Today at the Federal Palace Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos, hundreds of young, inspired and innovation driven Nigerians gathered to engage and experience ‘ideas worth spreading’. This is the theme for TED, a non-profit initiative devoted to spreading ideas that are shaping the world and inspiring the future to strive to be better.
TEDx (x = independently organized TED event) events are therefore designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.
TEDx Victoria Island packed a lot of promise, and I dare say that it delivered accordingly. With a rich array of Speakers who are positive change makers in their own rights, and an audience eager to influence and expand these ideas, the hall was packed with so much positive energy and spirit of possibility.
Somi, a Rwandan Jazz Singer, set the ball rolling with a brilliant solo performance. Caterina Bortolussi, an Italian, shared a story of how her personal realisation and transformation has evolved to become a move that has affected lives of young girls and women in Rivers State, Nigeria, through fashion. She said she sees fashion as a tool to foster growth and development in Africa.
Segun Akin-Olugbade is building a high performance sports car in Nigeria. When asked why he is doing that, he answered simply, ‘Because I can.’ Speaking about the future of his idea, Segun said SE automotive Ltd will make African designed, African developed, international standard cars.
Kola Masha wants to create 10 million Commercial Farmers in Nigeria by 2030. He said that Nigeria’s job creation engine is Agriculture. He revealed that the common challenge for local Nigerian Farmers is low economies of scale. A farmer organization will deliver high economies of scale by providing leadership, management and investment.
Shina Ajulo showed us the future of Animation in Nigeria, and we all loved it to point that he got a standing ovation afterwards. A school drop-out, self-taught animator, Shina now has a team that he has built a company around, driven by an intense passion. According to Shina, “We have the best stories in Africa, but the problem is delivery. We want to tell these stories with the best quality of animations.”
TED Fellow and Managing Director of Flying Doctors Nigeria Ltd, West Africa’s first Air Ambulance Service, Dr Ola Orekunrin, inspired everyone to take a stand and say ‘Never Again’ to issues that hold us back as individuals and as a collective group of people.
And then came my personal high point for the evening, the Premier of yet to be released movie adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best selling novel, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, a movie that has a budget of about £5 million, surely a record in Nigeria, and perhaps Africa. There was a standing ovation after the Movie trailer showed, an indication of a deep satisfaction and appreciation of the effort.
Mitchell Elegbe, MD/CEO of Interswitch Ltd, capped the day off with an insightful illustration of how perception is key if we are to affect the future as we intend to. This was very critical, especially as the theme for the TEDx Victoria Island was ‘We are the Future’.
Somi closed the show in the most beautiful way, with a performance that resonated through the hall and I am quite certain the whole experience will resonate in our hearts till our ideas become industries and our country and continent is transformed because of our efforts.
TEDx Victoria Island was supported by Nokia, Microsoft, SlimTrader, Google, Amara Suites and Interswitch.