Lai Mohammed’s Jollof rice claim sparks Africa competition

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Big Brother Naija contestant, Uriel Oputa, has been named the host of the Africa Jollof Rice Challenge.

She was presented to the media at a ceremony, which held at BeerHugz, Ikeja City Mall, Lagos, on Sunday.

An initiative of Brand Television Network, a lifestyle and entertainment television network, the African Jollof Rice Challenge is a continental lifestyle and entertainment taste tour and cooking contest that seeks to discover the African country with the best Jollof Rice.

An Executive Producer at Btv, Ororo Otono, said Uriel, who recently launched her cooking show called “Cookout with Uriel”, would anchor the challenge which kicks off on June 4.

According to Ms. Otono, the competition would kick off with an online recipe contest, where the best contestants will be selected for the live screening and then the Grand Finale.

She added, “The programme would come to a flourishing end at the Reward Night that will be used to mark the World Jollof Rice Day on Tuesday, August 22.”

The contest will see chefs and foodies from different African countries slug it out for the $5,000 Grand Prize money. Ten countries will qualify for the live screening, where 4 finalists will be selected for the Grand Finale.”

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, recently sparked outrage by claiming Senegal prepared better Jollof Rice than Nigeria in May. A counter claim by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo that, “We all know that Nigerian Jollof Rice is the best anywhere. We beat the Ghanaians and Senegalese hands down”, also made news headlines.

These statement, according to the Executive Producer of Btv, Felix King, gave rise to the African Jollof Rice challenge.

In a chat with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. King said, the argument on which country has the best Jollof Rice in Nigeria inspired social network and street conversations across Africa, especially among the West African Countries, where Jollof Rice is most popular.

“This argument has grown into a very strong continental debate, which has dominated both conventional and social media spaces. Since then, Jollof Rice lovers have taken to all media platforms to present their perspectives on which country’s jollof rice is the best in Africa. The argument gets fiercer with each passing day with claims and counter claims on which country actually has the best Jollof Rice in Africa,” he noted.

Speaking further, Mr. King noted that in recent times, Nigeria and Ghana has laid major claims to the origin and ownership of Jollof, but some historians traced its origin to Senegambia, which was ruled by the Jollof Empire.

He said, “Just as we try to get used to the Jollof Rice story as it is, the controversy has come to stay because no one country in Africa will ever agree that its Jollof Rice is second to any.”

To the organisers, the African Jollof Rice Challenge is more of an entertainment platform than a contest. It’s the positive and healthy exploration of the beauty of African entertainment that makes us one big continent.

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