Lekan Paul

Trader Moni: Too Little To You. The Lifeline Of A Trader, By Akinloye James

According to the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) the number of MSMEs in Nigeria is at 37 million, employing 59 million persons contributing over 70% of the active labor force. That means over a quarter of our population are involved in small and medium scale businesses. And they are mostly artisans, petty traders and the likes. Of this large number, 43% fail due to lack of funds for daily sustenance or consistent sales and 38% do not grow beyond their initial start-up level.  A major challenge of these businesses is they cannot meet the basic requirement of obtaining loans at commercial banks, and even when they do, they do not possess sufficient collateral for these loans. Research shows that the availability of microcredit facilities is one key step to boosting economies of developing countries like Nigeria. Yet this has not been the case, as credit facilities have in most instances been channelled to the high and mighty businesses.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibajo is oft heard saying that one the objectives of his administration is to invest in the lives of its people, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid. The visible and rigorous efforts of the initiatives of the National Social Investment Programmes are telling of this intent. The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) is one of the schemes of the Social Investment Programmes. Through its sub-schemes, TraderMoni and MarketMoni,  financial support is provided through micro lending to micro scale traders. These schemes seek to promote financial inclusion at the grassroots, assisting petty traders with the financial support to conduct their respective businesses. They serve a dual purpose: an economic intervention to drive economic advancement at the grassroots, as well as a social impact project. The implication of this is that these schemes are set to improve the nation’s economy by first improving the daily living conditions its beneficiaries.

Two commonplace errors I have often come across  when conversations on Trader Moni come about: one, the notion that 10,000 Naira can barely make an impact in a person’s life, let alone a household or a business and secondly, the possibility of the scheme to have significant impact on a national or global scale especially in the long term.

These notions are evince that the divide between Nigeria’s poor and rich is palpable; that while to some a loan of 10,000 may seem as paltry sum and even useless, to a large number – a silent majority – it may seem synonymous with oxygen. The imbalance in the conversation flows from the fact that those who control the spaces of conversations, those who write history and shape narratives are the elite minority who cannot fathom the logic of the impact of 10,000 Naira to a small business. To them this money would function to simply cater for petrol or recharge card.

The beneficiaries of the scheme mostly do not have a voice. They are not on social media. They do not have smart phones to explain their stories – and even when they do, they are not literate to tell it. They are not invited to the TV stations to comment on the effects of these loans – their best chances at having their voices known is when the Vice President takes a tour to assess the programme in markets. They cannot write opinion pieces on newspapers or blogs. Yet these are the men and women who form the majority – the silent majority.

Whether they have a voice or not, it does not take away their reality. Take for instance Mrs Agbo Mnenna Mercy who heartily shared her growth story of selling basins of corn to trading in bags; to Mrs Anyor Doshima, a petty trader in Wurunkum market, Benue State, who through Trader Moni was able to make an increase in the number of livestock she owned from 50 to 70; to Solomon Ogunwale a trader in Oja Oba market, Oyo State, who has expanded his blending business and has now employed a new staff. 

These seemingly little changes in their businesses have culminated in increase in their purchasing power as well as improvements in their living standards, and even nutrition. The enormity of Nigerians in this economic demography is one of the reasons why it is detrimental for this vast number to remain underfunded or unassisted. The scheme addresses a pertinent challenge of citizens in this demography; accessing capital without the added pain of high interest rates and rigid collateral demands which before now, has prevented them from expanding their businesses and employing more labour. The ripple effect of the seemingly little, stretches as far as improving  productivity among the disadvantaged population, decrease in inequality as more women are empowered financially, and the improvement in living standards triggering more economic activities across the nation.

The thousands of petty traders who have benefitted from these schemes are proof that they are working.  And impacting on the socio-economic lives of its beneficiaries. They are paying back these loans too – to access higher loans to continue the expansion of their businesses. It is not a quick-fix that would end poverty in Nigeria overnight. Like many great initiatives consistency and diligence are needed to ensure that the schemes do not lose track.

It was Confucius who said that he who intends to move a mountain must first start by carrying little stones. The little impact of each loan given to a family adds to the greater impact that Nigeria needs to end poverty, no matter how slowly. With over two million loans disbursed so far, this lifelines have done more for the economy than many can ever fathom.

Akinloye James is the President of the Initiative to Save Democracy.

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Report Insinuating Vice President Didn’t Follow Due Process In Supervision Of Agencies Under Him Is False

Our attention has been drawn to a sensational report by The Cable published on September 17, 2019, which claims that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, to seek approvals for agencies under him.

The report suggests, falsely, that agencies under the supervision of the Vice President do not normally comply with established rules where presidential approvals are required. 

This is obviously misleading and aims only to plant seeds of discord in the Presidency, while attempting to create unnecessary national hysteria.

The agencies in question are established by law and the Vice President has always insisted on due compliance with the enabling statutes and other established regulations. 

Depending on the particular scope of activity in question, agencies may require management approval only, at the level of the Director-General or Chief Executive Officer. In this category falls the great majority of their day-to-day activities. 

However, other activities, or procurements, with value exceeding a certain threshold, require Board approval. These may get to the agency Board chaired by the Vice President. In a few cases where Presidential approval is required, the Director-General must seek such approval from the President, through the Vice President. These rules have always guided the activities of statutory agencies and the ones under the Vice President’s supervision have always been so guided.  

To claim that in the first term of the Buhari administration, agencies of government have not been complying with the provisions (of getting final approvals from the President) is false, and the attempt to suggest the Vice President’s complicity in such irregularities is simply mischievous and reprehensible.

The effective and mutually respecting relationship between the President and the Vice President is well known to Nigerians and it is futile to insinuate otherwise. 

Even though the Vice President has a statutory role as Board Chairman of some government agencies under his office, with appropriate approval limits, which often do not include contract approvals; it is ludicrous to even insinuate that a Board Chairman approves contracts.

Evidently, the Federal Executive Council, which oversees Federal Ministries and agencies of government, is chaired by the President, and it is in its purview to approve or ratify award of contracts within the prescribed threshold. 

The Vice President remains committed to the service of his fatherland and will continue to do so despite the purveyors of fake news. We urge media organizations, as gatekeepers, to uphold truth, balance, fairness and objectivity in their reports.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
17th September, 2019

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I Expect You To Put The Police In Order – President Buhari Charges Police Service Commission

President Muhammadu Buhari has charged members of the Police Service Commission to redouble their efforts in ensuring that the Nigeria Police Force delivers on its responsibilities. 

Speaking Tuesday in Abuja while receiving the 2018 Annual Report of the Commission, President Buhari said, “the Commission has the most challenging responsibility of carrying out oversight responsibilities of the Police Force. 

“The people that comprise this commission are mostly personally known to me and some of them have been through the mill as it were, therefore I expect them to put the Police in order.  I personally believe that the Inspector General is doing his best …the Police are always in the frontline and unless we get the police working effectively, the security of this country will remain in doubt.”  

He said that, by the mandate of the Commission, the task of appointment, promotion and disciplinary control of officers of the Nigerian Police Force, except the Inspector General, fall under it.

“Your assignment is enormous and calls for sacrifice and commitment especially now that almost every country is faced with severe internal security challenges. Nigeria is no exception,” President Buhari added.

The President praised the Commission for new ideas introduced into the workings of the Force: “I am aware that you have put policies in place to reposition the Police Force in the areas of merit-driven promotion and prompt disciplinary actions. Government will require that you redouble your efforts and ensure that the Police Force receives the required assistance for optimum service delivery.

He also called on the Commission to ensure harmonious working relationship with the Police Force.

“I wish to see close communication and understanding between you and the Nigeria Police. This is necessary for the overall efficiency and effectiveness in securing the country,” said the President.

Earlier in his address, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, the Chairman of the  Commission who led other members to State House, had intimated the President that, in line with his (President’s) specific directives,  the management  was gradually putting together a productive Nigeria Police Force, which will attract the endorsement of all Nigerians and also receive the acclaim of the policemen themselves. 

He also requested for the intervention of the President in overcoming the funding constrains of the Commission as well as securing better office accommodation.

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Polaris Bank Conducts Risk Management Training For Business Partners

Polaris Bank at the weekend conducted a training program which focused on Risk Management practices for its business partners (service providers/vendors) that seek to scale and improve efficiency of these partners. 

The training program which held at Radisson Blu Hotel, GRA Ikeja, Lagos, had many of its business partners in attendance.  The program focused on “Risk Management in business”, targeted at the Bank’s service providers/vendors with a view to improving their growth and expansion; scale up and improve efficiency of their operations with best practices for a mutually sustainable growth. 

In her welcome address to the Bank’s vendors, Head, Sustainability of Polaris Bank, Bola Adesanoye situated the conference within the framework of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBP) as enthroned by the regulatory Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for which Polaris is a signatory. 

“The NSBP in one of its nine principles, talks about Environmental and Social Footprints of businesses in the community where aligned businesses have presence. As an organization driven by principles of sustainability, Polaris Bank has a responsibility to ensure that as we meet our own needs, we do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, Mrs. Adesanoye offered. 

Giving specific basis why the bank held the seminar, the Head of Sustainability explained: “There are Environmental & Social Risks and other potential impacts associated with engaging third parties and the need to address this, informed the session” 

In his presentation, Akeem Adekoya, the Bank’s Head, Operational Risk who spoke on Managing Vendors risk, explained that vendors risk management (VRM) as a process, deals with the management and planning of third-party products and services, ensures that the use of third-party products, IT suppliers and service providers does not result in a potential business disruption or in any negative impact on business performance. While listing all the available and known risks such as: Environmental & Social; Reputational; Regulatory/Compliance; Transactional and Operational risks, Adekoya asserted that: “If left unmanaged, these risks can lead to a decline in the financial institution’s reputational image, costly litigation, or loss of revenue”. 

To mitigate against potential risks, the Risk management executive encouraged Vendors to always seek “Permit to work” this he explained as a process by which organisations “ensure that permit to work system is implemented for all high risk activities such as; work at height, hot works, working on electricity and confined space etc. 

“Vendors handling chemical and hazardous substances should be well trained and deploy protective equipment when carrying out the task, adding that; “adequate warning and caution signs should be displayed when undertaking high risk activities in any part of the bank’s premises.

 Earlier in his own presentation which dwelt on reputation management and associated risk, the Bank’s head, Strategic Brand Management, Nduneche Ezurike, opined that reputation can be boosted or blasted with a few key strokes. Ezurike said: “a study by the World Economic Forum conducted revealed that on average, more than 25% of a company’s market value is directly attributed to its reputation. His analysis was that “Reputation is an independent risk that refers to the potential for uncontrollable events to have an adverse impact on a company’s reputation which has the potential of affecting its revenue”. 

“The risk arising from a negative public opinion could result to adverse effects like dissatisfied customers, inappropriate recommendations, hence loss of revenue. Regulations, the banker noted “are also examples of situations that could create negative publicity and harm the reputation of the business, saying that “these days, even issues that seem insignificant can become a headline news and could either boost or decline the global reputation of a company,” he said. 

Speaking on the way forward, Ezurike added that constant vigilance before, during and after a crisis, should be properly planned and effectively implemented. Seun Jimo, Head of Corporate Support of the Bank also shared perspective when he spoke of the place of Vendors in delivery of value to organization through adoption of business practices. 

During a question and answer session, the participating business partners sought and got clarification from facilitators in all areas of risk management and how best they could adopt best practices in risk management and align their business for sustainable growth. How the partnership helps to scale and improve efficiency of both parties as well. 

Polaris Bank is a customer-centric bank positioned to deliver industry-defining products, services and platforms across all the key market segments.

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BMO To South Africa: Let Our People Go…Praises Air Peace Boss For Being A Good Corporate Citizen

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has urged the government of South Africa not to further traumatise  Nigerians wishing to leave South Africa with unnecessary immigration formalities or other bureaucratic bottlenecks.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO commended the management of AirPeace Airline for their patriotism and selflessness by airlifting Nigerian victims of Xenophobia back to Nigeria, free of charge and at no cost to the Federal Government.
“We note that AirPeace has shown an example of how corporate bodies and citizens should respond whenever the need arises. The airline has proven to be a worthy and patriotic corporate organisation and we urge others to emulate it.
“We also applaud the show of patriotism by the evacuees who emotionally sang the Nigerian national anthem at the departure lounge in South Africa, and inside the aircraft, on their way back to their fatherland. This encomium is in appreciation of the efforts the Federal Government invested to address the latest xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.
“From their emotional reactions, it is obvious that contrary to the opinion in some quarters, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was not only concerned about the plight of the victims, but that it made deliberate and proactive moves to guarantee their safety and well-being.
“We are delighted that the returnees appreciated the President for his citizen-focussed foreign policy which made it possible for the timely evacuation of our citizens from the dangers they faced in the unfortunate xenophobic attacks”.
The group, however, berated the South African authorities for frustrating the smooth return of Nigerians who had indicated their wish to return home. “We consider this an enemy action unbecoming of a country like South Africa which had benefitted greatly from the large-heartedness of Nigeria during the apartheid era.
“We celebrate, also, the decision of the Federal Government to swiftly and comprehensively reintegrate the returnees in the country by providing them with Bank of Industry loans to enable them to start businesses.
“This is aside from other incentives like free GSM telephone and telephone lines, N40, 000 worth of airtime and 9GB of data valid for two months.  These positive measures are unprecedented in the history of Nigeria’s foreign policy as the President ensured that Nigerians in South Africa were not abandoned in their time of need”, the group  added

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Attempts To Discredit Presidential Tribunal Outcome Will Fail – BMO

All attempts by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its agents to discredit the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) will fail,  just like the petition challenging the outcome of the 2019 Presidential election.

According to the Buhari Media  Organisation (BMO), the PEPT was quite clear on the qualification of President Muhammadu Buhari to contest for the position, as well as the outcome of the election as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

BMO said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, that PDP should go ahead with its plan to proceed to the Supreme Court, rather than continue to encourage its minions to cast aspersions on the Tribunal.

 “As expected, PDP has opted to reject the verdict of the five-member panel, but what is baffling is the manner the party is seeking to discredit it by describing it as a ‘barefaced subversion of justice.’

“Even after the painstaking manner that the Tribunal showed that the President was eminently qualified for the job, this party is still claiming that he was not qualified to contest the 2019 election.

“If PDP leaders are still holding on to the jaded claim that Buhari does not have the requisite qualifications, then they were either not paying attention to the points raised by Justice Mohammed Garba who read the lead judgement, or they are just out to continue to malign members of the panel.

“Because the courtroom was thrown open to the media, many Nigerians across the country had the rare privilege of hearing how the verdict was rendered in an unambiguous way, but as usual, opposition elements are twisting it to suit their fancy.

“Or how else would a reasonable party deliberately misquote the Tribunal as saying that ‘one need not provide a copy or certified true copy of educational certificate’, when indeed it held that the fact that President Buhari did not attach his certificate to the form CF001 and the affidavit he submitted to INEC,  did not imply that he did not possess the documents as claimed by the petitioners.

“Everyone who listened to the judgement, probably aside from the PDP, must have heard how the presiding judge then explained that ‘there is evidence before the court that the 2nd respondent (Buhari) went for military training after his secondary school education’.

“The judge also added that ‘the 2nd respondent has more than secondary school certificate having attended further courses while in the Army before concluding that President Buhari was not only qualified but also eminently qualified,” the group said.

BMO also had strong words for PDP elements pushing online memes and jokes about affidavits on the basis of what they claimed the panel said.

“There was nowhere in the judgement that the panel said a person seeking elective positions does not need to tender educational certificates.

“What is clear from the verdict rendered by Justice Garba is that although there is no constitutional requirement for candidates to attach certificates to INEC form, they still have to swear to an affidavit detailing personal information, including academic qualifications and professional attainment.

“We wonder how people who claim to be defenders of the justice system would be making a mockery of an aspect of the system by encouraging others to swear a false affidavit of their qualification.

“For the avoidance of doubt, President Buhari did not only complete his secondary education before joining the Nigerian Army, but his overall educational background is also on a far higher level than that of PDP’s former Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar.

“It is baffling that people questioning the President’s credentials are backing an individual whose Secondary School Certificate was too poor to earn him a place in a Police College, while the man they love to hate not only entered the Army but also underwent officer cadet training at Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot in England after completing preliminary training at the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC).

“We also know that President Buhari was also at the Defence Service Staff College Wellington, India between 1973 and 1974 as well as US Army War College, Carlisle in 1980.

“It is no longer news that President Buhari eventually had a distinguished army career that saw him attaining the rank of Major General and later Nigeria’s military Head of State”.

The group then urged the PDP and its leaders to consider apologising to all Nigerians for wasting everyone’s time with their frivolous petition

 “This is the best path of honour,  even if the party itself cannot take a cue from one of its key leaders Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state who was quick to break ranks and congratulate the President.

“But instead, they have chosen to subject the country to more insults with their poorly framed reaction to a judgement that some of Nigeria’s best lawyers have hailed.

 “And just like the Information Minister Lai Mohammed has said, ’PDP and its candidate should be thanking their stars that they are not being prosecuted for coming to court with fraudulently-obtained evidence’ which the tribunal easily dismissed,” it added. 

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FG Will Take 100m Nigerians Out Of Poverty In 10 Years By God’s Grace, Says Osinbajo

Below are excerpts of Vice President’s remarks during a visit Thursday afternoon at the palace of the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammadu Bashar in Kebbi State.

I want to thank you very much for hosting us today, we are here for several things; the MSMEs, look at the new markets that have been rebuilt after the fire and for some of the schemes that have taken place. One of the very important schemes is what is called the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, which has the TraderMoni and MarketMoni. TraderMoni is the scheme where we give petty traders, N10,000, and when they pay back, N15,000, then N20,000 and it goes on and on to N100,000.

The President’s desire for this programme is that every hard-working citizen of this country should be able to have some support from government, no matter how little their inventory.

Today, at the market, I passed a woman who was selling vegetables and I asked her how much her whole inventory was, the whole thing was N500. It is for such people, such petty traders that the TraderMoni N10,000 is meant, so that they can buy more.

The President has promised that by the grace of God, we are going to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years and I believe very strongly that we are going to achieve it, but we can only achieve it with the able support of the State Governments.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
12th September 2019

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Commission supports 200,000 IDPs in Adamawa

The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) has supported food and non-food items to over 200,000 refugees in Adamawa.

Sen. Basheer Garba, the Federal Commissioner of NCFRMI, presented the items at Malkohi IDPs camp on Thursday in Yola.
Garba said the intervention was the consistent efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in bringing an end to insurgency and all forms of criminality.

He said the provision of the relief materials was aimed at improving living condition of the hundreds of thousands of refugees in the state.
“President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is working assiduously to making displaced communities in Nigeria safe.

“In achieving this, it is our belief and prayer that in no distance time, our displaced persons will become self-reliant and ultimately agents of their own durable solutions,” Garba said.

Dr Mohammed Sulaiman, the Executive Secretary, Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency (ADSEMA), said the state has about 200,000 refugees currently.

“Some of the refugees are sheltered in some IDPs camps, while others are spread within host communities across the state,” Suleiman said.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the items distributed by the commission included care, maintenance, educational and empowerment materials, among others.

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Nigeria’s Best Minds And Talent Must Create Unique Solutions To Africa’s Challenges – Osinbajo

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE FUNDRAISING DINNER FOR THE NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT ON THE 11TH OF SEPTEMBER, 2019.

PROTOCOLS.

I need not emphasize how honoured I am to join you here today at this historic meeting: a gathering of important thought leaders in business, politics and academia, in aid of the establishment of the Nigerian University of Technology and Management (NUTM). 

Every once in a while, in the life of a nation or community, a vision emerges to do something truly extraordinary, something truly game- changing; to develop a construct capable of decisively making a difference in the community or nation.

Frankly, I think I do not exaggerate when I say that we are at such a moment here today. 

A lot has been said already about the need for the school, and I am sure we have avoided the term, “an elite school”, because it suggests that the school is only for a select few. But the truth is, this is what this school is about, about setting up an elite school in the sense that it brings together the best minds and talents, but does not depend on their capacity to pay. 

Indeed, there must be an institution whose sole objective is to inspire innovation, inventions and research that address the most crucial problems that we face as a nation and the world. How do we solve peculiar African health challenges such as Sickle Cell Anemia, fibroids and cancers, some that are specifically even African? We simply have not addressed those challenges from our institutions. 

Clearly, we need an institution able to provide the atmosphere to invent agricultural inputs that will guarantee the huge yields per acreage or volumes in dairy and livestock to meet the demands of food security in our country today. 

Every time we talk about agriculture, look at what we are producing and the size of our population and how much we import, it is very clear that somebody has to work on uniquely Nigerian solutions to some of these agricultural challenges.

We need an institution that will produce cutting edge Artificial Intelligence applications for education, business, medicine and security. One that can design the educational innovation required to train millions of children in and out of classrooms all across the country. 

I have been around the country, practically every local government, one thing that is obvious is the need to crack (the problem of) education in Nigeria. It is getting increasingly out of hand, the sheer number of young people all over the country who require high-quality education but are not getting anything at all. 

So, the question is, what sort of design or technology would work? In and out of the classroom, what would work? What do we do with languages? Are we going to teach using local language or dialect? 

We must now produce world class economists, managers of commerce in a world increasingly disrupted by technology and innovation. We must convert our best young minds and talents, to creative thinkers, innovators in science, technology, the economy, commerce and public finance and in public sector related endeavors that truly make a difference in governance. Only a deliberately planned and resourced university can deliver these.

We already have several tertiary institutions of science and technology and management sciences all over the country. But what is proposed is an institution intentionally created as a world class centre for the training of the best Nigerian minds and talents. It is not an equal opportunity establishment, except that capacity to pay must not be an object, admission standards will be set very high, only the best are required in such an institution. 

The institution must also engage the best academics and scholars, locally and internationally. This is not an institution that we have seen the likes before locally. The comparators are the deliberate creation of thinkers in the public and private sectors like ourselves here today.

The vision is clear, but the key, of course, is funding.  As is the case with comparable institutions all over the world, the NUTM must have considerable resources to support high-quality research. The implications of this are vast. 

To excite research, the NUTM ought to be able to attract to the residence, Nobel Laureates and international leaders of thought and innovation. Whether they spend 2 weeks, 5 weeks or a year, it will obviously cost money. 

Provisions for the attendance and hosting of academic conferences locally and internationally must be made. The challenge we have is whether we are prepared to dream this big dream, see it through, and consistently fund and creatively find sustainable ways of keeping it adequately resourced. 

I am convinced that the founders have not just the zeal, but the will to see this to fruition.  I was privileged to be invited to the first event to introduce the Nigerian University of Technology and Management to people such as yourselves in Abuja, when ideas were at the preliminary stages. But what we have seen between then and now, is the market. I think so much progress has been made and I’m excited to see the progress. It is not surprising given the calibre of individuals who are the founders.

I think what this evening calls for is how to ensure that this dream becomes a reality. It is only the beginning. A lot of inspiring things have been said already about why we need to participate in this activity, in founding it and sustaining it. But frankly, whether you and I choose to do it, somebody will do it. I am so convinced that it will be done. That is the thing with great ideas, somebody, somewhere, someday will do it.

I really hope people here in this room are the ones that will pick up this great idea and really work towards it and ensure it is done.

I want to congratulate the founders for doing an excellent job so far, and to make my own personal commitment and commit on behalf of the government, to do all that is necessary to ensure that this sees the light of day.

Obviously, I won’t be making any large donations, we are still struggling with a budget deficit, but I am sure that everything else that is required to ensure this happens, especially from the side of government, I will work with others to ensure that. 

I also want to say on behalf of Mr. President, that this a project that he is very keen to see happen and I am sure with his backing and with the able support of so many in and out of government, we will see the NUTM come to life and remain alive and live up to the dreams charted out for it today and in the future.

Thank you

Released by:
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
12th September, 2019

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Osinbajo Takes 24th MSME Clinics To Kebbi

The 24th edition of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Clinics will hold on Thursday in Kebbi with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in attendance.

Over 400,000 MSME participants have so far partook in the MSME Clinics across 23 states so far, with the Vice President attending 21 of those Clinics.

The states that have hosted the Clinics since its inception include Bauchi, Plateau, Kwara, Sokoto, Cross-River, Eboyin, Ogun, Ondo, Edo,FCT, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Oyo, Ekiti, Abia, Enugu, Anambra Osun, Katsina, Lagos, Kogi and Akwa Ibom States.

Also since its inception, seven one-stop shops have been launched in the Federal Capital Territory, Osun, Cross River, Kwara, Abia, Plateau and Bauchi states by assembling relevant agencies together in one place so as to enable MSMEs access their services on an on-going basis with relative ease.

Through the Clinics, about 300,000 new business names have been registered by the Cooperate Affairs Commission (CAC) at a reduced 50% price of N5000, from the normal N10,000.

On his Twitter page, he wrote, “I will be in Kebbi State today for the MSME Clinic,” he tweeted Thursday morning.

“The MSME Clinics assemble Government agencies under one roof to provide on spot solutions to the challenges faced by MSMEs.

“These include access to finance, business registration, product registration and certification,” he added.

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PDP, Atiku Should Apologize To Nigerians, Instead of Appealing Judgment – Minister

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, hasasked the PDP and its presidential candidate in the last elections toapologize to Nigerians for willfully distracting the BuhariAdministration with a frivolous election petition, instead ofappealing the ruling of Wednesday’s Presidential Election Petition.

In a statement issued in St Petersburg, Russian Federation, on Thursday, the Minister said while the PDP andits candidate reserve the right to pursue their petition to thehighest level, they will be better served by dropping their toga ofdesperation and realizing that there is a limit to tomfoolery.
”Nigerians are tired of this orchestrated distraction, and willrather wish that the opposition, having lost at the polls and incourt, will now join hands with the government to move Nigeria to thenext level.
”This is more so that the judgement validating the re-election ofPresident Muhammadu Buhari was unanimous that the petition lackedmerit, that the petitioners failed to prove any of the grounds uponwhich their case was anchored and that President Buhari is eminentlyqualified to contest the poll,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said instead of casting aspersion on the judiciarywith their poorly-framed reaction to the ruling of the Tribunal, thePDP and its candidate should be thanking their stars that they are notbeing prosecuted for coming to court with a fraudulently-obtainedevidence.
”It is intriguing that a party that trumpets the rule of law at everyturn will present, in open court, evidence it claimed to have obtainedby hacking into a supposed INEC server. Don’t they realize this is acriminal act for which they are liable? Instead of threatening to headto the Supreme Court, driven more by ego than commonsense, theyshould be sorry for allowing desperation to overwhelm their sense ofreasoning. Enough is enough,” he said.
The Minister commended the Tribunal for not only doing justice to thecase but for explaining, in painstaking details thatlasted hours, how it arrived at its judgement.
”We also thank Nigerians, who voted massively to re-elect PresidentBuhari, for their continued support,” he said
Segun AdeyemiSA To Hon Minister of Information and CultureSt. Petersburg, Russia 12 Sept. 2019

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Court’s Affirmation of President Buhari’s Victory, Not Unexpected – Barr. Ismaeel Ahmed

The judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal striking out the petition of the PDP and its candidate in the 2019 Presidential elections, Atiku Abubakar, and affirming the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the polls is one that we did not see as unexpected, Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Social Investment Programmes and a member of the APC Board of Trustees and also a Director in the 2019 Buhari Presidential Campaign Council has stated.

The Kano Born Politician in a statement delivered to journalists said that although he recognizes the right of the former Vice President to challenge the victory in court, he truly believes that in the spirit of building a fractured nation, the resources and time could have been well spent on focusing in the already agenda of moving the country forward.

“A genuine electoral mandate was given to us in February that truly reflected the mood and political reality in the country. We didn’t win in any state that we didn’t have a strong wind going into the elections. As a matter of fact we lost in states that we could have won if we were to do what PDP was used to doing during elections. We wouldn’t have lost Abuja, or Oyo or Imo or Edo where we had APC Governors and a federal government. This was an extremely fair contest with results that reflect the mood of the country at the time and we won squarely as the courts have affirmed today. No one in this country can contest President Buhari’s appeal and popular support.”??“Many Nigerians do not just love President Buhari because he is loveable, but they cherish the qualities and charisma he brings to the table. He is a man of determination, he has an unassailable public profile that speaks humility and integrity, he is focused and has Nigeria’s interests at heart.??“President Buhari is a patriot. His sacrifices and commitments to this country are a matter of public knowledge and record. So it is not surprising to see that Nigerians went to the polls to vote him overwhelmingly. I was confident of our victory from the start and I was also confident that the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal would only affirm this victory.”??Ismaeel Ahmed went further to state that the issue the PDP brought to the table were not solid and could hold no grounds in the courts of law.

“I reviewed the submissions their lawyers brought before the courts, and even on face value they lacked evidentiary substance. I believe the entire case was just an attempt to smear the President and attack the credibility of his well-earned victory. It wasn’t much else. No serious evidence was brought to prove the case.

“Attacking the certification of a former Head of State, Military General and a Presidential candidate who contested against PDP severally to be challenged about a school leaving certificate only after he had won is just an attempt at ridicule and that’s why it’s painful. It wasn’t a case of elections and Law, it was almost a personalized attack on an outstanding public servant. They called governance and helping poor traders through micro-credit loans ‘vote-buying’; all these were struck out by the Tribunal.”

Barrister Ismaeel also noted that now that the President’s victory had been affirmed, the next task before the government which he plays a critical role in as one of the managers of the Social Investment Programmes, was to deliver on the promises the party had made during the elections.

He further noted that the government would focus on ensuring that it continues to lay a solid foundation for the sustainable development of the country.

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