I’ve worked with many artistes including 2Face, Wande Coal, others — Nadu Placca
Nadu Placca is an event planner known for her exceptional management skills across western and southern Africa. Born of a Ghanaian father and a British mother, Nadu started organizing events from childhood and has worked her way into the heart of entertainment in Africa, Lagos, organizing some of the high profile events in Nigeria including Wiz on Beach as well as helping to bring Ciara, the American singer, to Lagos for the first time. In this interview with Newton-Ray Ukwuoma, Ms Placca spoke about her experience in Lagos and her plans for the commercial city of Nigeria among others
How did you venture into entertainment event planning?
Event planning is one of those things I can claim was inborn. I simply found a way to harness it. Growing up, I was the friend in my circle who would volunteer to organise events for my friends. I later realised that people can make profit from this. I then put myself out there; I would volunteer; I would work for free just to show people I was passionate about it. I just grew from there. The works I have done for the best 10 years have been through recommendations.
I have been doing events in Lagos, Nigeria for the last two years. I am working with an amazing production company, which is owned by Dare Art Alade and Biola Art Alade. Working with them really opened me up to new people and the level of events I am now doing. The level of events in Lagos alone increased my passion of staying in West Africa. There are a lot of high profile events, beautiful sceneries here that I told myself that I want to be part of this. I want to be able to contribute to what is going on here.
How do you handle celebrities, whose events you have to organise?
The thing for me is being able to treat people the way you want to be treated. Initially, I didn’t know who these artistes were. We only see them in public. So, there is usually no connection. All we do is to provide them the best level of services. This also includes the online correspondences with them like emailing and phone calls. We make sure to provide them with enough information about the event, from the point they arrive to time they leave. We engage all the forces in people management when handling celebrities.
How much do you frequent Lagos from the UK?
For the last three years, I have been predominantly working in Nigeria. I work at many events and from there I have been able to do a lot more international events across western and southern Africa.
Would you say you are an African instead of Ghanaian event planner?
Yes. My heritage is Ghana and Britain. My father is from Ghana, while my mother is from the UK. At the beginning of my career I worked in Lagos, Nigeria and having the experience of working in Lagos and then moving to other African countries I can boldly say that I am a rounded African event planner. And this is one of the reasons I want to come back to do a workshop I am planning to do in Lagos. It is to be able to bring my knowledge and experience so I can help to educate young people as well as work with other people as a community to ensure that we are supporting each other through events. Event planning is a lot of work, sleepless nights and working behind the scenes. It almost always requires collaborations from colleagues in the industry.
Which was your first event in Nigeria?
I did Wiz on the Beach, which was the first beach concert with Hardrock cafe. It is now being done several times again. I worked with Lagos Marathon. I launched 2Baba’s event on the Island. I did a lot of work in bringing Ciara from America to Lagos. I have done a lot of high profile events in Lagos.
How did you drive the Wiz on the Beach party in Lagos?
It was a difficult event because I came in to support a friend of mine and it was very challenging. It was something that hadn’t been done before. It was difficult, getting the infrastructure and all. It was my job to handle people.
What is your training in this space?
I have a degree in event management from the University of London Metropolitan. And the only thing stronger than any degree is the experience of working in the field.
How long have you been in this industry?
Probably from when I stepped out of the womb! I always used to help my dad organise things since when I was age six or seven. From 2007, for 12 years now, I have been doing event planning as a career. I have only had one full time job all my life: when I was 18, I worked for a bank for one year. Everything from there has been me doing events myself as a freelance or having a company, which I have continued to build.
What makes your services distinct?
I think it is my energy and the way I get along with people –face to face relationship and rapport. I think it is important that when you are working with people you work with people you can trust, people who are able to demonstrate what they do. A lot of my work has been based on recommendations from word of mouth. And that has helped a lot in me being able to deliver successfully. All the work I did in Nigeria was based on recommendations, the work I am doing in Ghana is also based on recommendation. For me, my personal relationship and the way I do events and the way I work are, perhaps, the reason people want to continue to work with me. I never thought I will be in the position to work with brands across the continent. But I think God has better plans for me.
Who are the prominent Nigerians you have worked with?
Dare Art Alade, 2Baba, Wande Coal, I have worked with many, many artistes, and it is a pleasure to work with them. I do not have any favourites. Everyone has a different personality they bring to the table and every event is different.
How do you describe your working experience in Lagos?
I have been organising events from across the continent and I always say that if you can do an event in Lagos, you can do an event anywhere in the world.
What is it about Lagos that makes you say so? Is Lagos a difficult place to work in?
Lagos is not difficult place, but it is a challenging place do event in. And I think it is because of the nature of the events and the population. Nigeria is one of the busiest and exciting places in the world. You have most of the biggest artistes in the continent coming out of Nigeria. All eyes are on Nigeria from the music scene to other entertainment fields. That is something big. That is also why a good number of event planners are raised here. So, there is the challenge of demand and supply. And coming from the UK to Lagos, even though I am half Ghanaian, I will always be Oyibo to many people. Also coming from the UK and being a woman in a male-dominated industry is another challenge. It amazes me sometimes that I have been able to deliver some high profile events in the country.
I like the way you pronounced oyibo. How much did you pick up of Nigerian lingo and pidgin?
Most African countries have their own pidgin, but Nigerian pidgin is stronger than any other country in the world. I was teaching people Nigerian pidgin in South Africa. When I came here and I was doing event here, when I picked up the pidgin and the slang, it was really well received by many people. It helped me relate with them and it is funny as well.
You worked in Lagos for three years. How was the experience?
When I came to Lagos and started working, I enrolled my daughter in a school in Lagos. She was eleven years old at the time. I wanted her to see the value a black affluence coming from the UK. In the UK you are always removed from that level of affluence. I wanted her to have a home grown network so that when she is older she can continue to come here. Because I know that when you get older it is all about the relationships, the network you have been able to build that help you. I wanted her to experience Africa in a different way.
How was it for her?
Initially she hated it. Now, she has been to schools in South Africa and London and she tells me now that her favourite place to school is Lagos. This is a yellow-paw-paw baby. She is more Nigerian than me. She picked up the lingo and all. And it was more important for me for her to see the real Africa, not what the media puts up about Africa.
Going forward, how much will we see you in Lagos? What areas have you not touched?
I will first and foremost love to pass on some of my knowledge and experience to young people in Lagos. I just have an interest in getting involved. Events happen in Lagos all the time from naming, door-knocking, wedding and right away to music concerts of all genres. So, I would like to come and pass my experience on to people here. So, I have a one day event in Lagos and a ten-week course which will be in the UK, where people can come to have a practical training in event management. It is a network. We have to support our own.