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STOP PRESS! Before We Crucify VP Osinbajo

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Hysteria is in the DNA of many Nigerians, especially those who are, for parochial or partisan reasons, decidedly and desperately against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Since the president announced the dissolution of the Economic Management Team headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and replaced it with an Economic Advisory Council, there has been mass hysteria in the traditional and new media.

This is apparent in the deluge of dilettante opinion articles, editorials, blog posts, blurbs, and tweets all alluding to the fact that the VP has been politically emasculated by a phantom ‘cabal’ in the presidency because of his growing popularity and influence and the need to whittle them down before 2023.

Some even said he has been marked for impeachment on trumped-up charges that could only have been products of a puerile imagination.

What the President simply did was to change the economic direction of his Next Level agenda; not ‘reduce’, as some also implied, the statutory functions of his beloved VP.

As the chairman of the constitutionally created the National Economic Council, the VP will continue to play a pivotal role in all economic matters in singular support and assistance of his Principal, Mr. President.

For emphasis, the NEC meeting, held monthly, deliberates on the coordination of the economic planning efforts and economic programmes of the various levels of government.

The council comprises the 36 state governors, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Minister of Finance, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and other government officials and agencies whose duties hinge on the economy.

Last Thursday, the VP still chaired the NEC at the Presidential Villa.

Osinbajo told attendees at the NEC meeting that both councils (NEC and EAC) are for the benefit of the president; and, “If NEC wants to be briefed regularly by the Economic Advisory Council, EAC, we will request the president to do that.” So, nothing has changed, except for the new song by dissidents.

What further sent the rumour mill into overdrive was an alleged directive that the Vice-President should, henceforth, seek presidential approvals for agencies under his supervision.

VP Osinbajo is the chairman of the governing boards of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the National Boundary Commission (NBC) and the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA).

He is also the chairman of the board of directors of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), a limited liability company owned by the three tiers of government; and the National Economic Council (NEC), a constitutional body made up of state governors and key federal government officials, as well as the National Council on Privatisation (NCP).

Under the laws setting up the agencies, the president is empowered to give final approvals but those who chose to ignore this constitutional provision went to town, gloating and ululating, that the VP has eventually been cut to size.

A careful introspection is critical here. Apart from the fact that he is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the Vice President, as the whole world knows, is a Professor of Law. So, if anybody should know what the constitution stipulates as the roles and powers of a VP, it is Osinbajo.

So, why would he want to overreach himself knowing what the constitution states? At what point does doing the right thing require a directive? Some things just don’t add up in the name of playing politics.

Late 2018, the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness invited the VP to explain his role in the N5.8 billion North East Intervention Fund which the lawmakers said was mismanaged by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The NEMA is one of the agencies under the VP. The committee said the authorisation for the release of the fund for emergency food intervention in the North East contravened Section 80(4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. And that the funds were credited directly to the individual banks of the companies and NEMA’s bank account, in violation of the approval limit allowed by law.

Nowhere in the report was the VP alleged to have benefitted from the fund. Good enough, the Presidency issued a public statement to say that the money Osinbajo, in his capacity as the Acting President, approved for release in the dire emergency was sourced from the Rice Levy which had already been appropriated in that year’s budget. And that explanation settled the matter.

However, in the desperation of the strident opposition, the allegation, which had since been dispelled by the House Committee, is now being unearthed as if it were new, in a mere political contrivance intended to distract the President Buhari-led administration.

Every discerning mind should be above this outright fake news and sheer inanity. Just as they should about rumours that some unspecified amount of money was found in some private accounts related to the VP’s family or that some Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, funds were traced to his office. The purveyors of this particular rumour even said that the National Leader of the All Progressives’ Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and a former National Chairman of the party, Chief BisiAkande, had been duly informed. Another such report maintained that Asiwaju himself is behind the attempt to smear the VP.

These are mere fabrications intended to drive a wedge between the VP and those he holds in very high esteem. Thankfully, the president and the party leaders are above such frivolous distractions.

Indeed, at no time since Nigeria’s democratic experience began that the President and his VP have enjoyed the kind of cordial relationship and mutual respect that exists between President Buhari and VP Osinbajo.

The president believes so much in the competence, character, and capacity of his VP that he allows him to handle some of the populist programmes of the administration. And, this has not been without politically-motivated hiccups.

The VP is the ‘face’ of TraderMoni, the empowerment scheme of the Federal Government created specifically for petty traders and artisans across Nigeria. The launch of the scheme saw the VP crisscrossing the country, enlightening the people about it and generally pressing the flesh to the delight of Nigerians. Yet, those who do not know the workings of the scheme have gone to town, falsely accusing the VP of mismanaging the Tradermoni Funds.

Instructively, the Bank of Industry is in charge of the Tradermoni; the funds never get into the hands of the VP or his aides; the money is sent to the people via their phones. The VP has just been monitoring to make sure people received what they were promised and the program was working. So any imputation of embezzlement is nothing but a frantic attempt to soil a hard-earned reputation of loyalty, integrity, and capability which the VP has built in the last four years, and which has helped to steady the incumbent administration in no small measure.

Conclusively, the news and noise of a rift or whittling down of the VP’s powers is akin to a storm in a teacup; both the president and the Vice President are still working in tandem to ensure that Nigerians are genuinely taken to the Next Level in their own time.

Abdullai Rimi, is an Abuja-based media practitioner and businessman

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Tony Elumelu Donates Technology Centre To AAU

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Chairman of UBA Group, Tony O. Elumelu, has made the donation of a multipurpose information technology center to his alma mater, Ambrose Ali University.

Through the UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Elumelu has championed the construction of a state-of-the-art multipurpose information technology building, which will benefit the students of Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, Edo State. The hall, to be named The Tony O. Elumelu multipurpose hall, is furnished with computers, desks, and chairs measure 839 square meters and have adjoining offices and conveniences.

Elumelu highlighted his motivation: “Education is crucial to Nigeria’s human capital – whether our young people join our national institutions, the private sector or, as I did, take the entrepreneurial path, no one can afford to be cut off from the digital world. It has been a personal mission to ensure that the hall was delivered to specification, for the benefit of the students at the AAU. Success brings with it the duty to give back, and I am just grateful that I am now in a position to meaningfully help the next generation”.

The multipurpose hall was formally handed over to the University, at a ceremony attended by members of the University’s governing council and staff, led by Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo.

Speaking at the commissioning, UBA’s Directorate Head, South Bank, Mr. Chris Ofikulu, who represented the UBA Group Chairman, highlighted the contribution of UBA, through its Foundation, to education and development across Africa.

‘As a pan-African bank, operating in 20 countries across our continent, UBA is committed to being a socially responsible institution, and a role model for businesses in Africa. The UBA Foundation actively promotes the socio-economic improvement of the communities in which UBA operates, with a particular emphasis on development in the areas of “Education, Environment, and Economic Empowerment”. We believe in intervening and building capacity within communities, facilitating projects that will act as catalysts for social and economic development’ he stated.

“Tony Elumelu is a product of this great university and is conscious of the need to give back and there is no substitute for world-class educational infrastructure, and this is what has informed the construction of these facilities, that will help equip the future leaders of our great nation Nigeria,” he said.

The AAU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo, who expressed his heartfelt gratitude towards the gesture by the UBA Group Chairman, noted that one of the most pressing needs of the University for 2020 had been met, and thanked UBA and Mr Elumelu.

He challenged students to make proper use of the facilities provided by UBA and to ensure that they emerge great leaders and mentors like Elumelu, whose commitment to catalyzing entrepreneurial growth across Africa, through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and institutionalizing African philanthropy, had created a strong positive role model. ‘We at Ambrose Ali university are so proud of our son Tony Elumelu and every time we see him doing good across Africa, we feel joy and accomplishment’ said Onimawo.

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Nigerian Bottling Company Appoints Matthieu Seguin As Managing Director

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Non-alcoholic beverage giant, Nigerian Bottling Company Limited (NBC) has announced the appointment of Matthieu Seguin as the company’s Managing Director effective October 3, 2019. Seguin succeeds George Polymenakos who was appointed in August 2016.

Until his appointment, he was the General Manager for Coca-Cola HBC Ireland & Northern Ireland for almost 4 years.

According to a company statement signed by the Public Affairs and Communications Director, Mr. Ekuma Eze, Seguin will lead the organization and it’s over 2,700 employees to deliver growth, business optimization, and profitability for Coca-Cola Hellenic Business in Nigeria.

Eze stated that Seguin is a thoroughbred professional with multi-industry experience and a remarkable track record in business turnaround as well as a strong passion and commitment for people development, having served in different capacities in top management positions.

He further disclosed that Seguin is not new to the company nor the Nigerian business environment, having previously worked in Nigerian Bottling Company as the Commercial Director between 2011 and 2016.

Seguin joined Coca-Cola HBC in December 2009 as Group International Customer Director. In May 2011, he was appointed the Country Commercial Director for Nigerian Bottling Company. Before this, he had worked with Procter and Gamble for almost 18 years in different commercial roles across Europe, Middle East & Africa.

During his time as General Manager for Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland, Seguin led the organization through a period of considerable success, delivering profitable growth through a focus on prioritization, simplification and team development.

Matthieu Seguin is an alumnus of the INSEAD School of Business, IMD Business School and Ecole de Management de Normandie. He has served on various boards including as Member of Board of Repak Ireland; Member of the IBEC National Council and Chairman of Food Drink, Ireland’s Prepared Consumer Foods Council.

 

Ekuma Eze
Public Affairs and Communications Director

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Aimart Realtors To Reward Customers In Season’ Promo Draws

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Aimart Realtors, one of Nigeria’s premium real estate management and development company, will be hosting the grand finale of her special season’s promo on the December, 14th, 2019. The event which will take place at Air force Officers Mess, No 1 kofo Abayomi Lagos will see winners emerge from various categories of a promo many observers regard as top-notch in this season of a giveaway.

The current Aimart Realtors Promo does not just have huge reductions in the prices of houses and plots of land at all Aimart estates in Ibeju-Lekki and Lagos Mainland, there is a special top-up as customer who makes deposits for any package will smile home with lots of goodies to celebrate this year’s yuletide holidays and new year season.

In a statement issued by the company, the Managing Director Mrs. Oluwabukola Iluyomade, stated that the organization wants to excite all Nigerians during this season as they take advantage of the heavy discount on various packages in all their estates across different parts of Lagos.

In her words, “the vision of Aimart Realtors is to be a one-stop solution in the global real estate business. Besides, we are equally poised to provide precise, accurate and affordable real estate services that guarantee human dignity, wealth creation, and preservation for our esteemed customers.

“As the season approaches, we decided to provide this icing on the cake for all, right from the first day of October we started the promo till this December that we are ending this special promo”

She added that the excitement of this event is meant to wow everyone and set the stage for a bigger, better and fun-filled new year,

Since its establishment years ago, Aimart Realtors has successfully provided client-oriented solutions and real estate portfolios that offer optimized shelters for both individuals and businesses.

Over time, the company has remained consistent with its vision as “a one-stop solution provider in the global real estate business” and thus continues to design, conceptualize, build and manage decent and affordable residential, office, commercial accommodations that are excellent for habitation and investment.

The company has also created a top-notch standard in delivering worry-free-homes to customers at home and in the diaspora. Giving optimum value to virtually all her clients.

In all her jobs and activities, Aimart Realtors has maintained a clean record of delivering exceptional services in all areas of land documentation, survey plan, C of O and gazette processing and these have kept customers coming back with great satisfaction.

Interested customer who desired to end 2019 in grand style with the acquisition of land and homes at affordable prices should contact Aimart realtors on the following 234 1 2932213 +23481280794
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