Why Linda Ikeji got into trouble—-IT Expert & lawyer, Dr. Ope Banwo | Speaks on his new project, “Nigeria Dot Com Awards” + “His controversial exit from Dove Media Group”

Dr. Ope Banwo to GDA….’We need to enact strong internet intellectual pproperty laws in Nigeria’

lawyer and business solution expert Dr.
Ope Banwo
who is the founding Managing Director of the Redeemed Christian Church of God’s multimedia company, Dove
Media Group
has finally opened up on some of the issues that
characterized his unceremonious exit from Dove Media Group couple of years
back which warranted his relocation to the United State of America where he
established a church House on The Rock at Omaha,
, and took a long sabbatical before his return to Nigeria
recently.  Dr Ope Banwo who is
equally the founder of Stingomania Record label returned to
the country recently and he is presently the rector of American Internet Business School, Lagos. The very versatile IT
innovator and lawyer with a Pd-D in law is equally the founder of several
innovative ventures like Afrinet Business Solutions and the initiator of the
first ever internet recognition awards ceremony, Nigerian Dot Com Awards which
is billed to hold in November. With over five books on internet
entrepreneurship authored by him among which is Social Media Genesis, African
internet Business Manifesto
and several others, Dr. Ope Banwo as part of
his efforts to help African youths become self employed on the internet, is
taking the bull by the horn to horn new skills among legion of youths who can
use the power of the internet to achieve financial freedom. This is done under
another of his innovative platform called Internet Millionaires Academy
addressed as ‘The Wealth Apostle’ across the social media, the lawyer turned
business man turned clergy opened up to Africa’s number 1 Encounter blog asabeafrika
in the early part of the first week of October 2014 inside his Lekki
Peninsular, Lagos, South West Nigeria Afrinet Business Solution
head office where he shared some of the reasons why he is organizing the second
edition of his African Internet business Summit which is
billed to take place on Saturday November 22nd at Protea hotel, (Oakwood) Lekki, Lagos
with the presence of over eight American internet business gurus like Daven
Michaels, Alicia Lyttle, Allyn Cutts, Mario Brown, Andrea Miller and other
Nigerians like Naira bet founder Akin Alabi, Patrick Ogidi, Ronald Nzimora, Efe
Imiren and numerous others.
Dr. Banwo who became the Managing Director of International
Funding Group
, a public limited liability company at the age of 24 in
1990 and equally left behind a six hundred million naira deposit in gain after
tax at the time of his exit in 1991 lament the rate at which poverty is ruining
the lives of many young people today due to their lack of basic knowledge in
the information technology era which could give them a robust sense of living
and draw them off the poverty line into wealth line. The internet business
interventionist also spoke on the crisis of intellectual theft that dotted the
blogosphere last week between famous blogger Linda Ikeja and a United states of
America online professional Mukhtar Dan ‘Iyan aka Aye Dee. Enjoy the excerpts. 

Dr. Ope Banwo to asabeafrika ‘We need to start recognizing operators in the IT sector with an award program’
Why we are recognizing online
Dr. Banwo who is equally organizing the first
edition of what is known as the Nigerian Dot Com Awards which aims
and objective is to recognize the best of the internet business in Nigeria gave
a hint of what his new innovation will do to the industry “Nigeria Dot Com Awards is
actually a product of the American Business School which I am
the founder and CEO and Afrinet Business Solutions which is
also my internet business company. We believe that Nigeria is just catching
fire as far as the internet business is concerned. Five years ago, people just
see the internet as a place to go and play. But in the last three or four years
a lot of businesses has started taking interest, a lot of things has started
happening on the internet. We have the Iroko TV, we have Konga,
and we have Jumia and a lot of enterprises taking the space on the
internet. All of a sudden people are beginning to see the potential of the
internet for exploding their business online and we felt that one of the ways
to help that industry to grow is to start recognizing the best efforts on the
internet. And that is why I am starting the first Nigerian Dot Com Awards
in collaboration with American Internet business school  where we are going to recognize the best
internet payment platform provider, the best e-commerce website, the best
website design, the best internet marketer, the best internet training school,
the best internet social forum, the best hospitality provider, the best
internet newspaper online, the best television station online, the best radio
station online, the best internet magazine, the best politician on the internet
and many more as a way of making it competitive and getting people to do even
better exploits on the internet. Once you start putting recognition award in
any industry you will help it to grow and I can see that some of our people are
doing awesome jobs on the internet”. 

The Doctor of law showing Gbenga Dan Asabe of asabeafrika a copy of the brocure of the Nigeria Dot Com Awards
Why Linda Ikeji got into trouble
Being a
reputable lawyer with a flair for internet entrepreneurship, we asked Dr.
Ope Banwo
to give his opinion on the crisis of intellectual property
infringement  between celebrated blogger Linda
and a United States of America based internet media expert Mr.
Murkhtar Dan ‘iyan
aka Aye Dee and what the  issue at hand portends for the emerging
industry. Dr. Banwo’s reaction was given forty eight hours before Google wind
down Linda Ikeji’s Blog and re-opened it the next day, but what the legal expert
said was apt to Google’s action. Hear him “Well, that is ultimately where I am
going; I am going to tag the internet business with my legal profession. As
someone with Ph-D in law I know exactly where I am going with this”
“There is
very little regulation on the internet and deliberately you can’t regulate the internet;
I don’t want them to regulate it but certainly intellectual copyright still has
to be respected and the rules are different. In Nigeria we don’t have those
laws to protect people here yet and that is where I am going in my next phase.
After this year, we will start pushing for legislation. We don’t even have spam
laws in Nigeria where people can just send you what they want. We have spam
laws in the US, if I don’t want you to send me information I click “Unsubscribe
me” if you don’t unsubscribe me, they fine you. We don’t have that; if I spam
you now you can’t point to any law that says I can’t do it in Nigeria. So, we
don’t have internet laws so to speak.  As
a matter of fact, until very recently when some top-notch lawyers are now
getting judges to even accept internet or email (Messages) as part of evidence.
They don’t accept that because our evidence laws do not recognize that even
though that has been part of the legal system in many countries for years. So,
we are still at the developmental stage.  As for people who are using unattributed
materials, people should go get their lawyers. But you will find out though,
that the laws of the internet are a bit different. If I pirate your product
offline, maybe I take your stuff and start using it, you can sue me directly to
court without necessarily waiting for me to remove it. On the internet on the
other hand, the laws in the UK and the US to a large extent recognizes that
anybody can go on Youtube and post stuff, so you are not going to sue Youtube
because somebody pirated your stuff. So, what they do is that you have to
notify Youtube and give them a certain number of days like 21 days or
so for them to remove that copyrighted material and if they remove it in that
process you have no recourse. And that is what they have been doing, if you
report they block it online. I am not discouraged by that; to me it is just
part of our teething problem, eventually it will resolve itself and we will get
into our own internet legal culture where people begin to understand that ‘Ok,
you cant do this, you cant do that”.

Dr. Ope Banwo to asabeafrika ‘My deal with Dove Media gives me tow options
Dr Banwo attributed some of the problems of
intellectual theft to lack of education “You cannot operate beyond your level
of education or comprehension, a lot of people have blogs but they don’t know
the three things they need to have to become legal on the internet.  You have a blog now, but can you tell me
those three things that you need to have for your blog to be legal on the
internet (We told him we don’t know and he should enlighten us). “Exactly, 99%
of people don’t know because the education is not there and people like us are
just starting and that is why I established the American internet business school
where people can register and train themselves on different areas of the
internet. Just register for a small amount of money, you could do a course less
that N10:000:00 naira, you can improve yourself and get a certificate. For a
blog for instance now, you have to have what is called a privacy button at the
bottom that will explain to people what kind of privacy they are expected to
lose or gain when they come on your site. If they give you their email what
they should expect you to do with it, that is one of the features of having a
blog. Secondly, there supposed to be what is called ‘terms and conditions’ as
a button at the bottom of your blog, that explains to everybody coming there
what are the terms and conditions of your blog. You have your terms that as you
come in here this are my rules, this is what is going to happen to you, and
this is what I will do with your information. When you leave here I have a
cookie on my site that will follow you wherever you go, my site have that. If
you come into my site a cookie will follow you into your computer, anywhere you
go you will receive an advert from me because it is my terms and condition. If
you don’t want that I will also tell you what to do. The third thing that needs
to be on your blog is contact information at the bottom.
If I click I should be able to see the phone number and address of people who
owns the blog but 90% of Nigerian blogs don’t have that. So, if you don’t have
that, not only will your site not get google index by google.  It won’t rise in rank and you even stand a
chance of being blocked by a lot of big companies out there. If you have a blog
now and you advertise on LinkedIn
and it doesn’t have those three things they are not going to take your advert.
So, the knowledge gap is still big. I understand that even the knowledgeable
ones among us including me, there is still a lot we don’t know.  So, getting panicky about people using other
people’s stories on the internet will continue for a while unfortunately until
we have the right laws in place and until enough people are sued to make sure
they understand the nitty-gritty of internet intellectual usage. They are not going to get away with suing
Linda Ikeji really,
once they notify
her and
she removes it within the
next twenty one days or so, your recourse is actually limited because the laws
on the internet is very different.
Anybody can go to Linda Ikeji’s blog and
make some comments and paste stuff there that she didn’t even endorse and until
you tell her and say ‘I don’t like this thing I am seeing o or this thing
belong to me or belongs to that, and then she refuses to remove it, that is
when she has liability. I am not surprised that they are suing her; she is a
big girl now. Every body goes after the big fish or are they suing you about
your own blog? It is because you are not making money yet. When you start
making money they will start looking for you; they will hire people like me to
look for you. So, for Linda, there is no much that could be done now until we
enact strong internet laws”

One of Dr. Ope Banwo’s book on internet enterpreneurship

Why I left Dove Media Group
Getting Dr.
Ope Banwo
to speak on his Dove
experience is like trying to make water out of hard stone but he got
talking when asabeafrika put a huge
pressure on him “Well, I didn’t run. I have been back for some couple of years
now” he began as he tries to wave the opinion that he ran away as a result of
threat to his life after his deal with The Redeemed Christian Church went
bad  “You know when I left Dove
I was very upset, I went to the US and stayed there, I said I was
never going to come back because I was so upset with the whole arrangement but
I did come back but one thing I did make as a promise to myself and to a lot of
people particularly in the church is that I am not going to discuss Dove Media
not in any negative sense. A lot of people said I was fired, a lot of people
said I was forced to resign, a lot of people said I ran away, some even said I
stole money; all I say is that let everybody live with whatever they want to
live with. I am not ready to talk about Dove Media today maybe when I am 70
years old I will say everything”

Dr. Ope Banwo, Founder & CEO, American Internet Business School
“But the
point of the matter is that regardless of anybody’s opinion and regardless of
what they think about me or think about those who are on my side or those who
are against me, my point is that Dove Media to me was a very positive
experience. The General Overseer (Pastor E.A. Adeboye) and the Dove
People gave me a platform. Weather I messed it up or I didn’t
mess it up, weather I did my best or I didn’t do my best is left for posterity
to judge and I am among those people that believe that it is only a very weak
and a very stupid person that publicly speaks against his employer, no matter
what happens. So, you can never tell me to speak out against Dove
because I choose to take the job, before then I had been self
employed for twenty years as a lawyer. So, when I took that job I voluntarily
submitted myself to a co-operate structure. And if it didn’t work out for me
for whatever reason it did, it is very unethical for me to say ‘Dove
did this to me, Dove Media did that to me’. No, they
didn’t do anything bad. That is all I am going to say publicly.  If anything, I am the one that didn’t leave
up to expectation. Ok, I will even take the public blame because the fact of
the matter is before Dove Media I didn’t do anything
about entertainment. I didn’t even know what a Mini-DV was and the General Overseer gave me a chance. He put me
there to do the best I can and what I did or what I didn’t do is for posterity
to judge. But the fact remains there that as Dove Media MD; we were the first to distribute movies in the entire
fast food restaurants in Nigeria. We are the first to sell movies and
entertainment through all the post offices in Nigeria. In one day, we went from
no-distribution level to over eight hundred outlets. We are ten times bigger
than the biggest guy in Alaba, we did all that under six
months. The records are there. Covenant
that we did when I was there is still the biggest selling Christian
movie of all times; we sold over a million copies of that movie in the first
three month. I don’t know how many movies have sold like that before? These
records are there. So, while some people will focus on the negatives or say weather
he was fired or he was forced to resign or he ran away, I want to focus on the
positive side. Dove Mission that is still on air today on several television
stations, I built it for them. People forget that I built that less than three
months. They are still watching the Christian television station till date;
that was my creation in less than three months with my wonderful team.  I am talking about the Deji Irawos, Zanky and
all the wonderful boys that gathered round to support my vision and made things
work. I call them my “A Team”, those are boys who did an awesome job but
unfortunately things didn’t turn out the way we thought it would turn out.
Weather it is a poor marriage between business and religion or not; weather it
is personal failure on my part is irrelevant. The important thing is that we
did the best we can and that is where I will like to leave it”

Doctor Ope Banwo gives the GDA a copy of his book ‘African Internet Business Manifesto’ says ‘It is important we use the knowledge of the internet to eradicate poverty’
RCCG is still my church but…..
On weather
Dr. Ope Banwo still attends his former church RCCG, he chose to answer this way
“I am not a member of Redeemed Church, not because of anything but because when
I went back to the US, I decided to start a church but Redeemed Church is still
my church, I can decide to go back there anytime. I attend Bethel Wonder City now
that I am back but some of my great friends, some of my mentors are still there
(RCCG), Pastor Oyiso Brown, he is my mentor and spiritual father in
Redeem. I still have plenty of very close friends there; I still speak at
Redeemed churches. So, I have no problem with Redeemed as a church and I can’t
have a problem with the General Overseer; that is like saying you are having a
fight with God. I can’t do that. So, just to set the records straight, all of
you are pushing me on this, I have no problem with Dove Media. I appreciate
what they did and I am not saying it in joke, I appreciate what they did for me
and I appreciate the free hand. For a long time I was given a free hand to run
the place contrary to what a lot of people will want to believe. In all
fairness to G.O, he gave me a free hand to run the place for several months
before things started falling apart. And for me, I will rather accept the blame
for it falling apart than to start to justify myself. If you want to say I was
fired, so, fine, I was fired. If you take a job you must be ready to be fired.
I fire people here everyday, so, what is strange in me being fired even if I
was fired which I was not. What does it matter weather an employee was fired or
he resigned. The most important thing is that you are no longer working there
and if you were fired, it is nothing to hold your head down over. If you become
an employee that means you are giving your employer the right to fire you
anytime. I just fired somebody last week. So, to me, it is neither here nor
there.  So that they don’t think I am
trying to say that I wasn’t fired, it doesn’t matter. So, leave Dove
alone. I don’t know what is happening to them now but in the two years that we
were there, everybody in Nigeria identified with what we did and that is all I
care about”.
(Watch out for Dr. Ope Banwo on “Why I resigned as Pastor of
my American Church
on this blog in 48 hours time. Keep clicking in)


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