Things I have learned as a city lawyer

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Hi people,

Some of you who have followed MCLA from its inception will recall how I went to law school and got a job. It is not my first job but I must say that it is the first career defining work experience so far as it is right up my professional alley and at it, I have learned a whole lot.

I have learned that your fancy degree(s) might get you the job but only your character and attitude will ensure that you not only keep your job but thrive and excel at it. In fact, these days, many a masters degree holder gets turned back and gets confused: but I thought once I get a masters, the jobs will be lining up for me. These days, masters degrees are a dime a dozen. Everyone and their mama has it. It’s no longer the biggie it was 10 years ago and you need to show more to get the attention of employers and recruiters. I digress.

See, this post is not really about getting the job you want. Its aim is to show how one can enjoy and excel at the job you have. Here are some tips I have discovered whilst working in my law firm. I believe they are applicable anywhere. Enjoy!

1. Understand your role and discover ways to perform your job well

As a lawyer, I get tasks as mundane as writing minutes of a meeting (this is a general summary of what transpired at a meeting for future reference etc) to drafting an entire agreement from scratch i.e. without the use of a template. I have learned that both the seemingly mundane and seemingly important tasks deserve the same level of excellence. My role in the firm is not to draft important agreements. It is to be a useful lawyer and employee. This means if what will make life easier for my boss right now is to prepare an agenda, then an agenda I shall prepare. If tomorrow, I am needed to deal with the administrative aspects of a seminar, then that I shall do. If today, it is to meet with the head of a multinational, then meet I shall.

The point is you are not just there to do the sexy deals. You are there to move the organisation forward and make your presence and in fact, absence felt. Now don’t get it twisted, spending all your time doing admin work will not fetch you much. Wisdom is key.

Further, when you identify what your role is, it is not enough to just do your job. You must do it well and with pride too. Go the extra mile. Suggest an idea that has been playing in your head. Put in the extra oomph. I have watched great models get voted off America’s Next Top Model because they are not memorable. They take great photos and walk the runway well but they are not outstanding and a thousand others do just that. You need to distinguish yourself in your role and let it show that you are different.

standoutfromthecrowd

2. Be a hard worker
Get to work on time. Make good use of the period you are at work. Minimise your gisting and chilling. Don’t go over your allocated breaks, don’t spend the day bb-ing, chatting on your phone, updating your status, using office internet to shop (trust me, you are being observed and even if you are not, it is a thing of integrity).

Phone

It is not enough to just be at work, work hard whilst there. Hone your skills, perfect your craft. If you are in my field, this means reading books, reading emails and ensuring that you are on top of it all, writing and generally endeavouring and working towards being better than you were last month. If you get appraised yearly, appraise your self half yearly. If you get appraised half yearly, appraise yourself every quarter. Your company does its bit by paying you every month. You have to do your own bit by ensuring you do not drop the ball.

3. Dress and act like a professional
Be a professional. Talk like a professional. Use the right lingo. Dress well. In my field, this means keeping your coat of many colours to a minimum or better still, for Church. It means dressing the way the partners in your firm dress not necessarily with the price tag but with professionalism.

dress_2410

Be friendly. Be engaging. Don’t just come to work, do the job and pack your bags. Have buddies. Be nice even as you focus on your job. This does not mean you have to become I go dye and the office clown but you get the point…

4. Have a can-do spirit
Don’t be the one who always notices the faults and ends with the words ‘it is not possible’, ‘I cannot do it’. Even if you have the gift of identifying the problems and drawbacks with a plan, always end with a possible solution. Clients don’t always care how you go about solving their problems. They do know they have problems or potential problems so they do not need you to highlight them all and end with ‘not possible!’. Yes, it might not be possible this way, but what about that way. Remember, there is always a way. Your company’s role is to find it. You can be the solution provider! Start thinking like the boss.

5. Know and respect hierarchies
Yes, this means knowing who’s boss and treating them accordingly. Your bosses range from the MD/CEO or Managing Partner, to the other partners to your HOD to the girl who finished law school a year ahead of you even though when you were in SS3 in QC, she was in JSS 3. That’s just the way it is, at least in my industry! Until you distinguish yourself and are consequently elevated, you might need to take orders or to put it mildly ‘instructions’ from someone who would is younger than your little ones who call you ‘Sister’. Yup! Leave the chip on your shoulder in your car. Remember it is a job. Be professional. This is not your family meeting or your home. This is work. Age is literally nothing but a number, an insignificant one. The only number that matters is your years of experience and how well you are doing your job, your client score card etc, not your age.

6. Take initiative
Like I alluded to earlier, merely doing your job will help you keep it but might not mean you will excel and be a high flyer. You will be just a normal worker, nothing special, just there. You need to push the boundaries, identify voids and ways things could be done better in the company as a whole and your unit specifically. Make suggestions. If your boss is not too much of a my way or the high way person, you could even dare to make a small change here and there and share with him/her after.

7. Not everything is about better pay and commendation
As nice as it is for all your handwork and excellent attitude to be noticed by all and rewarded by the big guys, it is actually for your own good and personal development. So don’t get all grumpy and discouraged if a red carpet welcome does not await you the day after your brilliant suggestion saved the day. And please don’t give up because your wonderful ideas etc in March does not reflect in a big bonus if any. It is not about immediate applause and commendation or pay or reward. It is about building yourself to a certain level that your ‘outstandingness’ cannot but go noticed AND rewarded…

8. Be prayerful
I saved the very best tip for the last. The power of prayer for favour and grace cannot be overemphasised. No matter how much you hustle, without the touch of God, your efforts might be frustrated. Without God, the builders build in vain and without God, the watchmen watch in vain (Psalm 127).

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So there you have it guys, my tips for excelling in your careers. I’m sure there are much more you can add to the foregoing. Please do in the comment section below. Even the word of God says, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” Proverbs 22:29. Also, Colossians 3:22 says, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God”. Okay, you are not exactly in a servant/master relationship but you get the drift…Then again, who are we kidding!

Have a lovely weekend guys!!!

Temiville.xoxo

Customer Service Training and Job Offer: Introducing Telepoint Communications Ltd!

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Hi people,

How’s it going? Hope you all had a nice holiday last week. I hope y’all are having fun. Not many people feel the holidays to be honest. So many of my friends still have to go to work. For those of us who are still waiting on The Lord, there is no clear difference between a working day and a holiday. Everyday, I wake up, say my prayers, say prayers with mom and dad, check for any email from the places I applied, refresh my forever open Law School website to find out if the results are out…

This leads me nicely to the topic for today…Customer Service Training! Now, hear me out guys. Before you start screaming ‘but I studied Banking and Finance!!!’ Lol. Now, when I first heard about so many Graduates of different discipline going to do two week courses on customer service, I was like ‘lai lai’. But then I was approached by the people at Telepoint Communications Ltd to let people know about the training and how useful it is. I visited them three times because as you all know, I’m not one to speak for people like that if I don’t know what exactly you’re about.

I went to their office on Allen Avenue and I saw my legal seniors at the Bar, doctors, accountants from Ife, LASU, MSc degree holders, etc. They were all trying to go through customer service training after which they will write an examination and then get a certificate. I also found out about some who had gone on to secure great jobs thereafter. Most of them get to work in the telecoms industry, others carry in with their respective fields, but all are empowered and more marketable.

Here is more direct information from them:
TELEPOINT COMMUNICATIONS LTD

EARN UP TO N90,0000 MONTHLY THROUGH CUSTOMER SERVICE/CALL CENTER

Become a Customer Care/Call Centre Agent after 2 weeks’ intensive training and earn up to 90,000 Naira monthly as Job Placement Opportunities are available right after training.

Address: Visit 82 Allen Ave Ikeja, opposite Mainstreet bank Lagos or call any of the Advisors.

NB:
-Accommodation available at a small fee for those that do not reside in Lagos
-Weekend option available for those currently working

Call:
•Mike 08092298673
•Stephanie 08137234351
•Bunmi 08128693392
•Funmi 08065642110
•Crystal 08137766764
•Desola 08163749903
•Chioma 07063310536
•Monday 08130360372

http://www.lagostelecom.com
http://www.facebook.com/TMDiploma

So guys, for those like us waiting for work, we can learn something new whilst waiting with a tempting possibility of even branching out. I hear ASUU is on strike, you can take 2 weeks out of sitting at home to learn something new that will set you apart. From learning this transferable skill, you can apply it to an interview to get a job and distinguish yourself from the pack. Just my thought sha! I’m no marketer lol.

Here I am at the training institute.

Me!

Me!

Here are the students in class

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So go on and give them a call…

What’s going on?

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A number of people have asked me why I have been so quiet both on my blog, vocally and on twitter about the whole subsidy removal brouhaha. The truth is this: I was not very confident of my knowledge on the matter. I cannot boldly beat my chest that I fully understand what on earth is going on. I’m sure I know enough to give my two cents but those who have become familiar with MCLA and with me generally would know I’m too generous to give just two cents :D. I want to yarn well. At this juncture however, I think my two cents will do just fine.

A broadcast supposedly written/spoken by Fela Durotoye made rounds yesterday morning. Allow me digress. I HATE broadcasts. I loathe them with my being. I don’t know why. I’m trying to understand my strong aversion for them but I’d say it stems from the hatred of being lumped up in a group. I love being treated as an individual and unfortunately, I have lost a few ‘bb friends’ to this. There was a guy who was on my case and 8 out of 10 BBMs to me would be some ‘funny’ story or the other. I, as politely as I could manage, asked to be removed from the list of lucky recipients of his hourly jokes. He got mad at me and saying his ‘true friends’ loved his sense of humour. Let’s just say he’s not on my BB anymore. Now where was I? Fela Durotoye aha!

Ok, here is what he had to say on the issue:

Since I got back into Nigeria yesterday, I have heard some preposterous arguments that the removal of the fuel subsidy will be justified by wise investments that will benefit all.

My response has been, How will a wasteful government suddenly realize the genius of prudence and making the right investment decisions simply bcs there is more money available from oil subsidy removal?

Will there be less graft & bribes involved in process of issuing the road contracts or power contracts?

Have we sought to honestly find every way we can plug wastage in our leaking economy before we ask a feeble populace to carry the burden of corruption and gross ineptitude of a gluttonous few?

Have the Presidency, the State & Local Governments and the Legislature discovered how to travel without a convoy of 20 cars to the airport?

Can the occupiers of these lofty positions act in honour as Barack Obama did in 2010 when he got every member of his cabinet to take a pay cut, starting with himself?

Within his first few days as British Prime Minister, David Cameron led the austerity cuts (upon his assumption) by cutting down his convoy to 2 cars and one outrider. The Members of Parliament in Britain are now only allowed 3rd class train tickets on official travel (as opposed to their traditional first class train ticket allowances). The Mayor of London now rides a bicycle to work.
Leadership by example!!!

How come our ‘leaders’ in government earn so much and still spend so much furnishing the same houses and offices they furnished with our money last year?

Do you furnish your office every year? Why should the President, Governor or Senate President?

Wasteful leadership cannot make prudent investments!!!!! Q.E.D

The change we need is not just policy. Its in the quality of mind and persons at policy making positions.

Lemme try and explain as simply as possible what this whole fuel subsidy removal issue is all about for those who, like me before don’t understand fully and are probably too shy to ask when a general discussion was going on. I’ll let you in on a secret…bring your ear close…85% of those who argue about it don’t understand the simple basics of it. They are simply regurgitating what they’ve heard others say. Unfortunately, those they argue with don’t know that much either and might be too timid to counter them. So they appear so bright but in truth, don’t know that much.

What exactly is Fuel Subsidy?

Basically, Nigeria’s refineries are not in the best of shapes and are supposedly inadequate to refine the quantity of crude oil we have. So we export our crude to Venezuela and other countries with tip top refineries and have them sell our goods back to us-this time in their refined forms-kerosene, diesel, petrol etc. Due to the costs of shipping out, storage, refinery fees, shipping in, customs and duties, transportation within the country etc, the refined produce end up costing so much more than they really should. So the independent marketers take their bills/receipts to the Government/NNPC and they in turn pay them some amount back depending on how much it cost them to bring down the oil. Now, the government says it will not be paying them this money anymore and therefore, the oil will be sold at its REAL price excluding subsidy.

From an analysis I read the other day, if Nigeria had working refineries, the cost of petrol should not be more than N35 per litre. But because of the whole back and forth that we go through to get it refined and brought back home, the government claims that they have had to subsidise the price to make it affordable all these years. It is claimed that the real price should be about N150 per litre and not the N65 we used to buy it pre-2012.

Now they want to end the subsidy and deregulate: which means they want to open it up to natural growth just like they did with the Telecommunications industry (from total reliance on NITEL to a multiplicity of service providers). This, Aunty Ngozi argues, will ensure that there will be competition and subsequent growth and also so that the extra money realised from subsidy removal may be put to good use.

As I watched the Townhall in the last week of December ’11, I was getting her drift. But unfortunately, I’m not buying it. A scripture comes to mind: if you have been faithful with little, much more will be entrusted in your care. Nigerian government has not been faithful with what it has and therefore there is absolutely no guarantee this will work.

I was watching the News a few days back and this okada man says people are no longer patronising him much and will rather walk a bit longer rather than pay the new fares. Yes,  I know I prayed hard for okadas to be eradicated but certainly not this way. What will happen to people? How will they cope because everything will increase with the petrol prices. Even things we all know are in no way related.

I really hope things will begin to take shape and that our leaders will remember they are elected to render a service and not just chill. I hear Jonathan spends 1 Billion naira on food in Aso Rock every year. Even if Oriental Hotel were supplying daily meals to him, it should not cost that much. I also hear he is planning on purchasing a $500 Million bullet proof jet. I hear too that tending his garden costs him N 300 Million annually. Someone one twitter wondered if was the Garden of Eden. Lol!

In summary, Nigeria needs prayers and action. How exactly did Jerry Rawlings combat corrupt Ghanaian leaders again? I shudder when I think of it but the painful truth is that that might be our only solution…

Rubies and Emerald Launch!

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Hey guys!!! What it do!

You are officially invited to the launch of Rubies N Emerald Concepts n Events Management. I am so excited about this event for so many reasons. The CEO is a dear friend and sister and if there’s something I know she can do seamlessly, it is to organise  events. Therefore it brings me particular great joy to see her dreams come to a reality in starting this business. She is someone I can 100% trust to organise my wedding (no jokes!).

The launch takes place on Sunday and yes, I shall be there looking all cute 🙂

Here are the details:

Date: Sunday 11th of December

Place: SS lounge 7, Sapara William Close, off Idowu Martins Street

Time: 1pm -6pm (no African time)

Loads of performances, fashion show, gifts to be won, food, drinks etc!

Please RSVP by text to 08136884717 or 08183460066 or email rubiesnemerald@gmail.com to confirm attendance and receive official invite.

Looking forward to seeing some MCLA readers there!

Love you guys!

Temiville.xoxo

Nene…the Gele and Make up guru

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There’s nothing as good as knowing how to use your hands to do amazing things. I’ve always admired those that are gifted with their hands, be it to draw, paint, sew, make hair or even do the sign language. Our featured entrepreneur today is one of such. She uses her hands to make others look beautiful. She is both a make up artist and a gele doer/tier/fixer (I’m lost) well, head gear tier.

She has used her talent to make so many brides look resplendent on their special and we got the chance to ask her a few questions about her art and her business. She is is Nene Achumba! Enjoy!

The gorgeous Nene

Tell us about yourself, Nene
I am a graduate of Philosophy from University of Lagos. I work with STB McCann which is an Advertising Company in Lagos and I am the last kid of 5.

Please tell us a bit about your gele/make up business

I started my makeover business from home at 16 just after high school. Then, I only knew how to shapen brows and do basic everyday makeup. I later diversified into bridal hair, lash fixing and gele tying when I started receiving requests for the whole package. It was a hobby that eventually turned into business. Most of my clients are prospective brides. I do this mostly on the weekends because of the nature of my job. Presently,  I have two people training with me and who want to work with me.

Wow, Nene that is amazing! But what inspired you to go into it?

My love for colours made me go into make up. I have had no formal training on it but it just comes naturally to me. If I must confess, the only training I received was through Fine Art classes in Secondary School. I could spend the whole day in the studio where I learnt to use my brushes and draw fine lines. Now, the same obtains with make up where I use the face as my canvas to express my love for art , the different hues and how they blend. It’s a beautiful feeling!

It was never about making money because I did it for free initially because I just enjoyed it. Back in school, while walking to or back from class, I would get loads of girls stopping me to ask where I got my eyebrows done. Whenever I told them I did it myself, they would have this shocked look then eventually collect my number and ask to get theirs done too. Sometimes, I just did it at no charge.

What were your parents’/family’s reactions?

My mum did not have a problem with it. She only did when I spent too long in front of the mirror. My dad used to be so furious seeing me with makeup he felt I was wasting my time and his money. (lol) At some point when he used to see loads of ladies trooping into the house just to get their brows done or for wedding consultations, he had a re-think about it. To the extent that whenever he went on trips, he would ask me for my list and the stores to go to so he could help me buy my make up supplies. He practically invested in it. My sister would call me “Picassa” making fun of me whenever I spent so long in front of the mirror.

Nene

How did you handle discouragement?


I only felt discouraged at a point when I got robbed and my kit was stolen from me twice. I felt it was a sign to forget about it because everything was gone.

Who inspires you?


I would rather be asked what inspires me. It would be the expressions on my clients’ faces that inspire me. It is that look of joy, appreciation and a warm hug that inspires me.

Have you any advice to budding entrepreneurs?

It’s never too late to start. When you eventually do, you have to put in your all because no one would help you succeed as much you would.

How do people contact you?

Majority of my clients are based on referrals. They get my contact from people I have worked for.

Thanks babe for this.

You’re welcome love.

Here are a few of the pictures of her work…

a-beautiful-bride-gele-and-make-up-by-nene

Nene at work

another lovely bride

Like the theme of this week has been, be encouraged to discover your passion, work on it and see how it will in turn work for you.

That’s all folks (for now)

Temiville.xoxo

We celebrate talent in ‘The Black Rembrandt’

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Like I promised you guys, MCLA will be celebrating our young talents this week. These are those who have carved a niche for themselves with their art and are excelling at it greatly.

Today, it is all about Mohammed Abbagana known to most people as MJA, The Black Rembrandt. This young man has blown many away with his drawings. They are absolutely breathtaking. MCLA had the opportunity to grab him for a chat and this is what he had to say. Enjoy!

A young Mohammed

Hi Mohammed, tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Mohammed Abbagana, a 25 years old Nigerian. I am a Sagittarius. I am Muslim and I have been living in England for 14 years. I attended different schools in different parts of England. I have a degree in Visual Communication from the American Intercontinental University, London. I like music especially hip hop and R ‘n’ B.

I like UFC and absolutely love watching movies. I like to laugh, hang with friends though I do not have much time on my hands these days because of my art. I’m particular about detail. The only art I am into is Realism. I want to do what I think people would like to look at but also what I love. My favourite artist is Rembrandt.

When did you realise you had this talent and how did you hone it?

I started drawing at the age of 7 because of a manga called Dragon Ball z, lol. I have been drawing ever since. However, I started taking my art seriously just last year. I am not as good as I would like to be. To hone my skills, I just keep drawing and naturally, I improve with practice.

I want to reach a level of understanding that you get with every piece you do, so you draw a certain way, to the image you see, because you understand it more, like a language. I have realised that the more you try to understand your work, the more you see life differently and  from a different angles too.

What/where did you study and did your parents fear for you when you decided that you wanted to do your own thing?
I went to Central Saint Martins and I did not like it so I went to the London College of Communication for my foundation. My dad did not feel it was a career to pursue but my mum supported me. I was initially going to study Architecture but because I hate Math, I didn’t.

When/how did you decide that you were going into it seriously?

Last year. I want to see how far I could take it. It can be so difficult to discover what you want to do in life and that thing being something  that you actually like and enjoy doing. I consider myself very blessed to have found my passion and calling.

How did you handle the discouragements?

I didn’t have to. I had my mother’s full support as well as those of my brother and 2 sisters. I kept seeking for improvement in my work and that kept me going.

How challenging has it been compared to the idea of being employed by a top company in Nigeria/UK which you could easily get?

Well, I am not a 9 to 5 kind of person and I don’t have to pay tax when I sell my art so it sounded good. The thought that I didn’t have to give my ideas or put all my effort into someone else’s income was also very appealing. The only thing I was worried about was if people back home (Nigeria) would accept my style but we will see how that goes.

Of all your projects, which have you absolutely loved the most and why?

It is the one I am doing for my exhibition in London called Claustaphobia because it’s fun, I like the idea behind it and it brings out strong images which a lot of people can relate to.

What are your present projects?

Claustaphobia and one I am working on for Nigeria. It does not have a name yet but it is 10 pieces on canvas.

Any regrets?

Well, I’m not happy that I did not enter into competitions earlier and that I’m only just taking my art seriously. But it is never too late to start so that thought encourages me.

Any advice to budding entrepreneurs?
Follow your dreams no matter how difficult it maybe and no matter the obstacles you may encounter in life. You have to work 4 times as hard because you’re mostly on your own. Prove people wrong. In this world, there too many copy cats. We live in a huge world so stand out, be remembered through time after your time has ended.

Here are some of his drawings…

A beautiful woman, pencil drawing

Michael and Bob Marley

pencil and charcoal

For more of his amazing work and details on how to own one of his pieces,contact him through:

His official Facebook page

Twitter: Follow him on @/mo_j_a

That’s all folks (for now)

Temiville.xoxo

She is Olubunmi Aduke Adeyinka and she makes GidiNoize!

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In the hands of the youth lies power. You decide what kind of power you want to wield. Power to build? Power to destroy? Power to effect needed change? A look at the protests against proposed raised school fees by university students in the UK in recent weeks is enough to drive home this point. As a young person, what are your plans for a greater tomorrow (that’s actually the name of a school in Benin, lol). On a more serious note, I think it is important that we all seize the moment and make as huge an impact as we can in our communities.

When I read about young people that are doing well or even older people that have a history of having started making a huge impact from a tender age, it just motivates me. This is what MCLA aims to do this week, to motivate people, to make them realise that change is just a mindset away and that you too can become a household name.

In my last post, I discussed the importance of knowing your calling and going for it like your destiny depends on it. It is not as difficult as most people make it seem. It starts with discovering that one thing at which you are good and then practising till you are one of, if not the outright best at it.

This week has been dedicated to the young talents/gifts and basically entrepreneurs who discovered that innate passion and refused to let go even after the discouragements they faced. Their stories are such an inspiration and we cannot but tell the world of their great achievements.

Today, we feature a young lady, a very young lady who has taken huge leaps in New Media. She saw the opportunities that exist on the world wide web and decided to jump into the sea of it all and today, she is swimming quite nicely. She is Olubunmi Aduke Adeyinka and she makes GidiNoize!!!


Boss Lady!

Here is a 19 year old girl who is doing big things. She is the brain behind GidiNoize, a website that is growing and fast too. In fact, GidiNoize has its own Apple iPhone Application!!! Now that is huge.

MCLA grabbed the opportunity to have a brief chat with her and here is what we gathered from this enterprising lady which so much business acumen and good heart too that is eager to help others around her grow. Enjoy!

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am Olubunmi Aduke Adeyinka. I am 19 years old and currently a Civil Engineering student at Loughborough University.

At the age of 17, I started a site called GidiNoize.
How did it all begin?

GidiNoize actually started off as a wordpress blog (http://www.gidinoize.wordpress.com/) on the 19th of September, 2009 . It was all borne out of a desire to own something and be an Entrepreneur. It attracted over 100,000 readers from all over the world. The wordpess blog was actually not my first blog. I  am not  even certain which number it falls on. This simply goes to prove that persistence pays off… a lot.
Having a bit of fun!
I launched the official website (http://www.gidinoize.com/)  on the 1st of July 2010 and the number of readers is absolutely encouraging. In the first two months of its inception, we had over 50000 views.
What exactly is your inspiration behind the website?

My aim is to encourage and provide a platform for upcoming Entrepreneurs, Artistes, Actresses etc. I want to inspire other young people who think to themselves, if Bunmi can do it, so can I!
Here is a promo video of GidiNoize:
For more on GidiNoize:
Bunmi is an inspiration to many and we hope her story has inspired someone and encouraged another. Persistence does pay off. Even if it that project, business idea etc does not work the first time or even second and third, don’t give up, keep at it. You will make it.
Watch out for more young talents on MCLA.
That’s all folks (for now)
Temiville.xoxo

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