Gina Ehikodi Ojo is the CEO of Geenamoore and Associates and the MD of Foodies and Spice Nigeria Limited.
A Law graduate with over 15 years experience in Media Content Production and Channel Administration.
Gina started out in media as a teen actress and script writer in 1998, She played the Lead role of Tobi in the movie Colours of Tomorrow, a movie exposing the dangers of Child Marriage which leads to Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF).
After Graduating from the Nigerian Law School Lagos, she rose to the position of Head Corporate Development Officer at Virtual Media Limited, owners of Nigezie and Orisun TV Channels where she worked for about 6 years.
1n 2012, She joined WAP Productions Limited to lead the team in setting up the WAP TV channel and was the General Manager for 5 years
Geenamoore and Associates which she now leads fully since 2017, is a Media Content Production company creating and producing TV and Online Contents, including below the Line Experiential Activation for Brands and also offers media consultancy services.
The ever vibrant Award winning Food & Lifestyle Television Personality of Popular Tv Show, Foodies &Spice, Gina Ehikodi Ojo in an interview with Team Zivang talks about Motherhood, Living a Healthy Lifestyle and Her Career.
From research, you talked about where you came from cooking good food is very important, Tell us more about your growing up?
Many women around my childhood inspired me to be the cook that I am today, There were Lots of hardworking women to draw inspiration from, My grandmother, my mother were both super hard workers, they always found a way to own their own.
Did any of this inspire you to be a Chef?
The desire to “own my own”, I come from a Lineage of females who truly owned their own. They were not millionaires or Billionaires, but women who had a sense of independence, Women who have love for family and women who took up challenges, Being born and Living in better times with opportunities that they didn’t have, I can’t help but do better to make the Ancestral mothers proud and also leave an Amazing Legacy for those coming after.
What motivated you to start up this cooking show despite your busy schedule as mum and General Manager at WAPTV?.
Education is very important, Whenever I am asked the question about being a Lawyer and media personality I just say it is very simple. One is an Educational career (so I will never get hungry) ,The other is Passion (so I can enjoy what I do). So it is really fun and easy.
Let’s talk about being a Lawyer and Media personality?
My firm does Legal consultations for individuals and companies register trademarks, copyright, incorporate companies, draft agreements etc. While on the other side, I enjoy entertaining with my food on Foodies and Spice, Producing and directing various other media contents, even organizing Food festivals, line brand activation.
Foodies and Spice TV show has gotten huge viewership over the years, Any positive feedback on how this helped Home makers?
I get daily feedback from fans of the show both online and TV, yes the fan base has grown over 6 to 7 years now. What I get from fans the most is how Foodies and Spice has helped their cooking. Trust me not just women tell me this, even men, they tell me how their cooking has improved and they are happier for it.
How do you balance being a Homemaker and Career woman?
I prioritize, Some things which are more important than others. My child cannot have a fever and you expect me to be in a meeting, we will have to postpone that meeting. So balancing the home front and career is not an issue, we always know what comes first and what is important at the moment.
What’s your take on postpartum depression and how it can be tackled in the Nigerian society?
Postpartum depression is real and people should be educated about it, especially those who are around any new mum, they have to be more understanding of a new mum’s plight, trust me the Lack of sleep from tending to a new born can even add to the depression. Lending a helping hand and showing genuine love to a new mum, will help a lot, Love from her husband, work place, extended maternity leave, etc.
The new mum has to be helped. I pray that someday the Government will pass a law for substantial maternity leave. It will help both mother, child and even father.
Let’s talk about women and healthy eating Lifestyle what your take on it?
You are what you eat, Like they say, food is your best medicine. I have always maintained that people should eat all classes of food and we shouldn’t be overly obsessed about our body, eat food in healthy proportions and make sure you are active. Not everybody is meant to have a slim figure, neither is everybody meant to be chubby or fat, just maintain a healthy weight and eat all classes of food.
How have you been able to educate women through your show?
I have so many people watching me, Lots of young women both on TV and online Platforms. Foodies and Spice shows on over 10 channels across Nigeria. I put in effort to show them the right things. From how I act, what I say, things that I post, food that I cook, I may not be able to reach out to them individually but when they tune in or read my posts online, I want them to be positively influenced and Yes! we get to achieve that.
Any campaign to promote Living a Healthy Lifestyle?
I won’t call it a campaign, I run a lifestyle blog , I post consistently to carry my followers along . It is my subtle way of saying “hey! this is how I live my life on a daily basis, do you care to copy”. Rather than a campaign of a healthy lifestyle really, I would say for me it is more of a campaign of Happiness, I encourage people to live a hopeful and happy life.
In this Digital era, A lot of fraudulent activities as Lawyer how do you curb such act of copyright issues?
Shocking is an understatement on how I feel about the activities of these internet fraudsters, they do not have limits. So what we did is to Legally register our brands, trademark and copyright them, hoping that some day the Law will catch up with fraudulent individuals.
Foodies & Spice Festival was a success Last year, Any plans to take it outside Lagos?
Yes the Foodaholic festival is a yearly event and we are hoping from this year, we should be able to make it bi-annual and have it celebrated in other states outside Lagos.
We have the travel series segment of Foodies and spice where we showcase our travels from around the world, highlighting on Food, culture and lifestyle of these countries, then we have the kitchen studio part where we make various recipes, from traditional to continental recipes. Also there is the Diary part where we get to discuss either the recipes or anything from that episode…. and of course we eat what we cook .
Any Awards so far?
November 2014, just barely one year after Foodies and Spice hit the screens and on its 5th Season, Foodies and Spice was awarded the (VIEWERS CHOICE) BEST BRAND/BUSINESS FOOD PROGRAM ON TV by the NIGERIAN BROADCASTERS MERIT AWARD 2014
Foodies & Spice was Nominated as BEST FOOD BLOG in NIGERIA by the NIGERIAN BLOGGERS AWARD 2015
Recipient of The HOPE LEGACY Award for impactive contribution and commitment to excellence in the Entertainment Industry
Naija Top baker Special recognition Award for promoting Baking on TV 2016
Azerbaijan National Culinary Association Award for Special Services to Azerbaijany culinary culture 2018 to mention but a few.
As a successful Entrepreneur, What is the principle that guides you in business ?
My principle is first staying true to myself, Invoke the help of God the creator, there is nothing that I can do to help myself in business or in life without the help of God, so at every given point, I call on his help. Ideas, wisdom comes from God and sometimes you may think you understand your path but hey, when you let God Lead, there are no obstacles you won’t surmount.
What are the challenges you encountered over the years?
Normal business challenges facing all growing businesses in Nigeria, Majorly funding, you have ideas you want to quickly push it but you don’t have the means to fund it and the financial institutions, their Loan processes and rates can be a bit complicated. so my strategy has always been, start with what you have in your hands, it may take a longer time to reach your goals but you will be on the path to it and in the long run, Greatness.
Do you have plans to start a training school in future?
Yes. A school is in the plan, step by step.
Your favourite holiday spot?
Anywhere, as long as I am happy there and I have my family around , it is perfect for holiday.
Any favourite meal?
I have too many favorites these days, can’t truly pick one favorite food anymore, the rest will be heartbroken if I pick one, I love Food as long as it satisfies my hunger at that moment.
Your advice to Food entrepreneurs in the food industry?
To the budding entrepreneur, be true to you, stay focused, get better, be consistent and keep aiming higher
FOOD AND VIDEO CREDIT: GINA EHIKODI OJO