Tony Elumelu Wraps Up 2017 Entrepreneurship Forum

he Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s leading philanthropy dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship, concluded its 3rdannual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum on 14th of October 2017 in Lagos.

The Forum hosted more than 1,300 participants from 54 African countries. The most diverse and inclusive gathering of African entrepreneurs on the continent, the Forum continued its strong tradition of showcasing innovation across sectors, including Agriculture, Technology, Healthcare, Fashion and Energy/Power Generation.

Launched in 2015, the Forum was born out of the Foundation’s $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs, over a decade, through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.

During a powerful keynote address, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, the philanthropist and Founder who is also the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa, spoke of his belief, that a vibrant African-led private sector is the key to unlocking Africa’s economic and social potential.

“Africa’s development, which must be private-sector led and entrepreneurially driven, will have at its heart, young African innovators and their transformative ideas.  Only they will create the millions of jobs Africa needs. The Forum has brought together Africa’s most important developmental force, her young entrepreneurs who will become catalysts for Africa’s economic liberation.

We have united the African entrepreneurship ecosystem, putting the entrepreneurs at centre stage. I want to thank those heads of government and other key policymakers, who have supported our firm belief that the private sector is the engine for growth and the private sector players, who are models of our philosophy of Africapitalism – the idea that business will drive change and that change must deliver economic and social wealth” he explained.

The two-day event, which involved plenary panels and masterclasses, provided theTony Elumelu Entrepreneurs with a platform to network and connect with business leaders, policymakers and investors.

Focusing on the Forum’s theme of training and mentoring, speakers discussed topics that educated, empowered and inspired the entrepreneurs, addressing the key stages needed to successfully launch a business.

The speaking programme emphasised the Foundation’s role of uniting entrepreneurs and policymakers, as a means of ensuring that private and public sectors work together to create the best possible operating environment for entrepreneurship to thrive. Political and private sector leaders from across Africa, including HE Aminu Bello Masari, Governor, Katsina state; HE Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari, Governor, Zamfara state; Mr. Lionel Zinsou, Former Prime Minister, Republic of Benin; Oba Otudeko, Chairman, Honeywell Group; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Dangote group, directly addressed the conditions needed for stimulating entrepreneurial growth, whilst senior members of global development institutions, including Wale Ayeni, Senior Investment Office, International Finance Corporation; Stephen Tio Kauma, Director Human Resources, Afrexim Bank and Andre Hue, Deputy Country Director, Agence Française de Développement, spoke of a new paradigm, driven by the need for a private sector-led change.

“The private sector working with the public sector can achieve so much by way of development. African governments should move beyond rhetorics and implement their ideas,” Oba Otudeko enthused.

Addressing the 3rd cohort of TEF entrepreneurs the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said: “This generation of young people will do the exceptional. You are the reason Africa will work. The length and breadth of display of talent have shown that there is indeed hope”.

The Forum also witnessed multiple partnerships between United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Foundation, and between French bilateral development bank, Agence Française De Développement (AFD) and TEF. Commending both agencies for their commitment to promoting youth entrepreneurship in Africa, Elumelu called on other individuals and developmental institutions to partner with the Foundation and expand the scale of its impact. “We call on friends of Africa to partner with the Foundation, to scale our impact beyond the 1,000 entrepreneurs a year. Real opportunity exists to tap into Africa’s potential and our entrepreneurs offer a gateway to participating in both economic success and creating social wealth”.

TEF partners including Microsoft, Sage One and Greentec also held training workshops and side events aimed at approaches to strategically scale up business. The United Bank for Africa (UBA) has proudly supported the forum.

Promotion Of National Integration And Political Cohesion: Key To Good Governance And Democratic Growth – NILS

In a refreshing resolve to foster Legislative-Executive synergy, advance the frontiers of good governance and deepen democracy, the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS), Office of the Senior Special Assistants to the President on National Assembly (Senate/House of Representatives) and European Union are facilitating A 2-Day National Summit on Intergovernmental/Inter-Party Relations and the Budget Process Reform For Sustainable Development in Nigeria for political stakeholders. The National Summit comes up tomorrow, 17th October, 2017 in Abuja.

The Summit which is themed: Building Synergy for Effectiveness of the Legislature and Executive provides an opportunity for high-level and mutual interaction between the legislature and the executive arm of government. The platform is geared towards fostering inter-party cohesion, mainstreaming and strengthening Nigeria’s democratic governance structure.

The summit is an innovative opportunity to promote healthy relationship between the  Executive and the Legislature.

Expected participants at the National Summit include: Members of the National Assembly, Members of the 36 State Houses of Assembly, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) Political Parties, CSOs and Academics.

President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR is expected to deliver a keynote speech. While the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki will host the event. The Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, is expected also to deliver an address at the event.

Participants are expected to be seated by 9:00a.m at the NICON Luxury Hotels, Abuja, venue, tomorrow, 17th October 2017.

A banquet Dinner is billed to follow later at the Banquet Hall of the State House at 7:00pm.

Admission is strictly by invitation.

Dettol Makes Handwashing Fun with “Letter for Life” Campaign

According to the World Health Organization, Diarrhoea disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old, and is responsible for killing around  525,000 children every year.These deaths can be prevented through the simple act of handwashing with soap which can break the chain of infection.

Dettol, one of Nigeria’s leading brands, led the 2017 Global Handwashing Day celebrations by launching a nationwide campaign themed “Letter for Life”. The campaign was a unique way to get children interested in washing their hands, as well as also get them to spread the message of handwashing, from one child to another. To do this, the Dettol team went around to various primary schools in Nigeria through its annual School Hygiene Program, taught them proper hand washing habits, and in turn the children wrote hygiene letters. These Letters along with a free bar of Dettol soap were distributed to children who do not have access to soap.

To mark the 2017 Global Handwashing Day, Dettol organized an event at the Morroco Military Primary School Yaba in Lagos state, where they donated 12 hand washing sites to help inculcate proper handwashing habits to the school children. At the event, over 700 school children were taught about proper hand hygiene in a fun and engaging way through an entertaining Dance Drama and the handwashing song

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director, West Africa, Rahul Murgai stated that  at RB ( Reckitt Benckiser) , our global vision is to provide the world with innovative solutions and products for healthier lives and happier homes. Dettol has been the trusted champion for good health and hygiene for over 50 years in Nigeria, and we believe that it’s important to inculcate good habits such as proper handwashing at an early age.A simple act of washing your hands with soap can prevent illness and arrest diarrhoea related deaths, which is why we are donating these 12 handwashing sites to the children of this school. Over the past 7 years, we have provided over 32 handwashing sites and have educated over 7 million children, parents and teachers, about the importance of hand washing through our School Hygiene Program, which is a mass consumer education program to educate about proper handwashing habits.

Speaking further at the event, Marketing Director, RB West Africa, Aliza Leferink, went on to add; “The Dettol brand has been at the forefront of providing health and hygiene messages via its products and initiatives in Nigeria. Our theme for the 2017 Global handwashing day is “A Letter for Life”. With this theme, we wanted a unique way to get children interested in washing their hands, as well as also get them to spread the message of handwashing, from one child to another. With these activities, we are creating awareness about the seriousness of the cause and also educating people on how they can prevent these deaths by the simple act of handwashing. Dettol works closely with the Ministry of Health, Save the Children International and the Nigerian Medical Association on social programs to create scaled awareness to reduce Diarrhoea related deaths.”

Present at the event were dignitaries that graced the occasion that included the Chief of Party, Stop Diarrhoea Initiative, Save the Children International; Mr. David Atamewalen, Director of Disease Control, Lagos State Ministry of Health; Dr. Erinosho Ashimiu Eniola, ably represented, Chairman Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB); Mr. Ganiyu Sopeyin ably represented by Mrs. Y.M. Makinwa, President, Women Arise Initiative; Dr Joel Okei-Odumakin, Chairman, Yaba Local Council Devt Area; Hon. Omiyale Adejare, ably represented, Star actress on Nnenna & Friends; Mrs Yinka Olukunga, Brig. Gen. M.A.E. Okeji, ably represented by Col. O.O. Oladiran, Education Secretary, Lagos Mainland Education Authority (ILGEA); Mr Tijani Tajudeen, amongst others.

RB* is the world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company. Some of its well-known brands include; Dettol, Harpic, Mortein, Durex, Airwick, Strepsils, Gaviscon and Nurofen. 

Tambuwal: North Wants Restructuring As Much As Anyone Else

Chairman’s Opening Remarks by Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR, Governor of Sokoto State, at the Arewa Research and Development Project Conference on The North and The Future of the Nigerian Federation, at Arewa House, Kaduna on Tuesday 11th october, 2017.


1.        I would like to begin by thanking the Convener of this Conference, my dear brother and long-time associate,  Dr. Usman Bugaje, and his great team at the ARDP for organising this event and for giving me the honour to chair the Opening Ceremony.

2.        Dr. Bugaje and I go back a long way and we have fought many battles together, winning some and perhaps losing a few. As anyone close to him knows, Bugaje is a patriot of the first order and his constant striving for the progress of the North is very remarkable. Over the years, his name has become a byword for intellectual rigour and personal integrity.

3.        I have no doubt therefore that participants at this conference can expect a level of discourse that is rich in research, resolutely progressive and devoid of any form of bigotry. I am sure that at the end of the day, we shall all be better informed about the kind of restructuring we need in Nigeria and the way the North can best benefit from any such arrangement.

4.        Only recently, the Northern States Governors’ Forum  and Northern Traditional Leaders Council Committee on Restructuring of the Nigerian Federation which I chair inaugurated a technical committee reflecting the amazing diversity of Northern Nigeria to look at the issues surrounding the call for restructuring and get the aggregate views of the North and present same to the committee for use during the proposed Town Hall/Public Hearings across the 19 Northern States.

5.        We have ensured that the technical committee members are personalities who have proven themselves in various fields, people with the intellectual ability and experience to contrast, aggregate and analyse the views of the North and how they impact on the growth and development of this country.

6.       Therefore, the idea that the North is against restructuring because it benefits most from the current state of things is circumscribed and patently false. The fact that some people continue to parrot such a lie only help to give credence to the flawed argument. Let us be clear: the North wants restructuring as much as anyone else. However, as a people we do not easily jump unto the bandwagon because we are always there for the long haul. We believe that any decision we take must be inclusive, and respect procedures and processes so that the outcome is sustainable.

7.        I think we should first, as a country, agree on a mutual definition of the term restructuring. In my view, if restructuring means taking stock of our arrangement to ensure that no state takes a disproportionate amount of the resources, or most of the available space in the education or job sector, or subjugate the others’ culture or religion, or lords it over the other so that the number of the poor and uneducated whose future is circumscribed by their circumstance is shared proportionately, then we are game.

8.        We all want a country where there is peace and progress, where justice is a given, where all lives are safe and people can pursue their legitimate livelihoods wherever they choose. I believe each state in this country has areas of comparative advantage and life is a cycle so that what was once the largest revenue earner can in time become less so while something else takes ascendancy.

9.        As a country we must look to the future and agree on what in the long run will benefit us all. I must give kudos to the organisers for choosing such an appropriate theme for this conference, The North and the future of the Nigerian federation.

10.      I am glad to see that the organisers have noted the critical role that education must play in any part that the North eventually chooses to take. The truth is that the modern world is one that puts premium on human capital rather than natural resources. The development of that capital therefore must take precedence over anything else we want to do as a people.

11.      I want to assure participants that the outcome of this conference will form a critical part of the aggregate views of Northern States on restructuring and will be useful to our current effort at ensuring  that we do a thorough job on behalf of our people.

12.      I therefore call on everyone who has any view on the matter or any suggestion that will make this great country move forward and strengthen our unity to come forward and express those views.

13.      Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, with your permission; I now declare this conference open for business.

May God guide us all.

Media Group Inducts Bureau of Public Procurement In The ‘FOI Hall of Shame’

The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) today secured a place in the “Freedom of Information (FOI) Hall of Shame” as Media Rights Agenda (MRA) upbraided it for its failure to implement the FOI Act, 2011 and enforce the transparency provisions in its own enabling Law, the Public Procurement Act (PPA), 2007.

In a statement in Lagos, MRA noted that besides the duties and obligations which the BPP has as public institution to which to the FOI Act applies, as a “procuring entity” and the regulatory agency for public procurements, the BPP is also given general and specific responsibilities under the PPA to ensure transparency in public contracting processes.

MRA’s Programme Manager for Freedom of Information, Mr Ridwan Sulaimon, said in the statement: “The Public Procurement Act requires the BPP to establish, develop, or maintain various databases and records.  These provisions are intended to facilitate the effective implementation of the Act and guide the public and interested stakeholders on the different types of information available in the procurement process and where they can be obtained.  The BPP is also mandated to publish certain types of information about itself and its activities as part of a concerted effort to achieve the transparency objectives of the Act”

He noted that the BPP had not fulfilled many of its transparency obligations even under its enabling law and was largely negligent in its regulatory functions relating to the transparency of procuring entities and public access to their procurement records and information, including its duty to prescribe the fees that Federal ministries, departments and agencies may charge for copying or certifying procurement records, as required by Section 14 of the Public Procurement Act.

Besides, Mr Sulaimon said, the BPP has ignored virtually all its duties and obligations under the FOI Act.

According to him, “In the last six years since the enactment of the FOI Act, the BPP has never submitted any annual implementation report to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as required by Section 29 of the Act; and it has not proactively published the 16 categories of information it is required to publish in accordance with Section 2(3) and (4) of the Act. There is no indication whatsoever that the organisation has designated an officer to whom requests for information may be sent, as required by the FOI Act and the Implementation Guidelines for the FOI Act issued by the AGF.”

Mr. Sulaimon said: “The recent assessment by the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) in its 2017 ranking of 166 public institutions based on the levels of public access to procurement related records and information, which was released on September 28, 2017 also portrayed BPP as one of the worst institutions in terms of lack of compliance with the FOI Act. Even requests for procurement information were ignored by the BPP, despite being the standard setting organisation for procurement transparency in Nigeria.”

Noting that the BPP is currently leading efforts to implement electronic procurement and open contracting in Nigeria, which recently earned the Bureau the Government Innovation Award, from the Washington DC-based Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) and the London-based Open Data Institute (ODI).

Mr Sulaimon added that “the Nigerian Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO), the development of which is being led by the BPP, is expected to publish open data from over 750 public institutions to the Open Contracting Data Standard with the aim of improving transparency, preventing corruption, and enhancing active citizen participation and feedback towards achieving better service delivery.”

He wondered how the “BPP can be leading such a massive and important transparency initiative in the country when it has itself never complied with the FOI Act, the most important transparency legislation in Nigeria.”

He called on the Director-General of the Bureau, Mr. Mamman Ahmadu, to take the BPP’s induction into the FOI Hall of Shame as a wake-up call by complying with the relevant provisions of the FOI Act, especially since such compliance will confer on the Bureau the needed moral authority to exercise its powers and perform its functions much more effectively.”

Launched on July 3, 2017 to shine the spotlight on public officials and institutions that are undermining the effectiveness of the FOI Act through their actions, inactions, utterances and decisions, Media Rights Agenda has so far inducted 11 public institutions and two high court judges into the FOI Hall of Shame.  MRA released a 16-minute video documentary titled: “The Dirty Dozen” on 28 September 2017, focusing on the first 12 inductees into the FOI Hall of Shame as part of activities to commemorate the International Day for Universal Access to Information. The documentary can be viewed on Youtube at:

‘When We Speak Of Nothing’, Olumide Popoola’s Debut Novel, Now Available In Nigeria

When We Speak of Nothing‘, a novel by London-based Nigerian-German author, Olumide Popoola and published by Cassava Republic Press, is now available for purchase in Nigeria after the book’s massive success in Europe.

With its initial release in London in July 2017, the novel was described by Elle Magazine as a “smart novel with electric prose that tells us what it means to be young, black and queer in London,” while award-winning British novelist, Diana Evans, writing for the Financial Times, noted that ‘When We Speak of Nothing’ is “a satisfying and perceptive examination of the emergence of the whole person against the odds posed by a constricting society.”

Peppered with modern slang, Popoola’s debut novel is a fast-paced narrative, that takes a deep look into the lives of the book’s lead characters in Port Harcourt and London, examining their struggles, identity and experiences as they navigate through their lives while pointing out social issues such as the Niger Delta ecocide and racial tensions in London.

It follows the lives of best friends, Karl and Abu, two black London-born seventeen-year old boys who are navigating through the last years of their teen, discovering and learning about themselves and the world around them. Although the book’s entire length takes place within a short period of time, it however, offers readers a critical look into the individual lives of the boys as they both find their paths in different locations while still trying to maintain a friendship that is fast unraveling.

When We Speak of Nothing is a gripping, well-told story that shows the intricacies of friendship, acceptance and dealing with gender identity and difference, including the dilemmas faced by teenagers on the brink of adulthood. It is by all standards, a beautiful story that should have been told long ago.

The book is available for sale at Cassava Republic bookstores at 62B, Arts and Crafts Village, Opposite Sheraton, Abuja; or Shop F4086 Tejuosho Shopping Mall, Yaba, Lagos. You can also order the book from, send an email to or call 07044924924 for more details.

Independence Day Address By Governor Yahaya Bello

My dear people of Kogi State,
I give all the praise to the Almighty God for another Independence Anniversary – the 57th for our dear Nation Nigeria. Everyone who has access to international news media knows of nations which have been confronted with the selfsame challenges that we face here and have descended into war and crises. Today is thus another perfect opportunity for gratitude, if not for the good we have achieved, at least, for the evils which God has kept from befalling us.
Poor leadership, corruption, terrorism, militancy, separatist agitations, even a Civil War which ended 47 years ago constitute some of the self-inflicted troubles which we contend with in the Nigerian Federation. Unlike other nations which have proved incapable of working through their differences and have gone up in flames, we Nigerians have had the good fortune, if not the good sense, to keep talking.
We may not always speak in polite tones, and our passion may sometimes be irrational, but we have maintained communication, and therefore avoided conflict. This is a wonderful blessing, and we must be grateful to God for it.
In Kogi State, I continue striving to exemplify inclusive leadership. I am glad that none of my traducers have accused me of ethnicism or tribalism yet (although now that I have reminded them, they may start tomorrow). If anything, some persons are angry at me for not stuffing Cabinet and other organs of governments with my own kith and kin. I do not owe anyone an apology on this score.
From the inception of my Administration, I have ensured that proportional representation of constituencies across the 3 Senatorial Districts as well as the personal merits of individual appointees have determined who serves where in Government. This posture is founded on my belief that one does not effect change by doing the same old things the same old ways.
In order to force a paradigm and generational shift in politics, I realize that I must keep justice, equity and merit as the moral compass for Government. The only way politics in Nigeria can change to accommodate more young people in high positions of leadership is for youths already in leadership to demonstrate competence and capacity to lead. I shall not speak for others but I repeat a solemn guarantee to succeed well as Governor of Kogi State.
I know that today is not a day to start reeling out a roll call of Projects executed by my Administration in the last 20 months, but I assure Kogites that tremendous progress is being made. In another 4 months, we will mark our 2 years in Office and I promise that the second volume of a Compendium which will contain all ongoing and completed projects will be released to commemorate it. The first volume has been out since January this year and continues to showcase our verifiable achievements. Till then, suffice it to say that we are racing to achieve as much as time and funds will permit.
We are careful to ensure even distribution of projects across all of our constituencies based on needs assessment. All of the 5 thematic areas in our New Direction Blueprint are receiving simultaneous attention. Education, Health, Infrastructure & Utilities, Job Creation & Youth Empowerment and Public Service & Pension Reforms remain vehicles from which to unload our Change Agenda.
While Education and Healthcare remain atop our list of priorities, communities across Kogi State are also being provided with electricity, water supply, roads, etc.
In Education, we have focused on providing quality learning environment and materials in order to unleash the genius of our students. So much has been done in the sector. For instance, I personally flagged off construction of 240 blocks of 2 classrooms each in 80 Primary Schools across the 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi State recently. Upon completion, each of them will be equipped with modern learning facilities and round-the-clock solar electricity to power the ICT components.
I was happy to hear from our Commissioner for Health a couple of months ago that we have met our 4-year target of 100% immunization against childhood killer diseases already. Our statistics on Maternal and NewBorn Health initiatives also show-marked improvement from what we met on ground. Most pregnant women in Kogi State today have access to free maternity kits and care today.
Primary and Secondary Health Care Centres across the 21 Local Government Areas have either been renovated or built from scratch and equipped with drugs and equipment. We also recruited scores of medical personnel to help improve access to medicare for our people. 12 state-of-the-art ambulances were bought and distributed across Kogi State to facilitate speedy evacuation of critically ill patients to larger medical facilities in urban and semi-urban areas.
Empowerment and welfare programs for our youth and other population groups have been held to one level or the other in all of the 21 Local Government Areas. We have also been lauded as one of the most responsive state to the Social Investment Programs of the Government. Like I said in my New Year message earlier this year, 2017 is going to be a hallmark year for projects.
The Administration will continue to apply dialogue where it can make a difference in any industrial dispute. However, at this stage in our Public Service and Pension Reforms, we have a duty to pay more attention to the law, including the Public Service Rules as well as the sustainability of the reforms we are putting in place. The whims and caprices of vested interests cannot therefore be admitted to determine our responses in any way.
We do not understand what could possibly be wrong with putting into the hands of individual workers the tools to determine their own rating (and therefore progress) on the job, even after we have left office. Our aim with the clock-in, clock-out devices which Labour Leaders are rejecting is to empower each worker to leave a digital footprint which authenticates his or her participation during the typical work day. If this aim is defeated, all of the aspirations of genuine and conscientious workers to be assessed based on actual performance will remain a mirage, like in the past.
Prompt payment of salaries is still a vexed issue, but we will do our best to keep our workers happy given the competing demands on the income of the state per time. However, it is inevitable that from time to time we must ask workers to stand with us in sacrifice. We hope they will oblige in the overall interest of the state.
In similar vein, prompt payment of Gratuities and Pensions is only possible within the ambits of a Contributory Pension Scheme. Like the automation of the workforce, a Contributory Pension Scheme for the Kogi State workforce is inevitable reform. We commend workers who come around to work to the overall interest of the State. We cannot allow ourselves to become deterred from implementing much-needed reforms. We also urge all workers not to be misled as Government is doing everything possible to address the various challenges confronting the workforce. We are a responsible Government and we shall live up to our responsibilities.
The Administrations was gratified to be invited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to send a Team to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York City as one of only four states in Nigeria considered success stories for their implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our Team enjoyed a successful outing at the United Nations Headquarters, made a presentation at the Nigeria side event and signed a Memorandum of Understanding for deeper collaboration with the UN and her agencies. This is good for Kogi State and her people.
Let me remind us that the rains are still here and there is still need to remain vigilant against flooding and other associated natural disasters. The most potent tool against flooding is to keep existing drainage systems free of garbage and other rubbish. The next is to be wise and evacuate to higher ground if flooding appears imminent and you live in a low-lying area.
On our part as Government, we have designated camps for Internally Displaced People in each Local Government Area deemed at risk, and should it become necessary to deploy a Camp in any locality, Kogites can expect their Government to act with despatch in sending fast responders and launching emergency protocols.
As I conclude this address this 1st October morning, in the year 2017, I find myself in bitter-sweet mood. The sweet feelings flow from the GREAT POTENTIALS which Nigeria possessed long before Independence, and which remain unabated despite 57 years of checkered history. The pain comes from bitter emotions evoked when I consider the COUNTLESS MISSED OPPORTUNITIES we have had from October 1, 1960 to October 1, 2017 to transform our great potentials into great progress.
The British may have had their own ulterior motives when they amalgamated the old Northern and Southern Protectorates into one Nigeria in 1914, but I believe they also provided us an opportunity which hitherto did not exist, i.e. the opportunity to be much more greater than we would have become as individual tribes or territories.
In my opinion, and I think most Nigerians will agree with me, that even though we have not harnessed our gains after amalgamation, the present Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is making efforts to optimize our potentials as a Nation. This is evident in a more secured Nigeria after years of terrorism threat, we are consciously diversifying our economy to Agriculture and Mining, the very vulnerable are now being focused on using various current programmes and policies – e.g Condition Cash Transfer at National level, N-power and Market Money, Home Grown School Feeding Programme etc. as a State, the GYB Food Security Project, Youth and Artisan Empowerment Project and the upcoming GYB water for life Grassroot Project and finally, GYB Model Primary and Unity School to foster cohesion amongst the upcoming young ones and quality education.
I reiterate our commitment in Kogi State and Nigeria where there is room for all citizens and constituencies to achieve their maximum potentials.
In the spirit of our 57th Anniversary as a Country, I wish all Kogites, Nigerians and our motherland, Nigeria, Happy Independence!
May the Almighty God bless us all.

Khalif Cares Foundation Hosts Independence Day Celebration in Okene

Nigeria’s 57th Independence Day witnessed an unprecedented celebration in the central senatorial district of Kogi state, as youths and women drawn from across the five local governments of the district were hosted by Khalif Cares Foundation, a charitable organization belonging to an aspirant vying to represent the district at the Red Chamber in 2019.
The event which was massively attended by beneficiaries of the foundation’s continuous benevolence, also turned out to be a rallying point for friends, celebrities in the Ebira entertainment industry, and well-wishers of the founder.
Speaking with newsmen, the convener of the event, and the Coordinator of the All Progressives Congress Women Wing in the district, Hajia Jimoh Musili said the celebration was driven by the foundation’s resolve to voluntarily partner with the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in  ensuring peaceful coexistence, and human capacity building.
She stated that the Independence Day celebration marks the beginning of the foundation’s mission to consolidate on the bond it shares with the people, promising to embark on more empowerment projects.
 “Alhaji Khalifa Abdulrahaman Okene is not only a philanthropist who has impacted lives and ready to do more, but also a team player wetting the ground for us to thread in this assignment of being responsible to humanity. That is why we are always on ground to secure different life changing opportunities for our people,” she added.
In the same vein, Hajia Musiliu described Khalifa’s senatorial aspiration as an opportunity for him to enhance his bid towards making life better for the people of Kogi central, if given the mandate.
“As an independently successful entrepreneur, who has dedicated his resources to human and societal development, we have no doubt in his ability to give qualitative representation to our people if elected. So I urge our people to throw their weight behind Alhaji Khalifa Abdulrahaman Okene,” she said.

Nigeria At 57: Glorious Dawn Ahead, Says Ashafa

“After rain comes sunshine; After darkness comes the glorious dawn. There is no sorrow without its alloy of joy; there is no joy without its admixture of sorrow. Behind the ugly terrible mask of misfortune lies the beautiful soothing countenance of prosperity. So, tear the mask!” – Chief Obafemi Awolowo

As our dear country marks her 57th Independence anniversary, I draw inspiration from the words of one of our founding fathers, Chief Obafemi Awolowo as quoted above.

For so long, the Nigerian State has demanded of Nigerians to be ready to sacrifice for the eventual benefit of all. Nigerians have been asked to manage, to bear the burdern and sometimes be willing to suffer until the ship of state arrives at the place of hope.

However, what we have experienced in the past 2 years can be likened to darkness caused by years of decay, which led us into the recession, which we are now coming out from. We are not only coming out of the recession, we are coming out of it with a diversified economy, a more entrepreneurial population, lesser dependence on crude oil, a more informed people, a more solid foundation for our economy and the institutions of state. We are making haste slowly, we are coming out a better country.

I therefore believe that there is no better time than now for us as a country to come together as one in order to emerge together into the “glorious dawn” that lies ahead. Our differences are many, our tongues differ but we must be willing to come together to forge a road map for this bright future together and through the legitimate institutions of state.

Dear Nigerians, Lagosians and the Good People of Lagos East, I urge you all to rally round the leadership at various levels. I believe that this is the time to support our leaders with effort, counsel and constructive criticism, as we work together to create the Nigeria of our dreams.

GTBank-Ogun State Principals Cup (Season 5) Holds Sept. 21

The 2017 edition of the GTBank-Ogun State Principals Cup will reach its climax on Thursday 21st September, 2017 in the famous MKO Abiola Stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta. The highly anticipated finals will thrill football lovers from across Ogun State and beyond as first-time finalists take on former champions.

The curtain raiser for the day will be the finals in the female category between 2 time winners, Muslim High School, Isolu and Iko Gateway Grammar School, Idiroko. In the male category, Ipara Community Secondary School, Ipara will hope to spring an upset as they take on title favorites, Pakoto High School, Ayede-Ifo who won the trophy in 2015. The matches are bound to produce historic moments for two of the four schools as both jostle to win the trophy for the first time ever.

The GTBank – Ogun State Principals Cup has been won by 5 schools since its inception. In the male category, Alamuwa Grammar School, Ado Odo won the first and forth editions of the competition (2013, 2016) and are the only male team to win twice so far – a feat Pakoto High School hope to repeat when they file out on Thursday – while Remo Divisional High School, Sagamu emerged winners in 2014. In the female category, Orile Ilegun Comprehensive High School, Odeda clinched the title in 2013, Alamuwa Grammar School, Ado Odo 2014, while this year’s finalist, Muslim High School, Isolu took home the title in 2015 and 2016.

Outstanding players to watch out for in the male category of this year’s final include Olalekan Toheeb of Pakoto High School who is the leading scorer of the tournament with 3 goals, and Sodiya Olaoluwa of Ipara Community Secondary School who won the most valuable player award in the semifinals. In the female category, all eyes will be on Adeyanju Hanna of Iko gateway Grammar School who scored the lone goal that earned her team a place in the final, and Kayode Tolulope of Muslim High School whose midfield prowess helped her team get to this stage of the competition. Winners in both categories will be rewarded with the sum of N1,000,000 each, while the 1st ,2nd, 3rd runners-up will be given N750,000, N500,000, and N350,000 respectively.

Commenting on the Finals the 2017 GTBank – Ogun State Principals Cup, Segun Agbaje, the MD/CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, said “We are proud to lead this initiative that provides an avenue for students to showcase their talents and passion for the game of football even as they remain committed to their academics.” He further stated that “This competition paves the way for youths to cultivate their sporting talents and aptitudes, while fostering and building a healthier lifestyle at a critical stage in their lives”.

Guaranty Trust Bank plc is a foremost Nigerian financial institution that has maintained a defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy since its inception in 1990. The Bank actively supports in-classroom and out-of-classroom educational programmes, infrastructure development, students’ scholarship and teachers training across Africa.

Alongside the Ogun State Principals Cup, GTBank also sponsors the Lagos State Principals Cup, and the Masters Cup tournaments.

IPOB Attack On Hausa And Yoruba Mosque: Army Should Protect Muslims In The South East – MURIC 

Terrorists of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) shot five innocent Hausa men dead at an Hausa settlement near the popular Abraka Market in Asaba, Delta State, on Friday, 15th September, 2017. Scores of others were injured. In another attack, an irate IPOB mob attacked the Yoruba Mosque in Umuahia, Abia State. The marauding hoodlums destroyed the mosque, tore copies of the Glorious Qur’an and defecated inside the mosque. Some Yoruba Muslims caught up in the mayhem were manhandled and robbed of their laptops and handsets.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns these attacks. It is wicked, cowardly, unjustifiable and psychopathically sadistic.

It is well known that most Northerners who live in the South East and South West are poor citizens who engage in menial works like shoe-mending, shoe-shining, gate-keepers, etc. What crime has this poor and innocent class committed to warrant such a deadly attack? They are neither politicians nor civil servants.

MURIC asserts that these gruesome attacks are a direct product of hate speeches delivered by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed terrorist group, IPOB. Kanu has allegedly berated Yoruba ‘bastards’ and their leaders and pronounced the death sentence on every Nigerian living in the ‘Nigerian zoo’. It is not surprising, therefore, that IPOB terrorists have started killing innocent Hausa people and attacking Yoruba mosques. Objective and pragmatic leaders of thought in the South East should prevail on Kanu and IPOB members to stop their terrorist activities henceforth.

We are irked by the silence of Yoruba leaders on IPOB’s attack on the Yoruba mosque. Are Yoruba Muslims no longer part of the Yoruba nation? Are they not the majority group in the South West? Are the elitist Yoruba leaders still bent on marginalizing the majority Yorubas in their midst just because the Muslims are not vocal?

MURIC demands proper prosecution of the two IPOB members arrested in connection with the terrorist act. We implore the Delta Police Command to fish out their accomplices. The law must take its due course.

We task IPOB apologists, particularly constitutional lawyers who are trying hard to fault the Nigerian Army’s declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organization, to tell the world the correct name for a group which sprays innocent and unarmed citizens with bullets without stealing anything from them. What do you call a group that razes down police stations and kills the police at will? Any group which engages in threats and violence to call attention to its cause is a terrorist group. No more, no less.

Today was born from the wombs of yesterday. It is on record that IPOB threatened President Buhari when he wanted to visit Enugu. They said that he should not set his feet on Igboland. That threat has become a reference point by legally minded people. To avoid a clash and the likely loss of lives, the president sent his vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. No country in the world takes threat to the life of its president lightly.

According to Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, anyone who parades a private army has become an enemy combatant. No military worth its salt will stomach that. We also remind apologists that human rights lose its numero uno status once national security is under threat (ref Dokubo-Asari V. Federal Republic of Nigeria 2007 ALL FWLR PT 375 588). We therefore plead with separatist ideologues to desist from misleading the people.

While MURIC is not averse to the idea of any group demanding its rights, we will not take kindly to attacks on Muslims and our places of worship. We do not issue threats. Neither do we engage in violence. Our motto is ‘Dialogue, Not Violence’ and we will stick to our pacifist vow to the end. But we will not hesitate to seek redress for any act of aggression committed against Muslims. All legitimate options are on the table. We will pursue those who oppress and persecute Muslims to the highest court in the world.

We commend the Nigerian Army not only for responding swiftly to the threat against the territorial integrity of the Nigerian nation but also for conducting itself professionally. No army in the world will tolerate hoodlums blocking its movement on a public road and pelting it with stones like IPOB members did. Those calling for the withdrawal of the army from Abia State are not being realistic. It is another ploy for IPOB to dig in, kill all Hausas and Yorubas and make it impossible for the army to return except at the commencement of full-blown war. We don’t want any war. All we want is peace. The army did a good job by intervening at the right time.

It is clear that the police cannot handle IPOB. Even the IPOB leader claimed that they already have weapons. We all saw video clips showing how members of IPOB harassed and taunted policemen. What did the apologists do at that time? Did they call IPOB to order? Any withdrawal by the military at this point in time will endanger the lives of innocent non-indigenes.

We appeal to the international community to avail itself with video clips containing hate speeches of the leader of IPOB before rushing to judgement. Hate speeches by Nnamdi Kanu has started taking effect. IPOB has started killing Muslims. Our mosques are being attacked and desecrated. Kanu himself is on the run. But he can only run, he cannot hide.

We appeal to Muslims in and outside the South East sub-region not to take the law into their hands. Two wrongs do not make a right. We advise disgruntled groups to channel their grievances through their state governors. The Federal Government should, as a matter of urgency, set up a commission to dialogue with such groups. However, we reject the idea of a meeting between President Buhari and the IPOB leader as this will bestow a false illusion of officialdom and encourage lawlessness among other groups. Idolisation of criminality in itself is a crime.

As a final shot, we affirm that every Nigerian has the right to live and work anywhere in the country. We therefore appeal to the military to remain palpably visible in the South East until all threats to peace and orderliness have been brought under control. This is necessary in order to protect the lives and properties of minority groups.


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Olam Launches Africa’s Largest Poultry Breeding Farm In Kaduna

Imagine the development that will accompany a farm that has a hatchery capacity of 1.6m chicks weekly and a Feed factory with an annual production capacity of 360,000 metric tons! The job opportunities and economic activities across the value chain.
That began a few days ago in Kaduna.
History was made in Chikpiri Gabas Village, Gwagwalada, Kaduna when Olam International, a leading agri-business operating from seed to shelf in 70 countries began operations on its 825-hectare poultry breeding farm, the largest of its kind in sub Saharan Africa.
At the farm’s commissioning on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, the relevance of KadInvest, a summit organized by the recently established Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA) was reaffirmed in the economic renaissance of the state. It is no coincidence that Kaduna state was preferred as the choice location for this landmark achievement and the summit’s role in this historic feat is not one to be easily discarded.
With an investment value of US$100 million, the state-of-the-art Integrated Poultry facility comprises a hatchery and poultry farm, on one hand, and feed mill factory, on the other, to close the wide chicken deficit, by creating high-end chicken in Nigeria, for Nigeria. All processes including feeding, water supply, treatment, ventilation systems and illumination are automated in line with global standards.
Olam CEO for Africa, Venkataramani Srivathsan was visibly as excited as we were. “By investing in poultry and fish feed, we can utilise the wheat bran from our wheat milling operations, as well as maximise our sourcing networks to buy corn and soy from local farmers. Our investment in the hatchery will help boost poultry production and, in the long run, help reduce the country’s reliance on import. At full capacity both mills are expected to produce more than 600,000 metric tonnes of feed. The Kaduna mill will supply mainly Nigeria’s northern markets. The mills will source corn and soybeans locally and it is hoped that this will encourage domestic production of these crops.”
There are five hatchers in the farm, each of them are expected to produce 38,400 day-old-chicks per day. On the feed mill, which sits on 844 hectares, with 150,000mt storage capacity, the company says it will address the poultry feed supply gap in Northern Nigeria, filling the 40 per cent gap in the animal feed market.
We read with glee when the Business Head-Animal Protein, Olam Hatcheries Limited, Dr. Vinod Kumar Mishra, said the poultry and hatchery will produce four billion eggs and 100 million Kg of poultry meat for the country annually, which is an equivalent of 25 eggs and 0.5kg of chicken per person.
The farm is also expected to help local communities thrive by facilitating direct employment of 500-600 workers and a potential ripple effect of 300,000 to 400,000 jobs for local rural youth as they see opportunity to become poultry farmers. It is also working with various state governments to enable a regular supply of eggs for school meal programmes at below-market prices.
These numbers are unprecedented in this part of the world, and we are glad they have begun to happen right here in our dear state. In the words of the governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, “we will continue to attract the resources needed to make the lives of our people better”. This development lends credibility to that commitment.

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