I live in Lagos state, Nigeria; one of the most populated and lively cities in the world. Anyone who knew me while I was still a student in the university considered me lucky and “foreign or janded”. To them, Lagos state was the “Yankee”of Nigeria. Well, I couldn’t argue because I sort of felt a bit that way. Then, when I went to Yola in Adamawa state for NYSC, friends and family went into a fit on my behalf. They weren’t happy at the reality of me going to serve in Yola. However, I did.
With time, I got to find out that several misconceptions about the place were truly false. It saddened me to realize then that, most of what I had heard about the North East weren’t completely true. The media was too quick to carry the tales of woes and displacement in those areas, perpetrated by the Boko Haram insurgents. Thus, they failed to extensively propagate the stories of recoveries, reconciliation, restoration and peace of most of those areas, especially Adamawa state. The beauty, culture, art, people and life of these areas had become overshadowed by the sound of fear that resonated with their names. As a result of that, investors too were quick to pack up and leave.
I saw and met people in Adamawa state who loved the peace and serenity of the area and wished that there were more social activities, institutions and innovations that could keep body and soul together away from the hustles of Lagos. With time, some of them had to leave to seek the “fast life” outside Yola.
Fast forward to now, a lot of work has been going on through the efforts of individuals, groups, organisations and institutions in Yola. The American University of Nigeria is one of the major agents of change operating in all levels to see to it that the later glory of Adamawa state is greater than the former. For the prestigious, all hands must be on deck to restore Yola.
I particularly met an outstanding fellow, Mr. Tunde Animashaun who works as the Senior Manager, Retail and Business Services at AUN. Quite an intelligent personality he is. At first, I was intrigued by the great ideas he shared with me about his own steps to re-branding Yola but I was more wowed with the materials he had created with his team to actualize those ideas.
TUNDE ANIMASHAUN – AUN STAFF AND HIS RE-BRANDING OF YOLA – Frankly Speaking with Glory (FSWG)
Mr. Tunde Animashaun (Senior Manager, Retail and Business Services, AUN)
He had made; customized T shirts that had, artistically designed, the famous Yola calabash sculpture that sat elegantly in the middle of the town.
AUN students modelling the shirts
South African student of AUN wearing the shirt
Left: Dr. Lionel Rawlins (Ass. Vice President for Safety & Security, AUN), Middle: AUN student, Right: Mr. Tunde Animashaun
When I asked Mr. Tunde about his inspiration for such a move, he had this to say.
“We identified the need to promote our host community and let the world know that good things are happening in Yola, Nigeria and that, Yola is the host state of the American University of Nigeria despite the negative media reports about the North Eastern Region. Our aim is to get the T shirts to travel around the world.
All countries and cities around the world have their own challenges but the message portrayed goes a long way in affecting the perception of potential visitors.People travel to cities around the world like Paris, London, NewYork, Dubai, Madrid etc and they come back with souvenirs indicating they had visited such cities. So, we feel we can do the same for Yola”
I was impressed by his response and thus went further to ask about what he hoped to achieve with such a campaign. He enthusiastically answered;
“We want people to know about Yola so that they can be eager to research and know more about the state hence, consider investing therein and developing the peoples well-being in the end’
At the end of the chat with him, I was overwhelmed with joy at the fact that, this man is taking this bold step to promote a state that he’s not even an indigent but because, he’s Nigerian and he’s a stake holder in the welfare of Nigeria. A Yoruba man promoting a Northern region is definitely worthy of emulation. I wish we’ll have more individuals, groups, organisations and institutions such as the AUN who’ll shift their attention towards the North East for this same aim.
Mr. Tunde Animashaun in his cultural regalia
Most people would love to do such things in states like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and maybe Calabar because of the dominance such news would gain in the media. But I think that if such innovative moves, that breaks and demystifies the negative preconceptions of the North East extends from Yola to other parts of North, revival and growth will come to all areas of that part of Nigeria.
Thumbs Up Mr. Tunde. Keep up the great work!
If you’ve missed out on previous episodes of Frankly Speaking with Glory on Youtube. Kindly click the following link to catch up.
All rights reserved. All stories and post on this blog are originally created and written by Glory Elijah therefore, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” @ email@example.com
Legal actions will be taken against any individual or group found guilty of extracting any or all of the content on this blog.