Changing Narratives… Sparking Innovation: Tedx Ogunu Leads The Way In Warri
Ogunu, a little known rustic and farming community in Warri, Delta state Nigeria recently played host to a convergence of over 100 young minds from different businesses and career dispensations, a network of extraordinary young leaders, entrepreneurs, executives, media representatives and 7 speakers through the TEDx Platform – an international platform that spark ideas and find innovative solutions to local issues.
Aptly called TEDx Ogunu and convened by young entrepreneur, Orode Uduaghan, the one day event bore the theme, “restructuring the future through innovative ideas” with a diverse lineup of speakers on various topics ranging from Education & education policy for disadvantaged communities, Public Health issues, Digital Marketing, Leadership and Growth, Changing the African Narrative through storytelling, amongst others. The speakers were Segun Manuel, an entrepreneur and motivational speaker; Tonye Solomon, CEO, GidiRealtor ltd and a consultant; Charles Odii, the visionary behind SME100 Nigeria; Olisa Azinge, a lawyer; O’tega Ogra, corporate affairs personality and Group Head of Corprorate Communications at Nigeria’s BUA Group; Marilyn Okowa-Daramola, a lawyer, educational activist, and co-founder of the Michael & Marilyn Foundation, and Onye Ubanatu, development filmmaker, producer and director..
According to Orode, “Warri and Delta state in general has come a long way. The dream to host TEDx Ogunu was borne froim my childhood experiences and a burning need to reshape the narrative for Warri, Delta State and Nigeria as a whole. TEDx Ogunu is not the TEDx even where we only speak about ideas… TEDx Ogunu is the TEDx event where we work towards implementing ideas. That was the goal when we put this together and this vision was shared on our @TEDxOGUNU handle on various social media platforms.”
“Warri is hardly known for anything other than the repertoire of comedians that have blossomed from there. However, a solid ecosystem of start-ups, entrepreneurs, agri-preneurs, IT and Co-creation hubs have sprouted in recent years but have not received as much coverage. We must support them, tell our stories and present our narratives in a way that will let the world acknowledge these strides.”
“We also used an innovative organizational approach during the planning which led to an almost completely volunteer-managed event and ensured that local businesses and personalities had time to share their visions before introducing speakers. This has already led to some possible collaborations which my team and I are midwifing.”
To further buttress Ms. Uduaghan’s resolve towards using the TEDx platform to bring about innovative change in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, Orode led a team that included some speakers for the event to see the Governor of Delta State, Gov. Okowa who was impressed by the level of organisation and listened intently to the ideas that were share., He also committed to supporting the implementation of these ideas as they would lead to improvements in the quality of lives of citizens of Delta state.
One of the speakers, Onye Ubanatu, a documentary filmmaker who is also the CEO of MPML Media said, “TEDx Ogunu provided a platform to change the narrative surrounding Warri and be an inspiration to others. As someone who grew up in Warri, I realized early in life, the importance of knowing that every experience prepares an individual for a bigger picture and provides an opportunity to inspire others. It is thus very important that we articulate our processes, keep walking and moving forward knowing that there is much to learn and shared for the greater good. TEDx Ogunu provided just that platform.
It wasn't all about the speakers alone that day, there was room for vendors & entrepreneurs to interact and network. “It has come and gone. Now it is time for implementation of the ideas raised. It is not just about indigenes making their communities great alone, but it is a helpful place to start. It does not have to be ideas or attendees of the just concluded TEDx Ogunu that have a say in what progressive steps need to be taken but we are positive that we have gingered their consciousness towards innovative change. It's time we as Nigerians see Nigeria as a whole, as a worthwhile stake to invest in”. Orode declared.