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Truth Is Sacred: THE STORY OF FAME MAGAZINE – Mayor Akinpelu



I read excerpts of the story of FAME magazine written by one of the founders, Femi Akintunde-Johnson (FAJ) on Facebook. Two things stood out for me.

First, was his assertion that I assumed the “headship” of FAME because I was the oldest among the three founders (Mayor Akinpelu, Kunle Bakare and Femi Akintunde-Johnson) and no one was ready to drag the headship with me.

The other was the argument that the Ojukwu/Bianca story triggered the birth of FAME. That was a ridiculous assertion.

Before the Ojukwu/Bianca story, I had written the Tejuoso/Okoya wedding story that started what is known today as celebrity journalism. Prior to that story, most of the lead stories in Prime People magazine at the time were strange or unusual stories. I also did the Akeem Olajuwon story titled ‘The Dream and His Millions’. That was when the NBA superstar came to Nigeria on a visit. So the Ojukwu/Bianca story couldn’t have triggered the formation of FAME.

It was true that FAJ gave Kunle Bakare the gist that the Biafran warlord, Odumegwu Ojukwu was romancing Bianca Onoh, the then most beautiful girl in Nigeria. Kunle Bakare mentioned it at the editorial meeting. The story was assigned to Kunle Bakare and me to work on. The source that assisted us in getting the details of the story was a friend of mine who was the daughter of a prominent politician from the East. This lady was also very close to Ojukwu. It was the lady in the course of working on the story that facilitated my entering Ojukwu’s Ikoyi home to confirm the large size portrait of Bianca that was placed in Ojukwu’s sitting room.

In the course of moving around the house I encountered a guy, who was one of the aides of Ojukwu, who I suspected was the source that gave FAJ the story. He was very uncomfortable and when he had the opportunity to talk to me, he asked how I got to know about the story and if the source of the story wouldn’t leak to anyone. I reassured him.

When I informed the officials of Silverbird Productions, organizers of The Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria pageant, especially Oscar, their General Manager, that Ojukwu was dating Bianca and I needed their reaction, they were stunned. They told me it was not possible.

Kunle Bakare also travelled to Enugu to interview Bianca’s father, C.C.Onoh. Bianca’s family also said the story couldn’t be true because Ojukwu was like a father to Bianca. When the story was confirmed later, C.C.Onoh was devastated. He sent Bianca’s mother packing from the house when he discovered that Bianca’s mum was in the know all along. C.C. Onoh never accepted the union till he died even when Ojukwu and Bianca got married in an elaborate wedding in Abuja.

So what is the story of FAME?

As society editor and later news editor in Vintage People, I used to write a lot of columns: Vintage People and Parties, Silverspoon, Grass to Grace, Why I Wear What I Wear, Most Embarrassing Moment. The most popular among these columns was Silverspoon, where I interviewed children of successful people born with the proverbial silver spoon.

One day, I got a letter from Benin City informing me that Dr. Iyayi, the son of the owner of Iyayi and Sons, just came back from America to join the family business. The person who wrote the letter argued that he believed Dr. Iyayi was qualified to feature in Silverspoon. I agreed.

I travelled to Benin City to interview Dr. Iyayi. Later in the evening, he came to visit me at the hotel I was staying. Over drinks, he asked casually how much it would cost to do a magazine like Vintage People. I told him N2m. He said he was interested in going into partnership with me. He would provide the N2m and I would put the magazine together. The share structure would be 50-50. I was excited. He promised to get in touch and I left for Lagos.

I shared that discussion with Kunle Bakare and told him we should start preparing for the magazine. My choice was National Enquirer, the largest circulating newspaper in America at the time. Its uniqueness was that it was a magazine in a newspaper format anchored on celebrities in the entertainment industry. There was nothing like that on the newsstand. Luckily for us, we culled stories from Enquirer regularly at Vintage People especially as it affects Hollywood stars. Kunle, at the time, used to buy Esquire regularly. He had a particular agent that sold foreign magazines that he patronized. We decided we should start buying Enquirer.

I waited to hear from Dr. Iyayi but he didn’t get in touch. While waiting for him, there was a crisis in Quality, a general interest magazine under the Newswatch stable edited by May Ellen Ezekiel (MEE). Later, Mrs. MEE Damijo left and started Classique magazine. They had their office at number 3, Allen Avenue, Ikeja. MEE sent for me and asked me to join Classique. I declined because I was waiting for Dr. Iyayi. She later asked Kunle Bakare to join Classique and Kunle left us to join her.

One day, I went for an assignment at Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island. On my way back, MEE graciously agreed to give me a ride to Ikeja. While we were coming to Ikeja she said she admired my loyalty to my boss, Mr. Muyiwa Adetiba and she was impressed that I refused to leave Vintage People to join Classique. I confided in her that I didn’t leave because I was working on a magazine that would be different from any other magazine on the newsstand. It would be a magazine in a newspaper format.

MEE was excited. She said we should go to her office so that I could tell her more about the project. When we got to her office, I explained what I had in mind. She said she was interested and how much it would cost to do the magazine. Because I mentioned N2m to Dr. Iyayi, I thought maybe that was the reason he didn’t get in touch so I told MEE I could do the magazine with N1m. I said I would need five investors to bring N200, 000 each and I would have the 50% for me and Kunle Bakare.

MEE said she would bring N200, 000. She also called her friend, Folake Doherty, now Mrs. Wole Soyinka, to invest in the project. There was a snag though, she told me. Kunle Bakare was very important to her in Classique and I had to look for another partner. She suggested that since entertainment was very prominent in the magazine, I should talk to FAJ who was then the entertainment editor at the Punch.

As fate would have it, there was an album launch at the old Niteshift in Opebi and I knew FAJ would be there. I met FAJ at the album launch and I asked to speak with him. I told him about the project and that I wanted him to join me. He asked what I was offering. I said we would have the same shares and the same salary. There and then he told me he was in. It is surprising though, that FAJ conveniently forgot this encounter while writing his book.

After that, I went all out looking for investors. I spoke to Tayo Ayeni of Skymit Motors and he said he was interested. I spoke to a very rich man who as also in the car business. He agreed to take the remaining two slots but others said they couldn’t do business with the man. He was involved in a controversy that had to do with the death of a Central Bank official at the time.

When Kunle Bakare heard that he wouldn’t be part of the project because MEE was not ready to release him, he got angry. He wondered why he would be denied being part of what he had been working on for some time. He started rebelling in Classique. At a point, MEE called me and said she wouldn’t want to stop anybody from realizing his dream and Kunle could join us. That was how we became three. FAJ got involved in the project because MEE didn’t want to release Kunle initially.

It was after this that we started having meetings about the project, first at Kunle’s Ijesha, Surulere home. The first issue was what to call the magazine? I wanted to call the magazine ‘Celebrities’. One of us mentioned that he had seen the name ‘Celebrities’ somewhere and we should be careful so that we were not accused of plagiarism. Kunle then brought out his Thesaurus to check for other names for ‘Celebrities’. That was where we got FAME, Encomium and Ovation. We decided to call the magazine FAME. We discussed different aspects of the magazine and asked FAJ to write the proposal.

Because other investors didn’t want to do business with the last investor, I had to hit the road again looking for investors. The project got stuck while looking for investors. Meanwhile, we still met to fine-tune the project.

As society editor in Vintage People and later news editor, I used to represent my publisher, Mr. Adetiba, at events. He had asked me to represent him at an event in Rank Xerox in Matori Industrial Estate in Mushin. As I was entering the building for the event, MEE was stepping out. She asked me about the project and I said “my sister, I’m tired, I’m still looking for investors”. She encouraged me and said I should see her later in the office so that she could give me a note to one of her directors. I went to see her and she gave me a note to Mr Tayo Adesanya. His office was in Victoria Island, not far from Eko Hotel.

I went to see Mr Adesanya on a Friday. As I entered his office, he was preparing to go for Jumat prayer. When I told him I had a note for him from MEE, he thought I was there for a media assignment. Mr Adesanya at the time wanted to open a high-rise building in Ikoyi, financed by Alpha Merchant Bank. His cousin, Jimi Lawal, was the M.D of the bank at the time. The land for the high-rise building was leased to Mr Adesanya through his friend, Mr Tunde Savage of Miss Nigeria fame by Ondo State government. Commodore Olabode George was the governor of the state at the
time. The official opening of the building was just some weeks away so he thought I was there for publicity. He then asked me to see his GM. When the GM read the note he said I should come back to see the chairman since the message was private. I left the office and I was walking towards Eko Hotel to pick a cab when Mr Adesanya was coming back from Jumat. He saw me and asked if I had been attended to. I told him I was asked to come back. He then told me to follow him back to the office. When we entered his office, he collected the note and read it “MEE said you have a brilliant idea that I may be interested in. Let’s hear it”.

I started talking about this unique concept of a magazine in a newspaper format and that there was nothing like it. He listened attentively and when I was done, he asked if I have a proposal. I said yes and gave it to him. I left.

I got to my office in Vintage People one day long after I had given him the proposal and I got a message that ‘Mr Adesanya would be expecting to see you by 12pm tomorrow’.

I went to his office in Victoria Island full of expectation. As I walked in, he waved to me to sit, and in an offhanded manner without really looking at me, he said “young man, I have looked at your proposal, it can’t work”. I was young and short tempered at the time. I just exploded in rage. I said “Sir, I may be a journalist but I don’t like people insulting me especially rich men who think they can do whatever they like. You mean you summoned me from Ikeja to Victoria Island just to tell me that my proposal cannot work”? I stood up and wanted to leave.

Mr Adesanya said “young man, sit down. I didn’t say I’m not interested, I said the proposal can’t work“. He then explained. He said because I was desperate to do the project, the N1m budget cannot work. You didn’t make provisions for circulation vans; there was no provision for cars, even generator.” He continued; “what I am going to do is to provide everything that you need and N200,000 as running cost.” I was elated. I said “I am not interested in disbursing cash, provide everything that we need and we are ready to hit the street.”

That was when he said he would have 60% holding of the company, 30% for him and 30% for his wife and that he would give me 40%. I refused. I said we were three partners on the project and we have resolved that we wouldn’t give any investor majority shares. Mr Adesanya said “I don’t know your friends, and you can do whatever you like with your own shares.” I said “Sir, we come as a package.” That was how he went on this lecture about helping people and that he didn’t need the magazine. He just wanted to assist. He told me he would increase our shareholding to 45%, 30% for him and 25% for his wife and that was the final offer.

I was in a dilemma. This might be the final opportunity to realize this dream. I felt I had no choice. I said I would agree on one condition. It would be ‘one man one vote’ for the five of us on the board. He agreed. In my naivety, I didn’t know that whoever has the majority shares owns the company. I thought the three of us collectively could always out vote him and his wife.

To show goodwill, he told me that the share capital of the new company would be N1m and that he would pay the N450,000 for our shares. So instead of our shares being concessionary shares it would be fully paid up shares. He told me to go to work while I give him time to put the funding in place. I broke the good news to my colleagues and everybody was happy. None of them was there when I closed the deal. It was only Mr Adesanya and myself.

True to his words, Mr Adesanya gave us the best we could hope for. He first gave us a Mitsubishi Charade for us to use while working on the magazine.

It was Mr Adesanya that bought Jetta Executive for me and Hyudai Excel each for Kunle and FAJ. He bought three circulation vans, generator and everything we needed. The only thing we bought ourselves was the computer from Task Systems. We also got the building we used for FAME from my cousin, Dewunmi Ogunsanya at Wemabod Estate off Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja.

We started FAME in 1991 and things were going on well. Then I realized that the chairman wanted control. The first sign was that he summoned us one day and gave us letters of employment to sign. I refused, saying we were not employees and that FAME was our company. My partners agreed with me and we refused to sign. That was the first sign of trouble for me. But what sealed my fate was not the betrayal by my friends but my naivety in not knowing the source of my strength.

Chairman summoned me one day and in the course of our discussion he got angry and started abusing me. While doing that, he mentioned that we were nobodies until he made it possible for us to realize our dream. He then referred to me in Yoruba asking what was my antecedent and that of my family. That was when I made the mistake that sealed my faith. I flew up in rage and told him he was not in a position to insult my family. I told him that my father, Fasasi Ayinde Akinpelu Olowobusanbusan, was a man of means and far richer than him. I added that his uncle, Haruna Ishola, who brought him from America to establish Phonodisk used to perform for my father to dance. He was stunned. He dismissed me and the battle line was drawn. I regretted that outburst and I knew he would come for me but I deluded myself that if we stuck together, Mr Adesanya could not have control in the company.

Contrary to what FAJ wrote in his book we never discussed the issue of rotation of titles. That was broached at the boardroom coup that was planned against me. The next board meeting after my problem with the chairman was when the coup was executed. They had met behind me and perfected everything. I read the ‘State of The Company as the editor/chief executive and when we got to ‘Matters Arising’, the coup was executed.

Kunle Bakare raised his hand and was recognized by the chairman. He said after two years, it is important for us to rejig the magazine for greater efficiency. He posited that instead of combining the post of editor with the chief executive, we should create the post of managing director so that the editor can concentrate on the magazine and the MD the business aspect of the company. The chairman supported him. He asked if I had any objection. I said I didn’t complain about the workload but if that was the consensus, I would go along with it.

Kunle then suggested that FAJ should be the editor, it was adopted. FAJ then raised his hands and suggested Kunle as managing director. I was shocked. The chairman said no objection. He now asked me if I had any objection. I said if FAJ was made editor and Kunle managing director, what would be my position. FAJ said ‘executive editor’. I argued that there was no magazine that rotated its editorship. That if an editor did not deliver, you remove him; you don’t rotate. The chairman said we should put it to vote. There were four of us and I was alone. That was how the coup was executed.

I came back to the office and assessed my options. I told myself I needed time to consider my options. So I said I was going on leave and I travelled to London. I spent three weeks in London. I wanted to resign but my sister, Bisi Okeowo (Shaba), advised that I should not resign.

I resumed after my leave and I was marginalized in decision making. But one incident caused me to make up my mind to leave FAME. One day, FAJ came to me and said he wanted to move into my office since he was the new editor. I told him that it was unnecessary since the two offices (mine and his) were of the same size. The difference was the furniture and he could buy the furniture he needed. He grumbled and I thought we had settled that. I used to drop my key with the security. So when I resumed the following Monday I asked for my key. The security man told me FAJ came over the weekend to move his personal effects into my office and moved mine into his office. He also changed the locks. I was shocked. Has it got to that level? I entered and took the decision to leave FAME for them.

About a week after, I asked someone to tell both of them that I wanted to see them. While seated, I told the story of how FAME was conceived and how it was me that invited everybody into the project including the chairman. I told them they betrayed the friendship with what they did and they just made a huge mistake. I told them that what they have achieved was not only pushing me aside but making it possible for the chairman to get the control he wanted. I told them they would regret this act of betrayal but most importantly they should not write me off because I would be back. I stood up and left the company without looking back. I didn’t even take personal effects.

I got home and considered my options. I registered a company, Celebrities Communications and I also took a decision to find a platform to continue to write. I went to Today’s Choice to meet Mr Coker Onita and he graciously agreed that I could join them as a contributing editor. He gave me a desk at the newsroom. When my partners heard that I was in Today’s Choice, they were delighted. They kept making fun of me; “he would be walking around as if he owns the world, so he can be humbled?” A ti fuck e up (we’ve messed him up)” was their fun line.

I remember that three members of staff came to my house at Dideolu Estate, Ogba. One of them was crying. Why would I go to Today’s Choice? They asked. You should have started another magazine, they counseled. They are making fun of you, they told me. I calmed them down and assured them that I knew what I was doing. I said it was important for me to have a platform, if not I would be forgotten in no time.

While in Today’s Choice I did an interview, in it, one prominent lady who is the daughter of a prominent Nigeria was accused of something grave. Mr Coker Onita and I discussed it and we felt we could be liable if we publish it so we removed the lady’s name. After we had published, my partners got to know that we removed the name of the lady. They saw it as an opportunity to attack me.

For weeks, they used the magazine that I led to form, where I owned 15% share to attack me. The attack was so vicious that Mr Coker Onita reached out to them to ask why they were doing this. They told him that the only way they would stop attacking me and Today’s Choice was if Mr Coker Onita asked me to leave the magazine. Coker Onita refused. He told them what they were doing was not right and that he would stand by me.

That was not enough for them.
FAJ wrote a petition to NUJ accusing me of ethical misconduct and that I should be investigated. NUJ constituted a panel to investigate and I was told to prepare a defense. I did. At the end of it all I was exonerated. That was the most trying moment of my life. It was their vicious attacks in the magazine that I once headed that made my former wife leave me believing I had messed up my life.

Three years after the crisis in FAME erupted, the chairman accused them of embezzlement and decided to move against them. Surprisingly, they turned to me. They said we should come together to hunt the chairman and insisted that the chairman should pay us off since our shares were fully paid up shares. I knew the chairman played a major role in my removal so I decided to go along with them. We attended several meetings with their lawyers. Then I learnt that while meeting with me they had planned to do another magazine. I decided to stop attending their meetings.

They later convinced the staff to resign enmasse to start another magazine, Encomium. Everybody left so FAME could not come out. They had a meeting with circulation agents and told them FAME was now Encomium. I knew it was a mistake. Mr Adesanya that I knew is a warrior. He wouldn’t take it lying low. I brought out my popcorn, relaxed and started enjoying the drama.

Mr Adesanya was vicious. Kunle and FAJ kept moving from court to police stations, to Kirikiri Prison. At a time they had to be on the run.

FAME never came out from this.

One day, Mr Adesanya sent for me. He told me to look for a top editor with newspaper background to help put FAME back. I went to see him with a top editor who was a former commissioner. Mr Adesanya told the guy that “I didn’t know these people, Mayor brought them. They convinced me to remove Mayor without knowing this is what they were planning. I will spend whatever it takes to stop Encomium. This betrayal wouldn’t stand”.

I left believing I had done my bit. I didn’t know what happened but when FAME couldn’t come out by the fourth month, Mr Adesanya sent for me again. As I sat in his office he threw the blackmail at me; “Mayor, are you going to stand idly and allow your baby to die?” I told him “Sir, you don’t like me and I don’t like you. You colluded with my partners to push me out of the company. I would agree to come back not because of you but to prove a point to my partners. But I would come back on two conditions. The first is that you must give me a car as compensation for pushing me out of the company. The second condition is that I don’t want to sign any cheque. Bring your accountant who would be in charge of the finances. He agreed. He asked which car I wanted and I said Honda Accord. He gave me the car but a Tokunbo instead of the brand new he promised.

I started recruiting staff and we brought FAME back. We also organized the best music award ever, FAME Music Awards (F.M.A). Alhaji Teju Kareem of Zmirage put together a wondrous stage that has not been replicated. The awards held at the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu.

At exactly two years after, I left to start Global Excellence magazine. Mr Adesanya wrote me a personal letter when I was leaving thanking me for bringing back FAME, my integrity and sense of forgiveness. I still have the letter.

FAJ made it look in his book that I was the problem of the partnership. I was not. He wrote brilliantly about his time in Punch, Climax, FAME and Encomium. He did not write about why he left Encomium to start Treasure and what he did afterwards.

FAJ used his magazine, Treasure, to write a vicious article about Kunle Bakare that bothers on his integrity and professionalism. Kunle was livid. He is yet to forgive FAJ for that terrible article. When Treasure died and things became difficult for FAJ, he wanted to go back to Encomium. Kunle refused and told him there was no way back for him in Encomium.

I’m one of those who appealed to Kunle to forgive and let bygone be bygone. Despite the betrayal and all that was done to me, I still remain a friend to Kunle and FAJ. I don’t harbour grudges.

My mother who is now 96 years old told me in the heat of the FAME crisis never to look back. She told me that the best way to punish those who don’t like you is to excel. If people want you down, when you do well, it is enough punishment for them.

I was not the problem of the partnership.

That is the story of FAME. Truth is sacred.




Real Reason Why Local Government Autonomy Will Remain Unattainable – Former Oyo Justice Commissioner, Oluseun Abimbola




The Former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Oyo State, Mr. Oluseun Abimbola, (SAN) was Olayinka Agboola’s guest on Splash 105.5FM’s Radio Show, Parrot Xtra/Ayekooto on Radio recently. During the interaction, he alluded to why local governments in Nigeria may never be truly independent.


You once served as the Oyo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice during the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s administration, are you still into politics today?

There is no one without a political spirit in them, one thing leads to the other, both the one that occupies a position and the other that does not occupy any political position. The issue of politics in Nigeria is such that it continues to metamorphose. When I left office as the Attorney General, I returned to legal practice. Presently, I am not an active politician in the field though I have my sympathy for the All Progressives Congress (APC) government.

Are you still interested in contesting for any elective post?

I can also contest to become a Governor, even though it is not everyone who aspires for political office that will eventually get it. God knows each of our aspirations.

There are controversies surrounding the emergence of the gubernatorial candidate of the APC, how will you advise the party to sort out the issue of his em, ‘legitimacy’?

I do not know what you mean by ‘legitimacy’.

Recently, your senior colleague, Chief Adeniyi Akintola went on air and attacked the leadership of the party in the state on the issue. What is your reaction to this?

Like I said earlier, there are active players on the political field and there are people who may have an understanding of what might have transpired between them.

I cannot speak to that because I do not know what transpired between them and I was not privileged to be part of their discussions. On the other hand, all political parties have their challenges. It is the same way in APC, PDP, and in other parties too.

I think the problem is that our political culture is still underdeveloped. Many times, because of our aspirations, we do not want any person to have a lead way or leverage.

I understand that if I do not become what I aspire to be today, tomorrow is always there for me but the political culture in this part of the world is that we want it now, now, without waiting for the appointed time. It is important to recognize that you are not the only one interested in it; the most important thing is building a nation.

During your tenure as the Attorney General in Oyo State, you were responsible for all legal advice to the state government and its agencies; do you remember your most challenging tasks at that time?

Yes, there were several of such because the state is made of hands and legs. When the hands and legs are working in an uncoordinated manner, doing different things without first seeking the opinion of what the law says, then, you have issues.

I was thinking you were going to talk about that time you crowned several kings in Ibadan…

That was the least of the issues because that process followed the process of law. Absolutely, the Court of Appeal validated it and that shows it followed the law. Like I said, we found a political solution to it but one more important thing is that there were many issues that we handled that did not appear on the pages of newspapers.

There was a claim against the government in terms of liability that the previous administration approved the sum of 50 million dollars. We managed to resolve it in a way that God helped us and we eventually won the case.

Furthermore, there are also many other cases, programs, projects that were computerized, one different part of it was that the law was modified particularly for the judiciary at that time.

We set up the multi door-court, the Customary Court of Appeal, Family Court, and the Grade A Customary Court, many of these institutions were built, and legitimized at that time, and they are still running.

What will you say was your major achievement during your tenure?

All those institutions came in while I was serving as the Attorney General and I had the support of Governor Abiola Ajimobi. One of them was the establishment of a judicial process to facilitate access to justice for the common person; any aggrieved person can walk into the Oyo State multi-door court and file a matter that will be resolved amicably without going through litigation. I enhanced the capacity of the center at the Ministry of Justice, even though I met it there. We amended the law to make it enforceable that if someone defaults, justice would be served.

What were the major challenges you encountered during that period?

We never had enough money to do as much as we wanted to do.

Recently in Nigeria, a family secured the validation of a 50-year-old document to recover over 200 plots of land in a well-built area in this state. The family claimed they had a superior title over the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O). Is there any superior title to it?

The major problem we have is the lack of support structure to implement some of these laws. On the face of the law, the owner of the C of O is the rightful owner of the property, however in the case of litigation; the judgment of the court overrides the certificate of occupancy.

Furthermore, the court has the right to strike out a case if there is a good reason and not an arbitral reason. When someone comes with a 50-year-old judgment, there is a provision in the law that allows you to validate and enforce the judgment. The law allows for revalidation but this might come alongside certain requirements and procedures.

There is a new trend in Oyo state, in which a family might come up with a narrative claiming that their forefathers are the rightful owner of some particular piece of land. They may further attempt to take legal steps to acquire the land. Many people do this because of idleness and greed. Their ancestors have already sold most of these lands a long time ago.

What are the implications of this kind of development for state wooing potential investors?

The 2016 anti-land grabbing has done justice to that. The issue is that people are unaware of the law and besides, the Nigerian police need to be educated about implementing the law. The law travels far and wide.

This law is not just about land snatching, it further stated that if you claim to have acquired documents for your land, you must go through the legal process, and get the legal backing from the court to enforce the judgment.

However, before the court makes their judgment, they would have specified the exact location of the land (where it begins and ends). This is what we refer to as the dispute survey plan.

What is your take on the issue of local government autonomy in Nigeria?

There is an amendment process recently assented to by the National Assembly and forwarded to states’ assemblies to be rectified… only 10 states have reportedly passed the law. How do you view this?

It is desirable to have that constitutional amendment but it should be known, that it is not the only proposed amendment before the States’ Houses of Assembly- there are about 23 or more amendments that will follow the same process. If some states are having issues with few of the proposed amendments of the constitution but they have no problem with supporting local government autonomy, automatically local government autonomy law will suffer for it.

It is just that some States’ Houses of Assembly are not focusing on doing the needful, which they are aware that it is right. Some laws included in the constitutional amendment do not sit well with some states that are in support of local government autonomy and this is the reason they are against pushing the bill. This means that our local governments may not become independent soon.

Is the present constitution a major problem for the country?

Undoubtedly, the constitution is a problem but the people are the bigger problem. Even if the law is weak and faulty, what we need are elected representatives with good intentions to change such obnoxious laws; however, failure to do it will make the constitution look incapable.

If we can find lasting solutions to the present challenges facing the constitution, it will settle many issues affecting the progress of the country.

In addition, if our people do not desist from doing evil, changing the constitution will be fruitless. Many of our elected representatives need to be humane and committed to governance. Usually, the process of constitutional amendment will come with constitutional amendment acts.

That act will contain all the clauses to be amended concerning different material issues.

Furthermore, the local government amendment autonomy is one of the issues pushed forward among others while the case of the Value Added Tax (VAT) did not sail through although the Supreme Court is yet to give its judgment.

Others include the issue of redefining indigene-ship to allow residents who have lived in a place for a period to become an automatic indigene of that place. However, in the context of Nigeria’s cultural situation, it is almost impracticable because it might not be fully implemented.

There should be a reworking of the structures on ground before such a proposal is made to reduce the problem of preferential treatment some regions of the country are enjoying. Some States’ Assembly will not pass the bill of local government autonomy until many issues are addressed.

Is restructuring part of the constitutional amendment?

The proposed amendment is not part of the restructuring. These are some of the reasons why some states have developed cold feet on the issue of local government autonomy when the most pressing issues affecting the country are not addressed.

What admonition do you have for President Buhari and our politicians?

I feel the most critical thing affecting the unity of the country is that everyone is suspicious of the other. In every region, groups are suspicious of one another. The head unites the body; I feel no region should be given preferential treatment because trust is earned and not conferred.
The president needs to unite the county irrespective of the sacrifices and be ready to move away from entitlement to equity.
This same principle applies to the president and also goes to every political office holder. It is a demonstrable action and it must be seen as such. The law says justice must not only be done but must also prevail.

How did Nigerians find themselves in this mess they are today?

It was a gradual slide into decay starting from the corruption that has grown over time. People have substituted values for benefit and merit for preference. Amnesty today is also a problem since everyone claims it as a political tool, militants, Boko haram elements got amnesty and some are proposing that bandits should also get amnesty. I am a die-hard believer in Nigeria and I know those who have left Nigeria will eventually return.

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Victoria Bamidele Shin-Aba @60: Untold stories of humble beginnings of an aviation amazon




By Oluwadamilare Emmanuel


Behind the glorious career fulfillment of some people lie tattered beginnings harsh enough to devour even the strongest of men.

While many have shared their grass to grace stories, however, some deliberately left the stories to waste away in memory because of the emotional trauma recalling almost to the present, the forgotten ugly past experiences before success came smiling on them.

Truly as they say in this part of the world, ‘Life no balance’. However, it is amazing to know that some people would rather re-arrange the unfavourable condition life throws at them to their favour instead of wallowing in self-pity or blaming others for their misfortune.

The foregoing encapsulates the multidimensional and inspiring story of the immediate past Regional Terminal Manager, (South West), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs. Victoria Bamidele Shin-Aba, the first female to be so honoured with such position. Her entry and subsequent growth through the ranks in FAAN to the peak, is almost one of a divine arrangement and uncommon courage as she explained in her soon to be launched book ‘My Resilience’. The book launch and her retirement party holds today June 2, 2022 in Lagos

Humble beginnings

Born 31st of August, 1962, Shin-Aba who is due for retirement this week and would be clocking 60 in few months time, was barely six months old when she lost her father while they sojourn in far away Ghana.

Apparently, she neither knew nor felt what her father was before he passed. Thanks to the magnanimous love and efforts of a ‘never say never’ mother who despite all the odds, kept to her husband’s words of ‘even if it remains a trouser in my wardrobe, my children must get quality education’ to keep her six children (including Shin-Aba) on track and ensure their access to quality education with no support system.

However, life did not stop dealing her a big blow despite the loss of her father. From the earlier blunt rejection of her husband, Nasiru Kolawole Shin-Aba by her mum and other family members due to religious differences to his subsequent sickness, loss of sight, depression and death after just an eight-year marital journey that lasted from 1985 to 1993, Shin-Aba has experienced it all.

To add to the already piled up horrible situation, she lost her last child, Segun whom she had with her husband during his lowest ebb in life at age 10; days after being diagnosed of cerebral malaria.

However, in all of these vicissitudes of life, she remained steadfast and focused despite heated entreaties from friends and families to abandon her sick husband. When she was getting overwhelmed by the myriad of challenges thrown at her at just 37 years of age, her loving mother who later welcomed her husband with open arms encouraged her not to heed evil advice, but rather stick with her husband whom she met a complete man.

In the words of his HRM, Oba (Prof) Akintola John Akintola, who doubles as Professor of Entomology, Biology Department, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) and the Alapa of Okinapa who wrote the foreword of her book: “The demise of her father at her tender age, which denied her fatherly care, did not deter her from achieving greatness.

She was single-handedly trained by her uneducated mother who had passion for education; and with the help of God, she did not derail on track as many of her peers, who found themselves in such circumstances would have done.

There was a repeat of ugly occurrence in her life; she lost her beloved husband along the journey of life. She had to singlehandedly train her children too, due to some challenges in her family.

She didn’t allow religion to create a gorge in her immediate family; she managed the challenges with elasticity. When opportunities presented itself in her favour, she was there for everyone, to raise them up within her limited capacity.

What a show of love! Mrs. Victoria Shin-Aba is a woman of uncommon love and humility. She extended love to all, immediate and distant relations. Her humble beginning came to play in many histories and stories too numerous to mention.

This is what many failed to do and had turned up as regret for them after retirement,” Kabiyesi wrote elatedly of the accomplished woman of substance.

Journey to FAAN

While many would have accepted fate and end it all career wise, Shin-Aba was rather focused all through the challenges.

She did not hang her boots or drift to the classroom as many would have expected of her upon completion of a College of Education studies and receipt of certificate in 1984.

She proceeded to obtaining her first degrees, local and international trainings/certifications while also combining a number of side hustles especially during the early days of her career in the Agency.

Her journey into FAAN (formerly, Nigeria Airports Authority, NAA) dated back to 1987 as Assistant House Manageress. She joined her husband who was then the Head of Civil Engineering at the Ibadan Airport.

Steady growths through the ranks at FAAN

As typical of any hardworking person, Shin-Aba soon became the cynosure of all eyes in FAAN. She held several positions in the operations department of Authority including; Airfield Operations Officer Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA); Apron Control Officer MMA; Airport Duty Officer ITZ MMA; and Terminal Operations Officer; General Aviation Terminal (GAT); Hajj and Cargo Terminal (HCT) and International Terminal MMA.

She was promoted Manager of the Akure Airport in 2011, a post she held till 2014 when she was redeployed to MMA as Head of Operations.

In September, Shin-Aba scored another first. The FAAN management appointed her as first female Regional General Manager (South West)/Airport Manager, Murtala Muhammed International Airport and subsequently attaining the rank of a General Manager, Airfield Operations.

As HOD operations, she led the team that prepared MMA for pioneer certification in Nigeria and organised the review and unbundling of MMA technical manuals and related Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)in collaboration with Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The much coveted Aerodrome Certification to MMA, issued by NCAA on 15th September 2017 is to the credit of her team. Her experience also came to play during the coronavirus pandemic that grounded flight activities worldwide for months.

Multiple Awards and Recognitions

In recognition of her hard work and selflessness to fatherland despite the initial setbacks, the Nigerian Aviation Award (NIGAV) in 2018 honoured her with ‘The Airport Personality of the Year 2018’; in same year she also went on to win the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees (NBCFAE) Award 2018. Most recently she won the ‘Airport Operations of the Year 2021 and Operational Resilience Airport of the Year 2021 Award.

Solving generational problems

Having giving a better part of her life to standing up to challenges against her and others around her, one would have expected her to roll down the sleeves and possibly go on vacation to enjoy her retirement. But Shin-Aba has other plans. As retirement beckons, Shin-Aba hopes to use her time and resources for solving generational problems/challenges. .

“This is the more reason why I have a growing interest in attempting to solve the generational problem through a yet-to-be-unveiled scheme which aims to address human capital empowerment and entrepreneurship development in the community upon my retirement,’ she said in her book.

It is therefore, the right thing to, in the bobbling spirit of oneness, to roll out the drums and celebrate with a rare woman of courage and virtues, Mrs Victoria Bamidele Shin-Aba as she mark her retirement from service, launch her book today and also mark her 60th birthday in advance.

_Oluwadamilare is a Lagos-based journalist_

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Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo Profile: Biography Of VP Osinbajo




Oluyemi Osinbajo Profile, Biography of VP Osinbajo, VP Osinbajo date of birth, VP Osinbajo political career and other information about Nigeria’s Vice President.

JomogNews Nigeria reports that Oluyemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON is the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

VP Osinbajo was born on March 8 1957 at Creek Hospital, Lagos, Yemi is a professor of law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. He is married to Oludolapo Osinbajo (nee Soyode), granddaughter of the late sage and statesman, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. They are blessed with three children.


Biography Of VP Osinbajo


Yemi’s early years in primary school were spent at Corona School Lagos. Between 1969- 1975, he attended Igbobi College, Yaba where he was the winner of the State Merit Award (1971); the School Prize for English Oratory (1972); Adeoba Prize for English Oratory (1972-1975); Elias Prize for Best Performance in History (WASC, 1973); School Prize for Literature (HSC, 1975); and African Statesman Intercollegiate Best Speaker’s Prize (1974).

Thereafter, he studied for his undergraduate degree at the University of Lagos between 1975-1978 when he obtained a Second Class Upper Degree in Law. Here, he also won the Graham-Douglas Prize for Commercial Law.

In 1979, he completed the mandatory one-year professional training at the Nigerian Law School whereon he was admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of Nigeria’s Supreme Court.

In 1980, he attended the London School of Economics & Political Science, where he obtained a Master of Laws degree.

An accomplished scholar, teacher, lawyer and administrator, Yemi is one of the nation’s leading experts on the Law of Evidence, National and Regional Corporate Commercial Laws and Public Law.

From 1979 –1980, Osinbajo participated in the one-year youth service programme as a Legal Officer with Bendel Development and Planning Authority (BDPA)

In 1981, the University of Lagos, Nigeria, engaged Osinbajo as a Lecturer. From 1988–1992, he was appointed as an Adviser (Legal Advice and Litigation), to the then Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola, KBE.

In 1994, he became a Professor of Law following which he was appointed Head of Department of Public Law, University of Lagos

Between 1999 and 2007, Osinbajo was Member of Cabinet of the Lagos State Government where he served as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.

From 2007 – 2013, Osinbajo was once again employed as a Professor of Law, Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos.

In 2007, Osinbajo became Senior Partner at SimmonsCooper Partners, Nigeria (a commercial law practice).

Staff Member, United Nations Operations in Somalia, Justice Division, UNOSOM II

Member, United Nations Secretary General’s Committee of Experts on Conduct and Discipline of UN, Peacekeeping Personnel around the globe, Member, 2006. Partner in Law Firm of Osinbajo, Kukoyi & Adokpaye.

Membership Associations

Yemi is a member of the International Bar Association and the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and has served on the Nigerian Body of Benchers and the Council for Legal Education of Nigeria.

He was also an independent director of CitiBank Nigeria and an ethics adviser to the board of the Africa Development Bank (ADB). He has authored several books.

Reform and Charity Work

While in public office as Attorney General, Lagos, Yemi is credited with undertaking far-reaching significant judicial reform in Lagos State, addressing critical areas as judges’ recruitment, remuneration, training and discipline.

In addition, he addressed access to justice for the poor by establishing appropriate institutions in the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) and the Citizens Mediation Centre (CMC).

Yemi founded the Orderly Society Trust (OST) involved in an Excel literacy programme that aims to provide children in public primary schools with the same level of training in English as is available to their counterparts in private schools .

Yemi also co-founded Justice Research Institute (Gte), a justice sector think tank as well as the Convention On Business Integrity.

Other Charitable Initiatives

As a spiritual leader, Osinbajo has organized various initiatives that work towards social justice. He organizes the Liberty Schools Project that provides free primary school education with free school lunches to poor children.

This Project has three sites in poor communities in Obanikoro, Ikota and Makoko, all in Lagos.

Other initiatives include free health care facilities, free legal services, social rehabilitation, skills acquisition for the very poor, a regular soup kitchen service, and free shelter for young people without accommodation.

He is an ordained Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and an Emeritus Ambassador for the Environment in Lagos.

Political Career

After the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was tasked with other notable Nigerians in the party with the development of a manifesto for the new political party.

This culminated in the presentation of the “Roadmap to a New Nigeria”, a document published by APC as its manifesto in 2013.

The highlights of the Roadmap included a free meal school plan, and a conditional cash transfer to millions of the poorest Nigerians if they enrol their children in school and immunise them.

On 17 December 2014, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, retired General Muhammadu Buhari, announced Osinbajo as his running mate and vice-presidential candidate for the 2015 general elections.

On the 31st of March 2015, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) confirmed the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket having won the Presidential election, thus Osinbajo became the Vice President-elect of Nigeria. They were both sworn in on the 29th of May 2015 for the first term.

In February 2019, the Buhari/ Osinbajo ticket won the Presidential Elections for a second term in office starting May 29, 2019.


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