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.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Starting A Barbecue & Small Chops Business In Nigeria

Have you been nursing the dream of starting a small chop business?

It is never too late! One thing you must note however is that small chops as a food option at parties has grown into a flourishing business enterprise in today’s Nigeria.

The market, which used to have Saheeto also known as the King of Small Chops, 12 Baskets and Laredo International as some of the major players, now has more than 100 names in the game. You will agree with me that there is hardly any party you will attend these days without coming across small chops as an appetizer. Fondly known as finger food, small chops comprise potato chips, Spring Rolls, puff-puff, Fataya, Samosa, Meat Balls, Chicken-In-Batter, Fish Fingers and a host of other mouth-watering mini snacks.

Then there is the category of snails, salmon fishes, turkey, chicken and pork for barbecue. There is also the possibility of running a small Asun (peppered meat balls).

Aside being on offer at parties, many individuals and companies now order them directly from the comfort of home or office either for celebration or for private consumption.

Personally, I think the business thrives because people are tired of being served the same menu over and over again at every event. Increasingly, the demand for this kind of convenient and stress-free service has created some sort of competition among existing small chop outfits and new ones.

For instance, many of the big boys (as at the time of writing this article) offer 100 pieces of spring rolls for N15,000 while the same quantity of peppered chicken wings costs N22,000. There are several young entrepreneurs, however, offering the same service at a far cheaper rate. An example is Owo-Lab Small Chops in Ebute Metta area offers 100 piece of spring rolls and Samosa for N7,000 and peppered chickens N15,000.

Meanwhile, what we are looking at here is the simple idea of opening up a place that offers such delicacies in recreation clubs and commercial area like Surulere, Victoria Island, Ikeja, Lekki, Yaba, Alausa or other serene and high traffic-prone areas. It is bound to be a lucrative business if well managed.


Experience is a key factor. If you don’t have one, sign up to train under a small chops expert.

* In the absence of a pub, cinema or recreation centre, a clean and conducive place to use as outlet.

* Advertisement in local dailies, online platforms, Church bulletins, entertainment blogs and magazines.

* Ability and wherewithal to design the place to meet your taste with an Plasma TV and home theatre system to dish out love or contemporary music.

* Recruit few employees to assist in the smooth operation of the business because in the first 6 months, it promises to be quite hectic.

* There are cheaper means to promote your business when you lack the resources to advertise in entertainment magazines or community papers. As earlier mentioned, you can print enough fliers to distribute to businesses and fun-lovers in the neighbourhood and open up a website or blog to cater especially for people interested in placing distant orders.

* Another important thing to consider is the idea of creating a schedule to ensure your itinerary doesn’t clash whenever you have an outdoor event.

Likely Capital:

This will depend heavily on the model you have in mind. However, those who intend to start on a small scale like recreation clubs and pubs might require a minimum of N50,000. This is because most of the equipment including electricity will be provided for such entrepreneurs at a fee. This will save you some level of stress to concentrate fully on only culinary items and frozen foods for the barbecue. 

However those targeting movie locations or a mini shelter in highbrow area will need to fathom in the cost of providing temporary rent for the outlet, constructing food shelves, chairs and tables.


For more creative business ideas, get a copy of Profitable Businesses To Run With N300,000 & Above”.

Are you entertained? Please share and drop a comment.

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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Beninoise, Togolese Fishermen Lose Otodo-Gbame Community To Elegushi Royal Family (THE JOURNEY SO FAR)

In a twist to the drama that trailed demolition of structures and shanties at Otodo Gbame Waterfront in Eti-Osa Local Government, the Lagos State House of Assembly has declared Elegushi Royal Family as the rightful owner of the land.

The House also absolved the royal family and the police of incessant killings, illegal detention, harassment and continued intimidation of the indigenes levelled against them in a petition over the true ownership of the expanse of land historically known as Ebute-Ikate, which the fishermen squatters refer to as Otodo-Gbame.

This much formed part of the resolutions of the State House of Assembly passed at its plenary on Thursday, January 12, 2017, after debating the report of an investigation into the allegations of harassment and intimidation against one Mrs Adebayo, Oba Saheed Elegushi, Anofi Olnrewaju, Segun Abdullahi Elegushi and top-ranking policemen from Jakande Division.

In the words of the State lawmakers:

“The said land called Otodo-Gbame is historically called Ebute-Ikate, which is part of Ikate land that belongs to Elegushi family and not the petitioners. Moreso, the petitioners, who inhabited Otodo-Gbame, are (mostly from Egun tribe of Cotonou and Togo) squatting in the area without the consent or permission from the Elegushi family.”

Consequently, the House of Assembly directed that “All land owners along the coastal areas of the state should take ownership of their land and report any emergence of shanties and squatters around their land to forestall encroachment.

“His Excellency, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State should direct appropriate Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to take necessary steps to enforce compliance in respect of the setback policy on development throughout the state.

“The police and other law enforcement agencies should urgently distinguish between what operates as temporary fishing camps to permanent live-in-shanties so as to prevent the illegal structures from developing into problems for the State.”

For years, Otodo Gbame has been recognised predominantly as a fishing village in Lekki. It boasted of ewe-speaking locals comprising Egun speaking people from Badagry, Dahomey and Togo whose ancestors were among the early settlers in the community for close to a century.

The indigenes have co-existed peacefully until early 2016 when the activities of sand dredgers started affecting their homes and means of livelihood.
This development forced the community to demand an immediate stop to the dredging activities at the Otodo Gbame lagoon by a certain Destiny Dredgers’ International (DDI) Ltd, purportedly owned by Lekki Gardens.

‎The ‎letter signed by Dansu Hunkpe, the Baale of Otodo Gbame; Paschal Tosinhun, a community leader and Emmanuel Anasu, the community para-legal and addressed to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly read thus:

“The sand-filling of our lagoon and fishing grounds has caused severe hunger in the land. We no longer have money to send our children to school since our fishermen’s work has been cut off.”

The land reclamation activity began around August 2016, with the community watching helplessly as the massive dredging‎ destroyed their fishing traps as well as cut off access to their traditional fishing grounds in the lagoon.

To avoid violence and bloodletting, the slum dwellers, mostly women and children, arrived the Government House around noon in commercial buses (known as Danfo) chanting solidarity songs.

Among other things, the protesters said the dredging had caused water from the main lagoon to stop flowing freely to and from their community.

“It is affecting our community’s health – and leading to the outbreak of disease that killed many of the children in our community. If you visit our community today, the odour from the now stagnant water overwhelms the senses such as we never experienced before now,” they wailed.

From the look of things at the moment, unless a miracle happens, it is apparent that the recent declaration by the Lagos House of Assembly has put a final nail to the coffin of the legendary Otodo Gbame settlement.

Meanwhile copies of resolution passed by the House of Assembly are posted below.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

REVEALED: How OBJ Was Almost Executed In DR Congo, Major Nzeogwu’s 1966 Coup D’etat

Young Obasanjo during his early military training abroad (pix: 

As much as I thought I have read more than enough on former president and elder statesman, Chief Matthew Olusegun Aremu Okikiola Obasanjo, I was more than stunned by ace journalist’s Dare Babarinsa narration of the soldier’s odyssey from the army days to date.

Perhaps what further caught my fancy was how he discussed his encounter with the brain behind the first military coup in the country.

Excerpt below:

On January 13, 1966, Obasanjo had arrived in Kaduna after a military course in the United Kingdom. He decided to put up with his friend, Major Chukwuemeka Kaduna Nzeogwu, an instructor at the Nigerian Army. That night, the two friends shared the same bed. The following day, Nzeogwu left at dawn and he was not to return until the following morning with a bandaged hand. Unknown to Obasanjo, Nzeogwu had been busy leading Nigeria’s first military coup. He had also led the assault on the official residence of Ahmadu Bello, the powerful and much respected Premier of the Northern Region, killing him and one of his wives and bringing into a sorry end, the First Republic.

If Obasanjo had arrived a week earlier, he would have been told about the coup by his friend and may be would have become part of the plot. But it was still a dangerous thing to be associated with Nzeogwu, the assassin. Soon, some soldiers and civilians seeking to revenge the killing of Bello and some top military officers, were looking for Obasanjo to add him to the statistics of death. He went underground. The new ruler in the North, Colonel Hassan Usman Katsina, the first military governor of the defunct Northern Region, decided to send him to a safe place in Maiduguri. “That young man has a future in Nigeria,” Hassan Katsina said. He could not have been more prescience.


But that would not have occurred but for the happenstance in the then Congo (now Democratic Republic of Congo) after the first prime-minister Patrice Lumumba was assassinated and Obasanjo and many Nigerian troops had served as peace-keepers under the United Nations flag. A group of Belgian nuns were captured by the rebels and their fate can only be imagined in the hands of those rough men. Obasanjo was sent by his commander to go and negotiate the nuns’ release. Instead of peace, the rebels captured him, drove him away in the booth of their car and when they got to their camp, decided to execute him.

But it was Obasanjo lucky day. One of the rebels would not agree to his execution. As an officer, he was entitled to a pack of cigarette per day. Obasanjo, a discipline teetotaler, would freely give away his stick of cigarettes, including to total strangers. One of those who have benefitted from that generosity was the rebel soldier who was now pleading his cause. Soon a superior rebel officer came to intervene and Obasanjo was freed. Happenstance had saved him.

Culled from Dare Babarinsa from Obasanjo’s hard choices

Monday, 6 March 2017

Remember Catherine George, Nigeria’s 1st Female Town Planner?

Mrs Catherine Kehinde George 

Does anybody still remember the good ol’ Lady George, Mama Town Planner?

Nay? Maybe she is a bit further up the ladder from your generation. A twin and the 4th child of Pastor (Surveyor) and Mrs. S. A. Sogunro-Pitan, Mrs Catherine Kehinde George is the kind of person you can tag effervescent and swashbuckling.

I met her at a recent professional event this year and was amazed at her level of charisma. The meeting even turned out to be a fantastic one as I discovered, to my dismay, that she is the mother-in-law of a very good friend and client – Pharmacist Bukola George. For the record, Bukky George (as she is fondly called) is the owner of CasaBella and HealthPlus, the biggest retail pharmacy chain in Nigeria.

Born at Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, on Monday June 14, 1948, Mrs. Catherine Kehinde George attended St. Augustine's Catholic Primary School, Ijebu-Ode; Our Lady of Apostles Secondary Grammar School, Ijebu-Ode, (1958 -1963); and Ijebu - Ode Grammar School, (1964). She commenced her Town Planning education at The Technical College (now The Polytechnic) Ibadan in 1965, where she was an outstanding student, graduating in 1967. She completed post-graduate Diploma in Town and Regional Planning with Honours at the University of Melbourne, Australia in December 1972, becoming the first female Nigerian Professional Town Planner.

At Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (1973 - 1979), she was the Project Planner on several schemes, which included Ogba Housing Scheme and Amuwo Odofin New Town.

She led the Lagos State Technical Monitoring Team to define the most feasible route for the 28km Lagos Metro Line Project (1981 - 82). She was Consultant Project Planner for 500 Housing Units Estate in Ajaokuta (Techno-crete Limited 1982 - 85), and Lead Planner for University of Uyo Master Plan (1993); Lead Planner, Odonla Housing Scheme, Lagos State, (2000-2002); Lead Planner, Galadimawa District Plan, Abuja, FCT (2001-06); and Co-Project Director, Ikorodu Master Plan (2008 -201 0 Inception to Draft Final Stage).

She has presented several papers at grassroots, national and international fora. She authored "Basic Principles and Methods of Urban and Regional Planning" 1st Edt. 1999, 2nd Edt. 2002, 3rd Edt. 2007; receiving national and international commendation. Her other publications are "The Challenges of Urbanisation in Nigerian Urban Centres: THE LAGOS MEGA-CITY SITUATION, A Town Planner's Perspective" 2009,· and "Wedding Message" 2010, a reflection of her experience at the home front in raising her kids. "Basic Principles and Methods of Urban and Regional Planning" 4h Edition and "Urbanisation and The Lagos Mega-City" were published in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

She was the first female Fellow of the Nigerian Institute Town Planners (1987) and first African female Fellow of The Royal Town Planning Institute of Britain (1990). Inducted into Nigerian Women Hall of Fame, Abuja, in November 2007 as the first female African Town Planner; she is a recipient of several honours and awards.

Kehinde was pioneer Chairman of Lagos Mainland Local Planning Authority (1998 - 1999); first female Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (1998 - 2000); Vice - Chairperson of Yaba College of Technology Chapter of Women in Technical Education (WITED) 1996 - 2000; Member NITP / TOPREC Examination Board (1998 - 2000); Pioneer Chairman Lagos State Urban Forum for Slum Upgrading 2001-2003; member of the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), June 2012 to date; pioneer Chairman, Lagos State Chapter BCPG, Feb 2013 - Oct. 2014.

She also lectured on the Masters Programme in Urban & Regional Planning, Lagos State University (2011 to 2013). She is presently a Town Planning Consultant, and an author.

She was a recipient of several honours and awards, some of which are:-

·        March 2, 2011, as a "Distinguished Professional" by the Faculty of Environmental Design and Management, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in recognition and appreciation of her invaluable contribution to the Built Environment Profession, particularly in Urban and Regional Planning.

·        July 28, 2011 Induction into Construction Industry Hall of Fame by Construction Engineering Digest Forum at Abuja. Award for Professional Excellence in the practice of Town Planning received from Ijebu Professional Excellence Foundation on May 17, 2012 at Ijebu-Ode.

·        Merit Appreciation Award as most outstanding female Town Planner from Nigerian Institute of Town Planners on the Occasion of the Institutes Golden Jubilee Celebrations at Abuja, Nigeria on November 3, 2016.

Interestingly, she is married to Arc. Gilbert Akintola George FNIA.

FAMILY TIE: Jide George, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi (chairman of the occasion), Mrs Catherine George and Toyin George turned up to give mum solidarity at the event

As earlier mentioned, she is a twin and beloved mother of Engineer Jide George (Bukky George’s hubby), Pharmacist Toyin George who presently works with NNPC and the second son, a pilot - em… em… (is it Tunde?).

My bad!!!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Meet Nigeria's 1st Female PhD Holder In Engineering

In continuation of my series on notable Nigerian amazons who have blazed the trail in their chosen career, today we shall delve into the enviable field of engineering where one lady has made the difference.

As mentioned in the other two incisive articles I wrote, I also met Engr. Dr. (Mrs.) Olatokunbo Arinola Somolu at her induction and investiture as new Fellow of Professional Excellence Foundation of Nigeria (PEFON). The occasion held at Victoria Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on February 23, 2017, witnessed a massive turnout of professionals from all walks of life.

Born on October 11th 1950 in Lagos to Herbert Babafemi (an engineer) and Patience Abbah Olusola (a renowned fashion designer), Somolu had her primary education at Anglican Girls' School, Lagos and secondary education at Queens College Yaba, Lagos where she finished with distinctions. She further completed her A’ Levels in the same school and was HEAD GIRL in her final year in Queens College. She graduated top of her class from the University of Lagos (UNILAG) in 1973 with a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering.

Somolu got scholarship awards at virtually each stage of her education:

·        Federal Government Scholarship, Secondary School and HSC (1963 - 1969)

·        Mobil Oil Scholarship University first degree (1970 - 1973)

·        University of Lagos Post-Graduate Scholarship (1974 - 1977).

She obtained a Ph.D within four years thus becoming in 1978 the first Nigerian woman to hold a Ph.D in any field of Engineering. Her thesis was on THE STUDY AND PERFORMANCE OF BOX GIRDER BRIDGES UNDER LOAD.


She joined the NNPC in 1982 as an Assistant Chief Engineer and rose to become, in November 2003, General Manager (Projects).

In February 2005, she was again promoted and became the first woman to head the Engineering Technology Division (ETD) of the NNPC as the Group General Manager.

A remarkable display of her project management skills was supervision of the construction of the magnificent world class NNPC Towers complex, Abuja (from foundation to completion).


*          The Kofo Abayomi Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) office building
*          The New Atlas Cove Jetty.
*          The Zonal Headquarters in Warri and Port-Harcourt.
*          The 36 NNPC Land Mega Stations
*          Six Floating Filling Stations for the Niger-Delta creeks

These are the most recent of her achievements while in the services of NNPC.
The floating Stations are the first ever of such to be built in concrete anywhere in the world - an engineering feat by standards.

She voluntarily retired from the services of the NNPC on 31 st May, 2009 after 27 years of active and dedicated service.

From 2009 till date, she has worked as Proprietress and Vice Chairman of two educational institutions in Lagos.

Kiddies Kingdom Private School and Laureates College, Lagos.

A widely travelled woman, she attended numerous international courses, seminars, symposia and conferences in Germany, UK, France, USA, Japan, Malaysia, China, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Brazil, Sweden, Canada, to name a few of them.

*          Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers
*          Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management
*          Fellow of the Academy of Engineering

She has also undertaken several national assignments and served on the Boards of Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA and the Nigerien Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA.

In November 2007, she was inducted into the Nigerian Women Hall of Fame as the first Nigerian Female to hold a Ph.D in Engineering.

In commemoration of Nigeria's 50 years of Independence in 2010, she was among the 50 Nigerian Women of Distinction honoured by the First Lady, Her Excellency, Dame Patience Jonathan.

She was married for over forty years to late Eng. Foluseke Somolu, a gentleman par excellence, who himself was an accomplished Electrical and Power Engineer and former President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. He served as Senior Special Assistant to the President on Power from 2004 to 2008.

They are blessed with blessed with children who are equally successful in their chosen fields of endeavour. 
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