Saturday, 15 October 2016


new technology hub is springing up in KadunaGreat coders of Kaduna are rising and they are young, vibrant and fresh with ideas. 

The first Kaduna Startup weekend, a forum for technoprenerus to connect with each other, mentors, get tools and be exposed to world of techie is trying to wake Kaduna up and move investors and innovators to find a newer and bubbling local startup ecosystem outside ofLagos and Abuja


Dream Home for Big Techs

From outside, CoLab lies flat in morning sun like a dull presence, in sync with other residential houses flanking it. Step a foot inside and it is a bowl of colourswall art and techies. Energy radiating from white walls, reflecting on green, blue and yellow chairs, to maroon paintings onmurals and sofas decorated in Ankara fabrics. Kaduna’s first emerging co-working space and innovation hub for technology enthusiasts hosted Kaduna Startup Weekend.

Bankole Oloruntoba, co-founder of Network of Incubators and Innovators in Nigeria facilitated the idea-pitching session. Mr. Bankole on shaping Kaduna’s tech hub says: “People will not recognise Kaduna Tech Space unless you in Kaduna recognise it first.” 

Sanusi Ismail founder of CoLab and an IT consutant who does most of his work in Lagos but lives in Kaduna, on what Kaduna provides that is different from Lagos and Abuja, he shrugs a shoulder and says “I was at Yaba, where CC Hub and other techs are located, and for a whole week, we only had light for 45 minutes. The rest of the days we were on generator. Throughout this program today, we have been on NEPA (public light provided by distribution companies).” He adds with visible scorn in his voice. “And that’s what Kaduna gives you. Cheap rent and almost free electricity.”


Ideas and Frameworks

Prototyping and presentation of frameworks session was moderated by Ahmed Mukoshy, CEO and founder of Gigalayer, a world-class web hosting business. Mohammed Ibrahim, director VoguePay, a user-friendly online payment processor described as Africa’s biggest payment processor, also collaborated to provide inputs during wire framework session. 

Ideas were hustling and flying highI was submerged in these sparks blinking bright, from an app to gather exclusive comedy skits and watch on the go; to connecting menial jobs, house helps and artisans to potential customers and homeowners; ideas on how to help small and menial job owners save money with dial of a code on a phone; to a school management system that will employ artificial intelligence to predict students performance and attitudes. Bold ideas and visions. Young minds clumped around tables discussing ideas and plotting algorithms. Imagining what Kaduna can do. 


Silent Visibility

Athese group of coders, developers and content creators numbering almost hundred, pitched ideas and prototyped, they were interrupted by an august visitor, the Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Investment and Promotion Agency (KADIPA) in his white kaftan and peddling glasses. Gambo Hamza, a jovial man, seemedto be in his fifties clearly in tune with technology and social media, and had tracked the event, without invitation, from publicity material spread on social media platforms. 

Mr. Hamza’s visit was peculiar with absence ofhullabaloo and large entourages common with politicians in this country. He presented a gift parcel: “Mark Zuckerberg was in Lagos, we promise you within one year we will be bringing you Bill Gates.

Kaduna State Government from a safe distance seemedto be involved with burgeoning techies, attracted by huge economic and job potentials of these startups, particularly to its increasing young population.

The problem though from developers’ angle is that state initiatives like Kaduna Startup & EntrepreneurshipProgram (KAD-STEP) from their scope of applications do not seem to cater for these budding technopreneurs, and rather concentrate more on traditional manufacturing, production and allied services. As such a huge pool of talented innovators do not get to access opportunities by state government.

But lack of government support is not the only fear and obstacle in the face of a number of these techies. Educational level and technological empowerment in Kaduna is far lower than that of Lagos and fears expressed of problem of community acceptance echoedaround during the facilitation workshop. Their kind are troubled daily, and labeled irresponsible. 

“Most people don’t even know what we are doing. And when you talk of technology they only assume its limited to phones, TV and laptop.” 

“Some will even tell you to stop wasting your time and go find a real job”. 

Uneasy laughter to that statement spread across the room, but within the laughter waan overarching problem that radiated universally with all participants.


A Steve Jobs Reincarnation

Lights dimmed, walls became presentation screens, and in Steve Jobs-esque style, Aminu Bakori stepped forward into the light for the final workshop of the day. A techie storyteller wearing his enthusiasm for this latest innovation: CloudioraOS. Bakorifounder of FriendstieConcept, an innovative technology company in a blossoming presentation introduced CloudioraOSa brand new operating system reimagined and built based on web technology. A cross platform that runs across various devices including smartphones, tablets, TVs and PCs and can be assessed remotely from any part of the world. 


Coding Kaduna

It is dusk and drizzling as we leave CoLabThere is energy of technology buzzing. Kaduna has found a new rhythm. Unemployables, techies, software nerds, creators, designers, students. All this and stretching.Farmers, engineers, doctors, pharmacists, bankers, artists. Kaduna’s newest creations. Faces of technology, poster-children of Kaduna startups.

Life continues in Kaduna, people oblivious of giant brains in their spaces, coding, programming, developing, waiting, to burst out into an ecosystem. And in some room, laptop in front, eyes groggy, Aminu Bakori is fine-tuning his brand new Operating System, readying to storm the world through Kaduna. I will no doubt be watching, and so should you, to see how Kaduna will endure with this coding generation, and how the economy will shift and make a niche for their explosive brains and talents.


Sunday, 25 September 2016



Sada Malumfashi is a Nigerian writer. he is a Pharmacist by training. His works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Jalada Africa, Deepwater Literary Journal, Oddball Magazine, Bombay Review and Praxis Magazine amongst others. He has been longlisted for the Awele Creative Trust Award 2015 and the Babishai Niwe Poetry Award 2016. You can see more of his work on his blog and follow him on Twitter @sadaoverall.

Morning once again everyone.
I would have to say, firstly I am primarily a creative writer of both fiction and non-fiction. So I have been made to understand that this is a gathering of journalists, and as such I will assume, we will be more interested in content creation, that is, the non-fiction aspect.

Storytelling as a field is so diverse that we can never cover it. We have been telling stories and been told stories from time immemorial. From the tales of our grandmothers, to peer groups storytelling, to watching home movies, dramas and even cartoons. All these are aspects of storytelling. So now when we break these so called "stories" down, we begin to have various sub groups. Say maybe, written stories, oral stories, physical performances, and even sign-language stories. Now in the written form or what we call written literature, we also have poetry, prose and scripted drama. I believe as journalists, our interests can be in any aspect of the above storytelling means. But today, I would like to dwell on the Prose and in the prose form, I think we will focus more on the Non-Fiction aspect.

Naturally, our brains have an irresistible desire to turn events into stories, an example is this: I was invited to this Tech Startup Hackseries yesterday, and I saw lots of amazing programmers. So all i've been thinking of since then is how to let everyone know about this geniuses: In A Story Form.
As much as possible, journalists try to present events as factual as possible, but it is especially so difficult to produce a straightforward account or bit by bit account of events.  If we do that, our stories become boring. A storyteller, should be creative, and as such should never bore his readers. Kahneman said: “It is the consistency of the information that matters for a good story, not its completeness.” So first and foremost, you don't need to give all the details of an event. We don't care what is the colour of the shoe of the presenter, unless it really matters in the story. We shouldn't bother about unnecessary details, just concentrate in the juicy parts. 

Also, in as much as you are writing, be careful with your choice of words, too much adjectives and adverbs make stories lazy and boring. Adjectives and adverbs tell stories. But what you need to do is "Show" the audience. Don't spoon feed them, let them be inside the story too. 
What do I mean? Don't just tell us Jamylah is attracted to Faisal, show us that Jamylah's heart leaps out of her chest at the sound of the footsteps of Faisal approaching. 

"telling" is the reliance on simple lazy narrations: Mary was an old woman. 

"Showing," on the other hand, is the use of evocative description: Mary moved slowly across the room, her hunched form supported by a polished wooden cane gripped in a gnarled, swollen-jointed hand that was covered by translucent, liver-spotted skin.

Why is showing better? it creates mental pictures for the reader, it forces the reader to become involved in the story, deducing facts for himself or herself, rather than just taking information in passive form.

Another thing with every story is, its made of a plot and a character, and its ultimately the character that makes the story.
So its very important that you develop your character really well, and that he fits into the plot of your story perfectly. It is very important to make your readers care about your character. Care here is in a loose way. They can love him/her, hate him/her, or the character annoys the reader, bottom line is, the reader cares about the character. If the character is Shekau, make sure your reader finds him annoying and evil. If its the Chibok girls you are writing about, the emotional connection has to be there. Make the readers cry.
The plot may be interesting, the setting could be exotic, the dialogue compelling, but if you don't have any empathy for the main character, the audience will soon stop reading. So always create a bond between the reader and the character. Whatever sort of bond. Let it be there. 

Just look at this New York Times report of Ms Ali, a rescued Chibok girl, and focus on the emotional connection being made with the plight of the character:

On Thursday, Ms. Ali stepped, crying infant in her arms, from a black S.U.V. as security guards kept back a surging crowd of cameramen. Accompanying her were her mother and brother, a nurse and Ms. Usman, the activist.

Ms. Ali waited in a conference room, her face covered by a black sequined shawl as journalists scrambled to get photos of her and her family. Government officials and relatives occasionally huddled with her, talking in inaudible tones. At one point, Ms. Ali put her head down on the table.

Mr. Buhari eventually emerged to greet her. She removed the shawl from her face and handed her crying infant to him.

This is also a perfect example of showing and not telling. I guess time is almost up and we could go on and on about storytelling, but we can never exhaust it.
So just always remember: Great stories have an intriguing beginning to hook you; a middle that moves it forward and keeps you wanting more; and a conclusion that leaves you satisfied, and wanting to tell everyone about it. 

Adjectives and adverbs usually add little to whats on the page. That means in a story, they have no business being there. Many writers throw in “pretty” words to make their prose more dramatic and meaningful. But such cosmetic touch-up often turns out to be redundant or simply uninspiring. Take adverbs such as “lovingly” or “speedily” or “haltingly.” They each point to some circumstance or emotion or movement, yet do they offer solid impact?
He whispered to her lovingly…

She zoomed around the oval speedily…

He stuttered haltingly..

These are not really necessary, and they do little to the work but rather even add an awkward cast

 The stone sank quickly…
The fire truck bell clanged loudly…

How else would a stone sink but quickly? How else would a fire truck bell clang but loudly?

How about:

He whispered words of love … my sweet, dear lover, my angel … he purred his contentment, his joy …

No adverb here, and the drama is enhanced. I'm sure we can come up with better descriptions than this. 

Mark Twain had it right: “As to the Adjective: when in doubt, strike it out.”


QUESTION: On characterisation in non fiction and how to create good characters since the character is already factual. Or do you mean something like the Ms Ali's story?
RESPONSE: Yes something like that. It is true though that there is no room in creative nonfiction for fabrication or manipulation of the facts. Usually in non-fiction, the character has been made, you are not making him up, so all you need do is complete the character. Which is not easy. So what you can do, is use action to influence your character. As we saw in the case of Ms Ali, emotion was the action used to complete her characterisation. Even though if you notice she did not say a word all through, but it felt like we know what she's feeling and whats going on in her head. Thats the power of characterisation. An exercise that we can all try is to write about out father or mother, and complete them to somebody that has never meant them before. 
NB: don't write what you want your father or mother to be, be objective, and show them for what they really are.

QUESTION: what is your advice to a beginner of a nonfiction writing
RESPONSE: First advice as always is read, read and read loads of non-fiction. Then write and edit, and edit and edit. 
Helon Habila told me something at a workshop last year: "Writing is re-writing". So don't just write that first draft and think its cool because your friends said its cool. No, keep editing and re-writing it, till its smooth and flawless. A good non-fiction read I would also suggest is Binyavanga Wainaina's book, One Day I Will Write About This Place.
It plays with language in a beautiful way.

QUESTION: what can the writer who always find it difficult to give his prose  piece an ending do to solve this deficiency?
RESPONSE: Alright. I think thats what I would call plot problem. You are most likely unable to end the piece because your plot is faulty.
What I would advise is yo try heightening the ending you already have. Add passion or violence, or both. 
A solution that always works for me, is to kill someone 😄. 
Your work should not always have a happy ending, but what your plot should always have is a complication. And your aim as a writer is to resolve that complication. Once your plot is too straightforward with no complication, then you cannot resolve it and definitely you wont have a great ending. 
Think of The Great Gatsby. It’s memorable not only because Jay Gatsby fails to get what he really wanted, but because he gets shot to death in his pool. 


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

#KADINVEST 2016: The Best Twitter Reactions

The Kaduna State Investment & Economic Summit (KADINVEST 2016) will definitely go down as the most strategic and decisive step towards the economic development of Kaduna State into the global economy and a learning curve for other states to follow suit.
The event was a mind blowing success in every front, and promises to regenerate the economic fortunes of Northern Nigeria as a whole.
Right from the word go, social media has been agog in anticipation of the event, and twitter basically exploded during the summit itself. The reactions did not disappoint.







Monday, 14 March 2016


Its funny how we don’t really pay attention to things we deem insignificant till we see them in a different perspective. Like eyesight. It is my first day with my new glasses – corrective glasses. That is what the optometrist said in hindsight they would do to my faulty eyes. He did not specify though when this miracle will happen. 

Before now, I have been able to use my eyes – mynaked iris and pupils – without any assistance, to seethings. Not every thing really, some things are just too far away that they do not deserve to be seen. It was no shame that I could not see those things, even after squinting my eyes like a fragile old man to the barest degree. I jut told myself, they are simply too farIt was acceptance of the situation and finding a way to moveon. Like when I was in school, and I could not really decipher what was written on the board, I would peep through and find out from notes of a seatmate. Or when watching TV, I would sit as close to the screen as I could. As long as I could read and write on my laptop, surf social media on my phone, drive through town safely (except for the occasional speed bumps I tend not see till I gallop straight into them) my problem was solved. Everything was all right

I was used to years of viewing featureless faces in the distance on streets and I could not really discern individuals till they were close by. So I learned to smile at every face, till that face was close enough for my eyes to focusIt was all fine to me. Nothing terrible. But nomy parents. So at their behest, I shuffled myself to the optometrist. 

A box full of lenses of varied shapes and sizes. Twowhite plastic chairs. A long narrow mirror hanging like it was carved for the use of a single user. And a chart of scrambled letters of varying sizes made up the setting of the consultation room. I read through chart of letters staring back at me through reflection from the mirrorwent through the first line of thick letters without a fuss. Then grappled my way through the middle ones, size of the letters now descendingAt the final row of letters reflecting in the mirror I could only sight blurry dots. Optometrist assessment: Terrible eyesight. In need ofglasses. I felt damaged. Like I was sitting alone surfing through my iPhone and enjoying it despite its little shortcomings only for Steve Jobs to appear and tell me that it is not a real iPhone. It is china. Yes, that sort of damaged. 

So I got my glasses and donned them on. Initially, I felt the floor tilting and zooming. But it adjusted immediatelyWith the glasses, it was surprising the amount of clarity I had been missing for a huge chunk of my lifetime. I mean if these were supposed to mimic real eyesight then I have missed a lot. The television screen was like in 3D. Clarity. Focus. Driving with the glasses, I realized there was a whole different world that I never really noticed. Signboards were no longer raised sheets of metals with pictures. They actually contained writings. Information. Tiny little letters with mottos and addresseswere visible. I could read insignia of states on plate numbers. I could see speed bumps before I actually barged into them. It was cool. This world of clarity. I fell in love with a world in glasses. Of course I took a selfie. Posted on Instagram. Hashtag. #LifeWithGlasses. 

So far so good. I don my glasses twenty four seven. Well, unless when eating. It is just impulsive; I need to see the food I am eating with my real eyes. Food deserves that respect. The heaviness of the lenses on my nose bridge is a bit annoying. I would probably get used it. Besides the clarity is worth it. So to a first full-day of life with glasses, I would read Tope Folarin’s Miracleand then prostrate and thank God for his gift of eyesight and the bonus of technology. Because we all need miracles.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

#ArewaPhobia Media Propaganda and a Slice From History

In 1943, the editor of 
Gaskiya Ta Fi KwaboNigeria’s first Hausa newspaper was selected to join the first West African Press Delegation to the United Kingdom mainly to see wartime Britain in the middle of the war with Hitler. Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, then editor of West African Pilot was also invited. 

While in London, at the West African Students Union (WASU) Centre, Imam was asked to make a speech, to the students in the centre which at the time had no single Northern Nigerian student amongst their ranksa summary of which was translated and put in as an editorial in ‘Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo No. 101 of December, 1944. The complete speech as documented in the book “Abubakar Imam Memoirs” (Mora 1989) I will be excerpting at various stages in this piece.

These slices from history project a lot about the state of our nation at present and the bridges that unfortunately have not been able to be mended for years, and inadvertently, seem to have even degenerated further with passing of time. So what has been the problem, and what is it that is still causing this rift? Imam had some apt words in perfect tandem to our current predicament:


“So far there is not yet sufficient mutual trust and confidence between Northerners and Southerners. But whose is the fault?

If the matter is viewed dispassionately, it is clear that it is the Northerners and Southerners themselves who create differences amongst themselves. 

Let me tell you of the barriers to full understanding between North and South. The first is that we despise each other. We call each other ignorant. The Southerners are proud of Western knowledge and culture, we of Eastern. Theirs is the knowledge of the day, of the type desired by the European, and since power is in the hand of the Europeans, their type of knowledge is the one recognised rather than ours.


Indeed Imam was right, we have unfortunately createdthese rifts and this has been a major issue that has been cancerous towards our progress as a nation. We outgrew our days in the hands of the Europeans, but instead of uniting to push the nation forward, we just kept devising means to cause rifts. Another deep problem is the taking of news at face value, which is gradually becoming habitual in us all. Some actually have no idea about the details contained in a headline, or a broadcasted agreement, but they will be at the forefront of dispatching blames and insults, dividing the country more and tearing us apart. We are just willing to accept statements at face value without even thinking, and then move to howl without reminding ourselves of its consequence. This is something that continues to disrupt national development. The media as a tool, owned mostly by sectional elites, with a higher dominance in the southern part of the country has been used in the forefront of pushing forward hideous propagandas, and recently the unfathomable use of the social media to explode vile agendas. This is not something new, it has been occurring for years as Imam noted:


Now, if a Northerner does anything which is at all irregular, the Southern paper will go all out in giving the incident the widest publicity, with sensational headlines: “HAUSAMAN STABS COUNTRYMAN WITH KNIFE” … “TWO HAUSAMEN LOCKED IN FIGHT AND EACH LOSES A HAND” … “HAUSAMAN EATS TOO MUCH RAW CASSAVA AND DIES” … 

Such things do not promote friendly feeling. They show the Hausa up as a backward sort of person. Then, when the Southerners have finished humiliating us in this way, they turn around and say that we are their brothers …

Again last year, an article appeared in one of the Southern papers in which disrespectful language was used against our Emirs … was it necessary, seeing that it is unity that we want, for such a thing to be printed? It could only give rise to ill-feeling … But the only road to unity is for Northerners and Southerners to give more consideration to each other.”


From our day to day happenings, it is really incredible how our psyche has been so much distorted that frivolous nonentities from our diverse cultures that should be harnessed for mutual understanding are not appreciated but used as a bandwagon to spread hatred and malice, a point Imam illustrates further in his speech:


“Let us take another example. When I left Lagos there were three qualified Northern dispensers in the hospital at Lagos. But in order to get their medicine accepted by the people, these qualified men had to refrain from wearing Northern clothes. In other words, a Hausa is considered an ignoramus.

This question of dress is childish, and we ought not to allow small things like that to divide us. It is the man himself we should think of, not his dress.


It is without gainsaying that we need to engage the mainstream media and the ever-volatile social media with morality, honesty and truthful out views for this nation to progress in the right way. Imam was one of the earliest proponents of honest living:


We are not influenced by anything except the truth. It is for that reason that I am telling you of ourselves so that you can understand something about us … our aim is to be united.

I have expressed myself before you as a typical Northerner. Now let my critics have their say. I have been talking to you also as a Muslim. Hypocrisy is detestable and only the truth should be spoken.“


have not excerpted these profound statements to cause any disruption or castigate certain people. Indeed if there is anyone who sees the faults of the Northerners from the Southerners point of view, by all means let him speak, objectively. We need sincere honesty so that we can move on. Unity is what this entire county desires for its development. 

And to the elites too, the elders, and the traditional leaders who are so much far away from the majority of the populace, it is time they and our modern traditionalleaders begin to interact with the teeming youth, even if not on social media, at least on the pages of the newspapers, town meetings or the likesIt is not un-becoming of the tittle of a traditional ruler like an Emir if he addresses vital issues personallyby writing to objective media outlets both in English and even in Hausa translation to other booming Hausa newspapers. After all even the old emirs like Emir Ja’afaru of Zazzauregularly wrote personally to Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo when necessary. 

I will put my pen to stop with the sage words of MalamAbubakar Imam as he concluded without fear in far way London more than 70 years ago, and spoke with dripping honesty to his brothers from mainly Southern Nigeria, the truth that needed to be told for the betterment of a nation he loved so dearly:


“It is always the same between North and South: neither can tell what it is that the other wants.

Let us not deceive ourselves. If we want unity, the first thing to do is to build the foundations of mutual friendship. Northerners and Southerners must not look down upon each other.”


First published on Daily Trust, 11th March 2016