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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday unveiled a 46-feet statue of Nigeria’s symbol of democracy and adjudged winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, Bashorun Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO), expressing optimism that the monument will forever crystallize what he stood for in his lifetime.

 Governor Ambode, who spoke at the unveiling of the statue at the MKO Abiola Garden in Alapere, Ketu said it was in the tradition of the State Government to recognise and remember heroes and heroines who contributed to the greatness of the nation and the State in particular, adding that MKO Abiola deserves the best from the State as Lagos was his success story.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); his wife, Bolanle (2nd right); Chairman, June 12 Coalition, Comrade Linus Okoroji (right); wife of late Chief M.K.O Abiola, Dr. Doyinsola Abiola (2nd left); Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule (left) during the unveiling of the new Chief M.K.O Abiola Statue at the MKO Abiola Garden, Alapere, ketu, Lagos

 Alluding to the fact that a statue was previously sited at the location, the Governor said that his administration decided to erect bigger statues for MKO Abiola and late Rights Activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi to properly situate their immense contribution to nation building.

 “There was a statue done by my predecessor, Babatunde Raji Fashola but in the divine world, some things are more glorious than what you think and so we decided at the end of 2016 that we should do bigger statues for Chief Gani Fawehinmi and MKO Abiola since almost everybody passing and entering Lagos go through this particular Ojota axis and so we started late in 2016 that we should build something bigger and so it took us about a year to do this. By the time we did the one for Gani to celebrate his posthumous birthday on April 22, we also agreed that we should unveil that of MKO Abiola today, June 12.

 “But just as if God has a way of crowning all efforts to mark the 25th Anniversary of June 12, our President, President Muhammadu Buhari has deemed it fit to give our own MKO Abiola the highest honour in the land, GCFR and that is why we believe strongly that your presence here is not just for this statue but it is also historic which we would always remember in the annals of the history and politics of this country that sooner than later, there would be one day we would mark as MKO Abiola Day.

 “We are very happy to gather here today at the MKO Abiola garden to unveil this statue, a monument that will forever crystallize his legacy, serves as a reminder to the greatness that Chief Abiola represents in our socio-political landscape,” the Governor said.

 He described MKO Abiola as a man who transcended race, tribe and religion, adding that the late philanthropist appealed to all Nigerians who voted massively for him during the 1993 Presidential election.

 “Sadly, he lost his life trying to secure his mandate. Even though he was from another State, Lagos was his home. And we recognize his contribution to our State and our democracy,” Governor Ambode said.

 Responding on behalf of the family, MKO Abiola’s son, Abdul Mumuni Abiola thanked Governor Ambode and the Lagos State Government for the honour done the Abiola family, saying the statue was indeed befitting to honour his late father. 

 “God is great. I heard about this statue six months ago and I was called to come and see it and when I got here, I saw a statue of three-storey building. This is indeed massive. The family of late MKO Abiola really appreciates this and we want to thank the Governor,” Abdul Mumuni said.

 He also appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for posthumous award conferred on his father and declaring June 12 as the Democracy Day, as well as the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for standing solidly behind the struggle.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); his wife, Bolanle (3rd right); wife of late Chief M.K.O Abiola, Dr. Doyinsola Abiola (2nd right); former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Otunba Femi Pedro (right); Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule (3rd left); children of late Chief M.K.O Abiola, Mrs. Bola Abiola-Akande (2nd left) and Mr. Abdul Mumuni Abiola (left) during the unveiling of the new Chief M.K.O Abiola Statue at the MKO Abiola Garden, Alapere, ketu, Lagos

 “We thank the President for doing what he did. This statue was planned before the President did what he did and so we want to thank Governor Ambode for this,” he said.

 Governor Ambode, who earlier spoke at a symposium held at the Blue Roof, Lagos Television in Ikeja to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the June 12, 1993 election, paid glowing tributes to other comrades who led the struggle from the front including Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Ambassador Walter Carrington, Justice Dolapo Akinsanya, Chief Frank Kokori, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Mr. Wale Oshun, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and other Nigerians and Civil Society Organisations, Trade and Labour unions.

 “We also pay glowing tribute to the beautiful memories of patriots such as Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Pa Michael Adekunle Ajasin, Pa Abraham Adesanya, Chief Michael Enahoro, Chief Alfred Rewane, Dr Beko Ransome Kuti, General Adeyinka Adebayo and several others including innocent ordinary Nigerians, young and old who were murdered in cold blood on the streets of Lagos and in other major cities of Nigeria. Today, we declare that their sacrifice has not been in vain,” he said.

 The Governor commended Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for being the pioneer Governor to declare public holiday on June 12 throughout his tenure in office as well as Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) for his steadfastness in upholding the tradition, saying that the occasion attests to their visionary leadership.

 Speaking on the theme: “Restructuring: Antidote For Efficient And Effective Polity,” guest lecturer, Dr. Dele Ashiru of the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos (UNILAG), called for the amendment of the Constitution to ensure removal of provisions which inhibit successful running of functional system, especially revenue sharing formula which he said must be by derivation, among others.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); his wife, Bolanle (2nd right); wife of late Chief M.K.O Abiola, Dr. Doyinsola Abiola (right); Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule (2nd left) and Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello (left) during the 25th Anniversary lecture of the June 12 Presidential Election with the theme “Restructuting: Antidote for Ineffective and Inefficient Politics” at De Blue Roof, LTV 8, Agidingbi, Ikeja

 He also said considering the strategic importance of Lagos to the country, special attention must be given to the State, adding: “The Federal Government must wake up and pay Lagos adequately from the national resource so that the State can continue to play the role it had been playing in the country.”

 He described Lagos as a model and mega city not only in Africa but the world, and as such all hands must be on deck to work for its sustenance.  

Also, Chairman of June 12 Coalition, Comrade Linus Okoroji commended the Lagos State Government for sustained commitment to the June 12 struggle which had yielded fruits with the recent declaration of the day as Democracy Day in Nigeria and recognition of MKO Abiola as GCFR.  

The new Chief M.K.O Abiola Statue, unveiled by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at Alapere, Ketu

 

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FIRSTBANK PARTNERS AZURI TECHNOLOGY TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

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By Stellamarris Ashinze (NAN)

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, last Thursday signed a partnership with the Azuri Technologies to provide solar energy solution for the low-income areas.

The Deputy Managing Director of the Bank, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, said in Lagos that the partnership was aimed at proffering solutions to one of the major challenges facing the country today.

Shobo, represented by Tunde Owolabi, the Bank’s Group Executive, Retail Banking Group, Lagos & West, said that the focus is delivering power to millions of Nigerians; while at the same time enabling access to financial services in rural and low-income areas.

According to him, financial inclusion is a priority to FirstBank. “This is why we are excited about this partnership; because our customers will be able to access a wide range of services that address the real problem of access to power.

”This partnership with Azuri Technologies is one out of several of FirstBank’s partnerships. We have a track record of partnering with individuals and institutions to help meet the needs of our customers (children, women, youth, SMEs) and promote sustainable development in our host communities. Our partnerships cut across the Arts, Sports, Education, Health, among others; FirstBank has been at the forefront in ensuring ease of banking and convenience for its customers.

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L-R, Ini Ebong, Group Executive, Treasury and Financial Institutions, First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Simon Bransfield-Garth, Founder & CEO Azuri Technologies Ltd; Tunde Owolabi, Group Executive, Retail Banking Group (Lagos & West) First Bank of Nigeria Limited and Vera Nwanze, General Manager, West Africa, Azuri Technologies Ltd at the partnership agreement signing between FirstBank and Azuri Technologies Ltd held at Lagos InterContinental Hotel recently.

”Our Agent Banking Network (Firstmonie Agent) and digital banking offerings like Chat Banking on Whatsapp, FirstMobile app, Firstonline, and USSD banking, are some of the channels we have put in place to make this happen. We are therefore, very excited about the FirstBank-Azuri partnership and the positive boost it aims to bring to the nation’s economy through inclusive services.”

”Indeed, this is part of FirstBank’s 125 year-long passion for partnerships that are woven into the fabric of society,” he said.

Also, Mr Simon Bransfield-Garth, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Azuri Technologies, said that the company “is a leader in pay-as-you-go solar technology”.

Bransfield-Garth said: “Azuri brings affordable, modern consumer goods and services to the millions in sub-Saharan Africa without access to conventional power.

”Of the one billion people who lack access to electricity around the world, over 600 million live in sub-Saharan Africa. Pay-as-you-go solar power is connecting off-grid households to the modern digital world. From home lighting to satellite TV, Azuri-designed solutions deliver world class performance at an affordable price for customers who live away from mains power.”

”Azuri’s vision is to create a level playing field where all consumers can access and benefit from the digital economy, wherever they live” he concluded.

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Spectrum: Election, A New Beginning

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Anikulapo Macmillan

Nationwide, we have seen motley crowds, when politicians throw hypocritical words to each other. Indeed it is still interesting when, political parties, begin to impose threat on each other on who will win the poll. So, everything is diffident, here; as we fail to understand that politics is surprisingly a practical.  Even George Orwell, in his 1984, novel described a political system that is related to ours; because we fail to understand the truth than the prejudice.

With the reactions, I have seen from the APC and the PDP, I then wonder what is their different. What has made them the choice of an average Nigerian? Is it that they are telling us the truth or what American essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson identified as ‘’ words are signs of natural facts’’

They wear different colognes but they are still the same people. Their conveyances to mega rallies in the country have shown vividness to win with all sorts of tantrums. However, it was on the rostrum, when one of the presidential candidates was saying gibberish. Well, they all say what is vouchsafing from the monies they have given the crowds at the rallies. It is in Nigeria that I have seen politicians promising what can’t be done in four years. Though, it is politics.

The election is bringing different promising and un-futuristic agenda. During the 2015, we were of the drama, and such drama is still being played now like a classic novel title: Great Expectation. Our vote was crammed. Election should be based on maturity but we fail to keep the tenacity up right. We fail to vote for our credence.  Unfortunately, as I saw one of the PDP rallies, I began to mock myself, that Nigerians are gullible— aptly, what came from me was this: ‘’ therefore, we become a dunce, to the lies of a party that has failed for 16 years’’ frankly, what was the achievement of the PDP?

Even the APC, is a party that has turned his rallies, to an avenue to forgive those who are backlists to become saint. The APC, in one of its rallies, the party chairman, had spoken in a croak voice, that anybody that joins the party will be forgiven. Hence, this kind of political crumpet should make Nigerians to vote for their choice.

As the 2019 election comes, Nigerians want a society where they can identify problems without a cumbersome lie then we need to vote wisely. The vestry of anguish in this society has made us to become cupidity; and for this, we have sold our vote for lies.

So, vote with woe. Take yourself with passion. To listen to the presiding officer or any of the assistant presiding officers to check your name from the voter register and listen to instructions. These are the voices we need to create that can make our vote count. Politics in this era is for you and I, to benefit what we are born to enjoy. We just need to grow; out plough, or faceless taut.

Election is for you to grow a seed of your pain in someone’s heart; maybe by wish or paucity. Meanwhile, let vote for our own future in a positive way.  As I do think that we know that Buhari and Atiku are failures to our economy. One is sluggish and one is corrupt. This further bear me in mind, that we have not noticed that; our inequalities are possessed with debauchery.

 

Spokesman, El Rufai

He is a governor, but, last week, he acted in a new dimension to his profile. For instance, his scurrilous statement is prowess to this administration. He has definitely become a griot of politics. It is a kind of character in the novel of American novelist, Robert Penn Warren. Thus, what he said is presumably, the factor of our politics when political parties run for intervention with foreign envoys.

So, the presidency has seen the opposition parties to lobbying for help. I saw Kaduna state governor political temerity on a live programme that was aired on the Nigeria Television Authority, (NTA) and hear him: ‘’those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person to come and intervene. They would go back in body bags because nobody would come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country”

In 2015, Nigerians should recall that the APC had a rigorous meeting with the US and nobody knew maybe the American government helped in that election that brought Buhari to rule—with what, I would call a draconian rule, because since, he emerged the government has monopolised the institutions to work in its philosophy.

Well, as for me, I do not see anything wrong from what El-Rufai said. Since we all know that political parties are finding ways to win this forthcoming election that is dice. It is an election that we redefine the profligacy and mendacity of the country.

And, El Rufai’s statement is that Nigeria does not need any foreign intervention in her election. Indeed, we should hide above all sentiment, what he said, is not a political talk, but a reality. That it is bad for Nigerian politicians to seek foreign help when it comes to politics.

Yet, we have forgotten that Nigeria is a sovereign state that controls her own territory without external force or comment. Despite, the fact that El-Rufai and his party members are scared of an imminent defeat— however, that does not mean, Kaduna governor is corrigible; to what he had said.

We should know that, election in this part of our own claims, is filled of hocus-pocus. It is a system of lies and all sorts of espousal that is wrong to how democracy ought to be practiced. Therefore, whenever, I read story, that identifies Nigeria politics to be shamble, I laugh. Not that I laugh because of this irascibility of our political ideology, but because we don’t know how to practice politics that is beneficial to the populace.

That means that our so called politicians have forgotten that election will come and go, and the citizenry will stay to understand their tenacity. Not those kinds of politicians that come to rallies and begin to disparage themselves. Fine, it is sacrosanct here. But, El-Rufai’s statement is a warning to foreigners since our political parties have seen succour in interference.

Though, a society that is intervening with foreign envoy, such society will be in disarray. The society will be left with anguish and blames. Even those wounds will continue to linger forever. If Atiku or Buhari are the men to vote for then; their associate, need to understand that El-Rufai has spoken what supposes to be said in this political tension we are in.

We need to know election in this country is not a do or die affair. Politicians are acting like politicians but we citizens need to act like citizens because a politician is fighting for his/her own interest. They are fighting for impunity and hubris. Like what a British essayist wrote in one of his essay. And I deeply apologise for not remembering the title of the essay. But the lines go as follow: ‘’nobody is deterring to make choice than the populace who know how to determine their future without a magic wand of lies’’

We need to vote for our conscience not for a thousand naira that will be given to us by party agents at the polling station. We need to perform our civic responsibility as Nigerians not as cowards who do not know the true benefit of democracy. Are we enjoying the dividend of democracy in Nigerian? If you know the answer then vote for who you think won’t make you and your children not to be remorseful in the next four years. A stitch in time says nine. A future we want is for us to fight for a new society.

 

@Babatunde_Mac

+2348076926109

 

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President Buhari Needs Four More Years to Finish his Task….Garba

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– Garba, Deputy Chairman, APC Progressives Network
 
Awwal Garba A. D. is a Nigerian and British trained Economist of a rare breed.  He attended the Bayero University Kano, Nigeria and the City University, London, United Kingdom, from which institutions he meritoriously obtained his first and second university degrees.
 
Awwal is a major player in the global oil and gas sector. With particular interest in Nigeria, he has developed a proclivity for discovering untapped resources within the sector and has over the years, successfully built his chain of business interests under the Magma Group, nationally and globally.
 
He is also the Deputy Chairman, APC Progressives Network and Chairman, Game Changers Media.
 
In this interview, while advising politicians to stop politics of money and vote –buying as 2019 elections approach, Awwal Garba also bares his mind on the APC Government, the political terrain, as well as other sundry issues.
 
Excerpts:
 
You are an economist into oil and gas operations, what informed your foray into the terrain?
 
Apart from the motive of making money, I have an affinity with the oil and gas sector of the economy; I look at there as where I belong, although I come from a family where the stock in trade was commodity. My father was an importer and exporter of commodity products.
I was motivated into the sector by the desire to make a change, especially in the upstream sector of the industry where it is believed that it is only the oyibos (foreigners) that hold sway therein.
Of course also in that direction would be the desire to contribute one’s quota to the national economy, in terms of creating jobs, which of course would help in giving the youths a sense of worth and direction.
 
Tell us about the APC Progressives Network, which you chair
 
The network has an endorsement from the All Progressives Congress to promote the president and contribute with ideas. Of course, you would agree that in campaigning you need ideas. Politics is all about people, followers; people who can bring in value. In the same vein, the network tries to reach the grassroots and places the party has not touched, bringing in more value.
 
What are your plans for 2019 elections?
 
It is to ensure that there are free and fair elections. We want to make sure about that because we know that if the elections are free and fair, President Buhari will continue in office. He’ll win the election.
 
Does he deserve a second term and why?
 
Yes, he deserves a second term. First of all, we need a leader who is clean because when the head is clean, the middle and bottom will also be because they would be put in a position where they are wary. But if the top is rotten, then it is corruption galore. We need a leader like Buhari whom money does not mean anything to. A president who is so humble, he can even stand with cows. He is simple, not extravagant, qualities he has officially demonstrated which can be widely attested to. I believe that with him coming back, God sparing his life, he will achieve a lot.
 
Do you have any political ambition?
No. I am more on the kingmaker’s side.
 
Why?
Because I enjoy what I do and I believe that political adventure would not allow me the concentration I need on my business operations. I would not be able to achieve set goals by not being on top of them. Besides, no other office really excites me. Being a president of Nigeria would not excite me. I am missing nothing in life.  I love the freedom I have. I can drive myself and travel when I want to, jump on a plane without the glare associated with a president’s office, without the entourage and all the protocol.
 
As Deputy Chairman of Game Changers Media, what is its unique selling point?
 
The Game Changer was established to highlight the differences and show that the Muhammadu Buhari administration continues to change the whole game; from Agriculture, Corruption to Healthcare and very importantly, to unite Nigerians and give them a sense of belonging, while stoking the embers of patriotism.
If you go to Ghana today, you will be shocked to realise the level of their patriotism. A taxi driver always has the Ghanaian flag in his cab as every household, like it was in America perhaps before the Trump era when American schools taught American history, the need to be patriotic and love for country. So patriotism is very important. Game Changer is here to bring awareness about patriotism.
 
Being such a busy person, do you find time to wind down?
 
When I was in my 20’s, I used to be a gym fanatic and could not do without the gym. I also played polo. The pressure of work increased with growth and time for things like that shrank. So whatever time I can squeeze out now for personal issues, I spend it with my wife and two children. We take the children to game parks when they are on holidays and try to have a feel of their minds by coming down to their level and appreciating them.
 
What is your advice to politicians as we await the 2019 elections?
We should stop the politics of money and vote-buying. We should allow Nigerians to vote for candidates of their choice without influencing them. It is a disgrace to buy one’s way into a public office. When that happens, you look at yourself as a businessman and begin to fashion out ways to recoup spent money. This is what has been happening for ages. Only a person voted in by merit would think of improving the lives of the people.
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