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Glo @ 19: Celebrating Mike Adenuga’s Consistency

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Oladapo Sofowora

 

 

If the story of the revolution of telecommunication in Nigeria is to be scribbled, the name Dr. Mike Agbolade Ishola Adenuga Jnr. would be a recurring decimal. Yes because he is the quintessential game changer who softens the proverbial strong stone with his doggedness, patience, consistency and foresight. At the twilight of the revolution of mobile communication in Nigeria; Government owned and controlled NITEL was controlling the fortunes of Nigerians as regards telephone communication. That time, it was a herculean task to make calls or receive calls as they had a series of complaints of fault here and there. Because of the teeming customers with high demands, NITEl was lagging in providing service that gave some investors in the telecommunication sector the foresight to block the lacuna created by erstwhile NITEL as the Government also wanted a lasting solution to the impending and recurring issues.

On the 19th of January, 2001, the story of the telecommunications industry was going to change for good inside the NICON Hilton Hotel, Abuja at the open bidding for the three GSM licenses conducted by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC. That very day, providence ushered the eloquent but reserved Adenuga through his company, Communications Investment Limited, CIL who emerged victorious as one of the winners of the three slots auctioned by the government alongside the then  Econet Wireless Nigeria Limited now Airtel and Mobile Telecommunications Networks, MTN and M-tel, a state-owned Nigerian Telecommunications Limited who got the fourth slot.

That audacious move for Adenuga was widely applauded because it was the only indigenous company that bid for the license and won it. It was a sentiment many people shared that a Nigerian is going to start up a telecommunication firm. As the move was being celebrated along the length and breadth of the country, Adenuga was already thinking of how to hit the ground running in meeting up the necessary criteria for the bid. He was to pay a non-refundable deposit of $20 million. As this sad reality set in when several multinationals were running helter-skelter to ensure they buy out the bid he won with their heavy financial war chest, a dogged Adenuga his quest for a digital mobile telephone licence spurred him to do what many businessmen would not have thought of. Despite not being able to meet up with the balance for the licence running into millions of dollars, his licence was revoked. Despite the CIL’s financier; BNP Paribas who contacted a bank in the United States to pay the Central Bank of Nigeria the said fee, due to some internal issues the payment didn’t come at the stipulated time which caused a forfeiture of the license as well as the non-refundable $20 million deposit.

A dogged and unperturbed Adenuga indeed moved back like the proverbial ram who during a fight moves back to strike with more firepower. Despite being disappointed at the way the deal went; his dreams still remained the utmost goal as he kept them burning like a wildfire. Instead of the tsunami directed to sink his sailing ship, like a skilled sailor, he sailed against the tides and brought back to life his unquenchable desire to pioneer the first mobile telephone company in Nigeria and African soil. On the 29th of August, 2003, the Ibadan-born Ijebu-Igbo business magnate ignited his dreams and Globacom came into existence. In a bid to show those he met in the business that Globacom is a fresh gust of summer wind, what many of his competitors said was impossible charging subscribers Per Minute on call; Globacom through Adenuga crashed that idea with a ‘per second billing’ plan which was regarded first of its kind in the country as there was a massive exodus of people migrating to Globacom. In his strategy to ensure all Nigerians further feel the new wind blowing, he demystified the myth of indigenous companies always playing second fiddle as he crashed the prices of sim cards. This made his competitors sit tight.

 

As Globalcom would be celebrating its 19th year of existence in the telecommunication business on Monday the 29th of August, the unsung hero Adenuga has remained consistent in his ideas and approach thereby making communication easy for all sundry. Despite not taking credit for the mammoth work he did, history will forever be kind to him for standing tall for Nigeria. Investing heavily in the entertainment industry by sponsoring concerts, soccer tournaments and events has also witnessed a boom in Nigeria’s entertainment and African sports sector. His commitment also allowed our music to gain global recognition through his promotion and showcasing of adverts featuring Nigerian artists on foreign media with their music. The Bull is never relenting in ensuring revolution in the telecommunication business as he is advancing to move to the newest 5G network as a means of revolution in the telecom industry.

 

Oladapo Sofowora Writes From Lagos, Nigeria 

 

 

First Published on The Nation Newspaper

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CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele Unruffled

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The Story of Godwin Emefiele can be likened to the story of a child born with uncommon grace. Every time enemies have tried vehemently tried to cut short his life by firing hot shots targeted at taking his breath; he resurfaces like the proverbial cat with nine lives. Yes, he is a dogged fighter and one who so much believes in giving his all to the betterment of his fatherland. Since his appointment as the Governor of the Central Bank close to a decade ago; he has tried his best to ensure policies that will stabilize the economy by giving preference to Small and Medium Scale Enterprise, and also huge investments in agriculture which is currently fetching the government and the country billions of dollars in return on investment.

 

Despite all the hard work and sleepless nights, he and his team put in motion for the upliftment of the country economically and giving our Naira more power some unscrupulous elements have resorted to blackmail and campaign of calumny in undermining his office and all the work he has invested over the years.

 

Like the proverbial ram in a fight that moves back to bring more firepower; the Banking and Finance graduate from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, has remained firm in proving cynics wrong but not giving into their antics of cyberbullying and all kind of tactics. Instead, he has remained a terror for those who want to plunge Nigeria into recession and financial distress by hoarding a substantial amount of cash which is supposed to be in circulation. This we gathered was his sin that has made many want his head at all costs. After several meetings with his team, he resorted to the Naira redesign which got many tongues wagging as several people in high places lashed the CBN Governor for deliberating trying to scuttle their plans.

 

At a point when he travelled out of the country for medical checkups, his detractors also went on different media campaigns claiming he was wanted by the state security service for some nefarious acts. After the campaign, Emefiele jetted back into the county and was given a warm welcome by his boss President Muhammadu Buhari. This further threw his enemies off balance as they are currently looking for a way to get rid of him. In spite of all these, Emiefele has remained unruffled and unbothered; discharging his duties according to the constitution. He further got many aggravated when he announced days ago that the deadline for the old currency in becoming acceptable won’t change as he urged Nigerians to deposit the old cash in their account or risk the currency becoming expired.

 

Sources say; The former Director at Zenith Bank is not bothered and not giving in to the pressure from all corners as he is committed to ensuring a better Naira and a better economy for Nigeria. “Emefiele is aware of those fueling the mischief around him but trust me, he has the backing of his boss which is to restore the strength of the Naira and strengthen the Economy and also turn Nigeria into a digitalized economy where we would run a cashless society which will ease pressure from currency printing and also put Nigeria on the global pact as a thriving economy that is not reliant of cash. This will open more investment for Fintech companies and other service providers.”

 

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The Benevolent Side of MC Oluomo Musiliu The Media Hardly Talks about

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Oladapo Sofowora

 

For the want of a better description; the erstwhile chairman of the National Union Road Transport Workers Lagos State chapter and now Lagos State Park and Garage Management with the sobriquet MC Musiliu Oluomo Akinsanya is a misunderstood person. More reason many unprintable names have been ascribed to him on and off the media space. Those who are not familiar with him have stereotyped him owning to his background as a ‘task collector’ at the motor park before rising through the rank to attain the post of Chairman of the Lagos State Park and Garage Management. In reality, Oluomo is a super intelligent and brilliant chap who on several occasions has displayed his native intelligence in proffering solutions to issues. While many believed he is not lettered, those close to him averred that his brilliancy and vast knowledge in issues relating to his field, politics, finance and corporate governance will marvel you. He is a man with few words but he is one of the few men who have impacted his immediate environment with his God-given wealth more reason he has thousands of followers who see him as a model and also as a leader with listening ears.

 

Those close to the Oluomo of Oshodi disclosed that; He is a man destined for greatness. He has sowed traits of wizardry from his formative years which helped him climb the ladder of success early in life. As much as he likes to stay away from the media space, his good deeds often find a way to throw him into public consciousness. One thing Oluomo holds in high esteem is Loyalty. He believes as a man, your word should be your bond. Like the popular parlance; the prestige of a man lies in his ability to talk and stand firm with it. While many tried to cast aspersions and make disparaging comments about him he has remained unperturbed. He was given an archetypal outlook with the demeanour of an ‘Agbero’; Oluomo on the other hand does not see nor portray himself in such a manner. He is a cultured and well-grounded cosmopolitan man who is in tune with the latest fashion and style and also with his culture and tradition. His sense of organization, mobilization, leadership qualities and carriage even supersedes those who are lettered. His urbane nature is evident in the structure of the organization he currently heads. Oluomo on the other hand never despised his humble beginning as we gathered that those who were instrumental to his rise to the top, he goes back to show his gratitude.

MC Oluomo

One thing that marvels many is his humility personified nature. He is so gentle that he respects even the children around him. He is a stickler for success more reason anything he ventures into he is open to new ideas which have given him an edge over his rivals. Today, his idea gave birth to the QR code on Lagos Bus recently launched to curb kidnapping and other vices among drivers plying Lagos roads. He also ensured drivers are given good welfare packages as they often give room for the reorientation of task collectors and also bad drug and alcohol abuses by drivers in Lagos state. He also opened a complaint desk for commuters to report any incident of lawlessness by drivers and task collectors. He has also acquired buses for drivers in other to cushion the effect of the dwindling and biting economy in Nigeria.

 

One thing he never jokes about is philanthropy known as Zakat according to the teaching of Islam. As a devoted Muslim, he believes wealth is from God and the lives you touch with your wealth would be counted when everyone returns to meet their creator. That’s why he has been involved in philanthropy and humanitarian causes. He has over the years donated proceeds of his business to charity. It is public knowledge that anyone who cries to his house would definitely return with a smile on his or her face. Those close to him averred that he loathes the sight of anyone in distress; he is always ready to assist. Despite the beautiful thing being done by Oluomo; the media have not been fair to him. Despite the negative media, He is one of the few who loves journalists and media practitioners and he has over the years empowered those close to him. Regardless of the negative press, he has not stopped being a good person and he will continue to do his best to uplift humanity. Over the years he has been involved in paying school fees for out-of-school children running into millions of Naira. He has paid hospital bills for sick and pregnant women, he has empowered widows and also given out cars to many. He has established businesses for people and paid house rent and built houses for several people. A source disclosed that Oluomo was said to have imbibed the traits of giving from his parents that’s why he is being tagged a ‘dangerous giver’.

 

If there is one thing that stands him out, he knows how to keep friendships and build relationships. He believes relationship plays a pivotal role in the development of man. As a politician and a mobilizer, Oluomo is well-loved and respected within the Lagos metropolis and he is also a delight to many artists, actors and praise singers. He has been able to sustain his reign with his open hands and his support for those around him. He is a man who wants those under him to grow wings and soar high. More reason he has many people who love him to a fault and can go to any length just to prove their love and loyalty. Despite the negative media around him, he has continued to blaze the trail in politics, business, human management, and other spheres of life. As much as the media will not portray him as an angel in human form that he is, Oluomo’s name will forever be crested in Gold as one of the most benevolent people the Yoruba will call ‘Eleyinju Aanu’.

 

 

Oladapo Sofowora a Journalist and columnist at The Nation Newspaper Writes From Lagos.

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TRULY, THE NIGERIA CUSTOM SERVICE IS WORKING FOR NIGERIANS

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The Nigerian Customs Service via its Public Relation Unit has sort of rekindled my hope of a better Nigeria. It is also a re-assurance that there will be light at the end of the tunnel for Nigerians with the way and manner the unit swiftly responded and immediately put their hands to the plow until justice was served on a matter I personally reported on the 30th of November 2022.

As a border boy, I am not unfamiliar with the rules and restrictions placed on several business activities in and around the border communities and as a law abiding citizen I try to keep my part of the Nigerian Deal to the best of my abilities even though these restrictions are very inconveniencing for the average border community dweller. But on that faithful Wednesday afternoon, an officer of the Nigerian Customs serving in one of the checkpoints between Idiroko and Owode went above board. This officer had threatened to delay and waste my time, and he did -for no just cause than the fact that I had an altercation with one of his errand boys popularly called CAMP BOYS that are ordinarily not suppose to be on the road whom I queried for hitting on my car with a stick after confirming I had no contraband in my car. The only response I got from the guy after my polite enquiry is to refer to me as being stupid! He repeated the verbal assault, adding who am I? Of course, I told him he must be stupid too for him to have a feel of what he was ditching out on me. Suddenly, the said officer came on the scene, requested to see my custom papers (which was immediately given to him and confirmed genuine) and then he dropped an unguarded statement “I will delay you today”, and thus, the delay started.

After waiting for over 1hour and 30minutes with no end in sight, I decided (out of my frustration) to report this case of intentional delay and inhuman treatment on The Nigerian Customs Service official Facebook Page inbox. I remained there with my friends until few hours later when the “BOSS” of an officer feels fulfilled and Okay to release my papers and car keys. That was after several hours of delay for no just cause. I left the scene frustrated because I had missed my appointment and also cancelled all other engagements for the day. But my main worry as I zoomed off in my devastated state was; will things ever get better for our nation in the area of respecting human rights?

But alas, The Public Relations Unit of the Nigerian Customs Service cleared my doubts! At about 6:48pm of the same day I received this as a response to the message I had earlier sent to their inbox:
”Good afternoon, I have forwarded your case to the appropriate channel. You will be contacted”.

I thought this was some regular face saving message since the message appeared to have been read but I was wrong! By 7:46pm (Just about 1 hour after the response) I heard my phone ringing:
Me: Hello, good evening
Caller: Hi, my name is….a Superintended of Customs…. And I am calling from the headquarters in Abuja, I got your complaints and I want to know if you were able to resolve the matter?
Me: (Surprised and Excited)… Good evening sir sir sir, my name is Julius Oyedokun …. (And then I re-narrated the whole story)
And the Superintended of Customs replied thus: “Please you have to understand the orientation; some people like to do the exact opposite of what they are meant to do. Some thinks that their wearing uniform is an opportunity to molest and victimize people, so I think that’s what some believe the uniform is meant for. And whoever toes that line, I don’t think we must pamper him but we just have to give him a fair hearing.”
Me: (Still surprised and amused… I thought within myself, Wow wawwu… Is this happening in Nigeria or some American Film???)
And within a few seconds the Superintended of Customs linked me up with another Unit of Lagos state, to which he assigned to take up the case and do thorough investigation of the matter with a caveat that “IF” the incident actually happened the way I have narrated, the officer in question should be identified and disciplined accordingly. Fast forward to the second day, I was heading to work when some calls started coming in to ask If this was the same Julius that had an encounter with a particular customs officer yesterday… Infact, I was invited to identify the erring officer via a WhatsApp video call (from their Zonal Office) among all the officers that were on duty on the day of the incident at the check point. All were summoned.

Anyways, long story cut short, I even had to beg on his behalf when I saw the action that were been taken after the officer was identified, scolded and reprimanded appropriately BUT one thing remained with me since the day and that is the fact that a better Nigeria is in the offing.

The takeaway from this encounter is that Nigeria is not unredeemable. Good things are happening in the Nigeria Custom Service particularly from the top echelon. C.G Hammed Ali Reform initiatives is taking shape within the organization. Despite knowing a good number of top officers in the NCS, I decided to go through the official channel to test the efficacy and effectiveness of the unit and how prompt public complaints will be addressed. To say I’m impressed with the handling is an understatement.
Kudos to NCS. Good things takes time. Bad eggs in the NCS should watch their back. Then, other Nigeria institutions should endeavour emulate NCS particularly the Nigeria Police Force.

Thank you Nigeria Customs Service and God bless Nigeria.

Julius Oyedokun writes from [email protected]

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