Meghan Markle Will Join ‘The 19th Represents Summit’ To Talk Gender, Representation

Meghan Markle will soon participate in a rare interview—with a twist. This time, she’ll be the one asking the questions.
On August 14, the Duchess of Sussex will close out a virtual summit from The 19th*—a new nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom focusing on gender and politics—with an interview with its cofounder and CEO Emily Ramshaw. 
The event will mark the centennial of women’s right to vote with a series of live-streamed conversations between prominent women in politics, civics, journalism, and the arts. The organization is named for the transformative amendment that granted women—but in practice, white women—the ballot. The asterisk serves as a visible reminder of the 19th amendment’s unfinished business. 

That kind of candor—about whom our democratic ideals have accommodated and whom those same values have failed to protect—seems to have drawn Markle’s interest. 

“The 19th*’s commitment to reporting and storytelling that lifts up those who are too often underrepresented in the media has never been more important,” the duchess said in a statement to Glamour. “I’m looking forward to asking the cofounder what it means to build a media outlet with gender equity, diversity, and community at its core.” 

Ramshaw explains that “the duchess learned about The 19th* and its mission and reached out to us. She told us that our vision for The 19th—building a truly diverse and representative newsroom that covers women with nuance—spoke to her immediately.”  The summit—The 19th Represents—will see journalists from the outlet sit down with some of the most influential women in America: three U.S. senators (including potential vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris), several congresswomen and congressional candidates, Melinda Gates, Hillary Clinton, and Stacey Abrams. It will also feature none other than Meryl Streep.
But even in that group, the duchess is a standout. Since stepping back from her duties as a senior royal in March and moving stateside, she has made just a handful of public appearances. And next week’s event will be a first—an interview, with Markle holding the proverbial cards and Ramshaw in the hot seat. 

“I would call it a surreal experience for me,” Ramshaw says, laughing. The 19th* went live less than a week ago. The summit itself is the culmination of months of intense work. In no universe was the active participation of Meghan Markle on Ramshaw’s vision board.  
The session will focus on what motivated Ramshaw—a former executive editor of the Texas Tribune—to launch her new venture and how The 19th* intends to approach its work. According to the official description of the conversation, Ramshaw will be asked about “creating a transformative newsroom centered on gender equity.” 

In conceiving of the summit, Ramshaw and the team intended to “bring together the women who are changing the game.” She wanted to hear from women who were at the forefront—whatever the cause. That meant enticing Abrams to talk about voting rights and getting Gates, who has been leading an international conversation about vaccines for decades, to take stock of where we are in the pandemic.
But while there can be no doubt that Markle—an American actor and proud feminist who married into one of the most traditional, conservative families on the planet—has changed the game, it was never Ramshaw’s intention to land a duchess for the summit, nor did she expect that she herself would feature in the lineup.

In general, Ramshaw likes to ask the questions—not answer them. But not this time. “It feels vulnerable, but also important,” she explains. “Journalism is a critical piece of the democratic equation. We should ask questions about it. So we’re looking forward to rounding out the week with this chance to talk about the mission of the 19th, and I’m supremely excited to get to do that with someone who believes deeply in gender equity and racial justice and high-quality journalism.” Ramshaw—consummate reporter—has guarded the news of the duchess’s involvement until now. With one notable exception: She couldn’t resist letting her daughter in on the secret. Putting the revelation in preschool terms, Ramshaw told her that she was going to meet a princess. The news did indeed impress Ramshaw’s daughter, who is four; it also risked a leak. For the past six months, Ramshaw has angled Zooms to make sure her daughter is just out of the frame in calls with investors. She has structured meetings around nap time. While she is the first to allow that as “a white woman of privilege,” she’s found the pandemic far easier to cope with than many other women, it hasn’t been simple to get a startup up and running under lockdown while parenting. Just as Ramshaw was gearing up for the site’s debut, she and her husband made the decision to send their daughter back to day care “because we couldn’t get across the finish line with her at home,” Ramshaw says. “So she walks straight in, bursts into the room, and declares, ‘My mommy is going to talk to a princess!’ Thank God no one believed her.” The 19th Represents is free to attend online, and those interested in watching Meghan flex her Oprah interviewer skills can register here. Her session will stream at approximately 4:30 p.m. ET on Friday, August 14. 

Union Bank: The Search For The Next Robotics Legend Is On!

The Next Robotics Legend is an initiative designed by Edu360, Union Bank’s education platform, in collaboration with Awarri, a pan-African technology company, to infuse Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the education of the Nigerian child. This stems from the realisation that the solutions to some of our most complicated problems as a nation lie in the education of our children today.

This first-of-its-kind robotics training and competition for students aged 11 to 16 will focus on identifying and nurturing young potential inventors and creators who will receive necessary training to solve some of the challenges facing the Nigerian society with the aid of robotics and AI.

To enter, take a 30 second video of your child telling us what they like about robots. Upload on www.edu360.ngand fill the accompanying consent form. 25 of the most creative and passionate entries will be selected to participate in the robotics training.

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At the end of the free training programme, participants will be required to identify a need in their community, and apply the skills learnt to proffer a solution. The student with the best solution will be admitted for a mentorship program with Awarri, the advanced AI and robotics company owned by Silas Adekunle – top international robotics engineer renowned for creating the world’s first intelligent gaming robot.

Schools are not left out! To ensure the sustenance of the initiative, Edu360 will partner with four secondary schools by providing robotics toolkits and training for their teachers to enable them include robotics in their curriculum.

Entries will be received from August 7th to 21st, 2020.  Visit for more information. 


UBA Provides $200 Million for Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry – Timely Financing For Post COVID Economic Growth

Acts as Lead Arranger for $1.5 Billion Facility to Boost Nigerian Oil Production and Government Revenue

The United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), the leading pan-African financial services group, has acted as an Initial Mandated Lead Arranger with a consortium of Nigerian commercial and international banks in a $1.5 Billion Pre-Export Finance Facility for Eagle Export Funding Limited, to enable the forward sale of crude by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its upstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

UBA is providing $200 million (Naira equivalent) towards the crude oil sale, to support investment growth and liquidity requirements. The forward sale will provide much needed capital for investment in NNPC’s production capacity, which is of strategic importance to the Nigerian economy and the country’s leading source of foreign exchange earnings. UBA’s position as Mandated Lead Arranger recognises the Group’s strength in structuring and deploying financing to the oil and gas sector, and the depth and liquidity of the Group’s balance sheet.

UBA has a strong track record in the resources sector across Africa, having facilitated similar oil prepayment deals with the NNPC. UBA was also responsible for the EUR 240m Revolving Crude Oil Financing Facility for the Société Africaine de Raffinage and in Congo Brazzaville co-funded the $250m crude oil prepayment facility for Orion Oil Limited.

Other participants in the Eagle Export Funding Limited deal include Standard Chartered Bank, Afrexim Bank, Union Bank and two oil trading companies, Vitol and Matrix.

Speaking on this most recent support for the Nigeria’s petroleum industry, UBA Group Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu stated ‘This has been one of the most economically challenging years that Nigeria has witnessed. With the sharp drop in the price of oil and the ensuing hardship that followed the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the private sector must come together and contribute meaningfully to the economy. This facility is clear evidence of this – UBA is providing investment that will significantly improve Nigeria’s production capacity and in doing so also demonstrating the strength, depth, and sophistication of our commercial banking capability. I believe that together, working with governments, we can create more jobs and more wealth for people, not only in Nigeria, but across Africa’.

The United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with over 20,000 employees and serving over 20 million customers. UBA operates in 20 African countries and globally in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France, providing retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

Azuh Arinze’s Virtual Book Launch Holds August 23

Encounters: Lessons From My Journalism Career and Success Is Not Served A La Carte come alive as Azuh Arinze presents his books

Yes International Ventures is very delighted to announce the upcoming virtual book launch of its latest offering, two new books: ENCOUNTERS: LESSONS FROM MY JOURNALISM CAREER and SUCCESS IS NOT SERVED A LA CARTE by Azuh Arinze.

“We know our friends and well wishers have been waiting anxiously for this day. Now, the day has come”, said one of the directors.  

The highly anticipated event which promises to be exciting will hold on Sunday, August 23, 2020. 

This virtual book launch presents an opportunity to engage with the books and also enjoy reading sessions and sneak previews by the author and those who are already in possession of some copies.   

We wish to state that the books feature over 90 Nigerians across professions with a range of practical experiences that can help both notable and up-and-coming individuals in their journey through life.     

In these experiential, concise and engaging books, the author shares his field experience as a journalist and consummate interviewer who knows his way around issues and personalities. Naturally, the books have real-life business and professional success stories that are not only inspiring but also captivating. It is also colourful and presented in a readable form. 

For us at Yes International Ventures, we are already looking forward to Sunday, August 23, 2020, a day when we shall officially unveil our author and the two new books. It is going to be a big and second to none virtual book party. We expect everyone to join us as we celebrate Azuh and his craft. 

We promise you an unforgettable encounter under the distinguished chairmanship of Chief Olusegun Osoba, one of journalism’s bright stars and former governor of Ogun State. 

Other important dignitaries and guests include Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, Special Guest of Honour; Prince Bisi Olatilo, Chairman, Biscon Communications, Chief Host; Mr. Emeka Oparah, Vice President, Corporate Communications and CSR, Airtel Nigeria, Book Reviewer; HRM Oba Adedokun Abolarin, Orangun of Oke Ila will serve as Royal Father while the book will be presented by Bashorun Dele Momodu, Chairman, Ovation Media Group. 

There is also a long list of guests of honour which consists of Mr. Femi Adesina, presidential spokesperson; Apostle Anselm Madubuko of Revival Assembly; Mr. Udeme Ufot, GMD, SO&U Advertising  and Dr. Tunji Olugbodi, EVC, Verdant Zeal. The compere of the day is Gbenga Adeyinka 1st.   

As we look forward to hosting you, please remember to join us on ZOOM (Meeting ID: 94826557032/


WBW2020: Sanwo-Olu’s Wife Seeks Exclusive Breastfeeding To Promote Child Growth

Wife of Lagos State governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has urged expectant and nursing mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months after delivery, saying doing such will go a long way to improve child growth and development.   

In a message commemorating Y2020 World Breastfeeding Week, Sanwo-Olu said the importance of exclusive breastfeeding cannot be over emphasized, hence the need for mothers to embrace the practice to safeguard the health of their babies. 

According to her, “As a mother and physician, myself, I have a clear idea of the high impact of exclusive breastfeeding on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Nutrition, hence the need for expectant and nursing mothers to be encouraged to embrace the practice to improve child growth and development.   

“When observed for the first six months after birth, exclusive breastfeeding helps in no small measure to reduce morbidity in children. It helps to strengthen the immune system and protects against serious diseases such as respiratory infections, low growth, diarrhea, and pneumonia, among others.”

She said observing exclusive breastfeeding was equally beneficial to nursing mothers, as it helps mothers to burn extra calories and also lowers their risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as Osteoporosis, a medical condition in which the bones become fragile from loss of tissue.

“Without mincing words, there are several benefits inherent in strict adherence to the practice of exclusive breastfeeding for both children and mothers, and it is for this reason that I urge expectant and nursing mothers to embrace it to safeguard the health of their children,” the First Lady said.

Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration – “Support Breastfeeding For A Healthier Planet,” the wife of the Governor said it could not have come at a better time than now when the world is contending with Covid-19 Pandemic that had changed life as we used to know it.

“This has brought to the fore the need for all, especially relatives, colleagues, and the community generally to make it a priority to support expectant and nursing mothers to observe exclusive breastfeeding for the recommended period.

“It is our collective responsibility to create the enabling environment for mothers to breastfeed optimally in the interest of the health of our children and mothers,” she said.

The WBW, which was inaugurated in 1991, is celebrated annually from August 1 to 7 in over 120 countries across the globe to promote breastfeeding as an effective practice to engender mother and child wellbeing.

Phillips Consulting Launches Micro-Courses To Boost Learning For The Future of Work In Nigeria

In order to improve learning for the future of work in the country, Philips Consulting, has launched a microservices platform tagged Micro-Courses to help entrepreneurs, ideapreneurs and big corporate boost learning of work in Nigeria.

Launched in Lagos recently, Micro courses is a tool that seeks to drive the reskilling of ecosystems and support diverse communities, with interactive platforms that bridge the transition gap into the future. 

Work as it is known, has always poised to undergo a massive transformation driven by several developments. It has been characterized by conflicting information and rooted behaviors for almost a decade. 

This left plenty of room for debates across the advancement of technology, the talent evolution, the data boom, and more. The reality, however, is that the transformation of work is painting an even bigger picture than we envisioned or planned for. The creative destruction of Coivd-19 has ultimately led to an acceleration of said changes and workplaces have been taken over by radical innovation.

The senior Consultant Learning Innovation at Philips Consulting, Fokanferanmi Okojie said,  “Several mega-trends are bringing a radical shift to the way we work, live and learn. We are looking, listening, learning and creating banisters for all genres of the corporate world to transition smoothly on the unprecedented path to the future of work”

 Despite emergence from the pandemic lockdown, he said, “Our unemployment rates are skyrocketing daily, youth are shaken and those currently employed are clearly unprepared for the future that is speedily presenting itself.”

“The systems designed to support learning at all levels are just as inadequately prepped for the change. The quality of our long-term professional talent pool is dwindling and the influx of youths into the workforce only fails deeper when they are on-boarded to a corporate system with no plan for the future of work,” Okojie said.

According to Nwaji Jibunoh, Head of Training at Philips Consulting, “Nigeria is at the inflection point where the name of the new game is how best prepared you are for the future. Upskilling yourself will no longer be about fulfilling requirements but about survival”. 

Jibunoh stated that as technology continues to evolve and adoption accelerated, moving closer and closer towards fully automated systems, the future of work and the emerging technology skillsets required, are no longer conversations for tomorrow, but rather, for today. COVID-19 has forced us to re-imagine the way that we work digitally, and it has brought reality into our lives in many unimaginable ways. The growth of the digital workplace will continue unabated.

Meanwhile, the managing director of Philips Consulting, Rob Taiwo said, “Covid-19 has accelerated the rate of technology adoption. Recent pandemic GDP indicators in Nigeria suggest that we will continue to see ICT growth.”

“However, whilst we expect the impact to remain fairly low in the manufacturing sector, we can expect major disruption in financial services and logistics. Policy change and training are powerful tools that the public and private sector can use to prepare human capital for the impending disruption”, he said.

As an innovative and tech driven company, Phillips Consulting has developed a solution that shall address the challenges this current environment faces, adding that the pcl. Micro Courses is a Virtually led interactive learning intervention.”

Taiwo said, “Our learning team will psychometrically profile learners and guide them to courses they genuinely need for their development. Every course offered is an opportunity to interact with hundreds of minds per bite-sized session and active learners are prioritized into the pcl. talent pool for job opportunities. These courses will inspire, educate and shape learning for the future, whilst disrupting a stagnant career trajectory.”

IG Adamu Threatens Sahara Reporters With N10bn Damages Suit

The Inspector-General (I-G) of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Thursday, threatened to sue Sahara Reporters and its publisher, Mr Omoyele Sowore, over a publication considered to be defamatory if a retraction was not published within seven days.

Adamu denied the said report in a letter signed by his Lawyer, Dr Alex Izinyon, SAN, which was sent to the U.S. address of Sahara Reporters and a copy made available to journalists in Abuja.

The online platform had, on Aug. 3, published a report in which the I-G was alleged to have involved in a multi-billion naira fraudulent scheme by illegally raising funds to build Police Training School in Nasarawa State.

The police boss, therefore, demanded from Sahara Reporters “a written and unequivocal retraction with an apology carried with the same prominence” on its platform and three national dailies.

He also threatened that “a formal criminal complaint to relevant agencies” could be filed “without further correspondence” if his demands were not acceded to within the seven days’ period.

The letter reads in part: “Our client hasten to inform you that these defamatory words in your said publications are farrago of lies, concoctions all calculated by you to bring our client to the lowest contempt as they are a product of you and your online publication to achieve your premeditated blackmail, dubious and diabolical ends.

“We would not waste our energy here but reserve it at the appropriate.”

He stated that the words used in the report “are untrue, fallacious,” noting that Sahara Reporters did seek the his response “to get a balanced and robust view to the runs of the mills.”

Chief Akindele Had Enormous Self-confidence, Never Felt Overwhelmed By Expatriates

By Wale Babalakin

I was very shocked to hear about the passing away of Chief Bode Akindele (CBA). I had seen him regularly at social functions and he never looked an inch older than 70 years even though the last time I saw him, he was 87 years old. His carriage was solid and he always responded to my greetings with his trademark smile.

I had greatly debated with myself whether I should write a tribute to Chief Bode Akindele. This is more so, considering that my close relationship with Chief Akindele was for about 5 years. I believe that there are so many people who knew him for a longer period of time and thus are more qualified to write a proper tribute.

I resolved to write this tribute primarily to inform the younger generation about the great vision and strides a confident Nigerian businessman can make on the global stage especially when the individual is focused and determined, rather than being weighed down by perceived disadvantages and other misconceptions.

Four Nigerian businessmen have had great effect on my entrepreneurial interest. Chief Bode Akindele was one of them.

The other individual whom I will mention in this tribute is Mr. Wilberforce Olusegun Odulate. It was Mr. Odulate who made me realise that academic disposition and entrepreneurial activities were not irreconcilable. Having been brought up in a family of professionals, all I was primed to do from youth was to be a successful legal practitioner and be elevated to the Bench or remain as a practitioner in the Bar.

Mr. Odulate had studied physics in a University in England. He had a very good job but opted to reinvent his father’s business in producing Alabukun powder. At some point, Mr. Odulate was writing a textbook on Physics in England whilst also involved in the business of producing Alabukun in Nigeria.

I met Mr Odulate through his son, Koye, who was my contemporary and friend at Cambridge University. Koye used to pick me up from Cambridge to London and we (i.e. Mr. Odulate, Koye and I) would spend an entire evening till the early hours of the morning discussing Greek Philosophy and sometimes business strategy. These interactions with Mr. Odulate were very unique to me. How could a philosopher be a very successful businessman? I remain grateful to Mr. Odulate for opening my eyes to see that scholarship and business are not irreconcilable. May his entrepreneurial spirit continue to rest in peace.

I met Chief Bode Akindele through a banker who had supported most of his industrial projects in Nigeria. Chief Akindele’s primary legal adviser in Nigeria had just passed away and he had so many legal issues that he wanted resolved. The banker nominated me to Chief Akindele. I can still vividly recall the reaction of Chief Akindele when he saw me. He was expecting a man in his middle age and not a 30-year old boy. After the first assignment our firm carried out for Chief Akindele, he stopped seeing me as a young man and we simply got on like a house on fire.

Chief Bode Akindele had so many unique qualities and capacities that cannot be described properly in a short tribute like this. I will only highlight a few. Chief Akindele had enormous selfconfidence and never felt overwhelmed by expatriates. He could not be a stooge for anybody no matter how highly placed. I saw this attitude displayed when he decided to pull out of a major construction company. Chief Akindele owned 50% of the company and was not going to kowtow to anybody. The severance was a battle which played out in Lagos, London and Switzerland. His adversaries had a barrage of lawyers from all these jurisdictions.

It also had the support of some high ranking members of Government. I was with Chief Akindele, as his lawyer, at every forum. This was very encouraging to me. On many occasions, Chief Akindele will say to me, “Wale, I can bet that you can take them all together and carry the day”. That was a great encouragement for, and confidence in, a 30-year old man! The Managing Director of the company was so browbeaten by Chief Akindele and his team that he told me at a later stage that in his entire business life, no one had totally dominated him in any sphere of business like Chief Bode Akindele.

Chief Bode Akindele loathed the idea of fronting for anybody. He felt it was very belittling for anybody to be a front. Fronting in Nigeria’s context means that you present yourself as the owner of a business while you are simply a lackey to the real owners. Chief Akindele could not understand why anybody could do such a thing when one could build or acquire the business for one’s self.

In this context I also remember another instance our firm provided legal services for Chief Bode Akindele in the severance transaction of a port inspection agency. In that transaction, the other side paraded very important names in the society. Chief Akindele had complete disdain for these men. Whenever they approached him for discussion, Chief Akindele would say to me, “Wale you know that man is a front. He is not a real man.”

Chief Akindele wanted Nigerians to aspire to any level of business in the world and not play second fiddle to any person(s). Chief Akindele’s group led the acquisition of a Swedish match manufacturing company which at a stage controlled about60% of the global match market. What a phenomenon Chief Akindele was! He was never willing to play second fiddle. Chief Akindele led from the front.

Chief Akindele’s penchant for hard work was indescribable. On one occasion, I was with him in Switzerland for a transaction and we usually commenced our meetings at 9:00am and would only break at 7:00pm for dinner. There was no lunch. We ate cold sandwiches, biscuits, coffee and tea all day.

Chief Akindele’s partner was Dr. Alfred Hartmann who had retired as General Manager of Union Bank of Switzerland and was then sitting on about seven boards of different banks in Switzerland. Even though I was sometimes uncomfortable with eating the biscuits and sandwiches, I could not complain because my very wealthy and older clients endured this situation with ease. I had no locus standi to protest.

After the meeting on a particular day, I had suggested to them that we should take a taxi to the Dolder Grande where we were staying. It was a bitterly cold day in Zurich. The reaction of the duo shocked me. Dr. Hartmann wondered why we should waste about €5 (five euros) when we could enjoy the trek of about two miles to the hotel. I could not understand how two billionaires found it difficult to spend €5 on transport. I later learnt that Chief Akindele was extremely prudent with money and this probably explains why, in addition to his phenomenal intellect, Chief Akindele was able to accumulate so much wealth.

I was also very thrilled, if not bewildered by this ability to define relationships and place each relationship it its one compartment.

The Company Secretary of almost all the companies of Chief was his wife, Mrs. Atema Akindele. She was a very outstanding secretary. At official functions, the relationship was so strictly official that you could not imagine that they had a relationship as husband and wife.

Apart from the very challenging work schedule, being with Chief Akindele abroad was always a pleasure. Chief Akindele’s ability to entertain was on a different level. He was well known in all the exclusive restaurants in England and all other leading European Cities.

Chief Akindele and I had a falling out until around January 1994. I believe it was occasioned by poor communication and I never took it against him. I always enjoyed his company. At his daughter, Iyabo’s wedding; I sat with him and Brigadier Oluwole Rotimi (an outstanding solider, military administrator and gentleman). We bantered for most of the evening. I usually approached him at every public function to extend my regards.

When my company won the concession for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Chief Akindele called me and was ecstatic. In addition to congratulating me, he offered to link me up with the best consultants in the development of toll roads. He also prayed that I should not encounter the typical bureaucratic resistance to any solid project in Nigeria. Evidently, Chief Akindele remained warm to me till his last days.

Nigeria has lost a great entrepreneur and a man of phenomenal courage.

Adieu Chief Bode Akindele, Para Koyi Ibadan, Oba Ibomi, Okunrin Mewa, Omo Alhaja Rabiatu. May your enterprising soul continue to soul rest in peace.

*Dr. Babalakin, SAN, a businessman and lawyer is Chairman of Resort International Ltd.

Open Letter To Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Richard Akinnola

Dear Egin Iroko,
I chose this medium because since your 2012 re-election as Governor of our state, in which l was part of the strategy team, we never met again until late last year at the wedding of the daughter of our mutual friend, Akin Oluwole, in Lagos.

After the 2012 election, we only spoke on phone once, when our fellow Ondo state compatriot, Bamidele Aturu passed away and l wanted Ondo state government to be part of the burial arrangements. The state government contributed N1 million and also assisted in providing security.

l deliberately stayed away from you and the government after the 2012 re-election, for you to concentrate on the job.

You turned the Labour party into a mass movement, to every nook and cranny of Ondo state. It was “Orange” everywhere.

Anyway, barely few months after your well-deserved victory, your popularity began to plummet. I really can’t put my finger on what was responsible. The situation was so bad that as a matter of fact, if the election Tribunal had asked for a re-run, you would have lost to the ACN or AD.

Then, out of the blues, before the 2015 election, you abandoned the highly popular Labour party in Ondo state, to join the PDP. I think that was a miscalculation because the original PDP members resisted your re-entry and that had a collateral damage on the electoral fortunes of your governorship candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN through the legal subterfuge of Jimoh Ibrahim.

I really don’t know how and when you fell out with Eyitayo but along the line, you again jumped ship, abandoned the PDP and landed in Zenith Labour party, under which you contested Senatorial election and lost. I felt pained, l felt embarrassed, that the great Iroko, a former Commissioner, a former SSG, a former Minister and a former two-time governor could be so defeated in a mere Senatorial election! I felt bad. Since then, in the real sense, you have become like a political orphan. AD to PDP, to LABOUR to PDP to ZLP.

Don’t let your sycophants tell you otherwise, egin Iroko, you have become a paper tiger and that is the crux of this letter. I looked at you like someone who could re-invent a semblance of the Tinubu political sagacity in Ondo state but l got disappointed.

Irrespective of political disagreements with his political lieutenants, Tinubu has a way of producing other political leaders in Lagos. Egin Iroko, who are your political protégés in Ondo state? Which governor have you made? Which minister or Federal Board member did you influence their appointments? I was disappointed when you ran for a Senate seat, instead of sponsoring someone else.

I know you as a decent and very cerebral person but your politics leaves much to be desired.

Now, the Ondo state Governorship election is at hand. To the best of my knowledge, for now, you are not supporting Eyitayo, your Attorney-General for Seven and a half years, neither are you supporting Aketi, your friend. Since the Deputy Governor, Agboola is likely to fly the flag of your Zenith Labour party, l presume you would support him. Unfortunately, his ambition is dead on arrival. And when that happens, that may certainly eclipse your political career.

Egin Iroko, you need to politically re-invent yourself. The great Iroko of yore has been demystified. You need time for self-introspection by going into a political retreat to re-invent yourself. You are a great thinker but your political miscalculations these past six years, e get as e be. Your political “dynasty”, if any, has crumbled. Your support base has diminished but it can still be re-invented. Don’t be in self-denial because you know l will always tell you the truth but you can still re-invent yourself. You need time to go to the “mountain” to restrategise. The outcome of the next governorship election would determine your continued relevance. I know you are a smart politician and know what to do. May God guide you right, egin.
Wa da’igbo o.
From your aburo,
Richard Akinnola

The Many Troubles of ‘The Cap Banker’ Farouk Lawan

+ As His Moves To Terminate Trial Suffers Setback

The Court of Appeal in Abuja court has dismissed the application filed by a former lawmaker, Farouk Lawan, seeking to terminate the three million dollars bribery charges filed by the Federal Government.

Dubbed ‘Cap Banker’ after allegedly appearing in a video stashing bundles of dollars in his cap, Lawan was the chairman of the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy in 2012.

Lawan had approached the appellate court to set aside the decision of Justice Angela Otaluka of an Abuja High Court and free him from the charges.

Delivering judgment in the appeal filed against the ruling of Ms Otaluka which held that Lawan had a case to answer, Justice Olabisi Ige who headed the panel held that the decision of the lower court was well founded.

The appellate court in a unanimous decision held that a prima facie case was well established against Lawan that warranted him to enter his defence in the three counts charge filed against him in 2013.

Justice Ige held that contrary to the argument of Lawan, the prosecution evidence at the lower court was not in anyway discredited, hence the rejection of his no-case submission.

The appellate court also held that the language of the trial judge, Justice Otaluka which Lawan complained about, did not place the defendant in any disadvantage position or was in anyway inimical to his trial.

The court had quoted the records of proceedings of the FCT High Court, especially the testimonies of the five witnesses called by the federal government.

The panel upheld the findings of Justice Otaluka that there were sufficient evidence linking Lawan to the offences.

“I am of the firm view and I have no doubt that the oral and documentary evidence presented by the prosecution sufficiently linked the appellant to the charges against him and to warrant his being called upon to make his defense.

“Prosecution evidence was not slanted in favour of the prosecution. In all, all the four issues raised in this appeal are hereby resolved against the appellant. His appeal, being un-meritorios is hereby dismissed”, he held.

Justice Otaluka had sometimes last year dismissed the no-case-submission filed by Mr Lawan who was then Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Oil and Gas in his alleged three million dollars bribery trial.

The prosecution closed its case after calling five witnesses, but Lawan, through his counsel, Mike Ozekhome SAN, had filed a no-case submission on the grounds that the evidence and testimonies did not link Mr Lawan to the crime.

Ozekhome said the prosecution’s witnesses gave conflicting statements about the amount Lawan was alleged to have collected from the fifth prosecution witness, Femi Otedola, who offered the alleged bribe to Mr Lawan.

Ozekhome in addition argued that the video evidence showing how Lawan collected bribe from Otedola was blurry and does not necessarily prove that the content of the envelope Otedola gave to Lawan was money but could have been anything else.

He further submitted that if the State Security Service, SSS, had any evidence they would have arrested Mr Lawan immediately at the scene of the bribery which they claimed they set up.

Responding, prosecution lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, urged the court to dismiss the no-case submission and ordered the defendant to enter his defense.

He added that because the prosecution had established sufficient evidence through video and oral testimonies which linked Mr Lawan to the alleged offences.

NAN reports that Justice Otaluka agreed with the submission of Mr Awomolo and ordered Mr Lawan to open his defense.