Jimi Solanke, Wasiu Ayinde and the Cartoon Called Nigeria


Aníkúlápó is the man who bears death in a pouch, not Jimi Solanke. Solanke knew a braggadocious name couldn’t stop death. So, when death came calling, Solanke followed it without fear. But Solanke wasn’t afraid of death, he was afraid of life – this he told me many years ago at the backstage of the Oduduwa Hall, Obafemi Awolowo Univerity, Ile Ife, when I sneaked up on him.

It is true, time is a virus that corrupts memory. Despite its limitation, however, memory remains nature’s hard disk embedded in the skull of every mortal. And, when I bolted from the Oduduwa Hall congregation – in pursuit of Solanke – to the backstage, I never knew my inquisitiveness would someday memorialise his memory.

I can’t remember the particulars of the event that was held in the architectural wonder called Oduduwa Hall many, many years ago. But I remember Baba Agba, as Uncle Jimi Solanke was popularly called, being the moderator of the event. As his baritone soaked the hall in honey, my mind journeyed down memory lane, marvelling at the lanky enigma before the audience – the great Jimi Solanke – world-class storyteller, actor, folklorist, singer, playwright, poet, dancer, guitarist, drummer, cultural aficionado and compere extraordinaire!

“Tunde, you must interview this wizard,” I told myself. So, I bided my time, looking for a break. My lucky break came when the session went on a break, and Baba Agba sauntered backstage. I sneaked away from my reporter colleagues, melted into the shuffling crowd, and went after him.

“Good morning, sir!” “Good morning, my dear,” he replied, the glint in his eyes was welcoming. Wow!! I couldn’t believe I was talking live with Mr Voice himself. My heart raced like a rabbit in a park. “My name is Tunde Odesola; I’m from PUNCH newspapers,” I identified myself. “Oh, PUNCH, that’s my paper,” he said. “Thank you, sir,” I gushed. “It’s a dream come true talking to you, sir.” He eyed me with his big eyes.

I didn’t bring out my tape recorder yet because I didn’t want him to see me as a bother. I continued, “I thought you came out to smoke, sir” “Oh, no! I quit smoking,” he said in his rich voice. “You quit? Why? Health reasons?” I fired a threesome.

“I’ll tell you the short story. Someone died in my family and relatives converged in my house to discuss the burial. I stepped out to smoke. When I stepped back into the house, it was as if I carried faeces with me into the house. Everyone turned their noses up, looking at me as though I was a strange object. I felt embarrassed. That wasn’t the first time I would step into a gathering after smoking a cigarette, and people would feel uneasy. To make people not feel awkward by my smoking, I decided to stop. They say smokers are liable to die young, I’m no longer young, 70 is around the corner,” he said with a grin.

No matter the manner of death that kills the elderly, his cranium won’t vanish; kò sí ikú tí yíò pa àgbàlagbà, tí a ò ní bá poolo orí è. This proverb means no matter the situation, the elderly must speak the truth at all times, without fear. Solanke exemplified the letters and spirit of this proverb through his art.

There, at the backstage of Oduduwa Hall, Solanke wasn’t afraid of telling me the truth about his struggles with smoking, he wasn’t afraid of facing the challenge too. Solanke is the citizen Nigeria desires but does not deserve.

The same thing cannot be said of Fuji music maestro, Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde, aka K1 De Ultimate. Wasiu is far beneath the league of Solanke and his kindred, Tunji Oyelana. Wasiu is the citizen Nigeria desirously deserves – tribalistic, selfish, ignorantly endowed and materialistic. The Nigerian citizen epitomised by Wasiu sees music as a means to a cash-and-carry end and not a selfless tool for social change.

In the heat of the economic hardship suffered by Nigerians during the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency, Wasiu, in 2006, lifted his voice up to God, singing unto Him to eclipse Obasanjo, “Ba wa mu baba kuro..” But Wasiu’s tongue appeared super-glued to his palate and his ears stuffed with palm oil wool when the herdsman, General Muhammadu Buhari, misruled the country for 8 years as he didn’t give Buhari, who’s the worst Nigerian leader ever, the same treatment he gave Obasanjo.

Wasiu has kept a deafening silence since the economy further nosedived after his tin god, President Bola Tinubu, assumed power in 2023. In societies emancipated from mental slavery, Wasiu’s action would’ve been met with a backlash that would affect his musical image and fortunes, but Nigeria is Babel, where the Toad’s croaking is music to the ears.

Did Solanke love children? No. He worshipped them. He dedicated his life of storytelling to them. In his programme, Story Land, Solanke would dance like a five-year-old, giggle like a preteen on his first excursion, and yet pass across his teachings with the charm of sage. Oh, how I love him!

Solanke saw the wicked world through the innocent eyes of the child and armed himself with a paddle strong enough to steer his canoe, singing on his earthly journey his songs of wisdom that include Baba Agba, Onile Gogoro, Eje ka jo, Jenrokan, Na Today You Come, among others.

Since he travelled to America after graduating from the Theatre Arts Department of the University of Ibadan in 1969, before his eventual return to Nigeria in 1986, Solanke produced many albums such as In the Beginning, Ase, Orin Orisa, Storyteller, America Has Got Magic, Multiplicity of Praise, Hidden Gold, Once Upon a Time, among others. Gesamtkunstwerk is a German word that means total art. Solanke was a Total Man, who practised Total Art, giving his totality to his art.

That was why Solanke, the voice of the narrator in the Nollywood blockbuster, Jagunjagun, was ever happy, contented and respectable. That was why he was never a servant at Bourdillon. However, this is not to say Wasiu has no class at all. Wasiu has his own class and remains a savant of Fuji, with great hits under his belt. But when compared with Solanke, shoe get size.

At this juncture, I want to wear the Solankean robe and see the world through the eyes of a friend’s 11-year-old child. ’Busola Durojaiye was a younger colleague in the pen-pushing profession. She distinguished herself at the Osun State Broadcasting Corporation, Osogbo, in the early 2000. She has a good grasp of the sociopolitical and economic situation of Nigeria, making her my go-to person on Nigerian gists.

Last week, our talk centred on the exorbitant prices of foods, goods and services across the country. ’Busola has a wicked sense of humour. “Ara n kan everybody ni Nigeria o, everybody is touchy. Everybody is sick. Even ‘your’ daughter (name withheld) is sick,” she said. “Ha, kilo se, what’s she sick of,” I asked, worried.

“On Saturday, her boarding school housemistress called, saying Angel (not her real name) was sick with fever. The housemistress said she had been taken to the hospital for a Widal Test, whose result was being expected. I told the housemistress to give the phone to Angel,” ’Busola explained.

“When Angel came online, she said she had a high fever. Orí mi kó kó fò lo ná; I was alarmed. High fever ke? Angel said she wasn’t the only one having a high fever in the school. She said about 12 students were affected, including two of her close friends, Dab and OmoT (real names withheld). Then, in a conspiratorial tone, she said, ‘The doctor and nurse said I have no blood at all’.

“I asked her if the doctor and the nurse told the housemistress about her having no blood at all. She said no. She said the doctor and the nurse confided in her only. Angel then told me she knew the remedy to her acute blood shortage. She listed the remedy to include malt drink, ice cream and jollof rice from a particular restaurant. I told her it was blood that she needed, but she said ice cream, malt drink and jollof rice produce better blood. She said students, including her two friends, whose parents had sent money for the cure, were already getting well.

Mother sent N11,000 to daughter’s housemistress for the cure of blood shortage. When mom called the next day, Angel’s voice was clearer. “How are you feeling now, Angel?” mother asked. “Blood is returning to my body now,” she said. “How did you know blood is returning to your body,” mother queried. “I can feel it in my system,” daughter answered.

Solanke understood the ways of children. He must have loved cartoons, too. Nigeria is a huge cartoon; a cruel, unfunny joke, yoking the storyteller and his audience. At 63, Nigeria remains a child, its spine cracked by corruption, nepotism and evil leadership.

When will blood return to the veins and arteries of Nigeria? When, I ask?

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com

Sanwo-Olu Mourns Herbert Wigwe

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has described the death of Herbert Wigwe, the group of Access Holdings plc, as devastating.

In a condolence statement, Sanwo-Olu described Wigwe as “one of the brightest minds in Africa” and a “visionary leader” who made unparalleled contributions to banking and the financial sector.

He said: “I’m deeply saddened by the tragic loss of my dear brother and friend, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, his dear wife Doreen, and their beloved son Chizi in a helicopter crash.

Herbert was not just a brother and visionary leader but one of the brightest minds in Africa. His impact on our nation and beyond will be remembered forever. My heart mourns.

Herbert’s contributions to the Banking and financial sector in Africa were unparalleled. He was an unapologetic believer in the Nigerian solution. His dedication and passion for progress inspired us all. Today, we mourn not just a leader but a true friend and brother. Lagos and Nigeria have lost a remarkable soul. Rest in peace, my brother.

We also lost another great business leader and legal luminary, my egbon Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, who contributed significantly to the development of the Capital Markets and Corporate law in Nigeria. May his soul rest in peace.

In this difficult time, our thoughts are with the families of all the victims, and we pray for strength and grace,” he said. 

Telling Chizoba’s Story

By Ijeoma Nwogwugwu


Herbert Wigwe everyone knew, but not many knew the backbone behind his immense success. I called you Chiz Baby. Queenette Allagoa called you Chiz Burger. Most called you Doreen. I remember when you came back from the United States of America 31 years ago. You were just 26 years old, armed with your university degrees and ready to start life afresh back home. We immediately bonded over our unique family dynamics and love of trading. I remember marvelling at your capacity to switch back and forth from an American accent to a Nigerian English accent with ease. I was immediately drawn to your infectious laughter which could be heard from a mile away and your tremendous industry. You were born into privilege, but you were never afraid of hard work.

Your dad, the late Chief Cyprian Chukwuemeka Nwuba (Uncle CY) was a chartered accountant and had worked for Shell Petroleum Development Company where he rose to the position of African Financial Controller, before transferring to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation where he was the Group General Manager, Finance and Accounts, before his retirement. Your mum was a senior public servant who worked in the education ministry before she took you, Alex and Pauline to live with her in the United States.

Despite spending your impressionable years growing up in the U.S., we would head out daily to Oke-Arin market in the heart of Lagos Island where we tried our hands at wholesale trading. I would later drop my forays into Oke-Arin market and give up the shop that my parents had paid for me as I forged a new career in journalism. But you never did, frugally saving and turning around every penny that you made until you became an immensely wealthy and successful businesswoman with interests in construction, real estate and the hospitality sectors.

I remember the beginnings of your relationship with Queenette, which was to blossom into a lifelong unbreakable sisterhood. Today, she’s inconsolable without you, but remains thankful to God for your life. I remember your first meeting with Herbert, then a young, freshly minted General Manager at Guaranty Trust Bank, and the twinkle in your eye after introductions had been made. It was at Queenette’s house where we used to hangout as young women, laughing our heads off and without a care in the world. I remember your wedding to Herbert and the reception at the Muson Centre. I remember Chizi’s birth a few months after and Tochi’s four years later. We would still hangout at Queenette’s house where Herbert would often turn up after work to pick you up, but only after he had helped himself to a hearty meal of edi kai kong, afang or fisherman’s soup that were regular staples at Queenette’s abode.

I recall when you ventured into the construction industry. Just a few of us knew that Craneburg Construction Company was your baby. You would regale me with stories about size of the contracts your company was taking on and I was amazed at your trips all over the country, executing and monitoring road, infrastructure and building projects. You would sometimes call me from Bauchi or Sokoto State and I would ask, “Chiz Baby, what on earth are you doing there?” You would always respond with your trademark laughter, “Ijeoma, I am working.”

It was your construction firm that built the highways, bridges and toll plaza from Lekki Phase II all the way to and within Epe town, making the journey to Ijebu Ode in Ogun State less arduous. It was your construction firm that built roads and flyovers in Ondo, Imo, Adamawa, Ogun, Bauchi, Gombe and other states. You took on airport construction projects, oil and gas, and marine projects like fish to water. Today, Craneburg is one of Nigeria’s largest, diversified construction groups that employs 7,000 people working across all major sectors of the economy. When you were not travelling around Nigeria, you would take off to China or Hong Kong to import all sort of things that you sold. No enterprise was too big or too small for you to handle. You revelled in it like very few people could.

I once asked you how Herbert felt about your far-flung business interests. You responded, saying that your relationship with him was built on trust and he was a confident man who was very supportive of your business. Herbert was later to confirm this over ten years ago when he proudly confessed to a mutual friend that you were probably wealthier than he was. More recently, in an interview on Arise News Channel, when the interviewer Ojy Okpe asked Herbert what his most prized possession was, without skipping a beat, he said you were his most prized asset and his everything. This was how much you meant to him. You were anything but a trophy wife. You were an equal partner in a blessed union made on earth and now in heaven.

As I watched your relationship with Herbert thrive, I was later to understand that it was your independence, industry and mutual love of children that solidified your bond as a loving couple. Just like Herbert, you loved children dearly and I watched your family grow with the addition of David, Hannah and Okachi. I remember your love and dedication to your children. Despite your business interests, you always took off for several months at a time watching over Chizi and Tochi in the UK when they were at boarding school and university. When David and Hannah were old enough to go to boarding school, you did likewise. I remember when you told me that Herbert found it difficult to let go of David and how he cried like a baby when he was dropped off at prep school in the UK. You and Herbert absolutely adored children and were planning to have more because they brought both of you tremendous joy.

Barely a week before you embarked on your final journey to the United States, I called you to introduce you to a friend of mine who wanted to build two multi-storey buildings in Lagos. Irrespective of the numerous projects that you were already handling, you were very grateful and excited at the new prospect and within 24 hours had met with her and her team at their office in Ikoyi. My friend is very sad at your passing but has promised to go ahead with Craneburg Construction as a mark of remembrance of your dynamism and industry.

Chiz Baby, what will we do without you? You were a beautiful woman, not just in looks but in spirit. You never, ever flaunted your success. You were always God-fearing, humble, playful, shrewd and intelligent. Last Saturday evening when I heard that you, Herbert and Chizi had been declared missing after the helicopter crash, I kept calling Alex your brother who was extraordinarily brave that night. We held on to whatever glimmer of hope that we had that all three of you had walked away from the crash and would be found. But as the night wore on and we learnt that you were no more, I completely lost sleep.

All I could do was to go down memory lane of our early beginnings as I showed you the lay of the land and introduced you to the few friends that I had. I thought of our minor scrapes as young women and our ability to move past them. I thought of your interactions with my mum and dad whenever you came round to visit. I thought of your interactions with your parents and siblings Alex, Pauline, Tolly, the late Anana and Chinny and how much you loved them. I thought of Tochi, Hanana, David and little Okachi who you, Herbert and Chizi have left behind. It was like watching life through a kaleidoscope.

Chiz Baby, right now we can only console ourselves in the knowledge that you and your dearest Herbert left behind separate, yet intertwined sustainable legacies through which we shall remember both of you for eternity. Thankfully, Tochi is your daughter through and through. She is almost the same age today as you were when you returned to Nigeria over three decades ago. We believe in her capacity, with the support and guidance of her numerous uncles and aunties, to look after and bring up her younger siblings in a manner that would make you, Chizi and Herbert proud. Despite the heartbreak, they will grow, prosper, and carry on the baton of the Wigwe family. They will be fine!

Sleep on my dearest Chiz Baby. Sleep on my dearest Herbie. Sleep on my dearest Chizi. And may your souls rest in eternal peace.

BREAKING: Access Holdings Appoints Bolaji Agbede as Acting CEO

Access Holdings Plc has made a decisive move in leadership continuity by appointing Ms. Bolaji Agbede as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer.

This is in a swift response to the unexpected passing of its former Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Herbert Wigwe.

This announcement was made by the Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc on February 12, 2024, following an earlier statement dated February 11, 2024.

Ms. Agbede, who stands as the most senior founding Executive Director in charge of Business Support within the company, is set to helm the affairs of Access Holdings Plc subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria. This transition marks a significant point in the company’s history as it navigates through the challenges of sudden leadership change.

With an impressive professional background that spans nearly three decades, Ms. Agbede’s career trajectory in banking and business consultancy services has equipped her with a rich blend of expertise and strategic acumen.

Her journey began in 1992 at Guaranty Trust Bank where she steadily climbed the ranks to managerial positions by 2001 and eventually took on the role of Chief Executive Officer at JKG Limited, a business consulting firm, in 2003.

Her association with Access Bank Plc commenced in 2003 as an Assistant General Manager responsible for managing the bank’s portfolio of chemical trading companies. Her leadership qualities and strategic insight led her to assume the position of the Bank’s Head, Group Human Resources between 2010 and 2022.

She was then elevated to the role of Access Holdings Plc’s founding Executive Director, Business Support, where she played a pivotal role in the successful integration of business units and the transformation of the company’s culture.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Lagos (1990) and a Master of Business Administration Degree from Cranfield University
UK in 2002. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management UK and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.

Ms. Agbede has attended several renowned leadership and professional development programmes including the High-Performance Leadership Programme organised by the IMD and the Strategic Talent Management Programme organised by the London Business School.

The corporate world often faces such testing times, and the passing of Dr. Herbert Wigwe is indeed a profound loss for Access Holdings Plc.

However, Ms. Agbede’s appointment will be seen as a strategic step to ensure stability and continuity in the company’s leadership. Her experience and leadership style will be expected to guide Access Holdings Plc through this period of transition.

Chopper Crash: Manifest Shows How Wigwe’s P.A. Pulled Out of Tragic Flight

The manifest of passengers on the helicopter that killed Access Bank CEO, Herbert Wigwe, his wife – Chizoba, 29-year-old son – Chizi, and Chief Abimbola Ogunbanjo, has shown that Wigwe’s personal assistant pulled out at the last minute.

The manifest besides registering the particulars of the passengers also indicated that the P.A., identified as 49-year-old Faleye Olushola John, pulled out at the last minute.

He reportedly chose, at the last minute, to travel by road with their luggage.

Faleye flew with Wigwe (58), his 56-year-old wife, son and the 61-year-old former Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group), Abimbola Ogunbanjo from London, United Kingdom to Palm Spring, a city in California, US.

On getting to Palm Spring, Faleye declined to board the ill-fated flight going to Boulder City in Nevada. He insisted that he would not travel by helicopter at night due to the weather conditions. 

Wigwe: US Authorities Reveal Cause of Helicopter Crash

United States authorities on Sunday said preliminary reports suggest that a wintry weather condition was among the factors that contributed to the Chopper crash that killed the Group Chief Executive Officer, Access Holdings Plc, Herbert Wigwe.

Wigwe, his wife and son were onboard the helicopter when it crashed in California near the Nevada border on Friday.

Also on board was the former group chairperson of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, Abimbola Ogunbanjo.

Speaking during a media briefing Saturday (3am Nigerian time, Sunday), a National Transportation Safety Board member, Michael Graham, said officials were on the scene to gather perishable evidence.

Graham said the team was “methodically and systematically reviewing all evidence” and considering all potential factors to determine the probable cause of the crash.

He added that although the information provided was only preliminary, witness reports suggested that a wintry weather condition was among the factors that contributed to the accident.

“The crew consisted of a pilot in command and a safety pilot. The accident flight was operated by Orbic Air LLC as a Part 135 charter flight

“Witness reports of the weather conditions at the time of the accident suggest rain and a wintry mix.

“The helicopter was not equipped with a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder. This helicopter was not required to be equipped with those types of recording devices,” Graham said

Asked about more information on the passengers, Graham stated there were no details but added that “any names will be released through the coroner’s office” without specifying a time frame.

He added that the NTSB would look into the chopper’s airworthiness; maintenance and structure of the helicopter, operations, meteorology, and air traffic control.

“Parties to the investigation include the FAA and Orbic Air LLC. As the investigation continues, other parties could be named,” he said.

“The BEA — the French aviation accident investigation agency — will serve as an accredited representative because France is a state of the manufacturer of the Airbus helicopter and the Turbomeca engine.”

Meanwhile, Access Holdings Plc has confirmedconfirmed the death of its CEO, Wigwe along with his wife and son.

The announcement was made in a statement signed by the Group Company Secretary, Sunday Ekwochi, on Sunday.

BREAKING: Wigwe, Wife, Son, Abimbola Ogunbanjo In Chopper Crash

Herbert Wigwe, the group chief executive officer (CEO) of Access Holdings Plc, was involved in a helicopter crash in the United States, on Friday, TheCable understands.

Wigwe, his wife and son were in the helicopter when it crashed in California near the Nevada border, as well as Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the former group chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group).

Six passengers were onboard, however, no survivors found so far.

More to follow…

UBA Group Appoints Mary Mulili, Mohamed Alhajie Samoura as MD/CEO in Kenya, Sierra Leone

Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has announced the appointments of Ms. Mary Mulili and Mr Mohamed Alhajie Samoura, as the new Managing Directors/Chief Executive Officers of its subsidiaries in Kenya and Sierra Leone respectively. 

Ms. Mulili’s appointment marks a significant milestone for UBA Kenya, as it coincides with the subsidiary’s 15th anniversary of operation and being the first female MD/CEO of UBA Kenya, her selection exemplifies the bank’s commitment to gender diversity and inclusivity in leadership roles.

Mulili, a Kenyan, boasts of experience in the corporate, commercial, public, institutional banking, SME, retail, and digital banking sectors with an extensive career spanning over two decades in the banking sector. She served as Executive Director for UBA Kenya and pivotal executive and senior roles in other commercial banks with her expertise, and leadership, delivering comprehensive business advisory services and innovative solutions.

Speaking on her selection, the Board Chairman, UBA Kenya, Mr. Alphan Njeru, disclosed that the Mulili’s appointment – which took effect last month subject to regulatory approval – comes at a crucial juncture for the subsidiary, as it is focused on accelerating growth through regional trade opportunities, digital innovation, and SME financing, aligning with the broader vision of sustainable banking.

Responding, Mulili expressed her gratitude for the opportunity towards steering UBA Kenya’s strategic vision, leveraging the UBA Group’s extensive network across 20 African countries and globally. She expressed her commitment to provide tailored financial solutions, emphasizing UBA’s dedication as a financial partner of growth for all stakeholders.

On his part, Mr. Mohamed Alhajie Samoura whose appointment as MD/CEO took effect last month, has received relevant approval from the Central Bank of Sierra Leone. 

Thus, he becomes the first Sierra Leonean to hold this position since the bank’s inception in 2008, emphasising UBA’s commitment to empowering local talent and promoting human capital development.

Over the years, Samoura has garnered accolades, as he is frequently named among the100 Most Outstanding Executives in Sierra Leone. His wealth of experience and understanding of the country’s corporate and institutional banking landscape positions him well for his role. 

His appointment aligns with UBA Group’s strategic focus on localizing governance, products, and services to meet host economy requirements. UBA Sierra Leone, under his leadership, aims to be the leading financial institution in the country, with a current customer base exceeding 400,000.

Commenting on both appointments, UBA’s Group Managing Director/CEO, Oliver Alawuba, said the strategic appointments underscore the bank’s commitment towards fostering diversity, empowering local talent, and driving growth across its African operations.

He took time to appreciate the outgoing MD/CEOs of Kenya and Sierra Leone, for their immense contribution to the UBA Group over the past few years. 

United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 25,000 employees’ group wide and serving over 35 million customers globally. Operating in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, UBA provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

Sanwo-Olu Felicitates Ayangburen at 70

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has congratulated the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Adewale Shotobi, on the occasion of his 70th birthday, describing him as an epitome of dedication and selflessness in community service. 

Governor Sanwo-Olu in a congratulatory message issued on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, said Oba Shotobi, has brought quality leadership to his subjects since his ascension to the throne of his forefathers. 

He said: “On behalf of my wife and family, the government, and the people of Lagos State, I congratulate the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Adewale Shotobi, on the auspicious occasion of his 70th birthday. It is with great delight that I join Oba Shotobi’s family, friends, associates and subjects to celebrate his 70th birthday. 

“Since ascending the throne of his forefathers as the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Adewale Shotobi, has displayed exemplary leadership in Ikorodu. I salute his passion and commitment to the growth and development of the Ikorodu division of Lagos State. Indeed, the people of Ikorodu are lucky to have an upright monarch like Oba Shotobi as their paramount ruler.

“As Oba Shotobi joins the Septuagenarian Club, it is my prayer that the Almighty God will continue to bestow on him good health, wisdom, knowledge and understanding for a continuous reign of peace, prosperity and love in Ikorodu. He will witness many more fruitful years on the throne of his forefathers for the continuous service to humanity, Ikorodu, Lagos and our dear country, Nigeria.”

Worship For Change Foundation Donates ₦33m To 4 Special Needs Schools Across Nigeria

l-r: Trustee, Worship for Change Foundation, Gboyega Aboderin; Founder, Joy in Africa Foundation, Asaba, Joy Okonjor; Her Husband, Henry Okonjor, Founder, To Omo Re Centre for Special Empowerment, Sam Ajayi;  Chief Responsibility Officer, The Let Cerebral Palsy Kids Learn Foundation, Tobiloba Ajayi; Founder and Chief Responsibility Officer, Worship for Change, Wale Adenuga; and President, The Seedoo Initiative for Children with Special Needs, Kawan Aondofa-Anjira; during the presentation of cheques totaling N33m to 4 Foundations catering for special needs by Worship for Change Foundation in Lagos on Tuesday.

In a heartwarming display of generosity, the Worship for Change Foundation, a non-profit organisation, has donated a total sum of ₦33 million to four schools dedicated to caring for children with disabilities. 

The donation, presented on February 6th, 2024 at a ceremony in Lagos, aims to empower these institutions and provide much-needed support to the underprivileges.

Each of the four beneficiary schools – Joy in Africa Foundation (Asaba), Let Cerebral Palsy Kids Learn Foundation (Lagos), Seedo Initiative for Children with Special Needs (Abuja), and To Omo Re Centre for Special Empowerment (Ilorin) – received ₦8.25 million each. 

The funds were raised through the Green Worship Benefit concert, a star-studded event held on October 2nd, 2023, featuring renowned Nigerian gospel artists Nathaniel Bassey, Tope Alabi, Cobhams Asuquo, and Waje.

Worship for Change has so far been able to raise over N120m for 38 charities caring for thousands of orphans and children with special needs in Nigeria.

Wale Adenuga, Chief Responsibility Officer of Worship for Change and a gospel artist, emphasised the organisation’s unwavering commitment to supporting vulnerable children.

l-r: Founder, Joy in Africa Foundation, Asaba, Joy Okonjor; Founder, To Omo Re Centre for Special Empowerment, Sam Ajayi; President, The Seedoo Initiative for Children with Special Needs, Kawan Aondofa-Anjira; Founder and Chief Responsibility Officer, Worship for Change, Wale Adenuga; and Chief Responsibility Officer, The Let Cerebral Palsy Kids Learn Foundation, Tobiloba Ajayi; during the presentation of cheques totaling N33m to 4 Foundations catering for special needs by Worship for Change Foundation in Lagos on Tuesday.

“Since 2004, I’ve been driven to use my platform to help indigent children, especially children with special needs,” he shared. “As we know, the special children’s needs are barely cared for and catered for in our present-day society. These children are special, and God cares deeply for them.”

Adenuga while using the opportunity to appreciate the individuals and corporate donors from Nigeria and all over the world for their contribution towards the success of the initiative, while thanking the planning team for their commitment to seeing that life is better for special children across Nigeria.

Emphasising transparency and accountability, Mr Adenuga assured the stakeholders of continued monitoring to ensure the funds are utilised effectively. “We will follow up closely to verify that the money is used as intended, addressing the specific needs outlined by each school,” he stated.

The donation ceremony resonated with raw emotions from the founders of the benefiting schools.

Mrs Kawan Aondofa-Anjira, the founder of the Seedo Initiative, tearfully recounted the heartbreaking experiences of raising her first two children with cerebral palsy, highlighting the societal stigma and discrimination they faced. 

“They were considered ‘spirits’, ‘undeserving of life’,” she lamented, recalling the cruel suggestions she received from supposed Christians. “Fueled by this experience, my husband and I established a haven for mothers in similar situations, offering therapy and support for their children.”, she says.

l-r: Founder, Joy in Africa Foundation, Asaba, Joy Okonjor; Founder, To Omo Re Centre for Special Empowerment, Sam Ajayi;  Chief Responsibility Officer, The Let Cerebral Palsy Kids Learn Foundation, Tobiloba Ajayi; Founder and Chief Responsibility Officer, Worship for Change, Wale Adenuga; and President, The Seedoo Initiative for Children with Special Needs, Kawan Aondofa-Anjira; during the presentation of cheques totaling N33m to 4 Foundations catering for special needs by Worship for Change Foundation in Lagos on Tuesday.

Tobiloba Ajayi, founder of Let Cerebral Palsy Kids Learn Foundation and herself living with the condition, echoed Mrs. Aondofa-Anjira’s sentiment. 

“My parents were told to abandon me as they already had ‘normal’ children,” she shared. “Growing up, I realised society deemed children like me unworthy, even denying them education despite our parents’ efforts.”

The heartfelt testimonies resonated deeply with the audience, underscoring these schools’ critical role in nurturing and empowering children with special needs. Rev. Samuel Abiodun Ajayi, a beneficiary representing To Omo Re Centre, expressed immense gratitude for the timely support. “This donation is a godsend,” he exclaimed. “We were facing numerous challenges, and this will make a significant difference.”