My Companion Review

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My Companion magazine highlights opportunities for investment and trade in West Africa especially Nigeria and countries in the Co-Prosperity Alliance Zone (COPAZ) namely Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana. Other ECOWAS countries are equally looked at for economic and investment opportunities.

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My Companion Review

  1. 1. ‘MY COMPANION’-A REVIEW (A Publication on Business and Leisure) By Adebayo Olowo-Ake Usually, one is admonished never to mix business with pleasure. There is however no warning not to engage in business and leisure. In fact medical practitioners expressly encourage business persons to ensure they rest and play as hard as they work. It would appear as if the publishers of My Companion totally accept this dictum and have proceeded to producing what should perhaps rank as the first business and leisure magazine in Nigeria. My Companion is an all-gloss, 56 –page publication designed to serve as a companion for business and leisure, offering you opportunities to expose as well as advance the marketing of your products and services to domestic and foreign markets. It also provides an avenue through which you can create awareness of your specific areas of business endeavour to the expatriate community as well as the very influential diplomatic community accredited to Nigeria. If we recognize that ECOWAS is headquartered in Abuja, the peculiar and unquantifiable advantage which My Companion gives today’s business person can be considered to be unique indeed. The magazine has come at an auspicious time in the economic and political life of Nigeria, as several governments take a cue from the Federal administration to woo foreign investors with a view to creating employment in their territories as well as growing foreign direct investment in the country. Several Governors have made monumental achievements in this regard, and those who readily come to mind are Governors Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State, Donald Duke of Cross River, Saminu Turaki of Jigawa, Adamu Mu’azu of Bauchi, Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom and Adamu Aliero of Kebbi. These Governors have combined economic development projects with tourism development, seemingly supporting the theme of My Companion which, as I highlighted at the top of this commentary, is providing information on business and leisure to a discerning critical mass. In effect, the names of these Governors are synonymous with such projects as the new Olumo Rock and the Bilikusu Sugbo Shrine also known as the tomb of the Queen of Sheba; Tinapa and the Obudu Cattle Ranch and Resort; the ‘wired desert’ otherwise known as the Jigawa ICT initiative; Yankari Games Reserve; the Ibom Golf Resort and of course, the Argungu Motor Rally as well as the accompanying Fishing Festival. It is no surprise therefore that My Companion has indeed found companionship in these articulate projects designed to signpost Nigeria as an emerging tourism powerhouse. When this is added to the rapidly growing telecoms sector, the on-going revival of the power sector, the massively growing oil and gas sector, where new fields are being uncovered by the day, 1
  2. 2. as well as the phenomenal growth of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, one can better appreciate the salient importance of this magazine for the economy and development aspiration of Nigeria at this point in time. The location of a new United Nations city in Abuja, the massive ECOWAS administrative and judicial infrastructure also domiciled in Abuja as well as the large delegation of the European Union in Nigeria provide the magazine a unique opportunity not just to expose the economic potential of Nigeria and the growing success of Nigerian entrepreneurs, but also to provide a meeting point between business and domestic as well as international policy makers and institutions. My Companion has several features, including those on what it calls information rapid access (IRA), information and communication technology, Nigerian news in brief, world business news, leisure, destination, investing in a brand and a well structured set of pages on diplomacy and diplomatic fact sheet. In this day and age when the Federal Government is working hard to correct the often erroneous impression created about Nigeria by those few unscrupulous citizens who engage in ungentlemanly and unladylike activities abroad, My Companion provides comprehensive information on what it takes to do business in Nigeria and with Nigerians, detailing key market indicators across the oil and gas sector, ICT and telecommunications, aviation and avionics, constructions, power and energy and of course agriculture. This could help direct foreigners in particular towards the right channels within the Nigerian economy. It also provides a very useful business calendar of various business projects and activities throughout the twelve months of the year. In the particular edition of the magazine being presented today, the growing importance and strategic role of Asia in global business and finance is recognized through a featured article on Singapore. It is presented in a very pictorial format, using a style woven around bullet points, which makes it easy to read and to digest. The Jigawa ICT initiative also features prominently, presenting the basic fact to those who may have heard of what Governor Turaki has done in that flat, arid, geographical space without an opportunity of visiting the area. For example, the Informatics Institute of the ICT-based Kazaure University is connected to the Jigawa backbone and is running internationally accredited programmes in partnership with institutions in the UK and Australia, while the entire State, which until recently had one of the most primitive telecoms infrastructure in Nigeria, now has on ground a system that streams voice, data and video to young people, schools, university students, as well as a confident and focused young business elite who are growing the economy of the State. In tourism and leisure, My Companion has a bold mission to provide comprehensive information on what is available in the country as well as 2
  3. 3. encourage their patronage. It is incredible indeed that Nigeria, which has more vegetation zones than Kenya and therefore more animal and plant species has largely abandoned tourism development until the arrival of the Obasanjo administration in 1999. Many of the national parks in the country, such as the Borgu Game Reserve which is the traditional niche for lions, the Kainji National Park, the Oyo National Park, the Yankari Game Reserve, to mention just a few, were left to rot as it were until the challenge thrown by President Obasanjo to States to seek additional sources of domestic capital generation, what is popularly called IGR here (internally generated revenue). My Companion is therefore rendering national service of sorts with its dedicated features on leisure in Nigeria. The Dead Sea is the destination of choice in the current edition of the magazine as it splashes pictures of the exotic locations within and around the sea. The city of Eilat is Israel’s top international resort and is also featured prominently in this edition, with panoramic and breathtaking pictures. To back up these features, a very revealing interview is given by His Excellency, Mr. Yair Frommer, Deputy Ambassador of the State of Israel to Nigeria. You need to read this interview as it provides crucial information on Israel, as well as on Israeli-Nigerian relations. In all, My Companion is a well-produced magazine, written in simple, easy- to-understand language, interspersed with a lot of colourful pictures to illustrate those stories. Its cover page is attractive and its cover price of five hundred naira is affordable. The challenge before the publishers would be to ensure that they remain in the market and grow their readership in such a way as to sustain their dominance of this field of journalism. It is also important for the magazine to have a sister-publication on the internet in order to take full advantage of what technology has to offer publishing. One would also like a lot more in-depth information and features on the Asian countries particularly China, which is fast growing into a mega power. All said and done, My Companion is indeed a worthy publication to have in your company in these times when information is knowledge and when knowledge can easily be translated into power. That power is what you need to take you places in today’s global village. I thank you for your kind attention. Adebayo Olowo-Ake, who works for an international humanitarian organization has written several articles and published widely. Lagos, Thursday April 5th, 2007. 3

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