Waheed Olagunju, Mike Oghiadomhe: Where are they now?

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It’s not clear where these former public servants who once served the country meritoriously are presently. That is what ELEOJO IDACHABA seeks to know in this piece.

Waheed Olagunju

Dr. Waheed Olagunju first made his mark in public service as a broadcaster with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) between 1981 and 1990, before he transferred his services to the banking sector. While at NTA, he was in charge of Economy Desk and later rose to become the controller of news. In 1990, he joined the former Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) now Bank of Industry as senior manager and rose to the position of executive director in charge of business development and was later re-assigned as ED SME. Before he retired, he had acted twice as managing director & chief executive officer of the bank in 2014 and between February 2016 and May 2017.

Under his watch as acting MD & CEO between 2016 and 2017, the bank recorded remarkable improvements that culminated in ratings by international and domestic rating agencies. In the early years of BoI, Dr Olagunju also coordinated the institutional and management study of BOI that was undertaken between 2004 and 2005 by the Swedish Consultants who were appointed by the African Development Bank. He similarly played leading roles in the implementation of their recommendations that formed vital input into BoI’s paradigm shift that was launched in 2006 and he has for many years been a strong member of BoI’s senior management team and later its Board of Directors that propelled the bank’s highly impressive performance. Shortly after he retired, he floated a private advisory company to enable him to continue deploying his vast experience, knowledge and expertise to players in the private sector, national and sub-national governments and civil society organisations across Africa as well as the international development community.

Since then, not much has been heard about him again.

Onyeka Ownenu

Dubbed as the elegant stallion, Anty Onyeka, as she is fondly known in many quarters, was once the executive director/CEO of the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) Abuja. Till date, she is still respected as a living legend in the world of arts especially music and acting. Onyeka was also a chairperson of Imo State Council for Arts and Culture.

A singer, songwriter, actress, human rights activist, social activist, journalist, politician and recording artist, she worked for many years in the United Nations (UN) in New York before returning to Nigeria in 1980 where she completed her mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps scheme (NYSC) with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). While in NTA, she made an impact as an articulate, incisive and fearless reporter. Onyeka, according to facts, prefers to keep her personal life as private as possible to date. For example, even though she has children, it is not known if she is married to the father of those children and the identity of the man in question has remained her top secret up until now. According to Information Cradle, “It is not known for sure if Onyeka Onwenu is married to the father of her children. All that is known is that the perceived father of her children has a last name ‘Ogunlende’, because this is the last name of her two sons. However, Onyeka prefers to keep her personal life as private as possible, and not reveal a lot about her family. She speaks openly about her motherhood and relationships with her children, but she does not disclose the name of her husband or if they are still together. When she was asked if she has ever been married to the father of her sons, Onyeka Onwenu refused to answer this question.”

Onyeka began her music career in 1981, while still working in NTA in an album titled: For the Love of You. Originally a secular artist, but now sings gospel music and continues to write and sing about societal issues in recent times such as health (HIV/AIDS), peace and mutual coexistence, respect for women rights and the plight of children. Her latest collection titled Inspiration for Change focuses on the need for attitudinal turn-around in Nigeria.

In 1984, she wrote and presented the internationally-acclaimed BBC/NTA documentary titled: ‘Nigeria, a Squandering of Riches’ which became the definitive film about corruption in Nigeria as well as the intractable Niger Delta agitation for resource control and campaign against environmental degradation in the oil rich region. She has also served on the board of the NTA at various times. As a member of the Peoples Democratic Party till date, she was at one-time in the run to become a local government chairman of her native Ideato North local council before she was appointed by former Governor Ikedi Ohakim to chair the state arts and culture.

For a popular woman like her who once occupied public positions, but who has been quiet for a while even though she is still around, one wonders what she is doing currently.

 Mike Oghiadomhe

Chief Mike Oghiadomhe is a former deputy governor of Edo state with Lucky Igbinedion as governor from 1999 to 2007 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where he and his boss served out their two tenures together. Oghiadomhe was also the chief of staff to former President Goodluck Jonathan from 2011 to 2014 before he left in search of further political greener pastures. 

In 1998, he went into active politics and was elected into the House of Representatives under the platform of the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) unopposed. In the course of service, he received several awards for his unalloyed loyalty and outstanding performances in appreciation of his immense contributions to the development of his state. For example, Edo traditional rulers unanimously conferred upon him the title of Olutsenigie of Edo land, of which, according to history, he is the first to hold that collective title from the entire traditional institutions in the state.

Oghiadomhe in 2007 was initially appointed as deputy chief of staff to Jonathan as vice president in the late President Musa Yar’Adua administration, a position he held till August 2008 when the position was scrapped. He was then designated as principal secretary till May 17, 2010, when he was again elevated as chief of staff to Jonathan now as acting president. Chief Oghiadomhe was at one point a member of the board of trustees of PDP. Following his resignation in 2014, it was speculated that he was sacked by President Jonathan over graft related matters but the rumour was refuted by then presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, who clarified that he resigned to pursue his political ambitions. Writing in ‘Nigerian Voice’ about the rumoured sack of Oghiadomhe by an online platform, Adam Ogar says the scandal about his alleged sack is the handwork of mischief makers who tried to link him with some controversial comments by Henry Okar.

“The office of the chief of staff in any government is very strategic and whoever occupies it must be a dependable confidant and strong ally of the president. In the same vein, whoever goes after the president’s chief of staff is definitely gunning for the president. Little wonder why the name of Mike Oghiadomhe had been bandied back and forth as either having been sacked or arrested in connection with the phone call Henry Okah claimed to have received from a presidential aide.

“In spite of the repeated declaration by the presidency that Oghiadomhe had no issues to answer and was still working, another online media organisation followed with a report that he had been arrested for interrogation. Desperation should have a limit! No matter how much a lie is twisted or how many times it is recycled and put in circulation, it can never translate to truth,” he wrote.

This former chief of staff, though very much around, has not been in the news of late.  Show quoted text