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Reign of Osibodus as Nigeria’s corporate power couple ends

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The reign of businessman and socialite, Victor Osibodu and his corporate titan wife, Funke, as one of Nigeria’s power couples has come to an inglorious end. At the height of their reign, they both bestrode the corporate and society scenes like true titans. On the social scene, they only attended A-list shindigs as most high profile individuals considered them worthy to be on their guest list. On the business scene, they both did well for themselves individually and as a couple. They combined their professional callings; Victor as a pharmacist and Funke as an economist/banker, to become one of Africa’s leading power couples, until things began to fall apart.

Victor and Funke are the brains behind Vigeo Holdings LTD. Although Victor is the founder of the multi-billion naira business empire, he co-owns it with his wife. She is a director in the group and the chief executive officer of Vigeo Capital Limited. The company’s operations are organised in five distinct business divisions operated through subsidiaries: Capital, marketing and distribution, oil and gas, power and shipping. Funke’s experience in the banking sector came in handy at the capital market operations where the company offers stock brokerage, asset management and advisory services in estate planning, insurance, finance, property acquisition, construction and project management, marketing, and sale of properties, off-plan real estate ventures and property and facility management.

At some point, the company provided marketing management services, such as corporate services, including corporate rewards, award services, accessories and memorabilia. Other services included various aspects of brand management, including merchandising, channel development, promotional materials, experiential marketing services, road shows and product launches. The outcome of their combined expertise and business leadership drive made Vigeo Holdings occupy a place of pride in the corporate sector.

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Before setting up Vigeo in 1985, Victor worked in Boots Company Nigeria Ltd and Bodmat International Company. Funke on her part has almost 30 years of cumulative working experience in the banking industry where she started her career at NAL Merchant Bank and later moved over to Continental Merchant Bank. She is the first female to attain the height of managing director/CEO of a bank in Nigeria. She has the distinctive position of heading MBC International Bank Limited, Ecobank Nigeria Plc and finally, Union Bank Plc. Funke was once named one of the World’s 50 leading business women by the Financial Times of London. The global jury of experts chose her in recognition of her role in strengthening the management of the bank, improving discipline and ensuring transparency.

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Unfortunately, all that shine and exuberance they exuded as a power couple soon began to dissipate. First, it took Ecobank dragging Victor and his company to court for owing a whooping sum of N8.7 billion for members of the public and society watchers to realise that the power couple has been battling with a monumental debt and only managed to keep it under the lid for as long as they could. The debt was almost going to make him lose two of his prized properties, one of which is the building housing Vigeo Holdings Limited on Osborne Road worth N800 million, as well as another building on Milverton Road, Ikoyi worth N700 million. While that was still on, his wife got kicked out of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) by the Federal Government for underperformance.

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Although Victor is the Chairman of Vigeo Power Limited in charge of BEDC, his wife until her unceremonious exit was the Chief Executive Officer of the company. Other Electricity Distribution Companies taken over by the Federal Government were the electricity distribution companies of Kano and Kaduna. Like Kano and Kaduna, BEDC was considered to be technically incapacitated, and financial insolvent after its loan facilities from Fidelity Bank became moribund, landing them in trouble with the bank.

The Boards of the three companies have since been dissolved and replaced. With the Osibodu led Benin DISCO, KC Akuma was appointed Chairman while Adeola Ijose and Charles Onwere were appointed members of the board. Also, the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE nominated Yomi Adeyemi as an independent director to represent the government’s 40% interest in the BEDC during the transition.

Reacting to the takeover, BEDC management said there is no contractual, statutory or regulatory basis for such and therefor no legal basis for the takeover of the company. It also said that its shares have not been given as security to Fidelity Bank or to any other party and therefore warned that any attempt by Fidelity Bank or BPE to intervene will be considered illegal, unlawful and will be resisted.

Hopefully, the power couple is able to gather the pieces of what is left of their empire and trudge on.

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Source: TheWill

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Opinion

Kitigbe o: Honouring six years of Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege’s reign as Olota of Otta-Awori Kingdom

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As the sun sets over the vibrant town of Otta, the air is filled with a sense of celebration and reverence. It marks the six-year anniversary of the coronation of His Majesty, Oba Professor Adeyemi Obalanlege, the esteemed Olota of Otta-Awori Kingdom.

Stepping into his reign, Oba Obalanlege brought with him not only the weight of tradition but also a distinguished background in academia and a fervent dedication to community service.

Born into the esteemed lineage of Prince Taiwo Hassan Obalanlege and Mrs. Mutiat Afolake Obalanlege (Nee Anjorin), Oba Adeyemi entered the world on August 28, 1966, in Mushin, Lagos State.

His educational journey began in AUD Primary School, Iganmode and led him to Ansar-ud-Deen College, Isolo, before culminating at Iganmode Grammar School in Otta. This foundation laid the groundwork for his illustrious academic career.

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With a Higher National Diploma in Mass Communication from Ogun State Polytechnic and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Journalism from independent Colleges, UK, Oba Adeyemi’s thirst for knowledge propelled him further. He pursued postgraduate studies in Food Safety and Quality Management at Greenwich University, London, and attained a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Leicester. His quest for scholarly excellence reached its pinnacle with a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

Oba Adeyemi’s academic prowess extended beyond the confines of the classroom, earning him recognition as a world-class scholar. His contributions to the field of Mass Communication, including publications in esteemed academic journals and presentations at conferences across Africa, Europe, and North America, solidified his reputation as a cerebral intellectual.

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However, his journey was not confined to academia alone.

Oba Adeyemi’s foray into journalism began humbly as a reporter for The Mail newspaper, where he honed his skills under the mentorship of Prof Idowu Sobowale. His career trajectory led him to prominent roles, including Public Relations Officer at the Lagos State Polytechnic and positions at Thisday Newspaper, where he earned acclaim for his coverage of tourism and hospitality.

Even as his academic and professional pursuits flourished, Oba Adeyemi remained deeply rooted in community service.

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His commitment to uplifting others led to his election as the Chairman of the Awori Obas Forum, Ogun State, and his involvement in Rotary Clubs, where he earned recognition as a Paul Harris Fellow.

In 2018, Oba Professor Adeyemi Abdulkabir Obalanlege was crowned the Olota of Otta, emerging as the preferred candidate after rigorous selection by the Ijemo Isoloshi Ruling House. Since then, he has led with wisdom and compassion, fostering unity and progress within the Awori Kingdom.

As the Royal Symbol of Awori Nation celebrates six years on the throne alongside his beloved wife, Olori Oloruntoyin Obalanlege, and their two accomplished sons, Mustapha and Tobi, the good people of Otta-Awori are satisfied about his legacy of scholarship, leadership, and service.

This is a testament to his unwavering commitment to the betterment of the kingdom and the preservation of Yoruba heritage.

May the reign of Lanlege Ekun II, Arole Iganmode Olofin continue to bring peace and tranquility to the entire Otta-Awori kingdom.

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Kitigbe o! Omo Iganmode a f’ele ja, a f’ikoti y’oju egba, a fi ponpondo y’oju Ketu.

Happy 6th coronation anniversary, baba mi!

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Opinion

Govt served Lagos estate demolition notices since 2021, says commissioner

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Tokunbo Wahab, has disclosed that the government issued the residents of Mende Villa Estate two demolition notices in 2021 and 2023.

The commissioner’s clarification came on the heels of allegations made by a property developer in Mende Villa, who claimed the proper notice was not given before the commencement of the demolition exercise.

Speaking on Arise TV’s Morning Show on Sunday, he insisted that the government authorities had issued contravention notices and marked the properties slated for demolition before the exercise was carried out on Saturday.

According to Wahab, his predecessor, Tunji Bello, served contravention notices in 2021 to property encroaching on the setback of the System One drainage channel in Mende Villa, Maryland, and upon assuming his role in Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s second term.

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He added that the latest notices were issued to the developers in November 2023.

“If there were no notices, how come the Developer has been engaging us with documents and correspondences for the past month?” the commissioner queried.

Wahab further stated that the Lagos Civil Service consisted of the most efficient personnel who would never engage in practices capable of jeopardising their career and future.

He said, “I can say it boldly, we have the best of brains in the Lagos Civil Service and they will not joke with a process that can hurt them and their careers.

“We sat down for over a week and said, run through this process again; let us work back through this process. We’ve given them enough notice for this. Since the past two and a half years, he didn’t dispute the fact that we had to dredge the particular alignment.

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“Let us leave out emotions and sentiments. We have a choice to make if we want this country to be good, if we want a better society, we need to take ownership of the truth. The truth is, they were served notices. They were engaging the government but they wanted to eat their cake and have it.”

He also explained that owing to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s magnanimity, the right-of-way was reduced to 100 meters from 140 and spread on a 60/40 basis (60 Mende/40 Ogudu) instead of the initial 140 sitting on the Mende side alone.

He added, “I went there myself, if I was mischievous, I wouldn’t be there with them. I would have given the order from the office but I said no, I owe them a duty to explain to them that even the governor had approved that we reduced the width from 140 to 100.”

The commissioner emphasised that the executive did what it believed was for the overriding public interest, reiterating the residents were served demolition notices twice.

He also urged those who feel their rights have been violated to seek redress through the court.

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“Are one or two persons hurt? I’ll tell you maybe yes, maybe no. But I can tell you we served them notices since 2021 and the honourable member representing them is aware of it. We’ve had meetings upon meetings but the rains have started and the government needs to do what they have to do,” he posited.

On Saturday, the Lagos State Government reclaimed the Right of Way of the Odo-Iya Alaro channel by demolishing a part of the Arowojobe and Mende Estate villa.

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The Minister of Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, disclosed it on his X account.

He wrote, “Earlier today, I, the SA on Environment, Hon. Olakunle Rotimi-Akodu, the PS OES, Dr Omobolaji Gaji, PS ODS, Engr. Mahamood Adegbite and other Directors again visited the ongoing reclamation of the drainage setback on System 1 (Odo Iyalaro Ogudu reach).”

The exercise faced a public outcry from different quarters of society, who criticised the government for taking down investments worth millions without proper notice.

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Popular Nigerian singer, Yemi Alade, said the action would discourage those interested in investing in real estate in the state.

The Johnny crooner, in a video that surfaced on X Sunday, lamented that many residents slept in their houses and woke up homeless.

She said, “Lagos State, what is going on? Does it make sense that people will invest millions of naira, millions of dollars into real estate? They would buy land and Lagos State would break them; making people homeless overnight. This is done serially. Right now Maryland area is on fire.

“People are sleeping in their houses and waking homeless. You are ruining the real estate value of the state, the country; making people lose trust in the idea of the country.”

In October and November 2023, several buildings were demolished in Lekki, Ikota, the International Trade Fair, Agungi, and some parts of the state.

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The state government attributed the demolitions to the illegal sitting of the buildings.

The Director, Ministry of Environment, Director of Public Affairs, Kunle Adeshina, advising property owners whose buildings were yet to be demolished, stressed that the demolition would address “the issue of perennial flooding, which has led to avoidable damage to property and caused fatalities in some instances.”

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Opinion

An Icon of Service: NATCOM boss, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro’s Leadership Legacy

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In the intricate mosaic of Nigeria’s societal fabric, Otunba Adejare Adegbenro stands as a beacon of commitment, resilience, and service.

Born on March 6th, 1973, in Lagos, he draws from a lineage steeped in political legacy, being the grandson of the late Premier of Western Region, Alhaji Daudu Sooroye Adegbenro. Raised in a family that values service to the community, Otunba Adegbenro has carved his path as a distinguished figure in Nigerian society.

The culmination of his familial heritage and dedication to community service was marked by his installation as the first Otunba Laje of Owu Kingdom in Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria.

This historic event, which took place on January 20th, 2018, under the auspices of His Royal Majesty Oba Olusanya Dosunmu II, traditional ruler of Owu kingdom, reinforced Otunba Adegbenro’s deep-rooted ties to his cultural heritage and commitment to uplifting his people.

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Beyond his traditional titles, his influence extends globally, with his appointment as High Commissioner by the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC), where he spearheads foreign special missions aimed at preventing illegal migration and human trafficking. This appointment is a testament of his reputation as a renowned security expert and industrialist, whose expertise transcends national borders.

In his role as the acting Director-General of the National Commission against the Proliferation of Arms, Light Weapons, and Pipeline Vandalism (NATCOM), Otunba Adegbenro has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to combating threats to national security. His vast experience in security consultancy and supply of security gadgets has positioned him as a pivotal figure in Nigeria’s security landscape.

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However, Otunba Laje of Owu Kingdom’s contributions extend beyond the realm of security.

Through his foundation, the Otunba Adejare Adegbenro Foundation (OAAF), he channels his resources towards uplifting the less privileged in society. With initiatives ranging from the provision of boreholes to communities lacking access to clean water, to scholarships for deserving students, he exemplifies the spirit of philanthropy and communal solidarity.

Reflecting on his journey, Otunba Adegbenro once acknowledged the challenges he has faced, from navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship to confronting societal stereotypes.

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Yet, through it all, he remains resolute in his commitment to service and upliftment. His philosophy, rooted in faith and compassion, drives him to make a tangible difference in the lives of others, regardless of obstacles encountered along the way.

Otunba Adejare Adegbenro stands as a testament to the power of leadership, resilience, and unwavering dedication to the common good. In him, Nigerians find not only a visionary leader but a compassionate steward of progress, whose impact reverberates far beyond the shores of his homeland.

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