As part of the efforts to make The Sun more enriching and to ensure more divergent views from accross the country, the Management has concluded arrangements for three-term commissioner of Lagos State, Muiz Banire, veteran journalist, Suleiman Uba Gaya and star actor and lawyer, Kenneth Okonkwo, to write weekly columns.
While Banire and Okonkwo will write Back Page columns on Thursday and Sunday respectively, Gaya will maintain an inside page column on Friday. Majeed Dahiru, who was writing an inside page column on Friday, now moves to the back page on Wednesday.
Banire, versatile lawyer and immediate past national legal adviser of the All Progressive Congress (APC), holds
an LLB, Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Law from the University of Lagos. He had worked with the Legal Aid Council and the chambers of the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi before being called to bar in 1989.
He was a Senior Lecturer of Law at the University of Lagos from 1991 till 2010, lecturing in private and property law. In 2015, he joined the rank of the prestigious Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs).
Banire was appointed Special Adviser to former Governor Bola Tinubu’s administration in 1999 and subsequently named Commissioner of Transportation in the same year and served till 2007. During his tenure, he created the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA)
to combat the state’s growing problem with automotive congestion. He also initiated the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to improve capacity and reliability relating to conventional bus systems.
Suleiman Gaya, former deputy president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), is one of the most versatile editors in Northern Nigeria, with deep international connections. He is the only Nigerian editor to have attended twice, on invitation, the Editorial Meeting of The New York Times, and is currently a committee member of the World Editors Forum.
A member of the International Press Institute, the Global Editors Network and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, Gaya, at the 2015 World News Congress that took place in Washington DC, USA, successfully rallied leading global editors to take a stand against the government of Turkey, for its terrible record against freedom of the press.
Gaya served for four years (2013 – 2017) as Vice President of the NGE in charge of Abuja and the 19 northern states, before his election to the post of Deputy President in 2017. He voluntarily declined to contest for reelection earlier this year.
Gaya was first appointment editor 21 years ago in 1998. Since then, he had worked in a host of Nigerian publications, including Leadership (editor, daily), New Telegraph (Managing Editor), New Republican (MD/EIC), The Authority (Managing Editor), Today’s Impact (Executive Director/Chairman, Editorial Board), Concern Magazine (Executive Director), Jamhuriya Hausa newspaper (Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief), Liberty Magazine (CEO/EIC) and SKYLIMIT Media Group (Managing Director).
A former prominent columnist with the New Nigerian, The Triumph as well as Leadership news- papers, he was a Special Adviser (Special Duties) to the former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau (2007- 2011) and briefly served in the Presidential Campaign Council of Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999. Kenneth Okonkwo,
one of Nigeria’s pioneer modern day film industry actors and producers, obtained a degree in Business Administration from the University of Nige- ria, Nsukka after which he went on to obtain another one in Diplomacy and International Law from the University of Lagos. He also studied theology at Bible School and has a Phd.
The public first learned about Okonkwo in 1992 when he played the lead role in a Nollywood movie called “Living in Bondage.” He became widely known as “Andy Okeke”, which is the name of the character he portrayed in the mov- ie. Okonkwo has starred in over 200 Nollywood movies and has received several awards, including the title of best actor.
He is a versatile actor and consummate lawyer, whose deep knowledge of the law stands him out as first among equals.