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The Diasporan Experience

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Hi Readers!
Let me start first by saying that I am truly excited to reach you through the pages of the ever-refreshing Vanguard newspapers. When my friend-Ogbonna Amadi-the inimitable Entertainment Editor of this great medium mooted the idea of my writing a column that would catalogue the Diasporan experience, in spite of the tight schedule that I run here in New York I told him it was a done deal. |

I have always believed in the unique brand that is the Vanguard newspaper-its niche which it has kept since its inception and the camaraderie and bond of fraternity that exists among the numerous young men and women- many of whom are my professional peers-such as the hardworking Editor-Maideno Bayagbon that have toiled in the vineyard of this publication, making it in the process a must read newspaper in Nigeria.

I remember with nostalgia my days as young columnist with the Sunday Concord, in the mid 80s how exciting it felt going to the Canal to have those chilled beers- a tradition that still continues today.

This column is going to be decidedly Diasporan in content and thrust. There are unofficially about 5 millions of Nigerians here in the United States.

Though a tiny percentage of our compatriots through their nefarious tendencies and undertakings, have caused us to be negatively defined, the vast majority of our people are hardworking, professionally defined, swagger exuding, and hopelessly projecting that unique Nigerian aplomb.

Many of our compatriots are found in the commanding heights of American corporate world as well as some of the most intellectually curious and driven agencies.  If our nationals were to resign en-mass from their various medical themed professions-physicians, nurses, pharmacists, etc, the American health care delivery will suffer severe shortage of manpower.

We are in spite of the less than glowing depictions in the media, totally productive immigrant community here in the U.S. We are also considered the most educated immigrant community in the U.S.

In the past 10 years, the African movie industry otherwise called Nollywood has done with little government support what the millions of dollars spent on spot advertisements on CNN and the New York Times have not succeeded in doing: re-branding the image of Nigeria.

Nollywood has become an international phenomenon, generating in the process a cult-like following among Africans, the Caribbean communities and the mainstream American populations. All the negative stereotypes that were internalized by Americans and the Caribbeans about Africa have been erased-thanks to Nollywood. African Americans and Caribbeans now have a better image of Africa, and especially Nigeria.

It was in the light of this, that last year, I established a newspaper called The Diasporan Star- a monthly tabloid that celebrates our pop culture.

This newspaper currently is the most popular publication ever published by an African in the U.S. We are regularly consulted by Hollywood, the mainstream media in America and elected officials on African pop culture and politics.

This column will bring you some unique interviews I have had with some of the stars of our pop culture, our nationals who have done us proud, and some of the unique parties, tit bits about our people. Since we are living in a political environment, we would analyze politics and related issues.

Before I sign off, let me give a little introduction of myself for those who may have been too young to remember who I am. I can make bold to say that I pioneered what has today become a part of the Nigerian media popular genre: romance and pop culture journalism.

When editors didn’t have faith in stories that celebrate the human drama-the mountains and valley of relationships and marriages, I was able to convince Achike Okafor of the defunct Sunday Times to give me a column called Stories That Touch the Heart in 1985.

From there, the column moved to Sunday Concord, where it domiciled for years, attracting millions of adherents eventually leaving to become an editor of Hints magazine. The Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Guardian newspaper-Dr. Reuben Abati was my colleague back then at Hints magazine.

I have been living in New York for 12 years now, and have bachelor degree in political science and journalism from Queens College of the City University of New York and a master’s degree also in political science with concentrations in International Relations and Comparative Politics from Brooklyn College, also of the City University of New York. I am a naturalized American, who also loves Nigeria.

Next week, I’ll bring you an exclusive interview I had with Jim Iyke. You’ll be shocked when you read what he told me about his private life.

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