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BIG STORY

Fidelity Bank CEO, Nnamdi Okonkwo Emerges Banker of the Year

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Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo was on Sunday adjudged Banker of the Year at the Business Hallmark People of the Year Awards 2020.

The award, presented during an elaborate ceremony in Lagos, was conferred on Mr. Okonkwo in utmost recognition of his leadership and vision has not only overseen strong financial performance for the bank in recent times but also guiding the financial institution to greater heights in a highly competitive industry.

According to the organizers, Hallmark Newspapers Limited, the award was aimed specifically at recognizing individuals and corporate organizations that made a meaningful impact in supporting the growth of critical institutions that are needed to foster healthy growth of the Nigerian economy.

Under Okonkwo’s watch, Fidelity Bank has grown from being one of several players in the Nigerian banking space to one that has presently registered in the consciousness of many as one of the most dynamic and fast-growing businesses of its type in the land.

Receiving the award on behalf of Okonkwo, the bank’s Executive Director, Corporate Bank, Obaro Odeghe described the award as a very clear testament of his contributions, not just to the bank but the entire banking sector.

While expressing his gratitude to Business Hallmark Newspaper Group for the award, Okonkwo said that the award was not taken for granted. “We are not taking this award for granted, it is a very clear testament to our contributions, not just to the bank but the entire banking sector, he said.

Okonkwo has led Fidelity Bank to consistently post double-digit growth figures, year-on-year profitability, and wealth creation across the bank’s operations over the last six years.

Recall that the bank’s Profit Before Tax (PBT) under Okonkwo grew by 236 percent from N9.06 billion to N30.4 billion and Return on Equity (RoE) increased from 5.5 percent to 13. 3 percent.

Customer deposits grew 68 percent from N806.3 billion to N1.352.3 billion and a savings deposit growth of 275 percent from N83.3 billion to N312.1 billion. Also, under his watch, the bank has recorded unprecedented growth in its digital platforms such that the Tier 2 bank is well on its way of becoming a Tier one bank.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Chairman of the awards, Former Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, noted that the year 2020 has been challenging because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. According to him, Nigeria needs to adopt a socio-political framework where everybody feels included.

Speaking further, he said, “Today we have gathered here to honour people who in their respective social classes have tried to make a meaningful impact in supporting the growth of critical institutions that are needed to foster the healthy growth of our country, whether, in the private or public capacities, these individuals have shone like bright stars, spreading light.

“Given the challenges that we face as a country today, we have such achievers that we are celebrating today, and we are glad to be here to honour them.

Other distinguished awardees include Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubarkar Malami, – Public Servant of the Year award; Member, Federal House of Representatives, Dr Ottah Francis Agbo-Lawmaker of the Year award and former Director, Corporate Communication of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Isaac Okoroafor-Professional Excellence in Corporate Communication.

Other awardees are Director-General, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekwe, Former President/ CEO Transnational Corporation of Nigeria, Konga, Heritage Bank and Keystone Bank Limited, among others.

BIG STORY

Only God Can Give Victory Over Insecurity —– Femi Adesina

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The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says Nigerians who fail to commit the security situation into the hands of God could be guilty of indirectly prolonging the war against insurgency.

Adesina said this in an article on Thursday titled, ‘The Decent for the Indecent, the Just for the Unjust’.

The President’s aide noted that a short viral video showed a soldier and four others singing that victory is from God alone.

Adesina, however, said many Nigerians had failed to understand that only God gives victory.

He wrote, “But victory is from God alone. That is what we must realize as Nigerians. Do we ever pray for our troops in the frontlines? Do we remember those youths, our pride, and strength, faced by death daily, as we sleep in the comfort of our homes, ensconced in the tender bosom of our wives?

“As we pray; God give me money. Give me a car. Give me a promotion. Kill my enemies. Do it now. Do we ever remember our soldiers? Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray…did you pray for our soldiers? Victory comes from God alone. If you don’t pray, you may be guilty of prolonging the war in North-East, North-west, North-central, and all over Nigeria.”

The President’s spokesman said rather than understand the fact that only God can give victory, some Nigerians had become wailers.

“Yes, victory is from God alone. But do some people know? Does it ever enter into their consciousness? They only wail: ‘this insurgency war has lasted too long. The banditry has demystified our military. They are cowards. The top guns don’t even want the battle to end.

“They are making money in billions.’ Okay. Making money in billions and wasting our soldiers, our youths, our future, and hope, in their hundreds and thousands because of blood money. That is all some people see; permanent cynics and sceptics, who know nothing of altruism, and whose God is their belly. They think only of pecuniary gain, nothing else,” Adesina said.

He said as the nation marks this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Nigerians should seize the opportunity to pray for the military and encourage them and not run them down.

 

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JUST IN: Lagos Okays School Reopening January 18

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The Lagos State Government has affirmed its earlier pronouncement that all public and private schools in Lagos State below tertiary level should resume on Monday, January 18, 2021, for the second term 2020/2021 academic session.

This affirmation was made today by the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo while noting that this is in line with the Federal Government’s resolution after reaching a consensus with relevant stakeholders.

Details later…

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Drama As Pigeons Released By Buhari Refuse To Fly At Armed Forces Remembrance [VIDEO]

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The doves, otherwise known as white pigeons, released by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremony, refused to fly despite multiple attempts by the President thereby sparking a debate on social media on Friday.

The President had opened the birdcage at the National Arcade, picked up one of the doves, and thrown it into the air but the bird landed atop the cage and refused to fly.

Buhari, who was eager to let the white pigeons fly, opened the roof of the cage in a bid to send them all out but the birds remained adamant and decided to sit on top of the cage’s roof.

The President, who appeared tired of trying, soon left the birds and returned to his seat. Moments after the President had left, however, some of the birds flew.

The ritual of releasing doves is to commemorate the life of a departed loved one and is common at significant events like funerals or memorials. It also signifies peace.

Studies show that domesticated doves that are used to living in cages are not always keen on flying.

The Vatican stopped the ritual in 2014 when Pope Francis released two birds that would not fly out of the window of the papal apartment and required several attempts to get the birds to fly out over a crowd of spectators.

A similar incident occurred just the year prior at an event where Pope Benedict XVI released doves during a Holocaust remembrance event. The doves were attacked by a gull, with one dove being singled out and injured, according to Wikipedia.

In 2014, the doves refused to fly when former President Goodluck Jonathan freed them. The Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry Enugu, Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka, described the incident at the time as a sign that God had abandoned Jonathan.

The refusal of the birds to fly on Friday, however, sparked thousands of comments on social media.

A former presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Adamu Garba, said the birds should be eaten if they cannot do what they were trained to do.

“The pigeons are tired and overtime became lazy, they don’t want to fly the spirit of The Nigerian Flag. We should roast them at Suya joint and deploy Crowwe for action,” he said.

Social media personality, Morris Monye, said the Department of State Services would have arrested the pigeons for embarrassing the President if they could.

“I guarantee you… If it was possible, the DSS would arrest the pigeons for such an affront on the President. But really, is there peace, harmony, and security in the land?” he asked.

A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, who is a known critique of the President, also tweeted, “Hmmm. Even the pigeons in Nigeria.”

 

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