Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Meet Most Influential Pharmacist In Nigeria (PHOTO)

Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi

-         Has visited 140 countries across the globe
      Speaks French, Spanish, English & Dutch Fluently

His speech, gait, poise and approach to issues reek of royalty. To a first timer, his mien cuts the image of a retired ambassador. On the contrary, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, OFR, FPSN, mni is more than that. He is a man of immeasurable quality.

A former minister of health and human resources under the short-lived Ernest Shonekan regime, the 75-year-old is an accomplished pharmacist and legal practitioner.

There is hardly any event he chairs or attends in Nigeria today that he doesn’t get a standing ovation. His oratory power has been metaphorically compared only to the great Greek Philosopher – CICERO. In a single oral delivery, he has the tendency to spice up his speech with a rich blend of Latin, French, Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba dialects.

Thus it came as no surprise when the number one citizen of the country, President Muhammed Buhari, paid a personal glowing tribute to the chairman of MTN Foundation through pages of national dailies, broadcast and digital media specifically on his 75th birthday.

...with members of Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) at a recent event

Born in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, on August 2, 1940, he attended St. George’s Catholic Primary School, Ado Ekiti, from 1946 to 1952. From there, he got admission into St Thomas Aquinas College, also in Akure (1953 – 1957) for his secondary education. In furtherance of his education, he went to the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Ibadan (1959 – 1961).

His foray into pharmacy practice started in 1962. The pharmacist was among the pioneering set of students that gained admission into the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife), from 1962 to 1965.

Fair and brainy, he was described as the most handsome pharmacy student as well as the toast of the ladies on campus. However rather than live out the image of a casanova that he was labelled, Adelusi-Adeluyi concentrated more on activism and other extra-curricular activities.

According to Pharmacist Eugene Chibuzor Okonkwo, a course mate, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi was the most prominent personality at Ife in my time.

“I just could not fathom how he was able to cope with the tedium of being a pharmacy student and at the same time acting as secretary of National Union of Nigerians Students (NUNS), president of ANUNSA, PAX ROMANA and Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students (PANS),

“While in the university, he was already showing signs of going into politics. Aside his unionism activities, he was almost becoming a regular newscaster at Western Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (WNBC) at that time too. We (students) knew as at that time that he would turn out great in future,” he enthused.

...with Julia, his wife and pharmacists from industrial, academic and community practice

He has been described as an outstanding student leader at the local, national and international levels. He served as vice president, for International Affairs of the National Union of Nigerian Students in 1964.

At the international level, he was elected by student organisations worldwide, at their Annual Conference at Christ Church, New Zealand, as secretary-general of the world student body, the international student conference (ISC) based in Leiden, Holland in 1965.

In this capacity, he built student union organisations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. In the process, he visited over 140 countries and became multilingual.

The pharmacist’s exploits in the Pharmacy field didn’t go unnoticed. His unusual passion for the profession saw him come up with lots of innovative ideas in a bid to meet up with their counterparts in the western world.

He was credited with the composition and introduction of Pharmacy Anthem in Nigeria. He was later appointed as a health minister during the interim government of Dr Ernest Shonekan, which was subsequently toppled by a military regime headed by Late Gen. Sanni Abacha.

Since leaving political office, the amiable pharmacist invested his time developing his personal businesses and interests. One of such businesses which he heads as the executive chairman is Juli Plc., the first indigenous promoted company to be quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

...sitting comfortably with his wife, Julia at an event held by Prof Pat Utomi to fete him

Married to Julia, his childhood heartthrob, Adelusi-Adeluyi is also the president of the Indigenous Quoted Group (indigenous companies quoted on the Stock Exchange).

A multi-linguist, the ex-minister was a product of Language Institute, Noordvijk, Holland in 1967.

Presently, he speaks English, French, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish fluently.

Adelusi-Adeluyi, whose obsession with anything WHITE, finished his law programme at the University of Lagos (1984 – 1986). At the Nigerian Law School in 1987, he won the Best Overall Student prize.

The eminent pharmacist also participated in a programme at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru in 1990. He is a past national president of the Alumni Association of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru.

A revered gentleman, he is currently the group of chairman of Oodua Investment Conglomerate, an organisation coordinating the economic and cultural legacies of the south-western states of Nigeria.

Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi is also a former national president of the Nigeria-American Chamber of Commerce as well as the national president of the National Council for Population and Environmental Activities (NCPEA).

He became a Rotarian (Rotary Club of Ikeja) in 1969 and was elected club president in 1977. In 1980, he was elected district Governor for District 210 (covering Anglophone & Francophone West Africa) at the District conference in Kano, Nigeria. He became the first district governor of Rotary District 910 (later 9110) for 1982/83. He formed 33 new clubs within his year. He was succeeded as governor by PDG Bob Ogbuagu.

...receiving a Merit Award from former head of States, Gen Yakubu Gowon
The Prince has to his credit scores of publications among which are Drug Control, Import and Storage (Continued Education, Ife, 1976); You are welcome to my profession Pharmacy (television broadcast 1979); Public Relations in Pharmacy (PSN 1979); Medicines practical problems involved in their delivery to the patients in developing countries (International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Madrid, Spain; Pharmacy in the West Africa Region: Problems and Prospects (W.A.P.F 1986); and The Pharmacist and Private Sector in Essential Drugs Programme (PSN, Benin, 1986).
Among his numerous awards are Member of the Federal Republic, MFR, 1986 and Officer of the Federal Republic, OFR, 2002. He is a Fellow of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (FPSN), a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (FNIM); a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, London (FIOD) and a Fellow of the West African Pharmaceutical Postgraduate College (FWAPPC). He also bagged the Centenary Award of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, among many others.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Five Lessons From Success Story of Tolu Ogunlesi, Presidential Aide On New Media

Tolu Ogunlesi

There is a maxim that says some are great, some achieve greatness and some employ PR to make them feel great. The inspiring story of Tolu Ogunlesi, special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital and New Media, could only have been motivated by the second factor.

Born on March 3, 1982 in Edinburgh the capital city of Scotland to Nigerian parents, Ogunlesi lived most of his life in Nigeria. A journalist, poet, photographer, and fiction writer, the young man holds a 2004 Bachelor of Pharmacy (B. Pharm) degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and in 2011 earned an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.

When Ogunlesi’s appointment was announced through the presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in February 2016, quite a handful of people thought he was lucky.

But the story of the writer has not always been that rosy. Behind those glitters that look like solid gold to most admirers, he also has a story to tell.

Addressing a gathering of youths during the launch of Young Pharmacists Mentoring Programme organised by Nigerian Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Alausa, Lagos on March 22, 2015, the renowned writer shared his experience on how pharmacy practice paved the way to his current elevated status.

The former editor of Next Newspaper (now defunct) told the audience that he always knew before he graduated that Pharmacy was not his true calling.

“Not that I don’t like the idea of practising as a full time pharmacist. But right from the time I observed that I have keen interest in writing poems and short stories, I knew that I have found my passion.

“In all of these, I must not fail to point out the fact that Pharmacy paved the way for me to succeed in my chosen field. Before I hand over the microphone, let me quickly enumerate five key lessons that shaped my life,” he remarked.

L-R: Ahmed Yakasai, PSN president; Tolu Ogunlesi and Lekan Asuni, managing director of GlaxoSmithKline 

First Lesson
The first lesson, according to the presidential aide, was for young pharmacists to note that the journey in life is as important as the destination.

 “One of the key lessons I learnt in life is that your journey is as important as your destination. Some people will never understand why you took a certain decision. Let me use my life as an example. I have taken decisions that didn’t really make sense to people. Many actually thought my failure to practise as a pharmacist after my service year would be my undoing. But it didn’t happen!”

Second Lesson
Secondly, no matter how many times you explain, some people will just not understand why you took a particular decision. There comes a time when people will always want to ask “Why are you leaving your job?” “Why take that job?” “Why do you want to start a business?”

Counsel is good, no doubt! But decision taken should be yours, because at the end of the day, no one sees what you see.”

Third Lesson
The third point, in his summation, for people to come to terms with the fact that there can never be a substitute for passion.
“I meet so many people who tell me that they want to be a journalist and the first question I usually ask them is: ‘Do you have a Blog?’ The reason I say that is simple. In five years time, nobody will wait for Punch or Guardian to give them the news. Thus there can be no substitute for passion. If you don’t have it, you cannot buy it. For some people, it is activism. For others, it is marketing. There are millions of passions out there. No matter what obstacle you face, that passion stays with you. As I said earlier, the last time I practised pharmacy the course I studied was during my NYSC years when I discovered in passion in writing poems and short stories. However pharmacy is a discipline that designed in such a way that one can fit easily into any profession, whether it is banking, telecommunication, civil service or multinational companies. I know quite a number of people in these sectors who are equally pharmacists.”

Fourth Lesson
“The fourth lesson is for every success-minded individual to keep an open mind. You must have been seeing shops putting up notice like ‘Open/Close’ signpost outside their doors. You shouldn’t be like them. A close mind is really a dangerous thing. You must always learn to keep an open mind.

For instance, I had no idea 10 years ago that I will end up where I am today. You don’t always need to have things figured out before you make a move. After all, even in pharmaceuticals, products like Viagra was an accidental discovery because it was originally developed to treat heart related diseases. But when they discovered that the older men are in the habit of coming back for more stating that it makes them feel younger, a new use was created for it.

Fifth Lesson
While urging young pharmacists not to give up on their dream, the presidential aide declared that the sole decision he took in those trying years was his gains today.

“It makes more sense looking forward instead of backward. I am proud today that those decisions I took yesterday have all added up to take me to where I wanted to be. I can confidently say that I am living me dream!”

As he disembarked from the podium, Ogunlesi received a standing ovation from both the dignitaries and crowd of young pharmacists in attendance.

To his credits, the pharmacist-turned-writer has authored a collection of poetry such as Listen to the Geckos, Singing from a Balcony and a novella, Conquest & Conviviality. Among publications in which his fiction and poetry have appeared are The London Magazine, Wasafiri, Farafina, PEN Anthology of New Nigerian Writing, Litro, Brand, Orbis, Nano2ales, Stimulus Respond, Sable, Magma, Stanford’s Black Arts Quarterly and World Literature Today.

In 2007, Ogunlesi was awarded a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg poetry prize, in 2008 the Nordic Africa Institute Guest Writer Fellowship, and in 2009, a Cadbury Visiting Fellowship by the University of Birmingham. He has twice been a winner of the annual CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards, in 2009 (the Arts and Culture prize) and in 2013 (Coca-Cola Company Economics & Business Award), as well as being shortlisted for the inaugural PEN/Studzinski literary prize.

As a journalist, he has been a contributor to many significant publications and outlets, including Tell Magazine, The Guardian (Lagos), Daily Independent (Nigeria), New Age, Forbes Africa, The Guardian (UK), Financial Times, Huffington Post, Business Day (Nigeria), and Premium Times.

Ogunlesi and Kemi during their traditional wedding

His marriage to his heartthrob, Kemi Agboola, in December 2014 at Oritamefa Baptist Church, Ibadan was the talk of the town.

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Remarkable Story of OBIORA CHUKWUKA: School Drop-Out Who Became King of Nigerian Pharmaceuticals

Dr Obiora Chukwuka, Greenlife MD

To a first time visitor at Greenlife Pharmaceuticals Limited, Dr. Obiora Anthony Chukwuka’s mien cuts the image of an average office worker in the organisation.
However in stark contrast to such assumption, he is actually the founder and chairman of the company.

Popularly christened “The king of antimalarial,” the grass to grace story of Dr. Obiora Anthony Chukwuka who is also the chairman of Seagreen Pharmaceuticals Limited is a remarkable one.

Born on July 18, 1963 into the family of late Denis Ifedi and Regina Chukwuka of Ubili Village, Nnokwa, Idemmili South Local Council, Anambra State, the young Obiora was the last and only male child in the family of seven.

His father doubled his job as a school teacher with that of a Catechist in their local church. Going through secondary school was really difficult. His latter day academic accomplishments served as testaments to his quest for knowledge and also assuaged him for the early educational deprivation that he suffered on account of financial incapacitation.

Obiora started his early education at Infant Primary school (now Upaka Primary School), Nnokwa in 1970. He was very intelligent and as a result, his teachers took special interest in him.

In 1973, Obiora moved to St. Stephen’s Anglican School following the military intervention and change in education policy then.

He gained admission into Oraukwu Grammar School, Oraukwu and his experience in the secondary school was to shape the course of his future in a profound way.

After his five-year journey in Oraukwu Grammar School in 1980, his friends labelled him “Mr. Trader” because they saw him more as a businessman than a student.

Due to the circumstances of his life as the only male child in a poor family, he knew that the most appropriate thing was to forget education in the short run in order to support the family’s lean financial resources.

Obiora stated that even for him to complete his standard six at that time was a huge struggle. In 1980, the young man moved to Lagos to join his maternal cousin at the age of 17.

The cousin was then a trader in Idumota market, dealing in ladies shoes. That was where the Greenlife boss cut his teeth in business. He however spent only three years with his cousin before he was set-up in the same line of business.

However, the joy was cut short by the Buhari / Idiagbon military regime in 1984. It was an era that saw all illegal shops at Idumota (including Obiora’s fledging business) demolished by the special task force put in place by the regime.

What many viewed as terrible setback for the Seagreen Pharmaceutical owner was actually a launch pad for the young man to determine his future business. With the leftover capital at his disposal, Obiora delved into the pharmaceutical industry, banking on his love for dispensary services and previous experience as an active member of the Red Cross Society during his school days. After a brief training in drug business, he started the trade with a take-off capital of N10,000 in 1985 at Idumota, with the name Leton Medical Store, which later metamorphosed to Caleb Pharmaceuticals.

However, being a determined young man with a vision, Obiora had his game plan. He was determined to run a company recognised by law without molestation. To regularise the drug business, he decided to approach the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) where he was instructed to get a registered pharmacist, a shop with a size of at least 20 feet by 10 feet and register his firm with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

With all the requirements met, an application was filed with the PCN and Caleb Pharmaceuticals Limited was given approval in March, 1987.

Having started out as a legal entity, Caleb Pharmaceuticals Limited enjoyed huge patronage. Unfortunately trouble came knocking on May 1989, barely two years after the company was fully registered. Inspectorate officials from the PCN reportedly sealed off all the pharmaceutical shops in Idumota area with allegation that majority of the operators had no licence to operate as pharmaceutical companies.

The raid lasted for more than a month before re-opening. Not done yet, the council clamped down on the traders again in 1992 when it declared that there would be no renewal of pharmaceutical licences for operators in Idumota. According to officials, the location was not conducive for pharmaceutical service.

While problem with the council persisted in 1992, Obiora, not given to stress and difficulties in life, made up his mind not to continue with his business and trade in Idumota. He was determined that even if there was any positive news from the PCN at the end of the day, he was not prepared to continue doing business there. His vision and ambition was to run a full-fledge corporate entity like the Pfizer or other multinationals of this world.

Not too long, a window of opportunity opened for him from India. As at the time the opportunity came, Obiora was having about N42, 000 as savings. In December 1993, Obiora travelled to India to perfect the deal on the importation of drugs like Felvin 20mg and Gentamycin 280mg directly into the country through one Blessed Augustine Pharmaceuticals Company located in Mushin, Lagos.

Unfortunately, by the time the goods arrived Nigeria in early 1994 and went into circulation, Obiora encountered serious problem with the product. Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Limited, a multinational company in the country, already had the patent for the product. He never knew that Pfizer patent which covered the importation of Piroxican still existed and had not expired.

Consequently, Pfizer, on investigation made attempt to arrest the importer of the product and when Obiora got wind of this development, he quickly withdrew the product from circulation. However, when the Pfizer’s licence expired in 1995, Obiora immediately reintroduced Felvin into the market.

With assistance from Konfidek Pharmacy, Obiora imported new products from India and eventually registered Felvin 20mg and Genamycin 280mg with NAFDAC using Konfidek Pharmacy.

In 1994, following repeated problems associated with the drug market in Idumota, the idea of registering Greenlife Pharmaceticals as a new company with the PCN became inevitable.

In 1997, Ebere Nwosu, who is now the Managing Director, approached Obiora with a partnership request. In effect, he wanted both of them to import drugs together into the country. Obiora bought the idea and as a take-off, they jointly contributed N10,000 each and that marked the new beginning of what is today Greenlife Pharmaceuticals Limited.

Obiora and Ebere, employed another Pharmacist, Ibe James (now late), who eventually got Greenlife Pharmaceuticals Limited registered with the PCN in June 2000. Thus with the registration, Obiora’s transformation from being a shoe trader to a wholesale medicine dealer and now a corporate entity became fully manifested.

L-R: Dr. Obiora Chukwuka, founder and chairman of Greenlife Pharmaceuticals and his wife receiving the 2015 Businessman of the Year Award from Dr Chris Ngige, minister of labour

Over the years, Greenlife has grown to become one of Nigeria’s top corporate and respected indigenous pharmaceutical brands. With over 120 NAFDAC approved brands currently on its stable, the company employs several hundreds of Nigerian professionals across various disciplines, especially pharmacy.

Years after he had made tremendous success in his entrepreneurial stride, Obiora still felt the compelling need to further his education. So, in 2002, he secured admission into University of Lagos, after 22 years in business, bagging Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, in 2008.

He got a Masters Degree in Corporate Governance from Leeds Metropolitan University, England, from where he also had a diploma certificate in Management Consultancy.

He is also a recipient of an honorary doctorate conferred on him by Commonwealth University Belize, Central America, in collaboration with the London Graduate School, England.

On the social front, Obiora is a member of the Council of Nigeria- British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC); Institute of Directors Nigeria (IoD), Nigeria Red Cross Society and Nigeria – India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NICCI).

He was recently decorated as 2015 Businessman of the Year at The Sun 13th Annual Awards ceremony which held at Eko Hotels in Victoria Island.

Receiving the award, Obiora disclosed that the award wasn’t something he expected so soon.

“But what I saw today has given me the impression that no matter what you do, people are always watching. I have always been an advocate of “doing the right thing at all time” and I strongly believe that for as long as you are hardworking and a man of integrity, you will always get it right

“I thank The Sun management for not just the award, but for equally giving me the opportunity to tell my story,” he enthused.

Yet the King of antimalarial believes that he has not arrived as many thought. He believes the world out there is for those who can conquer it.

Did you believe him?

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Thursday, 7 April 2016

Why TV Advert On BRT LCD Screen Remains A Viable Medium For Entrepreneurs, SMEs

It is not unusual to hear young entrepreneurs and small and medium scale (SMEs) business owners lamenting “I don’t have the financial muscle to advertise on television and radio” or “Advertising in Nigerian newspapers is outrageous!”

The lamentation further takes a different twist the moment you moot the idea of advertising on BRT / LAGBUS. Most entrepreneurs tend to turn and take another look at you to be sure you are okay.

The essence of advertisement, in the first place, is to call the public's attention to your business, usually for the purpose of selling products or services, through the use of various forms of media, such as print or broadcast notices.

Yea, we understand that brands, services, awareness campaigns on a metropolitan shuttle like LAGBUS / BRT readily gives value for money in the long run (if you missed the maiden article, read it here, it is not advisable for small and medium scale enterprises.

That notwithstanding, smart SMEs can explore the huge opportunities embedded in showcasing brands via the ultra modern in-transit multimedia screen in every BRT / LAGBUS on Lagos roads.

It comes with huge benefits such as:

Stable power:

Whether there is power outage or, it has nothing to do with your advertisement which requires energy from the shuttle to run. Thus while commuters who are fatigued from continual scorching of the sun are cooling off in the air-conditioned buses, their attentions are focused on the multimedia which tends to play recent sports clips, trendy music and movie trailers neatly blend with a handful of in-transit TV commercials.

Demography (Audience):

BRT commuters cut across the ‘B’ to ‘C’ classes (medium to average income earners) which comprise civil servants, technocrats, business owners, market women, students, religious leaders, corp members, artisans and traders among others.


An average 15’ 30’ or 60’ commercial slot runs 56 times daily, 392 times weekly and 1,568 times monthly.
     * No of Buses: 400

·       *  No of Commuters Daily: 460,000

·        * Average No of Commuters Monthly:14,000,000

·       *  Passenger Flow (Peak Period): 360000

·        * Passenger Flow (Off Peak): 100,000

·        * Passenger capacity/bus: 80 (37 sitting/43 standing)

·       * Daily Passenger Flow/Bus: An average of 200 passengers (including those embarking and disembarking at different bus terminals) per trip

·      * Each bus makes 20 trips (to and fro) each day. That makes the total carriage about 4,000 passengers per day and 120,000 commuters per month thereby offering advertisers the opportunity to reach a wide, diverse, heterogeneous audience.

As earlier mentioned, product / service commercials will be featured amidst entertaining content such as musical videos, sports, movie trailers, fashion tips, comedy flicks and so on. This guarantees large viewership of your advert.
Interestingly, we presently have 400 in-transit audio and visual display units available in BRT commercial shuttles.

Cost friendly:
For as low as N60, 000 per month, SMEs can be assured of maximum exposure to commuters who form the bulk of their potential customers at a relatively cheap rate. As against spending about N6,500 on single slot radio jingles, N48,000 on one slot of television commercial or N30,000 on 3 x 4 advert space in newspaper, you are merely spending more about N2,000 a day to run similar television commercial (albeit small audience) on LAGBUS / BRT multimedia to a diverse audience. Not bad, isn’t it?

Major Route:
Although BRT / LAGBUS initiative is not meant to take over the entire stretch of Lagos roads, specific routes known to be chaotic and traffic prone were cut out to meet its purpose. 

The five major ones include:

·        CMS - Ketu
·        Maryland - Iyana Ipaja
·        CMS – Lekki / Ajah
·        Maryland – Ikotun / Igando
·        Mile 12 – CMS

Influences Consumer Buying Behaviour

A recent survey conducted by Folfrad Media Classics has shown that consumers tend to make shopping decisions whenever they are on the move. Secondly, whether commuters like it or not, they don’t have the luxury of alighting from the bus in annoyance or tuning into another channel if they are not too comfortable with whatever is shown on the screen. In this regard, advertiser has more control over the audience not the other way round. This is why we believe showcasing your brands in as many as BRT multimedia as possible is a great way to break into the sub-consciousness of your consumers and direct their attention to your products and services.

Call to action
After watching three to four slots of a commercial during a journey from CMS to Maryland, it is not unusual to observe that an estimated 40 per cent of the passengers are spurred to give the products / services / religious or awareness campaign a trial. Guess what? If, for instance, a passenger decides to purchase a pack of noodles after alighting from the bus, don’t you think the product of the company’s commercial they had just witnessed on the in-transit LCD screen stands a better chance of being purchased as against other brands?

That is the power of advertising!

If this prospect of advertising on BRT / LagBus in Lagos meets your demand, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us:

(Publishers of CityPulse online & print magazine)
Tel: +234-703-909-1674, +234 8099425352

We encourage companies, NGOs, institutes, schools, independent agencies and religious bodies to saddle us with the responsibility of reaching a wide range of audience via a comprehensive BRT / LagBus advertisement

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Inspiring Story of Kelechi Iheanacho’s Meteoric Rise To Football Fame

Iheanacho representing Imo State at a junior football tournament

Whenever the name Kelechi Iheanacho is mentioned in football circle, what people visualise is a young man who was fortunate to find himself in soccer hall of fame.

However his story is not as easy as many thought. His struggle in life has been described as topsy turvy by close friends and allies.

As a youth, Iheanacho represented Taye Academy in Owerri. His performances for Nigeria in the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup led to interest from clubs in Europe. Teams following his progress included Arsenal, Sporting Clube de Portugal and Porto.

In December 2013, Iheanacho travelled to England to discuss a move to Manchester City where he signed a pre-contract agreement with the club, stating his intent to formally sign for Manchester City on his 18th birthday in October 2014. In the interim, he returned to Nigeria. As the year drew to a close, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) named him the Most Promising Talent of the Year for 2013 during the CAF Awards.

But just how much do you know about the personal life of the youngster?

Golden Eaglets' Kelechi Iheanacho won the Golden Ball award at 2013 Fifa U17 World Cup

His mother, Mercy, died some years ago precisely in February after a short illness. Her death meant that the young footballer would have to depend heavily on his father.

In an interview he granted to UK’s Daily Mail, Iheanacho said: ‘My father (James) was a trader and my mum was a teacher, but she was laid to rest a few years ago which was really hard for all of us.

‘I have two brothers and a sister back in Nigeria as well. Everything I do, I do for my mum and my family – that’s what drives me.

‘My dad is back home and I’m living on my own in Manchester at the moment.

‘But I think a lot of kids back home have been encouraged by what’s happened to me and by where I am today. They can’t believe what I’ve achieved at just 19 years of age and it further gives them the belief that they can make it too.’

Manchester City fought off competition from FC Porto and Sporting Lisbon to agree a pre-contract with Iheanacho, but had a long wait before completing the signing and securing a work permit.

He added: ‘I’d played a few games at the Under-17 World Cup finals, and that’s when I agreed a deal with City. In all honesty, I didn’t know that much about the club at the time.

‘I was close to signing for FC Porto where I really wanted to go. City are such a big team with so many fantastic players, I didn’t believe I’d have a future here. But my father did and he gave me the confidence I needed. I’m happy I took his advice.’

‘I first heard of City's interest when I was with Nigeria for the World Under-17 qualifiers," he said. "When we finished the qualification process, I had a few scouts approaching me and telling me I had quite a few clubs interested in signing me. But I didn't want to sign for anyone at that time, I just wanted to enjoy my football.”

Today, Iheanacho's consistency and goal poaching instinct has forced him to claim a first team shirt ahead of established midfield players like Samir Nasri whose nagging injury woes has continued for some time now.

In fact, many believed that the likes of Edin Dzeko were offloaded to pave way for youthful talents like him a chance for the future.

The giant leap of Kel, as his friends fondly call him, from the grassroots to one of the biggest clubs in the world has continue to elicit hope from young struggling footballers across Africa.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

My First Experience With Weed - A Nigerian Scary Account

There is a first time to everything, so says a popular maxim.

But what do you say to a teenager who feels like ingesting WEED for the very first time in his life? The excuse most victims tend to give could range from a number of several factors – exuberance, peer pressure or sheer curiosity.

Below is an interesting narration by a young Nigerian teenager who had just tasted weed for the first in his life:

I had just moved out of my parents’ house and was sharing a room with my "friend". I had no idea he smoked weed, despite his suspicious movements and signature weed scent (abi na odour?) barely two weeks after moving in with him, my worst fears were confirmed as he started bringing home his weed smoking buddies and they would occassionally roll a wrap and smoke it right there in the room or mix the weed with beans or spagehtti. Being a very curious person I always wondered what made them happy after smoking, so I decided to find out for myself (wrong move)

It was a very hot day in February, a Saturday I think it was, my friend was out as usual. I searched everywhere for his stash but couldn't find it so I decided to go and get mine. I arrived the weed joint all sweaty and nervous, half expecting to get mugged but nobody seemed to be aware of my presence there, they were all on different planets all expect one I concluded that he must be the seller so I approached him and the following conversation ensued:

Me: How far?
Weed seller: I dey
Me: I wan buy weed
Weed seller: How many parcels?
Me: Parcel ke? Iro oo, na just small i need
Weed seller: (laughs really hard) Bolo le leyi sha (meaning this guy is a dunce)

Apparently, a parcel of weed is that small wrap, I didn't know that. I thought it was something very large. I gave him N1,000 and he gave me a tiny wrap of weed with a white paper, I was surprised when he gave me 950 as change. I couldn't believe weed was that cheap.

On my way home, I decided not to smoke it but mix it with beans because i thought that it will be better that way (another wrong move). Long story short, I cooked beans and added the whole weed, ate it and called my friend, I told him “Ogbeni, I just ate weed oo and nothing happened to me. This one that you people will eat and be feeling funky, I don chop am oo.” My friend was like, “Ehen, you be strong man oo.”

I decided to take a quick nap before doing laundry, i woke up about 20 minutes later on the floor i was banging my head on the floor, and i couldn't stop, my heart beat was so audible and fast, everything was extra bright and extra loud. After a few minutes of head banging, i was able to get up from the floor,

I felt as if I had just gained access to a part of my mind that I never knew existed previously, it was scary and cool at the same time. I could feel the blood flowing in my veins (you have to experience it to believe it even though I strongly advise against it). I felt so uncomfortable in the room, it felt like i was in an oven suddenly a voice in my head whispered “Ogbeni bo aso e joor” (take off your clothes). I obeyed. The voice came again, “Oya sa re” (now run). That was when I realised that the weed had taken effect. I decided to take a shower to see if it will calm me down. But the water felt so hot on my skin I ran out of the bathroom.

I called my friend to see if he could help me make sense of what was going on but he laughed at me, he asked me the quantity of weed I took and i told him i used a whole parcel, he said, “Guyyyyy, you don high. If you no sleep in the next 30mins, you go mad o. Go chemist, make you go explain yourself.”

By this time things had escalated. I had a severe itch at the back of my head that wouldn't go away no matter how hard I scratched. I was convinced that the beating in my chest was an evil spirit that could only be killed with a punch. I ran to my neighbour champion and told him champion, “E jo e fun mi lese laya (champion, please punch me in the chest). Ti e ba gbami lese laya, mo ma ku oo (if you don't punch me, I will die oo)! He hissed and walked out having had enough of such nonsense from the boys in the boys quarters.

The voice in my head came again, “Iwo na o de gba ara e lese laya. Abi o ti fe ku ni?” (Why don't you punch yourself in the chest or do you want to die?) I punched and punched but there was no difference.

The house was getting hotter, the voice in my head was getting louder, the itch in my head was getting worse, and the evil spirit in my chest was getting louder. Then came the voice again, “Oya ma sare lo” (start running). I started running. But on getting outside in the sun, I felt cold so much that I was shivering. That didn't stop me from running anyway (I would have given Hussain Bolt a run for his money on that day).

On getting to the chemist, I realised I was bare footed. I told him I had a severe headache that I needed something to make me sleep immediately. He gave me the drug and I chewed it right there in his presence. Next I asked him to give me a drug for evil spirit. That was when he realised something was wrong with me and chased me out.

I got back home and tried to sleep but my heart beat wouldn’t let me. I ran back this time to a nurse in the area. The first thing she asked was, “Ki lo de. Oo wo bata ni?” (Why don't you have your shoes on?) I told her, “Jackie Chan ti gba bata lowo mi” (Jackie Chan collected my shoes). I was finally able to explain my situation to her. She took me in, tied something around my elbow and injected a liquid directly into my vein. I passed out immediately only to wake around 1.00am or 2.00am in the middle of the night with the worst kind of hunger I have ever felt in my life. I ate a whole loaf of butter field bread in one sitting without butter or tea.

I came home to a hero's welcome, my friend told me, “E be like say your head no carry am. But e go better make you try am once more so that you go dey use to it.”

The following day when the house was empty, I packed my Ghana-must-go bag and just like the prodigal son in the bible, I went back home to my parents. It has been a few years since that experience but the lesson I learnt is an unforgettable one. My curiosity hasn't gotten me in trouble again and my circle of friends has since changed.

The name of the author is withheld for obvious reason

Friday, 29 January 2016

LASU VC Pledges To Clear Outstanding Certificates In 4 Months (GOOD NEWS!)

A recent protest by LASU Undergraduates (photo credit: PremiumTimes)
In what might gladdens the hearts of past students (both in main and external campuses) of the institution, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, new vice-chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU) has given a reassurance that the ivory tower will expedite action on backlog of outstanding degrees and certificates in in the next four months.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos recently, Fagbohun explained that a task force would be put in place to resolve the perennial issue of backlog of certificates at the university’s External System.

Prof Olanrewaju Fagbohun
According to him, the management is aware of the problems in the system and is making all efforts to resolving them.

“The task force will search for the profile of students, identify the problems and proffer a solution to them”, he said.

The VC said that he had met with representatives of ‎students from all campuses of the institution for cooperation toward resolving the problem.

He explained that he was still using his office at the new faculty of science “because the building is central and as the VC, I can operate from ‎anywhere”, pending the renovation at the Administrative Block.

Fagbohun ‎told NAN that peace had returned to LASU because every member of the community was working together.

He said the nation had no reason to panic because of LASU. “The present administration is working assiduously to restore the lost glory of the institution.

LASU is an institution with staff and students full of potentials. It is an institution bubbling with students that have fantastic skills and ideas to be explored by the world”, the VC said.

NAN recalls that some students of the university’s External System (LASUES) had protested against non-release of their certificates for the past 10 years after graduation.

Some of them complained that they could not get jobs because they could not present their certificates.

Others, who were working, said they were sacked for their inability to produce their certificates.

Others claimed that they were not promoted by their employers because they could not prove their academic status.
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