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Nigerian Among Africa’s Leading Architects

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Nigerian Among Africa’s Leading Architects

By Dipo Olowookere

At a gala awards ceremony held on the rooftop of the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, the inaugural Grand Prix and Category Winners of the Africa Architecture Awards were announced on the evening of Thursday, September 28, 2017.

Over 130 VIP guests were in attendance at this glittering event, including the Consul-General of France in Cape Town, Mr Laurent Amar, the Chairman of the French South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philip Geromont, and Claude van Wyk of the Kingdom of The Netherlands Consulate General in Cape Town.

The shortlisted finalists were flown into South Africa from across the continent and the world, and hosted by awards founder and sponsor Saint-Gobain.

The much-anticipated gala was the culmination of an ambitious two-year awards programme that was initiated and supported by construction industry innovator Saint-Gobain with the ultimate aim of stimulating conversations about African architecture as it cements its place in a global continuum. The Africa Architecture Awards is the first-ever Pan-African awards programme of its kind.

A steering panel headed by Professor Lesley Lokko guided the awards with strategic input from Ambassador Phill Mashabane, advisor Zahira Asmal, and patron Sir David Adjaye, one of the globe’s most influential voices in architecture.

According to Adjaye, “The Africa Architecture Awards are very critical. Now is the time to promote excellence and best practice on the continent. The Africa Architecture Awards are particularly important because this is the moment that a lot is happening on the continent in terms of development, in terms of the architecture that’s being produced.”

Adjaye’s statement is borne out by the high level of interest the competition has received from architects working on projects located in Africa. Over 300 projects from 32 African countries were entered into the awards.

For the inaugural edition of the Africa Architecture Awards, the organisers set themselves an initial target of 150 entries from 20 African countries. Consider then, what a huge task faced the Master Jury when the awards exceeded all expectations and grew to 307 entries from 32 countries in Africa – more than double the size of what was initially envisaged.

The initial shortlist of 21 projects was chosen by the Master Jury and announced earlier in 2017. Chaired by Dr Mark Olweny, the jury comprised leading African architects and academics including: Anna Abengowe (Nigeria), Guillaume Koffi (Ivory Coast), Professor Edgar Pieterse (South Africa), Patti Anahory (Cape Verde), Tanzeem Razak (South Africa), and Phill Mashabane (South Africa).

The Master Jury then reconvened for two days prior to the awards ceremony to evaluate the 21 shortlisted projects and decide on the most deserving entries across four categories.

Through the Master Jury’s dedication and considered response to an unprecedented challenge, the final category winners – each of whom received a specially designed bronze trophy – were decided as follows: Critical Dialogue: Forum de Arquitectura – by CEICA, Angola; Speculative: The Territory In-between, Cape Verde – by Guinea’s Aissata Balde, Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg; Emerging Voices: The Exchange Consulate: Trading Passports for Hyper-Performative Economic Enclaves, South Africa – by Nigerian student Ogundare Olawale Israel of the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg; Built: Umkhumbane Museum, South Africa – by Choromanski Architects, South Africa.

The Grand Prix was awarded to the project that best describes the ultimate objective of the Africa Architecture Awards, which is to inspire the future of African architecture. The Grand Prix winner received both a bespoke trophy and the cash prize of USD$10 000. Umkhumbane Museum, South Africa by Choromanski Architects was named the overall winner.

In addition to the projects highlighted by the Master Jury, the awards programme ran a public participation component earlier in 2017, where members of the public could vote for their favourite project. The People’s Choice Award had over a million viewers and votes across a range of projects stretching from kiosks to urban regeneration schemes. The winning project received a Certificate of Excellence at the ceremony and this went to James Cubitt Architects Lagos for the speculative project titled Bank Head Office in Lagos, Nigeria.

Commenting on the outcome of the first iteration of the awards, the MD of Saint-Gobain Retail Division, Evan Lockhart-Barker states that, “Although this is only the first edition of the Africa Architecture Awards, we believe we have captured an incredible moment in time for Pan-African architecture. Having launched the first-ever awards of its kind, we’ve seen the incredible response from architects working across the continent. The values and aspirations displayed in the awards have led to incredible insights about the continent and its shape-shifting ways.”

“Yet we still have a way to go to write our own story about architecture and its role here. Africa is indeed rising but due to the continent’s resourcefulness and complex regional identities, we’ve already learnt that our awards programme requires even more diversity to capture Africa and all its spectrums. We look to future editions of the awards to achieve this.”

Following the awards ceremony on the Thursday evening, a thought-provoking public colloquium titled ‘Celebrating Architecture in Africa’ was held on Friday, 29 September 2017 at the University of Cape Town. With a speaker line-up of 21 specialists from across the world, the free event, which was also supported by Saint-Gobain, provided a platform to discuss the awards in more detail and explore architecture within the African context.

Providing access to information about architecture in Africa and ensuring that this knowledge is shared widely and freely to the continent is a primary and ongoing aim of the awards. This is evidenced in events such as the colloquium, as well as publications such as the Africa Architecture Awards’ digital portal, Documenting all 307 projects entered into the awards via video, images and text, this digital asset now stands as one of the most vibrant and extensive repositories of contemporary African architecture to date.

Described as the “4th Revolution” in Africa, digital channels and technology shift paradigms daily on the continent. From the outset, awards founder Saint-Gobain has embraced the role of digital media to promote architectural practice and dialogue to broader audiences than traditionally enjoyed by institutional award structures.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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LASEMA Battles to Curtail Fire Outbreak at Balogun Market

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fire Balogun Market

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has said it was working tirelessly with other agencies to put out the fire at 3/5 Gbajumo Street, Balogun, Lagos Island.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the organisation said it received a distress call from concerned persons in the wee hours of today over the unfortunate incident.

It was gathered that a 5-storey building at the Balogun Market was gutted by fire, destroying properties worth millions of Naira.

Giving an update on the situation, LASEMA said the joint teams, which rushed to the scene of the inferno, were having a constraint preventing the fire trucks from having direct access to the source of the fire, which are the shops constructed on the road blocking all routes.

“The agency received a distress call around 12:30 am today, Thursday, January 26, 2023, regarding a fire outbreak at No 3/5 Gbagumo street Balogun market, Lagos Island, which prompted the immediate activation of the Emergency Response Team to the scene of the incident.

“Consequent upon arrival at the scene of the incident, information gathered revealed that some shops (rubber shoes and clothes are stored) on the first floor of a 5-storey building was gutted by fire. However, the cause of the fire could not be ascertained.

“Fortunately, there is no loss of life or casualty involved in the incident.

“Collaborative efforts to put out the fire are ongoing by the agency’s Response Team and its fire unit, alongside Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, Federal Fire Service, Police Force, CBD, LASAMBUS, LNSC and NEMA.

“However, the joint teams have a constraint which is preventing the fire trucks from having direct access to the source of the fire, which are the shops constructed on the road blocking all routes.

“Efforts are still ongoing to prevent the spread of the fire to nearby buildings. Operations are also still ongoing,” the statement said.

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Tinubu Never Blamed Buhari for Fuel Scarcity, Others—Onanuga

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Tinubu blames Buhari

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Director of Media and Publicity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Mr Bayo Onanuga, has said the party’s presidential candidate, Mr Bola Tinubu, did not blame President Muhammadu Buhari for the current challenges in the country.

On Wednesday, during his campaign in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Mr Tinubu accused some powerful persons were behind the current scarcity of petrol in Nigeria, as well as the scarcity of the new Naira notes.

President Buhari is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, and fuel scarcity has remained for months under his watch. He also approved the redesigning of the Naira when Mr Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), brought the proposal to him.

But while speaking yesterday, Mr Tinubu said, “We will use our PVCs to take over government from them. If they like, let them create a fuel crisis; even if they say there is no fuel, we will trek to vote.

“They are full of mischief, they could say there is no fuel. They have been scheming to create a fuel crisis but forget about it. Relax, I, Asiwaju, have told you that the issue of fuel supply will be permanently addressed,” he said at the campaign rally.

“Whoever wants to eat the honey embedded in a mountain won’t worry about the axe. Is that not so? And if you want to eat palm kernel, you would bring a stone and use it to break it; then the kernel will come out. It’s not easy to…

“Let them increase the price of fuel, let them continue to hoard fuel, only them know where they have hoarded fuel, they hoarded money, they hoarded naira; we will go and vote, and we will win even if they changed the ink on Naira notes. Whatever their plans, it will come to nought,” he added.

His comments generated mixed reactions, with some commentators saying he was indirectly indicting Mr Buhari for the crisis facing the country.

But Mr Onanuga rebuffed this, saying the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was plotting to “create a wedge between our presidential candidate and President Muhammadu Buhari.”

According to him, the former Governor of Lagos State was only empathising “with the Nigerian people facing the dual crises of fuel and new Naira notes scarcity.”

“For the records, Asiwaju Tinubu, during the APC campaign rally at Abeokuta on Wednesday, in his statement, did not mention, blame or accuse President Muhammadu Buhari for the current challenges in the country.

“Asiwaju Tinubu was only adverting the government’s attention to the sabotage being carried out by some Fifth Columnists in the system, possibly working in cahoots with the PDP.

“The CBN officials, including Governor Godwin Emefiele, have said many times that enough new Naira notes have been supplied to the banks, yet our people complain that they have not been able to get the new notes.

“In recent days, many ATMs are either not working, or when working, they are dispensing the old notes, just a few days to the  January 31 deadline.

“Similarly, Asiwaju Tinubu is aware of the salutary efforts by President Buhari to end the fuel queues by chairing a 14-man panel. Yet the queues and agony continue.

“For a presidential candidate, who cares about the suffering of our people, he has a duty to warn the government that its efforts to make life better for Nigerians are being sabotaged on several fronts.

“Our presidential candidate only re-echoed what is well known and acknowledged, even by President Buhari himself, at different fora: That there are Fifth Columnists in and outside of government who often throw spanners in the works against good intentions and programmes of the government.

“How does an advisory genuinely made by Asiwaju Tinubu to protect and create goodwill for the government of his party become an attack? It can only be so in the jaundiced view of the PDP,” a part of the statement issued on Thursday said.

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DLM Capital Sponsors Employee’s Philanthropic Projects

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DLM Capital Employee's Philanthropic Projects

DLM Capital Group, a development investment bank, partnered with the Shile Akinjo Charity Foundation (SACF) on two of its charity initiatives: “Love Feast on the Street” and “Back-to-School Project.”

Shile Akinjo, a corporate finance associate at DLM, started SACF in 2022 to support low-income families and the less privileged to fight poverty, receive decent health care, and achieve a basic education.

The “Love Feast on the Street” was held on the 17th of December 2022 to celebrate Christmas with over 400 kids at Makoko Slum, Yaba, Lagos. The day’s highlights include face painting, a dance competition, popcorn, food, drinks, and the gifting of party packs to the kids.

The “Back-to-School Project” was held on the 20th of January 2023 at The Light School and Boanerges School at Akesan, Alimosho, local government. All the pupils in basic 1–5 were given school supplies such as school bags, socks, notebooks, pencils, biros, erasers, rulers, crayons, water bottles, and snacks.

Shile Akinjo commented on the initiative, stating, “Happiness is as essential as food if a child is to develop into normal manhood or womanhood.” Being able to put smiles on these kids’ faces is fulfilling, and we will continue to carry out initiatives that support these goals. I am grateful to Mr. Sonnie Ayere and DLM Capital Group for their full commitment to these projects. I feel lucky to work for a company that supports and encourages its employees to do good things for the community.

In a statement highlighting DLM’s sponsorship of the projects, Chinwendu Ohakpougwu, Head of Corporate Communications, said: “At DLM, we are committed to impacting human lives. The management of DLM will continue to support good causes that promote the welfare of others.”

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