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[MUST READ] My Rise To The Top And Why Everyone Needs A Little Help —- Tony Elumelu

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In business the role luck plays in success and personal achievement is rarely discussed. If luck is mentioned, it is done with slight condescension, and usually dismissed as a product of hard work, not deserving significant attention. While hard work is paramount – and I have written extensively about the importance of working hard – history and my own experiences show that there is often a large element of success that hard work alone cannot explain. It is simply not true that “you make your own luck.”

I started my career as a salesman, a copier salesman to be specific, young, hungry, and hardworking, but the reality was that I was just one of thousands of young Nigerian graduates, all eager to succeed. How did I get from there to where I am now? Of course, hard work, resilience, a long-term vision – but also luck.

A year later after earning my Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Lagos, I applied to join a new generation bank, Allstates Trust Bank. The bank’s one-page newspaper advertisement demanded a minimum 2:1-degree, but I applied regardless, submitting a cover letter and filled out application with my 2:2-Economics degree.

By a stroke of luck, my application was reviewed by the Chairman/CEO, a painstaking man who carefully read my cover letter and was drawn to the confidence in my words. “I know I may not have met the qualifying criteria for the advertised roles, but I am intelligent, driven, ambitious and I will make the bank proud. My 2:2 degree does not demonstrate the full extent of my intelligence and ability, and I know I can do so much more.” He read those words and took a chance on me. Though “unqualified”, he decided to throw me a lifeline, an opportunity.

I was invited to join the shortlist, followed by a long series of interviews and even more tests. At the end of a very rigorous process, I received good news – I had a place as an entry level analyst. Even now, I wonder: What if the Founder had not personally gone through my application? What if my application was rejected at the very beginning? What if I never got the opportunity to work at Allstates Trust Bank?

The story continues: within 12 months at the bank, aged 27, I went from analyst to branch manager – the youngest ever bank branch manager at the time. I was hard working, energetic, creative and prioritised getting things done, but it was also good fortune that my bosses Toyin Akin-Johnson and Ebitimi Banigo took notice, and then, believed in me. They took a chance on me by appointing me as branch manager after an incredibly short time in the bank. They recognised in me the raw materials needed to make a good leader and were prepared to invest in me and my ability. My rise to Branch Manager within a short period is a great story but I know in my heart, I was lucky, as well as deserving.

This position of branch manager was a solid platform which launched me into several top leadership roles. When we, a small group of hungry, determined, young outsiders, took over struggling Crystal Bank, it was as a direct result of the preparedness and exposure that we received early from our superiors and mentors. Without the intervention and goodwill of these people in my career, I would not have been prepared as I was to take on far greater roles. These learning opportunities laid the pathway to future achievements. Put simply, I was lucky enough to be identified and trusted so early on in my career, and this put me on a unique road to success. I keep this in mind – it is humbling and also drives much of what I do today.

When I left UBA as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2010 to pursue other interests, I made a vow that through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, I would “institutionalise” luck and democratise access to opportunities for young Africans.  I promised to leverage the success I have enjoyed, to spread luck and hope, provide opportunities and to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs to succeed. Without luck in my early career, I would not be the man that I am today. I am a leader and philanthropist today because I encountered people who gave me a chance early in my career. It has been a lifetime goal to pay this forward in a transformative and impactful way.

Over the past three decades I have spent as a banker, investor, and turnaround expert, I have had the opportunity to meet thousands of entrepreneurs, like me.  Many of them young people, with incredible dreams and business ideas but without the experience or the access to mentoring and support required in order to build successful businesses. But most importantly, they have not yet been exposed to the right opportunity.

Our entrepreneurs are hard at work across the continent, identifying gaps in the market for specific products and services, and bridging these gaps with their innovation and ingenuity. Yet, many of these budding entrepreneurs often lack the capital, the networks, the training, the support to take their small business to national or regional scale. All they need is a helping hand, some luck, someone to believe in them and take a chance on them.

This is what the Tony Elumelu Foundation offers: a platform that empowers African entrepreneurs – from business management training, to mentoring, to funding to networking – championing their cause and giving them a global voice to actualise their ambitions. This is precisely why I launched the USD$100 million Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs. Indeed, these may be the next UBAs (United Bank for Africa).

So, when I am asked, “Tony, why are you and your family doing this? What is in it for you?” I smile and recount my own story of luck. Luck is real, it is powerful, and I am committed to spreading it as far as I can. I am a beneficiary of luck, and I am passionate about sharing it across the continent, to all 54 countries.

I want our young aspiring entrepreneurs to apply. I want you to be a part of this global movement for good. I encourage you to be bold enough to let luck find you. There will be 1260 places open from January 1, 2019. Will you be among the lucky ones this year? Take a chance on yourself. Your future may begin today. Apply now at TEFCONNECT.COM

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My Asset Declaration Forms Were Tampered With —- Onnoghen Declares

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Walter Onnoghen, suspended chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), says his two asset declarations forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) were tampered with.

Speaking through his counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, at his resumed trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja on Monday, the suspended CJN said the forms he submitted in 2014 and 2016 were mutilated and in loose form.

Onnoghen is currently being tried by the CCT on a six-count charge of non-declaration of some of his assets, although he said it was an oversight.

James Akpala, a senior investigation officer with the CCB, had requested to tender the asset forms investigated by the agency.

When Awomolo asked Onnoghen to confirm the document before it is admitted, the former CJN said it had been doctored.

Akpala, however, narrated how the bureau responded to a petition from the Centre for Anti-Corruption Initiative, signed by one Denis Aghanya, on January 10.

He said his team got a statement from Onnoghen and applied for his account details with his bank, while the team concluded the investigation within 24 hours.

While being cross-examined, Akpala declined comment on if he was aware that the charges, evidence and witnesses against Onnoghen were prepared and signed on January 10, the same day the petition was signed, which was even before the conclusion of the investigation on January 11.

He also said that he was not aware if the bureau had a central registry and register where all returned forms were stored.

Also, Akpala refused to comment when he was shown that the financial statement he said he got from Onnoghen’s bank was addressed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), having denied earlier that the anti-graft agency was involved in the investigation.

The CCT later adjourned till Thursday to allow Onnoghen appear before the National Judicial Council (NJC).

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BREAKING: Many Trapped As Another Building Collapses In Oke-Arin, Lagos Island [VIDEO]

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Occupants of a building in the Oke Arin part of Lagos Island are currently trapped following the collapse of a house at Egerton Square.

The incident,we gathered, happened around 3:45pm on Monday.

Officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABCA) were demolishing a house beside the building when it caved in.

Kehinde Adebayo, spokesman of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), told TheCable that a rescue team was on its way to the scene.

“We are currently on our way to the place. As soon as I get more update, I’ll get across to you,” he told TheCable.

The development is coming five days after 20 persons, including school children were killed in the Ita-Faaji area of Lagos Island.

The state government had embarked on demolition of defective structures in the local government two days after the Ita–Faaji incident.

On Friday, a three-storey building under construction in Ibadan, Oyo state collapsed but all the 23 workers were rescued.

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Give Us Power, Prioritize The Electricity Sector; Elumelu Begs President Buhari

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Chairman of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to give priority attention to the electricity sector of the economy.

Speaking at the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the group, in Abuja, weekend, Elumelu said: “Let him help us with power,” arguing that constant power supply would drastically reduce the cost of doing business in the country and make economy more competitive.

With poor electricity supply across the nation, corporate organisations and individuals have had to spent huge sums of money on diesel and petrol to fuel their generators.
Transcorp spent a whopping N1.292 billion as energy cost in the year under review, according to the company’s Annual Report and Financial Statements.

Elumelu noted that the N701 billion Power Payment Assurance Plan, PAP, initiative of the Federal Government under the management of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading, NBET, Plc greatly improved liquidity in the sector but noted that the problem of huge unpaid invoices of Power Generating Companies, GENCOs, persisted in the fiscal year.

This challenge, he said, must be addressed by the Federal Government to significantly impact the receivables of the GENCOS, gas suppliers and transporters in the sector.
The Trasncorp boss also urged President Buhari to make it possible for Nigerian investors to benefit from the nation’s assets.

“Let him encourage domestic investors to benefit from the assets of this nation,’’ Elumelu said. The Federal Government had announced plans to sell some of the national assets, although details of that programme have not been made known.

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