Respected businessman cum philanthropist, Captain Hosa Okunbor, has caused to be issued again a statement dissociating him from the controversial oil swap deal involving former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke.
An unverified news report currently being circulated among Whatsapp users, which listed some Nigerian businessmen as beneficiaries of the said fraud, is a rehash of a report published in 2015 by a news portal, Pointblanknews.com, which it had since retracted as Okunbor was never listed among the perpetrators.
A statement released by the media team of Captain Okunbor reads, “As widely known, Captain Okunbor is neither under any probe nor facing any litigation over oil scam. The current administration, which has made anti-corruption its mantra and made giant strides in that respect, has not found Captain Okunbor or any of his businesses questionable or culpable of any underhand dealings. It is therefore horrifyingly unprofessional that some people, who perhaps saved the earlier report for hideous purposes apparently, have made it a habit to rehash and circulate it on a periodical basis on social media platforms especially on Whatsapp to unsuspecting contacts who in turn send it as broadcast messages.”
The statement reads further, “We, therefore, urge the public to disregard the report, which as far as we are concerned, is a product of the puerile imagination of blackmailers masquerading as bloggers, and fifth columnists who have clearly demonstrated that they have an axe to grind with the widely respected businessman.”
“It bears reiterating that Captain Okunbor has nothing to do with the controversial offshore processing agreements, OPAs, known as oil swap, involving the former Minister of Petroleum and others,” the statement concluded.
Captain Okunbor is a seasoned investor in diverse sectors of the economy spanning petroleum, marine, construction engineering and agriculture. His Hosa Wells Greenhouse Farm Limited, the first indigenously owned commercial greenhouse farm in Nigeria, launched its first fruits harvest last month, thus, blazing the trail with its all-year-round farming, which has been appraised as a novel initiative.
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Kogi East 2019: Sen Attai Aidoko hires 9 ‘wise men’ in desperate moves to retain his seat
Following the discouraging body languages of majority of the divisional party chairmen whom he appreciated for enhancing the impunity that offered him the contentious senatorial candidacy of the PDP, Aidoko has resorted to constituting a group of nine wise men purportedly to checkmate what he refers to as “distrust and anti-party activities” of some party members.
At a meeting which held in Lokoja and had Timothy Omora, Ndah Paddy, Hon Igagwu, Hon Abdulkarim, Hon Ohiemi, Elder Okwuoche and Hon MM Oseni representing Ankpa, Dekina, Ofu, Bassa, Olamaboro, Ibaji and Igalamela respectively, Aidoko apologized for his dismal performance in the past 16 years. He, however, promised to do better this time around if elected. He professed the benefits of returning as a “ranking senator” with a possibility of becoming the next senate president and the huge benefits accruable to the Igala people therefrom. One of those who attended the meeting and who spoke conditionally laughed the senator off as a “mega joke” whom they only see during election periods adding that “the next election is not about any party but about the entire Igala nation and like Saul in the Bible, God has left him.”
The group of nine wise men was charged with the task of cascadinhg down to the wards and units to drum support for Aidoko with messages along two lines. One, a vote for Atiku and Aidoko and two, push APC out at all cost but through the PDP platform.
Before the Lokoja meeting, Aidoko had held several meetings in Abuja with group after group and person and after person all in a bid to obtain their sympathy and support. Unfortunately, what is said after such meetings implies that his interventions are not making any impact.
Even more, the message Senator Aidoko and his cohorts do not seem to get is that the Igala/Bassa people are saying “our mumu don do” and that political parties are merely a vehicle. Whether or not Aidoko would have his way on this occasion is left to be seen and February 16, 2019 is the date.
Before then, the politically orphaned senator is willing and available to be adopted by just anyone who is willing to listen to his stories.
Sterling Bank leverages Nigeria’s chaotic advantage
Riding out the rapid and unpredictable change associated with the Nigerian market was the focus of senior business leaders led by Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, during the second edition of the Sterling Leadership Series (SLS) held in Lagos, last weekend.
A coming together of captains of industry, the thought leadership session had Yaw Nsarkoh, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever Nigeria as guest speaker. Aptly themed “Nigeria: The Chaotic Advantage”, the session was moderated by Yemi Odubiyi, Executive Director, Corporate and Investment Banking, Sterling Plc.
In his welcome address, Suleiman said there is an urgent need for Nigeria to develop institutional role models for younger professionals to emulate in view of the dynamic environment in which they operate.
“When we embarked on this journey as a bank, there were hardly any institutional role models who managers could call upon when they needed to make business decisions. Consequently, we had to set uncommon goals for ourselves to successfully navigate the uncharted waters of the Nigerian economy.”
According to him, the management of Sterling Bank resolved early in the life of the bank to articulate the direction they wanted the bank to follow and took steps to ensure that people could understand and take the vision to the next level.
Speaking on the theme, Nsarkoh listed strategies that business leaders should adopt to deal with the challenges and opportunities of operating in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) environment.
Nsarkoh said the first thing business leaders should do in a VUCA environment is to face the reality of the environment and map out ways to deal with it. According to him, by facing the reality, they will be able to build resilient models that can cope with shocks and thrive in highly volatile circumstances.
He said companies should build organisations that are equipped to interpret the risks surrounding them. They should also design backup plans and possible changes in the short term such as having multiple vendors for a particular service. So, when shocks surface, they can easily move from one supplier to the other or spread their needs among several suppliers.
Nsarkoh said the economic cycle and evaluation criteria of what is right in a volatile business environment must be viewed through a long-term lens and planning cycles should be shorter because things could change every month or every quarter.
He said companies should review, change and review but evaluation of economic benefits must be done with a longer-term horizon in mind.
He explained that in any environment, volatile or not, there is always a cultural conversation within which brands must express themselves. He added that “in times of adversity, people develop a certain sense of humour about things such as poor infrastructure and their implication on services. So, brands seeking to serve people purposefully must immerse themselves in that environment and speak their language.”
Nsarkoh said business leaders must embrace and understand the context of the unpredictable times in which they live, the news culture of the people and the roles that their brands could play in day-to-day conversations within communities.
The CEO said business leaders must be curious and go out of their ways to seek best practices wherever they could find it, remarking that through this quest they will be able to demolish the pervading tendency of people to think they cannot aspire to world-class services and products in their environment.
He also enjoined business leaders to look out for people doing things better than them and benchmark or adopt a talent base that is vital to the survival and growth of the business, empower the frontline sales team and create a multi-stakeholder approach, among others.
Wrapping up the session, Yemi Odubiyi explained that the rate of change is outpacing the ability of economies, businesses, industries and people to adapt. He urged leaders both in the private and public space to adopt newer mental models based on agility, critical thinking, adaptable learning, responsiveness to change and people orientation as against dependence on intuition, belief and values for decision making.
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