Ngozi Omambala is the chairperson of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and industry (LCCI) Creative and Entertainment Sector. Speaking in this interview with NGOZI OKPALAKUNNE, Omambala who is also the founder of NMO Management as well as a chartered accountant turned music and fashion advocate spoke on how further enhancement of the entertainment sector can improve the nation’s GDP. During the interview, she also stressed the need for Nigerian artists to protect their intellectual property. Excerpts.
As the newly appointed chairperson of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and industry (LCCI) creative and entertainment group, in what way will you contribute to the development of the sector?
It is an honour to be nominated as sole nominee, uncontested and approved by the executive board as the chairperson of this prolific sector. I am proud to represent this vibrant and creative cultural hub in one of the most dynamic cities worldwide Lagos, Nigeria; the global hub of creativity.
It is indeed a privilege to be given such position in an organisation that is hundred and thirty-five years old.
The principles’ involved in growing such an economic sector are similar to those used in nurturing any business ecosystem. Attention, investment and care, thus creating an enabling environment to allow the sector to flourish and blossom into a self-functioning sector that supports innate organic growth.
I would like to think my experience of providing opportunities to support the future of the sector lies with the emerging youth and their development to allow for successful succession. Nigeria with a population of 233 million has the largest population of youth in the world. Lagos population of 25 million, 60 percent are aged between 15-35.
Attracting investment into the sector, create a more structured, cohesive and less fragmented structure with better equality of opportunity.
How can upcoming youths in creative and entertainment sector benefit from LCCI?
Support and encouragement added with an enabling environment are key to addressing problems of youth empowerment in entertainment sector. Over last decade NMO Management platforms have put youth development and empowerment as priority. GBT Auditions talent hunt platforms through which many of today’s artists have come through during early stages of their careers from music, runway modeling, fashion, and design to supporting visual arts.
LCCI creative and entertainment group recognises the important role youth demographic plays in the future growth of the sector with 70 percent under 30 years and 42 percent under 15 years Nigeria with a population of 223 million has largest population of youth in the world.
Lagos population of 25 million of which 60 percent are aged between 15 -35.
Youth themselves are yet to fully understand power of their talent its impact on economic transformational growth and impact on GDP. One only has to look at the gigantic strides globally, command and pulling power displayed by our superstar Nigerian artists internationally.
Grammy award winner Burnaboy performed at Loudnproudlive #2013 as an upcoming musician. His artistry even then was apparent, he even predicted his own success. His perseverance faith, belief and strong unwavering support system have taken him to where he rightly belongs.
Within LCCI we want to provide supporting strategies for a more conducive environment facilitate growth support and productivity. With LCCI president Asiwaju Olawale-Cole at the helm, Deputy, Gabriel Idahosa and the Director General, Chinyere Almona and a supporting executive council infrastructure we aim to partner with companies institutions stakeholders to address issues and challenges.
I recently had opportunity of meeting UK foreign secretary , James Cleverly discuss the importance of collaborative opportunities and engaging diaspora within the arts. I too came from UK where I was born work and did my formal education.
I am in discussions with leading TV music network, they are currently working on packaging videos solely for youth market ,making it affordable produce video to market songs thereby receive valuable TV airplay and marketing and promotion.
Entertainment sector is said to be a major contributor to the nation’s GDP, what is your take on that?
Indeed it’s not difficult to see the enormous strides the entertainment sector has made in last decade alone. The Nigerian entertainment Afrobeats phenomenon is now mainstream. Our music for instance can be heard and enjoyed worldwide. Go to any part of world and visit shopping malls, clubs.
My taxi ride when I was recently in Paris had a string of Nigerian music tracks on his playlist and was conversant with all popular songs. Social media has opened up Afrobeats to the world. Artists are being booked for performances on global platforms and being paid top dollar to do so.
I was present at the historic Burnaboy concert in London which took place with a sell-out 80,000 capacity crowd. Wizkid sold out 02 Arena in record time. This has direct impact on GDP as does streaming, sales from related industries, example merchandise among others which will positively impact and add to revenue generation and growth.
On the other hand, the Nigerian entertainment and creative industry has evolved with various established international corporate companies entering the sector. Artists need to understand the significant value of their intellectual property and its respective protection – whilst being in a position to monetise their craft without selling out. It is a lifetime business for successful artists, therefore securing their future asset is vital to their career and long-term prospects.
Considering harsh economic situation facing the country, what is your advice to women entrepreneurs and how can they navigate through so as to remain in business?
Economic crisis affects all individuals, but women are particularly prone to effects of economic down turn by virtue of their position as home makers. Traditional roles are changing, as multiple income streams are keeping households afloat. With this, comes issues of affordability, escalating educational and childcare costs against a harsh economic environment.
The demands of professional and work responsibilities are added burdens. It’s a fine line and delicate balancing or a juggling act.
Women have always been resilient and amazing multi-taskers. Women need to keep their skills relevant and up to date in the work space. By joining forces to create networks both in work and for emotional support. Women should try more to actively participate in influencing change in decision-making and policy implementation.
Women should also try more often to acquire basic vocational skills because they are relevant in a fast changing economic environment. The internet as source of potential income streams and working opportunities so as to adapt to changing work practices, take for instance hybrid working practices can help support their working ecosystems, general well-being and productivity.
Within entertainment I would like to see more mutual support for each other. “LoudNProudLive” in 2011was set up originally as a female only platform to address gender disparity in entertainment space , giving visibility and support within a newly created live music space.
Many female creatives successfully came through the platform and are household names today. They have not afforded the same ‘sisterhood’ support and seemingly shut the door behind them. There is an evident lack of female succession within creative and entertainment sector. This baffles me.
In light of this #NMO re-ignited its legendary LoudNProudLive #FemmeFataleSeries for young female creatives partially to address this. I however urge our females creatives to try and show by example and be the change we need to see. Male counterparts are trying within their own capabilities.
Davido’s mantra: ‘we rise by lifting others’ comes to mind, is selfless but shows compassion in business. The Industry needs to do better to inspire young girls with passion and dreams in the arts and technical skills space.
Many youths in the entertainment world copy what others have done, how can they become creative?
Copycat culture is endemic in the creative sector especially in an industry that is sometimes perceived as more intent on making quick profit, at a fast turnaround but lacking any real creativity to produce original ideas or concepts.
We need to encourage and welcome the fresh energy of innovators and real creators. On the other hand, industry ‘stakeholder’ on the whole, may be more adverse to taking risks and instead prefer to ‘play safe’ with their business choices.
Which in turn can stifle and at worst suppress creativity. Music guru’s: Olamide and Don Jazzy are incredible at spotting and promoting select talent and that is the reason #NMO platforms must continue to drive new energy the life blood of the industry which will always give us an edge as leaders in contrast to ‘follow follow’ mentality to stay on top of one’s game.
It is an innate quality or skill when ‘real (talent) recognises real (talent)’ as they represent the authentic ‘game changers’ and ‘industry captains’ and ‘role models’ in the creative and entertainment sector.
This too applies to the visual arts, dancers, designers theatre and film making.
From finance to entertainment, how has your background contributed to what you are today?
As an entrepreneur in the entertainment industry and a fully fledged advocate for the mitigation of Climate change, and its impact on the Continent and how we can incorporate renewable energy practices into business innovation, my financial background as a chartered accountant has been fundamental in understanding the creative business landscape often viewed as typically quite complex.
I would like to think my credentials thus far have served well, as an asset to help create an industry that was still at the early stages of inception in 2007 when I came to Nigeria from UK and became Head of Marketing in Nigeria for MTV Base Africa in 2008.
It was the first time offices in Nigeria had been set up under the visionary MD president at the time, Alex Okosi.
The first ever historic MAMA awards 2009 (Abuja) with a sold-out audience, was televised across African Continent with audience 1.1 billion viewers.
This was definitely a historic milestone turning point for the industry landscape and personally for me recognising the sky’s is the limit at home Nigeria.
I received a UK Honorary Doctorate 2021 in Business Administration in Leadership and Strategy Management presented in Dubai UAE. In 2022, l completed an executive masters intensive programme in Accra, Ghana. This year I received 2023 Diaspora Champion Award by Diaspora Innovation Institute, Las Palmas, Spain.