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Oba (Sir) Isaac Babalola Akinyele, KBE: The Olubadan, Who Abhorred Fetish and Occultic Practices

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By Hon. Femi Kehinde

Ibadan fascinates me. Its history, size, opulence and accommodating nature is enchanting and exciting. Ibadan supports non-indigenes to thrive on their legitimate businesses, and this is why non-indigenes are almost more than indigenes:

“Ibadan Gba Oni le, Ogba Alejo”.

Ibadan from its early history, has always been circumstantial and cosmopolitan. It is undisputable, that Lagelu, the Yoruba Warlord and Generalissimo was its founder around 1829. It became a British Protectorate in1893, after a treaty, signed by Baale Fijabi, the then Baale of Ibadan, with the British Acting Governor of Lagos, George C. Denton on15th August, 1892.

Ever since, Ibadan has grown to become then, the third most populated city in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, it was hitherto, the most cosmopolitan city in Africa.

Bolude, an Ibadan warrior, during one of the many war campaings in Ibadan, an herbalist, who practiced the traditional Yoruba religion of repute, in the years of Ibadan militocracy, had Josiah Akinyele as its first son. Josiah was one of the early converts under the auspices of David Hinderer, the German leader of the Church Mission Society (CMS) and his team of six missionaries that first brought Christianity to Ibadan in1851.

Josiah Akinyele took Abigail Lapeno, the daughter of kukomi, another powerful Ibadan pagan warrior, who also was converted to Christianity through Hinderer; as his second wife in1870.

In 1875, she gave birth to her first son- Alexander Babatunde Akinyele, the first Anglican Diocesan Bishop of Ibadan. Several years later on the 18th of April, 1882, she gave birth to the second son, Isaac Babalola Akinyele.

Between the two brothers, they bestowed the environment of Ibadan in the field of education, religion, social responsibility and politics, each like a colossus.

The recent call by some notable monarchs in the Yoruba nation, against idolatry, fetish and occultic practices, is certainly not new.

Oba Isaac Babalola Akinyele, KBE (1st April, 1882 – 30th May, 1964) was the Olubadan of Ibadan, between 1955 and 1964. He was the first educated Olubadan of Ibadan land (non hereditary Olubadan of Ibadan) and also, the first Christian monarch.

With the example of the Akinyele brothers, Ibadan people began to take the issue of their education, seriously, to the extent that in 1901, a proclamation was made by the incumbent Olubadan- Baale Fajinmi, (1897-1902), that made it compulsory for every household, to send at least one child to school or pay a fine of 5 Pounds.

Bishop Alexander Akinyele, senior brother of Isaac Babalola, encouraged  wealthy men and Ibadan elites, to take their children to school. Two of Sanusi Adebisi Idikan’s children- Azeez Zakariyyah and Salawu Abebisi,  attended Ibadan Grammar School, under the Principalship of Bishop Akinyele. There were no higher educational institutions, then in Ibadan, after Ibadan Grammar School.

Bishop Akinyele visited Salami Adebisi, to encourage him and also intimate him, on the prospect of gaining a university admission for his two sons in Europe, who had just left his college, with the hope that it would be an encouragement to other Ibadan wealthy men and elites.

But Adebisi, whilst thanking Bishop Akinyele for his concern and also acknowledging his episcopal visit, told the Bishop and Principal, that he would not like to expose his children to the danger associated with schooling abroad. According to him, the man of means would always employ the man of knowledge.

Oba Isaac Akinyele, was a Minister of State without portfolio, in the Government of the Western Region in 1961.

Before he became the Olubadan, he was the President of the Christ Apostolic Church. His elder brother- Alexander Babatunde Akinyele, born in 1875, was also the first Ibadan University Graduate and First Anglican Diocesan Bishop of the Ibadan Diocese.

In 1914, he formed the Egbe Agba O’tan, alongside his brother- Alexander Babatunde Akinyele, clearly a precursor of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa. When he was appointed the Balogun of Ibadan land, which entails the holding of a ceremonial staff of office, which is to be anointed with sheep’s blood, every week, a failure to do so, was believed to bring death, upon the disdainer of this tradition.

Isaac Babalola, had a Christian staff, rather made with a cross, affixed on its top. Upon his assumption of office as the Olubadan of Ibadan, on the 17th of February, 1955, he pronounced a total disdain for the Isese religion.

He had earlier in 1948, been conferred with the meritorious honour of- Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and, in 1956. Queen Elizabeth II, also conferred on him- Knight of the British Empire (KBE) when she visited Nigeria.

Several times, his faith was tested by ritualists and herbalists. One day, after settling disputes brought to the palace, in the presence of the chiefs, unknown to him that charms have been sprinkled on his seat before he came in. He couldn’t stand up from the seat, glued down, the chiefs began to mock him, where is your God? But you claimed that he has all power. The king looked at them, he started reciting Psalm 24 and at the end, he said “I rise up in the name of JESUS!” and moved his body, immediately, the charm was nullified. The chief went home ashamed, most of them later gave their life to Jesus. Another instance, was a year that a horse was to convey him to a ceremony, unknown to him, the occults in the city had placed a charm on the horse. They employed drummers who beat the drum with charms, to make the horse die while carrying the king.

Actually, the standing order was that the horse must not fall or die conveying the king, else the king would be rejected. The whole city was watching as the horse began to misbehave and started crying with water gushing out of its eyes.

Fear gripped the whole city, there was great jubilation among the occult men, because they thought that the end has come.

Baba David Babajide and other young evangelists at the scene began to sing – “agbara Re ga ju ti ota lo oooo, imo Re ga ju tesu lo, Olorun ko seun ti ni o, oso aiye kan kole di o lona, ise Re ga ju t iota lo ”

Meaning “your power is greater than the enemy, your knowledge is higher than the devil. You are a God of all possibilities, no sorcerer can stop you. Your power is greater that the enemy”

The whole populace erupted the song started by Baba Babajide, dew began to fall during mid day, and the horse began to walk majestically and gracefully.

When Baba Akinyele was conveyed to the end, the charmers had no choice than to surrender to the kingship of Jesus and since that day, they stopped engaging Oba Isaac Akinyele.

Oba Isaac Babalola Akinyele was a great adherent of the contextualisation and acculturisation of the Yoruba believes.

In similitude, Oba (Dr.) Adedapo Adewale Tejuoso, is another monarch, who is an unshakable believer in Christ. He was born in 1938 and ascended the stool of the Oshile of Oke-Ona in 1989. He believes in serving the supreme God- Olodumare. This outstanding man of God, on the throne of his fore-fathers has shown great capacity and wisdom, in accommodating the traditional demands of a stool, between idol worshipping and culture.

According to him, “People confuse idol worshipping with our culture or tradition, certainly idol worshipping has nothing to do with our culture or tradition. A religious tradition is separate from the tradition or culture of our father land.”

A few years back, he cut down the effigy of the Obatala idol, in Karunwi’s compound, Ago-Oko Abeokuta, to be destroyed in the full glare of the public.

He enjoined all persons, to do the same in their various houses, if he- the king was still alive after 7 days of cutting down the Obatala effigy. This was on his birthday, on the 19th of February, 2005.

According to him-

Sango is my son, so why should I start worshipping my son. People worship all sort of things, but I worship God, who created us. Why would you want to leave the Creator and serve a thing that a human being created or somebody that God created?

Idol worshippers can decide to worship anything, they can decide to worship their ancestors, and these ancestors that they worship are human beings. It is absolute foolishness to make an idol and start putting oil on it.”

The Oluwo of Iwo- Oba  Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi (Telu I), shortly after his ascension to the stool of his fore fathers on the 16th of January, 2016, removed the effigy of Ogun, at the frontage of the palace, that was said to have been as old as 800 years.

He personally supervised this removal, drove and accompanied this Ogun effigy, called Ogun Ale, to its new home in Ogundigbaro.

May the colony of these class of non-fetish and non-idolatory Yoruba Obas, continue to swell in this modern age of education and enlightenment.

May the soul of Oba  Isaac Babalola Akinyele continue to find peaceful repose with the Lord.

Hon. (Barr.) Femi Kehinde is a Legal Practitioner and Former Member of the House of Representatives Representing Ayedire/Iwo/Ola-Oluwa Federal Constituency of Osun State (1999-2003)

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Hardship Caused by APC under Buhari, Reason Tinubu’s Unable to Speak Out, Says Gbenga Daniel

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The Senator representing Ogun East senatorial district, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has expressed his wish that President Bola Tinubu should speak on the already failed economy he inherited from former President Muhammadu Buhari, detailing the efforts he has put in to strengthen the economy since assuming office.

Senator Daniel added that Tinubu has refrained from speaking because the same party he is standing for, was largely responsible for the misdeeds in the past.

The former Governor of Ogun State noted that Tinubu could not talk about the realities at the moment, pleading with Nigerians to persevere and show understanding and cooperation with the present administration as it remains committed to a more prosperous nation.

He further appealed to Nigerians to encourage the president, emphasising that he has done a lot in salvaging the country.

Daniel, who admitted hardship in the country, hinted that the menace was caused by the past government but hoped for better days.

“Our President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has done a lot. I wish he could talk now but he can’t talk because this is the same party he stood for, so he can’t; but from what I know we just have to praise his courage. We know things are very difficult but we need to encourage Mr. President, we urge our people to be patient, by the special grace of God everything will be alright.”

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Atiku’s Aide Accuses Tinubu’s Govt of Diverting Funds Through Fake Petrol Subsidy

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Phrank Shaibu, a Special Assistant on Public Communication to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has alleged that the refusal of the Federal government to react to recent reports on the return of petrol subsidy shows that public funds have started going into private pockets.

Shaibu made the allegation through a statement while reacting to reports by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the Nigerian government has begun paying petrol subsidy again.

According to media reports, monthly subsidy payment is nearly N1 trillion, far in excess of exceeds the amount paid monthly by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Reacting to the allegation, Shaibu said it has become clear that one of the reasons the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has not been paying the required amount of money into the government’s account is because monies are being diverted under an opaque and secret subsidy regime.

He alleged: “Tinubu has been boasting at every economic forum that he deserves to be in the Guinness Book of records for removing petrol subsidy.

“He even said before ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ in New York last September that the ‘corrupt subsidy’ regime and FX issues had been resolved.

“But as every other thing relating to Tinubu, this has turned out to be another lie from the pit of hell. Currently, the exchange rate based on what the Central Bank of Nigeria recommended to the Nigeria Customs Service is N1515/$1.

“Hence diesel price is now over N1,200 but petrol is still selling for between N600 and N700.

“Nigeria is the only country in the world where such disparity between diesel and petrol exists. It has become obvious that petrol subsidy has returned through the backdoor.

“With the return of petrol subsidy, oil marketers have opted out and that is why the NNPC has returned to being the sole importer of petrol once more and has the temerity to be announcing that it will not increase petrol cost regardless of the international price of crude oil and the exchange rate.

“To be clear, petrol subsidy in itself is not a bad thing when it is done transparently.”

Shaibu added: “Former CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, expressed shock last month that NNPC was still not remitting FX into government’s accounts.

“It is now obvious why this has been happening. Subsidy has returned but it is now being done in a corrupt and secret manner as funds are now being diverted into private pockets even worse than under Buhari. This is the Tinubu Lagos legacy from Lagos State.”

Shaibu said it was disappointing that the Finance Minister, Wale Edun; and CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso, who both claimed to have gotten their appointments based on their expertise had failed to speak up but had continued to cover up the petrol subsidy.

He also alleged that the Tinubu government had continued to frustrate the takeoff of the Dangote refinery which would have at least reduced Nigeria’s FX demands.

“The media reported last week that lingering regulatory approvals have stalled Dangote Petrochemical Refinery’s plan to release aviation fuel (Jet A1) and diesel for sale in the Nigerian market.

“At the same time, Dangote refinery has been struggling to get the needed crude oil and has decided to import from the United States while the NNPC which has no business with monetary policy, committed Nigeria’s crude oil for a $3.3 billion Afreximbank loan ostensibly to stabilise the naira.

“It is obvious that Tinubu and his so-called economic team are quacks, charlatans who put their personal interest ahead of that of the country. With such Lilliputians at the helm of affairs, Nigeria’s economic woes are about to go from bad to worse,” Shaibu added.

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Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe: Woman of Means, Indefatigable MD/CEO of Fidelity Bank

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Dr Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, OON is the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, a foremost financial institution with a client base of about 9 million customers.

Nneka joined Fidelity Bank as an Executive Director in 2015 and was appointed Managing Director/CEO of the Bank in January 2021. Following her appointment, Nneka became the first female MD/CEO in the history of the bank.

She is an alumnus of the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Kings College, London where she holds a Bachelor of Law and Master of Law respectively. She has also attended executive training programs at Harvard Business School, The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, INSEAD School of Business, Chicago Booth School of Business, London Business School and IMD amongst others. She recently completed a Diploma programme in Organizational Leadership at Said Business School, Oxford University, UK and received an honorary doctorate degree in Business Administration at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). She is also the recipient of the national award of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) which was awarded to her by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2023.

Dr Onyeali-Ikpe has over 32 years of rewarding banking experience spanning Citizens International Bank, Zenith Bank and Standard Chartered Bank among others. She was Executive Director at Enterprise Bank and Fidelity Bank before her eventual appointment as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Fidelity Bank PLC. She has been involved in the structuring of complex transactions in Oil and Gas, Manufacturing, Aviation, Real Estate and Export among others.

Nneka is widely regarded as one of Africa’s leading female CEOs with a reputation for authentic leadership and proven people skills in identifying talents, opportunities and executing complex business deals. She has extensive business development experience with proficiency in retail, corporate and commercial banking and treasury management among others.

Under Nneka’s watch, the Bank grew its PBT from N25.22bn in FY 2021 to N122bn in FY 2023. Nneka has now set her horizon on leveraging the opportunities in select high growth international markets where the Bank has a competitive advantage. She most recently guided the bank to obtain the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria to expand its operations to the United Kingdom with the acquisition of the former Union Bank UK, now Fidelity Bank UK Limited.

Passionate about innovation and embracing technology, Nneka has pioneered several innovative and pacesetting products such as the PayGate Plus, an online platform that enables businesses make and receive payments.

Dr. Onyeali-Ikpe has also radically repositioned the bank as the go-to financial institution for Small and Medium Enterprises. Understanding the crucial role of small businesses in the sustenance of economic growth and development, she led the bank to create the Fidelity International Trade & Creative Connect (FITCC) which is aimed at providing a global platform for exporters, regulators, subject matter experts and foreign markets to connect.

The FITCC 2022 edition was attended by representatives of both the UK & the Nigerian Governments, Nigerian exporters, investors, regulators from the United Kingdom and Nigeria, the business community and other practitioners. The pipeline deals from the event was in excess of $200m. Over 2,000 people registered to attend the event and daily foot-fall was about 1,000.

The second edition of FITCC, which was hosted in Houston, Texas, United States of America in October 2023, was even bigger with projected pipeline deals of over $250m and more than 160 businesses in participation. Tagged, FITCC Houston, the success of the event is signposted by the designation of 25 October 2023 as the “Fidelity International Trade and Creative Connect Day” by Mr. Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston.

In her bid to give back to the communities the Bank serves and as part of her efforts to combat the twin issues of poverty and hunger, Dr. Onyeali-Ikpe recently launched a National Corporate Social Responsibility initiative tagged The Fidelity Food Bank which provides free food bags to people across Nigeria monthly.

In recognition of her leadership and outstanding performance, she received commendation from AMCON as a member of the Management Team that restructured and turned around the fortunes of the erstwhile Enterprise Bank. She also received several board commendations from the Managing Directors of Standard Chartered Bank and Citizens International Bank for outstanding performance at various times.

With Nneka as the Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank has been the recipient of several awards within and outside Nigeria some of which are:

1. Best Commercial Banking Brand in Nigeria by the Global Brands Magazine Awards

2. Best Private Bank in Nigeria by The Financial Times in association with The Banker Magazine

3. Trade Ambassador Award by the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC)

4. Global Finance’s World’s Best Private Banks 2023 awards for Best Private Bank in Nigeria

5. The Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 in the 2023 Global Banking & Finance Awards

6. Export Finance Bank of the Year at the BusinessDay and Other Financial Institutions’(BAFI) Awards 2023.

7. The “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

On her own part, Dr. Onyeali-Ikpe has been recognized by numerous local and international bodies for her sterling achievements. These include:

1. The national award of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2023.

2. The Banker of the Year 2022 at the 14th Leadership Annual Conference and Awards and

3. The Best Banking CEO Nigeria 2023 in the 2023 Global Banking & Finance Awards.

4. 2023 Top 25 CEOs in Nigeria at the BusinessDay Awards

5. The Banker of the Year 2022 at the Champion Newspapers’ Awards of the Year 2022.

Considering her versatility, industry knowledge and vast network, she also serves on the following Committees and organizations:

1. Chairperson, Financial Literacy and Public Enlightenment Sub-Committee of the CBN Bankers Committee.
2. Chairperson, Funds and Grants Committee of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria
3. Member, Audit Committee of FMDQ Group PLC
4. Member of the Board, Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF)
5. Member of the Board, Unified Payment Services Limited

She is married to Dr. Ken Onyeali Ikpe, PhD, a visionary leader with strong business acumen and respected for his demonstrated knowledge in Marketing, Branding and Consumer Consulting and Business acceleration.

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