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‘’Parents must create conducive atmospheres for their children to harness the creative endowments locked within them, stressing that since every child is blessed with the talent, he/she must be given opportunities to exercise these endowments in order to excel in life’’ – Christopher Kolade

‘’ “We should make sure that the men are educated to realize that children… a woman cannot have a child without a man, so God’s scheme is that both of them should participate in the upbringing of the children. It’s a matter of education.” Christopher Kolade

It was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who was, and is still highly regarded as a poet and novelist who asserted that: ‘’The heights  by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night’’ Longfellow became a Harvard scholar versed in several European languages. At inception, one of the interesting features we promised to highlight are stories of highly successful personalities. This is with a view to encouraging the younger generation to be committed to fulfilling their goals in life and finish well.  So far, we have published intimidating credentials of late Prof. Adebayo Adedeji, a former United Nations Under Secretary-General and the very daunting credentials of   a teacher of teachers and professor of professors, Prof. Akin Mabogunje, an outstanding scholar of repute. We have also published the profile of boardroom guru, Elder Felix Ohiwerei.  Today, we bring for your reading pleasure the profile of Dr. Christopher Kolade, an immensely successful citizen of Nigeria. .

MENTORING: Mentoring is one of the tripods on which successful conducts stand. Personality, the combined product of nature and nurture plays a dominant role in what a child becomes in life. Indeed, mentoring is one of the vital factors upon which our activity tagged: COUPLES & FAMILIES OF VIRTUES is hinged.  Copying good examples yields positive dividends while negative influence draws a society towards precipice. It is in youths that the process of societal renewal is embedded. It is important for the nation to address the problems confronting youths, particularly unemployment, creation of an enabling environment for youth development, and the eradication of social and criminal vices in which youths are involved. Today, we go to the fold of highly successful elder citizens of Nigeria to write about Dr. Christopher Kolade.  

SECRETS OF SUCCESSES – CHALLENGING YOUTHS: Success stories of these great Nigerians who are part of the generation that evolved after the pre-independence nationalists must challenge our young ones. Successes recorded show that there must be attitudinal changes, propelled by good policies and programmes, designed and implemented to promote national development. In his words: “‎Nigeria is a place that we depend on for everything that we have, all the facilities, all the opportunities we enjoy today belong to Nigeria. So if we want to live a happy life, we should take responsibility. But more importantly, for the future generation, we need to do what we can for Nigeria today so that the country will continue to be a good place to live in’’ A man of very high integrity, Christopher Kolade, 87 years old, hails from Erin–Oke, Osun State.  He completed his secondary school education at Government College, Ibadan, after which he studied at Fourah Bay College, Freetown, Sierra Leone. A high flyer, Kolade joined the services of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation and rose to become the Director–General of the organization from where he retired at the age of 45 years.

He joined Cadbury Nigeria Plc and rose to the pinnacle as Chief Executive and Chairman. He later served as Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Currently, he teaches Corporate Governance and Human Resources Management at Lagos Business School (LBS), and Leadership & Conflict Management at School of Media & Communication (SMC). LBS and SMC are both schools of Pan Atlantic University, Lagos. Formerly a member of the University’s Governing Council, Dr. Kolade as of 2012 was the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Pan-Atlantic University, He is presently the Chancellor of McPherson University, Ogun State.  Dr. Kolade has served in many national and international bodies to wit:

  • The Nigerian Institute of Management (1985–1988),
  • The Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (1988–1993),
  • The International Institute for Communications (1973 – 1975)
  • The World Association for Christian Communication (1975–1982).
  • He received the medal of the Order of St. Augustine from the Archbishop of Canterbury (1981), and is also a Lay Canon of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in the Diocese of Guildford.
  • He was later appointed Chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme Board by President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria in January 2012. (Wikipedia)

MEN MUST PAY GREATER ATTENTION TO PARENTING: Speaking at a dialogue session organized in partnership with TW Magazine and Parenting Resources & Initiatives of Atlanta, United States, Kolade was reported as wondering why the event recorded low number of the male gender:  “When I came in here, and I saw the sheer number of ladies compared to men and I asked, is it only ladies that are interested in parenting?   “It is important for us to know the kind of nation we want to build. ‘’Truth and justice is an indication of the type of nation we want to build. If we want to build a nation that reflects truth and justice, we learn those things first. “Truth and justice are not just concepts themselves; they reflect the way people relate with one another. When parents begin to have more than one child, there’s certain concept of behaviour. ‘’Every Child is inclined to seize the best part of anything to share. You have to teach them why it’s important to share. Sharing means you have to give up something.”

MEN –WAKE UP!: He also told Premium Times that: “Actually, I was not surprised at the attendance of men because, generally speaking, in the upbringing of our children we tend to say, in our culture, that the mother is the one that does this. So I wasn’t surprised,” he said. “But it was a good thing for us to note it because we ought to do something about it. “We should make sure that the men are educated to realize that children… a woman cannot have a child without a man, so God’s scheme is that both of them should participate in the upbringing of the children. It’s a matter of education.”

PROMOTING THE GIRL CHILD EDUCATION:  The Christopher Kolade Foundation (CKF) was founded in 1997, as a platform through which its founder, Dr. Christopher Kolade would promote  an enduring legacy of integrity, professionalism, professional ethics, and continuous learning that Dr. Kolade is known for, the Foundation focuses on Education as its key strategic initiative. Particular attention is given to promoting Girl-Child Education (specifically science, technology, engineering, mathematics, music and agriculture), Leadership and Governance Education, Christian and Theological Education and Education in Interfaith Relations. The Foundation also aims to make contributions in improving public education and literacy levels in Nigeria.

AS A MAN OF INTEGRITY: At a forum organized by Living Waters Unlimited, Christopher Kolade asserted that:  “God has predestined us to end well. He has imbued in us the ability to succeed in life. His thoughts for us are good thoughts. Nobody was programmed to fail.”  At that function, he also narrated how he never compromised in spite of tempting offers:  ‘’It was in 1986. Then, companies that  imported  items for their production had to get import license from government. But then, the process in those days was not straightforward. You had to bribe your way through in many instances especially when it was certain that your life depended on it. In Cadbury they depended heavily on imported stuffs for their productions and the onus was on the managing director to ensure that the company does not go under because of paucity of materials for production.

REFUSED TO COMPROMISE:  But here was Kolade,  who was not prepared to play ball. Time was ticking. The directors of the company urged him to do what others were doing to get the import license. But he was not ready to give what the people wanted. He got home and told his wife that he was getting set to leave the Cadbury job since he was not ready to play the Nigerian way. He made several attempts to see the commissioner in charge of the import license, a military officer but all the five appointments did not bear fruit. He would get to the receptionists but would be told the man would not like to see him after he had been given appointment.(Osinaike, Gbenga: Church Times Nigeria)

DIVINE INTERVENTION: Kolade secured an import license of $ 1 million worth instead of $12 million required by his company. Yet, he cried to God. If the licence is exhausted, he would have no option but to be relieved of his position as the MD since the company would not fold up for the sake of integrity. But God intervened. Just six months after that grueling encounter, the federal government announced the abolition of import licence. Those who needed to make import could now buy forex and do their transaction unhindered. That was it. But Kolade asked: Why did God allow me go through such strenuous time when he knew he was going to orchestrate the abolition of the licence?  Certainly,to test his integrity. He then said there is nothing as good as waiting on God and holding unto him in the face of daunting challenges.  He said later in response to how he carried people along in this journey of integrity, he said, “You have to make up your mind who you are working for. Are you working for God or for Mammon? By mammon I mean self. Some Bible translation describes Mammon as money but it is more than that. It is self. Anything that tends towards promoting self-good, self-worth at the expense of the instructions of God is mammon”

KOLADE’S MENTOR: Even after attaining the topmost position at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporate, Kolade still had a mentor. Christopher Kolade talks fondly Sir Adrian Cadbury. Cadbury believes that ” One of the worst mistakes anybody can make, consciously or unconsciously, is to allow a distance between himself and his people. It doesn’t matter how lowly those people may be in the hierarchy. If you have a driver who drives company vehicle and takes your head of supplies to a place where he is going to negotiate a deal or is taking your head of marketing to a place where he is going to represent your company, if that driver does not do his work very well, there will be setbacks for the company’’
ON SOUNDING DRUMS OF WAR: In an interview with Vanguard newspaper, Kolade stated that: ‘’Every war could have been averted. Let me remind you whether it is First World War, Second World War, or Nigeria Civil war, when the war ended what did we do? We came back to a round table to discuss how to go forward. Supposing we had done that, sat down to discuss before the war, we could have avoided the war. But because we wanted to show superiority, strength and wanted to win, to be the ones who scored victory, we fought the war. When you have conflict or disagreement don’t look for victory, don’t look for the chance to win, look for a resolution because the problem belongs to all of you. Look for a way to resolve the issue rather than I will win over you. If we had used that principle we would have averted the war.
ON NIGERIA’S UNITY: PRICE FOR PEACE CHEAPER THAN THAT OF WAR: Kolade is of the view that parents must create conducive atmospheres for their children to harness the creative endowments locked within them, stressing that since every child is blessed with the talent, he/she must be given opportunities to exercise these endowments in order to excel in life. I first heard Dr. Christopher Kolade speak about the advantages of the huge size of Nigeria in his remarks at the University of Buckingham a few years ago when he was Nigeria’ s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Kolade who spoke at a forum of Southern Elders in Lagos in June 2017, stated that: “We believe that staying together and working together is the only viable way to go. “There is no alternative to one Nigeria. As elders, we shall do everything necessary to keep the nation as one.n“We are facing current challenges with the wisdom of the past for a better future” Those who witnessed the civil war must not keep silent now that some groups seemed to be clamouring for violence against the state’’ He appealed against hate speeches and other acts capable of disintegrating the nation, saying the price for peace is always cheaper than that of war.

TERRIFIC HEADLINES: NIGERIA HAS ALL IT TAKES TO BE GREAT: We must tell success stories and let the whole world know our inherent capabilities. Nigeria’s Adebayo Ogunlesi, 65 years old is an indigene of Ogun State. He reportedly bought five (5) airports in the United Kingdom through his company – Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP). In 2006, GIP bought London City Airport. In 2009, GIP acquired the majority in London Gatwick Airport in a deal worth £1.455 billion. He also owns Edinburgh Airport bought in 2012. . Beyond that, Ogunlesi is the chairman and managing partner, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), an independent investment fund based in New York City with worldwide stake in infrastructure assets. I think what we need to do now is to help ourselves. Nigerians at home should give preference to locally made products. Others in the Diaspora should go for Nigerian products and services banks where available. Another Nigerian in the Diaspora making waves is Kase Lawal, 65 year old, and an indigene of Oyo State who is chairman and chief executive officer of CAMAC International Corporation, chairman and chief executive officer of Erin Energy Corporation, and chairman of Allied Energy Corporation in Houston, Texas.

THE DUBAI EXPERIENCE: His Royal Highness, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, King of Dubai state that: ‘’We are building a new reality for our people, a new future for our children, and a new model of development. In ‘’1999, many people questioned our idea to establish Dubai Internet City in the desert. ‘’Two years ago, Amazon acquired the multi-billion dirham Souq.com and today, Uber acquired Careem for Dh11 billion. These giant companies flourished from the “desert” of Dubai.
It is in youths that the process of societal renewal is embedded. It is important for the nation to address the problems confronting youths, particularly unemployment, creation of an enabling environment for youth development, and the eradication of some social vices in which youths are involved. Our young readers, if you can think about it, then you can make it happen. You require the will power to succeed.

NIGERIANS AS THE JEWS OF AFRICA ’’Dangote is championing Africa’s economic renaissance’’ and ‘’It is only home-grown practical solutions that can address the innumerable issues plaguing Africa today; and one of such challenges that Africa has been grappling with for decades is the infrastructure deficit.’’ – President Muhammadu Buhari. That assertion was made not too long ago by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari in far away Congo at the commissioning of Dangote’s cement factor in that country. Nigerians are imbued with legacies of resilience and irrepressible commitment to the pursuit of chosen goals by the ordinary Nigerian, and ability to navigate difficult terrains of life. And it is not only Dangote. There is renewed cultural awareness In Nigeria that warrants the need to incorporate traditional symbols into art to catch the fancy of the world. There are several Nigerians promoting Nigerian arts and crafts – Nike Okundaye, Muraina Oyelami, Jimoh Buraimoh and several others who emerged from Ulli Beier’s Osogbo School of Arts. Most of them are in high demand outside Nigeria. Tony Elumelu’s UBA, First Bank Plc, Jim Ovia’s Zenith Bank Plc; Segun Agbaje’s Guaranty Trust Bank Plc; and Herbert Wigwe’s ACCESS Bank Plc, among other financial institutions, dot African nations’ landscape and have made incursions into the Western world.