Language – Hausa: Salisu Balarabe :
–Best Indigenous Language Series or Movie (Swahili) – Kitendawili – Josephat Lukaza
– Best Costume Designer for ‘Dry’: Uche Nancy
– Best Picture Editor award: Shirley Frimpong-Manso
– Best Lighting: Stanlee Ohikhuare
– Best Drama Writer: Trish Malone
– Best Short Film or Online Video: Oluseyi Amuwa
– Best Make-Up for her work on “Ayanda”: Louiza Calore
Nneoma threatened to kill her mother! She held the knife as she peered down at the woman who gave birth to her, threatening to slit her throat unless she told her the truth she was seeking. It was a dramatic moment. Never in a million years would Joy have imagined that her own daughter would point a knife at her. But something led to the incident; Nneoma had been called a bastard by someone who wasn’t supposed to…
It all began twenty five years earlier when the vibrant and beautiful Joy met and fell deeply in love with an equally young man. The romance happened quickly and within a few weeks the deed was done. there was never a time for the two love birds to really get to know each other- where they were really from as typical Africans would ensure to know before getting serious with a relationship. It wasn’t until Joy became pregnant that the need for this proper introduction became obvious. The lover boy had suggested an abortion but Joy wasn’t about that! She wanted to keep the pregnancy and if possible get married to the young man. She managed to convince him against his wishes. But just as he began to contemplate the possibility of this even happening, he discovered that the both of them were somewhat related, and according to the Igbo culture would be committing an abomination if thy got married. This was the end of the romance even as Joy vanished with the pregnancy, away from the man she had loved. For many years after she bore the child, she kept it a secret from the man, while also keeping the father’s existence from the daughter.
Unsurprisingly, Nneoma bore striking semblances to the father who was unknown to her. Each time she inquired of whom her father was her mother would narrate a fictitious story of a man who was a goof father but had died unfortunately while Nneoma was still a toddler. She believed these stories, and would often wish her father hadn’t died. So it was a huge shocker for her when somebody in the extended family called her a hopeless bastard during a dispute which resulted in hot exchange of words as the family gathered for grandma’s thanksgiving. After this abuse, emotionally-torn Nneoma went directly to the kitchen, grabbed a kitchen knife and walked into her mother’s room. She shook the woman awake from her sleep, made sure she appeared vicious as she threatened to cut her unless she told her the truth and nothing but the truth. While she wasn’t really going to harm the woman, she knew she had to appear determined to do that if she were to be taken seriously. And that worked because Joy soon spilled the entire beans.
Unfortunately five months later after Nneoma managed to trace her father to Port Harcourt, the man was not in need of a daughter. His wife had borne him five daughters and he wasn’t about to add the sixth one at the expense of upsetting the relative peace between him and the wife. Perhaps if she were a son he might have considered her valuable…
Just for the records, he is a fine young man. Everything about his appearance is perfect- from his chiseled abs that would make Zack Effron green with envy, to his really handsome face. There is no doubt his fine features have been his selling point. For a twenty three year old gentleman trying to make it big in Nigeria’s Nollywood, he has everything it takes to do just that. Little wonder between 2012 and 2016, he went from winning the covetedMr. Ideal Nigeria to shooting major ad campaigns for top Nigerian companies. He has also walked the runways of major fashion shows in the country as well as featured in quite a number of Nollywood productions including Jenifa’s Diary and The Yard. To discuss his success and a couple more issues that will surely interest his fans, I sat down with the fast-rising star to ask him a couple of questions. I hope you enjoy.
Emmanuel: Nice to meet you Alvin. Do tell about your foray into the entertainment business.
Abayomi Alvin: It actually started in 2011 when I did my first photo shoot then and submitted to different agencies.I later contested for Mr Ideal Osun state organised by Ville d’etinney..won,and contested for the National version,Mr Ideal Nigeria organised by House of Twitch which I also won in 2012.
Emmanuel: Before 2012, did you always set out to become a model?
Abayomi Alvin: Yes… comments were rolling in about my physique years before and I finally made a move in 2011.
Emmanuel: And you were doing so well in the industry once you came on board. That makes me wonder why you made the switch from modeling to acting; was it planned or did it just happen?
Abayomi Alvin: I didn’t switch. I just explored other fields which my talent also lie. I still shot an MTN commercial this January and did couple of commercials last year,2015 as well. So,I am still very a much a model.
Emmanuel: Has your career in Nollywood brought you fulfillment; how?
Abayomi Alvin: Fulfillment in what I do…Yes! Fulfillment in terms of where I’d like to be?No! We all want to grow beyond our present stage.
Emmanuel: Between acting and modelling which one comes easily to you?
Abayomi Alvin: Both. They are both acting anyway. Modelling is acting in Still pictures and Acting is acting in moving pictures.
Emmanuel: How would you describe your status in the Nigerian entertainment scene?
Abayomi Alvin: I will leave the description to those who are watching. But I will love to get to a stage where I don’t have to introduce myself before you know who I am.
Emmanuel: Your profile lists screenwriting as one of your skills. What has been your experience writing screenplays? Could you mention a few you’ve written?
Abayomi Alvin: Yes. I write screenplays as well. I have written a couple of Spec Scripts.Two of my short scripts have been produced (Aderopo and Till Pride Do Us Part) It will be released this month. I wrote one for Elvina Ibru as well titled “Life” to be shot soon. I am currently working on a feature length script for a producer and a 26 episode Series as well.
Emmanuel: You’ve accomplished quite a lot between 2012 when you started out and now; how easy has that been?
Abayomi Alvin: Humanly,not easy. But we thank God for the backup.
Emmanuel: So are you satisfied with your success in Nollywood or do you yearn for more?
Abayomi Alvin: I’m like Oliver Twist; I want more abeg!! (Laughs)
Emmanuel: What are some of the challenges limiting you in the industry?
Abayomi Alvin: Nothing per se. God’s time is the best.
Emmanuel: Who are some the people you look up to?
Abayomi Alvin: Ramsey Noah, Richard Mofe Damijo, Samuel L Jackson,Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp.
Emmanuel: How would you appraise Nollywood?
Abayomi Alvin: We are improving. We are getting better.
Emmanuel: What factors do you think are limiting the industry’s growth?
Abayomi Alvin: I think Piracy majorly. Even though there are other means of making income now from movies,DVD sales is still very important. Not everyone in Nigeria goes to a cinema especially with less than 30 cinemas nationwide and not everyone has a good network for streaming movies online uninterrupted.
Emmanuel: What about the industry’s strengths; any comments on that?
Abayomi Alvin: Tenacity! Nigerian filmmakers are some of the most tenacious people in the world. They churn out good films and some high budget ones even at the face of piracy, low sales, low income and unfriendly filming environment
Emmanuel: Between producers, actors, screenwriters and directors, who do you think plays the most pivotal role in the film-making process?
Abayomi Alvin: They are all very important in their own rights. But I think the one who brings everyone together on a set,is the most important- the producer
Emmanuel: Would you ever consider choosing an alternative career path?
Abayomi Alvin: I love what I do. It gives me happiness when I play a character. I haven’t found any other thing that gives me such innate joy. Maybe whenever I find something else,i may choose another path.
Emmanuel: So now I am going to ask you a very cliche question- how do you handle admirers with this hot hot body and fine features you’ve got?
Abayomi Alvin: Chief..you like to whine‘someborry‘ o . Wey the admirers dey? (Laughs) On a serious note though, I appreciate very much those who appreciate me.
Emmanuel: Nice. Now let’s talk more about your body- how do you keep in shape like you do? Any special dietary plans and workout regiment?
Abayomi Alvin: More of protein andfruits. Less of fats. Exercise 3-4 days a week.
Emmanuel: Do you feel like your appearance is directly tied to your career? How and why?
Abayomi Alvin: I feel like our appearance is directly tied to whatever we do in live. You see a Doctor at work,you know from his/her appearance. You see a mechanic, you go know sayChairman na mechanic. Every role we get as actors has to do with physical appearance and how well we can deliver lines believably.
Emmanuel: Are you currently working on any projects? Do tell about it
Abayomi Alvin: Yes. I’m currently on the set of a series Set titled “The dawn“. I also have couple of feature films and series lined up for later this month.
Emmanuel: Where do you see yourself next year at most? #Another cliche question.
Abayomi Alvin: Hmmmm… I hope to become a better version of me.
Emmanuel: Who are some of the best people you have worked with in both the fashion and movie industries?
Abayomi Alvin: In the fashion Industry “Orange couture for Water brook Souk fashion show 2013,Tayo Gabriels for Water Brook Souk 2013,Toyin Lawani Tiannah Styling for Africa Fashion Week 2014 ,Segun Odeyemi Gorgeous outfit etc. In the movie industry – Obi Emelonye on The Calabash Banking series, Funke Akindele on Jennifer’s diary,Imoh Imuoren on Secondary,Gordon Irole and Soji Ogunnaike on The Yard. All amazing filmakers.
Emmanuel: Who is your best Nigerian designer?
Abayomi Alvin: Oh boy! I can’t even mention…they’re all killing it at the moment. No need for Italian wears or UK wears anymore. Naija ti take over.
Emmanuel: That’s so true. But then comparing the fashion industry in Nigeria and the movie industry; which one (in your perspective) thrives more, employs more people and generates more income?
Abayomi Alvin: I think the Movie industry thrives more,employs more people and generate more income.
Emmanuel: So what is your relationship with fashion?
Abayomi Alvin: We are cool like that!
Emmanuel: Any parting remarks to your fans and well wishers?
Abayomi Alvin: (Whispers) Don’t get swindled!
Emmanuel: Thank you for granting this interview, Alvin.
Abayomi Alvin: Thanks a lot to you,the interviewer, to everyone taking their time to read this and to all those supporting Nigerian Entertainment. You can follow me on Social Media: Instagram: Abayomi_Alvin Twitter: @Abayomi_alvin Facebook: Abayomi Alvin. Thank you.