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SINCE 1996

ALL THEBRIDGET GLAMOUR AND COLOUR OF THE STAR-STUDDED EVENT MRS. OKONJI’ s SURPRISE 60TH BIRTHDAY PARTY

THE EXCITING WEDDING OF

SULIEMAN GIWA AND HUSSAINA MOHAMMED

SURPRISE 60TH BIRTHDAY THEPARTY FOR

ADETUS

HONOUR THEIR MRS. BRIDGET SWEETMOTHER IN SHAGAMU , OGUN STATE OKONJI IN LAGOS

ONE ON ONE WITH

MTN’S © OVATION 2014

LARRY

ANNETTS


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inside ISSN-1362-7309 Issue 156 CREW PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Dele Momodu momodudele@yahoo.co.uk

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Mobolaji Momodu EDITOR Michael Effiong mikeffiong2009@yahoo.com mikeffiong@ovationinternational.com

MANAGING EDITOR Segun Adebowale PHOTO EDITOR Adekoya Adegbite PRODUCTION MANAGER/ART DIRECTOR Isaac Edoh-Philip

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ASSISTANT DESIGNER Kwaku Yeboah Darteh

Pg316 AT THE GRAMMYS

CORRESPONDENT Mo Salami…Dele Salako…Babatunde Martins PHOTO JOURNALISTS Colin Ramsay… Ade James (USA)… Dayo Adedayo Isaac Adegbite… Dragan Mikki… Bodise Wilson Soji Adekunle… Vera Odjugo… Tope Brown Solomon Ekhaiyemhe… Abraham Falodun Segun Lawal… Ken Ehimen...Sunmisola Olorunnisola Guy L’ Avenir (Benin Republic) Ben Dzakah (Ghana) MARKETING/ADVERTS Zed Dominic Okolue (Benin Republic) US CORRESPONDENTS Samantha Ofole Prince… Shola Orolugbagbe CONTRIBUTORS Jimi Akinniyi… Sanya Ojikutu… Isatou N’jie Dayo Olomu… Makeba Boateng

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LAGOS OFFICE Bamisebi Richard Ojo-Head Admin Aderemi Abiola-Admin. Officer UK OPERATIONS 7 Du Maurier House, Lawn Road, London NW3 2XE Tel: +447951026178, +447956967160 UK DISTRIBUTION/WORLDWIDE SUBSCRIPTION Jay Magazine & Newspaper Distribution, UK +44(20) 76358888, +447976628251 UK AND EUROPE DISTRIBUTION Quality Magazine Distribution Global Distribution MANAGING EDITOR BENIN REPUBLIC BUREAU Jeanne-Frances Maduakor Centre Commercial Xanadu-Ancien Pont, Wlacodji Contonou Tel: +229 97221918, +299 98155422 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo… Ike Okonta… Sunmi Smart-Cole Okagbue Aduba… Osasu Obayiuwana… Dupe Ashama Isha Tejan-Cole (West Africa) ...Richie Dayo Johnson GHANA OPERATIONS #17, Asafoatse Afua Street, West Airport. Tel: +233-21-762595, 778737. Fax +233244843099 LAGOS 13B Ladipo Kuku Street, Off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria Tel: +234-0-8023002090, (0)8055069220, (0)8055069212, (1)4543030 TOGO BUREAU King Nee +2289160855 Chinyere Ndukwe +22890039631 PRINTED BY The Magazine Printing Company Ltd., Enfield, England. DIRECTORS Segun Fatoye, Mobolaji Momodu, Damola Aderemi, Dele Momodu (CEO) OVATION Magazine is published as a periodical by OVATION Comm. Ltd. ©OVATION International Reproduction in full or part of any contents of OVATION magazine (without prior written consent from the publisher) is strictly prohibited.

Pg45 OMISORE INTERVIEW 7 THE EXCITING WEDDING OF SULIEMAN HALIDU GIWA AND HUSSAINA MOHAMMED 45 WHY I WANT TO STEP INTO OSUN GOVERNMENT HOUSE-SENATOR IYIOLA OMISORE 57 PRINCE BISI OLATILO’S LOW-KEY 60TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION 61 FIRST BANK UNVEILS NEW COPORATE IDENTITY WITH FANFARE 64 INTERNATIONAL SHOWBIZ/PR MOGUL, SHEILA OKONJI-ASHINZE HOSTS SUPERB SURPRISE 6OTH BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR SWEETMOTHER, MRS. BRIDGET OKONJI IN LAGOS 87 CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER LARRY ANNETTS TALK PASSIONATELY ABOUT HOW MTN HAS REMAINED NO. 1 IN NIGERIA 99 LAGOS STANDS STILL AS MIC BOSS TUNJI OKUSANYA GOES HOME

106 OBEHI IMIEWARIN AND CHRISTOPHER WALLACE SAY “I DO” Pg87 IN LAGOS 110 A GLORIOUS FAREWELL FOR MRS. FELICIA ADETU IN SAGAMU, OGUN STATE 125 FAMILY AND FRIENDS MOURN A PERFECT GENTLEMAN, DEJI FALAE 131 THOROUGH PROFFESSIONAL, SESAN OGUNRO GOES HOME IN STYLE 144 OLUWAYEMISI OLUWASANMI WEDS MOSHOOD SANNI IN ONDO STATE 150 HOPE KUBECHI CLOSETS HOSTS EXCITING FAIR 154 WE ARE READY TO WOW THE WORLD AT AFRICA FASHION WEEK NIGERIA-FOUNDER RONKE ADEMULUYI 156 MY VISION AS AFWL AMBASSADORABIOLA OKOYA 165 KSA SHINES AT GLO EVERGREEN SERIES 168 MARIAM SHEHU WEDS MICHAEL OBOH IN KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA 171 70 HEARTY CHEERS FOR MRS. MOSUNMOLA ADEBAJO 175 GRAND FUNERAL FOR CHIEF (MRS.) LUCINDA OBADARA IN OGUN STATE 187 2SIDE MODEL AFRICA COMPETITION 188 HEIRS HOLDINGS HOSTS EXCITING PARTY 196 A THRILLING NIGHT WITH THE MASTERS 200 STANBIC IBTC HOSTS EXCLUSIVE DINNER FOR CLENTS 203 STALLION MOTORS PACKAGE 218 REGAL FAREWELL FOR PRINCESS TENIADE OMOWORARE IN ILE-IFE, OSUN STATE 225 IDONGESIT AKPAN WEDS FRANK EZEKIEL IN LAGOS 233 GELE TEA PARTY IN SUPPORT OF ALZHEIMER’S HOLDS IN LONDON 234 GHANAIAN BEE ARTHUR WOWS IVORY COAST AT AFRIK SHOW 8

235 LOADED MAMA MARKS 5TH YEAR ON HOT 93.9FM 237 LET’S TAKE YOU TO YVONNE OKORO’S PLAYGROUND 238 THE LOVELY WEDDING OF FAROUK ALIU MAHAMA AND AYISHA ABDALAI 265 EXCITEMENT CHRISTOPHER OTAME WED PRINCESS OGECHI DECLAN IN ACCRA, GHANA 277 UBA GHANA, SENDS FORTH ITS PIONEER CHAIRMAN, KWAME PIANIM 285 SHATTA WALE WINS TOP PRIZE AT VODAFONE GHANA MUSIC AWARDS 2014 290 OVATION CELEBRATES NOLLYWOOD GREAT JUSTUS ESIRI 299 NEW LOOK TITUS SARDINE ARRIVES NIGERIA 302 NKULI, THE MASKED MOVIE PREMIERES 305 ... AND ELIKEM PROPOSES TO BBA HOUSE MATE, POKELLO AT THE VGMA 306 WE HAVE REALLY IMPACTED NIGERIA’S HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY-MR OLADELE COKER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HSSL GLOBAL 312 VALENTINE COMES ALIVE IN ACCRA 316 THE GLAMOUR AND THE GLORY OF OSCARS 321 CONVERSATION WITH COCOA BROWN 322 IS CAMERON DIAZ THE OTHER WOMAN? 323 CHARLIE WILSON STEALS SHOW AT BET’S CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL 325 DIRECTOR JOHN TURTURRO EXPLORES PROSTITION IN FADING GIGILO 326 WHY I DECLINE NUDE ROLES?-ERICA HUSBAND 329 THE COLOURFUL WEDDING OF OGHENEKOME DAMIJO AND ENIOLA ABIODUN IN LAGOS 337 STAR MAGAZINE

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THE EXCITING WEDDING OF

SULIEMAN HALIDU GIWA AND

HUSSAINA MOHAMMED Story: Deji Aroloye French: Chinyere Ndukwe Photo: Adekoya Adegbite & Tope Brown

Couple Suleiman & Hussaina

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The lovely couple: Suleiman & Hussaina

“Though, we have dreams and aspirations, but our greatest expectation at this moment is for Allah to give us the will, power and strength to live, love, understand, appreciate, tolerate and support each other one day at a time till eternity.” -Suleiman Halidu-Giwa

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he wedding ceremony of Suleiman Halidu-Giwa, son of Retired General Abdulmalik Halidu-Giwa and Hussaina Saidu Mohammed, daughter of Ambassador Saidu Mohammed, was unique and classy in all ramifications. It was a beautiful climax of a friendship that started barely two years ago. Their relationship began on a casual note when the duo met at the Occupy Nigeria rally in 2012. It was Suleiman, a graduate of Business Administration that initiated the move which has now resulted in a celebration of love. Narrating how they met, Suleiman said, “I met my wife at the Occupy Nigeria rally in 2012. I was following her around, until she noticed that I was behind her. She turned and said hi.” That was how their friendship kicked-off. Subsequently, they exchanged numbers and started seeing each other till they became five

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and six. Today, the rest is history, as we are now celebrating their love story. The special celebration of love unfolded through three different activities in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. It began with the Fathia which was held at the Abuja Central Mosque. The groom, Suleiman was taken through the Islamic injunctions on marriage and love. Some Islamic clerics carefully espoused the principles of marriage according to the Holy Quuran to the admiration of the illustrious guests that came to the Mosque. With strong admonition, the Chief Imam, Ustaz Musa Mohammed told the couple to stay together in love and co-operation according to the will of Allah. Ustaz Mohammed then highlighted the responsibilities of the groom to his wife if they desire a blissful marriage. According to the Cleric, Suleiman, being the head of the home, should be responsible for

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a cérémonie de mariage de Suleiman Halidu - Giwa, fils du retraité général Abdoulmalik Halidu - Giwa et de Hussaina Saidu Mohammed, fille de l'ambassadeur Saidu Mohammed, était particulièrement chic et unique. C'était le magnifique point culminant d'une amitié qui a commencé il y a à peine deux ans. Leur relation a commencé sur une note décontractée lorsque les deux se sont rencontrés à Occupy Nigeria en 2012. C'était Suleiman, un diplômé en gestion des affaires qui est à l'origine de ce qui a débouché sur une célébration de l'amour. Racontant comment ils se sont rencontrés, Suleiman a dit: « J'ai rencontré ma femme à la manifestation d’Occupy Nigeria en 2012, je la suivais partout, jusqu'à ce qu'elle remarque que je la suivais derrière. Elle s’est retournée et a dit ‘’salut’’. Voilà comment leur amitié a commencé. Par la suite, ils ont échangé leurs numéros et ont commencé à se voir. Le reste c’est de l'histoire, et ce que nous célébrons aujourd'hui est une histoire unique d'amour. La célébration spéciale de l'amour comprenait trois activités différentes à Abuja, le Territoire de la Capitale Fédérale, FCT. Elle a commencé avec la Fathia qui a eu lieu à la mosquée centrale d’Abuja. Le marié, Suleiman, est passé par les injonctions islamiques sur le mariage et l'amour. Certains clercs islamiques ont exposé attentivement les principes du mariage selon le Saint Quuran à l'admiration des

illustres hôtes qui sont venus à la mosquée centrale. Avec une forte mise en garde, l'imam supérieur, Ustaz Musa Mohammed, a conseillé le couple à rester uni dans l'amour et dans la coopération, selon la volonté d'Allah. Ustaz Mohammed a ensuite souligné les responsabilités de l'époux à sa femme s’ils veulent un mariage heureux. Selon le Clerc, Suleiman, étant à la tête de la maison, devrait être responsable de tous les besoins de sa femme. Il a également ajouté qu’ils doivent toujours s'efforcer de tout faire en commun et ensemble. C’est en faisant cela qu’ils vivraient ensemble pour le restant de leur vie. C’étant gratifiant pour le beau Suleiman que la célébration ait débuté à la mosquée, comme il est un fervent musulman qui met Allah en premier dans tout ce qu'il fait. La mariée et les femmes membres de la famille du couple ne pouvaient pas assister à la Fathia parce que les femmes ne sont pas autorisées à assister à ces réunions conformément à la loi islamique. Des prières ont été cependant largement offertes pour la mariée et les familles. Les rites nécessaires ont ensuite été observés par le marié, en présence de son père. Ensuite, le couple, les membres de la famille et les invités se sont rendus à la maison du marié au district de Maitama à Abuja pour la Yawo Wazun. Yawo Wazun dans le dialecte Noupé est, de façon littérale, le dévoilement de la mariée. Ce fut un beau spectacle lorsque le visage de l’élégante mariée a finalement été dévoilée en présence des


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Hussaina, who studied Public Administration and loves eating chicken, is not just an attractive lady, she is also loving, patient, tolerant and smart - a perfect example of every man dream’s wife. You could then see why Suleiman made up his mind to stay with her forever. all the needs of his wife. He also added that, they should always endeavour to communicate with each other. Because they would be living together for the rest of their lives. It was gratifying for the handsome Suleiman that the wedding prayer started from the Mosque, as he is a devout Muslim who puts Allah first in all he does. The bride and female members of the couple’s families could not be present at the Fathia because women usually a different role at such gatherings according to Islamic law. Prayers were however, largely offered for the bride and both families. The necessary rites were then performed by the groom in the presence of his father. Afterwards, the couple, family members and guests moved to the groom’s house in Maitama District, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja for the Yawo Wazun. Yawo Wazun in Nupe dialect literaily means the unveiling of the bride. In fact, it was a beautiful sight to behold when the face of the elegant and beautiful bride was finally unveiled in the presence of family members and guests. Hussaina, who studied Public Administration and loves eating chicken, is not just an attractive lady, she is also loving, patient, tolerant and smart-a perfect example of every man dream’s wife. You could then see why Suleiman made up his mind to stay with her forever. There were many cheers and from the audience as Hussaina was formally handed over to the groom’s family. The height of the nuptial was the dinner at the International Conference Centre, ICC, Abuja. The superlative dinner was chaired by the former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu. It was a glamorous one. The event was perfectly planned and executed by the Mother of the groom, Hajiya Amina Abdulmalik Halidu-Giwa, who was ably supported by the bride’s family members. They were well supported by Lere Cake Royal whose cake design was superb. Satab Catering Services and Jen Weng Catering Services ensured that the best of meals were available while Daniella Chinyere Ihensinulo used her expertise to decorate the reception venue, making it look like heaven on earth. As the mothers of the bride and groom were exchanging pleasantries with their friends, the couple was brimming with smiles on their seats. Their outfits were Couple: Suleiman & Hussaina

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Suleiman, his father Retired General Abdulmalik Halidu-Giwa & Hussaina

Father & son: General Giwa & Suleiman

Father of the groom, General Abdulmalik Halidu-Giwa

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Suleiman, Hussaina, groom’s brother, Bello


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The handsome groom

The graceful bride

Groom’s mum, Hajiya Amina Halidu-Giwa & bride

The lovely bride

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Groom’s mother, Hajiya Amina Giwa, the couple with father of the groom: Retired General Abdulmalik Halidu Giwa

classy and fit for their pedigree - they both come from prestigious families. As the event progressed, you could see them express their joy unreservedly. The talented comedian, I Go Dye, fired darts of jokes in a way that made the couple and their guests laugh generously. They all had the time of their lives. Some of the attendees were, Hon. Zainab Galadima, Dr. & Mrs. Danmole, Mrs. Chito Nelson, Mrs. Ify Onwudinjo, Princess (Mrs.) Ngozi Nnaedozie, Commodore Tunji Osholaja (rtd.), Gen. S.A Katung (rtd.), Otunba Ade Adelakun and Vice Admiral Joe Ajayi. Though the year has just begun, we can confidently proclaim that the

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ceremony could vie for one of the hottest weddings of 2014. Meanwhile, the handsome Suleiman, whose favourite dish is pounded yam with vegetable soup was elated that their dream of getting married came to fruition. He told OVATION that, he and his wife had high expectations for the happiest day of their lives and the journey they are about to begin. “Though, we have dreams and aspirations, but our greatest expectation at this moment is for Allah to give us the will, power and strength to live, love, understand, appreciate, tolerate and support each other one day at a time till eternity.” -Suleiman Halidu-Giwa We at OVATION wish Suleiman and Hussaina a happy married life!

Maikudi, ifeanyi & a friend

membres de la famille et des invités. Hussaina, qui a étudié l'administration publique et qui aime manger le poulet, n'est pas seulement une femme élégante ; elle est également aimable, patiente, tolérante et intelligente. Vous pouvez donc deviner pourquoi Suleiman a décidé de vivre avec elle pour toujours. Il y avait beaucoup d‘acclamations dans la congrégation lorsque Hussaina a été officiellement remise à la famille du marié. L’apothéose était le dîner au Centre de Conférences International, CCI, à Abuja. Le spécial dîner était présidé par l'ancien président adjoint du Sénat, le sénateur Ibrahim Mantu. C’était glamour. L'événement a été parfaitement planifié et exécuté par la

Friends of the groom

mère du marié, Hajiya Amina Abdoulmalik Halidu - Giwa, qui a été bien sûr epaulée par les membres de la famille de la mariée. Elles ont été soutenues par Lere Cake Royal dont la confection du gâteau était magnifique. SATAB Traiteurs et Jen Weng Traiteurs ont veillé à offrir un repas copieux tandis que Daniella Chinyere Ihensinulo a utilisé son expertise pour décorer la salle de réception, c’était époustouflant. Lorsque les mères de la mariée et du marié échangeaient des plaisanteries avec leurs amis, le couple débordait de joie dans leurs sièges. Leurs tenues étaient chics et adaptées à leur pedigree - ils sont tous deux issus de familles prestigieuses. Ils n’ont pas pu cacher leur joie au cours de


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The adorable couple: Sulieman & Hussaina

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THE WEDDING FATHIA

Groom, Sulieman & his father, General Abdulmalik Halidu Giwa (Rtd.)

Groom, representative of Estu Agaie, father of the groom & Mohammed Bello Ilyasu

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Senator Danjuma Goje & Chief Imam, Uztaz Musa Mohammed

Senator Danjuma Goje, Uztaz Mohammed & Retired General Sabo


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Friends of the groom, groom & Mai Kudi

Senator Ibrahim Mantu & Alhaji Sheshi Katcha

Senator Danjuma Goje & friend

Rtd. Col Musa Shehu & Col. Musa Mohammed

Representative of Etsu Lapai & Gen. Giwa

Senetor Damjuma Goje & Gen. Gana

Alhaji Saab & friend

Sadik Abacha (m) with guests

Rtd. Col Musa Shehu & a friend

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Adamu Sheshi Katcha & Rtd. Gen. Sabo

General Sabo with guest

Cross section of guests

Adamu Sheshi Katcha & Alhaji Musa

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Friends of the groom with Sadik Abacha

Deputy Imam


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Dr. Ndanusa & guest

Groom, Suliman thanking the Chief Imam

Chief Imam

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Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Senator Danjuma Goje & guest

Alhaji Alhassan, Gen. Garba, Gen. Gana, Gen Sabo, Bride’s father & Dr. Ndanusu

Kabiru Dyasu, groom, Rep. Estu Agure, groom’s father, Mohammed Ilyasu with other guests

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Senator Ibrahim Mantu & Senator Danjuma Goje

Barade Nupe, groom’s father & family members


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Guest, Uncle Lawal, Alhaji Ali, groom & Uncle Danjuma

Maikudu, groom & Ndazuru, publisher Polo magazine

Groom, groom’s father, Uncle Umar, Uncle Aliyu, Bola & guests

Maikudi, Bello, groom & Ifeanyi

Groom, his friends with Bello

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Bello, groom’s brother & groom

Groom’s father, General Halidu Giwa (Rtd.) & a guest

Kawu Bachita, Alarama, groom’s father, groom & Alhaji Amuda

Maikudi, Suleiman, Atiku, Ifeanyi & guest

Kabir Ilyasu, Suleiman, Ifeanyi & guest

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Suleiman, Rep Itsu Apai & father of the groom, Gen. Giwa (Rtd.)

Father of the bride with guests


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TAWA WAZUN: UNVEILNG OF THE BRIDE

Bride arriving with family members

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Bride, Hassana, uncle Yahya, uncle Abdulkidir, Sarki Ado, Alhaji Amuda & groom’s father, Gen. Giwa

Uncle Abdulkadir, Sarki Ado, Alhaji Amuda, groom’s father & Alarama

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Abdulkadir & Sarki Ado

Bride & family members


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Groom’s mum, bride & bride’s family members

Groom’s mum & Bride

Aunt Lami, groom’s mum, Aunt Nana, Aunt Habiba & bride’s family

Zeenat Muhammed

Fatimat Baba Shehu

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Bride’s cousin, Hauwa Fawu

Hauwa Abdulmalik Ilyasu, groom’s sister

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Mrs. Aisha Usman

Aisha Ziza


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Hajia Maimuna Mohammed & Saratu Saleh Abba

Cultural troops performing

Groom’s sister, Fatima & Zaniab

Aunt Gogo & Benita

Fadila, Fati & twins

Hauwa, Jamila & Hauwa

Hajiya Babi Koba, Hajiya Maryam & Hauwa

Aisha Usman, Hauwa Yabagi, Princess Aisha Lemu, Mrs. Ayedeyin, Princess Laraikolo, Princess Maryam Ibrahim Kolo, Hajiya Safeena, B.H Ibrahim (CBN), Hajiya Hafsat Haladu Idris CBN & Hajiya Asma’u M.S.(CBN)

Zainab Mohammed, Aishatu .A. Tabako, Zarah Mohammed & Fatimat Haruna

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The couple

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Groom Unveiling the bride


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...TOGETHER AS ONE SULIEMAN AND HUSSAINA

The couple

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Couple with bride’s family

Hajiya Maryam Sanusi, Couple & a guest

Bello, groom, Hauwa, bride & Hassana

Couple with guests

Hamid Talatu Wavawa, Hameeda Daura, Fatee Sidi, Hadeeka Abdulkadir, Khaulah Abdullahi & Hadeezah Umar

Couple with guests

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l’évènement. Le talentueux comédien, I Go Dye, a fait sortir des sketchs hilarants qui ont fait beaucoup rire le couple et les invités. Certains des invités étaient, l'hon. Zainab Galadima, M. et Mme Danmole, Mme Chito Nelson, Mme Ify Onwudinjo, Princess ( Mme ) Ngozi Nnaedozie, Commodore Tunji Osholaja ( rtd. ), le général SA Katung ( rtd. ), Otounba Ade Adelakun et le vice amiral Joe Ajayi. Même si l'année vient de commencer, nous pouvons en toute confiance proclamer que la cérémonie pourrait rivaliser avec l'un des mariages les plus chauds de 2014.

Mrs. Goje with Couple

Ifeanyi Anakwe, Rimi Mohammed, George Ikoli, Omozuwa OmoEboh & Adeola Kotey

Groom, Huawa, bride & Hassana

Pendant ce temps, le beau Suleiman, dont le plat préféré est l’igname pilée avec de la soupe aux légumes, était ravi que leur rêve de se marier se soit réalisé. Il a révélé à OVATION que sa femme et lui avait des attentes très fortes pour leur mariage. Quand bien même nous avons des rêves et des aspirations, notre plus grande attente en ce moment est qu’Allah nous donne la volonté, la puissance et la force de vivre, de nous aimer, de nous comprendre, de nous apprécier, de nous tolérer et de nous soutenir chaque jour jusqu'à l'éternité. - Suleiman Halidu Giwa OVATION souhaite à Suleiman et


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THE CLASSY DINNER

Couple

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Parents of the couple

Couple A

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Couple’s dance


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General Agbab, Zainab Agbab & guests

Bride’s dad, Sen. Mantu & guests

Couple with well-wishers

Guest, father of the groom & Admiral Ajayi

Princess Maryam, Hajia Lele Kolo & Hajia Aisha

Commander Buko & Mrs Buko, Victoria Mampak & Col. Mampak

Admiral & Mrs. Ajayi

Otunba Ade Adelakun, Niyi Otunla (AGF) & Demola Dada

Baby Irfan, Nafisah Baba-Ahmed & Amina Sa’ab Shehu

J.A. Wanka , Laraba Abbas & Zainab Sa

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Hajiya Binta & guests

Guests, Zaina Agbab, couple, Mika & Mrs. Lawal

Hajia Binta Ismail, Mrs. Ify Onwudinjo & Mrs. Chito Nelson

Mrs. R. Adebayo, Mrs. Fakiyesi & Mrs. Gasiokwu

Hajia S.Z. Agbab, Hajia Toyin Ahmed & Hajia Funmi Kobi

Mrs. Bukar with Mr. & Mrs. Isa Musa

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Mr. & Mrs. Isa Musa

Halima Mohammed, Amina Uthman & Hadiza Agbab


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Hassana with couple

Members of the Islamic Youth League (IYL) with couple

Ahmed, Suleiman, Tunji, Yemi & Mrs. Agbab =0595

Bilki Sulley, Hadiza Mohammed , Aisha Balewa & Fatimah Rabiu-Akan

Elijah Ogunsanya, Omoyiwola Ogunsanya & Bukola Akinfolahan

Ahuchogu, Lovelyn & Simi

Yemi, Peter Echendu & Ijeoma Echendu

Mrs. Etido Paul & Hadiza A. Lawal

Hadjia Tutu Soyebo, Mrs. Titi Dolapo -Badru & Alh. A.Ogunsanya

Saadatu & Saratu

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Alhaja A. Onakoya , Tawakalitu Ashiru & Abisoye Olubodun

Lydia Joel Ishaya, Khaulah Abdullahi, Talatu Wakawa & Hassana Saidu Mohammed

Obete Faith & Hauwa Balarabe

Rtd. (Col.) G.F. Majek , Rtd. (Maj.) Femi Amodu & Rtd. (Rear Admiral) O.O. Biobaku

Hauwa Biu & Helen Yusuf

Alh. Aliyu Musa & wife, Hajiya Musa

Hauwa Gidado , Hajia Aisha & Barr. Nasale

Mr. Olorunda & Mr. Apugo of CBN

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Mr. & Mrs. Solaja

Hon. Zainab Galadima, Hadeeza Umar & Fati Sidi


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Zakiyyah Maisingle & Fatima Mohammed

Isah Ruma, Atiku Jada, Hammed Jada & Hafiz Isah Abdullahi

Barr. Muyiwa & Ifeanyi Anekwe

Brian Mokelu, Ifeanyi Onyeocha, Nwanade Ocean & Fasan Odunayo

Guests & Mrs. Maryam Sanusi

Couple with CBN staff

Couple with bride’s friends

Hassana S. Muhammed (twin sister of the bride)

Couple with bride’s friends

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Hajiya Maryam Sanusi, Mrs. Fakiyesi, Aunty Bose Adeboye, couple, Mrs. Shekarau & Mairo Isa

The couple serving each other drinks

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Senator Ibrahim Mantu

Hajia Sherifat Yusuf

Obinna

Hajia Zainab Agbah

Comedian Gana must go

Yiwola Ogunsanya

Yomi Umar, Hadiza Umar, Hon. Zainab Galadima & Zakkiya Maisingle

Aunty Lami Giwa advising the couple

Hon. Zainab Galadima

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Gen. Giwa, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu, Alh. Tijjani Yusuf with Mr. & Mrs. Yusuf

Couple

Shettima Umar Abba Gana & Chief Ogadah Okeagu

Mrs. Bola Lamu, Mrs. Olayinde Sanni-Akako & Mrs. Funmi Salami

Otunba Ade Adelakun & Vice Admiral Joe Ajayi

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General & Mrs. Sabo

Hajia Fatima Manu, Hajiya Zainab Kate & Hajia Aishatu Musa


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Hajia Maimana, Saidu Mohammed & Hajia Rakiya Saidu Mohammed

Mr. & Mrs. Yusuf with Gen. Giwa

Sayinya Mustapha & Hauwa Abdulmalik Iliyasu

Amina & Mansurah

Aisha Rumah & Hadiza

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Dr. & Mrs. Danmole

Amina Gidado


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Sonia & Hadiza Fawu

Fatima (bride’s sister)

Walida (bride’s sister)

Ummita & Nabila

Maryam Nimi Musa

The couple enjoying their first official dance

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Couple with bride’s friends

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Couple with the Generals


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Couple with Satab staff members

Couple & bride’s friends

Hauwa, Amina, Kamila, Couple, Zainab & Mohammed Ilyasu

Couple with bride’s family

Couple with guests

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Couple with guests

Groom’s father with guests

Mimi, Asabe Abdulmalik, Safiya Mustapha, Hauwa & Fatima Baba

Rtd. (Commodore) Tunji Osholaja & Rtd. (Gen.) S.A Katung

Couple with guests

Couple with guests

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Alhaji Baba Abubakar, Sen. Mantu, Couple, Alhaji Amuda & Sen. Isah Mohammed


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WHY I WANT

TO STEP INTO

OSUN

GOVERNMENT HOUSE .TFOBUPS!JZJPMB PNJTPSF Interview: Michael Effiong Photo: Sunmisola Oloruninsola

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I do not like dishonesty, falsehood and pretenders. And of course, I abhor any form of violence, either verbal or physical violence, any form of it. I am a man of peace and want peace for everybody. We will change Osun government peacefully. Aregbesola is trying to provoke PDP and all the parties in that state, but we will not be provoked. We have made up our minds that we are going to be quiet, endure and team up to push him out quietly any see him as controversial, others say he is influential. Like or loathe him but you cannot ignore Senator Iyiola Omisore when it comes to the politics of Osun State in particular and Nigeria in general. Senator Omisore was once a Deputy Governor of the State, and one of the few politicians who had ever won an election while in prison custody! The former Senator and Chairman, Senate Appropriation Committee is the PDP Gubernatorial candidate for Osun State South West Nigeria, and in this engaging interview, Editor, Michael Effiong asks him the reasons for his latest political adventure.

M

What is your opinion on the idea of calling your State, the State of Osun

Actually, there is nothing bad in the state being called the State of Osun because we are running a confederation system, a state is a federating unit like the States of Maryland, Ohio, and Texas. Some people call it the Texas State too. It is actually the same thing. But the problem we are having with (Ogbeni Rauf ) Aregbesola is that he is turning it into a big deal. The problem Aregbesola has is that he is not well grounded, so little issues seem big to him. He uses non issues like this to cover his shortcomings. Osun is State of Osun and Lagos is Lagos State. It does 46

not make any difference. He has wasted so much money in branding, changing the letter head and logo etc. All these show of radicalism and waste of public funds is to cover up for corruption, inefficiency, and violence in the state. So, there is nothing bad in it; it is just a matter of semantics. Can you sing the new Osun anthem

Is there a new anthem in the state? I am unaware. But every state has the right to have its anthem. We have an anthem in Ife, the same with Osogbo. Aregbesola is afraid of his shadow. He is afraid of the way he came in through the back door when they stole the mandate through a court judgment. So, you must create issues to get people busy. He decided to keep himself, the citizens and Nigerians busy, so that they will not ask questions from him. It is a good tactic that has worked for him.

What is wrong with Osun that you want to fix

First, Osun is a state that is blessed with enormous human resources. It is very peaceful and violence free. The people go about their normal businesses without disturbance. But, they are also yearning for development. Today, the untold hardship the Aregbesola administration has brought to the people is enormous. The worst problem we have in Osun today is the issue of religion; it has broken nations. If not for the patience, tolerance and maturity of the Osun people, the state would have been in crises by now. He has introduced religious bigotry to cause confusion, create distraction and divert people’s attention from the realities on ground. Christians and Muslims have always lived in Harmony in Osun, why come with an Education policy that may cause disaffection, we all know that it is said that if something is not broken don't fix it. Why is he trying to fix what has no problem? Meanwhile, areas that have problems have not been attended to. Luckily, our people are so peaceful, mature and

tolerant. They have seen through his gimmick. The strategy was to pierce our psyche to put into us wrong and demeaning values that are alien to the tenets of good governance. Today, every activity, index and pointer of bench marking for good governance is nil in Osun. Let us begin from Agriculture. All the farm settlements have been eroded; the ADP programmes are no more. There is nothing to show that Osun is agrarian.The only attempt he made was to borrow money. He brought in Lagosians and gave them farmlands. And these people are not Osun indigenes. So, they could not fit in, they dont understand the terrain. When you assess the state of education in the state, Osun has the worst index in this country today. He is running education in that state in a way that students cannot learn effectively. He merged schools and destroyed buildings. Students were registered for West African Examination Certificate with different school names and ended up with another school names. In fact, they are already roaming about to locate their examination centres. If you want to change the educational system of a state, it is supposed to be gradual. You prepare them for two or three years or you let a particular phase of students leave the school, then you change it .All this was an attempt to bleed the state. His administration only built nine schools. In the state, we have a class of 120 children sitting on floors and taking classes under the trees. What he did was to repaint three blocks, showing them on television, even up to Cable Network News. Last time, he said he went to the United Kingdom to study the School Feeding Project. That was done for seven years under the PDP government. It is not new. That is fraud. He now sews uniforms for schools, no school identity; all because he wants to be the sole sewer of uniforms. Uniforms that are supposed to cost 400 naira in the market, is sold for 2400 naira. On that alone,12 billion is pocketed yearly. The driving force is how much money can be made and taken to Lagos quickly because he knows he has only four years to spend. He is aware that he will leave by this year. He is just


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I will enthrone good governance by bringing pride of place to my people, improving their psyche. The notorious confusion being inflicted on them by Aregbesola needs to be erased. And, we will be back to our regular programmes like education, integrity, good governance, corporate governance and coexistence of all religious bodies. Youths will be gainfully employed and there will be good pensionable jobs for them. We will create wealth among the middle class people and improve the lives of the artisans and workers. concerned about all he can eat like they say in America. Basically, what you are saying is that there are problems in Osun

There are problems, in fact Osun is in crisis. The various sectors in the state are corruption-ridden. Everything about Osun is faulty. Today, we owe N430 billion under different debt portfolios. Look at the present budget. The deficit in that budget is more than three quarter. How does he want to fund the budget? You now pile huge debts on the people. Anyway, I have made it clear in all my interviews that any bank that lends Aregbesola money that he cannot pay within four years will have to follow him to his homeland to retrieve their money. What will you do differently

My core area is how to restore dignity to the state; give our youths genuine, dignified, gainful and pensionable employment. We do not want OYES where you pay graduates 8000 naira a month. Whereas, his own son who is an undergraduate was (allegedly) given the contract for Oponimo which is worth eight billion naira. You are now paying graduates 8000 naira in a month and owe them salaries in arrears .This is not what Osun wants. We are civilized and easy going people. We need a government that will make gainful employment available to the youths. We have to create wealth among the people because there is capital flight between Lagos and Osun now. Every bricklayer, carpenter and mason comes from Lagos. Are you sure about this

Yes, we have our facts and will present when the time comes. The economy of the state has gone into comatose and it is being treated for prostate cancer. It is cancerous because the Governor does not know his bearing in that state. We have to save our people, restore their confidence and psyche. Let him just go away. You have not told us what you would do differently

Education will be restored to its regular normal position .A dignified school system that allows students to have their own identity and without losing any number of years will be created. The commerce will be taken care of. For instance, look at the road construction .There are lots of roads crying for attention in my state. Instead, he chooses to do bogus roads where he can make money. He chose to execute bogus contracts , all you hear of is N43 billion, N18 billion and N19 billion naira road contracts. Between those contracts, by our engineering estimate, about 89 billion naira was over-inflated. This has to be accounted for because they are standard things. If a bottle of coke is 50 kobo, you cannot sell it for 1000 naira in the same area. Because every state’s resources are very scarce, you have to look at the area of priority. Which roads will benefit the indigenes of Osun State? How many local governments will these roads pass through? How will it ease traffic? When you are doing development, there are some parameters to be considered. You do not do arbitrary development where you wake up one day and say, ‘‘ I want to do Ikoyi road.’’ No, if in Lagos, for instance, there are one million people in a settlement and two hundred in another, you have to take care of people in the majority area first. Development Economist will tell you that is the best way to go, but in Osun we are presently doing the opposite. In the health sector, not a single secondary, tertiary

or primary health centre has been added to the previous ones. Also, in the state, there is nothing he has done to solve the acute water problem since three and half years of his administration. The last time work was done was when I facilitated N2 billion from the Appropriation Committee to the Osun Water Corporation to do works on the electro- mechanical faults, pump rehabilitation, replacement and lines cleaning. That is what we still have up till today; nothing has been done to improve it. Of course, you can imagine the number of jobless people and thugs in the state, imported thugs everywhere, maiming and attacking our people, putting them in jails and using our money to do propaganda. You are doing a groundbreaking, you want to lay foundation, not commissioning and you now spend about thirty to hundred million on that

alone, deceiving the public. You just do a drawing on a model of a road and start showing it all over the world. And the road is not on ground. When the EU observer went to Osun State, he asked, “Where are those things I saw on television everywhere? ” Nothing! So, in three and half years, they are still under construction. Finish one and let us see. They are all done to cart away our money. But, I am going to bring pride back to Osun people. Are you going to probe him

No, this is not the issue of probe. As an Engineer, I am not used to probing anybody. I will just call the contractors and see how to reduce the effects of the problem. These are standard things; it is not a matter of probe. It is not my medicine. I do not believe in probing people because it is a waste of time. Let us just move on. But, what I am just

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I look up to Almighty God. I am a believer of faith. Anything that happens to me, I believe it is by an act of God, not by anybody or any role model. So, I trust the Almighty God and look up to Him asmy Father, Creator and Role model. What about the party in Osun State. Is it stable

Osun State PDP is the most stable in the South West. It is on record that we are the most peaceful party in this side of the country. We have one party, one chairman. We all move and rub minds together. Everybody has subjected themselves to the rules and tenets of electoral laws. We are all willing to comply with the results of the primaries. So, we are all happy working together. What credentials make you different from other candidates

One, I have the largest and strongest network in the state. The network where we have politicians, stakeholders, men and women of goodwill, adults, youths, civil servants, labour union members and artisans. Of course, I am the most versatile and experienced among them. I was a Deputy Governor in that state about twelve years ago. I was a Senator for eight years. So, you can imagine the bag full of goodwill I am coming with to Osun State. I am really surprised at the warmth you have given us. A lot of people have this impression that you are not a people's man, that you are cocky. What do you say to them

It is part of the misinformation that have been spread against me over the years. I once said that in a political setup, when you perceive that an opponent or a co-contestant has virtues and attributes and is very formidable. It is good for you to spreed falsehood about the person, blocking people from being exposed to him. The moment he is now going out to overcome those challenges, then, you can see his real person. So, it is part of political strategy by the opponents to lie about me to the people. I have overcome that because I have now seen it as a problem and we are dealing with it Everybody I have met has said the same thing. I come from a very humble background. I do not have anything, no air around me. When I was the Deputy Governor, I sat down with my drivers under the mango tree at the Deputy Governor's Lodge. Some of my staff members here have worked with me for 30 years and are still here. The kind of relationship I have with them makes me involved in their family matters. I want to know what is happening to them because they are human beings as well. So, these virtues must be hidden from the public to create that negative impression across board. That is why I am reaching out to the public directly. Now, I am courting voters directly in Osun State. It is a good political strategy by the opponents. They have done very well with it and have achieved so much in the last decade. But with our necessity of stock taking, looking critically at our position, we are coming out more. Talking about your background, how has that shaped and made you who you are today

saying is to sign a note of caution to the contractors and Aregbesola now that they will be leaving in August. Those who are his dealers should be very careful .Those that are dealing with him should know he is leaving in August. So, they should be reasonable in their dealings, fair in their construction and in their conspiracy. Earlier you spoke about heavy borrowing and lack of focus in terms of utilizing those funds. How would you generate funds for some of these ideas and vision you have for the state

People say you cut your coat according to your cloth. Within your income, you can develop your state, not importing bogus ideas that you cannot defend. All these ideas will be implemented within the income of the state. Oyinlola was there for seven and 48

half years, he did not borrow a dime. The last bit of it, he went for a credit bond of about 80 billion naira and he only withdrew four billion. But, Aregbesola has taken about 120 billion within two months .I do not know what magic they are going to perform in paying back. But I have told all the borrowing agencies that they should be very careful because the Nigerian law says that you can only lend government within what is payable. Your party at the national level is going through some crises or problems

That was before. You can see that the party has become stable now. The governors have paid loyalty visit to the new Chairman. Former Governors Shekarau, Bafawara and some APC members have decamped back to PDP.

The Yoruba say, “Ile lanwo, ka to somo loruko� (the family heritage determines the name given to a child). You have to look at the circumstances of birth. There is no how a child will be different from the circumstances of his birth because it is a natural phenomenon. When you look at things you like most today, they are the things you are used to when you were young. I was born into royal hood .My mother was a regent and my father, a king from a modest, but very large family- the Omisore family in Ile-Ife. I was exposed. I had enough parental care and good family core values which enabled me to undergo very sound education and good work experience. All these have shaped me to appreciate human beings, to be honest, and hard working. Sometimes when you sit down, do you wish that December 23rd, 2001 never happened, I mean that Bola


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Ige did not die the way he did

We do not have control over what happens to human beings. I cannot control what happens to me too as a person. Everybody must carry their destinies in their hands. The issue is that after Chief Bola Ige’s death, what followed? That is the issue. How did you feel when this accusation sprang up that you had a hand in his death

Because of the old politics of murky waters we have had in the past even during the Action Group. These people have a way of lying against people. It has always been their stoke in trade So, when the stories began, I knew that politics had come again. But what is constant is the truth. Truth is constant, no matter what happened, it will still be upheld. That is why in my judgement; the judge said we had no business in court at all. He said this young man had no business in court. When you approach a Chief Judge for a case, you have to look at the merits before the case is assigned. But because of political pressure by AD government led by Lam Adesina and Bisi Akande, they just wanted to throw us into prison. So, there was no merit in it at all. That was the basis for my discharge and acquittal. So you did not kill Bola Ige

No. I did not kill Bola Ige. How could I have done that? The judge was very apologetic. Even I am back in court now to sue the government for malicious prosecution because there are lots of lies and falsehood flying around. I have sued them for two billion damages for malicious prosecution, falsification and lying, and contemplating to create a stigma around me. I want to lay this matter to rest once and for all

You have been in court on this matter for how long

It is almost two years now that we have been court. It is a straightforward case because the moment you are discharged and acquitted, you have to be paid the compensation. The evidence we have shown, we are clear that we will be vindicated again. Do you think the allegation came as a result of the kind of frosty relationship you had with Chief Bola Ige

No! Olagbaju was killed about a week before, and in their wisdom, election was drawing nearer. At that time, Chief Bisi Akande had left Osun State because he was most unpopular, fighting with the workers and everybody. They needed to create something for them to come back to government. And luckily after they lost the elections, Lam Adesina said in Yoruba, ‘‘ E lo fi awon awe yi sile,kilo tu ku,sebi ati lose election bayi. Arope bo ya a wole ni,a de wole”(Go and release these people. Afterall, we have lost the election? We thought we would win and we did not win) But something good came out of it. You were in prison and won an election

Winning that election while in prison was an act of God. That showed the love of the people; that showed my people's mind towards Omisore. I love Osun State indigenes. They understand better and saw through the propaganda of falsehood that was being peddled worldwide or locally against me. How did you react when the election result reached you

Ordinarily, I did not know I could win that election because I did not have agents. But everybody that voted became agents for me. I started getting results immediately. I thank God for it 49


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to Anambra State, you can imagine what is planning for Osun State. We will restrict him and his tendencies by God's grace. As someone who was the Chairman, Appropriation Committee in the Senate. What do you think we can do to shape our budgeting system

The only way for us to get this right is for people to participate in budgeting. Everybody should be part and parcel of budget process. When I was the Chairman of Appropriation committee, I went round all the zones to help people to be aware that there would be road construction between Ibadan and Lagos. Let everybody participate in it. That is why you have signboards on projects now. For instance, If RCC is not doing well here, you can now call based on the information and in that consciousness, people are being encouraged to get involved in budget process and show a lot of interest in it. Comment on this call by APC for their legislators to block executive bills

You know APC is an Association of Past Criminals. I do not know about that

I am just telling you. They are an association of past criminals. What you do not have, you cannot give. They do not have the strength to say anything in the National Assembly. They just make noise. They say they are the majority on the pages of newspapers. That is not real. When you start telling lies, you start believing your lies. So, they believe their falsehood. Reality has now dawned on them. What they are saying is empty threat. The budget has been passed. They said the service chiefs should not be cleared, but they all have been cleared. They said the ministers of PDP should not be cleared, but they all have been cleared. The budget has been passed and life will continue. They are just noise makers. Empty barrel makes the most noise in this world. Do you have time to relax

I try to relax because I play tennis and enjoy the company of my friends, gisting with my old friends particularly. How do you balance family life and your very hectic political and business lives

Well, I am used to it because I am a family man. I create time for my children, especially when they are on holidays and mid -term break. I will go out with them, take them around and spend time with them. Then with my friends, I play tennis and I do a lot of reading in my leisure also play with my dogs. So, you believe that taking care of family is very germane

Family unit is the core of a nation. A good family value will translate to good neighbourly values, street values, town values, state values and the national values. Family is the centre of every nation. That is why family values must be upheld seriously and be guarded jealously. What are the things you tell your children about life

because that was the first day I was vindicated. That was the day God was kind to me enough to show me mercy, even in that condition. You have said a lot of things about what you will do for your state. But as a journalist I am very skeptical of politicians. What do you think politicians can do to make that profession noble again

It is worldwide .What are you talking about? When you go to America and even in older democracies, that is the type of politicians we have. Ours is even an infant democracy. As we grow up in democracy, people will appreciate politicians better. By the time we have people who have pedigree and means of livelihood in politics, you will tend to appreciate them better. Maybe, because of the old politics we had; people were desperate and wanted to govern by all means. People like Aregbesola who wanted to be governor by all means and went to (allegedly) forge Police report to convince the court. You know he is facing criminal charges now in the Federal High Court, Abuja pending when he will leave in August?. That is the kind of politician we have to take off our land. Desperate politicians should be taken off. They should go and find another job to do. 50

Politicians should be honourable, dignified and truthful to their promises to the public. Are those the principles and philosophies that drive you

Those are what guide me. They are in my principles of life. Do you have any role model, people you look up to

Well, I look up to Almighty God. I am a believer of faith. Anything that happens to me, I believe it is by an act of God, not by anybody or any role model. So, I trust The Almighty God and look up to Him as my Father, Creator and Role model. What are the things you do not like, the traits in people that you hate

I do not like dishonesty, falsehood and pretenders. And of course, I abhor any form of violence, either verbal or physical violence, any form of it. I am a man of peace and want peace for everybody. We will change Osun government peacefully. Aregbesola is trying to provoke PDP and all the parties in that state, but we will not be provoked. We have made up our minds that we are going to be quiet, endure and team up to push him out quietly. And he had shown the kind of violence and thuggery he intends to use in Osun by sending thugs to Anambra State. If he can send thugs

Honesty, integrity and hard work. My slogan all over the world is heritage of integrity, courage, perseverance and experience. Integrity is very vital and of course, you must be courageous as well. You must learn to persevere and endure especially when you belong to the complicated political sector in Nigeria. I have always told my children to be hard working. Hard work should be very important to them. They must be honest and maintain a good integrity. Today, people have kept saying Omisore is cocky, you cannot hear them say Omisore is a thief. You cannot hear it anywhere no matter what happens. I dispensed over a 100 trillion naira in four years and there was not a single allegation of one kobo missing. Those are the values people must emulate. No matter what you say about me today, they are what they call abstract allegations. You cannot lay anything on me that has to do with dishonesty. They say Omisore is stubborn. When you do not like cheating, they say you are stubborn. The truth is, Omisore is honest that you cannot compromise him at all. And my belief is that, when you live in a glasshouse, you do not throw stones. Those are my guiding principles in life. You mentioned reading. Which books have you read that will always be a reference point

You know I am a PhD holder. So, I read any book. In the course of my doctorate degree, I pick knowledge everywhere. When you are doing certification in PhD, you are taught to read anything. I like Jehovah Witness’ books because one can gain a


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I am a family man. I create time for my children, especially when they are on holidays and mid term break. I will go out with them, take them around and spend time with them. Then with my friends, I play tennis and I do a lot of reading in my leisure also play with my dogs.

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The worst problem we have in Osun today is the issue of religion; it has broken nations. If not for the patience, tolerance and maturity of the Osun people, the state will have been in crises by now. He has introduced religious bigotry to cause confusion, create distraction and divert people’s attention from the realities of times good pensionable jobs for them. We will create wealth among the middle class people and improve the lives of the artisans and workers. If there is something about yourself that you will like to change, what will it be

Maybe, when I come into the next world. I am too old to change anything now but I would have loved to be a Reverend Father. (laughs heartily) Is that something you had thought of when you were growing

I really adore the clergy. I will actually like to be an Engineer again, then a politician combined with the work of God. So, what would you like to be remembered for maybe at the end of your journey on earth

I want to be remembered for my courage which is being misinterpreted all over the world as arrogance, being cocky and all sorts of things. I want to be remembered again for my integrity that is intact. Again, I want people to remember me for my hard work and kindness. This your cap which has become your unique style. When did you start wearing it and how

It started about 20 years when I was a young man and it was not something that was done deliberately. But, when I go to the public space, it became an issue. Something that started as a social thing has now become my signature. And it became your trademark

So, they say. What is your relationship with the Ooni of Ife

Baba is not just a royal father, but my father .I look up to Ooni for so many things. The relationship is very cordial. I cannot do anything without his consent. I must carry him along in everything I am doing-politics, business, and family life. He is a man that I respect a lot. The moment I walked into your living room where you have family pictures, I noticed that there is a picture of the late Deji of Akure. Is it there because of your relationship with him

His death was very unfortunate. He was very close to me and very close to Governor Mimiko too. He was even Mimiko's senior at St. Joseph's College, Ondo. I had known Deji for a very long time.He was a great man, always jovial, always full of advice. lot from their books. I read anything that helps to widen my horizon and makes life pleasurable. There was a time I was reading Jehovah Witness’s story book. And, I read a story from it which I used when I got to a rally. I relayed it to them and people were commending me on the story. Also, I have read so many books in the areas of engineering, telecommunications, arts, literature and some other areas.

from lazy people. How can you be talking to somebody who has gone through the process of having Masters and PhD? You that has HND or OND, you are talking. It is a careless talk. I just ignore them. They went to the university and it was confirmed that I schooled there, and you are saying my certificate is fake. What do you want me to do?That allegation is a non issue my brother.

Talk about your education. I am sure you are aware what some online journals wrote about your MSC degree

If you eventually win the election, what are the things you want to be remembered for in your first four years of being a Governor

What was that That it was fake. Did you not read that How can it be fake when I have a certificate that the school I went to confirmed it is genuine? Ok, they alleged that it was fake? Yes,

But they went to my school. The school confirmed that I was their Alumnus and my certificate was displayed for people to see. Those are just allegations 54

Like I said, I will enthrone good governance by bringing pride of place to my people, improving their psyche. The notorious confusion being inflicted on them by Aregbesola needs to be erased. And, we will be back to our regular programmes like education, integrity, good governance, corporate governance and co-existence of all religious bodies will be restored. Youths will be gainfully employed and there will be

Talking about ups and downs in politics, you have also lost an election. And that has not deterred you

Actually, this life is about ups and downs. You can lose elections under so many circumstances and win back under other circumstances. In the last election, it was manipulated. For us, that was not an election lost. It was experience gained. We went to court, the election was revalidated. You just take it as it is and move on with life. You can see that Rabiu Kwankwaso lost to Ibrahim Shekarau when the former contested at the end of his first tenure. Interestingly, Kwankwaso defeated Shekarau at the end of the latter’s first tenure. That is politics for you, you win some and lose some, life goes on. Like I said earlier, desperate people should not be in politics. You should know that in politics when you go for an election, it is like playing in the finals of a football championship, there can only be two outcomes. Win or lose, no draw!


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SENATOR OMISORE OFFICIALLY DECLARES FOR GOVERNOR Story: Babatunde Martins Photo: Solomon Ekhaiyemhe

rontline politician, political mobiliser and grassroots man, Senator Iyiola Omisore, who has been involved in several developmental efforts in his birthplace of Ile-Ife, is determined to usher in a new era of governance and development in Osun State. As a distinguished Yoruba man and a thoroughbred, “Ife boy,” whose impact has been felt across Yoruba land, it became necessary to make his political aspirations known to the people he intends to lead, throughout Osun State in South West Nigeria. To put a seal on his political aspirations, Senator Omisore, who is a former Deputy Governor of Osun State (1999 to 2002), flagged off his campaign for the highest office in the State at the Freedom Park in Osogbo, the State capital. It was there, he formally declared his aspiration to contest in the State’s 2014 Governorship election on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Testament to his popularity was the crowd of Osun indigenes that packed the venue for the campaign flagoff, roaring his name and chanting victory songs. The over 20 traditional titles with which, he has been conferred by different communities within the State, were perhaps precursors of that special day, when they once again, gave him their unwavering approval. Fondly called ‘Otunba’ and ‘Apesin’ by friends, he

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was given a grand reception. He was accompanied from his house by family members, party members, friends and well-wishers to Freedom Park, where the crowd kept roaring his name. At a point, the security could not contain their zest for their true hero. The event kicked off officially with a welcome address by the pioneer State Chairman of Osun PDP, Chief Lai Ogunrinde. Chief Ogunrinde, who said that that auspicious day was a long time coming, stated, “It is time for change in Osun State and I am confident to introduce to you the right candidate for the job in no other person than, Senator Iyiola Omisore.” He assured the crowd that Senator Omisore would richly repay the faith and trust that the people of the State were reposing in him. The former Osun PDP Chairman solicited their prayers and support for the politician, whom he described as having nothing, but the good of the State at heart. He finally invited the man of the day on stage. With that invitation, the ground under the feet of the large crowd must have trembled, as Senator Omisore rose to address his people, and rounds of accolades with boisterous chanting and singing followed. The Omisore Women’s Wing from Ilesha West Local Government representing Osun women, sported customized T-shirts and face-caps and carried an

Omisore banner in their hands, singing and dancing, “Eniyan Iyi wa” meaning, “The man who brings us honour.” The gubernatorial aspirant finally managed to calm the crowd. Accompanied by an entourage of party members who were all clad in uniform ankara attires that had an identical picture of the politician printed on them, he declared to the crowd that, his march to the Oshogbo Government House in August remained unstoppable. He relayed his agenda to his attentive audience and decried what he called, “the pauperization of Osun people through inhuman taxes, demolition of markets without alternatives, destruction of the state education heritage and the creation of religious crisis in an otherwise harmonious state.” The former Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, who spoke in Yoruba, however, promised to restore the dignity of education, focus on agriculture and rural development, among others. He said, “I am here offering myself for service. I am here to right the wrongs of the past and set our State on sustainable paths.” At several intervals during the speech, he stopped to acknowledge the cheers from his numerous supporters at the Freedom Park. By the time he was done, it was clear to all that, this was a 55


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Supporters of Senator Iyiola Omisore

Chief Ayo Fayose

Hon. Kayode Amosun greeting Senator Omisore

PDP Elders

Chief Buruji Kashamu & other PDP chieftains

man who meant business. Former Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, was on hand to lend his support to Senator Omisore’s bid. Mr. Fayose appealed to the people of Osun State to allow his political ally to govern the state seeing that, “the crowd here has shown that the people of the state are tired of the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.” Notable personalities present at the declaration included former Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mr. Abosede Ogunleye; former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin; Osun 56

State PDP Chairman, Alhaji Gani Olaoluwa; Chief Bose Adedibu, Prince Buruji Kashamu, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, Senator Folashade Grace Bent, Ambassador Gunju Adeshakin and Senator Olu Alabi. Barring any changes to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s timetable, the Osun State governorship election will hold on August 9, this year. Following the official declaration, entertainment was provided by Fuji exponent, Abass Akande Obesere, who entertained till late in the evening.


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PRINCE BISI OLATILO’S LOW-KEY 60TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION Story: Emmanuel Tochukwu Edward Photo: Segun Lawal (Iroko)

The Olatilo family with officials of Heritage Orphanage Home

Femi Akintunde Johnson & wife, Mrs. Iretunde Johnson with Michael Effiong

Michael Effiong, Editor, Ovation International, delivering a speech

Femi Akintunde-Johnson (FAJ) delivering a speech

The Olatilos with Pastors: Pastor Imoh (far right)

here is no perfect timing to merry regardless of the motive behind the merrymaking. We are therefore at liberty to celebrate landmark achievements- birthdays, marriages and events- that add value to our existence. In this case, there is no questioning why veteran broadcaster and Chief Executive Officer of Biscon Communications, Prince Bisi Olatilo settled for a low-key 60th birthday celebration. Prince Olatilo, a native of Igbajo, Osun State, has

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an acute lingual disposition and mastery of the three major languages in Nigeria namely; Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa. A rare ability that sets this highflier far-off his peers. With over 30 years of experience in broadcasting, Prince Olatilo is without contest a national and an international brand to reckon with. As a pointer to his hard work in radio broadcasting, Prince Olatilo was rewarded with several awards and a back-to-back honour of the prestigious Nigerian Media Merit Awards-Broadcaster

of the year in 1993 and 1994. His ingenuity and creativity stretches beyond the corridors of broadcasting as he boasts of a healthy career in printing. He is also a renowned Master of Ceremonies, with a long list of major events for dignitaries and top corporate organizations. And so, no one could blame him for staging a birthday ceremony that brought the high and mighty in the society in a cool and serene atmosphere. Unlike y other birthday ceremonies, Prince Olatilo along with 57


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Lady Maiden Ibru, the Olatilos & friend

friends and family members chose to spend the early hours of the day at Heritage Orphanage Home, Anthony, Lagos where love blossomed in an enthralling beauty and starry illumination. This deliberate and ingenious idea was put to fore in order to extend love and reach out to the motherless in the society. Without further ado, the celebration marched on with opening prayers and a short praise and worship session that played out as an invitation of love. Elegantly dressed and prominent guests poured out their hearts in adoration of the magnificence of God in the life of this astute entreprenuer, who is widely known for his big-heartedness towards the hapless. 58

Shortly after the niceties of introduction were observed, the celebrant took a few minutes to extol the virtues of God for His infinite mercies in his life and to also share reasons why he chose to celebrate here at the orphanage home. "The essence of living is to affect others positively with the little that we have. Someone somewhere is in need of assistance and if we give deaf ears to the cry of the hapless, then we share the attributes of the rich man who had so much to give but, failed to realize that wealth is given to man and not by one's making." Fun was in the air. The children felt special and joy was written all over their gentle faces. In no time, donations tumbled in from left to right in honour of the

selfless life of the celebrant, who is largely described by friends as a tireless giver. Friends took turns to pledge their intentions toward the orphanage home in cash and in kind. besides gifts, he donated N1 million to the home, promising to do more in future. Beyond the donations, guests were served small chops with cold canned drinks and everyone ate to their satisfaction. Afterwards, camera flash lights made rounds in the ceremony as the celebrant, along with his beauteous wife, Shade gallantly cut the white 60th birthday cake with rich smiles spread across their faces. In a cheerful bliss, friends and families took turns to capture this remarkable moment. The cutting of the cake was soon followed by a short message from


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Prince Bisi Olatilo with his in-laws

Prince Bisi Olatilo, Chief Mike Inegbese, Mrs. Mary Inegbese, Chief Sunny Odogwu & Mrs. Theresa Odogwu

Guv. Ken Caleb Olumese & Prince Bisi Olatilo

Sen. Biyi Durojaiye & Sen. Olorunnibe Mamora

Mrs. Sola Onanubi & Olori Olubunmi Akinyele

Sen. & Mrs. Olorunnibe Mamora

Prince Bisi Olatilo & Prince Kunle Famodun

Celebrant with friends

Hon. & Mrs. Ajayi Amusan

Mrs. Oluwatosin Adetona-Davies & Folashade Joachim

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Prince Bisi Olatilo, Michael Effiong & Chief Tony Okoroji

Funmilayo Oseni & Mrs. Taiwo Anjolaiya

Mrs. Bukky Bolawole, Mrs. Kemi Ajayi & Mrs. Bimbola Akinyemi

Adebayo Aladetoun & Mrs. Folashade Adeyemi

Adeyemi Tolulope & Emuze Damilola

Gbenga Oshinowo & Prince Bisi Olatilo

Mrs. Adeyinka Shittu & Mrs. Adedoyin Jawando

Adedoyin Aiyeola

Pastor Imoh, who admonished guests to live exemplary lives that would reflect the true words of christ. In a lively twist, the celebration soon took a new shape as friends and families further pitched their tent at the Magodo residence of the celebrant, where guests were thoroughly treated with fine wines and sumptuously prepared local and foreign delicacies. The excitement level was unparallel as the early hours of the celebration at the ophanage home was only a tip of the iceberg. It was fun all the way and everyone had ample of 60

excitement with the sweet rhythmic tunes wafting from the speakers to the claps and taps-all made for a perfect 60th birthday celebration. An excited guest at the event, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa remarked that, Prince Bisi indeed deserves the fun train as he has boldly distinguished himself not only in broadcasting but as a father, husband and an entreprenuer. Another friend of the celebrant, Tony Okoroji observed him as a happy person. He described him as, "A man of impeccable character, forthright and a courageous entreprenuer

with dignifying carriage." His charming persona drew in bigwigs from different walks of life with the likes of; Raskimono, Publisher Global Excellence magazine, Lord Mayor Akinpelu, Editor Ovation International magazine, Michael Effiong, Publisher Guardian Newspaper, Lady Maiden Ibru and a host of other prominent personalities. It was emphatically a magnificent occasion-one to be remembered for decades to come.


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FIRST BANK UNVEILS NEW

COPORATE IDENTITY WITH FANFARE Story: Segun Adebowale

MD FBN Insurance Brokers, Mr. Fidelis O Ojeah; MD FBN Microfinance, Mrs. Pauline A. Nsa; MD FBNCapital, Mr. Kayode Akinkugbe, CEO FBN Holdings Plc, Mr. Bello Mohammed Maccido; GMD First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Bisi Onasanya & MD FBNLife, Mr. Val Ojumah

R-l: Acting Group Head, IT & Technical, FBN Life, Ms. Riette Symmonds; General Manager, FBN Life, Mr. Segun Balogun, MD FBN Life, Mr. Val Ojumah, Executive Director, Public Sector North, FirstBank, Mr. Dauda Lawal, Head Private Banking FirstBank, Mrs. Bernadine Okeke & a guest

reat applause and cheers resounded around Eko Hotel and Suites as FBN Holdings Plc., Nigeria’s largest financial services group, unveiled its refreshed corporate identity for the entire group, including all its subsidiaries. The event which was witnessed by the media, partners, investors, friends and customers marked the beginning of a new era for the financial powerhouse. The rebranding exercise was also to mark the 120th Anniversary celebration of the institution. Founded in 1894 as The Bank for British West Africa, FBN Group’s First Bank was the very first banking institution to be established in Nigeria. Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), FBN Holdings, Mr. Bello Maccido, said; “Today’s announcement of the refreshed FBN Group’s identity is an important milestone and the culmination

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The walkway explained

of much hard work. We are committed to building a financial institution that consistently supports growth and that celebrates and showcases the unique characteristics of the diverse nations on our continent. ‘’We believe that our continued success will be built on the principle that we will add value nationally, regionally and at continental level. Our customers have always come first and each and every change that we implement as a group is designed to ensure that continues.” The speech over, a documentary celebrating the Nigerian nation was shown, after all, the Nigerian history cannot be told without a rich mention of First Bank. After the rich documentary, a stage play, depicting the rich culture as well as the characteristics and potentials of Frist Bank in Nigeria was staged. Determined to bring another century of firsts, FBN

Holdings showed yet, another documentary chronicling the achievements of the Holdings, which was described as a supermarket of banks. Thereafter, the guests went for some break to munch some meals before the new logo was unveiled. While they were busy munching, the Master of Ceremonies, ace comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka, the 1st, invited talented saxophonist, Beejay Sax to entertain them. As soon as he was done, witty comedian, Apororo took over, and for the next 15minutes, he thrilled the audience with his jokes, advising the guests, including the two longest customers of the bank, Mallam Farouk and Baba Adesiyan, not to get too carried away with his jokes. Later, it was the turn of Lady Inspiro with her brand of entertainment, eulogizing the brand of the century, FBN Holdings. Then, South Africa, yet another country that has 61


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The new logo being introduced

Group Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd. being pinned with the

FBN Holdings visibility, took the center stage through a dance drama. As soon they were done, the screen and lit up with the now world renowned FirstbBank Elephant flashing in a twinkle of an eye, still retaining the elephant symbol, the old logo gave way to the new! Explaining the significance of the change in the logo, the Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney declared, “The refreshed identity embodies our internal values and the direction we are headed in as a group, like the iconic elephant, which signifies strength and resilience, two of the greatest traits to have as an individual, as an institution and as a nation. ‘’Since launching in 1894, the FBN brand has established itself as a brand of strength and dynamism, with the vision to be the leading international financial services group in Sub Saharan Africa. Our brand is at the heart of the holistic experience we seek to deliver to our stakeholders, an essential part of retaining patronage and the competitive edge that keeps us at the coveted position of market leader. Refreshing the FBN Group brand is a major milestone in a wider strategic plan to ensure that the group is more efficient and effective in delivering on the needs of its customers. Our approach places the highest priority on the needs of our customers.’’ She added that, ‘’Far more than a Logo, the new corporate identity has been designed to ensure that the FBN Group continues to be at the forefront of the African financial services industry. The Group is on a 62

L-r: Former Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, Group Chairman, FBN Holdings Plc, Dr. Oba Otudeko & Chairman, FirstBank, Prince

definitive mission to build a strong global presence in order to reinforce that leadership position whilst constantly striving to find better ways to service customers and drive growth.’’ The Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, then proceeded to describe the new logo in a details, ’’The iconic African elephant has been a robust symbol of strength and growth for FirstBank, FBN Holdings and all its subsidiaries, establishing the organisation as a clear leader in the financial services industry. The elephant is the respected and instantly recognizable icon of our brand identity and as such, we have retained the elephant. We have however re-ignited this iconic symbol with a number of enhancements that communicate a robust evolution relevant to today. ‘’The raised head of the elephant in our refreshed identity is our promise to all customers that with us in their corner, every financial challenge they face, they can face with their head held high. The deep blue colour represents momentum, innovation and evolution. These principles ensure that we continue to develop solutions that are at the heart of all their challenges. She concluded, ‘’The raised foot of the elephant is a promise that we will always put our best foot forward for each and every one of our customers. Finally, the adoption of complimentary colours platinum and gold in to our logo, precious metals identified with value, serves as a reminder of the inherent value and durability of our brand. Our brand refresh marks a

renewed promise to all our stakeholders - a promise to continue to set the gold standard of value and excellence in financial solutions across Sub Saharan Africa.’’ As soon as she was done, the new logo was endorsed by some selected guests. The first person to endorse it was Mr. Goddy Efose, the President of the Association of Brand Journalists. He stated, ‘’I also witnessed it for the first time and I am excited to see that FBN Holdings has continued to innovate. This brand identity is unique and vibrant. It is a new challenge for FBN and we will always be there. ‘’ To Mr. Ikuoma, a customer of First Bank Microfinance, ‘’I find it amazing. The new logo is futuristic and it is about the new future. I know only two banks in Nigeria, First Bank and Central Bank of Nigeria.’’ In the same vein, Mr. Adebola Williams of the Future Awards team said, ‘’I must congratulate the tenacious team of FBN Holdings. Today is beyond the future and it has been 120 good years of leading the industry. I am excited about the futuristic brands that FBN has been sponsoring and as a convener of awards, I celebrate the FBN Holdings team and hope we will make Nigeria a better place. Only Africa can and will save Africa.’’ FBN Holdings Plc. is the most diversified financial services group in Nigeria. The affiliates of FBN Holdings offer a broad range of products and services


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L-r: CEO FBN Holdings Plc, Mr. Bello Mohammed Maccido; GMD, First Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Bisi Onasanya & Company Secretary FBN Holdings Plc, Mr. Tijjani Borodo

L-r: Executive Chairman Eko Atlantic, Mr Ronald Chagoury; Group Executive, Commercial Banking Group, First Bank Nig Ltd, Mrs. Cecilia Majekodunmi; General Manager, Eko Hotel & Suites, Mr. Danny Kioupouroglou and Managing Director, CNBC Africa & Forbes Magazine, Mr. Fred Van De Vuyver

R-l: GMD FirstBank, Mr. Bisi Onasanya; Chairman, FirstBank, Prince Ajibola Afonja; Executive Director, Public Sector South, Mr. U.K Eke; Former Chairman of the Bank, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, Company Secretary FBN Holdings Plc, Mr. Tijjani Borodo & Chief Financial Officer, FirstBank, Mr Bayo Adelabu

across commercial banking, investment banking, insurance and microfinance business. FBN Holdings, employing over 8,500 staff, has over 9 million customer accounts, through about 807 business locations and over 2,100 ATMs. The FBN Holdings Group boasts of an excellent corporate governance structure underpinned by strong institutional processes, systems and controls. FBN Holdings Plc. is structured under four business groups, namely: Commercial Banking, Investment Banking and Asset Management, Insurance, and other Financial Services. FBN Holdings' principal bank subsidiary is First Bank of Nigeria Limited (First Bank), which for the third time has been named The Best Bank Brand by the Banker Magazine. First Bank has operations in seven

L-r: Former Governor Ekiti State, Otunba 'Niyi Adebayo; Group Chairman, FBN Holdings Plc, Dr. Oba Otudeko, a guest & Chairman, J.K Randle Professional Services, Bashorun J.K Randle, OFR

Chairman FirstBank, Prince Ajibola Afonja; MD FBN Capital, Akinkugbe; Director, FBN Mortgages, Mr. Bosun Ashiru & a guest

Mr. Kayode

Chairman, FirstBank, Prince Ajibola Afonja; GMD FirstBank, Mr. Bisi Onasanya; Group Chairman, FBN Holdings Plc, Dr. Oba Otudeko & CEO FBN Holdings, Mr. Bello Mohammed Maccido

countries, namely, Lagos, Nigeria; London, United Kingdom; Paris, France; Johannesburg, South Africa; Beijing, China; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and Democratic Republic of Congo. Other subsidiaries are FBN Capital, a leading Investment Banking and Asset Management company; FBN Life Assurance, a life Insurance business; and FBN Microfinance Bank, which offers microfinance services. Since launching in 1894, First Bank has established itself as a brand of strength and dynamism, with the vision to be the leading international banking group in Sub Saharan Africa. FBN Holdings Plc. was incorporated in Nigeria on October 14, 2010, following the business R-l: Executive Director, Public Sector North, Mr. Dauda Lawal; Head Marketing & Corporate reorganization of the First Bank group Communications, Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney, CEO FBN Holdings, Mr. Bello Mohammed; MD FBN Capital Ltd, Mr. Kayode Akinkugbe, Head, Brand Management into a holding company structure. FirstBank, Mrs. Victoria Onwubiko & Ms. Tomi Otudeko 63


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INTERNATIONAL SHOWBIZ/PR MOGUL,

SHEILA OKONJIASHINZE HOSTS SUPERB SURPRISE 6OTH BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR SWEETMOTHER,

MRS. BRIDGET OKONJI IN LAGOS Story: Bamidele Salako Photo: Adekoya Adegbite & Abraham Falodun

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“Even now, I am still trying to take it in. I have not come to reality with all the happenings. They kept this thing from me perfectly. It was well stage-managed. I did not for once suspect a thing.” here are very few things in this world, more gratifying for parents, than being blessed with children that grow to become responsible and appreciative adults, who treasure the sacrifices their parents made to give them the best and who take every opportunity to acknowledge the love and care their parents showered on them as they grew. This was the wonderful position Mrs. Bridget Obiajulu Okonji, a retired Zonal Director for Quality Assurance Evaluation at the Lagos State Education Board, found herself, when her daughter, Sheila Okonji-Ashinze, who is an international Entertainment/PR mogul, threw a splendid surprise birthday bash for her at the plush Hotel Bon Voyage, on Victoria Island, Lagos, as she turned 60. The celebrant, we were told, had absolutely no clue, even though, preparations had commenced months before. Incidentally, the celebrant had been treated to a retirement party at the Lagos State Ministry of Education, a couple of days before, as she took a bow from 35years of meritorious public service in the State’s public education system. For this remarkable feat, she remains one of a select few to have received the Lagos State Government’s Long Service Merit Award. Extremely excited and astonished, she told OVATION, “I was shocked, because I did not have a clue. I kept hearing different stories like, ‘We are going for a book launch and we are doing this or that,’ and I said, ok. Then, another friend said her husband was having another event and that we should attend. I told my husband that, we would attend the launch and then proceed to the next function. He told me to wear the uniform native attire, which I did. Little did I know that, it was a birthday package for me by my wonderful daughter, Sheila Okonji-Ashinze.” Her second daughter, Dawnn Okonji, who is a Business Analyst at HSBC Global Banking and Markets in the United Kingdom, revealed, “It was difficult keeping this from her, because when we had to go shop for her birthday, we had to lie that we were going someplace else.” With a wide circle of friends who love her dearly, and a husband as well as children who cannot bear to lie to her, it was certainly no mean feat, preserving the ‘surprise’ in the surprise party and it was in fact a huge shock in itself that, no one spoiled the fun, by letting the cat out of the bag before D-day. When she arrived at Hotel Bon Voyage, she thought she was attending a book launch. The hotel poolside had been exquisitely decorated for the exclusive byinvite-only party and the invited guests had arrived in their numbers awaiting the celebrant’s entry. Accompanied by her husband of over four decades, Mr. Stephen Okonji, the celebrant walked gingerly in the direction of the pool when she spotted a banner bearing her picture and the words, “A Rare Gem: Mrs. Bridget Obiajulu Okonji is Glowing & Grateful at 60.” There and then, like a bolt out of the blue, it hit her that, she had been set up for a surprise party. She was astounded and screamed almost endlessly. It took quite a while for her to recover from the resulting giddiness. Once she had succeeded in getting herself together, she moved round the venue, overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude, shaking her head in disbelief and exchanging pleasantries with all her loved ones who were present. She stopped short of shedding tears. Her mother, Madam Ohadike better known as Mama Jos and mother-in-law, Madam Okonji (Mama Isieke), were also by her side. What the celebrant did not know was that, the surprises were not done yet, because she had no knowledge of the ‘coup plotters’. As far as she was concerned, Sheila and Dawnn were at their respective bases abroad. Dawnn, who got her mum a diamond necklace from the leading British Jewellery store, H Samuel the Jeweller said, “She thought I was at work in the UK

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and that Sheila was in America. This morning, she sent me a message scolding me for forgetting her birthday and how I am so ungrateful. She did not realize I was in town and I did not reply the message, because I wanted to see her expression here.” The Masters of Ceremonies comprising the trio of comedians, MC Pato and Mandy Uzonitsha and Cornel Udofia, aided by Dr. Austin Izagbo – former Delta State Commissioner and friend of the Okonji’s, engineered the next surprise. They had Sheila put in a prank call from the “United States”, handing the celebrant the phone. With a microphone to the phone’s mouthpiece, she congratulated her mum who was very much in shock at the unfolding drama and quite at a loss. The guests’ attention too, was fixed on her, as if it were, a gripping stage play. She delightedly narrated to Sheila, how

Sheila’s Dad and friends had shocked her with a surprise birthday party. The call over, Dr. Izagbo told the celebrant that the Duchesses from the Duchess Club, whose Lagos branch she founded, were going to make a special presentation. Guests who were not in, on the plan were at once, filled with so much anticipation, waiting to see what the Duchesses had in stock. The women danced enthusiastically out of the venue and after a few minutes, they returned, singing and dancing. Only this time, they had yet another pleasant shocker for the celebrant-her two daughters, son-in-law and grandchildren! Sheila, her sister, Dawnn, as well as Sheila’s husband, Emeka Ashinze, and their children, Kamsi and Dubem, all stepped in joyously, with the women, and proceeded to share very intimate hugs with the 65


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“My husband encouraged me to go to the University. I went on to have my first and second Degrees. Throughout my years in the Civil Service, my husband was very supportive and provided all I needed. He gave me a good life, comfort and peace to God’s glory.” 66


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“Sheila is a wonderful child-a child that brings constant joy to my heart. She is a baby girl but a baby girl worth more than ten men put together and so I have no regrets that I do not have a male child, because everything a male child could do for his parents, Sheila has done a hundred times over” celebrant who was clearly over the moon. This made Dr. Izagbo quip that a Doctor was on standby, just in case her heart could not contain the excitement and shock. There were pleasant scenes everywhere as Hotel Bon Voyage became, “Hotel De Surprises”! When everybody finally got around to the business of celebrating the rare gem, that the celebrant is, a band from her home State of Delta, called the Ugbogu Group regaled her with an eponymous number titled, “Obiajulu” - a hit song in her part of the country – as well as a string of other sweet melodies. The celebrant also had the pleasure of having the iconic Juju maestro, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey, perform at her birthday. She revealed to us how enamoured she was with the Juju legend’s iconic brand of music: “I have had this long -standing admiration for Ebenezer Obey, from when I was a child. There are certain songs that we knew of him in those days which made waves round town. One I remember, Agba Ijebu o, Owo ni, Owo ni. All those tunes resonate. His kind of music appeals to me and I must have shared that with Sheila. It was a big surprise to see him at the party.” Then, there was a younger generation of artistes, including rapper, MI; Pop darling, Tuface Idibia and Kolomental crooner, Faze, who all came to identify with their friend, Sheila. They took turns to serenade the celebrant and her friends with their repertoire of hits. MI and Tuface each had duets with their legendary counterpart, Evangelist Obey. The Juju king and Tuface, took the party to another level as they crooned the words, “Original African Queen” to the celebrant who was happy to groove to their unscripted transgenerational collaboration. In addition to all the wonderful gifts the celebrant received, she had two lovely cakes – a birthday cake and retirement cake. The birthday cake readily caught the eye. It was a four-tier beauty garlanded with artificial flowers, while the figure 60 provided a perfect finishing touch. A longtime friend, Martina Hammond, who was two years the celebrant’s junior at St. Louis Girls Catholic School, in Jos, Plateau State, made the cake. Martina told us that, her friend is a very accommodating, simple and down-to-earth person, who deserves the very best. The celebrant was showered with so much love by her family and friends, that OVATION could not, but speak to some of them, just to get an insight into the celebrant’s character and understand why they had turned out so solidly for her. We soon found that she is in fact a woman with a heart of gold; everyone who spoke to us had nothing but kind words. Charity begins at home and so, we spoke first, with her second daughter, Dawnn, who told OVATION, “She is everything you want in a mum. She is one of my best friends. I find myself talking to her about every single thing that is on my mind. It is rare to have a friend and a mum in one but she is that kind of a person. I feel blessed to have her in my life and days like this actually give me time to appreciate her and to tell her how much I love her.” Her son-in-law, Emeka Ashinze, who is a Doctor in the US, referred to her as the best mother-in-law in the world: “I could not be happier for her; I love her to bits. She is the best mother-in-law in the world. Mostly, guys have issues with their mothers-in-law, but she is different. She loves me like a son, looks out for me and sometimes takes my side, when I have issues with my wife. That is a great deal of love. “All these people you see here today, have been affected by her, one way or another professionally, work, family and whatever form, shape or fashion. We wish we could do more. We just want to make her feel proud and enjoy what she has done so far and also feel appreciated.” Her sister-in-law, Francisca Obi, said of her, “She

is a very calm person, friendly, intelligent and nice. She is always there for people.” Dr. Izagbo, who was present at the celebrant’s wedding in 1973, called her “a nice lady, a very loving mother and a caring wife.” He further credited her as representing a new generation of mothers, who allow their children to pursue their dreams: “The fact that Sheila has made it big in the Entertainment industry is due to her encouragement as well as her husband’s. Not many parents would have allowed their children to veer into that area but today, Sheila has made a success of it. Most of us are here because Sheila has asked us to come celebrate her Mum. According to Lady Duchess Nkechi Amadi, “She is like a big sister to me. She is someone you fall in love with, the first time you meet her.” On Duchess Felicia Obiageli’s part, “In just a few days of joining the club, I have found that she is greatly loved by all –

always smiling and quite accommodating.” “I have never seen a woman as loving and loveable as her. She is one of a kind,” admitted Duchess Tina Nwanze while Duchess Vivian Okonji, speaking generally, observed, “It is wonderful that she has a daughter who could do this for her. It is not when someone dies, that a big party should be thrown for them. It is important that she is being celebrated while she is here with us - hale and hearty.” In a tribute at the party, Duchess Club President, Duchess Franca Okoli, called the celebrant, who happens to be one of the founding members of Duchess Club’s Lagos Branch and President of the Lagos branch for ten straight years, a unique lady. “She is calm, calculated and has an amiable personality. She possesses most of the characteristics in the litany of our Blessed Virgin Mary. She is highly 67


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dedicated to any task she is involved in. She is a linguist: she speaks Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba and French. She has an amiable personality with an unquestionable character. “Her husband, Chief Stephen Okonji, popularly known as Steve O, is a dedicated Duke who is the embodiment of quietness, intelligence and honesty. He has been there for her through thick and thin. We appreciate our Duke for his immense contributions to her life.” She also offered insight into the Duchess Club: “This club is a unique one with membership either by birth or by marriage. We are members of a particular age group, having similar ideas and peculiar ways of doing things. Our members are all over the world. Currently, Duchess Club has seven branches in Nigeria.” We gathered that only women born in Ibusa, in Delta State, or women married to Ibusa citizens can be members of the Duchess Club. In a response by the celebrant, she shouted out loud twice and said, “I need to shout because I am still taking it in.” She thanked God for preserving her family saying, “I have no regrets in life. God gave me special children. To the glory of God, they are sources of constant joy to my life. Sheila Okonji-Ashinze - I do not know how to describe her. She is a child worthy of emulation-a unique and intelligent child. My daughter is everything-a special gift God gave to me. 68

“For a long time, she was an only child, until her little sister came along. And to the glory of God, I find constant joy because of them and I glorify the name of God Almighty. Sheila is worth more than ten male children put together. All I want from both male and female children, Sheila has offered me. My special prayer is Sheila’s children will surpass all that she has done for me.” She then burst into singing: “How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me? I will raise the cup of salvation; I will call on God’s name.” And then she continued, “I cannot thank God enough. He has blessed me so much and I have excelled in everything – in education, family and in every way. I retired meritoriously from the Civil Service without blemish and I thank my Directors for their support.” She also appreciated everybody for making her day bright and beautiful. She had words of praise for her husband declaring, “He has given me the good life, comfort and most especially, peace. He has been very supportive. I was able to acquire all the qualifications I acquired because of his support and I bless the name of the Lord for him.” Dignitaries at the wonderful celebration included veteran broadcaster, Dr. Bisi Olatilo; Chairman of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji; Ovation International Magazine Publisher, Celebrant’s mother, Madame Ohadike


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The celebrant, Mrs. Bridget Okonji cutting her birthday cake

The celebrant, Mrs. Bridget Okonji posing with her birthday cake

Celebrant & hubby at the cake stand

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Sheila Okonji-Ashinze, Princess Kamsi, Mr. Stephen Okonji, Mrs. Bridget Obiajulu Okonji & Dawnn Okonji

Celebrant with family members

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Mr. Stephen Okonji & celebrant, Mrs. Bridget Obiajulu Okonji with Omoni Oboli & spouse, Mr. Nnamdi Oboli

The celebrant with her husband, Mr. Stephen Okonji; celebrant’s mother & her mother- in-law

Mrs. Franca Okonji, Mrs. Awele Okonji, Mr. Stephen Okonji, The celebrant & Mr. Austin Okonji


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The celebrant with members of her club, Duchess club

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Mr. Stephen Okonji & celebrant, Mrs. Bridget Obiajulu Okonji, Tosin Dokpesi, Namore Ediomoya & Bashorun Dele & Mrs. Bolaji Momodu

Bashorun Dele Momodu; Former Bank PHB Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Francis Atuche; Mrs. Tosin Dokpesi, among others. Also at the event were Reverend Fathers Daniel Udofia, Thaddeus Bassey and Anthony Udoh as well as some members of the St Louis Old Girls Association and staff members of the Lagos State Ministry of Education. The celebrant revealed to us later that, the surprise party was only the cherry on the cake. Sheila had previously given her a new car as well as a new house that was nearing

completion at the time of reporting, as birthday gifts. It was virtually impossible getting Sheila, who was a busy beaver on that day, to talk to the magazine or to track her down afterwards. We had hoped to get her reaction to all the wonderful words her mum had spoken about her as well as to have her talk to us about what her mum was like when Sheila was younger. This we got Dawnn to do. She shared a very fond memory of an unforgettable experience she had with her mum. Dawnn recounted: “It was the first time we went to London together.

Mr. Stephen Okonji & celebrant, Mrs. Bridget Obiajulu Okonji with friends

Mrs. Atuche, Mr & Mrs Okonji with Francis Atuche

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Mr. Stephen Okonji & Mrs. Bridget Obiajulu Okonji with friends

Mr. Stephen Okonji & Mrs. Bridget Obiajulu Okonji with friends

Mr. Stephen Okonji & Mrs. Bridget Obiajulu Okonji with friends & Tony koroji (2nd left)


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Namore Ediomoya & Tosin Dokpesi

Dr. Emmanuel Ashinze & Mrs. Sheila Okonji-Ashinze

Mr. & Mrs. Olloh

Yemi Smith & Mr. Walter Akanpi

Mrs Joanne with Mr. & Mrs. Ijeh

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The Ohadike Family

Mr. & Mrs. Ekwena Ajeh with celebrant & hubby, Mr. Stephen Okonji with little Kamsi Ashinze

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The Okonji family

Dr. & Mrs. Austin Izagbo, Sheila Okonji-Ashinze with celebrant & hubby, Mr. Stephen Okonji


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Celebrant & her husband

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Mrs Okonkwo

Sheila Okonji Ashinze & Mrs. Nkeaka

Mrs. Bolaji Momodu

Mr. & Mrs. Ifeanyi Mbelu

Tuface with guests

Dawn Okonji with Dubem Ashinze

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Mrs. Franca Obi

Duchess Club members dancing


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Sheila Okonji-Ashinze, Mrs. Bolaji Momodu, celebrant & husband, Mr. Stephen Okonji, Bashorun Dele Momodu & Rotimi Obey

Rev. Fr. Dan Udofia, MSP, Rev. Fr. Tony Odoh, MSP & Rev. Fr. Thaddeus Bassey, MSP

Dr. Austin Izagbo & Mr. Austin Okonji

Omonegho Imoagene, Uche Nwokolo & Obasohan Ifueko

Mrs. Sherry Rogerson & Mrs. Tobi Odukomaiya

It was our first holiday together-just the two of usand it is kind of a funny story. You know how people are always running in the tubes in London; in Nigeria, you interpret that to mean there is a danger ahead. People were actually running to catch up with the train and then, my Mum and I just joined in and started to run thinking there was trouble ahead. Then we discovered that people were only running to catch the train.” How fascinating! In the middle of the party, we got talking with the celebrant for a few minutes and then the next day, when she was a little more relaxed, we rounded off our exclusive interview with her. Even then, it was obvious that she was yet to recover from the shock of the party. When you stepped into the venue and realized what was happening, you kept screaming and could not stop. You

were obviously very excited – what was going through your mind

I was shocked because I did not have a clue. I kept hearing different stories like, ‘We are going for a book launch and we are doing this or that,’ and I said, ok. Then, another friend said her husband was having a book launch and that we should attend. I told my husband that we would attend the launch and then proceed to the next function. He told me to wear the uniform native attire which had been distributed months back to members I did. Little did I know that it was a birthday package for me by my wonderful daughter, Sheila Okonji-Ashinze. Sheila is a wonderful child – a child that brings constant joy to my heart. She is a baby girl but a baby girl worth more than ten men put together and so, I have no regrets that I do not have a male child because everything a male child could do

for his parents, Sheila has done a hundred times over. I have nothing else to say than to pray that honour becomes her portion. The Lord will continue to uplift her, protect her and provide for her abundantly. Now that you know, what is your birthday wish and prayer for yourself on this special day

Oh my God! My prayer is that God will keep and sustain my children for me. I pray that God will continue to provide for Sheila, because I know that she has spent so much putting this package together. The Lord will surely replenish her abundantly and bless her. I also pray that her children will surpass what she has done for me. Seeing that you just retired from the Civil Service only a few days ago, does this now double, as a retirement party for you

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What a surprise party

Dame Winifred Akpani & husband, Mr. Walter Akpani

Celebrant, Mrs Okwerekwu & Mrs Derlin Soname

Dawn Okonji, Celebrant, Sheila Okonji Ashinze & Dr. Emmanuel Ashinze

Dr. & Mrs. Frank Okwerekwu with Dr. Austin Izagbo

Celebrant & hubby, Mr. Stephen Okonji with Prince Bisi Olatilo

Mrs. Uzo Ayonmike, celebrant & husband, Mr. Stephen Okonji & Patricia Nwachukwu

Celebrant, hubby, Mr. Stephen Okonji with Mr. & Mrs. Ashinze

It does. On Wednesday, my office decided to send me off with a retirement party and I thought that was it. Even, when Sheila was asking me the last time she was in Nigeria about the kind of party I would love to have for my 60th birthday, I told her, I did not want anything more than she had already given of her freewill. Already, she has given me a brand new car which will be arriving soon and she is currently building a new house for me and so, I declined any additional gift from her. Little did I know that she would be going ahead to do this for me. Your husband was part of the plot and he managed not to tell you. But I see that,

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Nnamdi Okonji, Fidelia Ashinze & Chinedu Agokei

even after over four decades of being married, your love for each other appears to be as strong as ever, perhaps stronger. How has it been, being married to him

It has been a very smooth journey. I thank God, because it is by His grace and not by our might. God has brought us this far. Ours is a union ordained by God Almighty, because we have just two kids-females for that matter-in a society and culture like ours, where male children are more valued. I thank God that my husband was not really bothered. He never pressurized me about having a male child. I thank God for Sheila. She is his life. She has been a child worthy of emulation. She brings


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Mr. & Mrs. Ijeh with the celebrant

Mr. & Mrs. Ukandu with celebrant

Celebrant, Sir Ebenezer Obey, Son & Sheila Okonji Ashize

Mrs. Martin Hammond, Mrs. Victoria Agodo, Mrs. Derin Soname, celebrant & Mrs. Oluwole Lanre

Celebrant & Morenike Ohadike

Mrs. Victoria Agodo, celebrant & Mrs. Ena Ihejirika

constant joy to our hearts. Her little sister, Dawn is following up too. She has done so well for herself as well. I am proud of them both and quite grateful to God for them. I am so happy and fulfilled and I have no regrets in life.

Sheila, Bashorun Dele Momodu & wife, Mrs. Bolaji Momodu with Rotimi Obey you consider your legacies at the Lagos State Ministry of Education

Like I said at the party, our marriage can be likened to a girl-child marriage scenario, but he promised my parents back then that, he was going to allow me further my education-a promise he fulfilled. My husband encouraged me to go to the University. I went onto have my first and second Degrees. Throughout my years in the Civil Service, my husband was very supportive and provided all I needed. He gave me a good life, comfort and peace to God’s glory.

I studied Education in school, meaning the destinies of many young ones were in my hands. I am glad that today, I thank God that I was able to impact a lot of children positively. Many of them have gone places – some are Doctors, Engineers, Lecturers and so forth. I was the Director of Quality Assurance Evaluation for Zone 2, Education District 4 of Lagos State, in Mainland, Sabo Yaba. My office was located at Lagos City College. In that school, I met about three ladies who said I taught them, while I was at Igbobi Girls High School. I know that, I have really impacted many lives. I mould a lot of children and a role model for many of them. I have done so well in life and I am thankful.

Now that you are retired from active service, what would

How would you evaluate the state of Education in Lagos

How would you describe your husband and how supportive has he been through the years

State

It has improved tremendously. Lagos State is doing very well. A lot of improvements have come into the Educational sector. We have better structures and a lot of things have improved as a result. For example, this Quality Assurance Evaluation is part of the innovations injected into the system by which we evaluate the quality of schools in the State to ensure that they are up to standard and that teaching and learning are as they should be and satisfy internationally acceptable standards. I cannot remember a time, when Lagos State owed us our salaries and had to pay the arrears. We were paid religiously from Governor Tinubu’s administration till date. Lagos State teachers undergo trainings both within and outside the country, all in an effort to inject quality into the State’s Educational system. And we can see the positive outcomes of that as the standards are being raised. Students’ 79


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Omonegho Imoagene, Uche Nwokolo, Obasohan Ifueko, Dawnn Okonji, Daisy Okonji & Kamsi Ashinze

Prince Bisi Olatilo & Bashorun Dele Momodu

Mrs. Bolaji Momodu, celebrant & husband, Mr. Stephen Okonji with Bashorun Dele Momodu

Chyby Nwafor, Priscilla Ollah & Udoka Uwaekwe

Sheila, Ada, Tony Jacobs & Mrs. Agodo

Bashorun Dele Momodu & Iyiola Ayoade

Emmanuel & Ehis

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Mr. Austin Okonji & Osotule family

Mrs. Theresa Nwanze & Mrs. Rosemary Oligbo


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Iyiola Ayoade, Bashorun Dele Momodu & Tuface Idibia

Dawnn Okonji speaking about the celebrant

The celebrant with Tuface Ididbia

Evangelist Ebenezer Obey with M.I & a guest

Mr. & Mrs Francis Atuche with Omoni Oboli & Spouse Nnamdi Oboli

The Oboli’s and Mrs Sheila Okonji Ashinze

Tuface Idibia with Sheila Okonji

Sheila Ashinze, Tuface Idibia & Chydy Nwafor

R-l: Daisy Okonji, Tuface Idibia, Dawnn Okonji with friends

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Hon. Festus E., Laurezze Amaah & Joe Okobi

Sita Mordi , Maggie Obanya & Ngozi Okonji

Amaka & Mrs. Ekwena Ajeh

Hillary Okonji , Onyemem Buchi & Nweke Nonso

Mrs. Vivian Ofunne Okonji & Mrs. Patricia Obiageli Okobi

Prisca Nwese, Tina Nwezeapu & Irene Ashinze

Mr. & Mrs. Chris & Tina Nwanze

Nneka Okechukwu & Oladapo Ajilore

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Mrs. Joan Okeleke & Mrs. Vivian Onyema

Mr. & Mrs Henry Onyemem


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Chief H. Ohadike with wives

Tuface Idibia & Mike Ohadike

Mr. & Mrs. Ogunleye

Felicia Ohadike & Tina Ohadike

Mr. & Mrs. Chelter Ukandu

Celebrant with Duchess Club members

Udoka Awujo-Uwaekwe & Chydy Nwafor

Mrs. Binta Nzekue & Chief & Mrs. Okoroji

Iyiola Ayoade, Bashorun Dele Momodu, Tuface Idibia & Tony Okoroji

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FIRST CLASS ENTERTAINMENT

MI performing

Mr. Walter Akanpi, Sheila Okonji-Ashinze, Dame Winne Akanpi & Dr. Emmanuel Ashinze

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Faze performing

Ibusa traditional dancers


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Tuface Idibia & Evangelist Ebenezer Obey performing

Tuface Idibia, Evang. Ebenezer Obey, Bisi Olatilo & Sheila

Bashorun Dele Momodu & Evang. Ebenezer Obey

Celebrant & Evang. Ebenezer Obey

K square Guard

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me and I must have shared that with Sheila. It was a big surprise to see him at the party. Now that you are retired, what is next

I have not really thought of anything, I must confess. I will rather rest. Probably something will come one day. Maybe God will put something in my hands someday and I will start doing that in a leisurely way but nothing stressful. My service years lasted 35 years and they were meritorious. I retired without blemish and I fulfilled the statutory retirement conditions, which are either 35 years of service or 60 years in age, and I have attained both. Right now, I just want to have a breathing space and rest, before thinking of what next. Any vacation abroad in mind, a Caribbean vacation perhaps

Well, I am used to traveling to those places, thanks to my daughter, Sheila. That girl is a wonderful child. She is a child that makes me tell women with female children to take very good care of them. I want to advise people not to neglect them. At the party, I said that Sheila is worth ten men, one of my friends said, hundred men put together and not just ten. What kind of upbringing did you give your daughters

performances have also improved over time, because we have conducive learning environments as well as qualified teachers, who are masters of their respective disciplines. Your birthday party was filled with many magical moments, which ones will stick with you for a while to come

The whole thing -from start to finish. Even now, I am still trying to take it in. I have not come to reality with all the happenings. They kept this thing from me perfectly. It was well stage-managed. I did not for once, suspect a thing. I believe so much in my husband and I know him to be a man of integrity who would not lie to me. He has never done that. And so for that reason, there was no way I could have suspected anything. Even, when my children arrived in Nigeria, my husband sent the driver twice to the airport to pick them, but I did not know they were the ones. My husband told me, that they were consultants who had come to see my daughter’s factory and I believed. The driver went twice and so, when I was wondering why he had to go twice, my husband said that the consultants missed their flight in the morning and had only just arrived. I did not realize that, the first time, the Driver had gone to pick my second daughter, Dawnn, and the second time, Sheila and her family. No one ever told me anything. Not even your friends or the Duchesses

None of them gave me the slightest clue. Even my house-helps did not tell me a thing and I did not know they were helping my sister prepare things for the party. Whenever I called on any of them, they would 86

quickly hide whatever it was they were doing. Nobody divulged it to me. The fabric for the uniform attire the Duchesses and I wore was distributed to us in November. My friend, Rosemary, told me that that was her Christmas gift for all of us and I was shocked that she was giving the whole lot of us that much. She asked if she was forbidden to do so and I said no. She then pleaded with all of us to get them made immediately and that she would tell us what occasion we would be wearing them to. Everybody made theirs and I made mine as well, thinking that it was perhaps for her daughter’s wedding which is coming up soon, only for me to see all of them wearing it at the party. So, the whole puzzle still mesmerizes me. You are not Yoruba, but then Sheila had legendary Juju artiste, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey perform for you. My colleagues and I were wondering what the connection was

I have had this long-standing admiration for Ebenezer Obey from when I was a child. There are certain songs that we knew of him in those days which made waves round town. One I remember, Agba Ijebu o, Owo ni, Owo ni. All those tunes resonate. He is someone we admired a great deal back then and all danced to during our time as youths in the seventies. He was young too at that time and was doing well. Last year, Sheila had a show in Dubai and she flew Chief Ebenezer Obey out as one of the performers at that show. And I was star-struck. I did not attend but while Sheila and I were talking, she told me that Ebenezer Obey would be bringing in the Juju dimension to the show. His kind of music appeals to

We brought them up the Catholic way. We are Catholics and she went to a Catholic school. Sheila was an only child for a long time – you can see the vast age difference between her and her younger sister. You would think she would be a spoilt child because of that but nothing would be further from the truth. My house used to be filled up with an extended family. At a time, we could have 17 other children in the house. We were bringing other people’s children up as ours and she was our only biological child then and we were not bothered. She went to St. Catherine’s. She was baptized, would take the communion and was confirmed. She later attended a Federal Girls School for her Secondary education. She has always excelled and her charisma tends to win people over a lot. Then, we sent her to England to study and did so well in her first Degree, bagging a Second Class Upper. Her Dad was like, she was the type that Banks were looking for and that was during the Banking industry boom in Nigeria. We were shocked when she told us that she was not cut out for a 9 to 5 job. I asked her what she meant and she made it clear that, she did not want to work for anybody. I thought she was jinxed and started to cry. I asked her if she was sure that she was okay and she would say she was okay. Then she would write up feasibility studies, bind them and give us to read, telling us what she wanted to do. And that was how she started her own business. She soon brought in the Umoja Orchestra to London and it turned out to be the greatest show that had happened in London. People had been trying to bring them in but could not. She succeeded after much pressure. I remember meeting their Manager one time in London and he asked if I was proud of my daughter and I said I was. He said, “You know what? She pressured and pressured me a whole lot about bringing Umoja to London and I declined. Then, when I decided to give it a try, she said she was in Nigeria and I thought it was definitely now going to be impossible. But she quickly told me that the quality of a book is not known by its cover.” At that point, he decided to give her the chance. They went to London, had the show, it was a success and that was how she started. Later, she started to import artistes to Nigeria for the Nigerian Breweries’ Star Mega Jams and all that. God has been faithful to her and she has been so blessed. You apparently gave her your best and now she is giving you her best

Yes! Even the younger one, Dawnn, is creating her own waves. She went to school in England. Sheila sponsored her to that level and through her education in London. She studied Economics and made a First Class and the University was begging her to come do a Master’s program with them. They even offered her a 50% scholarship. After her Master’s degree in July last year, she got a job with HSBC of London in August same year and she is the only black girl among 300 employees recruited. She is doing so well. That is remarkable

Yes, it is. She is doing very well at HSBC as well because, having worked for some time, she came back home for Christmas. While here, the company was fixing people into Departments and she got fixed into a Department as well, was impressive. So i am just happy. We congratulate you Madam and wish you many more years to come in prosperity and health

Amen! Thank you very much.


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CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER

LARRY ANNETTS

TALK PASSIONATELY ABOUT HOW MTN HAS REMAINED NO. 1 IN NIGERIA Interview: Segun Adebowale & Michael Effiong French: Chinyere Ndukwe Photoshoot: Adekoya Adegbite & Sunmisola Oloruninsola

arry Annetts is the Chief Marketing Officer of MTN Nigeria. Larry as he is fondly called, describes himself as Lagos boy, because he was in Nigeria at the beginning, when MTN started. Thereafter, he went on other postings before his recent return to the telecommunications giant. The easy-going highly cerebral lover of good music, speaks on various issues, especially how MTN has retained its leading position and the company's consistent investment on improving customer satisfaction.

L

What was your initial reaction when you heard the news that you were returning to Nigeria as Chief Marketing Officer

I was very excited about returning to Nigeria. I was here at the very beginning in 2001 and was part of the dream to turn MTN Nigeria into the winning operation that it has since become. And I made a lot of friends between 2001 and 2005 when I left for Iran. So, I have always wanted to keep in touch with my friends and most importantly, see them, but you know how difficult these things can get especially as you grow older. You just find that, hard as you may try to get in touch, your friends just seem to drift away, so to speak. So, returning to Lagos was going to provide me an opportunity to reconnect, not only with the network that I was part of, at the start-up, but also with my friends. But, I must say that all the while I was away, I received regular updates about goings on here and most of it was about how things were fast changing in Lagos, with cleaner streets, parks, infrastructure development and the likes. On the professional side, of course, I was excited that 3G was now available in Nigeria and the fact that it would open up a whole new space for operators to play. The Apps industry was still fairly new at the time, so the prospect of expanding the digital services portfolio was very enticing as well. You were at MTN Nigeria at the very beginning. Tell us about those early days. What were the challenges and what were some of the things you and your team accomplished

The early days were magical. Many people felt totally liberated by the services we provided and were very happy that for once, all you needed to do in order to make a phone call was to reach for your mobile phone in your pocket. Many of us felt very fulfilled to be able to provide such a service, but more importantly, to be on the driver’s seat of an industry that drives social and economic development in so many different ways. We still feel that way, by the way. It was a much smaller work force in the early days and naturally, the work load was awesome. So ,we worked very, very hard. Then, the billing and technical systems were nowhere as advanced as they are today. So, many of the ideas we conceptualized, sometimes took six to 12 months to materialize. These days, these things happen much faster, as all the engineers need to do is a few configurations. We have remained true to our strategy from day one. We always wanted to provide the best coverage and continue to be in far more places than others. We have also been the most innovative. We were the first to deliver ringtones and logos to customers’ phones which was quite a novelty at the time. Of course, we were the first to launch GPRS and all the associated services, including vehicle tracking and the likes. We also launched Booster Card at the very beginning of our operation and Booster card was a massive revolution in terms of enhancing access to the GSM technology. If you recall, at the time, GSM penetration was still relatively low as entry costs or total cost of ownership was still relatively high. Then, you would find, “umbrella call centres” all over the place. It was at these call centres that millions of people made and received calls. Practically, all of these call centres used the Booster card, because it effectively made calling much cheaper, especially for those like the business centres who made large volumes of calls. Booster Card was a massive success in Nigeria and it was a master stroke by MTN because we were the only ones who had that kind of product, for more than three years. Later, the competition came up with different variants but none was quite like Booster card and none was anywhere as successful. We were also the first to introduce multiple tariff plans for customers. So, it was not just a question of being on the pre-paid or post-paid tariff. There were plans for the youth segment of the market, for the upper end of the market, even for SMEs and the likes. MTN Loaded was also introduced in the early days and it clearly shows that from the start we were always keen to play big in the mobile content space. MTN Loaded is the fore-runner of today’s MTN Play. You did leave for Iran after your initial sojourn in Nigeria. How was your experience and how would you compare the operating environments of both countries, for instance The easy-going Larry Annetts, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN

87


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Larry Annetts on his desk

MTN is one company that is investing well in excess of One billion US dollars on its network on an annual basis and we are unrelenting in this regard. We have taken our presence in Nigeria extremely seriously. We cover more of Nigeria than anyone else. We have invested tremendously in building our network, and have continued to modernize our network in line with technology evolution. We also take people development seriously and are constantly growing our people. The operating environments share some similarities as well as major differences. For instance, in Iran, most transactions are conducted in Farsi. And you do not have too many English speakers, so, you need to learn basic Farsi and numbers. Until you are in such a situation, you hardly realize how much our world revolves around numbers – pricing, street numbers, telephone numbers, even number of slices of bread! And speaking of numbers, something unique about Iranian currency is that, there are two ways of quoting prices; the “Rial” and ”Toman”. The Rial is the official method, but Iranians generally use both. The main difference between both methods actually is that, when quoting in “Toman” you drop a zero whereas with the Rial, you use all the digits and quote the full price. I recall in my early days in Iran, trying to buy a hamburger and being wowed by how 88

“cheap and affordable.” I thought the price I had been told was until I handed over what I thought was the amount to the cashier. The cashier stared at me as if to say, “Oya, where is the balance?” Fortunately, there was an English speaking Iranian in the queue who gently pulled me aside and explained the concept to me. In terms of age distribution, Iran and Nigeria are very alike, so, the work force is really very young, energetic and dynamic. The marketing department that I headed was a really young group with an average age of 25. They could figure out anything and everything newly available on the internet faster than I had ever witnessed before. As young people, they also tended to be very impatient with the status quo. They wanted things to happen very quickly. This tended to ease the pressure of “fighting” a competitor that had been in the market for over 13 years before MTN Irancell

INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE AVEC

LARRY ANNETTS

DIRECTEUR COMMERCIAL DE MNT NIGERIA arry Annetts est le directeur commercial de MTN Nigeria. Larry, comme il est affectueusement appelé, peut se décrire comme un garçon de Lagos parce qu'il était au Nigeria au début de l’installation de MTN au Nigeria, avant son retour pour cette nouvelle affectation. Mélomane hors pair, il nous parle de plusieurs sujets, surtout de la manière dont MTN est resté N0.1 et de l'investissement constant de l'entreprise pour l'amélioration de la satisfaction du client.

L

Quelle a été votre première réaction lorsque vous avez appris que vous deviez revenir au Nigeria en tant que directeur commercial

J'étais très excité de retourner au Nigeria. J'étais ici dès le tout début, en 2001 et j’ai fait partie du rêve de faire de MTN Nigeria l’entreprise gagnante qu’elle est devenue aujourd’hui. Je me suis fait beaucoup d’amis entre 2001 et 2005 lorsque je suis parti pour l’Iran. J'ai toujours voulu rester en contact avec mes amis et, surtout, les voir, mais vous savez comment ces choses peuvent être difficiles, surtout lorsque vous vieillissez. Vous vous rendez compte que plus vous voulez vous rapprocher de vos amis, plus ils ont tendance à s’éloigner de vous. Donc, revenir à Lagos était une 'occasion de renouer non seulement

avec le réseau dont je faisais partie au début, mais aussi avec mes amis. Mais je dois dire que pendant mon absence, je recevais des nouvelles sur le déroulement des choses ici, comment les choses ont changé à Lagos, avec les routes propres, les parcs, le développement des infrastructures, etc. Sur le plan professionnel, j'étais heureux que la 3G soit désormais disponible au Nigeria et que cela ouvre un nouvel espace pour les opérateurs. L'industrie des applications était encore relativement nouvelle à l'époque, ce qui rendait la perspective de l'élargissement du portefeuille des services numériques très alléchante. Vous étiez à MTN Nigeria au tout début. Parlez-nous de ces premiers jours. Quels ont été les défis et quelles sont certaines des choses que votre équipe et vous avez accomplies

Les premiers jours étaient magiques. Beaucoup de gens s’étaient sentis totalement libérés par les services que nous avons fournis et étaient très heureux que pour une fois tout ce qu’ils avaient à faire pour effectuer un appel téléphonique était juste de prendre leur téléphone mobile de leur poche. Beaucoup d'entre nous étaient très comblés de pouvoir fournir un tel service mais plus important encore, d’être le leader d'une industrie qui entraîne le développement social et


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What surprised me the most is how much younger the workforce had become (generally, throughout Nigeria). I was also very impressed with how much things had modernized – the infrastructure in general terms, the number of foreign investors in the economy and of course, the explosion in the entertainment industry, the music industry and Nollywood in particular. I would also add that Nigerians seem more optimistic about the future and are increasingly unwilling to accept just anything anymore. launched. The youngsters approached me with the idea of launching an internal advertising agency. I adopted the idea immediately and this is part of the formula with which we implemented things really quickly. But there is also the fact that Iran is in one of the most seismically active regions of the world. As a result, earthquakes tend to occur pretty often in Iran and these are often destructive. For this reason, everything that is built has to be earthquake-proof which in turn makes building very expensive because of the added cost of earthquake-proofing. So, it was very expensive to build our switches, which is the facility for housing all of our major network electronics, for instance and the process took quite a while for this reason. Even though, I know that it is taking increasingly longer to build installations such as base stations and switches in Nigeria, it is largely because of bureaucracy and getting the necessary permits as opposed to the Iranian situation. Then, Iranians living in Tehran, Mashhad and Shiraz, prefer to live in apartment blocks instead of villas or duplexes and this makes it difficult to find the space in which to erect base stations. So, what we did was to design a very light and innovative base station that could be erected very quickly on roof tops of apartment blocks. Now that you are back here, what changes have you found in Nigeria and Nigerians

What surprised me the most is how much younger the workforce had become (generally, throughout Nigeria). I was also very impressed with how much things had modernized – the infrastructure in general terms, the number of foreign investors in the economy and of course, the explosion in the entertainment industry, the music industry and Nollywood in particular. I would also add that Nigerians seem more optimistic about the future and are increasingly unwilling to accept just anything anymore. MTN has been number one in terms of customer base in Nigeria for years. What factors would you say are responsible for this sustained success

Primarily, it has been a success of good strategy. And it is a testament to the potency of the vision of the Board of MTN and the larger MTN Group to invest in Nigeria. Very importantly, it is an investment that MTN has taken very seriously. MTN is one company that is investing well in excess of One billion US dollars on its network on an annual basis and we are unrelenting in this regard. We have taken our presence in Nigeria extremely seriously. We cover more of Nigeria than anyone else. We have invested tremendously in building our network, and have continued to modernize our

network in line with technology evolution. We also take people development seriously and are constantly growing our people. We have developed more products and services to fit with the lifestyles of our different customer segments than any other telecom company. This is not to forget our work in the corporate social investment space where we provide support in the key areas of education, healthcare and economic empowerment respectively. In fact, we are the only company that dedicates one per cent of its annual profits exclusively to corporate social investment. So you see, being number one has not arisen by accident. We planned for it and have remained very dedicated to our strategy. We play a very critical role in the Nigerian business ecosystem. The downside of being successful sometimes is complacency. Some people believe that MTN is not as aggressive with its marketing as it used to be. Would you agree with this point of view

Not at all, maybe marketing has become more subtle or more sophisticated than it used to be. In 2001 for instance, internet penetration was only a fraction of what it is today. Social media platforms did not exist in 2001. In actual fact, it is now far more aggressive than it used to be. Do you know that we recently concluded a full-fledged promotion on YouTube in which we gave the first place winner a Porsche Cayenne? It was totally driven on the internet. So, if for instance, you are stuck with conventional media like newspapers, television and radio, you may not even have known that such a massive promotion was going on. And then of course, in 2001, there were just two major telecoms. In 2014, there are four major players. But, apart from competing with themselves, these major telecom players also have to compete with players from other industries that have also grown over the years, such as the FMCG industry – the beverage companies for instance. So, the competitive space is harsher and marketing is actually considerably more aggressive than it was in the previous years. But I would agree that, because the service is no longer as novel as it used to be, maybe one or two of the newer marketing campaigns may not necessarily be as exciting as one or two of the earlier campaigns. Overall, however, marketing is ever more aggressive. These days, many entities are leaning on experienced marketing people like you to drive change in their companies. Do you see this as a good growth strategy

If what you are saying is that Marketing as a discipline and function is typically at the centre of many entities in providing strategic guidance to the business, to help the business frame the context of its current existence and the challenges and opportunities that will shape its future, then yes. But once the context is agreed at the top level by a skilled, passionate and driven leadership team, then the work of driving change becomes every leader’s in the business cross-functionally, everyone from human resources to finance to sales and to marketing. Talking about change, MTN has introduced lots of products and value-added services. Which ones are closest to your heart and why

You are very correct. MTN has continued to introduce many great and unique products to Nigeria. Some of the newest are MTN Dobox which allows you to rent and watch Nigerian movies from the comfort and convenience of your mobile phone. There are so many more. But the closest to my heart must be MTN Callertunez. This is a product with which we are basically redefining the music ecosystem in Nigeria for the benefit of the entire industry, especially the artistes themselves. Callertunez 89


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MTN Ambassador: Iyanya, KCee, Chidima, Behind: Harry Songz, Mike Anyasodo, Davido & Praiz with Larry

économique de façons différentes. Nous avons d’ailleurs toujours ce même sentiment. C'était une main-d’œuvre beaucoup plus réduite dans les premiers temps et naturellement, la charge de travail était géniale. Nous avons travaillé très, très dur. De plus, les systèmes de facturation et les techniques n'étaient pas aussi avancés qu’aujourd'hui. Par conséquent, bon nombre des idées que nous avions conceptualisées mettaient parfois 6 à 12 mois à se concrétiser. De nos jours, ces choses se réalisent beaucoup plus rapidement car les ingénieurs ont juste besoin d’effectuer quelques configurations. Nous sommes restés fidèles à notre stratégie dès le premier jour. Nous avons toujours voulu offrir la meilleure couverture et continuer à nous trouver dans encore plus d’endroits que quiconque. Nous avons également été les plus innovants. Nous étions les premiers à offrir des sonneries et des logos sur les téléphones des clients, ce qui était tout à fait une nouveauté à l'époque. Bien sûr, nous avons été les premiers à lancer le GPRS et tous les services associés, y compris le suivi des véhicules, etc. Nous avons également lancé le Booster Card dès le début de nos opérations ; le Booster Card a été une révolution énorme en termes de renforcement de l'accès à la technologie GSM. Si vous vous en souvenez, à l'époque, la l’accès au GSM était relativement faible car les coûts d’acquisition et de possession était encore élevés. Ensuite, vous trouverez des "centres d'appels " partout. C’était à partir de ces centres d'appels que des millions de gens ont passé et reçu des appels. Pratiquement tous ces centres d'appels ont utilisé le Booster Card, car il était spécialement conçu pour faire des appels à moindres coûts, surtout pour ceux qui, comme les centres d'affaires, font un grand nombre d' appels. Le Booster Card a été un énorme succès au Nigeria et il était une particularité que seul détenait MTN parce que nous étions les seuls à avoir ce genre de produit, pendant plus de 3 ans. Plus tard, la compétition est venue avec différentes variantes, mais aucun produit n'était tout à fait comme le Booster Card et aucun n’a eu autant de succès. Nous avons également été les premiers à 90

introduire des plans tarifaires multiples pour les clients. Donc ce n'était pas juste une question d'être sur le système pré- payé ou post-payé. Il y avait des plans pour la classe jeune du marché, pour la classe supérieure du marché, et même pour les PME, etc. MTN Loaded a également été introduit dès les premiers jours et cela montre clairement que dès le début nous étions toujours prêts à jouer gros dans l'espace de la téléphonie mobile. MTN Loaded est l'avant- coureur du MTN Play d’aujourd’hui. Vous étiez parti pour l'Iran après votre préalable séjour au Nigeria. Comment a été votre expérience ? Comment comparez-vous par exemple les environnements d'exploitation des deux pays

Les environnements d'exploitation partagent quelques similitudes ainsi que des différences énormes. Par exemple, en Iran, la plupart des transactions sont effectuées en Farsi. Et vous n'y trouvez pas beaucoup d'anglophones, donc vous avez besoin d'apprendre le Farsi de base et les nombres. Si vous ne vous êtes jamais retrouvé dans une telle situation, vous ne pouvez pas vous rendre compte d’à quel point notre monde tourne autour des numéros – les prix, les numéros de rue, les numéros de téléphone, et même le nombre de tranches de pain ! Et en parlant de nombres, quelque chose d'unique à la monnaie iranienne est qu'il y a deux façons de calculer les prix, en « Rial » et « Toman>>. Le Rial est la méthode officielle, mais les Iraniens utilisent généralement les deux. La principale différence entre les deux méthodes est que quand vous utilisez le Toman vous déposez un zéro alors qu’avec le Rial, vous utilisez tous les chiffres et citez la totalité du prix. Je me souviens de mes premiers jours en Iran ; en achetant un hamburger, j’ai été épaté de constater que le prix qu’on m’avait donné était très moins cher et abordable jusqu'à ce que je ne remette ce que je pensais être le montant à la caisse. La caissière m'a regardé comme pour dire " Oya , où est le reste ? ". Heureusement, il y avait un iranien anglophone dans la file d'attente qui me tira doucement de côté et m’expliqua le concept. En terme de répartition par âge, l'Iran et le Nigeria

sont très semblables, de sorte que la main-d’oeuvre est vraiment très jeune, énergique et dynamique. Le département marketing que je dirigeais était un groupe très jeune avec un âge moyen de 25 ans. Ils pouvaient trouver n’importe qu’elle nouvelle chose disponible sur Internet plus vite que je ne l’ai jamais vu auparavant. En tant que jeunes, ils ont également tendance à être très impatients avec le statu quo. Ils voulaient que les choses aillent très vite. Cela a eu tendance à alléger la pression de la «lutte contre » un concurrent qui avait été sur le marché depuis plus de 13 ans avant le lancement de MTN Irancell. Les jeunes m'ont approché avec l'idée de lancer une agence de publicité interne. J'ai immédiatement adopté l'idée et cela fait partie de la formule avec laquelle nous avons exécuté les choses de façon très rapide. Mais il y a aussi le fait que l'Iran est l'une des régions sismiques les plus actives du monde. Par conséquent, les tremblements de terre ont tendance à se produire assez souvent en Iran et ceux-ci sont souvent destructeurs. Pour cette raison, tout ce qui est construit doit être antisismique, ce qui à son tour rend la construction très coûteux en raison du coût supplémentaire de parasismique. La construction de nos commutateurs nous est donc revenue très chère ; le commutateur est par exemple la structure pour le logement de tous les principaux équipements électroniques du réseau, et c’est pour cette raison que le processus a pris un certain temps. Même si je sais que cela prend de plus en plus de temps pour construire des installations telles que les stations de base et les commutateurs au Nigeria, c'est en grande partie à cause de la bureaucratie et de l'obtention des autorisations nécessaires, par opposition à la situation en Iran. Les Iraniens vivant à Téhéran, Mashhad et à Shiraz, préfèrent vivre dans des immeubles plutôt que dans des villas ou duplex, ce qui fait que c’est difficile de trouver l'espace dans lequel nous pouvons ériger des stations de base. Donc, ce que nous avons fait a été de concevoir une station de base très légère et innovante qui pourrait être érigée très rapidement sur


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does two unique things: One, it helps to promote and popularize the music of Nigerian artistes and it does this in a way that the financial returns go directly to the pockets of the artistes. It not only eliminates the cankerworm of piracy which has been a big problem in this environment, but also helps to make distribution far more seamless and efficient. Imagine the convenience of receiving new music in your mobile phone instead of having to travel to the music shop or having to buy in the traffic hold-up a CD for which you have no guarantee as to its genuineness. So, even if it is me saying so myself, I daresay, it is a phenomenal intervention that MTN is making in the music space in Nigeria. You recently launched a new product that can enable your customers pay directly

from their bank accounts. How will this boost customer satisfaction

The product is called Auto top-up. Our objective is actually customer convenience which of course translates to even more satisfaction. How it works is that, the customer simply leaves a standing order with his bank regarding crediting his phone once the airtime value falls below a certain threshold. So, there is the convenience of your phone being always on and the added value of your not needing to go in search of airtime when your phone runs out of airtime. It is automatically credited, based on your standing instructions to your bank. How successful have the Nextapps and Apps Challenges been. Have you found any apps that MTN is likely to deploy soon

We launched the MTN Nextapps in 2013 for a number of reasons. One, we wanted to help further consolidate MTN’s drive towards creating a new digital ecosystem, a bold new digital world, if you will. Secondly, we wanted to encourage Nigerian entrepreneurs to get more interested in the apps business. Indeed, we provided the opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop these apps and monetize them via the Nextappstore. Thirdly, it was also a means of providing relevant local content in such key areas as education, health, management and even gaming and entertainment, leveraging on MTN’s wide coverage. So, apart from the opportunity it created for entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs, it has also been an immense value-add to our customers,

providing them with innovative ways of doing things. To date, the Nextappstore has seen well over a million apps downloads and over 1,700 app developers. The apps challenges have also been very successful. The contest judges voted an app by one Okechukwu Ofili which was tagged “Okada books” as best overall app. Of course Mr. Ofili left the venue with a Hyundai SUV and a cheque of N1million. Ofili’s ‘Okada books’ provides a fast, simple and fun way to read books without ever leaving the couch. It provides access to past JAMB and WAEC questions and thus turns the phone into a powerful resource tool. There were other unique applications as well and their developers all walked away with

les toits des immeubles. Maintenant que vous êtes de retour ici, quels changements avez-vous constatés au Nigeria et chez les Nigérians

Ce qui m'a surpris le plus, c'est la façon dont la main-d'œuvre est devenue beaucoup plus jeune (dans tout le Nigéria de façon générale). J'ai également été très impressionné par la façon dont on a modernisé les choses - l'infrastructure en termes généraux, le nombre d'investisseurs étrangers dans l'économie et, bien sûr, l'explosion dans le showbiz, dans l’industrie de la musique et plus particulièrement dans Nollywood. Je voudrais aussi ajouter que les Nigérians semblent être plus optimistes quant à l'avenir et sont de plus en plus réticents à accepter n'importe quoi. MTN a été le numéro un en termes de clientèle au Nigeria depuis des années.

Quels sont selon vous les facteurs derrière ce succès durable

Premièrement, il y a eu le succès d’une bonne stratégie. Et cela atteste de la puissance de la vision du Conseil de MTN et de MTN Group à investir au Nigeria. Plus important encore, c'est un investissement que MTN a pris très au sérieux. C'est une entreprise qui investit bien au-delà du milliard de Dollars américains sur son réseau chaque année, et nous sommes très pointilleux à cet égard. Nous avons pris notre présence au Nigeria très au sérieux. Nous couvrons une plus grande partie du Nigeria que quiconque. Nous avons énormément investi dans la construction de notre réseau, et nous avons continué à moderniser notre réseau en ligne avec l'évolution de la technologie. Nous prenons également au sérieux le

développement des personnes et celles-ci sont en croissance permanente. Nous avons développé plusieurs produits et services pour s'adapter aux modes de vie de nos différents segments de la clientèle plus que toute autre entreprise de télécommunications. Il ne faut pas oublier notre travail dans l'espace de l'investissement social où nous apportons respectivement un soutien dans les domaines clés de l'éducation, de la santé et de l'autonomisation économique. En fait nous sommes la seule entreprise qui consacre un pour cent de ses bénéfices annuels exclusivement à l'investissement social. Donc, vous voyez, être numéro un n'a pas surgi par hasard. C’est ce que nous avions prévu et nous sommes restés très attachés à notre stratégie. Nous jouons un rôle très important dans l'écosystème des

'affaires au Nigeria. Le côté négatif de la réussite est parfois la complaisance. Certaines personnes croient que MTN n'est pas aussi agressif avec sa commercialisation comme il en a l'habitude. Etes- vous d'accord avec ce point de vue

Pas du tout. Peut-être que le marketing est devenu plus subtil ou plus sophistiqué que d'habitude. En 2001 par exemple, l’accès à l'Internet n’était seulement qu’une fraction de ce qu'il est aujourd'hui. Les réseaux sociaux n'existaient pas en 2001. En fait, il est maintenant beaucoup plus agressif que d'habitude. Savez-vous que nous avons récemment conclu une promotion à part entière sur YouTube dans laquelle nous avons donné une Porsche Cayenne au gagnant ? Tout a été fait sur Internet. Donc, si par exemple, vous êtes coincé avec les 91


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You are very correct. MTN has continued to introduce many great and unique products to Nigeria. Some of the newest are MTN Dobox which allows you to rent and watch Nigerian movies from the comfort and convenience of your mobile phone. There are so many more. But the closest to my heart must be MTN Callertunez. This is a product with which we are basically redefining the music ecosystem in Nigeria for the benefit of the entire industry, especially the artistes themselves. Callertunez does two unique things: One, it helps to promote and popularize the music of Nigerian artistes and it does this in a way that the financial returns go directly to the pockets of the artistes. It not only eliminates the cankerworm of piracy which has been a big problem in this environment, but also helps to make distribution far more seamless and efficient. encouraging prizes. For instance, the best education app at the apps challenge is mainly a GPA calculator and timetable, by one Henri Good Nnochiri. It’s called OnPoint. Another one, the best in the entertainment and lifestyle space, called Afro Talez was developed by Elizabeth Kperrun and it presents traditional African folklore in a fun and entertaining and interactive way for kids. There’s yet another one, this one was the best in the gaming 92

space and is called “Danfo Reloaded,” by Bayo Puddicombe. This app Indeed as we speak, MTN is working on an app project to further consolidate the progress so far recorded in the music industry. It will aggregate local and international music to render to MTN customers for a token. Watch the music space, we will continue to disrupt it with technological innovation for the benefit of the industry, the

médias traditionnels comme les journaux, la télévision et la radio, vous n’auriez pas pu être en mesure d’être au courant du déroulement d’une telle promotion massive. Et puis bien sûr, en 2001, il n'y avait que deux grandes compagnies de téléphone. En 2014, il y a 4 grands opérateurs. Mais en dehors de la compétition entre eux-mêmes, ces grands acteurs des télécommunications ont également rivalisé avec des acteurs provenant d'autres industries qui ont également augmenté au fil des ans, comme l'industrie de la grande consommation - les entreprises de boissons par exemple. Donc, l'espace concurrentiel est plus sévère et la commercialisation est en fait beaucoup plus agressive que dans les années précédentes. Mais je suis d'accord que parce que le service n'est plus aussi nouveau qu'il était, peut-être une ou deux des nouvelles campagnes de marketing ne sont pas nécessairement aussi excitantes qu'une ou deux des campagnes précédentes. Toutefois, de façon globale, le marketing est de plus en plus agressif. Ces jours-ci, de nombreuses entités se tournent vers les agents du marketing expérimentés comme vous pour un changement dans leurs société. Voyezvous cela comme une bonne stratégie de croissance

Si ce que vous dites est que le marketing en tant qu’une discipline et une fonction, est généralement au centre de nombreuses entités pour le fournissement d’une orientation

stratégique pour l'entreprise, afin que celle-ci cible le cadre de son existence actuelle ainsi que les défis et les opportunités qui détermineront son avenir, alors oui. Mais une fois que le cadre est convenu au plus haut niveau par une équipe de direction compétente, passionnée et motivée, alors la responsabilité de la conduite au changement incombe à chaque dirigeant dans l’échelle de l’entreprise- fonctionnellement, tout le monde, des ressources humaines aux finances, des ventes à la commercialisation. Parlant de changement, MTN a introduit un bon nombre de produits et de services à valeur ajoutée. Quels sont ceux qui vous tiennent plus à cœur et pourquoi

Vous êtes très correct. MTN a continué à présenter de nombreux produits géniaux et uniques au Nigeria. Certains des nouveaux sont MTN Dobox qui vous permet de louer et de regarder des films nigérians dans le confort et la commodité de votre téléphone mobile. Il y en a encore plus. Mais celui que j’aime le plus c’est MTN Callertunez. Il s'agit d'un produit avec lequel nous sommes en train de redéfinir fondamentalement l'écosystème de la musique au Nigeria pour le bénéfice de toute l'industrie, particulièrement des artistes euxmêmes. Callertunez fait deux choses uniques : premièrement, il contribue à promouvoir et à populariser la musique des artistes nigérians et il le fait d'une manière à ce que les rendements financiers aillent


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Harry Songz

KCee

practitioners and Nigerians in general. Talking of innovation, Apple’s cofounder, Steve Wozniak was in Nigeria recently. How do you see his visit impacting on Nigeria’s quest to boost technology innovation especially among Nigeria’s youths

Steve Wozniak’s career as an Electrical cum Electronic engineer has been hallmarked by innovation. Remember that he was the one who practically invented the personal computer with his invention of Apple II. That in itself is an inspiration and our motivation for bringing him to Nigeria was to enable millions of Nigerians draw from that inspiration that Wozniak represents. To enable young Nigerians see the potential in being innovative, in being technologically savvy, in being perceptive enough to understudy their environment and convert circumstances to opportunities, legitimate opportunities. That is the big driver and you would have seen that so many young people were attracted to the lectures both here in Lagos and in Port Harcourt. As an innovation leader ourselves, we want to constantly demonstrate that the combination of innovation and a can-do attitude is an

impeccable one which we should all embrace. How beneficial has the mobile number portability system been so far. Why should I port to MTN for example

First, I would say that mobile number portability itself, aligns with our customer-centric philosophy in MTN. Customers are the reason we are in business. In our business, whatever we do is ultimately about the customer. He is the king and we never forget that he has a choice, and should have a right to that choice. You will therefore appreciate why we drove the highest publicity for mobile number portability with our award-winning “Saka” campaign. The intention was to dramatize the concept and provide every customer the opportunity to decide which network they would rather be in. What we have seen so far is that many customers have chosen to identify with MTN’s superior coverage, our inclusive propositions and lifestyle enriching initiatives. Majority of those porting into our network are premium customers. But please, I would also want you to remember that porting pattern is naturally a reflection of size of the network. Most of the operators claiming higher port-in rate have a

directement dans les poches des artistes. Il élimine non seulement la piraterie qui a été un gros problème dans ce secteur, mais aussi contribue à rendre la distribution beaucoup plus transparente et plus efficace. Imaginez l’aisance de recevoir la nouvelle musique dans votre téléphone mobile au lieu d'avoir à se rendre à la boutique de musique ou d'avoir à acheter pendant un embouteillage, un CD pour lequel vous n'avez aucune garantie quant à son authenticité. Donc, je peux dire que c'est une intervention phénoménale que MTN fait dans le secteur de la musique au Nigeria. Vous avez récemment lancé un nouveau produit qui peut permettre à vos clients de payer directement à partir de leurs comptes bancaires. Comment cela peut-il booster la satisfaction des clients

Le produit est appelé Auto top-up. Notre objectif est en fait le confort du client, qui bien sûr se traduit par encore plus de satisfaction. Comment cela fonctionne est que le client laisse simplement un ordre permanent auprès de sa banque en ce qui concerne le crédit de son téléphone une fois que la valeur du crédit tombe en dessous d'un certain seuil. Donc, il y a le fait que votre téléphone est toujours allumé et la valeur ajoutée au fait de n’avoir pas besoin d'aller à la recherche de crédit lorsque votre téléphone en manque. Il est crédité automatiquement, en fonction de vos instructions permanentes à votre banque. Comment ont été les succès et les défis de Nextapps et des Applications ? Avezvous trouvé des applications que MTN est susceptible de déployer bientôt

Nous avons lancé le MTN Nextapps en 2013 pour un certain nombre de raisons. D’un, nous avons voulu contribuer à consolider davantage le lecteur de MTN vers la création d'un nouvel écosystème numérique, un nouveau monde numérique audacieux, si vous voulez. De deux, nous avons voulu encourager les entrepreneurs nigérians à s’intéresser encore aux applications. En effet , nous avons fourni l'occasion aux entrepreneurs de développer ces applications et de les monétiser via le Nextappstore. De trois, c’est aussi un moyen de fournir un contenu local pertinent dans des domaines clés comme l'éducation, la santé, la gestion et même le jeu et le divertissement, en s'appuyant sur une large couverture de MTN. Donc, en dehors de l’opportunité qu'elle a créée pour les entrepreneurs et les entrepreneurs en herbe, cela constitue également une immense valeur ajoutée pour nos clients, en leur fournissant des moyens novateurs de faire les choses. À ce jour, la Nextappstore a enregistré plus d'un million d’applications téléchargées et plus de 1700 développeurs d'applications. Les défis des applications ont également eu beaucoup de succès. Le jury a voté une application appelée «Okada Books " comme la meilleure application d’un certain Okechukwu Ofili. Bien sûr, M. Ofili est reparti avec une Hyundai SUV et un chèque de 1million de Naira. <<l’Okada Books>> d’Ofili fournit un moyen rapide, simple et amusant pour lire des livres sans se lever de son canapé. Il 93


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apprécions l'immensité du talent créatif des gens. Et nous sommes très désireux d'aider le Nigeria à libérer ce talent pour le bénéfice mutuel de ces jeunes créatifs et pour le bien général du pays. Cela dit, au moment même où nous parlons, MTN travaille sur un projet d'application pour consolider davantage les progrès enregistrés jusqu'ici dans l'industrie de la musique. Il regroupera la musique locale et internationale pour les proposer aux clients de MTN pour pas grand-chose. Regardez le secteur de la musique, nous allons continuer à la perturber avec l'innovation technologique pour le bien de l'industrie, des praticiens et des Nigérians en général. Parlant d'innovation, le co-fondateur d'Apple, Steve Wozniak était récemment au Nigeria. Comment percevez-vous l’impact de sa visite sur la quête du Nigeria à stimuler l'innovation technologique, chez les jeunes du Nigeria en particulier

La carrière de Steve Wozniak en tant qu'ingénieur électrique / électronique a été poinçonnée par l'innovation. Rappelez-vous que c'est lui qui a pratiquement inventé le PC avec son invention d'Apple II. Il est en soi une source d'inspiration et notre motivation pour l'amener au Nigéria était de permettre à des millions de Nigérians de tirer de cette inspiration que représente Wozniak, pour que les jeunes Nigérians voient le bénéfice d’être innovateur, d'être technophile, et d’être assez perspicace pour bien étudier leur environnement et de convertir des circonstances en opportunités légitimes. C'est le grand pilote et vous verrez que beaucoup de jeunes gens ont été attirés par les conférences à la fois ici à Lagos et à Port Harcourt. Nous-mêmes en tant que leaders dans l'innovation, nous voulons démontrer en permanence que la combinaison de l'innovation et de l’attitude du genre <<je peux le faire>>, est une combinaison impeccable que nous devrions tous adopter . Quel a été le bénéfice du système de portabilité du numéro mobile ? Pourquoi devrais-je me tourner vers MTN par exemple

Davido

small base and so this is logically, to be expected. On why a customer should port to MTN, surely half of Nigeria’s telecom subscriber base cannot be wrong and for close to 13 years, or can it? We have been market leader and on a consistent basis, grown our subscriber base as more and more people genuinely identify with our superior value proposition – better coverage, innovative value added solutions, better overall value for money across the country. There are many more who are enamoured of the genuineness of our attempts to further impact lives via our corporate social investment vehicle, the MTN Foundation, which has no parallel so far in Nigeria. So, from the nearest to the farthest or remotest, you are sure of MTN’s bar, a seal of service quality. There’s no other operator that gives back a significant percentage of its profits back to the community as we do. Our corporate social investment initiatives are pervasive and also inclusive as I mentioned earlier. The average MTN customer knows that each time he calls on the network, he is 94

indirectly adding timeless value to the lives of people in our communities. I would also say that despite whatever challenges the project may have encountered, mobile number portability initiated a revolution in the market place and propelled MTN to the very center of the heart of our customers. What major goals have you set for yourself and your team as this CMO journey continues

From the business side, I would like to be able to continue to enhance the value that MTN brings to lives in Nigeria. I would like to continue to do the little I can in facilitating the ability of MTN to lead Nigeria into the bold new digital future with the attendant benefits for Nigeria and MTN as well. I would like the MTN brand to continue to be a trail-blazer, a true aspirational brand. Let us mellow a bit. Tell us about growing up. How has your background shaped who you have become today

I grew up in a small town where there was a strong sense of community. Everyone looked out for each other. I guess this has shaped my sense of

donne accès aux questions des examens JAMB et WAEC précédents et transforme ainsi le téléphone en un outil de ressource puissante. Il y avait d'autres applications uniques et leurs développeurs tous sont repartis avec des prix d’encouragement. Par exemple, la meilleure application dans la catégorie Education est principalement une calculatrice GPA et un calendrier, par un certain Henri Good Nnochiri. Cela s’appelle OnPoint. Une autre, la meilleure dans la catégorie du divertissement et du style de vie, appelé Afro Talez a été développée par Elizabeth Kperrun et il présente le folklore traditionnel africain dans une façon amusante, ludique et interactive pour les enfants. Il y a aussi une autre qui était la meilleure dans la catégorie Jeu appelée " Danfo Reloaded », par Bayo Puddicombe. Cette application présente les sensations de conduire sur une route typique au Nigeria, plus précisément à Lagos. Les applications sont tous exceptionnellement créatives. En effet, il y a le Wazobia Bible qui a été développé par Kayode Sowole ; c’est une application qui permet aux gens de lire la bible en langue Pidgin et en d’autres traductions. Donc, vous voyez, nous-mêmes en tant que leaders dans l'innovation, nous

Tout d'abord, je dirais que la portabilité du numéro mobile lui-même s'inscrit dans notre philosophie centrée sur le client à MTN. Les clients sont la raison pour laquelle nous faisons des affaires. Dans notre métier, ce que nous faisons est finalement pour le client. Il est le roi et nous ne devons jamais oublier qu'il a le choix, et qu’il devrait avoir le droit à ce choix. Vous devez donc comprendre pourquoi nous avons roulé le plus de publicité pour la portabilité du numéro mobile avec notre campagne primée « Saka ». L'intention était de dramatiser le concept et d’offrir à chaque client la possibilité de décider quel réseau il préfère opter pour. Ce que nous avons vu jusqu'à présent est que de nombreux clients ont choisi de s'identifier à la couverture supérieure de MTN, nos propositions inclusives et nos initiatives enrichissantes du mode de vie. La majorité de ceux qui ont opté pour notre réseau sont des clients haut de gamme. Mais s'il vous plaît, je voudrais également vous rappeler que le modèle d’abonnement est naturellement lié à la taille du réseau. La plupart des opérateurs se réclamant du plus grand nombre d’abonnement ont une petite base et c'est donc logiquement à prévoir. Pourquoi un client devrait-il s’abonner à MTN, sûrement que la


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Mike Anyasodo

teamwork. Parents were hard-working and left us to do our homework and did not mind teachers punishing us when the need arose. We travelled by ourselves on our bicycles to school and back. Looking back, all of this fostered a strong sense of independence. We each had a pet and had to care for it – feed it, bathe it, play with it. I think this also developed our sense of responsibility. Now in the area of music, my mother loves music a lot. I cannot remember a time from when we opened our eyes in the morning, when we would be in the house when music was not playing. I was always fascinated at how she seemed to know the lyrics to all the songs that played and how she could play the piano without even bothering to look at the keys. So, music naturally grew on me. In fact, in my family and even at school, when it came to music, I was the go-to guy. I would always have the latest music that I would often record from the radio and at other. I would always have the latest music that I would often record from the radio and at other times, I would be the natural Disc Jockey at family events. My dad was always on time for any appointment. He was very frugal and was also very strict about respect for elders. At school, I had a reputation as the cheeky child in every class. This was

Praiz

not because I wanted to deliberately antagonize teachers but was more a fallout of my standing up for the rights of others. What you might call a, “human rights activist.” Being fearless even though, I sensed what the likely outcome could be made me realize that often the scenario you play out in your head is typically the worst case scenario which may never happen. It made me realize that often, we tend to build glass ceilings for ourselves and restrict the progress we could potentially have made, if we eliminated fear. What memories of childhood do you cherish

I particularly loved Christmas. This was a season when my cousins, all 21 of them would “descend” on our house and we would all play games, sleep anywhere you could find the space and occasionally break up in gangs. I also love the Sunday barbeques we used to have with my siblings and parents. I can never get over that aroma of meat being slowly and tastefully grilled and with all the condiments in place. And then being elected by my fellow school pupils as a Junior Town Council member is another. I was one of three representatives at the town council to represent the views of the youths on matters that affect them. I have two siblings and each of us has very different personalities. Seeing and recognizing how my parents were able to treat each of us equally and yet respect the uniqueness of our

moitié des télécommunications de la base d'abonnés du Nigeria ne peut pas se tromper et ce pendant près de 13 années, n’est-ce pas? Nous avons été leader sur le marché de façon constante, nous augmenté notre base d'abonnés comme de plus en plus de gens s’identifient avec notre proposition de valeur supérieure - une meilleure couverture, des solutions innovantes à valeur ajoutée, une meilleure valeur globale pour l'argent à travers le pays. Il y a beaucoup plus qui aiment l'authenticité de nos tentatives à impacter la vie via le canal d'investissement social de l'entreprise, la Fondation MTN, qui jusqu’à ce jour n'a aucun équivalent au Nigeria. Donc, à partir du plus proche au plus éloignée ou au plus lointain, vous êtes sûr de la barre de MTN, une marque de service de qualité. Il n'y a pas d'autre opérateur qui redonne un pourcentage important de ses bénéfices à la communauté comme nous le faisons. Nos initiatives d'investissement social d'entreprise sont omniprésentes et aussi inclusives comme je l'ai mentionné plus tôt. Le client moyen de MTN sait que chaque fois qu'il appelle sur le réseau, il ajoute indirectement de la valeur intemporelle à la vie des gens dans nos communautés. Je voudrais également dire que, malgré tous les défis que le projet peut rencontrer, la portabilité des numéros mobiles a lancé une révolution dans le marché et a propulsé MTN au centre du cœur de nos clients. Quels sont les objectifs majeurs que votre équipe et vous vous êtes fixés

comme ce parcours du CMP est toujours en cours

Du côté de l'entreprise, je voudrais être en mesure de continuer à améliorer la valeur que MTN apporte à la vie au Nigeria. J'aimerais continuer à faire le peu que je peux en facilitant la capacité de MTN de mener le Nigeria vers le nouvel avenir numérique audacieux avec les avantages qui en découlent pour le Nigeria et pour MTN. J'aimerais que la marque MTN continue à être un pionnier, une véritable marque ambitieuse. Adoucissons-nous un peu. Parlez-nous de votre enfance. Comment votre enfance vous a-t-elle façonné pour que vous deveniez celui que vous êtes aujourd'hui

J'ai grandi dans une petite ville où il y avait un fort sentiment de communauté. Tout le monde s’entraidait. Je suppose que cela a façonné mon esprit d'équipe. Mes parents étaient laborieux ; ils nous laissaient faire nos devoirs et n’intervenaient pas lorsque les enseignants nous punissaient quand le besoin se faisait sentir. De nousmêmes, nous allions et rentrions de l’école. En regardant en arrière, tout cela a favorisé un fort sentiment d'indépendance. Nous avions chacun un animal de compagnie dont on a pris soin – on l’a nourri, on l’a lavé, on a joué avec lui. Je pense que cela a également développé notre sens des responsabilités. Or, dans le domaine musical, ma mère aimait beaucoup la musique. Je ne me souviens pas d'un moment 95


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individual personalities helped to make us feel special as “individuals.” You have moved around quite a bit. If the choice were yours to make, which country would you love to stay in permanently

I think that home is where your family is. My family live in Cape Town and I love travelling up and down between where I have a home in Cape Town and the Garden Route where my parents and sister live. I love the calming effect of driving past the apple farms and the wine farms. It is refreshing. How would you define your fashion style; what outfits do you love wearing

I am really not a dress up guy. I like wearing shorts. Jeans and a T-shirts are usually just okay for me. What kind of music interests you. Any favourite artiste

I love different genres of music – Pop, Hip-Hop, R&B and AfroPop/Beat. My all-time favourite is Whitney Houston, followed by Beyonce, then Rihanna in the Pop/R&B category. For the AfroPop/Beat category, I would not want to play favourites because we have eleven brand ambassadors that are musicians. So, I will simply tell you that I really like all their songs. What philosophies drive you

There is a philosophy called, “Paying it forward” that is very dear to my heart. It means performing a good deed for or in favour of another person with the sound intention that they will in turn perform a good deed for someone else, in so doing, continuing the cycle of good. Now the beauty of

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this philosophy is that it turns the focus away from ourselves. So, instead of the typical thought pattern of, “How can I benefit from this?” or “What is in it for me?”, the issue becomes more of, “How can I create a little happiness for someone?” or “How can I do something with no strings attached which lets others know that there is still kindness out there in people?” The philosophy is also centered around giving rather than taking. Taking is fine, of course. Receiving a gift is good. It is certainly what drives most dreams – we go out and claim it, make it happen! Both are forms of taking. But giving – the ability to give – is a gift unto itself. I also believe the philosophy is one that elicits joy both for the giver and the receiver. Doing something nice for a perfect stranger can generate an unmatched feeling of pure joy. At the same time, being on the receiving end when you least expect to find kindness can feel like a hot drink of cocoa and a soft warm blanket on a cold and stormy day. As one author once said, kindness like a boomerang, always returns. I have learnt from experience that when we commit an act of kindness for others, for strangers for example, it is only a matter of time before we become beneficiaries of similar acts of kindness. Being kind is a gift that blesses both the giver and the receiver. Call it, “What goes around, comes around,” if you will. So, what simple acts of kindness can we do today to set “pay it forward” in motion? Tip your restaurant waiter

lorsque nous nous réveillions le matin, ou nous n’avons pas entendu de la musique jouer. J'ai toujours été fasciné par la façon dont elle semblait connaître les paroles de toutes les chansons qui jouaient et comment elle pouvait jouer du piano sans même prendre la peine de regarder les touches. Donc, j’ai naturellement grandi avec la musique. En fait, dans ma famille et même à l'école, quand il s’agit de la musique, j'étais le personne la plus qualifiée. J’avais toujours les derniers tubes que j’enregistrais souvent à la radio et j’étais habituellement le DJ aux événements familiaux. Mon père était toujours à l'heure pour les rendez-vous. Il était très frugal et était aussi très strict sur le respect des aînés. À l’école, j'ai eu la réputation d'être l'enfant le plus effronté dans chaque classe. Ce n'était pas parce que j’aimais mettre des bâtons dans les roues des enseignants mais c’était parce que je prenais la défense des autres. C’est ce que vous pouvez appeler un « militant des droits de l'homme>>. Être courageux même si j’en connaissais le résultat probable, m’a fait réaliser que souvent, le scénario que vous jouez dans votre tête est généralement le pire scénario qui pourrait ne jamais se produire. Cela m'a fait réaliser que souvent, nous avons tendance à construire des plafonds de verre pour nous-mêmes et à limiter les progrès que nous pourrions potentiellement accomplir, si nous éliminions la peur. Quels sont les souvenirs de votre enfance que vous chérissez

J'ai particulièrement aimé la Noël. Ce fut une saison où mes cousins, les 21 d'entre eux, venaient chez nous ; on jouait, on dormait partout où on pouvait trouver de l'espace et de temps en temps on se divisait en des groupes. J'aimais aussi les barbecues du dimanche que nous avions l'habitude d’organiser avec mes frères et sœurs et mes parents. Je ne peux jamais oublier l’odeur de la viande qui grillait lentement avec tous les condiments en place. Et puis le fait d’avoir été élu par mes camarades d’école comme membre junior du conseil de ville en est une autre. J'étais l'un des trois représentants au conseil municipal pour représenter les points de vue des jeunes sur les questions qui les touchent. J'ai deux frères et sœurs et chacun de nous a des personnalités très différentes. Voyant et reconnaissant la façon dont mes parents étaient en mesure de traiter chacun de nous tout en respectant le caractère unique de nos personnalités individuelles, cela a contribué à ce que chacun de nous se sente <<spécial>>. Vous avez beaucoup voyagé. Si vous devez choisir, dans quel pays aimeriezvous rester en permanence

Je pense que votre maison est là où se trouve votre famille. Ma famille vit à Cape Town et j'aime voyager de haut en bas entre l'endroit où j'ai une maison à Cape Town et Garden Route où vivent mes parents et ma sœur. J'aime l'effet apaisant de conduire à travers les pommiers et les exploitations viticoles. C’est rafraîchissant.


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THE AMBASSADORS INTERACTING...AT MTN NIGERIA HQ

From the business side, I would like to be able to continue to enhance the value that MTN brings to lives in Nigeria. I would like to continue to do the little I can in facilitating the ability of MTN to lead Nigeria into the bold new digital future with the attendant benefits for Nigeria and MTN as well. I would like the MTN brand to continue to be a trail-blazer, a true aspirational brand. generously. Mentor someone. Make a donation, even if it is blood. Praise generously. Show respect equally to all human beings. Encourage someone to pursue their dream. Teach a child something you wish you knew at that age. Smile at someone who is sad. Smile at strangers. Offer sincere, kind words to someone who is hurting. Spend some time with a terminally ill patient. Spend some time with a senior citizen living alone. Give up your seat on a crowded bus. Offer to babysit for a single mother. Loan something to someone and forget about it. Hold the door open for someone. How is your culinary experience been so far in Nigeria. Which Nigerian food have you added to your menu

Peppered smoked fish and dundun (yam chips). 2014 is another World Cup year. MTN played a dominant role in 2010. What should we expect from MTN this time

MTN has always been a promoter of football. This year, however, there are several major brands that are in partnership with FIFA regarding the 2014 World Cup and we are not one of them. We will therefore not be able to participate the way we did in 2010 which was a historic year especially, because the World Cup was

coming to Africa for the first time and as a brand we are very firmly entrenched across Africa. But, we will continue to look for ways to enable our customers enjoy their passion for football all year round. What would you want to be remembered for as MTN Nigeria’s Chief Marketing Officer

I would want to be remembered as one who contributed the little that I could towards empowering Nigeria to optimize the value derivable from the world of digital communications, the bold new digital world, as we call it in MTN.

Marketing-wise, where do you see MTN in the next five years

MTN has recently bought a substantial stake in Africa Internet Holdings and Middle East Internet Holdings. Now, what this will ultimately translate to is that, it will expand the scope of our customers’ experience to include the sale and purchase of products over the Internet through an e-shop throughout Africa and the Middle East. It is an arrangement that gives MTN’s customers access to such online retail outlets as Jumia,

Kaymu , Carmudi, Easy Taxi which is for online booking of taxis and Javago, an online travel agency. E-commerce in Africa represents just between 0.1 and 1 per cent of retail consumption. So, it is still highly undeveloped when compared to other markets. With MTN’s incursion into this space, I see the company helping to create a unique experience for our customers and in so doing helping to deepen penetration of e-commerce to reach or perhaps even surpass other regions of the world. In general, I see MTN playing very aggressively in the data space over the next five years. I see the company continuously consolidating its leadership of the technology industry. I see it creating more technology pioneers and innovators, the kind of innovators I mentioned earlier who are perceptive enough to spot opportunities in the circumstances and turn these opportunities into value. I see us contributing even more aggressively to delivering value to Nigeria.

Larry Annetts with Ovation Editors: Segun Adebowale & Michael Effiong

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Comment définiriez-vous votre mode vestimentaire ; quelles sont les tenues que vous aimez porter

Je ne suis vraiment pas un dur sapeur. J'aime porter des shorts. Généralement un jean et un T-shirt et le tour est joué. Quel genre de musique vous intéresse? Votre artiste préféré

J'aime les différents genres de musique, pop, hiphop, R & B et Afro-pop/beat. Mon artiste préférée est Whitney Houston, suivie de Beyonce, Rihanna dans la catégorie pop / R & B. Dans la catégorie Afropop/beat, je ne voudrais pas faire de favoritisme parce que nous avons onze ambassadeurs de la marque qui sont musiciens. Donc, je vais simplement vous dire que j'aime vraiment toutes leurs chansons. Quelles sont vos philosophies dans la vie

Il y a une philosophie appelée « payer d’avance qui me tient beaucoup à coeur. Cela signifie, faire une bonne action pour ou envers une autre personne avec l'intention qu'elle fasse une bonne action pour quelqu'un d'autre, continuant ainsi le cycle de la bonté. La beauté de cette philosophie, c'est qu'elle permet à ce que nous ne nous focalisons pas sur nous-mêmes. Ainsi, au lieu de la mode de pensée typique de " comment puis-je en bénéficier? " Ou " quel bénéfice puis-je en tirer’’ la question devient plutôt ‘’comment puis-je apporter un peu de bonheur à quelqu'un ?’’ Ou " comment puis-je faire quelque chose sans aucune condition qui permettra à d'autres de savoir qu'il y a encore de la bonté chez les gens? "La philosophie est également centrée autour du fait de donner plutôt que de prendre. Bien sûr c’est bien de prendre. Recevoir un cadeau est une bonne chose. C'est certainement ce qui motive la plupart des rêves - nous sortons, nous revendiquons et y arrivons ! Les deux sont des formes de prendre. Mais donner- la capacité de donner - est un cadeau en soi. Je crois aussi que la philosophie est celle qui suscite la joie à la fois pour le donneur et le receveur. Faire quelque chose d’agréable pour un parfait inconnu peut générer un sentiment inégalé de joie pure. Dans le même temps, recevoir de la bonté lorsque vous vous y attendez le moins ressemble à un verre de chocolat chaud et à une couverture douce et chaude sur une journée froide et orageuse. Comme un auteur l'a dit, la bonté, comme un boomerang, revient toujours. J'ai appris par expérience que lorsque nous posons un acte de bonté envers les autres, pour les inconnus, par exemple, ce n'est qu'une question de temps avant que nous bénéficions d’actes similaires de bonté. Être bon est un cadeau qui bénit à la fois le donneur et le receveur. Si vous voulez, vous pouvez appeler cela, ce qui part, revient toujours. Quels sont donc les actes de bonté que nous pouvons poser aujourd'hui pour mettre le système " Paie-le d’avance’’ en marche ? Donnez généreusement un pourboire à votre serveur au restaurant. Devenez le mentor de quelqu'un. Faites un don, même si c'est du sang. Appréciez généreusement. Ayez aussi du respect pour tous les êtres humains. Encouragez quelqu'un à poursuivre son rêve. Enseignez à un enfant quelque chose que vous auriez souhaité savoir quand vous saviez à son âge. Souriez à quelqu'un qui est triste. Souriez aux inconnus. Dites des mots aimables et sincères aux personnes souffrantes. Passez un peu de temps avec un patient en phase terminale. Passez du temps avec une personne âgée qui vit seule. Donnez votre siège dans un autobus bondé. Offrez à garder les enfants d’une mère célibataire. Prêtez quelque chose à quelqu'un et oubliez ce prêt. Ouvrez votre porte pour quelqu'un.

Larry exchanging pleasantries with Harry Songz

Larry greets Praiz

marques qui sont en partenariat avec la FIFA concernant la Coupe du Monde 2014 et nous ne sommes pas l'un d'eux. Nous ne serons donc pas en mesure de participer comme nous l’avions fait en 2010 qui a été particulièrement une année historique parce que la Coupe du monde se jouait pour la première fois en Afrique et en tant que marque, nous sommes très solidement ancrés partout en Afrique. Mais nous allons continuer à chercher des moyens pour permettre à nos clients de jouir de leur passion pour le football pendant toute l'année. Quel souvenir voulez-vous que les gens aient de vous en tant que Directeur commercial de MTN Nigeria

Quelle est jusqu’alors votre expérience culinaire au Nigeria ? Quel aliment nigérian avez-vous ajouté à votre menu

Je voudrais qu'on se souvienne de moi comme celui qui a contribué comme il le pouvait au Nigeria à optimiser la valeur obtenue à partir du monde des communications numériques, l’audacieux nouveau monde numérique comme nous l'appelons à MTN.

Du poisson fumé pimenté et du Dundun (cossettes d'igname)

Parlant de marketing, où voyez-vous MTN dans les cinq prochaines années

2014 est une autre année de la Coupe du Monde. MTN a joué un rôle prépondérant en 2010. Que devrions-nous attendre de MTN cette fois

MTN a récemment acheté des actions importantes dans Africa Internet Holdings et dans Middle East Internet Holdings. Cela se traduira par l’expansion du champ d'expérience de nos clients à inclure la vente et l'achat des produits sur Internet par le biais d'un e-shop

MTN a toujours été un promoteur du football. Cette année, cependant, il y a plusieurs grandes 98

dans toute l'Afrique et le Moyen-Orient. C'est un arrangement qui donne aux clients de MTN accès à ces points de vente en détail en ligne comme Jumièges, Kaymu, Carmudi, Easy Taxi qui fait dans la réservation de taxis et Javago, une agence de voyage en ligne . Le e-commerce en Afrique représente seulement entre 0,1 et 1 pour cent de la consommation en détail. Donc, c'est encore très peu développé par rapport à d'autres marchés. Avec l'incursion de MTN dans cet espace, je vois la société aidant à créer une expérience unique pour nos clients et, ce faisant, contribuer à approfondir la pénétration de l'e-commerce afin d’atteindre voire dépasser les autres parties du monde. En général, je vois MTN opérer très agressivement dans l'espace de données au cours des cinq prochaines années. Je vois la société consolider en permanence sa position de leader de l'industrie de la technologie. Je vois la création de plus de pionniers et d’innovateurs technologiques, le genre d'innovateurs, comme je l'ai mentionné plus tôt, qui sont assez perspicaces pour déceler les opportunités dans les circonstances et transformer ces opportunités en valeur. Je nous vois contribuer encore plus activement à offrir de la valeur au Nigeria.


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LAGOS STANDS STILL AS MIC BOSS

TUNJI

OKUSANYA GOES HOME

Story: Babatunde Martins Photo: Adekoya Adegbite

he burial ceremonies of many distinguished Nigerians who had lived worthy lives prior to exiting the scene would be incomplete without the input of MIC Pall Bearers, the nation’s foremost casket cum burial services company. In fact, the Managing Director of MIC, Mr. Olatunji Adedeji Okusanya, better known as Tunji Okusanya, was always at the fore-front, ensuring that the ceremonies went hitch-free, giving his clients full value for their money. It was in the process of carrying out his usual grade-A service during the burial of former Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu that the boisterous Tunji Okusanya met his untimely death after the jet conveying the remains crashed in Lagos shortly after departure. It was quite unbelievable when the news hit town but the truth was, MIC ‘s top man had, like all men are destined to do, concluded his earthly sojourn. Tunji Okusanya was an angel in every sense of the word. A kind word, a simple gesture as minute as the gentle cushioned effect of a loving and re-assuring palm nestled high above a gloomy heart, a rejuvenating smile and a look from an eye carved from within the embers of hope-he was always there to offer consolation to the bereaved. Taking into cognizance the nature of his death, his funeral rites were devoid of fanfare associated with the burial ceremonies of such high profile personalities. The guests were clad in black attires, showing respect and honour for the departed, reflecting a deep sense of soberness, dignity and decorum that the occasion warranted. For the MIC family, it was a familiar trek: they would take the same route, but this time, those steps were for the pivotal boss of the establishment. Two white horses accompanied by Police escorts trailed the procession from MIC’s office in Igbosere Road through the inner streets of Lagos Island to St. John’s Anglican Church, Aroloya. Central Lagos stood still that day. While exhorting the congregation, the presiding Minister extolled the virtues of the late Okusanya, challenging the congregation to stand out among the crowd, just like the deceased did in his lifetime.

T

Countless mourners including family members and friends attended the service before the procession moved amid tight security to the Vault and Gardens in Ikoyi. His remains was conveyed to the cemetery in a black Wrangler Jeep. Inside the cemetery, the chilling stillness was interrupted only by the steady clack of hoofs of the horses and the slow hum of the Jeep. At the burial ground, MIC staffers gave a final salute to their boss, which his wives and children leaned forward and kissed the special casket that housed their bread winner’s remains. In the last 20 years, this ebullient undertaker had wormed himself into the hearts of both the high and

low in the Nigerian society. It was not a happenstance that friends, old schoolmates and admirers thronged the Vaults and Gardens Cemetery in Ikoyi to pay their last respects. Tunji Okusanya was a man of many parts. The Ijebu-born son of a Carpenter turned Funeral Director was the Executive Director of MIC Funeral Homes, a company which has been in existence for over 30 years. He was a ‘do-it- yourself’ kind of person. He brought colour and glamour to funeral ceremonies that people naturally associated with gloom and doom. MIC, coined from his father’s furniture company, Magbamowo Industrial Company, 99


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Nife Okunsanya with his mum, Pastor (Mrs.) Okusanya

Nife, Ladi & Opemipo Okusanya

Mr. George Fiyita, Ms. Omobolanle-Erogbogbo & Mrs. Omobola Okusanya-Fiyita

Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (R )

Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija (R)

Mrs. Chioma Ngonadi (Big Chi) & Mrs. Arigbe

Laide Taiwo, Funmilola Awolowo & Bukola Awolowo

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Mrs. Bose Osoba , Miss Labake Peters & Mrs. Torera Sow


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Ayodele & Mrs. Modupe Odutayo

Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi (3rd left)

Mr. Makanjuola Alabi , Pastor Itua Ighodalo & his brother, Asue Ighodalo

Segun Awolowo Jnr.

Pastor Itua Ighodalo & his brother, Asue Ighodalo

Mr. Mikhali Olarenwaju Akanji (r)

Members of Christ Church Cathedral Church School, Faji Lagos

(m) Mr. Dehinde Harrison

Mr. & Mrs. Makanjuola Alabi

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Mr. Dehinde Harrison (Ebony Casket) with senior police officers

Mr. Dehinde Harrison & AIG Tunji Alapini (Rtd.)

Mr. & Mrs. Goriola Mudashiru with Ms. Omobolanle Erogbogbo

Redeem church members

Mrs. Bolanle Okunsanya-Fiyita (m)

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Kunle Komolafe of Ksquare Security

Adebowale Idowu & Victoria Aiyepeku

was established in 1982 and later transformed into a company highly sought after, for its exquisite funeralrelated services. Tunji Kusanya was a trained Engineer turned Undertaker. He lived his dreams, having been influenced by his father who dealt in caskets. He trained in the United Kingdom and lived there for many years, before he returned to Nigeria to re-register, rebrand and run MIC. In his lifetime, Tunji Okusanya introduiced a lot of operational aesthetics to the business of funeral

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undertaking, his pall bearers, whom he mostly led in procession, were one of the well-dressed, organized, pleasurable and visually appealing to behold at funeral ceremonies. Often clad in the (special outfit) aso ebi picked by the family of the deceased person he was burying, Tunji Okusanya was never too big to roll with the boys during the procession. He was a clean man, an impressive dresser, so suave that his sense of style, charisma and panache made him a Journalistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s delight. Adieu Tunji Okusanya, Mr. Undertaker!

Mrs. Bolanle Okusanya -Fiyita & Wuraola Okusanya


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Bolanle Okusanya

Opemipo Okusanya

Lady Maiden Ibru

Nife Okusanya

Mr. Akinrinade

Basorge Tariah Jnr.

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OBEHI IMIEWARIN AND CHRISTOPHER WALLACE SAY “I DO” IN LAGOS Story: Tersoo Achineku Photos: Ken Ehimen

The lovely couple

Bride being handed over by her dad

Bride signing the marriage register

W

hen the 1975’s hit group, Captain and Tennile released their hit single, ‘Love will keep us together’, they had only one message in mind- love binds all good things. Love always finds a way to make sure that the light of good is always burning in everyone’s soul, igniting a frenzy that can only be caught by one with love embedded in his heart. This frenzy once again came into play when two lovebirds decided to heed the call of love and decided to live happily forever as husband and wife. From the time Christopher Wallace and Obehi Olohi deemed it fit to join the long list of married couples, one thing was very evident, they were made for each other. As such it was not a surprise when friends, family members and well106

Pastor James Owolabi presenting the marriage certificate to the couple

wishers of the duo trooped en-masse to witness their solemnization. The Redeemed Christian Church of God, The House of His Glory, served as the spiritual landmark, in which this lovely couple were wedded, and sure enough, with the multitude of attendees, it was packed full. On hand to bind the duo was Pastor James Owolabi. In his sermon, Pastor Owolabi acknowledged the fact that divorces are rampant, but also advised the couple to learn to tolerate each other as only that can make their marriage last forever. With his sermon done, he proceded with the marriage rites and after a quick exchange of vows and the traditional first kiss, Christopher Wallace and Obehi Olohi suddenly became Christopher and Obehi Wallace.


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Mr. Rufus Isesele Uthman & Mrs. Veronica Uthman

Mrs. Stella Onohwakpor & Mrs. Christiana Moses (brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mother)

Mrs. Tokunbo Doherty, Mrs. Funmi Afilaka & Mrs. Funmi Adesakin

Mrs. Sunny Uthman, Josephine, Ese, Mrs. Sylvia Ifeta & Christopher

Mrs. Christy Nkah & Mrs. Priscilla Adekunle Popoola

Jessica, Cindy & Ella

Couple & family members with the Officiating Ministers

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Couple, Pastor & Mrs. James Owolabi with the bride’s family members

Pastor James Owolabi & couple with the groom’s family members

Mrs. Idowu Iremiren, Mr. Bamidele & Yemi Henshaw

Rtd. (Major) Tony Iremiren & his wife, Mrs. Iremiren

Hajia Bolatito Ogunwolu & Hajia Ayo Lawal

Engr. Adewole Farimu

Ayo Edegbai, Mrs. Idowu Iremiren & Shola

Funke Geshinde, Mrs. Idowu Iremiren & Banke Morenikeji

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Couple with groom’s men

Couple with bride’s maids


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Mrs. Idowu Iremiren & Mrs. Bolaji Momodu

Couple with chief bride’s maid & bestman

The Chairman, Engr. Adewole Farimu (right)

Mrs. Oliseh, Taofikat, Idowu Iremiren, Alhaja Risikat & Yemi

Pastor & Lady Ojoye

Couple with members of RCCG (House of His Glory), Ikeja

The wedding troupe converged at the Lagos State University, (LASU) Museum, Ijaye Road, Lagos for a lavish reception ceremony. The venue was lovely decorated and was very cosy. To usher in the couple, a beautiful red carpet was laid out, with friends on either side, cheering the couple as they strutted through the lush rug and settled on their special throne. Family members, associates and well -wishers, some of whom had arrived at the reception before the couple also cheered the latest husband and wife in town. Food and drinks were aplenty and soon the venue was awash with clicks and snaps of the excited guests having a jolly time. Omo Jesu, the Master of Ceremonies of the event readily took up his responsibilities and dished out joke

after joke that made the crowd wriggle with laughter. While talking to OVATION, the groom, Christopher said he could not have chosen a better lady for a wife, describing Mrs. Obehi Wallace as ‘the lady that keeps my heart beating.’ The latest addition to the Wallace’s, Obehi herself described the day as the happiest day of her life. She said that her husband epitomises the best creature on earth, stressing that she was glad she made the best choice. From the Church service, to the reception party, everyone could notice something; the couple had indeed thought things through perfectly. With a successful nuptial ceremony like theirs, the future only speaks of good things to come for the wonderful pair.

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MRS.

A GLORIOUS FAREWELL FOR FELICIA ADETU IN SAGAMU, OGUN STATE Story: Segun Adebowale & Bamidele Salako Photo: Abraham Falodun

The Children: Mr. Seni Adetu, Chief (Mrs.) Ajayi-Smith, Mrs. Akadiri, Mrs. Adegoke & Mr. Adekoya Adetu

SERVICE OF SONGS

Mr. Seni Adetu & wife, Mrs. Janet Adetu at the service of songs

Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu & Herbert Wigwe (Group Managing Director, Access Bank)

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he affable Managing Director cum Chief Executive Officer of premier brewers, Guinness Nigeria Plc., Mr. Owoseni Adetu, attracted several corporate bigwigs like himself, and other illustrious personalities from across Nigeria, to his hometown of Sagamu, in Ogun State, as he bade farewll to his late mum in a million, Chief (Mrs.) Felicia Olawunmi Adetu Nee Mayungbo, in some style. She was 88 years old. The burial ceremonies, which could be likened to a festival, lasted three days, starting with the Service of Songs which was followed by the Christian Wake and finally, the Funeral cum Outing Service, interment and reception. The Adetus spared no cost to ensure their dear mother was given the kind of burial befitting only of royals. A rare gem indeed, OVATION gathered that, after the death of her 110

Cross section of members of the Methodist Women Fellowship of Rev. Mellor Methodist Church, Sagamu

husband, Late Prince Moses Wilberforce Adetu in 1980, the deceased declined to remarry because she was determined to give her children the best upbringing, both in morals and quality formal education. Mr. Seni Adetu, her third child and second son, revealed in a tribute, â&#x20AC;&#x153;From the moment our dad passed on in 1980, the commitment you had for getting all of us your children, wellgrounded and prepared for the future was exemplary. I believe it was in the service of this commitment that, you decided not to remarry these last 34 years, with the result that; the legacy you have left today speaks volumes. You stayed the course and no one deserves to be better celebrated than you.â&#x20AC;? And celebrate her they did! Oh, Say Mummy as Mr. Adetu affectionately called her, would have


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AT THE SOUL-LIFTING CHRISTIAN WAKE

TOS pall bearers displaying the casket at mama’s house

TOS pall bearers with the casket

Jessica, Seun & Kemi Adetu

Busayo Babayemi, Janet Adetu, Lara Macaulay & Ronke Ogunsanya

The children at the lying-in-state

been mightily glad that, her children and loved ones honoured her memory so spectacularly. Loved by all within her community and Church, Rev. Mellor Methodist Cathedral Church, where she was a devoted member, the funeral proceedings played out like a carnival from the first day till the last. It all started with the Service of Songs, which held at her 100 GRA Road residence in Sabo, Sagamu. Family members and friends were decked in stylish royal Blue and White apparels, except for her co-members at the Methodist Women Fellowship (Ibadan Diocese), who opted for their uniform Ankara outfits, perhaps, in a show of ‘military’ solidarity; since they were The grandchildren paying their last respects

sending forth to glory their fellow Christian soldier. In the audience with family members and friends, were the former and current Access Bank Group Managing Director cum Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Aigboje AigImoukhuede and Herbert Wigwe. Chief (Mrs.) Moradeun AjayiSmith, Mama’s fourth child and second daughter, who is the Proprietress of Citizens College in Epe, Lagos, kicked off proceedings with a tribute to her late Mum. Chief (Mrs.) Ajayi-Smith described her mother as extremely loving, hardworking and industrious, relating how her Mum gave her all that she needed growing up. She told guests 111


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Uncle Blacky & wife

Mr. & Mrs. Seyi Adeogun with Mrs. Biliki Adeola Shabi

Chief (Mrs.) Ajayi-Smith

Mr. Seni Adetu & Chief S. K. Onafowokan, the Asiwaju of Remoland)

Nike Onakoya & Mercy Adekanbi-Bolaji

Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu with Mr. & Mrs. Lynn Layode Toyinbo

Mr. & Mrs. Osobu with Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu

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Lara Macaulay, Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu, Ronke Ogunsanya with Mr. & Mrs. Kunle Adesina

Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu


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The female grandchildren during the wake

The male grandchildren at the wake

Seni Adetu with friends

Seni, Jessica, Janet, Kemi & Seun Adetu

Rtd. (Major Gen.) Fayonbo & his children

Eyitemi, Bisoye Fagade & Biola

Members of the Sagamite’s club

Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu with Mr. & Mrs. Segun Ogunsanya

that she learnt honesty, love, family values, selfsufficiency and hard work from her Mum. A brief charge from the Minister-in-charge of the service followed. Pitching her message on the Bible parable, Lazarus and the Rich Man, Reverend (Mrs.) O.A. Odulate, stated firmly that, some people are rich and own countless homes on Earth but have none in Heaven. It was a sobering charge that admonished guests to be conscious of the day of death and the coming judgment when they would give account to God on how they spent their days on Earth. “Live your lives like people who will give account of their stewardships,” she charged the audience. The Methodist Women Association presented a token sum to the Adetus in support of the burial. Mama’s eldest child and son, Mr. Adekoya Adetu, thanked them on behalf of the family members and appreciated everyone who took time out to be part of

the ceremony. The second day was billed for the Christian Wake and Lying-in-state. It was a very busy day. As early as 8am, the Adetus knocked on the doors of the Morbid Anatomy and Histopathology Department of the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, OOUTH, where the remains of the deceased had been preserved. The family members and other close friends wore White T-shirts that had an imprint of Mama’s picture. Lagos-based funeral parlour, TOS Funerals, was in charge. Their Pallbearers brought the corpse out in a white casket overlaid with silver finishing and placed it in the hearse-a silver coloured station wagon Benz with number tag-TOS 9. The TOS band boys spiced up the occasion with melodies generated from their drums and trumpets as

the procession made its way through the streets of Sagamu back to the residence of the deceased in GRA: although, they did make a stop at her husband, Late Prince Moses Wilberforce Adetu’s compound, where the Pallbearers danced around with the casket on their shoulders amid much fanfare. There was no missing her residence at 100 GRA Road in Sabo, that day. The front of the house had been decked with all kinds of large colourful banners bearing the Matriarch’s image and inscriptions like, E sun re mama (Sleep well Mama) and Ever Green Iya Pupa (Ever Green Fair Complexioned Old Lady). A beautifully decorated pavilion was created inside the house where the casket was placed for the Lying-instate. In a consolation message sent by Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) of Lagos State, to the 113


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THE CHURCH SERVICE

The front view of Rev. Mellor Methodist Cathedral Church

Mrs. Ogunsola of TOS pall bearer leading her colleagues to the altar

Sen. Ibikunle Amosun with Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu during the church service

Sen. Ibikunle Amosun, Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu with the Priests of Rev. Mellor Methodist Cathedral Church

Pastor Idowu Iluyomade of the City of David & some members of his Church

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Mr. & Mrs. Maurice Smith

Her Excellency, Erelu Bisi Fayemi with Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu


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The children with Sen. Ibikunle Amosun

Omar Hafeez (r)

Otunba & Mrs. Yinka Lawal

Baba Oba Aranse-Olu & wife

Mrs. Aduke Olayemi & Mrs. Funmilayo Olaleye

Mr. & Mrs. Billy Lawson

Mr. & Mrs. Bunmi Oni

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Panoramic view of the church

Governor Amosun with family members

Chief & Chief Mrs. Ajayi Smith

Laolu Akinkugbe with Mr.& Mrs. Kunle Adesina

Kemi, Mr. Fola Adetu & Jessica

family, he had written, “The loss of a mother, at any age, is one that is always keenly felt.” His Ogun State counterpart, Senator Ibikunle Amosun had also echoed those remarks when he wrote, “Though, she died at an advanced age, this has not in any way lessened the pain nor the magnitude of the loss of a caring mother.” The import of those words by both Governors dawned during the Lying-in-state ceremony. Emotional scenes played out when family members had to walk past the casket to view their beloved Mum, sister, aunt, friend and mentor. Men and women, old and young, failed to hold back their emotions, as tears flowed ceaselessly. It was very touching. Later that evening, everybody gathered for the Christian Wake. Everyone was sort of, in a livelier mood now and looking bright in beautiful 116

combinations of Yellow, Green and White apparels. Just as on the day before, the members of the Methodist Women Association were decked in uniform attires, only this time, they donned stylish Blue lace outfits and matching Blue head pieces. It was a Service of Hymns, Bible-readings and Prayers. The guests sang Classics like, Nearer my God to thee, Rock of Ages and Abide with me, with puritan fervor. Everyone was also moved to sobriety and repentance by the message of Rev. Olufemi Ogundimu, Cathedral Priest of Rev. Mellor Methodist Cathedral Agbowa, Sagamu, which was titled, “Born into a Race.” Rev. Ogundimu woke everyone up to the fact that, life is in itself not an end but a means to an end. That end could either be an eternity of bliss with God or an eternity of anguish in the lake of fire with the

devil. He noted, “How people run the race of life will determine where they end up in eternity.” Following the service, Mr. Seni Adetu had his friends and family over at his residence, where they were serenaded by the Faith Band and enjoyed luscious cuisines and drinks in abundance. The final day saw the Adetus and their guests assemble at Rev. Mellor Methodist Cathedral for the Funeral and Outing service. The title of the Pastor’s sermon was 'The Secret of a Fulfilled Life.’ Starting his sermon, which lasted 40 minutes, he said,“We stand to celebrate a worthy life, noble mother, faithful devotee to God Almighty, a lover of Christ and a fulfilled mother, who was committed to the service of God.” He continued, “From evidence available, it showed that she is worthy to be celebrated because she lived a fulfilled life.”


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The Ajayi Smiths

Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu

The Adekoya Adetus

The Adegokes

The Akadiris

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The grandchildren

Mr. Seni Adetu & Dr. Oba Otudeko

He then asked, "How do you live a fulfilled life?” With Exodus 23: 5-26, he proceeded to define a fulfilled life, as a life of purpose, impact and a life of reference. “It is a visionary life and life of accomplishment. You can rest in peace when you have performed the work God sent you to earth to perform. A fulfilled life is one in which God is present and manifests. Chief (Mrs.) Felicia Olawunmi Adetu lived that life and has fought a good fight and kept the faith. Mama lived for her children,” he observed. He proceeded to list the keys to a fulfilled life, which according to him include: total commitment to the service of God, a life of absolute holiness and keeping one’s tongue from speaking evil because a guided tongue is a guided life while reckless usage of the tongue is an assurance of a reckless life. He listed other keys to include, delight in God's commandments, making God one's delight as well as total devotion to God’s word. The Minister observed, “The Bible is life and when you are devoted to God’s word, He will be unconditionally committed to you. His integrity is at stake regarding the fulfilment of your destiny.” Thereafter, Ogun State Governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun commiserated with the Adetus and took some pictures with the family of the deceased before he departed the Church. The children of the deceased then stepped forward for prayers and soon after, for thanksgiving. The interment was a private affair. The Adetu’s accompanied by the Priests left for Oko Cemetry to commit the remains of the deceased to mother Earth. They later returned for the outing 118

Hon. Muyiwa Oladipo & Seni Adetu

service. That over, the family spent some quality time outside the Church premises interacting with their guests which everyone proceeded to Makun High School-venue of a glorious reception in honour of the memory of a great woman. Given the emotions and celebrations that marked all three days, OVATION decided to get a firsthand knowledge of what manner of woman she was from those who knew her the most, namely her children and her first grandson who lived with her for a long time. According to Mr. Seni Adetu,“Mama trained us very well, got us very well grounded and prepared. She was a very good Christian and she has gone home to sleep with the Lord. We give glory to God for all these.” He added, “She was awesome. She was of a different character. Every time I think about her, a smile appears on my face. She was quite passionate about bringing up her children properly. She lost her husband when she was relatively young but she insisted that, what mattered to her was the upbringing of her children. And so, here we are today celebrating her life and we also believe that no one deserves that kind of celebration better than Mama.” He also told us, “Mama was the most authentic human being you would ever meet. There was no second-guessing Mama. She was very direct and there were no gray areas in anything she was at the helm of. She has taught us over the years to say things as they are. With her, on many occasions, what you see is what you get.” Mr. Seni’s wife, Mrs. Janet Temitope Adetu, told

us that, Mama was like a mentor and tutor to her: “She was such a wonderful woman. She taught me so many things. She took me into her arms from the day she met me and this was about 28years ago. You can see that she is well loved by all – her in-laws, step children, friends – everyone! She was such a wonderful woman.” But the lessons were not just lessons of character and good manners. There were culinary tutorials too: “Mama taught me how to make Obe Egusi (Melon Soup) and I can never forget that. She taught me how to make it Ijebu style. I love it so much; it was her favourite,” revealed a smiling Janet before admitting, “Her love, kindness and warmth are some of her virtues which I would love to emulate.” Mama’s first grandchild – Oluwaseyi Adeogun, spent half his life living with his grandma, who at death had been blessed with five children, 18 grandchildren and one great grandchild. While talking to Ovation, Adeogun described her as a selfless woman: “At a party, she would not eat until her driver had eaten! She did not take the education of those around her for granted.” Chief (Mrs.) Ajayi-Smith, Mama’s fourth child, said: “It was unbelievably sad and I wept for losing a mother I had known all my life. I will always remember her for being very affectionate and loving. She led a conflict-free lifestyle. She was there for us and gave us everything. I had it all when I was growing up.” Mama’s second child, Mrs. Oludayo Akadiri, called her Mum, ‘’A mother in a million who showered her children with incomparable love.’’


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Mrs. Janet Adetu, Dr. Oba Otudeko & Otunba Dele Ajayi Smith

Seni Adetu & Bashorun Dele Momodu

HRM Oba Michael Adeniyi Sonariwo, the Akarigbo of Ijebu Remo

Sir Steve Omojafor, Mr. Owonifari, Seni Adetu & Mr. Tunde Adelaja

Olu Ogunkoya, Chris Ubosi, Seni Adetu & Tee A

Mr. Sawyer, Feyi, Kunle, Bashorun Dele Momodu, Seni Adetu, Kunle Ogunmefun & Gbenga

Mrs. Majekodunmi, Seni Adetu with Mr. & Mrs. Macaulay

Bashorun Dele Momodu with Mr. & Mrs. Phillips Oduoza

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Seni Adetu with members of the Sagamite club

Bashorun Dele Momodu with Mr. & Mrs. Tunde Savage

Tasho & Olumide

Mr. Babo, LereAlimi, Seni Adetu & Kola Ayanwale

The Guinness team

The Guinness team

Mrs. Janet Adetu & Mo Abudu

Edi-Bala Emmanuel & Managing Editor, Ovation, Segun Adebowale

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Erelu Bisi Fayemi & Bashorun Dele Momodu

Mike Adenuga & Bashorun Dele Momodu


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Tunde Popoola, Bashorun Adesanya & Laolu Akinkugbe

Bashorun Dele Momodu & Chief (Mrs.) Moji Dokpesi

Bashorun Dele Momodu, Victor Osibodu & Sen.Gbenga Obadara

Kunle Adesina & Rufai Ladipo

Chief (Mrs.) Moji Dokpesi & Mrs. Janet Adetu

Bashorun Dele Momodu, Mo Abudu & Prince Dapo Adelegan

Erelu Bisi Fayemi & Mrs. Janet Adetu

Tayo Ayeni, Sen. Gbenga Obadara, Seni Adetu & Greg Uanseru

Debo Laditan & Shola Olagunju

Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Bashorun Dele Momodu & Segun Odegbami

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Members of the Boys club

Mr. & Mrs. Phillips Oduoza, Erelu Bisi Fayemi & Mrs. Janet Adetu

Segun Ogunsanya & Otunba & Mrs. Mike Ajayi

Tunde Savage &Yomi Badejo-Okusanya

Laolu Akinkugbe, Sir Steve Omojafor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Seni Adetu, Senator Gbenga Obadara & Mr. Tunde Adelaja

Mike Ajayi, Seni Adetu& Sen.Gbenga Obadara

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Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu, Hajia Zainab & Yvonne Ike

Mrs. KunleAdesina, Mrs. Janet Adetu, Mr. & Mrs. SegunOgunsanya& Mr. KunleAdesina


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Wives of the members of the Sagamite club

Mrs. Janet Adetu with members of the Sagamite club

Chief Segun Osoba & Asiwaju S.K. Onafowokan

Mr. & Mrs. Segun Ogunsanya & Erelu Bisi Fayemi

Rufai Ladipo, Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu with Mr.Segun Erewa & wife, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa

Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu with Mr. & Mrs. Oyedepo

Otunba & Mrs. Tunji Lawal-Solarin, Mr. & Mrs. Seni Adetu & Asiwaju S.K Onafowokan

Seni Adetu with the explicit dancers

Olabisi Oladipo, Dunni Onile-Ere & Adeola Shabi

Mr. Seni Adetu, Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;banj & Bisoye Fagade

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Wives of the members of the Boys club

Seni Adetu with members of the Sagamite Development Association

HRM Oba Michael Adeniyi Sonarinwo in warm handshake with Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa

Seni & Janet Adetu with Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;banj with some members of the Sagamite club

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Seni Adetu with the Obas

Seni & Janet Adetu with the Nigeria Supporters club


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FAMILY AND FRIENDS MOURN A PERFECT GENTLEMAN,

DEJI FALAE

Story: Adeyemi Funmilayo Photo: Koya Adegbite

L

ongevity may be desirable, but it is not the basic component of a worthy life. There is no doubt about the fact that the former Ondo State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Ayodeji Falae lived a fulfilled life. Although, it is a natural phenomenon to grief over the death of loved ones, but when the deceased has left his foot prints on the sands of time, it becomes a glorious exit. Hearts were torn over the loss of a man whom many described as a practicing and committed

Christian and a great husband and father who had an uncommon ability to relate with people at all levels, with consummate ease, due to his largeheartedness and sincerity. The always smiling Deji who was the second son of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and a Presidential candidate in 1999, Chief Olu Falae, died alongside 15 others who accompanied remains of the former Ondo State Governor Olusegun Agagu from Lagos to Akure for burial.

The burial rites of the deceasedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s departure to the great beyond began with a farewell service at This Present House, on Admiralty Road, Lekki Phase, Lagos. There people from all walks of life came to show their love and support for the Falae family. The farewell service in honor of the deceased was officiated by Pastor Tony Rapu assisted by Pastor Nigel Cookey â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Gam, Pastor Kola Fabiyi, Pastor Kemela Okara, Pastor Kayode Bamisile and 125


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The grief-stricken Falae family

Prayer’s time for the Falaes

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Cross section of Deji’s friends

Pastor Dele Balogun & Pastor Tony Rapu


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Folusho Adeagbo, Femi Adeagbo & Gbenga Akinjobi

Bamishebi Richard-Ojo & Bashorun Dele Momodu

Far right: Dan Akpovwa

Wole Aboderin (m)

Dare Owolabi & Dele Adedeji

Kunle Aluko (r) with friends

Muyiwa Akinbolagbe, Akinlolu Akinbolagbe & Bashorun Dele Momodu

Pastor Dele Balogun. During the sermon, Pastor Rapu described Deji as a practicing and committed Christian and selfless man. He concluded that he was sure that Deji was by the right hand of the Lord. Two special songs were dedicated to the deceased titled, ‘Ijoba Orun’ and ‘It will not be long’ by the host Choir. Their solemn voices reverberated through the entire building and spurred sobs and weeping from some members of the congregation. This dedication was a pointer to the selfless service of Deji, who was a member of the Choir.

The next day, a Christian Wake was held at the Ondo State Cultural Centre, Adegbemile, Akure, where family members , friends and associates paid their last respects to Deji as they commiserated with the bereaved family. A candle light procession was also held on the same day. This was organized by members of the Olu Falae family and staff members of the Ondo State Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Political office holders, Artistes and Theatre practitioners who were dressed in black attires tearfully sang mournful songs. The funeral service took place at St. David

Anglican Cathedral, Ijomu, Akure. In attendance were Governor Olusegun Mimiko, his wife, Mrs. Olukemi Mimiko, both in dark attires, members of the State Executive Council, Clergymen, party members, family members and friends. Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi was represented at the burial by his Commissioner for Integration and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Mr. Funminiyi Afuye. The atmosphere was sobs when the corpse arrived for the final burial rites as mourners wept profusely and Deji’s, wife Ese and their three children, Ayomide, 127


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Kayode Akinyele

Pastor Tony Rapu

Bashorun Dele Momodu, Pastor Tony Rapu & Mrs. Bolaji Momodu

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Cross section of family & friends

Friends of the Falae family, 5th left Mrs. Bolaji Momodu


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THE FUNERAL

Ayomide Falae, Oreoluwa Falae, Ese Falae, Mrs. Dayo Falae & Wonuola Falae

Governor Olusegun Mimiko & First Lady, Mrs. Olukemi Mimiko

R-l: Oye Balogun, Gbenga Olunloyo & friends

Ayomide Falae

Rasaq Adewole & Dr. Ladi Bada

Kayode Bamishile & Pastor Dele Balogun

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THE BURIAL

Omowonuola and Oreoluwa stared at the golden casket in which Deji’s remains was laid and shook their heads with disbelief. The Bishop of Akure Diocese, Bishop Simeon Borokini, in his sermon at the funeral service, advised the congregation to be close to God in their dealings. According to him, “No matter what you have, it will expire the day you die. You will be called to eternal rest one day” While paying a tribute, Governor Mimiko described the late Deji as an industrious and humble person who was ready to serve the people at any time. The Governor said the death of the young man was a great loss to the family, the State and the country at large. Remi Olatunbora , the Commissioner for Adult , Technical and Vocational Education in Ondo, also described the deceased as a humble man who was gentle to a fault. Tears flowed freely as the golden casket that bore the remains was lowered into the grave. Ayodeji Falae is survived by his father, mother, siblings, wife and children. THE MAN, DEJI FALAE 130

Deji Falae the son of former presidential candidate Chief Olu Falae was a Law graduate from the Obafemi Awolowo University (1987 – 1991). He was the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Ondo State until his death. Mr. Falae before his appointment to the state cabinet was the Chief Executive Officer of West One Resources Limited and Executive Director of Gold Estate Limited, respectively. He headed a panel set up by the State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, in the course of an enquiry into the activities of the local government councils in the State, to ascertain the actual number of authentic workers legally employed by the state government. The panel was saddled with the responsibility of fishing out ghost workers and uncovering some of the workers who were in the payroll of the local councils but were illegally employed. The skills and expertise of the deceased covered Strategy Planning, New Business Development, Construction , Contract Negotiation and Real Estate Development.


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THOROUGH PROFFESSIONAL,

SESAN OGUNRO GOES HOME IN STYLE

Story: Babatunde Martins Photo: Segun Lawal (Iroko), Abraham Falodun & Ken Ehimen

SERVICE OF SONG, ORGANISE BY CHRIST’S SCHOOL, ADO-EKITI ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, LAGOS BRANCH

Fade Ogunro, Taiwo Gbadebo, Damilola Gbadebo, Mrs. Modupe Ogunro, Timayo Ogunro, Sesan Ogunro (Jnr) & Dinah Ogunro

T

he botched 1993 general elections in Nigeria may have come and gone but the signature tune of the radio jingle of the acclaimed winner of that election, Bashorun Moshood Abiola --‘MKO is our Man o’ - still reverberates till tomorrow. The jingle which was a national anthem during the election period was packaged by Eminent Communications, owned by Advertising guru, Sesan Ogunro, whose shocking death is still being discussed by friends and family. Ogunro’s death came at a time when the world was filled with the chiming of jingle bells and almost everyone was in a frenzy mood. Indeed, the silent night of the carols took on a frightening new meaning from that minute his life was cut short by daredevil gunmen and the joy of Christmas evaporated from the world of the Ogunros. The sheer brutality of the experience and

the suddenness of the occurrence left them devastated and inconsolable. Such was the mood that pervaded the funeral ceremonies of the late Marketing Communication genius as the funeral rites commenced with a Service of Songs hosted by Christ’s School, Ado Ekiti Alumni Association, at the Ogudu Recreation Centre, Ogudu GRA, Lagos. Christ’s School was the deceased’s alma mater. The service which started about 4pm, was wellattended by the deceased’s family members, friends, clients and professional colleagues; who were all clad in black attires to pay their last respects to a man loved and admired by all. While delivering his sermon, Deacon Desmond Ekeh of the International Christian Church, described the deceased as a disciplinarian and a humour-laden

fellow. He said, ‘I am unable to find the words to express the pain that I feel, knowing that Sesan has been taken away from us, so suddenly; but God knows the best. ‘I guess God needed Sesan back home with Him. I will miss your smile, jokes and most of all, your encouraging and complimentary words.’ He urged the congregation to emulate the good deeds of the late Advertising icon and to give their lives to Christ, because death could come at any time. As soon as the meeting ended, family members, friends and associates, began to pour torrents of tributes on the deceased, ending that day’s event. The next day, they all gathered at Ogudu Estate for another Service of Songs. This time a number of high profile Nigerians – particularly top government 131


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Bible Reading by Timayo Ogunro

Bible Reading by Bayo Osibo

Prof. Akin Olubode & Christopher Kolade

Mr. Femi Orebe & Mr. Macaulay Iyayi

Bible Reading by Mr. S. Yemi Akeju

Kunle Osuntokun, Dr. Ebun Sonaiya & Dr. Dele Dada

Sola Erinle & Sanmi Omiata

Tribute by Soji Awogbade

132

Rev. Awe & Rev. Abayomi Ogunlorode

Baba Ijo Olusegun Ogunkua & Mrs. Bolanle Ogunkua


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SERVICE OF SONGS BY COLLEAGUES

Widow, Mrs. Modupe Ogunro & Gov. Babatunde Fashola

The late Sesan Ogunro

First Lady Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi & Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Modupe Adelabu

Senator Akin Odunsi & Mr. Biodun Shobanjo

Senator Adeseye Ogunleewe

Olisa Adibua (left)

Banky W

133


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Evang. Shedrak Obasa

Omoruyi Iyawo, Uwamai Igein, Yemi Shodimu & Segun Odubela

Tokunbo Modupe & wife, Funmi Modupe

Dr. Eniola Ajayi, Ms Sola Salako & Tayo Ekundayo

Mrs. Dele Chinedu, Mrs. Olubimpe Odubela, Augusta Obasa & Ovota Iyamu

Engr. & Mrs. Charles Ugwuh

Yemi Shodimu

134

Tribute by Omoruyi Iyawo

Mrs. Peju Ojora & Mrs. Adeola Fadase


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Timayo Ogunro, son, Fade Ogunro, daughter, Dinah Ogunro, daughter-in law, Sesan Ogunro (Jnr.)-son, Taiwo Gbadebo, son-in law, Damilola Gbadebo, daughter & Modupe Ogunro, wife

Mrs. Titi Olubiyi & Ms. Foluso Ajulo

Banjo Ogunrosoye, Pade Ojoodipe & Toyin Awopegba

Mrs. Yejide Ogunleye Ayoola, Barr. Moyosore Ogunlewe, Dr. Adeola Ogunlewe & Micheal Olugbo Adeyemi

Dr. Wunmi Adetukasi, Adeoye Roluya, Banji Funji Williams & Mrs. Mope Omotosho

attended, to honour an illustrious Nigerian son whose genius had at various times impacted on their political careers. They included; the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Gov. Babatunde Raji Fashola, the First Lady of Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Prof. Modupe Adelabu; Senator Babafemi Ojudu as well as Insight Chairman, Biodun Shobanjo, amongst others. At exactly 4pm, the well decorated marquee was filled to the brim with guests who were clad in black and white attires. However, the children of the deceased wore white attires. The Service of Songs began with the opening prayer after which the daughter of the deceased, Mrs. Damilola Gbadebo took the first Bible reading from John 6: 35-40 then gospel crooner, Sammy Okposo and the Next Generation Band got everybody praising and

worshipping God. Thereafter, the deceased’s first son, Sesan Ogunro Jnr, who is one of the country’s leading musical video directors, took the second Bible reading from Isaiah 57:1-2 and the Church Choir later sang the popular hymn, ‘Great is thy faithfulness.’ The hymn over, the third and fourth Bible readings followed, taken by the deceased’s other childen, Miss Fade Ogunro and Timayo Ogunro. Later on, Deacon Ekeh again, as on the day before, fed the congregation with the word of God. In his sermon, Deacon Ekeh said that Christians do not die, they only go to sleep. “So, Sesan Ogunro has gone to sleep and he will wake up on the resurrection morning.” He thereafter charged the congregation to get closer to God, stressing that, sooner or later, everyone would go and give account of what they have done to their Creator.

As it was on the first day, tributes were again showered on the deceased. Flagging the tributes session, Gov. Babatunde Fashola said, “I know that everybody who comes to this world must go. Mr. Ogunro has fulfilled his part in this world and he would be surely remembered. A peaceful man, he was part of my government before it was formed and when it was formed, till he left us. But I did not have the privilege of knowing his age, his house and where he came from.’’ “My dear friend and brother, this is too sudden! Goodbye! You did not wait to finish the job you started with me. You sacrificed so much, I know you did not quit on me because you were not a quitter. Rest in peace, dear brother, friend and patriot. I really valued the time we spent together.” 135


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Tunde Ogunro, Folusho Ogunro & Mrs. Funmi Odunsi

R-l: Omowunmi Odutola, Taiwo Gbadebo & Shadrach Obasa

Willy Nnorom, Kunle Ogunmefun, Tunde Thani, Longley Evru & Dr. Bayo Adepetu

Lanre Fasehun, Tope Jemerigbe & Nike Alabi

Steve Babaeko, Kemi Asemota & Ota Ogefere

Mr. Biodun Sobanjo consoling Mrs. Modupe Ogunro

Taking her turn, the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Prof. Modupe Adelabu said, “I will miss Sesan my cousin. You entered Christ School in 1964 and I was mandated by my mother to take care of you, being a year ahead of you in school. Since then, the battle for ‘egbonship’ began. Neither of our mothers resolved the matter till date.” “This spate of argument in itself brought us very close to each other. We enjoyed the arguments a lot with our own group of supporters. Sesan, you were a perfect gentle man and lover of peace, nothing bothered you. Many times when I expected you to be angry and fight for your cause, your reply was always that disarming smile,” the Deputy Governor recounted. Thereafter, a friend to the Ogunros, Mr. Oluwam said, “Mr. Sesan was very calm, no matter the situation. He could relate with the rich and the 136

poor as well as the old and the young. He was my friend, mentor, uncle and brother. When next I see him, I will call him Uncle; he was better than me, more intelligent than I. But I was only better than him at Table Tennis. To the family, I say the Almighty God will be your refuge.’’ Quoting a line from Morrissey, a singer, ‘There is a light and it never goes out’, staff members of Eminent Communications and Spot-on Media eulogized their boss and had kind words for their late Managing Director: “Our MD was not just a boss, but a wonderful one. We will truly miss a man whom we are proud to refer to as our, ‘friend and boss.’ He was very kind, humble, peaceful, compassionate, kind and Christ-like. He was always ready to go the extra mile, a mobile person who loved to get things done, no matter how long it took.”

Summing up the late icon’s name, they gave meaning to each alphabet in his first name, SSimplicity in carriage, E- Eloquence in speech and in writing, S-Stylish in dressing and presentation, AAmiable in character and approach and N- Nice to a fault. The service rounded off with praise and worship by Sammy Okposo and the Next Generation Band. The day after, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi led other dignitaries including the Publisher of Ovation International Magazine, Bashorun Dele Momodu for the final burial rites. The well-attended service which took place at Close D grounds, Hillview Estate, Ogudu GRA, Lagos started with an opening prayer by Deacon Whoamai Ige, who committed the event into the hands of the Almighty God. Later on, the Choir led the


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HIS FINAL JOURNEY

Bible Reading by Damilola Gbadebo

Fade Ogunro

Sir Steve Omajafor, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi & Bashorun Dele Momodu

Ekiti State Gov., Kayode Fayemi, Lagos State Gov., Babatunde Fashola, First Lady Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi & Ekiti State Deputy Gov., Prof. Modupe Adelabu

Mr. Lekan Owodunni (m)

Mrs. Ojo Ogudu, Ayo Ogunmekan Abiodun, Mrs. Yemi Adejuwon & Mrs. Bisi Oyetayo

137


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Mr. Sam Amuka-Pemu, Publisher Vanguard Newspapers

Eminent Staff: Osigwe Lilian, Ekundayo Ololade & Okemute Olatunji-Albert

Susan Omosa, Abi Ademorote & Adjua Fadojutimi

Otunba Niyi Adebayo & Yemi Shodimu

Taiwo Lambo, Princess Teju Okuyiga & Mrs. Funmi Oduwole

Hon. Olawale Oshun

Bode Bernard, Ade Ogundero & Ezekiel Abiola Bernard

Sesan Ayeni

138

Elder Seni Adegbite & Otunba Ayo Oduntan

Chudi Ubosi & Niyi Obaremi


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Mrs. Funmi Lawson, Mrs. Mosun Belo, Mrs. Yewande Adio & Mrs. Tope Adeniyi-Adele

Lola Oguntomilade & Debola Falana

Mrs. Nike Onyido, Ms. Remi Osadiya & Ms. Peju Osadiya

Shade Ogunaike, Deola Sogbetun, Yewande Tunbi, Funke Ajanaku & Fehintola Adede

Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye & Mrs. Oluseyi Williams

Bola, Jide & Gboyega

Mojisola Olaleye & Modupe Ogunbor

Dr. Eniola Ajayi, Dr. Femi Orebe & Chief Biodun Akin-Fasae

congregation in a praise and worship session. After the Bible reading, Deacon Ige mounted the pulpit and exhorted the congregation with the word of God. While describing the deceased as humane, urbane and forthright, he enjoined the congregation to borrow a leaf from his enviable life. The service rounded off with hymns by the Choir and the remains of the late Ogunro was interred at the Vault and Gardens in Ikoyi. A reception followed at the Heaven Event Centre, Oba Akinjobi Way, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos. The popular Shuga Band provided musical entertainment. Everyone left with a conviction that the late Sesan Oguro lived an impeccable life, aptly captured in the tribute written by the Governor of Ekiti State, Gov. Kayode Fayemi. Titled, ‘A Tribute to a Ready Writer,’ Gov. Fayemi

wrote, “For Uncle Sesan, pecuniary gain for his efforts was secondary. He had found fulfillment in contributing to the struggle to redeem the desolation of our land and generation, by putting his professional competencies at the disposal of those who in his keen consideration, held a promise of delivering on the mandate of the people if given a chance. “Even when we assumed office, it was far from Uncle Sesan to display any iota of entitlement. He kept a respectable distance but was always there to work closely with us in developing our communication structures. He bent backwards for us countless times in helping us cope with the fast paced nature of public sector communications. He contributed a great deal to the launch of our new brand identity: Land of Honour Ile Iyi, Ile Eye, and was central to our multi-media

“Testimonials” campaign that celebrated the achievements of great sons and daughters of Ekiti. He was until his death on a crucial assignment to reposition the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State as Chairman.” “Uncle Sesan was a thoroughbred Ekiti son who consistently demonstrated in his private and professional dealings, our pristine values of integrity, diligence, excellence and love for the common good. He was a leading light whose altruism found expression in his active participation in countless worthy causes in his Church and other faith-based organizations; professional bodies to which he belonged, including the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria and others.” 139


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Elohor Aisen & Tiwa Savage

Tobi Sanni

Mr. Lekan Owodunni (r)

Mr. Biodun Shobanjo & Tunde Martins

Mr. Muyiwa Adetiba

140

Biodun Shobanjo & Chris Ubosi

Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin


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Sesan Ogunro, the widow, Mrs. Modupe Ogunro & Tumayo Ogunro

Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi & his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi with Mrs. Modupe Sesan Ogunro

Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi & his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi with Otunba Niyi Adebayo

TOS Band

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RECEPTION

Prof. (Mrs.) Adelabu, Erelu Bisi Fayemi & Dupe Sesan Ogunro

Fade Ogunro, Dele Esan & Mrs. Damilola Gbadebo

Mr. Sam Amuka & Mr. Muyiwa Adetiba

John Ukhueleigbe & Dele Esan

Eku Edewor-Thorley, Kessiana Edewor-Thorley & Ezekial Adamu

Mrs. Remi Onabolu & Mrs. Iguehi Adetiba

Yemi Dawodu, Damilola Gbadebo & Joy Brinkmann

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Shuga band thrilling the guests at the reception

Adebisi Junaid, Temitope George-Taylor, Yemi Dawodu, Damilola Gbadebo & Joy Brinkmann


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Dayo Adeneye & Damilola Gbadebo

Wole Aboderin, Sesan Ogunro & Damilola Gbadebo

Linda & Lolu Sodeinde

Debola Falana, Lola Oguntomilade & Damilola Gbadebo

Mrs. Virginia Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Tudor, Florence Otaru & Folake Adama

MC Chiman & Yemi Shodimu

Niyi Olaleye, Modupe Ogunbor & Richie Odiase

Damola Daramola, George Oputa, Florence Otaru, Virgina Otudo & Queen Elumaro

Timayo Ogunro & Jimi Atoki

Akin & Ronke Ogunbiyi

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OLUWAYEMISI OLUWASANMI WEDS MOSHOOD SANNI IN ONDO STATE Story: Funmilayo Adeyemi Photo: Ken Ehimen

The newly-wedded couple: Moshood & Yemisi Sanni

T

he beautiful thing about love is that, sometimes two people who know little or absolutely nothing about each other, have a chance encounter and having made each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s acquaintance, fall in love. Then, their love grows, till it becomes rock-solid, eventually getting to a point, where not even their different long-standing religious beliefs or traditional dispositions can break the strong bond of affection that they share. This is a simple summary of the love story of Moshood Arisekola Sanni and Victoria Oluwayemisi Oluwasanmi. Theirs is a perfect example of true love which makes every other consideration-tribal, racial, ethnic or religious - pale into insignificance. Moshood is a devoted Muslim, while his heartthrob, Oluwayemisi, is a practicing Christian, but their different religious backgrounds could not impede the strong feelings they have for each other from blossoming. It was therefore, a relationship based on mutual love, understanding and respect. Moshood, who is a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, FUTA, Akure in Ondo State, met his sweetheart in Lekki, Lagos where both of their offices are located. Often, they would bump into each other during lunch breaks and on other different occasions. Meanwhile, Moshood who was already stricken by Oluwayemisiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s alluring looks would never hesitate to express his admiration of her breathtaking beauty.

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In a chat with OVATION, Yemisi revealed to us that she always knew Moshood had something up his sleeves because he just would not stop paying compliments. To her, every encounter seemed to be a much sought-after opportunity for him to tell her how

beautiful her hairdo was or how lovely the dress she was wearing that day looked. And of course anyone who is acquainted with Yemisi knows that she is a very attractive and fashionable lady. So, it was no surprise that a gentleman like Moshood could not resist her


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ENGAGEMENT

The sweet couple during their engagement

The beautiful bride stepping into venue of engagement

The bride with her sister, Motunrayo Oluwasanmi

Handing of the proposal letter to the brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family members

Here is the groom

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The couple with brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s parents

Couple with bride's sisters, Miss Motunrayo Oluwasanmi & Mrs Abike Olabode

Couple cutting their cake

The couple with both parents

Oby Odife, Abimbola Okoh, bride & Rachael Adefioye

The couple with family & friends

The couple with Sir & Lady Biodun Akinyemi

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Chief Joseph Sanusi, the couple with Mr. Adegbeye Ezekiel


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REGISTRY

Couple receiving their marriage certificate

Moshood & Yemisi at the registry

THE CHURCH

Chief (Mrs.) Rose Adinlenu & Hon. Chief (Mrs.) Ruth Olowookere

Mrs. Ronke Babalola & Mrs. Titilayo Aguda

beauty Having observed Yemisi for a while, and noted that she possessed all the admirable qualities of a wife material, Moshood finally made his move and bared his mind in a very poignant manner. Soon, Yemisi to her suitor advances and they became best of friends. There was such chemistry between them that colleagues and friends began to notice that something was brewing. And even if they had tried to deny it,

Mr. Tijani Sanni & Alhaja S. Sanni

there was no way they could have hidden it because their friendship soon grew to a point where they were inseparable. As their relationship bloomed, the lovers decided to take their love to the next level by organizing a formal introduction between their families. And once the families had become acquainted with each other, plans for the wedding got underway. The traditional engagement kicked off with various

aspects of the rich Yoruba culture on display. The elated couple was easily the cynosure of eyes with both partners stepping out in superlative traditional attires befitting of the special occasion. The traditional marital rites were then performed in the presence of family and friends who were quite happy for the lovebirds. And from then on, the became Mr. and Mrs. Moshood Sanni. They then completed the nuptial with a registry and church cremonies. 147


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Tope Awe, Alaba Famuwagun, Saheed Sanni, Couple, Emmanuel Ogunseyin, Shakiru Salami, Olalekan Olokun & Oyinkan Oluwasanmi (little bride)

Couple with bride’smaids & groom’smen

Alhaja Rasheedat Ibrahim, Mrs. Titi Aguda, Alhaja Sanni, Mr. Tijani Sanni, Couple, Lady Tokunbo Akinyemi, Elder J.M Oluwasanmi, Mrs. Ronke Babalola & Mr. Femi Fayemi

Oriyomi Sanni, Damilola Oluwasanmi, Abimbola Okoh, Opeyemi Aladekoyi, Couple, Racheal Adefioye, Feyikemi Aladekoyi, Bukola Omotosho & Oyinkansola Oluwasanmi (little.b)

Saheed Sanni, Couple & Motunrayo Oluwasanmi

Couple with Officiating Ministers

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RECEPTION

Couple cutting their cake

Chief (Dr.) Folorunsho Akintade & Elder Oluwasanmi

Temitope Fasuyi & Aminat Kareem

Mrs. Joke Doherty, Mrs. Olabisi Shodare & Mrs. Bola Akinduro

Mrs Titilola Adepoju, Mrs Anthonia Onakoya & Miss Fisayo Bamgbose

Mrs. Fasan, Mrs. Oke & Mrs. Olabode

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HOPE KUBECHI CLOSETS HOSTS EXCITING FAIR Story: Tersoo Achineku Photo: Courtesy Organisers

E

ntertainment was at its zenith at the anniversary edition of Kubechi's Closet Fashion Fair and Lifestyle sales soiree which took place at the SWE Bar and Lounge, City Mall Onikan. Organised by Kubechi Conceptz, the event was the 5th edition of the Fashion, Lifestyle and Karaoke event, which was a delight to the attendees who turned out in their large numbers. Those who came included fashion lovers, clothing and accessory designers, as well as players in the entertainment industry. Hosted by Beat FM’s On Air Personality (OAP), Dami, it also played host to both buyers and exhibitors. Guests and shoppers were treated to cocktails and cake by Say Cheese Cakes and there was a Karaoke session for those who love to sing. Some of the guests included, Omena Daniels, Yeka Onka, Beat FM’s Osi , Uzor Osimkpa, Ajemina, Aisha Atta, Ijeoma Aniebo, Phoenix of Rhythm FM, among others. The event was supported by 360nobs, Linda Ikeji’s blog, Saycheese Cakes, SWE bar and Lounge, OVATION International Magazine and Ebonix Pictures. KUBECHI Conceptz is a top fashion fair organizing outfit dedicated

to bringing together fashion retailers and vendors in fashion fairs and shows in order to create awareness for their goods and services. Kubechi Conceptz is also geared towards ensuring that, shoppers get the best quality, at the best possible prices and all these within the comfortable ambience of a reputable establishment. This objective is geared towards adding value and service to the high-class shoppers, to make it a truly one-stop shopping experience and delight for them. The company invites companies and exclusive vendors of high quality fashion goods and services, who will obtain an application cum participation form, which will entitle them to a stall to showcase their fashion items, throughout the duration of the fair. Fashion items that are on display during the fair include: shirts, dresses, ties, wallets, wrist-watches, costume jewelry, shoes, bags, belts, perfumes and every kind of fashion items for men and women. The company expects such fashion items and services to create a long-lasting impression on their elitist shoppers throughout the duration of the fair. The organizer’s details are, Hope Kubechi Monye 08084222708, k u b e c h i @ g m a i l . c o m , kubechi@kubechiconceptz.com. Hope Kubechi Monye

Adaeze, Kubechi & Jommie

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Kubechi & her sister, Ijeoma

Adenike & Fadekemi Adewusi with Seun Okoli

Arin, Tuke & Doyin


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Chukwudi, Kubechi & Aisha

Francis Monye & Nde Desmond

Jommie & Dami

Kike Jatewo (Tife Store House)

Alice & Uzor during the Karaoke

Kubechi, Ayo & Debola Adegboyega

Nicholas M & Akeem Bello

Ladun (La Refans couture) with her family

Nkenie & Anne Chuks enjoying the Karaoke

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Aysha Aitah, Chief Executive Officer, Say Cheese Cakes

Ajemina, Ndidi Odogwu & Dipo Abiola

Alice Ndidi, Ekamma Odogwu & Joseph Ajemina

Chinwendu Onyeguli

Doris, Amaka & Uche Orizu

Ijeoma Aniebo

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Kubechi, Ugochi John with her kids

Mitely & Yeka Onka

Kome Jones


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Nkenie, Anne & Winifred

Seun & Dipo Abiola sharing some ideas

Slick Mo, Ajemina & Ndidi Odogwu

Uka & Taris

Osi of Beat 99.9fm

Phonix of Rythm 93.7fm

Victoria & Gloria Effiong

Omena Daniels

The Kubechi Closet Fair anniversary cake

Uzor Osimkpa

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WE ARE READY TO WOW THE WORLD AT

AFRICA FASHION WEEK NIGERIA -FOUNDER RONKE ADEMULUYI

Story & interview: Elvis Williams Udegbe Photo: AFWL

So many women are out there, hoping someday, they would have the opportunity to market their products and skills to more affluent clientele and so, enable them to pay school fees and put more food on the table for their kids. For me, if the fashion industry can be turned into a wellspring of opportunities to make people’s dreams come true, then; I will be fulfilled. Until that happens, I will keep on struggling.

L

aw graduate and Founder of Africa Fashion Week London as well as Africa Fashion Week Nigeria, Miss Ronke Ademiluyi is an Ife Princess. In this chat, she reveals that her driving force is a passion for improving the lot of talented but under privileged fashion designers.

What do you do professionally and what have some of your accomplishments been to date

I am a fashion industry entrepreneur and my niche is creating promotional platforms through which, undiscovered African-inspired talents in the fashion industry worldwide, both young and old, can be given much needed visibility so as to reach the right audience and be assisted in turning their innate creative abilities, into economic self- sustenance. Professionally, I can be described as a fashion business promoter. But for me, it goes a bit beyond that. My greatest motivating factor in launching out is to realize the tremendous potentials within the fashion industry, which if properly harnessed, can create jobs, channel youthful energies and talents into constructive use and bring economic emancipation to African women and youth and also improve the economies of African countries. My greatest accomplishment so far, is the fact that, I was able to put together the first Africa Fashion Week London on my own with no support or sponsorship. This very first edition was a dream that lived in my mind for years before I was able to summon the courage to start planning and organizing in 2011. The fact that it was a success is my greatest fall-back pillar. With it at the back of my mind, I can never be frustrated or dismayed into giving up on my dreams again. Today, we have had three successful editions and it has become an annual event in London during the summer which a lot of people look forward too. We have showcased over 200 designers and had over 35,000 people attend our events. We have enjoyed broadcast in over 100 media platforms, from print and blog to television and online video tubes. We 154

have also concluded with partners to have the event in Nigeria, Amsterdam, Brussles and Sweden. We are also raising funds for indigent African fashion designers, to provide distribution outlets for them. We have finished recording the first ever reality show for designers in Nigeria which will be airing soon, all are offshoots from the success of the first Africa Fashion Week London. What drives you to make a difference the way you currently are

No matter how good you are, you can always be better; improvement is a never ending process. For me, there is so much to be done. So many young people are out there, wishing someone could just give them the leverage they need to succeed in life and

leave the unemployed roll call. So many women are out there, hoping someday, they would have the opportunity to market their products and skills to more affluent clientele and so, enable them to pay school fees and put more food on the table for their kids. For me, if the fashion industry can be turned into a wellspring of opportunities to make people’s dreams come true, then; I will be fulfilled. Until that happens, I will keep on struggling. What is the positive talk you have with yourself on days you find thoughts and feelings of self-doubt trying to creep in

I always know that, nothing ventured is equal to nothing gained. To me, the greatest risk is failure and that is no risk at all, because the only implication is that, I just have to pick up and start afresh, having


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learned how to do it better! So, I have nothing to lose. The only person who died from failure is the person who tried to play God. I am just a woman with my own fair share of imperfections. If I can fail at any one thing, I can fail at any other thing. On the other hand, if I can succeed at any one thing, I can succeed at any other thing, also. So, I do what I have to do and let God decide what I deserve for my efforts. But, I never decide not to try, because the prospect of success and the joy it brings, the thought of it and dwelling and hoping on it, is like opium to me, very addictive! What challenges did you face setting up Africa Fashion Week London

Funding was a major challenge, as a lot of corporate bodies did not believe in the initiative, initially. So, 80 per cent of the organizing costs had to come from me and a few partners who identified with my cause. But now, we are driving very hard for sponsorships and a few organizations are responding. Do you think it is meeting the set out goals and objectives and what are your expectations this year

Yes, AFWL is meeting the set goals and objectives. In only three years, we have showcased over 200 designers, 200 exhibitors and advanced the careers of at least 50 young models of African origin in Europe. Nearly 40,000 visitors have been to our events. We have also given visibility to many designers and provided start-up funds for 25 young fashion designers. We have had participation from designers from Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Senegal, Tunisia, Tanzania, Cote Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ivoire, Congo, USA and Carribean. We have had some major sponsors use the event as a platform to reach the core African market.

The fourth edition of African Fashion Week London is underway and you are about to host the Nigeria version come May, what motivated this

In three years of Africa Fashion Week London, we discovered that a lot of the participating designers were Nigerians. A closer survey at home also revealed that there are still thousands of talented youths in this country whose talents and creativity are at the risk of being lost due to lack of support and encouragement. We decided to launch Africa Fashion Week Nigeria to provide the much needed inspiration for up-coming Nigerian designers. The event will lay a lot of emphasis on the young designers, giving them a sponsored platform to show the world what they have to offer. This is geared to help them develop their creative abilities into economic self -sustenance and by providing them with a platform that will enable them to create global awareness, visibility, exposure and networking opportunities for themselves. What do we expect at the Nigerian version of African Fashion Week

We should expect to see creativity at its best as well as designs that you never knew existed in the minds of these young Nigerian fashion designers; which is one thing that never ceased to amaze me. The immensity of talents and creative abilities lurking away in the minds of young Nigerians is one thing that cannot be comprehended. 155


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MY VISION AS AFWL

AMBASSADOR -ABIOLA OKOYA

there are millions of talents within the Nigerian fashion industry that need to be given the right exposure. That is what Africa Fashion Week Nigeria is billed to provide. This will enable them find a footing in the fashion industry and build successful careers. There is a global movement now towards generation of self- employment as a means of tackling poverty.

W

arm and delectable Abiola Okoya is AFWL’S fashion Ambassador and she has been one of their greatest sources of support and inspiration. In this chat with • ••••• • •MAGAZINE, she opines that Africans must show case Africa more boldly before they can earn global respect.

Give us a glimpse into life as a child in the home of Chief Rasak Okoya

I am the second eldest child and from my earliest memory, I have been involved in running the family business. As a child, what kind of future did you aspire towards

I imagined a life totally dedicated to being part of the family business, mainly because of the size of the organization while doing a bit of my own thing and looking after my kids. Are there things in life you discovered that only you can do for yourself

With regards to my fashion and beauty routine, I am the only person that knows what I am comfortable in. Describe what you do professionally

I am first and foremost a sales person, based on my orientation from Eleganza and of course, into Real Estate. I am presently looking at being part of the local content in the Oil and Gas sector. You are currently working on AFW as a fashion Ambassador, how do you feel being a part of this grand event.

I am very excited at being branded a fashion Ambassador of such an international event and also a pleasure collaborating with the Founder, Princess Ronke Ademiluyi and my darling sister, the Life Patron, Princess Fifi Ejindu. What is your vision for the project

It is an idea whose time has come and I believe it will continue to flourish and gain momentum based on the response it has garnered. Are young African fashion designers finding a niche for themselves

Certainly, creativity is not lacking, but what is needed is a platform for them to showcase their talents and funding to nurture it, which I hope is what AFWL will help achieve. What do you think Africans in the Diaspora ought to do

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better

They need to showcase more of our culture in terms of dressing. We have cold climate dressing in East and Southern Africa and soft dressing for hot or warm climate in West Africa. Also, we have very nourishing cuisine, made from natural ingredients like Eforiro, that if well presented, I am sure will be palatable to any sense. Even the best soaps in the world are the ones made from natural herbs like sea weeds available from Africa. What does fashion mean to you, a way of life or just a necessary addition

Fashion for me, is personal. It must reflect beauty and elegance while not being too seductive. The primary purpose is to be attractive. What apparel would you never be caught wearing

Anything fake! If you have the opportunity, what would you love to do for African Fashion today

I would love to do exactly what we are doing with AFW; expose them at international events so that they can gain the confidence necessary to promote their art. They must also be able to gain access to funding. Africa fashion Week Nigeria is coming up in May, why do you think it is a good idea

It is an excellent idea, because there are millions of talents within the Nigerian fashion industry that need to be given the right exposure. That is what Africa Fashion Week Nigeria is billed to provide. This will enable them find a footing in the fashion industry and build successful careers. There is a global movement now towards generation of selfemployment as a means of tackling poverty. Most institutions nowadays have enterprise development among their curriculum . Africa Fashion Week Nigeria is a practical project that supports this new way of thinking by giving a solid latform to young people, enabling them to fend for themselves through fashion. 157


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GLIMPSES FROM PAST AFWL SHOWS

AFWL 2013

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AFWL 2013 BANQUET IN LONDONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S DORCHESTER HOTEL

GLO cake by AFWL

Senator Grace Bent, DG,NTDC, Sally Mbanefo, the Ejindus at the event

AFWL Life Patron, Obongawan Fifi Ejindu & husband, Arch. Ameachi Ejindu

Davina Olujinmi

Noella & June

R-l: Abiola Okoya & guest

Kemi Adewunmi, Senator Grace Bent, Fifi Ejindu & guests

Davina Olujinmi

Lukwesa Burak of Sky News with guests

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Noella Coursaris Musunka, model & philanthropist

Yinka Shonibare (MBE) Patron of AFWL 2013, with the Founder of AFWL & AFWN, Ronke Ademiluyi

Ropo Akin of Koko Bar in London & wife

June Sarpong (MBE), Television presenter

Miss White

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Sola Oyebade, Creative Director of AFWL with his models

Right: Senator Grace Bent & a guest

Guests at AFWL Dorchester Banquet


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BACKSTAGE AT AFWL 2012

KarynLouise

Rob Sheppard

KarynLouise Rob Sheppard

Rob Sheppard

Rob Sheppard

Rob Sheppard

Nia-Rose

Nia-Rose

Nia-Rose

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AFWL 2012

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AFWL 2012

Overview of the Spital fields exhibition, venue of AFWL 2012

Event host, Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo interviewing guests on the runway

Artiste giving a musical interlude

Crowd at AFWL 2012

AFWL Goodwill Ambassador, Menaye Donkor poses with a fan

Lovely guest poses for the camera

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AFWL 2012

Berrys Couture

Brigitte Merki

Da Viva

Green Mamba design

Patience Please

Set Fashion free

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Dionne Sakupwanya

Green Mamba design


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KSA SHINES AT GLO EVERGREEN SERIES Story: Bamidele Salako Photo: Adekoya Adegbite

KSA doing his thing as usual

Okey Bakassi, Muyiwa Ige, Bashorun Dele Momodu, Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, Sammy Okposo & Chief Raufu Ladipo

Richard Mofe-Damijo, Kamal Shonibare, Desmond Elliot & Sammy Okposo

Frank Osodi & Mohammed Jameel

Mrs. Joko Oni, Chief Jide Oshinubi & Funmi Osunsade

f there ever was a musician within this shores who epitomizes the word ‘evergreen’ both in substance and style, it would have to be Otunba Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye, widely known as King Sunny Ade or KSA - master guitarist, Grammy nominee and one of Africa’s greatest music maestros. Music colossuses do not come better than KSA, whose musical genius has traversed five decades, and counting, even as his distinctive art continues to defy generational and cultural shifts. The Juju maestro took his turn at the second edition of the series along with D’Banj and Yemi Sax-and it was an evening to remember. Famous comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka was the Master of Ceremonies. He was dressed in a deeply traditional Yoruba outfit that reflected the broader significance of the occasion which in Dr. Adenuga

I

Jnr.’s own words, is an undying, “commitment to the development of indigenous arts and culture.” After Gbenga Adeyinka had thrilled the A-list audience with an endless stream of jokes, Yemi Sax took charge and demonstrated his prowess on the Saxophone, much to the delight of his audience. Subsequently, the guests watched a specially packaged documentary on KSA and his contributions to the growth of the Nigerian music industry. Then, the curtains were raised for the star performance of the night. The legend, King Sunny Ade, stormed the stage to a stirring ovation from his fans and delivered a stunning teaser. He gave them a taste of what was to come with a couple of Classics like, E ku ikale and Mafowo yin e logo but the best was certainly reserved for the last.

Performer extraordinaire, D’banj started with one of the very songs that announced him to the world as a true musical talent years ago-Mobolowowon. As he progressed with his performance, King Sunny Ade joined in on the act, adding his iconic touch. It was a rare delight to see these two do a live duet, considering that both are loved not just for their singing ability but for their energetic and lively stage performances as well. Afterwards, D’banj performed one of his all-time hits, Fall in Love, with Yemi Sax as supporting cast. He then proceeded to do other hit tracks like, Suddenly and Oliver Twist, during which time he went into the crowd to mingle with his fans while serenading them. Following what was a very creditable showing, the much loved Koko Master exited the stage to rousing rounds of applause. 165


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Yemi Sax

Gbenga Adeyinka

Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;banj

KSA & his daughter on stage

Yomi Badejo-Okusanya (left)

Olori Adetokunbo Eko

166

Adewale Ayuba & wife, Mrs. Azukaego Kwentoh Ayuba

Dennis Dolharn & wife, Mrs. Dolharn

Funbi Adebayo Oduwole & Damilotun


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Lord Mayor Akinpelu (right)

Alhaji Lateef Adams

Dayo Adeneye & Chief Dele Momodu

Olorogun Sunny Kuku (r), son, wife, Susan, Erelu Abiola Dosunmu & guests

Foluso Adeagbo & Chief Dele Momodu

Mallam Imam Ibrahim & Sekina Ibrahim, Bashorun Dele Momodu & Ayo Subair

Ada Iwugo & Naomi Moina Iwugo

That done, the time everyone had been waiting for finally arrived. King Sunny Ade again got on stage alongside his band. At once, he had virtually everyone in the arena reeling with excitement while he sang hit classic after hit classic with an ageless voice that was amply supported by trademark choreographed dance routines which have become a signature of all his performances all these decades. With evergreen tunes like, The Good Shepherd, Merciful God, Let them say, guests were taken back in time on rhythmic wings to a period when the old brimmed with the vigour of youth and an age when today’s young men and women were but little boys and girls and many more, yet unborn. Cherished memories of the good old days played through everyone’s minds; this feeling was palpable throughout the hall, particularly as several of the esteemed personalities in the audience rose to dance nostalgically. For KSA, one could say the future is already here. A cameo by his teenage daughter showed as much. She is proving to be a prodigious talent, just like her father - she plays the guitar- and she is no stranger to the lines in all of her dad’s songs and will, in no time, be vying with him for the honour of best dancer cum performer. One very nostalgic moment on the night was KSA's going against the protocol to sing the eponymous number, Chief Mrs. Abiola Elegbede Fernandez, a hit song he recorded decades ago in

honour of Erelu Abiola Dosunmu - one of Sunny's true classics by which the stylish Erelu of Lagos is forever immortalized. She had arrived at the venue moments earlier and with her signature white attire, you could not miss her in a crowd. KSA would later reveal after the performance that, he had been told before kick-off not to sing the praises of any one person, but chose to defy that protocol because there were certain people who have been strong pillars throughout his illustrious career. Declaring that Erelu Dosunmu was one such person, he pointed that it would be impossible for him to ignore her. "Were you born when he did that song," an excited lady asked a younger guest who was just across her table. As if answering her own question, "I was!" she squealed. It was as though a big price was in it for her. This only demonstrated the importance KSA's fans attach to his music. Watching him perform yet again was undoubtedly, a priceless experience that must have made everyone in that audience wish they could turn back the hands of time. Some may have even fantasized about the idea of discovering a pathway for the king to the fabled fountain of youth. Maybe then, we would be guaranteed another 50 years of KSA's epochal, entertaining and educating music, which has been and will remain an ever present symbol of a people’s rich cultural heritage for generations to come. 167


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MARIAM SHEHU

WEDS

MICHAEL OBOH

IN KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA By Aeniyi Ifetayo

Couple with groom’s family

the love-filled couple

Couple exchanging rings

Couple with groom’s parents

Couple with bride’s parents

ove was in the air when Mariam Shehu and Michael Oboh cemented their years of friendship with a colourful marriage ceremony in Kaduna State, Nigeria. It was a most happy occasion as the Johnson Obu family from Uromi, Esanland, Edo State united with the Hausa/Fulani Shehu Family and both exhibited their different cultures and traditions. The wedding ceremony started with a thanksgiving mass at the groom’s father's house in Banarwa. Then came the wedding proper when Mariam and Michael said “I do” to the delight of family and friends. After the solemnization, all roads led to the Gymnasium Hall of the

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Couple with Officiating Ministers

Ahmadu Bello Stadium where guests were treated to sumptuous meals and choice drinks In his opening remarks, Chairman of the occasion, Chief Omo Asaihagbon advised the couple to be tolerant of each other. Later, CEO of Discovery Air, Tunde Babalola who was also given an opportunity to speak urged the couple to put God first in all they do. Nollywood actor, Victor Osuagwu and MC Shakara were the comperes and they treated guests to an afternoon of fun and laughter. The Chief Host and Chairman of MENJ OIL LTD, Mr Johnson Obu who was very elated, thanked everyone who had come to share the special occasion with the families.


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Couple with brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family

Couple with sponsor

Mary, couple & Patience

Mc Shakara & Victor Osuagwu

Deputy Speaker, Hon. Festus Ebea, Chief Omo, Chief Johnson Oboh & a guest

Chioma & Emmanuel

The Amengos

Beauty Queens from Edo State, Winifred & Nora

Adeniyi Ifetayo (Ben.Tv), Mr. Johnson Oboh, Efe, Mc Shakara & a guest

Sir & Mrs. Brendan Shehu. KSM

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Couple cutting their cake

The bride, Mariam

The groom, Michael Oboh

Mr. & Mrs. Alli

Mr. & Mrs. Johnson Oboh

Mr. Akus & Business Associate from USA

Zakari, Dikko & Yaya

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Couple with well-wishers

MD Discovery Air, Mr.Tunde Babalola


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70 HEARTY CHEERS FOR MRS. MOSUNMOLA ADEBAJO Story: Deji Aroloye Photo: Segun Lawal (Iroko)

St. Peters clergymen with the celebrant

he volume of the hearty cheers for Mrs. Mosunmola Olusola Adebajo when she celebrated her 70th birthday was very loud, but not louder than the imprints of her life on humanity over these years. The significant role she played alongside her husband in the home front was done with a robust commitment to inculcating values into their children, even as education was considered a must-have for them. And, it was sheer joy and gratitude for the children as they rolled out the drums to celebrate the triumphant entry of their mother into the septuagenarian phase of her

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earthly journey. The birthday ceremony began with a Church service at the St. Peters Anglican Church, Ajele-Faji Street, Lagos Island. The children, grandchildren, relatives and friends were in attendance to celebrate with Mrs. Adebajo on her special occasion. It was a convivial atmosphere as the choir of St. Peters praised God with soulâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;stirring songs .The congregation also were not left out as they clapped, sang and danced to every tune rendered. Afterwards, the sermon was beautifully delivered by one of the officiating priests. The man of God, Cutting of the cake

Yinka Adebajo, Jumoke Adebajo, Mrs. Mosunmola Olusola Adebajo, Bola Morton, Wale Adebajo & Dotun Adebajo

Celebrant with her children & grandchildren

Mr. & Mrs. Wale Adebajo with Mama, Mosunmola Adebajo

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Otunba (Mrs.) Aranmolate & Otunba (Mrs.) Oduntan

Members of the Ladies Friendly Society with the celebrant

Mr. & Mrs. Wale Adebajo with Tinuke Omololu

Hariett Sanya, Mrs. Adeola Okuntubo, Mrs. Lydia Bola Babatope & Mrs. Bahmal B.O. Fashola

Helen Adesola

Jumoke Adebajo, Mrs. Mosunmola Olusola Adebajo & Bola Morton

Seun Adebajo, Gloria Adebajo, Mrs. Mosunmola Adebajo & Aanu Adebajo

Mrs. Mosunmola Adebajo & Deaconess Adejuwon

Vicar of the Church, Venerable Tayo Aduloju, extolled the virtues of the celebrant which include diligence, honesty, kindness and humility. The sermon aptly amplifies what Moses said in the book of Psalms, Chapter 90, verse 12: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.â&#x20AC;? Prayers were offered for the celebrant and her immediate family members by the clergyman, asking for protection, grace and wisdom. The celebrant, Mrs. Mosunmola Adebajo was born on March 16, 1943 to the Ojudun family. Her parents were Michael Badejo Ojudun and Late Mrs. Abigail Ojudun. She had her primary and secondary education in Lagos. She got her first employment in 1964 at the defunct 172

Nigerian Office Stationery Supply Stores Limited. There was an interesting incident that occurred while she was working in this company. She met a young man, Luke Adepeju Adebajo and they fell in love. The duo later got married. She later moved to the Ministry of Defence, Lagos. It was in this establishment she had her longest stint in service. Mrs. Adebajo retired after putting in 35 years of meritorious service. It is worthy to note that Mrs. Mosunmola Adebajo has children who are successful in their different endeavours. They are Yinka Adebajo, Jumoke Adebajo, Wale Adebajo and Dotun Adebajo. As the church service came to an end, the ceremony shifted to the hall of Cathedral Church of Christ, CMS, Lagos. Some of the activities that took

place included the cutting of cake, tributes to the celebrant, among others. And, it was not just a reception; the Adebajo family had perfected their acts with a determination to give the guests a party experience of their lives. Delicious meals and drinks were served as the guests were being entertained with sonorous songs. While tspeaking to OVATION, the children who were ecstatic that their mother had joined the Septuagenarian club spoke highly of her. They told us that they were glad that she is living to enjoy the fruits of her labour. The celebrant who was overwhelmed with joy had kind words for her children, who she described as the set of children any mother could ever have.


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Mobolaji Adeyemi & Mrs. Mosunmola Olusola Adebajo

Mrs. Toyin Adebajo & Dr. Folake Sanwoshe

Seun Adebajo, Rev. Yinka Omololu & Wale Adebajo

Mr. & Mrs. Ajibola Ogundipe with Wale Adebajo

Sade Aluko, Teju Dagunduro, Mrs. Mosunmola Adebajo & Tinu Dapo Awosika

Rev. Yinka Omololu & Mr. Abisogun Leigh

Tolulope Ogundimu, celebrant, Aderonke Ogundimu & Mrs. Esther Odubanku

Mobolaji Adeyemi & Mrs. Mosunmola Olusola Adebajo

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Celebrant with the Adebajo family

Dapo Ramatu, Tsav & Olanike Banjo

Dr. Chuma Okafor & Elo Odede

Mrs. Funmi Aina, Toyin Akinwuntan & Bola Morton

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Celebrant cutting her cake with immediate family


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GRAND FUNERAL FOR

CHIEF (MRS.) LUCINDA OBADARA IN OGUN STATE

Story: Emmanuel T. Edward Photo: Segun Lawal

Sen. Gbenga Obadara of the departed delivering powerful encomium

THE CHURCH SERVICE

Ogun State Gov., H.E. Sen. Ibikunle Amosun & wife, H.E. Mrs. Olufunsho Amosun

Sen. Gbenga Obadara & Sen. President David Mark

Aremo Olusegun Osoba & Beere Derin Osoba

he outstanding life of Chief (Mrs.) Lucinda Ayoka Nusirat Obadara (nee Lasisi) took centre stage when she was laid to rest in Abeokuta, Ogun State. It was an occasion that naturally stirred emotions and her son, Senator Gbenga Obadara was at various times inconsolable, particularly as her remains were committed to mother earth. Other members of the Obadara family felt this way too. But in the end, it was more about celebrating a life well spent than sorrowing over the demise of a loved one. Mama’s family members, friends and well-wishers thronged the Trinity Methodist Church, Itesi, Abeokuta to

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witness the final journey of the wonderful woman fondly called Mama Ake. In spite of a heavy downpour earlier in the morning, it was a testimony to Mama’s character and impact, that numerous guests braved the inclement weather to be at the Church Service. They came in their numbers from far and near to pay their last respects to a woman of admirable qualities and rare attributes. Among those present were some of Senator Obadara’s colleagues in the National Assembly, with the Senate President, David Mark, leading the The late Chief (Mrs.) Lucinda Obadara aka Mama Ake

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Sen. Hope Odidika Uzodinma, Beere Derin Osoba & Aremo Segun Osoba

Senate President, Sen. David Mark

Damola Obadara & Mrs. Funke Oluseye

Aremo Segun Osoba & Ogun State Deputy Minister, Prince Segun Adesegun

Senate President, Sen. David Mark & Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu

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Deaconess Oluremi Basirat Domingo & Sen. Oluremi Tinubu


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Hon. Olumide Babatunde Osoba

Chief Akanni Akinwale

Amb. Toye Okanlawon

Sen. Olusola Adeyeye & Hon. Olumide Osoba

Sen. Adegbenga Kaka Sefiu & Tunde Amusa

Sen. Isiaka Adeleke & Sen. Ehigie Edobor Uzamere

Aderemi Azeez & Olatunde Ikuerowo

Mr. Gboyega Okegbenro, Amb. Toye Okanlawon & Minority Whip, Sen. Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon

Sen. Ayo Arise & Chief Funlola Okunowo

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Sen. Domingo Alaba Obende & wife, Deaconess Oluremi Basirat Domingo

Sen. Gbenga Ashafa & wife, Lady Shade Ashafa

Alhaji Ayinde Soaga & Tunde Sanusi

Iyalode of Egbaland, Chief (Mrs) Alaba Lawson & Olori Labisi Tejuoso

Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri & Isaac Odun-Ayo

Sen. George Thompson Sekibo & Sen. Eyinnaya Abaribe

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Senator Obadara greets Gov. & Mrs. Amosun


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HER FINAL JOURNEY

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Evangelist Ebenezer Obey

Cordelia Ogbe of FRCN greeting Michael Effiong

Tope Babe, Sandy & Tomi Prada

Adenike Kazeem, Taibat Falil & Toyin Anifowose

Bamishebi Ojo & Sunmisola Oloruninsola

Chimezie, Talazo Fuji, Wasiu Ayinde Marshal (K 1) and Afro Juju maestro, Sir Shina Peters; on one stage in one night. Packaged by Over The Top Entertainment , the performers who have not for an inch lost any of their touches ensured that the audience had a fantastic time. The audience which comprised the crème-de-la-crème of the society reveled with the legends, singing along and dancing to some of their classic hits. None of the legends disappointed! Daniel Fayemi & Dele Salako

Onyeka Onwenu delivered her hit songs gracefully and the ageless amazon was followed by the evergreen Chief Ebenezer Obey. Still a top notch, Obey who was known as the Chief Commander in his heydays, delivered to the audience, in his trademark soft tune backed by his ever faithful band. Highlife King, Bright Chimezie was on that night still as energetic as ever, with fancy foot work we had always loved about him. The Zigima exponent roused and wowed the audience and the ever colourful Peter 197


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Shina Peters

Yemi Sax & Lamboghiy

Michael Effiong & Sunday Are

Mr. & Mrs. Lawal

Over The Top promotion boss enjoying the show with a friend

Pan of Nigerian music, Sir Shina Peters opened his five –star performance on that night with his chart-bursting album, ACE. With some dexterity on the guitar, SSP, as he is fondly called, took the audience back to the 90’s and the audience stood up to dance the night away. It was SSP at his best, reminiscence of the 90’s fire power with his guitar. Typical of the Afro Juju creator, he gave the crowd their money’s worth with his eclectic dance. Then, came the son of an icon, who is also a legend in 198

Percy Ademokun & Aare Olanrewaju Yakub

his own right, Femi Kuti. Femi, whose classics include Wonde, Wonder and Bang, Bang ,Bang proved that he was worthy of a legendary status. Backed by his full band and dancers, the audience felt the power of the Afrika Shrine. Closing the show was arguably Nigeria’s greatest Fuji exponent, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall (K1). Famous for his Talazo hits in the late 80’s, K1 , who has churned hits upon hits thrilled the audience late into the morning. They clamored for more and more till he ended his performance, closing the curtain to a night which was in all ramifications, a spectacular night.


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Lamboghiy

Oyinkansola Oluwadina

Freeze & friend

Edafe Ezenwala & Happie Alamina

Thelma Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Khaz

Owolabi Marcos & wife, Aisha

Ayo Akinola, Joshua Chibueze & Somto Kungo Pinkey Mabodo & Mpho Laing Ifezue

Emmanuel Ashinaga & Amaka Ugbo

Ibitola Fasina & Ruth

Chuks & Nkem Anyaduba

Ami Dumbuya & Evamay

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STANBIC IBTC HOSTS

EXCLUSIVE DINNER FOR CLENTS Story: Terso Achineku Photo: Solomon Ekhaiyeme

n a bid to say a big thank you to its clients, Stanbic IBTC hosted an exclusive event which chronicled the history of music across Africa. The event was the appropriate recipe for a memorable year end celebration and an appreciation for the company’s clients and the African culture. The event, which took place at The Civic Centre, kicked off with cocktails and guests were treated to sumptuous canopies, exotic drinks and a selection of Jazz numbers played in the most eclectic style. Thereafter, guests were ushered into a tastefully decorated Banquet hall, specially equipped to offer the experience of a lifetime. The minute the guests were seated and proceedings for the beautiful night were about to unfold, a minute silence was observed for late President of South Africa and African icon, Nelson Mandela, who passed on that day. The minute of silence over, the Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Mrs. Sola David-Borha, officially welcomed guests to what would turn out to be a very exciting event. The highpoint of the evening was an earth-moving and professionally scripted musical performance laced with rich African culture. The musical

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titled, Saro, was produced by Nigeria’s own Terra Kulture, the leading cultural entertainment outfit in the county. The musical was an intriguing story of some migrants who came to Lagos with hopes, dreams and aspirations. It was the story of the journey to success, entwined with elements of trials, love, hope and selfactualisation. The musical performance also showcased the rich culture of the African continent; a very familiar geography for Stanbic IBTC Holdings and its parent company, Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank by assets. With the performance, Stanbic IBTC portrayed the rich retail footprint of Standard Bank Group in the 18 countries where the group operates in Africa. Beautiful renditions were delivered to portray the success stories of music legends across Africa, ranging from FelaAnikulapoKuti to Brenda Fassie; and from D’Banj to Mariam Makeba. The evening ended with a vote of thanks from the Executive Director of Corporate and Investment Banking, Mr. Victor Williams and guests left the venue filled with awe at the amazing heritage of Nigeria and the various African countries showcased. Mrs. Sola David-Borha (CEO, Stanbic IBTC Holdings)

Mr. Mustapha with Mr. & Mrs. Lanre Olumofe

Bunmi Odunowo with Mrs. Bolanle Austen-Peters (MD., Terra Kulture)

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Funmi Lanre Phillips, Kunle Akinkugbe & Taba Peterside

Hon. Bimbo Ashiru (L)


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Ruth Masokoane with Elizabeth Thabethe (South Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Deputy Minister, Trade Industry)

Mr. & Mrs. Dare Akinbami

Josephine Mogbolu & Jeff Mogbolu

Mr. & Mrs. Dapo Segun

Segun Banjoko

Mrs. Oluwande Muoyo with Ms. Thandi Mgxwati

Binod Mohapatra & P.K. Deb

Anjorin Abiodun, Dosa Bukayo, Bakare Ummukulthoum & Olanrewaju Amodu

Derick Van Houten & Samson Jacobs

Dr. Sue with Mr. Clark

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THE RECEPTION

Ogun State Deputy Gov., Prince Segun Adesegun & Sen. Gbenga Obadara

Senator Jide Omoworare, Senator Obadara & Senator olorunnimbe Mamora

Mrs. Adeoluwa, Hon. Yinka Ajayi, Barr. Taiwo Adeoluwa & Sen. Jide Omoworare

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Pastor Ituah Ighodalo & Sen. Gbenga Obadara

Wosilat & Demola Seriki

Ms. Funlola Adesola, Mrs. Dupe Ogunbiyi & Dr. (Mrs) Anu Bamkole

Segun, Rasheed Toye, Sen. Gbenga Obadara & Chief Michael Adeojo

Ebenezer Obey band members

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Sen. Gbenga Obadara & Chief Michael Adeojo

Ayo Animashaun, Semiu Lawal, Oluwole Adeyemi, Toye Arulogun & Gbenga Badejo

Sen. Lekan Mustapha

Kunle Olowude, Val Ojumah & Prince Oyegade

Mrs. Joke Bello & Aderemisola Adesanya

Grace Kayode & Gift Ahmed

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Adebowale Akanbi, Mr. Segun Lasore & Barr. Sunday Oduntan

Engr. Yomi Sofoluwe, Mr. Yomi Sonuga, Mr. Tony Ibidapo & Mr. Daniel

Alhaji Abimbola Awofeso & Ayotunde Awofeso


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Hajiya Olabisi Oladeji, Mrs. Foluke Odubanwo, Mr. Friday Thomas & Mrs. Akintola Jimoh

Segun Adesanya & Dr. Tunji Abimbola

Elizabeth Sonubi & Shuaib Afolabi

Pastor Rotimi Obey & Otunba Bimbo Ashiru

HRM & Olori Bashorun

Bayo Fatusi & Arch. Biodun Fari

Otunba Jide Odekunle, Sen. Gbenga Obadara & Tayo Alakiu

Beere Derin Osoba, Sen. Gbenga Obadara & Aremo Segun Osoba

Yomi Sonuga, Sen. Gbenga Obadara & Ogun State Deputy Gov., Prince Segun Adesegun

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Queen Ayo Balogun (l)

Toyin Ibrahim & Bukola Olopade

Hon. Lanre Ogunjobi & Andre Olajide

Adebowale Akanbi, Segun Okeowo & Yemi Shodimu

Olori Omolara Tejuoso, Olori Yetunde Tejuoso, Olori Olabisi Tejuoso & Chief (Mrs.) Joko Oni

Barr. Tunde Oshinowo & Alhaja Montai

Mrs. Bolanle Saubara Balogun, Bike Shomade, Nini Are & Olamide

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Omotola, Nanye & Omowuni

Kemi Adeosun & Funmi Ajayi


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Otunba Femi Carrera & Otunba Lai Oriowo

Sen. Gbenga Obadara, Chief Tunde Sorunke & Iyabo Sorunke

Kayode Ajala, Senator Obadara & friends

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Gboyega Okegbenro & Segun Adesanya

Senator Gbenga Obadara & Otunba Funso Lawal

Lord Mayor Akinpelu

delegation as well as other notable politicians from the South-West, led by the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. The Service kicked off with a processional hymn, which spurred a sober mood in the Church auditorium. Hearts brimmed with mixed feelings to see a woman with a large heart depart from them. Afterwards, hearty praise and worship songs were rendered by the Choristers of the Church. Their lovely voices echoed through the Cathedral as men and women sang in one accord- offering praises to God for the departed. Thereafter, the remains of Mama Ake were ushered into the hall in a coffee-coloured casket by M.I.C Pallbearers. They made their way into the Church auditorium with coordinated dance steps, swaying from left to right. They were attired in aso oke. There was a perfect silence in the hall as Rev. J. T. Olanrewaju delivered a soothing message where he urged all to live worthy lives. In his words, “Let us begin to number our days and live in wisdom.” He admonished the congregation to toe the path of righteousness, which he added, is in conformity with the word of God. The Sermon was followed by a short tribute session as few of the guests took turns to extol the virtues of the deceased. Senator Obadara described his late mother as an indefatigable advocate for equal rights, a rare gem and a blessing to all. “No doubt, my mother has been dutifully bestowed with respect for 186

her humane selflessness, with the multitude of sympathizers present here today," Senator David Mark described her death as an “irreplaceable loss”, urging Senator Obadara to count being able to bury his mother in such a dignifying manner a divine privilege. Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun said the deceased lived a fulfilled life, having touched many lives and served selflessly in the Lord’s vineyard. The Alake of Egbaland, Oba Michael Adedotun Gbadebo, in a letter, said that Mama Ake lived well for 24 years above the Biblical 70. "Besides, she lived to see her children occupy enviable positions in the political and economic realm of life." Senator Oluremi Tinubu said late Mama Ake’s faith was her strength. They all thanked God she gave the country, Senator Obadara, whom they described as a cerebral lawmaker and consummate soldier of democracy and rule of law. In a cheerful mood, the pall bearers made their way out of the Church auditorium to the Obadaras’ family house where the remains of Mama Ake were committed to earth. Senator Obadara and other family members performed the dust-to-dust rites, before the remains of the deceased were lowered to the grave. The burial ceremony dovetailed to an exquisite reception held at the MKO Abiola Stadium. Guests looking elegant in unique and ravishing attires, with charming smiles on their faces, made their ways into the hall, which was already decorated with a rich blend

of Pink and Silver coloured chiffon materials. It was a breathtaking sight to behold and a perfect ambience to celebrate a life well spent. There was excitement in the hall as the illustrious Nigerian Juju Artiste, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi and his band thrilled the audience to smooth rhythmic tunes of his classical hits. His electrifying performance on stage spurred series of dance moves as guests rocked to the sweet sounds wafting from the speakers. It was a limitless outpour of fun and celebration galore. Guests were further treated to lips smacking delicacies and refined choice wines. Without mincing words, the burial ceremony was splendid, well attended on a massive scale with heavyweights like Senate President David Mark; Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu; Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and his wife, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun; Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Segun Adesegun; Senator Oluremi Tinubu; Sir Michael Adeojo; Senator Smart Adeyemi; Pastor Ituah Ighodalo; Senator Jide Omowoare; Senator Gbenga Ashafa; Senator Ganiyu Solomon; Senator Segun Arise; Aremo Olusegun Osoba and a host of others. No doubt, the Obadara family left no stone unturned in giving their late mother, Late Mrs. Obadara, who was born on October 4, 1916 and died at the ripe old age of 96 a befitting burial.


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2SIDE MODEL

AFRICA COMPETITION Story: Enitan Okesanya Photo: Courtesy Organisers

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ashion models strutted the runway for the second season of the glamorous modeling, beauty and fashion competition, tagged, "2Side Model Look Africa 2013" The event which took place at the Mozida Lounge in Ikeja, Lagos, saw Olivia Sandra Chuma beating 16 other contestants to the prize. She was closely followed by Olivia

Onyekwere who emerged as the First runner-up and Faith Omoroh as the Second runnerup.The contestants for the competition had earlier been camped for seven days at the Capital City Hotel and Suites, Ikeja, Lagos and they participated in many activities in the camp including, cooking, debate, seminars, sports, among others before the grand finale. The winner & runnerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s up

Juliet Godfrey

Austin Melando & Chibuzo Patience

Contestants

Juliet & friend

Judges at work

Contestants in evening wear

Some of the guests who witnessed the grand finale included , Slim Joe, Mr. Charles Porbeni, Chibuzor Partrick, Eng. Matt Okonoboh, MC Ice Water, Mamuzu Ogbeta, Gee the Preacher, Blackpop, DJ Spinog and others. According to Juliet Geoffrey, who is the Project Director, the modeling talent event was created to redefine the modeling industry, by adding professionalism and creating career paths for young aspiring models. She added that the entertaining and educative event also helped to project talents as well as promote art, culture and tourism. Faith Onoro

Guests

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HEIRS HOLDINGS HOSTS EXCITING PARTY Story: Deji Aroloye Photo: Ken Ehimen

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he colourful African Christmas Party held last yuletide by Pan-African Proprietary Investment Company, Heirs Holdings, was strategic in many ways. Apart from the fact that it created a relaxed atmosphere for stakeholders in the Nigerian and African marketplace to network and compare notes on the opportunities and prospects that Africa offers, it symbolised the celebration of the continent's potential, ingenuity, culture and style which has endeared her to the rest of the world. The event was held at the Heirs Place, Ikoyi, Lagos. The classy party played host to dignitaries from various sectors of the economy, some of whom relished the eveningâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s delight with their family members. The

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management and staff members of Heirs Holdings led by its founder, global business leader and entrepreneur, Mr. Tony Elumelu, and his wife, Dr. Awele Elumelu, were highly elated to receive everyone who graced the event. Some of the A-list guests that attended the party included the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of United Bank of Africa (UBA) Group, Mr. Phillips Oduoza and wife, Mrs. Jumai Oduoza; Hon. Ndidi Elumelu, Mr. and Mrs. Suresh Chellaram, Mr. Wiebe Boer and Mr. Andrew Alli. Others were Mr. Larry Ettah, Kavita Chellaram, Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere, Mr. Wendy Dern Berg, Dean Schwertfeger, Danladi Verhheijen, Mrs. Nimi Akinkugbe, Daddy Showkey, Mr. Julius Aghahowa and some


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Mr. & Mrs. Tony Elumelu

Mr. Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holdings speaking

Miss. Oyinye Elumelu

Miss. Ogo Elumelu

Miss. Oge Elumelu

Miss Nneka Elumelu

The lovely cake

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Blessing Ifeayi Opkolo, Aisha Bello, Kennedy Uzoka wth Monica Ify Ogwu

Mrs. Awele Elumelu, Mrs. Jumai Oduoza with Mrs. Meg Elumelu

Hon. Ndudi Elumelu with Mr. Tony Elumelu

Mr. Tony Elumelu with Mr. Phillips Oduoza (MD, UBA) & his wife, Mrs. Jumai Oduoza

Mr. Tony Elumelu with Mrs. Agatha Obiekwago

Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere, during the opening prayer

Mr. & Mrs. Suresh Chellaram with Mr. Tony Elumelu

Edsel Burks, Wendy Van Den Berg & Dean Schwertfeger

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Obi Ibekwe, Mrs. Michelle Mathew Okojie & Mrs. Kavita Chellaram

Lotanna Uzoka, Kennedy Uzoka, Chinyere Okoye, Charles Obiekwugo & Ebele Chigbo


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Mr. Billy Odum & Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere

Mr.Tony Elumelu, Larry Ettah & his daughter, Asari Larry Ettah with Dr. Alex Ohi (GMD/ CEO, Diamond Bank)

Mr. Tony Elumelu & Mr. Julius Aghahowa

Mr. & Mrs. Ani with Mr.Tony Elumelu, (MD/CEO Heirs Holdings)

Mr. Cyril Chukwumah with Mr. Tony Elumelu

Mrs. Eniola Fadayomi with Mr. Tony Elumelu

Daniel Emeka with Lola

Allibaba with Mr. Tony Elumelu

Dr. (Mrs.) Rukewe Ugwumba with Mr. Tony Elumelu

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Mr. Phillips Oduoza (MD, UBA) with Mr. Tony Elumelu

Hon. Ndudi Elumelu

Akinbola Owanikin with Mayowa Oke

Frances Anaeto

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Members of the Lagos State Coral Troupe

Simbo with Dr. Panule Ajayi


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Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, Dr. (Mrs.) Rukewe Ugwumba & Engr. E. A. Eboh

Mrs. Mimi Fatodu, Mrs. Foluke Abdulrazak & Mrs. Eniola Fadayomi

Mrs. Nimi Akinkugbe with Mr. Ayo Ani

Mrs. Ibiai Ani with Kaline

Mr. & Mrs. Nnamdi Agbim

Olorogun Otega Emerhor & his wife, Mrs. Rita Emerhor

Ms. Mosun Shasore, Ms. Yinka Ogunsulire & Ms. Abimbola Haggner

Mr. Sola Adeeyo with Mr. Oscar Onyema

Mr. Andrew Alli (CEO, AFC) with Mr. Phillips Oduoza (MD, UBA)

Mr. & Mrs. Ikenna Odike

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Mike Chijide, Ben Odekwe with Joshua Gbolahan

Charles Aigbe

Mr. Robert Ade-Odiachi & Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere

Mr. Chibuzor Nnamani with Catherine Nwosu

Mr. & Mrs. Onyeator

The Elumelu

Daddy Showkey with Hon. Ndudi Elumelu

Buhari & Desire Younge

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The organisers, Dupe Olusola, Mr. Tony Elumelu & Moky Makura

Mr. Niyi Adelagun with Ronke Onadeko


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Samantha Adebayo, Erelu Adebayo, Dr. (Mrs.) Keni Ibru & Mrs. Awele Elumelu

Wiebe Boer, Obong Idiong with Khaldoun Shehadeh

Mr. Ehi Braimah, Chinwe Ofulue with Emeka Udegbule

Emeka Udegbule with Ranti Caren

Cyril Chukwumah, Denis Aliga with Emeke Iweriebor

Rabi Umar with Owen Omogiafo

Segun with Lola

other notable personalities from within and outside Nigeria. The party was distinctively fascinating. Ace comedian, Ali Baba, who anchored the event, kept throwing light jokes that enlivened the mood of the audience. In addition, the trio of the Nigerian Pop singer, Iyanya; Ara the drummer and King Mensah â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a Togolese born singer, took turns to entertain the guests with their unique talents. The highest point of the evening was the dexterious piano presentations of the Elumelu girls! The account of the party would not be complete if the performance of the Lagos State Choral Troupe

which rendered sonorous African songs with their amazing voices and glamorous dance steps, is not mentioned. Altogether, it was a wonderful evening of entertainment, networking and camaraderie. Mr. Elumelu has been actively involved in the birthing of African renaissance on the world economic scene over the last decade driven by a missionary zeal to promote Afri-capitalism, - a concept he describes on his personal website as, 'A private sector commitment to the transformation of Africa through investments that create economic prosperity and social wealth.' Under his visionary leadership, Heirs Holdings has

taken several giant leaps in the quest to propel the economic destiny of Nigeria onto the path of progress. With a host of strategic choices, the organisation continues to tap into the enormous opportunities that exist and continue to emerge both in Nigeria and Africa at large. For instance, the company announced last year that it would be committing a $ 2.5 billion investment into American President, Barack Obama's, Power for Africa initiative. With its multifaceted approach to investments, Heirs Holdings is also holding sway in 195


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A THRILLING NIGHT WITH

THE MASTERS Story: Babatunde Martins Photo: Segun Lawal & Abraham Falodun

King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal thrilling the audience

Femi Kuti

Prince Segun Oniru, Oba Saheed Elegushi & Dele Aiyeleka

Alibaba & show organiser Bright Chimezie

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here is a joy that music brings, regardless of generation or genre, especially when it is music from one’s childhood. Such music gives the audience some goose bumps, gets the audience grooving, no matter their moods and especially songs that have transcended generations. In such environment, different generations would find themselves reveling in such atmosphere, with the parents digging it with their children! 196

Onyeka Owenu

That indescribable and unspeakable joy reverberated throughout the Eko Hotel and Suites which hosted six masters of different genres in the Nigerian music industry. Tagged ‘Night With The Masters’, the event featured the very classic Onyeka Owenu, evergreen Ebenezer Obey and son of Afrobeat icon and a legend himself in the same genre; Femi Kuti. Others were the cherub face fantastic highlife performer; Bright


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Mr. & Mrs. Claire Wilson

Mr. Abdul Sanni with Mr. Adeniyi Aofolajuwonlo

SARO...THE MUSICAL

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NISSAN TEANA RETURNSWITH A TOUCH OF CLASS Story: Segun Adebowale Photo: Courtesy Stallion Motors Nigeria

He therefore described Teana as Nissan’s solution to the market customers’ needs, adding that the car shows top-level fuel economy and acceleration supported by the CVT with wide gear ratio and less friction and a thicker torque engine.

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asking in the euphoria of a total transformation last year, the Nissan Altima also known as Teana has opted out of the mid-sized sedan segment to provide customers with premium experiences and high technologies for the 2014 model year. According to Nissan, the latest design of the model would help to enhance the Teana’s package with a better value proposition to keep it fresh against increasing competent rivals. Teana’s innovatory features were designed to reposition the car way ahead of competitors, such as Toyota Camry that underwent full model change recently and the Honda Accord as well as Mazda 6 and the Volkswagen Passat. According to Mr. Amit Sharma, Head - Sales and Marketing, Stallion NMN, the Nissan national sales distributors in Nigeria, the Teana is still affordably priced than its rivals in spite of this new twist, describing the model as the ultimately game changer in the increasingly competitive entry D-segment. He said: “We are simply re-emphasizing leadership in the D-segment not only by enhancing class-above

premium and thought-provoking technologies, but by introducing class-leading driving pleasures.” Some of Teana’s distinctive features are to be found in the customizable 3D meter, HMI voice communication and full mobile connectivity, as well as the complete set of around video monitor and intelligent transport system. Unlike its predecessor, the 2014 Teana comes equipped with a darkened grille slats at the front end which gives the car a bold and sophisticated appearance with seamless bumper and projector type headlights as well as a duck tail spoiler at the back. This is in addition to a longer sloping rear roofline and raised trunk that creates a more fluidic silhouette that is supported by a sloped A-pillar angle and a raised waist-line that gives a lower coefficient aerodynamic drag. And down the flanks, there are additional details such as sculpted side sill covers running beneath the doors as well as blind spot warning (BSW) radar system that warns drivers, using LED lights mounted inside the base of the side mirror. Mr. Sharma also stressed Teana’s maximum efficiency for its conventional version that constitutes the lightest in this group. While urging customers who were obsessed with performance to opt for a potent V6,a rare feature in the family sedan category, he added, ‘’Nissan's classexclusive use of a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is to achieve an impressive 76km per gallon on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highway driving cycle for the 4-cylinder model.’’ Although previous incarnations of the Teana 2.5L featured beige interior along with wood trim that gave it two-tone elegance and luxurious ambience, the 2014 version is a lot more improvement with cabin -black

leather seats and dashboard that gives a premium feel. A change of colour does not however take away the fact that the cabin is spacious with copious amounts of head and legroom, even though the Teana still comes with a wheelbase of 2,775mm. Mr. Sharma remarked that the Teana was undoubtedly exceptional and comfortable for long drives, noting that the new model offered a less fatiguing experience whenever drivers were stuck in traffic through the usually crawling pace. He therefore described Teana as Nissan’s solution to the market customers’ needs, adding that the car shows top-level fuel economy and acceleration supported by the CVT with wide gear ratio and less friction and a thicker torque engine. The Teana though achieves dynamic driving with the support of newly structured Rear Multi – Link active under-steering control and refinement in body rigidity and braking system, its highpoint is the car’s creamy-smooth engine options of 2.5SV, 2.5Sl or 3.5SL that lets out a pleasantly distinctive rumble when revved. The 2.5-litre Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) QR25 petrol engine for instance, has six in-line cylinders, fitted with 24 valves and a Dual Over Head Camshaft (DOHC) with the ability to displace close to 2,496cc along with a pounding toque yield of 244Nm, 180ft-ib @ 4000rpm with an incredible 135.7kw and 182bhp @ 6000rpm - a remarkable design for Nigerian roads and traffic conditions. In addition, Teana’s VQ35 (3.5SL) engine, which is currently the only engine in the world that has been awarded world’s 10 Best Engines for 17 consecutive years since 1995, churns out 135.7kw, 340.31Nm and 270bhp at 6400rpm. Mr. Sharma said beyond Teana’s remarkable 203


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engine configuration, “Teana’s suspension absorbs the shocks from bumps and potholes smoothly just as its dual climate control air conditioning keep occupants pleasurable on the cozy leather seats.” The Teana is nevertheless reassuring on safety, especially when viewed against the overall crash testing and side crash test which recently earned the car

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a plush credit in safety. Teana is sold and serviced in Nigeria by Stallion NMN, the official Nissan sales company with extensively re-trained service technicians in multiple auto repair disciplines with experience in Nissan’s cutting edge and ever changing technology.

Mr. Sharma said beyond Teana’s remarkable engine configuration, “Teana’s suspension absorbs the shocks from bumps and potholes smoothly just as its dual climate control air conditioning keep occupants pleasurable on the cozy leather seats.”


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UNMATCHABLE FEATURES OF THE 2014

TEANA

The theme for the firstgeneration model was "Modern living," while "Hospitality" defined the second-generation car, and for the new, thirdgeneration Teana, Nissan pursued the theme of "Driving performance," optimally balancing driving performance and comfort. Nissan is not just seeking a vehicle that can take passengers to their destination, but one that also provides enjoyment getting there. UNASSAILABLE ATTRIBUTES OF THE 2014 TEANA The new Teana is developed as a global model with an annual sales target of over 600,000 units in more than 120 countries, including Nigeria. Teana is sold as Altima in the United States of America and some other countries. The theme for the first-generation model was "Modern living," while "Hospitality" defined the second-generation car, and for the new, thirdgeneration Teana, Nissan pursued the theme of "Driving performance," optimally balancing driving performance and comfort. Nissan is not just seeking a vehicle that can take passengers to their destination, but one that also provides enjoyment getting there.

Glamour and freedom best typify the thirdgeneration Teana which has also inherited the concept of Omotenashi (hospitality) from its predecessor. The cabin is highlighted by a distinct character line that stretches from the instrument panel to the door trim, reminiscent of a majestic bird with its wings spread out. The new front seat design features, "Spinal Support Technology," which greatly improves passenger comfort. The driver is assured of the ideal driving position, thanks to enhanced seat adjustability, a telescopic and tilting steering wheel and the easy-to-use placement of the shift handle. The front passenger seat has been modified with an enlarged support area of the ottoman, providing more comfort than ever, while rear-seat occupants are treated to ample knee room. Also, interior noise has been greatly reduced in the new Teana.

COMFORT FOR LONG ROAD TRIPS The new Teana provides even the most ardent driving enthusiast with a high level of performance. An all new multi-link rear suspension system delivers excellent turn-in response, supple ride quality and improved overall handling, giving the driver a sense of adventure and security. The Active Trace Control

refines handling through all variety of corners by minimizing steering corrections. Providing the power is a new QR25 engine that comes mated to Nissan's XTRONIC CVT. The two combine to deliver excellent acceleration off the line, as well as an ample supply of low-range and midrange torque, handy when overtaking slower vehicles. And thanks in part to revised ratios of the XTRONIC CVT, the new Teana also excels in fuel economy (14.4km/L).

SAFETY When it comes to safety, the Teana offers a range of innovative safety and convenience features. It features crash avoidance support technologies inspired by Nissan's renowned, "Safety Shield" technologies, including the acclaimed, Around View Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD). This system detects moving objects around the car, and is an especially helpful tool when maneuvering in parking lots. Additionally, Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) systems are available, helping drivers to have a safer and more comfortable driving experience. Highly visible Advanced Drive Assist Display (ADAD) offers navigation and controls for the in-car

ELEGANT EXTERIOR

Like its predecessors, the new Teana possesses a high-quality premium look. For this generation, the designers gave the exterior a shot of adrenaline, making it look sportier and more vibrant, by way of a wider, more aggressive stance. The Teana has an enhanced overall presence, thanks to sharp character lines extending from the front face rearward that evoke fluid momentum and its stately front grille that sits between canted headlamps.

INTERIOR WITH A TOUCH OF GLAMOUR AND FREEDOM 205


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2015 entertainment system, as well as status information for the car's numerous safety features and an ECO meter to let drivers know when they are driving in an environmentally conscious manner.

DESIGN •Stately front grille with three-dimensional design •Canted headlamps that suggest a piercing look of the eyes •Horizontally U-shaped clear-cut LED rear combination lamps that give a more sophisticated impression •Side view with an accented character line flowing from front fender to the rear •Wide rear fender for a lower center of gravity •Two kinds of aluminum wheels for sportier ride •Available in six exterior colors including a new color, Waterfall Blue (Scratch Shield)

QUALITY INTERIOR WITH ACENTUATED CHARACTER LINE •Instrument panel design combining enhanced interior roominess and comfort •Highly visible Advanced Drive Assist Display with a sense of depth •Fine Vision Meter display •Center panel with silver finisher on both sides, creating a sharp impression •Air conditioner control panel finishedindeep Piano Black, enhancing a quality feel •Chrome-plated accents used throughout the interior, including inner door handles and cup holders, offering a luxury feel •Available in relaxed wood-grain accents or modern and stylish, mesh-pattern metal finisher creating a sense of depth

DRIVING PERFORMANCE •Equipped with the newly-developed QR25DE engine with low-and mid-range torque improved by enhanced combustion and emission efficiencies, providing agile driving in a city and strong, stress-free acceleration in overtaking on highways •Frictional resistance reduced by up to 40 percent with about 80 percent of parts either newly-developed or improved •Paired with the engine is the newlydeveloped XTRONIC CVT with improved fuel economy and acceleration performance realized by a wider gear ratio •Fuel economy in JC08 mode improved by 26% from the previous-generation model by reduced driving load, regenerative braking with an alternator and adoption of electrically controlled power steering, along with enhanced engine and CVT, to achieve the 206

fuel economy standards • Pedal stroke distance and application force are optimized based on ergonomics for i m p r o v e d operability by measuring the muscle movement in operating the brake pedal. PACKAGING •Roomy comfortable cabin, along with stylish proportion with lower vehicle height •With side glass placed nearly vertically; ample head clearance is ensured even with lowered height •With the revised shape of front door trim, ample knee room is provided for the driver seat •With an optimized shape of front seats, rear knee room is increased by about 10 mm from the previousgeneration model, providing generous knee room •Optimized shape of front seats gives a feeling of spaciousness beyond the actual size •For improved comfort for three passengers in the rear seats, flat seat surface is adopted in the center and the backrest for both sides is extended outward •The lower end of B-pillar trim is downsized to improve ingress and egress •Trunk pass-through is newly adopted, which enables loading of long items; by widening an opening of the trunk, a golf bag can be easily loaded •Coefficient of drag of 0.29 is achieved by changing the shape of aerodynamic parts. •Vehicle weight is reduced by 40kg compared to the previous-generation model, resulting in improved acceleration and braking performance •Handling stability enhancements due to the front and rear weight distribution. COMFORT •With optimized position of the ottoman, the calves are supported by an enlarged area; as stress on legs is dispersed more extensively, one feels more comfortable when his/her legs are stretched •Air-conditioned front seats with warm or cold air released through seat cushions and seatbacks to control temperature; the system can warm legs and lower back and get rid of humidity in summer to improve passenger's comfort while driving

•Vibration and noise, such as wind noise, are reduced by enhanced body rigidity, optimized exhaust mount, a change of the engine mount material and optimized shape of door mirrors

•Bestin-class quietness is achieved thanks to improved sound-absorbing performance; passengers can enjoy conversation in the cabin as usual while driving •Driving position can be adjusted with the height adjusted by a combination of a driver seat lifter and a tilt steering wheel, and lengthwise position by a combination of a telescopic steering wheel and a sliding seat; a range of driver sizes - from a petite woman to a tall man - are assured the ideal driving position •Intelligent Key-linked Auto Driving Position Seat is adopted, which automatically adjusts seat and side mirrors to the specific driver based on information input by individual key •Hood shape is optimized so that it is easier for the driver to see where the vehicle's front end is; improves drivability when turning left and cornering •Operability is improved by placing a shift handle 5cm closer to the driver (compared to the previousgeneration model) •Newly-developed multi-link rear suspension system offers improved handling stability and ride comfort; in addition to link bushing, connect bushing is newly adopted so that both excellent response and stable cornering are offered ADVANCED EQUIPMENT Spinal Support Front Seats with articulated seat back pad is adopted for front seats; the design eases strain on spine by actively supporting heavy chest and spine to further pursue comfort in long-time driving •Active Trace Control allows cornering as intended; it applies brakes on the inside wheels when cornering or accelerating when exiting a corner •Color liquid-crystal Advanced Drive-Assist Display between meters shows a variety of vehicle information and warnings of a number of safety features to help drivers recognize them quickly SAFETY FEATURES •Around View Monitor*2, which provides a virtual 360-degree view around the vehicle, equipped with MOD (Moving Object Detection) *2 is adopted; detects moving objects on the display and alerts the driver when parking the car •Driving support features, using the rear view camera with audible and visual warnings, are adopted to support safe driving: BSW (Blind Spot Warning) *2 which detects a vehicle in the next lane to help the driver avoid a collision when changing lanes; and LDW (Lane Departure Warning) *2which alerts the driver when the vehicle unintentionally drifts out of its travel lane


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VOLKSWAGEN UNVEILS NEW EXCITING BRANDS Story: Segun Adebowale Photo: Segun Lawal

Amarok

Backview of Amarok

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he Volkswagen Centre, renowned distributors of Volkswagen products, has unveiled some of Volkswagen’s latest commercial vehicle range including, Amarok, Caddy, Multivan, Transporter and the 30-seater Crafter bus. Speaking at the presentation of the new Volkswagen commercial range to the local automobile media, the Sales and Marketing Manager, Volkswagen Centre, Lagos, Mr. Manish Daryanni said Volkswagen has consistently improved on its commercial range to give them an edge over competitions. ‘’Volkswagen commercial vehicles (Utes) are a replica of the passenger cars and SUV models but are fortified with technically advanced engines that deliver more power and less fuel

consumption.’ ‘’The Volkswagen Amarok pick-up for instance is particularly more than good enough to worry competitions such as Toyota, Nissan, Ford and Mitsubishi.” But what distinguishes the Volkswagen Amarok? Mr. Daryanani said, the Amarok is Volkswagen’s first pick-up and a direct competitor to the ubiquitous Toyota Hilux. Built on a platform at the Pacheco factory in Buenos Aires, this German engineered Amarok gets a classy, aggressive interpretation of the VW grille, a six-speed manual gearbox, low-range transfer box, permanent four-wheel drive, locking centre and rear differentials as well as the latest direct-injection twin-turbo 2.0-litre 207


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petrol engine that delivers 118kw (160bhp), while the diesel 4WD delivers 90kw (122bhp) with traction/stability control. The Volkswagen Amarok also sounds admirable when viewed against an unprecedented torque generated from its 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine compared with either the Toyota Hilux’s 2.7-litre or 3.0-litre or Nissan 3.0-litre V6 and Ford/Mazda 3.2-litre five-cylinder. And with a pair of turbochargers, the VW Amarok TDI420 delivers quick performance, good fuel efficiency and strong towing capability with low

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cost of maintenance due to longer service intervals (10, 000kms or six months). Volkswagen’s reputation for quality interiors also translates to the Amarok despite its workhorse status. Though clad with hard plastics – for the sake of durability – Amarok has the classiest dual-cab ute interior design - thanks to instrument dials, heating and ventilation controls and an infotainment screen that clearly compares with Golf and Passat. Unlike competitions, the (large) door bins of the Amarok are carpeted and none of its rivals as yet has matched the satisfying door-closing thuds of the VW that enhances its reputation for build quality. The Volkswagen Amarok TDI420 comes in a choice of two trim grades: Trendline and Highline for the Nigerian market. The Trendline feature highlights include fog lights, 4-speaker audio, leather gearlever, handbrake and multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth with audio streaming, 16-inch alloy wheels, full-size spare, electric side mirrors, and cruise control. Highline additions include rear parking sensors, higher-grade audio with six speakers, stainless steel side steps and sports bar, chrome exterior touches, 17-inch alloy wheels with extended wheel arches, rear privacy glass, and dual-zone climate. Couple with these is classy, aggressive interpretation of the VW grille, a six-speed gearbox, low-range transfer box, permanent four-wheel drive, locking center and rear differentials, with the latest direct-injection, twin-turbo 2.0-litre engine with traction/stability control. What is more, the Volkswagen Amarok range is expansive to give it the broadest coverage against key competitors, comprising single cab chassis, single cab ute, dual cab chassis and dual cab ute, as well as a split of 4×2 (rear-wheel drive) and 4×4. The Volkswagen Centre Sales and Marketing helmsman however listed some of the highlights of the Amarok as, maximum torque of 300 Nm at 1,600 rpm; lowest fuel consumption and largest cruising range; safety features like Off-road ABS, Hill Descent Control, Trailer Stabilization and widest load area between the wheelhouses (1.22 m). Other distinctive features of the Amarok are lowest loading edge height within the competitive environment, high towing capacity of up to 2,800 kg at 12% incline and most spacious headroom in class for front and rear. And given VW's reputation for build quality and reliability, Mr. Daryanani concluded: “It is safe to say that Toyota, Ford, Nissan and Mitsubishi have every reason to worry.”


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THE VOLKSWAGEN CADDY

Caddy

THE VOLKSWAGEN TRANSPORTER

Transporter

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THE MULTIVAN

Multivan

Mrs. Julie Chi-Nwaoha, Tajudeen Adebanjo & Head Sales, Volkswagen Centre, Manish Daryanani chilling inside Multivan

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Mrs. Julie Chi-Nwaoha & Tajudeen Adebanjo

Tajudeen Adebanjo


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Cross section of Automobile writers

Head Sales, Volkswagen Centre, Mr. Manish Daryanani

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Group picture of Stallion staff members & Automobile writers

Cross section of Automobile writers


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AUDI INTRODUCES THE ALL NEW Q3 Story: Segun Adebowale Photo: Segun Lawal

Audi Q3

The unveiling of Audi Q3

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subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, Audi has berthed with Q3, described as the world’s most intriguing cross over vehicle. According to automobile expert and enthusiasts, the latest range of Audi has relieved the hopes of customers eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of its much talked about Q3 premium crossover. The car which is designed to contend with likes of BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque is Audi's first entry into the ever-growing crossover market.

Audi Q3 being unveiled

Styled in line with Audi brand slogan Vorsprung Durch Technik, meaning ‘Innovation through Technology,’ the new Q3 is a sporty and progressive SUV for active, modern and urban lifestyles with predisposition for elegance, comfort and individualization. No wonder, the car combines traditional SUV strengths with the versatility of real time utility vehicle yet undeniably suitable and efficient for everyday use. Speaking at the media presentation of the Audi

brand, the Head of Sales and Marketing, Audi Centre, Mr. Anurag Shah, said, “The new Q3 receives the same wedge-shaped headlights, single frame radiator grille with vertical element and large air inlets from either direction you view the car.” Mr. Shah noted that the Q3 is the outcome of Audi’s pledge in 2007 at the Shanghai Motor Show to design an intriguing crossover that looks much like a scaled-down version of the Q5 and larger Q7. It would be recalled that Audi, at the show, 213


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Mr. Manny Philipson, Head Consultant, Media Advocate Ltd.

Head, Sales & Marketing, Audi Centre, Mr. Anurag Shah, Head, Media & Marketing, Stallion NMN, Mr. Varun Jaura & Head, Sales & Marketing, Hyundai Motors Nigeria, Mr. Santhosh Kumar Nair

Head, Sales & Marketing, Audi Centre, Mr. Anurag Shah talking about Audi Q3

Cross section of Automobile writers

Managing Editor, Ovation Magazine, Segun Adebowale & Head-Sales and Marketing, Hyundai Motors Nigeria, Santhosh Kumar Nair

unveiled the Cross Coupe Quattro concept from where the Q3 took most of its design elements. Built on the same A5 (PQ35) platform as the Volkswagen Tiguan, the Q3 is aside being a multifunctional SUV, specifically designed to serve the requirements of three different target groups; the younger singles, younger couples or best agers. The Audi Q3 would ostensibly be pitched against rival Land Rover Evoque and BMW X1 though the Q3 could from all indication outsmart contenders in more ways than one. “Suffice to say of the two competitors that undercut the baby Range Rover, the Audi Q3 is arguably the most stylish, handily compact and finely finished,” Mr. Shah boasted. Mr. Shah said the Q3 is available in four choice engines: two TFSI units and two TDI engines but only the TFSI petrol engine variables would be offered in 214

Nigeria. The base 2.0-liter TSFI engine mated to either a standard six-speed manual transmission or top-level 2.0 TSFI seven-speed dual-clutch automatic S-tronic transmission with stop-start mechanism (to cut the engine when the car is idling) delivers a total of 211 horsepower and 221 pound feet of torque and the manual transmission delivers a total of 170 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque between 1,700 and 4,200 rpm. While the manual transmission is capable of sprinting the Q3 from 0 to 62 mph in 8.2 seconds and up to a top speed of 131 mph or 260kmph and yet deliver an average fuel consumption 32.22 mpg, the top-level 2.0 TSFI delivers between 1,800 and 4,900 rpm in combination with standard seven-speed ‘S’ tronic, that accelerates the four-cylinder unit Audi Q3 from 0 to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds and up to a top speed

of 142 mph. The fuel consumption of this version is just 7.7 liters per 100 km (30.55 mpg). These engine variants are no doubt an excellent mix of performance and economy and are both fitted with Audi Quattro four-wheel drive to ensure light work on rough terrain. Mr. Shah said the Q3 lives up to Audi's reputation for build quality and reliability, adding that all materials used inside are top notch and could withstand the rigours of family life. He added that, ‘’The engine range have been tried and tested so much so that, they are unlikely to let you down. “Audi Q3 is currently ranked among intriguing crossovers that have secured full five-star crash safety rating in the Euro NCAP tests - this is not unconnected with option list that includes extra safety equipment.’’ Equipped with six airbags (including curtain airbags that extend into the rear) as well as electronic


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Mr. Varun Jaura posing with the Audi Q3

stability control and ISOFIX child seat anchor points as standard, Audi claims the entire Q3 has the crossover class' lowest running costs, however a try could convince you. The Q3 is offered with a 1,571 mm (61.85 in) front suspension, offered in a McPherson strut construction with lower wishbones of forged aluminium with four-

link rear axle measuring 1,575 mm (62.01 in) and large bearings for a comfortable ride. A high-performance brake system with vented front discs measuring 312 mm (12.28 in) in diameter and solid rear discs in a diameter of 282 mm (11.10 in) with 17-inch alloy wheel is standard in the TFSI engine models. Mr. Shah noted that, ‘’Audi's Drive Select and

adaptive dampers can be added as extras to give four driving modes – Auto, Comfort, Dynamic and Efficiency. ‘’This is in addition to suspensions settings that can improve matters, with the Comfort setting that makes the ride very smooth indeed. All models however have a high driving position that affords an excellent view of the road ahead. ‘’The Q3 nevertheless may be smaller than the Q5 but it is roomy inside with space for five adults and ample rear leg and headroom that certainly compares with the A4 saloon or rivals.’’ He concluded, “In fact, the Audi Q3 is a perfect SUV for today’s crowded cities. It delivers the right amount of power and comes with pretty reasonable running cost.’’ Meanwhile, the Q3 460-litre boot space expands to 1,365-litre when the split rear seats are folded down, which is more than most competitors could make this crossover a crucial car for exciting activities.


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HYUNDAI SANTA FE WINS 2014 MOTORWEEK DRIVERS CHOICE AWARD Story: Segun Adebowale Photo: Courtesy Stallion Motors

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he Hyundai Santa Fe has bagged another feather to its cap. This time around, the Hyundai Santa Fe was awarded with the Motor Week's Drivers' Choice Award for Best Large Utility at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. MotorWeek, television's longest running automotive series has been presenting the Drivers' Choice Awards annually since 1983. According to a press release by Stallion Motors, the awards organisers said: "The Santa Fe hits all the large family utility hot buttons. There are tons of standard features, an eye pleasing design, and even above average comfort in the thirdrow.’’ The Editors of the Motor Week evaluated vehicles to judge the best new cars and trucks of the year based on what consumers value most: price, practicality, performance and fuel efficiency. The best models are then selected for each category. The annual award aims to produce a list of winners that can be used as a practical guide for car shopping. According to the 216

Director, Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America, Scott Margason, "Since the launch of the all-new Santa Fe, the vehicle has earned countless accolades for its performance, sleek styling and advanced technology offerings. This award further demonstrates Hyundai’s proven success in the highly competitive CUV/SUV segment. It is an honour to be recognized by one of the most trusted names in automotive media.’’

The family-friendly New Santa Fe comes equipped with new safety technologies and premium features including rear parking assistance, standard vehicle stability management, anti-lock braking system and seven airbags. The Santa Fe is powered by the highly acclaimed 3.3-liter V6 engine offering ideal fuel economy, drivability and a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs.


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SKODA RIDES HIGHER THAN MOST Story: Segun Adebowale Photo: Courtesy Stallion Motors

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koda automobile has recorded the best January ever in its history. The manufacturer which is enjoying continuing growth in 2014, recorded strong growth and record deliveries in China, with the world wide vehicle deliveries in January increasing by 16.5% to 80,900. As at January 2013, it delivered only 69,500 vehicles. With this feat, the Czech manufacturer once again achieved double-digit growth in Europe with 48,200 vehicles sold. According to a press release, Skoda’s deliveries increased by 27.3% to 27,500 units in the brand's strongest individual market, China, thereby selling more cars in China than ever before in one month. The new Skoda Octavia also made an excellent start to the new year with the growth of 40.2% in Western Europe. According to Skoda Board Member for Sales and Marketing, Werner Eichorn, “This has been an excellent start to 2014. With 16.5% growth and the best January ever, we have truly confirmed the outstanding performance of the second half of 2013. Our model campaign is paying off in the markets. The strong start to the year and the promising number of incoming orders make us confident that we will continue to grow this year.” He added that Skoda would focus the growth strategy in 2014 after launching a record eight new or revised Skoda models in 2013. “The design and model campaign is continuing into the next stage.” The design of Skoda cars is playing an increasingly important role. At this year's Geneva Motor Show in early March, Skoda presented the spectacular ‘Skoda Vision C’ design study. The fivedoor coupé study demonstrates the brand’s emotional appeal and power, and leads the next step in the evolution of Skoda design. Skoda’s strength was demonstrated in Western Europe this January, where deliveries rose by 13.4% to 30,100 vehicles (January 2013: 26,500). In the brand’s

second largest market, Germany, Skoda grew by 6.7% to 9,500 vehicles delivered, thus confirming its position as the country’s strongest foreign brand. The brand once again achieved a great result in the United Kingdom, where deliveries rose by one quarter (25.3%) to 5,400 deliveries. Skoda witnessed doubledigit growth in Ireland (1,600 vehicles; up 31.0 %), France (1,600 vehicles; up 10.1%), Italy (1,300 Vehicles; up 20,5 %), Finland (1,200 Vehicles; up 80%), Spain (1,100 vehicles; up 79%), Denmark (1,100 vehicles; up 40.0%), the Netherlands (900 vehicles; up 54.7%), Norway (600 vehicles; up 44.4%) and in Portugal (200 vehicles; up 54.2%). In Eastern Europe, the brand boosted vehicle deliveries in January by 11.1% to 6,900 as against 6200 in January 2013. In Russia – Skoda’s third largest market - the brand grew by 2.6% to 4,700 vehicles sold. Russia will see the market launch of the ŠKODA Rapid this spring. The brand also achieved strong growth in Serbia (200 vehicles; up 77.5%),

Romania (300 vehicles; up 19.4%) and in the Baltic States (300 vehicles; up 8.5%). Skoda had a good start to the new year in Central Europe, with deliveries to customers increasing by 26.0% to 11,200 as against 8900 in January 2013. In their home market, the Czech Republic, the manufacturer increased deliveries by as much as 27.8%, selling 4,700 new vehicles; almost 1000 cars more than in January 2013. Skoda also achieved a significant growth in Poland (4,300 vehicles; up 33.0%), Slovenia (400 vehicles; up 56.6%) and Croatia (200 vehicles; up 44.7%). In the brand's strongest individual market, China, Skoda achieved the best sales month ever in January and grew by 27.3%. In total, the brand delivered 27,500 vehicles to Chinese customers as against 21,600 vehicles in January 2013, more than ever before in one month. However, the brand achieved 1,600 deliveries in January 2014 in India, compared to 2400 vehicles delivered in January 2013.

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PRINCESS

REGAL FAREWELL FOR TENIADE OMOWORARE IN ILE-IFE, OSUN STATE Story: Deji Aroloye Photo: Ken Ehimien

Children of the deceased at the funeral service

Her remains at the front of the church

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he death of Princess Teniade Aroye Omoworare, came with mixed feelings for her children, relatives and friends. First, the larger part of her 82 years on earth was lived on sacrifice and impact, which was a huge consolation for the family members. On another hand, the people around her knew they were going to miss everything she represented-her warmth, love and wise counsel among others. There were torrents of encomiums for many people that signed the condolence register to mark her passing. One of her grandchildren said this about her:"Gadima!-as I fondly called her and she would reply Ayinde mi. She was a sweet, kind and an

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The lady Princess Teniade Omoworare

accommodating grandma. Grandma knew how to strike a balance between discipline and pampering us. She encouraged us to love as she taught us about caring and sharing with our siblings, cousins and everyone around us." The testimonies about her is that, her amiable attitude and generosity would always be good example to emulate for many in the years to come. During her funeral, the ancient city of Ile-Ife in Osun State came alive to honour the late Princess, as dignitaries from all walks of life attended the Christian Wake and the Church service. Two days before, there was a Service of songs at her residence in Ifako-Ijaiye, Lagos. The ceremony was conducted by the


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Senate President, David Mark, Senator Ganiyu Solomon & Senator Olorunibe Mamora

Senate President, David Mark with Senator Babajide Omoworare

Senator Babajide Omoworare & his wife, Mrs. Olabisi Omoworare

Mr. Segun Omoworare with Hon. Olanike Omoworare

Senator Gbenga Kaka

Mrs. Folake Ihim & Mr. Olatunde Omoworare

Senator Sola Adeyeye with Engr. Ishola Awotorebo

Monsignor Adesina, Monsignor Adeniyi & Bishop Adelakun

Prince Adesoji Faniyan, Mrs, Bisi Faniyan & Mr. Adedeji Faniyan

Princess Adebimpe Aderemi, Princess Omowonuola Akingbulugbe & Princess Taiwo Aderemi

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Hon. Olanike Omoworare

Mr. Olatunde Omoworare

Mrs. Foluke Omoworare

Mr. Tunde Oyewole

Mrs. Oyefunke Oyewole

Mrs. Folake Ihim

Mrs. Mojoyinola Faniyan

Sen. Babajide Omoworare

Mr. Segun Omoworare

Alhaji Moshood Adeoti (SSG, Osun State)

Mountain of Fire and Prayer Ministries. The dignitaries that attended the event included the former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; Senators Gbenga Obadara and Gbenga Ashafa. It was the Bishop of Oyo Catholic Diocese, the Rt. Reverend (Dr.) Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo that delivered the homily during the church service at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Lagere, in Ile-Ife, Osun State. Other officiating priests were His Grace, Most Reverend (Dr.) Gabriel Leke Abegun and Reverend Father Paul Awowole. While talkig about the deceased, Rt. Rev. Bbadejo eulogized her, describing her an epitome of womanhood. He enjoined the congregation to borrow a leaf from the deceased whose commitment in the house of God and regular attendance at morning mass were commendable. The church service had in attendance the Senate President, Senator David Mark; Rtd. (General) Alani Akinrinade, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora and his wife, Senator Gbenga Kaka, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi, 220

Senator Sola Adeyeye, Senator Hosea Agboola, Chief Awotorebo and many more. They were all there to commiserate wih their colleague, Senator Babajide Omoworare whom many of them described as a committed member of the Upper House, the Senate. Princess Teniade Omoworare was born on 5th July, 1931 to the family of late Oba Adesoji Aderemi. Her father was the predecessor of the present Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade. Princess Omoworare had her elementary education at Royal Palace Girls School, Ooniâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Palace, Ile-Ife and proceeded to Girlâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s High School, Arubidi, Ile-Ife. She later studied Domestic Science at Regent Street Polytechnic, London and Fashion Designing at London Fashion Academy. She established Moremi Fashion Institute, taught Domestic Science in different schools and had an entrepreneurial stint in areas such as Poultry Farming, Medicine and Furniture trading. She was also a distributor for multi-national companies such as Coca-Cola, Nigeria Breweries and Canada Dry for years.


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Mr. Luca Sambo Kinya & Mr. Imoh Etuk

Alhaji Gani Awoyera & Rtd. (Gen.) Alani Akinrinade

Senate President, David Mark with Senator Olorunimbe Mamora & his wife,

Senator Babajide Omoworare, Mrs. Yanju Omowoare & Mrs. Foluke Omoworare

Mrs. Olabisi Omoworare, Mrs. Yanju Omowoare & Mrs. Foluke Omoworare

Senator Olorunimbe Mamora & Senator Ganiyu Solomon

She was married to Papa Joseph Larenwaju Omoworare. Papa Omoworare, who died before his wife, was a renowned school principal cum politician. Their marriage was blessed with children, including , Mojoyinola Faniya, Olatunde Omoworare, Oyefunke Oyewole, Olanike Omoworare, Foluke Ihim, Segun Omoworare and Babajide Omoworare. Babajide Omoworare is the Senator representing Osun East Senatorial District in Osun State. At the reception, guests were given a first class treat as they were served

variety of food and drinks. The duo of the Juju maestro, Chief Y.K. Ajao and rising Gospel Juju star, Aduke Gold, thrilled the guests with melodious songs. The important personalities at the reception included the Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Osun State House of Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Najimdeen Salami, who led a number of his colleagues; Chief Alex Duduyemi,Dr. Wale Babalakin, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and former Ekiti State Governor, Engr. Segun Oni. Officiating Priest blessing the family

Mrs. Ronke Omolegbe with Mrs. Mojoyin Faniyan

Mr. Segun Omoworare, Senator Babajide Omoworare, Elder Lomo Adebiyi & Hon. Olanike Omoworare

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Senator Babajide Omoworare extolling the virtues of his sweetmother

Senate President, David Mark

Mr. Segun Omoworare deep in praise & worship

Hon. Olanike Omoworare, Princess Adebimpe Aderemi & Mrs. Oyefunke Oyewole

Adejoke Faniyan & Bisi Faniyan

Yinka Ladeinde, Folake St. Mathew Daniel , Funmi Odunsi & Yemi Adejuwon

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Senate President, David Mark, family with Officiating Ministers


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RECEPTION

Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola with Senator Babajide Omoworare

Aro of Ife, Chief Alex Duduyemi, Hon. Olanike Omoworare, Senator Sola Adeyeye & Rtd. (Gen.) Alani Akinrinade

Barr. Adenike Coker & Bolaji Giwa

Prince Aderogba Adeyemi, Mr. Debo Ayoade & Mr. Sesan Roberts

Mr. Jibola Awoseyi & Mr. Tunde Omidiran

Hon. Akintunde Adegboye, Hon. Timothy Owoeye & Hon. Najeem Saleam

Joanna Special & Keji Bickersteth

Bunmi & Iyabo

Rev. (Mrs.) Julie Akande with Mrs. Nike Hughes

The Faniyans

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Segun Omoworare with family & friends

Adenihun, Tosin, Joke, Bisi & Deji

Hon. Najeem Saleam, Kofo Omole with Hon. B. F. Komolafe

Mr. Ogundumade, Hon. Femi Fafuyebi & Hon. Akintunde Adegboye

Segun Omoworare (right)

Mrs. Funmi Adenuga & Mrs. Fatima Bamigbetan

Hon. Oyetola Negeem, Sola Hassan & Alhaji Suleman Aderemi

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Mrs. Orotunde Temitope & Miss. Bimbola Akingbesote

Hon. Toyin Akerele, Mrs. B. Odunsi & Mrs. I. Nwazze


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IDONGESIT AKPAN WEDS FRANK EZEKIEL IN LAGOS

Story: Babatunde Adeoye Alaran Photo: Segun Lawal

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The lovely couple

W

ords cannot describe the immense outpouring of love that the Ezekiel and Akpan families received when their lovely children, Frank Omamuzo and Idongesit Nseobong were joined in holy matrimony at The Event Centre' Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. They had earlier held their traditional wedding ceremony in Abak, Akwa-Ibom-the bride’s hometown. The sweethearts’ nuptial was modest, yet classy, with the couple and their loved ones having a truly exciting time to cherish. It was a beautiful finale to a love affair that began when Frank first set his sight on Idy (as the bride is fondly called) at the University of Lagos in 2003, when both lovers were students of the prestigious higher institution. Although their relationship did not take off in school, it was there that Frank first began to nurture the dream of making Idy his own bella donna. Amazingly, he lost track of her after their graduation but he somehow managed to keep the dream alive, hoping

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and praying that one day, he would find his Princess again. Fortunately, the unrelenting hand of Providence was also not willing to retire until Cupid’s arrow had come to rest in Idy’s heart. Fate would reunite them again. On that unforgettable day, Frank received the most pleasant shock of his life – he came across Idy at the offices of Nigerian Breweries Plc.! He was instantly overwhelmed with those same emotions he had experienced when he first met her. It felt like a dream. As soon as he regained his composure, he knew what he had to do. He took his chance this time around and started to make his moves but Idy refused to budge. She gave him no attention. Frank had to re-think his strategy and decided to track Idy down on social media – he found her on Facebook. He sent a friend request, which luckily, she accepted. After series of chats and persuasions, Frank made a convincing case and Idy was willing to give it a shot. Their love affair started in earnest and from that

moment, both never looked back. Pastor Abraham Osahon who conducted the wedding service, tutored the couple on the fundamentals for building a good Christian home. Pastor Osahon encouraged them to see each other as one, and to manage their resources in a prudent manner. He charged them to continue in love at all times - particularly during times of difficulty. He also admonished them to understand and respect each other. Shortly after the Church service, the reception commenced at the same venue which was quite fascinating. Everyone savoured the best in good music, delightful cuisines and choice drinks in a chocolatebox setting. Everything was in order, planned to perfection by the newlyweds with the help of some of their friends. The bride revealed that she wanted a funfilled wedding where everyone could dance and have an enthralling time and that was exactly what she got. The couple’s friends and families were so excited to see the beautiful duo’s dream come to pass. Some


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THE CHURCH CEREMONY

Blessing & Hadiza

Wale & Annie

Robinson & Joan

Mr. Uduak Bassey & bride

Bride's sister, Imaobong Akpan

Both parents

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Mr. & Mrs. Uduak Bassey

Groom taking the marriage vow

Pastor Abraham praying for the couple

Unveiling the gorgeous bride

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Bestman, Kelechi Ehibud & chief brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s maid, Bukola Daranijo

Brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brothers, Eno & Akan


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Gloria & Mrs. Esther Ezekiel Inyang

Mr. & Mrs. Osuoha

Dimeji, Tope & Sola Iwaeni

Mrs. Betty Okonoboh, Asandia Ekeng & Bukola Akinola

Mrs. Esther Inyang & Mr. Tito Okpaise

Mr. Eluem Emeka-Izese

Kenny, Felix King, Ororo & friend

Beautiful hostesses at the event

Bride signing the register

Groom signing the register

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Officially, Mr. & Mrs. Ezekiel

Couple with officiating ministers from the Communion Church, Festac

Couple with groom’s parents

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Couple with Nigerian Breweries Executives

friends told OVATION that the union had been a long time coming, describing the couple as age long friends. Some even revealed to us that, their love story started like a child’s play and that before they knew what was happening, the seriousness of the situation had hit them like a bolt. Frank’s mum, whose joy knew no bounds told us that, from the very first day she met Idy, she saw in her the potential to be an awesome wife. Also, Frank’s older sister also revealed to us that she fell in love with Idy from the very first moment they were introduced and that the family was quite impressed by the fact that, such a pretty girl could be so simple and unpretentious. Idy too,

Couple with bride’s family members

told us that her mum loves Frank, because he has an open heart. When asked to pass a few remarks about the love of his life, Frank told the magazine that Idy is deeply caring, selfless and that her English is impeccable. He also loves the fact that she is always willing to learn. He intimated that they both have a lot in common. Idy, with a disarming smile, told us that Frank is extremely down to earth and funny. “He is also spiritual and I love his mind because he thinks on his feet and is usually right,” she added. Some amazing couple these two make!


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Couple with the team from Oracle

Dumebi, Bimbo, Alma, Couple, Keji, Uloma & Nanet

Couple with Mr. & Mrs. Ademiluyi

Margaret, Ufy, Yewande, Couple, Tokunbo & Kris

Couple with the groom’s friends

Couple with the groom’s friends

The lovely bride’s maids

Couple with groom’s men

Couple with groom’s family members

Couple with Mr. & Mrs. Charles Okoronkwo

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Couple with Collins

Elohor & Ada

Mr. & Mrs. Edodo with Bimbo

Mr. & Mrs. Pere-Enaregha

Keji & Uloma

Hon. Abdul Oroh, Mrs. Esther Inyang & Hon. Nduka Irabor

edem Vindah of NB Plc (right)

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Funke Fowler Amba, Esther Ezekiel Inyang & Gloria


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GELE TEA PARTY IN SUPPORT OF

ALZHEIMER’S

HOLDS IN LONDON By Makeba Boateng Photo: Organizers

AJ girls

Cherish collection & Yemi

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or many who do not know, Gèlè is Yoruba word for headtie, Yoruba is one of the three main Nigerian languages and their people occupy mostly the South West part of Nigeria. Today, the word and the unique way the Yoruba's tie their head pieces had given the term an international appeal. Thus, it was no surprise that a Gèlè Tea event unfolded in the heart of London, United Kingdom. The Gele Tea event is a couture fashion event that showcases Gèlè styles during an afternoon tea to raise awareness on Alzheimer. The event this year broke new grounds with designers showcasing vintage (pre1950) gèlè fashion; knitted gowns by Zoieanne Brown matched with gèlè; and the launch of exclusive collections from couture designers & fashion icons such as Clariscia Gill, Adebayo Jones and Yemi Osikoya of Kosibah Creations. Themed "A Sentimental Journey", this year's event took guests on a journey through gèlè history and told the story of Alzheimer’s too. Gèlè Tea is as much about couture gèlès, hats and headwear as we all as headturning couture fashion. Kosbiah’s Cherish collection of elegant cocktail dresses that work wonderfully by day are characterized by their femininity, colours and sense of romance. For fashion lovers, the pieces displayed were a masterclass in fashion history from the 1930s to the present day incorporating classic Kosibah silhouettes. The additions of African inspired fabrics create magic and a treasured collection that is full of grace and timeless appeal. Mayfair couturier, Clariscia Gill, whose wrapper blouse (a take on the traditional African wrapper) went global after last year’s event, unveiled another design from the Gelina collection of ‘skirt and blouse’ consisting of a figure enhancing maxi silk skirt, ideal for the evening and reversible for an alternate look during the day. Her collection included harem pants, Capri pants and subtly jeweled T-shirts in pastel colours that mesmerized guests enhancing her reputation as the ‘Fairy Godmother’ of fashion. Adebayo Jones returned to fifties style Hollywood glamour unveiling Diamonds and black, classic black dresses worthy of the ‘King of Bling’. Models in knee length dresses sparkled with jewels, gems and sequins

Knitwear

as they took centre stage in a luxurious collection full of craftsmanship. As with vintage Hollywood, there is always a major star and the dazzling floor length skirt matched with a shimmering figure hugging bodice, lit the room. During the event, Chief (Mrs.) Disu spoke about vintage gèlès pre-1930s using Aso Oke through to the new avant-garde styles promoted by Gèlè Tea that uses crisp light fabric to enable sculptured designs. Top Model of Colour 2013, Vanessa Ageyemang opened the couture fashion show in traditional bridal Aso Oke entering to the sound of Iyanya's Kukere and former Miss. Zambia, Rosemary Chileshe looked

Estelle

splendidly royal in a 1940 gèlè matched with a Kosibah gown. Houston-based gèlè stylist, Signachore introduced the Ko ju soko e, (a wedding gèlè) which honoured her grandmother. As for this year’s gèlè trends, look out for: Rouge by Lara Extravaganza, fresh from showcasing her skills on BBC Africa, which is making ripples and can be worn with a Lyze Hats bejewelled band and veil; half moon, a cream coloured gèlè by Juliet Osodi, combined with a Florajini fresh flower arrangement that is the first to trend; and Aso Oke style gèlè got an update with a green and red creation by Bolanle Feyita who designed the 2012 butterfly collection that went global. Hats off to milliner to royalty, Lyze Hats, affectionately known as the Hat Lady, who launched ‘Rose’, a collection of beautifully crafted hats and fascinators featuring different hues of pink that are soft, alluring and make individual statements from diva to muse and . The bianca bow, a fascinator, pays homage to the ageless sophistication of lace and its significance in European culture and fashion. For Gèlè Tea’s theme, Bianca symbolizes a new start, the gift of life and how we choose to honour it. . Gèlè Tea continues to be unique and set the bar for fashion shows with a cause where the cause is addressed directly through edutainment. Inspirational singer/songwriter Lánre released the official version of Memories (The Gèlè song), which is the first dementia-related song in Nigeria and the African Caribbean community in the UK. Acclaimed fine artist and gèlè specialist, Tonderai showed his dexterity live to the delight of all. Gèlè Tea is an ode to gèlè, it’s beauty and culture and it showcases gèlè as couture. Award-winning dementia specialist, Nurse Moreoy Saineti, speaking about the event says, “It’s a clever concept. It brings out personal testimonies and you hear different stories. You hear about moving on with life and removing the stigma. It touches everybody especially hard to reach groups and it allows people to talk. Through Gèlè Tea we are normalizing Alzheimer’s and we can even laugh.” 233


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GHANAIAN

BEE ARTHUR WOWS IVORY COAST AT AFRIK SHOW 8 Story: Makeba Boateng Photo: Daniel Sery of Klassyfilms Productions

I

t is an undisputable fact that francophone and Anglophone fashion on the continent are two different worlds. While there are a good number of bloggers who cover African fashion shows and events, very few cross the barriers thus not fostering "integration” and "cooperation” between the French and English speakers on the continent. Mainstream media further compounds the problem by diffusing only to the public which speak either French or English. This split linguistic or lingual divide has resulted in a lack of knowledge about who is who across the pond. Isabelke Anoh , owner of Afrik Show and CEO of Avant-garde Productions , has made a major step towards bridging this gap . For her 8th Edition of Afrik Show a major Francophone Fashion event- which took place at the Golf Hotel in Abidjan , she invited the multilingual Ghanaian KORA Award-winning designer, Bee Arthur to join the stellar line-up of designers. Abidjan was bedazzled by Bee Arthur's colourful collection adequately dubbed "Algues Rhythm" to reflect the principal motif that is reminiscent of Seaweeds. Typical of Bee Arthur , all the eight dresses were handpainted and glittery. The recurrent colours were Aqua blue and hot pink accents . The collection was created from linen, ethnic prints and lace. Bee Arthur's Algues Rhythm was a breakaway from the "Couture" style which is quite typical of Francophone designers. The crowd was pleasantly surprised by the originality and rebellious sophistication of the collection. The show was highly anticipated and attendance was 100%. Ministers, Diplomatic corps as well as creme de la creme of the Ivorian society were present at the event. Speaking to us about the event, an excited Bee Arthur gleamed “I am grateful to Isabelle Anoh for inviting me to her show. I believe we all need to be bilingual as it’s the only way to do away with a colonial "divide and rule" vestige that continues to impede our cooperation and collaboration as a continent.”

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loaded mama marks 5th year on hot 93.9fm’s naija levels By Makeba Boateng

Loaded mama

VIPs on the top table

Loaded mama welcoming guests from Akwa-Ibom & Cross River State

Loaded mama & guests

Madame Anne, Manager Hot 93.5 Fm

N

aija Level, the popular magazine programme on Hot 93.9fm is 5-and to mark the achievement, the show's Presenter, Loaded Mama hosted a wonderful afternoon of comedy and music which had Chief Emmanuel Okeson of City Light (who represented Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Amb. Oluseyi Onafowokan) as Special Guest of Honour. During the ceremony, there was a speech by the Paramount Chief of Osu where he advised Nigerians on

how they can live and fit well into the Ghanaian society. Also, Former Director of the National Symphony Orchestra, Mrs. Tetteh was present and gave a heart-warming speech to the specially invited guests. Mr. Imoro, Deputy Director, Ministry of Information also spoke of the pioneering efforts of Loaded Mama and her hit programme, Naija Levels. He noted that the show which aims at solving problems facing Nigerians resident in Ghana has helped to bring about a better relationship between the communities

and citizens of both countries. Royal Fathers from Cross River and Akwa Ibom States who were also present and they spoke on the need for Nigerians to unite and stay away from negative activities The host for the afternoon , Moses Owopade of Crystal TV steered proceedings expertly while Nigerian comedian ‘Too Much Money’ thrilled everyone with rib-cracking jokes. In addition, there were performances by Precious Nkiru, Music Star 235


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Chief Emmanuel Okeson, CEO, City Light giving speech

Mrs Uduak Gowon

Chief Igbudu, the Chairman addressing guest

Pastor Popolampo

Mr. Bayo; the former ANC President

Pastor Austin Efe of Truth & Life Church

Boys and Mabele P . â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Naija Levelsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; , a magazine show, on Hot 93.9 fm deals with solving problems such as those relating to custom, immigration and accommodation of Nigerians in Ghana. It also presents good quality entertainment, live reporting from various Nigerian cities as well as counselling by top men of God. Loaded Mama has interviewed celebrities and personalities including Chief Dele Momodu, former Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Mr. Okosun , CEO of KRIF Ghana, Chief Ndubisi (former Ibo Community Chairman in Ghana), The former All Nigerian Community (ANC) President, Dr. Prince Utche and Madame Princess Potaki ,President of Nigerian Ghanaian Spouses Association 236

Gospel Artiste, Precious NKiru singing


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LET’S TAKE YOU TO

YVONNE OKORO’S

PLAYGROUND Sttory: Makeba Boateng

P

opular Ghanaian actress, Yvonne Okoro has shown that she does not only have a beautiful face, but she has a wonderfully-beautiful heart when she marked her 29th birthday at Dzorwulu Special School, Accra, Ghana Ms Nelson did not just wine and dine with the students she had actually decided to celebrate the day by commissioning a playground she built for disadvantaged persons at the Dzorwulu Special School . The Special School houses a number of children of special need and the playground was to provide a recreational platform for them to relax and entertain themselves. The gesture emphasized the actress’ commitment to giving back to society and also trumpeted her affection for special people and children in particular. Joining her to commission the playground was Deputy Minister of Education, Okudzeto Ablakwa, popular actor, John Dumelo, Sandra Ankobiah, Irene Logan, Roseline Okoro, and exBlack Stars skipper, Stephen Appiah. The celebrities also supported the award-winning actress to cut her birthday cake. Speaking at the ceremony, Yvonne Okoro congratulated officials and inmates of the school for their patience and support throughout the whole project and also for allowing her to make an impact on society through the school. She said she was motivated to build the playground because she felt the students also deserved to play and be happy like all their peers. Recounting how the inspiration for the project came about, Miss Okoro said “Two years ago, I was here and when I was leaving, I realized that the playground was in a deplorable state. The metals were all rusty. So I told

myself that, I won’t stop till I’m able to provide a good recreational centre for the students of this school so that at the end of the day, they can also pride themselves of having a beautiful playground. That was the most important thing for me. And I thank everyone who supported this project,” Headmistress of the Dzorwulu Special School, Madam Veronica Sackey congratulated Yvonne for her kind gesture.“Indeed this was one of our numerous pressing needs which has been met today and I’m delighted. We can all attest to the fact the playground has transformed the front view of our institution,” she added. On his part, Honorable Okudzeto Ablakwa also commended the Contract actress for the project and advised other public figures to emulate Yvonne's gesture while he used the platform to also speak about Government’s position on education. Among other side attractions at the ceremony were a dance performance by some of the students and also a rendition of Ghana’s National Anthem by velvety-voiced songstress, Irene Logan. Both invited guests and students were thrilled to good music from a DJ and also treated to pastries sponsored by Bakeshop Classics and food by Grill Bar Filli B, East Legon.

Irene Logan, Roseline Okoro, Yvonne Okoro, Whitney Boakye-Mensah & Sandra Ankobiah

Deputy minister of Education, Okudzeto Ablakwa cutting the sod with Yvonne Okoro

Yvonne & sister, Roseline

Unveiling of Plaque

Yvonne with one of her favourite students, Akweley

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THE LOVELY WEDDING OF

FAROUK ALIU MAHAMA AND AYISHA ABDALAI IN ACCRA, GHANA

Story: Segun Adebowale French: Chinyere Ndukwe Photo: Ben Dzakah

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f a soothsayer had told both Ayisha Abdalai and Farouk Aliu Mahama that a business meeting would be the launch pad for their love story, they probably would have told the soothsayer to keep his prophecy to himself. Apart from belonging to a generation of high flying corporate executives, Ayisha and Farouk are too consumed in their businesses to start eyeing each other in meetings or allowing the frivolities of love to take the centrestage as such serious occasions. Fondly called Ayisha or Akiwete, the well-read bride who is both witty and humorous has one of 238

the best voices that could charm even the strongest and meanest of all men! This was the voice that melted the heart of her beau, Farouk Aliu Mahama, who is a son to Alhaji Aliu Mahama the late former Vice President of Ghana, when he got a call rescheduling an earlier arranged meeting. He could not wait to meet the face behind the voice. According to Farouk, who is better known as Baba or Daan Aliu Gikan Mahama, ‘’It was an unforgettable day as I met the love of my life (Ayisha). I was on my way to meet some business partners at the Holiday Inn when I received a call

cancelling the meeting. Surprisingly, I was not as furious as I would normally have been when meetings of such are called off at the eleventh hour.’’ The groom who is presently living his childhood dream to follow the footsteps of his father and who not only manages his late father’s group of companies, added that, ‘’This is because the sweet voice behind that cancellation provided no room for me to express my anger.’’ While Farouk had no doubt been bitten by the bug of love with that two minute call, sweet voiced


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FAROUK AND AYISHA...ITS ALL ABOUT LOVE

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and drop beautiful, Ayisha was not affected at all. In fact, the conversation was like any other one to her. However, she got more than she bargained for when she first met Farouk whom she refers to as, ‘’My Monopoly’’ or ‘’Tigo No.1’’ While narrating the encounter with Ayisha whose past times include singing, hanging out and watching movies, said she was stupefied the first time she set her eyes on the handsome Farouk. In her words, ‘’As I was briefing my members on the issues to be discussed at the meeting, I heard a voice asking, ‘Hello, are you Ayisha?’’As I turned to find out who was asking the question to my surprise, there stood a tall, masculine, charming and stunning looking gentleman. ‘’ The vivacious bride added, ‘’I was in a trance when he asked again, ‘Hi, do you know where the meeting is taking place?’ All I could do was to point a finger”. Naturally, the two of them were not at ease until the meeting and it was obvious that they could not wait for the meeting to end before exchanging pleasantries and getting each other’s contact. In fact, other people who were at the meeting felt the sparks and undercurrents and it was no surprise to them when the two love birds approached themselves to exchange numbers. According to Farouk, ‘’On the set date of the rescheduled meeting, I was speechless and beyond words at how beautiful she looked , as she introduced herself as Ayisha, the Country Representative of my business partners. We chatted and talked after the meeting and the rest like they say is history.’’ After that first encounter, the couple made each other a priority and rather than have diminishing returns, their relationship kept witnessing increasing marginal returns. Days turned into weeks and they started 240

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i un devin avait prédit à Ayisha Abdalai et à Farouk Aliu Mahama qu'une réunion d'affaires serait le lieu du commencement de leur histoire d'amour, ils diraient probablement au devin de garder sa prophétie pour lui. En dehors de l'appartenance à une génération de cadres d’entreprises de haut niveau, Ayisha et Farouk sont trop occupés dans leur travail pour se lorgner pendant les réunions ou pour permettre aux frivolités de l'amour de prendre le dessus lors des réunions d’affaires où de grands contrats sont sur le point d’être signés. Affectueusement appelée Ayisha ou Akiwete, la charmante mariée est pleine d'humour et elle a l'une des voix qui pourraient même séduire le plus fort et le plus méchant de tous les hommes ! C’est cette voix qui a fait fondre le cœur de son beau, Farouk Aliu Mahama, qui est le fils de l’ancien viceprésident du Ghana, lorsqu’il a reçu un appel d'un changement de programme et il était curieux de rencontrer le visage derrière la voix. Selon Farouk, qui est mieux connu sous le nom de Baba ou Daan Aliu Gikan Mahama je n’oublierai jamais le jour où j’ai rencontré l'amour de ma vie (Ayisha). J'étais sur mon chemin pour rencontrer des partenaires d'affaires à l'hôtel Holiday Inn quand j'ai reçu un appel annulant la réunion. Étonnamment, je n'étais pas aussi furieux que je l'aurais normalement été lorsque des réunions sont annulées a la dernière minute. Le marié qui est en train de vivre son rêve d'enfance en suivant les traces de son père et qui non seulement gère le groupe de sociétés de son défunt père, a ajouté : <<c'est parce que la douce voix derrière cette annulation n'a fourni aucune raison pour que je me mette en colère. Alors que Farouk avait été envouté par cette voix enchanteresse derrière cet appel de deux minutes, Ayisha de son côté n'a pas été du tout été émue. En fait, la conversation était comme toute autre pour elle. Cependant, elle a été très surprise


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And for the groom, ‘’ I am glad I met her and married her otherwise I do not know how this world would be without her!’’

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In the same vein, the family of Aliu Mahama said, ‘’We are proud of you, Farouk and Ayisha. Farouk, we have watched you grow and made your way. Here we are on your wedding day. You have made us proud all these years. Your wedding day will be no exception. We love you Farouk and Ayisha your wife. We wish you love, luck and happiness in your marriage life. ‘’

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The couple relaxing during a boat ride

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Ayisha, the ever-cheerful bride

The couple having fun with friends

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THE GROOM AND FAMILY MEMBERS

Groomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mother, Hajiya Ramatu Aliu Mahama

The groom & his sweetmother, Hajiya Ramatu Aliu Mahama

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It has warmed our hearts to see your love bloom and mature into this beautiful commitment. Ayisha, you have made us proud with everything you achieved in life, especially with this excellent choice of life partner. Farouk, we entrust our daughter to you with joy in our hearts, knowing that we are not losing a daughter but gaining a son. Welcome to the family. We wish you both a life together filled with love and happiness.’’ introducing themselves to their circle of friends and because their work is interrelated, it was not difficult to mix as they found out later that they shared some things in common. Pretty soon, it was time to meet their respective family members and both families and it was as if they had known each other all their lives. Since the couple have been dating for quite a while, it was natural that they had moved the relationship to the next level and seal their love, care and affection, which had become so visible to everyone with marriages. It was no surprise therefore when Farouk whom his bride described as “calm and tough Papa” popped the long awaited question to Ayisha, Will you marry me? According to the bride, ‘’There comes a time in a woman’s life when she is asked the big question, ‘’Will you marry me? The question could ‘garnish ‘ her face with smiles or ‘crumple’ it with anger. Some even cry. When my Tigo No. 1 threw the question at me, I answered YES. I have never regretted this decision and Allah has been so faithful to us and has brought us this far and we blessed His holy name for that.’’ The minute they agreed that it was time to seal their relationship, they got in touch with foremost events planners, Napoleon Planners and the Chief Executive Officer of the outfit, Baaba Hannah Salifu wasted no time in pulling all the stops and went to town to ensure that the wedding was out in a class of its own. According to Salifu, ‘’We 246

understood how exciting yet challenging it is to plan weddings and as one of the largest events planning firm, we are proud we helped the couple to plan the day of their dreams.’’ The events outfit was not the only one that was busy during the preparations for the wedding, the groom and bride were also busy shopping for their clothes and accessories in preparation for one of the best days of their lives. The groom, Farouk, who can best be described as a hunk went to shop for a bespoke suit and he looked like a Knight in a shining armour at the wedding. Like her beau, the bride looked stunning and gorgeous and the wedding gown was perfect! The ‘filia’ or better still the wedding eventually came but not before the bachelor’s night which was done to send-forth the groom who used to be one of the most eligible bachelors in Ghana. The wedding Fatiha took place at Switch Back Road, Cantonments, Accra, Ghana which is the residence of the former Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama. The wedding which till date remains one of the best wedding ceremonies staged in Ghana, attracted the who is who in Ghana who came to honour the late Vice President described as a noble and upright politician. While admonishing the couple to see themselves as one, the officiating cleric enjoined the groom to be there at all times for his bride and he urged the bride to submit herself to her husband.

lorsqu’elle a posé ses yeux sur Farouk qu'elle appelle, '' Mon Monopoly '' ou '' Tigo No.1 '' Alors qu’elle racontait sa première rencontre avec son Monopoly, Ayisha, dont le passé comprenait la chanson, les sorties et les films, a dit qu'elle était stupéfaite la première fois qu’elle a vu Farouk. Elle a déclarée: lorsque je briefais les membres sur les questions qui seront examinées au cours de la réunion, j'ai entendu une voix qui a demandé : « Bonjour, vous êtes Ayisha ?. ''Quand je me suis retournée pour voir qui a posé la question, à ma grande surprise, j’ai vu un homme grand de taille, viril et plein de charme. La mariée a ajouté: J'étais encore sous le charme quand il a demandé à nouveau, 'Salut, savez-vous où se déroule la réunion?’’. Tout ce que j’ai pu faire, c'était de montrer du doigt. Naturellement, tous les deux n’étaient pas à l'aise pendant la réunion et il était évident qu’ils n’attendaient que la fin de la réunion pour pouvoir faire plus connaissance et échanger leurs numéros de téléphone. En fait, les autres personnes qui étaient à la réunion ont remarqué le courant qui passait entre les deux et ils n’étaient pas étonnés quand les deux tourtereaux se sont approchés pour échanger leurs numéros. Selon Farouk :le jour du report de la réunion, j'étais sans voix face à sa beauté, lorsqu’elle s'est présentée comme Ayisha, la représentante de mes partenaires d'affaires dans le pays. Nous avons bavardé et parlé après la réunion et le reste comme on dit c'est de l'histoire. Après cette première rencontre, les deux tourtereaux sont devenus une priorité l’un pour l'autre et leur relation s’est de plus en plus renforcée. Les jours se sont

transformés en semaines et ils ont commencé à se présenter à leur cercle d’amis et comme leur travail était étroitement lié, il ne leur était pas difficile de se voir très souvent et ils ont découvert plus tard qu'ils avaient beaucoup de choses en commun ! En un rien de temps, ce fut le temps de rencontrer les membres de leur famille respective ; les deux familles les ont acceptés comme s’ils se connaissaient depuis toujours. Comme les deux sortaient maintenant ensemble, c’était naturel qu'ils amènent leur relation à un niveau élevé et qu’ils scellent leur amour et leur affection, qui étaient devenus si visibles à tous ceux qui les ont décrits comme des compagnons inséparables. Ce n’était donc pas une surprise lorsque Farouk que son épouse décrit comme « un papa calme et dur», a posé la question tant attendue qui est: Ayisha, veux-tu m'épouser ?. Selon la mariée, Il arrive un moment dans la vie d’une femme où on lui pose la grande question ‘’Veuxtu m'épouser ?’’. Cette question peut amener un sourire sur son visage ou le déformer avec la colère. Certains vont même jusqu'à pleurer. Quand mon Tigo n ° 1 a posé la question, j'ai répondu OUI. Je n'ai jamais regretté cette décision et Allah nous a été si fidèle en nous amenant jusqu'ici et nous bénissons son saint nom pour cela. La minute où les deux tourtereaux ont décidé qu'il était temps de sceller leur relation, ils ont fait appel aux plus grands organisateurs d’évènement, Napoleon Planners, et le chef de la direction de la tenue de l’évènement, Baaba Hannah Salifu, n’a pas perdu de temps pour s’assurer que ce mariage soit exceptionnel. Selon Salifu, Nous connaissons la passion et les défis dans l’organisation


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THE RECEPTION

Handsome Farouk & Resplendent Ayisha arriving the reception

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The groom’smen & bride’smaids form a guard of honour for couple

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Mr. Ibu welcoming the couple

Hajiya Ramatu Aliu Mahama & 2nd Lady Mrs. Matilda Amissah Arthur

Nana Akufo-Addo & wife, Becky

H.E. Mrs.Theresa Kufour & Chief Kufour

Dr. & Mrs. Mahamadu Bawumia

Dr. & Mrs. Egala with Hajiya Ramatu Aliu Mahama

Alhaji Zibila & Hajiya Ramatu Aliu Mahama

Hajia Ramatu Mahama & Nana Akuo Addo

Hajiya Hawa, Hajiya Balaraba, Hajiya Rabi & Hajiya Mudaye

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Naila Mahama

Samata Shanni Mahama

Alhaji Jimoh Ashiru & Alhaji Yekeen Jimoh

Salma & Auntie Ayie

Humu Redrsl & Aunie Marie

Maureen Adu Manu

While telling Farouk that he has not only found a good thing in Ayisha, but has also obtained favour in the eyes of Allah, the cleric concluded by telling them to uphold the ideals and character of their families. The State House Banquet Hall, Parliament House, osu, Accra, Ghana was the wedding reception. Hosted by Ghanaian actor, Chris Attoh and Nigeria’s foremost comedian, John Okafor better known as Mr. Ibu, the reception venue which had been decorated beautifully, became heaven on earth. The reception as expected attracted people from all walks of life. There was dancing and giggling all through. Everyone was in an ebullient mood According to the bride, she would not have married any other man apart from Farouk because, ‘’There is not a dull moment with him. In fact, he has got a good sense of humour and fun to be with. He is also very generous.’’ She added, ‘’He loves his work but ‘hey’, he loves me more!’’ And for the groom, ‘’ I am glad I 250

met her and married her otherwise I do not know how this world would be without her!’’ The families of the couple have kind words for them. According to the Abdulai family, ‘’It has warmed our hearts to see your love bloom and mature into this beautiful commitment. Ayisha, you have made us proud with everything you achieved in life, especially with this excellent choice of life partner. Farouk, we entrust our daughter to you with joy in our hearts, knowing that we are not losing a daughter but gaining a son. Welcome to the family. We wish you both a life together filled with love and happiness.’’ In the same vein, the family of Aliu Mahama said, ‘’We are proud of you, Farouk and Ayisha. Farouk, we have watched you grow and made your way. Here we are on your wedding day. You have made us proud all these years. Your wedding day will be no exception. We love you Farouk and Ayisha your wife. We wish you love, luck and happiness in your marriage life. ‘’

d’un mariage et comme l'un des plus grands organisateurs d’événements , nous sommes fiers car nous avons aidé le couple à organiser le mariage de leurs rêves. La tenue de l’événement n'était pas la seule préoccupation du couple ; les futurs mariés ont également acheté les vêtements et les accessoires à porter lors des plus beaux jours de leur vie. Le marié, Farouk, qui peut être décrit comme un GQ a acheté un très beau costume et il ressemblait à un chevalier dans son armure éclatante le jour du mariage. Tout comme son beau, la mariée était magnifique et superbe et la robe de mariage était parfaite sur elle! La « filia » ou mieux encore le mariage s’est bel et bien déroulé mais pas avant la nuit d’enterrement du célibat du futur marié qui était l’un des cœurs à prendre au Ghana. Le mariage a eu lieu à Switch Back Road Cantonnements, à Accra, Ghana, à la résidence de l’ancien vice-président, Alhaji Aliu Mahama. Le mariage qui jusqu'à ce jour reste l'une des meilleures cérémonies de mariage organisées au Ghana, a attiré les grandes personnalités du Ghana venues pour honorer le défunt vice- président décrit

comme un homme politique noble et droit. Pendant la cérémonie pour unir les deux tourtereaux, le clerc officiant a enjoint le marié d'être là en tout temps pour son épouse et il a exhorté la mariée à se soumettre à son mari. Tout en disant à Farouk qu'il a non seulement trouvé une bonne chose en Ayisha, mais qu’il a également obtenu grâce aux yeux d'Allah, le religieux a conclu en leur disant de défendre les idéaux et le caractère de leurs familles. Il a uni le couple en leur disant de porter leurs anneaux de mariage et de sceller le tout avec un baiser. Une fois que tout cela a été fait, il les a prononcés mari et femme. Par la suite, il y a eu des remerciements et le clerc a prononcé des bénédictions en faveur du couple et aux membres de la famille, aux amis et aux associés. A la fin de la cérémonie de mariage, le couple et leurs proches se sont rendus au State House Banquet Hall Parlement, à Osu pour la réception. Animée par l'acteur ghanéen Chris Attoh et le comédien nigérian John Okafor mieux connu comme Mr Ibu, la salle de réception qui a été très joliment décorée, est devenue un paradis sur terre.


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Alhaji Dramani & Hajiya Fatima Egala

Salma, Humu Redresl, Auntie Ayie & Auntie Marie

Mr. Agoligi Godwin, Joyce & Jamal

Hajiya Lariba, Hajiya Muna & Hajiya Marie

Mr & Mrs Thompson

Liba Osei, Mirage Royal & Rumal Hason

Josephine, Rubabat Ronke Oseni & Sarah Zaato

Salma & Asana

Hajiya Ruba & Hawa Agamasu

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Sauma Umar Uthoram

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Fati Saributu

Eze Ndi Igbo Community of Ghana

Master of ceremonies Chris Attoh

Ogyam Nana Agyemang (Attah) with Nana Bermaa

Rachel Ajaari & Fauzia Mobila

Efia Schwarzenegger

Alhaji M.N.D Jawula


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Groom with brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s maids

Salma, Asana, Kolly, Akiba & Samata

Zawera Kadir & Halima

Ibrahim & Nikkeh

Mr. Edward Ayeh, Jamila Adams & Christiana Asubi

Auntie Pat, Maame Serwa, Lady Vida, Mrs. Janet Appia & friend

Mr. & Mrs. Kaleem

Mr. Ibu, Ada & Priscilla

Sadia, Ruby, Haj. Amira Maiga, Sharya Abass & Haj. Anna

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Brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s maids

Mr. & Mrs. Joe Issak

Mary & Maame Konadu

Hajiya Fati & Rahi (Abusua Restaurant)

Mr. Ibu with the bestman

Asmawu & sisters

Aisha, Hajara & Tabaraka

Farida & Zaria

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Sana, Hajiya Salima & Azara

Mr. & Mrs. Zakaria


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Mrs. Juliet Abramani

Hajiya Azumi

Ambassador Harona Atta

Eunice Bennet

Lady Andira

Hajiya Annatu

Mariam,Samata & Arefa

Hajiya Lateefa & Ayisha Manns

Hajiya Zara & Zenabu

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The Happy Couple

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The bride


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Cutting of the cake

Bridal train supporting the couple to cut cake

Hajia Sabina, Hajia Farida & Hajia Zaria

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Fatima Mahama Iddrisu

Henry, Halim & Aboki

Bride & Friends

Brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s maids

Mahama family

The couple dancing with D Cryme

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Fatima, Faheema & Marian


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Couple with brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family

Friends of the groom

Bride with her family

Ayisha, bride, Nti-sar & Zainab

DJ Big L

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SUNDAY

The Couple

The stylish couple stepping out

The groom serving the bride

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The gorgeous bride

Bride serving the groom


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(R-l) Hajiya (Mrs.) Ramatu Aliu Mahama,Haj Ruba & friends

Mr. Asamoah Boateng & Ogyam Agyeman

Hon. Issac Osei with the couple

Farouk & mum, Hajiya Ramatu Aliu Mahama

Mrs. Amidu Suleman & daughter

Samata, Mz. MO, Dr. Nashiru Issahaku & Hajiya Abiba

Farouk with friends

Groom with Auntie Rabi & Auntie Azumi

(2nd.-r)Sammy Awuku & friends with groom

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Farouk & Hajiya Ruba

Farouk Aliu Mahama (the Groom)

Rahina Bawa, Farouk & Kofi Kapito

Farouk, Hajiya Safura & Jamila

The Couple

Hajiya Mamuna, Hajiya Lariba, Farouk, Hajiya Ruba & friend

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Nura & Khadija

Hajiya Rafa & Zubie


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Hadiza with sisters

Groom with Cocoa Board Staff

Hajiya Hawa, Hajiya Ram, Foxy Babie & Mariam Nuhu

Chandra Ankomah & Wasila

La réception qui a attiré des gens de tous les horizons de la vie a connu beaucoup de danses et de rires. Selon la mariée, elle n'aurait pas épousé un autre homme en dehors de Farouk car Il n'y a pas un moment d'ennui avec lui. En fait, il a un bon sens de l'humour et on se sent bien avec lui. Il est également très généreux. Elle a ajouté: Il aime son travail mais ‘’hey’’, il m'aime plus !. Et selon le marié, Je suis heureux car je l'ai rencontrée et épousée sinon je ne sais pas comment ce monde serait sans elle!. Les familles du couple ont prononcé des mots aimables en leur encontre. Selon la famille Abdulai notre cœur est rempli de joie de voir votre amour murir et grandir jusqu’à un si bel engagement. Ayisha, vous avez fait notre fierté avec tout ce que vous avez réalisé dans la vie, surtout avec cet

Maritha, Fayad Mahama & Rubabat

Groom with Farouk, Elton Egala & friend

excellent choix de partenaire pour la vie. Farouk, nous vous confions notre fille avec la joie dans nos cœurs, sachant que nous ne perdons pas une fille, mais gagnons plutôt un fils. Bienvenue dans la famille. Nous vous souhaitons à la fois une vie commune remplie d'amour et de bonheur. De même, la famille d’Aliu Mahama a déclaré : Nous sommes fiers de vous, Farouk et Ayisha. Farouk, nous vous avons vus grandir et faire votre petit bout de chemin. Nous sommes là au jour de votre mariage. Vous nous avez rendus fiers pendant toutes ces années. Le jour de votre mariage ne sera pas une exception. Nous t’aimons Farouk ainsi que ta femme Ayisha. Nous vous souhaitons l’amour, la chance et le bonheur dans votre vie conjugale.

Farouk with uncle, Alhaji Dramani Egala & Hajiya Ramatu Mahama

Hajiya Ramatu Aliu Mahama on dancing floor

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Hon. Sheikh I.C Quaye

The Groom, Farouk Aliu Mahama

Bride with maids

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Ms. Joycelyn

Ogyam Nana Agyemang with couple

Groom with staff of Aphro Arab Group


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EXCITEMENT CHRISTOPHER OTAME WED PRINCESS OGECHI DECLAN IN ACCRA, GHANA By Ben Dzakah

W

hen Excitement Otame met Princess Jane Ogechi Declan, all he wanted was a friend. He needed a friend he can talk to and laugh with. And in no time, that friendship was so fulfilling that it blossomed into courtship-and today, the pair have decided to settle down as husband and wife. Their wedding train as it is the norm in Africa licked off with a very colourful and cultural traditional wedding. Despite the fact that the couple who are Nigerians are far from their homestead, the drums, the flutes that are associated with such ceremonies were not in short supply. The groom was decked in full Igbo traditional

attire complete with bowler hat and coral beads. His wife was ravishing in atypical maiden’s outfit. She was heavily beautified with coral beads and her special head piece was a true reflection of her royal heritage. Both families came gaily dressed, and it was obvious that they had all prepared very well for this auspicious occasion. The day began with negotiation, payment of bride price and exchange of drinks –after which the bride’s family were presented assorted gifts. With this key aspect out of the way, the groom who was sitting all along at a corner was now anxious because he knew that any moment now, his Princess was on her way.

It was not too long that the bride stepped into the venue, amidst singing and dancing by her friends and other female members of her family. She was showered with prayers by her people after which she was handed a glass of palm wine as it is the norm in igbo custom to locate her husband and serve him his first drink. Princess Ogechi went from one end of the hall to the other, creating a lot of excitement in the house, the buzz grew louder as she spotted her beau at a corner, rushed to him, knelt down and presented him the cup of wine, he took a sip and then gave her a warm embrace. The whole arena erupted in applause. 265


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THE CHURCH CEREMONY

Bride & father HRH Eze Francis Nzeji Asaa1 of Asaa Autonomous, Ikeduru LGA, Owerri, Imo State

Maid of honour Sherry Declan

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Couple with groom’s family

Couple with bridal train

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Couple with groom’s close friends & sister

Couple with bride’s sisters


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Mrs. Fausty owusu Ansah & baby, Kendra

Couple with His Excellency Kelvin Okubama

The couple where then showered with prayers by their parents after which they exchanged their engagement rings and cut a cake. Thereafter, it was music, food and drinks all the way till well into the night. Two days later, it was time for the couple to hold the solemnization of their wedding and the venue was Pure Fire Church, Kessima, Accra. For this occasion, the groom was well decked in trendy whitetail suit atop a blue pants and blue waistcoat-he added some swagger to his steps with a walk stick! That was not all, he arrived the church in a convoy of state-of-the-art-cars. The bride was resplendent in her

figure hugging ivory gown. She was the cynosure of all eyes as she walked hand-in-hand with her dad into the church hall. The church ceremony was lively and spirit-filled and the highest point was when the Head Pastor joined Excitement and Princess Ogechi as one body and one soul to the delight of all present. The couple left the church in style, preferring a horse-drawn carriage. They therefore caused a stir as they moved slowly to the reception venue at the Trade Fair Centre. It was indeed a very exciting day in their lives.

Couple with brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s parents & in-laws

Couple, bridal train with General Overseer of Pure Fire Miracle Ministries, Pastor Enoch Aminu

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RECEPTION

HRH Ezi Francis Nzeji, Asaa I with Ugoeze Jovita Akudo Nzeji

Chiefs from Nigeria at the wedding reception

Bride on dancing flour

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King of Money (left), bride & Monticezos, aka I go jail you (right)

Agyeiwaa Ohene & Kathy Akua Gyamfi


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Groom, Excitement

Couple cutting their wedding cake

Bride, Princess Jane Ogechi

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Friends of the groom at the wedding reception

Groomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family at the reception

Kathy Akua Gyamfi (r)

Michael Declan, Clement Declan & friends

Ugoeze Cecilia Abla Nzeji

Lion & Lioness

Her Excellency Mrs. Okubama

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Mr. & Mrs. Nicholas Ubechu

Demain

Faustina Dzadey & Kelly Oboko


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TRADITIONAL

Excitement & Princess Ogechi

Chief & Mrs. Okubama

Bride’s parents

Presentation of dowry

Bride answering question from the father

Ugoeze Cecilia Abla Nzeji & Ugoeze Jovita Akudo (bride’s mum)

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Bride presenting a glass of palmwine to her husband

Couple before brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s parents

Aleve Kpekus, Chief Atase, Ms. Robo, Hon. Azuka & Victor Koko

Bride with bridesmaids

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The bride with sister & friends

Mrs. Mercy Oppong, Belinda S. Dzattah, Mrs. Nadra Issah, Nasra Osman Patience Ansah

&


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Bride with siblings

Bride & niece, Kendra

Groomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mum, brothers & sisters

Mother & son: Excitement & Mrs. Mary Otame

Eng. Pastor Emmanuel Otame, Kingsley Otame & Eng. Billy Otame

R-l: Mr. Austin Nnamdi, H.E. Kelvin Okubama, King Jay & Emmanuel Ehis (aka Computer)

HRH Eze Francis Nzeji Asaa 1 of Asaa Autonomous Community Ikeduru L.G.A, Owerri, Imo State Clement Declan & Henry Declan

Mr. & Mrs. Maxwell E.Okoro

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Bride & Aso ebi

Bride & Miss Vica

Mrs. Faustina Owusu Ansah & Mrs.Julia Clement

Aunty Juliana Nzeji & Ugoeze Elizabeth Nzeji

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Mr. Jude Osimi, Nicholas Ubechu, Miss Ndidi Omeneghor, Justice Efeson & friend


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UBA GHANA, SENDS FORTH ITS PIONEER CHAIRMAN, KWAME PIANIM By Ben Dzakah

Mr. Kwame Pianim & wife, Cornel recieving gift from GMD/CEO of UBA Plc, Dr. Phillips Oduoza

Mr. Kwame Pianim, Dr. Phillips Oduoza (GMD/CEO) & Mr./ Kennedy Uzoka, DMD, UBA

Presentation of gift by Prof. Ahwoi

A

fter ten illustrious years as Board Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Ghana, renowned economist and politician, Mr Kwame Pianim, has stepped down-and he was hosted to a lively sendforth party by the bank’s Management and Board. Held at the African Regent Hotel in Airport Residential Area, the evening was used to pour encomiums on Mr. Pianim who attended the ceremony with his lovely wife and close friends. Speaking at the Occasion the Group Managing Director of UBA, Mr. Phillips Oduoza recounted the immense contribution of Mr. Pianim to Mr. Kwame Pianin & wife, Mrs. Cornel Pianin

the growth and stability of the bank. He said Pianim’s industry and energy is worthy of emulation. Mr. Oduoza urged the in-coming Chairman, Mr. Kenneth Orji to borrow a leaf from his predecessor. Managing Director of UBA Ghana, Mrs Abiola Bawuah, also commended Mr Pianim for his fatherly role and direction throughout his year’s at the Bank, she wished him well as he begins another phase in his life. On his part, Mr Orji acknowledged some of the achievements of Mr Pianim in Ghana and particularly at UBA, saying “Mr Piamin is the simplest yet most astute man I have 277


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Mr. Kwame Pianin, Ken Orji, Dr. Paul Acquah & Mrs. Cornel Kwame Pianin

Ken Orji, Kwame Pianin & Dr. Paul Acquah

Abiola Bawuah, Mrs. Cornel Pianim & Akwasi Pianim

Ben A. Richard, Ebenezer, Victoria, Efuah & Eric

(R-l) Akwasi Pianim, Cornel Pianim, Bashorun Dele Momodu, Kwame Pianim & guest

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Bashorun Dele Momodu & Bili Odum

(R-l) Mr. Ken Orji, Abiola Bawuah & guest


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Bili Odum

Kennedy Uzoka

Bashorun Dele Momodu & Abiola Bawuah

ever met.â&#x20AC;? Thereafter gifts were presented to him in the company of his wife after which young comedian Obrempond was given a few minutes to entertain guests. He did a very good job! Responding to the earlier speeches, Mr. Pianim thanked Board Members and Management for their cooperation and support. He noted their support was instrumental to the success story that the bank had now become. He wished his successor well and stated that his years at UBA will always be etched on his heart. Ovation gathered that the new Chairman, Mr Orji is a J. F. Kennedy Scholar. He graduated with BSc Hons. from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and was awarded the Sir James Robertson Prize and Medal for Outstanding Performance in Economics. He also obtained MSc Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics and attended Harvard Business School (Programme for Management Development). Mr Orji has more than 33 years of experience, primarily in banking and finance, human capital development, consulting and advisory services Barbara & Evans Sallah

Florence Odum & Nana Adwoa Hackman

Evans & Nana Adwoa Hackson

Johnson Olakunmi & Abiola Bawuah

Mr. Kafui Asase

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Bashorun Dele Momodu & Mr.Philips Oduoza

Mr. Kwame Pianim, Mr. Philips Oduoza & Dr. Paul Acquah

Well done: GMD/CEO Phillips Oduoza tells Mrs. Abiola Bawuah, MD/CEO, UBA Ghana

Prof.& Mrs. Paul Nyame

Mr. & Mrs. Kofi Kwakwa

Prof. Paul Nyame & Dr. Paul Acquah

Mrs. Ruth Kwakwa (left)

Mrs. Muna Ilogu, Bashorun Dele Momodu & Dr. Dennis

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Dr. & Mrs. Kobina Quansah

Kwamena Ahwoi, Mr. Samuel Ofori Adjei & Kennedy Uzoka


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Mr. Philips Oduoza in a pose with UBA Staff

Dr. Kobina Quansah & Philips Oduoza

Robert Batong, Nkechi Akuntili & Ade Adeyelure

Bashorun Dele Momodu, Mrs.Ilogu & Dr. Dennis

Dr. & Mrs. Kobina Kobina

Obrnpong Agyepong with Charles Aigbe, Head Corporate communication, UBS Group

Kokui Salomey & Mrs.Cornel Pianim

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Kokui Selormey

Obrempong Agyapong (comedian)

Josephine Daniels

Mr. Alexander Mould

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Abiola Bawuah

Mr. Philips Oduoza

Mr. Adedayo Adesipo

Mr. Kwame Pianim


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Bashorun Dele Momodu, Berlinda Yaa Dankwah & Richard

Mr. Kwame Pianim dancing to highlife music

Mr. & Mrs. Kwame Pianim cutting farewell cake

Mr.Ken Orji, Mr. & Mrs. Kwame Pianin & Mr. Philips Oduoza

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Mr. & Mrs. Pianim in a pose with Board of Director of UBA, Ghana

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Mr. Kwame Pianim in a pose with Staff of UBA


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SHATTA WALE WINS TOP PRIZE AT

VODAFONE GHANA MUSIC AWARDS 2014 Story: Michael Effiong Photo: Ben Dzakah

Mrs. Theresa Ayoade, Executive Director, Charterhouse presents award to Mrs. Michael , representing Shatta Movement & Deputy Minister of Tourism, Mrs. Dzifa Goomasie looks on

Sakordie dedication his award to friends

Davido shows appreciation

T

he 15th edition of the numero uno entertainment awards ceremony in Ghana, Ghana Music Awards which has Vodafone as main sponsor unfolded with a big bang in Accra, the Nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capital. The event was a first-rate celebration of the high-flying Ghanaian music industry and what a night of glamour it turned out to be! For the first time in years, the star winner of the night, Artiste of the Year, Shatta Wale was not there to savour what would have been one of the greatest nights of his musical career. However, his absence did not in any way dampen the atmosphere or reduce the tempo of the evening as the audience inside the packed-to-capacity International Conference Centre was thrilled endlessly by top performers. Nigeria was the centre of focus as the organisers, Charterhouse, used the Sonnie Badu receiving his award

massive platform of the event, (it was screened live on DSTV, streamed online and on GHone TV Ghana) to drum up support for the on-going #bringbackourgirls campaign- the now global phenomenon that has been introduced to draw attention to the missing Chibok School girls in Borno State, Nigeria Apart from a special segment where co-compere Kofi Okyere Darko (KOD) officially spoke about the plight of the girls with a huge #bringbackourgirls montage flashing all over the monitors, many artistes and presenters also mentioned the issue. The show itself was a bomb-as leading Ghanaian stars lit up the stage from Sarkodie to Samini, Kwabena Kwabena to Sonnie Badu, Castro and Guru to Miss B, Okyomfo Kwadee to Cindy Thompson and Joey B to OJ. Indeed, there was never a dull moment. 285


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Bola Ray

Sandra Ankobiah

Dayo Adeneye D1 & Kenny Ogungbe

Stephen Appiah

Michael Effong, Editor Ovation International Magazine

Lydia Forson

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Sika Osei & Award winner, Efya

Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Black with a fan


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AWARD WINNERS

Joey B

Mrs. Michael representative Shatta Movement

Castro full of appreciation

Guru receiving his award

Winner of Best Music Video, Nii Lante

Efya dedicating award to mum & fans

Mrs. Penelope Mawuyenga, Jocelyn Dumas & friend

John Dumelo & Fred

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K.O.D & Eazzy

President of MUSIGA Obour with Mr. & Mrs. Michael

Sika Osei with Chris Attoh

(L) Uche Ofodile, COO, Vodafone Ghana enjoying the show

For once the Comperes, KOD and Eazzy did not get in the way! The star of the Night was Nigeria’s Davido, who wowed the audience for about 10 minutes, churning out a medley of his popular songs. Davido had everyone on their feet and many sang along to his lyrics-and when he hit the notes of his latest hit “aye”, the whole hall erupted in glee! Everyone was in a frenzy and the show hit its crescendo!. Davido was also voted the Best African Artiste for 2014 beating the likes of Mafikizolo, Psquare, Iyanya and Kcee. Apart from Davido, Iyanya also performed during the ceremony and he too gave a good account of himself. From the Ghanaian side, there were red hot performances but Samini, Sonnie Badu and Sarkodie got the best applause that night. Organisers also paid tribute to fallen heroes in the industry like: Fenec Okyere, Ronie Frimpong and Dr. Paa Bobo

FULL LIST OF WINNERS

CEO Charterhouse, Iyiola Ayoade & Deputy Minister, Mrs. Dzifa Goomasie

Ben Brako & Amandzieba (Nat Brew)

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Brama Kamoko (Bukom Banku) & Ayite Powers

Gospel Music Of The Year OJ – May3 S3 Mo P3n Highlife Song Of The Year Castro – Odo Pa Reggae/Dancehall Song Of The Year Shatta Wale – Dancehall King Afropop Song Of The YeaR Fuse ODG – Million Pound Girl Hip Hop Song Of The Year Sarkodie – Lies (Feat. Lil’ Shaker) Hiplife Song Of The Year Guru – Boys Abr3 Gospel Artiste Of The Year Sonnie Badu Highlife Artiste Of The Year Kwabena Kwabena Hiplife/Hip Hop Artiste Of The Year Sarkodie – Down On One African Song Of The Year Davido Best Collaboration Of The Year Kwabena Kwabena – Adult Music Best Video Of The Year Knii Lante – Baby Take Good Care Best Female Vocal Performance Efya Best Male Vocal Performance Of The Year Sonnie Badu Best Rapper Of The Year Sarkodie Best Group Of The Year R2Bees New Artiste Of The Year Joey B Vodafone Most Popular Song Of The Year Shatta Wale – Dancehall King Album Of The Year Sarkodie – Sarkology Artiste Of The Year Shatta Wale


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PERFORMANCE

Davido

Sonnie Badu

Iyanya

Daasebre Gyamna

Samini

Cindy Thompson

OJ

Miss Vee performing

Kwadee

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OVATION

CELEBRATES NOLLYWOOD

GREAT

JUSTUS

ESIRI Story: Bamidele Salako Photo: Solomon Ekaiyemhe

A

ll the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts." Popular words spoken by the melancholy character, Jaques, allotted the place of a philosopher in famed 17th century English playwright, William Shakespeare's play, "As You Like it." The words aptly capture the temporal nature of our corporeal existence. What sticks out is the fact that, "One man in his time plays many parts" and when his time comes, exits the stage. Last year, the Social media-particularly facebook and twitter, suddenly became abuzz with the news that Justus Esiri, one of Nigeria's foremost talented, dynamic and revered actors who in the course of his illustrious career excelled brilliantly in many roles, had exited this earthly stage. It was to say the least shocking! Many dispelled it as a rumour, disregarding the news as just another hoax started by a bunch of mischief makers or by some blog neophytes , trying to draw traffic to their blogs. It was, to many, one of those sensational headlines that promise paradise but deliver a beggar's cove. Some wondered aloud why anyone would descend to such depths as to cook up such distasteful death stories about anyone, just to grab attention. His crowd of lovers and acolytes were however praying that the news would turn out to be false. They eagerly awaited some word of hope from anyone who had direct knowledge of the actor's well-being so as to ease their anxieties. They were however offered no reprieve - the "Village Headmaster" was indeed no more! He had reportedly been hospitalised for three days before dying of complications arising from diabetes. He was 71 years old. The news sent shockwaves through an entertainment industry that was still trying to come to terms with the deaths of actor, Lugard Onoyemu and rising pop sensation, Goldie Harvey, only a few days prior. Hours after the sad incident, the veteran actor's son, pop star, Dr. Sidney Esiri, better known by his stagename -Dr. Sid, put up his father's picture on his twitter avatar while updating his bio as "RIP Dad." If there was any lingering doubt in any heart at that point regarding the authenticity of the reports of the actor's passing, that singular move straight from source certainly quelled it. To corroborate Dr. Sid’s twitter message ,a statement released by the President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Ibinabo Fiberisima, also confirmed the actor's demise. "We regret to announce the passing away of our member and veteran actor, Justus Esiri who died last night (Tuesday). He was said to have died of complications resulting from diabetes at a hospital in Lagos." The actress then commiserated with the family of the deceased and prayed for "the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.” The reactions that trailed the death online and in entertainment circles only further emphasised: what everyone already knew - Nollywood had lost a legend. "Shocking", "devastating", "unbelievable" and "a monumental loss" were some of the expressions used to describe the passing of the great thespian who certainly left his mark on Nigeria's movie industry over several decades of top-notch acting. The commanding personality, assured performances and enduring experience that he brought to movie sets would be sorely missed by movie directors, his fellow actors and

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lovers of Nollywood movies across the world. The actor's family soon communicated April as the burial month and as that month approached, the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) held a Tribute Night for their illustrious late member in Lagos. That was followed by a Service of Songs and a general mass the next day at Catholic Church of The Ascension, International Airport Road, Mafoluku, Lagos. The late actor's remains was then flown to his home state - Delta State where another set of activities was organised in honour of the memory of the deceased. A second mass was held for the actor in Warri at the Lady of Our Redeemer Catholic Church, Effurun in the Delta State capital. The mourning train proceeded afterwards to the late actor's hometown of Oria-Abraka where he was finally laid to rest. The burial rites commenced with a commendation service at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Abraka and a lying-in-state at the late actor's family house where his fans and colleagues were afforded the privilege of one last look at the legendary star before the body was moved to his country home in the same town for interment. The Polo Turf in Abraka played host to the reception, celebrating the life and legacies of the actor. It was a gathering of Nollywood's finest as they turned out in their numbers to honour the memory of one of their own. Some of those who came to bid farewell to a man who was an inspiration for many in the movie world included Kanayo O. Kanayo, Bob Manuel Udokwu, Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) Chief Executive Officer, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe; Ejiro Okurame who led the group Úrhobo Isoko in Nollywood to the event, and Richard Mofe-Damijo, a veteran actor himself who is also Delta State's Commissioner for Culture and Tourism. A contingent of Delta State officials was led to the event by the Deputy Governor of the State, Professor Amos Utuama (SAN) who delivered a condolence message from Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan to the family of the late icon - his widow, Mrs. Omiete Esiri; his children – Mrs. Ophelia Edewor, Mrs. Boyowa Efijemueh, Mr. Justus Esiri Jnr, Dr. Sidney Esiri (Dr. Sid), Mr. Andrew Esiri,


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Andrew Esiri

Dr. Sid

Mrs. Ophelia Edewor

Mrs. Boyowa Efijemueh

Susan Esiri

Mrs. Omame Esiri

Mrs. Omame Esiri

Mrs. Omiete Esiri

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Mr. Oronto Douglas, Representative of President Goodluck Jonathan

Miss Tobor Esiri and his grandchildren. Also represented at the event was President Goodluck Jonathan, by his Special Adviser on Research and Documentation, Mr. Oronto Douglas. The support and love showered on the family was massive and their gratitude enormous in equal measure as was expressed by the daughter and son of the deceased actor, Mrs. Ophelia Edewor and Dr. Sid. Both of them spoke on behalf of the family, thanking everyone who stood by the family in their darkest hour. In a touching tribute to her husband, the wife of the late actor, Mrs. Esiri wrote, "My husband was such a wonderful man. I am not sure I can really express just how much I will miss him. Not only was he a wonderful husband, but a wonderful father, grandfather, best friend, colleague and so much more...It has been nearly 40 years since we were first married and I look back over those years with so much happiness." She recounted their first meeting with fondnesshe was directing a stage play titled Mikky Joe and she was the lead female role. "I was too shy initially to even hold his eye contact, but I did look out. He had a way of helping you to bring out the best in you and so we danced, we laughed and we fell in love." Referring to his father as "my mentor, my icon and my idol" the late actor's famous pop star son, Dr. Sid touched on the tremendous influence his dad had on him as he hugged the limelight: "You taught me what

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Timothy Esiri

His Excellency, Prof. Amos Agbe Utuama (SAN), Deputy Governor of Delta State

it meant to be a celebrity, how to handle fame and the pressures that come with it but most importantly, you taught me how to be a man." He called his father, "the best dad, better than any man could be." In "a glowing tribute to an esteemed, a dedicated and peaceful man who lived an exemplary life" from the Actors Guild of Nigeria and signed by the National President of the body, Ibinabo Fiberisima, the Guild hailed the late Esiriâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s contributions to the "positive transformation" of the Guild as well as his support to up and coming acts in the country which came with "a high level of humility and kindness." Chief Justus Esiri (OON) was born on the 6th of November 1942 to Chief Thomas and Susannah Esiri of Oria-Abraka in Ethiope East of Delta State. He grew up in cosmopolitan Warri as a Warri boy. His youth was very memorable, full of experiences that shaped his thinking and visions of life. He attended the Covent Montessori School (1948 - 1954), Catholic School, Warri (1955-1956), Township School, Warri (1957-1961), the Urhobo College Effurun, Maximillian University ,Munich West Germany (1963-1964) and Prof. Werner's Institute of Engineering from 1965 to 1968. He later attended Ahrens School of Performing Arts after his first television series in Germany titled 'Algebra Um Acht' (Algebra at Eight). Thereafter, it was one stage production after another in Germany and across Europe. He began cutting his teeth as an actor in the Dramatic Society of Urhobo College. The

Dr. Sid

school was adjudged the best performing school in drama for three consecutive years at the Festival of Arts and Culture from 1959 to 1961. In 1976, the Federal Government of Nigeria sent a group of respectable people abroad to encourage Nigerian artistes to come home for FESTAC 77. Actor Julius Esiri was amongst those who heeded the call and after the festival, he formed a theatre group - "Toje Playhouse" in Lagos. On a performing trip with the troupe to Benin City, he was invited to take part in several plays on NTA Benin. These plays were very successful that when the New Village Headmaster was to be staged on television, he was invited to play the lead role. It was his role as Cosmos Aderibigbe Alli in the much celebrated New Village Headmaster series that indeed began sculpting the world famous colossus who has brought glory to his profession and fatherland. At the heels of the Village Headmaster, came a series of unique roles in soap operas, playing Chief Esuga in Supple Blues, Obierika in Things Fall Apart, Prof. Ofori in Delicate Matters, Chief Williams in Everyday People, Doctor in Mobile Clinic and a host of others on the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority and other independent television Stations. He could easily be said to have performed on more network drama programmes than any other actor in the country. When the rapidly growing fledgling that came to

Don Jazzy


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Juliet Esiri with Dr. Sid

Hon. Richard Mofe Damijo

Justus Esiri (Jnr.)

Bob Manuel Udokwu

Chief Ayiri Emami

Julius Agwu

Olu Jacobs

Zack Orji

Mrs. Omiete Esiri

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Esiri family

Tobore Esiri (L)

Andrew Esiri & Dr. Sid

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Andrew Esiri & Justus Esiri Jnr.

Justus Esiri Jnr., Andrew Esiri & Dr. Sid


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Dr. Sid

Andrew Esiri

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Dr. Sid, Isaac Shekari & Andrew Esiri

Femi Ahmed & Papa Omisore

Aisha Bello, Elohor Freeman-John, Ibinabo, Carol Ofem, Kemi Osayomi, Isaac Shekari, Susan Esiri & Victor Akinyooye

Dr. Sid, Mrs. Ibiene Willie-Harry, Andrew Esiri & Mrs. Daba Falope

Mrs Eriken, Dr. Sid & Mrs. Ofem

Mrs. Kosor Akpapunam, Mrs. Ofem, Mrs. Eriken & friend

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Mrs. Omiete Esiri & Mrs. Tonye Osakwe

Bob Manuel Udokwu & Dr. Sid


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Akeem Rahman & Rita Dominic

From 2nd left: Dr. Sid & Olu Jacobs

Rita Dominic, Ini Edo & Olu Jacob

Olu Jacobs (l) & Julius Agwu (r)

Festus Keyamo with Isaac Shekari

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be known as Nollywood came into being, producers besieged him, offering roles upon roles. A series of awardsTHEMA Awards, REEL Awards, AMAA Awards, NTA Honours Award, Producer/Marketers' Award amongst others - later followed, crowning his commanding performances. He added class and panache to movies too numerous to mention. Relentless in his quest for new horizons, he wrote and produced several movies. In 2010, he was conferred with the National Merit Award of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) and in 2012, he got a chieftaincy tite, "The Otun Amuludun of the Source" in Ile-Ife, Osun State. He was also part of the cast at the Olympic Village in Stratford for 298

the Festival of Plays during the London 2012 Olympics. He was a passionate golfer who took delight and joy in golf and other sports, including football, lawn-tennis and boxing. And he loved the arts. Celebrated in life and death, the veteran actor was posthumously awarded Best Actor in a Lead Role at this year’s edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) which held in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, for his role in a movie that would perhaps be regarded as his last movie appearance, “The Assassin's Practice” . He dusted the likes of Bimbo Manuel, OC Ukeje, Femi Jacobs and other African stars to clinch the coveted prize.


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NEW LOOK TITUS

SARDINE ARRIVES NIGERIA

Story: Georgina Oniga & Adebayo Rukayat Photo: Solomon Ekhaiyemhe

All Smiles for TITUS Sardines: Chief & Mrs. Sylvester Obiakor, Chief (Sir) Emma Bishop Okonkwo & mr. Mohammed Edderkaoui

Chief Odun Fadoju (Chairman DP Partnership (Unveiling his Communication marketing plans for TITUS

Chief Sir. Emma Bishop Okonkwo (OFR) Chiarman EKULO Group of Companies

he maker of the popular Titus Sardines, UNIMER Group SA, has unveiled a whole new Marketing Communication strategy developed to further promote the brand. According to the company, the goal is to stress its superiority over other brands of canned Sardines. Titus Sardines is the first brand of canned Sardines in the country and has been in the Nigerian market for several decades. The themes for the campaign: “How Titus supports dreams”, “Titus Testimonials” and “Life is better with Titus” are aptly translated into major Nigerian languages. The unveiling which took place at Sheraton Hotels and Tower, Ikeja, Lagos, with Clara Chima Okoro as the

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Chief & Mrs. Sylvester Obiakor (Distrubutors Titus Sardine)

compere, saw an impressive number of professionals attending from all spectra of the Media. The event took the form of two major presentations: one from the Global Marketing Director of UNIMER Group, Mr. Mohammed Edderkaoui and Chief Executive of DP Partnership+DraftFCB, Chief Odun Fadoju, whose company is saddled with the responsibility of executing the Advert and Publicity project for the Titus Brand. Also present at the important occasion were some major distributors of the brand in Nigeria including, Chief (Sir) Emma Bishop Okonkwo OFR, Group Chairman, Ekulo Group; Chief Sylvester Obiakor and Chief Israel Egwuonwu. 299


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Akunna & Ugochi pose with TITUS Sardine

Barr. Ndubisi Akwuegbu & Mr. Ingram Osigwe

Chidiebere Onyemaizu (The Source Magazine)

Chief Isreal & Royal Peace Egwuonwu

Global Marketing of Unimer Mr. Mohammed Edderkaoui

Top Actor_Hakeem Rahman & the Guest Artist Chawa Khalik

Dr. Obiefuna Okoli & Mr. Ingram Osigwe

Mrs. Cicly Adanma (REDDINGTON Hospital) & Mrs. Pet Anyi Obi (SOLTITO EVENTS)

In re-strategizing the marketing of the brand, UNIMER Group SA of Morocco is maintaining its commitment to inject variety of the brand into the Nigerian market to sustain consumers’ ability to make choices out of many available brands. According to Mr. Edderkaoui, ‘Titus Sardine is a premium brand of Sardines which has been trusted for generations all over the world. It is rich in protein, vitamin D and VITAMIN B 12. Titus Sardine is good for everybody - both student and singles, who are diligent in their academics or who as a result of work pressure cannot go to the market to buy fish but need fish to fix a meal. ‘ He added, ‘Titus Sardines are within reach and can be used to serve different dishes. They are also handy in preparing small chops such as fish rolls; excellent for rice, spaghetti, yam and a host of other dishes to which they add great taste and flavour. ‘ Mr. Edderkaoui further revealed that the brand has been around for almost 100 years, stressing that 300

reports of evidences of fake brands of the product in circulation in certain markets, especially in Nigeria, had been a major concern to the company. This he said, made the company to embark on fresh marketing strategies to protect the brand’s market share in Nigeria, by making sure that its loyal consumers do not suffer the risks of consuming fake products. He reiterated that quality control was the company’s watchword and also revealed that UNIMER spends millions of dollars annually in development to ensure that the best quality is maintained under strict conditions. Taking over from him, Chief Fadoju added that the mandate of the brand owners was to create world class Marketing strategies, adding that Titus Sardines would be driven by holistic platforms, including Television, Radio jingles, Print, Mobile, Outdoor advertising and social media advertising to ensure a very wide reach for the brand to the consuming public.

He unveiled five variants of the jingles, covering English, Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, Languages and Pidgin, which are available in audio and visuals, for adverts. He further said the campaign would cover the entire nation, laying emphasis on the fact that, Titus Sardine has helped and is still helping generations of Nigerians to achieve their dreams. Fielding questions from Journalists, Mr. Edderkaoui explained that UNIMER has been unable to establish factories in locations like Nigeria, where it would have liked to do so for the reason that Sardines are best canned fresh from the sea so as to reduce activities of Histamine and other enzymes that reduce the quality and value of the fish if it had to be refrigerated and transported over long distances away from the coast. He however said that the company was still looking for opportunities to further invest in the Nigerian market. The guests which included, Engr. Yomi Bello, Femi Durojaiye, Hakeem Rahman and Princess Lady 2pee, were later entertained by Shower Kally.


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Mrs. Bola Oke(Editor POSH SPICE Magazine) & Guest

Mrs. Pet Anyi Obi, Mr Ingram Osigwe & Mrs. Nonye Okwara (Events Gallery)

Mr Mohammed Edderkaoui & Chief Odun Fadoju Md Of Dp Partnership

Mr. Emeka Oramadike, Cheif Sylvester Obiakor, Mr. Mohammed Edderkaoui, Mr. Ingram Osigwe, Mrs. Ob

Mr. Biodun Kupoluyi (Publisher_E247 Magazine)

Susanne Eyo Honsety (Publisher Glam & Essence)

Femi Durojaiye

Lady Clara Okoro (Brand World TV)

Sir & Lady. Isreal Egwuonwu their son Chinedu

Performing musician Chawa Khalik & his crew

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NKULI THE MASKED PREMIERES IN ACCRA, GHANA

Former Preident, J.J. Rawlings being ushered into event by Lady Patience the Event Manager

H.E Flt. Lt. (Dr.) J.J. Rawlings & Lady Patience, Event Manager

Lady Patience briefs President Rawlings on the movie, Nkuli

Publisher of Ovation International Magazine, Chief Dele Momudu

n Africa today, it is a well-known fact that HIV/AIDs is prevalent in many countries. In fact recent research has shown that 1 in every 3 people who are HIV positive live in Southern Africa while 9 of the 10 countries with the worst HIV/AIDS prevalence is found in the region. It is in a bid to stem this terrible tide and raise public awareness on the scourge of HIV/AIDS which has ravaged a large part of the continent that a movie titled, “Nkuli: The Masked” was premiered in Accra. According to Lady Patience, the Event Manager of the premiere, Nkuli seeks to educate more than entertain. The movie reveals the trials, tribulations and travails of a beautiful young lady called Nkuli. The lead character played by Ghanaian actress,

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Nana Akua Addo and her two siblings: Kwame and Gye Nyame, played by James Gardner and Lisa Asor Awuku respectively, are faced with the harsh realities of life when they went to live with their wicked Aunt after being orphaned. Nkuli contracts the deadly HIV when her aunt, played by Pauline Oduro, forces her into prostitution as a means of generating income for the family’s upkeep. As if that was not bad enough, a series of unfortunate events transpire in this seemingly cursed family. The premiere of the film, ‘NKULI, THE MASKED’ sort to bring together patrons and stakeholders of Ghana’s growing movie industry to view a moving film that tackles a very sensitive social

issue. The star-studded event, which was held at the Silverbird Cinema inside the Accra Mall had Former President of Ghana’s Fourth Republic, H. E Flt Lt. Dr. Jerry John Rawlings as the Special Guest of Honour. In a chat with Mustapha A Inusah of GhanaState.Com, Kofi Adams, Spokesperson for the former President said that the President’s love for the creative art is very high and deep-rooted. On Nkuli, Adams said “His Excellency has been speaking on the breakdown of societal values and culture as well as the fact that the extended family spirit which we cherish is being lost in our society but its essence, has been demonstrated in the movie, which is the main reason he is proud to identify with Nkuli”


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President Rawlings with the cast & dignitaries

Colombian Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Claudia Turbay Quintero & her husband with Deputy Zambian High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E Rowland Mwansa

The Colombian Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Claudia Turbay Quintero speaks on the HIV / AIDS pandemic

Dr. Caesar, President J.J Rawlings & Lady Patience

Dr. Lawrence Tetteh (middle) & Zambiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E Timothy Mwaba Walamba

(R) Lawrence Tetteh greets President Rawlings

President Rawlings & his entourage leaving the event

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Mr. Adams added that, H.E. Flt. Dr. Rawlings in previous years has shown lots of interest in the arts by attending many musical events and since movie making is part of the art, he sees it as a great honour to have attended the premiere as Special Guest. Other dignitaries at the premiere were: renowned International Healing Evangelist, Rev. Dr. Lawrence Tetteh (President of Worldwide Miracle Outreach) , former Nigerian Presidential Candidate, and Publisher of OVATION International Magazine, Chief Dele Momodu, Zambia’s High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E Timothy Mwaba Walamba, Zambia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E Rowland Mwansa, Colombia’s Ambassador to

Ghana, H.E Claudia Turbay Quintero and her husband, the Deputy Colombian Ambassador to Ghana. Also, former Captain of the Black Stars, Stephen Appiah and Mrs. Nancy Q. Sam, President of the Tour Operators Union of Ghana, as well as Zimbabwe Honorary Tourism Ambassador were in attendance. The movie was directed by Phil Efe Bernard for Hau of Kadewe Films, producers of the hilarious movie, ‘Wanna Be’, which starred the likes of Nana Akua Addo, James Gardner, Prince David Osei, Bismark Odoi, among others. Lady Patienece who is also the Manager of the Lead Character in Nkuli was the Event Manager.


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... AND ELIKEM PROPOSES TO BBA HOUSE MATE, POKELLO AT THE VGMA

Elikem proposing to Pokello live on stage during the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards ceremony

t was a scene that must have been borrowed from one of those carefully-woven romantic novels, but it sure had the maximum effect as Ghanaian Big Brother Africa Housemate, Elikem Kumordzi,a.k.a Elikem The Tailor went on his knees during the muchpublicised Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) to propose to fellow BBA Housemate, Pokello Nare! The pair had been invited to present the Best Music Video Award and was just about to go along as scripted to announce the nominees for the category when Elikem told Pokello to turn around and allow the whole audience admire her lovely dress, she gladly obliged. He then asked her to tell everyone who had made the outfit, she turned to the microphone and said Elikem The Tailor.

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Now grinning from ear to ear, Elikem said “Baby, I will like to make clothes like this for you, for the rest of your life”. He then went on one knee like a true Romeo, dipped hands into his pocket and pulled out a tiny box. Pokello, like everyone in the hall, was in a state of shock. Elikem quickly opened the box, produced a ring, dragged the microphone to his mouth and choosing his words carefully said “Pokello, will you marry me” Everyone roared!! Pokello was tongue-tied for a few minutes, then, she brushed some tears from the corner of her eyes, shock her head as if to say, “What a surprise” and then screamed a huge “ YES!” The delightful audience who were lucky to witness such a true-life drama was on its feet cheering.

Pokello from Zimbabwe and Elikem from Ghana hit it off during the BBA Show and the relationship was so steamy that they decided to extend the friendship from the make-belief to the real world. In no time, after the end of the reality show, they confirmed that they were in deed dating-and the whole of the continent had been waiting to know if they will take the affair further. Now ,Elikem has taken the bold step of proposingand so we all await the date for the big BBA nuptial! The public proposal must have been designed by Elikem to finally put a stop to the widespread rumours that the pair had separated. His bold attempt will however further put a huge microscope on their relationship-and from his action, it seems Elikem and Pokello are ready to ride the media storm together forever.

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WE HAVE REALLY IMPACTED NIGERIA’S HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY -MR OLADELE COKER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HSSL GLOBAL Interview: Bamidele Salako Photo: Ken Ehimen

‘’I remember back in those days, my colleagues and I, we did not know one other before Sheraton but we used to meet. We would all resume early, close late, volunteer for everything and our other colleagues would laugh at us in those days for taking so much upon ourselves. They would be like, Na your papa get Sheraton? (meaning, does your father own Sheraton?) ‘’ ith Oladele Coker, Director of Food and Beverage Operations at HSSL Global, what you see is what you get! The hotel management and development expert is one of the three founding Executive Directors on the Board of the hospitality giant, the other pair in the troika, being Ayokunnu Olowoporoku (Director of Finance and Administration) and Oladipo Efunkoya (Director of Rooms and Engineering Services). Together, they run the six-subsidiaries strong conglomerate founded well over two decades ago as Hotel Support Services Ltd. but renamed HSSL Global Ltd. in 2005 following a series of strategic organisational repositioning and business restructuring moves that led to the expansion of the scope of the company’s services as well as maximisation of profit for its investors. In addition to its first class hotel management and support services, the group which has serviced thousands of budding and illustrious hotels and companies across the country, has through its subsidiaries, broadened its services to include hotel management IT solutions, industrial catering services, institutional catering services, airline catering services, events management, HR capacity building, executive search, personnel audit and control and staff policy and regulation formulation, amongst other services. The unifying theme of this ongoing success story, that is HSSL Global, is a corporate culture of

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practices. This culture of excellence remains an enduring emblem of all HSSL Global divisions – consistently nurtured by the hard work of an array of practiced professionals and sustained by a Board of Directors that boasts an impeccable wealth of experience and cuttingedge expertise. This interviewer had never met Mr. Coker before the interview, so, there was a stated sense of anticipation while the OVATION team waited for him to join us in one of the cozy suites at HSSL Global’s HS ContinentalBlue Ribbon Hotel off Allen Avenue in Ikeja, Lagos. We were however urged to feel at home by our beautiful guide who was speaking on behalf of her boss, our host. We

individual and collective excellence across the board, engineered by an uncompromising and a rigorous compliance with international best

duly obliged him and lounged like kings in the comfort afforded us by the lush sofas that lined the walls of the suite’s living room. A while later, a gentleman who looked lustrous in a dapper English outfit, walked through the door. We rose to meet him; he instantly shook our hands and apologised for having kept us


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waiting. In truth, it did not seem like we had had to wait very long, considering that we had spent the intervening time doing justice to a proper English breakfast of toast, tomato omelets and tea. But apologise he did, with a charming voice, in sweet King’s English- an indelible imprint of a sterling British education. He had not said much, but in those first few minutes, his well-groomed appearance promptly delivered the impression of an urbane, pragmatic and punctilious manqualities that essentially constitute the core of his profession as an hotelier. What was it they said about first impressions? Oladele Coker sure knows how to make one - a delightsome one at that - even if unwittingly. His is an ethos of distinction, which really is the essence of what he, his co-Directors and their multifaceted organisation represents. In a business where image, perception and first impressions count, he at once confirmed to us that, the sense of organization and warmth of the hotel staff members as well as the pristineness and conviviality of the environs and interiors that greeted us on arrival, were not by accident, but by design – imprints of the captains of the HSSL Global ship. The cerebral Director would later confirm to us that, excellence is not an occasional occurrence at HSSL Global; but a daily experience. It is not an option; it is demanded of everyone within the setup, from top down. An engaging and enlightening interview we had, asking him how the management of HSSL Global has managed to maintain such high standards and stay relevant for over two decades within Nigeria’s sometimes unpredictable and oftmurky economic waters. That and stories about little beginnings, enduring friendships and partnerships, professionalism, challenges, the hospitality and tourism industry at large, growth and expansion and a promising future, form the central themes of our exciting conversation. HSSL Global has been around since 1990 and you credit yourselves as being key players in the development of Nigeria’s hospitality industry, how big a role would you say you have played in Nigeria

HSSL Global has actually been around since about 2005. Hotel Support Services was what we started in 1990. Our objective in starting out was to revolutionize the hospitality industry and render service to the group of investors who could not afford foreign management. Now, you have to remember, this was over 20 years ago. The landscape was very different then; we had very few international brands in Nigeria – Sheraton, Hilton, Golden Tulip – and I think that was probably about it. So, most indigenous investors and indigenous hotel owners were falling way below international standard. We worked for Sheraton for many years and each time we went out to hotels, we could see that the disparity was actually major. We realized that, this was our industry and our country and there were no persons better placed than we Nigerians to do it. And so, we decided to take a step and stop complaining and to go out there to do something – to bridge the gap between the very expensive and capital intensive foreign management and bring in a local management that would give them more or less the same thing but at a naira price instead of the dollar denominated price. Now, we have been doing this for over 20 years and I will say we have been very successful because we have been able to impact the industry quite substantially. First and foremost, there is hardly any hotel in this country that we walk into that we will not be recognised by somebody. And it surprises me up till this day, that we go to a place for the first time and you think you do not know anybody there but as soon as you are walking in, somebody is running to greet you, saying, ‘Sir, I was with you in this place, you trained me in that place, you employed me here.’ So, it is really gratifying from that perspective.

The other thing is that, we now have many copycat companies doing exactly what we are doing. When we started, it seemed like madness. I remember when we were leaving Sheraton some of our colleagues asked us what we were going to do. We told them and they were like, ‘Are you mad? Who does that? How can you leave certainty for uncertainty.’ It looked ridiculous at the time but we believed in what we wanted to do and we were committed and determined. And despite all the numerous advice to the contrary, we left and did what we wanted to do. Now, the same people who were asking us that time if we were crazy, many of them are now leaving and trying to emulate exactly what we have done. It is said that, imitation is the best form of flattery. Now we have so many imitators-people leaving the foreign establishments or retiring to set up what we have started. So, we feel flattered that we have done this. Normally, when you work for a Hilton or Sheraton for over 20 plus years, and you retire, that is the end of the road for you. But now, we have given such people options and so we are quite happy about that. And of course, with the numerous clients that we have been able to service over the past twenty years, we have lost track, but they will be over a thousand. So, basically, you have raised the bar for indigenous hoteliers in those over two decades that you have been in business

I would like to think that, we have; from the indigenous point of view. You must understand that, hospitality is an international practice that was established a long time ago, even though it is dynamic. In our own small way, what we did was to disseminate that international standard a little bit wider and further to some places where it would not have got to. We were in Ekiti State a while back and we drove into a hotel just to grab a drink – never been there before – brand new hotel. Before we even got down from the car, two guys were already approaching us. They were the consultants running the place and they worked with us some 15 years ago and I had even forgotten that we knew them, until they introduced themselves to us. It is gratifying really when that happens and it happens a lot. Even Sheraton that we left about 23years ago, if I walk into that place now, there will be somebody that knows me. What would you say has changed on the Nigeria’s hospitality landscape from when you first started out and now. I am not an expert but it looks like there has been an obvious boom in the hospitality business with massive hotels springing up all over the country

23years ago when we started, the hotel business was in what you might call the seller’s market because there were not really enough quality hotels to go round. By and large, the ball was really in the court of the hotel owners or operators and the good hotels could charge what they wanted. They could have all kinds of policies and procedures: ‘We are accepting this, we are not accepting that.’ And pretty much, everybody had to comply. Fast forward 23 years now and it is a different ball game. Now, we are in the buyer’s market. The buyer is spoilt for choice because we now have more hotels than hotel users. So, the guest is truly the King now and it is a buyer’s market who determines what he wants. So, the proliferation of hotels in itself is one of the major changes in Nigeria’s hospitality industry. The other significant thing is that, regarding hotel management in Nigeria, the international players are much more than when we started. Now, virtually every major international chain is in Nigeria today and this comes with a substantial raising of the bar, because back in the day, they were just few. Now, they are so many – meaning increased competition with one other and with the local brands. I think it is good ultimately for the consumer 307


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because he would be guaranteed better services at somewhat better prices. I say somewhat for obvious reasons. Hotels in Nigeria are still a little bit more expensive for obvious reasons – because of the operating costs. I was watching Richard Quest’s CNN Business Traveller the other day and an international rating ranked Nigerian hotels as being the second most expensive in the world after Russia, even more expensive than Dubai, which is of course a massive tourism and hospitality destination compared to Nigeria

We have been saying this for many years – the operating costs here are on the roof. For instance now, you have a 300-room hotel. Whether you have a full house or you have ten per cent occupancy, you have to run the generator and that costs money. The hotels you are comparing us to do not need to run generators. It is much cheaper to run with state provided electricity than to run on generators but since power is mostly unstable, you have to use generators. You pay for diesel every day and maintain those generators every time. It is stressful. I tell people that to run a hotel in Nigeria, you have to be a mini local government because you have to provide your own power, water, basically everything. And this is what makes the cost of operating hotels very expensive. Then, we have multilevel taxation. The local governments tax you, the state government taxes you and the federal government taxes you – this group, that group; this agency, that agency. Everybody bombards you for money, thinking that because hotels are all over the place, they must be making money which is absolutely not the case at all. Given all of these challenges, how do the hotels under your management manage to get by

Well, we have always encouraged clients to have their hotels managed. Many people choose to build their hotels and put their wives or children there and for a while, everything is rosy and they will make some money. But the hotels that have stood the test of time in Nigeria today are the ones that are managed. Now, that is the difference you have on a quality product on a sustainable basis and that is where management and professionalism come in. Like I said earlier, there are more hotels and customers are spoilt for choice; therefore, they will always go back to where they have received the best service. That is where management comes in because they possess the professionalism to determine the needs of guests even before they ask. Nowadays, it is not good enough to wait for guests to ask you for what they want, you need to anticipate guests’ needs even before they ask. So, these are the hotels that will stand the test of time. This is what we have preached and this is what we have tried to do over the years. I am not saying it is easy, because competition has made it very difficult and a lot of these hotels we are competing with; we do not necessarily have a level playing field with per se because some of their investors or promoters have access to some funds that some others may not have access to. Some will go to the bank to borrow at 30% interest per annum. Some others may have come by funds in one way or the other and you are all going to compete in the same market. That is the stark reality

That is the reality on ground. That brings me to the next question: Given the fact that hotels have to tailor their services to suit the needs of their customers, and like you said, even anticipate those needs, what is perhaps the single most important need of customers when it comes to picking hotels

It depends on the type of hotels. You know, there are different types: the business hotel, the luxury hotel and so forth. The needs differ or vary, depending on the nature of the hotel. If it is a business hotel for instance, things that would be pertinent to business people are of critical importance, like high speed internet, secretarial services and so forth. Some would say security must be top notch particularly, when you have a lot of expatriates around. In Nigeria for example, expatriates’ number one priority would be security. They want to feel safe and secure. They want to see things and processes that make them feel safe. For instance, do you have a process by which a stranger cannot just walk into the hotel and head straight to a guest’s room? People have to be cleared before they can go in to see guests and that is just one simple thing. In other hotels in different locations, you might have to do a little bit more. For instance, if your hotel is in Maiduguri now (laughs), you have to go the extra mile with security. I was in Kano recently and I stayed in a hotel there and it was like 308

a military zone (laughs) but I slept well because of the heavy security presence. Guests’ needs will depend on the location of the hotel as well. Firstly, you have to determine what type of hotel you are running – who do you want to cater for? Then, you anticipate the needs of that particular clientele. Majority of the local and foreign hotels in Nigeria involve business tourism. Most times you travel in Nigeria; it is business-related which is sad because we really need to start having pure tourism travels and not just business all the time. Given your vast experience and expertise, what would qualify for you as a good hotel

It is difficult to define a good hotel with one brush. It would have to be extremely broad because like I said, there are different types of hotels and so, what is good for one may not necessarily be good for the other. I have been talking about the ability to satisfy the needs of customers and the ability to anticipate those needs. For me, any hotel able to do this on a consistent basis would qualify for a good hotel. Then, there are fundamentals like, a clean and neat environment, adequate security, prompt service and price-wise, the customer must feel that he is getting value for money. All of that should not be on a one-off basis – you have to be consistent and that is a challenge anywhere in the world, especially in Nigeria; because we have so many mountains to climb here (laughs). What is available today, even food-wise, may not be available tomorrow. Breakfast sausages for example, there may be a particular type that the guest really likes and he comes today and he does not get it. You may have looked everywhere for this particular type and not found it. By the time he comes again and he does not find it, there is a problem. These are some of the constraints. Sometimes, you want to do some things but you are limited. Let us talk about HSSL Global. You rebranded from Hotel Support Services Limited like you mentioned earlier, to HSSL Global, what was the significance of that move

Well, we started as Hotel Support Services Limited in 1990. At that point, what we primarily had in mind was hotel management and other services were secondary at that time. But as the years went by, we started to realize that, there were a lot more services that we could and needed to render – a much wider range of services to the industry. With a name like Hotel Support Services Ltd., we thought we were limited, in that when you go marketing, the focus will be heavy on the word ‘hotel’. So, when you have services like procurement or specialized catering, you do not really get even the manpower services from Hotel Support Services because people tend to give it a narrow view. We realized that we needed to break the company down into business units in order for them to specialize in these different areas. We worked with a firm of consultants on the rebranding and what we came up with was HSSL Global which is the parent company – actually just a holding company. We do not trade per se in the name of HSSL Global but the business units under it. For instance, the company that does the management and hotel consultancies is Hotel Support and Management Company (HSMC), which specifically addresses the core business of hotel support services. We have another company called Gastronomix that specifically does the business of specialized catering. We have a company called Hospitality Depot which is a supply and logistics company. We also have OCE Manpower Services which deals with manpower services. And then, we are also setting up the Hotel and Tourism Business School which is coming up where our office used to be on Allen Avenue. Then there is Glenwood Farms

Glenwood farms, I kept silent upon. That is basically backward integration, whereby as time goes on, the large portion of the food products we use in the companies and in the hotels will come from Glenwood Farms. And also, we will begin to supply other similar companies. We also want to go into food processing, packaging, exports, et cetera. We had to decentralize these things and have each business, so that when we want to, for instance, go for our specialized industrial catering business, Gastronomix is a company set up for that purpose and it is very clear like 7up; there is no ambiguity (laughs). When we are going for a procurement job, we can use Hospitality Depot. That is what the company does and it has that track record. This makes it easier to identify each business unit. Ultimately, our hope and our dream is that each one of those business units which are already registered


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as limited liability companies by the way, can grow into big companies of their own. You know how they say the UAC’s of this world have big companies that make up the UAC, that is what we are aiming at. The HSSL Group will be made up of all these companies. This is a starting point. As time goes on, we will add some more as and when the need arises. What structures have you put in place within the group to ensure that this remarkable HSSL vision outlasts you and your colleagues seeing that most Nigerian businesses, regardless of size, die with their visionaries

This is something that we had thought about right from the beginning and if you are familiar with the way we operate at HSSL, we have from the beginning, been extremely formal. We have gone out of our way to invest in infrastructure and in people. There are three Executive Directors that run the business. If we wanted to, particularly with where the hotel management and consultancy services are concerned, the three of us, with a couple of other people would probably be pretty much doing all we are doing. But that way, the company itself will not grow. And so, we have had to invest in infrastructure and establishment. Over the years, we have developed people in-house. For instance, we have General Managers and Assistant General Managers, Business Development Managers, Hotel Managers, Business Unit Managers and so forth. For example, I have not been to Glenwood Farms in Osun State this year but the farm is running and those who are involved in the running of the farm are doing what they have to do. I do not need to be there. This is the kind of establishment that we have had to invest in over the years. It has cost us a lot because it is expensive but that is the only way this business will outlive us. Many businesses are run in such a way that once the promoter is not there, nothing happens. Yes, because we are professionals, we do have inputs, but we are not the only professionals on the planet. You know, very soon, we have to begin to think of stepping down as Executives and retire to the Board as just investors. I believe that in the next five to ten years, that indeed will be the case and my colleagues and I have begun to plan for this obvious eventuality. Then we can appoint CEO’s over the various companies who will continue with the day-to-day running of the business. It is one of the things that led to the creation of the business units and the establishment of these independent companies. We have serviced many clients, some of whom I have never met before but that one of the Executive Directors would have met or that the managers would have met. When we started, everything was Dele, Dipo and Ayo all the time but you know, that is not something that is sustainable. And so, if anything should happen to Dele, Dipo and Ayo, what then? We have deliberately invested in establishment in order to forestall that eventuality. You mentioned the insistence on international or global best practices as one of the core values that have sustained your organisation over time, what other core values and philosophies of business guide your operations

One of the things we believe at Hotel Support is, ‘Everything is possible’. In fact, we used to have a slogan when we first started: ‘At HSSL! (Points to our lady guide who was in the room) and she responds: Everything works!’ That has been one of our major philosophies over the years-a can-do mentality. Everything must work; everything is possible. There is nothing impossible. We do not believe in impossibilities. Things that we call impossible are just things that we have not found a way to do yet. Once upon a time, they said it was impossible to fly but now we fly all over the world all the time, every time. How does staff recruitment and motivation work around here

Hotel Support is an equal opportunity employer which means that, everybody who comes in has an equal opportunity. It does not matter if you are male or female, where you come from and all such considerations. What matters most is – can you do the job? I believe if you find out from anybody who has worked with us, they will tell you that we try to be as objective and professional as possible. We have a recruitment process that conforms to international best practice and it is done deliberately because we do not want favouritism or nepotism. Everyone comes in on his own merit. None of our staff members was lobbied for. They simply came for an aptitude test, passed, came for an interview, they passed and were offered the job. Once you get on the job, we tell everybody from Day 1 that they can aspire to any level within the establishment. The ball is in your court. How far you will go and how high you will climb is up to you. If we discover that you are ready for the next level, then it is available for you. If you want to remain where you are – it is your choice. We believe that the sky is wide

enough for everybody to fly. I always tell staff members that I pray you take my job because it is when you take my job that I can retire, relax and play golf. So, I have no problem at all. I tell people, if I train you over the years and you are as good as me, then it is not good enough. I want you to be better. You should surpass me. We encourage everybody in the industry to pass the knowledge down. In fact, in Hotel Support, you cannot be promoted until you have trained your successor. That way, we guarantee that knowledge is passed down. In some organisations, people tend to hoard knowledge because knowledge is king – knowledge is power. But here in our own organisation, knowledge is only king and power if you share it. We also have a grievance procedure which is very elaborate. From Day 1, everybody is trained on that procedure because we want you to know, if you have a grievance here, let us know. The only offence will be if you kept it to yourself and begin to react, then we have a problem. If you have a grievance, it does not matter who, it may be your

immediate superior, you are entitled to air your grievance. We encourage our staff to seek clarifications. We want you to ask questions. It is not an offence – we do not mind. We are ready to answer questions from sun up, till sun down, rather than have people carrying rumour. There are certain things you do not have power directly over to change, but what would you have differently in this industry where you operate regarding government policy and other factors generally

For one, I would love it if we had some harmonization of taxes and levies, instead of having numerous people banging at your door every time. Different governments come and say they are supporting tourism; some of the plans are good but the implementation, quite poor. Some of the plans are not effective at all. For instance, one of the major challenges facing people in this industry is access to funds, because when you start a new project, it is a medium to long term investment; many of our banks 309


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‘’So, the three of us went down to this place and within three months, we had dealt with the problem and the hotel went from massive losses to generous profits and we made more in those three months than we had made in a whole year at Sheraton. So we talked to each other, Wait a minute. What the hell have we been doing? So we can do this!’’ want to lend short term. You are doing a project that is running into hundreds of millions and they will be telling you to repay on four to five years which is totally ridiculous. This is not helping genuine investors to invest in our industry. Instead what you have is the money bags. I think it will be good for practitioners to invest in this industry and not just money bags. The number one problem in this industry today is power. We need to have this sorted out. Yes, the Federal Government is making all the right noises – we have done all this before, we want to see results. This on-off situation is a killer. It is sending our maintenance bill through the roof. You have the generator, and the thing is going on and off about 20 times a day, every day; it is not going to last. Light bulbs, televisions – if you know how many of these things we replace on a weekly and daily basis, it is ridiculous. We would be much better off if this power situation was sorted. Now, those are in addition to the cost of diesel, the cost of maintaining the generator and the cost of maintenance generally. The hotel rates could come down substantially, if power was taken care of. It would make a massive difference to the industry – believe me. 310

I believe the government is looking into the security issues but when you look at foreign websites and you see the travel advisories concerning Nigeria – it is discouraging. Most of the travels to Nigeria are business tourism. We would like to have proper leisure tourism. We in Nigeria know that the security situation is not necessarily as bad as they make it out to be but the perception out there is different. I told you I was in Kano recently and slept well but when you watch the news, it sounds as though these are no go areas. Until these issues are addressed, it is going to affect our tourism. The net flow of tourists to Nigeria is not going to increase significantly until these issues are addressed and people feel safe coming. Also, our tourist sites and locations need to be properly developed. When you get to any tourist site in Nigeria whose name you have been hearing for many years, Ikogosi for instance, you will find nothing out of the ordinary when you get there. In fairness to Ekiti State, they have done some extensive work on the infrastructure, the accommodation and so forth, but the tourist site itself – the subject matter itself is still very basic. Compare that to Niagara Falls, there is Niagara on the American side and on the Canadian side, on both sides of the fall, they have built entire cities around. Now, is it that we do not have waterfalls in Nigeria? Ok, they may not be as big as Niagara but the bottom line is, you can build an entire city around a tourist site if we were a little bit creative. All out tourist boards, I do not really know what is going on there. One thing the Federal and State governments can do is to put round pegs in round holes. It simply will not work to have Accountants and Lawyers in charge of tourism. There are numerous tourism practitioners in Nigeria – they need to be the Commissioners of tourism, the Ministers of tourism. They need to be people from within the industry who understand the industry – people who have taken it from level to level – either on the tourism or hospitality side. In Nigeria, they try to marginalize the hospitality part from the tourism but the truth is that, if there were no hotels, there would be

no tourists. Period! The governments call these meetings and conferences with the practitioners but they do not really listen. They hear you, they make notes and then, when it is time for implementation, they will not call you again. The implementation is always a disaster. Tell us more about yourself

You know my name and where I work (laughs). I am married with four children. I schooled in the UK – Bournemouth and Poole College of Education. And then, from there to Slough, which is in Berkshire, College of Higher Education. This was in the 80’s. I came back to Nigeria, served in Kaduna around 198384. Then was unemployed till 1985 when I got a job in Sheraton where I worked for five years till 1990 before we started Hotel Support Services and I have been working here ever since. What was the experience like at Sheraton

Sheraton for me was a very good experience. May be, because I schooled abroad, I was familiar with Sheraton. I had done some jobs abroad before and so, I already had an idea what to expect with Sheraton. At that time, when you are young and just starting out in your career, you are like a sponge, you want to soak up as much knowledge as possible. It came to me very quickly that this was an opportunity to grab the practical experience to add to my theoretical knowledge. So, for me, from Day 1, I was determined to soak up as much as I could in that place. I remember back in those days, my colleagues and I, we all met there. We did not know one other before Sheraton but we used to meet. We would all resume early, close late, volunteer for everything and our other colleagues would laugh at us in those days for taking so much upon ourselves. They would be like, Na your papa get Sheraton? (meaning, does your father own Sheraton?) They often made those kinds of comments. But somehow, I knew that if I was going to be somebody in life, it would have to do with my work in this place. And so, I did not play with it at all. The job was number one for me. Everything else was secondary. All my friends, and as a young man then, even my girlfriends,


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everything was swept aside. I did not see anybody for like six months and I am not joking. All my close friends, for the first six months, we did not see at all. I was focused on this work and that was it. Looking back, it paid off. I remember in those days, when I was resuming early in the morning, every day before I entered the building, I would look up at the building for about two to three minutes, kind of meditating and reflecting, I did not know what it was, but within me, I knew there was a connection between me and this building. It was like a divine appointment. When I finished Youth Corps in 1984 where I had served with Arewa Hotels, and did very well there, I enjoyed Kaduna and had wanted to stay there. Somehow, with the politics there, the three Youth Corpers that year were all from the South, so those guys decided that we should bounce. I said I would wait till the end of the year and if by then, they still had not given me an appointment, I would go back to Lagos. Then end of the year came, they did not give me any job and so, I went back to Lagos. The very first week that I resumed to Sheraton, which was in June of 1985, they started calling me from Kaduna that they had approved my appointment. I was confused for a period as to what to do. Sheraton had given me a supervisory job; these guys were giving me a management job. I thought about it. I came back from England to do my industrial attachment with Durbar Hotel in Kaduna that time and then, I now came back to do my Youth Corps. So, I looked at it and thought to myself that, all these years that I was with both hotels, what did I really learn? I had gone around wearing suits and doing big man, but I did not really learn that much but within those few days that I was in Sheraton, something told me that I would grow in that place. It was still a difficult decision, because they were offering me more money and a better position but I said, ‘No, I am not going. I am going to stay here.’ I spoke to my colleagues just to be sure I was not crazy (laughs) and they both agreed with me that I should stay at Sheraton. The irony of it is that, the two guys who advised me to stay, before the end of the year, they both left themselves. What level did you rise to before leaving Sheraton

By the time I left, I was in charge of Banqueting. The next level would have been Food and Beverage Manager which was a big deal in Sheraton in those days. In fact, one of the boys I trained back in the day is the Food and Beverage Manager now. We are trainers. One of the reasons why we have been able to do what we do over the years is because we train. If we did not know how to train, trust me, we would have folded up. And this was one of the things Sheraton did for me. Sheraton made me a Trainer. You know I told you that we volunteered for everything, so when they needed people to volunteer for this or that training, to do this or that, you would find me there. I remember when we were opening the Sheraton in Abuja, the Human Resources Manager was going around begging people to go there to train but very few were interested, because Sheraton was just going to send you there, they were not going to pay you extra. You are going to work hard, you are going to train but no extra pay. When the HRM got me, I said, ‘Sure, why not.’ If anything, I had never been to Abuja before – this was in 1989 or so. So, I consoled myself that in the worst case scenario, I get to see what Abuja looks like. So, the guy was already leaving when it occurred to him that I had actually said yes. He thought I had turned him down. Now, that Abuja that I went to is what has enabled me to be able to do what I have been doing in the past 23years, because over there, I had bigger responsibilities. Also, it gave me the opportunity to evaluate how much I had actually learnt over the past couple of years. Sometimes, you do not really know how much you have learnt until you are left alone. There in Abuja, they brought in one British guy from Zimbabwe who was supposed to oversee things, very lazy guy, and so much of the job was left to me and my team, and I was the most senior of all the Food and Beverage staff members on that team. So, everybody was looking to me for direction, as this guy was never available. They then brought another Assistant F & B Manager from Uganda or so, another lazy man. So, basically everything was on me. Everybody was looking to me and my team from Sheraton Lagos and we got the job done. We had to open to a full house – this was during the Babangida

Administration and a conference was holding. We had limited time and within that short period, we had to recruit and train. We also had to set up, as there were over 500 crates of equipment lying around in the basement, which we had to open, count and store while we were doing the recruitment and training. So, on a typical day, during the day we would Bamidele, Alaba, Mr. Oladele Coker with Abraham Falodun recruit and do aptitude tests for hundreds. We would finish that around 3 or 4pm, then go back to the Hilton where we were staying on our break after which, we would return to Sheraton to mark the scripts and paste the results on the board. We would then go down into the basement and start sorting equipment and there was no ventilation in that basement; so you can imagine the temperature. By the time we were done, we were all drenched. It was hard work but it was funny. There was a particular guest when I was the good. I thoroughly enjoyed. It remains one of the best Restaurant Manager who used to do a weekly times in my life as far as I am concerned, because hard program for Rotary Club of Ikeja GRA. He was the work does not kill. I learnt a lot in the process. I was President of Rotary Club of Ikeja GRA at that timeexposed to Sheraton policies and procedures which I Dr. Odugbesan. I got close to him as he was a perfect gentleman. So even, after I had moved on to would ordinarily not have been exposed to. So, I Banqueting, we still maintained that rapport whenever learnt everything that I needed to learn. We were we ran into each other in the lobby. It was during one recruited early, trained, and then the rest of the staff of such chance meetings in the lobby that he told me members came in and we had to train them too. This he wanted to talk to me. That was the first time he told was like the second time but this time, I was a part of me that he owned a small hotel and that he was having the whole process from start to finish and all I learnt, problems and so, needed my help. He said the hotel stayed with me, which is why I have been able to do was making money but that the money was not getting all of these in the past two decades and counting. to him. He knew his workers were ripping him off but Each one of us that founded Hotel Support had this he did not know how. So, I told him the problem sounds like a control problem, that I would talk to one kind of rigorous experience. of my colleagues in Accounts so he could look into the I was going to ask you how you struck a partnership with problem. I later to spoke to Ayo about it and asked him your co-Executives if he could take a look at it and see if he could help We did not know one another before we got to him. That evening or the following one, Ayo drove Sheraton but we kept meeting in certain places within down to the hotel and gave me the feedback the the hotel. We were the group that would resume early following morning. Having assessed everything, he and close late and volunteer for everything. told me that he felt the problem was much more than Providence just kept throwing us together. We were control. He told me that the problem they had was also the people that would stand for our rights if we that, controls do not work in isolation, that they need felt things were not being done the way they should policies and procedures. It is only when these have be. Among all the managers, who were numbering been put in place that he could then design the close to 50, only three of us would voice out if it came controls. To cut a long story short, he needed me from down to discussing issues with management. We the Food and Beverage Division, he needed somebody would all have agreed to sit with the Rooms Division from the Rooms Division to work on the controls Manager and table the issues confronting us, only there and ask if I could recommend someone. So, I three of us would show up (laughs). We used to sit at told him that I would talk to Dipo who said he was in. poolside when we were having lunch and talked about So, the three of us went down to this place and within what we would do after Sheraton. We shared the same three months, we had dealt with the problem and the thinking. I remember that when I entered Sheraton, I hotel went from massive losses to generous profits gave myself five years and that was why I worked like and we made more in those three months than we had somebody possessed because I had limited time. I was made in a whole year at Sheraton. So we talked to on the clock; I needed to grab everything I could and each other, ‘Wait a minute. What the hell have we then move on. But what I was going to do after been doing? So we can do this!’ That was the moving on, I did not really know. Funny enough, the beginning of the matter. The company we put together three of us had the same dilemma. We all knew that that time was OCE Consult, which became Hotel we did not want to do this forever; that we wanted to Support Services Limited in 1990. be self-employed somehow, but none of us knew precisely what we wanted to do. It was in the process of one of these agitations, when we went to meet with Interview & Shoot Location:HS Continental Blue the GM, and of course it was just the three of us, everybody else had chickened out as usual (laughs). Ribbon, 3, Allen Lane, Off Allen Avenue After the meeting, we sat down and talked about Ikeja, Lagos. 234-1-2702725 Sales@hsslglobal.com moving on. The way it actually happened was very www.hsslglobal.com 311


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VALENTINE

COMES ALIVE IN ACCRA By Ben Dzakah

young and vibrant events management company, Stesi Ghana Limited took Accra by storm earlier this year when it organised the first-of-its- kind St. Valentine party. The event conceptualised by Mrs. Ayo Adeusi was memorable for all the participating couples as they were given the treat of their lives. Guests and their partners were not only accommodated at the 5-star Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, they were also chauffeur-driven from their homes. The event proper began with a red

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Mrs. Ayotunde Adeusi & Seyilaw

Kelvin & Ayotunde Adeusi

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Ellis Monkuwi & Scholastica Avan

Mr. & Mrs. Francis Amegayibor

carpet segment after which Nigerian comedian Seyi Law was invited on stage-and he was at his best, delivering elevated rib-cracking jokes. That was not all, the lovers were serenaded for many minutes by the talented award-winning artiste, Kwabena Kwabena. Speaking to Ovation afterwards, Mrs. Adeusi said the event was aimed at spreading the message of love and joy. She said that she was happy that many who turned out had smiles on their faces which was an indication that they had a fun-filled time


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Kwabena Kwabena, Ayotunde Adeusi & Michael Apreko

Mr. & Mrs. Fred Boakye

Mrs. Ayotunde Adeusi & Michael Apreko

Aba, Bridget & Valery

Olajumoke Oyesanya, Seyilaw & Ohioma-Belo Oluwatobiloba

Esther Nartey & Ruth Williams

Jonathan Lovelace Odoi & Esther Odei

Betty Korletey & Daniel Borkeey

Mr. & Mrs. Gyesi

Emmanuel & Prisca Akwada

Foriwaa Oppong & Morisca Opare Asamoah

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Kwabena Kwabena performing

Pearl Appia & Cynthia Enemosah

Believe & Bridget

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Perpetual & Leslie Owusu

Ohioma â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Belo Oluwatobiloba,Michael Apreku & Olujumoke Oyesanya

Seyilaw entertaining guests


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Mametta,Valery, Seyilaw, Bright & Aba

Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin Aryee with friends

Mametta, Bright & Akua Barago

Mrs.Amegayibor & daughter

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The Glamour and the Glory of

OSCARS 2014 By Samantha Ofole-Prince/ Photos courtesy of A.M.P.A.S. & Royalty Image

s Ellen DeGeneres The Best Host in Oscar History? That was the question on every lip as she gave a five star performance that will be remembered for years. With her wacky banters, wit and sarcasm, Ellen DeGeneres made the 2014 annual Oscars the most watched Academy Awards since 2000 when 46.53 million tuned in. The entertainer, who returned to host the Oscars for a second time, previously hosted the 79th Academy Awards in 2007, for which she received a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. It’s no surprise the television icon who began her career as an emcee at a local comedy club in her hometown of New Orleans upped her game at the 86th Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.

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Host Ellen Degeneres dressing up as Glinda the Good witch

With monologues packed with snarky jokes and cynicism directed at Hollywood’s movies stars, DeGeneres, in true comedic form delivered. There was a jab at the legendary singer, Liza Minnelli, who she claimed was a man in drag masquerading as the legend. She chided the nominated actors for attending “a total of six years of college” and didn’t fail to constantly remind actress Jennifer Lawrence, who won an Oscar last year of the tumble she took on the red carpet. She even mocked Oscar winner, Jared Leto for how pretty he is and brought attention to actor Jonah Hill about his public masturbation scene in the film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” “For those of you watching from around the world, it’s been a tough couple of days for us here,” said DeGeneres in her opening monologue. “It’s been raining… thank you for your prayers.”

Lupita Nyong’O accepts the Oscar for performance by an actress in a supporting role for 12 years a slave

Sporting a dazzling array of Saint Laurent designer suits, she followed in the footsteps of the most successful awards show host, Billy Crystal, who has hosted the Oscar seven times. There were gleeful interactions with the plethora of A-listers in attendance from Lupita Nyong'o who won the Best Actress Oscar for movie “12 Years a Slave” to Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi. (“Captain Phillips”). There was also the star-studded selfie taken with Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Lupita Nyong’o, and a photo-bombing Kevin Spacey, which became the most retweeted tweet in history. The icing on the cake became the pizza she delivered to the audience, with stars like Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Martin Scorsese, and a very pregnant Kerry Washington diving in. Later, she

Tyler Perry at the 86th Acardemy Awards Photo by Aaron Poole


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Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres takes a Selfie

Pharrell Williams dances with Lupita during the live ABC Telecast of The 86th Oscars

Actor Sidney Poitier (L) & daughter Sydney Tamiia Poitier

Actor Michael B. Jordan

Actors Barkhad Abdi & Faysal Ahmed from movie Captain Phillips

Chiwetel Ejiofor & Sari Mercer

Matthew McConaughey who received a Best Leading Actor Oscar was the only winner to thank God during his acceptance speech

Jamie Foxx & daughter Corinne Foxx

Viola Davis

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Pharrell Williams performing stage during the live ABC Telecast of The 86th Oscars

actress Lupita Nyong poses with her Oscar

The famous Oscar Selfie taken at the Oscars 2014

U2 performs onstage during the live ABC Telecast of The 86th Oscars

12 Years a Slave producers Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Dede Gardner, Steve McQueen, & Brad Pitt pose backstage with their Oscars

collected tips for the delivery guy in Pharrell’s gigantic Vivienne Westwood-designed hat from the likes of Pitt, John Travolta and Nyong’o who dug into her purse looking for change and instead tossed her lip-gloss into the collection pot. "Ellen is talented, wonderfully spontaneous, and knows how to entertain a worldwide audience," said Dawn Hudson, Academy CEO. "She's a big fan of the Oscars; we're huge fans of hers. It's a perfect match." With song performances from Pharrell Williams who sang a rendition of “Happy” from the film “Despicable Me 2,” which saw the singer-producer dancing with Lupita Nyong’o, Meryl Streep, and Amy Adams in the crowd, 318

other performances came from Idina Menzel, Karen O, Bono and U2 who rocked the house with the song for “Mandela.” “12 Years A Slave” won Best Picture, Alfonso Cuaron got Best Director for “Gravity” and “Dallas Buyers Club’s” Matthew McConaughey and “Blue Jasmine‘s” Cate Blanchett took home the top Actor and Actress awards. Overall, the 2014 Oscars was an engaging and entertaining event. DeGeneres did a great job and gave the evening the same easy-going vibe of her hit daytime talk show. Let’s hope she returns next year for she was certainly the Best Host in Oscar history. Oscar winners Matthew, Cate, Lupita & Jared - Photo by Royalty Image


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Actress Cristin Milioti

Adepero Oduye

Alfre Woodard

Anna Kendrick

Anne Hathaway

Bette Midler

Calista Flockhart

Cate Blanchett

Charlize Theron

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Meryl Streep

Glenn Close

Idina Menzel

Jada Pinkett Smith

Kate Hudson

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Gabourey Sidibe

Jennifer Lawrence

Lady Gaga

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Conversation with

COCOA BROWN Story: Samantha Ofole-Prince Photo: K C Bailey

Cocoa Brown as Lytia in The Single Moms Club Photo by K C Bailey

he’s a hilarious, brilliant comedienne that will surely be looked upon as one of history’s greatest. With an endearing on-screen presence and a humble persona in interviews, actress and comedienne Cocoa Brown is arguably one of the funniest actors in “The Single Moms Club.” In the Tyler Perry directed film, the Virginia native plays Lytia, a brash and outspoken mother of five barely making ends meet. Thanks to a generous scholarship program, her son

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Hakeem attends an exclusive prep school, but when he’s threatened with expulsion along with four other kids, Lytia and the other mothers form the Single Moms Club, a haven for single mothers seeking support and an understanding ear. “She’s definitely brash and loud,” shares Brown. “Her two eldest sons went to jail, so she’s really hard on her middle son, Hakeem. She doesn’t want him to go down the same path, but what I love about my character is that you get to see those brash layers peel off and you do see the softer side of her.”

Producer, writer and director Tyler Perry & Cocoa Brown on set of The Single Moms Club

Also starring Nia Long (“The Best Man Holiday”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Bridesmaids”), Zulay Henao (“Love Thy Neighbor”), Amy Smart (“Justified”) and Terry Crews (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), it’s a witty film that follows five single mothers from very different walks of life. As Lytia, Brown gives us someone to root for as we watch her deliver some of the movie’s best one-liners. Her character is just as opinionated and obstinate when it comes to her love life, which involves an amorous war of attrition with Branson, (Crews).

Cocoa Brown & Terry Crews in The Single Moms Club

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L-r Leslie Mann, Nicki Minaj, Cameron Diaz & Kate Upton

IS CAMERON DIAZ THE

joint enemy, and, with a little help from Amber (Upton), a third woman caught up in Mark’s lies, they plot a mutual revenge. “I felt it was such a unique script,” says Diaz. “There is nothing out there like that and usually when Story: Samantha Ofole-Prince Photo: Barry Wetcher there is a story about three film which is bound to strike a women all being involved with the chord with people from all same man it usually ends with some walks of life, there’s plenty of eyeballs being scratched out.” laughs to be had in “The Other Directed by Nick Cassavetes (“The Woman.” Infectiously entertaining, this Notebook”), it’s a film about female comedy that features three great solidarity that balances comedy with a leading ladies circles around Carly bit of fantasy. Despite a plot that's Whitten (played by Cameron Diaz) almost too preposterous for the who discovers her latest boyfriend is a material and a script that goes on a tad married man. When she accidentally too long, it is a good-hearted, simplemeets the wife he’s been cheating on minded comedy about female (Leslie Mann), they both discover a empowerment with some very funny third woman (Kate Upton) is also caught up in his lies and conspire to moments. Some of their vengeful actions include dipping Mark’s give him what he deserves. The film is a standard and toothbrush in the toilet, swapping his predictable one – three flipped-out shampoo with hair remover, slipping femmes who make life hell for the man hormone pills in his morning who scorned them, but what is smoothies and dropping laxatives in his entertaining are the laughs we get drink, but of course there is the final act along the way. of revenge that hits him where it really As the story begins, we meet Carly hurts – his pocketbook. (Diaz), a tough-as-nails New York Don Johnson makes a brief lawyer with a strict set of rules when it comes to men and relationships. When appearance as Carly’s father while she meets Mark King (played by Nicki Minaj injects a bit of humor as “Game of Thrones” star Nikolaj Carly’s sassy secretary, Lydia. Coster-Waldau), she lets her guard "The women in this film actually down and begins to fall for him. But help one another," Diaz continues. "I when he cancels a date citing plumbing think we have all gone through some issues at his home, she makes a kind of a betrayal whether it’s with a spontaneous visit to the house clad in high heels and wielding a plumbing boyfriend, friend or a family member tool-kit only to discover that he has a and I think that’s why this is so wife, Kate (Mann). Instead of relatable to everybody because we all directing their outrage toward one know what it feels like to feel that another, Carly and Kate bond over their betrayal.”

OTHER WOMAN

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Amber (Kate Upton, left),Carly (Cameron Diaz) & Kate (Leslie Mann) toast their friendship in The Other Woman

Kate (Leslie Mann, left), Carly (Cameron Diaz) & Amber (Kate Upton)

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Kate (Leslie Mann) takes solace in some whipped cream, a lavish hotel room, and an attentive pooch -

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CHARLIE WILSON STEALS SHOW AT

BET’S CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL

Samantha Ofole-Prince Photos: Courtesy of BET Networks

ith elaborate sets, moments of magic and stirring live performances, BET’s annual Celebration of Gospel, which took place on Saturday, lived up to the show’s 14year legacy. Hosted by Academy-Award nominated actress Taraji P. Henson, gospel music’s biggest celebration featured several gospel and R&B collaborations. From Charlie Wilson’s lively set which was arguably the night’s top performance to Yolanda Adams’ evangelical fervor, the show brought together top artists from both the secular and gospel music worlds.

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Charlie Wilson & wife, Mahin

Charlie Wilson performing

Kicking off the evening’s celebration was Deitrick Haddon. With an aweinspiring display of endurance and talent, the minister and gospel singer who appears on the Oxygen docu-series “Preachers of L.A.,” roared on stage performing his single “Great God.” This was followed by Tamela Mann and Sisters with Voices, the R&B Grammy-nominated trio from New York City better known as SWV. Powerhouse vocalist Yolanda Adams had the audience on their feet, including celebrity guest Kenny Lattimore, as she belted out the hit “The Only Way.” Performing “Same God,” Tye Tribbett, who was joined by Donnie

Donnie McClurkin

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An energetic performance by Tye Tribbett & Donnie McClurkin

McClurkin sang, cajoled, conducted and danced, while acoustic soul artist India Arie gave a more subdued performance with contemporary gospel artist Jonathan McReynolds. Other performers included “American Idol” winner, Ruben Studdard, BET’s “Sunday Best” winner, LeAndria Johnson, and soulful crooner, Kem who joined forces to raise the praise as a triumphant trio. With elements from gospel, jazz, blues, and R&B, Lalah Hathaway performed with Zacardi Cortez and Chante Moore had a musical number with Vashawn Mitchell. Midway through the show, there was a touching tribute to gospel music pioneer, Richard Smallwood and rousing spoken word pieces from Pastor Shirley Caesar and Dr. Bobby Jones. Eddie Levert from the group, The Ojay’s also made a special appearance much to the audience’s delight, but the evening’s most definitive moments came from Charlie Wilson who confirmed that he’s still the singer and showman he was in the early ‘80s when he led the Gap Band through its biggest hits. Clad in a white suit and backed by a musical entourage, Uncle Charlie, as

The Grammy nominated trio SWV performing on stage

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Yolanda Adams performing The Only Way

Lalah Hathaway

he is fondly called, shared his testimony in a sanctified song titled “If I believe,” a track which he told Ovation International addresses his faith in God. “If you believe in something greater than yourself and believe in yourself, you can do anything,” added Wilson, who shared that he was excited to be performing at an event which celebrates the word of God. Wilson who overcame a drug addiction, prostate cancer and being homeless for a few years on the streets of Los Angeles has made a comeback in the music industry and recently beat out Justin Timberlake, John Legend and Robin Thicke to receive the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Album for Love, Charlie. “I fell to my lowest point during my addiction to drugs and alcohol that left me homeless,” stated Wilson. “I was able to pick myself up and begin a second career as a solo artist through God. My faith has led me to heights I could not have imagined and I put God first and I thank Him. I know if it wasn’t for Him I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

Tamela Mann


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DIRECTOR

JOHN TURTURRO EXPLORES PROSTITION IN

FADING GIGILO Story: Samantha Ofole-Prince Photo Credit: Millennium Entertainment

ohn Turturro admits he has a fascination with prostitution. “It’s a profession, and like any profession, there are people who do it well,” says Turturro who explores the topic in his film “Fading Gigolo.” Starring Turturro, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber and Sofia Vergara, the film follows an ageing florist who joins the world’s oldest profession, and ends up finding something he didn’t know he was looking for. “I have a lot of women close friends and I liked the idea of a guy who is a physical person and an unambitious person, which you don’t’ see in movies, but he is also a very competent person. I thought it could be interesting to explore his relationships with women,” shares the actor/director. In “Fading Gigolo,” Turturro plays a character called Fioravante — a modest middle aged man who leads an unambitious life working in a New York City floral shop. Down on his luck, he’s convinced by his best buddy, Murray (Allen) to utilize his charm and looks and ends up becoming a high-end male prostitute. “Fioravente’s appeal doesn’t just emanate from his looks but rather from his extraordinary gift for understanding women and his ability to hold their attention,” Turturro states. “Fioravante’s willing to listen to them, to be a human being with them, and to be very tender with them.” A charming comedy also written by Turturro, Sharon Stone plays a client who hires

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him for a ménage à trois with best pal Selima (Vergara). Paradis plays Avigal, an Orthodox Chasidic widow and one of Fioravante’s reluctant clients while Schreiber rounds off the cast as a Chasidic man who is in love with Avigal. “Sex is a big part of life. It’s a longing that people have, even those who are in relationships. I don’t think that longing ever ends and that desire is what has made people seek out prostitutes throughout time,” adds Turturro, who has starred in several Spike Lee films from “Do the Right Thing,” Girl 6,” “Jungle Fever,” “Clockers” to “Mo’ Better Blues.” For Turturro who has performed in over 60 films, the idea for the movie first surfaced in a playful improvisation he did for a friend’s amusement over lunch. It was only afterwards that he started to think the concept might be something worth exploring further. He talked it over with a few friends, including his barber, who mentioned it to another of his customers who happened to be Woody Allen. Allen loved the idea so much he, in turn, reached out to John. “He was very generous with his time,” shares Turturro, “but he was also merciless, and if someone like Woody Allen takes the time to do that, I felt that there must be something there. I think Woody encouraged me in his own way to go deep, and by the end, I wound up with much more of a nuanced film than a silly comedy.” Rated R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity “Fading Gigolo” is out in selected theaters.

John Turturro in Fading Gigolo

Woody & John

John Turturro as Fioravante

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WHY I DECLINE

NUDE ROLES? -Erica Husband or Christian actress, Erica Hubbard, her faith plays a huge role in picking projects. The star of the popular comedy series “Let’s Stay Together” which is produced by talk show host, Queen Latifah, Hubbard is also known for her portrayal of Cassie Sutton in the familyoriented series drama “Lincoln Heights.” Though she rarely speaks to the media about her faith, Hubbard, who got an early start working as a child voice-over actress, recently told the Gospel Herald that she has turned down projects that did not coincide with her Christian faith. “Every job is not for you and because it is given to you doesn’t mean it’s for you,” Hubbard says. “I am a devout Christian and although I know that nudity can sometimes help create the story better, I have declined nude roles because of my spiritual background.” The 35-year old actress who started her career in 1988 doing voice-overs and starring in commercials for brands such as McDonald's, Reebok and Sears, credits her family and a strong Christian foundation for keeping her grounded. “My faith and family is what helps me stay true to myself,” says Hubbard who plays the care-free Kita Whitmore in the series “Let’s Stay Together,” a romantic comedy that follows several couples renegotiating the rules of cohabitation. “There are a lot of egos in the industry and a lot of people in Los Angeles stay in Los Angeles and are not around their family members,” she continues. “When you stay around a lot of industry people, they won’t always tell you the truth about yourself. When you are around genuine people you automatically take on their characteristics. My family is very grounded and a lot of them are still in the same neighborhoods that we Erica Hubbard grew up in and that brings you back to reality.” The Chicago native who garnered public attention with roles in films “A Cinderella Story,” “Save the Last Dance,” “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” and “Akeelah and the Bee,” in which she starred alongside Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, can be seen in the romantic comedy “Black Coffee.” Her television credits include guest-starring roles on “CSI: Miami,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” and “Cold Case.” Nominated for an NAACP Theater Award for her work in “What Would Jesus Do,” a stage play that tackled the church’s conflicted response to the AIDS epidemic, Hubbard also runs a non-profit organization that speaks to schools, community centers and youth organizations. “I come from a community that was stricken by poverty and started the Erica Hubbard Foundation to help the kids in my community grow,” adds the actress. “I have written two children’s books and hosted a literacy night. It’s a big thing I am doing for the community where I read my books to the children, as a lot of kids in school are not reading as much as they should.” “Let’s Stay Together” airs Hubbard plays Kita in the comedy Let's on the BET Network Tuesdays Stay Together 10:30/9:30c

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Erica was nominated for a NAACP Image Award


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THE COLOURFUL WEDDING OF OGHENEKOME DAMIJO AND ENIOLA ABIODUN IN LAGOS Story: Adeyemi Funmilayo Photo: Solomo Ekhaiyenme

The couple

op Nigerian celebrities gathered at the Grandeur Events Centre, Oregun, Ikeja Lagos, when Oghenekome Rena Damijo, son of multipleaward-winning Nollywood actor and Delta State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD) got married to his long-time friend, Eniola Oluwafunmilayo Abiodun. Their love story started years ago, when they met during Sunday School at Reverend Chris Okotie’s Household of God Church in Lagos after which they became good friends. They went their separate ways in pursuit of their education only to reunite at RMD’s 50th birthday party a while back. It was then that the pair rekindle the fire of love and a romantic affair ensued. They then decided to take their budding romance to the next level by inviting friends and relations over for their wedding ceremony after their families had approved of the

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union and agreed upon dates. The formal ceremony was preceded by a colourful traditional engagement ceremony at the Grandeur Event Centre, Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos. The colour code for the wonderful day was white with a shade of pink, colours which both families excelled in. With drumming and a lot of singing, the couple was joined as one according to Yoruba tradition. Mrs. Foluso Ogunjimi who hosts the popular Yoruba television programme, Sokoyokoto, coordinated this ceremony. Her role at the ceremony is referred to in Yoruba parlance as Alaga Iduro. She spiced up the event with jokes, songs and a lot of excitement. Guests were entertained with gourmet dishes as well as exotic drinks supplied by connoisseurs, Wines by Bonix. Ace comedian, Teju Babyface compered the ceremony. Three days later, the couple’s union was

solemnized at the Chapel of Christ the Light Church, Alausa Ikeja. The solemnization ceremony was officiated by Reverend Femi Taiwo - Chaplain and Reverend Dr. D.K Verrals - Presiding Chaplain. Elegant Eniola shone in a beautiful white wedding gown and was ushered into the Church by her father. Oghenekome cut the picture of a dashing groom in his bespoke black suit. After all the marital rites were observed, the couple was pronounced husband and wife to the delight of their parents and friends. A well-attended grand reception followed and expectedly, top Nigerian celebrities turned up to make it a special occasion. In attendance to celebrate the newlyweds were the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and wife Mrs. Roli Uduaghan; Wife of the Deputy Governor of Delta State, H.E Mrs. Tuwere Utuama; Lagos State First Lady, Dame Abimbola Fashola; Executive Chairman, Daar


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Hon. Richard Mofe-Damijo, Mrs. Abiodun, couple Madam Esther Etinagbedia & Mr. Ladi Abiodun

Hon. & Mrs. Richard Mofe-Damijo, Kome Mofe-Damijo, Eniola Oluwafunmilayo Abiodun, Brume Mofe-Damijo & Onome Mofe-Damijo

The couple

Ayobami Odedina, Olori Eko, Hon. & Mrs. Mofe-Damijo, Adebukola Adegbesan & Adesola Balogun

Mr. & Mrs. Ladi Abiodun & Eniola Oluwafunmilayo Abiodun

Communications Limited, High Chief Alegho Raymond Dokpesi; Publisher of Vanguard Newspaper, Sam Amuka Pemu; Chairman BISCON world, Dr. Bisi Olatilo; Delta State Commissioner for Information, Chike Ogeah; Publisher of E-24 Magazine, Biodun Kupoluyi; Teju Baby Face, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, M.I , Timi Dakolo, Dayo Adeneye, Ini Edo, Zeb Ejiro, AY and Soni Irabor, amongst others. The elated couple was received into the venue with a standing ovation. As

the ceremony proceeded, the couple cut their well-crafted cake and danced too, expressing their delight for all to see. Thunderous applause greeted their amazing steps. Later, the guests showered the couple with enormous gifts after which the legendary Sir Shina Peters took over proceedings and thrilled the couple and their guests with some delightful musical extravaganza. It was an exciting and unforgettable occasion.

Hon. & Mrs. Richard Mofe-Damijo, Mrs. Abiodun , Kome Mofe-Damijo, Eniola Oluwafunmilayo Abiodun, Madam Esther Etinagbedia & Mr. Ladi Abiodun

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Celestine Amucha, Mrs. Jumobi Mofe-Damijo, Bode Opeseitan, Sola Mogaji & Lolade Mogaji

Ayiri Emami with Hon. Richard Mofe-Damijo

Onome Damijo, Olori Adenike Balogun & Princess Teju Mann

Azuh Arinze, Teju Babyface & Mr. Clement Djebah

Mr. & Mrs. Austin Eruotor

Nobert & Gloria Young with Mr. & Mrs. Patrick Doyle with Mrs. Ozioma Sammy Okposo

Mrs. Jumobi Mofe-Damijo with her in-laws

Patricia Obozuwa, Violia Graham-Douglas, Mrs. Adesuwa Ladoja, Mrs. Jumobi Mofe- Damijo, Adetola Owolabi & Felicia Obozuwa

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Nollywood producers: Uzor, Charles Novia & Chico Ejiro (far right)

RMD & Fred Amata


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The lovely couple during the church ceremony

Oghenekome slipping a ring on Eniolaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s finger

Together as one: Eniola wears ring on Oghenekome

Couple receiving their marriage certificate from Rev. Femi Taiwo

Madam Esther Etinagbedia with Hon. & Mrs.Richard Mofe-Damijo

Mr. & Mrs. Ladi Abiodun (brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s parents)

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H.E Dr. Emmanuel Uduagan (Executive Governor of Delta State) & wife, Roli

The couple with both parents & His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan & wife, with H.E. Mrs. Tuwere Utuama, wife of the Deputy Governor

The couple with both parents

Couple with Hon. Richard Mofe-Damijo & the sisters of the bride

Couple with parents of the groom

Couple with brideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family

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Couple with family & friends


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Jumobi Mofe-Damijo, H.E. Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, First Lady of Lagos & RMD

Dan Akpovwa , Sir Shina Peters & Ola Ogunlana

Sam Amuka-Pemu with High Chief Raymond Dokpesi

Soni Irabor, Osita Iheme & friend

Prof. Hope Eghagha (Commissioner for Higher Education Delta State) with Ms. Tricia Eghagha

Mrs. JuiletForteta, Mrs. Esther Etinagbedia & Mrs. Agare Rosemary

Stephanie Henshaw with Cynthia Henshaw

Mrs. Adedoyin Olusoga, Mrs. Ladun Ogunbanwo & Mrs. Tope Odukoya

Teju Babyface, Ali Baba, Okey Bakassi & Dangote (Comedian)

Lekan Ogunbawo with Victory Ewueje Karohwo

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Ali Baba & wife, Mercy Akpobome, Mr. & Mrs. Dayo Adeneye with Mr. & Mrs. John Ukuhuelegbe

High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Chief Edem Duke, Hon. Richard Mofe-Damijo, Mr. Ladi Abiodun & Mrs. Jumobi Mofe-Damijo

Hon. Richard Mofe-Damijo with Mr. & Mrs. Bode Opeseitan

Hon. Richard Mofe-Damijo with Lady Ezekiel, Amma Aneye, Onyeka Ehighibe,Tosan Moorer, Onome Mofe-Damijo,Taiwo Adeoye & Ashlee Carlisle

Azuka Ogujiuba with Chief Dayo & Chief (Mrs.) Caroline Adeneye

Mrs. Adesuwa Ladoja, Agatha Amata, Namure Ediomoya, Mrs. Tosin Dokpesi, Mrs. Jire Kola Kuforiji & Mrs. Mary Akpobome

Mr. Ladi Abiodun with some Chiefs

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Barr. Ufoma Kerewi , Hon. Richard Mofe-Damijo & Hon. Dennis K. Tabuko

Hon. Ndudi Elumelu & RMD


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Rosemary Ingbi, Emem Isong, Hon. Richard Mofe-Damijo& Ini Edo

Okey Bakassi, SSP, Biodun Kupoluyi & Niyi Ojemakinde

Victor Olaotan (left) & Kunle Coker (right)

Hon. & Mrs. Richard Mofe-Damijo with Tijani Babaginda

Hon. Richard Mofe-Damijo with Rufai Ladipo

Mr. & Mrs. C.A Ajuyah (SAN)

Zeb Ejiro, Mr. & Mrs. Emeka Ossai, Chico Ejiro, Fidelis Duker & Joy Ejiro

Mr. & Mrs. Freeze

Bibi Abraham, Vivian Oforiokuma, John O, Hon. Richard Mofe-Damijo & Claudine

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The couple with Hon. Richard Mofe-Damijo

Couple cutting their cake

Hon. Richard Mofe-Damijo, Onome Mofe-Damijo, Mrs. Jumobi Mofe-Damijo & Mrs. Orode Okpu Nee Uduaghan

Hon. Richard Mofe-Damijo with Hon. & Mrs. Chike Ogeah

Mrs. Sapere Emily, Mrs. June Oditah, Mary Okpomo & Mrs. Eloho Baiyewu

Makamba Henshaw, Stephanie Henshaw & Stephanie Henshaw

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Enitan Allen, Omasan Buwa& Mrs. Ireti Doyle

Ali Baba, Dayo Adeneye, Femi Opadere & John Ukuhuelegbe


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Ovation Magazine Issue 156  

Ovation Magazine Issue 156

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