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Creative minds share life changing concetps at TEDLagos ideas search

Though last Saturday was largely all about the Lagos City Marathon, which resulted in the closure of some major roads in the city for hours, the Agip Recital Hall of the MUSON Center, Onikan, about the same time, played host to creative minds, who participated in this year’s TEDLagos Ideas Search, a session dedicated to finding great ideas and eloquent speakers.

Hosted by Chikwe Ihekweazu of TEDxEuston and National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer at Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, the event featured speakers selected from hundreds of submissions by individuals from all around the continent, who seek opportunity to share their idea on the TEDGlobal 2017 stage holding later this year in Arusha, Tanzania.

In his opening remarks, the founder of TED Chris Anderson, who recalled the humble beginning of TED in Tanzania 10 years ago, thanked TEDLagos and their partners for making the event a reality.

“It all started 10 years ago in Arusha, Tanzania and I’m happy that we are here in Lagos today to share ideas that would help our society. Before now, when you talk about Africa, many people think of problems and animals. But what we did in Arusha in 2007 was to bring people with ideas together to speak to the world about what exactly Africa is all about,” he said.

Anderson informed that a similar event was held in Nairobi, Kenya where a really wide range of skills from creative people, photographers, filmmakers, environmentalists, farmers inspired people for the greater good of their communities.

“There are so many ideas across the continent that the world needs to know, as such, we are trying to find speakers from everywhere for the big event,” he said.

Before setting the tone for face paced session, Ihekweazu noted that TEDLagos Ideas Search aims at showcasing Nigeria, particularly Lagos, to the world.

“This is about our ideas, it’s about our stories. Like I tell people, Lagos can’t be explained; it’s better experienced,” he noted.

The interactive programme witnessed a combination of speakers and performers from a wide variety of backgrounds give six-minute talks on a broad array of topics. Previous Ideas Searches have found fantastic speakers such as Joshua Prager, Hannah Brencher, Richard Turere and Hyeonseo Lee. And just as expected, the Lagos session was indeed thought provoking, as the speakers offered some life-changing ideas. Meanwhile, some of the speakers will have the opportunity to be at the TEDGlobal event coming up in Arusha, Tanzania in August 2017.

Speaking on rapid decline of African languages, Yvonne Chioma Mbanefo observed that African children are being punished for speaking their mother tongues, urging parents to encourage their children to learn and speak their local languages.

“Lack of materials for the learning of African languages has also worsened the situation. When people lose their language, they don’t just lose words; they lose their culture, tradition and norms that come with it,” she noted.

On the importance of story telling in preserving African languages, Mbanefo said, “we can tap from our folk tales and folklore to preserve our languages. We can also borrow folk tales from other places and convert them to our culture to preserve our languages.”

Obianuju Nduaguba spoke on the importance of community radio, especially in disseminating information in rural areas. She specifically highlighted how community radio is being used in other African countries to support agricultural programmes and educating local farmers, urging government to take advantage of opportunities provided by the platform.

Uju Agomoh, one of the speakers at TED Lagos 2017 and Founder of Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), during her session, reiterated the need for extensive prison rehabilitation in the country, adding that, “70 per cent of inmates in Nigeria are awaiting trial, which is a serious course for concern and it is time we started taking action about the things we feel uncomfortable about.”

In his presentation, Ogbole Samson, a Biochemistry graduate from Igbinedion University, opened the yes of participants to the possibility of growing crops without soil. Known as Aeroponics, Ogbole, who work with Yam Improvement for Income and Food security in West Africa (YIIFSWA), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Oyo State, said the process allows farmers to grow plants in the air/misty environment. He was introduced to the system as a corps member for a year and has been in charge of the aeroponics system for yam for over two years.

Aeroponics system, according to Ogbole, will ensure food security, increase health, diversify economy and increase revenue via exportation of agricultural produce.

“It will also be beneficial not just for Nigerians, but for Africa even in areas predominantly deserts as this ensures plants can be grown anywhere irrespective of weather and soil type,” he said.

While Adebiyi Abiola presented an idea on waste management, Stephanie Busari spoke on the issue of Boko Haram and the missing Chibok girls. The journalist, who has been on the case for years now, revealed how delay by government and irresponsible media led to the escalation of insurgency in the country. Other speakers spoke on several other inspiring topics.

On Halogen’s position in the partnership for TEDLagos Ideas Search, Associate Director, Brand and Strategic Marketing, Halogen Security Company limited, Uche Mojekwu explained that the company was responsible for the logistic securities for the guests – securing the perimeter where they stayed, while also providing trained security drivers who moved the guest round the city during their stay, as well as event control security at the venues of the events.

“Halogen has been around for over 25 years, has over 18,000 people and is very heavy on giving back, hence, any platform that inspires empowerment of youth to persevere, aligns with us. We believe in what TED is doing, and it is our pleasure to partner with such a great initiative. This becomes even more interesting when you look at the fact that TED is heavy on digital and that security is going more digital these days, as physical security is quickly diminishing.’’

After a long career in journalism and publishing, Chris Anderson became the curator of the TED Conference and has developed it as a platform for identifying and disseminating ideas worth spreading.

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