The Fear Of Tunde Fowler Is …
TUNDE Fowler has become a much dreaded man or sorts, particularly to stalwarts of Lagos high society. Fowler could be mistaken for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a man whose duties entrust in him the responsibility of using all legal means at his disposal to collect revenue on behalf of the Lagos State Government.
This explains Fowler’s capacity to ‘terrorise’ every Lagos big boy or girl worth his salt. More importantly, it explains why in Lagos State, every monetary venture never escapes his marauding tax collectors. Today, the fear of Tunde Fowler is indeed, the begininng of wisdom, particularly for the league of Lagos multi-millionaires who run businesses in the Centre of Excellence. A further check confirmed several ordeals of businessmen in the hands of Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, who are fond of avoiding taxes in Lagos despite running thriving businesses.
Fowler, who is well informed about their tricks always sends his men to target them with the intention of extracting huge sums of unpaid taxes.
The big men were forced to enter a series of negotiations to get their businesses bailed out. Some even insinuated that the goggled urbane chairman of the revenue board has tutored many of his employees to scour society journals in order to monitor their social pastimes to enable them get information that may provide them with leads on the lifestyles of the big men and women in Lagos who take delight in avoiding taxes. As a result, several socialites in Lagos these days now detest public spraying of cash or public donations so much that they eschew anything that can place the names of their businesses in the mass media.
Although shortly before the general elections, Fowler was rumored to have resigned his appointment in a bid to contest for the gubernatorial seat on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State. And till now, there is no official statement from LIRS and the Lagos State Ministry of Finance which supervises the agency on the matter but close sources within the agency said Fowler has since resigned and that he is due to handover to Executive Secretary, Bicci Ali in June.
From all indications, he is yet to resign officially. Fowler was appointed chairman of the board when Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was governor of Lagos State. He is a Christian. He is credited with raising the revenue profile of Lagos State from a little bit below N1 billion to N18 billion monthly in 2013 and later increased late last year. It was under his tenure that Alpha Beta, a tax audit agency allegedly owned by Tinubu, consulted for LIRS until, its services were terminated by the Babatunde Raji Fashola’s goverment.
What Next For Peter Obafemi?
PETER Obafemi is one Nigerian whose personality and ways have continued to be a hot-button discourse among the Lagos in-crowd. To a number of people, Otunba, as he is fondly called, is one businessman who try assiduously to bring smiles to the faces of many Nigerian travellers whose plight on the Lagos-JFK air route was more harrowing than the case of squeezing water from hard granite. He wanted to bring succour to the travellers by operating a direct flight on the route but his short -lived entry into the aviation sector was as uneventful as his inglorious exit although he had many laurels to his credit.
Among the laurels were Aviation Man of the Year 2004 and Man to Watch Out for in 2004. He later test his hands in politics in his country home in Ekiti under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but he was only given some bitter lessons in the murky waters of Nigerian politics. He could not even clinch his party’s governorship ticket at the primaries, let alone testing his popularity at the general elections proper.
The emergence of the embattled politician, Peter Ayodele Fayose as the governor of Ekiti State scuttled his tall dream. His hope was also dashed when President Goodluck Jonathan lost out at the last presidential election because there was hope of compensation for him and eight other aggrieved candidates who lost to Fayose during gubernatorial primaries in Ekiti State. The very generous and kind-hearted man has since then recoiled into his shell and is re-strategising for the challenges ahead.
Friends Serenade Chief Sunny Asemota At 80
CHIEF Sunny Omoregie Asemota, chairman of Sunny Motors, belongs to the Lagos high society. This was evident on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Last Saturday was the day that presented another opportunity for real followers of the Edo State-born billionaire. Most of his business associates, friends and family went to town to display their loyalty for the auto magnate in a media carnival that saw them place conspicuous congratulatory advertorials in many Nigerian newspapers and magazines.
While some of the advertorials expressed gratitude for another year added to Asemota’s life, many used the advertorials to offer prayers for more bountiful years ahead for the Benin High Chief. The show and shower of affection indicates that his fame is still assuming a legendary status in the society despite his old age. Asemota is a man of style and panache. He is not one to be associated with anything that has no class. Extremely wealthy, the Sunny Motors boss is one man those who hope to live a lifestyle of luxury must emulate.
His homes, cars, wardrobes speak the language of luxury. Chief Sunny Asemota, the Chairman of Sunny Motors and Omoregie Motors, is one wealthy Nigerian whose indelible footprints in Nigeria’s auto business have remained a reference point for many decades. In the last 40 years, the revered businessman with his equally famous wife, Ireti, have also made their mark in the social circuit, a feat that has earned them a legendary status. Now aging gracefully and having successfully nurtured his auto companies from infancy to multi-billion enterprises, the Benin High Chief has, in the last couple of years, found it imperative to slow down on his very intense business schedule. His companies are now being ably run by his children, Osa, Iredia and Omoregie, and you can bet they have proved to be true chips off the block.
Dapo Abiodun’s Hope Lingers
WHEN hope lingers for too long, despair sets in, making the harbinger of hope wonder where they went wrong. Dapo Abiodun, the Shiek of oil and gas in Nigeria, is not forlon neither have his hopes of getting juicy contracts out of his relationship with the newly re-elected governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
Abiodun who just lost to Prince Kashamu Buruji in Ijebu East Senatorial District in Ogun State, has already filed a suit to challenge Buruji’s victory at the tribunal with high hope of reclaiming his lost mandate through perceived irregularities during the last parliamentary elections in Ogun State.
This is the second time the Chairman of Heyden Petroleum will lose his bid to test his hands in the public service and having lost it again, he has vowed to fight his opponent to the end at the tribunal. Dapo, any day, any time, remains one of the biggest players in the diesel sector. His oil company, Heyden Petroleum is a big importer of diesel to Nigeria among other businesses that he does. He has close to 10 oil vessels across the world ferrying petroleum products and has one of the biggest tank farms in Lagos. Dapo is well connected and has friends who are in the corridors of power. His Sports Utility Vechicles (SUVs) carry his personalised number D.A, which happens to be his initials.
Ego Boyo Resurfaces
AFTER starring in popular TV soaps over two decades ago, the name Ego Boyo, better known in the industry as Anne Haastrup, still rings a bell. Ego Boyo continues to be a household name even when she’s not on TV like some of her colleagues. In the 90s, the mother of three surfaced on the screen but this time in a movie titled Violated, her very first film, which she also produced.
Directed by the late veteran filmmaker, Amaka Igwe, Violated caught the attention of many; and of course Ego’s acting prowess endeared her to a number of movie buffs. Remember, Ann Haastrup, the lead character in popular 90s soap, Check Mate. The role was played by beautiful actress, Ego Nnamani who later became Ego Boyo.
Ego, who left acting many years back to pursue other business ventures is still stunning and beautiful as ever. She was few weeks back spotted at the investiture ceremony of International Women ‘s Society in Victoria Island, Lagos, where Zainab Saleh was installed as the 58th president of the group. Ego was full of life and was sighted among other celebrity ladies such as Nkiru Anumudu, Ekua Abudu and Frances Oghene having the best of time.
Femi Okenla Publishes Book To Commemorate 50th Birthday
WHEN you look at a king’s royal mouth, you would think he never sucked his mother’s breast. This is one of the evergreen sayings from Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe’s novel that will ever remain classical. This proverb very much applies to the life of the founder and Managing Director of Hotel Ibis, Ikeja, Lagos, Chief Olufemi Okenla.
Many people will, for instance, think that the man who radiates much financial contentment must have been in affluence all his life. But Okenla, who relocated to Nigeria after spending 25 years in the UK, has a lot of tales to tell. When he was studying abroad, for instance, he was once a sawmill attendant in London. When he later worked in an hotel, scrubbing floor and doing other menial jobs, the experience was so cumbersome that he was soon hit by a life-threatening fever.
Okenla was thus compelled to change the job. So ‘lucky’ was he that he was employed as a kitchen ‘manager’ when he had to work with an automatic dish machine, filling dishes into the system. He was of the opinion that the job was more elevating than scrubbing the floor. But that was until the new job also brought a dramatic hazard in the form of a nightmare.
In his sleep, he began to see nothing but dishes rolling on the washing machine, thus graduating from the frying pan into the fire. These are some of the stories Okenla narrates in The Power of Thought: A Compendium of my Life in Half a Century, his autobiography presented in Lagos few days back . The book marks his 50th birthday, which was celebrated recently. It captures the writer’s journey from a struggling guy to a successful entrepreneur.
For Okenla, being 50 presents an auspicious time to open the pages of his life for people – especially youths – to read. According to him, his life is a shinning evidence that whoever believes in the power of his or her dream and thought is destined for success. The public presentation, which featured readings from the book, music and comedy by Lagos-based comedian, Kofi, who was the master of ceremonies, was held at the hotel, with several dignitaries in attendance.They included the Group Managing Director of Skye Bank, Mr. Timothy Oguntayo, who was the chairman; Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Sadiat Oladunjoye; lawyer and politician, Dr. Muiz Banire, and the Managing Director of Opas Ltd., Mr. Muyiwa Green.
The host’s wife, Modupe was also present. Okenla explained that it took him some time to write the book but said he is very happy to see it out as he believes every reader has a lot to learn from it. He intends to give proceeds to the National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos and the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Nigeria. The reason for this is that it was the hospital that healed him when he had an accident that affected his spine.
On Primate Ayodele’s Shocking 2015 Prophecies
GOD is real and we have people who know how to interpret God’s mind for the purpose and benefit of mankind. God communicates to us through prophets and He uses them to direct our ways. Those who have in the last 20 years been following Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele’s predictions would have found his prophecies to be near-accurate. Also, his humanitarian foundation, with which assistance is regularly rendered to the needy, transcends age, religious affinity, race or colour.
As a prophet, Primate Ayodele feels in his heart the burden of the messages he brings to the people. He is deeply moved when God reveals the warnings and people do not respond to His command.
When the leadership of a nation is rotten, the prophets should be exposing it. When people become too loyal and timid to challenge leaders that they look up to, the Prophet is usually the only one daring enough to call the leaders to order, using God’s directives.
This is the role Primate Elijah Ayodele has played consistently for over 20 years in The Lord’s Vineyard both as seer and humanitarian. In one of his interviews with The Guardian, Sunday of August 4, 2013, he had warned President Goodluck Jonathan against losing 2015 presidential election. According to the cleric: “Jonathan will not win except he consults God.” Also in The Guardian of Saturday, July 13, 2013, he posited that President Jonathan must seek the face of God before deciding to contest the 2015 general election.
Primate Ayodele, who is known for the accuracy of his prophecies, including the election of Ayo Fayose as the governor of Ekiti State and the leadership crisis in the Central Bank of Nigeria sometime ago, that to the Sanusi Lamido’s sack, had predicted the victory of the new President-elect, General Muhammedu Buhari. In The Nation, Sunday Jan 18, 2015, the seer said: “Jonathan will be the last PDP president and I foresee a new government in this country. If APC embarks on aggressive grassroots campaign, it will win the 2015 general elections and I foresee PDP winning Cross River, Delta and River States.” There were other predictions in Sunday Sun Newspaper, December 28, 2014 and Daily Independent, Saturday of January 3, 2015.
Joseph Agbenla’s Giant Strides
JOSEPH Olajuwon Agbenla is evidently a man highly gifted. His superlative achievements also attest to the goodness of God, a promise that he will be a special breed among men. Agbenla is a celebrated surveyor in Lagos, and his supersonic rise in the profession saw him several years back becoming Surveyor General of Lagos State. By dint of hardwork, Agbenla has become a phenomenon of some sort in the industry and has been richly rewarded with an harvest of awards here and there.
Agbenla attended St. Saviour’s Primary School, Ikenne, and then proceeded to Ijebu Ode Grammar School. After he lost his father in the late 70s, he worked briefly before destiny smiled on him and travelled overseas on scholarship to study for his B.Sc and came back in 1982.
He has risen through the ranks, working in different departments, attending trainings around the world before attaining his present position in Lagos State. While speaking recently with High Society, he said: “It has been quite challenging as Surveyor General of Lagos State in the sense that I inherited a dilapidated office. The staff strength was so low and was depleting by the day. Thank God for Governor Babatunde Fashola who has made sure that firstly, the required data infrastructure is in place so that all professions can key into it for their developmental analysis and solution.
“For example, the Ebola issue was solved by the grace of God and by reason of the spatial data infrastructure. They used the data that was given. For instance, if an area is known to have the virus, the area can be coordinated. We have the coordinates of those areas and then we cordoned off that place. So, with the data given to the police and the health officials, it was managed.
“I believe that the spatial data infrastructure that Governor Fashola has put in place will go a long way in alleviating the problems of analyzing and resolving issues be it economic, political or otherwise. Also, when we wanted to get the actual population of Lagos State, it was easy using the spatial data infrastructure. This innovation has made it easy to administer surveying in Lagos State”.
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