Okowa Congratulates Obaseki

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has congratulated his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki, on his 63rd birth anniversary on July 1.

The governor’s congratulatory message is contained in a statement issued by his Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Warri.

Okowa said that Gov. Godwin Obaseki deserved to be celebrated for providing purposeful, courageous and result-oriented leadership for Edo people in nearly four years.

He commended Obaseki’s ingenuity and untiring spirit in stimulating the industrialisation of Edo and making life easier for the people through investments, including the Azura-Edo Independent Power Project (IPP), a 450MW Open Cycle Gas Turbine power station.

Okowa also eulogised the Edo governor for his patriotic and unrelenting service to his state and the nation, and prayed to God to grant him long life, good health and wisdom in the service of Edo people and Nigeria.

“It is heart-warming to note that you have, through dint of hard work, discipline and vision to industrialise Edo, won the admiration and respect of your people and the nation at large.

“Your focus and commitment to reforms in governance and your ability to attract investors into your state are remarkable and worthy of commendation.

“No doubt, the people of Edo will, in September, reciprocate your giant strides in the last four years by returning you and your deputy for another term in office to guarantee a brighter future ahead of them.

“On behalf of my family, the government and people of Delta, I heartily rejoice with my brother governor, a reputable politician, outstanding professional, seasoned administrator, Mr Godwin Obaseki, on his 63rd birth anniversary.

“It is our prayer that God will continue to protect you and grant you good health to render more services to mankind,” Okowa prayed.

‘Hot!’ Lavolta Stars Releases New Single, Wetin Dey Occur

Popular Afrocentric band, Lavolta Stars, has a new single out titled Wetin Dey Occur, which dropped on Friday, June 26, 2020.

According to the band leader, Kayode Awokoya, the new single was inspired by the need to soothe the world’s pain as a result of the novel coronavirus.

“Just like everyone else, we were heavily jolted by what befell the world with the COVID-19 pandemic. People dying, countries closing their borders and shutting down, economies collapsing, hunger, poverty, people going into isolation, and social distancing; we were virtually living worse than animals.

“The stars including our management and record label decided we do something to bring relief, hope and succour to the world through music and the idea of our hit single, Wetin Dey Occur was born.

“Our single is a fusion of Afrobeat and Highlife, delivered in a melodious vibe to help soothe the pains the world is going through due to this very highly destructive pandemic. Just like we echoed in our song, Edumare press reset o (Meaning that God should press reset button over the pandemic).

Wetin Dey Occur, which simply translated What’s Going On, is available on music stores worldwide and available through this link (https://lavoltastars.fanlink.to/WetinDeyOccur).

The band was excited for the new release, posting on their social media handle, “Enjoy snippet of our new single titled Wetin Dey Occur. It’s our little way of bringing hope to a world ravaged by COVID-19. Edumare Press Reset.

“These are our guys, Lavolta Stars, on another level. It’s massive, a chart breaker, game changer!”

Awokoya, who was full of appreciation to the management and record label, stated that the support was massive to the success of the production.

“Our record label has been super supportive, caring and committed to our career and success; we couldn’t have asked for any better.”

Aside from Awokoya, who is the Lavolta Stars’ band leader, the group is made up of other six members, namely Sunday Okpo, Femi Omisakin, and Daniel Lombin Ogheneochuko.

Others are Tosin Adefeso, Dare Faduyi and Gbadegun Samson Oluwaseyi.

Lavolta Stars is an assemblage of seasoned and dynamic musicians and instrumentalists with the passion and drive for quality music. The band was formed back in 2017 with the sole aim of providing good music.

Azuh Arinze Unveils Two New Books

The Publisher and Editor in Chief of YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine, Azuh Arinze, has unveiled two new books that feature success stories of high-profile individuals and lessons from his journalism career.

Azuh announced the launch of his literary pieces entitled, Success Is Not Served A La Carte and Encounters – Lessons From My Journalism Career, at an exclusive virtual media event on Monday, June 29, 2020.

The first book, Success Is Not Served A La Carte, is an enlightening collection of one-on-one interview sessions with 30 high-profile individuals in the country, among them Christopher Kolade of Cadbury/LBS, Tony Ezenna of Orange Drugs, Anselm Madubuko of Revival Assembly, Wole Oladiyun of CLAM, Steve Babaeko of X3M Ideas, Simon Kolawole of TheCable, Azubuike Ishiekwene of TheINTERVIEW, popular footballers, Kanu Nwankwo and Austin Okocha, film director, Tade Ogidan, veteran actors, Olu Jacobs, Pete Edochie and Dele Odule, actresses Funke Akindele and Kate Henshaw, to name a few. The book explores the success stories of these individuals, and also provides key insights into their lives.

In the foreword written by the Chairman, ThisDay Editorial Board, Olusegun Adeniyi, he described the book as “a fascinating collection that would inspire and fire the imagination of its readers.”

The second book, Encounters – Lessons From My Journalism Career, chronicles the experiences of the author so far in his career. Through this book, Azuh Arinze allows readers to examine over 20 years worth of journalistic experience in 60 captivating chapters. By flipping through the pages of this book, readers will see how the author earned his trademark and reputation as a quintessential interviewer and journalist with an eye for details. In the words of Rev Fr Chijioke Azuawusiefe, SJ, of the University of Pennsylvania, USA, he described the book as “beautifully written, captivating, enchanting, engrossing and enriching.”

The book also highlights some of his encounters with the likes of Jim Ovia, Biodun Shobanjo, Udeme Ufot, Dele Momodu, Onyeka Onwenu, Tony Elumelu, Dora Akunyili, Bianca Ojukwu, Olusegun Osoba, Rotimi Amaechi, Festus Keyamo, OCJ Okocha, Gbenga Adeyinka and Julius Agwu among others.

In addition to the tales of his encounters with these top executives, the book equally features a 16-page all colour pullout with photographs of the author and some of the heavyweights he has interacted with over the years. They include E.A Adeboye, Aliko Dangote, Subomi Balogun, Chukwudifu Oputa, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Tunde Bakare, Mike Okonkwo, Sunny Ade, Lateef Jakande, Jim Nwobodo, C.C Onoh, Peter Obi, Ray Ekpu, Stephen Keshi, Shina Peters, Richard Mofe Damijo, Ali Baba, Lagbaja, Femi Kuti, 2 Face Idibia, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, among many others.

Following the exclusive media unveil, the books are available for pre-order on the Yes! Magazine website for just N2,500 each.

Speaking on the captivating nature of the books, the author, Azuh Arinze, said, “The two books are not only intriguing, but they also come with a money-back guarantee. If you buy them and don’t enjoy them, tell me and you will get a refund.”

On his experience writing both books, he added, “Writing these two books has been a deeply personal experience as the process has allowed me the space to honestly reflect on a life-changing career that not only brought me my wife but taught me invaluable lessons.”

Azuh Arinze, who is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine, owners of the premium website, http://www.theyesng.com,
served as the Editor of Encomium Weekly from 2003 to 2011. Prior to that, he had edited Reel Stars Magazine. He is also the proud author of three other books which are, Tested and Trusted Success Secrets of the Rich and Famous, and The CEO’s Bible, volumes 1 and 2.

Akeredolu Tests Positive For COVID-19

Ondo Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who on Tuesday tested positive for COVID-19, has begun treatment at home.

Akeredolu said he is still very strong to continue working from home where he is self- isolating.
The Governor stated that he had malaria few days ago and was advised to undergo COVID-19 test by a colleague Governor.

According to him: “The result came out today and I tested positive. I am not feeling sick neither am I feeling odd. My doctors have decided I should take the normal treatment and self isolate.

“They believe supervised home management should be ideal for me. I will be isolated and go on with home management. There are many of us like this that do not have the symptoms. It is there, you cannot see it. You will not see the symptoms.
“Work is going on. At home, I am attending to files. I appealed to my political associates to continue the work.

“Few days time I will do another test. Work is going on. We are sure to win. I am gifted to get through to my destination. I am a man with special gift. My trust in God to through this is unshaken. I pray to God for his hand of healing to get through to us. I thank God for the discovery of this on time.”

Ali Baba Kick Starts Writing Competition

Nigerian stand-up comedian and actor Alleluya Akpobome, professionally known as Ali Baba took to his Instagram to announce the commencement of his writing challenge.

The initiative dubbed ‘AliBabasWriteOffChallenge’ is for anyone who can write. 10 finalists will be chosen to compete for finals.
Entries start July 1st and ends July 14th 2020. The prizes to be won include: First Prize N250,000 with an iPad, 2nd Prize N150,000 and 3rd prize N50,000 each with an iPad inclusive.

Read Ali’s post below…

Here we go again…. it’s the #AliBabasWriteOffChallenge ✍. Have you got mad writing skills? Can your skills get me to write you a #250k cheque?

Do you have killer ink-instincts? Then its time to bring it on.

Tag all the writers you know. This is an all comers open!

Game on!!! FOLLOW @AliBabasWriteOffChallenge for updates’

Legendary Guitarist, Berkley Ike Jones Dies

Legendary Nigerian guitarist, Berkley Ike Jones of the defunct BLO is dead.

It was gathered that he died just weeks to his 72nd birthday, on June 28, in Asaba where he went for a job.

Ike first appeared on the Nigerian music scene in the mid-1960s, as the drummer in the Port Harcourt-based teen pop group The Figures.

In 1970, at the end of the Nigerian civil war, he signed on as lead guitarist in the rock n’ soul band The Funkees, where his adventurous guitar lines got him noticed by talent scouts who instantly whisked him off to Lagos and installed him in the high profile rock group The Clusters.

The Clusters soon morphed into the Afro Collection under the leadership of Tee Mac Iseli, and then into SALT under Ginger Baker. Eventually, the group splintered, giving birth to Nigeria’s first afro-rock power trio BLO–Berkley Ike Jones, Laolu Akins, and Mike Gbenga Odumosu.

BLO was the rave in the 70s and early 80s. The group was one of Nigeria’s most respected and influential rock groups throughout the seventies.

Blo recorded their first album Chapter One, a psychedelic rock record under EMI label. Sales of the album did not meet EMI’s expectations and the band eventually left EMI to record their next album with a Decca affiliate. Between 1974 and 1976 the band released three more records, Phase II, Step Three and Phase IV.

Jones quit the music business in the early eighties and reinvented himself as one of the country’s leading interior designers and architects, and eventually as a Facebook commentator on current issues.

2023 Presidency: Lai Mohammed, Toyin Subair Begin Moves To Hand Tinubu The Edge

When the next jostle for the Nigerian presidency kicks off, one man is expected to be crucial to the aspiration of one of those eyeing the top job. He is Toyin Subair, better known for his role as the promoter of the failed pay television venture, HiTV.

Subair will not be gunning for the presidency, but he has been identified by sources in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as crucial to the aspiration of former Lagos State governor and a big hitter in the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Tinubu, who is yet to deny his widely speculated presidential interest, is a media mogul, a status that gives him the platforms to push his political interests. He owns the ultra-modern Afkar Printing Press situated on old site of John West Publications, founded by Second Republic Lagos State governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande. Afkar regularly handles printing contracts for governments in APC-controlled jurisdictions in addition to the Federal Government and private concerns.

He also owns Vintage Media, publishers of The Nation titles; Television Continental (TVC) and Max FM, a radio station.

The three platforms are the surviving arms of his mass media empire, which once included National Life, a tabloid; the defunct TVC International, which failed in its attempt to be a pan-continental news behemoth; and Continental Satellite Television (Consat), a subscription television platform that never really got off the ground.  

With Consat struggling and Tinubu keen on having it compete in the pay television market, he hired Subair, whose HiTV had shown promise between 2007 and 2011 when, almost implausibly, it snatched the broadcast rights to the English Premier League (EPL) from MultiChoice to become broadcasters of the world’s most watched football league in Nigeria. It later added rights to the Spanish LaLiga, Italy’s Serie A and the UEFA Champions League, properties coveted by Nigerian pay TV subscribers.

Subair, according to sources, assured Tinubu, who allegedly was an investor in HiTV, that he would get Consat to compete. He never managed that. Consat went the way of HiTV, but re-incarnated as PlayTV, a Direct-to-Home (DTH) platform advertised as home of entertainment, particularly of the Nigerian variety.

The magic expected from PlayTV has also failed to materialize so far, a development sources attribute to lack of compelling programming. But with Tinubu’s presidential ambition on the front burner,  Subair is back at the drawing board with a design that fits into the APC stalwart’s stratagem of controlling the political narrative via the media. 

Subair, sources explained, is better placed than before to make a big impact on the pay television circuit. His political connections, they added, are stronger with the APC in power. He is said to be directing affairs at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), which is under the Ministry of Information headed by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, a prominent member of the Tinubu political family.

Mohammed is allegedly eyeing the governorship of Kwara State, an ambition that is said to be responsible for disagreement between him and the incumbent, Alhaji Abdulrahaman Abdulrazak, also of the APC.

Another source, however, said the Information Minister is not planning to be governor, as he considers himself too old. The source attributed Mohammed’s feud with the Kwara governor to his desire to control the party at the state level and by extension, the government.

A few weeks before the NBC released its Code to a nuclear blast of disapproval from many within the broadcast sector, Mohammed had spoken of the Federal Government’s desire to limit exclusive broadcasting rights.

Sources believed that he was echoing the voice of Subair, who is seen as the drafter of the code which, among other controversial provisions, seeks to outlaw programme exclusivity by compelling sub-licensing to competitors and empowering the NBC to be the arbiter in the event of a price dispute.

At a colloquium organized by Filmic, a group of creative professionals on 3 June, Subair pushed his anti-exclusivity idea with the force of a zealot, claiming that exclusivity belonged in the “stone age”.

Industry sources link the anti-exclusivity clauses to the 2023 presidential race. According to them, Tinubu wants another virile platform in addition to the ones he already has and requires the platform to provide access to popular content as a way of making it widely appealing.

“Subair wants to ensure that Play TV has more compelling content and the way he expects to do that is to ensure that operators with exclusive rights are forced to share with rivals,” said a source.

He added that the service will be offered to subscribers at a bargain basement price (hugely subsidised) to encourage subscription, with the ultimate goal being the promotion of Tinubu’s presidential project.

The source described as a ruse the NBC’s claim that the code aims at creating a level playing field in the sector. He noted that when Subair’s HiTV held the rights to broadcast foreign football between 2007 and 2011, it refused to share the rights with other operators, including cable television service providers under the umbrella of Association of Cable Operators of Nigeria (ACON), which sought to be sublicensed.  ACON was sufficiently distraught at HiTV’s refusal to sub-license that it went to court, hoping to force HiTV’s hand.

Subair’s response to ACON’s anger was to describe the group as “lazy”. He also accused them of an attempt to bully him when they could not do that to MultiChoice, which held the rights for 15 years.

“If exclusivity was bad at the time, he held the rights, when did he realise it is bad?” asked the source.

PlayTV, which has its office at the same one used by Consat within the expansive compound housing TVC, which used to be the site of a campus of the Lagos State Polytechnic, sources said, is also planning to add an Over-the-Top (OTT) service. The proposed addition will be a combination of Ad-based Video-on-Demand (AVOD) and Subscription-backed Video-on-Demand (SVOD) services.

As part of the plan for media domination for Tinubu, the NBC on Muhammad’s instructions is about to issue some regional pay tv licenses and sources say Tinubu cronies and proxies will be the chief beneficiaries. This is another  reason for an NBC Code that will force owners of the rights to popular content to share such rights with whoever demands them. 

Two years after its launch, HiTV started floundering when it was hit by financial difficulties, which resulted in inability to raise funds for the second term of broadcasting rights to the Premier League. Before the bubble bust, Subair was held as an epitome of Nigerian entrepreneurial spirit and was lavishly celebrated by the media. That HiTV’s subscription rate was lower than that of MultiChoice, from which it snatched the football rights, also endeared it to Nigerians, who always believed that they were being fleeced by MultiChoice.

Subair’s HiTV built its brand around football, a huge passion point among Nigerians, and was lustily embraced for those four years. His platform offered little, if anything else, and soon discovered that local appetite for football could not sustain it. When the time for renewal came, the Premier League, perhaps sensing HiTV’s strong desire to retain the rights, decided to sell at a steeper price. For the first year of the second term HiTV, according to Financial Times bought the right for $40million, the bulk of which came via equity. It paid $28million for the first three years. After the payment of $40million, a bank guarantee of $70million was demanded, something that was beyond the young company. That led to the loss of the rights. Scared that the loss of the valuable football properties could be fatal, HiTV entered into a discussion with MultiChoice to have 50 per cent of the matches sub-licensed to it, a request that was rejected.

This, explained sources, was because while HiTV held the rights and MultiChoice sought to be sub-licensed, it demanded that the latter split with it-on a 50:50 basis-the hit programmes on its platform. Perhaps as payback for the rejection it experienced in the hands of HiTV, MultiChoice rejected the demand.

With football gone and little else in terms of compelling programming, the subscriber base, which had risen quickly, began to thin out, naturally affecting finances. The company’s finances were said to have been further affected by Subair’s lavish lifestyle, marked by first class flights and no little partying. Subair denied those charges in a 2016 post on his LinkedIn page, saying HiTV did things by the book, as it had a solid governance structure. He also denied funding his lifestyle with company funds.

Dabiri-Erewa Applauds Japan-based Nigerian Ikenna Nweke For Returning Lost Wallet, Credit Card

Says, “He Is A Proof That There Are Honest Nigerians“

Ikenna Nweke, a Nigerian PhD Student at the University of Tsukuba in Japan has demonstrated that there are honest Nigerians the world can trust.

Nweke has been the toast of Nigerians and the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission after he returned to the owner, a purse containing money and other valuables, which he stumbled upon.

Asked to take a 10 percent reward for finding the purse, Nweke rejected the offer.

His story so gladdened the commission that it was showcased on Sunday:

The Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa commends Mr. Ikenna Nweke a Nigerian Living and Studying in Japan for returning a lost wallet containing huge sums of money as well as a credit card..

Hon Abike gave the commendation in a statement signed by Mr Gabriel Odu of the Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit of NIDCOM on Sunday in Abuja.

She said, “it is indeed a great opportunity to celebrate you. This is what Nigeria is about. All the negative information you tend to hear about are far out stripped by the positive information that are hidden and not told and these are the likes of people like..

Mr Ikenna, You have portrayed the image of Nigerians in the Diaspora as unique, honest and Cultured set of immigrants.

Nweke who is a PhD student at the university of Tsukuba, Japan, and also a Teaching Assistant in the same university said he stumbled on the wallet while climbing the staircase to buy some items for the wife at the Tsukuba center.

Nweke who hails from Amauzari in Isiala Mbano LGA, Imo state, said he was born and raised in Okpoko, Onitsha, Anambra state, but relocated to Japan in 2013 through a Japanese government sponsored scholarship program.

Hear him, “On the 19th of June 2020, while I was going home from the university, I decided to get my wife her favourite kebab. As I was climbing the staircase around Tsukuba centre, I noticed something on the ground.

“As I drew closer, I saw that it was a wallet. When I opened it, I saw a huge sum of money, a credit card, and other valuables. I immediately reported to the police. One of the officers was surprised and asked me why I did not take the money.

I told him that there was no need for that because I was raised by responsible parents, and that I am also a Christian.”

“Honesty remains the best policy. We must exhibit such behaviour in whatever position we find ourselves.

“That is the path we have chosen to take, and our country will eventually get to a new shore,” NIDCOM Boss emphasized.

I Regret Not Joining PDP Before Now – Obaseki

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has said he regretted not joining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) long before he did.

Ruing his about 13- year sojourn in the All Progressives Congress (APC), the governor said he had come to realis the PDP stood for the values he so much cherished and lived for.

Obaseki spoke on Saturday at the Abuja secretariat of the PDP being presented with certificate of return as the party’s flag bearer for the September 19 Edo governorship election.

The governor, who spoke for himself and his deputy, Philip Shuiabu, said unlike the APC that pushed them out in the rain and storm at their hours of tribulation, the PDP cared so much for its members.

Obaseki said: “It was only when we entered the house (PDP) that we realised that this was the house we should have been in the first instance.

“Because we now saw that the values in the house are the values we cherish and the values we lived for; values of justice, values of law and order, values of care for our people, putting the people first.

“These are the values we have always been in pursuit of, which we found in this new house in which we have been graciously accommodated.

“My deputy and I are very grateful to this great party. Like I said, you will never know what God has destined for you. In our hours of tribulation, when we were pushed out in the rains and storm from our political party, you came out with that huge umbrella to give us cover and shelter”.

“I must thank members of the National Working Committee for the quality of governance, the quality of response that I have witnessed. That has enabled us achieve much in less than one week because of the responsiveness of the National Organising Secretary.

“They followed up on every issue and every document. When issues came up, the National Legal Adviser was there to respond to all our inquiries. The National Publicity Secretary checked on us every day”.

The Governor told the PDP leaders the people of Edo state had assured him that they would always follow him to whichever political he chose to belong.

According to him, his decision to join the PDP was a product of wide consultations with Edo people and assured the party leaders of massive votes and victory for the PDP in the September election.

Thanking the party leaders for allowing him to run with his deputy, Obaseki pledged to uphold the ideals of the PDP at all times and to submit to the directives of the leadership.

“I want to commit to you that we shall promote the ideals of this great party and you can always count on us. Whenever the National Working Committee calls on us, we will be there.

“We have no choice because from what I have seen from my brother governors in this party, what they have done and what they did for us in the party, revived my political career, I have never seen that level of commitment”, he said.

While presenting the governor with the certificate of return, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, assured Obaseki of inclusiveness, equity, justice and fairness at all times.

According to him Obaseki’s emergence as the party’s flag bearer followed due process, stressing that the PDP had learnt enough lessons from its past mistakes to not embrace impunity.

“We have learnt from our mistakes and we have reformed so we have come with open arms to embrace everybody. We are not a sectional party, we will not be there and some parts of the country will be crying. Nigeria belongs to all us.

“Today, we have taken an important step to ensure that Edo people believe in us. They believe in us and they will vote for PDP. So from Edo, we will move to Ondo and gradually to all parts of the country.

“Everybody believed that for the governor to join the PDP was a miracle and we are going to have a miracle governor who will win elections for us because you can see clearly the hand of God on this governor and his deputy”, Secondus said.

Addressing Governor Obaseki, the PDP chairman said, “Your Excellency, in PDP we are guided by the rule of law, we are guided by our rules and we are guided by the people’s interest.

“We are driven by the fact that we must provide the best governance for our people. Since you came in, you can see that we are guided by process.

“In PDP, the institution here has a system that is transparent, free and fair for all to see and you have witnessed it since the last few weeks. God has been our guide here, we are a people, a party that fear God and we put the interest of our people first not our personal interests”.

While submitting his report, the chairman of the electoral panel that conducted the Edo primaries, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state, said from what he witnessed in Edo, the state will be won by the PDP.

He said: “Edo is ready for capture. To be won by this very important party, the PDP. I am very sure and confidently that Edo is going to fall in line within the realm of good governance of the PDP”.

Don’t Ridicule Our Profession, Bar Association Urges Lasisi Elenu

The Nigerian Bar Association has cautioned popular Instagram comedian, Lasisi Elenu, to stop bringing the noble image of the profession to disrepute through his comedy skits.

The Assistant National Publicity Secretary, Habeeb Lawal, Monday called out the comedian on Twitter, for making lawyers look ridiculous in his creative work.

Lawal wrote: “Dear @lasisielenu, We’ve been tagged! We beg to use you as a point of reference to all other comedians. Lawyers have an awesome sense of humour, as such we enjoy your jokes & appreciate the creativity. However, if you must represent our profession in your works…

Kindly ensure you properly adorn the wig, bip & gown.

“We acknowledge your right of expression, but NOTE that we also reserve the rights to take all NECESSARY steps to guide against the ridicule of our noble profession and @NigBarAssoc shall not hesitate to exercise those rights.”