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Segun Odegbami At 70: Restless, Creative And Mathematical



On this day, August 27th, exactly 70 years ago in 1952, a star was born into the family of late Pa Jacob Adebola and Madam Bintu Abeke Odegbami, the former, a retired Nigerian Railway worker; and the latter, a successful and very popular trader. They both hailed from Wasinmi Community in Ogun State and long settled in Jos, Plateau State, where they lived into their advanced years. That little star is Nigeria’s sports icon, serial entrepreneur, master storyteller, great writer, broadcaster, educationist, author, actor, publisher, and sports administrator per excellence, Chief Patrick Olusegun Odegbami, (MON). Turning 70 in Nigeria of today is clearly a big deal.

The reasons are obvious. But ask any close watcher of the celebrant’s daily work ethic, cerebral endeavors, and athleticism. One of the most popular Nigerians of his generation, Big Seg came into everything desirable quite early in life – fame, money, travels, cars, houses, and the good life. By a stroke of divine luck, he had successfully managed the highs and lows and is in good health; in the company of his loving wife, and children and he can happily look back and thank God. Big Seg is a quintessential gentleman; extremely charity-driven, easy-going though fun-loving; ever courteous, highly detribalized, humorous; friendly, God-fearing, and a master on the dance floor.

Nigeria owes this man a deserved acknowledgment and celebration on a day like this given his contributions to national development via his three areas of passion, namely sports, education, and youth development/entrepreneurship. Though he came into prominence in the late ’60s through football, starring as a member of the all-conquering Western State Academicals, then onto NTC FC, WNTV/WNBS FC, Housing of Ibadan FC; it was when he joined the popular Shooting Stars of Ibadan from 1970 to 1984 that he shot into true stardom and attracted national attention; earning an instant call up to the senior national team as a 22-year-old in 1974.

He however did not play for the national team until 1976, making his debut against Sierra Leone and going on to establish himself as the poster boy of the team until October 30, 1981, when he made his last appearance in a 2-1 home loss to Algeria.

To be sure, he was still at his football best but had to consider early retirement owing to a recurring knee injury that defied huge investments in treatment at home and abroad; halting his glittering career and leaving him to pursue even more technical and creative endeavors within and outside sports, which have kept his name and image not only relevant but soaring till date.

Big Seg’s ability to switch, interplay, and multitask in different extreme roles, requiring completely unrelated skillset, to my mind, has been his defining strength over the years. At different times since leaving active football, he has been a newspaper columnist, writer, publisher, television producer, sports school proprietor, actor, track and field athlete manager, football administrator, national team manager, and much more… making a success of all. It is on record that this great man conceptualized and created Nigeria’s first wholly private sports show on television, SATURDAY SPORTS SPECIAL, in the early nineties.

A man of many novelties, Big Seg did not only give Nigerian sports fans quality entertainment on this show but also delivered an unforgettable legacy by his ingenuity in featuring two little but very sharp boys, Wole Opatola and Shina Okeleji, then in their early teens, as co-presenters.

To his eternal credit, the two youngsters are now very accomplished sports journalists holding their own in the industry. Wole runs a successful sports publishing and radio /TV production business in Benin while Shina is a leading producer at BBC World Service. Though he has extended his creative abilities into other areas outside sports, especially education and entrepreneurship in the last 30 years, Big Seg however kept digging further and deeper into more creative endeavors in sport. In 2003, he founded Nigeria’s first multisports secondary school, Segun Odegbami International College & Sports Academy in Wasinmi, Ogun State. Indeed, Odegbami could be rightly described as “creatively restless”. He possesses an uncommon capacity for thinking up one brilliant idea after the other.

Those close to him will confirm how boundlessly creative he is. Big Seg has had his good and bad experiences, especially in Sports Administration but he is unfazed about it. At different times in the last 25 years, he aspired to be President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

He also toyed with the idea of a joint World Cup hosting involving four West African countries, Togo, Republic of Benin, and Ghana, led by Nigeria. Just as he also at a time took a shot at the FIFA Presidency. Often, he never seeks your concurrence or endorsement no matter how close. He just to puts you in the know and have you understand his motivations, objectives, and convictions.

This year alone, he has launched into many innovative and audacious projects, including the highly successful CONVERSATIONS initiative; which is leveraging on his interesting relationship with the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA); an idea that seeks to position Sport in its right place as a tool of international relations and diplomacy. His latest baby, Eagle 7 Sports Radio is also on full throttle, blasting quality programs through the airwaves from its Panseke, Abeokuta base to the entire South West and neighboring cities. At 70, it’s clearly not slow-down time for my friend and confidant – the one and only Mathematical!

Credit: Gbenga Okegbenro


Kolawole David Dada “KDD” Talks About Life In Business



AfricaSignal recently had an exclusive interview in Lagos with Nigeria’s charming and quintessential David Kolawole Dada. Friends and partners call him KDD. He is the Chairman of OceanSpring Transnational Limited, He is also the Founder and Managing Partner of Solid Rock Group of Companies. He talked about his time in South Africa, current business ventures and other things. Here is an excerpt…

AfricaSignal: You were a Lead Speaker at Homeowners Building Guide Conference 2021. What was the motivation for your presentation?

KDD: My intervention at that Conference was on maintenance culture and risk management. Nigeria has a problem maintaining facilities. Our street furniture, surveillance systems, road networks and other infrastructure are not exactly in good shape. With the adoption of IoTs (Internet of Things), we are heading for serious trouble. My facility management Company, Solid Rock Group operates in Nigeria, South Africa, UAE, Germany and some other places. There has been advancement on policy issues and practices reflecting trends and growing concerns. Nigeria has not caught up. Even the way we acquire and categorize services is subsistence and perhaps archaic. That is why we must continue to promote awareness empowering people for better decisions and sustainability.

AfricaSignal: You have just said so much in a few words. Let’s break it down a bit starting with facility management. Isn’t that word “facility management” just a fanciful term?

KDD: The fact that some people in Nigeria could regard it as fancy shows how far behind, we are. In other climes, it is so professional that your plumbers, electricians and other handymen charge you by the hour. Your house can be repossessed over default on cost of renovations. Facility Management is the only reason human beings have a place to work, play and live lives. That is why every organisation can measure productivity and exposure to danger based on how well a facility is maintained.

AfricaSignal: Does that mean you have a plan for tackling this problem?

KDD: It goes beyond planning. At Solid Rock for instance, we have started implementing a five-years plan that should make us sit pretty on top the value chain. Solid Rock Facility Management now runs as a Group comprising of Nationally registered entities in all the Jurisdictions where we work. Additionally, we have floated Solid Rock Continental to mainstream diverse country operations, provide additional capacity in civil engineering and real estate’s development as well as consolidate our knowledge sharing capabilities. I am also the Chairman of OceanSpring Transnational. The company has excellent capabilities in communications, media, technology and development services with a pan-African global outlook. It is easy to appreciate the kind of magic we can perform at a single board or management meeting. We have taken the pain to build critical one-roof capabilities so that investors and stakeholders can have peace of mind doing business with us. This also provides valuable opportunities for our stakeholders under Africa’s Continental Free Trade Agreement regime. The kind of solutions we can provide in facility management, infrastructure, development and other areas will enrich lives and empower African people beyond present limits.

AfricaSignal: You talk like you own the world. Is there something we are missing?

KDD: I am just a simple man who has benefitted immensely by virtue of working relationships and having good people as members of my team. We quarrel but I listen, and then we allow superior practical argument to serve as course of action. We share the credit for success and responsibility when things don’t quite work out. We learn and move forward together. Those are some of the things I learnt from my boss, Cyril Ramaphosa.

AfricaSignal: Which of the Ramaphosa are you talking about?

KDD: The same President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa that you know, President of Republic of South Africa.

AfricaSignal: You mean he is your employer?

KDD: He was the last interview checkpoint when I was employed in 1999 by Molope Group of Companies at Visagie Street in Pretoria.

AfricaSignal: Can you tell us more about this?

KDD: I vividly recollect, it was a relationship that started May 1999. I was scheduled for a job interview at Molope Group. Earlier that day, I had met with the Managing Director Charl Marai and Human Resources Director Enock Qoma. They said I performed excellently. My final hurdle was an in-person meeting with the Chairman of the Group, Mr. Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa. At that time, he was the Chairman of the South African Black Empowerment Commission. At about 6pm, I was ushered to the 4th floor to meet Mr. Ramaphosa who had just arrived in the company of Jabu Mabena. Our meeting lasted for less than 10 minutes. He asked “David, I am the Chairperson of the South African Black Empowerment Commission. Why should I employ you, a foreigner”? I replied ‘France won the world cup in 1998. Out of 11 players that played and won the finals for France, 8 players were not born in France but they won the glory for France’. We had a minute of silence in the room and with a nod of approval, he asked when I could resume. That was how I resumed immediately.

AfricaSignal: That encounter must have been quite epic!

KDD: Yes, it is. Interestingly, fate has a way of playing out. When I was writing my final year thesis at University of Jos in 1995, my project topic was on the “Successful Democratic Transition in South Africa, Lessons for other Countries in Africa”. It was during my research on this subject that I came across the name Cyril Ramaphosa, and the role he played as the Secretary General of the ANC, and in drafting the Constitution. You can imagine how excited I must have felt when I sat with him in same room four years later as he became my boss.

AfricaSignal: How would you characterize him as your boss and Mr. President?

KDD: Cyril Ramaphosa is a great man! My journey and times at Molope Group was a splendid one. I started as a Projects Coordinator and got promoted to manage Molex. Molex was a joint venture initiative between Electrolux South Africa and Molope Group. I was part of the team that installed kitchen equipment at Carnival City Hotel and Casino in Brakpan. I played an active role in bringing Game Stores to Nigeria and opening Palms Shopping Mall Lekki in 2005. Game retail franchise was to provide more than 5000 direct and indirect employment opportunities in Lagos, Enugu, Abuja and Kano. None of this would have been possible without his leadership and support. He really commits to black empowerment, local content and increased minority participation.

AfricaSignal: Let’s get back to your business affairs. What is your drive?

KDD: I am in the business of making things work better. Africa’s population is in excess of 1 billion. Nigeria is comfortably 20% of that number. Our quality of lives now depends on how well we are able to bring innovation to bear on traditional methods, creating and facilitating purpose projects that could enrich lives, and finding new ways to use business for greater shared prosperity. That defines my philosophy and business direction over the next 25 years. Sustainability is key, and that is a culture I would like to bring into practical business leadership across Africa’s infrastructure, finance, trade and service sectors.

AfricaSignal: You don’t believe this is just a dream, do you?

KDD: Everything you see in the world once existed in imagination. They came into being because someone felt there should be a better way of doing something, and there should be a way of doing something people couldn’t initially do. That is the same challenge Africa and Nigerians are having today. We are trying to catch up with the rest of the world without losing our identity, freedom and future. Any indigenous business that is able to incorporate this idea is more likely to be sustainable and successful. Based on that principle, I can practically help more governments, businesses and people to succeed. In other to do that, I must be able to articulate that perspective as discussed in this interview session for easy grasp. People of like-minds can understand, and then we can easily reflect those values on businesses. That is also why I am using OceanSpring Transnational and Solid Rock Group as arrowheads for my partnership engagements. It is not a complicated matter, and it is no longer a dream. These are concrete actions which are bound to get better with every passing day; and the opportunities in our environment clearly provides favourable assurance for those who can discern and are prepared.


(Edited by Samuel Odebowale, Originally published on Africa Signal)

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Seasoned Business Professional Toke Ola-Akinpelu Feeds Over 500 People In Need Through “14 Hour Initiative” Food Outreach [VIDEOS]



In a remarkable display of compassion and commitment to giving back, seasoned business professional Toke Ola-Akinpelu spearheaded a successful food outreach program dubbed the “14 Hour Initiative.” The initiative, held on March 2nd, 2024, provided meals to over 500 individuals facing food insecurity.

While Toke Ola-Akinpelu is well-respected in the professional world for her expertise in client relations and retention across various industries – banking, consulting, and now information technology – her dedication extends far beyond the boardroom. Recognizing the need within her community, she took the initiative to organize the “14 Hour Initiative” food outreach program.

The day-long event saw tireless efforts from Ms. Ola-Akinpelu and her team, who worked diligently for 14 hours to ensure access to nutritious meals for those in need. Through this initiative, over 500 individuals received nourishing food, offering a critical lifeline during challenging times.

  • About Toke Ola-Akinpelu

Toke Ola-Akinpelu is a seasoned professional with a strong track record in client relations and retention. Throughout her career, she has championed the importance of excellent service experiences and client satisfaction across diverse industries. Her commitment extends beyond the professional realm, as demonstrated by her leadership in the “14 Hour Initiative” food outreach program.

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Ondo State Cabinet: Group Congratulates Governor Lucky Ayedatiwa



The Grassroots Democratic Innitiatives congratulate the Gov of Ondo state on the quality of members of his newly inaugurated cabinet.

In a Commuinque signed by Comrade Razaq Oladosu, Buska,the Executive Director of the Pro Democray group.

The Group reiterated their trust and belief in the capacity of majority member of the newly formed cabinet to deliver real dividend of democracy to the people of the Sunshine State.

In the Communiques, Dr Kayode Ajulo, the Attorney General was recognized as an embodiment of principle,integrity and love for humanity, a man that is worthy of the trust deserving of that office,whose track record is very impressive and speaks for themselves .

They further Congratulate the Gov Lucky Ayedatiwa for his choice of Comrade Gany Mohammed Ajowa,as a Special Adviser.

Comrade Gany Mohammed Ajowa is one of the footsoldiers of pro democracy movement,and Advocate of progressive and people oriented governance, from his days in the student union movement (NANS),A founding memember of the Committee for the Defence of Human right (CDHR)all through as a Cadre of the National Democratic Coalition,(NADECO,)and a one of the most consistent voice of reason the the labour movement, his record of dedication and commitment is an assurance of what he will represent in the new dispensation.

Comrade Gany Mohammed Ajowa as a bridge builder is an assured asset to the government.

The group further reiterated their commitment and support for the Government of Gov. Lucky Ayedatiwa to deliver on the renewed hope agenda of this Government and our great party.

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