•When We Started Publishing In BLACK & WHITE In Nov. 1996
City People Magazine is 25 this year. And we are celebrating it big. This is because only a very few celebrity magazines have gone past that age. Usually, the life span of magazines is 10 to 15 years. To celebrate our 25 years of existence, we plan to tell our story to let people know how we started off in November 1996, and the personalities we celebrated then. While many of them have since passed on, others are very much alive. Some of those who are alive have now grown old. Now, Many have gone into retirement. Some couples have lost their partners and they are now widows & widowers. Follow us as we take you back in time.
When City People magazine hit the streets in November 1996, the idea was to publish a 16 page Black & White weekly magazine that mirrors the lifestyle of the people of the city. The Cover Price was N40. We started by publishing a 16 page Preview Edition. The cover story photograph was that of Keem Belo-Osagie, the hottest whizkid on the bloc as at that time. It was the story of Nigeria’s youngest Billionaire, at the time. That was the year the man everybody called KEEM bought substantial shares in UBA, among very many investments. The Cover page also featured the photo and story of ERELU DOSUMU. :Her True Story
The cover also had the story of Yinka & Ngozi Ojora. Both just got married. It revealed how they met. And the story of Saraki’s daughter’s N30 million wedding. Also, on November 9th, 1996, Otunba Adekunle Ojora and his pretty wife, Erelu Ojuolape’s son, Yinka Ojora got married to Ngozi Odogwu, the beautiful daughter of Ide Ahaba of Asaba and Chairman of Odogwu Group of Companies, Chief Sonny Dike Odogwu, in Lagos. It was a fairy tale wedding.
In that edition we ran the story of the present Ekiti 1st Lady, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi. She used to run NGO on women. It was the story of her encounter with Fibroids. We also unveiled the story of Princess Abiola Dosunmu, the Erelu of Lagos. There was also the story of Sir Innocent Opardike, who was removed as the MD of Daily Times. There was also the 2- page story of the Super Marriages of that year. One of it was the marriage of Koye Edu and Tope Saraki. City People revealed the weddings of the silverspoon kids like the Edus, Sijuades Ogunbanjo’s, Asiodu’s, Harrimam, FRA Williams, Ibrus, Folawiyo’s, Iwuayanwu’s Almed Joda, Majekodunmi, Olasore’s, Shonekan Udoji’s & Co. The 2 pages inside source (Gist column) revealed many things about Lenoil’s boss, Latan Adesanya, one of the former big players in the Oil sector, the story of IBTC Atedo Peterside’s new ranch off Lekki-Epe expressway in Lagos and his love for Polo, Chie Tola Adeniyi, the former MD of Daily Times, who went into Exile, Bukola Saraki’s new highrise on Idowu Martins/Musa Yardua, Sola Adeeyo, the foreign exchange dealer, Queenette Alagoa, the ebony power dresser, controversial Lagos business, Jennifer Madike, whose affairs with Fidelis Oyakhilome made, headline news in the early 90s. She is dead now. She later become a born again Christian in Kirikiri prison, where she was detained. We also did a story on the fight between Saifudeen Ademola Edu and his partner, Lookman Oladipo Durosimi Etti plus other partners in the law firms of Bentley Edu & Irving and Bomar, like Koye Edu, Anthony George Ikoli and Sam Okagbue, all of who ran separate law firms.
We wrote about the late Augustus Aikhomu Nigeria’s first full Admiral, who was Vice President in General Ibrahim Babangidas military administration who kept a low profile since the administration stepped aside. We revealed also how Keem was unarguably the most talked about and the most publicised tycoon in Nigeria, yet the least understood. This is the story of the extra-ordinary rise of the 41-year old Hakeem Belo Osagie and his $60 million empire. The edition also had the story of When The Folawiyos Struck Oil. According to the intro Two months after Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum, an indigenous Oil company, struck Oil on Lagos shore lines, the Folawiyos had finally confirmed the oil find. We unveiled Tunde Folawiyo, the eldest son of Alhaji (Chief) Wahab Folawiyo. We had a column then called Oil Watch. After the PREVIEW came the 1st edition. Vol. 1 No. 1 had a detailed story on ALIKO Dangote. The story of The Sugar man. We also wrote about Lagos Lawyer, Gbenga Oyebode, a partner in the Law firm of Aluko & Oyebode. We also wrote about Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, former MD of Daily Times and now CEO TANUS Communications. We also got the late Prof. Tam David-West, the former Oil Minister, to talk about Erelu Abiola Dosumu. The Aliko Dangote’s story was a 2 page story of the biggest commodity players in Nigeria as at 1996. That City People edition unveiled the story of Tastee Fried Chicken, the classy eatery which took off at Adeniran Ogunsanya, Surulere. We were the 1st to unveil the founder, Mrs. Olayinka Pamela Adedayo, who started out as a Caterer in 1989 with Tastee Pot to run outdoor Catering Services to a distinguished and discerning clientele.
We wrote about Nike Oshinowo, the ex-beauty queen, who ran one of the leading beauty clinics in Lagos called SKIN Deep, at Lafayette Mall on Sanusi Fafunwa, VI, Lagos. We wrote about Bode Agusto whom everyone depended on for authoritative information about the performance of most of the the firms or publicly quoted companies. We also unveiled the new corporate players like Nana Mensah who was just 36 and became UBA’s head dealer and Kamal Bonstani, the Lebanese owner of Double Four (44), the popular eatery on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi. We also did a story on Nigerian-born play wright, novelist and poet, Biyi Bandele-Thomas who just began to make his mark on London’s literary scene.
The 2nd edition of City People Magazine was Vol 1. No 2. It had the bold story of FOLA & TAYO: The 2 men who founded & ran Guaranty Trust Bank now called GT Bank. We had stories on Oluwatofarati Agusto (Papai) MD Wall Street Trust Company, Olu Martins who ran ANDS Car Wash at Opebi, Biola Otufale, who ran Hattitudes, a hat shop on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi; Senator Olumide Abiru, who was then a Manager at GTB, The Late Otunba T.O.S Benson, the 1st Republic Information Minister spoke about his spirited battle against Chief Mrs. Folake Solanke, Nigeria’s 1st Lady SAN whom he claimed then that he was legally married to. We wrote about Prince Tokunbo Sijuwade’s wedding to Amina Dyeris in 1996, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo’s wedding to Lucy-Ann Summer in London, Architect Lanre Towry-Coker who was 52 at that time, Mike Ajegbo and his MINAJ Story. We also did an extensive story on how Mr. Olubunmi Oni, the Managing Director of Cadbury Nigeria Plc at that time turned the confectionery company around.
The focus was also on the Milliners of that era. At that time, more and more women had taken to wearing hats. Their prices of which didn’t come cheap. These were the likes of Bimbilads, John 3v3, Amonis, Graces Hat or Hattitudes. We also to celebrate the likes of Eme Odo-Bassey, Amoni William-Jumbo and Biola Otufale.
When Lt.-Gen. Theophilius, Yakubu Danjuma, a former Chief of Army Staff got married to a former Miss Daisy Omenai, a tall and beautiful lawyer, we were the first to break the story. We also turned our search light on the lifestyle of Otunba Micheal Olasubomi Balogun then Chairman & CEO of First City Merchant Bank Limited. We also wrote about Chief Bode George & his close relationship with beautiful medical practitioner and designer, Dr. Kaine Dosekun, who later became his wife after he got separated from his 1st wife, Feyi Kaine, has also been separated from the PDP’s leader who is now married to another woman.
Vol. 1 No 3 edition had the bold story of late Ooni of Ife’s son, Tokunbo Sijuade, who got married at an elaborate wedding ceremony. As at that time in December 1996, he spent N2.6m on wedding suit, N3.25m on wedding dress, N4m on Reception. We also unveiled the reigning Music star at that time Lagbaja. He revealed why he wears masks. Entitled: Why I cover My Face, Bisade Ologunde revealed a lot. We also featured the story of Marc Rich, the Belgian-born, Switzerland-based businessman who sells Nigeria’s oil. As at that time he was the world’s biggest commodity trader. He had about 80% of Nigeria’s oil firmly under his control. City People also wrote about the man behind Chadon Restaurant in Mende, Maryland. As at 1996, the restaurant had been in operation for 15 years. Chief Benson Omoniyi Orifa, is the man who owns and runs Chadon Kitchen.
In that edition was the story of Bube Okorodudu, CEO of Carlink Motors, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, a former Executive Chairman and CEO of UBA, who was set to emerge the biggest player in First Bank. The late Safinatu Mohammed, who re-emerged after her 6 years imposed solitude. She was a top fashion designer then. She ran St. Remmy’s Collection. Her 15-year old fashion outlet which she ran from Room 457 of Federal Palace Hotel.
We also wrote about Femi Akingbe, the 39-year-old Lagos banker of repute, who runs a capital company, ventures and Trust Limited and the late Gbegi Ojora whose real name was Adegboyega Ojora, the eldest son of Lagos businessman, Otunba Adekunle Ojora. We were the first media house to reveal how he got the name Gbegi. That was because most people refered to him as Gbegi, a nickname given to him by his cousin, a Lagos lawyer, Demola Akinrele, when they were young. We also wrote about Dr. (Mrs.) Tokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, the only surviving child of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo who was consumed by the desire to turn the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation to a formidable institution. Then came Biola Otufale, the owner of Hattitudes, a top class hat shop at 50 Awolowo Road. In case you don’t know her, Biola is Kayode Otufale, the globe trotting business tycoon, who-sold his Cititrust Bank, off to one of the big 4 banks then. We also unveiled Mike Osime and his new house on Raymond Njoku on Ikoyi. He was one of the young men making waves in the corporate world. He is a former banker. We also wrote about the upward mobile man, the late Abayomi Jolaoso, Niteshift Guvnor Ken Calebs Ohimese, who reopened his nite club. His Niteshift was then the hottest hangout of the rich and famous and the toast of night crawlers. He wound up the club which used to be at 21 Opebi Road, Ikeja in Lagos and relocated to the new Coliseum, Off Opebi Road.
Of course, we revealed Ide Ahaba Chief Sonny Odogwu’s weird habit of locking-up his big houses on Ikoyi, like the one on Thumbull Avenue. He refused to let them out. We wrote about the late Chief Richard Akinjide Nigeria’s former Justice Minister. He was 65 then. We also wrote about Olakunle Tejuoso, the young man who took over the running of Glendora Bookshop at Falomo Shopping Centre in Ikoyi from his mum.
Other very important personalities we featured included Ajoke Murtala Mohammed, the wife of the late head of state, Gen. Murtala Mohammed. She runs her Botanical Gardens located at Okun Ibeju Lekki Village, along Lekki-Epe Expressway. Let’s also tell you about Dotun Suleiman, the Managing Partner at Arthur Anderson. We also wrote about the Fairy Tale Weddings of the silverspoon kids of the era like the marriage of Tokunbo the eldest son of the late Ooni of Ife then Oba Okunade Sijuwade, to Amina Ruth Dyeris, the daughter of Brigadier Danjuma Dyeris a retired General in Kaduna. He was Nigeria’s former defence Adviser in the UK.
In January, 1997, we did a Special Edition Vol. No 4 on Pastor Adeboye. It was the story of the Head of Redeemed Christian Church. We wrote about the late Prof. Akinola Aguda, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, Prof. Adele Jinadu, Prof. Banjo, the late Chief Bola Ige. We published many exclusive stories in that edition on Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji, then Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Britain, who an Edo-born lady, Roseline Okoh alleged she was abandoned by him after she had an accident. When asked about the lady in 1993, he denied the claim & called it nonsense.
We also did an exclusive on Otunba Subomi Balogun, who had dominated the Merchant banking sector, which he pioneened. We called it Balogun’s corporate battles. We also revealed how President Mohammadu Buhari remarried. A few years back, General Mohammadu Buhari sacked his wife, Sefinatu, a few years after he was released from detention. It was shortly after that he married the 18 year old lady in 1991 who is his wife today. We wrote about Chief Olusegun Osoba, a former Governor of Ogun State; The late Guardian Publisher, Alex Ibru who was recuporating from the wounds he suffered during that last shootout he had with some assassins. The late Dr. Stanley Macebuh, Vanguard Publisher, Sam Amuka who has spent 48 years in Journalism profession which he started in 1973 as a cub reporter, General Salihu Ibrahim, a former Army Chief, Edith Onuigbe of GTB, who left for private business, Aisha Mohammed, the daughter of late military head of state, Gen. Murtala Mohammed, who is happilly married to Gbenga Oyebode, Tayo Ayeni, one of the big players in the auto market and CEO of Skymit Motors and top banker Mr. Akin Kekere-Ekun, who rose to become the MD/CEO of Habib Bank. Of course, we ran the interview of Sunmi Smart Cole, who was 54 then.
The Vol 1. No 5 edition was very exciting. The cover had the story of The Woman Ooni Is In Love With and The incredible story of The Synagogue Pastor, Temitope Joshua. City People revealed how the former Nigerian wife of Ambassador, Kofi Annan, the then UN Secretary General was always seen in the company of Oba Okunade Sijuade the Ooni. That was the story of Titilola Alakija.
We also wrote the story of how God changed the name of the fashion house of Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija from Supreme Stitches to Rose of Sharon. We also wrote a Special 2-page report about The Female Highfliers within Nigeria’s corporate world, group of dynamic and ambitious woman, who were at that time taking over key positions like top bank CEOs like Funke Osibodu, Dr. Mrs. Toyin Phillips, a former Gateway Bank. CEO, Ghana born Nana Mensah, Morin Babalola, Angela Anekwe, Yewande Zaccheaus, late 36 year old Funke Adedoyin, Kare Yekwe, Mrs. Yinka Idowu, Bola Thomas who was in her 40s then, Julia Inyang Oku, (Advertising Lady), Lilian Agbahoba who at 42 was the Group Legal Manager of Michelin Nigeria, Iguo Ukoh who at 40 was Product Manager at Nestle Foods, Angela Aneke, (one of the 5 AGMs in charge of Corporate Banking Group in UBA), Fatima Edu, the daughter of First Republic Minister. She runs a property business.
At that time, there were many brilliant female bankers making waves like Sola Dada, Remi Cole, Titi Banwo, Ebi Brisbe who were all top shots at NIB. Others include Kemi Adefolu of GTB, Yewande Banwo (former head of Treasury and Foreign exchange department at IBTC, Angela Ogundare, Sola Adegoroye. Events Queen, Mrs. Yewande Zaccheaus was still a banker with Ecobank Nigeria. She was the company secretary of Ecobank. That is not all. There are others like Ms. Omo Igwe, Mobola Johnson, and Bunmi Lamikanra, all of whom were top bankers.
We also listed the likes of Dr. Mrs. Biodun Aluko, a Paediatrician, who is the wife of Lagos lawyer, Kole Aluko, who died a few years back. So also other women like Folashade Ogundare, a lawyer & daughter of a Supreme Court Judge, who runs a thriving Law practice. There was also Funmi Omitowoju, the PRO of AIICO, Tinuke Akanbi, Yewande Ayo the GM of Automania. Others include Ekanem Etim, former CEO of Port & Marine Services, Yemisi Payne, Obi Ajegbu, Remi Sobanjo, Ify Imasoge of Vigeo, Arin Olumide, Toyin Fagbayi, Kemi Kafaru, Lara Alagbada and Grace Giwa.
We also reported the marriage of star actress, Abiola Ogundiyulile who got married to Segun Williams at a well attended ceremony at the Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju. She was working with Punch then. In that same edition, we published a story as a society columnist of The Emperor, Sunny Obazu Ojeagbase who recently turned 70, and that of Alhaji Rasheed Gbadamosi’s success story. He died a few years ago. He was the Chairman of Ragolis Water Ltd.
We also did an expose on late Chief Bayo Kuku’s N450 million castle which he dedicated on January 1, 1887. He was then the Ogbeni Oja of Ijebuland. As at that time his house was one of the costliest houses in Nigeria. We did a story on Kokoro, (now late) the best tambourine player in the Nigeria musis scene. The 70 year old blind minstrel who roamed the street of Lagos playing his tambourine spoke to City People.
The likes of top banker Henry Efe Imasekha, then an ED with UBA and Nazir Ado Ibrahim, the 34 year old son of Prime Ado Ibrahim of Nigus Petroleum were celebrated. Nazir ran Club Tower.
We featured the priceless limousine of the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Olubuse Okunade Adele Sijuade. It is a Daimler Sovereign long wheel base deluxe which he bought in London for about £150,000 pounds from the Jague car company.
In Vol. No 7 edition we celebrated Bishop Oyedepo: The man called PAPA and The Private world of ATEDO Peterside on cover. We also captured the death of Ambassador Abubakar Garba Gobir. He passed on in the early hours of Wednesday, 27th November 1996. He is the father of Mohammed Gobir. We did a Close-Up on Julie Coker, one of Nigeria’s most prominent broadcasters and Nike Osinowo, the former beauty queen who was 28 then. She is Silverbird’s 1992 Most Beautiful Girl In Nigeria. We also did a story on Wura Fadaka, a well known folklore musician. It is an interview with Wura Fadaka who some also call Biddy Wight. His real name is Julius Adeniyi Wright, the son of Bankole Wright, the grandson of Biddy Wright. He was 50 in 1997.
There was also the story of Chito Mark who makes hats. She is the lady behind GRACES Hat which she started from the scratch to become one of the pioneers in establishing the Hat Culture and determing the vogue in hat wear today.
We also did a story on Prince Nduka Obaigbena the Publisher of Thisday and ARISE TV which he floated a few years back. We wrote about his remarkable rise. When he was barely 27 years old, he made history as the youngest publisher in Nigeria to publish a successful glossy weekly news Magazine. The Vol. 1 No 9 edition of City People had The IYANDA FOLAWIYO Story: How He Made His Billions. There was the story of FELA’s sister DOLU who doesn’t wear shoes. The story of Liz Banson also made the edition. She is one of Nigeria’s leading actresses. in the interview she revealed why she hasn’t remarried. We also captured Chief (Dr.) Alex Eneli’s 59th birthday. He is a surgeon and co-founder of Eko Hospital. We also wrote about Maj-General Ike Nwachukwu & his wife Gwen. There was also the story of The Reverend Who Brews Beer. It is the story of Mr. Felix Ohiwerei, the then big boss at Nigerian Breweries Plc, Nigeria’s largest brewery. He is a born again Christian. It was the story of the reverend gentleman who ran one of the most successful blue-chip companies in Nigeria then.
Until he died, Chief Abdul Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo was the Baba Adinni of Nigeria. In that edition, City People unveiled Inside The Folawiyo Empire which was run by that 68-year-old successful merchant.
We also revealed the story of his son, Tunde Folawiyo who ran Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum which later struck Oil. Tunde has since taken over the running of the Yinka Folawiyo conglomerate.
We also revealed the story of Justice Samuel Omotunde Ilori who was made the new Chief Judge of Lagos State.