YIAGA’s Samson Itodo To Speak At NDI’s 35th Anniversary In Washington D.C

The National Democratic Institute has selected Samson Itodo, YIAGA AFRICA Executive Director and Convener of the Not Too Young To Run movement as one of four young, dynamic, democratic representatives from around the world to speak at the organization’s 35th Anniversary Gala scheduled to hold on December 6, 2018 at The Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

Speaking on the theme ‘Reaffirming Democracy,’ Samson Itodo will share perspectives on how YIAGA AFRICA’s work advances the promise of a truly inclusive democracy in Nigeria and beyond. Mr Itodo represents the continent at this Gala, sharing the stage only with democracy activists from Iran and Russia.

Over 500 guests are expected to attend the gala. They include Members of Congress, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, representatives of the international policy and non-profit communities, as well as the private sector.

 Samson Itodo is also billed to speak at a high-level World Affairs briefing hosted by NDI on December 7, on the 2019 General Elections in Nigeria with the theme ‘Watching Nigeria Vote in 2019: Building Integrity through Election Observation. Other speakers at the event include Dr Pauline Baker, President Emeritus, Fund for Peace, John Tomaszewski (“JT”) Regional Director for Africa, International Republican Institute (IRI), Pat Merloe Senior Associate and Director for Election Programs, NDI. Sophia Moestrup, Deputy Director for Central and West Africa, NDI will moderate the conversation.

Samson will provide critical analysis of issues shaping the 2019 general election in Nigeria as well as the state of preparations of different electoral stakeholders from a civil society perspective. He will share findings from the YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote pre-election observations findings and discuss preparations for the deployment of the Parallel Vote Tabulation in the upcoming 2019 general elections.

 YIAGA AFRICA and the Not Too Young To Run movement congratulate NDI on its 35th-anniversary celebration. NDI has consistently inspired hope in democracy through citizen engagement, credible elections and the defence of human rights. Her commitment to the development of civil society and democratic institutions is unparalleled, and YIAGA AFRICA and the Not Too Young To Run movement celebrate this truly progressive partnership.

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Polaris Bank Restores ATM Services Nationwide

Polaris Bank has announced that its customers can now use their electronic cards at Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and can also carry out transactions at branches nationwide.

This was contained in a tweet by the Bank on Wednesday evening.

Recall that customers has been facing a major network issue across all transaction channels nationwide since Monday. Social media was also agog with comments from angry customers ever since an initial statement was made via their Twitter account, asking that customers bear with them as they resolve the issues.

Some glimmer of hope however has been restored today, as customers can now use their electronic cards at ATM’s and can also carry out transactions at branches nationwide.

The statement reads: “Sequel to our earlier notice of service disruptions owing to system maintenance, we are pleased to inform you that you can now carry out transactions using your electronic cards on ATMs or visit any of our branches.

“While we continue to work on restoration of services on the internet and mobile banking channels, we appreciate your understanding and thank you for your patience.”

 

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Applications For Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme 2019 Opens On TEFConnect

On the 1st of January 2019, at 12am, WAT, the Tony Elumelu Foundation will begin accepting applications for the fifth cycle of its Entrepreneurship Programme. 1,000 selected applicants will join the current 4,470 beneficiaries of the Programme.

Since 2015, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme – the only African-funded entrepreneurial catalyst of its kind – has empowered 4,470 African entrepreneurs, with seed capital of $5,000 each; twelve weeks of accelerated online business training; access to experienced mentors; and membership of Africa’s largest entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Beneficiaries of the Programme have been profiled in global media, including the Forbes [Africa] 30 Under 30 list. They have attracted the attention of investors, as well as have been recipients of awards, including the Google Impact Challenge and the Chivas’ “The Venture” Award for Social Entrepreneurs.

The Entrepreneurship Programme has facilitated exchanges between African entrepreneurs and local and global public sector leaders, investors and development partners, raising their business profiles, scaling their opportunities, showcasing their innovation and identifying ways to further strengthen the business environment in Africa. In June 2018, the Foundation convened a forum with President Emmanuel Macron of France and young African entrepreneurs. In October 2018, the Foundation was proud to have President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya address the gathering of young African entrepreneurs at the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum.

The Foundation’s investment, impact and commitment to advancing entrepreneurship is predicated on the belief that Africa’s entrepreneurs hold the key to unlocking the potential of the continent and facilitating the transformation of Africa.  With this objective, the Tony Elumelu Foundation launched the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, its US$100 million flagship programme to identify over a period of 10 years, 10,000 African startups and entrepreneurs, with ideas that have the potential to transform the African continent. Its goal is to invest in businesses that together can generate at least 1,000,000 new jobs and contribute at least $10 billion in new annual revenues across Africa.

The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is open to citizens and legal residents of all African countries, who run businesses based in Africa that are less than three years old. Business ideas that are yet to launch are also encouraged.

The 2019 Applications will be hosted on the largest digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs – TEFConnect onwww.tefconnect.com.

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Bill And Melinda Gates Recognize Six Nigerians As 2018 ‘GoalKeepers’ For Advancing SDGs

The Gates Foundation, in her second edition of the “Goalkeepers” event, recognizes six Nigerians as “Goalkeepers” for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Goalkeepers award is an annual event that recognizes global leaders who take a stand in their communities to achieve the SDGs. The inaugural Goalkeepers event took place in 2017 and it hosted a diverse group of leaders. Speakers, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Barack Obama, and Malala Yousafzai, shared their stories of bold leadership and innovative solutions that are driving progress on the Global Goals. This year, the Goalkeepers focused on youth population growth that are affecting the future world progress.

According to Bill Gates, “we need people everywhere to raise their voices, help build awareness of the Global Goals, and hold their government leaders accountable for progress… But if we ignore young people’s potential, we risk jeopardizing the progress that has been made—going backwards on gender equity, political stability, health outcomes, and economic prosperity.”

In recognizing the 2018 global Goalkeepers, Bill and Melinda Gates distinguishes six young Nigerians for their work in advancing the SDGs. Meet them:

  1. Oluseun Onigbinde, Founder of BudgIT.

Oluseun Onigbinde is the Lead Partner of BudgIT. Oluseun Onigbinde has worked on several projects funded by MacArthur Foundation, DFID, Open Society, OXFAM and Omidyar Network. Oluseun Onigbinde is a recipient of the Ashoka Fellowship, Future Africa Awards, Quartz Africa 30 Innovators Award, Aspen New Voices Fellowship and also an Open Knowledge Foundation ambassador for Nigeria. He sits on the ONE Africa Policy Advisory Board.

  1. Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, Founder of Pearls Africa Foundation.

Abisoye is a social entrepreneur and founder of Pearls Africa Foundation, an NGO focused on promoting technological advancement of vulnerable women and girls, for the purpose of economic independence. She has over 15 years of experience in Information Technology Solutions. She is Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) and an Oracle Database Administrator (OCDBA) amongst others. A technology savvy, data analyst with a passionate heart for change and a strong will to make it happen. She is listed as one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2018.

  1. “Prodigeezy”, Iyobosa Rehoboth.

Known in Nigeria for his socially concious videos, Iyobosa Rehoboth known by his alias Prodi Geezy has set the benchmark for new and emerging directors in Africa. As a Filmmaker, visual artist, Geezy has directed many acclaimed experimental videos, international commercials and print campaigns for clients such as Access bank, Burnaboy, Mercedes Benz etc. His famous video “This Is Nigeria” for Falz in 2018 received international acclaim and secured various festival entries globally.

  1. Immanuel Charles Akhimien, Co-Founder/Ambassador of MOBicure

Dr Charles Immanuel Akhimien is a medical doctor & Co-founder of the mobile health company, MOBicure. MOBicure’s flagship product, the multi-award winning OMOMI app is providing over 38,000 Nigerian women with life-saving maternal and child health information. Charles is highly regarded as a world class innovator and thought leader. He is a 2017 UN SDG Pioneer, a Mandela Washington Fellow and a One Young World Ambassador. He was recently included in the Real Leaders 100 list of 2018.

  1. Misan Rewane, Founder & CEO of the West African Vocational Education

Misan Rewane is co-founder and CEO of WAVE. Born and raised in Nigeria, Misan is no stranger to the challenges of education and social mobility. WAVE tackles youth unemployment by identifying low-income West African youth, training them on crucial employability skills, and connecting them to entry-level job opportunities. By turning motivated young talent into reliable human capital for local businesses, WAVE inspires positive change in employer attitudes, creating a more inclusive labour market.

  1. Samson Itodo, Director of YIAGA.

Samson heads one of Africa’s leading civic group on democratic governance and citizens’ participation, YIAGA AFRICA. YIAGA is a non-profit organization promoting democratic governance, constitutionalism and youth participation in Africa through research, capacity development and policy advocacy. Samson is the leader of the Not Too Young To Run movement. The campaign seeks to reduce the constitutional age requirement for political office.

*Jake Okechukwu Effoduh is a freelance journalist and an international development lawyer.

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APC’s Victory In Katsina, Kwara And Bauchi By-elections, A Divine Instruction To PDP – Eze

Last Saturday’s Federal House of Representatives by-elections held in Katsina, Kwara and Bauchi States have been described as an indicator to the popular acceptance of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the rejection of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) by Nigerians.

Making the analogy in a statement issued and circulated in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital on Thursday, a chieftain of the APC in the State, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, also pointed out that the outcome of the by-elections was a parable to the duo of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, that their political reign had come to an end.

Eze, who is also a former ally of the duo National Assembly leaders, noted that the by-elections, held on the eve of the upcoming general elections, was a divine instruction, intended to emphasize that the APC had come to change Nigeria for good, also to stamp the fact that those who used to determine the destinies of millions of Nigerians negatively will no longer have access to public offices as the people are now free to reject them without consequences.

It would be recalled that the by-elections were held on Saturday, November 17, 2018, in Katsina, Kwara and Bauchi; the home states of President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon Yakubu Dogara respectively and the polls were all cleared by the APC. It would also be recalled that Senator Saraki and Hon Dogara had defected from the APC to the PDP earlier in the year.

“Most importantly the APC success in these states signifies the general acceptance of President Muhammadu Buhari as the true leader of our present generation and eclipse of the political careers of some political heavyweights like the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Barr Yakubu Dogara who recently decamped from the ruling APC to PDP whose notoriety and looting of our common patrimony with impunity led to most of the economic challenges currently facing Nigeria.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) convincingly won the by-election into the Kankiya/Kusada/Ingawa federal constituency seat of Katsina State; Toro Federal Constituency of Bauchi State and that of /lrepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero federal constituency of Kwara State while in Katsina, the APC candidate Abubakar Kusada polled  48,518 votes beating his closest rival, the PDP candidate, Abdussamad Abdullah, who polled 20, 193 votes. APC also through Alhaji Yusuf Nuhu, won the by-election in Toro Federal Constituency of Bauchi having scored a total vote of 22,317 to lead his close rival of the PDP candidate, Alhaji Shehu Buba who polled 18,235 votes to come second. In  Kwara the APC’s candidate Olawuyi scored 21,236 votes to beat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Saheed Alatise who polled 18,095 votes.

“This demonstrates, not minding all the PDP propaganda, that the electorate was still enthusiastic about APC and the President Buhar’s administration. What the people of Bauchi and Kwara have done to both Barr Dogara and Dr Saraki respectively is that they are going to be politically buried come February 2019 and I am sure that both Saraki and Dogara would be politically retired by the good people of Kwara and Bauchi for having poorly represented their people and frustrated most of the good programs of the APC administration”, he said.

He, however, congratulated the people of Katsina, Bauchi and Kwara states for once again demonstrating that there are truly patriotic Nigerians, saying “kudos to the Minster of Information and the current political leader of Kwara State, Lai Mohammed and the entire Kwara people for freeing themselves from Saraki who have enslaved them all these years, mis-mismanaged their economic and political rights over the years.

“I urge Nigerians to continue to support and keep faith with the administration of President Buhari as he is on a divine mission to make Nigeria the great nation that God has destined her to be”.

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Don’t Denigrate The Effort To Address Social Emergency, APC Youth Wing Tells National Assembly

The All Progressives Youth Forum (APYF) has warned the National Assembly to stop denigrating the effort of President Muhammadu Buhari administration to address the huge social imbalances created by the same Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) whose members are now at the forefront of the new onslaught in the Senate to stop young Nigerians from benefitting from our Commonwealth through the social investment program of the current administration.

It is sad that the Senate Minority leader, Senator Abiodun Olujimi, who as a mother herself should celebrate the fact that the government is now productively engaging hitherto jobless young people is the very person leading the campaign against a well-designed welfare system that can protect people from hardship, safeguard the economy from shocks, develop people’s skills and improve their ability to participate in society and the labour market.The House of Representatives, led by the opposition PDP, has also not relented in its efforts to whip public sentiment against the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

Recently, the House, which constituted itself into an ‘investigation agency’ in clear contravention of its constitutional mandate issued a summon to the Vice President over what it termed “illegal approval of N5.8 billion north-east intervention fund”. In all this, the clear target of both the Senate and the House of Representatives is Professor Osinbajo who has admirably coordinated the social intervention initiatives of President Buhari administration. The scheme of the ‘opposition National Assembly’ is to call to question the integrity of the Vice President and discredit the program he coordinates. This plan has failed woefully.

It is encouraging to note that the reactions from majority of Nigerians, beneficiaries and stakeholders in the Social Investment Programs (SIP) have been positive; until some of our anti-people legislators stepped in. The National Assembly is now clearly the number one enemy of the common man, projecting the elitist ideology of its leadership and deriding the intervention aimed at bailing out the most vulnerable in our midst.

While Senator Olujimi and some of her shortsighted PDP colleagues in the National Assembly are busy thinking of the next election; the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to the future of Nigeria and its people. The APC government would continue to invest in the Nigerian people, irrespective of their religion or party affiliations. All beneficiaries of the social investment programs are free to belong to any political party of their choice; the Buhari government will not politicise or trivialise a program that is a lifesaver for many families.

Going forward, we warn the National Assembly and its leadership to desist from denigrating the social investment programs and the beneficiaries, or they will be confronted with the anger of the teeming Nigerian youths whose future is gradually being shaped by the current forward-thinking government of President Buhari. Indeed, the social investment program which is giving the ‘opposition Senate’ headaches, is one of the many interventions of the present government in its on-going efforts to strengthen the social backbone of our country.

No amount of mischief from the National Assembly or anywhere else can distract President Muhammadu Buhari from delivering to Nigerians an egalitarian society in which all citizens live above the threshold of poverty.

Signed:

Alwan Hassan
For: APYF

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Group Lauds Kwara Govt On Improved IGR

Elites Network for Sustainable Development ENetSuD, a Kwara-based Civil Society Organization, has lauded Kwara State Government (KWSG) on its improved reform that led to an increased Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the State.

In a statement signed by its Coordinator, Dr. Alagbonsi Abdullateef and made available to Journalists, ENetSuD stated that “IGR of Kwara State has commendably improved in recent times, which had greatly contributed to the total revenue of the state and has been sustaining it, especially at the period of dwindling FAAC allocation. Year-by-year analysis of the Total revenue of Kwara state since 2012 showed a significant decline since 2015, which could be related to the dwindling FAAC allocation caused by recession and oil price.

Interestingly, FAAC has been gradually increasing since 2016 (though below pre-recession periods like 2013 and 2014), and there is a possibility that the total revenue at the end of 2018 will equate or even surpass that of 2013, considering the fact that the monthly net FAAC to Kwara state has averagely remained around 3.5 billion since December 2017” (Figures 1 and 2).

The KWSG, in its efforts to increase and diversify its revenue base for financial freedom and bolster efficacy in governance, signed the Kwara State Revenue Administration Law (Law No. 6 of 2015) on 22ndJune 2015, which made the old Board of Internal Revenue defunct and gave birth to  the current Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS). The current KW-IRS has significantly increased the State IGR compared to the periods that precede its formation.

The impact of the current system of IGR in Kwara is evident from the percentage contribution of IGR to the annual total revenue in the state. For instance, between 2012 and 2015 when KW-IRS was formed, 2014 was the year with the highest percentage contribution of IGR to the total revenue of the state (22%), followed by 2013 (21.6%), while 2015 has the lowest (17.4%).

However, it is interesting to note that IGR has significantly contributed to the total revenue of the state since 2016. Specifically, the contributions of IGR to the State revenue in 2016 (40.1%), 2017 (37.2%) and 2018 (33.0%) are comparably higher than the years that precedes the creation of KW-IRS, even though the dwindling FAAC since 2016 could be an important confounder (Figure 3).

Considering the unique importance of IGR to the economic viability of a state (especially in the era of unstable FAAC Allocation), responsible and patriotic citizens are expected to play their role in growing the economy by paying their taxes regularly. We are appealing to the citizens and residents of Kwara State to pay their taxes accordingly.

Commending the Administration of Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed on the effective taxation system towards boosting the revenue base of the state, the group encouraged the KW-IRS to improve its citizens-friendly tax mechanism.

“We are of the conviction that Kwarans will voluntarily continue to cooperate with Government on payment of taxes if the State Infrastructural Development commensurate with the taxes that are being paid. We therefore urge the KWSG to provide value for the tax-payers money” ENetSuD said.

Many aspects of the economy in the state, including Education, Health, Road infrastructure, Environment, etc, need urgent attention of KWSG. For instance, we have repeatedly called the attention of KWSG to the pitiable condition of school infrastructure across the state. Many of the school buildings are dilapidated, and need urgent attention of the government.

On health, the creation of State Health Insurance Scheme, and the commitment of 1% of the State Annual Consolidated Revenue Fund to the Scheme is commendable. However, the sector needs improvement in terms of manpower and facilities. The uncountable numbers of bad roads in the state also need the quick intervention of the government within the limit of the available resources.

Advising the KWSG on the need to improve IGR outside tax payment by citizens is of interest to us. The government should explore all the possible ways to attract investors to Kwara state, which will boost its economy. Investing in the agricultural sector to diversify the economy is also sacrosanct.

While the practice of removing 500 million naira monthly as Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund (IF-K) from the IGR is good, KWSG is again urged to be prudent in spending, and make more savings from the available resources.

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N400m For US Visa Is Evil, BMO Lashes Atiku

The Buhari Media Organisation has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar of hiring a US lobbyist for millions of dollars just to score cheap political points of securing an American visa.

The Party had itself claimed that it would be paying Brian Ballard who is believed to be close to US President Donald Trump the equivalent of N400 million over a one year period to ostensibly lobby Washington on behalf of its candidate ahead of the 2019 Presidential election.
BMO said in a statement by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke that it is another chapter in PDP’s “book of corruption”
The group added that even if Trump’s friend convinced the US authorities to clear the path for Atiku to finally enter the US, it won’t clear the former Vice President of the corruption scandals that have over the years stuck to him
It said, “Nigerians are not prepared to easily forget how the PDP Presidential candidate’s name featured in high profile sleaze probe ranging from that of the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF)  to Siemens during his 8-year tenure as Vice President
“Not even a close ally of Trump can wipe clean a slate of corruption that took years of intense begging for his former principal to reluctantly accept his apology but which he still wants him to seek the forgiveness of Nigerians’
The pro-Buhari group however said it was not surprised that a party with credibility problem thinks the solution to its problem lies in throwing money around
“These are people that have been conditioned to see dollar rain as solutions to local credibility problems
“Coming soon after they had shared wads of dollars among party delegates,they did not feel bad spending more to boost the economy of Dubai where they have been holding strategy sessions
“The same people have signed a deal of $90,000 a month to secure an American visa for a morally challenged presidential candidate
They are busing boosting businesses in other countries, yet they are running a presidential campaign with the theme of ‘making Nigeria great again. How ironic!” BMO added
It wants Nigeria to see the difference between a President Muhammadu Buhari whose party does not need to spend money in any currency to whitewash his image and that of a candidate that needs to pay the equivalent of N400 million to clean its image in just one country.
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El-Rufai Chooses Hadiza Balarabe As Running Mate

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has announced the selection of Dr. Hadiza Balarabe as his running mate for the 2019 general election. The choice of Dr. Hadiza Balarabe as running mate continues Malam Nasir El-Rufai’s deliberate policy of promoting women.

There are five female commissioners in his 14-person cabinet, a feat not attained even by governors that had much larger cabinets. This is the first time in the history of Kaduna State that a major political party will select a woman as running mate.

The incumbent Deputy Governor, Arc. Barnabas Yusuf Bala, has opted to go to the National Assembly and has since emerged as the APC’s candidate for the southern Kaduna senatorial district.

Dr. Hadiza Balarabe is the current Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Agency, a position she has held since February 2016. In that role she has overseen the Kaduna State Government’s programme to revitalise and strengthen primary health care as the core of health service delivery in the state. Under her watch, the state is renovating and equipping 255 primary health centres with tools to assist better antenatal services and safer delivery. The agency has also helped expand vaccine coverage to protect children across the state.

Prior to joining the Kaduna State Government, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe was Director of Public Health in the FCT. She studied Medicine at the University of Maiduguri, and graduated in 1988. She was a Senior Registrar at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital before joining the services of the FCT in 2004.

Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, who was born in 1966, is from Sanga local government which is located in the southern Kaduna senatorial district.

Signed

Samuel Aruwan
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor (Media & Publicity)
Friday, 2nd November 2018

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North Central APYF Endorses Elaigwu For Benue Deputy Governorship

The North Central caucus of the All Progressives Youth Forum (APYF), a youth wing of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has endorsed Mr. Yusuf Sulaiman Elaigwu has the preferred candidate for the Benue State APC deputy governorship position in the 2019 elections.

The caucus observed that while many highly qualified individuals have indicated interest in the job, the technical and financial knowhow of Mr. Elaigwu, coupled with his youthful energy, are the characteristics that combined to make him the most ideal candidate to occupy the deputy governorship position of Benue State at this point in the life of the State.

While drawing the attention of Benue APC stakeholders to the humongous network and contacts that Elaigwu would deploy to complement the efforts of his principal when elected, the group note that it’s time Benue State capitalised on the resourcefulness and pedigree of visionary young people like Yusuf Elaigwu to drive the growth and development of the State.

While calling on party leaders in the State to give Elaigwu a chance to prove the worth and capacity of an average emerging leader in contemporary Nigeria; the North Central APYF emphasizes its trust in the ability and capacity of Yusuf Elaigwu to discharge effectively the functions of his office if given the chance.

Signed:

Muhammed Abdullahi
For: North Central APYF

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Entrepreneurship: Key To Unlocking Economic Development, Says Tony Elumelu

5,000 African entrepreneurs, private and public sector leaders and the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem convened in Lagos on Thursday, October 25, 2018 for the annual Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Forum.

The event which is the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in the world, is a unique opportunity for bringing together young business talent, creating dynamic networks and transmitting the message to policymakers that a vibrant and responsible private sector will deliver economic transformation. 

Now in its fourth year, the Forum marked the graduation of the 2018 cohort of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, following a rigorous nine-month period of training, mentorship and funding, which brought the total number of beneficiaries of the Programme to 4,470, with over 300,000 applications received to date.

One of the highlights was the unveiling of TEFConnect, a revolutionary digital community that brings together the complete entrepreneurshipecosystem across Africa and beyond, including entrepreneurs, investors and the broader business community on one platform, connecting them digitally with three vital elements for success – capital, market and business tools. Africa is riding a wave of rapid technological driven change in payment systems, education, agriculture and infrastructure and TEFConnect fulfills a critical role in linking entrepreneurs across the continent.

Commencing with a series of goodwill messages from key stakeholders in the investment, governmental and development communities, the event featured a pitching competition, panel discussions, as well as a vibrant interactive session between His Excellency, President Nana Akufo-Addo and the entrepreneurs, moderated by TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu.

It also featured a session on the role of the private sector in the economic development of Africa with Dr. Awele Elumelu, TEF Trustee, Founder, Avon Medical and Gavi Champion for Immunisation in Africa; moderated by CNNMoney Africa Correspondent, Eleni Giokos. Parminder Vir, CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation also unveiled the TEF Impact Documentary, featuring success stories of the Tony Elumeluu Entrepreneurs. 

Tony Elumelu reiterated his commitment to championing Africa’s economic development by supporting and training a new generation of entrepreneurs, whose successes can transform the continent, delivering opportunity, job creation and social impact. ‘Africa’s future is in African hands’ he stated.

“Our Foundation and its unique approach of training, mentoring and funding has proven that entrepreneurship is the key to unlocking economic transformation of our continent. I believe so strongly that success can be democratized and if we can match ambition to opportunities, this extraordinary generation can achieve anything,” said Tony Elumelu.  “With TEFConnect, we have created a tool, that provides a digital platform to host ideas, champion success and demonstrate Africans ability to use the most advanced technologies to take charge of their economic destinies.”

His Excellency, President Nana Akudo-Addo of Ghana underlined the importance of galvanizing the broad entrepreneurship eco-system, calling on public sector representatives to encourage, support and replicate the work of the Tony Elumelu Foundation in their respective regions.

Speaking on the importance of putting the right policies in place, President Nana Akufo-Addo said: “Nothing is changed or developed on its own. People must get up, speak, have discussions and change the dialogue”.  

Since its inception, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has empowered African entrepreneurs across the continent with a $5,000 non-refundable seed grant, a bespoke training programme designed specifically for the African environment and access to a dedicated group of mentors, significantly contributing to economic growth, job creation and revenue generation

The Forum was attended by key players in the private and public sector including Governor, Kebbi State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulahi Abubakar; President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nike Akande; Former Governor, Cross River State, HE Donald Duke and Former Governor of Anambra State, HE Peter Obi, among others.

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Prove Your Faith By Supporting Buhari, Cole for 2019, Eze Charges Wike

The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has been charged to back his praises for President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for the Niger Delta by supporting his 2019 ambition.

Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers state, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, who charged the Governor in a statement made available to the media in Port Harcourt on Friday, also described President Buhari’s completion and commissioning of the International Wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, as monumental, historical, an example of the President’s faith-keeping and love for the people of the State and the entire Niger Delta region.

Eze, who commended Governor Wike for being truthful about President Buhari’s positive intents for both Rivers state and the entire region, noted that the Governor’s positive comments on the President is an acknowledgement of the fact that the people of the state and Niger Delta have grown to trust their President and will always prefer him to lead them into a more developed and morally upright Nigeria.

While speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the ultramodern international wing of the Airport on Thursday, an elated Governor Wike had said “the people of Rivers State and the South South region are happy with you for what you are doing in the region. I would have made a demand but my friend, the Honourable Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika has told me that the Local Wing will be commissioned by December.”

Commenting on Wike’s ‘vote of confidence’ on the President, Eze said “this is the first time Gov. Wike is commending the developmental efforts of President Buhari in Rivers State and the entire South South region”, urging the Governor to validate his good faith towards President Buhari by supporting his 2019 presidential bid as well as that of the President’s preferred candidate for Rivers state Governorship, Pastor Tonye Cole, for the state to breath a new life.

Eze, while describing President Buhari as the best option for Nigeria’s economic and social growth, highlighted some of the steps the administration had taken to make life easier for Rivers people, saying “if we are to consider the following feats and projects so far executed by the present administration at the centre in Rivers State and South-South zone as a whole then he will win massively in the region come 2019. Some of these projects are listed as follows:

“Not minding that Wike denied the Federal Government land to enable her construct an Industrial Park, which benefits from start to completion and inauguration, would be enormous to Rivers State and her people,  the Federal Government still went ahead to buy 10,000 acres of land on which the complex, an envisaged city on its own, would stand.

“The Federal Executive Council (FEC) just few months ago approved contracts of N47 billion for road projects in the country, including redesigning and reconstruction of the Aba/Port-Harcourt section of the Enugu/Port-Harcourt Expressway.

“Apart from this intervention, the Federal Executive Council on the same date also approved dredging of Port Harcourt Seaport and provision of navigational aids for Escravos, at the sum of N13 billion.

“President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration released a whopping sum of N900 billion owed the Niger Delta Development Corporation (NDDC) by previous Federal Administrations, including the Administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to assist the body complete most of its projects in Rivers state and other States in the Niger Delta region.

“Rivers State will benefit from the unprecedented allocation of over one hundred and twenty five billion Naira (N125 billion), out of the N8.612 trillion appropriation bill presented by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 to the National Assembly to fund capital projects in 2018 in the Niger Delta region.

“Rivers State will surely benefit from the N53.89 billion earmarked for the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and N71.2 billion for Niger Delta Development Commission for capital projects, also to benefit from the budgetary allocation for the Niger Delta amnesty programme retained at N65 billion, with the budgetary allocation of N17.32 billion earmarked for the completion of the East-West Road.

“Rivers State will benefit from the Maritime University located at Okerenkoko in Delta State, with N5 billion budgeted in the 2018 budget for its formal take off. This is a University aimed to assist in the development and emancipation of the Niger Delta region.

“To demonstrate the seriousness over the full implementation of the Ogoni clean-up exercise and the execution of the multi-billion naira Bodo/Ogoni-Bonny road project, budgetary provisions were all made in the 2018 budget, which when completed, would open up the economic potential of the Niger Delta region beyond the shores of Nigeria, all in Rivers state.

“The APC-led Federal Government, apart from the above-named projects, embarked upon the following projects: the Calabar-Lagos Rail Line that cuts across Rivers state, the renovation/reconstruction of both Enugu-Port Harcourt Road and the West-East Road, the renovation of the Afam Power plant in Rivers state, resumption and reconstruction of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Rail Line, among other projects. All these projects were abandoned by the PDP governments. Appointment of sons and daughters of the region into key and crucial ministries and agencies”, he said.

Eze recalled that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, a son of the Niger Delta region, in his six years as the President of Nigeria, acknowledged that he failed Rivers State and the Niger Delta region by not embarking on any meaningful project in the region, apart from imposing Chief Nyesom Wike as the Governor of Rivers state, to promote insecurity in the state and the Niger Delta region.

Eze concluded by stating that now Buhari has proved that he is a patriotic son of the Niger Delta region, urged people of the Niger Delta to reciprocate by voting massively the APC candidates during the 2019 general elections.

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