RACE AND MEDIA REPORTAGE : JUSSIE SMOLLETT AND HIS CO-CONSPIRATORS
The recent ‘alleged’ attack (alleged, as there are insinuations he masterminded same for personal gains) on Jussie Smollett, a singer and thespian popularly known for his role as Jamaal, the gay son of Lucious Lyon on Empire, an awards winning series has once again brought to the fore, the elitist, supremacist and overtly racist tones, reportage of issues concerning Nigeria and its citizens the world over.
While allegations and counter allegations as regards the attack is being debated by the relevant security authorities in the Unites States of America, an issue that is worth discussing is the attackers and the perceived slant in the reportage as regards the nationalities of the men involved.
Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, 2 American men of Nigerian descent were allegedly contracted by Jussie Smollett to carry out the said attacks on him and various evidence (including a copy of the cheque issued to the brothers by Jussie Smollett) are in the custody of the Police.
The reportage by the United States media of the attackers Nationality was skewed to the point where an image of the brothers just stepping off a plane from Nigeria weeks ago was painted while in reality, they were born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago with brief, infrequent visits to Nigeria.
This brings sharply to mind, the earlier moments of the ascension of Anthony Joshua into the limelights as the heavyweight champion of pugilism. AJ as he is fondly called was praised in the British media as a local boy who’ d done good for himself and his Nigerian descent glossed over.
Various opinions abound that Africa, Africans and Nigeria in particular needs to, as a matter of urgency, develop broader and better media platforms to counter the narratives from the Western media – Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.
A country can only be as good as its best and its worst and Nigeria, currently regarded as the failing giant of Africa would keep being the butt of jokes until we pull ourselves by the bootstraps and kick start a reorientation campaign that should reach the ends of the world showcasing and dictating the tones and the narratives as regards Nigeria and Nigerians. Until then, God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
PROFILE OF DR OLUSEGUN RAHMAN MIMIKO
H.E. Dr. Olusegun Rahman Mimiko is the immediate past Executive Governor of Ondo State in the South Western part of Nigeria. Iroko, as he is fondly referred to by both friends and supporters as born on 3rd October, 1957 in Ondo Kingdom. He attended primary and secondary school in Ondo State and proceeded to the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) from 1972-1976 and graduated in 1976 with B.Sc Health Science degree in 1976 and the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in 1980.
Dr Olusegun Mimiko cut his political teeth in the University of Ife where he was always politically active and went way up the political totem in the Students Union and also in the International Students Association (he was Public Relations Officer of the body between 1977-1978).
Dr. Olusegun Mimiko was renowned in the practice of medicine both within Nigeria and outside the country and having garnered extensive experience both in private and public practice and rising to the enviable height of Acting Medical Director at Alleluyah Hospital in Oshodi, Lagos he set up his own private medical practice, Mona Medi-Clinic in 1985 and the said clinic was headquartered in Ondo town, Ondo State, where he was brought up.
Dr. Olusegun Mimiko has always been a progressive and this is evident in his political leanings; he identified with Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Unity Party of Nigeria, a party he later became the Publicity Secretary in Ondo Local Government Area. He was the head of a political think-tank referred to as The Ondo Study Group (OSG). OSG had a special interest in voters enlightenment and was seen as a force and it was the vehicle in which Dr. Olusegun Mimiko unsuccessfully ran for office as Chairman of Ondo Local Government (as it was then referred to).
In recognition of his untiring efforts and his famed connection with the masses, he was appointed as the Secretary to the Ondo State Government (SSG). He had barely settled in when the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo summoned him to higher office by appointing him as the Federal Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. Dr. Olusegun Mimiko contested for the gubernatorial seat of Ondo State and despite the fact that he was earlier said to have lost by the electoral body (INEC), he approached the courts, citing several irregularities and asking the court to declare his winner.
His prayers were granted and Dr. Olusegun Rahman Mimiko was sworn into office on the 24th day of February, 2009. It is a testament to his dogged spirit and belief in the institutions of the country that his mandate which was almost thwarted was recovered and he went ahead to rule Ondo State twice as a governor before relinquishing the seat after his mandatory 2 terms in office had elapsed. Dr. Olusegun Mimiko goes along with his convictions hence the reason he attempted to run for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the just concluded elections and got the nod of the Zenith Labour Party to be its flag bearer. While he withdrew for personal reasons and opted for the Senate, it is safe to say that the last has not been heard of ‘Iroko’.
Dr. Olusegun Mimiko has authored many research and published articles on medicine, international relations, social and political development strategies His legacies in Ondo State health sector has put the state in the consciousness of the world to the point that the united Nations and other highly reputable international bodies have recommended the health delivery system which Mimiko initiated and executed in Ondo State as a model for the whole world to emulate. Mimiko has received numerous awards including John F. Kennedy Essay (School Level) 1971, Justice of peace (JP)1993, Distinguished meritorious service Award 1993 by Ondo State Chapter of Nigeria Medical Association and he is patron to several Youths and professional Body organizations.
Dr. Mimiko is married to the beautifully delectable Mrs Olukemi Mimiko and the family is blessed with amazing children.
VOLUNTEERING AND APPRENTICESHIP: THE WAY TO GO
By Engr. Opeseyi Opebiyi
Since our educational system keeps churning out graduates yearly who obviously do not have the requisite skills to get absorbed into the main stream of their chosen professions (or vocations), I believe it is high time we rethink the attitude to the age long idea of volunteering and apprenticeship.
In Nigeria of today, it’s almost impossible to employ a fresh graduate and find any direct input or value they bring to the organization. There is always the need to train and induct them to the workings of the organization to kick start their career and this ultimately results in some sort of downtime on productivity as time that should be spent working is spent holding their hands and guiding them.
Inculcating the values of volunteering and apprenticeship definitely would not be an easy task considering the impatience for fast money as currently demonstrated in our youths. However, all hope is not lost as I believe if government and NGOs can drive the initiative and highlight the benefits, we will achieve a lot.
There is also the need to reorganize the SIWES program as currently constituted. SIWES should actually be the first work experience an undergraduate has and if more checks and incentives are introduced, it could be a launch pad for promising undergraduates who would be headhunted by organizations they observed their SIWES with.
Another very important issue is in the event we have youths ready to volunteer or undergo apprenticeship but with a dearth of organizations willing to accept them, what happens then? Should there be incentives for organizations who accept volunteers?
I seriously believe there is a need to sensitize our organizations on the need to accept these youths and mentor them, firstly as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and two as a means of getting the best hands.
H.R Engr. Otis Anyaeji, KtSGG, FAEng Obi Ubahu-Okija
Eminent Leaders Achiever
ENGR. OTIS ANYAEJI, a mechanical, automotive, plastic, cost and valuation Engineer, and strategic planner, was born on 4th March, 1951 in Onitsha, Anambra State. He entered the Holy Ghost Juniorate Ihiala, in 1962 with the aim of becoming a priest but had to withdraw at the end of that year. Between 1964 and 1971 (excluding the civil war years), he attended Christ the King College (CKC), Onitsha – primus inter pares, where the authorities record him as possessing an outstanding ability in mathematics. In June 1971, he obtained the West African School Certificate.
Proceeding for the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in September 1971, he studied for and bagged the degree of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in June 1976.
From August 1976 to September 1977, Engr. Anyaeji served as NYSC Pupil Engineer with the Nigerian Railways at the Central Mechanical Workshops Ebute-Metta. At the end of the national service period in 1977, he joined the consulting engineering firm of Alecon Associates as Design Engineer, later becoming Resident Engineer of the Kaduna office. In August 1978, he joined Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Ltd as Production Engineer for the Body Shop, and then the Paint Shop, subsequently working as Methods Engineer for the whole factory.
The next experience station was Nigerian Airports Authority where he worked briefly in 1980 as Senior Mechanical Engineer for Maintenance, first in the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, and later the Maiduguri International Airport. It was from here he moved over to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in November 1980 as Mechanical Engineer 1.
He became NNPC Site Representative on the Petrochemicals Phase 1 Projects Ekpan/Warri (comprising Polypropylene, Carbon Black, and HF Alkylation plants with associated infrastructures) in December 1980. Following the re-organization of the site with the return of the NNPC project teams from the overseas offices of the engineering contractors in 1984, Engr. Anyaeji assumed responsibility for the Carbon Black Plant as Field Project Engineer, a position he held until he voluntarily left the services of the Corporation in May 1987.
As NNPC Site Representative, he was responsible for the supervision of the successful implementation of the following activities: liaison for land acquisition, boundary and topographic surveys, geo-technical surveys, fencing, hydraulic sand filling, pilling, process and utilities tie-ins, general civil works, erection works, and liaison with third parties and statutory authorities. This entailed at a time overseeing up to 4,500 personnel on site working for NNPC, the Managing Consultant (BEICIP of France), the Engineering Contractors (TECNIMONT of Italy, and LUMMUS of UK and France), the Civil Works Contractor (DAEWOO of South Korea) etc. Though a Mechanical Engineer by training, in 1982 he designed the 3-km long 7.3m wide asphalt covered access road to the site and supervised its construction. The road is still functional for the public till date, after taking all the materials of the Petrochemicals and subsequently the Nigerian Gas Co. HQ and Escravos Warri Phase III Tank Farm Project.
Engr. Anyaeji left NNPC to found the Consulting Engineering and Management Consulting outfit – OTIS CONSULT LTD/OTIS ENGINEERING, which renders a range of services including, Feasibility Studies, Market Surveys, Basic & Detailed Engineering, Procurement and Contracting Engineering, Inspection and Expediting, Project Management, Training, Cost Engineering, Engineering Economy Studies, Valuations, Strategic Planning etc. He has led the firm since 1987 to perform these services in various sectors like Oil & Gas, Pulp and Paper, Electric Power Supply, Petrochemicals, Fertilizer, Automotive Manufacture, Housing and Infrastructure, Food and Agriculture, Water etc.
In the oil and gas sector, he has been a technical training Consultant to the Petroleum Training Institute, NNPC and its subsidiaries, CHEVRON, ASHLAND, SHELL, etc. Between 1993-1994, he performed as Lecturer on Feasibility Studies, NNPC Chief Officers’ Course. In June 1997, he made proposals to the Honourable Minister of Petroleum on the restructuring and re-organization of the public petroleum sector, which was acknowledged in writing as well received and worthy of implementation. He was (2005 – 2014) Project Director on 12No. gas supply projects for various power plant projects under the NIPP. In 2010 he successfully completed a project management assignment on the Front End Engineering Design of Ajakuota-Abuja-Kano gas pipeline. Since 2014, his firm has provided experts to operate and maintain the Gas Metering Station at the NIPP Power Plant in Calabar.
While performing as Chief Project Consultant on the AJAOKUTA STEEL PROJECT between February 1993 and June 1994 (the first time a Nigerian played that role), he prepared at the request of the management of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, a Technical Management Proposal, which was well received by the Honourable Minister of Power & Steel, and the Department of Steel. As a testimony of the ministry’s satisfaction with the proposal, the Hon. Minister set up a committee on Strategic Management for the Steel Sector to widen the work Engr. Anyaeji had started on ASCL for general application to the steel sector as a whole. He served as Member/Consultant on this Ministerial Committee. In the capacity of Consultant to this committee, he drafted a strategic plan for the Nigerian Public Steel Sector. This plan was adopted by the committee, but was overtaken by a new privatization policy. His firm Otis Consult Ltd/Otis Engineering, has been consultant in various fields to Delta Steel Company Limited since 1989, and prepared in 1994 under his leadership, a strategic plan for establishment of profit centers in DSC business portfolio. In 2003, he was Chief Technical Adviser to BPE on the Privatization of DSC. He had earlier performed in the same capacity on the privatization of the MINT.
From March 1990 – July 1993, Engr. Anyaeji served as Deputy Chairman of the Standing Technical Committee on the Nigerian Automotive Industry (STC), with the Hon. Minister of Industry as Chairman. During this period, he midwifed the establishment of the Center for Automotive Design and Development, Zaira, acting in the capacity of Chairman, Low Cost Vehicle Project Committee. The National Automotive Policy approved by the Federal Executive Council in 1993 was drafted under his Chairmanship. Subsequently, Mr. President appointed him on merit as founding Chairman of the National Automotive Council (NAC) which the policy created to replace STC. During his brief tenure as Chairman NAC (up until August 1994 when all Federal Boards were dissolved), he established the magazine – AUTO NIGERIA, gazetted a Federal Government Circular directing all Federal, State and Local Governments and Agencies to buy only Made-in-Nigeria vehicles, oversaw the establishment of the Council Secretariat, and initiated the commencement of the implementation of the National Automotive Policy. He is a UNIDO expert on Automotives and has served as Chairman of UNIDO sponsored Nigerian Low Cost Vehicle Foundation. In November 2015, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) invited him as a Resource Person on the Workshop on the Development of the Automotive Industry in West Africa (Lagos, December 2015) with the mandates to prepare and present the documentary review of all national import policies as well as regulations, and preparation of plan for establishment of an integrated automotive industry in West Africa, amongst others.
In 1988 he was Management Consultant to the Technical Committee on Completion Proposals for Pulp and Paper Mill Project Iwopin, in the Federal Ministry of Industry. In 1989 he was Consultant on Cost and Engineering Evaluation to the Technical Committee on the Re-negotiation of NAFCON II Project. On both assignments he successfully produced the reports which formed the working bases of the committees.
As the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Board of the Center for Automotive Design and Development, Engr. Anyaeji supervised the R&D activities of the Center up to the completion of the design work on the CADD Mark I Low Cost Vehicle Model. Before this assignment, he was a member of the National Committee on Engineering Infrastructures working with the Engineering Materials Sub-committee, and the marketing of the committee’s report with Various Publics. In 1996, he served as Chairman of the Raw Material Research and Development Council’s Multi-disciplinary Task Force for the Techno-Economic Survey on Motor Vehicles and Miscellaneous Sector which successfully updated the 1989 Report on the same subject. He produced in 1997 as an invited Resource Person, a strategic plan for the Review of the 1986 National Policy on Science and Technology.
In 1989 he initiated and was Course Director of the Nigerian Society of Engineers Certification Course in Engineering Valuation. He has worked as Valuation Engineer/Consultant for Delta Steel Company, National Electric Power Authority (Egbin Thermal Power Plant), NICON, and Warri Refining & Petrochemical Company, Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company, Zaria etc. 5. Engr. Anyaeji was consulting Engineer on the rehabilitation of NEPA Power Stations at Afam and Jebba – the first time ever Nigerians performed such role. His firm was commissioned by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to value the assets of Afam Power Plc and the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, preparatory to privatization.
Engr. Anyaeji served as Commissioner, in the Presidential Commission for the Review of Higher Education in Nigeria (Longe Commission) between December 1990 and November 1991. During his tenure in this Commission he made significant contributions in the areas of Polytechnics, Universities of Technology, and vocational education. He was in the Commission’s 3-man delegation that visited UK, West Germany, and USA for a comparative study of their higher education systems, encompassing visitations to 30 universities and other higher education institutions.
A 13-time recipient of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (1988, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2011×2, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018) Merit Award, and Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (1997) Service Award. Engr. Anyaeji is a member of several learned professional societies associated with advancement of engineering. They include, the Automotive & Locomotive Engineers Institute (Auto EI), the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), the Nigerian Society of Engineers NSE), the Institute of Appraisers and Cost Engineers (IA&CE) and the Energy Institute (UK). He founded IA&CE (2001) and Auto EI (2006) both Divisions of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.
He was elected Secretary General of the Nigerian Society of Engineers in December 1988 and was subsequently re-elected for two more terms. Engr. Anyaeji was Chairman, Institute of Appraisers & Cost Engineers (2003-2010) and Chairman, Automotive Engineers’ Institute (2006 – 2011). Engr. Anyaeji was elected Vice-President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2013, he was elected Deputy President/President-Elect of NSE. Engr. Anyaeji assumed the Presidency of NSE on 1st January, 2016. He served as Vice President of West African Federation of Engineering Organisations (WAFEO) from 2012-2017. Engr. Anyaeji became President of WAFEO in November 2017, concurrently serving as Vice President of Federation of African Engineering Organisations (FAEO). A member of the Governing Council of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), he was the pioneer Chairman of COREN’s Regulation and Control Committee (1990-1992), and later became Vice President of COREN (2015 – 16). He is currently a ranking member of the COREN Governing Council, being in his 3rd term of service in the Council.
Engr. Anyaeji has numerous publications to his credit in various areas of engineering policy and socio-economic development. During his tenure as Secretary General NSE he affected public policy positively in the following areas: Engineering Practice; Building Code; Intellectual Property Rights; Public Utility Regulation; Commercial Law Practice; Assets Valuation; Statutory Inspection of Pressure Vessels and Lifting Devices etc. On Assets Valuation, his initiative led to the amendment of the Decree No.1 of 1990 with Decree No.46 of 1991 to include engineer in the definition of ‘Valuer’, while on Company law reform his struggles resulted in the concession of a seat to the engineering profession in the Corporate Affairs Commission, vide the same Decree No.46. As member of COREN Governing Board, and Chairman of COREN’s Regulation & Control Committee, Engr. Anyaeji established the Regulations & Control Committee (1991), prepared the schedule of Man-day/ Man-week/ and Man-month remuneration rates (2015); prepared the draft regulations for licensing of firms (2015), draft construction industry regulations (2016), draft engineering appraisal/valuation regulations (2017), draft engineering economy regulations (2017), and draft cost engineering regulations (2017). These regulations have been passed by the Hon. Minister with responsibility for Engineering in Nigeria since 2018. These are the first regulations to emerge from COREN since 1970.
As President of NSE, he was one of the four persons that prepared the draft Presidential Executive Order No.5
For several years, he was Editor-in-Chief of the “Appraiser & Cost Engineer”, the official journal of the Institute of Appraisers & Cost Engineers.
A member of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Nigeria (ACEN), Engr. Anyaeji’s firm, O. T. OTIS ENGINEERING from June 2005 till 2014 jointly with a German firm, Lahmeyer International performed as Design & Management Consultants on Nigeria’s National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) – a project encompassing 10No. Power Stations, 110No. Transmission Lines/Substations, 1230No. Distribution Projects, and 12No. Gas Transmission Lines. He functioned as Joint Project Director in that Joint Venture and acted as Chairman of the Forum of Consultants, Manufacturers & Contractors on the NIPP. He is also Chairman of Electric Power Foundation, an NGO for advancement and orderly development of electricity supply industry in Nigeria. Since 2010 his firm has performed as Project Management Consultant, on the 10MW Wind Farm Power Plant Project in Katsina, and had prepared the Feasibility Study on Small Hydro Power Plant on the Zobe Dam in Katsina State, Ivo Dam in Ebonyi State, and Adada Dam in Enugu State.
In philanthropy, Engr. Anyaeji in 2014, donated a fully-equipped metrology laboratory to the Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), Ekiti State. The official commissioning was held in May 2015. Subsequently that year, Engr. Anyaeji and his amiable and supportive wife endowed a Research Chair in the University of Port Harcourt, which in their honour has been christened ‘Nkechi & Otis Anyaeji “Distinguished Professorial Chair” in Engineering Valuation, Engineering Economy and Cost Engineering’. They are in the process of establishing the Centre for Engineering Valuation, Cost Engineering and Engineering Economy in the University of Port Harcourt.
In 2014, the University of Port Harcourt appointed Engr. Anyaeji as Expert-in-Residence in Engineering in recognition of his contributions and accomplishments in the Engineering Profession in Nigeria and beyond. In 2015, The Department of Electrical Engineering of his Alma Mater, the University of Nigeria Nsukka, bestowed on him the award of the Distinguished Engineer in National Development. The Nigerian Society of Engineers Maitama Branch instituted in 2015, the annual legacy Distinguished Lecture series in honour of Engr. Otis Anyaeji.
In 2010, the Guardian Newspaper recognized Engr. Anyaeji as one of the 30 most exceptional students of the University of Nigeria. Earlier in the same year, the ThisDay Newspaper had identified him as one of the most outstanding Professionals in Nigeria. In 2012, TheNews Magazine recognized Engr. Anyaeji as “a Man of Substance Who Had Made His Mark in the Area of Engineering Services”. The Nation Newspaper the same year recognized him as “One of 50 Distinguished Professionals in National Development”. The next year (2013) The News Magazine again recognized Engr. Anyaeji as “One of 50 Nigerians of Honour & Dignity”, as Vanguard Newspaper honoured him twice, first as “One of 50 Result-Driven Professionals of Inspiration”, and then as “One of 50 Engineering Icons in Nigeria! In the same year, the Guardian hailed him as “One of 40 Most Outstanding CEOs in Corporate Nigeria”.
Engr. Anyaeji is
- Fellow, Nigerian Academy of Engineering;
- Fellow, Nigerian Society of Engineers;
- Fellow, Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers;
- Fellow, Automotive Engineers’ Institute;
- Fellow in Valuation, Institute of Appraisers & Cost Engineers;
- Fellow in Cost Engineering, Institute of Appraisers & Cost Engineers;
- Fellow, Solar Energy Society of Nigeria;
- Fellow, Institute of Management Consultants;
- Honorary Fellow, Nigerian Society of Engineering Technicians
- Distinguished Fellow, Professional Excellence Foundation of Nigeria (DFPEFON)
- Fellow in Engineering Economy, Institute of Appraisers & Cost Engineers
- Fellow, Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers
- Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Polymer Engineers,
- Fellow, Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria
- Fellow, Energy Institute (UK), and
- Paul Harris Fellow
His Royalty, Engr. Anyaeji is presently Obi Ubahu – Okija, the traditional head of Ubahu Clan.
Engr. Anyaeji, who was knighted by Pope Francis in December 2015 as Knight of St. Gregory the Great, is a Knight of St. Mulumba. He is happily married to Dame Nkechi (nee Chukwuemeka, an Administrator) also a Dame of St. Gregory the Great, and they are blessed with four children and two grand-children.
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