HIGHLIFE  with LANRE ALFRED

Many a rich, privileged woman totter into vogue but it takes a profound, perceptive lady to mirror the breadth and depth of burgeoning trends to the world. However, when such woman possesses the verve and charisma to dictate and often set the pace in whatever social circuit she inhabits, she runs the risk of affliction by societal thought, that labels substance and sophistication, particularly when intense, as amoral. Siju Iluyomade, lawyer and wife of the Senior Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Idowu Olusola Iluyomade, is a rich, privileged woman.

She is profound and perceptive too. Siju dictates and sets the pace in her social circuit; she’s got substance and classiness and she is never amoral, in the estimation of her friends, family and church adherents. Siju symbolizes the incontestable affirmation of charm and élan as acceptable traits in a virtuous woman. Been a Christian, according to Siju, should not sentence anyone to the dungeons of bleakness and aesthetic barrenness. Siju glamourizes her trendiness and love for high fashion as much as her love for God.

Known to family, friends and church congregation as Pastor Siju, the pretty wife to RCCG’s City of David, Victoria Island, Lagos’ spiritual shepherd, is dazzling and chic and she is admirably unapologetic for it. So smitten is her husband by her, that he fondly calls her “Sugar Baby,” a pet name which they jointly share in private and public to the envy and admiration of all. Pastor Siju hardly wears or repeats the same set of jewelries over the long haul neither does she repeat attires and designs within and outside the church.

During every church service at COD for instance, Pastor Siju is always the cynosure of all eyes; she attracts admirable stares every time she steps out and into the church. Siju lives like a queen; always dressed in designers outfits like Zagliani, Hermes, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, and Christian Louboutin. Even when she attends a function with A-list society women, her style and fashion sense stand out.

The rich also cry…As the naira depreciates, silver spoon kids turn menial workers abroad
A haughty spirit fades before the arrogant man’s fall, like a hunting horn whose sound dies on the wind. This witty take on conceit undoubtedly mirrors the sad fate of Nigerians who happened on sudden wealth and immediately sent their wards to school abroad. Many of them are biting their fingers in regret and mounting agony as you read. Their misery is attributable to the high exchange rate of the naira to the dollar.

As the economy declines as a result of dwindling oil prices and fall in the value of the naira in the global market, many parents with kids abroad are finding it difficult to finance their ward’s education and upkeep. Many have been forced to cut down on the allowances they send to their children abroad and in some cases, parents are unable to send money to their children abroad. Consequently, many silver spoon kids abroad have resorted to doing odd jobs to survive.

Those who find themselves in extreme situations have however, resorted to desperate measures to survive. While many male wards have embraced menial jobs to cope with the situation, several daughters from prominent families now sell their bodies in exchange for hard currency, to keep up appearances and maintain their life of luxury. From Dubai to Dagenham, Malaysia to Miami, South Africa to South of France and everywhere else in between, many silver-spoon kids who used to make the society scene bend to their whims and wills, whose presence and carryings-on evoke anger at one’s poor parents, have found prostitution the easier route to making ends meet as funds seem to have dried up from their otherwise wealthy parents.

That is why you see them lurking in lounges and nite clubs, keeping to themselves but clinically scrutinizing patrons to discern the loaded ones to go home with. Thus, when you are abroad next time, don’t be surprised that the young, well-spoken lady you are humping and bumping may be the daughter of the millionaire industrialist from your state. Sad!

The amazing lifestyle of Bode Agoro
The tang of money is sweet like nectar; the common procurer of tastes and species of woodland butterflies. Thus a chap with money attains the visage of a charmed man. Ask Hakeem Muri-Okunola. The former Permanent Secretary of the Lands Bureau in Lagos state, became even more attractive than he was before he assumed duty. At his exit however, his successor, Bode Agoro, has caught the money bug. Agoro’s recent designation and encounter with money functions for him as a procurer of people, plaudits and prestige just like it did for his predecessor, Muri-Okunola. There is money in the Lands Bureau of Lagos State and Agoro, like his predecessor, is making the most of it within the ambits of the law, due process and professional ethics. There is no doubt the new Permanent Secretary is living big; he has got a generous heart too, like Santa Claus.

This is why ladies love Bode Agoro. He is flamboyant, gregarious and bohemian. A connoisseur of sort when it comes to choice drinks, Agoro knows his wines and cognacs as intimately as a child understands his sandbox. Until recently, he dwelt in relative obscurity. But no sooner did he assume his recent appointment than he became the darling of his subordinates at the Lands Bureau and the coastal city’s high society.

Now in and around Lagos where he lives, Agoro is renowned and respected for his deep pocket and la vida loca lifestyle. In his early 40s and with looks that good money and good living have helped to further burnish, you may call him an Adonis for his gorgeous dress sense and expensive taste in designer apparels. No wonder he has been described as a lady-killer whose aura effortlessly draws the finest species of womenfolk ranging from blacks, blondes to brunettes and exotic Orientals.

Politics not music…Onyeka Onwenu resorts to desperate antics to save face after job loss
Onyeka Onwenu is beyond dispute a hilarious old dodger and organizer of futility; the former music star struggles to embellish vanity as benevolence, and lies as gospel truth even as you read. She apparently finds it difficult to distinguish between a made-up music note and politics of accountability.

Not a few people have condemned her claims that she was relieved of her job at the National Council for Women Development because she is Igbo; many have termed her claims repugnant and a consequence of bad judgment. Were Onyeka known to fan such flames of bigotry when the situation favoured her, her critics wouldn’t have descended too heavily on her but Onyeka by her recent utterance, established herself as a woman and Nigerian whose words should never be taken seriously.

It would be recalled that she sang to high heavens and campaigned that General Sani Abacha should continue as eternal president of Nigeria when the country groaned under his dictatorship. She was of the same disposition when  former President Goodluck Jonathan rewarded her for her loyalty to him as she campaigned for his re-election without scruples. Many are of the opinion that she should be grateful that President Muhammadu Buhari did not sack her immediately he assumed office. Onyeka was accorded enough grace and respect by the incumbent administration hence she is currently doing herself a disservice by fanning the flames of ethnic hatred in her desperate bid to hold on to her office.

The former music star incurred the wrath of Nigerians some months ago when she appeared on a breakfast show to lampoon the detractors of former Nigerian First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. Onyeka particularly attacked Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka; she said Professor Soyinka had no right to refer to Dame Jonathan as ‘that woman,’ an act she condemned as unbecoming of a man of Soyinka’s stature. But those who know Onyeka disclosed that they were not surprised by her recent antics. 
 
Instant superstar! Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, new PPMC boss becomes everyone’s darling
Every patina of Esther’s character, from her enthralling femininity to her imperceptible assertiveness, conveys a sphinx-like magnetism. She is a total woman; an enchanting equal to a post-modern heroine imbued with style, engaging irresistibility and intellectual depth. A distinguished icon of female power on the business realm, she presents a perfect portrait of a celebrity workaholic with intimidating depth and drive for excellence.

Interestingly, Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, a lawyer, finally has her shot at the limelight. But unlike the random celebrity diva who covets and jostles for her 15 minutes on the slippery slope of acclaim, Esther’s renown is for the long haul. Suddenly, the new Managing Director (MD) of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), has become everybody’s darling.

Until she was appointed to head PPMC by Minister of State for Petroleum, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Esther was relatively unknown to all the people seeking to befriend her right now. But immediately she was pronounced as PPMC’s new MD, Esther became the cynosure of all eyes and the object of every random male and female affection. There is no doubt that her life has remarkably changed; the lover of expensive jewelry may now satisfy her lust for the prized jewelry. Now that she has access to an attractive remuneration and treasure trove, Esther may never lack in cash and priceless jewels.

Before her appointment, Esther occupied several important positions within the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).  Earlier, she was General Manager, Board Matters and Management Committee Department (BMMC) in the Corporate Secretariat and Legal Division (CSLD) of the NNPC, where she organised Board/Board Committee meetings amongst others. Her appointment as the MD of PPMC is a major recognition of the work that she has done within the NNPC as well as the experience that she has acquired over the years. 

Who will save President Buhari’s first son, Yusuf, from political vultures?
These are interesting times for Yusuf Buhari. The first son of President Muhammadu Buhari can neither soften into a naïveté below the meekness of infancy to think all men virtuous nor can he afford to be tainted by the deviousness and guilty pleasures characteristic of the truly vile and corrupt.

Through the fog of warmth and political patronage shown him by various sections of the Nigerian political class, Yusuf struggles to attain clarity of vision as he engages in a never-ending quest to decipher between sincere friends and acquaintances and otherwise. No sooner did his father emerge President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than he became the sweetheart of Nigeria’s self-seeking political class. As you read, a lot of people comprising politicians, lobbyists and businessmen are trying to woo him by plying him with gifts of expensive cars among other things. But Yusuf, like his dad, President Buhari, seems to be immune to the lure of such compromising luxury.

The young dude continually turns down offers of help and rejects without hesitation, such compromising gifts and unsolicited expression of goodwill. Sadly and to the chagrin of his close relatives, some of his very close friends have been mounting pressure on him to accept the gifts. HighLife findings revealed that some of them have even started accepting the gifts on his behalf, without his knowledge. Let’s hope the president’s son will do the needful and expunge such corruptible characters from his retinue of friends lest they permanently soil his image. Given the clout and stature of the people desperately seeking to woo him with gifts, his father, President Buhari, might need to intervene before they succeed in corrupting his dear son

Exposed! Where women go for ‘enlargement’ and ‘tightening’ of feminine features
Beauty flourishes in the brilliant spokes of sunny minds, it enlivens the plain and tame and captivates in the devises of the creative heart. This perhaps explains the human fascination with prettiness; everybody wants to look ravishing. And Freda Francis understands this much, that is why she spares no expense and effort at cashing in on the mortal want and need to look beautiful. To this end, Freda, a socialite and certified laser specialist has created a niche for herself as the CEO of the popular beauty spa, Oasis Medspa, which is located in the heart of Ikoyi, Lagos.

The spa is a corrective skincare clinic that uses FDA approved equipment to bring advance treatment by experts mostly from UK and America trained doctor/aestheticians. Oasis Medspa has overtime become a popular spot for celebrities, rich and stylish men and women, including politicians as it employs the use of non-surgical solutions to common skin, hair and body complaints, facials, massages and peel, elite skin tightening, fat reduction and laser hair removal. Oasis Medspa also performs breast augmentation, enlargement and vaginal tightening procedure for women who are not satisfied with their feminine features.

Abimbola Fashola goes into anonymous cocoon
Many a man or woman who had won and tasted power or had it imposed upon him or her, with much understatement, find it extremely difficult to adjust to life without power. Stripped of the accoutrements and delightful frills of office, they wander about donning masks of moral fiber and nurturing behind their masks, an appalling and impregnable conceit of themselves. They find it even more cumbersome to relate with ordinary folk they had known before they came by power. Ultimately, they choose to live lives of quiet displeasure if they no longer have access to the corridors of power.

Caught amid ordinariness, if they do not blow their own trumpets, it is because they feel you are not fit to listen to the performance. However, Abimbola Fashola, former First lady of Lagos State, is remarkably different from such characters. Since she left office with her husband, Babatunde Fashola, at the expiration of the latter’s second term as Lagos governor, Abimbola has been very quiet. A very nice and decent woman, she maintained a life of pleasant decorum and sociability while in office and even outside the corridors of power.

Beneficiaries of her friendliness testify that when she was the first lady, she honored all invitations to events and high-octane parties. Since she left the government house however, fans of the former First Lady have been wondering what she had been up to. She is hardly seen in the social and political arenas and she has never been one to lust feverishly for the spotlight. Where is Abimbola Fashola? While fans and acquaintances mull over her likely whereabouts, let’s hope Bolanle Ambode, incumbent First Lady and wife of Lagos Governor, Akinwumi Ambode, would take a cue from her predecessor and tow a path of nobility and enviable grace.

Far from his father’s path…Shina Peller dominates the night club scene
For those whose fathers are great, the dilemma is all the same; they live under pressure and the daunting shadow of their fathers’ attainments. Eventually, very few among them manage to best their fathers’ attainments thus they are perpetually considered inferior shades of their fathers. But Shina Peller cuts a contradictory picture to such dour portraiture. The son of late Professor Abiola Peller, a renowned magician, knew what he must not do to survive quite early in life; and that includes trying to be like his father.

Shina, despite being known as “the one with the magical hands,” has refused to tow the path treaded by his father. Even though his late father’s magical prowess brought him fame and fortune, Shina artfully scorns the lure of life as a conjurer. The fair-skinned proprietor of Aquila Oil and Gas rather applies his mojo at making money; thus alongside his oil business, he established Quilox, a nightclub, bar and restaurant on Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island (VI), Lagos.

At its establishment two years ago, the exquisite nightclub drew to its launch, the creme of Nigeria’s high society. For instance, Governors Ibikunle Amosun and Abdulfatah Ahmed of Ogun and Kwara states respectively witnessed the club’s opening ceremony alongside other influential figures and celebrities. But that is hardly what makes his story unique; since he opened Quilox, the Lagos social scene has improved tremendously. Shina has virtually revolutionised club business thus his club, Quilox, has become a convergence point for top businessmen, politicians, silver spoon kids and die hard fun lovers from across social divides. And this, among other things, attests to Shina’s success with his high end bar.

Bash Ali… Sad, pitiful decline of Nigeria’s oldest boxer
If Bash Ali were a bird, he would probably be a nightingale. If he were a nightingale, would he, like the sonorous bird, piteously die of shame because another bird sings better? Driven by his declining stature and loss of relevance – unlike the country’s soccer stars – to the Nigerian State, Ali has descended into a desperate strait. Thus his desperation to vent and reenact the impossible, like the proverbial soldiers starving to death in the battle trench; as the drought persisted, the latter abandoned prayers, marched up the hills and began to shoot at passing clouds to hurt the heavens for abandoning them.

Like the metaphorical nightingale and desperate soldiers, is Ali at his tethers end? To most boxing purists, Bashiru Lawrence Ali a.k.a Bash Ali, a World Boxing Federation (WBF) cruiserweight champion has finally transcended his vanity and the patchiness of his fame to descend and wallow in infamy. There is no gainsaying Ali has gone fallen from grace to grass. While the cruiserweight champion’s athleticism and natural punching power brought him acclaim early in his career, it is his regression from a well-rounded and promising boxer into some sort of a national joke that has defined his legacy.

Today, Ali is no longer an imposing physical specimen as he was in his youth; he can no longer defeat opponents using an array of skills: a stiff jab, left jab, haymaker, combination punching and evasiveness. He has lost form but the aging pugilist desperately hangs on to the glories of his youth; for eight years running, he has been desperately seeking government aid to stage a comeback fight and thus register his name indelibly in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest boxer to ever win a fight with a younger opponent alive. Pity.