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Personalities Of The Event Industry: Read HEB Exclusive Interview With Michael Ofili aka Grand Komanda



Michael Ofili Chijindu popularly known as Grand Komanda kicked off his comedy career from Niger State in 2009. He attended Abia State University and he drew old and young both inside and outside the country to his attention, making him one of the best MC for event. The multi-talented comedian in this chat with HEB talks about himself, career, reputation in event, and more.

Grand Komanda

Helen:  Kindly introduce yourself and give us a snap shot from the beginning of your career to date.

Grand komanda:  My names are Michael Ofili Chijindu. I’m from Asaba in delta state. I’m popularly known with the stage name Grand komanda, a name I got in 2009 whilst in Niger state which also happens to be where my comedy career took full flight. I started of as an MC back in Abia State University where I hosted fellowship concerts and dinner nights for different campus fellowships.

The choice of comedy started out professionally 8yrs ago. When I was invited and asked what I’d charge to host a beauty contest at the NYSC camp Minna. It was at that moment I realised I could earn a living from this. Prior to that I had been doing shows for free. Well its been an awesome journey having to build a brand and service for various calibre of clientele. I’m from a particularly funny family and that rubbed off on me pretty early in secondary school and university. I’ve been doing this since 2009 and I must say it’s been an awesome and amazing journey.

Helen: What is the most memorable event you have anchored? 

Grand komanda:  Most memorable event. Hmmmmmm. Well If I must say, they’ve all been memorable to me because I place a high level of importance to every single event I host, MC or perform at. But I can say the most remarkable would have to be CIBN (Chartered Institute of Bankers) 100th year anniversary in 2012. It was remarkable because it had in attendance about 4 past Nigerian Heads of State and I felt so honoured standing in front of these great men of high pedigree. 
However my most memorable event would have to be the day I stood before God in heaven and tell him a few jokes. Hahahahahahaha!!!! But seriously as a Nigerian it’ll be the day I’m asked to MC an event that would have the then Nigerian president in attendance, of course in Aso Rock Villa.

Helen:  How have you built such an excellent reputation in the event industry?

Grand komanda:  Wow. Let me say I’m flattered by you saying i’ve built an excellent reputation ooooo. Well thanks. But I’m work in progress you know and soon we will get there. For any one who starts off in any given field of endeavour there are always people who have ventured into that field. It’s only wise and expected that you learn from the masters. So over the years i’ve learnt a lot from Alibaba, Holy Mallam, Mc Abbey and Jedi. And believe me these lessons have helped me in various ways. However my philosophy in the business simply put is “ONE EVENT AT A TIME”. I have had that on my chest from the beginning and it’s paying and will pay off. One event at a time simply means doing my very best at each event am opportune to host. Client satisfaction and job delivery. 

Helen: Considering the vast amount of weddings/events you have anchored, what has been the highlights?

Grand komanda:  Highlights? I’d say getting bookings to host weddings and birthdays shows and various events outside Nigeria. That’s a major highlight because it simply shows people have come to associate, respect and admire what I do and its uniqueness. Leaving the shores of Nigeria after hosting countless events and going with the same trace across borders i consider that God’s faithfulness.

Helen: What do you think is the event industry’s biggest problem?

Grand komanda:  Hmmmmm. This is huge. But let me try and be as brief as possible. The event industry in Nigeria involves both Musicians, Dancers, Actors, Comedians, Mc’s, Makeup Artistes, Bouncers, Ushers, Caterers, Show Promoters, Marketers, Event Cordinators, and Planners etc. Well the major problem i’d say is “Value”. I’d say that because for every profession mentioned above its a creative field and requires creative abilities too. But the persons who we render the service to and Nigerians to a large extent don’t place the required value on the persons who offer this service. Take for example comedians, the business of making people laugh isn’t an easy one and so many a times people down-play the value and cost for securing the services of comedians saying ” Is it not just to come and talk”. Forgetting the fact or they’ve being blind to the psychological and intellectual quotient required to actually get people to laugh either by telling jokes or gesticulations. It’s not easy being in front of an audience of a 100 people or more and get them cracked up so when you under price a talent or an act, it makes one feel bad. 

Helen: What has been the challenges of anchoring weddings/events?
Grand komanda: Every wedding or event is unique in its own way. But if I must say a major challenge often has to do with timing i.e. the Nigerian time factor, and other various reasons.

Helen: If you woke up tomorrow at the beginning of your career, but with the knowledge you have now, what actions would you make a priority when starting again?

Grand komanda:  I pretty much think i’d start out by working my way to the top. Make more efforts at networking and brand positioning.

Helen:  What are the toughest decisions you’ve had to take in your career?

Grand komanda:  The toughest would be refusing to follow the status quo and doing things a lot more differently. Forgive me for not giving more details ooooo.

Helen: How has social media helped your business?
Grand komanda:  It’s been really helpful as it’s helped put the brand name Grand komanda out there. Prior to now marketing was done one on one or via other soft sell and print materials but now it’s pretty easy for anyone anywhere in the world to see what you do via social media. So its helped a whole lot. It’s also helped one build a closer relationship with fans of my brand and what I do. I’m able to get comments, criticism and all from them via social media. Also job referrals all thanks to social media.

Helen: What did you ‘learn the hard way’ on the job?
Grand komanda:  I learnt unless you place value and worth on what you do as a comedian, no one is going to do that for you. I remember collecting #2,500 naira back in 2008/2009. But over the years there’s been an increase in value and that has effected so much.

Helen:  How do you unwind after a big event?

Grand komanda:  I’m a lover of music so i listen to a lot of music and i also go to the cinema with friends.

Helen:  Describe yourself in two words? 

Grand komanda:  That’s really hard because i always hear people say i don’t look like a comedian and i simply smile, but when i get down from the stage they say they never knew i could say or do all i did on stage. Handsome and Funny i   could go on and on. So Handsome and Funny that will be it. 

Helen: Words to live by?

Grand komanda:  You’re in competition with no one. Live life one day at a time. Everyone has a place find your place and function therein.

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