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Jimmy Johnson: A life of fulfillment

“Until his death this week, Jimmy Johnson or Jimi J as he was known by his peers spent his time in semi-retirement in Abuja contributing occasionally to various artistic productions.”

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The family of Jimmy Johnson, better known as “Okoro” in the popular but rested TV drama ‘The Village Headmaster’ who died on July 8 in a hospital at Abuja has released a comprehensive profile of the veteran art enthusiast, hinting on the burial arrangements for the late actor.

In a statement issued by the family, “Jimmy J” was instrumental to the evolvement of the Nigerian entertainment industry over the years.

The statement reads: 

“Jimmy Johnson’s involvement in drama and theatre arts began in Ibadan in the early 60’s working with Professor Wole Soyinka in the Orisun Theatre Company and the Mbari Artistes and Writers Club a diverse group of University lecturers, writers, visual artists, musicians and actors that also included Soyinka, Ulli Beier, Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo, Mabel Segun, J.P Clark, Christopher Kolade, Lindsay Barrett, Demas Nwoko, Tunji Oyelana, Jimi Solanke and Bruce Onobrakpeya amongst others.  Mbari was described as a magnet for artistes and writers of African descent from all over Africa, America’s and the Caribbean.

“The Nigeria Biafra civil war of 1967-70 disrupted Mbari with many members opposing the war, but some forced into different sides by circumstance.

“After the war Jimmy Johnson threw himself into reconstruction of the country as an Information and Culture Officer in the Civil Service – working first from Enugu, capital of the then East Central State, then in Lagos Nigeria’s former capital – while also working alongside colleagues to rebuild a national identity for radio, television, film and theatre.

“Alongside his day job in government in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s he worked with colleagues in Radio Nigeria, Nigerian Television, former associates from Mbari Club and a new crop of film makers and dramatists to build the bedrock of todays entertainment industry in Nigeria. His generation saw FESTAC 77 – The Second World, Black & African Festival of Arts & Culture – as an opportunity to try and rekindle the spirit of Mbari, and invited Black artistes from across Africa, North and South America, Europe and the Caribbean to Nigeria. However some associates, most prominent being Fela Anikulapo Kuti fell out with the Obasanjo government over what was described as military intervention in FESTAC.

“While still working as a Senior Civil Servant he was later best known for the role of “Okoro” which he played for about a decade in NTA’s longest running TV drama The Village Headmaster.

“In 1984 along with many politicians, and senior civil servants he was locked up in Ikoyi Prison and tried, but acquitted by the Buhari/Idiagbon military regime after the overthrow of President Shagari’s government.

“In twist of fate, President Buhari said of him decades later on a recent birthday that “As one of the pioneers of TV drama in Nigeria and a respected thespian” his “contribution to the movie industry, which ranks second in the world, remains indelible” commending his “sacrifice, patriotism and loyalty to his country and his calling, starting out early on stage and the screen when rewards were very minimal, but pursuing his career with relentless passion and vigour”.

“Until his death this week, Jimmy Johnson or Jimi J as he was known by his peers spent his time in semi-retirement in Abuja contributing occasionally to various artistic productions.

“He is survived by his spouse, children, and grand-children including his second child journalist, development and policy expert Rotimi Sankore. His first son Tunde Johnson passed away two years before his death.

“Burial arrangements will be announced soon in line with COVID19 Protocols.”

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METRO

‘Kunle Poly’ pleads with Lagos youth to maintain the peace

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As normalcy gradually returns to Lagos aftermath of the widespread arson visited on the state by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protest, an influential youth leader and the branch Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Lagos Island, Alhaji Abdulazeez Adekunle Lawal, popularly addressed as ‘Kunle Poly’ has  expressed sadness over the burning of the palace of the Oba of Lagos and appealed for calm among the riotious youth, while also canvassing for support for the Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Kunle poly addressed the Press on Tuesday at his Lagos Island office.

Watch the video above

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BUSINESS

Alaba Amalgamated Council commiserates with Ojo police station, donates items for rebuilding

…thanks Gov. Sanwo-Olu for re-opening Lagos markets

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By Adeola Oluwaseun Oluwole

A week after a widespread arson which left many public utilities burnt in Lagos including police stations, the Alaba Amalgamated Council of Sectional heads have commiserated with Ojo police station and donated items to fast-track the rebuilding of the station.

The Council which visited the dilapidated police property on Tuesday 27th of October, 2020 to see the level of damage and to show their support to the command also facilitated the re-roofing of the station

The council of sectional heads led by the president Ichie Fabian E. Ezorjika donated office tables, chairs, electronics and a power generating set to the station.

Also, the roofing of the police station was changed and sponsored by Evang. Paulilus Ugochukwu ( a.k.a Sound Prince).

Ojo local government Chairman Hon. Rosulu Idowu donated and an Ilux van to the station as their patrol van was also burnt during the incidence.

In another development, the Alaba International Amalgamated Traders Association (Council of Sections) has expressed appreciation to the Lagos state government, Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the promptness in re-opening markets in the state after last week’s riots.

Th association commended governor Sanwoolu for yielding to the cries of its members on the inconveniences the one-day on, and one-day off pattern characterized by the pandemic caused them economically.

They promised to adhere to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)’s rules guiding against Covid-19 and ensure full compliance of traders in tax payment.

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METRO

EndSARS: United Action For Change, UAC warns Lagos govt not to politicize support for business owners whose stores were looted

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The United Action For Change, UAC , a non-for- profit organization playing a pivotal role in birthing a new socio-political order in Nigeria has issued a stern warning to Lagos State Government not to politicize its MSME Recovery Fund for businesses owners whose stores were looted by the so-called hoodlums during the #EndSARS imbroglio.

These funds should not be largesse for politicians and their cronies as this would further worsen the trust deficit between the government and its people. Everything should be conducted in a transparent and accountable manner to ameliorate the pains of those who are hurting, the group admonished.

The Statement adds, “We therefore call on the government to set up a credible independent body cutting across various sectors to manage the screening and disbursement of funds to affected businesses, devoid of government influence”. If not out of place, we suggest representative of the market women, journalists union, the Nigerian Bar Association, the Nigeria Medical Association, the Nigeria Labour Congress and two representatives of the Youths.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday by the Group Acting National Publicity Secretary, Enitan Olukotun and its Secretary General, Michael Popoola Ajayi, UAC commiserates with state government and the people of the state who lost loved ones and properties to rampaging ‘hoodlums ‘who unleashed terror on the people, their businesses and public assets.

The group also commended the Lagos Command of Nigerian Police Force for the professionalism exhibited this time around.

“It is disheartening to know that whilst most of the government’s assets were insured , many small business owners don’t have any insurance cover. Consequently , the real loss actually tilts in favour of the Private entrepreneurs.

“We also demand that more awareness should be created on the fund. Social media especially Twitter is not the most effective medium to reach out to the affected people, particularly market women. Publicity should run in local languages on radio and television so that none of the affected businesses will be left out.

“UAC also objected to Friday 30th October, 2020 deadline for application. The deadline should be extended at least by a week to allow distraught business owners to avail themselves of this opportunity”. .

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