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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Who won’t get fired from The Apprentice?


This is the fifth week after the premiere of The Apprentice Africa television show and Ugandan contestants continue to impress.

Last week, the two teams (Matrix and Zulu Corp) were driven to a hotel and asked to refurbish and redecorate two rooms to meet the cosy standards expected of a five-star hotel.

There was a twist; a girl was made task manager for Zulu Corp and vice versa. The "bullies" couldn't intimidate Kathleen. The indomitable Cameroonian exerted her authority, delegating tasks to make the tough Zulus look like humbled school boys.

In the Matrix camp, Omar's concept of "focus, accountability and cohesiveness" sounded like music to the ear but the good decorations and great colour coordination won over the judges who handed Zulu Corp victory. The CEO congratulated them before they were whisked off to be entertained by Nigeria's foremost artistes - Sasha and 2Face.

Matrix Corp with Omar (he should have worn a dress) faced the wrath of Shobanjo. "I'm just getting pissed off," he growled. "This is the third time I'm seeing you in four weeks. That's disastrous."

The girls turned their merciless claws on Omar, accusing him of autocracy, not listening to their ideas and doing particularly nothing. The robust Guinean tried to defend himself but was told to shut up his gob by Shobanjo, arguing that a leader has a responsibility of making his team reach the desired destination which he had not done.

"Omar, you are fired!!" he went off like a bomb. It was sad to see Omar go. He added admirable vivaciousness and executive quality to the show and that will be missed.

Overall, the varied personalities of contestants, drama, humour and intrigue make TAA irresistible. The imposing and unpredictable Shobanjo will give you a hearty laugh. And you cannot tell who he'll turn his guns on next. He sounds like a bullet and the style with which he "shoots" down contestants betrays his distaste for lazy bums and mediocrity.

He'll fire you and tell you to your face he has no apologies for firing you. If you thought American Idol adjudicator Simon Cowell was taut and sardonic, wait till you watch Shobanjo giving it to the boys.

In fact, the show would be boring without him. That he's a self-made African billionaire (he's the chairman of Troyka group and co-founder of Insight Grey, Nigeria's largest advertising agency) says much about his winning character.

This is one show one happily watches with their children without reservations. It tests the contestants' business mettle, marketing, management, leadership, public relations and problem-solving skills in a very entertaining and bright way.

It screens on WBS Sunday nights 8 to9p.m.

--Daily Monitor, March 29, 2008