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Prince Dapo Abiodun, one governor many awards

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By Lekan Adeniran

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun was recently honoured with two prestigious awards by two reputable media organisations, namely the Sun newspapers, which conferred on Prince Abiodun, the ‘Governor of the Year’ award, and Silverbird Television, which named the governor its ‘Man of the Year’. These accolades were bestowed on Prince Abiodun in recognition of his stellar performance in the area of infrastructure, among other notable achievements.

In their separate letters to announce the choice of Prince Abiodun, the two organisations said the award was bestowed on the governor for his sterling performance in the field of governance.

The Sun’s 2023 Governor of the Year Award took place on February 17, while the 2023 Silverbird Man of the Year Award took place on Sunday, 3rd March, 2024. The two awards took place at the prestigious Eko Hotels and Suites.

The latest awards followed the earlier ones bestowed on the governor. Early in 2023, Prince Abiodun won the Forbes Best of Africa award in the industrial revolution in 2023. He won the LEADERSHIP Governor of the Year Award 2022 and the Vanguard’s Governor of the Year Award 2021. He has also won the Governor of the Year Award at the Nigerian Agricultural Awards 2020.

It is heartwarming that the governor’s modest success has transcended the Gateway State and is being applauded across the length and breadth of the nation. His remarkable success in infrastructure development has significantly transformed Ogun State, reshaping its landscape, and improving the living standards of its residents. His visionary leadership and commitment to progress have set him apart as a dynamic and result-oriented governor.

Under Abiodun’s tenure, various sectors of infrastructure have witnessed remarkable improvements. One of the most notable achievements is the extensive road construction and rehabilitation projects across the state. The governor’s administration has prioritized the repair of dilapidated roads, fostering connectivity, and improving transportation networks. Many previously inaccessible areas have now been opened up, providing opportunities for commerce, agriculture, and tourism.

To date, more than 500km of roads have been reconstructed. Also in the pipeline is the reconstruction of the Abeokuta-Ota-Lagos Expressway, which is just awaiting the final nod from the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

By investing in infrastructure, Governor Abiodun has also attracted private investments to the state, providing an enabling environment for businesses and industries to thrive. This has resulted in an increase in employment opportunities for the people of Ogun State, a boost to the economy, and an overall improvement in the standard of living.

Indeed, Ogun State is now Nigeria’s industrial giant. Remarkable achievement has been recorded in the ease of doing business index. The state government, under Prince Abiodun, has liberalized land acquisition among other incentives to make the state attractive to investors and also to take massive advantage of its nearness to Lagos, the nation’s industrial capital.

One major iconic project embarked upon by the Prince Dapo Abiodun-led administration is the Gateway International Cargo Airport. The airport, which is almost completed will further enhance the industrial base of the state, by further opening the frontiers of businesses and also opening the state to the rest of the world.

Furthermore, the governor has demonstrated a keen interest in the education sector, recognizing its crucial role in shaping the future of the state. His administration has embarked on the construction and renovation of schools, ensuring that children have access to quality education in conducive learning environments. Additionally, Abiodun has implemented various initiatives to improve educational standards, provide scholarships, and promote vocational training, empowering the youth with skills for the future.

Governor Abiodun’s commitment to healthcare has also been exceptional. His administration has prioritized the construction and upgrading of healthcare facilities, making quality healthcare accessible to all residents of Ogun State. By investing in modern medical equipment and adequately staffing healthcare centers, the governor has significantly improved the state’s healthcare system, reducing mortality rates and ensuring a healthier populace.

Aside from his commendable achievements in infrastructure development, Governor Abiodun has shown exemplary leadership skills, transparency, and accountability in governance. He has promoted a participatory approach to governance, engaging various stakeholders in decision-making processes and prioritizing the welfare of the people.

Abiodun’s recognition as the Sun newspaper’s ‘Governor of the Year’ and Silverbird Television’s ‘Man of the Year’ underscores his outstanding commitment to transforming Ogun State through infrastructural development. These awards serve as an encouragement for him to continue his excellent work and provide a blueprint for other governors to follow.

The Governor described the awards as a testimony to the efforts of his administration to reposition the State for more economic prosperity.

“Our administration in the last four and a half years, has transformed our vision into making the State the investor’s destination of choice. We have also successfully implemented people’s oriented policies and carried out reforms to improve efficiency and service delivery, leading to the state being the most improved in Internally Generated Revenue in the country.

“We have implemented a multi-modal transportation plan and other infrastructure across the State. We have constructed over 500 kilometers of road, built over 3,000 affordable houses, renovated over 1,000 schools, and constructed our Gateway International Airport,” Abiodun said.

The governor was lauded by Air Peace CEO, Chief Allen Onyema for his impressive accomplishments and commitment to development. According to Chief Onyema, through the “Building our Future Together” agenda, the governor has successfully boosted the state’s economy.

Senator Afolabi Salisu, representing Ogun Central Senatorial District, hailed Prince Abiodun as a transformative leader, crediting his policies for reshaping the state’s economic landscape. Similarly, Hon. Gboyega Nasir Isiaka praised the governor’s inclusive leadership style, resulting in increased revenue and significant socio-economic progress.

The state Head of Service, Mr. Kolawole Fagbohun, commended the governor for his worker-friendly approach and policies that have elevated professionalism within the civil service.

There is no doubt that the ‘Building our Future Together’ agenda of the Dapo Abiodun administration has been a success story, ensuring the rapid development of the economy of the Gateway State and laying a solid foundation for future successes with more profound projects like the Olokola Deep Sea Port and the Kajola Dry Port knocking at the door.

*Adeniran is Chief Press Secretary to Governor Dapo Abiodun.

 

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‘Selfless servant,’ Nigeria Ambassador Lawal Bappah celebrated with chieftaincy title in Cameroon

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Eze Gburu Gburu 1 of Ohana Eze Ndi Igbo in Cameroon, HRH Eze Thomas Onyenagubor has conferred the Chieftaincy title of (Ezinna) GooD

Eze Gburu Gburu 1 of Ohana Eze Ndi Igbo in Cameroon, HRH Eze Thomas Onyenagubor has conferred the Chieftaincy title of (Ezinna) Good Father of Ohana-Eze Ndi-Igbo in Cameroon on the outgoing Consul General of Nigeria to South West & North West Regions of Cameroon, Amb. Lawal Bappah, mni.

The Chieftaincy title conferment took place at his Palace in Tiko, South West Region of Cameroon, on Sunday, 14th April, 2024.

In the conferment letter presented to His Excellency Lawal Bappah, HRH Eze Gburu Gburu stated that he was pleased to confer on Amb. Lawal the Chieftaincy title of “Ezinna”, meaning “Good Father of Ohana-Eze Ndi-Igbo in the Republic of Cameroon” due to his hard work, leadership prowess and dedication to service in his areas of jurisdiction, the South West & North West Regions of Cameroon.

HRH said: “Specifically, I want to recognize your outstanding work among members of Nigerian Unions in Cameroon where you have done wonderfully well in promoting peace and unity among Nigerians as well as in the host community”.

Chief Eze Gburu Gburu profusely praised Bappah’s leadership acumen and expressed the view that he stands out in fostering and promoting peace and unity among Nigerians in Cameroon.

HRH said: “Your leadership and attention to details have been instrumental in achieving our goals and exceeding our expectations. I encourage you to keep up the excellent work and we will continue to pray for you for your wonderful deeds during your tenure in South West & North West Regions of Cameroon as a Consul General”.

In his remarks, Amb. Lawal Bappah expressed deep appreciation to HRH Eze Thomas Onyenagubor for his thoughtfulness, the Chieftaincy title as well as his wonderful and laudable collaboration in multifarious ways with the Consulates General of Nigeria in Buea, Douala and the Nigeria High Commission in Yaounde.

Eze Gburu Gburu 1 of Ohana Eze Ndi Igbo in Cameroon, HRH Eze Thomas Onyenagubor has conferred the Chieftaincy title of (Ezinna) GooD

Speaking further, he said: “I am personally humbled by this honour from HRH Eze Gburu Gburu. It is a recognition of what God has done through the opportunity given me to serve as a Consul General. I also appreciate my Colleague, the Consul General of Nigeria to the Littoral and West Regions of Cameroon, Amb. Queen Efe A. Clark-Omeru who is here present; officers and staff of the Consulate General of Nigeria, Buea, for their cooperation; and all members of Nigerian Unions in both the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon for being law abiding. Definitely, I feel inspired to do more as we continue to serve our father land, Nigeria and humanity in general”.

In the speech of one of the prominent personalities that graced the occasion, the Consul-General of Nigeria to the Littoral and West Regions of Cameroon, Amb. Queen Efe A. Clark-Omeru, eulogized Chief Eze Gburu Gburu for his unalloyed support to the three Missions of Nigeria in Cameroon. She described HRH Eze Gburu Gburu as, indeed a great Nigerian who has, in too numerous ways to mention supported the Nigeria’s Diplomatic Missions in Cameroon. According to Amb. Efe Clark-Omeru, Chief Eze Gburu Gburu has severally assisted in the release of Nigerians as well as Cameroonians from prisons, among other things.

She promised that the great and laudable deeds of Chief Gburu Gburu in Cameroon would be brought to the attention of Nigerian Government for recognition as a distingushed Nigerian in diaspora.

Also speaking on the Chieftaincy title conferment, President of Nigerian Union Limbe I, II and III, Ukachukwu Nwosu Leonard described Amb. Lawal Bapphal as a dedicated servant of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Mr. Nwosu Leonard said: “Amb. Bappah deserves this award. He has done a great job and everybody here can testify to his wonderful and selfless services here in Cameroon. I want to commend the vision bearer, HRH Eze Gburu Gburu for this conferment of Chieftaincy title. It shows that Amb. Bappah is a man of honour. He has done wonderfully well for Nigerians in the South West and North West Regions; and everybody appreciates his patriotism as far as Nigeria is concerned.”

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Japa: Dangers in relocating to Canada, why you must think twice

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Following the unpleasant news of the death of a young Nigerian in a tent outside a shelter home in Toronto, Canada, and a suggestion that

Following the unpleasant news of the death of a young Nigerian in a tent outside a shelter home in Toronto, Canada, and a suggestion that it may just be a similitude of the horror Nigerians who have been thronging to that North American country have been facing, Gboyega Alaka had an insightful engagement with a Nigerian, Michael Kehinde Abiodun, who has been resident there for 25 years.

On November, 2023, a Nigerian male asylum seeker was found dead in a tent outside a Canada shelter for the homeless.

The man, not named, reportedly died while trying to keep himself warm in Peel, a regional municipality in Greater Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Nigerian, believed to be in his 40s, according to a local newspaper, Toronto Star, died on Wednesday, November 15. Patrick Brown, mayor of Brampton, confirmed the man to be a Nigerian who had come to seek asylum in the country.

Preliminary investigation said the man must have died from excessive inhalation of carbon monoxide while trying to keep his tent warm. He reportedly had to make do with the tent when he could not find space in the shelter. The mayor also noted that the shelter system in the region was overstretched by over 300 per cent, which left the deceased no choice but to make do with the tent.

A damning headline by Tola Owoeye of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism which stated: Nigerian Asylum Seeker Found Dead in Canada Shelter. Hundreds More May Follow,’ especially sent panic waves through the minds of Nigerians who had relatives and friends who recently migrated to the North American country. This was further aggravated by the fact that the authorities weren’t immediately forthcoming with his identity.

That horrible news becomes scarier, when juxtaposed with Environment and Climate Change Canada declaration that more than 80 people die each year in that country from exposure/hypothermia.

A Nigerian-Canadian, Michael Kehinde Abiodun, who has lived in Canada for 25 years and runs 3C Autism and Mental Heath Supports Services in Toronto, said he was called in to supervise the burial of the man, apparently because of his Nigerian roots.

“According to information,” Abiodun explained, “the shelters were full already. The tents outside are meant to accommodate people until they could find space for them in the shelter. Toronto being a commercial gang lion of Canada is highly populated, and could be likened to Lagos, because of its abundant opportunities. So the shelter gets filled up from time to time, meaning some have to stay in the tents outside. This guy that died, I won’t mention his name, was buried last month.

He was a Chartered Quantity Surveyor back home in Nigeria. His wife was also a Chartered Quantity Surveyor. They came in about six years ago but their papers didn’t sail through. I’m not sure, but I suspect they came in as visitors and their application for permanent stay or work permit was not granted. They were asked to leave the country, from what I learnt, but I think they were still looking for how they could maneuver their ways. Unfortunately the marriage broke down and both went their separate ways. To be honest with you, the guy had it very difficult, so he went to the shelter. He was using the tent as temporary shelter. According to information, they found the body lying in the cold; he had apparently been dead for days before he was discovered.”

According to Abiodun, “Canada is a terribly cold country, where you cannot survive on the street. Such person, if he doesn’t get help, is likely to die of hypothermia. “

Settling in Canada not tea-party

“The situation that man faced is common with people who come into the country without the right papers,” Abiodun, who is President of Yoruba Community Association (YCA) and Board Secretary of the Nigerian Canadian Association (NCA), Toronto, expanded.

“A lot of people who come here and are not able to find their footing are facing depression and other mental issues. To be able to find your footing here, you must regularise your stay by getting the permanent residence permit, which is as good as citizenship. A permanent residence permit will allow you to stay in the country; from there you can apply for citizenship certificate. Without those things, it will be difficult for one to get leverage.”

How did the man survive for six years without a work permit?

“Probably his work permit expired and was not renewed. To work here you must obtain work permit but if after expiration the permit is not renewed, it becomes an issue.

I really didn’t know him but his family members contacted me. Because his wife didn’t have appropriate papers, she could not be present at his burial. I, however, learnt they had one child.

“There is the story of another guy who died in June last year, three weeks after coming. He was actually sleeping in a shelter; it was from there that he was rushed to the hospital before he died. Another bitter truth is that most of our people who come here have underlying illness; usually tropical illnesses, but without adequate papers, they can’t access proper healthcare. Some of them may not even be aware of their illnesses until they get here. This young man was in his thirties. I also learnt he came in with a masters degree, and that he was doing well back home; a millionaire, as a matter of fact.”

Why then would he give up all that he had for uncertainty?

“I’d say greed. Seventy per cent of it is down to greed. A lot of them were comfortable back home. Everything is regimented here. Yes, there are free food spots, but you can’t compare it to having your own means of livelihood and eating food of your choice.”

Do more migrants run into this conundrum?

“I’ll put it this way,” Abiodun began in a reflective tone. “If you’re embarking on that kind of journey, make full enquiry from the people living in your country of destination; get them to tell you the fact of the situation on ground. Read the news; 90 per cent of the things we read on the news are correct. I have a lot of people who are close to me who want to come here; I always advise them that if you’re coming, make sure you get yourself prepared; have your own money; enough money; so that if the reality you meet does not meet your expectation, you can go back home. A woman here lost her three kids about six years ago. She was due for deportation but she refused to leave the country. She kept appealing, going to lawyers. It was snow period and she was travelling with her three kids alongside her friend and her own kid, when their vehicle rolled over in an accident due to bad weather caused by snow. Her three kids died, while the only child of her friend survived.

“But if you look at it critically, coming to Canada with her three kids is a testimony to the fact that she wasn’t doing too badly back in Nigeria, because it’s not cheap paying the passage of that huge number. I always tell them, go back home and face your business or job. I also tell them, if you don’t have money, don’t come here. Don’t send your children to school here if you can’t afford to pay their school fees. Don’t say ‘Oh, they would do menial jobs…’ Those jobs are not available. Things are very unlike those good old days. The population is increasing everyday just like Lagos.”

Not El-Dorado

Back home in Nigeria, Lagos specifically, more and more youths, even middle-aged people are preparing hard to relocate to Canada. Many would do anything and accept any kind of visa to just step in the North American country. A drive past visa processing locations, even as this feature is being knocked together, shows huge human activities, alongside vehicular traffic. Many are prepared to sell everything they worked for, in what has been termed ‘trading certainty for uncertainty’.

A hip-hop artist, Magnito, even sang a song, which literally endorsed Canada as a panacea to struggling Nigerian youths.

Abiodun, however, scoffed at such ignorance. According to him, a major misconception is to think that people who come to Canada attain instant success or immediate financial prosperity.

“It’s not like that. Rome was not built in a day. This is a highly regimented country. Things grow here in arithmetical progression, not in geometrical progression; so it is a false impression to think that you instantly become financially successful once you come in here. There are professionals – medical doctors, chartered surveyors, lawyers, engineers, who came in with the same mentality that things would be easy and instant, but who were disappointed. They have their regulatory laws here; so you just can’t jump on the beat and start practising. You have to undergo some procedures and processes before you can qualify to practice. If you’re a medical doctor back home, you have to sit for their professional examinations until you pass; and that can take up to five or six years. We have lawyers who are doing healthcare jobs while waiting to pass their exams and get their certification. The funny thing is that some eventually forget whatever certificate they came with and face the healthcare job for life, because they’re already making enough money for a good living. Aside the challenge of certification, one other reason it is difficult for migrant lawyers to practice is that they need to have their own client base. If you don’t have enough clients, how are you going to practise or survive? Not many people are fighting each other here, so the cases are not even there. Nothing like charge and bail lawyer here; what they have are corporate issues.

“Overall, it takes an average migrant about six years to settle in Canada. However, if you come in with a permanent resident paper and you’re armed with a skill that they need, then you can get a job within six months. I’m talking of jobs like barber, plumber and the likes.”

Blames deceptive immigration agents

Abiodun also put a lot of blame at the feet of self-acclaimed immigration agents who are only out to make their money and would paint all sorts of false colours to con ignorant and desperate people.

Nigerians who come in here without the right papers go through a lot. The immigration agents would tell them once they got here, they could work for two weeks and recoup their money. However, on getting here, some of them would discover that although they have work permit, the jobs are just not there. Some may have been given two years work permit; some even came in on visiting visa of four years; what they, however, don’t realise is that nobody would employ them on that visa. As a matter of fact, any company that gives them a job is in trouble. And if you’re talking of menial jobs, it takes a lot of courage for anyone to dare, because if anything happens to them on that job, such company would be closed down. Ordinarily, if you’re working in any organisation, they will train you on the hazards and safety measures. Also, most of the jobs that are available are factory jobs and you have to go and queue with job agencies; it’s almost like the casual jobs back home, although the conditions and remunerations are better. A lot of them are suffering, because they have had it well in Nigeria, working in well-paying white collar jobs. Eventually, they become frustrated and go into depression.

“If, for instance, you come here at the age of 45 or 50 as a visitor, for how long will you be running up and down, dodging the law officers? Eventually, some, desperate for legitimacy, would start looking for who can help them get papers; in the end, they get married to women who have papers or citizenship. Meanwhile, they’ve been married in Nigeria. And usually, they don’t tell the new wife. They also end up abandoning their family back home.”

Canada Visa Lottery, a scam

Abiodun is also quick to debunk the existence of any kind of visa lottery in Canada.

“I’ve been here 25 years and there has never been anything like Canada Visa Lottery. It’s part of the scam immigration agents use to con gullible people.”

How then did Canada become such a hot cake for would-be migrants?

“It is our people, the so-called agents that have created issues. During the Covid years, a lot of people rushed over to Canada; not because there was no Covid in Canada but because they heard that the government was giving money, 10,000 dollars to people; so some of our people who came to visit in America, crossed over. They also thought they would get papers to stay. In the end they were disappointed, as they did not get any money; however, the government allowed most of them who wanted, to stay and work. A few were, however denied and deported, while some tried to avoid deportation. Unfortunately, this is a system in which you really cannot hide. It’s like some areas in Victoria Island or Ikoyi back in Lagos, where if you’re found wandering, you’ll be fished out and interrogated. Here, if you’re on the street, it’s either you’re going somewhere or on your way back from somewhere. You must have a destination, else the police would be alerted and you would be picked up before you knew it.

“I came in on my wife’s invitation 25 years ago. It was she who first came in; she later filed for me. I can tell you for free that there has never been a time coming to Canada was easy for anyone. You have to follow the process and nothing is automatic. There are, however, many ways to come over. You can come through a student’s visa; you can come in with a work permit; if somebody here has need for your skill and there’s a shortage of it here, you can also be allowed on that account to come and work.”

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to come here on visiting visa and think that they can automatically settle in and start working. To be honest with you, you cannot even get menial jobs to do, except in rare case. The only other way is to have enough money with you as a visitor. That way, you’re able to fend for yourself and manage until things open up for you. If you don’t have money, your best bet is to have somebody you can stay with, after which you may be urged to declare yourself to the government, probably as a refugee/asylum seeker. That way, you may be taken into a shelter, after which you could officially file for a refugee stay. And this can take two, three to four years.”

Downside for asylum seekers

“As an asylum seeker, you have to get a lawyer to process refugee claimant application for you. Usually, the government will pay part of the legal fee, while you look for the rest. Your appeal may be granted or rejected. If your application is rejected, you may receive a deportation order from the government. However, once you get that deportation order, you are immediately taken to a detention post, from where you would be flown back to your country.

“One interesting thing is that once you are granted refugee status, you can no longer go back or visit your country. This is because the information you have relayed is that your life or very existence was under threat there. You may even be turned back at the airport.”

Culture shock, depression and marriage breakdown

“Another major issue people go through is culture shock. First, there is the work ethics, which is quite different, and for which my company, 3C Autism and Mental Heath Support Services offers training. Then there is the difference in family orientation, which often results in marriage breakdown. The law here supports and empowers the women a lot; which means you cannot control your wife or bark orders at her and expect her to just fall in line, like you do in Nigeria and most parts of Africa. In the case of an altercation or fight, your wife might call in the police, and you could be sent out of your home. It doesn’t matter that you bought the house with your hard-earned money. This has caused many men to come down with depression and other forms of mental illness.

“The resultant frustration has also led to the death of some people. There is this story of a man who came in with his wife in 2010; they had two kids; one day the woman just left the house with the two kids because they had problems in their marriage. In the end, the man came down with depression.

“There is the sad story of another Nigerian man who came into Canada a few months ago. The story had it that he had a good job back home and comfortable, but he came in anyway. Somehow, his family members were calling his line but he wasn’t picking; in panic, they contacted somebody else to help check up on him. Alas, he was found dead.

“Our government should also make healthcare accessible for the people. Many of our people arrive here without knowing what they had in their system. I think with good healthcare, security and electricity, Nigeria would be a far better place.”

Advice to Nigerians coming to Canada

“If you have good networking system or you know people living and working here, get them to tell you the truth. The truth might be bitter, but truth is truth; and don’t doubt them or prefer the rosy pictures being painted by immigration agents.

“Also make sure you have enough fund before leaving Nigeria. I, however, always advise them that if you have the kind of money we’re talking about, use it to do something meaningful for yourself and live a better life in Nigeria. What you consider huge money in Nigeria may turn out negligible here when converted to the Canadian dollar. I have a friend in Nigeria, whom an agent misled to sell his car because he got him a work permit. When I asked how much he made from the sale, he said he didn’t even have enough for air ticket, so I told him not to bother. Now he goes to church and other places on okada (commercial motorcycle). I hear how people sell everything they had only to come here and realise it’s not as easy as they thought or were told. I also know many people who have willingly returned home, seeing that they could not cope with the harsh reality on ground and were not ready to be living like fugitives. Nigerian youths should just get themselves together, restrategise and hold their leaders responsible. Face them squarely, and they will have a better country.”

But there are people who have come to Canada and made good.

“Yes, surely. Some people are investors; they came with a lot of money and invested – in finance, real estate, business and other sectors and are doing fine. I know a lot of Nigerians who are doing very well here. But you either have money enough to ride the initial waves of turbulence or you have people who can support you until you settle well. Like I said, the money you consider big in Nigeria may be negligible here. Imagine coming with 100,000 dollars; it will only last you a little while, by the time you rent a house, buy a car or even pay your children’s school fees and utility bills. But such money can serve you well in Nigeria.

Tell us about yourself. How have you lived in Canada for 25 years?

My name is Michael Kehinde Abiodun; I am the President of Yoruba Community Association (YCA) and Board Secretary of Nigerian Community Association (NCA). I am an Autism Consultant – working with people living with autism and mental health. I have my own company, 3C Autism and Mental Support Services. You can call me a health worker if you like. It’s a special job under health services. I went to college for two years after I got here 25 years ago. Since then, I’ve been working with these special needs population. It’s not as if things have been extremely easy with me. Here, things are totally different, unlike in Nigeria, where you could spend three hours on your job and four hours on your phone. Here, you have to be highly committed. Work ethics in this environment are very important.

“Some of the little things that you neglect or don’t care about in Nigeria are taken seriously here. So 3C provides capable, creative, credible support services; that’s why we call it three C. The Yoruba Community Association also does its best to support new migrants from Nigeria in settling well into the country. Today, we have a zoom discussion on how marriages could be saved in Canada. Nigerian marriages are crashing here, in London, in America…. Barrister Eyitayo Dada will be speaking. We are also teaching our children how to speak, read and write Yoruba. The Yoruba Community Association (YCA) will hold its annual Yoruba Picnic on July 6, 2024, while its monthly meeting holds every third Sunday of the month.”

By Gboyega Alaka, The Nation

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FRESH SCANDAL: How former MD of EKEDC, Tinuade Sanda flaunted fake foreign degrees to climb corporate ladder

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West Power & Gas Limited, the parent company of Eko Electricity Distribution Plc (EKEDP) has sacked the immediate former MD/CEO of the

The corporate world was recently rocked by the controversial saga surrounding Tinuade Sanda, the former Managing Director and CEO of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC). But now her credentials and qualifications have also come under intense scrutiny. With serious questions about the veracity of her claimed postgraduate degrees from foreign universities.

Before joining the electricity firm in 2013, Sanda claimed to have headed the Finance and Administration department at Vanguard Energy Resources, a non-operational portfolio oil and gas trading company founded by her then husband Olusola Adebayo Sanda.

Sanda is also the founder of EmHERging, a platform for female young professionals, that prides itself as a mentoring platform out “to create a world where every female young professional, graduate and undergraduate, to be mentored by Tinuade Sanda and other accomplished female business leaders would emerge into leadership roles to maximize their potentials without gender bias in all major sectors of the economy.”

READ ALSO: Boardroom of Mess…. How Tinuade Sanda crisis tears Eko DisCo apart, Otubu, Egeregor, Etomi double standards’ and can of worms

Sanda claims on her resume and LinkedIn profile that she obtained an MBA specialising in Strategic Planning from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, but findings from the online degree awarding institution does not support her claim, as the school does not offer any MBA program in Strategic Planning.

Furthermore, Harvard Business School, one of the world’s most prestigious institutions, does not award undergraduate Bachelor’s degrees, yet Sanda states she obtained a Barchelors in Applied Sciences “BASc” from there.

Perhaps most egregious is Sanda’s Doctor of Philosophy in Financial Management and Entrepreneurship allegedly awarded her on December 5th, 2020 by ICON University Republic of Benin. This institution claims on its website to be recognized by a non-existent “Nigeria’s Ministry of Higher Education.”

READ ALSO: EkoDisco: Tinuade Sanda, lessons from her sack, failed marriage

These revelations cast a long dark shadow over Sanda’s meteoric corporate rise propped by these questionable qualifications to the zenith of one of Nigeria’s largest electricity distribution companies. A novel feat of becoming the first female to head the establishment – prominently bragged about in her personal corporate profile.

Her rise to the top powered by these bogus seeming qualifications beg questions about the rigor of due diligence conducted on her qualifications by those involved in vetting and appointing her to such critical roles.

Disturbingly, Sanda also flaunts the dubious PhD from the Republic of Benin-based ICON University, a country notorious in recent years for mills churning out fake academic credentials overnight according to investigative reports.

A cursory look at the ICON University website raises obvious credibility issues based on poor grammar and grandiose claims to rival Ivy League institutions.

“ICON University is a fast growing, dynamic vision-birthed, vision driven University founded on a fueled passion to creating a differences and committed to pioneering excellence at the cutting edge of learning. We are driven by the compelling vision of raising a new generation of Leaders for West African and the entire Continent through Human Development, integrated learning curriculum and research.”

That she would take much pride and confidently flaunt these qualifications so confidently on her CV and LinkedIn page really raises a lot of questions about her character and personal integrity.

More damningly, a November 2nd, 2022 letter from Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to the Disco raised professional concerns about “her lack of technical capacity, administrative competence as well as emotional maturity to run the affairs of the Company.”

If all these claims of having earned these certificates are false, it graphically paints a picture of a desperate individual who can go to any length to acquire corporate status, even if that includes lying and forging certificates.

As fallout from the crisis surrounding her removal continues, it is important for Sanda to come clean on the true nature of her educational qualifications, not just for her corporate reputation, but as a test of integrity as a self-acclaimed mentor to young aspiring girls.

While claiming she shattered the corporate glass ceiling through hard work, intellect and integrity, her questionable qualifications and attempt to bring a revered institution like Harvard Business School into disrepute is a repugnant stain on the class she claims to represent. Her type should never be allowed near reputable organizations that prize talent quality.

The scandal further raises bigger questions about lapses in regulatory oversight and corporate governance that enabled Sanda’s ascent despite the seeming inauthenticity of her ccredentials.

Stronger verification mechanisms to uphold standards and integrity in executive appointments must be exercised to promote merit and preventing frauds from discrediting institutional reputation.

The unfolding saga surrounding Tinuade Sanda serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the significance of ethical conduct, honesty, and accountability in corporate leadership. As the dust settles on her tenure at the Disco, the episode prompts a broader reflection on the integrity and credibility expected from individuals entrusted with critical roles in the business landscape.

Credit: www.signalng.com

 

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The unusual billionaire: Meet Abdulmunaf Sarina with 6 air planes, 2 Boeing 747, 50 petrol stations, 16 daughters

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Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina Born in Sarina Town, Kano State, on January 7, 1958, Alhaji (DR.) Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina pursued business after

—He owns 1 famous university in Kano. (Azman University, Kano).

– He has 16 daughters.

Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina Born in Sarina Town, Kano State, on January 7, 1958, Alhaji (DR.) Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina pursued business after his primary education, diverging from his elder siblings’ academic paths.

His entrepreneurial journey began with small-scale trading and eventually led to his involvement in the family’s transport business, Sani Brothers Transport Nigeria Limited, which boasts a fleet of over 200 trucks.

In 1990, he expanded into the oil and gas sector, starting with a station in Tamburawa, Kano State. His business acumen led to the growth of this venture, resulting in more than 55 stations nationwide and the establishment of Azman Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited in 2007. His strategic investments included acquiring a tank farm in Calabar with a significant storage capacity.

Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina Born in Sarina Town, Kano State, on January 7, 1958, Alhaji (DR.) Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina pursued business after

His business interests diversified further with the founding of Azman Air Services Limited in 2010, aiming to improve air travel in Nigeria. The airline, which he owns entirely, began operations in 2014 and has since expanded its fleet, including the acquisition of Nigeria’s first Airbus A340-600, used for long-haul flights and humanitarian missions.

Recognizing the importance of agriculture, he founded Azman Fertilizer & Agro Allied Ltd. and Azman Rice Mills and Farm Limited in 2015, focusing on rice cultivation and milling. His commitment to education materialized with the creation of Azman University in Kano, designed to be a technologically advanced institution, which received its provisional license in 2023.

Alhaji Dr. Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina is a distinguished businessman, renowned for his accomplishments and generosity. He holds two honorary doctorates in Business Administration, awarded by Gregory University in Abia State in December 2019, and ESCAE University in Benin in April 2023.

A photo posted by an Instagram page shows billionaire owner of Azman Air, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina with 16 members of his family said to be his daughters.

Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina Born in Sarina Town, Kano State, on January 7, 1958, Alhaji (DR.) Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina pursued business after

 

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Africa’s top 10 billionaires in 2024

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Africa’s top 10 billionaires in 2024

Africa is widely recognized as one of the most challenging environments globally to establish and sustain a billion-dollar fortune.

Global investors remain cautious about its stock exchanges, while businesses grapple with economic strains, inadequate infrastructure, and fluctuating exchange rates.

Despite these challenges, Africa has produced billionaires (about 20) whose collective net worth exceeds $80 billion as of April 2024 according to Forbes estimates. Femi Otedola, for example, has seen his fortune rise to $1.8 billion, reflecting a trend of notable rebounds. However, some argue that entrenched family wealth or close government ties still dominate Africa’s richest ranks.

Take, for instance, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, whose fortune surged by $2.2 billion to reach $16.1 billion between January 22, 2024, and April 12, 2024, despite the naira’s devaluation in 2023 and other adversities.

Undoubtedly, Africa presents challenges for businesses. Nevertheless, the continent’s top 10 billionaires are forging ahead, undeterred by the obstacles they face.

10. Koos Bekker
Networth-$2.7 billion

Koos Bekker is South African billionaire who led Naspers, a publisher in 2001, acquiring a significant stake in the Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings for a reported $34 million—an investment widely regarded as one of the most lucrative venture decisions in history.

By 2019, Naspers restructured its portfolio, allocating assets to two publicly traded entities: entertainment firm MultiChoice Group and Prosus, which houses the valuable Tencent stake. Bekker retired as CEO of Naspers in March 2014, but returned to the company as chairman in April 2015.

9. Mohammed Mansour
Networth-$3.2 billion

Mohamed Mansour leads Mansour Group, which traces its roots back to its establishment by his father, Loutfy, in 1952. Mansour’s influence expanded significantly when he introduced General Motors dealerships to Egypt in 1975, subsequently becoming one of GM’s major distributors globally. Additionally, Mansour Group holds exclusive distribution rights for Caterpillar equipment in Egypt and seven other African nations.

Beyond his business endeavors, Mansour has played a role in Egyptian politics, serving as the country’s minister of transportation from 2006 to 2009 during the tenure of President Hosni Mubarak.

8. Naguib Sawiris
Networth-$3.8 billion

Naguib Sawiris, is from Egypt’s most affluent families. Notably, he engineered a lucrative deal by selling Orascom Telecom to Russian telecom giant VimpelCom (now Veon) in a multibillion-dollar transaction back in 2011. Currently serving as the chairman of Orascom TMT Investments, Sawiris oversees the conglomerate’s diverse portfolio, which includes stakes in various ventures such as an asset manager in Egypt and the renowned Italian internet company, Italiaonline.

Beyond his telecom businesses, Sawiris has diversified his interests into the hospitality sector. Notably, he spearheaded the development of Silversands, a luxurious resort located on the Caribbean island of Grenada.

7. Nathan Kirsh
Networth-$6.8 billion

Nathan “Natie” Kirsh’s wealth is primarily derived from his ownership stake in U.S.-based Jetro Holdings, a company that encompasses popular restaurant supply stores like Jetro Cash and Carry and Restaurant Depot. Holding a commanding 70% share in the business, Kirsh oversees its operations, which revolve around supplying wholesale goods to various establishments, including bodegas, small stores, and restaurants across the United States.

Kirsh’s entrepreneurial journey traces back to his roots in Swaziland, where he laid the foundation for his fortune by establishing a corn milling business in 1958. Building on this initial success, he ventured into wholesale food distribution in apartheid-era South Africa.

6. Mike Adenuga
Networth-$7.0 billion

Mike Adenuga is one of Nigeria’s esteemed entrepreneurs with businesses in telecoms and oil production. Notably, his brainchild, Globacom, is part of the country’s largest mobile phone network. He’s enterprise, Conoil Producing, oversees operations across six oil blocks situated in the Niger Delta, contributing significantly to the nation’s energy sector.

Globacom spearheaded the development of Glo-1, an expansive 6,100-mile-long submarine Internet cable linking Nigeria to the United Kingdom via Ghana and Portugal, thereby enhancing connectivity and digital infrastructure in the region. Additionally, Adenuga holds an ownership stake of 74% in the publicly traded gasoline firm Conoil, further solidifying his influence in Nigeria’s energy landscape.

5. Abdul Samad Rabiu
Networth-$7.0 billion

Abdulsamad Rabiu is the chairman of BUA Group, a leading Nigerian conglomerate renowned for its activities in cement production, sugar refining, and real estate, has been making notable strides in the business landscape. In a significant move in early January 2020, Rabiu orchestrated the merger of his privately-owned Obu Cement company with the publicly listed firm Cement Co. of Northern Nigeria, of which he held controlling interest.

This led to the creation of BUA Cement Plc, a powerhouse entity now trading on the Nigerian stock exchange, with a substantial 98.2% ownership stake. Furthermore, Rabiu holds a 95% ownership share in BUA Foods, a prominent publicly traded food conglomerate.

 

4. Nassef Sawiris
Networth-$8.6 billion

Nassef Sawiris, an investor and Egypt’s richest man, made headlines in December 2020 when he acquired a notable 5% stake in New York-listed firm Madison Square Garden Sports, which boasts ownership of the NBA Knicks and the NHL Rangers teams. Sawiris leads OCI, a prominent nitrogen fertilizer producer with facilities located in Texas and Iowa, trading on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange.

Additionally, Orascom Construction, an engineering and building firm under his purview, is listed on both the Cairo exchange and Nasdaq Dubai. Notably, his portfolio includes a substantial nearly 6% holding in the renowned German sportswear giant Adidas. Sawiris further made waves in the sports world by partnering with Fortress Investment Group’s Wes Edens to acquire the Premier League’s Aston Villa Football Club.

3. Nicky Oppenheimer
Networth-$9.5 billion

Nicky Oppenheimer, 78-year-old inheritor of the De Beers diamond legacy, made headlines in 2012 by selling his 40% stake in the company to mining conglomerate Anglo American for a staggering $5.1 billion in cash. As the third generation to helm De Beers, Oppenheimer orchestrated its transition to private ownership in 2001.

For an impressive 85 years until 2012, the Oppenheimer family wielded significant influence in the global diamond industry. Beyond diamonds, Oppenheimer ventured into aviation, founding Fireblade Aviation in Johannesburg in 2014, specializing in chartered flights.

2. Johan Rupert
Networth $10.5 billion

Johann Rupert is the man behind, lifestyle brand Compagnie Financiere Richemont, a renowned Swiss luxury goods company recognized for brands like Cartier and Montblanc. Established in 1998, Richemont emerged from a spinoff of assets previously held by Rembrandt Group Limited, founded by his father Anton in the 1940s. Rupert holds a 7% stake in Remgro, a diversified investment firm where he also holds the position of chairman. Additionally, he owns 27% of Reinet, an investment holding company based in Luxembourg.

1. Aliko Dangote
Networth-$16.1 billion

Aliko Dangote, the wealthiest individual in Africa for the 13 years, established and currently leads Dangote Cement, the largest cement manufacturer on the continent. Through a holding company, he possesses an 85% stake in the publicly traded Dangote Cement. With a production capacity of 48.6 million metric tons annually, Dangote Cement operates in 10 African countries. In March 2022, Dangote’s fertilizer plant in Nigeria commenced operations after years of development. Additionally, construction of the Dangote Refinery has been completed.

 

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INSIDE LIFE! Powerful Nigerian women who own private jets

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Powerful Nigerian women who own private jets

The needs of a female billionaire are unusually legion: from high-priced art, diamonds and platinum to gold jewels, filthy rich women like their male counterparts, don’t mind splurging a fortune and more on expensive toys.

Add a private island and coastal estate to the mix, and you have a stereotypical staple for the pleasure of the superrich alpha female.

However, if there is one distinctive marker of class or status symbol amongst the Nigerian alpha female, the filthy rich in particular, it is ownership of an expensive private jet.

At the last count, just few women boast ownership of the status-enhancing aircraft and they include: Folorunsho Alakija, the richest black woman in the Africa, Diezani Alison-Madueke, former Nigeria’s Minister for Petroleum, Hajia Bola Shagaya, oil magnate and politician and Daisy Danjuma, wife of Theophilus Danjuma – who bought her the private jet as a gift on her 60th birthday years ago.

Ownership of a private airplane has undeniably, given rise to a culture of acquisition that has become central to the forging of a new personal identity and independent tradition that is tirelessly endorsed by the contemporary alpha female and coveted by the middle-class of this social divide.

More importantly, ownership of the high-end jets makes it guarantees easier access for this influential alpha quartet between their homes and business domains. Besides guaranteeing easier access to important business and political engagements, the private jets enable Alakija, Danjuma, and Shagaya hassle-free travel to and fro their favourite exclusive beach Eldorado and other guilty pleasures that catches their fancy.

Of course, not every alpha female owns an island, but for this extraordinary women, the private jet metamorphoses as an island of sort in the perpetuation of the peculiar indulgences.

But while the alpha women bask in the privileges and elevated status accruable from their ownership of the private planes, it is unclear if they will upgrade anytime soon, like the few privileged corporate titans and high net worth entrepreneurs that have upgraded to bigger planes – leather seats, plush bedrooms and opulent boardrooms – in apparent defiance of economic recession characteristic of several economies of the world.

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