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Opinion

Reminiscences On The Benue Valley Fiesta For Eunice Ortom @ 50

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By Tunde Olusunle

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Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, took a break from high octane political engagements to honour his wife, Eunice Erdoo Ortom, during the weekend of Saturday August 27, through Sunday August 28, 2022.

The First Lady of the state which prides itself as the “food basket of the nation,” Eunice Erdoo Ortom, marked her golden birthday on that occasion.

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And Ortom pulled all the stops to celebrate and honour a conscientious, diligent and loyal spouse who has persevered and weathered life’s storms and tempests, with him, displaying a hitherto unknown side of himself.

The celebration package was a delightful bouquet of church thanksgiving services, receptions and cultural performances.

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Events commemorating the landmark event, kicked off from the Redeemed Christian Church of God, (RCCG) “Signs and Wonders Mega Parish” on Gboko Road, Saturday August 27.

The facility was virtually strained at its seams with the resplendent colour, quality of attendance and numbers, at the thanksgiving service.

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Aderemi Folasayo, Assistant Pastor in-charge of Region 8 of the RCCG, who doubles as Pastor in-charge of Benue Province 1, supported by his wife, led the officiating clergy at the ceremony. They included Pastor Ayoola Adeyanju, from the RCCG family in Lagos.

National Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP) and third republic senate president, Iyorchia Ayu who was accompanied by his wife, Herberta, led the list of dignitaries at the function.

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These included the running mate to the presidential candidate of the PDP and governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa and the deputy governor of Benue State, Benson Abuonu and his wife, Justice Mary Abuonu.

The Chief Judge of Benue State, Justice Andover Ka’Kaan, was equally present. Senators representing Benue State in the national parliament notably Emmanuel Yisa Orker Jev (Benue North West) and Abba Moro (Benue South), were present.

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Members of the lower federal parliament representing various constituencies in Benue State, were also at the service.

Wife of longserving former president of the Senate, David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark, Helen, as well as former ranking member of the House of Representatives who once served as Speaker pro-tempore, Terngu Tsegba, featured at the programme.

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Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Titus Tyoapine Uba and his wife, honoured the church service.

Chairman of the Benue State council of traditional rulers and the Tor Tiv, Orchivirigh Prof. James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse and his deputy who is also the Och’Idoma, Agaba Idu, Pastor John Elaigwu Odogbo, were also in attendance.

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Wives of the governors of Nasarawa State, Silifat Sule; Taraba, Anne Darius-Ishaku, and Nkechi Rochas-Okorocha, wife of the former governor of Imo State, graced the programme.

Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Farida Waziri; one-time Minster for Power and Steel, and Health, respectively, Iyorwuese Harry Hagher; wife of the Inspector-General of Police, (IGP), Hassana Baba-Usman and wife of the representative of the Chairperson of the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association, (NAOWA), Maimunat Amadi, featured at the event.

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Elected and appointed officials under the Benue State government, notably parliamentarians, members of the state executive council, principal officers to the governor, senior members of the bureaucracy and heads of ministries, departments and agencies, (MDAs), were at the church programme in their numbers. The leadership of the PDP at various levels in the state, as well as stakeholders were at the event in good numbers.

Ortom who spoke on behalf of his family, observed that as a rule, he was not particularly inclined towards marking birthdays of any kind. He, however, had to make an exception to his long-held tradition, by decidedly honouring his wife, because she is an exceptional personality.

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According to him: “We were at the Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU), Zaria together. She was studying for a degree programme, while I was running a diploma course. Not for one day did she despise me or view me with condescension, given the very well known, continually raging contest for supremacy between degree and diploma courses.”

Continuing, Ortom noted that: “It was the practice those days for big men to send exotic cars and buses to the university those days, to pick up female students for parties and social events which held in Kaduna or Kano.

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This lady was never found participating in such programmes or events. She is true and through a virtuous woman.” Ortom was not done: “I need to celebrate this woman deservedly.

Things were rough during those early days as we tried to find our feet as a couple.” Gesturing in the direction of their kids, Ortom noted: “Then the children began to come, beginning with Solomon.

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My wife had only one wrapper, ankara, which will usually be messed up by the baby. In the evenings before bedtime, she will wash that single wrapper and hang it to dry for use the next day. That was how we managed.”

The Benue State helmsman brought the humane, humorous side of him to play when he declared to the amusement and laughter of the congregation: For who she is, for what she has endured on my behalf, for her conscientious affection and loyalty, I hereby declare publicly that Eunice Erdoo Ortom, is my one and only babe! And you can take that to the bank, please.”

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The congregation spontaneously erupted in rich laughter and applause. Continuing, Ortom noted further: “People perceive me as a hard man, a difficult customer. But this is one woman God has given me, who softens and mellows that tough part of me.”

The heavy downpour which began at the tail end of the church programme, was no deterrent to mass attendance at the post-event reception held in the resplendent banquet hall of Government House, Makurdi.

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Excited hosts of the birthday celebration, the people of Benue State themselves and their guests alike, flocked the venue in numbers. The cooling system of the facility was evidently constrained.

Even at that, however, the very best of homemade Benue cuisines and continental dishes; choice beverages- wines, lagers, non-alcoholic drinks, were generously dispensed at the programme.

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The music was just adequate for the event, even as tributes and applause poured in torrents for the celebrant. Prof. Tony Ijohor, SAN, who is Secretary to the State Government, (SSG), introduced that segment of the celebrations, while Sebastian Hon, also an SAN, delivered one of the tributes.

Events commemorating Eunice Ortom’s 50th, continued on Sunday August 28, 2022, at the NKST Church in Gbajimba, hometown of the Ortoms, in Guma local government area of the state. The broad canvas of attendees was a demonstration of genuine affection for the celebrant and her family.

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Notable guests at the Gbajimba function included John Dyegh, (representing Gboko/Tarka) and Bem Benjamin Mzondu, (Makurdi/Guma) federal constituencies respectively. Williams Ortyom, representing Guma State constituency in the Benue State House of Assembly, was one of the chief hosts.

Tor Lobi 1 Moses Mfave Anagende, was at the head of traditional rulers who featured at the thanksgiving, while Rev Terhemba Iorshagher was the lead clergy. An enthusiastic congregation held their guests up for five long hours before releasing them for lunch in Ortom’s country home.

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Eunice Erdoo Ortom was born August 27, 1972, in Jos, capital of Plateau State. She attended the Nativity Private School, Makurdi and the Queen of Rosary Secondary School, Gboko, Benue State, for her primary and secondary schools, respectively, between 1977 and 1988.

She obtained a bachelors degree in international relations from ABU, Zaria in 1997, before completing the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC) programme in 1999. She subsequently acquired a masters in international relations and strategic studies in 2004, and a doctorate in political science in 2015, both from the Benue State University, (BSU), Makurdi.

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She gained requisite public and private service experience having served in various MDAs and organisations, over a period of 15 years. Her union with Governor Samuel Ortom is blessed with six biological children, and several other adopted and fully integrated children.

In Benue State, she is generally acknowledged as an activist and development-minded leader of women, who has continually pushed for increased women recognition and participation in governance and administration.

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It is to her credit that nine out of the 23 LGA chairmanship positions in state, are held by women. She has also championed major public enlightenment programmes on drug abuse, HIV/AIDS and vulnerable children, among others.

She was at the fore of awareness creation about COVID-19 and the management of communicable diseases engendered by the reality of internally displaced persons, (IDPs), in several camps across the state.

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Dr Ortom has also been very visible in promoting literacy and education, courtesy of the several programmes and competitions she has initiated. She has awarded hundreds of scholarships to students of secondary schools and tertiary institutions, including those with disabilities.

She has equally enabled many otherwise indigent students, to write the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, (JAMB), Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, (UTME), paving the way for the actualisation of the dreams of many young people, for higher education.

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This is not discounting her economic and agricultural empowerment schemes for women and youths. Also worthy of note are the vocational and technical skills strengthening initiatives she has anchored.

Eunice Erdoo Ortom rides on the crest of tremendous respect and goodwill in Benue State and the country at large. Prof. Member Eugenia George-Genyi, Director, Centre for Gender Studies, BSU, Makurdi acknowledges “her humble touch to the vulnerables in the society: the poorest of the poor, the women-folk and those with disabilities.”

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Abuonu, deputy governor of the state observes that at various times in the political evolution of the state, he has worked with three First Ladies. Much as Eunice Ortom may be the youngest of the lot, she has demonstrated maturity, humility, carriage and composure, well beyond her years.

This, he observed makes her rightly and fittingly the mother of Benue State. In her goodwill message, wife of the President, Aisha Muhammadu-Buhari saluted Dr Eunice Ortom’s “leadership and motherly contributions to the development of women in Benue State in particular, and Nigeria in general.

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Amina Titi Atiku-Abubakar, wife of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, in her own despatch, prayed that Mrs Ortom will continue to “grow in wisdom, knowledge and understanding, while Bisi Fayemi, Chairperson, Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum, (NIGWF), described her as “a model of grace, generosity and compassion.”

In the evening of Monday August 30, 2022, folk performers took the stage in the banquet hall of Government House, Makurdi with serenading Tiv cultural performances.

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This was the round up of a fitting, three-day, back-to-back celebration, of a most deserving daughter, sister, wife, confidant, inspirer and mother of the state.

The famous, serial award-winning Benue State Council for Arts and Culture, led the outings of singers like Gabons Akuhe, Tsaga, Golozo and Seem U Tiv among a host of performers.

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Collectively, they delivered an appropriate denouement to the string of events for the birthday programme, invoking audience participation in parts.

Olusunle, PhD, poet, journalist, author and scholar, is a Member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, (NGE).

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Opinion

Wike’s Rejection Of Atiku Should Be Commended For Equity And Fair Play Matters Arising

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By Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah

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“I beg them today, they should not waste time to suspend me, they should call a National Executive Committee (NEC) – meeting – now and say ‘you are now suspended from the party. Anything you see, you take. They know what I will do.” Nyesom Wike Sep 23 2023.

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike’s decision to reject PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubarkar is no longer news. He claimed that Atiku and his party broke a gentleman’s agreement to return power to the South.

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According to the Rivers State Governor, Atiku can no longer be trusted because of his inconsistencies; he claims the PDP presidential candidate is dishonest, unreliable, untrustworthy, and deceitful. He also slammed Iyorchia Ayu, calling him a “corrupt, arrogant, conceited, racist, power-hungry, anti-southern bigot.”

I’ve heard a lot of people argue for and against Wike’s actions, with some saying he shouldn’t take the roof off the house and others supporting every move Wike makes.

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Some even went as far as saying that Wike has pitched his interest against the North and must suffer a backlash from his actions, fearing that the North would annihilate him.

The first question that came to mind was, “What is the North’s interest?”

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The truth is that it is in the North’s best interests to relinquish power to the South; having a single region rule at the villa for 16 years back to back is nothing more than injustice and a violation of fair play rules.

Imagine the Ijaw men staying at the villa for 16 years stretch ; this portends that a single tribe will take over the running of the villa and, by extension, the country by DEFAULT.

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I am from Edo State, so if I were to be elected president, there is a good chance that most of my advisors would be from the region of the South-South where I grew up, this is what we call by DEFAULT.

No one wants to work with people with whom they are uncomfortable, so what we call NEPOTISM in Nigeria is sometimes done by DEFAULT.

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Read Also #NBA: How Kashim Shettima Outsmarted Peter Obi And Atiku With His Dress Code And Eloquent Presentation Matters Arising

The childhood friend I appointed goes on to recruit his own childhood friends as aides, allowing the majority of his geopolitical zone to gain closer access to him, this again is by default.

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Fortunately for us, Tinubu grew up with people from all tribes and regions, which was reflected in his cabinet when he was Lagos State Governor.

Since Northerners actually believe in fair play and a national quota system that rotates the presidency in favor of all regions, it is no longer in the North’s best interest to hold onto power for another eight years.

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The APC northern governors are Tinubu’s candidacy heroes because they insisted that power must go back to the South, they stood up for truth and fair play.

Read Also Obi No Get Certificate? INEC Throws More Spanners As Electoral Body Reveals Tinubu, Atiku Others Certificate Status

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Even Wike admitted as much when he stated that the APC Northern governors are more organized in terms of demanding fairness and equality than the PDP as a party.

Wike is fighting a battle for justice and fair play, and he is fighting for a party that has purposefully taken a full region, the South, for granted. “Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere”.

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Wike should be applauded not only by the APC, but also by the general public, because of his ideology of sticking to the truth and ensuring that it prevails.

You may not agree with his style or his loquacious mouth, but you “hypocritically” agree with his spending money on the same party while its presidential candidate was in distant Dubai attending to his self-interest and saving his own money to secure the party’s ticket on election day at the expense of fairness.

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Wike has exposed the PDP presidential candidate and done significant damage to his reputation in the last few days, which the average voter ought to be fully cognizant of.

The Economist Intelligence has hinted that Tinubu will win the upcoming presidential elections, which highlights the legitimacy of Wike’s actions.

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The APC and Tinubu would benefit if the governor of Rivers State supported a different party instead of the PDP.

If Wike supports the LP or any other party other than the APC, it will deplete Atiku’s vote and give the APC an advantage, and if Wike finally joins forces with the APC, which all indications point to, the election will be won before February next year.

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Wike, in my opinion, is a potential APC hero for revealing the mask behind Atiku’s presidency.

My Name na Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah and na me b the Chairman and CEO of Bush Radio Academy.

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Opinion

On Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral Service: Observations and lessons for Africa

Queen
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By Obi Chindo

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The ‘whole world’ was present in the Queen’s burial service. Significantly, all the world leaders, political and religious heads from all over the world and from all walks of life were seated accordingly before the service began.

I observed there was no poster of the deceased queen, no order of service except that provided by the church, no sackcloth by the family of the queen (at least to identify her immediate family) and no Ashoebi for Queen’s family, well wishers and relatives.

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The service was solemn and interestingly soul-mellowing. There was orderliness and organization. The military parade and match by the royal navy and others was nearly perfect and a top notch. They displayed expertise in the highest level.

Her children, grand and great grand children were all composed and comported, calmly sitted and flowing with the tempo of events. No stress on their faces as a result of running around for their mother’s burial.

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The singing of hymns, chanting of psalms and canticle were like voices of many waters. There was no shouting, no noise, no repetition of words like ‘Praise God!’ ‘Hallelujah! Amen! Sons of the living God! Shout a big Hallelujah!

The homily which was delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev’d and Rt. Hon Justin Welby did not last more than ten minutes. His opening prayer was less than ten seconds and he didn’t even say closing prayer. In fact I didn’t know he had finished preaching.

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As a burial service that had many world leaders in attendance including muslims and other unbelievers, I expected a salvation message from the Archbishop so that those men will hear the true word of God for once. But no!

He didn’t even make reference with emphasis to any scripture let alone calling for altar call for those who wanted to give their lives to Christ. I expected the preacher to tell us more about the dead queen, her life and times but he didn’t do that.

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No recognition of dignitaries in the service by the Archbishop of Canterbury. No special greetings whatsoever by the family of the bereaved. No collection of offering. No launching and fund raising in the burial service in support of the church. No announcement on where guests and visitors will be served food.

They knew why they gathered, did that exactly and dispersed. Altogether the service lasted an hour. No time for frivolities. Everything was well ordered and arranged. Her palace was not repainted to look new to the visitors. No gunshots were heard. No masquerade.

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Lessons:

If as Africans we have nothing to learn from the queen’s burial, we must learn simplicity and avoid unnecessary wastage of finance and time during burials. We must discourage extravagant display and waste of resources during burials.

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The church has a vital role to play in reducing a lot of financial burdens placed on people who are bereaved of their loved ones. Insisting that the family of the deceased should pay a certain amount of money before burial is not in the best interest of the church.

If we don’t redefine our concept of Christianity in Africa as simple, accommodating and devoid of ostentation we may continue to lose membership. We must leave Christianity as simple as it is meant to be where everyone is treated equally with love.

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‘Giving honour to whom honour is due’ is good but it must not override our sense of duty and consciousness of time in a public worship. It must be closely watched to avoid eventual shift of our attention to human worship.

We must resist the temptation of raising money in church services when we see political money bags and dignitaries, more especially during burials and other services that are not originally intended for fund raising.

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Rev’d Fr Obi Chindo: Prolocutor for the Poor and the Marginalized

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Opinion

Good governance key to substantial change in Nigeria—Boniface

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A young advocate for good governance, Boniface Ogunti, expressed concern over the welfare of Nigerians and Africans ingeneral, as he maintained that good governance remains the key to effect positive and sustainable change the people yearn for, including other issues he spoke about with Kayode Sanni Arewa

Boniface. It’s so great to have you here. Thank you for being with us today. Can we have your bio data; dob, tribe, schools attended, local government area and other personal data?

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Boniface Ogunti is 26years old and was born February 18th,1996. I am a Nigerian Liberian who was born and brought up in America, I went to Park center highschool, North Hennepin College in Minnesota

There aren’t many billionaires like Boniface Ogunti, who are both humble about their origins and committed to inspiring future billionaires. Tell us about what inspires you and generally about yourself?

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I am not considered a billionaire in America but I am considered a Multi Millionaire. What inspires me is knowing where I came from, to make it out of where I came from you gotta be very creative. to be successful where i came from you had to be from a rich family or you played sports in America as i was an African being raised in America. I had to get around the right people for me to succeed Because my environment was set up for me to fail. That is why I am so committed to inspiring people who want to be successful because I know what it feels like .

Over time we have watched your business grow. Can you share your success journey with us? How many employees do you have currently?

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I started out in Ecommerce, selling products on social media and I was able to generate over a million dollars in sales by unique advertising skills.. When I realized I had a unique advertising skill, I knew I had to capitalize on it, which led me to create my first company called “Current9” . Current9 business module was to help the everyday workers become their own boss by providing online workshops teaching these unique advertising skills so they can their businesses. Current9 became a global movement, i decided i had to give back to my Motherland “Africa” by creating “Ogunti Group” which resonates with where i come from. The Ogunti Group was created for investments and partnerships which I have been able to achieve, as I am in partnership with the Liberian government by providing trucks to transport Iron Ore and Palm Oil to other neighboring countries. Current9 has transitioned into “Circle Of Success” which now does educational/marketing events, empowering everyday people and entrepreneurs as a community of like minded individuals. i have currently have about 80 employees across all my businesses

We watched a video earlier where we learned a little bit about digital marketing and business growth, which we’ll speak about towards the later half of the interview, but we saw there that you are such a supporter and such an advocate of entrepreneurship, which isn’t really a surprise because of your ideology to life, but I’m curious to know how and why you decided to build businesses around digital marketing at a young age, what influenced you and impacted your journey?

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As I was growing my business there were a lot of different Challenges i faced, atimes i felt discouraged to continue because I didn’t have all the required skill sets I have today. What kept me going was my principles I live by, which is; Know thyself, appreciation, relationship management, Mastering the basics..

What were some of the challenges that you faced during that time, and which leadership principles did you stay rooted in as you were guiding this process?

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Can you give us the summary of your business journey; the challenges and the triumphs?

Seeing that you’ve set a standard in training people on how to build a successful business, and more people are coming to you for mentorship, do you ever worry that people will be disappointed?

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I never worry about being disappointed as a Mentor because everyone has a current self and desired self and I KNOW that everyone is going to do a lot better than by themselves, due to the way my mentorship programs are built, you can never live the way you came .

What is your real mission in life and would you say you are getting there?

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My Real mission in life is to do whatever God sent me here to do and to impact as many people God wants me to impact

Tell us about your future plans for Current9.com and the achievements so far?

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So Current9.com is now Circleofsuccess.com which like i said earlier is a community of like minded individuals who are ready to become their own bosses and we at Circle of Success are here to help them achieve this goal. Our achievements so far has been that we have helped numerous people become financially free and independent

If you are made the president of your country, what are the first five things you would address and why?

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if i am made the President of my country the first thing i would do is create s Structure of Governance, build Infrastructure and empower Entrepreneurs because without a proper structure of Governance there can never be any real or substantial change in a country, then infrastructure can come and empowering entrepreneurs is an investment in society as a whole

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