ROLE MODEL OF THE WEEK- EJAY IKONNEH- CEO OF ULUMMA-B NIGERIAN AND IGBO RESTAURANT

John Junior Ikonneh Son of John and Maria Ulumma Ikonneh and the youngest of their six children. Born in the United Kingdom in 1967 John has lived a quite textured life. He was a singer and actor and writer in the early 80s. In the late 80s early 90s he ran a comedy club with his cousin before that he mentored young people and became a youth worker, working in Hackney, Harlesden and Kilburn. In 1992 he organised a live show at a world famous venue in the heart of Hackney.

He had an idea to have a 3 panel Judge system, of which he was one, to determine which artists, singers, dancers and performers in Hackney would grace the stage of the live show. The word go out and we had queues of people around the country and neighbouring boroughes coming to audition to win a spot on the live show at the Hackney Empire (this idea would never catch on) The show was a success because at that time we were living in Thatchers’ Britain where unemployment was a high a 67% of black youth unemployment compared to 37% white youth unemployment.

Around 1999 John arranged his own work experience with Hackney council as time became financially tough for him and I.T was the new black. He offered what little knowledge he had gathered about I.T after doing a failed course in MCSE Microsoft Certificate. After redefining the meaning of failure to “oops” it was time for a new strategy to get up to that mountain. Although John had an ability called Dyslexia his thinking modality was never designed for theory based learning.

It was very much role up your sleeves and get elbow deep for total accumulation and emersion of learning. Learning was difficult for John because he always saw learning as a punishment. His father was a violent man when he was child. His father would beat or punish him for playing and used books as a way of stopping his fun. So the association of fun, enjoyment and freedom was shut down with “Have you read your books” or “Go read your books” or his fathers favourite catch-phase “Go to the garden and bring me a stick” As much as we today can talk about black families and fathers beating their children and laugh about it. His rage and violence left lasting psychological problems to his two older brothers. One of which he no longer speaks to.

It was God’s Grace and Mercy as to why he survived the mental torture. The need to serve others was born out of the loneliness of Childhood. As he grew up he wondered if other people had experienced what I had endured. The isolation and fear, confused identity being a British born Igbo, who lived in three worlds. First world his fathers house in Hackney was Igbo land. Second World United Kingdom at School and third world when he was in neither situation. They had but not like Johns’.

In 2004 John discovered NLP and Hypnotherapy. He trained as a Hypnotherapist in 2005 and helped many people. It was a rewarding experience and he soon entered the world of personal development. He still helps people today where he can. The Birth of Ulumma-B The Nigerian Igbo Restaurant and Bar is an opportunity to serve, to be kind, to be welcoming and to set a standard by which all African Restaurant can follow so that All African Restaurant can be a might force in the Catering market in the UK and Europe.

About Tony Tokunbo Eteka Fernandez

Tony Tokunbo Eteka Fernandez is an International Award Winner, Published Author & Poet, Broadcast Journalist, MC and Youth Empowerment Consultant . He is also The CEO of AFRICA4U and The Founder of Africans in The Diaspora People also see him as a Cultural and Social entrepreneur, which means he is skilled in working with many different communities, bringing people together in successful focused events. Tony has organised many cultural events …involving both BME and mainstream communities. He is skilled in hosting events that reinforce community cohesion and bringing different kinds of people together. He has organised events in The UK, The U.S.A, Holland, Germany, Romania, Malta and Nigeria and has visited over 22 European Countries. Tony has also organised The Black History Month Celebrations at The UK House of Parliament for over five years in a row He continues to promote the true life and success stories of Africans in Europe and Africans around the world and has organised several small scale literary and awards initiatives aimed at empowering young people. He has also spent time as an International broadcaster and was The Producer and Presenter for AFRICA4U International Radio Talk Show at Reading4u Radio Station for nearly three years. Tony has interviewed high profile Members of Parliament, Distinguished celebrities and some of Africas best musicians including Ivonne Chaka Chaka and Kanda Bongoman. He has also been a guest on BBC Radio on numerous occasions to discuss the community cohesion events he organises at UK House of Parliament and also to recite some of his published work in memory of Nelson Mandela, 50 Years Anniversary of The race relations act and major community issues. Tony has also a Guest on popular Radio stations in Nigeria and The States In the last few years he has been very passionate about Youth empowerment, community cohesion and cultural intelligence. Tony was born in South London and has lived in several parts of England and Nigeria . He started writing at the tender age of nine, a habit he expressed with creative enthusiasm. Tony writes Poetry, short stories and proverbs on personal development. He is currently working on his 4th book which will also be his first novel. He is also into Public Speaking at Special events and Social functions and is a Mentor for young people in the UK Community. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at The University of Lagos, Nigeria in English and World Literature. He later went on to attain a teaching qualification at The Frances King International Training Institute, South Kensington London, it was here he studied Teaching English as a Foreign Language. He also studied Web Design at The City University in London. He published his first book in June 1999 called “The Beauty in the Dark” (A Collection of Poetry which received critical acclamation in many circles around the world). .Tony’s aim in life is to inspire the young generation and to encourage the youth to make the very best of their dreams and aspirations,. He published a 2nd book in June 2009 called ” The Sound of Running Water” – A Family gift book of proverbs and quotations on Personal Development and Positive Thinking . In December 2009, he published his 3rd book called “One Moment of Peace”.- A collection of Poetry inspired by personal experiences and spiritual growth. Besides the fact that the Artist has won International online awards, he is mostly inspired by Life experience, love, music and cultural awareness. He was Resident Poet at the 5th London Poetry Festival in 2009 and has been a guest on BBC Radio on very many occassions including The famous Anne Diamond Show. He has also been a guest on a few SKY TV stations and several International Radio Stations around The World
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s