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Senate President Godswill Akpabio’s Victory Shocks Enemies  

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Following the verse in the book of Deuteronomy 20:4 which says; “For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” This verse currently captures the mood of Distinguished Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio, President of the 10th Senate on his historic victory. As the leader and President of the 10th Senate, the situations and controversy woven around his emergence cannot be forgotten in a hurry as he is so overwhelmed with the victory despite going through stiff competition with his close contestant Senator Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari who went head to head with him in the pools.

 Despite being gracious in victory, Akpabio faced stiff opposition from some members who believed that the party leadership was not fair in their decision to back his candidature. But his stellar performance at the Pools that gave President Tinubu the victory cemented his place as Senate President. Those who stood against his candidature fell off like a pack of cards with the help of party loyalists and other critical stakeholders who believed in his leadership skills and his ability to turn things around like he did as Governor of Akwa-ibom state and Minister for Niger Delta Affairs.

While some members were angry that he left the Peoples Democratic Party PDP in a controversial manner; some believed the role he played in exposing some shady dealings at the senate committee briefing while he was minister of Niger Delta was a yardstick for him to be punished and also an avenue for them to take their own pound of flesh. Despite all odds, he was able to swim against the tides despite the turbulence aimed at sinking his ship. While his enemies were busy plotting to oust him and snatch victory from him; Akpabio was busy engaging all critical stakeholders and getting the solid backing of influential senators who saw him as a very good leader to lead the red chambers for the next four years. Providence ensured that his heart’s desire finally paid off with victory as those who have spoken ill of him in the past witnessed his emergence as Senate President.

He is a misunderstood personality due to the numerous controversies hovering around him, one thing many don’t know is that he has a heart of Gold and is always quick to forgive those that wrong him following the teachings of the bible. He is never vindictive and has also promised to work with his fellow senators even those who voted against his candidature. Despite the rigorous nature of his campaign; he will ensure that all members are carried along and also given an opportunity to express themselves. A source disclosed that Akpabio as senate president is going to write many wrongs and shame those waiting to see him fail. In his wisdom, he is going to ensure that the general notion about him as a rigid person will be changed as he is ready to ensure the 10th senate surpasses the record of other senate. “Most people who push a negative narrative about SP Akpabio are only just ignorant about his kind of person. His victory is divine and it’s the Lord doing. He is on that seat to correct the wrong impression and also shames his critics. He is a very humble and gentle person who is also a good listener. Everybody has their own downside but Senator Akpabio will ensure he discharges his duties without being vindictive and also make the 10th senate a very interesting and challenging one for everyone.”

Society

Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo: Simplifying Public Service With Quality Delivery

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By: Oladapo Sofowora

Like the proverbial Swizz knife; Hon. Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo is by default a versatile and proactive member of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration because of his incredible approach to work and his burning passion for results even at the tightest corner. Representing the youth demography; Olubunmi cut his teeth first as a public servant representing Akoko North East/ North West Federal Constituency at the hallowed green chambers at the 9th assembly that’s where as a first-term Representative member, he displayed the stuff he was made off as chairman of first term lawmakers who galvanized support for the speakership election of former speaker Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila in 2019.

Like the proverbial goldfish that has no hiding place in the water; his distinctiveness and magic wand were easy to spot by the leadership of the house who bestowed on him the House committee chairman on Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC. As Chairman; BTO led several campaign against misappropriation within the NDDC. He knows the legislative business like the back of his hand. Anytime he shows an intention to speak on the floor of the house; he speaks sense and everyone is willing to tap from his repertoire of knowledge. Despite being young; he wears intelligence like a badge of honour. Anytime he is addressing the parliament, you should be sure it’s proffering pragmatic solutions to issues of National interest. While as a member of the house, he sponsored several bills deviating from his colleagues who were at the green hallowed chamber to ‘Siddon Look’.

The Ondo-born lawmaker and minister for interior played his part actively and showed the world that he is indeed not to be shoved aside with the wave of a hand. When the current administration came into power; BTO was nominated and during his screening on the Senate floor he didn’t waste time to emphasize how he intends to contribute his quota to the growth of the country. He never failed to dazzle as he answered questions convincingly. When many are told to take a bow and go; BTO remained fierce with the truth, by systematically and synchronously laying down his point with workable plans on how to use his lofty ideas to move the country forward. Again he shined like a glittering star that he is.

When the appointment was announced and he was allocated the newly created ministry of Marine and Blue economy; Bunmi didn’t waste any time as he immediately swerved into action by engaging stakeholders and holding a series of meetings on how to make a loud impact in the nation money money-spinning economy sector. He was proactive and robust with his idea of repositioning the nation’s water asset and how it will increase the IGR monthly to surpass the imagination of all sundry. In the prerogative of Mr President; before their swearing-in, he was redeployed to the Ministry of Interior and that was regarded as one of the biggest moves in the renewed Hope administration. This was tagged one of the biggest calculative chess moves by the administration putting a fitting peg in the right hole.

Like the Boy Scout slogan which says; ‘Be Prepared’ BTO in his usual element didn’t wait for the whistle before he hit the ground running. From the first day of his wearing in; he read the riot act to all the agencies under him and stated that he was ready to work and one of his goals is to leave a lasting legacy and also do what is right to the glory of Nigeria. Immediately after that, he didn’t waste any time meeting with staff and familiarising himself with them and also visited several agencies to do an on-the-spot assessment and how he can further bring more efficiency in discharging their duties.

While receiving all necessary briefs; BTO acknowledged his predecessor and all the work and template he left behind and not only built on it; he also added his twerk putting more firepower and also infusing dedication. All these provided a pathway to him being the ‘StarBoy Minister’ of this administration. BTO have said that success in public service is not rocket science but only takes dedication and the ability to bring prosperity out of every misfortune and that is what has stood him out and put him in the cynosure of all eyes.

Like the speed of light, the interior ministry became a leading light with solutions created to clear backlogs of over 250,000 passports he inherited in three weeks under the Nigerian Immigration Service. To ensure effectiveness in job delivery, he commissioned thirty (30) operational vehicles dedicated to the surveillance and patrol of Nigeria’s border. While many pondered what must have caused the delay of such a passport; BTO tacked the root cause putting strategies in place leveraging technology advancement to make it easier. For the very first time; passport papers were more than sufficient. He didn’t stop at that in a bid to sanitize the system of corrupt heads who are known to milk and beat the system to their advantage; he reduced human contact when applying for a passport which has cut short middlemen who love to extort Nigerians. He is also working vehemently to localize passport production.

This also gave an easy modality for passport application without help from a third party which has been tagged seamless and hassle-free. In other to make Nigerians in the diaspora regain their confidence in their country, he Unveiled Enhanced e-passport Facilities in Nigerian embassies across Europe and also moved abroad to tackle the issues of passport shortage by putting in place channels of easy registration, capture and collection. This led to restored confidence when many were getting their newly minted passport at their doorstep. This further gathered accolades from many corners as many more people rejig their faith in the process of rebranding Nigeria’s shattered image. BTO became a household name within a few months.

While he got a commendation from Mr President for his outstanding blistering performance on delivery of his KPI he didn’t let that into his head rather he went back to the fearing board to tackle the issues of the queue at the immigration points by installing electronic biometric gates for immigration clearance in all Nigeria’s international airports when Nigerian passengers entering and exiting Nigeria. While many said it would take a long while to achieve such a humongous project BTO made it look like a piece of cake as he showed his colleagues that he is serious about making a difference.

He quickly acquired the technology instrument needed and ordered its installation at the international airports. Mock trials were done and it was certified OK for public use. With his innovative ideas, Nigeria is fast becoming a developing country that is embracing technology to its advantage. The Minister also disclosed that similar facilities will be installed in other international airports including Lagos, Kano, Enugu, and Port Harcourt airports. With also partner with another sister ministry to ensure we witness the much-needed change we crave for as Nigerian.

While it’s important to note his quest to guard national assets against vandals and economic saboteurs, the Minister is holding a presentation and demonstration session on a proposed 24-hour surveillance security technology project designed to monitor activities around critical national assets to curb vandals and saboteurs. To promote medical tourism and other means to attract foreign direct investment FDI to Nigeria easing visa restrictions for people who intend to do business in Nigeria and also benefit from our booking medical tourism in Nigeria He reviewed the visa application process, particularly for short-stay visitors such as entertainers, sports athletes, and tourists among others.

Not leaving all stone unrolled BTO also ensured our correctional centers were well decongested. He also worked to secure the release of over 4,000 inmates from correctional facilities nationwide. This has helped people with minor sentences regain their freedom in a bid to bring more sanity to correctional centres across the country. In a bid to curb the constant jailbreak; he ordered more security tightening around the Centres to curb the constant jailbreak we have witnessed in the past. Despite all the measures put in place to curb jailbreaks; the Suleja Correctional facility was damaged recently by the wind which caused many inmates to escape but with the help of forensic documentation, the correctional centres have been able to apprehend some substantial amount of those who escaped while a search is still ongoing. This has also galvanized the need to ensure more safety and reconstruction of all correctional facilities to avert such disasters from happening.

In a bid to foster a more healthy civil service, BTO also approved the promotion of over 32,000 personnel of the agencies under the ministry which has ensured a substantial amount of staff climb the ladder in the civil service. While he has done many more things within a short while, many are still wondering what he has in plan for the country but for BTO; he said he is yet to unveil his best and he will keep working around for clock to restore the confidence Nigerians have lost in the country.

In appreciation for a job well done; he has bagged several Laurel as he was named Leadership Newspaper ‘Public Service of the Year’ 2023, New Telegraph ‘Minister of the Year’ 2023 and also Vanguard Newspaper will this month bestow him with ‘Vanguard Personality of the Year’ 2023; among many more Laurel. While Dr Olubunmi is living up to the hype; he has said he will not let down all those who believe in him as he will continue to do things that will place the country on a high pedestal with #TheBTOEffect

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Business

ACCESS BANK (SL) LTD STRENGTHENS LEADERSHIP TEAM WITH KEYBOARD APPOINTMENTS, NAMES NEW CHAIRMAN

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Access Bank Sierra Leone Ltd (‘Access Bank (SL) Ltd’) has announced the appointment of new executives to its Board of Directors (‘the Board’), further strengthening its leadership team and advancing the implementation of its growth and transformation strategy. These appointments also reflect the Bank’s commitment to fostering growth and development while maintaining the highest standards of governance and stewardship.

Joining the Board as Non-Executive Directors are Maurice Nathaniel Cole, Nsikak N. Usoro, Michala Mackay, Ibrahim Khalil Lamin, and Kolawole Augustine Ajimoko. The appointees boast a wealth of expertise from diverse sectors, including banking, telecommunications, corporate governance, compliance, and finance. Their combined
experience and vision will contribute to shaping the future trajectory of Access Bank (SL) Ltd. Cole will serve as Chairman, following the exit of Alice Marie Onomake and will bring his experience to the fore as Access Bank (SL) Ltd works to consolidate its market position and deliver value for all its stakeholders.

 

“We are thrilled to welcome our new executives to Access Bank (SL) Ltd,” said Ganiyu Sanni, Country Managing Director, Access Bank Sierra Leone Ltd. “Their leadership and vision will be invaluable as we navigate through challenges and pursue sustained success. We extend our gratitude to the outgoing Chairman, Alice Marie
Onomake, and Non-Executive Director, Aminata B. Dumbuya, for their dedicated service and contributions to the Bank.” Access Bank (SL) Ltd remains committed to excellence, transparency, and accountability as it embarks on this exciting new chapter. The Bank looks forward to leveraging the collective expertise of its leadership team to drive innovation, foster growth, and create lasting impact for its customers and communities.

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Entertainment

AFRIMA: Beat S’Africa to hosting rights, stakeholders tell Tinubu, Musawa

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…insists one edition must be held in Abuja, Jos, Kaduna

A culture and creative industry advocacy group, Arewa Creative Industry Heritage Vanguard, has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Minister of Art, Culture, and Creative Economy, Hanatu Musawa, to lead efforts in securing the hosting rights for the next two editions of the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA)offered by the African Union Commission to Nigeria and South Africa as reported in the media recently. They want to ensure that at least one edition of the prestigious event takes place in the northern region of Nigeria of Kaduna, Jos or Abuja due to years of deliberate marginalization and deprivation of international events of this nature.

According to Dr Shehu Samadi, the President of the Vanguard, speaking from Kaduna, they have learned that the African Union (AU) invited the governments of Nigeria and South Africa to submit bids for the hosting rights for the next editions of the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA). As such, they are imploring and advising President Tinubu not to allow South Africa to beat Nigeria to the hosting rights as this will have implications on the national psyche of Nigerians and the development of the music industry. It called on the Honorable Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, Hanatu Musawa to update Nigerians on the progress made thus far in securing the AFRIMA hosting rights, for Nigerians to know how and where to assist in achieving this common objective.

The group, which comprises cultural enthusiasts, music industry stakeholders, and advocates for Northern Nigeria’s music heritage, recognizes the significance of AFRIMA in promoting African music and fostering cultural exchange across the continent and with the rest of the world. Therefore, they believe it is essential for Nigeria, especially the Northern region, to play a central role in hosting the event and showcasing the country’s rich creativity and cultural diversity from its point of expertise and cultural expression.

Samadi emphasized three significant reasons why President Tinubu should champion the course of securing the hosting rights. The group recalls with nostalgia how President Tinubu in 2015, in person received a 23.9 karat gold plated AFRIMA trophy as the pillar of Art and Culture in Africa presented by the African Union commission.” This should motivate the President to intensify efforts to secure the hosting rightshaving experience the creative power and the global influence of AFRIMA personally.

The second reason is that as the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, President Tinubu can utilize the opportunity of hosting a large-scale event like this to further his commitment towards promoting unity, economic development, and cultural diversity in the region and on the continent. Although an event of AFRIMA’s scale can cause significant ripples across the continent and around the world, Nigeria stands a chance of benefiting the most, and we in the North hope to tap into the inherent benefits as against the past practice of marginalization where such international events are preserved for the exclusive experience of the southern part of Nigeria..”

Thirdly, the Nigerian Music industry has witnessed astronomical global growth with little or no input from successive governments. Hosting an AFRIMA by this government provides an appropriate platform for the Tinubu Administration to establish itself as a creative industry supporting the government as well as engendering a positive perception and image for Nigeria to attract tourism and foreign direct investment.

“Fourth, we believe that Northern Nigeria has the potential to become a tourism hub, and hosting events like this can help mitigate the effect of insecurity in our region. We are eager to host an event like this because we strongly believe that it could be used to address the issues that have plagued our region, including terrorism and banditry. By promoting peace and tranquillity, our youth can embrace hope and prosperity as well promote the budding music talents in the region who require inspiration and pragmatic motivation” he said.

The group is advocating for the cities of Abuja, Jos and Kaduna to be considered as host cities for at least one of the two editions of AFRIMA. The group believes that these cities are strategically located, culturally significant, and have vibrant music scenes, making them ideal venues for the event.

The group expresses concern over what they perceive as a pattern of neglect in the hosting of key musical events, and they call for greater inclusivity and representation for the Northern region. They note that in recent years, there has been a growing sentiment among stakeholders in the Northern music industry that the region is often overlooked when it comes to hosting major international events.

Samadi said: “Despite boasting a wealth of cultural heritage and a thriving music industry, Northern Nigeria has frequently found itself sidelined in favour of other regions when it comes to hosting events of national and international significance. This is unfortunate.

“We strongly believe that hosting AFRIMA in Abuja, Jos and Kaduna would not only stimulate economic growth and promote tourism in the region but address this feeling of discrimination against us.

“In addition to the big music superstars from this part of the country, Abuja, Jos and Kaduna have the infrastructure, capacity, and cultural significance to host AFRIMA successfully. It is time for Northern Nigeria to be given the recognition it deserves on the continental stage.”

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