On January 1st, 2012, the Nigerian government removed fuel subsidy creating a lot of reactions from Nigerians home and aboard, in less than 48hrs, what started as an avatar on twitter moved beyond bothers and became the Identity for the Occupy Nigeria protests. Circulated via twitter, facebook, BBM and other social media platforms, the logo became the mark for the people's struggle, It became our twitter avatar, BBM display pictures, and facebook profile pictures, It took me a while to arrange an interview with the man behind the occupy Nigeria logo the most popular movement logo in the history Nigeria and beyond, Zakari Ahmadu.
OluyomiOjo: Who is Zakari Ahmadu?
ZA: My name is Zakari Ahmadu, my father is from a village on the banks of River Niger in Kogi state while my mother was from Abangana in Njikoka LGA, Anambra, she passed four days before my NYSC passing out, on the Lokoja-Abuja express way which the government has abandoned for years, so you see why I'm very involved in the protests. I was borned in Kaduna, studied Agricultural Education in Ahmadu Bello University. I am presently teaching primary one pupils art and computer. i am a self trained graphic artist.
OluyomiOjo: Tell us about the Occupy Nigeria logo, your motivation and how it came into existence.
ZA: It all started with the fuel subsidy removal, GEJ's New Year gift to Nigeria. The next day, I went with my wife to the protest at Eagle Square, signed the register only for us to be harrased and teargased. I was so pissed at how insensitive the government was to attack peaceful protesters and even arrest the organisers. I got home, took my asthma medicine and decided to get other people to see how inept our government was - This i did via my facebook page. The logo which was inspired by the global symbol of the occupy protest and black history organisation. I never knew it was going to become the official logo for the Occupy Nigeria protests. I put it up as my Blackberry display picture and my facebook profile page, got in touch with Zainab Usman who was one of the organisers of the Occupy protests, the rest till this moment, still got me dumbfounded. The logo started appearing everywhere, people started visiting my page to download the logo, so i kept developing high resolution image for different states that joined and uploaded them to the occupyNigeria page. It was then i realised i did not even add name, or contact on the images. But my greatest joy is that it was accepted. The point is that Nigerians used the logo to effect change, and I got lucky everyone used my logo.
Zakari with Mallam Elrufai
OluyomiOjo: Have you recieved any referral based on the logo, has it produced any promotional result for you?
ZA: yeah, one major one was a call from an Airline company upnorth, was on my way there
when the Kano bombings started. Got other projects showing up here in Abuja, but beyond this projects, it's my joy to have my work out there, making change. It's a beautiful humbling thing to be part of.
OluyomiOjo: Any advice for other young creatives?
ZA: sure, channel all your energy, life, hate, disappointments, joy and anger into creative channels. Creativity is beyond paper qualifications.
Preparation+opportunity = success.
OluyomiOjo: Thank you very much Zakari, it really was a wonderful time chatting with you.