By Azuka Ogujiuba

It is no longer news that the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, W. Stuart Symington and Consul General F. John Bray met with key stakeholders in Nigeria’s entertainment industry, recently. The event was put together by a talent agency known as Temple Management Company (TMC) at the residence of the US Consul-General residence in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Some of the activities of the evening included a spectacular performance by ex-MTN Project Fame winner, Jeff Akoh, who was accompanied by an acoustic band. Some creative minds in attendance, who mingled with US officials included actress Joke Silva, Eddie Lawani, musician Ade Bantu, BBN runner-up Bisola, actor OC Ukejie, rappers Falz and Phyno, actresses Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Rukky Sanda and Yinka Davis. Others were: playwright (Heartbeat) and screenwriter (The Wedding Party) Tosin Otudeko, singers Iyanya, Darey Art-Alade, Jeff Akoh and Sound Sultan, Comedian Bovi; beauty entrepreneur, Lola OJ, screen darlings Mimi Onalaja and Bolanle Olukanni and several from the visual arts community, Logor and, Tennis sensation, MaryLove Edwards was also in attendance.

Speaking at the event, the US Ambassador urged the creative sector to tell stories that put Africa in a positive light. He pointed out that intellectual property, not oil, not gas was the true strength of our people. “I have travelled the

length and breadth of this great country, from Maiduguri to Lagos, from Kebbi to Calabar, and there are fantastic stories to tell,” Ambassador Symington said. “You are all in a unique position to carry the torch for this continent.”

Temple Management CEO, Idris Olorunnimbe, gave a vote of thanks in which he acknowledged the US Consul General’s foresight in recognising the increasingly influential role of the burgeoning creative sector. “This has been a fruitful evening,”

Olorunnimbe said. “Many of the Ambassador’s words foreshadowed the reasons why Temple was set up in the first place. We simply have to tell our own stories.” Young artist, Fola David, renowned for his speed painting skill, created an illustration of the famed Lagos statue of the “Three Wise Men,” popularly referred to as ‘Ere Meta.’ Attendant guests were transfixed on the canvas as the artist crafted his latest piece – upside down! The Temple Management Company later presented the portrait to the US Ambassador on behalf of the creative community.

These were the faces at the event.