by ‘Ifreke Inyang
Nmachi Jidenma is a digital media publisher and a business/technology writer via the Pan-African website, Celebrating Progress Africa (CP-Africa.com).
“Being young and Nigerian means being fearless and limitless.”
At what point in time did you decide to go into what you are currently doing?
It started about two years ago. I had just graduated from university and was waiting to start Graduate school. I was incredibly passionate about the Africa space and decided to keep myself updated with the latest issues, topics and trends via social media and blogging.
Has it always been a passion for you?
Yes, most definitely. It has always been a passion for me. I have always loved to write and I have always loved keeping up with the continent. Doing this is just an outward expression of an inner obsession and passion.
Did you have anybody/people as role models?
Yes, certainly. I admire my mother. She is a very strong and driven woman and her belief in me keeps me going. Also, I admire Ndidi Nwuneli of LEAP Africa. Her NGO, LEAP Africa was a big influence in my life when I was a teenager. I also really admire Pete Cashmore, founder of Mashable.com. I find the fact that he has been able to build such a well-known technology website in such a short period of time and at such a young age to be really inspiring.
What was growing up like? Was there anything about growing up that influenced you to go into it?
When I was growing up, my father inundated me with books and implanted a love for oral and written communication in me. Cadence and rhythm in oral and written communication fascinated him and I soon picked up this fascination. He had profound respect for the art of writing. I do too and I think my job every day is to pay homage to this art by growing and learning constantly in the writing field.
How did you start off?
It started off somewhat innocuously. I started by sharing interesting links about the continent on my Facebook wall consistently without realising it. I only realised how consistent I was when a friend sent me a Facebook message saying she visited my wall often to check out what was new and interesting on the continent. Eventually, I moved the links and my thoughts to a blog for easier navigation, interaction and scaling.
Would you say the capabilities you have are as a result of hard work and training?
Yes, I would definitely say so. Hard work is a must and training is very essential. But even more important, is a passion and love for what one does. I am proudly an obsessive blogger and this is why hard work comes naturally. If I didn’t like writing and staying on top of news about the continent so much, I probably wouldn’t work as hard. Passion is key.
Was there any time you considered quitting?
Was there a time I considered quitting? Never. (Laughs)
What would you say is the biggest risk you have taken in your career?
I wouldn’t really say I have taken any big risks yet. I love what I do and so most of my actions seem justified at the time.
What are some of the challenges you face in convincing clients about your abilities?
Sometimes being young means that people don’t take your ideas seriously. However, this quickly morphs into respect as soon as you consistently prove yourself.
What is the industry you work in like in Nigeria as compared to what is obtainable overseas? Is competition stiff?
Nigeria’s digital media landscape is quite nascent compared to most countries. This is both a good and a bad thing. It means it is relatively easier to establish one’s brand online in a shorter period of time since the space is just picking up. On the flip side, it also means that it is a lot more difficult for one’s brand to scale to global standards given the relatively low number of Internet users.
However, I think this is only temporary as Nigeria’s Internet penetration rate is currently rising exponentially with the expansion of broadband access. The future is extremely bright.
What is your reaction to the high number of young people either roaming the streets looking jobs and who have been frustrated in spite of what they are capable of doing?
I think it is highly unfortunate because there are so many opportunities in Nigeria. There are opportunities everywhere – in Information and Communication Technology, agriculture, manufacturing, you name it. The Nigerian government needs to be more creative about its job creation strategies so that young Nigerians can put their creative energies to good use.
What is your most memorable experience?
Most days are memorable. I enjoy breaking and sharing news.
If you are not into what you are doing, what would you be doing?
I would probably be doing strategy consulting. I like business strategy a lot. It is a second passion of mine.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the next five years, hopefully, I would be doing the same thing only on a larger scale and with greater impact.
What do you love most about Nigeria?
I love Nigerians. We are interesting, funny, driven and we have an infectious positive “can-do” spirit.
What does being young and Nigerian mean to you?
Being young and Nigerian means being fearless and limitless. There are challenges in the polity but as young Nigerians, we must rise above those challenges by persevering and succeeding despite the odds.
Do you plan to relocate probably to continue with what you do abroad?
Certainly. I have such plans.