The Oma Living Show awards and Entrepreneurial conference at the National Press Centre, Abuja, was over the weekend (23rd November, 2019), one of the best events I’ve attended so far in Abuja.
From the red carpet, to the beautifully decorated event hall, everyone looked amazing. Marilyn Oma, the founder of the Unsung Heroes Award, appeared in colours of green and beauty, and tears (surely an emotionally driven and highly optimistic Marilyn).
In most awards celebrations, the idea has been to focus more on the awardees. It was so for Oma Living Show, and more. I was thrilled to have enjoyed the robust panel discussion moderated by a very amazing Shekwoyemi Ayenajeyi, and Ijeoma Etozie.
Members of the panel included CEOs, Founders of some start-ups, lawyers, business coaches, entrepreneurs, public speakers, journalists, project managers, and business men and women. They carried Nigerian names like Mr Olajide Abiola, Mr Imal Silva, Babatunde Akintunde, Bar Tine Anona, Barile Ngbobu, Mrs Mabel Onwuemele, Bar Uche Okafor, Nkechi Anaedobe, and Chibuzor Okechukwu.
The first panel discussion was titled “Eradicating mediocrity in entrepreneurship,” and the second was titled “Achieving work-life balance as an entrepreneur.”
Moderated by Shekwoyemi, the first panelists spoke extensively on the topic of mediocrity. I remember it clearly when Bar Tine Anona, the CEO of Chow Foods Nigeria Limited, reiterated the dangers of being a mediocre. For the rest of the panelists, the common piece of advice for the entrepreneur is never to settle for anything less worthy; is never to think they cannot be more than they already are. How good is that?
Ijeoma’s face wasn’t just glistening, it was a sight to appreciate. If not, how do you explain her total commitment to make sure that everyone in the hall never forgets the topic, of achieving work-life balance. We all know the incredible importance of the human emotion and how weird it acts. We also know the role of working, beyond making ends meet. How then can you hope that a wife takes care of herself alongside the husband and children? How can anyone in fact have the kind of balance that keeps sane the whole idea of living and working? I cannot forget how Mrs Mabel, one of the panelists, brought in her personal experience to us. For her, and I’m sure for the rest, “you must take care of you first!”
Can you imagine that IB Brown, De Win, and Wills Ems were at this conference? What did they do, than punctuate the panel discussions and entertain the audience with music that made us laugh, smile, clap hands, and of course join the rest of the world in this collective happiness. But what is life without some kiss from poetry?
This is where David Francis came in. He is a performance poet with unpublished collections of poetry. Just before his performance, he registered his gratitude to Marilyn Oma, the founder of the Unsung Heroes Award, while acknowledging her roles in the campaign against suicide.
David’s poem titled “Wazobia,” was deeply entrenched in a celebration of people from divergent places/backgrounds. While the market gathers these sets of people – irrespective of names, or new names – David noted that: “the world is indeed made up of people. That everywhere, there are people who can surprise you, people who forget to be people, and people who refuse to be gods, every time, yet, no matter what, we’ll still believe in people.” You can watch the video here:
What’s a good event without good anchors like Maria Ug, Kaycee Gabriel, and Chisom Rose.
I would recommend the kind of connections I got here for any entrepreneur, thought leader, project managers, and all those involved in impacting the next generation.
One person I did meet was Gabriel Ogba, the man behind YouTv media, Abigail, and Mark Anthony, one of the awardees!
Bachelors like me understand distinctly the taste of good food. So you can imagine the meticulous attention paid to munching a well prepared jollof rice, salad, and a glorified chicken. Amen!
Think of it this way: without Marilyn, would all these have been possible? Think it and think well!
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