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SOCIETY Former Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Managing Director Timi Alaibe drew dignitaries to Harbour Point on Victoria Island, Lagos, last Sunday, for his 50th birthday celebration. TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO was there.

Alaibe’s grand 50th birthday bash


HERE is no other reward for good except good, says the adage. For Timi Alaibe, a Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, blessed is the day he hearkened to the cry of a man not from his ethnic group, seeking financial assistance to return to school abroad. The person he assisted turned out to be the cousin of former Deputy Senate President Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu. To say that Mantu was delighted by Alaibe’s kind gesture will be an understatement. Mantu was bowled over and he never forgot. So, years later when the Federal Government created the NigerDelta Development Commission (NDDC), Alaibe approached Alhaji Mantu for a job in the commission. Mantu got Alaibe job in NDDC and he later became its managing director. From then on, the Bayelsa-born banker turned politician hit the limelight. By virtue of his position, he was instrumental to ending the NigerDelta crisis. Recognising his talent, the President picked him as his Special Adviser on Niger Delta after expiration of his tenure. Last Sunday, Alaibe celebrated his 50th birthday. As expected, the man from Igbainwari in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State received praises for turning the golden age and for his contributions to society. The birthday party was not just all about celebrations; it was also a moment of sober reflections for Alaibe who fought poverty to achieve success. His is a classic grass-to-grace story. He is from a humble background and was raised in Ajegunle, popularly known as ‘Jungle City’. Back home in Igbainwari, he became famous among neighbourhood kids for his swimming prowess and fishing with crude hooks. While he lived among the poor, he was determined to climb up the social lader so he learnt the art of creative survival quite early in life. The celebration began with a cocktail and photo session. Guests savoured good wines and nodded to music by the live band. Afterwards, they were led into the hall by a bevy of beautiful ladies. The celebrator stood at the entrance to welcome the guests into the lavishly designed hall. The settings re-enacted memory of a Presidential dinner for the many A guests in attendance. Various entertainers from gospel artist Lara Joe to Etim, DJ Jimmy Jazz, P Square and D’Banj were slated for performance. By the time The Nation crew left the party around midnight, all had performed except D’Banj. Comedians Basket Mouth and I go die were also on hand to thrill the guests. Before the ‘birthday boy’ cut his cake, a special performance was

•The celebrator, Alaibe being assisted by (from left) Chief Diepriye Alamieyeseigha; Mrs Ireti Kingibe; Alhaji Mantu; Gen Azazi; his wife; Governor Oshiomhole and Ambassador Kingibe to cut the cake

•Senator Danjuma (left) and Mrs Nkiru Anumudu

•Kingsley Kuku (left) and Hon Opara

•Hon Edure Barnabas (left) and Hon Boyelayefa Debekeme •Richard Ajamajebi (left) and Otunba Funsho Lawal

done by his children. The hall yelled as Alaibe’s quartet – Ebimobore, Ebikemiye, Ebiye and Ebitimi dazzled on the stage. Senator Daisy Danjuma supervised the cutting of the cake. Those who paid tributes to him at the event include President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by National Security Adviser (NSA) General Owoye Azazi; Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole; Alhaji Mantu; former

Secretary to the Government of the Federation Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe; former Group Managing Director, United Bank for Africa Tony Elumelu; former Deputy Speaker, House of Reps., Austin Opara and Niger-Delta activist Ankio Briggs. President Jonathan congratulated his kinsman describing his attainment of 50 as a landmark. He thanked God for guiding and protecting the celebrator over the

years. Governor Oshiomhole described Alaibe as a young man who has achieved so much. He wished him all the best, stating that Nigerians still expect more from him. Mantu described Alaibe as a de-tribalised Nigerian. “I’m playing the role of a father figure. I want to urge all of us that once we discover a talent, help him grow. Timi, I’m

proud of you and look forward to you becoming President of Nigeria,” he said. Alaibe thanked all for their support. He recalled how God used him and other good Nigerians to end the Niger Delta crisis. “We are only tools used by God to stop the crisis in the region. We believe also that God can intervene in the crisis in the North,” he said. •More pictures on page 37

The Nation June 15, 2012  

The Nation June 15, 2012

The Nation June 15, 2012  

The Nation June 15, 2012