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Personality in Focus

Idahosa Wells Okunbo: Highly Skilled Entrepreneur, Philanthropist

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By Eric Elezuo

The mark of greatness lies in the ability to point at a direction, and say this is the number of lives I have touched, impacted and given a new lease of hope. However, it is only a handful of the men of means who qualify to be dressed in this garb, and the person of Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbor, popularly known as Hosa, is the first out of a few to be so classified.

Hosa’s philanthropy speaks loud and volumes, and has become a reference point in admonition and encouragement.

Born on January 7, 1958 in Benin City, Hosa, a business magnate, investor, philanthropist and trained commercial pilot of repute, is a proud product of the Reverend Robert Amos Okunbo family, who himself is a clergyman, teacher and community leader.

Okunbo started his path to a glorious career when he enrolled at the Government Primary School in Benin City, old Bendel State, now Edo State for his elementary education. He proceeded to Federal Government College, Warri, in 1971, where he sat for West African Senior School Certificate Examination, and came out in flying colours.

As a scholar who was not confused as regards the path he wishes to follow, made his choice early in life to become a pilot. As a result, he pursued his desire by studying at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Centre, Zaria, Kaduna State, and became a professional commercial pilot at the age of 21. He also attended ACME School of Aeronautics, Fort Worth Texas in 1983, where he obtained an Airline Transport Pilot License.

At the age of 25 in 1983, Okunbo was made a captain. He practiced his trade as a flight captain with Intercontinental Airlines for about two years, before moving over to Okada Airlines for where he served with honours for another three years.

In 1988 and at the age of 30, he retired from piloting having recorded over a whopping 7,000 hours of flight time, and ventured into private business, a calling that further launched him into the cycle of philanthropy.

With his hands in many pies, Okunbo established Hoslyn Ventures Nigeria Ltd., a company that was involved with procurement in the Nigerian petroleum sector. Hoslyn Ventures was an indigenous oilfield service company that was responsible for the Early Production Facility (EPF) project at Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) between 1998 and 2001.
More so, he had served in many capacities including chairmanship or directorial position on numerous company boards in Nigeria in various business sectors such as the agro-allied, petroleum, telecommunications, power, real estate and banking industries.

A man of diverse intelligence, who has investments in many businesses, Okunbo founded the following companies, which he also sits atop as chairman:

Wells San-Carlos Agro Farms Ltd., which, in March 2016, unveiled a $750 million, 9,000-hectare (22,000-acre) farm intended to “create 85,000 jobs in Edo State”.
Ocean Marine Security Ltd., an offshore asset-protection company, rendering services to major oil companies in Nigeria, including NNPC. Wikipedia reported that the company recently completed the building of the 46-kilometre (29 mi) Escravos–Warri Crude Pipeline, which was inaugurated by Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu.
PPP Fluid Mechanics Ltd., a marine and logistics company
Westminster Security Solutions Nigeria Ltd, a franchise of Westminster Group Plc UK, of which he is major shareholder.
Wells Group of companies, which include Wells Dredging Ltd., Wells Property Development Company Ltd., and Wells Entertainments Ltd. – through which Okunbo financed the movie Black November.
OMS Tankers Ltd., which owns Nigeria’s first marine tankers.
Hoslyn Habitat Ltd., which is a design, construction and landscaping company.
Gyro Air Ltd., operators of charter flight operations.
Okunbo is a director in the following companies:
Joint Marine Environ Guard Ltd. (JMEG)
Secure Anchorage Area Ltd. (SAA)
Digisteel Integrated Services Ltd.
Phil Nugent Nigeria Ltd.
Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Ltd. (IEDM), which is a core investor in Ibadan and Yola Electricity Distribution Companies.

Okunbo is member of the Board of Directors of NatCom Development and Investment Ltd., which is the holding company Nigerian telecommunications giant NTEL.

In 2012, Okunbo received the Africa Titans Award from the Congress of the United States in collaboration with the African Society Summit, in recognition of “strides on behalf of Africa in the international arena.” He was honoured for being one of those “who seek to project a new and hopeful light on Africa.”

In November of the same year, the University of Benin conferred him with an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

He was granted the “Worthy Ambassador of Unity Award” as an old student of Federal Government College, Warri in March 2016.

On October 2, 2014, the Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa, gifted Okunbo “with the ‘Traditional Beads’ for being a worthy son of the ancient Kingdom.”

Hosa’s act of philanthropy is congenital as he is known to have expressed his benevolence to as many that has come his way. Testimonies have it that no one who comes in contact with him goes back without a smile on his face. He is known to be nice to a fault, and has seen quite a good number of his constituents through academics or profitable empowerment.

He is a very good man.

Okunbo is married and is blessed with numerous healthy and prolific children

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Personality in Focus

Adesola Adeduntan: Award Winning Financial Game Changer

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By Eric Elezuo

Only a few persons would believe that the Managing Director of FirstBank Nigeria Plc, the indefatigable Dr. Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan is just 50 years old. He was 50 on May 7, 2019. This is as a result of the achievements that have trailed his young life. Just a few days ago, Dr. Adeduntan bagged an international award as Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by Cranfield School of Management, United Kingdom. This is even as FirstBank was named biggest mover of 2019 according to KPMG Report within the same period. It is not incorrect to say that Adeduntan is a creative achiever.

Born Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan on May 7, 1969, in Ibadan, Oyo State, the banker started his early education at Ibadan Municipal Government Primary School (IMG), Adeoyo between1975 and 1981, for his primary education before proceeding to Urban Day Grammar School, Old Ife Road, Ibadan, where he had his secondary schooling. His excellent to duties created a space for him to become the Deputy Senior Prefect in his final year in 1986.

In the same year, he was admitted to the University of Ibadan in to study Veterinary Medicine, and qualified in 1992 as a Veterinary Surgeon, a profession he hardly practiced before switching over to financial management.

Consequently, in 1994 he joined Afribank (Nig) Plc., and was posted to the Ibadan Main Branch as a graduate trainee. He spent 18 months there learning the ropes, and working in various areas of banking operations including cash management, clearing, credit risk management, and foreign operations.

Between September 1995 and May 2002 Adeduntan worked with Arthur Andersen Nigeria, rising to become manager in the firm’s financial services industry business, leveraging on the 18 months mentorship he received at Afribank. In this role, he led and managed the statutory audit of a number of leading Nigerian banks.

In August 2000, he served as an instructor at the Andersen World-Wide Induction training for new hires in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He also served as the lead instructor for the Local Office Basic Accounting Training and Induction course in 1999. It was while he was with Arthur Andersen that qualified as a chartered accountant in 2000.

With more feathers to his cap, Adeduntan moved to the financial services industry in KPMG as a senior manager in June 2002, and served diligently till October 2004 when he bowed out. At KPMG, he co-pioneered the firms’ financial risk management advisory services. He was also a KPMG-accredited Trainer and facilitated several internal training programmes.

When he left KPMG in 2004 to study, he pursued a Master’s degree in Business Administration at the Cranfield School of Management, where he was a British Chevening Scholar. He graduated in September 2005.

Armed with yet another great feather, Adeduntan moved to Citibank Nigeria Limited in 2005 where he became the Senior Vice-President (General Manager) and Chief Financial Officer. He was saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the bank’s financial and product control functions, quality assurance and operational risk management. he was on hand to assist the bank in its recapitalisation during the banking consolidation era.

In October 2007, he called it quits with Citibank, and a month later, pitched tent with the Africa Finance Corporation, as the pioneer Chief Financial Officer and Business Manager.

His achievement at the AFC includes leading the team that secured an A3/P2 investment grade international credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service in March 2014. This made the Africa Finance Corporation the second highest-rated lending financial institution in Africa.

In July 2014, he was appointed an Executive Director/Group Chief Financial Officer of FirstBank, where he was responsible for the bank’s financial control, internal control and enhancement, business performance management, treasury and procurement functions.

On Monday January 4, 2016, Adeduntan succeeded Bisi Onasanya, and assumed duty as Managing Director of FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, and its commercial banking subsidiaries including FBN UK, FBN Ghana, FBN DRC, FBN Guinea, FBN Gambia, FBN Mortgages, FBN Senegal, FBN Sierra Leone and First Pension Custodian Limited.

He coordinated his functions so professionally that on December 7, 2016, he was awarded the 2016 Banker of The Year award by the Leadership Newspaper “For refusing to ‘go with the flow’ even when the temptation was high and the reward substantial, and for reminding his colleagues that banking is nothing without integrity”.

A man of many beneficial and influential parts, Adeduntan currently sits on the board of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, and as a non-executive director on the boards of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), FBN Bank U.K. Ltd., Universal Payments Plc., and FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

In just four years at the helm of affairs at FirstBank, Adeduntan has turned the tables and rewrote banking narratives, delving into all aspects of human endeavour to see to the development of SMEs, youth entrepreneuship among many others.

In his speech at the kick off of FirstBank’s celebration of 125 years of unbroken business operations, Adeduntan hinted as follows:

“From that very modest beginning in 1894, First Bank has traversed an incredible journey of delivering impeccable financial services to its customers and supporting the building of the modern-day Nigeria and indeed, West Africa, including our early pivotal role as the monetary and fiscal policy regulator for the entire West African region,” he said.

“As a long-standing institution, which even predates Nigeria as a unified entity, FirstBank is entrenched in the nation’s development; woven into the very fabric of society, with our involvement in every stage of national growth and development.

“At the amalgamation, independence and through the seasons ever after, we have been here marching hand-in-hand with you and our dear nation. We have enabled financial, technological, industrial and societal advancements, achieving very many firsts over time.”

Adeduntan has seen to the sponsorship of prolific enterprises to guide the youths on the right path. These include the African Fashion Week which took place at the Oriental Hotel and Youth Empowerment Seminar at the Harbour Point Event Centre. These shows among a whole lot have a lot of testimonials following.

Adesola is married to Mrs. Adenike Adeduntan and together they have three wonderful children.

For your ability to change the game, and make positive impact in the economic advancement of Nigeria, and very many other countries, especially where FirstBank domiciles, you are our Boss of the Week.

Congratulations sir!

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Personality in Focus

Gbongan Celebrates Joel Oyeyinka Popoola’s Creative, Technological Ingenuity

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As many that knows the agrarian town of Gbongan will not be surprised that yet another wonder in the person of Joel Oyeyinka Popoola, Founder, Digital Democracy Project and Rate Your Leader app, has been produced for the good of humanity. This is because Gbongan is famous, you can say notorious if you like, for producing egg heads who have stood the test of time in terms of proficiency, research, achievement, academic prowess and inventions.
Gbongan is a small community in southwestern part of Nigeria, Osun State to be specific. But as small as Gbongan is in size, she has produced more academics than any community in her category.
As a convention, Gbongan is in the business of crowning only the academically best as paramount rulers, and it is on record that its obas have had a minimum qualification of Ph.D. From the days of late Oba (Dr.) Solomon Babayemi Akinrinola 1, who was an Associate Professor of African Studies, University of Ibadan to the present Kabiyesi,  Oba (Dr.) Adetoyese Oyeniyi Odugbemi 1, an Agronomist, only the best has sat on the throne. The town could as well be described as a harbinger of Professors and Doctors of Philosophy. This has been since the 1950s.
Among prolific academics produced by the great Gbongan community include: Late Dr. Akinrefon, a Molecular Biologist;  Late Prof. Timothy Adegboye, a Professor of land Economics,  who during his life time was always referred to as the Professor of Professors; and at a point, was christened ‘Baale UI’ because he was the oldest in the University Community; this was the man who founded the Agric Economics Department of the then University of Ife,  now Obafemi Awolowo university. There was also Late Dr. Akintola, a renowned Consultant to WHO, UNICEF, FAO; Prof Akinwumi, former Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, University of Ibadan; Prof Dupe Makinde, Prof. Alani Adeagbo Amusan, Prof Ojewole, the first Professor and Dean of Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University; Prof Ilori; Prof Lekan Dairo; Prof Lekan Oyeleye, former Dean Faculty of Arts University of Ibadan; Prof Seye Bolaji; Prof Wale Ajayi; Prof Ademola Olaniran; Prof O.B. Ajayi; Prof Clement Adebooye, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics Osun State University; Prof Tunde Makanju; Prof. Ekanade, among many others.
Gbongan’s prowess is not only in the academia, the town is also home to jurists and legal luminaries such as Justice Oyegoke Bolarinwa Babalakin (Honorable Justice of the Supreme Court, Federal Republic of Nigeria); Late Barrister Adedeji; Dr. Olawale Babalakin SAN, Barrister Funminiyi Oyebamiji Agbaye and Barrister Dapo Adekunle.
In the field of Medicine, Banking, Insurance, Media and Security, Gbongan boasts of citizens.
The rave of the moment in the person of an accomplished Techpreneur, Joel Oyeyinka Popoola, who had been described by Sunderland Echo as ‘the City man’, is a proud product of Gbongan.
Popoola is a United Kingdom citizen, who has developed an App to solve one of the challenges confronting democracy, even in developed democracies like the United kingdom. The App is meant to bridge the gap between elected leaders and the electorate, and at the same time eliminate the hassles of physical town hall meetings. He has put in place electronic platform through which Electors and Electorates will constantly interact to discuss matters relating to their constituencies in an abuse-free manner and bringing a win-win situation to both the leaders and the subjects.
The rate of acceptability of the app in the United Kingdom has been encouraging, making Yinka, as he is fondly called the cynosure of all eyes among all levels of communities and nationalities in the country. In all these, Yinka is always quick to make reference to his country, Nigeria; and his town of birth, Gbongan as opportunity presents itself.
His Rate Your Leader App has solved the problem of accountability among political office among holders. And will open channels of interactions between the elected public office holders and the electorates thereby mitigating challenges associated with lack of communication between a particular representative and his/her constituents, fake news and fabrications or half truths, which are known to be the bane of democracy.
With constant interactions between the elected officials and people of their constituencies, needs are therefore prioritised and even development across borders ensured.
Popoola, in a chat with Score Express Magazine, said that “the irony is that the technology is now in place to allow both the electors and elected to connect at the touch of a button but that technology all too often falls into modern mob rule. Whether it’s Brexit in Britain, Trump in America or Jeune Gillets in France, voters no longer believe that politicians represent them– it’s time to take back democracy with technology.” .
Popoola stated further, “Across the world, democracy is changing forever, and Nigeria would not be an exception. Voters expect to have more influence on politics than our traditional representative democracy can necessarily accommodate. As a result, voters are either defecting to anti-establishment parties or becoming more and more attracted by direct action.”
He also averred, “People’s political priorities and motivations are becoming more and more disparate and unpredictable, and politicians are clearly failing to ascertain what voters really want.”
The Publisher of the Score Express Magazine, who also is a childhood friend of Popoola, called on all Gbongan citizens, home and abroad, to rise and honour one of their own, Joel Popoola, as he arrives Nigeria this January to launch the App.
“if Ijebu people could honour Anthony Joshua, being their own, then Gbongan people wouldn’t fail in doing more,” he said.

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Personality in Focus

Ex-Local Government Chairmen Confers Grand Patron Honours on Prince Ned Nwoko

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The body of Ex-Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria, has decorated prolific businessman, Prince Ned Nwoko as its Grand Patron at a well attended event, which took place at the prestigious Mount Nwoko, Idumuje-Ugboko, Delta State.

Prince Nwoko, who has served Nigeria in various categories including as a member of the House of Representatives and a senator, is the husband of delectable actress, Regina Daniels.

The honour, which has created a jolly good mood in the billionaire business man, is not unconnected to his philanthropic gestures toward humanity.

Sources revealed that one of the major reasons for recognizing the Prince from Delta State was his singular act of assisting the 774 local governments in Nigeria to pursue and recover over deductions (Paris club funds) from foreign lenders and governments, which benefited the three tiers of government.

The source further added that all the former Chairmen from across states and political parties were on hand to honour the iconic Philanthropist and grassroot politician.

Prince Ned Munir Nwoko is a lawyer, politician and businessman. The Nigerian billionaire has been involved in politics for a very long time.

Ned was a member of the Nigerian House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003. He represented Aniocha North-South and Oshimili North-South in Delta State, Nigeria .

Prince Ned Munir Nwoko, who is popularly known as Ned Nwoko was born on December 21, 1960 into the Royal Palace of Idumuje-Ugboko in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria. The 59-year-old dark skinned man is a Muslim, and has been described in the media as a ‘sweet old wine that young Nollywood actress, Regina Daniels, is sipping happily’.

He currently has six wives including Regina Daniels, the sixth, who is excited about it. Their marriage caused an uproar in the media as result of their age difference, but the man of wealth and the young movie goddess were basically in love.

Recently, at the convocation of the University of Petroleum Resources, Efunrun, Warri, Delta State, he gifted 20 first class students with N20 million to kickstart their career. He also gave out 5million naira to 50 Instagram followers as start up.

He also singlehandedly bankrolled the blockbuster iconic movie THE ENEMY I KNOW to the tune of N180million. He’s a lover of sports and education who find fulfillment in doing good.

Hear him: “I feel great doing good and creating opportunities for others”

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