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Weeks After Release, Saddam Opiee’s New Joint’Omukulu’ ft Nokwazi Retains Number spot

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South African-based Nigerian artiste, Saddam Opiee, returns with “Omukulu” a fusion of Amapiano and Afrobeat, a perfect blend he likes to call “AfroPiano”.
Saddam Opiee lends the professional support of rave making Amapiano female star Nokwazi on “Omukulu”, a decision that’s nothing short of genius.
Omukulu is a certified banger that will cause a frenzy and set dance floors on fire from Lagos to Jozi.

scene Omukulu Video Shoot

Watch out for the official video directed by legendary South African Director, Kyle White.
Description:  The official Video for Saddam Opiee’s new single, “Omukulu feat Nokwazi.
 SADDAM OPIEE – OMUKULU  (OFFICIAL VIDEO) FT NOKWAZI
Please Listen and Enjoy!!!

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Obi Iyiegbu: Hospitality Maestro Driven by Consistency, Hard work and Resilient  

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By: Oladapo Sofowora

 

Born and raised under the roof of modest civil servant parents, Obi Iyiegbu’s parents were core disciplinarians both teachers. Growing under such conditions has helped shape his perception of life most especially enhancing his ability to bring fortune out of every misfortune. Like the Biblical Joseph the Dreamer, the dark husky-voiced cosmopolitan super dandy is typically a man who sees tomorrow and believes in his lofty dreams and aspirations.

After serving as a youth corp member when Nigeria returned back to democratic rule in 1999, Obi envisaged he and many others were going to be absorbed as full-time staff of the National Assembly being the first set of corp members to serve there. Alas, his heart was broken as they were released after their compulsory service to their motherland. His dreams of being a civil servant like his parents did not see the light of the day. He would have fit the job at the National Assembly perfectly having graduated with a second class upper division in Political science from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Super Dandy Obi Iyiebu

He was at a crossroads but going back to his parent’s house in Anambra was never the option. He opted to stay back in Abuja to make ends meet. He started off as a house agent in Abuja and also ran a boutique. With hard work, consistency and resilience he was soon popular as a top choice for those who need to secure a stress-free apartment in Abuja. He secured houses for people and got a commission in return. His breakthrough came when a client he got an apartment for told him to furnish the house to high taste. After caring out that project, the proceeds he made from the contract he used to rent an open space where he and his friends sold beer, palm wine, bush meat and other delicacies. His idea was quite unique as he infused continental and local bar standards together. He enjoyed massive patronage as his joint was a mecca of sort for fun-seekers. He racked in enough funds not until then Minister for FCT Malam Nasir El-Rufai demolished their joint claiming it was not part of the Abuja master plan. It was painful but he needed to move ahead for challenges ahead. As a skilled sailor despite the turbulence and typhoon direct to sink him, he was able to navigate through the heavy tides. He alongside his friend opened another bar called Ibiza. The business boomed as they got triple the amount of patronage they used to get. They redefined the open business with uncommon ideas infusing their knowledge as graduates. He was never ashamed to serve beer to customers where there are plenty of orders. He enjoyed what he was doing with sheer passion.

 

In one of his numerous trips to South Africa, He went to chill with his friends at a spot called Cubana in South Africa. On getting there, he was fascinated by the sartorial elegance and sheer luck that comes with the name Cubana. He decided to adopt the name immediately. He phoned a friend and asked for a name search at the Corporate Affairs Commission. He was told no one has ever registered the name. He immediately registered the name and that was how Cubana came to life.

Man of the Moment Obi Iyiegbu

To flourish in the Nigerian business terrain, you must have the heart of Hercules, the fearlessness of Achilles, the grace of Terpsichore, the memory of Macaulay, and the hide of a rhinoceros. The Society Big boy definitely possesses all the above qualities as he made up his mind to go all out and chase his dreams taking all necessary risk. All his life, he has never delved into any business without seeking partnership. He believes partnership helps business grow quickly so he adopted the partnership model. He called friends and associates who saw his dreams for Cubana. While some faulted his dreams those who believed in him invested their funds. After sowing with tears, God rewarded his hard work with the success story of Cubana Groups as a business conglomerate with an interest in Oil and Gas, Real Estate, Hospitality, Liquor Production, Events and Branding. He is reaping bountifully with a smile on his face.

 

Many of those who questioned the source of his wealth never knew the pain and failure he faced to get to the current position he is today. He loathes media attention no doubt, but his type of business keeps throwing him into the public domain. He is a silent achiever and rather than talk, he prefers his good works and achievement speak volumes of him. As of today, his Cubana Night Club chain is currently the most talked-about fun place for fun-seekers. With its edifice pattern and architectural wonderment; the club resonates the popular city of Las Vegas in the United States of America known for its bright light and other spectacles.

 

When it comes to the Hospitality business, the father of four knows it like the back of his hand. For those students looking to write a thesis in any hospitality-related courses; citing the Night Life generalissimo’s approach to business; gives you an edge. Apart from being the cynosure of all eyes, the witty and highly cerebral businessman is not carried away by appraisals from praise singers. He is a focused man who believes in God’s time for everything. He is not pressured to do anything. He does things within his capacity at any time he wishes to do it.

 

Many wonder how despite his tight business schedules and travel itinerary, he still carves out time for his wife and kids; he is of the opinion that; family time should be held in high esteem. He believes when his home is at peace business will flourish. That’s why he makes every free time with his wife and kids worthwhile. Those close to Okpapaozuora 1 of Oba will agree that he is a generous giver who gives without blinking an eye. He gives like money is running out of fashion. There are several people for who he has built houses, settled for business, given scholarships and lots more but he has never made noise about it. He believes in humanity that he loathes the sight of another human in distress. He is readily available to do everything humanly possible to help. More reason he partnered with his wife Barr. Ebele Iyiegbu on her Kiek Foundation to reach out to the needy; most especially vulnerable children.

Obi Cubana

Those who just heard about him, during his mother’s burial think he just shot into limelight with no deep root or history. Taking a glimpse at his story shows that; he has been around for a while silently doing his thing before his mother’s burial gave him the highest media attention he has ever received all his life. When he was nominated as The Sun Newspaper Hospitality Icon of the year 2020, some raised eyebrows by making disparaging comments. His detractors are quick to forget that with his track record in the hospitality sector with clubs, lounges and hotels littered across the country; he is more than deserving the award. As of today, he is one of the biggest employers of labour in the hospitality sector with over one thousand direct staff and two thousand indirect staff working for him. His business is currently doing well competing with Night clubs across the world. To further extend his business tentacles; he is set to commission his Cubana Hustle & Bustle in the heart of London in 2022.

 

Obi Iyiegbu Receiving Sun Hospitality of the year 2020

A day to the award presentation; The shrewd businessman was hosted and celebrated and awarded by popular Liquor brand Remy Martins alongside his friends. On the day of the Sun award presentation, Obi was glittering like a diamond in the company of his wife, friends, business associate and family members. His table was the center of attraction as many thronged there to pay homage to the gentleman extraordinary. With a warm and welcoming smile on his face, he greeted everyone with an open heart. When it was time for his award; half of the crowd in the hall stood up and escorted him to the stage. This singular gesture opines that; he is indeed a man of the year. It also connotes that; he is loved by many and his giant stride as a cosmopolitan businessman is being appreciated and recognized.

 

For him, the award is a clarion call to do more and also make sure he continues to impact his immediate society positively. With the launch of his wine brand Sageitude and his under construction CASA by Cubana Homes in Lagos and Abuja, it’s a clear indication that Obi is going into the year 2022 with much firepower. For naysayers, Obi remains a moving train that can’t be stopped. He remains God’s project still under construction.

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Society

Double Celebration for Dr. Kennedy Okonkwo  

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When American naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau averred in one of his quotes; ‘What you get by achieving your goal is not important as what you become by achieving them’ the quote aptly captures the reality shrouded around the success story of Kennedy Okonkwo known as Ned Okonkwo on the social scene. During his formative years, the death of his father almost rewrote his journey. The road became rough as it was so cloudy to navigate through the hard times. With determination and the will to be successful, he was able to turn his constraints into success. As of today, he is a major player in the country’s real estate, hospitality, oil and gas sector with a money-spinning business chain worth billions of Naira.

 

Today, the Ojoto Anambra State-born business mogul sits on top as chairman of Nedcomoaks Limited, a property development company with a specialty in real estate development and architectural and civil designs and also Victoria Crest Homes, a housing property that provides affordable housing options to especially the middle class. With his experience, while growing up he has promised his creator that he will never desist from philanthropy which has led him to give back to society in numerous ways. He founded Kennedy Okonkwo Programme For Tech Entrepreneurs, where thousands of youth benefit from him and has also doled out scholarships to brilliant students among other things.

 

On the 12th of October, the Psychology graduate of the University of Ibadan celebrated his 44th birthday in grand style with the launch and unveiling of his new Citadel Views Estate 2021 house design in Eti-osa. The two in one event had in attendance The Elegushi of Ikate, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, who came to officially launch the estate and also laid the foundation. In an Elated mood, the birthday boy also used that opportunity to dance and Give thanks for sparing his life to see yet another year. It was turned to a mini-concert with a performance from Davido, Phyno, Judikay and a host of others partied hard as Nwachinemelu Ojoto treated those in attendance with royalty with an endless circulation of the very best of meals and high-cost liquor.

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Opinion

How FirstBank Employees are Making a Difference in their Immediate Environments Through the SPARK Initiative

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Every other day, social media brings us a picture or video of a dilapidated school somewhere in Nigeria or shares images of a distraught widow, a struggling roadside trader or street hawker, or some other hapless victims of the extremely harsh realities of living in Nigeria. Immediately, as if on cue or automated, viewers launch into stinging attacks of government, public officials, the privileged class and even Nigeria itself. The attacking mob wastes no time in calling for the government’s head or the heads of public officials with responsibilities in the jurisdiction or sector where the unfortunate sights surfaced from.

 

 

The online mob seems unconcerned that while its eyes and ears, aided and locked in by the binoculars and headsets of social media, are completely focused on distressing situations it may not be able to help other than rant about, countless situations that it can help are calling for attention in its immediate neighbourhood every single day. Focusing on things so far away while ignoring or pretending not to see the things in one’s immediate vicinity is a human tendency which is well recognised. Journalists even have a term for a similar or related behaviour among their own. “Afghanistanism” is the tendency of the media to focus on news and happenings in remote places and other parts of the world to the exclusion or neglect of covering happenings and problems in the local environment of the media. It is like the psychological or emotional equivalent of the eye defect medical practitioners refer to as hyperopia or farsightedness. Sufferers can see objects that are far away but have difficulty focusing on objects that are up close.

 

 

By focusing on faraway objects people do not have to offer to give a helping hand but can offer their finger to point at others and their tongue to criticise and pontificate. Everyone can criticise and pontificate online or become an “e-warrior”, like Nigerians like to call it, fighting government and whoever and whatever in society they are unhappy with from the comfort and safety of their bedroom and behind their keyboard. It is the easiest of things to do but not the noblest or kindest. It is the well-trodden path but should never be confused with taking the high road in reaching out with compassion to people around whose lives and circumstances could do with some kindness.

 

 

Taking the high road rather than practising Afghanistanism or psychological hyperopia is the approach adopted by First Bank of Nigeria Limited, the premier bank in West Africa with its impact woven into the fabric of society. This approach has played an important role in sustaining FirstBank’s development-oriented services for over 127 years as the region’s foremost financial inclusion services provider. It has been a driving motivation for how the bank operates. FirstBank always considers the impact of all its operations and actions on customers and other stakeholders, including the environment, to ensure it is making a net positive difference in the end. And this orientation has attracted to the bank people who share a similar outlook – whether as employees, partners or other stakeholders. They look forward every year to an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the bank and make a net positive difference in their own immediate environments. These men and women do not pretend that they can solve or intervene in all the challenging situations confronting people in their immediate environments but they do not refrain whenever they can lend a helping hand and make a difference.

 

 

Through an Employee Giving and Volunteering programme employees of FirstBank find a ready platform to fully identify with the compassionate disposition of the bank, which further has a number of initiatives that enable employees to give expression to this identification. The Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness (SPARK) Initiative is but one such initiative. Aimed at expanding and deepening FirstBank’s involvement within the communities of its various stakeholders, SPARK seeks to do so by integrating and institutionalising random acts of kindness in society. Among employees SPARK has inspired and encouraged kindness and empathy as well as consideration for others. It has also contributed to employee bonding and teamwork, which have been critical to enhancing work performance.

 

 

This year’s implementation of the SPARK Initiative has seen employees under the banner of their various departments make choices regarding the specific nature of intervention they would want to undertake and the specific group of people or institutions within their immediate communities that they would want to extend the milk of human kindness to. Employees and their departments could choose any one of the four areas that constitute FirstBank’s corporate responsibility and sustainability (CR&S) pillars: Education, entrepreneurship, health and welfare, and environment. Under education, they have had a choice to make between support for infrastructural facilities in schools, such as renovation of dilapidated buildings, painting of school buildings, and provision of laptops and desktops; or donation of items such as classroom chairs and tables, books and stationaries; or provision of scholarships for best students, feeding of school students per day or week, funding of a school initiative such as JETS club, bootcamp, space club, etc. If employees and their departments were interested in supporting entrepreneurship, then they had the chance to empower through entrepreneurship programmes of their choosing such as sponsoring youth and women to acquire skills like fashion designing, baking, hairstyling, make-up artistry, electrical repairs, event decoration and planning, catering, etc., or enabling entrepreneurs with tools and equipment to work or supporting SMEs and start-ups.

 

 

Where the health and welfare area was their preferred area of intervention, employees and their departments could choose from: donations to orphanages (selected from an approved list of orphanages); support to a good cause, for example lending a helping hand to the Down Syndrome Foundation; support to widows; support to people with health-related issues; and off-setting medical bills. And if employees and their departments were to decide to go for the environment, then they could choose from: support to environmental issues, such as support to Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) initiatives; donation of garbage cans to a community; partnership with a recycling firm to recycle waste; support to LAWMA such as donating cleaning tools (brooms, dustbin parkers), etc.

 

 

While several departments in FirstBank did things worth showcasing so the good citizens of Nigeria (individual and corporate) can emulate, this piece has just enough space to accommodate the activities of only three departments: Human Capital Management and Development (HCMD), Compliance, and Marketing and Corporate Communications (M&CC) departments. The employees in these departments seemed involved in efforts to outdo each other in acts of kindness, which made more sense and would leave a real difference on the ground as against criticising and pontificating online on faraway issues.

 

 

The Human Capital Management and Development department decided that reaching out to one of the most vulnerable groups in Nigeria – underprivileged widows and their underfed children – was the best way they could stay true to the “Human” in their name. And employees in the department moved beyond their Marina location to the nearest environment where some of the most vulnerable widows are to be found to go show kindness. The Makoko community situated in Lagos Mainland and which CNN once described in a report as “Nigeria’s floating slum” was overwhelmed to receive the august visitors from HCMD bearing so much food stuff to benefit their widows and children. What they did not realise was the overwhelming sense of gratitude felt by their benefactors for the opportunity to be able to give back.

 

 

Tagged “Feed a Widow Initiative”, the undertaking was HCMD employees’ way of putting a smile back on the faces of widows in impoverished communities and they got more than they could ever have imagined. Their hosts received them with the broadest of smiles and said goodbye to them with the grandest of gratitude; and they left with very broad smiles on their own faces. The jury is still out on who between the hosts and their guests ended up with the broadest of smiles on the day. And given the “fierce contest” to outdo the other in smiling, one is again forced to wonder why people labelled e-warriors would choose to forfeit this kind of real joy for the joyless world they have locked themselves in by clinging on to Afghanistanism and psychological hyperopia.

 

 

Not so for employees in the Compliance department. Not to be outdone and, in fact, as though going up the hierarchy of human needs, Compliance employees decided that they would focus on the education need of their beneficiary community. HCMD had done an excellent job of providing the basic “stomach infrastructure” without which it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get any of the beneficiaries interested in any talk about more sublime matters like education and mental development. So, employees of Compliance department, in order to encourage pupils to continue their pursuit of education, procured Mathematics and English Language textbooks for 617 pupils who would be in senior secondary (SS) 1 and 2 classes of Gbara Community Secondary School in Jakande, Ajah in the next academic session. The visit to the school and book donation were undertaken when the pupils were in the third term preceding the new academic session.

 

 

The gesture was Compliance employees’ own way of giving back in such a manner as to relieve the pupils of this public school, particularly those from indigent homes, and their parents or guardians of the financial burden involved in providing textbooks for the two core subjects. It was also, in an uncanny way, an attempt by the employees to ensure the pupils were in full compliance with the requirements for taking on the two most important subjects in the secondary school curriculum, putting the pupils at a vantage position to excel in these two essential subjects. There were other benefits of the engagement that the employees noted. They observed that their presence in the school inspired the children, giving them “hope that a better life was within reach and could be achieved.” The employees thus expressed optimism that the engagement boosted the children’s interest in succeeding in life through the pursuit of education.

 

 

For employees of the Marketing and Corporate Communications department (M&CC), entrepreneurship was the area they decided to focus on, to make a difference in their own immediate environment. Every day they came to their office on Broad Street or the bank’s head office in Marina, they passed by a number of roadside traders around the various office buildings in the locations. They observed that some of these traders were exposed to the elements or having difficulties in their business and struggling to make ends meet, and decided that they would do something about it. And true to their word, they did something about it that made so much difference in the businesses and circumstances of the traders. They provided the traders the following: branded umbrella to offer shade from both sun and rain, improving the conditions under which they operated and their quality of life; branded chairs and tables to accommodate more customers in their corner as well as grants to boost their business capital.

 

 

Anyone who has met with employees in the corporate communications department of any major bank in Nigeria would readily admit that these professionals have among them some of the most skilful digital marketers around. So, it is not for lack of skills to be e-warriors that M&CC employees chose to extend the milk of human kindness flowing in them to roadside traders around their office rather than practise Afghanistanism. They could have chosen to concentrate all their time and resources on attacking the government online and blaming public officials for all the challenges in the economy and the spate of insecurity all over the nation and whatever else would make M&CC employees true champions of Afghanistanism and psychological hyperopia. But would that make any difference to the lot of the roadside traders around them and lessen their burden? So, M&CC employees chose the road less travelled but one that could deliver the desired impact, and it did.

 

 

There are so many lessons to draw and feelings to take away from the examples demonstrated by employees of these three departments in Nigeria’s foremost lender. Besides committing their time and resources to their chosen humanitarian initiatives using the platform of the SPARK Initiative that places FirstBank at the forefront of the social impact space through employee advocacy, the employees have shown that they have the milk of human kindness flowing through their veins. They have demonstrated that they would rather consider how they could extend kindness to people around them and make a difference than pretend not to see the situations affecting those around them while playing Afghanistanism and psychological hyperopia online.

 

 

For the rest of us who are not FirstBank employees, the message could not be clearer: The next time we feel like we must share on social media distressing images to provoke government-bashing or we feel constrained to make stinging comments on such images that are shared to criticise Nigeria, we should first pause and look around us. We should look to see if we can identify situations where we, not government or Nigeria, can make a difference. Then we should take our fingers off the keyboard and go out there or make that call that will make a difference in some other person’s life and circumstances. We should be like FirstBank and its employees. We should follow their example of trying to outdo themselves in showing kindness to others. We should start where we are with what we have, to make a difference right now – yes, this very minute and not some future time.

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