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Obituaries

Fahim Saleh: Profile of dead Gokada Founder

As a teenager, Fahim self-schooled himself on coding and started developing apps.

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Gokada Founder Fahim Saleh murdered in New York apartment

The news of Fahim Saleh’s tragic death has struck raw nerves across several parts of the world. Not only is the techpreneur known for his exploits in the African techspace, his name is now associated with innovation, the same innovation he once said is all about shortening processes and eliminating middlemen.  

Born in Saudi Arabia to Bangladeshi parents, Fahim lived with his family in the Middle East for a while before they started moving around. They eventually settled in New York as immigrants. It was here, in New York, that he had his education. As a child, he would spend hours in hiding playing video games. This soon spurred his interest in technology.  

Fahim built his first websiteSalehfamily.com before he turned 15, and it was hosted on AOL Hometown. When his parents threw family parties, his father would encourage relatives to visit the website. This ‘marketing strategy’ helped the young boy to garner an average of five unique visitors to his website on a monthly. Although this was laughable, Fahim was very encouraged. 

Quite naughty as a youngster, young Fahim would often go out to play and end up using rocks to scratch people’s cars. He recalled that his moment of awakening came when his actions caused his parents to spend one-third of the family savings, to fix one of the damaged cars.  

READ MORE: How tech is disrupting Nigeria’s transport ecosystem – part 2

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 “I remember that night vividly; my Mom was crying because our only option would be to move back to Bangladesh. Luckily, the next day my Dad got an offer from a university to teach computer science, he later recalled. 

Even then, Fahim decided that he needed to start making some money for himself. As a teenager, Fahim self-schooled himself on coding and started developing apps. He was quite a boisterous and lively teenager, and apps soon became a means of expressing this. He built teen-hangout.com, at age 15, a social network which many have now described as “too-early-for-its-time”.  

He made some pennies from it, enough to encourage his efforts. He would ask his friends to publish articles on it, and it soon became a community-oriented blogging forum, allowing him to place ads and generate $2-$3 a month through his trial and error approach.  

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“That showed promise that it could actually be successful and I could make money off this” he later said. 

His first company in high school generated over one million dollars in revenue. He created websites targeted at the young demographics such as AIMdude.com, iconfun.com, msndollz.com, icondude.com, and was generating $100k-$150k in profit from such websites. One of his websites was later sold on eBay for $2,000.  

READ ALSO: Plentywaka provides same day delivery for small businesses in Lagos

“I would stay up super late, work on it and would be worried my Dad would catch me. He thought it would hinder my schoolwork, which it didn’t. Then, I got my first paycheck from Google for $500 as a teenager and showed it to my Dad. He was like, ‘Okay, let’s open an account,” Saleh recounted in an blog post 

After college, he taught himself how to program and started KickBack Apps, garnering over twenty-million downloads. By the time he graduated from Bentley University in Waltham, Massachussettswhere he studied Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), he created an app – PrankDial, for the purpose of making prank telephone calls. A recent tweet showed that the app had successfully executed over 300 million prank calls since 2010 

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He realised early that for busy commercial cities in the world, where workers were always in a hurry to get to work, that a bike hailing service would bring some sort of ease into the system, and this fuelled his interest in starting a bike-hailing service or a motorcycle taxi.  

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In 2015, he co-founded Pathao with Hussain M Elius and Shifat Adnannow said to be the largest bike-hailing service in Dhaka Bangladesh The company later pivoted into logistics and food deliveries, and is valued to be worth over $100 million. Encouraged by the success of the company, Saleh went solo and founded Gokada.  

Gokada started operating in Lagos (arguably the busiest state in Nigeria) in 2017 and raised $5.3 million in venture capital in June 2019. This sum, Saleh had said, would help the company expand its fleet and offer goods and services to its drivers.  

The company raised even more funding in subsequent rounds and was set to break even by January 2020, until the Lagos state government ban of bike hailing across thousands of roads in the state, affected its operations.   

His LinkedIn profile reveals that the 33-year-old has over 15 years entrepreurial experience dating back to high school. Fahim is also an active investor in emerging markets, investing first in Colombia’s largest motorcycle ridesharing company – Picap, recently valued at $15 million. 

A sad end! 

Late Tuesday afternoon (New York time), the dismembered body of a young man was found in luxury apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  

Officials later confirmed this body as belonging to that of the 33-year old Saleh.  

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READ ALSO: Meet Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, Nigeria’s queen of recycling and environmental sustainability

The homicide investigations are still on, but the Police Department says that they are yet to find any motive for the gruesome murder of techpreneur, and dismembering the body with an electric saw.  

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The building was a 10-story, glass-and-brick structure at 265 East Houston Street near Suffolk Street, with condos in the area estimated to fall within an asking price range of $2 million to $2.5 million. Most of the residents are said to be well-off professionals in their 30s and 40s. 

Saleh clearly had no idea about what was coming his way, and had even tweeted in June “Have a very good feeling about 2020”. 

Whatever else this is, it represents a sad end for a man who changed the bike-hailing service across several locations and countries. He had once said in an interview that he had plans of creating a club where bike riders could relax after work.  

READ ALSO: Alphabet’s Loon launches solar-powered internet balloons in Kenya 

We’re going to start a Gokada club in each of the cities with a restaurant where drivers can relax, and we’ll experiment with a Gokada Shop, where drivers can get things they need on a regular basis, such as plantains, yams and rice,” he had said.  

According to friends, his was a simple lifestyle. He ran every morning, kept a busy schedule of meetings, collected tech gadgets and lived alone with Laila, his little dog.  

His social media postings were usually entrepreneurial, tech-inclined or about his brands, and his last tweet was a survey to find out how trustworthy the Gokada brand is in comparison to other brands. 

 

 

Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career. As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

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Obituaries

MTN Nigeria’s Event and Sponsorship Manager, Dola Bamgboye is dead

MTN Nigeria’s Dola Bamgboye has been unfortunately snatched by the cold hands of death.

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MTN Nigeria's Event and Sponsorship Manager, Dola Bamgboye is dead

MTN Nigeria has lost its Event and Sponsorship Manager of many years, Dola Bamgboye, to the claws of death on Saturday.

The death of Bamgboye, who was described as a down to earth fellow by a colleague that confirmed his demise to Nairametrics, appears to have dealt a blow to his colleagues when the news was shared on the staff’s social media group platform.

READ: Mixed reactions trail the death of chief of staff to the president

While the cause of death of the jolly good fellow is not known, report stated that he died in his sleep on Saturday.

“It is true sir. A colleague that could not believe the news just ended a call with me now. It should not have been Dola because he was such a loving person. I doubt if I had ever seen him angry.

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READ: A look at the bright spot in the faltering economy

“The world is indeed a stage, and life itself is but a walking shadow. It is so difficult to believe he has gone. I couldn’t believe my eyes when the message dropped on our Whatsapp group,” an MTN employee told Nairametrics.

The sad news has thrown family and friends into mourning because he was well-loved for his good nature and open-heartedness.

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Obituaries

PwC announces the death of Deputy Senior Partner, Tola Ogundipe

Tola was the PwC Africa Tax Leader and Deputy Country Senior Partner for PwC Nigeria.

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PricewaterhouseCoopers(PwC) Nigeria has announced the sudden and unfortunate demise of its Deputy Country Senior Partner, Tola Ogundipe.

The announcement was made through a statement released by the global network firm dated Tuesday, September 8, 2020 and signed by Country Senior Partner, Uyi Akpata.

The statement read:

“It is with a deep sense of loss that we received the sad news of the untimely passing of our colleague and friend, Tola Ogundipe, yesterday, 7 September 2020.

“Tola was the PwC Africa Tax Leader and Deputy Country Senior Partner for PwC Nigeria. He also previously served as the Assurance Leader for PwC Africa among his other leadership roles within PwC.

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“Tola was a thoroughbred professional, very astute leader and a consummate gentleman. The accounting profession in Nigeria has been left bereft of the great talent he brought to its advancement including his role as a member of Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

“Tola was a great family man and his loss will be deeply felt by those that mattered most to him. We will keep his family in our hearts and prayers.

“Funeral arrangements will be agreed with his family and announced in due course.”

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Obituaries

The life and times of Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther star

Boseman had kept his cancer diagnosis away from the public so his death was more shocking.

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The life and times of Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther star

An early morning tweet by 3:29AM (WAT) on Saturday August 29, announced to the world that Chadwick Boseman was no more.

A statement from his family said he died at his home in Los Angeles on Friday, from complications of Stage IV colon cancer, a disease which was diagnosed in 2016 at Stage III.

According to Associated Press, Boseman had kept his cancer diagnosis away from the public so his death was more shocking. Even more surprising was the fact that he starred in some of America’s highest-grossing movies in recent years.

READ: Nigerians spent N304m in one week just to watch the ‘Avengers: Endgame’ film

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The movie “Black Panther” was one of the highest-grossing films of the year in the United States, and according to Hollywood reporter Boseman earned $2 million for his role in the movie, and his earnings was expected to climb even higher in the sequel which is scheduled for 2022.

Avengers: Infinity War in 2018; Avengers: Endgame in 2019 were also among highest-grossing movies of the year they were released, with each of them crossing the $1 billion worldwide mark.

READ: Windfall for Chief Daddy as Nigerian cinemas rake in N3.1 billion in six months

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Early years

On 29th of November 1976, Chadwick Aaron Boseman was born to Carolyn and Leroy Boseman in Anderson, South Carolina, and this is where he spent his early years. Chadwick said in an interview that DNA testing indicated that he had ancestors from Krio and Limba in Sierra Leone, and Yoruba in Nigeria.

He attended T. L. Hanna High School and graduated in 1995, and proceeded to the Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he bagged a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing in 2000. He was admitted to the Oxford Mid-Summer Program of the British American Drama Academy in London, and with the help of one of his teachers, Phylicia Rashad, raised the money to attend the program.

He later returned to the United States, where he attended the New York City’s Digital Film Academy, learning how to write, direct and act.

A career in the movies

Chadwick first showed talent in movies when he wrote his first play, Crossroads as a junior student, and staged it in the school shortly after a classmate was shot and killed.

Later on, he worked briefly as the drama instructor in the Schomburg Junior Scholars Program, housed at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York, before moving down to Los Angeles to actively take on his acting career. His interest was to become a director, and acting was part of his strategy to become a good director.

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In an interview, he explained that he had turned down several roles in his years of waiting even though they would have offered him an opportunity to feature with actors whom he admired.

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“I would say I want a role with that actor, but I don’t want that role. I want to meet him when I am playing something better than that,” he explained.

Boseman first appeared on screen in 2003, taking up a role in an episode of Third Watch. He also featured in episodes of the series Law & Order, “CSI: NY,” “ER”, Lincoln Heights, and Persons Unknown among others. In 2003, he got a role in the daytime soap opera All My Children but lost the role after voicing concerns to producers about racist stereotypes in the script.

While seeking acting roles, he continued writing plays and in 2006, one of his scripts for Deep Azure, performed at the Congo Square Theatre Company in Chicago, was nominated for a 2006 Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work.

The turning point

Chadwick appeared in his first feature film, The Express: The Ernie Davis Story in 2008, and things slowed down for a while. In 2013, at a time when he had almost given up an acting career to pursue fulltime directing, he landed his first starring role in the 2013 film 42.

The movie 42 marked a turning point in Chadwick’s career. No less than 25 other actions were considered, but the director Brian Helgeland decided that Chadwick’s bravery made him right for the role.

“Because I said no at certain times, it made me available for the things that got me to where I am,” he stated.

Also in 2013, Boseman landed a major role in the indie film “The Kill Hole”, while in 2014, he featured in Draft Day, playing the part of an NFL draft prospect. He also starred as James Brown in 2014 movie Get on Up.

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He starred as Thoth, a deity from Egyptian mythology, in Gods of Egypt in 2016, as well as the Marvel Comics character T’Challa/Black Panther, with Captain America: Civil War being his first film in a five-picture deal with Marvel.

It was in the same year he was diagnosed with colon cancer. For some reason, Boseman chose to keep this information away from the public, keeping up with his acting career and filming various roles in-between surgeries and chemotherapies.

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Some other movies which he acted in the last four years include Avengers: Infinity War; Avengers: Endgame; 21 Bridges, Marshall, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and the Netflix war drama film Da 5 Bloods, directed by Spike Lee and released on June 12, 2020.

READ: Ikeja Electric appoints Folake Soetan as Acting Chief Executive

Fighting cancer

Due to Chadwick’s ongoing treatment, he lost weight and became emaciated in recent years, but did not slowdown in his career. As the disease progressed, the weight loss became more evident.

The statement from his family on his Instagram handle says “Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.” ⁣

Commenting on his death, Oprah Winfrey said in her tweet, “What a gentle gifted SOUL. Showing us all that Greatness in between surgeries and chemo. The courage, the strength, the Power it takes to do that. This is what Dignity looks like.”

READ: TikTok to relocate headquarters to London following approval by UK ministers

Some reactions on Twitter after his death says that many had thought he was on a weight loss program in order to fit into a movie role. There were several body-shaming comments on social media over his weight loss especially after he shared a video in April where he announced a partnership that would see the donation of medical equipment to selected hospitals to support the fight against COVID-19.

Boseman looked really shrunken in the video, and stories also made the rounds at the time that he was seen using a walking stick.

In an interview, he was asked to respond to the body-shaming and he had said “one day, I’ll live to tell the story”. Unfortunately, he did not.

READ: Mo Abudu activates Netflix deal, requests followers to cast actors into roles

Coincidentally, he died on August 28, the day the MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson, same baseball legend whose role he played in the 2013 film 42. Social media is still abuzz with reactions to his death.

He is most fondly remembered for his role as King T’Challa in Marvel’s “Black Panther,” and as Marvel’s first Black superhero in a blockbuster.

His family said, “It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther”. ⁣

READ: Facebook rivals TikTok with launch of video-sharing product inside instagram

Last days

Less than a year before his death, he got married to singer Taylor Simone Ledward in a lowkey ceremony. Chadwick Boseman’s recent tweets and posts on Instagram has been promoting the Blacklivesmatter movement, and sharing snippets of his movie productions.

Recently, he announced his latest project – a drama which casts a light on a key moment in US Civil rights history. It examines Little Rock Nine, a high profile court case from 1957 that saw racial segregation at schools put to an end

It appears that we could be expecting some posthumous releases from the Boseman, as Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is yet to be released.

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