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Capt Hosa Okunbo: Close Friend, Greg Uanseru pays glowing Tribute




I have been saddled with Herculean roles throughout my six decades of existence. One of the hardest tasks I have had to take up, however, is penning this tribute in honour of my bosom friend and brother, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, with whom I shared ancestry, career history, and an unbreakable filial bond. These saw us through thick and thin and consolidated our strong ties.

It is hard to write this heartfelt eulogy for a good friend without it bringing a tear to one’s eyes, knowing that we have lost one of the most courageous and profoundly noble human beings that any of us will share time with on earth. The demise of Capi as I used to call him, has left a huge gap nobody can fill because he was unique and wired differently. His fierce dignity, compassion, and unbending will to sacrifice for the greater good, in the interest of the larger society, speaks volumes of his uncommon personality.

Many have said a lot about Capi – extolling his magnanimous spirit and the generosity of his large heart – but as someone who was close to him, I was privileged with a deeper knowledge of his extraordinary humaneness.

In a world, filled with people of different shades and backgrounds with uncertain motives, Captain Hosa’s natural ability to deal successfully with everyone, without compromising his honesty and transparency spoke volumes of his excellent human relations and diplomatic prowess.

I recall vividly, that, many years ago, he told me that: “If you want to play the game, it is important to know all the players. This knowledge prepares you ahead and helps you to navigate through and manage every conflict that may arise.” Such was his profound depth – which clearly distinguished him as a corporate titan and socioeconomic player of note.

Captain Hosa hardly prevaricated on any matter. He was a man of conviction, whose intents were always known from the word ‘Go!’ He never gave room for anyone to question his integrity because his words were his bond. Even so, he never claimed to be sanctimonious. If anyone had issues with him, chances were that they would be at fault, for he would never take advantage of anyone. In fact, he would rather deprive and sacrifice his material benefits should they stand in the way of the robust relationships he had with people.

For Captain Hosa, peace trumped everything and formed the basis of his existence; and core to his pursuit of peace was his capacity to show love. This is why most tributes about him dwell on his benevolence and generosity.

Capi and I shared a bond that could best be described as filial. It wouldn’t be out of place for anyone to describe our relationship as that of two brothers from different mothers. We were that close. Our brotherhood dated back to our formative years. We had a great, long-standing relationship rooted in shared respect and understanding of our common values. I will try to illustrate the depth of our bond with three poignant stories.

A month before his death, Capi had called me to ask when I would visit him in London. He wished to spend time with me. But he was particularly interested in me coming to see him so we could have our favourite delicacy – bean porridge. This was a routine we both enjoyed from childhood through our struggling years as young men. And the habit had stuck with us, even after God blessed us with prosperity.

So, off I went to London, to see my friend and brother. He was so happy to see me and we feasted on our bean porridge delicacy in the company of a few mutual friends. Capi was in high spirit but little did I know that that would be our last meal together.

A few weeks after our meeting, I returned to Nigeria but I was suddenly called to see Capi. He had been rushed to the hospital after his health relapsed. I travelled back to see him, but I had to quarantine, first in London, due to the COVID-19 guidelines in the United Kingdom. A day after the end of the quarantine, I got a Whatsapp message from the daughter saying, “Uncle start coming to the hospital”! I rushed down to the hospital and beheld my best friend, lying almost lifeless on the bed. I barely managed to control my tears. I called him, by some of the special names I used to call him from our childhood days. He opened his eyes, looked at me, and shut his eyes because he could not talk to me. It dawned on me that life was ebbing out of my best friend. That was it. I succumbed to grief and burst into tears.

Capi and I shared many sobriquets by which we hailed ourselves. The sobriquets were used for many of the memorable moments we shared as friends and brothers. We had special names by which we called ourselves during the good moments. And we had the special names by which we hailed ourselves during the not-so-good times. But they were special names because they carried meaningful endearment with them. They were shared, strictly just by the two of us. Such was the depth of our bond.

Capi, was a beacon of hope for many people, with whom he came in contact. His was a story in conquests – conquest over poverty and rising from a lowly beginning to the pinnacle of his professional calling in the aviation sector. He was an outstanding pilot with feats and feathers to his cap. I was a first-hand witness to his exploits in aviation because I operated side-by-side with him.

His bravery was conspicuous in the face of the few challenges and setbacks he had while here. The manner he handled his struggles with grace and good humour, and his ability to acknowledge his own imperfections made him remarkable.

I am one of the thousands of people who drew inspiration from Captain Hosa’s life. I paid attention to his words and actions, which sometimes served as life lessons in spite of the fact that we were contemporaries. The fact that he achieved greatness in all ramifications speaks of how much one can achieve when they are guided by their hopes and not by their fears.

I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example set by this illustrious, true son of Edo. We shared so many beautiful moments when we were growing up. He had been kind from when he barely had much to give. For him, giving was a religion which he practiced unabashedly. He would always be with people in their difficult times. His philanthropy was without any sociological limitations or any primordial sentiments.

As friends and partners, we had our moments of disagreement on issues, but we both allowed the sacred saying of Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians in chapter 4 verse 26 to be our watchword: “…let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” In fact, each argument we had, deepened our knowledge about each other and strengthened our bond.

Captain Hosa was also big on passion. He constantly sought out new passions and gave every last ounce of himself to his pursuits. More importantly, he was a great dad, an amazing husband, who dedicated himself to his family. He loved his children with all his heart. He never left anything in the tank; he left it all on the floor. I strongly believe that is what he would want us to do.

I solemnly make a promise from this day forward that I will live with the memories of knowing that I had a friend and a brother, whose whole essence was making sacrifices for others to live well.

To the Okunbos, I extend my deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with us.


Rest in peace, my dear great friend.

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Fuel Subsidy Removal: FG, Labour Meeting Ends in Deadlock




Talks between the Federal Government and organised labour over the removal of fuel subsidy ended in a deadlock on Wednesday as they failed to reach a consensus following the hike in petrol pump prices to over N700 from N195 per litre by oil marketers.

The hours-long meeting which was held at the Presidential Villa was to, among other things, prevent a labour crisis following the recent increase in the petrol pump price occasioned by the discontinuance of petroleum subsidy.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited said it had adjusted the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit to reflect the market realities. The agency, however, failed to state the new prices of petrol.

However, several retails outlets sold the product between 600 and N800 in Lagos, Abuja , Ogun and some other states.

The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Chinedu Ukadike, pointed out that the hike in the cost of PMS would trigger galloping inflation in the country, stressing that some outlets in the South-East were currently dispensing the product at N1,200/l.

Ukadike stated, “Once NNPCL retail stations have adjusted their pumps to reflect the new price, there is nothing you can do about it; that is the new price. As I speak with you, all of them are now selling at the new prices. The situation is so bad, that somewhere in Ebonyi State our members informed us that it is now N1,200/litre.

“We thought the President would remove the subsidy through a seamless means because the source of this petrol is the NNPCL. They are the ones subsidising petroleum products, they are the people who use their revenue to subsidise this product.’’

The IPMAN spokesperson expressed worry over the rate of increase in inflation and hardship that would come as a result of the latest hike in petrol price.

“This hike in petrol price will definitely lead to galloping inflation and will worsen the hardship already being faced by the Nigerian masses. It is not something to cheer about. It came as a surprise and in the coming days, we will see the very harsh ripple effects,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Ukadike has called on the Federal Government and the NNPCL to give other marketers the opportunity to start importing petrol in order to create competition in the sector.

“The NNPCL is importing and has not given people the opportunity to join them in importing so as to see whether private sector operators can import the product cheaper or not. So there is no competition. In a deregulated regime, there must be competition, everyone with capacity should be allowed to import,” the IPMAN official stated.

When asked whether other marketers could resume imports since the government had finally deregulated petrol prices, Ukadike replied, “Marketers can import, but let me tell you some of the factors militating against this. The first is that there won’t be availability of dollars.

“You will source your dollar from the parallel market and if you are not careful in doing this, and you go into the importation of petroleum products, you might not ‘come out of it alive’ at the end of the day.

“So what we are saying is that those advantages that NNPCL has, should be shared with other major importers of petroleum products. If it is through crude buy-back, they should let us know so that independent players such as IPMAN members can come together and be able to use it in the buy-back model.’’

He added, “For independent marketers, the most important thing is that there should be availability of petroleum products, and the government should open up the space for importers and investors to come in.”

NNPCL, the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria for several years running, confirmed the hike in petrol price in a statement and a new pricing template released to marketers nationwide.

But the move has sparked a groundswell of anger across the nation with the Nigeria Labour Congress demanding an immediate reversal of the decision.

The union also said it would hold an emergency meeting on Friday on the fuel price increase which had triggered hoarding and scarcity across the country with attendant rise in transport fares, goods and services.

The fuel price hike by the oil firm is coming 72 hours after President Bola Tinubu declared in his inaugural address on Monday that the subsidy regime had ended.

To pacify the growing anger over the situation, the FG hastily summoned some labour leaders to a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday evening.

The meeting had in attendance the NLC President, Joe Ajaero and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Festus Osifo, former NLC President and immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, and others, however, ended in a deadlock as the labour and government teams failed to reach a consensus.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Joe Ajaero, said “As far as labour is concerned, we didn’t have a consensus in this meeting.”

He faulted the NNPCL over an official release published hours earlier reviewing the petrol pump price in its filling stations nationwide.

He said the move puts the labour unions in a difficult position on the negational table.

“That’s the principle of negotiation. You don’t put the partner, ask them to negotiate under gunpoint. The prayer of the NLC is that we go back to the status quo, negotiate, think of alternatives and all the effects and how to manage the effects this action is going to have on the people. If it is an action that must take off.

“The subsidy provision has been made up to the end of June. And before then, conscious people, labour management, and the government should be able to think of what will happen at the end of June. You don’t start it before the time,” Ajaero said.

The Punch

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Breaking: Founder, DAAR Communications, Raymond Dokpesi is Dead




By Eric Elezuo

The Founder of DAAR Communications, owners of the foremost radio and television stations in Nigeria, Raypower and African Independent Television (AIT), High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, is dead.

Reliable sources said the High Chief died while exercising on a treadmill on Monday afternoon.

The source said Dopkesi suffered a stroke some weeks ago.

Details soon…

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I Stand on Rule of Law, with Our Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, PDP, Says Dele Momodu




By Eric Elezuo

Frontline journalist and Director of Strategic Communications of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Council in the just concluded Presidential election, Chief Dele Momodu, had said that he remains a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and will always stand on the side of rule of law, and with the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Momodu made the revelations in a statement he signed himself, noting that the last election, which brought Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to power, was savagely manipulated by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He praised the steps Atiku, and the presidential candidate of the Labour candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, have taken in seeking legal redress.

The statement in details:


My position on the state of our country NIGERIA is simple and straightforward. I’m a loyal member of PDP who owes absolute allegiance to Nigeria and its Rule of Law. My political party PDP and others passionately hold the view that the last Presidential election was savagely manipulated by the ruling party APC and the cases are already in courts. Nothing will make me abandon my party on the altar of convenience and profit. Win or lose, I will continue to stand on this principle without any malice or prejudice against those who think otherwise. Democracy is a game of choice and I’m resolutely standing by our candidate, the former Vice President ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR (GCON) who has taken the honorable and peaceful step of going to court to seek redress. This is the only way we can deepen our hard earned Democracy. Sacrifice is not always convenient but painful.

I salute and respect The Wazirin Adamawa and others like my dear friend and Brother, former Governor Peter Obi, the Labor Party Presidential candidate, for promoting the best tenets of Democracy in Nigeria and I’m willing to encourage them rather than discourage their onerous quests…


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