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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

Ubani Celebrates Birthday, Appreciates God’s Faithfulness

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Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Developmental Law, NBA-SPIDEL, Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani is a year older today (July 27) and the Human Rights lawyer fondly called MOU by friends and well-wishers is using the occasion to celebrate God faithfulness.

Reflecting on his life on earth, Ubani said he is particularly grateful to God who has stood by him throughout the high and low moments of his life.

He said: “July 27 every year is always an opportunity for me to reflect on how God has stood by me throughout my low and high moments. This year is not an exception. God has been my pillar and without him, I am nobody. What you see in my today and describe as success could not have been possible without God’s mercy and faithfulness.

“Besides God, my family has also been very supportive. The love of my wife and children is unquantifiable and has spurred me to be the success story I am today. Nigerians have also been kind to me and I appreciate every one of them. I celebrate everyone who has been a part of my life.”

Born to a humble family in Awomukwu Village in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State, Ubani has risen from a young ambitious village boy to become a successful lawyer, an opinion moulder and one of the few respected voices on national issues in the country.

Not only has he excelled in law practice, Ubani has become an unrepentant philanthropist and an advocate of human and peoples’ rights in Nigeria and beyond. Just recently, Ubani won the hearts of Nigerians when he dragged the Federal Government to court over mandatory COVID-19 vaccine and twitter ban.

Ubani’s quest to impact humanity started way back in 2012 when contested and won the chairmanship position in the ever vibrant Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch and took the branch to the level that no previous or those after him had reached.

His leadership quality and friendship revived the divided branch and made it a very united branch that its voice was feared and respected nationally during his tenure. It was therefore very easy for him when he aspired to the position of the vice presidency at the national level.

He was adopted by the Eastern Bar Forum of lawyers in which he is a member and returned unopposed at the national election of the association that took place in 2016 and became elected with the highest vote even more than that of the president of the Association, an indication of his popularity within the legal circle.

Due to the feat he achieved during his tenure as a second vice-president, Ubani was elected as chairman of NBA-SPIDEL to revive the session which was almost in comatose. Since mounting the leadership of NBA-SPIDEL, the Section has become a reference point in the fight to enshrine rule of law and hold the government to account.

His act of philanthropy includes the saving of the life of Baby Somaya who had a successful heart surgery in India and came back to Nigeria to the waiting arm of MTN and Praise, a musician who collaborated with MTN to donate the sum of 10 million Naira to the baby. The baby is today a landlady and living a normal life.

He also brought to limelight a lady who worked at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos as a cleaner and returned the sum of 12 million lost money to the owner. That singular act of honesty attracted Dr Ubani and his Foundation, Onyekachi Ubani Foundation and they swung into action and got the lady introduced to Nigeria as the face of a true and honest Nigerian through the mainstream and social media.

The reward to the lady came in torrents: awards, money gifts, employment opportunities and handshakes with the high and mighty in Nigeria. In fact, that promotion of her virtue brought her a husband subsequently She is happily married to her heartthrob. Recently she was given a house and several gifts by the Vice President of the country His Excellency, Prof Yemi Osibajo SAN.

Dr. Ubani through his law firm has rendered pro bono services and has also helped many aggrieved Nigerians to get justice.

The plethora of awards that adorn the walls of Ubani’s office and home are true attestation that the labour of this indefatigable humanitarian has not escaped the watchful attention of many credible local and international organizations.

Ubani is married to Lady Faustina and is blessed with four lovely children, one of whom is already following his step as a vibrant legal practitioner. His second son is an Engineer graduate of the prestigious Covenant University.

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Personality in Focus

Gbenga Adeyinka Advises NDLEA to Arrest, Jail Celebrity Drug Abusers

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Known for his brutal forthrightness when he is not joking for money, star comedian Gbenga Adeyinka has told representatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in no uncertain terms that the fastest way to deter celebrities from misleading young Nigerian youths into drug abuse on social media is to arrest and jail them once they have evidence.

The very successful comedy merchant was speaking Friday, July 15 in Ikeja, Lagos venue of an NDLEA Celebrity Drug-Free Club confab occasioned by the NDLEA in collaboration with wellness firm, HealthGarde International as sponsor, to mark the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2022.

The confab, an initiative of the Wilson Ighodalo-led NDLEA Celebrity Drug-Free Club, was a rallying point to address drug abuse challenges, especially among young Nigerians and to explore advocacy among celebrities through sensitization and enlightenment of the public to fight the growing menace.

Speaking on behalf of an array of entertainment stars, Adeyinka pointed out that the entertainment industry has a lot to do in terms of advocacy, especially among young Nigerians. He said, “NDLEA should arrest, prosecute and jail celebrities that use and abuse hard drugs, especially on social media because those are the areas where bad behaviour is becoming endemic.”

Adeyinka impressed the audience when he said, “There are a lot of us (celebrities) who are doing well and who don’t use hard drugs at all. I speak for myself, Alibaba, Kofi and a host of others. If NDLEA is serious about winning this fight against drug abuse, then they must arrest and jail erring celebrities who take to social media and show off their drug use habits thus misleading teeming Nigerian youths.”

At the confab tagged: “Best Approaches to Drug Control: Role of Entertainment Industry Practitioners” the NDLEA representative, Asst. General Segun Oke, representing the Chairman, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) explained the importance of educating Nigerians on the dangers of drug abuse.

He said, “One of the strategies of the new management of NDLEA is our all-out War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) to widen public awareness of drug abuse.”

CSP Gbenga Stephen, dressed in his weekend fatigues and representing the Lagos State Commissioner of Police said, “NDLEA is ensuring that drug abuse is curbed to the minimum and the Nigerian Police is also not left out in this effort.”

The National Coordinator, NDLEA Celebrity Drug-Free Club, Wilson Ighodalo offered some facts and figures on how abuse and the drug trade continue to run down the sanity and sobriety of the Nigerian youth.  He said, “Nigeria still remains a key hub of drug trafficking and cannabis remains the most abused drug in our country, and as a nation we must invest massively in health and community intervention amongst other things if we want to win this fight.”

The Deputy Commander, Drug Demand Reduction, NDLEA Lagos State Command, Eziaghighala Chinyerem explained that the prevalence of drug abuse amongst youths increases daily and so does the number of out-of-school children.

Eziaghighala said, “It is even more worrisome that the age of indulgence has come below 10 years with secondary students and primary pupils now doing hard drugs habitually and the growing numbers are alarming.”

The CEO, HealthGarde International, Lovelyn Nneka Nwarueze who also spoke at the confab highlighted the importance of quality drug usage. She advised the public to start caring about their general wellbeing and to always go for drugs made with 100 percent natural products.

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Personality in Focus

Prof Akintoye Fully Committed to Yoruba Self-Determination

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By Kayode Emola YSDM Team

Over the last week, Sahara Reporters have released a number of media items alleging that Prof Banji Akintoye is “secretly” supporting the campaign for Tinubu’s presidency. This is not only untrue and libellous but disruptive and frankly dangerous. The Tinubu Support Group (TSG) must immediately cease associating the erudite Professor of History with the 2023 general elections.

The Yoruba people have, on numerous occasions over the last four years, stated their unequivocal desire to have a country of their own separated from Nigeria. We are on course to fulfil that mandate for the Yoruba people.

Neither Akintoye nor the Yoruba Self-Determination Movement (YSDM) endorses Tinubu, nor any candidate, for any election in Nigeria. We have made our position clear from the start: we do not want anything to do with Nigeria. We will pursue our goal using all available legal instruments in international law.

 

In his message on Omoluka TV, Prof Akintoye refuted all rumours of his involvement with any group supporting politicians. He went on to describe the article by Sahara Reporters as a “shoddy piece of journalism.” Neither Prof Akintoye nor any self-determination group has endorsed any political party. This position remains, and will continue to remain, their stance at this time. In his own words, Prof Akintoye stated that, “all the southern politicians vying for political offices in the Federal level will fail in the coming national elections and will eventually return home.”

The Yoruba Self-determination Movement is a sophisticated movement seeking to liberate the Yoruba people from the shackles of Nigeria. Sahara Reporters should ensure that they do not continue to peddle lies and unfounded stories, bringing the high calling of journalists into disrepute.

Such detractors as are fabricating lies regarding Prof Akintoye and YSDM secretly endorsing the Elite Mobilisation Initiative to support Tinubu should desist with immediate effect.

Our message to the Yoruba people both at home and abroad, and to the Nigerian government, is clear. We want our own separate Yoruba country and we are not backing down. It is not our concern who becomes the president of Nigeria; our sole concern is for the welfare of the Yoruba people.

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