Connect with us


“Interference”? Which “Interference”? By Akeem Soboyede



I’ll start with the “love-fest”, so to speak: Bayo Onanuga, ex-African Concord editor and co-founder of TheNews magazine group is a senior journalism colleague I have long admired, and very much so.

As a fellow journalist, he has stood as a beacon to many in the profession for many years, with his brand of courageous and fearless journalism serving as an exemplar to which many in the profession have long aspired, including my good self.

Bayo Onanuga’s quality, courage and foresight as a journalist is uncommon and very exemplary. Anyone (like yours truly) who witnessed and / or was somehow thrown into the thick of the struggle to preserve and enthrone democratic norms in the unfortunate aftermath of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by Bashorun MKO Abiola will not quickly forget the exceptional courage and endless zeal for pursuit of the truth demonstrated by Onanuga and the other journalists he led directly then at TheNews and subsequently at Tempo magazine. This was during the titanic struggle to actualize the mandate then military dictator Ibrahim Babangida and his co-traveller / successor Sani Abacha frenetically sought to deny MKO Abiola, especially in the early days of that annulment.

Such is the respect and admiration—even love—that I had, and still retain, for Onanuga as a person and a senior journalism colleague that years after I passed on an opportunity in the mid-90s to work for a newspaper floated by him (Onanuga) and others at the time, I carried for a long time the “guilt” of “disappointing” this journalism titan I still hold in much awe, despite the fact that I had very good reasons then to choose not to work for my hero and pursue another opportunity that presented itself at the time.

Decades later, just as Bola Ahmed Tinubu is on the cusp of being sworn-in as Nigeria’s duly-elected President, an achievement denied MKO Abiola about 30 years ago, it is really disappointing that this journalistic hero of Nigeria’s democracy journey has chosen such an auspicious moment to let down many who look up to him. Onanuga, who currently serves as the Director of Media and Publicity of the Presidential Campaign Council of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), a party that has just run a successful presidential campaign, put more than a foot in his mouth when he recently tweeted that members of the Igbo ethnic group in Nigeria, specifically those residing or domiciled in Lagos, had to stop their “interference in Lagos politics”.

Hear Onanuga, in full: “Let 2023 be the last time of Igbo interference in Lagos politics. Let there be no repeat in 2027. Lagos is like Anambra, Imo, any Nigerian state. It is not No Man’s Land, not Federal Capital Territory. It is Yoruba land. Mind your business”. Even worse, after the first wave of criticisms hit his first incendiary comments, Onanuga doubled down on his divisive ethnic vitriol, in the process disappointing those admirers who initially believed his Twitter account had been hacked or that he had been defamatorily-misquoted. Hear Onanuga, again: “Let me make myself abundantly clear: the views I express on Twitter are my personal views. I don’t owe anyone any apology for addressing the existential threats of our people. I am after all, first of all a Yoruba, before being a Nigerian”.

The re-affirmation of vitriol by Onanuga came even after one of his counterparts on the same Presidential Campaign Council of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Festus Keyamo, literally threw Onanuga under the bus and denounced his ill-conceived diatribe against the participation of members of the Igbo ethnic group in the politics and electoral process of Nigeria’s most populous and richest state, Lagos.

Onanuga’s unfortunate statements undoubtedly has roots in the tension-soaked run-up to the just-concluded governorship election in Lagos State, where the ruling All Progressives Congress has held unquestioned state-wide power during the past 24 years. This hold seemed to come loose, however temporarily, when Bola Tinubu lost the presidential election conducted there on February 25th to the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, who also happens to be a member of the Igbo ethnic group. This moment, when the APC in Lagos literally saw its political life flash before its eyes, unleashed a gubernatorial campaign like no other in Lagos from late February up to the election for the governorship seat that held in the state this past March 18th.

Those weeks of campaigning were soaked in enormous ethnic baiting and vitriol, mostly directed against members of the Igbo ethnic group in Lagos. The Labour Party’s candidate in that governorship election, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, was cast as an Igbo Trojan horse being controlled by others to take over the prime real estate of Lagos State from its Yoruba “indigenes” to whom it rightly belongs.
So, even though Onanuga’s irascible tweets could be likened to a “loud, written sigh of relief”, coming as they were when it seemed certain Rhodes-Vivour would be defeated in his bid for the Lagos governorship, they were certainly not the appropriate “words of celebration” from this otherwise-very rational and courageous journalist whose career has served as an inspiration to many. Onanuga of all people is very familiar with the role certain Igbo personalities played (I’m sure he won’t now characterize those as “interference”) in the struggle to actualize the mandate given to MKO Abiola in the aftermath of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. Surely, names like Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (incidentally both former military governors of Lagos State), Chief Ralph Obioha, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Professor Anya O. Anya, Chief Empire Kanu and others should mean something to Onanuga. These were all distinguished Igbo personalities who were co-founders of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), the body used to prosecute the titanic battle to actualize MKO Abiola’s June 12 mandate, and whose members all suffered significant personal losses and inconveniences—even numerous attempts on their lives—when the fearsome Sani Abacha regime ruthlessly hunted and haunted those NADECO members, without caring about their ethnic origins.

I have no doubt the likes of the late Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu now turn in their graves at Onanuga’s diatribe against members of the Igbo ethnic group in Lagos.

There’s also this interesting titbit: soon after Bola Ahmed Tinubu won the APC presidential primaries in June last year and clinched the party’s ticket for the recently-concluded presidential election, I came across a news item about a very rich Igbo personality who had announced the donation of two private jets to Tinubu’s nascent presidential campaign. I then also quickly noticed that the same Igbo individual had been my student many years ago when I taught undergraduates at the University of Lagos (he remains the richest undergraduate student I ever taught during my stint as a teacher in College! I will equally refrain from mentioning his name here for reasons of his privacy). One wonders now if Onanuga’s malevolent missive against the Igbo can be extended to persons from that ethnic extraction who lent a much-needed helping hand to Tinubu’s (ultimately-successful) presidential campaign.

Then there are the numbers too, which is an important feature of any participatory democracy such as the one Nigeria has been trying to build since the onset of the Fourth Republic in May 1999. Although figures from Nigeria’s National Population Commission (NPC) appear scant or even non-existent on that specific demographic, authoritative projections put the percentage of the Igbo population in Lagos at between 30 to 45 percent, with larger concentrations in certain parts of the Lagos metropolis than others. Having been born and bred, so to speak, in Lagos myself, I know for a fact that the number of Igbos domiciled in Lagos is anything but insignificant. Despite the “historical tensions” many ascribe to the dynamics of Yoruba / Igbo interactions in Lagos, I recall that for the many years I resided as a child and young adult in my father’s house in the Mafoluku-Oshodi area of Lagos (starting in 1972, when I was soon to be a four-year old), the percentage of tenants that resided in the house was almost always 60 to 40 percent, in favour of the tenants of Igbo origin.

My father definitely had nothing against his fellow Yoruba but the statistics of his tenancy almost always favoured Igbo tenants. That, in itself, is instructive of a reliable projection regarding a steady increase in the Igbo population of Lagos over that timespan, and which further validates the numbers that place the Igbo population in Lagos at very significant levels. Significant enough, infact, to make Onanuga’s bombastic assertion about Igbo “interference” in Lagos politics all the more wince-inducing and baffling. Surely a potential voting bloc of almost half in a state’s total voters’ pool cannot be told to refrain from “interfering” in the very important process that determines those who rule over them and make important decisions on their behalf every four years. To paraphrase a part of Onanuga’s words, the same privilege of active and unfettered participation in the political process of those states would be argued for Yoruba residents of Anambra, Imo, or any other Nigerian state where residents of Yoruba origin constitute 30 to 45 percent of the state’s population.

Everyone knows (or should know) that 30 percent of the voting bloc in a state can enter into an alliance with like-minded members of another voting bloc to produce a political leadership acceptable to all in a state (or country). Surely, the likes of Onanuga would not characterize that as an unwanted “interference” in the political process by members / representatives of a particular voting bloc that utilized its numbers to legally attain power?

Or was Onanuga’s outburst spurred by far more personal issues and agenda than he might be reluctant to let on? One can only wonder.

Alas, the old saying has proven itself true again: your heroes often disappoint you in ways you’d never anticipate, so make sure to always avoid meeting them and admire them only from “afar”. Still, for all of us out there who will always respect and remain in awe of Onanuga’s achievements as a journalist—especially his towering role in the entrenchment of the democracy all Nigerians now enjoy, irrespective of ethnic or other backgrounds—we will continue to believe that this recent glitch in the remarkable trajectory of a wonderful career would prove to be only a temporary disappointment.

Afterall, Bayo Onanuga is only human, like the rest of us.


Soboyede is a journalist and attorney

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Voice of Emancipation: Nigeria’s New President




By Kayode Emola

In less than 48 hours Nigeria will welcome a new President, charged with handling its affairs for the next four years. Yet among the many challenges awaiting the new president, whether Nigeria itself can even survive another four years remains to be seen. There is no doubt that the Tinubu/Shettima presidency will need more than courage to keep Nigeria united for the full duration of their elected term.

Only time will tell whether Tinubu and Shettima will be sworn in come May 29, or whether we will instead have an interim government. However, one thing of which we are certain is that the era of Muhammad Buhari is over, never to be experienced again. Those who have survived living under Buhari’s misrule in Nigeria for the last eight years deserve an award for endurance.

We must not allow the expected swearing-in of a Yoruba man as Nigeria’s president on Monday 29 to make us complacent. Indeed, my Yoruba people, our task has just doubled.

Nigeria’s future is now looking more imperiled than ever before. The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) are already threatening to declare their own independent Biafra nation if Tinubu is sworn in come May 29. And the Biafra campaigners are not the only disgruntled people within the country. The vast majority of our Yoruba people and even the Hausa people are becoming embittered with the trajectory Nigeria has taken since independence. At this point now, the new president must decide if Nigeria will continue as it is, or ask the indigenous people to decide their future.

It is increasingly evident that Nigeria is not a sustainable venture, and that a trading post cannot become a country that can endure the test of time. The people within Nigeria never decided to unite and become a country, so trying to hold them to ransom can never succeed.

I will therefore urge the incoming president to rethink his policies if he has not thought about a peaceful way in which Nigeria’s dissolution can be established. Powering through and hoping that he can hold Nigeria together like his predecessor Buhari did will definitely not stand the test of time.

To my fellow Yoruba people who are singing hallelujah that a Yoruba man is going to be president. I want us to know that just as Buhari is leaving the Presidential seat come Monday 29, Tinubu will also not be president for life. When he leaves what will be the fate of the Yoruba people or the other nationalities that makes up Nigeria.

At this juncture in our history, it would be the time to give the indigenous peoples of Nigerians the opportunity to determine their future in a constitutional conference. Nigeria has gone past its due date and must now be prepared for decommissioning just like several countries such as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, etc has done in the past. If not, a dysfunctional disengagement may lead to utter chaos if not another civil considering the damage the country is currently doing to the lives of millions of frustrated youths. The rate of poverty is not abating with the currency being devalued on a daily basis putting more strain on the people’s finances

The handlers of Nigeria must acknowledge that the unitary system being practiced in Nigeria has utterly failed the people. The people must now be handed a lifeline in order to salvage a future for themselves and their future generations. Anything short of that may mean Nigeria may go the way other African countries such as Somalia and South Sudan etc have divided with years of bitter civil war which has resulted in the loss of millions of innocent lives.

Yoruba people should not shout ‘Uhuru’ yet because one of us is sitting in ‘Aso rock’. If history has thought us anything, whoever becomes president of Nigeria is there for themselves and not necessarily representing their constituents. That Tinubu will be president does not stop the call for an independent Yoruba nation, if anything, the call for an independent Yoruba nation should now become louder and clearer to send a strong signal to the local and international communities that the Yoruba people have finally made up their mind to leave Nigeria.

Continue Reading


DNV: Namibia Welcomes First Digital Nomads




By Dolapo Aina

According to Citizen Remote, “A digital nomad visa is a temporary permit that allows visitors to stay in a country while they work remotely. Multiple countries offer these sorts of visas, and most of them have a duration of twelve months, with the possibility to extend your stay. While they may not be for everyone, a digital nomad visa allows many remote workers to travel the world while they work from the comfort of their computers. They also help the countries impulse their economy by having foreigners stay for extended periods.”

Several benefits and fallouts of having digital nomads in a country include but not limited to positive country branding by the digital nomads who are residents in their host country. Digital nomads tend to amplify messages the host country might have been trying to get across to potential travellers. On the African Continent, only a few countries have latched on to Digital Nomads and Digital Nomad visas (and it is noteworthy to state that some African countries might not term it Digital Nomad Visas but have something in that guise.)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant fallouts, digital nomads and remote work have increased exponentially globally and in Africa particularly.

According to the Harvard School of Business, with the global shift towards remote work over the past three years, approximately forty-seven countries have developed digital nomad visa programmes. On the African Continent, a few countries offer Digital Nomad Visa. These countries are and in no particular order: Cape Verde, Mauritius, Namibia and Seychelles. Other countries on the African Continent have something within this category but officially, it is designated as Digital Nomad Visa.

On Tuesday, 9th of May 2023, Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board announced and welcomed Namibia’s first Digital Nomads.

According to a statement signed by Ms. Catherine Shipushu, who is the senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, “Namibia officially recorded her first digital nomads just five months after the official launch of the country’s Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) on 11 October 2022. The programme was launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Security (MHAISS) and the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), with the aim of enhancing economic activity in the country. The first two digital nomad visa applications were approved on Tuesday, 14 February 2023.”

The statement further revealed that the Digital Nomad Visa programme aims to capitalise on the growing global remote workforce by offering location-independent foreign professionals the chance to live, work, and experience Namibia for up to six months. These digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, but without usurping jobs meant for Namibians. Early results are encouraging, with over 121 enquiries about the programme recorded so far. Of this number a total of 20 applications were received, out of which nine were approved, with five rejections. The reasons for rejection were made known to include; applicants who do not meet the income requirements of two thousand dollars per month, and are thus unable to prove that they can effectively sustain themselves while in Namibia. Other applications were rejected because they were submitted while the applicants were already in Namibia on a different legal status such as a Tourist Visa, or they arrived in the country before approval of their application.

According to Ms. Catherine Shipushu; “The launch of the Digital Nomad Visa earned Namibia international praise, from Cape Town to Germany and as far as Australia. Additionally, we have witnessed a surge in queries and applications for the DNV through our website, further demonstrating the growing global interest. This demonstrates Namibia’s potential to harness the digital nomad trend and create new opportunities for local businesses in the tourism and information and communication technologies support sectors. As an effective marketing tool for Namibia, the DNV program has also created visibility through digital nomads documenting and sharing their experiences on social media and other mass media platforms, showcasing the nation’s natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and hospitality. This increased visibility has the potential to help attract more tourists, investors, and talent, further stimulating the nation’s economic growth and development.”

It is said that, by design, the Digital Nomad Visa complements, rather than competes with, the local workforce, ensuring digital nomads bring their own remote jobs or freelance projects to Namibia. This approach benefits the Namibian economy and its people while creating an environment for local entrepreneurs and professionals to expand their networks, learn from their international counterparts, and explore new avenues for collaboration.

Dolapo Aina reached out to Ms. Catherine Shipushu (senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, in the Office of The Presidency) for more clarifications and insights.

On the abovementioned statement that the digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, I asked if this is the only criteria being looked at? What about those nomads who can attract global attention and global traffic into Namibia? How do you factor that into the policy? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The Namibia Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) serves a dual purpose in enhancing the country’s economy. Firstly, it allows digital nomads to inject foreign currency into the ecosystem, contributing to economic activities and growth. Additionally, the DNV harnesses the power of digital nomads as ambassadors for Namibia. Through their documentation and sharing of experiences on social media and other platforms, they become valuable marketing assets, attracting global attention and generating publicity for the country. As part of our marketing campaign, we have engaged digital nomads, who are currently in Namibia, to share their unique perspectives and experiences, aiming to inspire and attract more digital nomads to choose Namibia as their preferred “work” destination. By leveraging their presence and influence, we strive to create a ripple effect of positive exposure and interest in Namibia, ultimately benefiting the local economy and fostering collaboration between local and international professionals.”

On the two thousand dollars per month projection, I asked if this was targeted at only Western nomads only or global nomads including African nomads who might not have the same financial muscle as their Western counterparts? And would this amount be reduced anytime soon? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The requirement of USD 2,000 per month for the Namibia Digital Nomad Visa is not targeted exclusively at Western nomads. The income requirement serves as a benchmark to ensure that digital nomads, regardless of their nationality, have the financial means to sustain themselves comfortably in Namibia. The aim is to provide a positive experience for digital nomads and contribute to the local economy. The income requirement is based on the cost of living in Namibia and takes into account expenses such as accommodation, transportation, food and other essentials. The Namibian government understands the diverse backgrounds of digital nomads and aims to create an inclusive environment that welcomes global nomads, including those from Africa and other parts of the world, while maintaining a reasonable financial stability requirement. As with any programme, there is a possibility of periodic evaluation and adjustments based on feedback and the evolving circumstances.”

The launch of Namibia’s Digital Nomad Visa programme is a bold and strategic move that positions the country as a prime destination for remote workers from around the world. By embracing this global trend and offering a world-class visa program, Namibia stands to reap substantial economic, social, and cultural benefits.

Continue Reading

Adding Value

Adding Value: Understanding Oneself: Foundation to Success by Henry Ukazu




Dear Destiny Friends,

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom” – Socrates

Please permit me to begin this article by asking a simple question. Who are you? By this, I mean what you stand for or represent and not what the world thinks of you. It is instructive to note that what the world thinks of you is your reputation, but your character is who you really are.

If an employer wants to know more about a prospective employee, they can ask an open-ended question such as how would you describe yourself in one sentence? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Have you ever experienced a challenge or problem at work? If yes, how did you handle it? All these questions are structured to inquire more about the personality of the employee.

One of the best things anyone can do in life is not only to understand who they are, but also understand what they represent. It will be hard to know what you represent if you don’t understand who you are. If you don’t understand yourself, it will be difficult to understand other people.

According to Forbes, only 15% of the world are self-aware. One begins to wonder, what about the remaining 85%. As a transformational Human Capacity Coach, my company is focused on helping people unleash their potential. To do this, we use our self-discovery and mindset training manual to know more about them by giving them a set of self awareness questions which they are required to answer to the best of their knowledge. It is rather unfortunate that a lot of people don’t know themselves. They just exist as opposed to living.

Self-discovery is truly lacking in our society. When you truly know yourself, you will know your strengths and weaknesses. When you know yourself, you will know your boundaries as regards what to accept from people and where to draw the lines; you will know your personality traits; you will have a clearer understanding of your career path in your professional life; you will know how to interact with people; you will know your core values; you will have a clearer version of your life purpose; and you will be self-motivated. The list is literally endless.

In the journey of life, we engage in a lot of activities we are not supposed to be engaged in. For example, we study courses we are not wired or love to study, and this makes understanding difficult. Some of us apply for jobs we are not passionate about just to pay bills. Some of us even marry partners we don’t really like due to circumstances. Again, the list is endless. All these can lead to frustration and depression if not properly managed. If only we can take a deep breath and ask ourselves some deep thought-provoking questions on what we really want in life, and the reason we are doing what we are doing, the result will be different.

There are many ways to understand oneself. You can understand yourself by staying silent, reflecting about, and observing your life. These acts will help you to practice self-awareness which will ultimately help you to look inward and enable you to understand your feelings, emotions, and your personality. Self knowledge will enable you to know your values, interests, temperament, life mission, and activities to engage in.

As human beings, one thing we should constantly engage in is learning new things about ourselves on a daily basis. Knowing oneself takes time. However, due to desperation, most people don’t practice the art of stillness. When you take time to understand what’s involved in a particular work, it will be easy to solve it in a more efficient and effective manner. There is a story told of a philosopher, who fell into a ditch in front of him because he was too busy to see what was ahead of him.

Again, let’s take the case of Japan with about one hundred and twenty-five million people, which is one of the most industrialized countries on the planet, yet it maintains a level of calm despite the busy nature of the country.

The benefits of knowing oneself is priceless. It will make you confident which will ultimately eliminate self-doubt. It will help you build better and healthy health relationships by attracting the people you need and eliminating people you don’t need. You will be less stressed because you will focus on what’s important as opposed to irrelevant things which will keep your temperament and mindset in good shape.

Self discovery will help you to know your self-worth because no one will price you cheap when you know your value, and you will feel happier.

Furthermore, self knowledge will help you in decision making. When you know yourself, you will be able to make better choices about everything, from minor decisions to major decisions. Your temperament and personality type will be better managed as a leader or rational being.

Self control: When you know yourself, you will better manage yourself. If you can’t manage yourself, it will be hard to manage other people. When you know yourself, you understand what motivates you to resist bad habits and develop good ones. Knowing your strengths is one of the foundations of self confidence.

Resistance to social pressure. Self knowledge helps you to focus on what’s beneficial to you as opposed to other people. According to Bill Cosby, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone. When you are grounded in your values and preferences, you are less likely to say “yes” when you want to say “no.”

In conclusion, take time and reflect on this question, who am I? This is one of the most important questions you will answer in your entire life. When you answer this question, you have solved 50% of your life challenges. If you can’t answer this question, and need assistance, you can use the email below to reach out for assistance.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer Design Your Destiny and Unleash Your Destiny.  He can be reached via

Continue Reading


%d bloggers like this: