Chinedu Hardy Nwadike has played a role in the current revolution in the entertainment industry of Imo State through his ways of reporting events and the establishment of www.otowngist.com, which has proven to me a medium for entertainers in Imo State to speak to the entire universe.
The Ndiokoroji Arondizuogu born writer who granted his O’town Gist crew this interview, talked about himself, www.otowngist.com and how everything came to be the way they are.
Hillary Uzomba did the writing on behalf of the crew.
I’m Chinedu Hardy Nwadike, first son, third child in a family of five. I have two elder sisters and two younger brothers.
My childhood is something I don’t really enjoy talking about because of certain things, but I know that growing up was a tough thing.
My mum passed on when I was just nine and I grew up missing her till this moment.
She was a tough disciplinarian, a nurse, a loving and caring mother. Even when our times with her was so short, I still use some of things she thought me till this date.
Growing without a mother
It will never be easy, especially when other kids in the neighborhood sample new clothes and say their mother bought it for them. Even when I had my own new clothes, I still missed that mummy aspect of the purchase and sometimes I will hide in the room and cry.
My father did his best and I could never wish for another father in ten lives to come. He was always there for us, like that, we never lacked anything.
My education was like that of every normal kid. I did my nursery, primary and secondary school followed by the university.
I studied Industrial Chemistry in Madonna University, class 2007, did my NYSC the following year and here am I now.
Industrial Chemistry and blogging
I have not been practicing chemistry since I graduated. I only involved myself with it when I read to refresh my memory or when I’m involved in arguments that has something to do with chemistry.
I am still an Industrial Chemist, but right now I run my site and other businesses that are connected to it.
What is O’town Gist Entertainment about?
Whenever we hear O’town, people think it’s only Owerri, forgetting that the names of three Senatorial Zones in Imo State started with letter ‘O’. O’town Gist covers Okigwe, Orlu and Owerri.
It’s an online entertainment magazine, dedicated to reporting entertainment news from Imo State. Although we report events from other states, Imo State provide about 90% of our content.
The making of www.otowngist.com
After graduation and NYSC, I travelled to Lagos in search of job and after spending months there, I got hooked with an insurance company.
After the training with the company, I just realized that I have nothing with insurance, I could still use the marketing knowledge from the training. After the training, I begged that they transfer me to Owerri branch; I worked there for about four months as an insurance marketer and one morning I called my boss and told him that I was quitting the job and that was it.
I joined my sister as a graphic designer and along the line, I thought myself web designing and that was the beginning of another chapter in my life.
I got a part-time job with a State based newspaper, Nigeria Newspoint as a graphic designer, while also working for Sean Cussons Consulting as part of their ICT team.
While in Nigeria Newspoint, I started reporting entertainment around November 2011, and by the end of the first quarter of 2012, www.otowngist.com was born.
Challenges in building it
It wasn’t easy getting to this level, but I told myself that the beginning will not be about money, so I worked hard to make things better.
Every Friday used to be my studio visit, when I will go round almost all the studios in Owerri trying to find artistes whom I can talk to.
When I started, there wasn’t anyone doing what I was doing, blogging to the artistes was about ‘New Music’ and that’s all. But I told them I was coming with a different package, which is reporting their activities on the internet and newspapers based in the state. Some people said I was fooling myself, because then, majority of the artistes never believed they were news worthy.
When I told some people I was going to put their stories on newspaper, they laughed at me and went ahead with what they were doing.
I felt discouraged most times, especially when I had to trek to these studios and finally getting nothing from it.
What changed the story?
Uniqueness and consistency. There is a quote that motivated me and it says ‘make yourself available and the world will give you bread’ while I have my personal propagation theory which states that ‘the only thing that breaks the law of gravity is consistency, it takes you up there, keeps you moving higher and higher’.
When I managed to get a blackberry phone which almost all the entertainers are using, I stopped trekking and started increasing my coverage as well via blackberry broadcast.
First artiste you wrote about
I started with De Dukes, a friend of mine Bone joint introduced me to them, and after them was Cyphatyte, General Sleezy and so on.
How did you know you can write?
My first piece was in SS3, and in my first year in the university, I was writing love poems for my roommates who were using it to impress their girl friends. The reactions from those girls made me believe in myself, even when they never knew I was the author of the magic words that were exciting them.
Later I wrote a play for a friend who submitted the script in school as an assignment, scoring 12 out of 15.
Even at that, my writing side is the last thing people get to know about me until now that it has gone public.
Any dream of authoring a book?
Yes I have written so many dramas, for my school and church as well. I have a book, though unpublished; I’m working on the sequel gradually. Hopefully before the year runs out, it will be published for everyone to read.
Other things you have written
Aside my stories which are published in newspapers and other entertainment websites, I still write other human angle articles which have been published in newspapers and online as well.
Aside the entertainment promotion, I’m a web designer, and unlike most bloggers who use the blogger or word press template, I designed my site from the scratch. I’m a web administrator of several sites, a graphic designer and also do executive tutoring for individuals and corporate bodies who wish to be trained on ICT.
I have featured in several ICT seminars and workshops as a resource person where I thought web and graphics designing as well as computer appreciation.
How do you cope?
It has never been easy, but my friend LMG said in his song Mbo that ‘Nwoke ezu ike’, meaning a man must work and that’s what I do.
Some days I’ll be free, others, I’ll have plenty things to do. But I see it as a part of me and I’m handling it well while giving thanks to God who has always kept me fresh and healthy.
It’s all from God, because no one can do all these things if God has not deposited something in him, hence my name Chinedu (God leads).
Events and a good subject also motivate me, and when there is a muse, my choice of words are excellent.
By muse you mean what?
It has to be a friend, someone that makes me happy and if I’m in love, better for me.
Coping with night life of entertainers
It has really been a big challenge especially because of my involvement in the Church where I still serve as a youth leader. Being in the club on a Friday night and leading a fellowship on Sunday morning has never been easy, but I thank God who has shown me how to balance the whole thing.
How do you balance it?
I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I don’t just wake up and go to a night club if I’m not there to cover an event. Whenever I find myself in such places, I do my job and leave.
As a youth leader
Leadership is something I can’t tell how I got myself into it. I just let God use me in doing his work and in my church, Methodist Church Nigeria, I’m the vice president of the youth fellowship in the diocese of Owerri, and circuits president in Orji Circuit. The truth is working for God is never what anyone can struggle to do, if He chooses a man, he will surely surround that man with what he needs. It is never political, rather spiritual and I’ll never regret serving God with my time and resources.
Dangers in what you do
For sure there are lots of dangers in this business. We are talking about the image of entertainers here, we make or mar it and when what you are writing is on the negative side, you have to watch your back.
Sometime ago I wrote something about Tontoh Dike and later realized I was wrong in that analysis, I had to unpublished the article. Sometimes people don’t want to talk where I am because they fear that I will write with what I heard.
The industry then and now
The truth is I knew little or nothing about the industry before I came in, but I still recall me saying in a TV interview at Orient TV, that what I’m out for is to see that artistes here are known worldwide and I think we are achieving that gradually because Imolites based abroad now want to promote themselves on www.otowngist.com.
The industry is moving from unknown to known. Other media houses like radio and TV stations are doing their bits, but having a site with 90% of its content coming from Imo State, means it has placed the state on world map of entertainment and with time we would be making a mark that will shake the industry.
I see the industry catching up with others if certain conditions are met.
Conditions like what?
Conditions like artistes making sure that what they are bringing out is promo worthy, media houses in the state should also be willing to support them.
It is quite unfortunate that all we do is celebrate people we have not met and people we don’t know, instead of making our own celebrities. If we all can promote ‘local’ entertainers in the state, before 2013 runs out, we would have made close to 20 celebrities whom other states will join us in celebrating.
Some media houses spend time talking about national and internationals stars who cannot even follow them back on twitter or even give them a mention, forgetting the ‘locals’.
When they want to talk about the local artistes, they charge them so much, forgetting that it is the same free promo they have already wasted on someone who doesn’t need it. This trend has to change because it can never help the industry here.
Individuals and corporate bodies still have their roles to play, although some are doing their bits currently, more of them are still needed.
Can the government help?
As far as I’m concerned, the state government has had no hand in entertainment since they came. Recently an open letter to the governor went online and until now nothing has been done by his Excellency.
I will always remind him of a glaring quote he put at Okigwe road roundabout which reads ‘Politicians think of the next election, while leaders think of the next generation’
If he wants the next generation of this state to have stars that will rise above the level of Dr Sir Warrior, Charley Boy and Onyeka Owenu, he should do something to rescue the entertainers of this generation who will serve as mentors for those coming in the next generation.
Anyone close to him should make him read that letter.
Do you work alone?
No. I have my crew. They are four of them now, although there is supposed to be more but those ones are not active.
We are currently working on expanding our coverage especially around the campuses and I’m also bringing them into main field, making them report beyond the walls of the school because all of them are students.
Relationship with the female members
Someone once asked me if I only work with pretty girls, and I laughed at him. The girls in my crew are wonderful people and I love the attitude they put to work.
They are hard working, intelligent and smart and if you are waiting to hear that I’m dating one of them, the answer is no. All I know is that my phone conversation with the three of them starts with ‘honey how are you’. We are friends and they are also like sisters to me. The same thing with the only guy there who has been my family friend since I knew him.
Aside writing, I love singing, chatting, acting, teaching and even though I have stopped playing football, I still love the game so much. One thing I still don’t know how to do is dancing.
How far did you go in football?
Not too far, but I will simply say that I tried, I played for my university, captained my department, faculty and community. I won silver medal in NYSC football completion with Team Edo State, scoring the fastest goal of the tournament at Old Parade Ground Abuja. That will always be one of my best moments as a footballer and I still remember the celebration.
Aside playing, I’m a diehard fan of Liverpool football club, it will sound awkward to some people, but all I tell them is, You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Your decision to sing
I decided to put my God given talent to use. It was a tough decision but it was worth it. I had doubts about my voice and confidence, but something keeps telling me to go for it and I’ve started studio works little by little.
It has to be nothing but gospel. Contemporary gospel to be precise and any language I can speak could be on my lyrics.
Your birthday song
It is more of a mixtape. I did it with Acharaman, De Dukes, LMG, Kozy and Pluto. It was so much fun for me because I had to rap that night, kudos to Acharaman who encouraged me to face the microphone with my rhymes.
When will you marry?
That’s a question I hear at least once in a week and I’ve gotten used to it. Marriage is not something you run into because you have fame or money, or because you want to make money from your wedding. But three conditions have to be met. You have to be ready, there has to be the right lady and it has to be the will of God as well.
What level are you in now?
Nobody would say that to the public, but everyone surely has a plan.
Would that be with your muse?
(Laughs) There are three steps, once they are fulfilled; we will ring the wedding bells, for now my lips are sealed.