Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Untold Success Story of Ace Sports Broadcaster - Bimbo Adeola

-     * Originally wanted to be lawyer and film actor

-     *   Why he left Brila Group

-     * Still misses Chief Larry Izamoje

-  * Enumerate 3 factors needed to became a successful sports broadcaster

-    *  Why sports company was named '27 July Limited'

For many, going to school or work was not complete without listening to Brila Sports programme on Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation (OGBC) and Cool FM in late ‘90s. If one missed the OGBC version, one can easily look forward to the Cool FM version which was just about 30 minutes difference. Popularly called ‘Sports Machine,’ the programme was co-anchored by two sports broadcasting legends Dr. Larry Echejile (now Larry Izamoje) and Abimbola Adeola otherwise known as the Top Striker. Although it was a 15-minute programme, you can be sure it would cover every sporting event that a day before or over the weekend.

A survey conducted in the South West even revealed that between 1999 and 2004, Brila was the foremost and most listened-to programme on the airwaves. That depicts how dynamic it was!

Making of The Dream Team

While the latter (Adeola) has a swashbuckling and adrenalin-pumping approach to his delivery, the former was modest and provided indepth background with quality country music to further drive home the point. As that went on, other versatile radio presenters like Yemi Fagbolagun and Tony Obot joined the team. 

The union was like a marriage made in heaven until Brila FM, an exclusive sports radio and Africa premier sports broadcasting studio, came on board to accommodate other segments like interviews, vox pop, player score cards, sports drive, fans assembly and the likes. While Izamoje assumed the post of managing director, Adeola became the general manager. The dynamic radio broadcasting station grew steadily and opened up 4 other radio stations in major cities across Nigeria, including Abuja and Port Harcourt.

In 2008, the Top Striker decided to part way with Izamoje to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur like his former boss. Thus both parties were compelled to go their different ways to further their career calling. In truth, many (including this writer) did not really think he could recover so soon from such heart-rending break-up.

Ten years down the lane, it is amazing to see how Bimbo Adeola (also christened as ‘Oga Bee’ by his fans) has come after picking up pieces of what remained of his career at Brila FM. He still has that adrenalin-pumping and morale boosting control over the airwaves. He has made a massive impact with daily sports diets across the country on 16 stations nationwide. The popular ones among them are Soccer Expo, Game Show, This is Football and Mega Sports which currently aired on Star FM 101.5. In one of the recent surveys carried out on most listened-to sports programmes on radio in the country, it ranks among the Top 5. Apparently, it is one of those early morning programmes sports lovers look forward to.

How did he do it?

In this interesting interview with Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis, the sports analyst who cuts the image of an American music rapper opened up on a whole lot of issues ranging from humble beginning to his break-up with Brila FM and he came up with the concept of Mega Sports.

Tell us a bit about yourself, especially your upbringing and educational background

I came from a humble background. Although I was born in Lagos, I hail from Ondo State. I bagged my first degree in Political Science at the Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti (now University of Ado-Ekiti) and Master in Public and International Affairs at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

As kids, we tend to have childhood fantasies. Did you actually dream at a point that you will become a sports pundit?

I actually wanted to become a lawyer, actor and broadcaster. God made me one out of the three but I never thought it would be in sports.

Were there moments you regret not taking up football or any other sport as a career?

Never! But maybe outside sports though.


When some of my friends were getting employed in oil companies and banks, earning big and I was just being paid 'peanuts.' Who doesn't want to earn well? (laughs)

Who were your role models before veering into sports reporting?

Nobody actually! But let me just say I respected those already in the trade.

Over time, we know you are bound to have one. Have they changed or you probably have new ones as you progressed?

I just wanted to do my thing because sports wasn't even thought about ab initio because I started out in Clapperboard TV as an entertainment / kiddies / youth programmes production before I got the opportunity to go on air.

You have been in the sports business for long. If serious investors seek your counsel on areas to invest in Nigerian sports business, what niches would you suggest?

I am sure you expect me to say football but no! We have tennis, basketball, volleyball and even handball. These are sports that have been neglected for so along but they have the potential of giving any brand a great mileage. You need to see basketball games being played in Kano and the crowd that throng the venue. Put in good sponsorship and you'll see returns.

To become an accomplished sports broadcaster and entrepreneur like yourself, what advice will you give young people looking up to you?

Just three things - Work hard, work hard and work hard! Unfortunately, the new ones are not ready to do that. It is all about money right now and it is sad.

You were once an integral part of Brila FM from inception until fans woke one day to hear you had left. What happened?

Stagnant pool stinks, so it goes with me. I had to plough my own land too and God made it happen.

In retrospect, can you confidently say your decision to leave the organisation you co-pioneered was a good one?

Yes, it has been okay so far and I give God the praise.

Were there times you miss your former boss, Dr. Larry Izamoje?

Of course! This was a man I spent nine years of my life working with.

What lesson did you take away from your split?

To keep at what I was doing. Not waiting for salary at the end of the month makes it more challenging and God had been faithful.

In floating your outfit (can’t recollect the name at the moment), will you say your name and pedigree worked for you?

27 July Limited is our company's name. Like the Bible says, a man's gift will make room for him and I can say that God has been there all the way. I appreciate those who have the confidence that I can always deliver.

Are there areas of improvement for today’s sports broadcasting?

Hard work pays no matter how you look at it. The elevator to success has crashed, they should take the stairs. There are no quick fixes in life. You must take the pain for the gain to come.

Why chose a strange name as 27 July Limited for a business?

It represents my son's birthday

Finally, if you were not to be a Nigerian, what nationality would you have opted for and why?

None! Nigeria over and over again...

Monday, 5 June 2017

God’s Wrath Coming On Pastors Who Force Wives On Church - Ogunorunyinka

Pastor Seyi Ogunorunyinka, general overseer of the Promised Land Restoration Ministry, has lashed out at Ministers of God who tend to force their spouses on the Church as assistant pastors.

Addressing his congregation during a sermon on the topic, “Abundance of Rain” last Sunday, the popular televangelist noted that in the absence of God’s presence, some servants of God are known to resort to use of voodoo and evil powers.

“To cover up their tracks, they have no option other than to make their wives either second-in-command or assistant pastors because they know their husbands’ secrets. They are those popularly referred to as Pastor Mrs,” he remarked.

In reference to the Book of 1 Kings 17 & 18, Ogunorunyinka said such wicked case is not different from that of King Ahab and Jezebel, adding that such pastors are the ones giving true Men of God bad names.

The trendy preacher recalled instances where some ministers allegedly engaged comedians to partake in stage-managed miracles by acting blind, deaf, dumb or dead in return for money.

“There was one particular video clip I watched recently on WhatsApp where the preacher engaged a guy to pretend as a dead man brought in a coffin to the revival ground for miracle. Unfortunately, the man died from suffocation before the proposed sham miracle began.

“These are perilous times. We have too many dubious preachers on the rampage. Until now, Nigeria used to have foreign missionaries coming into the country to minister at crusades and revivals. Today, the case is different. They have stopped coming because of dubious practice among the organisers who are, of course, pastors,” he declared.

While warning ministers of the Gospel to have a rethink and shun the habitual attempt to scam innocent people of God, Ogunorunyinka called on Nigerians not to give up praying for them.

“As ministers, we must learn the act of telling the truth and offering selfless service to the people. Also, part of our prayers should be for God to raise us pastors that will stand for truth. Not the ones that will foster their wives as authority over his people. They are all over the place. Once they anoint themselves as pastors, their wives must become Pastor Mrs. They want to be seen on Church banners, bulletins, posters and souvenirs.

The oppression is too much. But just like that popular Christian hymn by Daniel Whittle, THERE SHALL BE SHOWERS OF BLESSING; THIS IS THE PROMISE OF LOVE for those who truly wait on God,” he charged.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Behold! The Legendary Muslim Scholar Who Trekked from Lagos to Mecca

A close shot of Mecca. (Photo credit: Pinterest)

In late 1920s, Late Alhaji Fasasi Adams, a young Islamic scholar embarked on a trip to Mecca via road in what many earlier thought was an impossible feat.

In those days, there was no major means of transport. The only popular means of transport in and out of Lagos Island was by camels and horses.

However Fasasi, whose father and mother were indigene of Ado settlement in Lagos, managed to find his way around and moved to Egypt. He was a young adventurous man in his late 20s. It was from Egypt that he crossed over to Mecca where he spent six and a half years before heading back home.

In fact, people thought he was dead. If you fully understand how people reasoned back in those days when there was no means of communication, you will get my point. There was no means to write home because things like postal office or post masters were not yet in existence.

So how did young Fasasi fare in his controversial journey? City Pulse Nigeria paid a visit to his hometown (Ado) in a quest to find out two things – authenticity of the story and what his people thought about him.

Fare enough, there were a handful of people who confirmed it was true. Some gave us an incomplete version of how this Holy Sojourn impacted on the town. Not until we bumped into two detailed versions from his nephew, Alhaji Mohammed Adams, a former assistant director with Lagos State Internal Revenue Service and the other source, a revered community leader and former Lagos State House of Assembly member, Hon. Yahya Adeniyi Dosunmu

Adams explained that, in truth, the swash-buckling Fasasi was the first Alhaji in the entire Eti Osa. 

"Alhaji Fasasi Adams who happened to be my uncle was equally from this town. My parents used to tell me about how he brought fame to this family when he trekked to Hajj from Lagos with a group of people in 1920s," he enthused.

Hon. Dosunmu continued the story from where the latter left off.

“I may not be sure about the exact year, but I think he returned from his Mecca trip around 1935 or 1936. It was about that period people like us were about to be born (laughs). I was born in 1939 precisely. Ironically, I learnt that it was this same Alhaji Fasasi who officiated at my naming ceremony.

It is also imperative to note that he was one of the first few privileged educated folks who had access to Arabic education. It was Arabic that brought the first glimpse of civilisation into our society. Then it was a sight to behold seeing somebody who had sojourned for seven years, coming back and speaking Arabic fluently as well as reading the Holy Quran and interpreting it.

I recalled that some Alfas would cross over to Lagos to visit him. He had then established an Arabic school before the establishment of any primary school in Ado. He even went as far as bring in so many people from far and near in Eti Osa to come and learn Arabic. That was why we had people like Adewale, the former missioner, who died in Jammat Islammiyah; Muri Olufunmi, who also became a great teacher and Alhaji Imam Alimi. These people were his products who later became teachers too. These people went to school at adult age and became useful especially when the colonial masters came, taught and converted them to teachers in their classrooms.

He went back to Mecca in early 1980s where he later died. Prior to that time, he had always dreamt of dying at the Holy Land in the far Middle East. That has always been his wish ever since I knew him. Luckily for a man with such desire, he travelled to Mecca that same year. However he has a phobia that the people around him were not holy enough to carry his body. He had this obsession that many of them were sinners and not worthy enough to carry his body. 

Fasasi’s character was not that weird before, not until he learnt about the death of the only man he ever trusted and whom he thought would eventually bury him when he die.  He became a different person and started dreaming of dying in Mecca one day. There was a time I tried dissuading him from repeating such mantra, he remained adamant.

He died at the age of 80 a fulfilled Muslim.

Many scholars and historians had made painstaking efforts to get, at least one of, his photographs to no avail. Fasasi was someone who never took delight in taking pictures. He was such a conservative Muslim cleric who believed that since nobody has seen the image of Prophet Mohammed, it would be an anathema to dare to snap one.

Another reason was possibly because he knew humans, once given such privilege, may resort to start idolising such photographs. You recall that Osama Bin Laden was drown by the United States Marine in the deepest part of the blue sea. They knew if the body was allowed to be buried, his followers may gather round his graveyard and turn it to a worship centre.

On why Fasasi was not immortalised...

“The society we are, particularly Eti Osa, was hardly given such recognition. We can only say that we are somewhat lucky now that we are getting closes to the government.

Until now, Ado and all the villages in Eti Osa were mere settlement. People went about their farming, fishing and petty trading businesses. You tend to hear the cries of pap and akara sellers in the wee hours of each morning. Some usually returned late in the evening fagged out. The only thought on their mind as at that time was just to get something to eat and sleep. 

Tell me, who out of this lot did you actually think had the time to talk about immortalising supposed heroes?"

What a legend! Interesting, isn't it?

Thursday, 18 May 2017

The Legend of How A Mystical Clay Plate Led Awori People to Lagos

What the name ‘Awori’ Literally Means
-         The Oduduwa connection

As a history student (there is nothing like graduate of history as some people claim), I enjoy reading more about myths, legends and listening to oral tradition of great historical figures and places across the globe.

Aside the entertainment angle, one tends to get more insight as to how and why people from a particular region adapted quickly to evolution over time. One of such myths has a lot to do with Lagos and its age long tradition of commerce and culture.

I recently came across a historical classic from fellow historian and Guardian Columnist, Abdu Rafiu, supposedly on how the Awori people found themselves in modern-day Lagos, courtesy of a mystical plate. I have heard the Biblical version of how a star led the Three Wise Men from the East to where the Messiah was born. 

This legend looks more like it, but completely different.

“Is it not fascinating to read, for example, how Oduduwa the Yoruba eponymous ancestor gave a burnt clay plate to a prince called Olofin Ogunfunminire and instructed him to place it on a river, presumably Ogun River, and follow it until it sank?

The plate stopped at various places and finally sank at present Idumota. Olofin and his followers were to settle where the plate sank. It first stopped at Olokomeji near present-day Abeokuta and after 17 days it started moving until it again stopped at Oko-Ata.

When it moved it stopped once more at the southern fringes of Abeokuta. A group led by Osho-Aro-Ologbo-Egan decided they would go nowhere any more. But the plate had not given up and the rest of the crowd still led by Olofin followed it until they got to Isheri. They waited there for nearly one year.

The plate gave them the impression that they had reached their destination having remained at Isheri for precisely 289 days and Olofin had asked his followers to begin to construct their settlements. This was how the Aworis got to settle at Isheri and all the places along the way. But then the plate would not still sink at Isheri.

After the 289 days, it suddenly began to flow again until it finally reached Idumota and after swirling round for some time it sank and the Aworis from Ile-Ife derived their name from “Awo ti ri,” meaning the plate has sunk!”

An historical account of Abdu Rafiu, a Guardian Columnist on “History, the human anchor”

Monday, 15 May 2017

Even In Death, This Man Still Holds The Record of Having 1st Ph.D Degree In Entire Eti Osa

 All over the world, records are meant to be created and to be broken. When the issue of the most qualified in Eti Osa part of Lagos Metropolis first came up, a handful of names were thrown up. This got us at CityPulse Nigeria thinking about running an indepth survey.

The result was outstanding!

Virtually all the revered community leaders and elder statesmen we interviewed in Eti Osa pointed at the late two-time second republic minister and senator of the federal republic of Nigeria – Sen. Wahab Olaseinde Dosunmu as being the first to have the highest level of academic degree in Eti Osa.

While Hon Yahya Dosunmu, a former Lagos State House of Reps member, recalled that Dosunmu, Chief A. O. Anjorin, one of the leading permanent secretaries in Lagos then and himself attended the first education building in Ado as far back as 1945 when there was no school at all in Eti Osa.

Not done, his passion for further education cut him out as a cult hero in the community. Imagine getting a Masters when your contemporaries are contented with a university degree,

Let alone a Ph.D!

Dr. Kolade Sulaiman Adams, a lecturer in Lagos State University (LASU) and a fellow Ph.D holder in International Relations and Strategic Studies, described Dosunmu as an illustrious son of Ado community in Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos.

A prominent politician and former minister for housing, the late Dosunmu won a seat at the Nigerian senate from 1999-2003.

The politician along with other members of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) was prominent in the struggle for the actualisations of the June 12 presidential mandate of late Chief M.K.O Abiola in 1993. Between 2004 and 2007, he was High Commissioner to Malaysia.

It would be recalled that Dosunmu contested the Lagos governorship primaries in 1999 and lost the ticket to Senator Bola Tinubu. He, however, clinched the ticket for the Lagos Central Senatorial District and won on the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD). Later, he defected with some other AD federal lawmakers to PDP. Dosunmu remained a vibrant member of the Senate where he was Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology till 2003.

He later fell seriously ill and had to be flown abroad for further treatment. Just when many turned the senator has fully recuperated after he was spotted shuttling in and out of a particular hospital in the United States,

Dosunmu died on Sunday, June 9, 2013

in the presence of his wife, Modinat Dosunmu.

Even in death, his legacies and footprints in Eti Osa and Lagos politics has become a standard of sort for those seeking to emulate his feat.

According to Dr Ade Dosunmu, a former PDP guber candidate in Lagos, it must be noted that a humble family background and strict religious upbringing invested young Wahab with strong character and virtues. He was raised an effective ‘Epetedo boy,’ cosmopolitan, urbane, assertive, dignified, modest and humble! These attributes were a major plank upon which he cultivated a focused and disciplined approach to life.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Yakasai, Other Health Professionals Endorse Publitem Anti-Malarials (PHOTOS)

In its sustained campaign against malaria, several health professionals including Pharm Ahmed Yakasai, incumbent president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have thrown their weight behind the introduction of Publitem range of Artemether (80)-Lumefantrine (480) anti-malarial (tablets and suspension) into the Nigerian pharma market.

Above other things, the new range of products, exclusively launched today by Publix Pharmaceuticals (Nigeria) Limited at Protea Hotel, Ikeja, is expected to feature an additional level of security popularly known as Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) label, which allows people to verify the authenticity of the product.

Addressing journalist at the event, Chief Frank Owelle, chairman of Publix Pharmaceuticals explained that all the patient or consumer simply needs to do is to scratch off the label to reveal a unique 12-digit number.

“Once activated, it gives automatic feedback on whether the code is valid or not within seconds,” he remarked.

L-R: Mrs Angela Rutaguza, Publix director; S. K. Chattopadhyan, chief medical director, GLIL, India; Pharm Ahmed Yakasai, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); Chief Frank Owelle, chairman of Publix Pharmaceuticals  and Pharm. Davies Akindele, Publix pharmacist director

In attendance at the event were S. K. Chattopadhyan, chief medical director, GLIL, India; Chief Dr Gabriel Onyejemuo, chairman, Gabo Pharmaceuticals Industries; Pharm Ahmed Yakasai, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); Mrs Angela Rutaguza, Publix director; Pharm. Davies Akindele, Publix pharmacist director and Mrs. Medinat Rasheed, Publix head of accounts.

Speaking further on why the products launch coincided with the 2017 World Malaria Day commemoration celebration, Owelle disclosed that there could not have been a better time to launch the antimalarials than now.

“In line with this year’s theme, END MALARIA FOR GOOD, Publix Pharmaceuticals has joined the fight against malaria by introducing into the Nigerian market our brand of top quality WHO recommended ACT formulation 80/480,” he noted.

UNVEILING THE PRODUCTS:  S. K. Chattopadhyan, chief medical director, GLIL, India; Pharm. Davies Akindele, Publix pharmacist director; Dr Chris Otigbu, consultant physician / haematologist; Chief Frank Owelle, chairman of Publix Pharmaceuticals; Pharm Ahmed Yakasai, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and Mrs Angela Rutaguza, Publix director; 

Applauding the product launch, Pharm Ahmed Yakasai, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) reiterated that since Chloroquin has fallen out of favour, Artemether-Lumefantrine has now become the first line of treatment.

“When we have more of this brand of ACTs, it will crash the high cost of anti-malarial products in the market. This is why we hope more local pharma manufacturers can come into the market.

“I was privileged to visit Publitem producer, Astamed Healthcare’s factory in India and I can tell you it is world class. I think Publix has done well and should be commended,” he stressed.

Dr Chris Otigbu, consultant physician / haematologist seems to be in agreement with him.

“As no government hospital can claim to have all required facilities and products, the health of the nation has been left in the hands of individuals. I really don’t see any reason why we cannot support Publitem,” he enthused.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Togolese Communities Mourn Demise of Oldest Matriarch in Lagos

Late Awuye (AKA Dada) and her first son, Adebayo 'TK' Folly-Francis

Hundreds of sympathisers comprising relatives, family friends, old acquaintances and Togolese Indigenes in Diaspora trooped out to pay their last respect to arguably one of the oldest and most popular matriarchs in Lagos.

Born on June 23, 1948, Late Mrs Elizabeth Awuye Folorunsho-Francis (A.K.A Dada), was a native of Zowla Zebe, Lak local government area of Togo. She was the last child of her mother and her father, Toye Viadji, was a popular monarch in Zebe.

A lover of tourism, she had toured countries like Ghana (where her parents met), Republic of Benin and Ivory Coast. She came to Nigeria in 1967 to live with her sister at No. 24 Old Yaba Road in Yaba Local Government area of Lagos.

A young hardworking and delectable lady, she met and fell in love with Mr Folorunsho Francis (fondly called Folivi-Egbonvi or Kwevi) in 1967. Their love blossomed and they got married in 1969. The union produced a son.

L-R: Adebayo (1st son), Mr Folly (hubby), Rebecca (4th child) and 
Rita (1st daughter) during the burial ceremony

Unfortunately, tragedy struck three years later; they lost their first son shortly after relocating to their new home at No. 64A Abule-Nla Road in Ebute Metta.

However, God intervened and further blessed the couple with six more children (2 boys & 4 girls).

As corroborated by close friends, the late Dada traversed no fewer than 28 States in Nigeria and lived all her life in Ebute Metta. From Old Yaba Road, Abule-Nla, lIaje, Moss street, Ibadan Street, Fagbayimu and back to Ibadan Street where she spent the rest of her life.

Until her demise, Dada was a well-known caterer in the community. Amiable and charismatic in nature, the death of the 71-year-old occurred at Federal Medical Centre, Railway Compound, on January 25 after a brief illness.

She is survived by her husband, 6 children, 16 grand children and 2 great grandchildren.

Thursday, 20 April 2017


Popcorn is a household snack made by roasting moistened yellow corn at certain temperature to form a pop. Popcorn making as a business has undergone some changes over the years.

Some people add colourants to make it look colourful and attractive, while some even add sugar to make it tastier. Popcorn is the easiest snack to make at home, and it can be consumed by both children and adults.

Same for groundnut which comes in variants – boiled or roasted.

One interesting thing about these edibles is its marketability. In some exquisite places like parties, hotels and eateries, both snacks well packaged especially popcorn are sold at outrageous prices.

If you have ever been to the Silverbird Galleria in Lagos for a cinema show, you will understand what I am talking about. You can make your popcorn and groundnut stand out by packaging it in specially branded nylon bags. Well packaged ones cost more than the one tied in transparent nylon bags and sold by the roadside.

For instance, popcorn and groundnuts sold in places like Sweet SensationMr Biggs or Tantalizers will be more expensive because of its packaging and the environment in which it is sold. So if you want to make good profit, make your packaging stand out with creative label and contacts. Among other things, you should also consider supplying your products to other target audience like traffic hawkers, students, super markets, restaurants/eateries, churches/mosques, offices etc.

There is indeed a huge market out there waiting for you.

However, I wouldn’t advise you to go around the streets hawking popcorn and groundnut. There are better ways to do that. As earlier said, you can decide to supply schools and supermarkets in your vicinity or remote areas and still make money.


·    * Popcorn making machine which costs around N25,000 - N30,000 (but the locally-made ones are quite cheaper)

·        * Sugar and colourant (optional)

·        * One or half bag of yellow maize

·        * Packaging materials like nylon bags

·        * Sealing machine (could be leased for a start)

·       * An open space in places like bus stops, schools, event centres and commercial areas that have government parastatals)

·        * Business name and contact number.

·        * Office not needed but you need to promote it on social media, Whatsapp and Church bulletins

Required Capital:
About N50,000 and above should do

Culled from "BUSINESSSES TO START WITH LESS THAN N50,000." Available in local bookshops. For e-book, call 07039091674

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Just How Rich Was Dangote's Legendary Grand Uncle?

L-R: Late Alhaji Alhassan Dantata and grand nephew, Dangote

In history, you are bound to read about some myths that keep you wondering whether the lead character was indeed human. This much can be said about the great exploits of legendary Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, the maternal grand uncle to Africa’s richest man and Seriki mai cement, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.

Even the prolific writer cum historian, Dare Babarinsa has this much to say about him in his column, “Dangote Too Needs A Birthday Gift.”

When Dangote was born in 1957, the city was still dominated by the myths of his grand uncle, the Alhaji Alhassan Dantata. By the time Nigeria was amalgamated in 1914, Dantata was already an experienced international merchant, sending many caravans of goods across the Sahara.

When the British came, he became a factor for the dominant Royal Niger Company, creating the famous Kano groundnut pyramids and dabbling into international trade across the Atlantic. When the British Bank of West Africa opened its first branch in Kano in 1929, Dantata opened his first account there by depositing 20 camel loads of silver coins.

L-R: Dangote and Chukwuemeka Obi, MD of PharmacyPlus at a recent holiday resort

Like his grand uncle, Dangote has risen to the status of myth in his own right. He has his primary and secondary education in Kano before proceeding to Cairo, Egypt for a degree course at the Al-Azhar University.

However, his real education that was to dominate his life and affect the destiny of our nation, was the one acquired about the merchandising skill of his parents, Muhammed Dangote and his wife, Mariya Sanusi Dantata. Dangote worked briefly with his uncle who loaned him the princely sum of N500,000 in 1975 for the young man to dabble into merchandising.

The rest is a history that is still unfolding before our very eyes.

Today, Dangote still brimming with the entrepreneurial traits of his maternal uncle has a larger than life image that depicts him as richer than 10 Africa countries put together.

As Babarinsa succinctly puts it, he is indeed “Africa’s richest man, the continent most important industrialist, Nigeria’s most prolific exporter, Kano’s most famous indigene and Lagos City greatest private employer.”

Friday, 31 March 2017

BIAFRAN WAR: Meet Man Who Secured And Returned Alex Ekwueme’s Property After The War

The Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) otherwise known as ‘Biafran War’ may have come and gone, the memory still lingers on. One interesting feature of the civil strife is that whenever it is discussed, it tends to throw up a fresh dimension and new story line to the over-30 months mayhem.

From snuffing out some of our great war heroes to how people fled for safety outside their once-comfortable abode, the tale is endless.

One of my favourite journalists cum historians, Dare Babarinsa, has an archive that is replete with such articles. In a recent narrative, one of such private stories concerns a young banker, who had a house in Apapa G.R.A. His neighbour then was a young Igbo architect.

The architect fled in the wake of the crisis and relocated to the Eastern Nigeria enclave of the ill-fated Republic of Biafra. When the war ended in 1970, the architect returned to Lagos and the banker not only returned the house to the owner, he had kept all the proceeds of the rent for him in the bank.

Guess who the banker is?

That young banker is Otunba Michael Olasubomi Balogun, the founder of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and the architect in this narrative is one of Africa’s elder statesmen and former Vice President of the Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme. While Otunba Balogun, a first class prince of Ijebuland and Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) was somewhat different like other Yoruba kinsmen in other parts of the West, we know what happened to abandoned properties in other parts of the Federation.

The story did not just end there.

Ekwueme was to repay such unusual kindness and generosity a decade later when he emerged as deputy president in Shehu Shagari’s government (1979-1983).

Balogun, a trained lawyer-turned-banker, explained that his major turnaround, facilitated by the former vice president, occurred when he was desperately seeking to secure the licence for his bank. 

This was how the 84-year-old puts in his interview with Top Celebrities Magazine:

“When I wanted to set up a bank, many people saw it as an anathema, something unheard of. Some even claimed that I was a protégé of a particular politician and so they went about saying ‘Don’t give him any licence!’ If you give him a licence, he would use it to finance someone else.

Some people thought it was crazy for a man to say he wanted to set up a bank. My stroke of fortune however turned out to be my relationship with former vice-president Alex Ekwueme.

Ekwueme and I had been friends for a long time before politics (as mentioned earlier). I even advised him not to go into politics but at that time, he was already the vice president.

One day, he was coming to the cathedral. I planned with my wife that we were going to waylay him. While he was coming down that aisle, I broke the cordon, pulled the vice-president’s cloth; my wife pulled the cloth of his wife. The security people thought we were mad.

Alex looked at me and said, “Subomi, what is the problem?”

I said, “Mr. Vice-President, where is my licence?”

He looked at his entourage and asked them to excuse us. It was there that he instructed me to come and see him at Dodan Barracks. Of course, that was after he had hinted me on those behind my plight. In fact, he further disclosed that somebody from our own part of the world (Yorubaland) had confided in them that if they give it to that man, he is going to give his money to (Obafemi) Awolowo.

Alex reassured, “Don’t worry yourself, Subomi! Just come on Thursday at the Federal Executive Council meeting which I would preside because President Shehu Shagari would not be there.”

By 3.00pm, Alex asked the minister of finance, Yomi Akintola to phone that my licence was ready. I shouted and said God has saved me. I am just giving you this landmark to show how Alex has formed part of my success story and that I am a chosen child of God,” he concluded.

Well, you will agree with me that it pays to be good regardless of tribe, sex and language.

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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

‘Baba Ijebu’ Popular Lotto Mogul Dragged To Court By Obasanjo’s Wife

L-R: The plaintiff, Taiwo Obasanjo and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Inset: Sir Kessington Adebutu.

Less than two weeks after he bagged a honorary doctorate degree from Lagos State University (LASU), Sir Kessington Adebutu, one of Africa’s most popular lotto business tycoons, was recently dragged to a Lagos High court by wife of former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.

In a suit filed before Justice Lateefat Okunnu, Mrs. Taiwo Obasanjo, incidentally the twin sister of Chief Kenny Martins, former coordinator of the Police Equipment Fund, is seeking a court injunction to put a stop to the wedding of her son, Olujonwo Obasanjo and her fiancée, Temitope Adebutu.

The case also pitched former president Obasanjo with father of the bride, Adebutu, fondly nicknamed ‘Baba Ijebu’ as defendants.

The social media went viral on December 17, 2016 with photographs and reports of the two love-birds after their elaborate introduction party with the engagement and wedding fixed for May 11 and 12, 2017.

Report says trouble started shortly after the engagement and wedding dates were chosen without the input of the would-be groom’s mother.

Mrs. Obasanjo is therefore asking the court to mandate the former president and the father of the bride to postpone the dates to sometimes after June 1. She also prays the court for declaration that as the mother of the groom, she has parental rights to take part in the deliberations, decisions and activities leading to the forthcoming ceremony.

She also averred in an affidavit attached to the suit that the wedding invitations have been issued and she, clearly, has been excluded from the upcoming nuptials preparations.

While indicating that her intention was not borne out of a selfish desire, the woman explained that she had received several prophesies and spiritual warnings to barring Olujonwo to undergo any elaborate celebration before his 34th birthday which is just two weeks after the wedding (June 1) to avoid any impending calamity.

Mrs. Obasanjo stated in the court documents that as a mother this is why she filed the suit to compel both public figures (Adebutu and Obasanjo) to shift the wedding to a date beyond June 1 as every appeal she made to make them see reason fell on deaf ears.

Rather than address the sensitive issue, the plaintiff averred that she was insulted by members of the family.

The suit with number ID/262FPM/2017 which is before Justice Lateefa Okunnu has been fixed for April 10 for hearing.

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