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Outdoor Advertising in Oyo State And The Growing Insanity | By Waheed Ganiyu

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The billboard is the main outdoor advertising medium in Nigeria. It is large structures erected on highways, roads for the display of huge advertising materials. Billboards expose passers-by to the brief and bold advertising messages.

Prior to 2007, billboards was a source of revenue to the local governments. However, on assumption of office, the former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola established the Lagos Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA).

The pioneer LASAA Director-General, Barrister Makanjuola was reporting directly to the governor. He performed excellently by flushing the charlatans and quacks out of business and paved way for the key players and competent practitioners. LASAA got rid of illegal structures in areas like: Ikeja, Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Ojota, Costain and other parts of Lagos Mainland. Within a year the agency was able to generate over N3b.

The Lagos model prompted other states, especially in the south-west to establish their own advertisement agencies. Unfortunately most of them have not been able to meet up with the ‘Eko’ standard.

In the pacesetter state, the Oyo State Signage and Advertisement Agency, unarguably, has not been able to live to its mandate of ensuring that the signage beautify our environment. Many billboards constitute nuisance and threats to the lives of the people.

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Ideally, a minimum of 100m is required in between billboards on the same road. But here in Oyo State, especially in Ibadan, the state capital, billboards are clustered in areas like: Adamasingba, Dugbe, Agodi-Gate, UI-Ojoo road, Iwo road and others. Apart from clustering, many of these structures are erected directly high-tension wires. Inasmuch the state needs to boost its revenue, people’s lives, healthy and safety environment are also significant.

The question is who are those people behind this growing insanity and illegality? In a chat with the Head, Ibadan Office of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Mr. Olajide Olishile, he said: ‘allocation of sites for billboards is the sole responsibility of OYSAA’. When confronted with the query on the billboard erected at Mokola Roundabout under the high-tension wire, an Enforcement Officer at OYSAA simply denied that no structure is under the wire.

Meanwhile, further investigations revealed that many of these billboards belong to OYSAA members of staff who don’t even have the skills and statutory requirements to practice.

Now that the rainy season is here, many of these billboards may not be able to withstand the heavy winds that characterise the period. In order to avoid any eventuality, it’s high time the OYSAA, Director-General, Hon. Temi Addibi, stop relying only on the reports from the field, swung into action by leading a powerful task force to uproot these illegal billboards.

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Opinion

Dele [email protected]: Relationship Beyond Ovation | By Olayinka Agboola

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(L-R) Yinka Agboola and his boss, Dele Momodu

We were all born to achieve different purposes in life. Yes. We all desire to be successful but most of us never really develop that critical sense of focus, passion and perseverance.

Ayobamidele Abayomi Ojutelegan Ajani Momodu had all these ‘packaged’ for him in copious measures by the Creator as he journeyed down to this world sixty years ago.

It has been a very long time since I wrote tributes like this about anybody, anywhere. I have, perhaps, become lazy or maybe I have been too busy keeping myself and my businesses alive to bother about scripting eulogies to deserving friends and loved ones.

I can quickly submit here before I forget that I am yet to meet a Nigerian that has passion for Journalism as much as Basorun Dele Momodu. And I have so many reasons for my submission. It is no gainsaying that the Creator bestowed on him a far more than average intelligence quotient matched with a gargantuan native balance to push ahead in life. He is truly a man with a divine mission.

How did I meet Basorun?

I first met him while I was a student of the defunct Oyo State College of Arts and Science (OSCAS), Ile Ife, Osun State in 1982 after I left Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan.

Even at that time, it was obvious he was going to end up in life as a popular man. I knew him. But I was sure he did not know me. I was certainly not one of those to attract his attention that time. He was one of our young lecturers and I recall that he handled English Literature under Mr Ogunmodede then. But he was so popular we all called him ‘Dele Mad’. How we came about that, I cannot readily recollect here. Seye Oyeleyo of DAWN Commission, a friend and fellow student at that time may recollect…

After our encounter in Ile Ife, I did not get to hear anything about him until I got to Lagos in 1991.The story of my sojourn in Lagos will come later (if I end up squeezing time to knock it together).

I landed in Lagos after serving in Bauchi and running a company with Brother Gbenga Adeyemi (Guze), the elder brother of one of my mates at Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan. I left the North-Eastern city owing to the religious riots that broke out in 1991. I thereafter chose to stay briefly in Ibadan before proceeding to Lagos in tandem with the adrenalin of adventure which had overtaken my being. I took my father’s car with me. It was this car that I used in borrowing money to uplift the career of a popular juju musician in whose talent I had faith. He defaulted in paying and the issue became a media war between us. I still have copies of editions of The Punch, Daily Sketch, Vanguard, Nigerian Tribune, Daily Times, Hints and several others who published our ‘war’ then. It was during this brouhaha in 1992 that I encountered Dele Momodu officially.

Apparently, he read about the media brickbats the musician and I were throwing at each other and somehow, we met and he sat me down for a serious lecture. During the session, he told me the story of how he fell out with his own boss too, late May Helen Ezekiel who owned Classique Magazine. He told me about how he started a media war against her before Otunba Mike Adenuga, the owner of Globacom lectured him on why it is against the laws of propriety to engage close associates or friends in media war. This drew me to Momodu and prompted me to immediately drop my ‘toga of battle’ to follow him just like Peter began to follow Christ the Messiah.

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By this time, he was a major distributor of the now defunct famous Abiola Bread owned by late Basorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. He sold bread with his blue-colored Volkswagen Jetta Car. At the same time, he was a Contributing Editor at the defunct FAME WEEKLY MAGAZINE where he maintained a weekly column, PENDULUM.

Bob Dee, as I met others calling him that time was the man everybody wanted to talk to and be with. His column was one of the very major reasons people bought FAME WEEKLY MAGAZINE. The directors then were Mayor Akinpelu, Kunle Bakare and Femi Akintunde-Johnson.

Unofficially, I became Bob Dee’s Personal Assistant running stuffs for him. I must at this point confess that this new relationship with the prolific writer fanned the flair for writing in me. I would take the manuscript of his PENDULUM from him as he wrote each page and re-write. I never really graduated as an apprentice writer because we almost immediately got involved with the MKO Abiola presidential campaign.

Bob Dee got his friends to employ me as a reporter at FAME WEEKLY. I was put under the late WALE OLOMU to also learn how to write entertainment stories. But Dele Momodu was still my boss.

Later, Prince Nduka Obaigbena asked Bob Dee to set up THISDAY Newspapers for him. He gave him a brand new Peugeot 504. Before this time, Chief MKO Abiola had arranged for a grey Mercedes Benz for him.

The newspaper took off somewhere on Norman Williams in Ikoyi, if I still remember. Okagbue Aduba, a complete gentleman, was brought in as the pioneer Editor. This is an interesting story for another day.

The point here is that Bob Dee put everything he had behind everything he did and is still doing. He is an excellent multi-tasking guru who kept his weekly column writing alongside his private consultancy businesses while still ensuring that THISDAY took off even as he continued running stuffs for MKO Abiola and his campaign team.

Permit me if I miss anything out because at this point, things started moving at a dizzying pace. The Jos Primary election that produced MKO Abiola took place; Baba Gana Kingibe was chosen as his running mate; their party was Social Democratic Party (SDP);Bashir Tofa emerged as the candidate of NRC; the elections held and MKO won. Yes, he won. Thereafter, the June 12, 1993 struggle started. We all abandoned what we were doing to concentrate on how to actualize the mandate given to the legendary MKO.

At this time, the owner of THISDAY, Nduka Obaigbena had become a strong anti-June 12 advocate. He wanted Bob Dee to join him. Of course, Dele Momodu declined, stuck to the June 12 struggle. He never wavered. He was resolute. This landed him in Alagbon. He was detained for several days. After this, we smuggled him out of Nigeria to the United Kingdom.

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While in London, he never allowed the challenges he faced in the bid to firmly entrench himself in his new abode to obliterate his passion for journalism. This was how he ‘conjured up’ with the idea of establishing OVATION INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE.

For those who do not know, we operated in Lagos like a ‘triumvirate family’. Dele Momodu was the father, Kunle Bakare of the then, Fame Weekly Magazine was his best friend and son and I was the grandson. In those days, if one of us was at the then famous Nite Shift Nite Club with Ken Calebs Olumhese, you could be sure the others were around. Such was the strength of the chord that bound us! The rest is history.

When he therefore came up with the idea of OVATION INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE, he relied on Kunle Bakare and my humble self. We handled the Nigerian end of the business. We would arrange for materials and send to him. He would then package and publish and send to Nigeria. We distributed the magazines alongside FAME WEEKLY.

Somehow, Bob Dee and Kunle Bakare fell out. This became a huge dilemma for me. I assumed Kunle Bakare was my best friend that time. God bless his enigmatic wife, Desola. I was unfortunately caught in the middle of a quarrel between two great friends. I did not know what to do or on whose side to stay. Bob Dee was my boss. Bakare also known as Mr. KB was my friend.

It took me almost three months to make up my mind on what to do. I give thanks to God for the lives of Chief Ezekiel Fatoye, Godwin Mekwuye of Vivid Imagination, Hassan Fatungase of the then Bakers’ World and Sir Doksy, now Oba Adedokun Abolarin, the Orangun of Oke Ila; late Sonny Okosuns, Olabode Opeseitan, Daniel Wilson and Daddy Showkey. They helped me to make up my mind.

I had two options -join Kunle Bakare and abandon the OVATION INTERNATIONAL project, or stay with Dele Momodu and lose KB’s friendship and resign from Fame Weekly as Assistant Editor.

Chief Fatoye, Hassan Fatungase, Vivid and Doksy and others all asked me one question…How did you meet the two warring gentlemen? My answer, ‘Dele Momodu introduced me to Kunle Bakare’. Then, they unanimously advised me to stay with Dele Momodu, who, at this time could not come to Nigeria.

After this admonition, I packed Ovation Magazine’s documents and all appertaining to it out of the Wemabod Estate, Ikeja office of FAME WEEKLY MAGAZINE to Afisman Drive, Anifowose in Central Ikeja where late Brother Rotimi Seriki(another wonderful soul), the husband of senior sister of Dele Momodu’s wife had a ready office for Ovation Magazine. So, the business of running the magazine continued under my humble self. And this was an assignment I carried out to the best of my ABILITY. Afterall, I could not have offered what I did not have. The rest is history…

As someone close to him at that time, I learnt so many lessons following him around, I learnt to practically worship him because he was to me, an enigma. He could speak both Yoruba and English fluently, he could write both, he was creative and he was extremely humane. He loved to read and had a very rich library. These were the virtues in him that served to cement our bond.

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I stand the risk of sounding like a broken record but, permit me to mention specific examples to buttress the virtues that made Bob Dee tick.

Selfless

Bob Dee was not a rich man, but I saw him, at that time, sponsor at least four young men through their Law School programmes. One of them, Barrister Bamidele Abolarin (Super Dee) lives in Ibadan like me today.

Live and Let Live

Bob Dee lived for the day. If he had ten thousand naira, he would dash out eight and keep two. And if he had reason to dash out the two, he would. Fellow journalists would come to him at his Adigboluja, Ojodu, Lagos residence with myriads of problems and he would not only listen, he would lift fingers to support. Examples are too numerous to mention here. One of us then had problems with his wife because he did not have a car. Dele Momodu dashed him his Jetta Car!

Courageous and Committed

If you are looking for an example of courage, Bob Dee was one. For those who can remember, in 1993 during the heat of the election annulment, Bob Dee staged a ‘coup’ which saw the leader of the infamous Association for Better Nigeria (ABN), Chief Abimbola Davis speaking to the press from The Kitchen Restaurant on Allen Avenue. After the epochal media meeting, we all ran away. Davis was smuggled out of Lagos to Togo using a Peugeot 504 car that I was commissioned to arrange. Bob Dee also disappeared while I escaped to Ibadan. In addition, Bob Dee was in charge of several underground moves to actualize the June 12 mandate of MKO.

Today, on behalf of my wife, Oluwatoyin and children, I thank him for being a great mentor to me despite our differences. He taught me that I must always restrict myself to my area of competence, be contented and to always stay on my own lane. He also lectured me on the need to dress well and be decent at all times. These orientations I got from the great Bob Dee, added to the Grace of God have helped me in life. This, to me is a relationship, brotherhood beyond Ovation. I am always proud to associate with this selfless mentor.

Basorun Dele Momodu, omo Iya Oyo, happy 60th birthday sir! God bless you, God bless your elegant wife, Omobolaji and all your children.

 

 

Olayinka Agboola is the Crew Leader at Parrot Xtra Magazine, PMParrot.com and Parrot Xtra Hour On Radio

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Opinion

Alimajiranci: One Hell of Ideology in 21st Century | By Adediji Wasiu

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Now that the Northern elite has united behind a holistic drive to abolish and discredit the ideology of an abusive system that gives birth to extremists, fanaticism who in turn pick arm against the society to get what the society has denied them by all means and, resist those who oppose them with ferocity.

This is the first step towards starving terrorist organisation like bokoharam, the reason to exist, they are the most targeted group for terrorist organization. Since the alimajiri run errands for strangers, scavenges left overs food, sleep on sidewalks and street pavements, they are easy to lure against their own will by bokoharam as bomb carrier, thus, endangered population. So, this approach must be pursued holistically and not in half measures else it becomes a “riverboat gambling.”

Furthermore, the parallel between progressive culture and retrogrssive one must draw, the so called Alimajiri system left children vulnerable to an environment of hopelessness and in their desperation to find food, they often end up become available tool for terrorist group and often adopted as foot soldier, suicide bombers to strike the society. Should such culture continue?

Each time there is an attempt to reform alimajiri system in other to do away with the abuses associated with it, people often mistaken this to be fight against Islam and northern culture, against this background I ask what are the benefits of this system to Islam In fact it has continued to give the religion bad image and majorly the Islamic cleric produced through this method in most cases are half baked cleric, given all sort of opinion that is contradicting to the known established sunnah and ayat of Quran.

Undoubtedly, Islam encourages learning as exemplified in the first Surah of Quran revealed to Prophet Muhammad ( Peace be upon him) says “Iqra Bismillaih Rabbikallazi Khalaq, khalaqal insaana min Alaq, Iqra wa Rabbuka Akram Allazii allama bil Qalam Allama insaana maa ya lam” (read in the name of your lord of your Lord, who created man from clot, read and the Lord is the most bounteous, Who teach with pen, Teachth man that which he knew knot) this emphasis the importance of knowledge , however, we know that through civilizations, different kinds of knowledge, has brought the progresses of man in different fields pivot on the existence of the ‘pen’ thus this surah encourage learning, because learning has always been a part of every intellectual society.

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However, learning must be done in a way that promotes both the basic human and society values in conformity with modern style and this can’t be achieved by subjecting the children to physical, sexual, and intellectual abuse.

In my view, Alimajiri system have out leave it usefulness in this age of globalization, or else it’s married with modern learning technique to bring the uniqueness of the system if there is any. Almajiri originally set up as part of the wider Islamic practice of dedication to learning, intention of the Almajiri system of education cannot be faulted due to religious and socio-cultural needs of the society committed through learning by heart but today due to poor infrastructure, lack of government firm control and abysmal quality of teachers in alimajiri system, the failure of this system became more acute pronounced thus it has become synonymous to seeking alms, begging, and sometimes engaging in criminal activity as a result of their basic survival needs not being met.

Undoubtedly, the ideologies of Alimajiri is what give birth to terrorism in the northern region and and to extinguish fanaticism and terrorism, it cannot be prevent by the use of force alone, it root causes must be address by placing emphases on education of the destitute in the society towards creating a balance system that offers mind lifting teachings before reuniting them back to the society.

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We must acknowledge that the Boko Haram, banditry etc wars that have raged in Borno, Maiduguri, Yobe, and other northeast state has being on because there is nexus between the Boko Haram organization and alimajiri, of which the military approach alone have proven not to be a total solution despite huge amount billions of budgeted each year since the war started, it’s time we adopt intellectual approach by targeting it’s root causes.

It’s time to redefine the context of alimajiri in today’s global knowledge economy by reengaging the almajiri children in a productive endeavor in other to end this abusive system that has continue to make them a suspectible tool in the hand of bokoharam against their wishes.

To defeat this embodiment of a malicious ideology, it is first necessary to define exactly what is the relationship between alimajirci and slow pace of human development index in the north, what future this moribund system has to offer in the near future, and why is it necessary to get rid of it or to continue. I leave you to answer those questions in the best objectively.

The solution has three components, the first approach is winning the battle using intellectual approach this begin by concerted political will to totally do away with alimajiri system. Notwithstanding, the solution can’t be achieved without the cooperation of the district heads, traditional rulers, ulama , parents, civil society organisations and the government. The north can’t afford to fold it arm, ignore the danger on the horizon, another vicious cycle of war won’t do the region any better than self destruction.

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Also,  setting them up for greatness, It’s by counter this abusive and malignant ideology through proper rehabilitation by enlightened and open up their minds through counselling before reuniting them back to the society, else doing otherwise will impacts the society, the extent to which no one can predict, such flames know no borders. Only one thing can stop a mind who is ready to die for fictional seven (7) virgin, a stronger ideology and counseling that convinces him that such ideology or believe have no place in Islam.

Lastly, the region is home to more than 70 million young people , this period offers government the opportunity to inspire them with hope and do everything necessary to improve the quality of life by flatten the poverty curve in the region, and improve the quality of education. it’s not enough to build fine structures without capacity to run it and to create economic opportunities for their sustainable development.

In my view, this is the most sustainable answer and alternative to alimajiri. I am optimistic, because I know that the people of the north with their hardworking derserves stability and prosperity that are stronger and more enduring than opportunistic and destructive alimajiri ideas.

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Opinion

Opinion : The sanctimony of Orji Uzor Kalu | By Festus Adedayo

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Kalu

Did you read former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu’s statement after the Supreme Court’s seismic judgement last Friday which set him free? Kalu and his co-accused had on December 5, 2019 been sentenced to jail by Justice Mohammed Idris. 

He stood trial, alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and Udeh Udeogu, Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House. Justice Idris found Kalu and his co-defendants guilty and was sentenced to a concurrent jail term of 12 years imprisonment.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) had on July 16, 2018 preferred a 39-count charge bordering on N7.65 billion fraud against the accused. He had spent five months in jail.

 

In his remarks lauding the Supreme Court judgement, the former governor had waxed lyrical, sanctimonious and even sounded as if he was a human rights activist just released from jail. He critiqued the Nigerian system “whereby over 70% of all prison inmates population is made up of people awaiting trial” which “cannot be allowed to continue… situations where innocent people are falsely charged with murder just to get them out of the way” which “does not dignify our country and cannot continue,” and promised to “henceforth dedicate my time to fight injustice.”

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So many questions arise from Kalu’s sudden “realizations” and new-found activism. The first is, as governor of a Nigerian state for eight years, at what point did it occur to Kalu that the Nigerian system is a bulwark of injustice? Why was he feigning ignorance of this rotten system which he was one of the dramatis personae who dragged it into the current sewage?

 

 

Don’t forget that Nigerians see the rot in the system as largely perpetrated by the political class, where the innocent is said to be framed so that they could be pushed out of the way. As governor, was Kalu unaware that a large population of inmates in prisons were awaiting trial? So why was he sounding like a man who just jumped from Uranus or one just returning from the Holy See?

 

The way Kalu sounded in that statement, you would think that the Supreme Court judge, led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, had acquitted him of complicity in the N7billion theft charge against him, which the court did not. It only set him free on account of a technicality based on the provisions of 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), promulgated in the bid to depopulate courts of cases.

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Hitherto, judges who got promoted to higher courts had cases they were hearing in their former courts begun de novo.

In the Kalu case, the state is not done yet with allegation of complicity or otherwise of that young student of the University of Maiduguri in the late 1980s who was alleged to have donated cartons in place of pledged cash.

Methinks what Kalu should have done was to leave his prison home, not with a sense of deja vu and not the demeanour of a victor. It was bad enough that he got accused and initially sentenced for complicity in the fraud case. For the Nigerian criminal system, it is an opportunity to begin the matter afresh but with more circumspection.

However, knowing the extent of the rot in the Nigerian legal system, this Kalu “victory” may well be a systemic quid pro quo – a rob my back, I rob your back kind of class prevarication. The onus to be reticent and bear his shame without grandstanding was on Orji Uzor Kalu; that is what I think.

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