MTN Nigeria, Lagos Restate Commitment to the Arts as Oba Esugbayi Dazzles at MUSON

The festive season lineup of events got a significant boost when the epic historical play, Oba Esugbayi premiered at the Agip Recital Hall of the iconic MUSON Centre on Sunday, December 23, 2018.

Based on colonial Nigerian history, the play tells the story of the resistance of the people of Lagos against an unpopular water and pipe tax instituted by Nigeria’s first Governor-General, Lord Frederick Lugard and the brutal crackdown that ensued. The show also referenced legendary national heroes like Herbert Macaulay, Margaret Ekpo and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti in addition to featuring exciting Efik and Yoruba songs and dance routines.

A packed Agip Hall was enthralled by an ensemble of cast including such theatre greats as Yinka Davies, Femi Branch, who plays Oba Esugbayi, Yemi Shodimu and Thin Tall Tony (TTT) of Big Brother Naija Fame who put in a stellar performance as Lord Frederick Lugard. In attendance was the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, members of his cabinet and officials of the MTN Foundation.

Speaking after the play, Governor Ambode thanked the MTN Foundation for its support of the production and reiterated his administration’s commitment to supporting the growth of creative arts in the state. In his words, “The real Gross Domestic Product [GDP] of Lagos is in entertainment and arts. With 65 per cent of our population under 35, encouraging more creative expression is part of our government’s strategy.”

The MTN Foundation sponsored Oba Esugbayi as part of its Arts and Culture lineup of shows highlighting authentically Nigerian stories. In the last quarter of 2018, the Foundation sponsored such critically acclaimed shows as Fela and the Kalakuta Queens, Legends the Musical, Life in My City Art Festival in Enugu, Our Son the Minister and the Made in Nigeria Poetry Show. The Foundation promised to do more for the arts and culture space in Nigeria in the New Year.

MTN Foundation Equips Music Scholars

MTN Foundation, the CSR vehicle of MTN Nigeria has collaborated with the Musical Society of Nigeria, (MUSON) School of Music to host students and alumni of MTN-Muson Scholars to a workshop titled MTN Business of the Arts. The event was facilitated by industry veterans such as Oye Akindeinde; CEO, Music Time, Simfy Africa, Tee-Y Mix, multi-talented keyboardist, and CEO, Vivace Records and Tade Adekunle, Past National President, National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioner (NANTAP) and CEO, KesKese Limited. Topics discussed ranged from Intellectual Property to Content Partners, carving and maintaining a niche, Platforms, Legal Representation, collaboration among others.

Speaking on the initiative, Mr. Abasi-Ekong, Senior Manager, Programme Implementation, MTN Foundation said the Business of the Arts Workshop is meant to improve the understanding of the students on the business and relationship aspect of music. He told the scholars that they are aware of the challenges they face while carving a niche for themselves, he assured them that MTN was prepared to support them. The MTN Foundation launched the initiative tagged Business of the Arts Series in February 2019 where alumni of the MTN-Muson Scholars are trained on the business of their craft. The initiative was developed to prepare the scholars for life outside the school, especially while venturing into the creative market and securing a paying audience. The first workshop in the series was held in February 2019, with a focus on Copyright & Intellectual Property Protection.

MTN Nigeria Donates Mobility Equipment to Persons with Disabilities

The population of Nigerians leaving some sort of disability is estimated to be around 19 million with 4.7 million of them having significant difficulties functioning according to The World Report on Disability 2018.

 

In a bid to cater to and accommodate these persons in society, private institutions like MTN Nigeria focus on creating a future; inclusive, fair, and conducive for persons with disabilities to excel without barriers and restrictions.

 

December is the month where the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD), established by the United Nations in 1992,  is commemorated annually. To mark the occasion, MTN Nigeria partnered with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development in Abuja to honour the day.

 

Speaking at the IDPWD commemoration, Minister for Humanitarian Affairs & Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk said, International Day of Persons with Disabilities is more than a day for reflection for us. It is a rallying call for us to strive towards a more inclusive society. This can only be achieved by collaborative effort; to make our future more accessible to all.

 

Also, addressing the guests, Director, MTN Foundation, Dennis Okoro reiterated MTN’s commitment to ensuring persons living with disabilities are not at a disadvantage in society due to their condition. He said Over 20,000 persons with disabilities have benefitted from MTN Foundation Disability Support Project. In addition, 1200 undergraduate scholarships have been awarded to students in public tertiary institutions under the MTNF Scholarship Scheme for Blind Students. We will continue to collaborate with other agencies and institutions that have this shared vision.

 

As part of activities to commemorate the day, MTN Foundation donated relief and mobility items, which included braille machines, crutches, and elbow pads to name a few, to persons with disabilities through the Ministry.

 

The Minister for Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen who was present at the event commended MTN and its Foundation for their relentless support and commitment to improving the plight of PwDs in Nigeria.

MTN Foundation Continues To Improve ICT Skills of Youths in Nigeria

Lagos | Nigeria: In continuation of its commitment to empowering the youth in Nigeria, MTN Foundation recently concluded Phase 2 of its ICT and business skills training in Kano, having successfully trained 500 young people in Ibadan in Phase 1. The training is an initiative of MTN Foundation and executed in collaboration with its ecosystem partners – KPMG, Oracle, DBI (Digital Bridge Institute), IBM, and the Nigerian Ministry of Communication. Experts from these ecosystem partners trained 500 students over the course of two days, exposing them to various digital tools that can be maximised for personal growth and business development.

The free training is wholly in line with the objectives of the Foundation, and its goal to improve individual and communal lives through social investment projects that nurture people’s inherent abilities, and equip them for the future.

Present at the opening event include representative of the Governor of Kano State, Mr. Bashir Mustapha Barwa; SSA to the Governor of Kano State on Student Affairs, Mr. Ado Garba Tati and representative of the Emir of Kano Alhaji Mijtaba Abu Abba. They were all unanimous in their commendation for MTN Foundation and its ecosystem partners for empowering and equipping Kano youth to navigate an ever-changing world.

Commenting on the training, Executive Secretary of the MTN Foundation, Nonny Ugboma stated, “We are excited about the myriads of possibilities that this training avail the recipients. Technology is the future and we will continue to search for more creative and ingenious ways to improve the skills of our youth to properly prepare them for this future.”

Highlighting the benefits of the training, the participants praised MTN Foundation for exposing them to latest innovations in the digital space and empowering them to become successful entrepreneurs in their various fields of endeavour.

Since inception, MTN Foundation, which is the social investment vehicle of MTN Nigeria, has impacted millions of lives through various initiatives across the country such as What Can We Do Together campaign; scholarships to students in science & technology related courses and the visually impaired; as well as promotion of numerous arts and culture.

Life in My City Art Festival Showcases Rebirth of Creative Excellence

It was a weekend where creativity, excellence, originality were celebrated in grandstyle as the art community gathered together to honour the best entries for the 2018 Life in My City Art Festival, held on the 28th of October, 2018 at the International Conference Centre of the Institute of Management and Technology in Enugu.

It was a select gathering of patrons, collectors and lovers of art including the Enugu state governor and host, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who was the Special Guest of Honour; Prince Yemisi Shyllon; the Obi of Onitsha, HRH Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe and HRH Lawrence Agubuzu, Chairman of the Enugu Council of Traditional Rulers among others.

Reputed as one of the most consistent art competitions in the country, attendees were treated to a colourful display of art works and installations, chosen from the final 50 entries selected by a jury of experts, and rousing musical performance by the African Vocals music group.

Speaking at the event, Dennis Okoro, Director at the MTN Foundation, commended the organisers of the long running festival, as their dedication aligns with MTN’s continuous commitment to promoting arts and culture in Nigeria. In his words, “MTN, by its support of the Life in My City Arts Festival, as well as other arts and culture initiatives, continues to set new standards for corporate Nigeria, while supporting the creativity and industry of our young people and opening new vistas to showcase the beauty of our people internationally.”

The festival, which gets bigger each year, witnessed over 400 entries from the entire country, with final shortlist of 50. Ifedilichukwu Chibuike, a Fine and Applied Art graduate of the IMT who had participated in many editions emerged the overall winner. Aptly named Enigma, Chibuike’s winning entry is an installation piece made of copper wire, wool, long play record and white pull, designed to depict how the symbolic staff of peace is replaced with the weapons that often lead to mysterious and tragic occurrences in society. He received a 500,000 Naira cash prize and an all-expenses paid trip to the Dakar Art Biennale (also known as Dak’Art), one of Africa’s most prestigious art exhibitions.

The MTN Foundation’s support for the Life in My City Art Festival is part of its Arts and Culture initiative, which promotes various art, drama and music productions. As part of the activities lined up for the last quarter of the year, the Foundation has already supported such well-loved shows as ‘Fela and the Kalakuta Queens’ and ‘Legends, the Musical’. Arts & Culture lovers can look forward to other MTNF sponsored performances like Our Son the Minister, Oba Esugbayi and Made in Nigeria Poetry show, amongst others.

MTNF graduates MUSON’s next generation of Music Superstars

Monday the 9th and Tuesday the 10th July 2018, were remarkable days for MTN Foundation and MUSON school of music as they held their 11th graduating concert and ceremony for graduating students of the scholar’s Programme at the full to capacity hall at the MUSON center Lagos island.

This year’s graduation ceremony of the MTNF/MUSON Scholar’s Programme was exciting for all who attended as they witnessed the release of this new breed of music and musical experts to the world.

The event which started on Saturday the 30th of June with an Opera presentation of the “Yeomen of the Guards” continued on Monday the 2nd of July with the Band & Orchestra concert before the final Graduation Concert on Monday the 9th of July and the Graduation Ceremony on Tuesday the 10th of July, 2018. The ceremony saw a massive audience made up of enthusiastic guests, parents, guardians, friends and relatives of the graduating students and music lovers turn up for the occasion.

The Agip Recital hall which was the venue, was filled to capacity with some people requiring more seats and just hanging around to catch a glimpse, while others jostled to get a feel of the performances from the aisles and the entrances all for the sake of watching the grand performance of this year’s graduating set.

The MTN Foundation Scholars’ Programme in partnership with the Musical Society of Nigeria is targeted at students with a flair for music, and it provides them the opportunity to acquire qualitative music education. The foundation offers stipends directed at the students which provides allocation to cover transportation, textbooks, and tuition for the duration of the 2 year diploma course in music.

MTN Headlines the reimagination of five of Africa’s beloved heroes and heroines

It was three days of spectacular stage performances when ‘Legends, Kings and Kingdoms: the Musical’ took centre stage at the Shell Hall of the MUSON Centre in Onikan Lagos, from October 19 to 21.

The musical drama, a collaborative production of Seeing Through the Arts and Declassical Arts & Entertainment, was sponsored by MTN Foundation as part of an awesome lineup of events to mark the 22nd MUSON Festival of the Arts. It was co-directed by an alumnus of the MTN Foundation sponsored MUSON scholarship programme, Ayo Ajayi and boasted such industry veterans as vocalist and lyricist Yinka Davies and Crown Troupe of Africa artistic director, Segun Adefila.

With an innovative plot that saw a cast of historical African figures team up for a good cause, the production provided an avenue for their ancient acts of heroism, seldom remembered and recognised by most people, to be reimagined and retold in an engaging format that captures the vibrancy of African history and culture in a way that is relevant to a contemporary audience.

In the play, five African heroes: Nigeria’s Sango, Nana Yaa Asantewaa of the Ashanti in modern Ghana, Neferneferuaten Nefertiti of Egypt, Shaka, King of the Zulus in modern South Africa and Queen Amina of Zazzau in what is now northern Nigeria, answer the call of a distressed princess to save her people, ‘Modaland,’ from a common foe – the Shadow.

MTN sponsored this show as part of its foundation’s Arts and Culture initiative in which it is currently sponsoring six productions telling true Nigerian stories across a range of genres – musicals, visual arts and drama productions.

Going by the large turnout, claps, tears and cheers that greeted Legends, the MTN Foundation Arts and Culture initiative is clearly here to stay as the much-needed platform for the resurgence of arts and culture in Nigeria.

The Legends show will be back for a second run in mid-December.

New Competition Aims To Groom Nigerian Youngsters In Theatre Arts

A new pan-Nigerian competition aimed at grooming the next generation of actors, actresses and theatre practitioners is set to debut next week.

The initiative, called Theatre for Schools, is intended to arouse the interest of secondary school students in the arts through competition and participation. Styled as a competition, the initiative will further promote public interest in Nigerian arts and culture as well as nurturing identified talents.

Initiated by MTN Foundation as part of its commitment to developing Arts and Culture in Nigeria, the competition entails university faculties of Theatre Arts mentoring a select number of secondary schools within their geographic catchment area.

The schools will be required to produce a play which will be staged, first at regional finals in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Ibadan, with the winners showcasing their work at a national final in Lagos. All participating schools in the competition’s maiden edition will be adopted by the Foundation as ‘MTN Arts & Culture Schools’ and paired with some of theatrical leading lights with the hope of nurturing and developing identified talents.

Speaking on the launch of the new initiative, the Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Nonny Ugboma said, “One thing that has become clear from supporting arts and culture over the last few years is that Nigeria is burgeoning with amazing talent and many stories waiting to be told. With the Theatre for Schools competition, we are offering a platform for our next generation of storytellers. We are looking at nurturing teens who will go on to become great thespians in the Nigerian theatre scene.”

The MTN Foundation’s Arts and Culture causes have for the last five years supported shows, plays, musicals and initiatives that aim to tell authentically Nigerian stories.

Recent productions supported by the Foundation include critically acclaimed shows as Fela and the Kalakuta Queens, Legends the Musical, the Life in My City Art Festival in Enugu, Our Son The Minister, the Made in Nigeria Poetry Show and High: The Play.

MTN Launches ASAP to Curb First Time Drug Usage and Addiction

Commissioned by the World Health Organisation, the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project, led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimate that globally over 160 million people had an alcohol or drug use disorder in 2016.

While data on the prevalence of substance abuse and the number of people with drug disorders in Nigeria is limited, available facts suggest that accessibility to and abuse of illicit drugs are on the rise. According to a 2016 report from the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), Nigeria is a known trafficking hub for controlled substances, with many young Nigerians in metropolitan areas getting entangled in drug-related offences.

In a strategic effort to address a growing national problem, MTN Nigeria through the MTN Foundation, in collaboration with a consortium of stakeholders has launched an initiative called ‘ASAP’ (Anti Substance Abuse Programme). ASAP is a multi-stakeholder intervention aimed at increasing awareness of substance abuse and addiction among youths. The goal of the programme is to discourage first-time usage and casual substance abuse nationwide.

The initiative kicked off with a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday, December 19 attended by dignitaries from various government and non-government organisations, including health practitioners, MTN officials and brand ambassadors.

“ This situation is urgent and important. Substance abuse is a well known and growing menace in our country. Our youth, the future of this nation, are at risk” said Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, Chairman, MTN Foundation speaking at the launch.

“This why we must do as much as we can; as fast as we can, to chart the right course and help those coming behind us understand the dangers. We owe it to ourselves and our children,” he added.

The initiative, which will run for six months, targets young Nigerians from age 10 – 25. Part of the integrated communications campaign effort is a dedicated microsite with an online representative trained to answer enquiries from the public on substance abuse, addiction, rehabilitation, in addition to direct engagement activities targeted at schools, campuses, markets, motor parks and communities across Nigeria.

The MTN Foundation has over the years partnered with both public and private organisations to initiate sustainable development programmes in different focus areas with the aim of making life brighter for Nigerians.