48 — VANGUARD, TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2018 The man, Great Ovedje Ogboru By Henry Efe Duku POPULARLY called ‘The Peoples General’ by his political followers and even a great many of his opponents for his principled stance against bad governance, Chief Great OvedjeOgboru is a business and political leadership icon to many. He was born on the 10th day of April, 1958 in Port Harcourt to the famous Ogboru Dynasty of Abrakaof Urhobo and the Okolocha family of Umukuata in Anioma, both in Delta State. A Christian, Ogboruis married to Stella EbiOgboru, a virtuous Ijaw amazon. They have four children. Early Life Great Ogboru had his elementary education at Municipal Primary School, Port Harcourt, Christian Missionaries Society (CMS) Primary School, Abraka and Local Authority (LA) (now Oharisi) Primary School, Ughelli from 1966 to 1971. He was admitted into the prestigious Government College, Ughelli (GCU) in 1971 and finished in 1975. Immediately thereafter, he worked for four years as a primary school teacher at Owodoawanre Primary School, Ughelli. Within this period, he obtained his Advanced Levels result. Business In 1980, young Great was faced with serious challenges of life. Fourth in a family of 16 children, Great appreciated the full financial burden on his low-income civil servant father. He chose therefore to momentarily sacrifice higher education in the hope that decision would in the future be a positive turning point in the destiny of his family. Consequently, in January 1978, he left home, clutching a bag that contained only four shirts and three trousers, and headed to Lagos in search of ‘greatness’ – a bold step of faith that would later transform so many lives beyond imagination. And so, his sojourn in corporate Nigeriastarted as a Marketing Officer in Exchange Fisheries, a small Lagos fishing company. Exchange Fisheries became a “necessary apprenticeship opportunity”. For greater effectiveness in his marketing role, he enrolled into the Chartered Institute of Marketing, London. Just aged 25, Ogboru left paid employment and started his own business in 1983. Banking on his rare sense of personal integrity and divine grace, he established Fiogret Limited, a frozen fish trading company. Fiogret grew rapidly into a global fishing conglomerate with fishing licenses around the world. Within three years, Ogboruestablished many successful subsidiaries of Fiogret in quick succession including, Grato – a foremost furniture production company; GLE Finance, a finance company with bureau de change operations; Sofimar Fisheries – a USD 5 Million capitalised, USD25 Million assets base Joint Venture with the former Union Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) Government; Abraka Rubber Industries; Ajalomi Shipping Company; West Coast Publicity Company; and Fiogret Express. He also got a banking licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria. With these businesses, Ogboru’s name became registered in global corporate consciousness as arguably then Nigeria's youngest and richest business mogul and billionaire. On August 10, 1989, he took the world stage by storm as the youngest and highest Nigerian donor to the Namibia Solidarity Fund (NSF) in the ancient city of Benin. A firm believer in humanity and its preservation, he stood with the people of Namibia in their struggle for freedom because for him, “Humanity is one.” His philanthropic works are rooted in uncommon humility. Once asked about what he does for society with his wealth, he simply answered, “Ask the people. I am just favoured by grace to be an instrument in God’s hands.” Self-Exile It has been said that Great Ogboru is “unapologetically democratic” and a “natural hater and fighter of any form of socio-political dictatorship, tyranny or hegemonic misrule.” In 1990, it was alleged that he supported an attempt to remove the military dictatorship of Ibrahim Babangida although he was later cleared of any wrongdoing in the matter in 1999 by the Federal Government of Nigeria under then Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar. This allegation led to his self-exile in the United Kingdom from 1990 to 2000. With this, his business empire in Nigeria suffered setbacks in the hands of successive military governments during this period. Upon his return from exile, Ogboru’s businesses initiated bold legal actions for wholeness against the Federal Government on various grounds including assets stripping, balkanization, and ‘continuous violation’. Ogboru won. Further Education Chief Great OvedjeOgboru Exile afforded Great Ogboru a break from intense business pressures for personal academic development. With less busy corporate schedules, he returned to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, London and completed his studies there. Thereafter, he attended Huron University of South Dakota, London Campus where he obtained a Master of Ogboru has a marathoner’s mindset to necessary change. For him it requires courage, endurance, vision, and a constancy of purpose. He believes real change does not come on a platter of gold. For him, obstacles are enemies of change that must be successfully challenged Business Administration degree. He went on to study for and obtained a Master Degree in International Relations at the University of Kent in Canterbury. His research work at Kent on the effects of IMF’s Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) on the economies of Ghana and Nigeria still stands out there. Politics Great Ogboru is a member of the Nigeria Policy Group (NPG) – an august body that financed and supported democratic struggles from abroad to return Nigeria to democracy in the heyday of military dictatorship. He is a respected grassroots political leader in Delta where he is the nemesis of bad governance and misrule. Convinced about his ‘Equal Opportunities Development Initiative (EODI)’ – a well-articulated governance agenda to transform Delta State to a modern economy and society, he has remained passionately consistent about leading his people to turn the fortunes of Delta around. His patience and consistency on the Delta Project derives from Ogboru’s core as a leader. Ogboru has a marathoner’s mindset to necessary change. For him it requires courage, endurance, vision, and a constancy of purpose. He believes real change does not come on a platter of gold. For him, obstacles are enemies of change that must be successfully challenged. As the great writer OgMadino put it in his bestseller ‘The Greatest Salesman in the World’, “… victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats. Yet each struggle, each defeat, sharpens your skills and strengths, your courage and your endurance, your ability and your confidence and thus each obstacles is a comrade-inarms forcing you to become better … or quit.” So Ogboru knows that the possibility of a better future is often lost when people fear or turn away from challenges. For him, they are to be confronted. For Delta, Ogboru holds the firm view that the state is in a needlessly pitiable state and this must change for sustainable development. For him, “Ours is a rescue mission for the good of all. Like the Asian Tigers, we must make deliberate haste to create a modern economy in Delta for our people. The more time we waste, the more harm they cause us all – whether Urhobo, Kwale, Ika, Aniocha, Ndo-Oshimili, Itsekiri, Isoko, or Ijaw. Partisan sentiments aside, is there any sustainable progress in Delta? Where are the businesses? Where are the jobs? Do they know the danger of ignoring the youths? … We are better than this mediocrity. Something has to give way.” This is the essential Ogboru. Our people overwhelmingly agree with him that anything other than good governance that leads our people on a clear visionary path of undoubted excellence is a waste of time. Ogboru’s personality, political philosophy and governance agenda resonate with Deltans for good and obvious reasons. He is a visionary with immense capacity to create wealth and do things right. Principled and incorruptible, many rightly see in Ogboru the much-needed answer to Delta’s unpardonable governance decadence. Very kind at heart and soft in appearance, Ogboru is nonetheless generally known to be very tough against lawlessness and whatever that is corrupt. Also, his unique perspective to the purpose of wealth endears the people to him. It is probably to this end that Comrade Emeka Nwaola, Labour Party Chairman in Delta State, recently noted that: “If every rich man behaves like Chief Ogboru who sees wealth as nothing, then the madness of looting the treasury will be minimal. I commend his simplicity to affluence. Though he left our party LP, I still respect and love him.” That probably summarizes the Ogboru persona with regards to affluence and public leadership and how it connects seamlessly with the people. Happy Birthday! Today is Olorogun Great Ovedje Ogboru’s 60th birthday! How time flies! Ever handsome like a beauty queen and effervescent but humble in all his ways, this champion whom grace raised from the rustic village of Ajalomi in Abraka is now 60 years in his wonderful earthly journey. For this wealthy captain of industry, quiet philanthropist and credible political leader, life has no doubt been both beautiful and challenging but through it all, God has been specially gracious and faithful to him. Blessed by God with an amazingly simple life, humane values and with his principled struggles for a better society for all, Ogboru is a “bright point of light” shining for many to see. For a leader who gives his all, this is a rare moment to give him the best of our heart’s content. Therefore, one must say, ‘Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns’ to the People’s General. May the good Lord continue to shower you with His grace, loving kindness, and mercies. *Prince Efe Duku, a Senior Legislative Aide in the Senate and former Executive Assistant to Chief Great Ogboru, wrote from Abuja. Reyenieju to Warri youths: Be peaceful to attract developmental projects By Jeremiah Urowayino THE member representing Warri Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Daniel Reyenieju has enjoined communities and youths in Warri to be peaceful and law abiding to attract government’s developmental programmes and investors, noting that the Governor Ifeanyi Okowaled administration has prioritised the provision of network of roads, job creation through the S T E P / Y A G E P programme, upgrade of education including facilities, technical education, among others. Reyenieju,who made this disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Koko, headquarters of Warri North Local Government Area, while in company of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for project commissioning said: “No meaningful development can be achieved in an environment of conflicts and acrimony as government and investors cannot invest their resources in such an environment." Delta launches nonstop flight from Lagos to New York-JFK By Lawani Mikairu DELTA Airlines has launched a new nonstop service from Lagos to New York-JFK, linking the financial capital of Nigeria to the financial capital of the world. The New York-JFK route complements the airline’s existing flight to Atlanta, providing a daily departure and more travel choice to the US than ever before. The New York-JFK flight will operate three times weekly, with Delta’s existing services to Atlanta departing on the other four days. Customers flying to Delta’s New York-JFK hub will benefit from more connections across the US to destinations including Washington DC, Baltimore and Chicago. Speaking about the new route , Mr. / Corneel Koster, Delta’s senior vice president, Europe, Middle East, Africa and India said: “With the U.S. the largest foreign investor in Nigeria, this new route underscores our commitment to the market by facilitating trade and commerce between our nations."
Vanguard, TUESDAY APRIL 10, 2018 —49 PRESIDENT BUHARI DEPARTS FOR UK— President Muhammadu Buhari (left) with Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari (right) and FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammed Musa Bello, as he departs Abuja, yesterday, from the Presidential Wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, for the United Kingdom, where he is expected to hold discussions with Prime Minister Theresa May and attend CHOGM. Photo: Gbemiga Olamikan. Why I'm seeking a 2nd term — BUHARI Continues from Page 5 decision taken by NEC on February 27 is legal and constitutional; and violated neither the party constitution nor that of the federation, it is still in the best interest of the party to conduct congresses and convention. However, in doing so, all reasonable measures should be taken to minimise opportunity for acrimony or rancour while ensuring that all prescribed constitutional and legal conditions are met.” Earlier at the commencement of the meeting, the president gave a hint of what was to come as he engaged members in a conciliatory manner, urging them to close ranks and deliver the party to Nigerians in 2019. In a deft political move to placate contending forces in the party regarding the leadership of the party, President Buhari asked the NEC to grant waivers to members of the Odigie-Oyegunled National Working Committee, NWC, who wish to seek re-election. President Buhari urges unity The President said: “I want to specifically thank members of the technical committee for a job well done within a limited time frame. It shows the essence of commitment and the ideals of our party, with a view to consolidating the party to continue to provide good governance in the overall interest of Nigerians. “The general interest of the party and based on the report submitted by the technical committee, it is important to focus on how to move the party forward NAIRA WATCH Naira depreciates to N360.21/$ in I&E By Adaeze Okechukwu The naira yesterday commenced the week with a 32 kobo depreciation to N360.33 per dollar, in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange market. Data from the Financial Market Dealers Quote (FMDQ) showed that the indicative exchange rate for the I&E window rose to N360.33 per dollar yesterday, from N360.01 per dollar on Friday last week , indicating 32 kobo depreciation of the naira. The depreciation was occasioned by a 16 percent decline in the volume of turnover recorded I&E window yesterday. The transactions in the window stood at $217.15 million, down from $259.03 million recorded on Friday last week. Meanwhile, naira remained stable at N362 per dollar yesterday for the eleventh consecutive business day in the parallel market. by avoiding actions detrimental to the interest of the party. “Considering that politics is a game of numbers, we must not be a house divided against itself and must try to appreciate and accommodate our differences as far as the law permits. “Having seen the report, my position is to ensure that the party tows the part of unity, legality, cohesion and not that of division. Therefore, I am stressing that we strengthen our internal democracy by organizing party congresses and convention where election of national executive committee members will be held. This will automatically end the cases filed by members seeking orders of court compelling the party to hold its congresses. “I also believe that the current executives should be free to run for elective positions in the party if they so wish and permitted by our party constitution. “However, considering the provision of Article 30 Section 1 and Subsection 3 of our party constitution, which requires any serving officer desirous of seeking re-election, to resign from office 30 days before the election, I’m not sure of the practicality of the present serving officers’ ability to meet this condition. “Accordingly, the party may consider granting waivers to party executives at all levels so that they are not disenfranchised in participating in the elections provided this does not violate our rights or our rules. “Necessary waivers should also be extended to executives at the ward level whose tenures may have elapsed and indeed to anyone knocking on our doors from other parties. “Just like our party symbol is the broom, we stand by strength in unity. Let us try to be united in party, victory is sure by the grace of God. And together, we must continue to sanitise Nigeria’s political environment. I welcome you to this meeting with the hope that in our deliberations, we will conduct ourselves without rancour, and promote the highest interest of our party and the nation.” Why I endured media attacks by my opponents —Oyegun Earlier, Odigie-Oyegun, while opening the meeting had lamented at the extent to which some party members went to discredit him. “In the past days, I have read news reports and all manner of comments and opinions that have tried to frame the majority decision of NEC as an attempt to primarily secure “tenure elongation” for Oyegun and the NWC. This is quite unfortunate because nothing could be farther from the truth. “We are looking for ways to minimize rancour in the party ahead of the next general elections, and we are looking for ways to save the party from potential legal booby traps. These are both valid considerations. The challenge that we have faced has been how to reconcile the two in the best interest of the party. “On a personal note, I have had to endure virulent media attacks, malicious insinuations, and outright character assassination. However, the responsibility imposed on me by my position as the National Chairman of the party, demand that I rise above my personal pains and refuse to yield to the temptation to react in a manner that potentially complicates the situation for our party. However, I will like to urge everyone else to remember that regardless of our ambitions and personal interests, the party is greater than all of us. Vanguard recalls that at the NEC meeting of February 27, members requested the NEC to approve a timetable for congresses and the convention ahead of the expiration of the tenure of the current executive. However, rather than approve the timetable, “members expressed concern that if we embarked on the congresses as planned, the process could precipitate a series of rancour, which might be difficult for the party to manage ahead of the coming general elections. It was, therefore, resolved by a majority of 104 to 4 votes that the current executives of the party at all levels be allowed to continue in acting capacity for a period not exceeding 12 months starting from June 2018. NEC retains Zoning Formula In line with the recommendation of the Lalong Committee, the NEC also retained the zoning formula for the party. The Lalong committee had in its report which was sighted by Vanguard recommended what it said was “a roadmap to the Congress and the convention respectively.” The recommendations are; “21 days statutory notice for the holding of elective congresses and convention be given to INEC immediately; the current zoning formula for party offices be retained; requirements of article 31(ii) be waived in line with the provisions of article 13.4(xv) to avoid disruption in the management of party affairs at all levels. All pending suits in respect of this matter be withdrawn.” Wild jubilation in Kano Meanwhile, there was wild jubilation in Kano, yesterday after the declaration, as youths in their hundreds took to the streets to celebrate. Usman Baba, a resident, said the past three years of the Buhari administration had been spent restoring security in the country and fighting corruption. “We are happy and hoping that President Buhari should return to embark on infrastructural development since he has already retrieved a lot from looters,” he was quoted to have said. “We don’t want someone to come and embezzle the retrieved loot or divert it to some looters again. That is why we want him to serve another term.” Abduljalal Mu’azu, another resident, also expressed optimism that if Buhari wins a second term, the country’s situation might improve. A female respondent Malama Musa, said the world had accepted the president as trustworthy and transparent. Reactions to Buhari’s declaration It is an internal APC affair - PDP The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said Buhari’s declaration is an internal affair of the APC for which it would not interfere. The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan told Vanguard that the declaration had placed President Buhari among the ranks of aspirants seeking to be the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, effective May 29, 2019. “Until he becomes the candidate of the APC, we will not spend precious time on his mere show of interest,” he noted. He has the right to contest; we have the right to vote – Labour Comrade Issa Aremu, General Secretary of the National Union of Textile, Garments and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN said while it is the president’s constitutional right to contest, workers would exercise their right to vote for who they feel is best for Nigeria. “For us in the labour movement, 1999 Constitution of Nigeria allows for two-term tenure for the President if elected. Same for governors and open-ended for legislators. “The controversy over why the President is contesting or not is therefore unnecessary. He has that right for reelection. What is also clear is that Labour will also exercise its constitutional rights to vote based on critical assessment of all political office holders with respect to decent work, decent pay, employment, cost of living, security and building of a prosperous, fair, just and united Nigeria. Buhari should not seek reelection - Onyia Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Dubem Onyia, in his reaction said: “Buhari scored low in all sectors. He came to power with the promise that he would fight corruption. In four years, nobody has been brought to book for corruption, and there is pervasive corruption everywhere. Look at the issue of Maina. He even recalled somebody who was sacked for alleged corruption. “The job of the government is to provide security for its citizens; he has failed to provide security for Nigerians. Nigerians are being slaughtered on a daily basis across the country, and nobody is doing anything. “Take the issue of the Naira. He came in when the exchange rate was N190 for a dollar, but it is now over N366 for one dollar." It is a big relief - Gov Shettima Speaking to Vanguard after visiting the Chief of Staff to the president, Mallam Abba Kyari, Governor Kashim Shettima Continues on Page 52