President Tinubu hails the Super Eagles’ great resilience, talent of the Nigerian people

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

President Bola Tinubu salutes the Super Eagles of Nigeria for their tenacious performance in the final of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Côte d’Ivoire.

President Tinubu commends the team, the coach, the crew, and the entire management team for their hard work, assiduity, and sacrifice to come this far in the tournament, acknowledging the hurdles they consistently surpassed with steadily improving performance as they pulled through to the finals.

The President urges Nigerians to be of good cheer, emphasizing that we won a great victory in the hearts of Africa and the world by our grit, rigour, and determination in the field of play.


“Let this passing event not dispirit us, but bring us together to work harder. We are a great nation bound as one by the green-white-green banner of resilience, joy, hope, duty, and untiring love. To those cherished Nigerian youths expressing their gifts in communities, drawing lines in the sand as they play football in their humble rectangles of play, you can be our heroes tomorrow, do not relent in your pursuit. My administration is here to make dreams come true,” the President says.

 

President Tinubu mourns CEO of Access Holdings Plc, Herbert Wigwe, former Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, others

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

After receiving an official confirmation of events, President Bola Tinubu receives with shock and deep distress the news of the passing of Mr. Herbert Wigwe, top banker and entrepreneur, and Mr. Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former Group Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, along with members of the Wigwe family.

Mr. Herbert Wigwe, was the Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc and founder of the How Foundation.

President Tinubu mourns these exceptional Nigerian business leaders and describes their passing as “an overwhelming tragedy that is shocking beyond comprehension.”

The President condoles with the Wigwe and Ogunbanjo families, the business community, and all those impacted by this harrowing incident.

President Tinubu prays for the peaceful repose of the departed and asks God Almighty to comfort the multitude of Nigerians who are grieving and the families of the deceased at this deeply agonizing moment.

Access Holdings confirms passing away of MD, Herbert Wigwe, wife, & son

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

The Board of Directors, Access Holdings Plc  has confirmed the passing of Dr. Herbert Wigwe, CFR, the Company’s founding Group Chief Executive Officer and former Group Managing Director of its flagship subsidiary, Access Bank Plc.

Dr. Wigwe died alongside his wife and son on Friday, February 9, 2024, in a helicopter accident in the United States of America.

The entire Access Family mourns the loss of Herbert, Doreen and Chizi. We extend our deep and sincere sympathies to his family and loved ones. Dr. Wigwe was a key driving force and a larger-than-life personality who brought his remarkable passion, energy, and experience to the transformation of the Access franchise since joining the Bank in 2002.

Commenting on the passage of Dr. Wigwe, Mr. Abubakar Jimoh, Chairman of Access Holdings said:

“The Access Family has suffered a major loss with the passing of Dr. Wigwe who was a great friend and fine gentleman. He had a prodigious intellect, admirable personal qualities, and vast business experience which he brought to bear on the Access Family and for which we owe him a debt of gratitude.

We remain confident that the Access Group will build further on Dr. Wigwe’s legacy of growth and operational excellence.”

Dr. Wigwe was instrumental in the growth of Access Bank, which he co-founded with his friend and business partner Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. He took over as Access Bank Group CEO in 2014, focusing on the Bank’s expansion in Nigeria and Africa before taking the helm at Access Holdings in 2022. Under his leadership, Access Bank drove its African strategy to become Sub Saharan Africa’s largest retail bank by customer base.

Dr. Wigwe was a member of the Access Bank UK board as well as the board of the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA). He has long been an advocate for the eradication of malaria in Africa, working with the Corporate Alliance on Malaria to support this objective.

He also sat on the board of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company and Friends Africa and was an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and Institute of Credit Administration.

A two-time winner of the African Banker of the Year award from the African Banker Awards, Dr. Wigwe was a passionate advocate of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which form the bedrock of Access Holdings’ growth strategy.

His academic credentials include a degree in Accounting from the University of Nigeria, an MA in Banking and Finance from the University College of North Wales (now Bangor University), and an MSc in Financial Economics from the University of London. He also completed the Harvard Business School Executive Management Program.

Dr. Wigwe recently founded Wigwe University, Africa’s first ivy league institution dedicated to providing a world-class education and raising the next generation of fearless leaders.

President Tinubu commends sacrifices of the Arm Forces, exalts continous protection of Nigeria’s Territorial Integrity

By Favour Nnabugwu 
President Bola Tinubu has commended the sacrifices of the country’s the armed forces and their continuous protection of  Nigeria’s territorial integrity against all threats.
Speaking at an event marking the Diamond Jubilee of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna, on Saturday, the President assured the military of his administration’s commitment to its welfare, as well as unflagging support in the discharge of its duties.
The NDA was established about six decades ago, on February 5, 1964. The institution has undergone various stages of transformation in its quest to fulfill its mandate of training officers for the Nigerian Armed Forces. Before obtaining independence from Britain, Nigeria’s first set of officers were trained in Ghana and subsequently at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, England. But by January 1964, four years after independence, the first batch of 64 army and navy cadets commenced training at the NDA.
President Tinubu highlighted some of the milestones recorded during the transformation of the NDA to include the subsequent addition and training of Air Force cadets, the successful reunification of the country after the Civil War in 1967 as well as the various short-service military training programmes instituted to fill the manpower needs caused by the Civil War.
Other noteworthy achievements he accented include the upgrade of the NDA from a non-degree awarding institution to a full-fledged degree-awarding university in 1985, thereby phasing out the Nigerian Defence Academy Certificate of Education hitherto awarded to cadets.
“The government is also pleased to note that the curriculum approved by the National Universities Commission, the regulatory body is sufficiently robust and broad-based to enable the cadets to acquire the knowledge, skills, values, character, and discipline required for effective and efficient service in the Nigerian Armed forces in peace times and in times of crises.
“I understand that other giants’ strides recorded in the NDA include the establishment of post-graduate programs, the creation of research centres and centres of excellence to facilitate research and enable cross fertilization of ideas.
“The consistent academic calendar devoid of industrial disputes and strikes should make the NDA postgraduate school an institution of first choice not only for Nigerian students but also for students across the globe”
” I therefore charge the academic staff both military and nonmilitary to transform the NDA into ‘Nigeria’s Silicon Valley,’ a hub for startups where ideas are not only incubated but also actualized,” the President said.
President Tinubu commended the past and present leadership of the NDA for the quality of military and academic training, which has continued to attract clientele from other African nations.
He said with the quality of training at the Academy, the military is capable of bringing to an end all acts of banditry, insurgency, and criminality that have ravaged the country.
“Let me also add that although the war against the enemies of Nigeria is not over, it is fair to state that relative peace has been recorded across the major flash points. These successes have come at a price for the government and the populace. We remember our fallen heroes and those out in the trenches for the sake of our fatherland. Let us also celebrate their resilience and sacrifice at this diamond jubilee.
 “I urge you to continue to play your constitutional role of safeguarding the territorial integrity of Nigeria, our fatherland. You must shun any acts that are inimical to the well-being of our nation and acts which can destroy the gains of democracy which we have enjoyed in the last 20 years.
“The government is fully aware of the service and sacrifices that members of the Nigerian Armed Forces have continued to render across the length and breadth of this country, especially in the face of daunting challenges. We, as a government, will continue to accord priority to the needs of the armed forces to enable the military to play its constitutional role without let or hindrance.
“Let me reiterate the urgency to upscale the fight against insecurity, which has robbed us of peace and progress. While the relative peace you have been able to secure is worth celebrating, you must remember that the war is not yet over until every parcel of land held by the enemy is flying the flag of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the President said.
Access Bank GMD, Herbert Wigwe, Wife, Son, NGX Chairman, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, others feared dead In Helicopter Crash

CAPTION:

Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc, Herbert Wigwe and Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group), Abimbola Ogunbanjo,

 

 

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

The wife and son of the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc, Herbert Wigwe, and himself have reportedly been involved in a helicopter crash in the United States of America.

According to TheWill, the Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group), Abimbola Ogunbanjo, was also in the helicopter during the crash

It was gathered that Wigwe, his wife and son were in the helicopter, which was headed to Las Vegas when it crashed near a border city between Nevada and California on Friday night.

According to TheWill, the Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group), Abimbola Ogunbanjo, was also in the helicopter during the crash.

Also, it was learned that six people were feared dead after the horrific helicopter crash in California, marking the state’s second fatal accident in under a week
Officials said the helicopter crashed near Nipton on the edge of the Mojave Desert late on Friday evening.

The helicopter, a Eurocopter EC 130, had been carrying six people onboard at the time of the incident.

It comes just days after a Navy chopper carrying five troops crashed during a routine training flight in Pine Valley, California.
The helicopter carrying six people crashed in San Bernardino County overnight, with authorities saying they have been unable to locate any survivors

AFCON 2023: Nigeria overpower South Africa 4-2 on penalties to reach Cup Final

By  Favour Nnabugwu 

 

 

Nigeria stepped gingerly into the Championship Match of the 34th Africa Cup of Nations after a turgid 120 minutes battle with South Africa that eventually went into a nail-biting penalty shootout in Cote d’Ivoire’s second city, Bouake on Wednesday.

The game ended 1-1 after extra time and the Super Eagles triumphed 4-2 after penalties.

It was dubbed the “Ampiano Derby’ but there was so much piggybacking on the game, and as the players stepped onto the turf of the Stade de la Paix, it was obvious that they were determined to fight a ‘war’.

Sphephelo Sithole got his leg to a through ball as the Bafana Bafana poured forward in the quarter-hour, but Nigeria goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali would never be beaten that way. Minutes later, Victor Osimhen and Ademola Lookman combined to pull something out of the chestnut, but the defenceline of Teboho Mokoena, Aubrey Mobida and Siyanda Xulu was very much on the alert.

Nwabali was again on the alert in the 28th minute to break the heart of Percy Tau, and nine minutes later, Alex Iwobi’s shot from the edge of the box was too feeble to rattle goalkeeper and captain Ronwen Williams.

In the 39th minute, Nwabali again denied Tau as the forward concocted a chip. At the other end, Osimhen failed to direct his header well when Ola Aina sped down the left and heaved the ball into the opposition box.

Osimhen again failed to direct his header properly in the 57th minute. Eight minutes later, Nigeria earned a penalty after the tireless Osimhen was upended in the box as he went on a sharp solo. William Ekong made no mistake from the spot.

In the 72nd minute, the combination of Osimhen, substitute Chukwueze and Lookman had the Bafana defence flat-footed, only for Osimhen to get too much purchase on the ball when he tried to find Lookman for the final delivery.

Evidence Magkopa got behind the Nigeria defence in the 75th minute and watched his fierce shot roll aimlessly away. For a response, Chukwueze and Aribo combined to set Lookman free in the middle, but the striker was checkmated.

With five minutes left, the Eagles broke forward in a sweeping team move. The irrepressible Lookman sped away from the middle and found Bright Osayi-Samuel on the right, and the defender’s cross screened goalkeeper Williams to allow Osimhen a simple tap-in. After ruling it a goal, Egyptian referee Amin Mohamed Omar’s attention was called to an earlier incident in the Nigerian box, and he instead awarded a penalty to South Africa, converted by Teboho Mokoena.

In extra time, Lookman watched his shot parried by Williams, who then saved a shot by Osimhen. Osimhen headed just slightly over the bar as Nigeria searched for a means to end the encounter without going into penalty shootout.

In the ensuing penalty shootout, Williams, who had saved four in the shootout against Cape Verde that saw the Bafana Bafana reach the last four, could not stop any of Nigeria’s kicks. Only Ola Aina booted his kick over the sticks. Terem Moffi, Kenneth Omeruo, Ekong and Kelechi Iheanacho all scored, while Nwabali saved two of South Africa’s kicks and was duly named Man of the Match.

In the event, Nigeria will play in the Final of the continent’s flagship football competition for the eighth time.

The Super Eagles will take on tournament surprise team and hosts Cote d’Ivoire in the Final on Sunday night at the 60,000 – capacity Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara in Ebimpe, outside Abidjan.

Femi Otedola now Chairman, FBN Holdings

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

Nigerian businessman, Femi Otedola has emerged as the Chairman, Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings.

The financial institution disclosed this in a corporate filing on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), notifying investors of the new development.

The appointment was confirmed after a recent meeting of the board where Otedola succeeded Alhaji Ahmad Abdullahi.

The institution said Otedola’s appointment is effective January 31, 2024.

FBN Holdings added that Otedola came on its board on August 15, 2023, as a non-executive director and described him as a visionary entrepreneur.

“He is a visionary entrepreneur with a track record of pioneering businesses, growing and transforming corporations. His first foray into the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry began with Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited thus disrupting and redefining standards in the industry. He thereafter initiated the purchase of majority shareholding in the then African Petroleum Plc in May 2007 and became the Chairman of the Board on 25 May 2007.

“His vision transformed African Petroleum Plc into Forte Oil Pic (FO PIc). The company grew in leaps and bounds to become a model of the possibilities inherent in Nigeria, winning numerous accolades in recognition of the successful business turnaround, diversified portfollo, prompt financial reporting, strong corporate governance, and Investment of choice within the oil and gas industry.

In December 2018, he divested from the company by selling his shareholdings to the Ignite Consortium led by Prudent Energy Services Limited and handed over in June 2019 after completing the transaction,” FBN Holdings said

We have uncovered religious sect laundering money for terrorists – EFCC Chairman

By Favour Nnabugwu

 

 

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, has revealed that the anti-graft agency uncovered how a religious sect in Nigeria is laundering money for terrorists.

This was as he also revealed that another religious body was found to be protecting a money launderer after some money suspected to have been laundered was traced to the organisation’s bank account.

Speaking during a public engagement on youth, religion, and the fight against corruption, as well as the launch of the fraud risk assessment project for ministries, departments, and agencies, Olukoyede stated that the EFCC was investigating a N13bn fraud case when it discovered that N7bn of the N13bn was linked to a religious body’s bank account.

He noted that religious organisations, institutions, sects, and bodies have been found culpable of money laundering.

Olukoyede said, “A religious sect in this country had been found to be laundering money for terrorists.”

He, however, noted that the religious organisation quickly obtained a restraining order to prevent the EFCC from probing its leaders.

“We were able to trace some laundered money to a religious organisation, and when we approached the religious organisation about it and we were carrying out our investigation, we got a restraining order stopping us from carrying out our investigation,” he said.

Olukoyede further said the commission will not give up on the investigation as it is appealing the restraining order to recover the stolen funds.

The one-day event is aimed at addressing the challenges of youth involvement in cybercrimes and how religion could be used as a weapon for their reorientation.

The event, themed “Youth, Religion and the Fight Against Corruption,” featured the launch of the Interfaith Preaching and Teaching Manual developed by the Interfaith Anti-Corruption Advisory Committee of the Commission as a resource to promote abhorrence for corruption among adherents of Islam and Christianity.

The EFCC’s Fraud Risk Assessment Prevention and Control Project for Ministries, Departments and Agencies was also launched at the event.

President Tinubu to tripartite National Minimum Wage C’ttee with emphasis on social justice, equity

By Favour Nnabugwu 

 

 

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on has  inaugurated a Tripartite committee of the National Minimum Wage, with a directive to its members to ensure their decisions are firmly rooted in social justice and equity.

In order to guarantee sustainability in all tiers of government, the President said the committee must pay attention to the ability of all parties to pay the new wage, just as he asked the committee members to ensure timely completion of of their assignment.

The President, who was represented by his deputy, Vice President Kashim Shettima, stated this while inaugurating the tripartite committee at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“Our objective should be to surpass the basic Social Protection Floor for all Nigerian workers, considering the sustainable payment capacity of each tier of government and other employers or businesses.

“I express this viewpoint because the minimum wage represents the least amount of compensation an employee should receive for their labor, and as such, it should be rooted in social justice and equity. I hope that the results of your deliberations will be consensual and acceptable to all parties involved,” the President told members of the committee.

President Tinubu reaffirmed his administration’s promise to improve the welfare of Nigerian workers and, by extension, the entire nation, saying “the labour force stands as the cornerstone of the progress of every nation, and ours has been the enduring engine of our pursuit of development.”

Underscoring the significance of the assignment as reflected in the composition of the tripartite committee, the President urged all members to take their new task with all seriousness, even as he directed the committee to employ the principles of full consultation with social partners in all of its deliberations.

Accordingly, he directed that state Governors, Ministers and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation who are members must personally attend the committee meetings, and in the event where they are unavoidably absent, their deputies, commissioners and Permanent Secretaries should represent them.

“Recognizing the significance of this initiative and to ensure a substantial engagement, I hereby direct that Ministers and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation should personally attend the meeting. In their unavoidable absence, their Permanent Secretaries should represent them.

“Similarly, Governors are expected to attend in person or be represented by their deputies or commissioners where necessary. I urge you to consider the issue of a National Minimum Wage and all related matters with thoroughness and concern, keeping in mind not only the welfare of our workforce but also the impact on the country’s economy,” Tinubu stated.

On the prompt completion of their assignment, President Tinubu noted that “timely submission is crucial to initiate the necessary processes for implementing a new National Minimum Wage.”

He further stressed that “government’s decision, following the consideration of your final recommendation, will be presented as an Executive Bill to the National Assembly.

“This bill, enriched by the contributions of state governments and private sector employers, will undergo thorough legislative scrutiny before being passed into law,” he added.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume, urged the committee to give its best, noting that the task before it carries the hopes and aspirations of millions of Nigerian workers.

He said the inauguration of the committee to come up with a new national minimum wage is in fulfilment of the promise of the Tinubu administration to embark on a comprehensive review of the minimum wage for the average Nigerian worker.

On his part, Chairman of the Tripartite Committee, Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji, assured the President that the committee will do justice to the task assigned to it.

“We shall, by God’s grace, carry out extensive consultations with key stakeholders to arrive at a new minimum wage that is fair, practical and implementable,” Aji, a former Head of Service of the Federation, noted.

The 37-man tripartite committee has six Governors, some cabinet Ministers, representatives of the organised labour and the private sector among its members.

The Governors include Mohammed Bago of Niger State, representing the North Central; Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, representing the North East; Dikko Radda of Katsina State, representing the North West; Charles Soludo of Anambra State, representing the South East; Ademola Adeleke of Osun State, representing the South-West, and Otu Bassey of Cross River State, representing the South-South.

The Ministers are Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun; Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu; the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. (Mrs) Yemi Esan, and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha.

#StateHousePressRelease

Federal Capital cannot move to Lagos- Presidency

By Favour Nnabugwu 

Presidency has denied the rumour making rounds that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu planned to move the federal Capital to Lagos.
The Special Adviser to tPresident Bola Tinubu on Information and Startegy, Mr Bayou Onanuga said the status as federal Capital has come to stay it is backed by law
Abuja, as the FCT is backed by law and has come to stay, adding the movement of FAAN, a department of the Aviation Ministry, to Lagos does not amount to moving the FCT to Lagos

The statement reads, “President Tinubu has no plan whatsoever to move the Federal Capital to Lagos. The rumour first surfaced during the campaign last year by opponents looking for all manners of weapons to stop him. We trashed it.

“Those peddling it anew are dishonest, ethnic and regional champions, trying to draw attention to themselves. Abuja has come to stay. It is backed by law

The movement of FAAN, an agency of Aviation Ministry, to Lagos, where it was located before former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, moved it to Abuja during the last administration, does not amount to moving the Federal Capital to Lagos.
The administrative move should have ordinarily attracted scant attention, as Lagos is the commercial capital and the hub of aviation business in Nigeria. FAAN will still maintain some presence in Abuja. It is not a wholesale movement.
Similarly, the movement of the Department of Banking Supervision of the CBN to Lagos should not trigger any discord within the polity. The department concerned deals with commercial banks, almost all of which have their headquarters in Lagos.
There are many parastatals that are not based in Abuja depending on their mandate. The headquarters of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), for example, are in Lagos.
In the same vein, the headquarters of National Inland Waterways Authority( NIWA) is in Lokoja, while that of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), was commissioned by former President Muhammadu Buhari is in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
It must be pointed out that these decisions are purely administrative that should not be politicized by people of goodwill and those who wish our country well.