By Eric Elezuo
It was an admixture of fun, class, colour, glamour and showmanship as celebrated Nigerians from all walks of life lauded Editor, Ovation International Magazine Editor, Mr. Michael Effiong James as he hit the golden age of 50 in addition to becoming the 33rd President of the Rotary Club of Ikeja South.
Held at the Main Hall, Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Ikeja, the venue was filled to capacity with heavyweights and Compere, popular Comedian, Tunde Adewale Tee A had a herculean task recognising guests in the course of the wondrous ceremony.
The multifaceted gathering which witnessed the installation of Michael Effiong as the 33rd President of the Rotary Club of Ikeja South, celebration of his 50th birthday, induction of new members into the Rotary family and inauguration of members Board of Directors, kicked off with the singing of the Rotary grace shortly after the arrival of the dashing journalist, his delectable wife, Oluwakemi and two adorable children-Kufreabasi and Anietientebasi.
With a call to order by Immediate Past President, Rtn Yinka Adeosun, the business of the day kicked off properly just as the Doyen of Past Presidents led the procession that joyfully ushered in the President-in-waiting after which he took his place among notable dignitaries on the top table such as Olor’ogun Dr. Sonny Kuku (Chairman), Otunba Seni Adetu (Guest Speaker) & wife, Janet, HRM Oba Adedokun Abolarin, HRM Oba Saheed Elegushi, Rev. Mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi & Husband, Dr Ademuyiwa Ajayi and Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa.
In his opening remarks, Chairman of the event and Co-Founder, Eko Hospitals, Oloro’ogun (Dr.) Sonny Kuku, described Mr. Effiong James as a personality who has given his best to his profession and has affected the lives of many with his work. Dr. Kuku encouraged him to continue be his original self and live his life to supply succour to all and sundry. He promised guests a wondrous and fun filled time.
The Installation Chairman, Past present Azuh Arinze thanked guests for attending the event and noted that the event has been planned to be exciting and memorable. He reminded guests that the day was to raise funds as well as have fun.
Guest Speaker, Otunba Seni Adetu in a very incisive and cerebral presentation titled “Winning in the Corporate World”, identified three areas which needed attention in order to move ahead in the corporate world. They include speeding up technological advancement, giving attention to infrastructure development and enhanced leadership.
Adetu also highlighted that for any leaders to live up to expectation, six key functions must be undertaken, and they are:
Hold your destiny
Less is more…meaning that few things will deliver more impact,
Focus your energy on what you can change,
Measure yourself against the best, Inspect what you expect, and Take calculated risk.
Adetu’s presentation was loudly appreciated after which he and wife who were celebrating their 29th birthday were presented a surprise cake by members of Rotary Club of Ikeja South.
Then, after a speech outlining his achievement, the immediate past president, Rtn Yinka Adeoson aided by past presidents and Oba Saheed Elegushi installed the new president.
In his acceptance speech, Effiong expressed his heartfelt joy at the honour, giving glory to the Almighty God, and appreciation to his parents, who unfortunately could not live to witness his day of reverence. Full of emotion, he called for a minute silence in honour of his departed parents. While itemising his projects, he stated that he has various water, sanitation and education projects that will be executed in Lagos State but noted “the project closest to my heart is the refurbishment of the dilapidated state of Temidire Primary School, Olambe, Ogun State’
His speech was punctuated with a short documentary on the dilapidated state of the institution prompting dignitaries to make pledges to the delight of all present.
The evening also saw awards being presented to Olajide Adediran of Jandor Foundation and and Hurlag Technologies Limited. The newly inducted members were Dr Elisha Attai, Fateema Aduke Mohammed, Nelson Ndubuisi Collins and Casmir I. Anyanwu.
In their individual remarks, special guests showered encomiums on Effiong, describing him as an achiever of no mean abilities.
The Chairman of Ovation media Group, Chief Dele Momodu, who doubles as Effiong’s immediate boss was also full of joy having produced a ‘worthy successor’ to the Ovation dynasty.
He said: “Tonight, I’m letting the cat out of the bag. We call Mike the Olorogun of Journalism. And that was the reason he got another Olor’ogun Dr Sonny Kuku to be Chairman of today. He is my second in command, and has been very dutiful, very loyal. It is impossible not to know Michael if you know Ovation. That means that Michael is synonymous with Ovation. And I always say it that a successful man without successors is a useless man. So I’m very proud to say we have a worthy successor in Olorogun Mike.
“When I asked him how his birthday was going to be, he told that it was not about his birthday, but about giving back to the society. That it is Rotary event and his birthday is secondary. That is a selfless man. I know that Olorogun Mike will tonight receive more from Almighty God and mankind,”
Delivering Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s message, his representative Mr. Kanmi Osobu, said it was a good thing to be at Effiong 50th birthday celebration and installation as 33rd president of Rotary club, Ikeja South. He described the celebrant as a worthy journalist who has used his profession to elevate society. He also praised the good work of Rotary and the organisation’s tremendous philanthropic work.
Lending credence to the already selfless life and character of the celebrant, former aide of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa said she had known Michael as a young reporter in Fame and has remained consistent. She wished him well and promised to support his cause.
Prayerful Woman of God, Rev. Mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi on her part, showered the celebrant with prayers and then promised to ensure that he will accomplish his dream projects. Noting the President’s tenure is already a success going by the calibre of people that turned out at the event.
The presence of the wife of former Senate President, Mrs Toyin Saraki, was felt as she sent a recorded goodwill message from Nairobi, Kenya where she described the Rotary President in glowing terms, urging him to continue the good work of putting smiles on the faces of the less privileged.
Flanked by his immediate family, the highly elated man of the moment cut his birthday cake amidst deafening cheers and glad wishes. It was not without the cascading of prayers from the one and only K1 the Ultimate, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, who performed for a few minutes to the delight of all present. Guests were further thrilled by the famous Shuga Band and World-class DJ, Cool DJ Jimmy Jatt. Guests were also pampered with canapés by Saheeto & Cocktails by Depotters while Ksquare Security ensured everyone was safe and sound. Of course, Segun Inawole of Inawolay Creates & Abelini handled decor and technicals.
An elated Michael Effiong, who adorned a pin-tripped suit by David Wej noted that he was humbled by the expression of love. He thanked God God for keeping him hale and hearty, and promised to ensure that he delivers all the projects he had planned in order to make the necessary impact.
The roll call of guests at the event which was rounded with a vote of thanks by Club Doyen, Rtn Oliver Ogbonna included: HRM, Oba Adedokun Abolarin, Orangun of Oke-Ila Orangun; His Royal Majesty, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, Elegushi of Ikate-Elegushi Kingdom; Co-Founder/Joint Chairman, Eko Hospitals, Olorogun (Dr.) Sonny Kuku; Member, Fidelity Bank Board of Directors and CEO, Algorithm Media, Otunba Seni Adetu and wife, Janet; Chairman, Ovation Media Group, Bashorun Dele Momodu; President/Founder, Esther Ajayi Foundation, Reverend Mother Esther Ajayi and husband, Dr. Ademuyiwa Ajayi; Chairman, Biscom Communications, Prince Bisi Olatilo; Founder/CEO, Fisolak Global Resources, Princess Toyin Kolade; Senator Florence Ita-Giwa and District Governor Nominee, Rtn Remi Bello.
Others are Mr. Kanmi Osobu who represented Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, AIG Tunji Alapini ( Rtd), Fuji music maestro, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal; Veteran Sports Broadcaster, Dr Larry Izamoje, Godwin Mekwuye of Vivid Imagination, Mr Lanre Ogunlesi of Sofisticat, Hajia Bisi Shuabu, Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, Benny Obaze, Arch. Biodun Fari-Arole, Mr. Abisoye Fagade, Pastor Dotun Ojelabi, Pastor Femi Faseru, Gbemisola & Kunle Aluko, Femi Akintunde-Johnson (FAJ), Rtn Bala Yesufu, Rtn Ade Adenekan, Rtn Niyi Adelaja, Chief Gbenga Obasa, Rtn Ehi Braimah, District Governor-elect, Jire Anifalaje, Kunle Afolayan, Rtn Bola Oyebade, Rtn Winifred Igweonu, Rtn Uche Ukah & Annie Esseinette.
Former Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce and industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru and accomplished entrepreneur, Mr. Bayo Fatusin, Otunba Dayo Adeneye, Dayo Adedayo, Dr Reuben Abati, Femi Awoyemi, Lanre Ogunlesi, Charles Otudor, Ayo Animashaun, Ayeni Adekunle, Wale Adebajo, Debo Ayoade, Solomon Kolade Olotu, Fela Amosu, Hakeem Anjolaiya, Richard Akinnola, Mayor Akinpelu, Prince Damola Aderemi, Ayo Aminu, UBA’s Ramon Nasir, Access Bank’s Abdul Imoyo, former Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce and industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, accomplished entrepreneur, Mr. Bayo Fatusin, Remi Aboderin and Mudi.
Others at the glitzy event included the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Youth Engagement, Afolabi Imoukhuede and wife; Mr Ademola Adedoyin, Chief Gboyega Okegbenro & wife, Mojeed Jamiu, Niran Adedokun, Ajayi Oyebo, Pastor Soji Adediran and wife,Tolani, the Director of Hurlag Technologies, , Abib Aruna, Azuka Ogujuiba, Kemi Akinyemi, Bayo Ogori, Kunle Afolayan, Chief Larry Ofuokwu, Oladele Ogunlana, Prince Folarin Ogunsanwo, Alara of Ilara-elect, Aare Olanrewaju Yakub, Former Lagos State Commissioner, Mr Steve Ayorinde, Mike Dada & wife, Dupe; Oye Balogun, Funso Arogundade, Mr Debo Adeniran & wife, Imisioluwa Adediran, Mrs Elizabeth Adegbite, Mrs Bisola Abegunde, Ms Deola Owolabi, Mr Deji Owolabi & wife, Wole Olagundoye, Seun Soyinka, Akin Adeoya, Mr Segun Inawole & wife, Loye Amsat, Henry Alade & Arch. Niyi Adelaja.