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. 

The Amazing Story of Nigeria’s 1st Female Minister, Now Yeye-Oba of Ketu

Chief (Mrs.) Adenike Regina Ebunoluwa Oyagbola

As I pledged in the last article on Nigeria’s first female chartered accountant, another enviable personality that caught my fancy is the first lady cabinet minister of the republic.

Just as the latter, I also bumped into Chief (Mrs.) Adenike Regina Ebunoluwa Oyagbola at the induction and investiture of new Fellows under the auspices of Professional Excellence Foundation of Nigeria (PEFON) held at Victoria Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on February 23, 2017.

Early Life

Born on 5th May 1931 in Igan Alade (in what is now Yewa North Local Government of Ogun State), Oyagbola’s parents, Chief Akinola (The Aro ofIgan Alade) and Madam Akinola (Iyalode of Saint Peters Anglican Communion, Igan Alade), were highly respected citizens of this small but highly significant town on the Yewa River. Her mother, in particular, exemplified all that is worthy and all that is uplifting about Christianity. Little wonder that Chief (Mrs) Ebun Oyagbola was brought up in the best traditions of the protestant faith, to personify the values of discipline, hard work and thrift.

She got married in 1955 and, after a sojourn in Oke Odan where her husband was local government treasurer and where she had her first child, they moved to Mushin where he was the Secretary of Mushin Local Government and she was head teacher of a school. After one more child, the couple proceeded to the United Kingdom in late 1959 to further their education. She attended the Balham and Tooting College of Commerce and studied accountancy.

Upon their return to Nigeria in 1963, she joined the Accountancy Cadre of the Federal Ministry of Finance. Over the course of her career in the Federal Ministry of Finance, she served as internal auditor in several ministries including in the Ministries of Establishment, Defence, Transport, Trade, Culture etc. She was promoted several times but opted for voluntary early retirement in 1977 to pursue her private commercial aspirations. She opened a supermarket and a bookshop that also dealt in office stationery supplies. She attended several book shows around the world in pursuit of her dream of encouraging the culture of qualitative reading in the Nigerian Youth.

Her Journey Into Nigerian Politics

With the removal of the ban on political activities in 1978, by the then Military Regime, a delegation was sent by from her constituency to encourage her to contest for political office. She was one of the two women, both in Ogun State, who contested election into the Senate in the 1979 elections. She did not succeed in her bid for election into the senate but her capacity for hard work, stamina and political imagination did not go unnoticed. She was appointed the Federal Minister of National Planning by President Shehu Shagari, thus becoming the first and, during President Shagari's first term in office, only female minister of cabinet rank in Nigeria. She served with industry, loyalty and integrity for the entirety of President Shagari's first term in office between 1979 and 1983.

Chief (Mrs.) Adenike Regina Ebunoluwa Oyagbola being as 
Fellow by Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, PEFON chairman at the event

After her service to the nation between 1979 and 1983, Chief (Mrs) Ebun Oyagbola involved herself in several initiatives to promote the arts, cultural exchange, education, moral revival and the empowerment of youth. It is of significant note that she was the foundation president of the International Delphic Council, set up to initiate and promote the Delphic Games and thereby showcase and promote cultural and artistic exchanges between peoples and cultures.

Her Role As Nigerian Ambassador

Between 1999 and 2003, Chief (Mrs) Ebun Oyagbola was the Nigerian Ambassador to the United Mexican States with concurrent accreditation to Panama, Guatemala and Costa Rica. She carried out her ambassadorial duties with her customary vigour and industry and made many friends and enduring connections for Nigeria.

After ambassadorial service, Chief (Mrs) Ebun Oyagbola has spent a great amount of time contemplating and analysing the causes and effects of many ethical and moral failings in Nigerian society. She has been a promoter and advocate of the principles of Attitudinal Healing in the hope that a radical and revolutionary change in the mindset of the citizenry, and especially in the youth, will greatly improve our society and supply that much needed boost for moral revival, collective harmony, peaceful co-existence and economic revitalisation. She lives by and promotes the 12 principles of attitudinal healing as espoused by Attitudinal Healing International. 

They are:

i.          The essence of our being is love;
ii.         Health is inner peace, healing is letting go of fear
iii.        Giving and receiving are the same
iv.        We can let go of the past and of the future
v.         Now is the only time there is and each instant is for giving
vi.        We can learn to love ourselves and others by forgiving rather than judging
vii.       We can become love finders rather than fault-finders
viii.      We can choose and direct ourselves to be peaceful inside regardless of what is happening outside
ix.        We are students and teachers to each other
x.         We can focus on the whole of life rather than the fragments
xi.        Since love is eternal, death need not be viewed as fearful
xii.       We can always perceive others as either loving or fearful and giving a call of help for love.

She has been an ardent advocate of the introduction of the broader principles of attitudinal healing into schools and all levels of government.

She is a holder of several chieftaincy titles and, perhaps most significant of all, she is the Yeye-Oba of Ketu

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Lesson To Learn From Nigeria's 1st Female Chartered Accountant (PHOTO)

Chief Mrs. Olutoyin Olusola Olakunri OFR 

There are great personalities and living legends in the entity called Nigeria. Unfortunately, they are hardly celebrated. I managed to bump into a number of them, still looking radiant and bubbling with life, at an occasion.

The event was the induction and investiture of new Fellows under the auspices of Professional Excellence Foundation of Nigeria (PEFON) held at Victoria Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on February 23, 2017. 

One of such personalities I wish to extol in this passage is 80-year-old Chief Mrs. Olutoyin Olusola Olakunri OFR.

Her Journey From Cradle To Date

Born in Lagos in 1937, the matriarch had her primary education in Nigeria. Her secondary and tertiary educations were however completed in England.

She qualified as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales in February 1963; being then the only female to have such qualification in Nigeria and indeed in Africa south of the Sahara. She was a foundation member and the only female member of ICAN when it was chartered in 1965.

She enrolled as a Member of the Institute of Directors Pall Mall in 1969/70 when she was a staff of the NIDB. Even when Chief Guobadia decided to establish the 100 in Nigeria, Olakunri was amongst the foundation members.

Olakunri is Fellow of the Institute of Directors UK (President of 100) from 1991 to 1993, Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and President of ICAN 1993/1994

She is one of the earliest Distinguished Fellows of 100.

She is currently Chairman of the Elders Committee of 100.

She has been an industrialist, a banker and stockbroker, and has been on the Board of many companies both representing her employer, the country, her state and her personal interests.

She was a Nominated Member of the Nigeria Constituent Assembly 1977 - 1978. Chairman of the Lagos State Transport Company Limited and the Lagos State Ferry Service Limited 1986-88. She was one of the pioneering Directors of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) for 8 years (1989-97). First female member of the Board of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and a pioneer staff of the Nigeria Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) now Bank of Industry (BOI).

She was also:

·   Chairman, Education Trust Fund (ETF) now Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) 1999 to 2007.  TETFUND is a Federal Government Institution funded by the Taxes collected from private sector companies and made available for the provision of needs at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education.

·        Member of the Electoral Reform Committee 2007-2008 which reviewed the Electoral Acts to eliminate anomalies found after the first 9 years of democracy (1999-2007).

·        Eko International Bank - initial member Board of Directors.

She has received many awards and recognitions throughout the country for services to the country, to her state and the accountancy and education sectors.

Amongst these are:

*          Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR) in 2002
*          ICAN – for the Upliftment of the Accountancy Profession (April 2002)
*          ICAN – Merit Award for Services to the Profession of Accountancy
*          Ogun State Government Award 1988 -A Distinguished citizen of Ogun State
*          Yaba College of Technology - For distinguished and meritorious services to the Nation on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the College in November, 1988.
*          Doctor of Business Administration by the University of Ado-Ekiti in 2004
*          Fellow of the Oyo State College of Education in 2005
*          Fellow of the Lagos State Polytechnic in 2005
*          Director of Science by the Lagos State University (LASU) IN 2007
*          Honorary Doctorate by the University of Nigeria, Nzukka in 2008

On Why She Chose Chartered Accountancy In The First Place

Actually, the idea came from my father. For a long time, I was an only child. And in a time when it might have been easier for him to dial back his expectations of his first child on account of my being female, his approach to career counsel was instead very pragmatic. He wanted me to excel, but he also wanted me to choose a path that would allow me to be a wife and mother. Working in practice, my time would be more flexible. I would not be beholden to the expectations of an employer.

Today, that kind of flexibility extends across many fields that were not available at the time. Freelancing and virtual working for example are established modes of work, even among professionals. One of my grand-daughters, at 16, has just chosen her A-levels and will be at university before long. She wants to be an engineer. I am quite excited for her. 

The way in which she will work will be a lot more flexible than if she had made a similar decision in my time. She will be a professional, and she will enjoy the prestige, learn the skills and capabilities and benefit from the discipline that come along with that, but she will have the latitude to craft a way of working that is optimal for her own peculiar situation, whatever that may be. She will not have to make many of the sacrifices that I did. There has probably never been a more conducive moment in time to encourage our daughters and grand-daughters to take up the challenge of professionalism.

Her View About Today's Women

The dynamics of the world of work today create opportunities that have been unprecedented before now. Work life looks very different today compared to when I first qualified as a Professional.  For starters, significantly fewer women today are choosing to stay at home, because they no Ionger have to. I am pleased to see that there are proportionately more of us women out there in the field today. While we do not yet all have full agency in our work choices, particularly in Africa, I am pleased to see that we are getting there.

Nowadays, work and personal lives also tend to be much more fluid - 'jobs for life', where you would join an organisation and retire 30 years later from the same organisation, are no longer the norm. Today, the trend is towards work environments that value individualism, personal fulfilment and 'work-life balance'. Individual needs and objectives are just as important as those of the organisation. It is much easier to be a working mother, for example, than it has ever been. But we cannot stop there. The challenge before you women now, is to keep pushing. Push and push until you have carved an even better model for work. One that addresses all of the kinks that continue to exist in the system.

In my case, I firmly believe that a lot of the success I have enjoyed in my career is rooted firstly in the fact that I chose a professional career. Being a professional, specifically a chartered accountant, forced me to be organised and disciplined. It also gave me a distinct peer group against which I could judge my own accomplishments. In my quest to run faster and harder, I think it helped that I had an eye on how fast and how hard my professional colleagues - male or female - were running.

Quite inspiring, isn't it?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the First Female Legend of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN)

Friday, 20 January 2017

See who the popular Carter Bridge was named after (PHOTO)

Carter bridge prior to Independence

Ever wonder how the popular Carter Bridge linking the Ebute Metta area of mainland to Lagos Island got his name?

Built in 1901, the bridge is one of three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland, the other two being the Third Mainland and Eko bridges.

Originally constructed by the British colonial government, prior to Nigerian independence, it was the only bridge linking the mainland and Lagos Island at the time of its construction. The bridge starts from Iddo on the mainland and ends at the Idumota.

Back to our original question: Who was Carter Bridge named after? Certainly, the name ‘Carter’ was foreign.

The bridge was named after Sir Gilbert Thomas Carter (1848-1927) who was appointed governor and commander-in-chief of Lagos Colony on February 3, 1891.

Carter, it was, who ordered an attack on the Ijebus in 1892. An administrative officer in the Royal Navy and a colonial officer for the British Empire, Carter in the company of soldiers travelled to various parts of Yoruba Land in an attempt to demonstrate the might of the British.

Initially, Carter was not well received in Oyo, and the Egba chiefs advised him not to interfere with slavery, while the Ibadan chiefs said they were afraid that their slaves would “assert their freedom by running to the Resident” – and hence they refused to sign a treaty with Carter. However, in January 1893 the Egba chiefs signed a Treaty of Independence with the British government. It was agreed that freedom of trade between the Egba nation and Lagos was to be guaranteed by the British government, in return for which no road would be closed without the approval of the governor. They further agreed that complete protection and “every assistance and encouragement” would be afforded to all Christian ministers”.

The British agreed that “no annexation on any portion of Egba Nation shall be made by her Majesty’s Government without the consent of the lawful authorities of the nation, no aggressive action shall be taken against the said nation and its independence shall be fully recognised.” He was promoted Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) on June 3, 1893, “in recognition of his services in conducting a mission to the Yoruba country which resulted in the negotiation of important treaties and brought to an end a long-standing war”.

Carter was given Ife works of art in 1896 by the old Ooni, Oba Adelekan Sijuade, in the hope that a decision in his favour would be made about the resettlement of Modakeke residents outside Ife city. These works (including three known as the Ife marbles), were sent by Carter to Europe.

Governor Carter made a British expedition in Ijebu between 1892 and 1893. He forced the Ibadans and the Ekitis to sign a treaty. He trekked to Igbaji and Oke-Imesi, where a treaty was signed between the Ibadans and Ekitis. On September 4, 1894, Governor Carter signed a treaty with the Owa of Idanre, Oba Towurojoye Adegboye, Arubuefin I, during which Idanre was ceded to be part of the British territory. A copy of the treaty is still with the present Owa of Idanre, Oba Frederick Gbolagunte Adegunle Aroloye, Arubuefin IV.

After his tenure in Nigeria, he was transferred to Barbados as governor and he built the Governors’ Residence there in 1904. The house was named by Governor Carter as Ilaro Court on Tweedside road, St. Michael in Barbados. He named the house in remembrance of Ilaro, a town in Nigeria, where the Governor was stationed when he was an officer.

He died there on 18 January, 1927.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Nnamdi Kanu Was Into Yahoo-Yahoo Before I Appointed Him in 2009 – Nwazuruike

L-R: Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader and Chief Ralph Nwazuruike

Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, founder, Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and leader of the Biafra Independent Movement has launched a scathing attack on the personality of embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, describing him as a fraudster with ignoble pedigree.

While reacting to the insinuation levelled against him by members of IPOB that he is one of the assigned masked witnesses selected to testify in the treason case against Nnamdi Kanu, Uwazuruike described the statement as ‘idiotic.’

Addressing journalists in Owerri yesterday, Uwazuruike labelled Kanu and his IPOB members as fraudsters who were out to deceive people, adding that if he wished to give evidence against the Director of Radio Biafra, he would have done so in the open court, rather than request to be masked.

Hear him:

 “I was the one who discovered Nnamdi Kanu in 2009, 10 years after I had started MASSOB when I travelled to London. I gave the money to establish Radio Biafra, rented a house for him and bought him a car because he was jobless and into Yahoo-Yahoo. He was not in school and had no degree.

 “When I appointed him as the Director of Radio Biafra, Benjamin and others refused to work under him because they said he was a fraudster. So, he is nobody and I can’t travel to Abuja to give evidence against him and worst of all to wear a mask to do that.

“I sacked him because he wanted MASSOB to employ violence; today where is Onwuka who wanted to use violence?” he said.

Uwazuruike said MASSOB did not need violence to achieve the independent Biafra state as was being canvassed by the detained Director of Radio Biafra.

“The insinuation by IPOB is not only idiotic, stupid but laughable because I am still the leader of the Biafra struggle.”

According to the MASSOB helmsman, at the end of the Civil War in 1970, there was no Igbo man that was courageous enough to talk of Biafra until he started the movement in 1999.

 “When I started MASSOB in 1999, nobody gave me the chance to succeed because after the Civil War in 1970, nobody was courageous enough to speak of Biafra; the  Federal  Government then had made an offer of an oil block to me so as not to resuscitate the ghost of Biafra but I had rejected the offer. I was jailed and when my mother died I was released from jail and given 90 days for the burial but I used only 70 days for the burial after which I returned to jail but the government asked me to go.”

 Saying that real freedom fighters were not afraid of going to jail for the cause they believed in, Uwazuruike wondered why the IPOB leader was afraid of going to jail.

“I have faced treason charges before the same Justice Binta Nyako and no true freedom fighter is afraid to go to jail for the cause they believe in; and so, why is Nnamdi afraid to face trial?

It would be recalled that Emma Powerful, director of media, IPOB, had in a recent statement issued in Owerri, alleged that the MASSOB/BIM leader, Uwazuruike, and one Mr. Chijioke Mbaneri, from Enugu State and some others had agreed with the DSS to hide under a screen to give evidence during the ongoing treason trial of Kanu before Justice Binta Nyako in Abuja.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Origin of Osapa London: A Swampy Hunting Village Turns Real Estate Goldmine

History is replete with stories of how lands and kingdoms are discovered accidentally or built through painstaking efforts of an individual or collective effort of a group of people. From the great rise of Roman Empire to the fall of Constantinople, there is always a great fable or myth behind preceding landmark.

This perhaps explains why Osapa London, a 254.558-hectare in highbrow Lekki area, has become one of the most sought-after properties in West Africa.

Osapa London is a 200-year old town. Prior to its modern name, the parcel of land used to be called Osapa Village. However owing to the rapid development springing up back then, the name ‘Osapa Village’ metamorphosed into Osapa London. The name Osapa (Osapa Lolo in full) means “The Lagoon Is Calm.”

The story, however, would have been incomplete without making reference to the tussle over ownership of the land which was eventually awarded in favour of Late Chief Gbadamosi Eletu-Odibo clan as against the Ojomo Chieftaincy Family.

It is said that one of the main reasons the Eletu Odibo family annually celebrates Osapa Day, aside being the date they won their land case that consequently turned the entire family into overnight billionaires, is that it is a subtle signal indicating that they deserve to have a king that would rule over them. Originally, the annual festival should have been christened “Ojude Oba” as been done in the Ijebu Ode, but they have no crowned king yet.

According to Prince Kazeem Eletu-Odibo, a scion of the Odibo clan, his grandfather used to stay in Itele in Ota.  Unfortunately, he had problem with child bearing. It is said that they used to die before they grow up. So one day, he was motivated to consult the oracle, where he was told to go and settle close to a big Lagoon.

“That was how he left Itele for Osapa. When he eventually berthed here (Osapa), he met a hunter and his daughter who were the original settlers in Osapa village, a parcel of land given to them by the Ojomu royal family for subsistence farming.

Long story short, the hunter accepted him when he explained what led him to Osapa. As time went by, my grandfather fell in love and got married to the hunter’s daughter. Fortunately enough, they started having children. After several years, my grandfather took a second wife.

Interestingly, when my father was growing up, he took after his father and became a renowned herbalist”.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Awujale Reveals How Obasanjo Tried To Use Globacom Boss To Implicate Atiku, IBB

L-R: Abubakar Atiku, Ex president Olusegun Obasanjo and Otunba Mike Adenuga

The EFCC in Lagos had come calling brusquely on Mike Adenuga (Jnr), Chairman Globacom on 9 July 2006. They broke his gate, swarmed into his house and kept him under ‘arrest’. When I heard about the arrest, I called the legal firms, of Ayanlaja SAN & Adesanya SAN as well as Professor Biodun Adesanya SAN to take up the matter and secure Mike’s release. They swung into action and gave indication that they would take the matter to court.

By evening, it was no longer necessary to go to court as Mike, following his statement to EFCC, had been released with instructions to report regularly to the EFCC headquarters in Abuja. Mike proceeded to Abuja, accompanied by his lawyer, Prof. Biodun Adesanya SAN. Indirectly related to this case, the EFCC had quizzed and released Mohammed Babangida, Ibrahim Babangida’s son. The EFCC purportedly were on the trail of some money belonging to the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF), but there was really more beneath the veneer.

While Mike was in Abuja, he was counseled to see Obasanjo to extricate himself. For four days, he made attempts to see Obasanjo but was unsuccessful. After a few days in Abuja with no case pressed against him by EFCC, he returned to Lagos. Not long afterward, and in the heat of this mess, Obasanjo did two things that puzzled me. He called Mike to meet him at a social event in Lagos –Engr. Olapade’s birthday celebration. Mike and Obasanjo were both captured by press photographers in the newspapers at the event. Following the celebration, Obasanjo asked Mike to accompany him to Ota. It was in Ota that he solicited for the construction of the Administration Block of his university, Bells University in Ota. Mike agreed, and Carchez Turnkey Projects Ltd handled the project for him. It appeared the whole matter, the EFCC hunt, simmered and Mike continued about his business. On a trip to Ghana, he ran through his Nigerian daily newspapers and discovered that the situation was unfolding in a more revealing version. The EFCC had arrested Mohammed Babangida. Mike read between the lines and proceeded to the UK on exile. When I visited the UK, Mike came to see me and wanted me to facilitate a meeting with Obasanjo so that he could present his side of the case. The allegations against him were as follows:

a. That Abubakar Atiku, the Vice-President, gave Mike Adenuga money from the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) which were invested in Mike’s bank, Equatorial Trust Bank (ETB), and that the funds were used in paying for the Globacom license.

b. That as a result of the connection in (a) Atiku was a major shareholder in Globacom. And Atiku used his clout to ensure that PTDF money got into ETB.

c. That General Ibrahim Babangida, the former Head of State, was also a major shareholder in Globacom.

Former head of states, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida

It was not enough for Mike to merely present his case to EFCC, for it seemed the EFCC was under some remote control. The Presidency was after Atiku. Atiku at some point was the Chairman of the PTDF; an attempt was being made to indict him for alleged illegal and unauthorized channeling of PTDF money into Globacom. All sorts of rumors were flying around, and the Presidency wanted to pin down the case against Atiku. If Ibrahim Babangida also fell into the trap, so much the better.

A wide opening presented itself, and EFCC seized it.

G.Subair is Mike’s second cousin. His father died young, and he grew up, just as I did in my early life, living with Mike’s mother. He worked for Mike and was seconded, amongst other things, to open the Kaduna office for Globacom. In need of accommodation or office space, he leased, on behalf of Globacom, a house, at 2-3 Dawaki Road in Kaduna belonging to Mohammed Badamasi Babangida and used that address in official correspondence and memoranda. Mohammed is the first son of President Ibrahim Babangida. This was Babangida connection to which EFCC hung on when they were rummaging through Globacom documents. This was, according to them, irrefutable evidence that Babangida was a major shareholder in Globacom and that his son, Mohammed Babangida, or G.Subair or Mike was fronting for Babangida in this venture.

Mike told me how he had raised money through the BNP Paribas Bank in France and how he paid to New York for the Globacom licensing fees. All the money involved could be traced with supporting documents to France and New York in the form of a huge loan. The Bank BNP Paribas on its part had a letter stating clearly their involvement in the transaction and Mike wanted to present this among other documents to President Obasanjo. I called Obasanjo and relayed the facts as I had them from Mike to him. I requested for his fax number so that I could fax Mike’s letter explaining all the transactions and the Bank of Paribas letter to him. As soon as he gave me the fax number, I faxed the documents to him. Still, Obasanjo was not satisfied. It seemed that it was all a ruse because they were really after Atiku and Babangida and wanted Mike to implicate them. Mike refused to cooperate. If he were not going to cooperate, they thought, harassment would do it. On 19 August 2006, I made a statement to the press asking Obasanjo to caution Nuhu Ribadu, the head of the EFCC, about his mode of operations. I denounced the harassment of citizens by EFCC and urged them to go to court if they had anything concrete against anyone.

While Mike was in exile, we shared a moment of relaxation together. We took a holiday together in the south of France with some members of our families. I had with me my wife Olori Kemi, my daughter, Ronke and Oba Adekoya, the Dagburewe of Idowa. Mike came along with his two daughters and his niece.

While on this holiday, the President of France, Jacques Chirac, was going to be holding a conference with African Heads of State in Nice. Coincidentally, we got to know that Obasanjo was booked to stay in the same hotel where we were staying. Later, we learned he had changed his mind and would not be attending the conference. Then not long afterward, we were told he had decided to attend after all. By the time he finally decided to attend, all the rooms in the hotel were fully booked, and he was now booked into another, Embassy Hotel, which was a stone’s throw from when we were. I got to know that he would check in at 8.00am on the day of the conference. At 8.330am, I went to his hotel and took Mike along with me. From the reception, I spoke to him on the phone. When he asked from where I was speaking, I told him I was downstairs in the lobby of his hotel! He said he would send someone down immediately to lead me up to his suite, and he did so. I left Mike behind in the hotel lobby. When I got to his suite, there were already a number of people in the corridor, in his living room and the dining room waiting to see him. His ADC took me straight to see him in his bedroom. I had hardly settled down when he started talking to me about his deputy, Abubakar Atiku. He was at daggers drawn with Atiku. When he exhausted all he had to say about Atiku, he jumped on Theophilus Danjuma, his estranged friend. They fell out after Danjuma had served him as Minister of Defence. I sat there just listening. He needed to get a lot off his chest. He told me how would leave the Chirac conference immediately after the opening because he wanted to attend a PDP campaign in Gombe at 5.00pm that same day. He was a lead campaigner for the PDP and Umaru Yar’adua for President.

He reeled off a number of events where he was going to be engaged in the coming months, including the opening of the Obajana Cement Factory. Wait a minute! Something struck me at the mention of Obajana Cement Factory.I told him that I had heard that he and Aliko Dangote jointly owned the cement factory. I told him that I heard Dangote was fronting for him in the venture. His reply was to query whether I believed what I heard. I countered by saying whether I believed it or not was irrelevant to the question that I had asked him. He said nothing further on this. Before we left his room, I pointed out to him that now that he was approaching the end of his term in office, there were some people to whom he owed apologies: Chief S.O. Bakare (Oluwalogbon) was one. Chief Bakare gave everything to support Obasanjo when he was down. In spite of Obasanjo’s condemnation by the populace, Bakare still stood by him. I had forewarned Bakare that Obasanjo would eventually dump him. Notwithstanding, he stood by Obasanjo. In the end Obasanjo walked away. A few months in office they separated as friends.

I told Obasanjo that Mike Adenuga was in Cannes and that I had brought him with me. He was waiting in the foyer downstairs. I told him that the reason I brought Mike along was that it was not unlikely that Obasanjo would hear that Mike was in Cannes while he was in town and would deem it discourteous if Mike did not show up to pay his respect. Now that I had told him, that Mike was downstairs, it was now up to him, if he wanted to see Mike, to send someone to bring him up. Obasanjo objected to Mike coming to see him in his suite. Instead, he said he would see Mike downstairs on his way to the conference. At this point, I volunteered to go downstairs and wait with Mike. Obasanjo again objected, insisting that he and I should go down together. Soon after, his ADC came into the room to remind him about the time. He went into his bathroom, got ready, and we went to the lift with his Foreign Minister.

When we got down, Mike came forward to greet him. ‘I have nothing against you, it is a matter of principle’ Obasanjo told Mike. Mike, in turn, said, ‘Your Excellency, I understand. Thank you.’ That was all the exchange they had.

When Obasanjo left office in 2007, we met at the 90th birthday ceremony for Chief T.O.S Benson in Lagos on 23 July 2007. As a matter of fact, we sat side by side. In the course of our conversation, I told him I was going to be in Abeokuta the following day. He said he would be in Ota when I was there, but that he would specifically come to Abeokuta to host me for lunch. He kept his word. So much so that he called me on the phone when lunch was ready! I assured him that I would not miss lunch and I would be with him as soon as I was through with my meeting.

I went as promised for lunch with Oba Adekoya, the Dagburewa of Idowa. When we got there, Obasanjo also had Alhaji Ola Yusuf from Owu, Abeokuta, who had come to see him and he too joined us for lunch. We were four at the table. It was sumptuous lunch, and I had never been treated to anything like it in our long relationship.

Mike Adenuga was still in exile abroad, and Obasanjo steered the lunch talk in his direction. He asked me to ask my son meaning Mike Adenuga, to return home. I requested that he should leave the matter until after lunch and it would be tackled on a one-to-one basis between us. He agreed.

After lunch, we went into his private sitting room. I declared that what Nuhu Ribadu, Chairman of EFCC, was doing in respect of Mike Adenuga was wrong and he was doing it at Obasanjo’s behest. I told him that I refrained from interfering because I wanted to see how the law would pan out on the issue. The kernel of the matter really, as I told him, was his disagreement with Abubakar Atiku, his deputy, and they had taken the matter almost life-and –death level. Mike Adenuga was a pawn in the crisis, and he should be given the right to defend himself.

I reminded Obasanjo that he was no longer in office and he should back off in his pursuit of Mike. I went further to let him know that if Nuhu Ribadu did not desist from molesting Mike, I would go into the ring with them. Here I made clear that I would take him and Ribadu to unnecessarily and unjustifiably pursue Mike. Obasanjo promised to see Ribadu and to ask him to back off. He further promised to give me feedback on this.

When I did not get his feedback, I called him a number of times, but the phone would ring and not be answered. Eventually, I called his aide, Bodunde Adeyanju, who on picking my call passed the phone to Obasanjo to speak to me. Obasanjo told me Ribadu was out of the country and he would get back again to me on Ribadu’s return. I told Obasanjo how difficult it had been to reach him on the phone. I offered a solution. I would ask Mike to send him a phone which he would give his aide, Bodunde, as an intermediary. This way, all I had to do was call that number, and Bodunde would pass it to him if he wanted to speak to me. He agreed, and Mike sent the phone down the next day. But still, Obasanjo did not come back to me on the issue.

Mike remained in exile in London, and nothing much was heard again or raised by the EFCC about him. Later in 2007, I called Mike in London and told him I wanted to know why he had refused to return home. Since he had no skeleton in his cupboard, then he should return home. I explained to him that the purpose of the wealth with which he had been divinely endowed was to care for his needs, and his interests. It was also for use to defend his honor and integrity. For these reasons, I urged him to return home.

Thereafter, Mike returned home. Nobody touched him, and no institution has prosecuted him because there was no genuine reason from the onset for anybody to touch him. However, the construction project at Bells University slowed considerably while Mike was in exile and a few solicitous calls from Obasanjo to Mike while he was in exile did not change the pace of work. On his return from exile, the school Bells University had the temerity to write to him seeking for a meeting to discuss the continuation of the project. When I got to know, I offered to be in attendance at the meeting and sent word round that I would be in attendance. I had the intention to lambast all of them. They must have sensed it because up till now, the meeting has not been held!

All the enormous goodwill which Obasanjo carried into office was squandered with a performance that left him with a second term short of tangible achievements. Eight years in office was ample time to put electricity on a very strong footing. Eight years was enough to put down a strong foot against corruption and make a clear difference. Eight years was adequate for orderliness and the rule of law to triumph in every facet of our society. These were the basis upon which I gave him my support for the office. Some new State Governors have shown how much good can be achieved in a shorter time.

Report compiled by Sahara Reporter from ‘Awujale: The Autobiography of Alaiyeluwa Oba S.K Adetona, Ogbagba II’
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