For Cornell Udofia, founder, CMC Gladiators and Cornell Entertainment Media, his mission is to equip, motivate and empower the youths, and make them distinguished gladiators and role models in the society.
In this chat, he speaks on how to achieve his mission while also touching on other issues in the entertainment industry.
On CMC Gladiators
CMS Gladiators of repute is all about empowerment, networking and business connections. It is a platform where professionals in all spheres of life come together for a common purpose of adding positive value to human development. Our mission is to consistently equip, motivate and empower Nigerian youths, men and women, and to make them distinguished gladiators and role models in the media and entertainment industry.
Our values are integrity, consistency, entertainment, resourcefulness, and quality service. When I talk of consistency, it is in the sense that since 2005, we’ve been known to promote rising stars and even the veterans too. It is on record that we’ve worked with the likes of Jim Iyke, a Nollywood actor. It is also on record that Ini Edo, another Nollywood actor, came through us. So also are celebrities like Tonto Dikeh, Halima Abubakar, Edris Abdulkarem, Faze, Clarion Chukwurah and many others. That is consistency. Now, we are promoting young stars that have the talent but lack platforms to showcase what they have. That is the reason we use our platform to showcase them to the world.
On resourcefulness, I can tell you that we have added value to Nigeria through our fight against crime. We are in many advocacies like Kick Against Child Abuse, Kick Against Human Trafficking and Kick Against Fake Drugs. We have been doing this for more than 10 years now. That is adding value to humanity through resourcefulness.
Our main focus is the youth. We discovered that many Nigerian youth are in entertainment and the only way we can support them is to keep them busy through entertainment, because if we don’t keep them busy, we won’t be able to sleep in the night. We engage them in various spheres including singing and dancing, fashion, comedy and enterprise. Over 60 per cent of our members are youths because we believe the youths are the leaders of tomorrow. The remaining 40 per cent are veterans.
Entertainment, next money-spinner
I believe that entertainment is the next money-spinner for Nigeria. Crude oil might finish but your talent remains forever. The price of crude oil is dwindling, it is no longer yielding much revenue, but the entertainment industry has been projecting Nigeria on the global stage. Our movies are watched in all parts of the world, our music is played in all parts of the world and our fashion industry is growing. I will rate the industry very high and that is why CMC Gladiators is supporting entertainment.
Nollywood and copycat syndrome
I disagree that our entertainment industry is copying the West. The likes of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti took Nigerian entertainment to the global scene with his original concept of African culture. Adekunle Gold is also promoting our music and culture in the global scene. Falz is equally doing well by talking about the ills in the society and trying to make Nigeria better. Without the voices of these artistes, Nigeria would have gone down more than the way it is.
I, however, partially agree that our artistes sometimes copy, but you can never get it right if you don’t make mistakes. When China and Taiwan started to produce their products, we were laughing at them that their products are not good enough. But because they were consistent in copying, they have got it right now. So, like these countries, Nigeria will get there.
Not limited to entertainment
We recently organised an ICT empowerment programme in collaboration with Dr. Bayero Agabi, an ICT technocrat. It was a day of sharing knowledge and most of our members participated in the seminar. It was a way of letting our members know that they have to diversify, that it should not only be about music and movies. We are not limited to only music and movies; we have also trained our members on other spheres of the economy.
The challenges in Nigeria are numerous, but personally, I don’t believe in challenges and giving excuses. I believe in what you can do, the value you can add and not always blaming the government. That is the reason we came up as a body to offer solutions.
One of the major challenges we have is power. Lack of electricity is affecting us; our office runs on generator almost 24 hours a day. Another challenge we have is that government policy is not clement. We will like the government to create an enabling environment by providing basic infrastructure. We also have the challenge of finding the right people to work with. Most people believe in quick result, they don’t want to take the pain to gradually get to the top, they believe they can get to the top overnight, it is not like that. Most of our youths believe in overnight success and it is affecting us as a body and as a country. However, we should not see these as challenges but as stepping-stones. We should all look at ourselves and ask, what value can we add to the country to make it better because we all are the government.
CMC Africa Awards 2019
The CMC Africa Awards is a well-attended and quality event. The first edition was in 2015 and it was chaired by High Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who is one of our patrons, in conjunction with then Comptroller of Prisons in Lagos, Mr. Tunde Ladipo. The former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, chaired the 2016 edition and he came with his full entourage. In 2017, it was chaired by former Ogun State Commissioner of Police, now Kano State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Ilyasu.
The 2019 edition comes up on Sunday August 25. For now, there is no franchisee for the event; we are working with an event planner, Gift Udoh, who has worked very hard on the project. Though, she is planning the event, I am coordinating to make sure of the standard. To do a quality event is not easy, it takes intellect, money, time and prayers for you to execute a successful event. I thank The Sun Publishing Limited for its support. The Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun, Mr. Eric Osagie, has promised to support us.