At The Queen’s Birthday Party 2018 In Lagos

It was an evening of fun, laughter and networking as the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Party (QBP) was hosted at the British Deputy Commissioner’s residence in Ikoyi, Lagos. British citizens and guests were personally welcomed by Mr. Paul Arkwright, British High Commissioner and Ms Laura Beaufils, Deputy High Commissioner at the event.
This year, the party was held under the theme “GREAT Friends” and celebrated the close relationship between United Kingdom and Nigeria. The event showcased UK excellence in the areas of innovation, culture, literature and sport.
Mr. Paul Arkwright addressed the audience and spoke about the great friendship between Nigeria and the UK, about shared values and objectives between the two countries, and about British excellence in the four areas. He then rounded off “I want to thank all of our close partners who are here this evening for your support, friendship and co-operation over the past year”
Later, the High Commissioner assisted by his Deputy and two children cut a special cake and they raised a toast to the health of Her Majesty the Queen.

Ovation Publisher Bashorun Dele Momodu Launches 3 Books With Fanfare In Lagos

Chairman, Ovation Media Group, Bashorun Dele Momodu brought his years of experience, clout and connection to fore at the public presentation of three books in Lagos: “Pendulum 1 The Writings of Dele Momodu”, “Pendulum 2: The Writings of Dele Momodu”,  and “Fighting Lions: The Untold Story of Dele Momodu’s Presidential Campaign” authored by his campaign manager in 2011, Ohimai Godwin Amaize.

The A Star event saw the venue, Main Hall of Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) filled to its capacity with quality guests from all walks of life. The event which was very emotional and intellectually-stimulating, began with an opening prayer by good friend of the author, Pastor Dotun Ojelabi. This set the stage for the Master of Ceremonies, top Comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka 1st to invite the Keynote Speaker, the Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare to make his presentation.

According to the straight-talking man of God “Over the centuries, the phrase ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ has come to define the power of the written word in statecraft. Those words have since stepped out of the pages of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s The Conspiracy, a play written in 1839, to become words on marble.

“At the heart of this notion of the might of the pen is the idea that the course of a nation or people can be determined at the stroke of a pen.

“Nations can be built, and nations can be ruined; generations can be made great, and generations can be rendered wasted; civilizations can be birthed, and civilizations can be buried-at the stroke of a pen! At the stroke of a pen, millions of Africans were “legally” transported across the Atlantic and Mediterranean and became the property of slave owners. At the stroke of a pen, the slave trade was abolished centuries later and emancipation was proclaimed to former slaves, thus formally criminalising an immoral enterprise. At the stroke of a pen, the kingdoms and city states of Africa were partitioned and transformed into the estates of European monarchs. At the stroke of a pen, cultures were dismembered, nations were balkanised, and territories were amalgamated into colonies and protectorates. Decades later, colonies and protectorates became independent states-at the stroke of a pen.

“The likes of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah, and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, armed with no other weapon, mobilised the Queen’s language in the struggle for independence from the Queen. They fought their battles through such media as West African Pilot, Accra Evening News and The Tribune. Decades after independence, when free, fair and credible elections were annulled, and a tyrannical dictatorship held sway, the Nigerian press took up the baton and contended against the sword of oppression by deploying the armoury of vocabulary. I am so glad that the labours of these pen warriors and all others who fought for the democracy we enjoy today have not been in vain after all.

“From now on, any time the name Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola GCFR-Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic -is mentioned with full honours, it is an honour first to the man who paid the supreme price to pave the way for Nigeria’s democracy, and then to the heroes and heroines who stood up behind him, including those in the Fourth Estate of the Realm who marshalled the written and spoken word against tyranny. Indeed, the members of the press who fought for the June 12 mandate were fighting not just for democracy but in defence of one their own, for, amongst his many endeavours, Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola was a media entrepreneur and founder of the African Concord, where Dele Momodu, the man at whose behest we are gathered here today, cut his teeth as a journalist. I totally agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson that “talent alone cannot make a writer: there must be a man behind the book.”

Bashorun Dele Momodu and his ilk have proved themselves over the years to be real men. In addition, by deploying their skill against tyranny, the members of the press have aligned themselves with a biblical truth that recognises authorship as an instrument of battle, because the same God who is militarily presented in Psalm 18:2 as “the horn of salvation” is revealed in Hebrews 5:9 as the “author of salvation.”

Pastor Bakare maintained that “the writings of Dele Momodu has over the years addressed the fundamental issues facing our nation, stating that he was confident that the likes of Momodu will intensify efforts to ensure that the welfare and security of the people as well as the overall development of our people becomes the main discourse at this pivotal moments. He went on to refer to Bashorun Momodu as Pen Prophet.”

Bakare’s pwerful paper gave way to a short interview with the man of the moment, Dele Momodu, conducted by veteran broadcaster and founder of WFM, Nigeria’s first Women Station, Mrs Toun Okewale- Sonaiya.

Bashorun Momodu took time to explain the person behind MKO Abiola, his vision for the Nigerian people and everything he stood for, thanking the many that stood behind the enigma as the June 12 crisis lasted.

Afterwards, seasoned journalists were then invited to review the books before they were publicly presented. Taking his turn first was the Chairman, Editorial Board, ThisDay Newspapers, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, who went down memory lane, bringing to fore the life and times of Dele Momodu. He was followed by Mr. Simon Kolawole, Publisher, TheCable, who reviewed the second book, Pendulum: The Writings of Dele Momodu 2 while the Managing Director, Arise News Channel, Ms Ijeoma Nwaogwugwu did a thorough job in the deconstructing the third book, Fighting Lions: The Untold Story of Dele Momodu’s Presidential Campaign. Nwaogwugwu revealed the frustrations, Momodu suffered while attempting to become the President of Nigeria in 2011. One painful one being the part played by his primary constituency, the media, which wrote him out of contention.

The highlight of the event was the short speech presentation by the Chairman of Forte Oil, Mr. Femi Otedola, where he highlighted the sure steady steps that brought Dele Momodu to his present status. The billionaire business also used this rare speaking moment to make some revelations about his encounters with the late Pillar of Sports.

“I have studied Chief Abiola’s life in politics, philanthropy and most importantly building people and his doggedness, fairness, wisdom and good heart are traits that should be emulated. He was a man for all seasons” “As a young entrepreneur I had a taste of Abiola’s magnanimity and kindness. I developed the idea for an Papa Awolowo Memorial Concert which I shared with my good friend and papa Awolowo’s grandson, Segun who went to see Chief Abiola on our intention to have him as the chairman of the event and despite his political difference with Pa Awolowo in his lifetime, he not only showed up but arrived with his late wife, Alhaja Simbiat Abiola and they danced to the various artistes especially Sir Shina Peters. The highlight for Segun and I was the NGN100,000 cheque he gave us at the event. A huge amount back then and we admired it all the way to the bank.

“In 1991, I sold the idea to run for the governorship of Lagos state to my late father, Sir Michael Otedola and he dismissed it saying politics is not for Omoluabis and he also made a reference to the travails of Chief Abiola with the NPN leading to his much-publicized retirement from politics. After much persistence, I succeeded in getting him to run and the rest is history. He also revealed how he tried to get MKO released.

“A sad reminder of his arrest in 1994 was the picture of him alighting from a Black Maria. Upon seeing this, I called Ibrahim Abacha ( who later died in a plane crash) and requested to see him and we met at the South-West Ikoyi residence of Mr. Peter Igbinedion, the then MD of FAAN. I told Ibrahim to tell his dad to release MKO as it was not fair for a man who has been denied his mandate to be so humiliated by being put in a Black Maria to which our host, Peter, interjected by saying who is this and he swiftly walked me out of his residence.

“I later ran into Mr. Igbinedion at Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s London residence in 2013 and he was begging for my number. How the tables have turned! He then revealed another encounter with the Great MKO “After my father’s victory at the polls and seeing the need to rest, the then governor of Lagos State, Brig. Gen. Raji Rasaki Rtd, advised him to rest for two weeks and restricted visits and provided the LASG Guest House by Joel Ogunnaike Road Ikeja for the purpose.

“After a week there, I went to see my late father to around 7.30am and lo and behold, I met Chief Abiola and Alhaja Simbiat waiting to see him in the living room and when he saw me, he said Great man, where is your daddy?A great man referring to me as a great man struck a chord in me.”

He also used the occasion to pour encomiums on Ovation Publisher, Dele Momodu. The book launch proper was another exercise in professionalism as personality after personality stepped out boldly, made a short speech and launched the books.

The book launch was attended by the cream of Nigerian Society such as Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Pastor Tunde Bakare and wife, Alhaji Rasak Okoya, Mr Peter Obi, Former Governor of Anambra State, Hajia Bola Shagaya, Mrs. Modupe Oguntade (wife of NIgeria’s High Commissioner to Great Britain), Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi, Mr Fola Adeola, Mr Jimi Agbaje, Engr Rotimi Fasakin, Dr Dakuku Peterside, Rev. Mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi, Oba Adedokun Abolarin, Olori Ladun Sijuwade,Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Chief Dayo Adeneye (representative of Ogun State Governor), Hon. Kehinde Bamgbetan (Representative of Lagos State Governor), Mr Andrew Okeleke and Arinze Anapugars (Representatives of Globacom Chairman, Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr.), Sir Tony Chiejina (Representative of Alhaji Aliko Dangote), Mr Idowu Ajanaku, Habib Aruna, Pastor Dotun Ojelabi, Mrs. Betty Irabor, Dr Kayode Are and wife, Ngozi, Amb. Toye Okanlawon, Prince Damola Aderemi, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Siji Ogundele (Sujimoto), Princess Toyin Kolade, Mrs. Oyinkan Badejo-Okusanya, Mrs. Toyin Seriki, AIG Tunji Alapini (rtd), Mr. Kunle Bakare, Sir Gbenga Badejo, Ohimai Godwin-Amaize, Femi Akintunde-Johnson,Mr Abisoye Fagade, Mr Dayo Adedayo, Ms Joke Sogunro, Dr Reuben Abati, Simon Kolawole, Segun Adeniyi, Chief DonatusMs Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, Azuh Arinze, Biodun Oshinibosi, Omolara Wood, Mrs Toun Okewale-Sonaiya, Wale Oluwaleimu, Mr. Mayor Akinpelu, Mr. Tito Okpaise, Mr. Gboyega Okegbenro, Mr. Mr. Gbenga Olunloyo, Biodun Ponle, Messrs Lanre and Kayode Alfred, Ms Kemi Akinyemi, Chris Kehinde Nwandu, Ms Azuka Ogujuiba, Mr Adewale Jafojo and members of the Abiola family.

The Colourful Wedding Ceremony Of Xerona Duke And Derin Phillips

The joy of every parent is to see your children get married and start their own families and that was the kind of happiness and pride felt by famous Nigerian couple, Donald and Onari Duke when their beautiful daughter, Xerona wedded Derin Phillips also known as DJ Caise.
It was in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State that the first leg of their wedding ceremonies began and the venue was the picturesque Duke Family home nestled in the heart of the city. The beautiful Efik culture was in full display as the couple came out decked in splendid attires.
From the mandatory prayers of the parents, the couple was also showered with royal blessings by two first-rate monarchs, Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V and Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II. The groom’s mother, Chief (Mrs.) Teju Phillips who is also the daughter of late billionaire, Chief Dehinde Fernandez was filled with so much glee throughout.
It was obvious that she had developed a good bond with Xerona, her new daughter. The celebration of love between the two close friends dubbed XD2018 soon moved to Lagos, the Centre of Excellence.

The Lively Wedding Of Dr. Barth Ufoegbunam And Ijeoma Ezike In Lagos

There is nothing as sweet and lovely as spending the rest of your life with your friend with whom you share a special bond and this was the case when Medical Director of Gracevalley Medical Centre, Dr. Barth Ufoegbunam wedded Ijeoma Ezike at a lively ceremony in Lagos. The wonderful couple began their special day in the presence of the Lord when they had their solemnization at the St Peter Claver Catholic Church, Ajao Estate, Lagos.
It was a very fun-filled service with loads of songs and prayers before the couple took their vows, they said “I DO” promising to live together as one forever and then rounding off the session with exchange of rings.
When that session ended, there was great applause from friends and family who had come from far and near to witness the occasion. Later, the couple hosted guests to a sumptuous reception at the PEFTI Hall. There, everyone savoured good music, nice lunch and assorted drinks.
The couple also played a wonderful game that elicited laughter, cut their cake, fed each other and danced. This was certainly a memorable occasion that will linger on many hearts for years.

Mother Of The Serving Overseer Of Latter Rain Assembly Madam Eebudola Bakare Goes Home In Grandeur

Most funerals are embodiment of sighs, regrets and loud wailings. But not that of Madam Abigail Eebudola Bakare, mother of the serving Overseer, The Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, as she passed on at the ripe age of 108.

Consequently, the crème de la crème of the society converged at Victory Life Bible Church, Ajebo Road, Abeokuta Ogun State to celebrate her life and thank God for showering her with blessings. Prior to the service of songs was a night of tributes held in her honour at the Latter Rain Assembly, Ogba, Lagos.

Having spent over a century on earth, the family led by the vocal preacher, heaped encomiums on her for a life well lived, and for affecting their lives positively. It was an atmosphere of wholesome joy and thanksgiving.

Dignitaries at the night of tributes included Rtd. General Alani Akinrinade, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Mr. Biodun Shobanjo, Bishop Mike Okonkwo, Rev. Wilson Badejo, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) Chika Uwazie among others. The service of songs which took place at The Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, Ogun State also had notable personalities in attendance such as former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Dr. Wale Babalakin SAN, Senator Femi Okurounmu, Pastor & Mrs. Chinedu Ezekwesili, Mr. Dapo Adelegan, Otunba Gbenga Daniel among others.

The service of songs was followed the next day by the funeral service at the Victory Life Bible Church and was officiated by notable gospel preachers including Apostle Lawrence Achudume, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Rev. Wilson Badejo and Rev. Yomi Kasali.

At the church service, which saw the General Overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church, Rev Wilson Badejo, praying wholeheartedly for the family of the deceased, the choir held the worshippers spellbound as it dished out one soul lifting song after another to the dancing pleasure of all present. Afterwards, everyone moved to DLK Event Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State for a grand reception where guests were thrilled by the ageless Evangelist Ebenezer Obey, and rising star, Korede Bello, with first class comedian, Tee A as master of ceremonies. Their performances were superlative.

In attendance at the glamorous event were the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and wife, Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola , Ogun State Chief of Staff, Chief Tolu Odebiyi, Mr. Segun Awolowo, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Mr. Tunde Ayeni, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Hon. Bimbo Ashiru, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Former Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, Former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, Mr. Tunde Lemo among others.

Madam Abigail Eebudola was born on the 28th of October, 1909 to Chief Kilani Afuwape and Madam Banjoko Afuwape in Oba Village, Abeokuta, Egba Kingdom. Her father was a successful produce farmer who owned vast cocoa and kolanut plantations. He also owned a forest of palm trees and founded a successful palm oil manufacturing business. Her mother was a trader involved in marketing the produce from her husband’s farm. The family relocated to Balufe compound, Ago Oba , Abeokuta, when her father became the Balogun of Oba just before Mama Eebudola’s 18th birthday. She was one of the eight children by her mother for her father and the first daughter, with five brothers preceding her and a sister and brother born after her.

Mama spent her early life assisting her mother with her trade. While her brothers were enrolled in school, the long, daily trek was a deterrent to Mama who concluded that what those who went to school earned as wages was not worth the trouble. At About twenty-one, the very year the centenary Hall was opened in Abeokuta, Mama Eebudola switched gear from selling farm produce to selling imported chinaware-awo tanganran-which she sourced from Lagos. According to her, the journey to Lagos took her and fellow traders three days by foot, but , upon returning, her turnover made the arduous journey worth her while.

She made sufficient money from her trade to eventually acquire two mammy wagons to transport her wares. Mama was so successful in her business that men her age were too intimidated to approach her with a marriage proposition. However, she eventually settled for a man popularly called Baba Ajura. Mama acquired several plots through him and built her first house. This first marriage did not last very long because Mama was barren; she eventually opted out of the marriage when her husband and his family alleged that she had sacrificed her “eggs” in exchange for wealth. In agony , she left the house for Baba Ajura, sold some of her land , gave some to her friends, and returned to her father’s house as the reproach of barreness caused her significant grief and sorrow as well as subsequent business setbacks.

In 1994, during one of the Muslim festivals, Chief Sanni Adekunle Bakare, the Anibi Juwon and Otun of Iporo Sodeke Muslims, and the first son of the first Chief Imam of Iporo Sodeke mosque, visited his friend , the Balogun of Oba , Chief Kilani Afuwapa – Mama’s father. Chief Sanni was served a sumptuous meal cooked by mama for the guests at the occasion. In the course of their discussion, Chief Sanni expressed his interest in marrying Eeebudola whose father had told him of the circumstances surrounding her failed marriage .

Marriage rites were concluded within that year and Mama was given a new name, Wulaimot, amidst an outpouring of prayers and hope that her barrenness would be reversed. Mama was well-received in her new home and she became the “official chef” to a wealthy farmer with vast cocoa and kolanut plantations in the South as well as a large farm in Sokoto, Northern Nigeria, which earned hin the nickname Sanni Arewa.

In spite of the turn of the tide in her favour, the reproach of barrenness remained for another eight years, after which she gave birth to her first child who passed away shorthly after delivery. She contemplated returning to her father’s house once again due to the excessive sorrow and humiliation, but she had nowhere to go because her father died around the same time. This was a particularly difficult period because her father was her formidable pillar of strength.

However, like Hannah of old, God had mercy on Mama, turned her sorrow into joy and her mourning into dancing by opening her womb again and blessing her with a son, Gbolahan Babatunde Bakare, the 22nd and last child of Chief Sanni Adekunle Bakare, born on the 11th of November, 1954.

Family, Friends Celebrate the Life Of Dr. Olufunmilayo Alakija In Lagos

Sighs, long faces, heightened emotions of sadness were prevalent as Dr. Augusta Funmilayo Alakija, the accomplished daughter of one-time senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and chairman, National Communications Commission (NCC), Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, was laid to eternal rest at the age of 59.
Described as strong-willed based on her great achievements while on earth, Dr. Alakija’s final journey home began with a solemn wake keep held at the Harbour Point Event Centre, Victoria Island, where Pastor Tony Rapu of This Present House, ministered, intimating the mourners that though the lovely Mrs. Alakija was gone, everyone should be happy and take solace in the fact that she lived a life worthy of emulation, and will be practically resting in the bosom of the Lord.
Corroborating Pastor Rapu’s stance was the General Overseer of Trinity House, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, who eulogized the outstanding qualities of the deceased, and prevailed on the family, friends and well-wishers to rejoice as a result of the worthy footprints she left on the sands of time.

 

Nigeria’s Most Decorated Billionaire, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr Receives Highest National Honour From French President, Emmanuel Macron In Lagos

A mighty wind blew night and day. It stole the Oak Tree’s leaves away. Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark until the oak was tired and stark. But still the oak tree held its ground while other trees fell all around. The weary wind gave up and spoke “ How can you be standing Oak?” The Oak Tree said “ I know that you can break each branch of mine in two, carry every leaf away, shake my limbs and make me sway.

But I have roots stretched in the earth growing stronger since my birth. You will never touch them, for you see they are the deepest part of me. Until today, I wasn’t sure of just how much I could endure. But now I’ve found with thanks to you, I am stronger than I ever know”

This ode to the famous Oak Tree penned by Johnny Ray Ryder Jnr really encapsulates the life of Forbes-rated Billionaire and astute businessman, Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr, the Chairman of Globacom.

Just like the Oak tree is unlike any other tree in its habitat, so is Dr Adenuga different. In terms of humility, wealth, pedigree, philanthropy and investment, the businessman fondly called “The Guru” is one of a kind on the continent of Africa.

Dr Adenuga Jr, like the Oak Tree has now been universally acknowledged as a symbol of endurance, a strong believer that impossibility is nothing and a man divinely blessed with the go-gettting spirit.

The towering symbol of enterprise and excellence has not only made a name for himself at home, he has become an international champion-and that is why he now adorns the undisputable title as the most decorated African billionaire alive.

 

No other living African comes close to his record of being decorated with the highest National honour of three countries. In Nigeria, he was conferred with the national award of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, while in Ghana, he was conferred with the Companion Of The Star of Ghana (CSG) by President John Dramani Mahama and in France, French President, Emmanuel Macron decorated him with the Chevalier de La Legion d’Honeur (Commander of the Legion of Honour).

Dr Adenuga, the illustrious investor and entrepreneur extraordinaire got the last of these enviable awards at a ceremony in highbrow Ikoyi, Lagos.

Though it had been announced long ago, the formal presentation in Lagos, Nigeria was done in typical Adenuga style: a very private and dignified affair with no frills.

Being the first Nigerian ever to be so decorated with such an award, there was no doubt that Dr Adenuga was in buoyant mood. The day was also extra special because he was also going to join the French President to declare open the new-look Alliance Francaise Lagos facility which has now been re-christened, Alliance Francaise, Mike Adenuga Centre.

Explaining why the French government decided to confer the honour on Adenuga, President Macron said Dr Adenuga Jr. is “a true role model for Africa” who has contributed immensely to the growth of the African and French economy”.

Macron applauded Adenuga, one of the continent’s most benevolent philanthropist, on his promotion of the French language and culture in Nigeria, and also commended Bella Disu, Adenuga’s daughter, who conceived, coordinated and executed the Alliance Française project.

The French President said Nigeria has what it needs to surmount all challenges it may be facing now and it is blessed with great minds like Dr Adenuga. Noting that Nigerians have the “incomparable spirit of entrepreneurship, tenacity and ability to think out of the box”.

The French President who disclosed that he had previously worked in Nigeria for two and half years attested to the doggedness of Nigerians, affirming that if Nigeria succeeds, Africa is bound to succeed.

The Alliance Francaise Fondation is the premier cultural organisation in the world, founded on 21 July 1883, it now has 800 local associations in about 133 countries.

It is supported by grants from the French Government and the generosity of patrons, including its founding fathers who are notable Frenchmen like the scientist, Louis Pasteur, the publisher, Armand Colin and writers, Jules Verne and Ernest Renan.

The renovated Alliance Francaise Mike Adenuga Centre which is a villa now has new additions which have transformed it almost completely. There are spectacular alterations done to the amphitheatre and the internal auditorium to give it a touch of timeless elegance.

The accommodation has been improved, increased and enhanced, and sure to provide guests with an unforgettable experience. And also superb spaces have been creatively created for the library and administrative offices .

Furthermore, the modernisation that has gone into the building is simply breath-taking and only befitting of an organisation with the size and stature of Alliance Francaise Fondation.

It is also symbolic that the visit coincides with the beautiful renovation and refurbishment of the new Alliance Francaise building in Lagos. This is because of President Macron’s avowed belief that cultural interaction can only benefit the improvement of progressive relations between countries.

The audience at the event included Dr Adenuga’s wife, Mrs. Titi Adenuga, his children, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka, Oba of Lagos, HRM Rilwan Akiolu, General Alani Akinrinade (Rtd), General Aliyu Gusau (Rtd), Ovation Publisher, Bashorun Dele Momodu, top government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and captains of industry.

In the final analysis, it would be said that President Macron applauded the visionary foresight of Dr Mike Adenuga especially in the business terrain which informed the conferment of such a high honour.

This sentiment is similar to that expressed by then Ghanaian President, HE John Dramani Mahama who noted that Adenuga was awarded the Companion of the Star of Ghana “in recognition of your unique and outstanding contribution to business enterprise both in Ghana and the continent of Africa at large”.

The President also stated that through Adenuga’s creative business exertions, “you have touched many lives in Ghana. You have provided employment for our teeming youth, artists, footballers and many more. I am particularly proud of you. This award is our way of saying a simple THANK YOU.”

The citation on Dr Adenuga also commended his “transformational achievements in the telecommunications industry”, chief of which was the laying of the Glo 1 optic fibre cable linking several African countries including Ghana with Europe and America.

President Mahama commended Dr Adenuga’s association with telecommunications in Ghana since Glo Mobile’s launch and praised the massive capital investment injected into the project.

In his acceptance remarks, Dr Adenuga noted that President Mahama’s “recognition and support of my modest contributions to the development of Ghana’s economy have come as a great source of pride and encouragement to me. This is more so as it is coming from Your Excellency, whose sterling qualities of leadership I admire greatly”.

Dr Adenuga remains one of the finest pillars of investment in Africa with multi billion dollars interests in telecommunications, oil, banking and real estate among others. His telecommunications investment footprint spans across Nigeria, Ghana, Benin Republic, Senegal, Gambia and Cote d’Ivoire.

He set up Globacom in Nigeria in 2003, coming two years behind other multinational operators. But with an Africa-focused entry strategy which sought to ensure that people got billed for only the exact time consumed, the brand turned into a household name and quickly rose to become the second biggest network in Nigeria.

His vision to run Africa’s biggest and best network saw the expansion into Benin Republic and Ghana and the conception of the world’s first and only private optic fibre cable which runs from Europe to Lagos with dedicated link to the United States and spurs across West African countries.

Dr Adenuga has indeed faced innumerable storms over the years, and like the Oak and our own, Iroko tree, he has withstood all those challenges and has kept soaring to greater heights.

Isha Tejan-Cole Johansen Takes Football To Another Level

African women are rising and taking their place at the world’s biggest tables and Isha Tejan-Cole Johansen, one of Sierra Leone’s most powerful women and President of the West African country’s Football Association, SLFA, is rising with them.

 

Isha Tejan-Cole JohansenAn ardent passion for the beautiful game gleaned from the streets of Freetown playing football with her brothers and their friends has bloomed magnificently into a distinguished career in football administration. The lessons imbibed from her father who was co-founder of football club, East End Lions F.C. in Freetown and who also took her to see football matches, have undoubtedly formed the building blocks of her success.

 

Following in her father’s footsteps, she founded her own football club, F.C. Johansen, in 2004, with the objective of providing support and opportunities to children devastated by the Sierra Leone Civil War which raged for 11 years between 1991 and 2002. The club began playing in Division One in 2011 and was promoted to the Premier League the following year. Isha’s glittering dossier is decorated with many firsts. In 1993, she became the first woman publisher in her country’s history, producing Rapture Magazine, an entertainment publication.

 

She is the first woman to serve as President of the Sierra Leonean Football Association, the only female president of a football association in Africa and one of only a few women in the world to have headed a national football association. She is also the first woman to serve in FIFA’s Security and Integrity committee. Earlier this year she was appointed as the head of the Confederations of African Football (CAF) Women’s football Committee making her the Isha Tejan-Cole Johansenfirst Sierra Leonean to head such a committee in the organisation’s 60-year history.

 

Through her Power Play footballing initiative, she is providing opportunities for and empowering disadvantaged African girls and women to become better versions of themselves. Although it hasn’t all been crisp and cream in her inspiring and trailblazing career having had her fair share of trials, no one is more optimistic about the future than Isha whose all consuming passion is to use her power, influence and position to empower other African women to fulfil their highest potential and to transform the fortunes of the game of football in Sierra Leone.

 

She shares her triumphs and travails in this interview with OVATION.

 

How did your journey into football administration begin

 

It started here actually, at Hill Station in Freetown just across the road – right after our very brutal civil war in Sierra Leone, which ended in 2002. There were many kids roaming around the neighbourhood and there was a humanitarian project to put back some underprivileged roaming kids who were very talented and passionate about football back into school, helping them to live their dreams, to chase their dreams and in fact to be able to dream of having a dream and to chase it and live the dream.

 

The club was called East End Lions F.C. and that was how it all started-community league matches, educating them, teaching them social skills, travelling with them round half of the world from Scandinavia, to Europe, to America and having international youth tournaments-that is my journey really.

 

I call it the field of dreams. And in 2011, I guess with having done all of that, I actually had the audacity to dream of doing what I achieved at the local level on a national scale. And so I actually threw my hat in at the very last minute – maybe two weeks to the closing date to declare myself as a candidate for the FA position, the highest seat in football in Sierra Leone. It never really did occur to me that I being the first woman would be make it a bit harder. I just thought that I would be good at it.

 

I didn’t have a manifesto because I thought that my walking, talking billboard was FC Johansen. I thought the success we had accomplished at FC Johansen would suffice as my credential for what I would be able to build on the national level. So that is me and my journey and what an incredible story it has been.

 

And how incredible a journey has it been for you in football administration particularly in a male-dominated field

 

It has been a bit of a sweet one. It has been a learning curve, not just for me but I guess for most women who aspire to greatness, to achieving, especially for women who dare or have the audacity to dream about becoming leaders – especially in territories where ordinarily, it is a norm that men are the stakeholders or men are the role models in those particular professions.

I think it is also a story and an eye opener for our youths like I said earlier, that if you have a dream, not only should you be allowed to dream and dream big but you should chase the dream. And that the dreams do not just end up as dreams but that you are empowered to actually realise those dreams.

 

The sweet side is the success of it all. Yes, I come from a privileged background but I also came back to help those who are less privileged or less fortunate and in so doing, that had its drawbacks because not everybody understood where I was coming from and not everybody was willing to accept me as someone who was genuinely out to help and not to exploit. And that has cost me a lot daily. It has cost me my health; it has cost me a lot of emotional trauma, but at the end of the day, it has been a successful journey thus far. This is the reason you are interviewing me, and this is the reason the world is thrilled by my story because it is one of success against the odds where people thought she would fail, she has no chance, or she has no business being in this region, in this profession, in this arena. I have been able to defy those odds and achieved, excelled, and risen above it.

 

The question now for me is, now that I have it, what am I going to do with it? And I am actually excited and enthralled to find out what I am going to do with this success story. I do not want my story to be cliché-to simply be one about a woman who has beaten the odds or challenged and won in a male-dominated profession. But now that I have actually earned it-the power, the role and gained momentum, what am I going to do with that? So, yes, you asked a question and I always ask myself this question-so what now? What is next?

 

What challenges have you faced as a woman at the top of her profession and what would you say are the obstacles to more and more African women rising to occupy male-dominated roles in politics, business and other fields

I think the obvious – the obvious being gender is troubling. Let us not fool ourselves and let us not pretend that even in this day and age, Africa is not still behind in terms of gender equality. I am not one who would put a woman in a position or vote for a woman or lobby for a woman simply because she is a woman. I would lobby for a woman who has potential, who has the ability to be given an equal opportunity to develop and deploy that potential -that is what we are asking for. Women want an equal platform as the men. Give a woman that and let her go and perform and if she excels, fantastic, and if not, then we know she was been given a fighting chance. It took me a really long time to realise that the reason I was being given such a hard

 

The 6th Edition of the Wines Of South Africa at Sheraton Lagos

It was fun all the way at the 6th Edition of the Wines Of South Africa (WOSA) Grand tasting event held at the Prestigious Four Points By Sheraton, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The Grand Tasting event which showcased the diversity, innovation and the uniqueness of South African wines, attracted connoisseurs, captains of industry, consumers, distributors and wine produces was also attended by South Africa’s First Lady, H.E. Bongi-NgemaZuma and South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr LL Mnguni.

According to Matome Mbatha, Marketing Manager Africa, Wines of South Africa, the Grand Tasting event is geared towards ultimately creating Ambassadors for South African wines. “It is designed to showcase quality wines from Wine Producers and exhibit over 200 wine brands from different regions in the Cape Wine land of South Africa”.

 

He noted that South Africa is currently the world’s seventh largest wine producer and have more fair trade wineries than any other country.

In her speech, Mrs Zuma expressed joy at the continued patronage of South African wines by Nigerians, noting that intra-African trade was one of the best ways of improving the economic fortunes of the continent.The 6th Edition of the Wines Of South Africa at Sheraton Lagos

She stated that in the past decade there’s been a renaissance in the wine industry, with new plantings, new knowledge and a new generation of enthusiastic wine makers, which means that South Africans are constantly improving to appeal to consumers with different taste.

 

As soft music was wafting in the background, and guests tasting and networking, it was a truly entertaining evening where guests were expected to taste and trade.

The very next day, the Grand Tasting event moved to Accra, Ghana and the venue this time was the 5-star, Movenpick Ambassador Hotel. Again the event organisers, Jon Williams Limited laid out a spectacular setting that was cosy and convivial.

Olabisi Abike Folawiyo Weds Prince Aderemilekun Sijuwade

Scintillating! That is how the traditional and white weddings that united two powerful Yoruba families-the Sijuwade and Folawiyo families, would have been described, but it was more than that. It was something in the neighbourhood of utopia and of course, Eldorado.

 

The ceremonies which took place over two weekends, required painstaking preparations and were in every sense a celebration of love at its best between Prince Aderemilekun Sijuwade, the bearded handsome son of the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade and Princess Olabisi Abike Folawiyo, the delectable daughter of late successful businessman and former Baba Adinni of Nigeria, Chief Iyanda Folawiyo.

 

Consequently, sequel to the biblical injunction that he that finds a wife has found a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord, the couple, with magnificent support from their families, friends and well-wishers, set out to formalize and solemnize their relationship at the Balmoral Convention Centre, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, where the first of the events-the traditional ceremony -took place.

 

At various centres, events kicked off on the beautiful day in preparation for the high society union. At the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites where the groom and his men were lodged, an exclusive OVATION photoshoot held to capture the finer moments of the groom’s last hours as a bachelor. There was a beehive of activities at the home of the bride as well, who with a retinue of friends, effortlessly slid into her royal traditional apparel.

 

A highlight of that morning was Prince Aderemi demonstrating what a helpless romantic he is by surprising his beautiful bride in the early hours of that morning with a brand new white Mercedes Benz car gift which he had delivered to her hotel. Labisi, who owns the popular makeup studio, Facesbylabisi, was as ecstatic as she was astonished by this breath-taking romantic gesture from her Prince Charming-her mouth agape as she saw the wonder-on-wheels for the first time and sat in the driver’s seat for selfies.

 

This is not forgetting the gathering of the groom’s family at the lobby of the Federal Palace Hotel, where special guests made a royal stopover with pleasantries, clicking of cameras for selfies and the expression of goodwill before proceeding to the banquet hall.Olabisi Abike Folawiyo Weds Prince Aderemilekun Sijuwade

 

The event itself was everything but low key right from the lobby of the hotel where the Arike Ade Cultural Group from Ile Ife, which came to honour a Prince of their town, kept the atmosphere lively with rhythmic beats of their drums renting the air, complemented by scintillating dance rhythms by a group of three professional female dancers; Temitope Onitiju, Aminat Eluguaju and Yetunde Olaleye.

 

The drumming and the dancing heralded the arrival of the esteemed guests, ferried into the hotel premises and available parking spaces in their state-of-the-art automobiles. Among such dignitaries were the founder of First City Monument Bank, Otunba Subomi Balogun, former Editor of the defunct Concord Newspaper, Chief Doyin Abiola, amongst others.

 

It was not long before the call for the business of the day was made, and like a royal carnival, the special guests marched majestically to the magnificently decorated Balmoral Convention Centre, accompanied by deafening sounds of traditional music popping off the well-crafted drums and gongs among many other instruments of various traditional groups that filled the arena. It was a combination of colours ranging from blue to white

 

The presence of Kunle Komolafe’s Ksquared Security Services ensured that only invited guests gained entrance into the venue.

 

The arrival of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, caused a positive stir, completely revving up the pace of the atmosphere. His presence intensified the drumming and singing as the reverred monarch waited for the right time to alight from his sparkling-white Rolls Royce Phantom which had come to a halt at the entrance. Once out, he made his way through a path lined up by dancers, drummers and palace guards.

 

Inside the Balmoral was a distinct fountain which reflected purified colours and more exquisite sight of green and white with each table decorated like the traditional cap of the Ooni resting on a stool. The bride and groom’s corner was another splash of green and white with a sporadic show of lights.

 

With the Ooni and his entourage seated, the event proper commenced as the compere, Abimbola Akinwunmi, started with ushering in the parents of the couple, who danced in in glory with music befitting of the Yoruba tradition.

 

This was followed by the entrance of the groom’s family who entered in a blaze of glory, momentarily turning the environment to blue, and then the traditional rites began with communication carried on in both Yoruba and English languages.

 

The compere welcomed guests and thanked everyone for coming before proceeding to order a minute silence in honour of the couple’s deceased fathers – Alhaji Iyanda Folawiyo and Oba Okunade Sijuwade. The honours were performed according to both Islamic and Christian injunctions. With attendant eulogies rendered to the memories of the great men, the mothers of the couple were obliged five minutes to exhibit their dance steps, and boy did they impress! At that point, it was proved that the ‘old woman is never too old for the dance she knows very well’.

The ceremony moved ahead to the presentation of the proposal letter by the groom’s family, which the Ooni blessed before it was handed over to the parents of the bride. The letter was then read by the bride’s younger sister, Aisha Folawiyo, who afterwards was treated to a dance.

 

The bride’s family followed up with their own acceptance letter, which paved the way for the triumphant entry of the man of the moment, the hunk-like handsome son of the 50th Ooni of Ife, in the person of Prince Aderemi Sijuwade. His entrance came with pomp and circumstance accompanied by his friends.

 

At the stage, the compere mandated the removal of caps by the groom and his companions, and at the count of two, all of them were face down on the floor, prostrating in total obeisance to the parents of the bride and respect for the undying Yoruba culture.

With classic music interlude provided by two live bands-Excellent Band and Queen Ayo Balogun and the Heritage Voices Band, as well as cultural groups, the stage was set for the beautiful prize that Prince Aderemi had been longing for Olabisi Abike Folawiyo.

 

Then, she enetered, clad in shiny baby pink coloured lace attire with a velvety veil over her face, which traditionally symbolises her purity and innocence before her husband to be. She was surrounded by a bevy of gorgeous ladies, dressed in matching colours and attires. At the centre, with emotion running high, she wrapped herself round her mother, and both shed tears of joy and love, as an eventual departure from home for a new life of marriage beckoned.