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Boss Of The Week

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Africa’s Most Powerful Woman



By Eric Elezuo

For the sixth time in her meritorious career, Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been recognised. This time, the former Nigeria’s Minister of the Economy, who is fond and proud of her traditional ankara attire, was named one of Forbes’s World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2022. The accomplished financial expert will be one of those that would be presented with the honour on 16th of February 2023, at a ceremony scheduled to be held in Port Louis, Mauritius during the 11th edition of the award.

Okonjo-Iweala reportedly polled over 60 percent of the 15,000 votes in the category of the African Leadership Person of thee Year Award at the close of the poll on 2nd of December 2022. These categories are vote-based and reserved yearly for leading Africans who are making positive impacts and promoting a favourable image of the continent.

Forbes, an American business magazine owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family with a particular focus on business, technology, communications, science, politics, and law, while making the declaration, said, “The World Trade Organization head Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (No. 91 of 100) continue to play a crucial role in providing financial assistance and promoting global trade as the threat of a global recession rises.”

It added: Okojo-Iweala is “an economist and international development professional with more than 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America.”

In 2021, Okonjo-Iweala was recognized by another media platform, Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential people for the year under review.

According to Forbes, Okonjo-Iweala is “An economist and international development professional, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has more than 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America,” the magazine said.

“In March 2021, she became first woman and the first African to serve as Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

“She has said she believes in the power of trade to lift developing countries out of poverty help them achieve sustainable development.

“Earlier in her career, Okonjo-Iweala had two terms as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, from 2003-2006 and 2011-2015; she also briefly acted as Foreign Minister in 2006.

“She was also Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance that has immunized 760 million children globally.”

According to Wikipedia, Okonjo-Iweala was born on June 13, 1954 in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, Nigeria where her father Professor Chukwuka Okonjo is the Eze (King) from the Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu.

Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Queen’s School, Enugu, St. Anne’s School, Molete, Ibadan, and the International School Ibadan. She arrived in the US in 1973 as a teenager to study at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an AB in Economics in 1976. In 1981, she earned her Ph.D in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a thesis titled Credit policy, rural financial markets, and Nigeria’s agricultural development. She received an International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), that supported her doctoral studies.

Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a Development Economist, scaling the ranks to the Number two position of Managing Director, Operations between 2007 and 2011. She also served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003–2006, 2011–2015) under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively. She also had a stint in the external affairs ministry as minister.

She is a seasoned economist and international development expert. She sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).

She is married to Dr. Ikemba Iweala, a neurosurgeon. They have four children – one daughter, Onyinye Iweala (AB, MD, PhD, Harvard) and three sons, Uzodinma Iweala (AB, Harvard, MD, Columbia), Okechukwu Iweala (AB, Harvard) and Uchechi Iweala (AB, MD, MBA, Harvard).

Okonjo-Iweala became a US citizen in 2019 after spending several decades working and studying in the United States. Among an avalanche of high class honours trailing her, Okonjo-Iweala is also the founder of Nigeria’s first indigenous opinion-research organisation, NOI-Polls. She also founded the Center for the Study of Economies of Africa (C-SEA), a development research think tank based in Abuja.

In 2012, Okonjo-Iweala contested for Presidency of the World Bank. She lost to Jim Yong Kim. Eight years in-between in November 2020, she contested the DG position of the World Trade Centre, and emerged winner.

Reacting, an excited Okonjp-Iweala said: “An honour and a privilege to be part of this list of a very distinguished group of women for the 6th time in my career, Congratulations to my other sisters. Let’s continue to show that good governance, good public policy and a people-centered approach to work matters.”

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Boss Of The Week

Meet Justice Olayinka Afolabi, Osun’s New Chief Judge




By Eric Elezuo

During the week, the Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, took a bold step to boost the proficiency of the state’s legal system with the appointment of Justice Olayinka David Afolabi as the acting Chief Judge of the state with immediate effect. This was following the approval of the resolution of the House of Assembly, and suspension of erstwhile Chief Judge, Adepele Ojo.

The governor’s decision was contained in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed, and made available to The Boss.

The statement reads in part:

“Meanwhile, following the approval of the resolution of the House by the Governor, the Deputy-Governor has been directed by the Governor to perform the swearing-in ceremony of the Acting Chief Judge of Osun State which will be held tomorrow (Friday) at the Executive Lounge, Governor’s Office, Osogbo.”

Below is a detailed profile of the new Chief Judge as obtained from the Osun State Judicial website.


Hon. Justice Olayinka David Afolabi obtained his Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) Hons degree from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 1990. He attended the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island Lagos between 1990/1991, passed his qualifying examinations and was thereafter called to Bar in December 1991.

He was one of the pioneer Corps members that served in the Ministry of Justice (Asaba) of the newly created Delta State. Upon completion of the Youth Service in 1992, His Lordship returned to the Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University for his postgraduate studies in Law (LL.M), which program was only completed in 1994 due to June 12 political crisis of 1993.

Hon. Justice Olayinka David AFOLABI, was in active legal practice before his elevation to the High Court Bench. He worked with the law firm of Yomi Afolabi-Oloja, of Sabo, Yaba Lagos state. The law firm was mostly involved in litigation covering land, chieftaincy as well as commercial disputes being legal retainers to several companies.

While undergoing his postgraduate studies, he also practised with the law firm of P.A Ogunleye & Co., in Ile-Ife where he was further exposed to intricacies of land litigation.

He set up his own Law firm Yinka Afolabi & Associates, a firm of lawyers that engaged in corporate, criminal and civil litigation in 1996.

While in legal practice, Hon. Justice Olayinka David AFOLABI, was an active Bar man. He was the Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association, Ile-Ife Branch, at the same time, a member of the National Executive Committee of the NBA from October 2003 until 19th May 2005 when he was sworn in as a Judge of Osun State High Court.

Since his elevation to the Bench his Lordship has served in different judicial divisions of the Court at different times including: Ilesa, Ikire and Osogbo Judicial Divisions. His Lordship currently presided in High Court No. 2 Osogbo Judicial Division.

Also, his Lordship has served in different capacities both at the State and National Levels. He was the Chairman of the Osun State Local Government Election Petition Tribunal in the year 2007; member, Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Jos, Plateau state in the year 2011; member, National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Nassarawa State between November 2011/February 2012; member, Anambra State National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, Awka in the year 2012.

Hon. Justice Olayinka David AFOLABI served as one-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry into the creation of Ijesa South Traditional Council, Osun State in 2009.

His Lordship has attended several conferences, training and seminars locally and internationally including: Mediation training for Nigerian Judges at Kennesaw State University, Atlanta Georgia, USA between 29th November 2012 to 12th December 2012; Training in Leadership and Professional Ethics and Training in International Arbitration at the same Kennesaw State University Atlanta Georgia USA between 5th to 10th August 2013 and 12th August to 14th August 2013 respectively and in 2020, Training organised by the Chartered Institute of Mediators and Conciliators in Dubai, UAE and became a full-fledged member of the Institute.

Since his elevation to the High Court Bench on 19th May 2005, his Lordship has attended the biennial All Nigerian Judges Conference till date.

His Lordship is a Christian and a member of the Anglican Communion, Church of Nigeria. He has served in various capacities in his Diocese, Diocese of Ife before becoming the Chancellor of the Diocese since year 2016.

His Lordship is happily married and blessed with children.

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Boss Of The Week

My love for the Arts Immeasurable – Segun Arinze




By Eric Elezuo

He is still as agile as he was when he first ventured into career entertainment many years ago. A professional to the core, disciplinarian, focused, determined and a gogetter, the person of Segun Padonu Aina, who is best known as Segun Arinze is larger than life.

In this brief chat with The Boss, the veteran entertainer, who has successfully traversed the world of music, movies, voice over and other splendid variables of the entertainment industry, went deep down memory lane to explain the intricate workings of the industries he found himself, his passion for the arts, love for the Glo brand and other down to earth revelations.


Who is Segun Arinze in a nutshell?

Well, the truth is Segun Arinze is Segun Arinze, and that is me, by the grace of God. I’m an actor, a Nollywood filmmaker, and a media personality.

Segun Arinze; the actor, voice-over artist, and singer. Which of these explains you better?

I believe that the three explain my personality better because they’re all art and entertainment-related drive for me. So I see myself in those three facets of entertainment, and I’m very comfortable with the three of them.

So, how did you all start?

It started years back in Ilorin, Kwara State, many years ago when I was still in secondary school. That’s how I started. I got introduced by a friend called Ayo Orowale, and ever since I haven’t looked back.

Okay, so between then and now, how would you describe the journey so far?

It is actually a combination of many things – tidious, painful, agonizing, joyful…It’s a blessing. It’s a mixed bag of everything.

Segun Arinze is a native Lagosian, Segun Arinze grew up in Onitsha….

Cuts in…No, let me correct that. I was born in Onitsha. But I grew up in Lagos before my parents decided to junket the length and breadth of the country as a result of the kind of work he does then – he was a bit on the nomadic side to out it mildly. So that was how I found myself traversing all parts of Nigeria.

Was your father a soldier?

No, he wasn’t a soldier. He was a businessman. He was a contractor. There are businessmen who move around like that. They settle wherever they think is a comfort zone. They shuttle there and here. So he was that kind of person. We were at a point in time in Asaba. We were at a point in time in Benin. We were at a point in time in Ilorin. And then, we were at a point in time in Ogun State, in Sango-Otta. And then we came back to Lagos. It was after that journey that I said I wasn’t going any further. I decided to carve a niche for myself and said, I wasn’t going any further. I decided to stay back.

And that was when?

Many years back. I can’t remember.

You must have been old enough for you to make that kind of decision for yourself? When exactly was it?

It was shortly before I got into the university. That was before I went to study Dramatic Art.

At that particular time, you were still dependent, I guess. So I am wondering how it was possible.

Yes, I was 18 plus. I think I was 18, 19. Then if I remember very well, I said I needed to stay. So I moved in with one of my friends, Michael Odiachi. So he made it a bit easier for me. He was at Ojota then, and later to Ikorodu. So I made that decision. We were all in a playhouse way back then. That’s as at 1982 to 1986 or so, there about. And I was still schooling in-between.

So your parents continued the nomadic journey while you settled?

I wouldn’t say they continued the nomadic journey. I would just say, well, my dad decided to settle in one place.

I can comfortably say therefore, that your movements made you a complete Nigerian.

Well, yeah.

Can you elaborate on that?

I remember we were in Kaduna as well. I was in Jos, my grandparents were in Jos. I had to stay with them for a very long time in Jos. And I found myself traveling between Kaduna and Jos. And then I visited Kano, Zaria, and Maiduguri.

Does that make you a polyglot? How many languages do you speak?

I speak, well, let’s say five.

Name them, please.

English, Pidgin, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, and a bit of Efik.

That means you’re a complete Nigerian since Igbo, Hausa, Igbo languages are there. So I may not even be at liberty to say how come how come the Arinze name came about.

The Arinze is there because my mother is Igbo.

So why did you manage to take up the name Arinze instead of Padonou or Aina which link to your dad?

Well, when I was a recording artist on Premier Music Label, Dean Disi, who was the GM of Premier Music at that time, decided that he needed a name change. So that’s how he asked me for my name. And I told him, and he said, okay, I shouldn’t worry. And the next thing he changed my name from Segun Aina Padonou to Segun Arinze. So it was for marketing strategies. And I was a bit uncomfortable with it, but he said, don’t worry, it will work. And here I am with it. It worked.

Which of these popular names of yours sticks more to your personality? Segun Arinze or Black Arrow?

Depends on who’s talking. Depends on who you want to pick.

But what does it feel like to be called Black Arrow? Because if I remember very well, the character was not a very pleasant character.

Well, that was from Silent Night. Chico Ejiro had asked me to play the role of Black Arrow. He also had Ramsey Noah, Joke Silva, Victoria lyama, Emeka Ike, and Alex Osifo Omiagbo. Quite a number of people were in that film at that time. I wasn’t even the lead, but he asked me to play the role of Black Arrow, and by God’s grace and to His glory, it happened. And that was how that changed. So everybody started seeing me as Black Arrow. I wasn’t even the lead. It was Ramsey that was the lead in the movie then. But that’s how it changed. And then we went on to do Silent Night 2 and 3.

Was your musical outing, Dreams, the piece that showcased you as an artist or was it your acting career?

I would say both. Because I remember, before my recording, I was doing a little bit of acting. And I got signed on because I was with Kingsley Ogoro. We were working at Klink Studios then. And Dean Disi listened to my songs. But before that, I had written a lot of theme songs for the Nigerian Music Awards with Tony Okoroji at the helm of Affairs of NMA. And so when we had done that, he liked it. And then I decided to do some recording. Klink Studios was at Tafawa Balewa Square then. We just started and opened shop. And just about then, Sam Uqua, the producer, called me and said, Dean says he wants to see you. And so I went to Satellite Town and Dean Disi said, “I like the songs that you sent to me. We would like to sign you on.” And that was how I got signed on to Premier Music.

Mind you, Premier Music has the likes of Alex O. And Premier Music was also going through a rejuvenation then. They were also rebranding, so to speak. They were originally Polygram. So we were changing to Premier Music. And Tony Minnis had just bought over Polygram. And so, there was Alex O, there was Blacky, there was Alex Zito, Ras Kimono was there. Oris Wiliki was also on that label. And so we started. And that was how I started to record then. My singing friend, my co-singer then was Ese Agese, who Kiss Latham later got married to. So she got signed on to Sony Music. And that was how everything just evolved. And I recorded the album.

Was it a single?

Yes, it was a single. But there were other songs also that were added later on.

But much later I left the contract. I remember that in 2006, 2007, I decided to come back and I did another album called, In the Mood. And then we had more songs on it. And that’s been my journey so far in music.

But I decided now to focus on my acting career because I’m a trained actor. I got trained in Ife by Chuck Mike in the Dramatic Arts Department. So a lot of things just went on to shape up this person called Segun Arize. It’s actually been a lot of work trying to build that brand.

I’m not sure there is anything about Segun Arinze that’s not in the public space at the moment. However, I want to believe that there is something…

…In terms of my career, my job, yes.

So what is new about Segun Arinze?

I’m still evolving…laughs

At least as of today, something must have evolved.

A lot is evolving. I’m still working. Thankfully, I’m still working. I’m still doing quite a number of things. Some of them I keep to my chest.

But there must be something off the chest that is about to hit the airwaves.

There is something I’m working seriously on. But I’d like to keep to myself. Keep your mouth shut. Work. And when it comes out, people will be surprised. So I don’t believe that I need to open up my mind to announcing all the things that I do. But yeah, but I’ve done quite a number of things that people have seen and I’m still working. I had a talk show called No Holds Barred, as you know, that was run on AIT. It was rested but not totally rested because sometime along the line, I’m sure that it will come busting out again. So there are a lot of things I’m working on, a lot of projects that I’m doing, and I just take them one step at a time.

So at the moment, what do you tell your team and audience out there to look out for?

You’re trying to put me on the spot, right? (Laughs…) Well, let them watch out. We have quite a number of things we’re doing and 2024 will unfold and tell a lot of stories.

So they should just keep their fingers crossed?

Keep your fingers crossed. As at now, I represent quite a few brands. Legrande. Legande is one of them. It’s a real estate company. I’m representing them now and I’m very proud of them. They are doing quite well, and it’s been a lovely journey with them and we’re still together. I’m looking forward to signing quite a number of other brands. Let’s see how it goes.

And for the voiceover category, which companies can you itemize as having worked with?

There’s a lot of them that I have worked with, but I can’t begin to itemize them. It’s quite large.

What about the five most important?

I can’t say the five most important because they’re quite a lot. You say one, you offend the other. So I’ve worked with quite a number of brands. But I wish to work with more brands. I look forward to doing voiceovers with more Nigerian brands. One of the brands that I’m very, very impressed with is Glo. Though I’m not an ambassador nor have I done anything with them, still just go to see their shows and all that. I’m quite impressed with what Chairman Mike Adenuga has done with the Glo brand. I’m very, very, very impressed with what he’s done with it. He has taken it to a different level entirely. Honestly, working with that brand will be a dream come true. I like the way the brand has been packaged. Wholly Nigerian, 100% Nigerian, no foreign influence. That’s good to know. It’s good to know that one can look back and say, okay, this is truly a Nigerian brand, and you can relate to it.

So how have you managed to keep this voice the same over the years? 

It’s been because of tenacity. I’ve been very tenacious, I must say. I’ve been deliberate about it and I’ve been keeping it.

And you will not believe who actually introduced me to voiceover. Soni Irabor. Then I got major influences from the likes of Manny Onumonu, Ike Emokwede, a d Osaze Iyamu. I got quite a number of influences from them. They all influenced me. But one person who kept pushing for me was Soni Irabor. And when I look back, I really say thank you to Soni Irabor. And I was privileged to be on the show with him one day, on his own show. And I told him that he was a catalyst for it.

In all your years of being in the entertainment industry, can you say there are incidents that trigger regrets?

One thing I try not to do is regret. I try as much as possible not to have regrets. What I do is I learn from every incident, and move on. Don’t just stay in one spot, move on.

Which particular incident can you say you actually learnt from and moved on?

A number of them, quite a number of them. There’s this particular one, though the person is late now. It was when I was still an aspiring singer, I wanted to sing badly. I wanted to record. And I went to meet this great Nigerian artist, a great musician. And I asked him, I said, sir, I like what you did with Yvonne Maha. And then he looked at me and say, you just finished secondary school. Yes? Why don’t you get a job as a clerk or something? I felt very bad that I was rebuffed. I was rejected. But many years later, I grew big, I grew very big. And I went on to meet my friend, the late Dr. Paul Oje, who was opening his house. And on the stage was this same great Nigerian musician, and then he was singing my praises. And I was like, God, you’re the greatest humorist. But I didn’t let that weigh me down. Actually, I didn’t let that weigh me down. And I moved on; in terms of creativity, I’m very, very restless. I like to move from one thing to another. I like to do things as fast as possible. I’m a creative animal. I don’t like to stop in my track. And that’s just my kind of person. That’s how I am. And people who have worked with me will tell you, hey, when it comes to creativity, leave Segun Arinze alone. That’s how I am.

Can you please differenciate between the Segun Arinze in the movies and the Segun Arinze as a person?

Segun Arinze in the movies does his work. Segun Arinze as a person is a family man.

What I mean actually, Segun Arinze in the movies is practically voracious, practically…

No, no, no, no. Segun Arinze is an actor. I don’t want to use the word voracious. Because I refuse anybody making me a typecast. I’m not a stereotype and I refuse to be a stereotype. I’m an actor. I want to play any role I’m given and give my 100% to it or even 110% to it. But I don’t want to be stuck in that place and say, yeah, you’re a stereotype. No, no, no. That’s not Segun Arinze. I’m a trained actor and I want to work that way. Granted, there are certain roles I might not be well suited for, but that doesn’t mean I’m not giving it my best shot.

But outside that, I’m a family man. I like to stick with my family. I like to have a good time with my family. When the opportunity comes, we go on holiday. When it’s not there, I do my work. But I always watch over my wife, and my kids. I just love my family.

Okay, tell us exactly how you combine your tight schedule with being a wonderful family man.

Very tough. And the good thing is that God has blessed me with a wonderful wife. A great wife. So where I fall short, she makes up for it. But she also makes sure she carries me along by giving me information on what and what, and where I’m lagging behind. I try to make up for it. It’s not easy. It’s not a bed of roses. It’s also trying to get your children to understand the kind of work that you do. When they were younger, they didn’t understand it. But now they begin to understand the nature of your work and all that. I try to take the pressure off them because wherever they go, they hear your dad is this, your dad is that. And when they come back, they give all the stories. My last born is so inquisitive. She wrote her first book at the age of seven. I try as much as possible to carry her, and all my children along. I have grown-up children and I have younger children.

Talking about wives and family…I remember you lost your first marriage after 14 years…

Can we not talk about that? Let’s move on. I don’t like talking about that. I like to keep her out. It’s done and dusted. Move on!

I’ve moved on from that. Yes, I have a lot of respect for her. I have nothing but good respect for her. And I would not want anybody to tarnish her image. She’s done so well for herself. I have a good and enormous respect for her.

So, how does Segun Arinze relax?

I listen to music a lot. I like telling jokes, I like listening to jokes, I like being among friends, I like staying with my family during my spare time, I sit down with my wife and we all do gossip. My wife is my best gossip partner…laughs.

I like that…Laugh

So we talk a lot. My Gist partner, I’m very comfortable around her. I can say what I want to say, express myself and that’s just how it is.

What was it like when you made your first million?

I can’t even remember what it was. When I made my first million. Ha!

Funnily enough, I didn’t get over the roof. Funnily enough, I didn’t get to the blues. When I made my first million, when the money hit my account, I was like okay. I was calm. I was very, very calm. I didn’t think that money entered my head. And it was from Guinness. I was looking at the money. They’re taking me to South Africa to do something. And that money was some crazy figures of millions. So I was calm. Very, very calm. I took it in my stride. Ever since then, millions have kept hitting my accounts.

Social media quantified you as a four million dollars person in net worth.

That’s social media, not me.

Yeah! Are they right?

They are stupid. They don’tseem to get it. I can’t tell them my worth, because these things are dynamic. They keep changing. I don’t want to say this is what I’m worth or this is not what I’m worth. I don’t want to say that. In fact, when I saw that, I was very upset and I felt highly disrespected. Yes. I felt highly disrespected. I was very annoyed. I was very angry. I felt highly disrespected.

Is it because it is on the low side…

No, no, no. Whether it is on the low side or the high side, I feel highly disrespected.

Are you saying that there’s no need for it?

There’s no need for it. It is my private life. You don’t need to. I don’t need that. I was very, very upset and disrespected. If I had known the person who wrote that thing, I would have given him a piece of my mind. That was extremely stupid, that was silly, and they should not ever and ever try that again. They should leave public figures to their lives, and stop counting their money. It is none of your business; focus on our work. Focus on the work we have, and what we are doing for society. How we are trying to make the society a better place. Don’t go prying into my private accounts or knowing what I’m worth and what I’m not. I think it’s disrespectful.

They will definitely hear. Does Segun arinze have any interest of going politics anytime in the future?

I can’t say for now. I can’t say. I used to think I had that interest but with the way things are going, I can’t say, but whatever it is I’m gonna sit down, observe, watch, communicate, talk to people, have meetings, and when the time is right, I will make the statement. But for now, I’m still observing and I’m watching.

Can you compare the Nollywood of your time and the Nollywood of today, in terms of similarities and differences?

You don’t compare an old Mercedes Benz to a new Mercedes Benz

Tell us more

So many dynamics but the foundation of the Mercedes Benz is still there. All they used in creating the first Mercedes Benz is still there and that’s what they’re using to make the new Mercedes Benz?

Are we making progress or retrogressing in the industry?

We are making progress. I’m very impressed. I’ve seen a lot of talents in Nollywood. I’m so proud of some of the young ones I’ve seen. Extremely proud of them! I’ve interacted with a lot of them, and I know that they have a great future; Filmmakers both producers, directors, and all. In fact, Nollywood can give Hollywood a run for its money right now.

In those days, we can easily mention all the Nollywood actors offhand, but today I’m not sure that’s the case again. Why’s that?

In that wise, yes! You are right. Because if there was a role, you have the opportunity of picking five persons for it. It was reserved within five people for a certain kind of role. You can say if Ramsey doesn’t play this, there’s Segun or Bob Manuel, or Kanayo O. Kanayo you have a limitation of like 5 or 6 in the worst-case scenario. Now, they are like hundreds of talent vying for one role. That tells you the competitiveness of the industry and it’s a welcome development. But they also do themselves a big favor by being very professional and focusing on the work. The worst part of it is that social media has come and taken everything away from the norm. So, social media has expanded it. It’s widened the gap, and within that window and ecosystem. So, you find a lot of people grazing in that ecosystem to get to the top. It’s tough. Then, the ecosystem was limited, but now, it is expanding. I wish them all the best of luck.

Beginning from your period, we have started noticing a little trend in the industry. When an artiste starts getting old, one of these two things starts happening to him, if not the two, either he is impoverished or is struck with a disease, I don’t know if there is anything you can say about this.

I will like to keep quiet on that. I will like to honestly maintain my silence in that and not say anything about it. One is because these are my colleagues; both senior and contemporary. And out of utmost respect for all of them, I will not say anything. Well, I can say that it is well, God will continue to heal all of us. Uh, the rain doesn’t fall on one person’s roof alone, it falls everywhere. So, I would not say anything about it. What I will tell you for free is that I’m in discussions with the president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Emeka Rollas. I was a onetime president, so I understand what’s happening and properly. I was also the president of the Association of Voice-over Artists. What I would say is that Emeka Rollas is doing his best. They are working and doing everything they can and also Kate Henshaw, the Head of Public Communication. Let them do what they have to do, but I am not going to say anything about that. In due course, when things are sorted out, we can come out to make a categorical statement. But I also know that there is a health insurance policy, that HMO. I believe a lot of actors would take advantage of that.

Do you play or love any games?

I love football a lot. Although my club is not doing very well we would bounce back. We have won two Champions Leagues, we have won Europa, we have won two FA cups. Arsenal should come and tell us what they have won. We would bounce back for sure. And for Super Eagles, they are doing very well. I’m impressed. I just pray that we qualify for the next World Cup. Oshimen deserves to be at the World Cup. He deserves to be there and at the Nations Cup. In fact, all the young players in Super Eagles deserve to be there.

Talking about football, most African nations did not vote for Osimhen during the Ballon d’Or even Nigeria did not vote for him.

See, I said something today on a football platform. FIFA used the journalists to do what they wanted to do. It was a smoke screen. And I am sure there would have been a subtle threat in between. So they use them to do what they want to do but I tell you before God and man. I think that Halland deserves the Ballon d’Or

I was thinking that because he didn’t win the World Cup

Also, Oshimen deserves a better rating than the 8th position. He did so well for Napoli. So there’s always this politics in FIFA. God help all of them. Just the way we have it in the British league the referees are highly corrupt. I saw what they did to Arsenal. Go and check the VAR, some of them ignored VAR. It’s crazy. It’s not only us, they have done it to all the clubs. Don’t forget, that these referees are human beings, and they have their own affinity that they are supporting.

What about human errors…

Human error is one percent. As far as I am concerned, human error in the UK league is one percent. Every other thing is deliberate. They know what to do. The funny thing is that VAR tells the referees to go and check, but the decision is entirely up to him. See what happened to the referee who has been demoted to the second division. That’s why you don’t find British referees in FIFA events, they are corrupt. They need to wake up. The English referees need to wake up. They really need to wake up.

So what’s your best food and attire?

Anything that fits, that makes me look good and comfortable. As for the best food, I don’t have. Anything I can eat, relish, and make me happy.

And who’s your most admired Nollywood actor now?

Now? I don’t have. We are all colleagues. I can’t mention names. The moments you start mentioning names, you get yourself in trouble. My peer group are all good. I also know a few young ones who are fantastic, but I won’t mention names. I know at least six of them that I can close my eyes and mention their names, but all I would say is the best of luck. And may they continue to grow in their chosen field.

Just a few months ago, we lost Saint Obi. Anything to say about that?

Very sad, very sad, very very sad! But it is well.

I want to say thank you Mr Segun Arinze for your time 

Thank you so much.

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Boss Of The Week

Allen Onyema: Africa’s Hero Changing Aviation Landscape




By Eric Elezuo

The adage, the sky is your limit, doesn’t seem to sit well with a personality like the big man at Peace Air, Mr Allen Onyema as he continually seeks ways to better the Nigerian airspace and champion revolutionary measures in African aviation  enterprise.

A lawyer turned accomplished entrepreneur, Onyema is the epitome of dedication, determination, focus and passionale zeal to make the continent an aviation guru among high flyers in the industry.

Today, despite inconsistent government policies coupled with bureaucratic bottlenecks hindering the smooth operations of indigenous airlines, Air Peace, arguably West Africa’s biggest carrier, recently recorded another breakthrough. This time, the ever improving carrier made a remarkable entry into the European air space after securing Foreign Carrier Operator Permit, FCOP, to fly to London.

The permit allows airlines from other regions to fly to Europe and Third Country Operator Permit (TCO-UK) that enables airlines to operate to UK. In other words, Peace Air will now operate direct flights with its luxury wide-body Boeing 777 aircraft to these destinations.

“We obtained these permits that qualify us to fly to UK. Before you obtain these approvals, they will audit you very well. You have to go through stringent audit, which we passed. We obtained the permit last week,” the entrepreneur enthused.

Consequently, when you talk about a man, who has an unwavering interest in his country, and continent; a man fit enough to wear the toga of the prestigious award of Nigeria’s National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM), you are without equivocation making reference to the Chairman/CEO of Air Peace, Barrister Allen Onyema.

It is therefore not a surprise that his diligence, high performance, high productivity and research achievements; ability to encourage and foster the spirit of healthy competition amongst workers, firms and companies in Nigeria, propelled him to the enviable height he is standing on today, and paved his way to receiving prestigious awards and achieving more and more firsts.

When you are many things wrapped up in one bundle, it is difficult, almost impossible for the world not to give you attention. This situation encapsulates one man, completely different from the rest in the global professionalism, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. From the solitary law profession to becoming an aviation wizkid to the reputable philanthropist known across the globe, Allen Ifechukwu Onyemaraeme, simply referred to Allen Onyema has come a long in his 59 years of worthy sojourn on planet earth. Here is a man who found the proverbial green pastures out of a dint of hard work from where he was, breaking barriers and creating new horizons. He is the indefatigable founder of one of world’s best privately owned airline, Air Peace.

Air Peace, without mincing words, has grown to become the largest indigenous airline in the whole of West and Central Africa with competitive fares on both passenger and charter services. It is worthy to note that licence for the operations was delayed for two whole years. Onyema, unarguably has the Midas touch by every standard.

A native of Mbosi in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra state, Allen Onyema, was born to Michael and Helen Onyema in Benin City in the then Midwest region, in present day Edo State, on March 28, 1964 as the first of nine children of his parents.

He obtained his Higher School Certificate at the age of 20 in 1984, at Government College, Ughelli, having had stints with various institutions of learning including including St. Anthony’s Secondary School, Azia and Urhobo College, Effurun.

In the same 1984, Allen Onyema was admitted into the University of Ibadan to study Law. He practically allowed the school to pass through him as well as he combined academic works with social activism to engender national peace. In 1987 however, he graduated and was subsequently called to the Nigerian Bar in 1989.

While others were making their ways out of the country in search of better life, Onyema moved to Lagos with a strong determination to find his own greener pastures there, and if he couldn’t find it, will create his own greener pastures there, for others to subsequently find.

Like the biblical person, who has respect and is faithful with little beginnings, Onyema began life as a squatter in Oshodi, a suburb of Lagos notorious for squalor attributes. He explained in one of the many interviews he had granted that he used ‘trek from Marina to Iddo to join the overcrowded trains back from his daily trips to Lagos Island in search of a chamber to practice his law profession’.

In 1990, out of sheer zeal and focus, he secured a place with Nwizugbo & Co. Chambers. It was not long, before he stamped his feet in the scheme of things, having  won a case that had been labelled ‘a bad case’. From that point, there was no stopping the young lawyer, as he continued to establish his authority in the field. His rise was astronomical, and 1992, he had become the Head of Chambers. He also performed two actions in the same year that changed the course of his profession.

As a man who has his hands in many pies, he resigned his job at the chamber to concentrate on his real estate business, and at the same time floated his own law chamber, Onyema and Co. This real estate business was more lucrative as he reasoned, and justifiably so by every standard. The deals sharpened his entrepreneurial skills, and it was not long for him to choose between an arbitrator and an entrepreneur. It is worthy of note that deciding was very easy as he told Late Ubong King in an interview, and reported by Nairametrics:

“When I was squatting in Oshodi, I had these garage boys that were my friends and one happened to belong to a family that had this large expanse of land in Alagbado. He took me there, showed me their properties and I helped them to bring some buyers. A week later, after I got the employment, the entire family sent for me, and gave me about 400 plots of land in Alagbado to sell on their behalf at N5000 per plot.”

Though he was not promised a commission, he was given the privilege of a mark up, and so for someone on a monthly salary of N500, every plot of land sold at 100 per cent markup fetched him his 10-months’ salary. He didn’t need any ghost to tell him where his riches lie. He was not just selling to others, he was buying for himself as well.

With the fast rise of the real estate business, he consequently established Allen Onyema & Company to handle his real estate concerns. He confessed that “I was making a lot of money, but I was also working really hard.”

He didn’t stop at that, the wave of business acumen was flowing around, and he took advantage and also established floated Continental Business Links Limited, an import trade outfit to play the middleman role between traders in Nigeria who wished to import goods, and foreign manufacturers looking to get their goods into the Nigerian market.

He followed it up with the establishment of started Every Tide limited, an imports and trade business that imported electronics and sold in wholesale containers to traders.

In 2013, Onyema took the boldest step of his entrepreneurial calling. That was when he started the ambitious Air Peace, with the sole intent of creating jobs as against making profits. He had said in many fora that a friend told him that one commercial Boeing 737 could give jobs to a thousand persons and he decided that commercial aviation was a much profitable venture than leaving his money to seat idle in the banks. Consequently, he purchased the first three Domier jets. He realised rather too late that they could only be used for charters and even though they could fetch him a lot of money, only a few staff were needed. That wasn’t his original magnanimous intention. He wanted to give employment to a large number of citizens, not to make profit. Then he acquired seven Boeing 737 planes for commercial aviation. It was epochal as that was the time ever that a Nigerian airline would be starting with more than 2 airplanes.

Besides being a sound entrepreneurial giant, Onyema comes also as socially sound as the best. While in UI, his appetite for peace made him lead a group of nine other students to Zaria to quell a raging religious and ethnic riot that claimed lives. This singular act and the reception that followed his enthusiasm grew and led to the formation of a group known then as Eminent Friends’ Group – a group formed with the objectives of promoting ethnic harmony amongst Nigeria’s diverse ethnic nationalities and fighting the incidence of violence of all forms

When he left the university in 1987, he ensured that the group was replicated in all the states of the federation. In 2005, he initiated, organised and held the “1st Nigeria forever project” aimed at promoting broad nationalism as against ethnic nationalism.

The flourishing entrepreneur is not new to awards as they follow him like an avalanche. In April 2007, he became the second African ever to be appointed to the Executive Board of The Global Non-violence Conference Series Inc. USA, alongside notable world leaders like Hon. Dr. Andrew Young and Suarez Ramos. As a member of this board, he won for Nigeria, the hosting rights for Global Conference on Nonviolence and Peace in Abuja from December 3-5, 2007. His contribution to the socio-economic development has just began. He is also the chairman of the Foundation For Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria, (FEHN).

As a budding socialite and successful business, he has not completely escaped the unfounded criticisms of naysayers and fifth columnists. He and Air Peace have also come under senseless attacks in spite of the excellent services being rendered to the flying public. It is on record that the airline operates some of the heathiest, mostly brand new supersonic planes that have combined to earn the brand the Number One Position in the West and Central Africa Regions, barely seven years of its operation. He however, haas made it known that his primary objective is to continue to dish out the best of services to the flying public, create jobs for the teeming Nigerian youths, and not to answer to every unsubstantiated accusation by those who do not have the interest of the country at heart.

It is against this backdrop that the Anambra State Governor, Prof Charles Soludo, in a message through his media aide, Joe Anatune, described Onyema as an exceptional businessman and a rare philanthropist who has made giant strides in the Nigerian Aviation industry through dint of hardwork and uncompromising business ethos.

It is worthy of note that a few years after the Air Peace became operational, the airline has thousands of people on its employment across the world, a greater majority of them are young Nigerian men and women who are pilots, engineers, technicians, lawyers, journalists, medical doctors, air hostess and cleaners, among many other professionals. The group launched its first international routes in 2017 to Accra in Ghana and commenced flights to Sharjah United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2019.

As one of the wonders of the world, the brand by 2018, had the largest market share in the domestic airline market in Nigeria, took delivery of jumbo jets- Boeing 777 planes and still counting. The long strides of the airline to date is nothing but mind-blowing. In addition to all the supersonic aircraft already acquired, Onyema has the intention of taking delivery of another set of 12 brand new Embraer 195 C2 making it 17, with the aim of acquiring a total of 30 of the supersonic planes to fly passengers across the world before the end of 2022. He is such an enigma, a well crafted legacy to mankind. He will be remembered for playing significant roles in the realization of the Anambra Airport.

In 2022, the company received its fourth International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification, which signifies that the carrier was successful in the globally recognised and rigorous safety audit.

“Air Peace is unwaveringly committed to observing the highest standards of safety in its operations and the consecutive success in the IOSA audits is a testament to this commitment. For us, safety comes first for both our passengers and staff. We cannot compromise on this,” the organisation maintained.

Apart from providing jobs for thousands of people in Nigeria and others from across the world, especially countries where it operates, Onyema and Air Peace management is neck deep into philanthropy as well as intervening for Nigeria, in times of emergency among other needs.

In 2019, during the outbreak of xenophobia in South Africa, Air Peace took up the challenge to evacuate Nigerians at no cost.

In September 2021, Allen Onyema challenged the Super Eagles to beat Cape Verde and get N20 million as well as flew the team to Mindelo where the game took place. The team won the game, and Onyema handed over N20 million largesse.

Most recently, Air Peace was one of the three Airlines that the Federal Government engaged recently to bring Nigerians who were stranded in Ukraine due to the raging war between that country and  Russia back home, a task that was successfully executed.

Onyema’s economic benefits to the Nigerian nation are larger than one can imagine. He is into scholarship to as as many that that comes across him, and has written his name in gold as one of Nigerian’s most influential businessman, whose selfless interest stands out among the rest.

A distinguished family man, Onyema has been married to his heartthrob, Alice Ojochide Onyema, since 1993, and both are blessed with wonderful children.

We congratulate you on this fresh landmark achievement, knowing it is a stepping stone to more notable barrier breaking impacts.

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