The Hunter Hunted!, By Mike Awoyinfa

It’s a case of the hunter hunted! For the best of my 70 years on Mother Earth, I have been the news hunter, armed with a notebook, a pen, a tape recorder, a camera and a prayer, searching for a newsmaker, searching for the good, the bad and the ugly, to put on the cover, on the front page of my newspaper. That is the story of my life.

Now, the tables have turned and the hunter is the hunted. And here I am being put on the cover of a magazine being celebrated in the majesty of news, being called names that I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams: “a living legend,”“a revolutionary media bigwig” who “revolutionized human interest journalism in Nigeria,” who “sculpted The Sun newspaper into a crossbreed of tabloid and general interest paper, something that made it a toast of many readers, and the leader on the newsstand.”

Oh, God! Am I dreaming? Is it another Mike Awoyinfa being the only subject of a 140-page special edition of The ELITES magazine?

Here is the “EDITOR’S NOTE” which introduces the latest edition of The ELITES Special by Kemi Akinyemi, the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief. The cover story is titled: “THE ICONIC MEDIA CRAFTSMASTER AT 70.”

In truth, it took me by a very pleasant surprise that I will be so honored, unsolicited. The lesson I have learnt here is: In everything, do your best. People are watching. One day, your reward will surely come. The Good Book says: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men; knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the reward.” (Colossians 3:23-24).I thank God Almighty and pray that you reading this piece will be celebrated too while you are still alive, not when you are dead.


HOMAGE TO A JOURNALIST OF EXCELLENCE

By Kemi Akinyemi

There are more than one million ways to describe him. But energy, commitment and ingenuity are all words that begin to capture my image of Michael Ajibola Awoyinfa, a living legend by all standards, revolutionary media bigwig, writer and master of breathtaking headline casting.

Does he even need any introduction? You do not describe a man who produced journalism of excellence day after day, year after year throughout his career. You pay homage to him. Or how does one paint a perfect picture of someone who has left a legacy of commitment to quality and values that should be goal to many journalists, when his legendary masterpieces are there to show for it?

In case you were not in the bandwagon of those who gained immensely from his journalistic voyage which blossomed in 1989, sorry you missed it. But if you were, let me refresh your memory that Mike Awoyinfa revolutionized human interest journalism in Nigeria when he, alongside his late ‘inseparable twin’ Dimgba Igwe, pioneered the highly successful Weekend Concord in that year. Weekend Concord became a breakaway success from the get-go, due specifically to the ingenuity of the duo.

In 2002, as the pioneer managing director/editor-in-chief of The Sun, he sculpted The Sun newspaper into a crossbreed of tabloid and general interest paper, something that made it a toast of many readers, and the leader on the newsstands.

There is this aphorism that Nigerians do not read, but in the heyday of Mike Awoyinfa, when there was no explosion of the Internet, and there were no blogs, Nigerians read. Who wouldn’t? The creativity embedded in any paper edited by Awoyinfa and Dimgba Igwe, his co-traveller (May his soul rest in peace), was too delicious for anyone to resist.

Awoyinfa was—and is still—a great journalist, a tough taskmaster and a supportive boss who has inspired many a journalist even beyond the shores. Perhaps one standout feature about him is that he loved to hang out. I guess that was where the inspiration emanated from. He is also a great writer. He could take any piece of writing and make a mountain out of it.

That explains why he is a successful author at the moment. Two of his books, “50 World Editors: Conversation with Journalism Masters on Trends and Best Practices” and “50 Nigeria’s Boardroom Leaders: Lessons on Corporate Governance and Strategies” are currently bestsellers on Amazon.

Awoyinfa has just strolled into the septuagenarian league and that has graduated him to being a legend. As expected of this calibre of person who touched millions of lives across the nation while he bestrode the media world like a colossus that he is, tributes have been pouring in from expected quarters and unexpected ones too.

President Muhammadu Buhari acknowledged Awoyinfa’s best of prose and literary prowess, lauding his “40-year career of informing, educating and entertaining the public.”

Special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, had also penned a personal and very touching tribute to the media guru whom he worked with at close quarters, praying for the ink in his pen never to get dry, especially for the up-and-coming media men who look up to him as a role model.

The governor of Awoyinfa’s Osun State added his voice in extolling the virtues of a great asset to the state. He praised Awoyinfa for his dedication to the media profession and his remarkable contributions to nation building through his insightful interventions on national issues and wise counsel to political leaders.

Many journalists who either crossed path with Awoyinfa or were honed by his creative adventures in the newsroom, also had one, two or three things to say about him. In the usual tradition of The ELITES, we have gathered all the goodwill messages and more targeted at this great journalist just for your reading pleasure.

I personally have learnt and got a lot to learn from this living legend of the Fourth estate of the realm.

Hope you will too.

Happy reading!

KEMI AKINYEMI

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

PHOTOS: BBNaija Host, Ebuka, Meets Bill Gates

Big Brother Naija host, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, has met Microsoft co-founder and one of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates, in New York.

Obi-Uchendu anchored the Goalkeepers 2022 awards of the Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation.

Uchendu shared pictures of himself with Bill Gates on his Instagram page on Friday and said, “When Big Bill met Nnakenyi.”

Credit: Instagram | ebuka

Why Nigerian Presidents Fail

By Simon Kolawole

Sometime last month, a young Bolt driver asked me: “Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi… who should we vote for?” I’ve been asked similar questions many times by those who respect my views. I usually give them an analytical answer – devoid of emotions – by highlighting the strengths, weaknesses and chances of each candidate. On this occasion, I came up with a cheeky proposal: “We need a president who has the vision and talent-spotting skills of Tinubu, the coolness and carriage of Atiku, and the agility and frugality of Obi.” He laughed at high volume. “Are you then suggesting that we merge the three of them?” he asked. Of course, he knew I was kidding.

But he got my point: no one candidate ticks all the boxes. In one of the essays in my forthcoming book, Fellow Nigerians, It’s All Politics, which is now available for pre-orders on the website of Roving Heights, I argue that although we desire a president “who speaks like Barack Obama, governs like Bill Clinton and inspires like Winston Churchill”, it is not going to happen anytime soon because our leadership selection process “is filled with loopholes and pitfalls and it cannot produce our ideal leader as things stand”. One pathology of underdevelopment is the warped leadership selection dynamics. Who the majority of voters end up choosing is not necessarily who they really need.

I went on to have a robust conversation with the Bolt driver. I sold him my little theory: that Nigeria’s problems cannot be solved by one president or a single administration. Our primary concern should be that we are making progress per president, per time. Every president will record landmarks and setbacks in different sectors. No president is totally good or utterly bad, although the emotions of the moment often obstruct balanced judgment. Ironically, we often raise our enthusiasm sky-high before presidential elections. Sooner than later, we begin to lose faith in those we elect to pilot the affairs of the country and swiftly brand them, rightly or wrongly, as failures.

In this article, I will dwell on pre-election expectations fuelled by overmarketing. It could be deliberate: just to win elections. It could be emotional: we always want messiahs and we create them in our imaginations. It could also be a result of a poor understanding of the depth of the challenges ahead. We set up our presidents for a verdict of failure right from electioneering period. Nigeria faces overwhelming social, economic and political challenges and we desperately desire a solution. We want to be like countries who have competent and patriotic leaders. So, we go into fantasy mode during elections, creating messiahs in our heads and dressing them in borrowed garbs.

I have been there before. In 1999, I was a staunch supporter of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Upon visiting Abeokuta, Ogun state, in November 1998 along with other THISDAY editors to interview him, I was wowed by the modesty of his residence. I said if a military head of state in an oil-boom era could be this modest, then he had my vote. I started promoting him as the leader that would extinguish corruption and lead us to greatness. At the time, I saw corruption as our only problem. I did not take kindly to any criticism of Obasanjo and I became anti-Afenifere in the process. But less than one year into his administration, I had turned to his critic. It was a case of disappointed love.

For one, I couldn’t stand some characters in his cabinet. I said if this man really wanted to fight corruption, as he staunchly promised in his inauguration speech, some persons should not have been ministers. When he started talking about removing fuel subsidy, I was incensed. All my life, I had argued that Nigerians, being citizens of an oil-rich country, should enjoy cheap petrol. I refused to evaluate or accept the economic arguments. I concluded that Obasanjo was anti-poor as I was more interested in the socio-political implications. Meanwhile, corruption exploded in our faces. I held Obasanjo liable for failing to lead by example as he had promised during his campaign.

That was how our dear messiah began to unravel. Ahead of the 2003 presidential election, I had found another messiah in Gen Muhammadu Buhari, flagbearer of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP, now part of the All Progressives Congress, APC). When he became head of state in 1983-85, prices of essential products had gone out of reach. I was happy with his price controls. I believed he was protecting the poor. Forgive me: I was just a secondary school student and knew nothing about why our economy was in a mess. Buhari later lost me when his government began to crack down on the media and activists. I was so happy when Gen Ibrahim Babangida overthrew him in 1985.

However, when Buhari granted an interview in 1994 or 1995 admitting that he made mistakes as head of state, adding however they were “genuine mistakes” because “we were in a hurry to change Nigeria”, my heart melted. I began to desire his return to power. I said this was the man Nigeria needed! I remember eulogising him in an article in THISDAY sometime in March 1998. My late friend, Chuks Ehirim, who was TheNews/TEMPO correspondent in Enugu, called to ask me, jokingly: “So how much did Buhari pay you for this?” With my Buhari dream going nowhere in 2003 and 2007, I gave up on my search for a messiah. Instead, I started thinking: “Let’s make do with what we have.”

That was why when Dr Goodluck Jonathan was being marketed as the “breath of fresh air” in the 2011 campaign, I was calm. I had become a realist. My worldview had evolved. I had looked deeply at the Nigerian society and its complications. I said Jonathan, relatively young at 52, would only try but not much would change. The insecurity that he inherited from President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua only worsened as Boko Haram started bombing everywhere with ease. Rather than face this common threat to us, all sides resorted to politicking and finger-pointing. Meanwhile, corruption and waste grabbed us by the neck at all levels of government, but only Jonathan carried the blame.

As we later saw, all the politicking – and counter-politicking – was geared towards the 2015 elections. Buhari, who was making a fourth bid, became a symbol of change, the messiah Nigerians had been searching for. That was how overmarketing began again. People who previously abused and rejected him became pilots of the campaign, creating fables and fantasies. I was so worried for him that I wrote an article, ‘Buhari and the Burden of Expectations’ (THISDAY, January 25, 2015), in which I said: “Imagine the nicknames young people would start calling Buhari on Twitter by this time next year if he has not performed some magic – assuming he wins the presidential election.”

The online marketers said that as a modest retired general who had to take a loan to pay for his nomination form, Buhari would end both corruption and Boko Haram with one punch. I recalled my Obasanjo vibes in 1999 and wrote: “God help Buhari if, assuming he wins, he is unable to stop Boko Haram’s suicide bombers. God help him if the terrorists continue to grab more villages. God help him if his government has not created 2.5 million jobs by May 2016 – as promised by his party. God help him if we are still unable to enjoy steady power supply. God help him if crude oil prices skyrocket and he has to increase fuel price or pay N1 trillion annually on subsidies. He won’t find it funny!”

We all know what happened next. It took less than one year for “Sai Baba!” to give way to “Chai Baba!” Some people were soon saying “even Jonathan was not this bad”. As we prepare to vote in another “messiah” in 2023 and the overmarketing is in full swing again on social media, I crave your indulgence to repeat myself: God help Tinubu/Atiku/Obi if by 2024, ASUU still embarks on its yearly strike; the national currency is exchanging at N1000/$; fuel subsidy budget blows up to N10 trillion; kidnappers are still on the prowl; bandits and terrorists are yet to be eradicated; IPOB, ESN and the so-called unknown gunmen are still holding the south-east by the jugular; crude oil theft is still a pastime in the Niger Delta; and the Yoruba Nation activists stage a sensational comeback.

Let me be very clear: there is nothing wrong with having expectations. In fact, to expect nothing will be a tragedy. However, Nigeria will not change overnight – no matter what any presidential candidate promises, or how their supporters sell them. Things tend to get worse before they get better. We won’t cut expenditure or grow revenue without enduring adjustment pains. Something has to give. There will be winners and losers. We can’t reduce unemployment and poverty within the twinkle of an eye. The naira will not stabilise, much less strengthen, miraculously. Many good things take time to yield results. We don’t need to be deceived, or to deceive ourselves, at election times.

What then? We need to temper our pre-election expectations so that we do not end up disappointed and disillusioned if things do not seem to change dramatically. We need look out for overall signs of direction and progress to avoid concluding within a year that a president has failed. Obasanjo failed in many areas but still achieved much. He kickstarted the telecoms revolution, launched the pension reforms, revamped the oil and gas sector and used his experience to shield our democracy from military incursion, among others. Selling him as the messiah was an issue, but even if he was the messiah, could he still fail to deliver the goods?

That is a topic for another day.

Sincere Nigerians should think outside the box. Be critical about governance in Nigeria but play down on insulting opposition views/party. The ultimate is go get our PVC and vote our conscience and stay focused on building a better Nigeria. May God bless us with good leaders and make us sincere and better citizens

We Believe In One Nigeria, But We Cannot Have One Country, Two Systems 

Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN,

The video making the rounds showing the equivalent of the Western Nigeria Security Network (Amotekun Corps) in Katsina, obtaining the approval of the Federal Government to bear arms is fraught with great dangers. Denying Amotekun the urgently needed rights, to legitimately bear arms is a repudiation of the basis of true federalism which we have been clamoring for. 

That Katsina was able to arm its state security force, with the display of AK47 means we are pursuing one country, two systems ” solution to the national question. If the katsina situation conferring advantages on some, in the face of commonly faced existential threats, it means that our unitary policing system, which has failed, is a deliberate method of subjugation which must be challenged. 

The Independence agreement was based on a democratic arrangement to have a federal state and devolved internal security mechanics. We must go back to that agreement. Denying Amotekun the right to bear arms exposes the Southwest to life-threatening marauders and organized crime. It is also a deliberate destruction of our agricultural sector. It is an existential threat. 

We want to reiterate, that what is sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander. Ondo State government under the doctrine of necessity have decided to fulfil its legal, constitutional and moral duty to the citizens of the State, by acquiring arms to protect them. This is more so, given that the bandits have an unchecked access to sophisticated weapons. The State government cannot look on while its citizens are being terrorized and murdered with impunity. We will defend our people.

Arakunrin Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu, SAN, is the Governor, Ondo State.

Remains of Biyi Bandele For Cremation

The remains of Nigerian novelist, playwright and filmmaker, Biyi Bandele will be cremated in a private ceremony today, Friday 23 September, at the Ebony Vaults, Ikoyi, Lagos.

While the family is working out plans for a celebration of the accomplished writer’s life and work later in the year, today’s ceremony is small, private and is expected to be attended by close friends and family of the deceased.

Bandele died on Sunday 7 August 2022 in Lagos. His untimely death came as a shock to the literary world and he elicited tributes from writers across the globe, who praised his humility, commitment and passion for literature and the arts.

In a statement, Temi, daughter of the deceased writer, described him as “a storyteller to his bones, with an unblinking perspective, singular voice and wisdom which spoke boldly through all of his art, in poetry, novels, plays and on screen. He told stories which has made a profound impact and inspired many all over the world.”

Born to parents of Abeokuta, Ogun State in Kafanchan in Southern Kaduna, on 13 October, 1967, Bandele was studying Dramatic Arts at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile Ife, when he won the BBC Play-writing Competition, and thereafter relocated to England where he had a flourishing career as a writer. By the time he relocated to London at 22 in 1990, he was already armed with the manuscripts of two novels and ready to shake the world.

Bandele was a dedicated artist with strong passion for life and a string of successes in his writing and film-making career.

He shot to the limelight with the publication of his debut novel, The Man Who Came in from the Back of Beyond, in 1991 at the age of 24. He followed it with a string of novels, which include The Sympathetic Undertaker and other Dreams, The Street, and Burma Boy, a recreation of the story of his father and other veterans of the Second World War, who served in Burma, India, which he was working on to be adapted for film. Before his passing he had recently concluded a novel, Yoruba Boy Running and submitted it for publishing.

His plays include: Rain; Marching for Fausa (1993); Resurrections in the Season of the Longest Drought(1994); Two Horsemen (1994), selected as Best New Play at the 1994 London New Plays Festival; Death Catches the Hunter and Me and the Boys (published in one volume, 1995); and Oroonoko, an adaptation of Aphra Behn’s 17th-century novel of the same name. In 1997, Bandele did a successful dramatization of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

Bandele’s stage adaptation of his own novel, The Street (1999), premiered in 2001 and was published in one volume with his play, Happy Birthday Mister Deka, which premiered in 1999. He also adapted Lorca’s Yerma in 2001.

His latest work is Elesin Oba, the King’s Horseman (2022), which he adapted from Wole Soyinka’s classic drama, Death & The King’s Horseman, and directed for Ebony Life Films. The film is yet to be released, but slated to be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF, in September.

He had earlier co-directed Blood Sisters, a 4-part Netflix-original television drama series, also for Ebony Life Films.

His earlier works included Half of a Yellow Sun (Shareman Media & State Films, 2013) adapted from Chimamanda Adichie’s novel of same title; Fifty (Ebony Films, 2015).

He was also a director of the highly successful Television Series, SHUGA: What’s Your Reality. He directed FELA – Father of Afrobeat (2018), a TV special documentary for the BBC; and his self-produced TV-Movie documentary, Africa States of Independence (2010).

Olojo and Why We Need To Take Care of Our Mother

By Dare Babarinsa

On Saturday, September 24, Kabiyesi Oba Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife, will play host to thousands of people joining him to celebrate this year’s Olojo Festival.

The Festival is set aside in Ile-Ife to commemorate the day of creation. It is the most important festival in Ife calendar when the Ooni wears the sacred Aare crown and lead his high priests to the sacred mould of Ogun at Oke Mogun.
After performing the ritual dance and stopping at various traditional stations, the Ooni would return to his palace and the Aare crown will retire to its own house within the palace ground. It would not have another outing again until 2023.
Nobody knows the date of creation. Carl Sagan, the famous cosmologist, says that the earth is billions of years old. He says even now, the universe is expanding and no one is sure of its limit or its boundary. Our Mother Earth, which is only one of the nine planets in our own solar system (There are thousands, possibly millions of solar systems), is so far to our knowledge, the only planet habitable by man and animals as we understand them.
During the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, Heads of States and Governments are going to deliberate on the state of the earth and the danger we are all in. As of now, the depletion of the Ozone Layer that is protecting the earth from the direct ultraviolet rays of the sun is changing violently the weather of our planet.

As of now, almost 25 per cent of Pakistan is covered with water due to torrential rain. This weekend, a violent storm is berthing at Haiti and other Caribbean islands with predictable devastating consequences. All these calamities are traceable to our misusing the earth, especially because of carbon emission.
During our secondary school years in Ile-Ife, Chief Fabunmi, the Odole Atobase of Ife, use to tell us a lot of stories about old Ife. One of his favourite was how Oduduwa descended to earth from heaven through a celestial chain. He was armed with the soil of heaven and in his left hand was a giant cockerel. He poured the soil on the water and chaos he met on earth and the continents took form. All the continents were joined together until over the years they drifted apart; hence, the name of where the earth started drifting apart is called Ile-Ife (the land is expanding).
There are geographical evidences that indeed, all the continents were one until they drifted apart. Whether the continents are still drifting now is not clear. What is clear, however, is that humanity is drifting from its purpose. Man has not discovered any other habitable planet even outside our solar system. It means that for eternity, mankind is trapped on this small planet. Like our ancestors millions of years ago, we have no other planet to call home. We have to make do with this little planet called Earth.
The United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York now would have to come up with measures to save the earth before it is too late. Climate change is affecting every part of the earth. The ocean level is rising daily and the icecaps on the Arctic are disappearing, swelling the volume of water in the ocean. The earth is getting warmer and in some countries in Europe and the America, temperature has risen above 40 degrees. Man is busy killing the planet and there is no escape route. No one is sure of what may come next and everyone is busy blaming everyone else.
It is clear now that the blame-game would not solve the problem. We can see that the old world is disappearing before our very eyes. Many of the creatures that shared the earth with our ancestors have been wiped out by human greed and ignorance.

Christmas is coming and some desperate but ignorant youths would put fire on the hills of Ekiti and other places claiming they are looking for games. Elephants, tigers, lions and other animals that once roam this land, have disappeared or are dangerously endangered. In Ekiti today, there are no more flying termites and fireflies are nowhere to be found. Yearly fires by misguided miscreants have virtually wiped them out.
Our biology teacher in Ife Anglican Grammar School, Ile-Ife, in those days, told us that the world is divided into living things and non-living things. Animals and trees are living things. Hills, mountains and rivers are non-living things. One day, when we were in class three, our principal, Prince Israel Adenrele Ibuoye, invited Baba Fabunmi to come and talk to us. Baba Fabunmi said all things God created are living things. He said they have their date of birth and if care is not taken, hills, rivers, oceans would also have their dates of death.
Today, Lake Chad is dying and we seem helpless about it. By 1900, Lake Chad was one of the biggest bodies of water in the world. The competing European powers divided Lake Chad among themselves and was inherited by independent African countries, including Nigeria, who founded the Lake Chad Basin Commission to manage its water. Today, Lake Chad is barely one quarter of its original size. Areas once covered by the water of Lake Chad are now pathways for okada riders.
Other bodies of water are hardly faring better. The mighty River Niger is struggling to survive. River Osun too is thinning out. Its once majestic timbre as it rumbles through the forest has been reduced to painful whispering. Mother earth is warning us. Woe betides the child that ignores the warning of his parents.
Africans are victims of the misstatement of the earth, especially by the Western industrial powers. We have seen how much weapons the Russia War on Ukraine is unleashing on the earth atmosphere. Carbon emission is the main culprit. There are also little things that had big consequences like the mismanagement of water and the misuse of plastic.
If you drive from Lagos to Abuja or to Port Harcourt, you will see how every foot of our road is littered with plastic containers. If Lagos or any other city is flooded, it is not because the authorities have refused to clear the drainages; it is simply because the citizens preferred to clog the drainages with plastic waste. If mankind should disappear from the earth today, archaeologists from outer planets would know how we live when they excavate the tells of the future.

Africans especially have two challenges in this wise. We have to maintain our relevance and capacity in our own corner of God’s earth. We have to prepare for a future world that is already here through the incidence of climate change. Building the competence that is required for both challenges would require us to focus on education.
We are talking not just of the education of the youth, but continuous education of even the adults. No serious nation will allow its universities to be closed in peacetime for almost a year, as it is happening to us. We must continuously pay the price of knowledge to be able to hold on to the right of ownership of our country.
It is clear now that Baba Fabunmi is right. Everything has life. The rivers, the lakes, the mountains, the forest, the glades, the vales, the land of our ancestors; we cannot afford them to die. If they do, then we have lost everything.
When Ooni Ogunwusi climbs the Oke Mogun hill with the Aare crown, it is to remind us that there was a beginning, no matter how hazy, and we have no right to take what we have inherited for granted.
Next time you throw plastic bottle out of your car, or clog the drains with plastics and other non-biodegradable waste, know that you are injuring Mother Earth. Be reminded always that this Earth is your mother and it has no replacement.

No Shettima, Nigeria Does Not Need Another Ruthless Leader

One hackneyed fallacy regularly bandied around in the Nigerian social media spheres is that people fail to retrospectively learn from their experiences because “history was removed from the Nigerian school curriculum.” As a cure for this inability to introspect, commentators suggest re-introducing history into the school curriculum. Listening to them, one gets the impression they take history lessons as a pre-packaged set of factoids, already interpreted and unnuanced, and handed out to be weaponised by those who need them to win low-stakes arguments on social media. Learning history is a lot more, of course. It is a process that, perhaps more than anything, trains the mind to think.

History should be a compulsory subject but it is no magic bullet against wilful ignorance and outright buffoonery. Even if historical events unfolded before everyone’s eyes, some dubious historians like the All Progressives Congress vice presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima, would still process it poorly. On Thursday, at the 96th anniversary celebration of the Yoruba Tennis Club in Ikoyi, Lagos State, Shettima was quoted to have said that Nigeria needed the “hospitality” of late despot General Sani Abacha. In a moment of being possessed by his own wit, Shettima reeled out the list of Nigeria’s past leaders—some of whom should have been locked away for their crimes against humanity. He extrapolated what he thinks are their distinct qualities and then ascribed them to his principal, Bola Tinubu.

After his faux pas was published, Shettima refuted the account and even worsened his case by saying he did not describe Abacha as “hospitable.” Now, it is becoming a pattern that Shettima would goof and then add another blunder while clarifying his initial position. Rather than hospitable, he said he meant “ruthless and taciturn.” Well, it is not uncommon to hear people yearn for a strongman leader, saying only a brute can handle Nigeria and its recalcitrant problems. Presidential media aide, Femi Adesina, too once suggested Nigeria needs a leader who will beat him—and the rest of his ilk—on the head like an illiterate goat until they submitted. Psychologically damaged people frequently fantasise about some mythical brute force to correct their vacuity in their souls and, in the process, settle for abuses.

Shettima’s combo of “ruthless and taciturn” as leadership traits is advocacy for a genuine sociopath, someone who can be vicious and coldly detached. If the productive uses of “ruthless and taciturn” is all Shettima learned from our history, then he needs to re-enrol for a crash course in the school of reality. Of course, he also noted that the ruthlessness and taciturnity would be directed against those who have brought so many woes to Nigeria, but we already know how that works. “Ruthless and taciturn” are not weapons of warfare meant for the ruling classes; they are typically directed at the poor and the vulnerable.

Even a cursory observer of African history cannot but be wary of recommending a strongman leader. Our history is packed to the brim with such characters. They came in the guises of statesmen but ended up as executioners, plunderers and despoilers of humanity. What did they leave in the wake of their misrule other than sorrow, tears and blood? Countries like China can at least balance the repression against the economic and technological advancement their strongmen leaders achieved, but what is Africa’s testimony? We are the most underdeveloped of human societies. Our own set of leaders had no pride in their identity; their lack of historical awareness was unfortunately matched with their inability to envision a future. They lived mostly in the present, voraciously consuming both the natural resources and the flesh of their citizens. Most of these leaders did not at least match their ruthlessness with intelligence and a measure of good leadership instincts that would have made some sacrifices worthwhile. They spent decades in power and achieved practically nothing for their respective countries.

Look at Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), whom they sold in 2015 as that strongman leader. They said he possessed the will and moral force to enforce tough policies that Nigeria needs to thrive. How far did that myth go before it was spent?

Strongmen leaders in our part of the world serially failed to effectively organise society through brute force. They mostly lacked the necessary ethical spine to sustain administrative decisions and the potential of their acclaimed force to achieve anything worthwhile gets delimited by their greed and lack of self-mastery. To be able to loot in peace, they would eventually have to capitulate to the other vultures hovering around them, feasting on resources as if tomorrow would not come. The ruthless leaders we have had in the past could not reform some of the biggest sources of waste of resources such as fuel subsidies and forex arbitrage. For 30 odd years, Nigeria has debated the merits of the fuel subsidies. None of our leaders since the ’80s, including the military despots who professionally embodied the strongman persona, could organise meaningful reforms. Their ruthlessness did not extend to confronting the real sources of national problems. Another supposed strong leader in power will merely take us through the routines of suffering and all for nothing.

Finally, it is interesting how, in campaigning for Tinubu, Shettima serially derides “nice men” as unfit for power. Perhaps it has not yet occurred to him that he could one day be at the receiving end of “ruthless and taciturn” power. Has he studied Tinubu’s public record of leadership? He should. In the space of eight years as governor, he alone had three deputies; two of them left under controversial circumstances. By the time he left office, Tinubu’s ego had been so wedded to the governorship he haunted Alausa like a ghost of a man who died without descendants. They had to create the title of “governor emeritus” to assuage his anxieties about being a former governor.

For a man whose propagandists like to claim he has a distinguished record of recruiting the best people to work with him, it is also ironical how much he fears being outshone. His immediate successor in office almost did not go for a second term because, as that one became quite popular, their relationship grew acrimonious. The governor that succeeded that one was not so lucky; he ended up as a one-term governor. If the incumbent Lagos governor has survived without the tumultuousness that characterised his two predecessors’ relationship with Tinubu, it is partly because he has not acquired any public profile that threatens their godfather. Besides, now that Tinubu has finally found a path to the topmost office of the presidency, preying on his successors is less a priority. God help Lagos if he loses next year’s election.

Shettima probably finds such power tactics sexy. He should wait until they unleash the ruthless force of their political machinery on him. Then he will realise “ruthless and taciturn” is not cute when you are at its receiving end. An insecure man with a woeful record of relating with his deputies is unlikely to cherish Shettima’s tendency to snag media headlines especially if he outshines his principal whose present taciturnity might as well be due to physiological issues. Shettima will then learn that “ruthless and taciturn” are traits of weak men and they are not exactly desirable when used by someone with almost unregulated executive power. When that day comes, he will long for the generosity of spirit that defines the “nice men.”

Tiwa Savage: Why I Still Look Young, Beautiful at 42

Tiwa Savage is indeed the Number One African Bad Girl, an epithet she has lyricised many times and lived up to. And she has etched herself in the consciousness of many across the globe by virtue of the numerous hit songs she has released and her ravishing beauty.

Ravishing beauty. Sure. At 42, Savage still turns men on. Men fawn over her and gloat about her sexiness. And many wonder about how this mother of one has been able to keep herself looking young and beautiful in spite of her craziness, her bad girl persona and the ravages of time and clime.

However, the multi award-winning singer has shared the secret to her youthful looks and beautiful skin. In an interview with Vogue magazine she revealed that her search for the perfect skin has not been a ride in the park. She happened on it after researching things.

“Growing up in Nigeria, I had black soap for my face and cocoa butter all over my skin. During quarantine, I started Savage said her skin care regimen starts with Barbara Sturm foaming cleaner. Then she uses Obagi’s eye cream every day and a and night and a little bit of Vitamin C serum.

Still, what makes her skin-care regimen unique is that it is made specially for her as the moisturizer Barbara Sturm has a little bit of her blood plasma.

“She takes the plasma from my blood to make this face cream only for me—only for Tiwa,” she said.

Then she adds sunscreen and Tata Harper’s hydrating essence to complete her beauty routine.

Savage also revealed that she doesn’t make use of foundation. According to her, she stopped using foundation ever since Super Model Naomi Campbell cautioned her against it.

“This is something that Naomi Campbell told me: she doesn’t use foundation, or hardly uses foundation… So I stopped using it. It takes a while for you to to get used to it. But that’s where that inner confidence comes in.”

Savage, also recounted how when she relocated from Nigeria to The United Kingdom at 11, she was not seeing girls with her complexion represented in beauty at the time. What she saw as the colour of beauty at the time was white. And that made her bleach her skin. “I actually tried to bleach my skin, so I was using these products to make you lighter,” she revealed.

However, once her mother discovered them, she encouraged Savage to me embrace and appreciate her natural beauty. Now with the inclusion of darker skin tones, it’s so much easier and so much better.

Savage also said one of the reasons she looks so seductive is that she does her eye brows herself. And as for her day-to night makeup routine, it all starts by perfecting her brows.

“Even if I have a makeup artist, I still do my eyebrows myself, she said while defining her arches with a concealer. Then she reaches for tinted spot treatment to combat post-acne scarring.

Savage, who believes in doing her own makeup, also pick up many of her makeup tricks by studying pro makeup artist techniques and often does her own goam.

“Nobody else knows your face better than you; if you invest the time in skincare and makeup, I promise you – it might seem overwhelming, (but) you’ll get the hang of it,” she maintained.

She also used tinted spot treatment to get rid of acne scars and conceals underneath her eyes and forehead with Laura Mercier’s loose powder andMac Powder.

Savage also said she doesn’t like covering all her dark spots because I feel like there’s perfection in imperfection.

Rather, she blend it all with NARS blush and Fenty Beauty highlighter and finishes off her look with her newly launched Mac lipstick.

“I always admire when I see women with red lips… It’s sexy, bold, and confident. I wanted to create a red color that would make me feel like that,” she averred.

researching things and trying to get rid of my pigmentation.” She told Vogue. And since then, the results have been nothing short of glowing.

2023: Otedola, Four Others Join National Peace Committee

Femi Otedola, executive chairman of Geregu Power Plc, and four other eminent personalities have been appointed as members of the National Peace Committee (NPC) ahead of the 2023 elections.

The others are Yahale Ahmed, a former secretary to government of the federation and defence minister; Lt General Martin Agwai, former chief of defence staff; John Momoh, founder of Channels Television, and Idayat Hassan, a director at the Centre for Democracy and Development.

The NPC is a non-governmental initiative conceptualised in 2014 in response to emerging threats occasioned by the 2015 general elections. Since then, the committee has emerged as one of the leading lights and credible organisations in Nigeria’s democratic journey.

It is an initiative made up of eminent elder statesmen who undertake efforts to support free, fair and credible elections as well as intervene in critical issues of national concern through high-level mediated and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

At inception, the NPC had an urgent, broad based mandate to make modest contributions towards a smooth and peaceful conduct of the 2015 elections, devoid of any breakdown of law and order before, during and after the electioneering process. Consequently, its core mandate is: to observe and monitor compliance with Abuja Accord signed by the political parties during elections; to provide advice to the governments, both federal and states and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on resolution of political disputes and conflicts arising from issues of compliance with the Abuja Accord; to make itself available for national mediation and conciliation in the case of post-electoral disputes or crises; to ensure peaceful outcome of general elections that is acceptable to a generality of Nigerians and the international community.

The core values of the NPC include neutrality, integrity, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness through: fairness, confidentiality, meritocracy, justice and patriotism.

Some previous members of the committee included retired General Abdulsalam Abubakar; Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah; Okoh Ebitu Ukiwe; Priscilla Kuye, Sultan of Sokoto, HRH Sa’ad Abubakar, Aliko Dangote, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Brown Ade, Sam Amuka; INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu; Ibrahim Gambari and John Cardinal Onaiyekan.

Yakubu, INEC boss, recently called on the NPC, to engage actors in the political space early enough, in order to minimise incidences of electoral violence in the 2023 general election.

He had appreciated the contribution of the committee to peaceful elections through the Peace Accord initiative introduced in 2015, saying: “Nations are lucky when they have moral voices, that their authority does not draw from statutory provisions, it exists purely from moral persuasion, and people listen.

“That is why I think it is a big plus for us as a nation to have a national peace committee and the calibre of people involved in the National Peace Committee.”

Appealing to the Abdulsalam Abubakar-led committee for its intervention with regards to electoral violence, Yakubu had also said, “One of the things that the National Peace Committee can help us do in terms of mitigating security challenges is early engagement with some of the actors.

“Not just signing the peace accord on the eve of elections, but imagine that some of those who perpetrate violence on election day are not necessarily candidates in the election, but are people engaged by beneficiaries of the election. So, if we can engage with the actors early enough, I hope that we will be able to turn a new leaf in that respect.”

AFRIMA 2022: Public Voting Starts Sunday Sept 25

…PWC To Audit Awards Process 

THE voting portal for the 2022 edition of the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) will be opened on Sunday, September 25, at 21:00 (CAT),  to the public, globally, to decide the winners of each of the 39 award categories. 

The International Committee of the All Africa Music Award (AFRIMA), in conjunction with the African Union Commission (AUC), made this announcement, on Friday, encouraging African music lovers to vote intensively using the voting portal live at www.afrima.org, before the portal closes on December 10, 2022, which is the eve of the awards. 

More information on the voting process, which would also be audited by the International auditing firm, PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC), can also be found on the website, as well as AFRIMA’s social media (Instagram/TikTok – @Afrima.official; Facebook – Afrimawards; Twitter – @afrimaofficial). 

Like it did at the AFRIMA 2021 edition, the PWC, which has audited other major global awards including the Oscars, will audit the voting portal, collate the votes and present them at the awards. 

According to AFRIMA’s Executive Producer/President, Mike Dada, “AFRIMA’S core values of FACE IT – Fairness, Authenticity, Creativity, Excellence, Integrity and Transparency remain at the heart of our operations. With PWC, we are further reinforcing these value drivers, ensuring that we remain as inclusive, credible and authentic as always.”

Recall that the list of nominees were unveiled globally, last Wednesday, revealing a  total of 382 nominations across all 39 categories. The nominations, which have been greeted with positive acclaim across the world, are the fruit of a rigorous 10-day adjudication held by AFRIMA’s 13-member jury, in July. Also, only entries within the validity period of August 20, 2021 to August 5, 2022, were considered for nomination for this year’s awards. 

According to AFRIMA’s Executive Producer/President, Mr Mike Dada, the awards body remains the ultimate recognition of African music globally, also serving as a muse to other award bodies across the continent. 

“We are not oblivious to the fact that there are some other award bodies that copy our nominations every year. As the ultimate recognition of African music, globally, we are a source of inspiration to both music gatekeepers and music lovers across the entire industry. AFRIMA continues to blaze the trail in celebrating African talent and developing our creative ecosystem, and this year’s edition is a step further in that direction,” he said. 

On her part, the African Union Commission’s Head of Culture, Mrs Angela Martins encouraged music lovers to vote decisively and objectively. 

She said, “We have done our part. It is left to you the fans to now decide your winners. Remember that these categories are highly competitive and are based on merit. Let your votes help the best person(s) emerge as champion.” 

The 2022 All Africa Music Awards will now be held from the 8th to 11th December, 2022. A special announcement will be made on the host country and location for the awards, on 30th September, 2022. 

The AFRIMA awards ceremony will feature a 4-day fiesta of music, glitz, and glamour aimed at celebrating Africa, recognising talents and expanding the economic frontiers of the culture and  creative industry on the continent. The event is scheduled to commence with the welcome soiree, followed by the AFRIMA Music Village, the host city tour, Africa Music Business Summit, and the exclusive nominees’ party and concluded with the live awards ceremony broadcast to over 84 countries around the world.

African music lovers can take part in the events on social media, live stream on the AFRIMA website at www.afrima.org and visit the social media platforms (IG/TikTok – @afrima.official; Facebook – Afrimawards; Twitter – @afrimaofficial; LinkedIn – AFRIMA) ), and they can watch the event coverage by tuning in to their local and cable TV providers. 

In partnership with the African Union Commission, AFRIMA is a youth-focused music platform that recognizes and rewards the work and talents of African artistes across generations. 

AFRIMA primarily stimulates conversations among Africans, and also the rest of the world, especially on the potential of the creative arts for fostering real human enterprise, as well as contributing significantly to social cohesion, as well as sustainable development in Africa. The Programme of events is in line with the AU Agenda 2063 which outlines Aspiration 05 as the development of the arts and culture sector including its cultural and creative industries, to boost the development of the African economy.