Abi Goodman is the Executive Program Coordinator of
OZ Consulting Firm Canada and Managing Director of OZ Management in Nigeria, she’s one of the brains behind Nigeria participation to show case her culture in the forthcoming celebration of Canada at 150. The very intelligent and creative young lady, who has been in Canada for years revealed in this exclusive interview with Yorubamoviegist’s AJIBADE ALABI, the
motivation behind her company involvement in
Canada at 150. She also spoke among many other issues. Enjoy the excerpts:
What are the relations between Nigeria and Canada regards culture?
It is quite good but there is still a lot of rooms for improvement. Recall that in 2015, the traditional ruler of the town of Ido-Osun in Egbedore Local Government Council of Osun State, Oba Aderemi Adedapo Sapoyoro, Alayemoore conferred a traditional chieftaincy title of Aare Agbasaga of Ido-Osun (meaning President of Culture Promoters in Ido-Osun) on the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr. Marcello Di Franco. The conferment ceremony took place at
the palace of the traditional ruler, it was well
attended as it was witnessed by traditional rulers,
chiefs as well as important dignitaries in Ido-Osun, neighbouring towns of Ido-Osun and across the State of Osun, members of the immediate family of the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner, friends and well-wishers from Nigeria, Canada and other part of the world. The conferment was in recognition of the diplomats’ efforts at strengthening the educational and cultural relationship between Nigeria and Canada. Building on this, we believe that the relationship can always improve and that is why initiatives like this are very important.
How beneficial is it to the Nigerian community?
It will be a platform for the promotion of friendship, peace and good relations between both countries. An occasion to inform Nigerians in Canada about activities going on back home, the challenges, the opportunities and how they can be involved to uplift the nation. The event will generate excitements in the media, social, business and diplomatic circles for the promotion of positive media and projection of a positive image for Nigeria which will help strengthen the case being made by the association of traditional rulers for the institution to be recognised and assigned a constitutional role in Nigeria.The event will also create an avenue for exporting skills through learning exchange program and attracting investors and business franchise through additional business networking event set up by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) in Niagara Ontario.
What cultural value does Nigerians stand to gain from the event?
Traditional rulers are closer to the grassroots and has a special pride of place, respect and esteem accorded to the institution by Nigerians from all walks of life. The event will focus on our shared values and will connect Nigerians in diaspora who were born in North America or who have lived there over the years back to their root as they celebrate with Canada.
What impact will the festival have on the Nigerian culture?
Culture being a veritable tool for the promotion of tourism, the coming of the traditional rulers who are the custodians of the people’s cultural values of hard work, honesty, integrity, good brotherliness and truth will galvanise all Nigerians living in Canada and get them to fully participate in project Canada, engender pride and inspire them to appreciate their traditional roots and connect with their fatherland.
How do you measure success? By Profit earned, Cultural impact, or Sheer popularity?
Basically, we will measure success based on the achievement of our objectives for organising the event which is the celebration and appreciation of Nigeria’s cultural heritage. The event will enable us to tell the story about us and show the great side of the country which will project a positive image for the Nigeria.
It will strengthen the diplomatic relations and
friendship between both countries. We want to see this event result in greater cooperation between both countries for their mutual benefit, especially in the area of tourism, which is why we are working closely with Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) to bring out Canadian Tourism Business Owners that will be interesting in investing in Nigeria of partner with similar businesses in Nigeria.
Any confirmation and support from the traditional rulers and other special guests from Nigeria?
Confirmation are coming back slowly but very positive, we have confirmation and support from His Imperial Majesty (Dr.) Babatunde Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, Oba (Arc.) Aderemi Adeen Adedapo Alayemore of Ido Osun and His Royal Majesty Igwe Sir Ralph Obumnemeh Ekpeh Okpalanakana-Ukabia the IV. One of our special
guests is Chief (Mrs) Nike Davies-Okundaye at Nike
Art Gallery, she is excited to be part of the event
and supporting us with relevant information on
Nigerian art and culture. Kennywoods actor Ali
Nuhu and actress Rahama Sadau will be leading the other member of Kennywood to the event, where they will be meeting with staff of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) for exchange program. We also have the support of the office Special Assistant Creative Arts Development Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Mrs. Halima Idris, in the area of showcasing made in Kaduna products. Adam Zango , Lanre Teriba, Nike Peller, Akpororo, are some of the artists that confirmed and will be performing at the event. As I mentioned before, confirmation is slow but coming in positively.
Tell us your future dream; do you see it expanding even further?
We have been at the forefront of promoting relationship between Nigeria and Canada. Apart from numerous professional development and
exchange programmes we have organised, we organised the first ever Canada Nigeria B2B trade show last year. This led to MPRamesh Sangha, Member of Parliament for Brampton Centre to give OZ Consulting Firm an award for promoting social and economic relations between Canada and Nigeria. We intend that the trade show will be a periodic event and we call on the support of the relevant agencies of the Nigerian government like the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission and the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment as well as Ministry of Foreign affairs to support our efforts even as the Nigerian High Commission in Canada has been very supportive. The organised private sector in Nigeria can also partner with OZ Consulting Firm to show case made in Nigerian goods in Canada to attract foreign exchange including bringing in Canadian foreign investment to Nigeria. There is a lot we can do in the area of exporting fresh fruits to Canada. Infact, Canada sources most of its fresh fruits like mango from Asia and Caribbean while we have them in large enough quantities here. If you don’t say here I am, no one will notice you in the global marketplace. We need to be a little bit more aggressive. Sales involves some form of aggressiveness. Even when your product is the best, you have to get the word out to potential customers. That is the area we need to improve on and we hope that Nigerian businessmen will use the Canada Nigerian B2B trade show platform to achieve their business goals.
What are your expectations towards this year event?
We want Nigerians to come out and participate. We are known all over the world as very enterprising and strong willed people. We need to come out and show case this. We need to come out and show our love and support for Canada, a country that has supported us over the years and where many Nigerians have found abode. Canada was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy In 1971. By so doing, Canada affirmed the value and dignity of everybody regardless of their racial or ethnic origins, their language, or their religious affiliation. So coming together to celebrate with them It is another way of saying thank you and showing appreciation to Canada and its people for the warm welcome and hospitality they have shown to Nigerians these past years. This will sure open the door for more opportunities for collaboration.
Are there any Nigerian or Canadian Government organization or Association supporting this event?
Certainly, we have reached out to all the necessarily Government in both countries for support. We have the support of Nigeria High Commission in Ottawa, Office of Ramesh Sangha MP, Office of Harinder Malhi MPP, The Ottawa Tourism, The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), National Institute for Hospitality & Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Nigerian Canadian Association NCA-Ottawa, Office and many more. Since this is Cultural Event and all ages for Nigerians to attend. We have many teams and partners working to make this successful, here in Nigeria.