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Apostle Suleman, His Views And The Nigerian Challenge

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A frequently raised objection against Christian engagement with politics is that anything besides explicit preaching and teaching of the Bible is a distraction from the mission of the church. But, to a clerical intellect like Apostle Johnson Suleman, this is a limited understanding of the kingdom of God and contrary to examples in Scripture.

Thus far, the Edo State, Nigerian born pastor’s innovative and sustained contributions at the societal level, suggests the Christian worldview provides a comprehensive understanding of reality, as he grasps at every opportunity available to speak to all areas of life, including political engagement. Of course, he is not drifted, for the Bible speaks about civil government and provides examples of faithful engagement.

Between when he held the last two day ‘Open Heavens’ crusade in Dublin Ireland on Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th of July, 2019, Suleman aired his views on vital national issues, underlining reasons Christians have a duty to care about politics, in particular.

It is relevant to note that Apostle Suleman is not just a preaching pastor; he is also a working pastor. He is an entrepreneur, an owner of high-potential businesses that provide jobs and contribute to economic growth. Outside the church podium, Suleman runs vast business enterprises in real estate, oil, and gas, banking, media, mining, hospitality. This places him in good stead to speak on politics and policies of government because he is in the league of people, the entrepreneurs, who make creative leaps to help the government solve problems, unemployment being a major one.

Suleman, who is the president of the Omega Fire Ministries (OFM) worldwide, recently on his social media handles, did speak on a number of issues affecting the polity. Though his views are focused primarily on security, they are holistic messages with implications for all areas of life, including how Christians engage the political process.

Apostle Suleman shared deep thoughts on the government-initiated but suspended Rural Gracing Area (RUGA) initiative, the attacks by herdsmen on communities outside their geographical regions, the reported Islamization agenda by the government of the day, the high taxation narrative, and more. The servant of God stressed an instance when his church suffered victim of the herdsmen’s impunity. He told how his church headquarters in Auchi was invaded by four wandering Fulani herders who were arrested by church members but were reportedly made to escape from the police custody the next day.

Government derives its authority from God, to promote good and restrain evil. This mandate is expressly stated in the Holy Book, Romans 13:1-7. In Apostle Suleman’s words, good government encourages an environment conducive for people living peaceably, whereas bad government fosters unrest and instability.

As he moves the next two-day ‘Open Heavens’ conference to London on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, the firebrand minister of God maintains that Christian leaders must be resolute against the political challenge in Nigeria and elsewhere, as withdrawal opens a moral vacuum liable to influence political leaders to move outside the scope of righteous governing assigned to them. Therefore, because of what the Bible teaches and the inevitability of its effect on people’s beliefs, Christians must care about politics.

BUSINESS

Sterling Bank Contributes N250m To Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Sterling Bank Plc, has contributed N250 million as part of its commitment to the newly formed Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 created to help channel resources to combat the coronavirus disease under the theme: “We need you.”

The bank, in an email to its customers, disclosed that it is working with the Bankers’ Committee to lead the effort to raise N120 billion required by the Federal Government to fight the coronavirus pandemic and help achieve the shared goal of eradicating the virus.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman said, “While this will go a long way, more still needs to be done. We have come to acknowledge that this battle will require every one of us to play our part as corporate citizens and individuals.”

He enjoined other public-spirited corporate organizations and individuals to join in the fight against COVID-19 by making a contribution to the Fight COVID-19 Fund (FCF) and help the coalition to defeat the pandemic for good. He said every Naira donated will go a long way in saving the country from the pandemic.

Suleiman said donations should be sent to:

Bank Name: Sterling Bank
Account Name: COVID Donations
Account Number: 0076813615

He urged Nigerians to show their strength by uniting against the virus, saying a Swahili proverb which translated into English means “Unity is strength; division is weakness,” is needed now more than ever.

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Heritage Bank, GEZAWA Set To Transform Nigeria’s Agric Sector To Huge Commercial Hub

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Nigerian agricultural sector is set to witness huge growth, as Heritage Bank Plc the lead settlement bank for Gezawa Commodity Market (GCMX) has collaborated with key stakeholders to revolutionize agricultural value-chain, aimed at providing a fully integrated ecosystem for commodity Exchange.

Heritage Bank was appointed as the Lead Settlement Bank and Transaction Adviser to the Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Ltd and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two firms, whilst over 10, 000 farmers in 3000 cooperatives in the 44 local governments of Kano States were hosted.

The partnership between Heritage Bank and the Exchange would facilitate the ease of agro commodity trading in a more structured way, especially with the closeness to the Dawanu, the largest grain market in Africa.

The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo, who was a panelist at the 2nd GCMX Farmers’ Cooperative Forum in Kano at the weekend, stated that the partnership is targeted to de-risk the sector that would bring about structured and enhanced agro-business and attain food security that leads to economic development.

Sekibo, who was represented by the Executive Director, Jude Monye explained that the partnership which would help bridge the huge gap associated to risk, will fast track effective price discovery mechanism and traceability and enhanced trade settlement services.

Specifically, the bank’s helmsman stated that under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Heritage Bank would provide on-lending funding to aggregated farmers in the 2020 farming season to grow various products that will serve as raw materials to the processors, thereby ensuring market linkages and access to the market as well as reduce importation and conserve Nigeria’s external reserves.

According to him, with its assigned position Heritage Bank would play a pivotal role in ensuring that there would be an effective and readily available platform for market linkages among players in the agribusiness value chain, involving FMCGs, warehouse operators, collateral managers, processors, farmers’ cooperatives to transact in a seamless way that guarantees quality, quantity, payment, and delivery.

Speaking the event, the ED/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo affirmed that the initiative would help foster diversification of non-oil export trade.

He, however, stated that NEPC would ensure that the primary for the signing of the MoU would be achieved, whilst calling for the need to ensure adequate and seamless supply of agricultural commodities for the business to be sustainable.

The Gezawa Project Consultant, Binchang Binfa, Managing Director of Makarios Global Resource, disclosed, “the ultimate goal was to unlock the vast potential of agricultural value chain via partnerships and synergy with like-minded enterprises, organizations and institutions that will mutually create wealth, generate local employment and contribute significantly to the economic growth and GDP the nation.”

He stated that the Exchange would provide services on price discovery and transparency, increase foreign exchange earning capacity, commodity storage and warehouse receipt system, employment generation of 15, 000 direct and indirect jobs, investment opportunities, increase in non-oil export, ease of doing business, weather report, soil test report, as well as 24/7 online trading of commodities on an alive trading platform.

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Sanwo-Olu Commissions UBA Business Office At New Ultra-Modern Afriland Towers

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The United Bank for Africa (UBA) last Friday, officially added a new touchpoint to its network.

UBA operates in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the USA, and France. The new branch in Afriland towers on the Lagos Island was commissioned by the Executive Governor of Lagos state, his Excellency Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Chairman of UBA, Mr Tony O. Elumelu.

The Governor who congratulated the UBA management and Afriland for the beautiful edifice said the bank has remained a principal stakeholder in the development of Lagos, constantly creating jobs and opportunities for Nigerians.

The Chairman, UBA Group, Mr. Tony Elumelu, who received the Governor as well as the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu expressed gratitude to every other guest who took time off their busy schedules to grace the event.

He explained that the project to build the new business office in Afriland towers was borne out of the need to solidify past successes recorded by the bank, as well as create new vistas for the growth of businesses. He explained that Afriland properties, developers of Afriland Towers is set to develop new projects aimed at catapulting Lagos into the state of excellence.

He said, “It is interesting to note that Afriland has been developing some iconic properties, and today is a wonderful and joyous moment to see that this building which has a lot of rich history, is back to life. We call it the rebirth, and we appreciate all the planning that has gone into the creation of this beautiful and clean world-class masterpiece’. Elumelu hinted at plans of Afriland to develop more iconic properties in the near future, adding that given its expertise and its pedigree, the people of Lagos were in for a huge surprise.

Elumelu said, “Indeed, this is just a tip of what we want to do at Falamo in Ikoyi. We are going to develop a world-class integrated complex at Falomo, and everyone will be pleased with the outcome.

On his part, the Lagos State Governor, congratulated UBA and Afriland on the major feat of developing a beautiful edifice such as Afriland, adding that Tony Elumelu is known for coming up with great ideas that boost employment opportunities for Nigerians.

He said, “This is a historic event today and it is a great honour to be here to see the kind of possibilities that can be achieved when you set your mind to it, and what you can turn an un-earning asset into. It is very interesting to note that that this house, formerly called the Raymond House has a rich history, and this is quite nostalgic for me because like some of you may know, I used to work with UBA and this place was the head office where everyone wanted to be because everything happened here. I’m happy to know that it has such a rich history dating back to over a century ago.

Continuing Sanwo-Olu said, “I want to commend you and I am happy that Afriland has turned this into a very beautiful and modern 21st Century building with a high level of detail, and beautiful structure. In fact, I call it a work-life like environment – this is what it should be, coming to an environment that caters for you in all areas and for your healthy living.”

While stating that the building was bringing back the old glory of Lagos, the governor added that it will put plans in motion to use the Afriland template to develop some of its old buildings.

“We plan to rebuild some of our old structures in Lagos state such as the old Oluwole market, the children’s hospital at Martins Street, among others. We will also be building a cable car project into Lagos Island and all the buildings that have gone down will be rebuilt to meet up with international standards that Afriland has shown us here today,” Sanwo Olu added.

The Oba of Lagos, who congratulated UBA for continuing to contribute positively to the economy as a financial institution that cares about the communities in which it operates.

The Managing Director, Afriland Properties, Uzo Oshogwe, gave a brief history of Afriland Towers, noting the former Raymond House was built in 1886. She added that the rebirth of the Towers showed that the company believed in the potential that could be achieved at the edifice.

The new ultra-modern Afriland Tower Business Office is equipped with state – of – the art facilities, designed to ease banking transactions for its visitors. Facilities provided in the new office include ATM galleries amongst others

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