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Boss Of The Week

Adedeji Adeleke: Celebrating a Philanthropist at 67

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By Eric Elezuo

At 67, he still remains one of the most sought after personalities with the milk of human kindness. His philanthropy reverberates across the length and breadth of the African continent, and with a net-worth of over 1.7 billion in United States of American dollars, it is not hard to imagine that the erudite scholar and reputed oil and real estate magnate, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, is a force to reckon with in the Nigerian socio-political and economic terrain.

To many, he is the hitherto unknown ‘Baba Olowo’, as represented by his son, David Adeleke, in his hit song, Emi Omo Baba Olowo, to many others, he is just the father of one of Nigeria’s successful musicians, Davido, and to many others, he is the pathfinder that has helped in paving a path of fruitfulness for the Adeleke family in particular, and the people of Osun State in general.

Ebullient and renowned, Dr. Adedeji Tajudeen Adeleke, a native of Ede in Osun State, was born on March 6, 1957 in Enugu State, to Ayoola Raji Adeleke and Esther Nnenna Adeleke. Growing up with his maternal grandmother, fashioned in him the distinct features of Nigerian-ism thus becoming one of the few Nigerians, who are privileged to savour the true Nigerian originality, boasting of two physical ethnicities – Yoruba and Igbo.

Adeleke’s linage is blessed as his siblings are also movers and shakers of the Nigerian political and economic environments. His elder brother, late Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, was the first civilian governor of Osun State, and his younger brother, Senator Ademola Adeleke, is the present governor of Osun State.

Fondly called Deji by family members and loved ones, and Chairman by friends and associates, Dr. Adeleke, whose father was a renowned labour leader and activist, in addition to being the Balogun of Ede land and one time Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is many things one.

Tapping from the Igbo background of his beloved mother and the Yoruba originality of his father, Dr. Adeleke has overtime showcased qualities that stood him out as a believer in the oneness of the country, Nigeria.

Dr. Adeleke lived his early life in Enugu, where he developed inert abilities to mastering business craftsmanship, before moving to Ansar-Ud-Deen Primary School, Surulere Lagos, for his primary education. Thereafter, he proceeded to Seventh-Day Adventist Grammar School, Ede where he graduated from in 1975, obtaining his West African School Certificate in flying colours.

His brilliance, coupled with opportunities, created a leeway for him thereafter to proceed to Western Kentucky University in the United States of America where he distinguished himself in academics and other endeavours, and graduating with a Bachelors degree in Finance in 1979.

A thoroughbred lover of education, Adeleke followed up his bachelors degree triumph with an MBA in 1981 and thereafter a Ph.D. in International Business from Pacific Columbia University, Mills Valley, California in 1983. It is not an understatement to say the proverbial ‘baba olowo’ is well read.

Having completed the academic trilogy, and with undisputable qualifications, Adeleke returned to serve his fatherland in the capacity of a Corps member in the National Youth Service Corps scheme; a clarion call he obeyed with all his being as a true Nigerian.

Armed and totally ready to take on the world, Adeleke ventured into the entrepreneurial world, audaciously establishing a drilling company, Pacific Drilling Company Limited which soon became the brainchild of other entrepreneurial ventures, metamorphosing into Pacific Holdings Limited, with a distinct focus on finances and investments in different sectors of the Nigerian economy, which comprises other groups of companies with diverse biases, including Pacific Energy Limited.

An egghead of no mean abilities, Adeleke is one of few academics, who holds double doctoral degrees, as he was privileged to bag a second Ph.D from the University of Phoenix, Arizona USA, where he studiously laboured for his honours.

His lofty academic sojourns have in more ways than one paved the way for him to conquer the competitive world of entrepreneurship. He is also the founder and Chairman Board of Directors of Pacific Merchant Bank Ltd which later became one of the legacy banks in the guise of present day Unity Bank Plc.

Quintessential in all ramifications, Dr. Adeleke is a philanthropist of note as his foundations and establishments speak volumes of his worth, and what he is capable of doing. Among his many foundations, dedicated to the upliftment of mankind, is the Springtime Development Foundation (SDF), a not-for-profit NGO, which has become a vehicle for the awards of scholarships at all levels of education, and distribution of medical assistance to diverse medical units across board; locally and internationally to meet the needs of needy Nigerians.

Adeleke’s SDF is also the brain behind the establishment of the prestigious Adeleke University Ede, where he is the Pro-Chancellor. In addition, Dr. Adeleke sits on the board of various blue chip companies across the globe.

Adedeji Adeleke through the Springtime Development Foundation (SDF) founded Adeleke University in Osun State ede, to ensure less privileged students have access to a quality higher education.

Adeleke is known to be not just a father in words, but highly impactful, consciously and unconsciously imparting his children and any other person that crosses his path with his Midas touch of gold.

It has been said that no one comes his way, and leaves without a meaningful impact in his life. With his SDF tool, not a few lives have witnessed a turnaround.

Dr. Adeleke is blessed with four children, two males and two females named Adewale Adeleke, David Adeleke (Davido), Sharon and Ashley Coco, from his beautiful wife, Veronica, who died in 2003, and many grandchildren. His children are living examples of his paternal influence as they all have carved a veritable niche and influence for themselves in different areas of human endeavours.

His youngest son, Davido, is a world renowned musician and philanthropist, carting away awards after awards in many areas, and luving the life of a real chip off the old block with humongous acts of giving that has left many just wondering.

He also has numerous grandchildren among whom are Imade Adeleke, Hailey Adeleke and the newest twins, who are Davido’s children.

Adeleke is a lover of life, and the good things that come with it. As a result, he owns a Bombardier Challenger 605 Business jet and a Bombardier Global Express 6000 for both classic luxury and ease of movement, as an international businessman, who is constantly on the move.

At 67, Adeleke could be described as an accomplished husband, father, nationalist and entrepreneur.

We salute your dexterity and pray for more of wealth and health and many more years of celebrations. Happy birthday a true legend!

We celebrate you sir!

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Boss Of The Week

Aliko Dangote: A Distinguished Son of Africa Revels at 67

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By Eric Elezuo

Accolades from personalities across the nation, including from President Bola Tinubu, continued to surge towards the President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, as he hit another glorious age, celebrating 67 in grand style.

Tinubu, who was one of the early on the sustaining richest man in Africa, referenced the many industrial feats of the business colossus, describing him as one of Africa’s business lodestars.

The billionaire businessman has consistently proved that his entrepreneurial skills are not just geared towards uplifting him as a person, but to creating an enabling environment for the Nigeria youth and child to grow and develop in an environment he can proudly co-own. His vision, no doubt, is practically for the greater good of the world in general, and Nigeria in particular.

For so many blessed reasons and very many more, Dangote was recently named, and for the second consecutive year, the Africa’s foremost entrepreneur and humanist, and was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The billionaire industrialist was accorded special recognition by the Organised Private Sector (OPS) employers in the country under the aegis of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA). That was just a tip of the iceberg in consideration to the avalanche of efforts he has put into business, and the lives touched so far.

Born in Kano in 1957, Dangote proudly shuttles between three wonderful tags as the richest man in Nigeria; the richest man in Africa and the richest Black man in the world. He has paid his dues, and mankind is the better for it.

Releasing impacts, Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), the private charitable foundation of Alhaji Aliko Dangote. Incorporated in 1994, as Dangote Foundation, is saddled with the mission to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments that improve health and wellbeing, promote quality education, and broaden economic empowerment opportunities. 20 years later, the Foundation has become the largest private Foundation in sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest endowment by a single African donor.

The primary focus of ADF is child nutrition, with wraparound interventions centered on health, education and empowerment, and disaster relief. The Foundation also supports stand-alone projects with the potential for significant social impact.

The Foundation works with state and national governments and many highly reputable international and domestic charities, non-governmental organizations and international agencies to advance its humanitarian agenda.

In one of its biggest collaboration to date, Aliko Dangote Foundation started working in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and key northern State Governments in Nigeria from 2013 to eradicate polio and strengthen routine immunization in Nigeria.

Worthy of praise is the fact that nearly a decade, the Foundation has spent over N7 Billion in the course of feeding, clothing and the general welfare of the Internally Displaced Persons in the Northeast.

To make his host communities feel at ease, and the impact of his presence, Dangote has embarked on an initiative to provide further support to improving educational systems in Ibeju-Lekki and Epe locality. The educational support initiative is a tripartite programme consisting of scholarship, capacity building for teachers and school infrastructure projects.

In addition, Scholarships have been awarded to 52 secondary school students whilst some financial support was provided to their parents and/or guardians. Tertiary students will be included in the next batch of the scheme.

Furthermore, about 100 teachers, principals and school administrators were trained in teaching techniques for the 21st century. After which they were monitored in class on how they were using the skills acquired.

There is hardly any sector that has not felt the milk of human kindness running through Aliko Dangote; the military, media, politicians, governments across boards and more.

Dangote is surely an asset to this world!

As at today, there is no space for slowing down for Dangote as he continues to trudge on, creating firsts after first for himself and for humanity.

He is blessed with three wonderful daughters, who have followed the rewarding footprints of entrepreneurship.

Congratulates the African giant, and may you enjoy many more laurels as your footprints remain indelible in the sands of time, and continue to dominate the pages of history books.

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Boss Of The Week

High Chief Tom Ikimi: Celebrating an Enigma at 80

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By Eric Elezuo

The city of Benin, the capital of Edo State, was on a stand still on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, when a prolific son of the land, celebrated a landmark 80 years.

With notable personalities from across the length and breadth of the country present, the city assumed the enviable status of cynasure of all eyes, feeding all and sundry with the best of organisation, standard and cultural display.

The event kickstarted at St Paul’s Catholic Church, along the Airport Road, in the heart of Benin City, where the who’s who in politics and otherwise gathered to thank God for 80 years of life well lived.

Making a most glorious entry, the celebrant, who could not hide his joy by the way he beamed smiling greetings at the guests, and dressed in a flowing white attire, complemented with exquisite royal beads of diverse colours, also received warm greetings before settling down majestically in the front row of the church amid a melodic play of solemn hymn.

In his brief sermon, the Archbishop of the Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, who presided over the thanksgiving service, and was assisted by other bishops, hailed the resilience of the celebrant and how his knowledge and experience has benefitted the country during his hay days.

While also delivering a message, titled ‘What a Life’, the Archbishop Emeritus of the Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan, Felix Job, acknowledged that High Chief Ikimi has been up and doing.

The celebration took a different turn right after the church Thanksgiving giving as all roads led to the reception venue, where a medley of performances and presentations we’re displayed.

Speaking as the chief host, Governor Obaseki congratulated the celebrant, expressing his heartfelt joy on behalf of the people and government of the state, and describing Ikimi’s efforts as an enduring legacy.

Among the classy dignitaries whose presence added distinguished colour to the occasion were Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who practically played the part of the chief host; the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party, and former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi; the Esama of Benin Kingdom; Chief Gabriel Igbinedion; and a former governor of Edo State, Lucky Igbinedion.

THE MAN, HIGH CHIEF TOM IKIMI 

The man, who posterity will remember for his roles as the pioneer chairman of one Nigeria’s most popular party in the 3rd Republic, the National Republican Convention (NRC) as well as a former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi, was born on April, 10 1944, in Kumba-Southern, British Cameroons (modern-day Cameroon) to John Onile Ikimi and Victoria Isiemoa Ikimi, both from Igueben (Igueben Local Government Area- Edo State).

Tom Ikimi started his early education at St. Joseph’s College, Sasse-Buea, Southern Cameroons in 1957, and left in 1961. He was a pioneer student of the Midwestern Polytechnic, Auchi, Midwestern Nigeria, (now Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State) for his technical education from January 1966 to December 1967, and studied Building and Civil Engineering before obtaining Ordinary National Diploma. He was also a pioneer member of the Students Union, and a keen sportsman, who contributed to the establishment of the College Athletics Club.

After his stint at the Poly, he pursued after more of his professional education, and studied Architecture at the Ahmadu Bello University, Architectural School, Zaria from 1968 – 1973, and obtained the B. Arch (Hons) degree.

While in school, he participated in students unionism, and was a member of the student union and National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS). He is known for moving the motion in late 1970 at the NUNS convention in Zaria to readmit the Eastern Unions back into the NUNS at the end of the civil war.

Among his many pioneering endeavors, Ikimi was also a pioneer member of the National Youth Service Corps Programme serving in Ibadan, during the 1973-74 session.

He has also served in a good number of reputable organizations including as Architect in the firm of planning partnership later IBRU Vaughan Richards & Partners, Lagos from 1974-1977, and was made Associate partner in 1975.

He established his own firm, Tom Ikimi Design Company in May 1977 and executed a number of private and commercial projects within and outside Nigeria (1977 – 1993). He later won the international competition for the new OAU office and conference Centre project, Addis Ababa Ethiopia. He is a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (FNIA) and has business interests in construction, trade and farming.

HIS MANY PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS 

Member Constituent Assembly – 1988/89, Member Chapter 2 Committee “Fundamental Objectives and Directives Principles of State Policy”. National Chairman- National Republican Convention Party — 1990–1992.

He was the Special Adviser To the Head Of State, Commander-In-Chief, General Sani Abacha in February, 1994 where he prepared the memo for the establishment of the highly successful Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF)

He was appointed Foreign Affairs Minister March 1995

Ikimi led Nigeria’s delegation to the Review/Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in New York City, delivering the national position address on April 18, 1995. [citation needed]

Additionally, Ikimi headed the delegation to the Ministerial meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Bandung, Indonesia, from April 25 to 27, 1995.

Ikimi represented the Head of State, Commander-in-Chief, at the 40th Anniversary Meeting of the Movement of Non-Aligned countries in Bandung, Indonesia, on April 28, 1995.

Furthermore, Ikimi led the delegation to the Ministerial meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement in Cartagena, Colombia, from May 18 to 20, 1998, delivering Nigeria’s statement on May 19, 1998.

Taking charge of the delegation, Ikimi oversaw Nigeria’s participation in the Special UN Security Council Session for Foreign Ministers in New York City, delivering the country’s statement on September 26, 1995.

Ikimi led the delegation to the 50th Commemorative Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) from September to December 1995, delivering Nigeria’s statement to the Assembly on October 3, 1995.

Serving as the President of the United Nations Security Council in October 1995, Ikimi hosted Pope John Paul II at the UN 50th Anniversary celebration in the capacity as President of the Security Council.

Ikimi represented the Head of State, Commander-in-Chief, at the summit meeting of the Non-Aligned member countries of the United Nations Security Council in New York City on October 4, 1995.

Continuing leadership, Ikimi headed the delegation to the 51st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) from September to December 1996, delivering Nigeria’s statement on October 3, 1996.

Ikimi also represented the Head of State at the 11th Summit of the Non-Aligned countries in Cartagena, Colombia, from October 18 to 20, 1998, delivering Nigeria’s statement on October 18, 1998.

Additionally, Ikimi led the delegation to the 52nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) from September to December 1997, delivering Nigeria’s statement on September 23, 1997.

Led Nigeria’s delegation to the 52nd Session of the United Nations General assembly (UNGA) September – December 1997 and delivered Nigeria’s statement to the Assembly on 23 September 1997.

Chairman of ECOWAS council of ministers and ECOWAS committee of Nine on LiberiaC-9) from 26 July 1996.

Chairman ECOWAS Ministerial Committee of Five on Sierra Leone.

Led Nigeria’s delegation to and chaired the 4th meeting of the ECOWAS Ministerial Committee of four on Sierra Leone (C-4) in New York, 11 July 1997.

Led the delegation of the ECOWAS Ministerial Committee of Five (C-5) to New York and briefed both the Secretary-General and the Security Council under the Arria Formula, on the situation in Sierra Leone, 11 November 1997.

Led Nigeria’s delegation to and chaired the 8th meeting of the ECOWAS Ministerial Committee of Five on Sierra Leone (C-5) in New York, 5–6 February 1998.

Led Nigeria’s delegation to several ECOWAS ministerial meetings and Head of State summits around the sub-Region.

Led the ECOWAS ministerial committee of nine (C-9) to successfully resolve the Liberian crisis.

Supervised under the United Nations, the holding of the first postwar democratic election in Liberia in August 1997 and the establishment of a democratic government headed by Mr Charles G. Taylor.

The violent overthrow of the government of president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah on 25 May 1997 posed a threat not only to the peace and security of Sierra Leone but also the security and stability of the West African Sub-region. As chairman of the committee of four and five on Sierra Leone, he led negotiations and coordinated the delicate operations leading to the successful restoration of the government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah on 10 March 1998. He led the ECOWAS Team and was the first to enter Sierra Leone to assess the situation on the ground after the liberation of Freetown from the rebels by ECOMOG Forces 18–19 February 1998 to permit the return of president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah from exile in Conakry.

His tenure as Foreign Minister coincided with the period when the West African sub-region and indeed much of Africa was beset with conflicts, which including civil wars in Angola, Rwanda/Burundi, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), the Sudan, Liberia, Somalia and Sierra Leone. The central organ of the OAU was established in Cairo in 1994 as a mechanism for resolving these conflicts. In his tenure, Nigeria retained her membership of the central organ in the three successive elections which were conducted annually. Aside from the several meetings of the OAU council of ministers, Ikimi represented Nigerian Head of State at the summit meeting of the Central Organ of the OAU Mechanism for the Prevention, Management and Resolution of Conflicts in Tunis, 20 April 1995. He also Led Nigeria’ delegation to the 31st OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – 26–28 June 1995, also in Cameroon, 9–10 July 1996 at the 32 OAU Assembly. Zimbabwe, 1–3 June 1997 and Burkina Faso, 8 June 1998.

Ikimi is happily is married, with three sons and a daughter, and a dutiful member of the Roman Catholic Christian denomination.

The erstwhile political leader has a profile larger than imagined, and is reputed to have served a definite purpose for Africa, Nigeria and humanity in general.

Additional Information from Wikipedia 

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Boss Of The Week

Music Maestro, Ebenezer Obey, Celebrates 82nd Birthday in Style

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By Eric Elezuo

The Decross Mission Church in Lagos during the week wore the best of looks in gratitude, blessings, thanksgiving and more, as juju and gospel music maestro, Evangelist (Prof) Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi, celebrated his 82nd years.

In attendance were the who’s who of Nigeria’s top society including the governor of Ogun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, who led the retinue of outpouring of encomiums, eulogies and hype upon the octogenarian.

Extolling the virtues of the much celebrated singer, whose hit tracks have reverberated over the years, remaining evergreen, Gove Adeleke described him as a meaningful singer, whose songs go beyond the ordinary.

“We thank God for the life of Baba Ebenezer Obey because it is not easy after all these years to reach the age of 82 years. That is a big one and that is why we should continue to thank God. All the songs he has been singing all these years show that he is a philosophical singer. There is no song that he sings that does not have a meaning.  You have been taking care of us since we were young and we are always happy whenever we listen to your songs. That is why I am here to surprise you and celebrate with you. I also use you as a point of contact that Nigeria will go from strength to strength,” the governor eulogised.

In his response, the elated celebrant, who couldn’t hold his joy, expressed his gratitude to God, and to a crowd of friends, colleagues and mentees, who turned out to celebrate with him. While citing the Bible in the book of Psalm 92 of the holy scriptures, Evangelist Obey said, “I am using this scripture to express myself. All my life, God has been so good to me. I was born into the church and I used to crawl to where the choir played their instrument. As I crawl to the choir, my mum would carry me and I would always crawl back there. And the pastor took me from my mother and said definitely, I was going to be a renowned musician. That prophecy came to pass in my life. I became a professional musician at the age of 15, precisely in 1957, that was when I had my first album.

“I thank God, who has seen me through several surgeries. In 1980, I had surgery in London and prostrate enlargement was the last surgery I had. I am preparing to release a record to educate parents and the people on prostate enlargement.”

Other dignitaries present at the event included the Osile of Oke Ona Egbaland, Oba Adedapo Tejuosho, Dele Momodu, Bola Obasanjo, Esther Ajayi, and a host of others.

THE MAN, EBENEZER OBEY

Born Ebenezer Remilekun Aremu Olasupo Obey-Fabiyi MFR on April 3, 1942, the music maestro is from Idogo, Ogun State, and of Egba-Yoruba ethnic background. He is also of the Owu subgroup of the Egba, and known professionally as Ebenezer Obey.

According reports obtained from Wikipedia, “Ebenezer Obey began his professional career in the mid-1950s after moving to Lagos. After tutelage under Fatai Rolling-Dollar’s band, he formed a band called The International Brothers in 1964, playing highlife–jùjú fusion. The band later metamorphosed into Inter-Reformers in the early-1970s, with a long list of Juju album hits on the West African Decca musical label.

“Obey began experimenting with Yoruba percussion style and expanding on the band by adding more drum kits, guitars and talking drums. Obey’s musical strengths lie in weaving intricate Yoruba axioms into dance-floor compositions. As is characteristic of Nigerian Yoruba social-circle music, the Inter-Reformers band excel in praise-singing for rich Nigerian socialites and business tycoons. Obey, however, is also renowned for Christian spiritual themes in his music and has since the early-1990s retired into Nigerian gospel music ministry. It will be worthy of note to also say that Chief Commander just as he is fondly called by his fans, has played alongside popular gospel music veteran, Pastor Kunle Ajayi during his 30 years on stage concert in Lagos.

“Obey married Juliana Olaide Olufade in 1963. His wife, known as Lady Evangelist Juliana Obey-Fabiyi, died at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital on 23 August 2011, aged 67. They have several children and grand children.”

The life of Ebenezer Obey is quick a study and worth celebrating. His brand of music of music has transcended ages and time, and even at his age, he is still a much sought after performer at high profile events.

We celebrate you sir, and wish many more years in good health.

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