Funmi Iyanda is a household name in Nigeria. her program, New Dawn with Funmi is an amazing platform — either to announce a campaign, advocate cause or discuss an issue of interest. Watched by millions of viewers every Monday and Wednesday, New Dawn with Funmi has become a force within Nigeria’s edu-infotainment space — bringing the millions of viewers face to face with dynamic individuals who are selected (as I eventually found out) based on intense research and a strong need for what they have to offer.
My first invitation to the show was for the Get Better (official name of Wednesday shows) session of July 13, 2005. It was an interesting discussion on how to overcome fear, and if you saw that show you would have thought that myself and Niyi Adesanya had met before that day — not true. I walked into the NTA studio and noticed two other young men waiting for the recording to start — Uju (author of a number of books, including “In the Words of Pat Utomi”, etc) and Niyi Adesanya (who I’ve come to know as the de-facto authority on Leadership issues in our generation). After the show, a number of friends called to confirm how important the discussions was — and a few others sent eMails to ask further questions. Sometime in August 2005, I was invited again for a show (aired on August 31) that deliberately focused on the possible role of ICTs in personal development. Funmi Iyanda was not the host, but Peju did a great job that once again underscores the need for institutionalising processes.
A few days ago, I was having a post-event lunch with the organisers of a seminar at the Federal Polythecnic (Ado Ekiti) — where I’d spoken on the theme, Don’t Stop! Exemplary Leadership through Continued and Result-Oriented Personal Development. My phone rang, and it was the FI (as Funmi Iyanda was foindly called while getting ready for the February 1 show) team again. This time, they wanted me to discuss hope. This becomes necessary, especially following the previous weeks discussion that saw a few young people asking questions about hope in the midst of darkness. Recorded on the last day of January and aired on the first day of February, the show was another interesting session — and it also featured Jerome (a counsellor). Beginning with the fact that frustration should not be seen as a final destination but an opportunity to recognize that you are dissatisfied with the present status (and plot a move-on strategy), I tried to paint a picture for other young people. My major assertion was that, “each one of us must be responsible for the success — or otherwise — of our lives. If you fail in the days of adversity, its not because you went to the wrong school, were born into the wrong family, or any other excuse, it is because your strength is small… when it is darkest, it is another opportunity for even little light to shine!”
There were some amazing thoughts that flowed from Funmi (herself), Jerome, and the audience. I must confess that I was literally tripped when I logged on to Funmi Iyanda’s website on February 1 and saw that the day’s show had been archived (text and a few images). The fact that Funmi has taken the all-important work online shows the relevance of her tasks to this Net-Generation. The focus on mentorship, values, hard work and fulfilment are spelt out on the website. Radiating quality, and revealing depth of content, the New Dawn with Funmi website (www.newdawnwithfunmi.com) is a favourite destination for young people who are with me on the journey of personal development, nation building, regional cooperation and global participation!