Guest Post:Tony Elumelu Foundation to Launch the World’s Largest Digital Platform for African Entrepreneurs.

We all need dream supporters to help bring alive our goals. Organizations like the one in this post,  Sade Osigwe, a dear friend and colleague shares below,  gives hope to young entrepreneurs in Nigeria. We need more philanthropic individuals and bodies like this. 

Some Entrepreneurs with the Founders of Tony Elumelu Foundation

Nigeria will on October 25, 2018 play host to two major African Presidents. They are President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.

The event is the 2018 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum,(TEF),taking place at the Federal Palace Hotel,Lagos.

The forum will also host about 5000 Entrepreneurs and 200 Investors as well as Government Administrators and Policy makers. The TEF founder,Tony O.Elumelu is expected to moderate the interactive session with the two African Presidents.

The brain behind the summit which is also the Africa’s leading entrepreneurship-focused philanthropic organisation,The Tony Elumelu Foundation had committed $100 million to empower 10,000 entrepreneurs over a period of 10 years.

Being in its 4th year, the foundation has empowered 4,460 entrepreneurs with a total investment of USD 20million,out of which 4000 were funded directly by the foundation while the remaining 460 were sponsored by TEF partners.

The Entrepreneurship forum was borne out of the foundation’s resolve to foster trade and business networking opportunities just as the 2018 theme centres on ”empowering African Entrepreneurs”.

This year’s event will also feature the launch of the world’s largest digital platform for African Entrepreneurs. Similarly,there will be a pitching competition and Investor-ready panel session for the budding Entrepreneurs.

Writter: Afolasade Osigwe-braimah is a broadcast /online journalist, producer, presenter, translator and script writer. Afolasade also trained as a Demographer with great interest in women,children and the elderly as well as development -oriented endeavours. She received the 2017 TEF African journalism fellowship to cover the 3rd TEF Entrepreneurship Forum in Lagos in 2017.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) 


GUEST POST: MY FGM STORY by Omoye Oriaghan

This piece was sent to me a few days ago to share and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It is a personal experience of Omoye Oriaghan. Great insights to her fears about Female Circumcision and her journey into discovering whether she had been cut or not. I was held spelt bound and couldn’t stop until I came to the end of this story. Enjoy it and feel free to share with others.

“How do you feel, if I cut that sensitive nub above your privates
Cut the lips to your womanly haven
And then stitch close the opening to leave only a urinary passageway
I do not stop there,
But when you get married, I tear you back open for sexual relations with your husband (as in some cases)
Can you imagine how you would feel?
Well, that is the gore of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

I have always heard of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), its ills and the various calls for an end to its practice in our society. Before my final year at the university, I knew little or nothing about this awful practice, maybe because I was too lazy to google its meaning and prevalence in Nigeria and Africa as a whole or maybe because I just wasn’t interested in knowing what it meant. However, during my last days at school, we had this course taught by the only professor in our department at the time, Prof Akinfeleye, on campaign messages and design (I can’t remember the exact course title now).

As part of assessments for the course, the class was divided into different groups, given different health challenges and asked to design campaign messages for them. This was to be presented in subsequent classes. I remember a particular group was to design campaign messages for FGM. As against other presentations that I didn’t accord much interest, this campaign against FGM caught my attention, maybe because the medical practitioner took his time to explain with a slide presentation its prevalence in some parts of Nigeria. The gory pictures of the different types of cuts and the girls (children) made to undergo such, aroused so much anger within that later gave birth to the hatred I now nurse for it.

Also in my final year on campus, I had a friend who when we had a discussion on FGM told me in confidence that she and her sisters were mutilated after birth by their mother. However, what was more shocking in her revelation was that her mother told her while she much older not to let her would-be husband know she had been circumcised so as not to ‘drive him away’. According to her mum, no man or most men do not love the idea of marrying a ‘circumcised’ woman because of the lack of satisfaction during sex.
I must confess that while listening to her revelation I got a bit scared because I wasn’t sure of my own status. Who knows, I may have been circumcised too! However, the fears subsided…….

I met Tunde (real name withheld) and we got really close and someday I hoped I would settle down with him (didn’t happen though *winks*) and into our relationship the talk of circumcision (FGM) came up and the fears came back in full force. I was not ready to drive my man away, or so I thought. I think it’s time I had a tete-a-tete with my mother, I concluded, but somehow I didn’t know how to bring up the conversation because my mum and I never really had such conversations. And so again, I managed to keep it in until…….

I sat comfortably as my hair stylist braided my hair one fateful day when a woman from the next shop walked in to loosen her own braids and then ‘the conversation’ began. My hair stylist (Woman A) started the conversation:

“This circumcision thing, everyone seems to be talking about it like it’s a bad thing o she said
The woman from the next shop (Woman B) replied,
“Yes o….In the olden days it was not a big deal but these days, women are discouraged from circumcising their girl-child………My mother says my sisters and I were circumcised, however, she warned us not to tell our husbands (here’s the warning again), so they don’t leave us and sleep with other women”
Woman A: “Hmmmm”
Woman B continues
“When I have sex with my husband, I pretend sometimes to enjoy it even when I don’t, so I don’t push him away………Well, my mum warned me not to circumcise my daughter so she doesn’t go through the same problem and so I didn’t circumcise her”

Now, while this conversation ensued, I was paying rapt attention, picking every detail, and of course, they didn’t know I listened. They thought I didn’t understand what they were saying because they were not having the conversation in English.
And so the conversation continued,
Woman A: “Well for me, my mother circumcised all of her female children o and me, I circumcise all of mine ( now, Woman A has three daughters)…….Not long after I give birth to my girls, I always tell my husband that I want to go and visit my mother in the village (She was Igbo and her husband Yoruba) and when I get there I circumcise them without his knowledge”
“It is good to circumcise girls so they will not become wayward” she continued “I will continue to circumcise my female children o”.
That ended the conversation and also ended my delay in asking my mum the big question.

I got home that evening and immediately put a call through to my mother, “Hello Mama, this circumcision thing, do they do it in our village?” I questioned curiously. “Well they did it a long time ago, but your grandmother did not circumcise me or my other siblings” She replied. That was all I needed to hear to have a beautiful sleep that night {smiles).

Last year, I was also privileged to watch an edition of BBC’s HardTalk with Stephen Sackur on FGM. On the show that day, Stephen had two African women with British citizenship. One was for and the other against FGM. Now, I was more particular about the lady who supported the practice because I wanted to know why anyone would support such a barbaric practice. However, after listening to her point of view, I didn’t entirely condemn her.

The lady (from Ivory Coast, if I remember correctly) explained that female circumcision was a huge ceremony in her village for women who had come of age, girls who were 18 years and above. It was a Coming out Ceremony of some sort. She further explained that she was convinced at the age of about 20 years by her aunt who had a paid a visit to her family in the UK to participate in the ceremony. Her aunt and mother told her a little about the pain associated with the procedure and some of the health risks. With this knowledge, she agreed to travel to Ivory Coast to be circumcised. She concluded by saying the procedure, though painful, was healthy and that years after it she had enjoyed sexual relations with her partner.

So for her, FGM should only be carried out on girls who are well aware of the health risks and others risks and should also be done on their consent. However, she was against the complex stages of mutilation.

As my story winds up, let me conclude by saying, I am against FGM practiced on a girl-child who has absolutely no idea what is being done to her. If when she is well of age weighs all the risk factors involved and still decides to be mutilated, then I bid her Godspeed, but again, I don’t think any girl would love to go through such pain from a very unhealthy procedure for whatever gain.
As I drop my pen, or this time, my keyboard (winks), let me say #IStandAgainstFGM and #FGMMustBeStopped #EndFGMNow

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Project Director Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development.
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email –

PRESS ON – Thoughts & Life #7 (Guest Post)

Gearing up to heed the call,Your body is primed for new terrains.
Mind, set on green realms.
Feet, ready for unmapped tracts.
The instant it dawns on your soul;
Press on!

Then, caution calls in the voices of your kindred
Fear yells at you in familiar tones and colours
The rips and blemishes of your past try to conceal your mended and pristine future
Imperfections fight to sheath your beauty.

Dare to take an intentional stance of faith and hope!
Perfect your balance on the fragile beam of courage
Give fear a mocking glance of defiance
Be steady and swift, apt and sound, optimistic and confident
Trail off the shores of familiarity and certainty
Imprint your foot in the unwashable sands of time
Etch your name on the ineffaceable hearts of men
Fix your gaze on The Bearer of The Torch
Press on!

Again, fear, chanting the give up call
You try to estimate how many laps to the home call
Lost on the tracks of worries and doubts
Through the vicissitudes of life, you almost get trapped in the maze of contemplation and despair
Then a chord strikes like a chiming church bell

“Its not about you; it has never been
I brought you this far; I’m not about to forsake you
Go on child you, you can do it
Press on, my Precious Jewel, you can be it
I will goad you into all your possibilities
Listen, the Host of Heaven is cheering you on”

All at once!
The voice resonates deeper and clearer and louder
The Caller of The Called it is!
The Possessor of The Trophy beckons
The Custodian of The Crown smiles behind the tape
Bearing the victor’s garland and the champ’s ale

“Welcome Home, My Child”
………Inspired by Phillipians3:14
It is never too late to try out something new or conceive new dreams. Don’t let marriage or motherhood choke your dreams and aspirations out of you. You were created to do great things.

oyinkan FMBThis post was written by Oyinkansola Peter-Ajayi.
Oyinkan is a Correspondent and Presenter with Radio Nigeria.
She lives by the mantra, “Eagles don’t flock” and tweets @Oyinpeter_ajayi

Thinking out loud…Gender Musings (Guest Post #3)

There are parts of me that have been hiding all my life. I’m daily surprised by the emergence of new aspirations, new dreams, new fears, new flaws, new hopes and new traits I was not expecting.

Why am I digging up and dusting old dreams. It probably never died. Through these new discoveries, I’m reminded that as long as I engage in the process of continuous self-development, new discoveries are inevitable.

The concept I have of myself, my value, my very purpose in life form the core of what influences my personality. So when I am quiet it is for a reason. When I am assertive and refuse to back down in an argument, it is for a reason. When I remain indifferent about an issue, there’s a reason for it.

I strive to be intentional and deliberate about my every act. But I’m asking will it change when I marry? Will I have to “adjust” my personality to suit my in-laws? Will I be assertive enough as a mother to ensure my children are well disciplined?

As I advance in age, will I have the resolve and energy to pursue new projects and initiatives? How will hormonal changes affect my well-being? Will I age gracefully indeed?

Do you as a woman also go through these eeerm say gender musings?

oyinkan FMB

This post was written by Oyinkansola Peter-Ajayi.
Oyinkan is a Correspondent and Presenter with Radio Nigeria.
She lives by the mantra, “Eagles don’t flock” and tweets @Oyinpeter_ajayi

Guest Post: Dear woman, life is simple.

I was laughing all the way reading this post…Something to relax you and encourage you to make your life simpler…no need to complicate things…just breath. Enjoy reading… How to uncomplicate your Life.   UNCOMPLICATE
Another Great Post from Oyinkansola Peter- Ajayi

On too many occasions, my friends and I have chided one another for complicating life. I bet that sounds complicated already. Lol. But really, I don’t think life is as complex as we all make it seem.

Say you step into a salad bar to place an order for chicken salad. A.plate.of.chicken.salad. And you go like; “Can I have a plate of extra chilli, warm water rinsed cabbage, seeded green pepper, diced fresh carrot, boneless chicken wings salad!” What?! Why didn’t you just make it yourself if you knew the recipe so well. Just eat what you are served already!

I am always the first to ask for the best of anything. That’s because I place a premium on quality. When you have the spirit of excellence you naturally seek out top notch products and services. You intentionally make friends with individuals who reason like you or better than you. You strive and stretch yourself to be the best version of you. However, I am wise enough to know that sometimes, asking your hairstylist for sterling service delivery is asking for too much. Sometimes, expecting the best in certain situation is like asking for the impossible. Apparently you can’t give what you don’t have. So make excuses for people. Cut people some slack.

Are you still contemplating saying “HI!” to the cute guy that works in the same building as you? Admit it you like smart and confident guys. Didn’t you just over hear him analyze the NGF crises intelligently with his colleagues at the cafeteria? You weren’t eavesdropping just that you like mind stimulating conversations and you heard that. Next time you “bump into” him on the staircase, compliment his tie. You just said hi and it is okay to be the first to say hi.

Gifts are to be appreciated. The next time a friend buys you a rather tasteless and cheap fabric receive it with love. We know you wear designer and you are a power dresser but it won’t hurt to make a simple kaftan with the fabric. On your next visit to the abattoir or fish shop, pull it out! Your designer won’t be appropriate for such outing anyway.

It is okay to let things slide, demand less of situations or people who can’t give you the more or extra you so much desire. Ignore the waiter who didn’t address you as “Your Royal Highness.” If only he knew your great-grand father’s Uncle was the Oba of Benin. That is it! *sighs* He doesn’t know but we know so don’t embarrass us by trying to let him know because he doesn’t have to know, let it go!

A commercial bus attendant, yes the one with ripped Chelsea jersey, grease stained knicker and fungi infected nails. In his bid to curse the other motorist vying for the good portion of the road with his “Oga*” mistakenly spits in your face. Now you can even tell he had Chelsea dry gin as beverage for breakfast. I know you are angry and really, he deserves to be told off for opening his mouth carelessly. Just give him the eye and seal your lips. He is not worth the trouble. I appreciate his loyalty though. Awon ti Chelsea! Lol.

Just let the dumb in your class win the argument. Don’t let someone drag you into an absurd and pointless argument. We all know the Capital of America is Washington D.C. But he insists it is New York. In fact, he was there when the founding fathers were mapping out the country. You know he is senile so smile and give him a dismissive nod.

Crying after seeing a good movie is not a sign of weakness, if at all I’m told to explain it -it only humanizes you. God gave you tear ducts for a reason so quit being a “pseudo-macho”

It is okay to laugh out loud with your friends at the mall. It is okay to talk about Jesus on Facebook. It is okay to give your babe a big bear hug at the motor park regardless of who is watching. It is okay to help that senior citizen cross the road. It is okay not to have premarital sex even if the Pope says it is “cool.” It is okay to say I don’t know when you really don’t know, nobody knows it all. It is okay to be tagged geek, nerd because you are studious. Someday you’ll be tagged Nobel Prize winner, keep at it.

Many times we let people’s expectation and fear of being labeled get in the way of being true to ourselves. And rather than just being us we complicate our lives. But like India Arie said in her song “Wings of forgiveness”
“…the art of simplicity simply means making peace of your complexity” Dear woman, life is simple; don’t complicate it. It’s okay to smile after reading this!

oyinkan FMBThis post was written by Oyinkansola Peter-Ajayi.                       
Oyinkan is a Correspondent and Presenter with Radio Nigeria.
She lives by the mantra, “Eagles don’t flock” and tweets @Oyinpeter_ajayi

Photo Credit:

Word Glossary:

kaftan – Men’s long gown worn over a trouser

Oba of Benin – King of Benin Kingdom, Nigeria.

Oga – His Boss

Awon ti Chelsea – Chelsea Fans


Guest Post: What is the connection between Yellow Fever and Bleaching?

oyinkan FMBMeet Oyinkansola Peter-Ajayi a dear sister and colleague. She is down to earth, funny, stylish and classy. I love her “this is me for real style” and she is a lady indeed. Oyinkansola loves life and loves women issues too. So here she will be sharing her thoughts and experience on the field as a reporter weekly. Here is her first post.

Oyinkansola is a Correspondent and Presenter with Radio Nigeria.
She lives by the mantra, “Eagles don’t flock” and tweets @Oyinpeter_ajayi

In deed there are different kinds of fever as Fela Anikulapo Kuti the African Afro beat Icon, wittily sang about back in 1976. But there’s this particular fever that can be swiftly diagnosed with zero education in Medicine. This fever is not characterized by high fever or jaundice or hemorrhaging rather, it’s the dark patches by the patient’s knuckles, elbows, knee caps, the green trickles cruising along his or her hide in their serpentine formations that give such patient away. I suppose you already know this variation of yellow fever. It’s yellow fever caused by bleaching!

How is it that people, women still bleach after so much talk and campaign against bleaching? It beats my understanding each time I ponder on the matter. Let’s talk about bleaching, toning, whitening and those practices that excessively brighten the skin of women. And men too.

Bleaching is an age long beauty therapy . According to historical facts, bleaching was practiced probably prior but certainly during ancient and medieval times in Egypt, China, Asia Minor, and Europe.

By way of definition: it is simply the process of whitening or removing the natural color of the skin by treatment with chemicals or by exposure to heat.

In Nigeria however, the roots of bleaching have been traced back to the colonial era when women wanted to acquire the fairness of the oyinbo people. It was considered a color of superiority. Unfortunately, this trend has refused to fade away as it is now considered an integral part of beauty and makeup. And if the pictures on social media are to be given consideration, you’d agree with me that bleaching is something that should be addressed. Comedians have carved punch lines around ladies who bleach their skin.

To buttress the penchant Nigerians, especially the female folks have for bleaching creams,World Health Organization(WHO) has revealed in a report that Nigeria has the highest number of women using bleaching and skin-toning creams in Africa ahead of Togo and Senegal.

I am asking out loud, “Are these women unaware of the dangers inherent in bleaching their skin”? Despite several studies reinforcing the known fact that bleaching is dangerous and totally unhealthy. A dermatologist at the Federal Medical Centre Abeokuta, South West Nigeria, Dr Laide Oke says:

“cosmetics and whitening products in particular often contain toxic and sometimes carcinogenic ingredients that could cause cancer and other fatal illnesses”.

Doctor Oke informed that chemicals in bleaching creams could seep into the bloodstream or be absorbed by sensitive mucous membranes. She further hinted that blood cancer, ochronosis (hyper-pigmentation of the skin) and other life threatening diseases could be the consequence of using such creams.

At this point one  questions the role of National Agency for food and drugs Administration and Control ( NAFDAC) in checking the ingredients contained in such creams/lotions as some of these ingredients are carcinogenic. It seems that less attention is paid to  cosmetics probably because they are not drugs or food?

If the words of the PRO of the Agency Mr. Anslem Okwonkwo in a national daily are to be favored, the agency has banned the importation of products that contain most active ingredients in bleaching, toning or whitening cream while it has aggressively began a campaign to shut down any industry found using these banned substances.

I have got myself asking tirelessly, what should be done with the individuals or syndicate feeding fat on the billions of Naira being generated through this trade? Interestingly, a cousin of mine who is the Brand Manager of a premium body lotion said to take his brand to the next level, he was asked to pay a certain woman at Yaba market in Lagos a visit as she holds tightly to the coveted crown of Queen of cream mixers. I’m told she mixes all sort of whitening creams and sells not only these creams but injectables and pills that can whiten ackee seeds or as we say in my local parlance “koro-shin” overnight. So what should be done about such people?

Again some folks argue in favour of toning saying its different from bleaching. I’m also asking, is six different from half a dozen? Will the fragrance of a rose cease if the name was altered? Well, to that Dr Oke opined that bleaching and toning were similar because both practice involved the use of chemical substances to lessen the melanin or pigment in the skin. She added that this dangerously exposes the skin to direct sun rays which predisposes the person to skin cancer.

Two chemicals present in bleaching creams, chief of them is hydroquinone. and the other is Mercury. These substances are carcinogenic and injurious to health!

It’s certainly a free world and you can do whatever you like with yourself but then again, have you given serious thoughts to the side effects of bleaching? I recall some years back when I was sent to cover a road traffic accident incident as a reporter. There was this elderly woman who was one of the victims of the accident. She had bleached off all the layers of her skin so much that when we got to the hospital, the doctors could only give her shots of pain relievers to numb her pain. The doctors on duty kept insisting they couldn’t stitch her laceration has her skin had been badly damaged by bleaching agents.

So will you just settle with fate that you were created dark-skinned and bask in the pride of being an African woman. There’s absolutely nothing wrong in that and there are men who sincerely appreciate such women. Actually, I consider it laughable when women lay claim to the misconception that most men like fair or light skinned women. Character repeatedly trumps looks and physical qualities in serious and mature relationships. In fact most men that I interacted with about this issue said out rightly that beauty transcended complexion. Those who have preference fair skinned women, held forth that they appreciated if the fairness was natural as against those who bleached to achieve it.

So I’d ask the male readers of Femininematerz, do you consider fair-skinned women more attractive than dark skinned women?

Word Glossary:
Ackee Seeds/koro-shin – Seeds of a pear shaped fruits usually very black in color.

Oyinbo- Nigeran way of describing a white skin foreigner
yellow fever- A slang for bleaching going by Fela Anikulopo Kuti’s song.

Carcinogenic – Ingredients Can cause cancer

Yaba Market- A popular open market in Lagos State, Nigeria.

NAFDAC- Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control.

ochronosis- hyper-pigmentation of the skin.

Oyinkansola Peter-Ajayi (C)