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Personality in Focus

John Okelue Okpoli: Pacesetter, Pathfinder and Pioneering Expert

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By Eric Elezuo

The ultimate measure of a man, they say, is not where he stands in the moment of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy. The willing man is an achiever in whatever situation he finds himself. He don’t just achieve, he creates or rather pioneers a million ways to getting things done. There are however, very few men in the universe, who have worked extremely hard to create opportunities, even from nothing, carved out veritable future for not only themselves but also for generations to come. One of such men is Delta born finance and asset management guru, Okelue John Okpoli.

Fondly called The Pioneer, John Okpoli, who is reputed to have pioneered almost everything he is involved in today ranging from academics, career, family, associations and many more, was born into the family of Dr. (Sir) Felix and Lady Dorothy Uzor Okpoli on October 6, 1978.

He started at a very young age to exhibited the featues and qualities of a gifted child, becoming a pathfinder and pace setter for his mates, contemporaries and collegues both on the home and academic fronts. His leadership abilities threw themselves to the fore, and could not be extinguished as he nurtured it step by step through to the adult he is today.

Young John kicked off his academic journey very early in life when at the age of four, he enrolled at Delta Steel Primary School, Owvian Aladja Delta State in 1982. But owing to geographical relocation because his father was a civil servant, he continued and concluded his elementary education at Iyobosa Primary School, Benin City in 1988, and obtained his First School Leaving Certificate.

John started his secondary education at Greater Tomorrow Secondary School, Benin City in 1989, but moved to Lagos thereafter and attended Ikeja High School, Ikeja where he concluded his seconadary i education in 1994. He was at the end of the day, rewarded with the prestigious West African School Certificate as he ‘cleared’ his papers in a single sitting, and with notable grades.

His exploits while at Greater Tomorrow Secondary School Benin City created a leverage for him to become a member of the Interim Executive committee of the 1994 set later in life

In 1996, John Okpoli was admitted into the University of Benin with the 1995/96 set to study Mathematics and Economics. He graduated with B.Sc honours in 2000 as a high flyer.

Being a goal getter with unquenchable zeal to acquire and sustain, and one whose focus and attention to details is second to none, Okpoli undertook a Special Executive MBA Programme at the Metropolitan School Of Business and Management in 2013. He knew what the future was going to throw at him, and he was prepared.

Highly equipped to face the harsh business environment, Okpoli began turning things around, and practically became a builder, an apostle of some sort, creating firsts and pioneering strong financial business ventures, which have stood the test of time, and are still flourishing till date. In fact, Okpoli has the proverbial Midas touch to make things happen and turn anything to gold.

As the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fundvine Asset Management Ltd, Okpoli singlehanded pioneered the setting up of all the company’s subsidiaries. He didn’t stop there. When the cruise boat of job relocation took him to AT&A as the Chief Operating Officer, Okpoli again brought his wealth of experience to bear, creating new vistas and breaking barriers. It is not by accident that the firm is today a force to reckon with.

The pioneering achiever went ahead to work with Sasware, a Signal Alliance agency as Head of Operations, and his story has bordered on performance, capacity building and expansion. He is a go-getter in its simplest term.

It is worthy of note that under his watch, Fundvine Hathaway Asset Management Ltd, rebranded and rolled out new enticing products.

Hear him: “I think I owe everything that has happened to me, and still going to happen to me to God. He has been more than kind to me, releasing in me the right words and actions at the right time.

“My success stories of pioneering ability, expansionist approach and general achievements, have remained legendary, and I hardly fail. This is the zeal and call I take to any establishment I find myself for the service of mankind.”

Among many other pioneering activities of John include but not limited to being among the pioneer set of Mathematics and Economics department of the University of Benin. He went ahead to become the pioneer president or leader of distinct associations while on campus, including Project committee, UNIBEN Mathematics Class of 99 and Emerging Leaders Network (An Intiative Of Centre Of Leadership).

A very humble person, Okpoli gives credit to God for his ‘little’ efforts so far, and to his father, Felix Okpoli, who retired as a zonal General Manager with the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA). The senior Okpoli was the first product of Electrical/Electronic Engineering from Ubulu Uku in Delta State.

In the same vein, his maternal grand father Reverend S. I. Nwabuoku was the pioneer/first Anglican priest in the Anioma part of Delta State just as his uncle, Ven. (Dr) I. E. Nwabuoku was the pioneer Chief Medical Director, University of Benin Medical Centre and Vicar General, Anglican Diocese, Benin City.

Basically, pioneering ability runs in the family. It is left to the imagination what a person of John Okpoli’s Calibre can do to an establishment or best still, a political institution. He is truly an asset; a much sought after one for that matter.

Okpoli, among many secular and formal endowments, is blessed with so many professional qualifications such as:

– Project Management Institute U.K 2011

– Nigerian Institute Of Management 2002

– Institute Of Credit Administration 2004

– Institute Of Cost Management 2002

– Economics Institute 2004

He may be a man about town, hovering from one boardroom to another, yet he is an accomplished family; a beloved and cherish husband to his beautiful wife, Oberhi Mary Okpoli, a prolific lawyer and Head of Chambers of Prince M.P Ohwovoriole (SAN) in Lagos.

Between John and Oberhi are wonderful children, who are steadily following the greater heights footsteps of their parents.

Congratulations John, you deserve our personality in focus honours

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Personality in Focus

Meet Yemisi Edun, FCMB’S New Acting MD

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The management of First City Monument Bank has appointed Yemisi Edun as its acting managing director.

Mrs Edun, holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and a Master’s degree in International Accounting and Finance from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

She is also a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Mrs Edun began her career with Akintola Williams Deloitte in 1987 with focus on corporate finance activities and audit of banks and other financial institutions.

She joined FCMB in 2000 as Divisional Head of Internal Audit and Control before assuming the role of Chief Financial Officer of the bank.

The acting MD is also an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers and an Associate Member of the Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Member of Information Systems Audit and Control, U.S.A. and a Certified Information Systems Auditor.

The decision to appoint Edun acting MD came amidst the scandal involving the managing director of the bank, Adam Nuru.

Mr Nuru proceeded on leave earlier in the week to enable the bank to investigate the allegations against him.

The bank has been in the eye of the storm lately when allegations of unprofessional romantic affair were leveled against Mr Nuru.

It was reported that over 1900 people signed a petition asking the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sack the Mr Nuru.

The petition alleged that the bank MD was responsible for the demise of a staffer, Tunde Thomas.

Mr Thomas was said to have died of depression on December 16, 2020.

According to the petition, the FCMB MD allegedly had an affair with Moyo Thomas, who was the deceased’s wife, resulting in two children.

It alleged that Moyo had informed her husband that she was leaving Nigeria for the United States with the kids only to call him upon arrival that the children do not belong to him.

The petition claimed the news initially caused Mr Thomas to have a stroke but he later recovered and thereafter met another lady whom he planned to marry.

Mr Thomas was, however, said to have suffered a cardiac arrest after returning from work about two days before his introduction to his already pregnant girlfriend.

On Tuesday, FCMB called on the public to exercise caution as it looks into the allegations.

In a Twitter post Wednesday night however, the bank said Mrs Edun has only been appointed in acting capacity, “and that she has not been made the substantive managing director”.

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Personality in Focus

Online Security Publishers Honour ‘Mama Diaspora’ for Selfless Service to Humanity

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Her Royal Highness Queen Mother Amina Temitope Ajayi F.I.I.M, Chairman/CEO Silicon Valley Nigerian Economic Development (SV-NED) Inc., fondly called, Mama Diaspora was recently honoured at the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP) Dinner and Awards 2020, held at the NERDC Conference Centre, Alausa-Ikeja, Lagos, as the NAOSNP Lifetime Achievement in Humanitarian and Security Award.

Chief Mrs. Temitope Ajayi’s selfless commitment to the welfare of humanity – both at home and in the Diaspora cannot be overemphasized. It was in appreciation of her social entrepreneurship and community activism that Google ranked her as the “third most powerful person” in the Country. The queen mother, a leading advocate of women and youth empowerment, has, in the past two months, empowered over 300 Nigerian youths, and still counting, many of who participated in the 12-day October nationwide protests tagged #EndSARS (#EndSARS is a decentralised social movement, and series of mass protests against police brutality in Nigeria. The slogan calls for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a notorious unit of the Nigerian Police with a long record of abuses), including men and women, with interest-free loans and other materials, to be self-dependent with interest-free loans.

The Queen Mother has restated her commitment to continue empowering and motivating the youths whom she described as bastion of strength and hope for the Nigerian economy.

“Winning this award tells me that people are watching and appreciating what I’m doing. The best thing for me is to keep helping people in every way I can, and I’m sure the award will help more people to come and support the Nigerian Young Adults to do greater work and make Nigeria Proud” she said.

NAOSNP through her President, Comrade Samson Oki believe that as a Community Activist who has always been talking about women and youth empowerment, Mama Diaspora should be publicly recognised for her outstanding humanitarian contribution to humanity.

“She has demonstrated great courage and the power to inspire people, especially the Nigerian Youths to be entrepreneurs, have the ability to lead and possess incredible integrity to stand out in what they do” he said.

The US-based Nigerian business consultant who is an Accountant, Social Entrepreneur and an ardent community activist, was the former President of All Nigerian American Congress (ANAC). Her efforts and continued advocacy on the Nigerian Diaspora issues earned her in the moniker Mama Diaspora, an iconic inspiration of hope and love.

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Personality in Focus

Taste is My Unique Selling Point, Says Tola Animashaun, King of Finger Food

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Popularly called Tola Guinea Fowl, Atolagbe Animashaun has distinguished himself in the burgeoning food industry in Nigeria. Whether at home, office or in social functions, food must be eaten. Having carved a niche in the finger food sector in the past 21 years, Tola now calls himself ‘the king of finger food.’

The CEO of Tola Guinea Fowl Ventures stated ‘our business covers guinea fowl, chicken and turkey processing. We also make asun, barbecue, and other products from these poultry birds. I can say that in the past 21 years, God has put fruit to our efforts.’

On the origin of his business, ‘I was not born into the business. I got to know about it having observed my brother who was into the business. He is not really doing the business now but I have moved forward with the business. This is how guinea fowl has become a big business for me.’

The finger food merchant continued: ‘In this business, I always have the mindset that what I cannot eat, I must not give it to others. And this guides me to give superior product quality for each and every one of our orders.’

‘Our unique selling point is the taste. There will always be the unique difference of taste when finger foods come from our brand. This is what distinguish us from the rest.’

‘Those paying us money value us, we must also value them in return. So I ensure that I monitor every stage of the processing. Sometimes I do it myself. I do not say I am the CEO. Product quality is vital and I am so glad that we are receiving commendation from the creme de la creme in the society.’

On ensuring durability of the perishable product, Mr. Animashaun noted:
‘Depending on the distance of our orders, the method of preservation we use also vary. This is so that we can maintain the freshness of the product. We roast some to dryness to lose oil content so there won’t be occasion for rottenness even after 10-15 days. We freeze some products and place ice blocks on them so that it can maintain freshness and taste.’

The agripreneur who is full of gratitude for the clients shared: ‘I want to say thank you to all our clients who patronize us within and abroad the shores of Nigeria. We are online through our website and social media and we deliver in time. This has made us to enjoy word of mouth advertising from our clients which gladdens my heart.’

‘It is their satisfaction that has brought the recognition of the NAOSNP award as the ‘Finger Food Brand Company of the year’ which I cherish so much. I am also praying to attain greater heights and also be able to establish International branches.’

He advised youths to get involved in productive activity. ‘It is not like there is no job but some don’t want to learn or invest time and energy. Many of my customers from 20 years ago are still with me today. That’s the reward of hard work. I am very excited that I am into this business. I was not forced into it. It is my passion and I am enjoying the result of dedication to my passion. I have married, have children, built house, bought cars from this business. It’s a great thing and I thank God.’

‘I also advise youths to use this time well. I am still youthful, it is better for me to use it for my business. My wife understands this. My children know too. So they have to give me the necessary support. When I get customers’ orders I have to set out. I am very ready like a soldier, my business is 24-hour service-oriented’, he concluded.

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