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By: Ademola Orunbon

It is an acceptable norm, that a democratically elected government must meet the need of the people that voted them into power. They enjoy the ultimate sovereignty, from the liberty perspective. Since governance derives it backing and supporting from the constitution and the people. It is mandatory for the same government, to listen, carry along and feed the people back, about its activities. The strength of a good government lies in its victory which comes from the ballot system and this has a numerical strength, where the highest numbers of vote form a simple majority.

The contrary view of democracy equally says when a government voted into power refuses to perform or meet the yearning or aspiration of the people that democratically voted for them, same electorates or the people being govern have the right to reject such government by voting them out of power in subsequent elections. This means that when a government becomes destructive and retrogressive, the same people that empowered them with their votes can abolish or terminate such government.

Having said little about what constitutional government is all about. I now need to come to back to the main issue, Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode; he has within a short period of time in office, being able to correct the negative view of the people of the state towards governance. Yes, democracy is about being responsive to the people that voted you into power. Our amiable governor has within three years of his assumption of office proved critics wrong by being responsive and progressive in the discharge of his duties to the people of the state.

I remembered on assumption of office, his address to the people of the state, in the presence of traditional rulers. He openly promised and vowed to give the people the state a sense of belonging by adopting open policy in his style of governance, Ambode has proved to be the governor of the people in action and otherwise with the level of infrastructural facilities being put in place across the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas across the state.

When Ambode assumed office as the Lagos state Governor, not a few people thought that he started from slow lane, but, as soon as he got his groove, the narrative changed, as he now runs on the fast lane. Though, he started out with a human approach to governance by encouraging the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency and the Vehicle Inspection Agency to stop being aggressive in dealing with Lagos motorists. He even pulled the VIOs off the roads, and changed the name of the Kick Against Indiscipline agency to the more benign Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps.

But the present governor came into power with his reform agenda, managerial potential and regeneration ability to make the state excel in all ramification and recover the lost fortunes of the state. Today, the common man is not only happy in the State of Excellence. But the development which was once eluded some local government councils and the people some years ago has totally returned. Today the entire three senatorial districts in the state are witnessing massive reconstruction, expansion of roads with street lights and rebuilding process or the other. Roads, schools, health institutions are being structured for a lasting use. He quickly embarked on several ambitious physical projects – like roads, bridges, bus stops, lay-bys, flyovers, skywalks or pedestrian bridges – to strategically break up traffic gridlock all over the state. Besides their functionality, each of them is a sight to hold.

Yes, Ambode has done very well to reposition the economy of the state. He has further demonstrated the good servant role of a government to the people. The governor has taken the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to an enviable and sustainable position, thus deriving some funds to collectively embark on infrastructural development. Today, the peoples’ welfare and security is better off. A government is worth protecting and supporting for continuity if it has met the yearning and aspiration of the people. “A golden fish has no hidden place”, so said the common fact. The people have seen this in the government of the day. His novel “Adopt A street Light” initiative allows a community, corporate organization, or individual to power street lights in their communities. In turn, the Lagos State Government shall reciprocate with reduction of Land Use Charge as well as presentation of Letter of Commendation. The fervour of the projects is however wavering, and it urgently needs a new fillip.

No nation or state survives without a major attention to its educational sector. Here in State of Excellence, he has given the primary, post primary and the state tertiary institutions a very good attention, by increasing their fund and stabilizing the academic calendar. Students now, learn in a better and more conducive environment, their Teachers always smile to the banks because no delay of their payment, leave bonus and some allowances.

He also demonstrated a great aptitude for collaborating with other state. The governments of Lagos and Kebbi states have entered into a partnership to produce LAKE Rice that Lagos citizens have begun to look up to at their dinners table at every festive periods. Though, the rice may not be as cheap as expected, it is cheaper than the imported brand. It is however, commendable that the state has entered into a partnership agreement with major rice distributors for the transport, distribution and marketing of LAKE Rice.

I engaged an old friend who served in the government of the last regime, in a constructive argument. It centred on infrastructure development of the state, which is unprecedented; he asked me where the government of the day being sourcing money from? I was quick to answer by referring him to the present Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state, which I earlier dwell on and currently stands at about 25 to 30 billion naira, generated monthly compared to the previously declared 20 billion naira attained in the year 2015.

The people of the State now see what the government is spending the money on. Ambode has further proved the essence and importance of taxation to rural and urban development, through the provision of essential services like good road, water, health facilities and the rest to the people. If the State of Excellence would have attained a revolutionary circle, in the area of accelerated transformation and infrastructural development.

In life, you don’t lose a winning team; rather you encourage them to do more. Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has so far done well. We can only encourage him to do better, through mobilization and support for continuity beyond 2019.

 

Orunbon, a public affairs analyst, writes in from Oke-Posun, Epe, Lagos State.

Can be reached via:orunbonibrahimademola@gmail.com or 08034493944, 08029301122.

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Mindshift Advocacy Unveils Powerful Initiative to Create a New Nigeria

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In its determination and resolve to foster a new mindset among Nigerians, the Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative has unveiled a new blue print to get Nigerians to think differently, believe differently and to act differently, so as to generate a mindset geared towards development. The event which was attended by dignitaries and the media held Thursday, October 17, 2019, at the prestigious Benue Hall of the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

In his address Mr. Joko Okupe, the Founder and Board of Trustee member of the Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative said that “the bane of Nigeria and by extension Africa’s problems is the mindset of Africans as individuals, communities and nations, about themselves and the mindset of the rest of the world about Africa. The wrong mindset of Nigerians and Africans in general which influences the way we do things, has created problems such as lack of visionary and purposeful leadership, bad governance standards, erosion and loss of good value systems, corruption, poor understanding of global issues and how it impacts their lives; unprecedented never-ending poverty, heavy debt burdens, over dependence on international aids, endless conflicts, inadequate education etc.” According to him, the Initiative was incorporated on November 28, 2016 as a non-partisan, non-governmental organization aimed at re-directing citizens’ mindsets from negative mindsets in private lives, societies and nations to positive mindsets that foster meaningful holistic personal, social and national development. The initiative also seeks to activate a radical and positive change in the mindset of the Nigerian youth – and by extension, African youth.

According to Mr. Okupe, the Mindshift Advocacy is actually focused on shifting mindsets from negative to positive. The movement is focused on redirecting the mindset of Nigerians from negative, unproductive and unprogressive mindsets to positive, productive and progressive mindsets. A destructive person has a destructive mindset and a destructive thinking pattern. There is so much capacity in the power of the mind that the way and manner that the mind is directed, determines the outcome of a man’s action. When you look at the great nations of the world, you will discover that their people have mindsets of greatness. The average Nigerian’s mindset is anti-progress and anti-development. How can we have progress and development when majority of our citizens have the wrong mindset? We cannot achieve any meaningful transformation without a re-orientation of the citizens’ mindsets.  Even when Government decides to run a campaign on changing attitudes, the success will depend on whether the mindsets of the citizens have changed or not. We cannot but pay attention to how people think. We must have that clear understanding. That essentially is the crux of the Mindshift Advocacy.

 

He stressed that every effort geared at re-orientating the citizens with a view to making them develop positive and progressive mindsets as individuals, society and at national levels, would put us on the road to meaningful and effective transformation of the continent for sustainable growth and development. This is why: “The changes we wish to make have more to do with how we think than what we actually do, because thinking patterns ultimately influence actions. We need to get our citizens to embrace positive mindsets that can impact thought and action for our progress and development. We must also lead by example by thinking and acting differently.”

He cited Mr. Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, who once said that Africa’s transformational change will first happen at the level of mindsets before it is translated into concrete actions. Okupe firmly believes that Africa’s journey of transformation starts with changing how people think. “It is vital for citizens of all ages and social classes to have the right mindset because they are the ones who would be actively involved in the day-to-day actions that bring about sustainable transformation.”

In order to achieve these, the initiative has in place well-articulated key focus areas toward its agenda. These areas are: family and society, government and politics, education, business and economy, media, arts and entertainment, innovation and technology, religion, culture, and health and wellness. Additionally, it will approach this systematically through social research, targeted issues campaigns, action-oriented initiatives, knowledge sharing, events, and public discourse platforms.

Fielding questions to reporters at the launch event on what methods Mindshift Advocacy will deploy to achieve its goal, Joko responded, “It is all a matter of approach and method. Our initiatives would be determined by research and insight. There is a reason or rationale behind every mindset. How much have we researched into why we behave the way we do?  Why do we think the way we do? We will make efforts to dig into the foundation to understand the issues and gain necessary insights before we develop initiatives.  A man whose mind is conditioned to darkness tends to acclimatise to the situation and live in it. People’s eyes can only be opened through enlightenment which will serve as an illumination to the thick, engulfing darkness and ignorance around us. Adequate exposure to realities will compel them to see and think differently. If we continue at the current pace, we are definitely on a suicide mission as a nation, though we may be fully aware of this”.

Earlier in her welcome address Mrs. Debo Onabowale, a core member of the Mindshift Advocacy for development Initiative said that “Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative is set to do a new thing in Nigeria by approaching the Nigerian problem from a different perspective. We believe that Nigerians, both leaders and followers, rich and poor, young and old need a different orientation to be able to chart a new direction and behaviour to propel peace and development.”

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FIRSTBANK HOSTS FINTECH SUMMIT 3.0

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Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited hosted the third edition of its annual Fintech summit themed “Banking + Tech = Solving Real Problems”. The event held on Wednesday, 16 October 2019 in Lagos with a conference and panel sessions comprising tech experts, start- ups, regulators and other stakeholders to deliberate pressing issues, trends and upgrades in the application of technology in the financial services industry. Victor Asemota, Founder, Swifta Systems & Services was the Keynote Speaker at the event.

 

With the evolution that has taken place in the financial services industry in recent times, especially through the advent of technological inclusion in business operations across all industries, this year’s event focused on how technology can aid the solving of large scale societal problems within the context of financial services in Nigeria. The event cuts across multiple panel sessions to deliberate issues and prospects in the business management across the financial technology ecosystem with a view to having participants exposed to the trajectory of current and future opportunities in the Fintech ecosystem.

 

According to Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, “Our Fintech Summit 3.0 was convened to set the tone for discussions that promote disruptions in the digital space, especially in the financial industry, as we recognise the opportunities for inclusive growth and influence of FINTECH not just in banking but also business operations across all industries. The 2019 edition of our FINTECH summit would build-up from the successes achieved in the last two editions.”

 

He added, “FirstBank, in the last few years, has used technology to deliver solutions to promote financial inclusion. With over 33,000 Firstmonie Agents in 36 states doing over N2 trillion worth of transactions, we are reducing poverty with our Agency Banking footprint. Our Firstmobile application has become the foremost mobile banking application in the country with over 3 million users doing over 14 million transactions monthly. It is one of the major gateways for Financial Inclusion where everyone can download the app and open an account at their own convenience! This was not the case a few years ago. Our USSD channel, *894#, is also solving Financial Exclusion problems for those who do not have easy access to internet data. With over 8 million users today, transactions worth over N4 trillion have been consummated using this channel.’’

 

The panel sessions comprised experts with over two hundred combined years of experience in the Financial and Technological Industry space to deliberate on topical issues in today’s technologically driven business world. Topical issues to be discussed are: Solving Business Problems; Solving Regulatory, Security & Legal Problems and Solving Lifestyle Problems.

 

Amongst the FirstBank team of speakers and moderators are Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications; Olayinka Shittu, Chief Transformation Officer,

Oluwatoyin Aina, Group Head, Energy Downstream & Int. Oil Trading; and Taiwo Shonekan, Head, Customer Experience & Value Management.

www.securenigeria365.com

Callistus Obetta, Group Executive, Technology & Services, FirstBank; Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, FirstBank; Victor Asemota, Founder, Swifta Systems & Services and Keynote Speaker at the event (FirstBank FinTech Summit 3.0); Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank and Abdullahi Ibrahim, Executive Director, Public Sector FirstBank at the FirstBank FinTech Summit 3.0 held in Lagos

Debo Odunlana, CEO, Doctoora Health; Damilola Emuze, COO/Co-Founder, Scholarx; Edward Popoola, CTO/Co-Founder, Cowrywise and Chinedu Azodoh, Chief Technology Officer, Max.Ng are the panelists in the Solving Lifestyle Problems session.

 

The Solving Business Problems panel session include Victor Asemota, Founder, Swifta Systems & Services; Lola Ekugo, Head, Digital Innovation Lab, FirstBank; Akindele Phillips, CFO/Co-Founder, Farmcrowdy; Deepankar Rustagi, CEO/Founder, Vconnect & Omnibiz and Dayo Ademola, Head of Innovation, EFInA.

 

The panelists in the Solving Regulatory, Security & Legal Problems are the Sam Okojere, Director, Payment System Management Dept, CBN; Tosin Faniro-Dada, Head, Startups (Lagos Innovates), LSETF; Odunoluwa Longe, Co-Founder, DIY-Law & The Longe Practice; Bunmi Akinyemiju, CEO, Venture Garden Group and Harrison Nnaji, Chief Information Security Officer, FirstBank.

 

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FIRSTBANK PARTNERS NESG, HOST 25TH NIGERIAN ECONOMIC SUMMIT

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As part of its continued commitment to create an enabling environment and opportunities for the promotion of sustainable growth and development of the Nigerian economy, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has partnered with The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) to host the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#25), its annual flagship event. The Silver Jubilee edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit is themed “Nigeria 2050: Shifting Gears” and scheduled to hold on 7 – 8 October 2019 at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, would speak on “Gender Empowerment” at the plenary.

 

The Nigerian Economic Summit is the foremost credible platform for public-private dialogue which enables policy makers and influencers to deliberate on issues, proffer policy options with a view to a better understanding of our national economic policy direction and growth strategies. National leaders and policy influencers billed to attend the event include His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, GCON, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Hon. Minister for Finance, Budget & National Planning, Nigeria.

 

Other dignitaries are Senator Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan PhD, CON, President of the Senate; Right Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Mrs. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations. The Chief Host of the event is Mr Asue Ighodalo, Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group.

 

Panelists at the event include Alhaji Aliko Dangote President/CEO Dangote Group; Mr Godwin Emefiele Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria; Bishop Matthew Kukah, Founder, The Kukah Centre; His Excellency Dr Kayode Fayemi, Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum; HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II, The Emir of Kano; Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin, Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Hon. Mrs Hannatu Mohammed, Board Member, ICPC; Mr. Chidi Ajaere, CEO, GIG Group; Mrs Juliet Anammah, CEO, Jumia Nigeria and Mr Mauricio Alarcon, MD/CEO, Nestle Nigeria Plc .

 

The event is billed to comprise plenary sessions, exhibitions, design workshops, dinner and the anniversary lecture as well as the presentation of awards and prizes to winners of the NES #25 essay competition and start-up pitching event.

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