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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Five quick questions for Funmi

Hello people!
Happy valentine in arrears!
Hope you had a nice one. It was a great day for me and Ignite Media team. Her new show, Talk With Funmi aired yesterday on DSTV’s African Magic at 6pm Nigerian time. It was fun watching the first full edition with Funmi and her friends amidst foods and drinks (Winks). After the show, I had this quick interview with FI. Enjoy and always visit this space for more.

Why didn’t you ask governor Fashola questions about the allegations?

The show was shot in May 2009 when there were no allegations or any sort of ill will towards Mr. Fashola. Lagos was in Euphoria about the visible infrastructural improvements, better living conditions and dramatic drop in crime rate.

TWF is not a news programme or a news magazine programme. To achieve the sort of post production we desire it, our turn around time is long so we cannot be specific as political situations change rapidly in Nigeria. If we had asked questions specific to whatever current situation exists at filming time, events would have overtaken it in a week or so and the show would be stale. Everything I asked him was relevant for all times but also true to the time of filming. It’s like asking Obama about health reforms when he just won the elections and his approval rating was sky high.

We put this into consideration in conceiving the show, thus TWF is designed to be a timeless capsule of the stories, people and situations as exists in Nigeria today. The stories are allowed to tell themselves whilst the viewer makes independent opinions.

Finally the intent with the Fashola show was to humanize a public servant who had proven that Lagos could be organized, a peep into the man behind the office. We choose him because he is unusual in our climes and l can tell you that in other states we visited, Lagos was the peoples' yardstick for performance.

I am afraid people often want me to be Amanpour plus Oprah. I am neither nor desire to be. I am unapologetically and enthusiastically Funmi of Nigeria with challenges peculiar to Nigeria including the fact that no network in Nigeria will pay for nor hire me or anyone else to do any production nor will they air it if I didn’t walk a considered apolitical line. This production has been a long lonely road requiring everything my co- travellers and myself have and more. We are pioneering and laying foundations to be able to do a lot more.

But should he not be investigated? What about the many parts of Lagos where improvements have not reached? Did Lagos pay for this edition?

Technically, that’s three questions…
Yes Fashola must answer to the people at all times, he said as much himself in the interview.

Same yardstick must also be extended to all including the house of assembly membership.

We did speak about the as yet untouched areas using Makoko and Tawka Bay as pointers, he gave detailed explanations of their plans which we can hold him to at the end of his tenure. We have future editions shot in some of these areas.

No Lagos did not pay for this or any other edition of the show.
I think that because Mr. Fashola is not a great orator, many people did not listen to the substance of what he was saying which was very sublime. We indeed took out hours of conversation because he is too technically detailed in his explanations to maintain interest. We managed to retain his contentiousness and purposefulness. He was believable, admirable but vulnerable all at once.

Most insightful answer to a question you asked him?
As we came out of his car, he revealed that he is very shy and a poor mixer. It is very obvious that he is a bit of a loner and an intellectual. I think these factors may be partly responsible for some of his recent troubles with political colleagues. A drawback that his intimate relationship with his predecessor and astute politician, Asiwaju Tinubu, who is fondly called governor emeritus helps compensate for.

The other one which was not in the final cut was when in the dinning room he revealed in a very pained voice his regret that he is unable to spend as much time as he would like with his children especially his 9 year old and his fears that he will miss on their best years.

Why were you wearing a Chelsea tee shirt?

Up blues! My allegiance is skin deep though as I wish we could have the glory days of Stationery Stores, Bendel United, and Shooting Stars back.

Unnecessary piece of information you’d like to share?

I ate during the interview, it was edited out as I don’t eat pretty as you’ll find out in a future edition.


F said...

It's so refreshing to see public servants as people first... His worries about his children must be difficult to deal with day in, day out. It isn't easy to lead sha...

trae_z said...

I don't live in Lagos but the admiration from Lagosians about this man is interesting to observe. this even more so: "Mr. Fashola is not a great orator"