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Stephen Oronsaye’s Detailed Speech on Sustaining the Public Service









I am excited to be here, in Benin City, at the kind invitation of His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki, for the formal opening of the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy (JOOPSA) in honour of the first civilian Governor of our beloved Edo State, Chief John Evboyomwan Kenneth Odigie-Oyegun, who turns 84 years old today, August 12, 2023.

This is my first public outing since a Federal High Court in Abuja discharged and acquitted me of all charges filed against my person as a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation in a matter bordering on financial impropriety. Though the case brought me personal pain and a considerable concern for those who strive for the good of the Fatherland but are rewarded with such treatments, I give all the glory to God Almighty that I have been vindicated.

Furthermore, whilst my visits back home might not be as frequent as I desire, I have always kept abreast of happenings in the Heartbeat of the Nation. Therefore, when my dear friend and brother, His Excellency Mr. Obaseki, extended an invitation to me to speak at this occasion, I could not refuse such an honour, particularly when the academy is a tribute to the pioneer civilian Governor of the State who also stands tall as a Federal Permanent-Secretary-Emeritus.

Chief Oyegun, Sir, I wish you a happy birthday and thank the Governor and the good people of Edo State for choosing to honour you by establishing this institute in your lifetime. Being a former civil servant, I know that you know too well the importance of having a motivated workforce that can provide that tangible link between the government and its people across Nigeria’s three tiers of government.

In setting up this state-of-the-art training centre to boost Human Capital Development in Edo State, in line with the Edo State Civil & Public Service Transformation (EDOSTEP) vision, I am told that the Obaseki Government seeks to continuously upskill the Edo State Civil and Public Service to be agile, dynamic, professional, effective, and efficient to directly create a positive impact on the economy in Edo State. Indeed, reading through the available literature on JOOPSA, I looked back with nostalgia on what my team and I did at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN) when I was privileged to serve as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation between June 2009 and November 2010.

Now to the business of why we are here.

In my paper today, I will share my thoughts on how the civil and public service in Nigeria, can continue to be relevant now and in the future. To assess where we are currently, I will delve into a brief history of the civil service, touch on experiences that we have witnessed first-hand and proffer suggestions for making the service that “critical delivery engine of government” that will “deliver high-value services to citizens and accelerate other reforms.”

A Brief History of the Public/Civil Service

The history of the public/civil service in Nigeria dates to the colonial era when the British entrenched the philosophy of good governance and transparency through its administrative structures.
Since Nigeria’s independence, various panels have studied and made recommendations for reforming the Civil Service, including the Morgan Commission of 1963, the Adebo Commission of 1971 and the Udoji Commission of 1972-74. The 1988 Civil Service Reorganization Decree 43 had a significant impact on the structure and efficiency of the Civil Service as it abolished the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF). The White Paper on the report of the Ayida Panel of 1997 reinstated the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and made far-reaching decisions to drive a more efficient Civil Service. In 1999, a new constitution was adopted and made specific provisions in Section 171 for appointing the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
This background is to emphasise the critical role that the Civil Service plays in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation as well as the sustenance of governance objectives and goals.
Chapter VI, Part D, Section 169 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stipulates, under the heading “The Public Service of the Federation”, that “There shall be a civil service of the Federation,” adding in Section 170 that: “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Federal Civil Service Commission may, with the approval of the President and subject to such conditions as it may deem fit, delegate any of the powers conferred upon it by this Constitution to any of its members or any officer in the civil service of the Federation.
Part IV (Section 318) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria defines the “civil service of the Federation” as “service of the Federation in a civil capacity as staff of the office of the President, the Vice-President, a ministry or department of the government of the Federation assigned with the responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation”
Similarly, it defines the “civil service of the state” as “service of the government of a state in a civil capacity as staff of the office of the governor, deputy governor or a ministry or department of the government of the state assigned with the responsibility for any business of the government of the state.”
As aptly noted by Haroun Ayomikun of Learn Nigeria Law, the civil service in Nigeria, like in other climes, is perpetual in nature. The civil service has some characteristics: permanence, anonymity, neutrality, impartiality, bureaucracy, technical know-how and capacity. The civil service works under specific rules, e.g. Code of Conduct. The civil service comprises permanent officials, unlike the government, which changes periodically.
While the history of public service in Nigeria is traceable to the colonial era, that of Edo State was birthed during the tenure of Chief Dennis Osadebey as Premier of the Mid-Western Region in November 1963. Over the years, successive administrations have made the civil service function more optimally.
The Role of the Public/Civil Service
Whether at the State or Federal level, public service plays a crucial role in providing public goods on the exclusive and concurrent lists. In other words, it provides a bond between the government and the people. Hence, we discuss a social contract between the state and its citizens. It follows, therefore, that a capable public service is vital for facilitating the participation of citizens in the governance of their respective states and Nigeria. With the world evolving daily, particularly with the innovations on the Internet, many more citizens are becoming more involved and demanding more from the Government. The End SARS campaign is a significant pointer to the voice of today’s Nigerian citizens.
It is against this background that service delivery by civil/public servants has attained new heights as the Federal and State governments need to respond pragmatically to the demands of a more aware citizenry. As the engine room of government, the civil service serves as the fulcrum of government operations, making it very relevant in governance. Designing and implementing policies, as the Edo State Government anticipated, would require an efficient public service manned by officers capable of predicting and proffering solutions to emerging issues.

Assessing The Public/Civil Service
The general perception among the average knowledgeable citizen is that the public/civil service at the Federal and State levels and the governments they represent are not delivering optimally on the citizens’ expectations. Many stakeholders believe there is a waste of resources across the different tiers and organs of government due to inefficiencies within the ranks. It is a truism that an efficient public service is necessary to transmit government benefits to the socially and economically weaker sections of society who have fewer alternatives to services provided by the government. Public service scholars believe that “the mere allocation of funds for programmes that do not work effectively would be a waste of public funds unless extra efforts are spent on improving government efficiency and sustainability.”
To be relevant in the present, the civil service must be professional in providing required services regarding knowledge, intellect, skill, assurance of upholding the rule of law, integrity, courage and confidence.
Lessons From the Federal Civil Service Experience

I want to share with you, briefly, my story and journey in the Federal Civil Service from when I served as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. Many parallels and similarities from that experience remain relevant today and offer lessons to improve the existing state of Public Service both at the Federal and State levels.

I was appointed as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation on June 16, 2009. In accepting the appointment, I set for myself the task of leading a service that is dedicated to achieving the government’s objectives and goals that are responsive to the needs of society at large. This required instituting a Service where integrity, professionalism and merit are entrenched.

My first impression upon my assumption of office was the noticeable challenge of human capacity and competence, which largely accounted for the ineffectiveness and inefficiencies observed across the Federal Civil Service. The dearth of knowledge and skills was further compounded by the attitude and work culture which pervaded the service at the time.

To validate my assessment and to have first-hand feedback on the state of affairs within the service, I engaged the Directorate cadre in the Federal Civil Service in an interactive session to exchange views on the challenges before the Service and how best to tackle the identified problems. The frank comments of officers focused on indiscipline in the Service, loss of morale induced by stagnation, supersession, poor working conditions, and low capacity, among others.

Similarly, to have a more expansive feel and feedback on the strategic direction in which the Service should go, a Forum of Serving and Retired Permanent Secretaries, which Chief Odigie-Oyegun graced, was held in September 2009. Highlights of the communiqué from that forum were:
(i) That the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF) should interface with the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) to institute a competency-based Human Resource Management framework to address the problems of perceived inequity and injustice in recruitment, transfer and promotions in the Service, and
(ii) That the OHCSF should collaborate with the FCSC to institute an eight-year tenure policy for Permanent Secretaries and Directors.

Following the conclusion of these two wide consultations, a proposal was made to the government to institute a tenure policy for Permanent Secretaries and Directors in the Public Service. The policy was to reinvigorate the Service, restore the morale of officers and unlock the creative potential of committed staff. The policy, which was widely accepted by well-meaning Nigerians and civil servants that had stagnated for no fault of theirs, sought to ventilate the system, promote efficiency, and strengthen the institutionalisation of due process in career progression.

Sequel to the implementation of the tenure policy, several Permanent Secretaries retired from the Service, and there arose the need to replace them and appoint Permanent Secretaries to existing vacancies. The innovative thing about the appointment of the Permanent Secretaries was that an interactive session followed an integrity and knowledge-based examination conducted by a select panel before being recommended for the President’s approval. In addition, the selection was thrown open to all Directors from the affected states and zones. Following the appointment of the successful candidates and to give them a head start and a feeling of their schedule, a three-day induction course was also conducted for them with all existing Permanent Secretaries in attendance to allow for inter-collegial interaction.

As noted by the Directorate cadre in the Civil Service, civil servants’ competency level was low due largely to the neglect of yesteryear to provide proper and adequate training for officers for effective service delivery. It was, therefore, evident that officers required massive training to keep up with the changing architecture of the 21st-century civil service.

In understanding the capacity challenges that had beset the Federal Civil Service over the years, one must reflect on how we got here. I will outline some of the fundamental issues that brought us here.

1. Abandonment of previous Human Capacity Development structures put in place by our Forebears,
2. The absence of training modules in core Public Service areas and the mismatch between training needs and training attended,
3. To a large extent, training became a route to addressing employee welfare needs,
4. The recruitment process in the Service was also a challenge.
5. Ageing staff population in the Service,
6. Slow adoption and utilisation of available technology in the Service, and
7. Inadequate performance management and consequence management mechanisms, among others.

This situation created a significant deficiency in staff competencies and presented a lot of skills gap, a weak knowledge base, and unethical and unprofessional conduct which were unacceptable and ultimately affected the quality of service delivery across the board.

To frontally address this disorder, a massive training programme was embarked upon to resuscitate the learning abilities of officers and ensure their adaptability to information and communication technology. With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), now SDGs/World Bank Debt relief fund, over 19,125 officers were trained between October 2009 and October 2010. The enthusiasm to learn, as exhibited by the participants, underscored the need for training to become a priority programme for all MDAs so that civil servants can deliver, in a seamless manner, on all government programmes. To sustain this momentum, training modules were produced by the Manpower Development Office (MDO) in collaboration with all the Manpower Development Institutes (MDIs) and other stakeholders, emphasising the development of officers’ managerial abilities.

As we did then in the Federal Civil Service, I believe the service’s potential can be continually unlocked with the right policies and ongoing training, mentoring, proper career management, and a sanctions and reward system.

In essence, in this journey, it is helpful to reflect on the measures which we took to address some of the issues we were confronted with.

We brought back to life the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN) and strengthened other training institutions such as the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) and the Centre for Management Development (CMD). We also developed structured and statutory courses to provide competence and quality service delivery.

Furthermore, we:
a. Established a Content Development Team – the team was set up to develop training modules in all core areas of the public service across all levels i.e. levels 8 – 17. The course contents were assessment based. We complemented with General Training modules in contemporary subjects, including ICT; Report writing/Presentation; Public Speaking; and French.
b. We commenced the initiative to use online as an additional learning tool. We uploaded the course content and training modules developed, so that all civil servants can access the modules at minimal cost to the service. The idea was that civil servants would have to complete specified courses prescribed for various Grade levels as appropriate as benchmark assurance of capacity and “being fit and proper” before the Head of the Civil Service could present them to the Federal Civil Service Commission for promotion examinations.

c. We also collaborated with relevant institutions (Tertiary and Non-Tertiary) within and outside Nigeria for knowledge broadening and exposure to state-of-the-art competencies.
d. In addition, exchange programmes between the private sector and the civil service were also implemented to improve understanding and exposure to the private sector’s operational practices. The idea was to enable appreciation of differences and peculiarities of objectives in both sectors for better partnership and smoother relationships in service delivery.
e. We also made provision for special funds to strengthen some public service institutions for capacity building, namely Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Centre for Management Development (CMD), and the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN).

Despite the merits of our objectives and efforts, there was significant resistance from open and unusual quarters, within and outside the Service.

Another area of concern at the time was the inconsistency of the yardstick for promotion and consequent dangerous overtaking, resulting in low morale, loss of confidence, promotion of lobbying as a way of life over competence and diligence, clogging the senior level positions with the relatively younger workforce that had prevented predictable upward movement and compensation for competence and hard work, etc.

The eight-year tenure policy, which I explained earlier, was our response to this challenge.

Looking back, I must admit that my team and I stepped on many toes and crossed many red lines to make the Federal Civil Service better compete with those from other climes.

I have taken this time to share these with you so you appreciate that what the Edo State Government is doing is not easy. The reforms might even be resisted by persons who are at ease with their current status.

The News Out There
I was enthused by a recent newspaper report that quoted the Edo State Head of Service as saying ongoing reforms in the state’s civil and public service by the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration have repositioned the state’s service as the most digitised in the country.

That report said the government has focused on leveraging technology to improve efficiency, transparency, and service delivery to the Edo people.
It said the government has enhanced productivity and transparency, reduced bureaucracy, and improved overall performance in our civil and public service through innovative reforms and investments in digital infrastructure.
Furthermore, it said the government had introduced the e-governance platform and transitioned from manual to electronic processes in its service. The report also disclosed that the administration had hired a new generation of civil servants who are being trained and equipped with the necessary skills and tools to fully embrace and utilise digital technology in their day-to-day work of delivering effective and efficient service to Edo people.

This is music in my ears and I commend all those who have contributed to the success story. Beyond these, however, you need to tell your own stories to attract the best of hands to the service of the State.

At this Juncture
Before I end this address, let me comment on the John Odigie-Oyegun Public Service Academy (JOOPSA). I am Impressed. This has turned out to be a world-class training academy which will offer exceptional opportunities to the Public Servants in Edo State, the Region, and the Nation. Clearly, this will justify the massive investment of resources deployed to this development.

JOOPSA should aim to collaborate with ASCON, PSIN and similar institutions for knowledge sharing and develop certification programs that align with global standards for the benefit of Civil Servants. May I advise that JOOPSA acquire all the necessary accreditations and regulatory permits to give legitimacy to its content.

In due course, the Academy should endeavour to either directly provide accommodation facilities or partner with the private sector for students and trainees to enhance their learning experience and create an enabling environment.

Whilst commending Governor Godwin Obaseki and his team for giving form to the vision of upskilling the machinery of the Edo State Public Service, I urge us all to work in unity in achieving the dreams of the government to make Edo State work for the greater good of the majority of citizens and residents.

I submit that the degree and dimension of the issues raised in this speech will vary from State to State; therefore, I suggest a dedicated retreat to address some of these issues and challenges.

I also wish that this Academy would serve perpetually as the institution where basic and advanced knowledge required for Human Capital Development will be nurtured, germinated, and delivered to public servants as their food and drink.

As a parting advice, I urge the leadership, political or technocrats, to remain focused, committed, courageous and clear-headed in the Business of Public Service Human Capital Development. On this journey, continuity of leadership commitment is sine qua non to sustainability and the long-term relevance of this grand edifice. Indeed, mentorship should be part of the strategy to ensure continuity. At the risk of overemphasis, mentoring of upcoming young officers should be given strong attention.

Performance management should be entrenched for staff accountability, reward and sanction. Rewarding good behaviours and sanctioning bad behaviours must be institutionalised by way of a “name and shame” policy. I also recommend a strong synergy between the Office of the Head of Service and the State Civil Service Commission for continuity of purpose.


Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, in concluding my brief remarks, let me, once again, thank Governor Obaseki for the kind invitation; and the people for their warm reception. I have always believed that Edo State has the potential to achieve great things. Today’s formal opening of the John Odigie-Oyegun Public Service Academy (JOOPA) is one of such feats. We all cannot be leaders at the same time. Wherever we find ourselves, we must strive to make Edo State more extraordinary than it is. We cannot go wrong if we make God our Helper.

Thank you for your attention.

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Mike Adenuga Does It Again! Names Asake, Kizz Daniel, Chike As Brand Ambassadors




By Eric Elezuo

Chairman Globacom Group, Chief Mike Adenuga has once again proved that the description ascribed to him as the most generous Nigerian alive, is no fluke. In fact if philanthropy was a person, his name would be Chief (Dr.) Mike Adenuga. This is a man, who gives ceaselessly, and is unequivocally an angel of mercy, to whom giving and lifting others are excellent means he proves that grace abounds.

In adding more feathers to his cap of generosity, the selfless giver, has again through his global brand, Globacom, added three more Nigerian entertainers as brand ambassadors to a long list of ambassadors attached to the group.

They are Ahmed Ololade a.k.a Asake; Oluwatobiloba Anidugbe Daniel popularly known as Kizz Daniel and Chike Ezekpeazu Osebuka.

A statement released by the organisation, reads as follows:

“Total telecommunications solutions provider,  Globacom, on Friday explained that it appointed the trio of Ahmed Ololade, a.k.a Asake; Oluwatobiloba Anidugbe Daniel popularly known as Kizz Daniel and Chike Ezekpeazu Osebuka as ambassadors

“Asake, a graduate of Theatre Arts from the prestigious  Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State; Kizz Daniel, a degree in Water Engineering from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State and  Chike, a Computer Engineering graduate of Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State were signed to the Glo family  at the Mike Adenuga Towers, Victoria Island head office of the telecommunications giant.

“Globacom noted that the announcement of the three brand ambassadors was part of its celebration of the 20th anniversary of Glo and added that it appointed the new ambassadors. “to project the power of youth and enterprise and how much they can achieve with the right focus, passion and dedication that can come from seeing others who have succeeded. This is very much part of our tradition as we believe the strength of a nation lies in the ability and potentials of its youth”.

“The engagement of these three stars as ambassadors “is meant to project the best Nigerians as models for younger people who are tirelessly aspiring to succeed. This is more important in an era where positive heroes and mentors are scarce and hard to come by. The intention is not just to promote the growth of music, Nollywood and sports where we have been very prominent, but also to encourage our teeming youths to aspire toward realizing their dreams by looking up to these ambassadors as mentors”, the company disclosed.

“Globacom, Nigeria’s  biggest corporate supporter of arts and entertainment in Nigeria, has, over the years developed and sustained the culture of empowering talented and outstanding Nigerian artistes as ambassadors.

“While congratulating the new ambassadors, Globacom urged  youths not to relent until they achieve their dreams like Asake, Kizz Daniel and Chike. It added that  “this is our way of inspiring a whole generation of young people with vision who can do better and achieve more without losing hope along the way, even when confronted with challenges”.

“The new ambassadors expressed appreciation to the Chairman of Globacom, Dr Mike Adenuga Jr., promising to represent the Glo brand well by constantly projecting its ideals.”

The billionaire business man has been projected as a man, whose love for the youths of Africa is palpable, and in reciprocation, they love him too. He is a man Nigerians will forever be grateful to him for breaking the seemingly impossible per second billing on telephone services.

“His heavy investments in laying submarine cables from Europe to Africa also stretches the imagination. The number of our youths who became GLO Ambassadors and superstars on CNN run into hundreds. He has also really done so much too for African football. He has taken our football to greater heights and African football has suddenly become a global phenomenon that can no longer be held back. It is no wonder that Africa continues to get more slots in the FIFA World Cup competition. Despite his unmatched support for the media, Dr Adenuga often suffer savage attacks from those seeking his attention but he has a solid principle: never indulge a blackmailer!” Veteran journalist, Dele Momodu, once wrote.

Indeed, no individual or corporate organization has had the kind of assemblage of entertainment heavyweights as it brand ambassadors as Globacom. All through the years, the cream of the country’s musicians, footballers, actors and comedians have either been signed on as brand ambassadors or featured in the company’s television commercials.

The long list includes veterans such as late Osita Osadebe, late Oliver d’Coque, King Sunny Ade, Ebenezar Obey, Nelly Uchendu, Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Osaze Odemwingie  and Emmanuel Emenike.

Others are MI Abaga, D’Banj, PSquare, Rita Dominic, Ini Edo, Flavour, Wizkid, Davido, Basketmouth, Gordons, I go Dye, Juliet Ibrahim, Matter Ankomah, Joselyn Dumas, Michael Essien, former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Anthony Joshua and track queen, Tobi Amusan. The trio of Asake, Kizz Daniel and Chike become the newest entrants.

In retrospect, Adenuga’s Globacom has always been associated with the development of the Nigerian music industry, since its inception, from its involvement with Nollywood and leading African and Nigerian music talents to the sponsorship of music shows such as Rock ‘n’ RuleGloNaija Sings, Laffta Fest, and the world’s number one music singing talent reality TV show, X Factor. Others are Slide and Bounce concert, an entertainment tour which went round all the Geo-political zones of the country as well as Glo mega Music show, another platform through which Globacom entertains and delights Nigerians.

These programmes are meant to discover and help nurture budding talents. The company also supports the movie industry in Nigeria (Nollywood) and in Ghana (Ghollywood). Many of the actors and actresses in both countries have been chosen as Glo Ambassadors, thus projecting the continent in a refreshing light through African movies.

Globacom brought the world’s biggest dance reality show, Battle of the Year, to Nigeria. The winners in seven different categories went home with mega millions in cash, space wagon , and also bagged an opportunity to represent at the global edition of the competition.

One other area where Globacom has connected with its subscribers and Nigerians generally is loyalty-reward Promos. Over the years, the company has launched series of promos through which different types of empowerment prizes have been won by Nigerians across the country. From Glo Overload to Glo Allawee, Text4Millions, Made for Life, Recharge to Stardom, 180 cars in 180 days, Glo CAF Award promo, Recharge and Win Big popularly known as My Own Don Beta, Everyday Bonanza, and Joy Unlimited Extravaganza, Nigerians have benefitted massively from Globacom and many have been empowered through the Glo promos.

Between October, 2021, and January, 2022, Globacom held a life-changing promotion called Joy Unlimited Extravaganza. Thousands of Glo subscribers won brand new Kia Rio cars, refrigerators, television sets and generators across the country. Altogether, 500,000 prizes were given out.

Over the years, Adenuga’s Glo has partnered with several communities across the country on the sponsorship of major festivals and promotion of culture and traditions.  These include Ojude Oba in Ijebu-Ode, Ofala in Onitsha, Lisabi in Abeokuta, Imeori in Abiriba, Oru-Owerri in Imo state, Afia- Orlu In Nnewi and Abia-Ugwa in Isialangwa in Abia State. Through these sponsorships, Glo is giving a new lease of life to the festivals as well as empowering some lucky individuals in the communities through various prizes won at special promotions held during the festivals. The company has not only brought these festivals to international limelight, but has also turned them into major tourist attractions. This association has helped build up Globacom as an enviable brand.”

Glo’s phenomenal impact extends to hosting of comedy shows and encouragement of footballers to further their careers, not only in Nigeria, but across the West African suburb

In 2019, the brand’s sponsored comedy show, Bovi Man on Fire, was held in Warri, Delta State. The show was described by many as a perfect way to celebrate Easter. Not only that, the company delighted its subscribers with free tickets to attend the fun-filled event anchored by ace comedian, Bovi Ugboma. Other humour merchants that graced the show were Kelvin Sapp, Young Chief Odogwu, MC Shakara and Mr. Flexy.

In 2023 alone, Glo launched Glo Green Lotto, a service aimed at enhancing the opportunities for its gaming subscribers to play and win; partnered with PalmPay, to launch a new marketing initiative tagged: “PalmPay Bonanza – Recharge Glo and Win,” which offers Nigerians who buy Glo data and airtime bundles via the PalmPay platform, the chance to win fantastic prizes, and sponsored the African Voices Changemakers.

In 20 years the brand has been in existence, Glo has become a symbol of glory, and epitomizes growth and development.

The company is gearing up to sponsor once again the Ofala Festival in Anambra State.

For his contribution to economies and communities across the globe, Dr. Mike Adenuga has been appreciated with so many awards, traditional titles and honours. The most prominent are the national honours from Nigeria, Ghana and France.

In Nigeria, he holds the highest civilian honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), this honour was hitherto reserved for mostly vice presidents.

In Ghana, he was awarded the highest civilian honour of Companion of the Star of Ghana (CSG). According to  then President John Mahama, who conferred the indefatigable businessman with the honour at a state ceremony: ”You have touched many lives in Ghana. You have provided employment for our teeming youths, artistes, footballers and many more. I am particularly proud of you. This award is our way of a saying a simple thank you.”

The entrepreneur extraordinaire was also decorated with the Chavalier de la Legion d Honnuer (CdrLH),  the highest National honour of France, by French President, Emmanuel Macron.

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Abdulrasheed Bawa: The Hunter that Became the Hunted




By Eric Elezuo

On February 16, 2021, former President Muhammadu Buhari made a basic change from the norms, when he named 41-year-old Abdulrasheed Bawa as the fourth chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) following the corruption allegations levelled against his embattled predecessor, ex-acting EFCC chair, Ibrahim Magu, which led to his subsequent suspension.

The EFCC, which was established in the early 2000s during the administration of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo to combat economic and financial crimes like advance fee fraud (419), money laundering, terrorism financing and miscellaneous offences, was believed to have a new life with the coming of Bawa. But no one envisaged that Bawa, the crime and criminality hunter, will turn around to become the hunted.

Few weeks after his inauguration as President, Bola Tinubu approved the indefinite suspension from office of Bawa as the Chairman of EFCC, citing space to allow for proper investigation into his conduct while in office as excuse.

The new government had claimed that Bawa’s suspension was as a result of weighty allegations of abuse of office levelled against him by some stakeholders in the anti-corruption fight. The stakeholders however, have remained nameless till date except for the Department of State Services (DSS), which has held him incommunicado ever since, the court pronouncement notwithstanding.

Bawa was directed to immediately hand over the affairs of his office to the Director, Operations in the Commission, who will oversee the affairs of the Office of the Chairman of the Commission pending the conclusion of the investigation. But four months after, the man is still incarcerated.

In one of his articles, Constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, queried the rational behind Bawa’s continuous incarceration, noting that “section 35 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, provides for only one day (24 hours) incarceration when there is a court of competent jurisdiction within a radius of forty kilometers from the Police Station; and where there is no court within a 40-kilometers radius from the station, the time is a period of 2 days (48 hours); or any longer period which the court considers reasonable given the particular circumstances of the case. See the case of AMOS & ORS V. DANIEL & ORS (2023) LPELR – 60454 (CA). The DSS, through its Director of Information, Willie Bassey, cited “weighty allegations of abuse of office levelled against him”, as the reason for Bawa’s continued captivity. This continued detention without trial is barbaric, atrocious and unconscionable, to say the least. Are we still living in the early caveman Australopithecus era? I do not know. Or, do you?

He added, “Till date, the DSS has not told Nigerians what Bawa’s specific offences are (if any), or the level of “investigation”. Investigation? Mtchew! Even if he committed some infractions of the law, can illegality beget legality? Can two wrongs make a right? Can the DSS continue to be the accuser, arrester, detainer, investigator, prosecutor and the Judge? What is going on here? The last time I checked, even amongst mad people, there is orderliness. DSS, for God’s sake, and for the sake of decency and our constitutional democracy, release Bawa immediately and forthwith.”

Bawa’s continous incarceration has become a pointer to the theory of illegal detention perpetrated by governments in power against oppositions or anyone perceived to have withheld loyalty to them whether for good or bad.

Bawa, a loyalist of the immediate past president, Buhari, is alleged to have worked against the emergence of the incumbent president, especially given the role he played during the naira redesign era, his imbroglio with the ousted governor of Zamfara State, who is presently the Minister of Defence, Bello Matawalle over $2 million bribe and accusations of levelled against sponsors of banditry in the country.

Matawalle has accused the EFCC boss of demanding a $2 million bribe from him following a case of corruption leveled against the governor, an allegation the Bawa denied.

Recall that the embattled governor, who lost his bid to return to office for second term, was being investigated by the anti-corruption agency for allegedly pocketing N70 billion from the Zamfara State government coffers. An amount said to have been borrowed supposedly for projects in the state

The EFCC said the former governor allegedly siphoned Zamfara’s funds sourced as a loan from an old-generation bank purportedly for the execution of projects in local governments in the state. Bawa’s EFCC said the governor used proxies who posed as contractors for the projects and got paid, but did not execute the projects.

The matter took a twist when the governor revealed that the boss of the anti-corruption agency, was demanding a whopping amount of $2 million to let him off the hook

Matawalle, in an interview with BBC Hausa on accused Bawa, of asking for the bribe, adding that the EFCC boss, who according to him, is not an honest person, was only busy targeting governors while turning a blind eye to federal officers with budgetary allocations.

“It is not just to always blame governors. It is not only governors who have treasury, the federal government also has. What does the EFCC boss do to them? As he is claiming he has evidence on governors, let him show the world evidence of those at the federal level.

“If he exits office, people will surely know he is not an honest person. I have evidence against him. Let him vacate the office, I am telling you within 10 seconds probably more than 200 people will bring evidence of bribes he collected from them. He knows what he requested from me but I declined.

“He requested a bribe of two million dollars from me and I have evidence of this. He knows the house we met, he invited me and told me the conditions. He told me governors were going to his office but I did not. If I don’t have evidence, I won’t say this,” Matawalle had told the BBC.

However, in a swift response, Bawa denied the allegation through a statement signed by the Commission’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, and dared the governor to provide evidence to back his claim. Mr Uwujaren said the commission will not be drawn into a mud fight with a suspect under investigation for corruption and unconscionable pillage of the resources of his state.

Today, Matawalle is a Minister while Bawa is a prisoner without trial. It is obvious who the government of the day aligned with.

Matawalle, though a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), had accused the government of Buhari of using the military to rig the Zamfara governorship election for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the same Tinubu had accused Buhari and Emefiele of engaging in naira redesign to frustrate his ambition.

Bawa has had his fair share of scandals while in office. In November, 2022, he was convicted by Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, presided over by Justice Chizoba Oji, and ordered to be committed to Kuje correctional facility.

He was convicted for contempt of court in relation to EFCC’s failure to comply with an earlier order of the court made on November 21 2018, directing the Commission to return to an applicant his Range Rover (Super charge) and the sum of N40, 000,000.00 (Forty Million Naira).

Agai, in February 2023, Bawa was jailed by the Kogi State High Court in Lokoja for disobeying its order.

The court also directed the Inspector General of Police to arrest Bawa and remand him in Kuje prison, Abuja, for the next 14 days.

The judge, Rukayat Ayoola, ordered that Bawa be detained in prison “until he purges himself of the contempt”, meaning until he clears himself of the contempt for which he was jailed.

It is not clear if these allegations are what the DSS are investigating or someone is hiding something from the public.

There are possibilities that Bawa may shown some infractions against Tinubu and his assets while in office to warrant his use of scapegoat in the administration.

He had followed up allegations of six Nigerians sponsoring terrorism by the United Arab Emirates. The Nigerians on the UAE’s terrorism were listed as Abdurrahaman Ado Musa, Salihu Yusuf Adamu, Bashir Ali Yusuf, Muhammed Ibrahim Isa, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan and Surajo Abubakar Muhammad.

Also in March 2021, former presidential aide, Garba Shehu, had said the Nigerian Government arrested 400 Bureau De Change operators for allegedly funding Boko Haram insurgency in the country.

However, while on national television during a live interview, Bawa refused to mention names if terror sponsors, giving the impression that they were different from the one mentioned by UAE.

“If you are my adviser, will you advise me to come on national television to tell the whole world regarding matters of sensitive national security issue? Certainly, not. But what I want to assure is the fact that we are working tirelessly with other sister agencies to ensure that this country is free of terrorism,” he said, promising that their names will be revealed at the right time.

This was even as a former Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi, said that Boko Haram terrorists mentioned names of then serving governors, senators and Aso Rock officials. Those have remained unknown till date, and Bawa, who likely knows better, has remained in detention.

It will also be recalled that Last a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia, also claimed that a then serving northern governor was a Boko Haram leader and moneybag. Obadiah died shortly after the pronouncement.

Bawa’s continuous detention is a proof of how the rule of law in Nigeria has suffered so much distortion, as brazen disobedience to Court orders has become the order of the day.

“If Governments treat court order with levity and contempt, the confidence of the citizen in the courts will be seriously eroded and the effect of that will be the beginning of anarchy in replacement of the rule of law,” Late Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais had warned.

As at today, the crime hunter is still caged with little or no judiciary reference.

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Boss Picks

Meet Olayemi Cardoso, Tinubu’s Nominee for Central Bank Governor




By Eric Elezuo

On Friday, President Bola Tinubu approved the nomination of Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to replace suspended Godwin Emefiele.

According to a press statement by presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, Cardoso will serve for a term of five (5) years at the first instance, pending his confirmation by the Nigerian Senate.

A deputy governor of the Bank, Faloshodun Shonubi, has been the acting Governor of the apex bank since the suspension of Emefiele in June this year,

Popularly Cardoso, known as Yemi Cardoso, the nominee is a pioneer Commissioner of Economic Planning and Budget in Lagos State in 1999 upon return to democratic rule under the government of Tinubu as governor of Lagos State.

In this capacity, he is reported to have written and monitored the implementation of the blueprint which catalysed economic development in the Lagos, better known as world’s sixth largest megacity, including leading to the state’s development of independent tax revenues.

His private sector experience includes an illustrious career with Citibank, Chase and Citizens International Bank.

He has served on the board of several leading companies, including Texaco and Chevron Oil Plc. He is a member of the Belgian-based Cities Alliance Think Tank which aims to shape and influence policy and decision making on urban development in Africa and has strong relationships with key international donor agencies.

Cardoso’s first degree is from the University of Aston, United Kingdom and his second degree from Harvard University, USA.

In 2017, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in business administration by his alma mater, Aston University, in recognition of “his outstanding contributions to business and society”.

Hereunder are four other unique things about the next CBN Governor:

* Dr. Cardoso is a financial and development expert with over 30 years’ experience in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

* He is a Nigerian banker, chartered stockbroker and public policy maker.

* He is the first Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget in Lagos State in 1999.

* Cardoso is the founding chairman and co-chair of Ehingbeti Summit, the Lagos State annual economic summit.


  1. Olayemi Cardoso, a Lagosian, grew up in Lagos and attended Corona School Ikoyi and St. Gregory’s College all in Lagos for his primary and secondary education, respectively.
  2. His father, Felix Bankole Cardoso, was the first indigenous Accountant-General of the Federation of Nigeria in 1963; and, the first indigenous Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Barclays Bank of Nigeria shortly after joining the bank in 1972. Under his leadership, Barclays successfully transformed into Union Bank of Nigeria, a wholly-owned Nigerian entity
  3. Yemi Cardoso completed his undergraduate studies upon obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Managerial and Administrative Studies from Aston University in 1980.
  4. He later furthered his education at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, earning a Master’s degree in Public Administration in 2005 as a Mason Fellow.
  5. In recognition of his outstanding achievements in the private and public sectors, Cardoso was granted a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) (honoris causa) by Aston University in 2017. He is also esteemed as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers.
  6. Olayemi Michael Cardoso is a Nigerian banker, chartered stockbroker and public policy expert.
  7. He has served for over four decades in the public, private and development sectors as a leader and innovator.
  8. Among his most impactful roles are: Commissioner in the Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget; Chairman of the board of the African Venture Philanthropy Alliance and, most recently, Chairman of Citibank Nigeria Ltd for 12 years, until his resignation in 2022.
  9. Cardoso is a dedicated family man. He is married with five children and three grandchildren. His parents were descendants of Brazilian returnees and came from prominent families from Popo Aguda.


Mr Cardoso was the former chairman of Citibank Nigeria, and a distinguished leader in the financial and development sectors with over 30 years’ experience in the private, public and not-for-profit organisations.

With diverse corporate governance experience, Cardoso has also sat on the boards of Nigerian subsidiaries of Texaco and Chevron and chaired the board of EFInA, a financial sector development organisation supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

He served in government as Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget for Lagos State, where he championed the financial reform process which led to the state’s development of independent tax revenues.

In his capacity as a consultant and policy expert, Mr Cardoso has advised and collaborated with major international development organisations including the World Bank, Ford Foundation, UN Habitat, World Health Organisation and the Swedish Development Foundation.

He is the recipient of several awards including an honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration from Aston University, his alma mater, and the Global Distinguished Alumni award from Citi.

Mr Cardoso obtained a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School where he was a Fellow.

Though many has seen the appointment as Mr President’s sustaining trend in rewarding his loyalists, others has however, said that the nominee is a right choice.

Cardoso, who also will be assisted to perform by four nominated deputy governors, will assume full responsibility of the apex bank on confirmation by the Senate.

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