The Election Petition Tribunal Panel II, presided by Justice C. O Onyeabo in Asaba, Delta State, has sacked James Manager as the Senator representing Delta South senatorial district.
This was in a judgement delivered on Saturday by a three-man panel led by Justice Onyeabo.
The tribunal in a unanimous judgment ordered fresh election in the senatorial district.
Dr. Uduaghan, the APC candidate through his counsel, Tomson Okpoko, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) had petitioned and complained before the tribunal that the election was marred by irregularities and urged the tribunal to do justice to the petition.
The contention of the Petitioner, are among other things, that the first Respondent, PDP, the second Respondent, INEC and third Respondent James Manager connived with each other to allegedly perpetrate electoral malpractices and the tribunal should cancel the election.
…More details soon
Determined to boost financial inclusion, Access Bank Plc says it is targeting a customer base of 65 million by 2022, through financial digital products.
Chinedu Onuoha, Access Bank Head, Business Development and Planning, gave the figure at the unveiling of ‘Access Money Wallet’, a product introduced to drive financial inclusion in Lagos on Friday.
Onuoha said that the bank was targeting a minimum of 65 million customers by 2022 which would be driven through financial solutions.
He said: “We have about 30 to 31 million customers presently, by 2022 we intend that we will have a minimum of 65 million customers, and the effort to drive the figure is through financial solutions like Access Money Wallet.”
Onuoha, who is also Chairman, Association of Licensed Mobile Payment Operators, said “all the statistics shows that a good number of Nigerians don’t still have access to financial services”.
He said that the bank, from time to time, reviewed processes to drive the financial inclusion drive of the Federal Government by ensuring that all Nigerians, especially adults, had access to financial services.
He stated: “What we do from time to time is to see what is it we can do or change; and operate differently from the way it is being done today to induce these Nigerians to financial services and also to bring these services closer to them.”
Onuoha explained that financial services accessibility was the key issue in ensuring financial inclusion.
Speaking on Access Money Wallet product, he said that the product was designed for customers who had abandoned their accounts because of inability to provide the needed Know Your Customer.
He stated: “Access Money Wallet is a different type of account which we make available to or design for customers who for some reasons do not have all that is needed to provide for KYC for other types of bank account.
“There are some accounts that you want to open they will ask you to bring utility bill and address, among others.
“But we know the peculiarities of our country Nigeria, some Nigerians are good citizens who work every day to earn a living but don’t have places where you have utility bills and addresses.
“What we have done with Access Money Wallet is to say just come, give us your name, give us your date of birth, give us your gender and your age.
“And once you are an adult and a legitimate citizen we will give that wallet. It’s an account that allows transactions to be done through the mobile phone or also by going through our agents outlets across the country.
“So, that is what we are trying to do with Access Money Wallet to deepen the financial inclusion.”
According to him, the bank has in the market the highest number of financial inclusion customers of roughly 18 million customers.
He said: “What we discovered over time is that due to the way the market is operated and due to do some regulations that come from time to time a good number of these customers do not meet some requirements for operating properly the way accounts traditionally were been operated.
“Some of them pulled back and stayed back, our recent campaign is to tell them that we have a solution to it.
“We have roughly about 15 to 18 million customers who are financial inclusion customers, the current campaign is to make them reactivate their accounts.”
President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’ Ivoire has appointed Adama Koné, Minister of Economic and Financial Affairs to support the re-election of Akinwumi Adesina as President of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB).
Mr Quattara said this at the first Council of Ministers of the country’s new government team on Friday.
He explained that Mr Koné, a former minister of Economy and Finance, was reappointed to represent the country as the Executive Director in AfDB to support and “work for Adesina’s re-election”.
According to him, Mr Adesina deserves a second term because of the great job he is doing.
“For my new ministers, I will like to congratulate the new Ministers and Secretaries of State who have just joined the government team.
“You are men and women of experience, committed people, I am convinced that you will make an important contribution to the daily action of the government.
“One of the major changes is the split of the Ministry of Interior and Security, this was the case from 1991 to 2011.
“The separation of these two Ministries seems necessary considering the importance of the challengesin our country,” he explained.
He said the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection would deal with security threats and the fight against terrorism, in liaison with the Ministry of Defence.
“I will like to say that this new government is a mission government. Your mission will be to work tirelessly to improve the welfare of our fellow citizens.
“I therefore, count on each and every one of you to be on ground, alongside our people,” he added.
Against the backdrop of inauguration of a committee on Tuesday 27 August 2019 by the Lagos State House of Assembly to probe the immediate past administration of former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, a group by the name ‘Eko Heritage Group’, has come out with a list of methods it alleges the former Lagos helmsman used to siphon money from coffers of the state.
In a two-page advertorial published in the PUNCH newspaper of Wednesday 4 September 2019, the group, which also says the list is the beginning of a series to be released, accuses Ambode of the following misdemeanours.
1. Road contracts awarded to CRANEBURG CONSTRUCTION COMPANY. In the article, the group accuses Ambode of awarding a mouth-watering contract of $300million for roads construction in his constituency of Epe. The engineering company was said to have just been established in 2016 without any road construction record. They hint that ownership of the company could be traced to him.
2. Alleged illicit business relationship with Access bank’s Group Managing Director Herbert Wigwe. According to the group, “In 2016, Wigwe was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly helping former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, launder millions of dollars. It is therefore befuddling that against sustained dissuasion, Ambode still chose to do business with him.” They accuse him of making the bank contractor and the sole banker of the state.
3. Foreign bank accounts. He is also accused of having links with “private accounts in countries like Seychelles and Mauritius.”
4. Choice properties: The former Governor is linked with some skyscrapers in Eko Atlantic City.
5. The Lagos transit bus controversy: This was the major grouse the State House of Assembly had against Ambode’s government at the time which brought the two arms of government to a head on collision. The House accused him of embarking on the gigantic project without the constitutional approval of the assembly. He is accused of spending a whopping N45billion to purchase 820 buses as against the budget of N24billion and N7billion in 2018 and 2019 respectively which were said to have been turned down by the State House of Assembly.
6. VISIONSCAPE DEAL: Ambode is accused of changing the Environmental Management and Protection Law of the state and signing a multi-million dollar deal with the Dubai-based Visionscape Sanitation Solutions Limited with the sole aim of personal enrichment. The group says the state Accountant General’s office was given a standing order to make monthly remittance of N713.7million to Visionscape. This, the group said, was costing the state a staggering N8.56billion annually.
7. Operating bank accounts via proxies: He is accused of operating many fraudulent bank accounts by proxies as conduit through which the state resources were heavily pillaged. The group cites the case of three bank accounts recently discovered and frozen by the EFCC. The accounts are domiciled in First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Access Bank, and Zenith Bank with numbers 5617984012, 0060949275 and 1011691254 respectively. The accounts were said to experience fund inflow in billions from the Lagos State revenue accounts during his administration.
The anti-corruption agency said it discovered a huge inflow of N9,927,714,443.29 from the state accounts into the FCMB account opened on 17 September 2018 and operated by Adewale Adesanya, permanent secretary in the office of the Chief of Staff to the then Governor Ambode. Adesanya is presently being tried for money laundering.
8. One Lagos Fiesta: The former Governor is accused of reorganizing the state’s annual end-of-the-year cross over programme in a way that would enable him to award questionable contracts to himself through fronts. According to the group, “The concerts cost the state government hundreds of millions of naira of unbudgeted funds some of which reportedly found their way back into the pockets of the governor and his cronies.”
9. Nepotism and cronyism: Ambode is accused of recklessly sacking perceived loyalists of his predecessor and replacing them with his loyalists in order to have complete hold on the state and her resources. “No contract was too big to unilaterally award cronies, friends of his wife and female friends. A case in point is the management of facilities inside the Lagos State University (LASU), which was contracted to a close ally of his wife.” The group alleges, promising more revelations.
The most decorated footballer from African soil and four-time African Player of the Year has called time on his trophy-laden career after 22 years.
Samuel Eto’o has announced his retirement from all forms of football at the age of 38.
The veteran enjoyed an excellent career at the top level of the game, winning numerous trophies with Barcelona and also representing Cameroon at four World Cups.
Widely regarded as one of Africa’s greatest-ever players, Eto’o posted on his official Instagram handle: “The end. Towards a new challenge. Thank you all, big love.”
Having spent his youth career at Kadji Sports Academy, he joined Real Madrid where he was loaned to Leganes, Espanyol, and Mallorca.
His awe-inspiring form in Mallorca saw him join Barcelona in 2004. There, he won two Champions Leagues, four La Liga titles, two Supercopa de Espana and one Copa del Rey. He also became the record holder for most La Liga caps by an African.
At Inter Milan, he won his third Champions League under Jose Mourinho’s tutelage and also added Serie A, Supercoppa Italiana, Fifa Club World Cup and Coppa Italia titles to his impressive haul in Italy.
He was unable to collect any winners’ medals at Anzhi Makhachkala, Chelsea, Everton, Sampdoria, Antalyaspor and Konyaspor, before a move to Qatar SC.
On the international scene, he was the youngest player at the 1998 World Cup after making Cameroon squad at the age of 17.
Eto’o claimed gold at the 2000 Olympics as well as two Africa Cup of Nations titles in 2000 and 2002 with four African Player of the Year crowns – a record he shares with Cote d’Ivoire’s Yaya Toure.
Chinwe Bode-Akinwande is the founder of Chinwe Bode Akinwande (CBA) Foundation. The quintessential banker is a compassionate fellow who has devoted her time, talent and treasure to extending hope to underprivileged widows in Nigeria as well as helping and supporting their vulnerable children through her foundation. A self-motivated, focused and energetic performer with an upbeat, positive attitude, CBA, as she is fondly called is a seasoned motivational speaker, entrepreneur and a ‘doer’ with a difference who with her husband also runs the affairs of a Singles Forum known as SinglesConnect as relationship gurus.Bode-Akinwande holds a degree in banking & finance with certificates in strategic brand management from University of Austin, Texas, USA; Digital Marketing with EduPristine USA; Consulting Tool Kits with the prestigious Harvard Business School in Boston, USA. With over 20 years professional experience and expertise in relationship matters, branding, brand quality assurance, strategic brand management, strategic planning, project management, event planning & management, corporate identity refresh expertise, coaching/mentoring and consulting she is a valuable resource to empower and make impact in her sphere of influence. In this interview , Chinwe reveals all that make her foundation tick. Excerpts
Tell us about CBA Foundation.
CBA Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the protection of widows in Nigeria and their vulnerable children. The foundation promotes immediate and lasting hope, confidence and courage in their lives through various activities not limited to grants, provision of relief materials like clothing, food supplies and importantly economic empowerment.
What inspired you to create an organisation like CBA Foundation?
The inspiration is a couple of many things, first of all I felt led by God, and secondly the foundation is rooted in kindness. Kindness driven to put a smile on the faces of women that thought they had lost hope and thirdly, I know there are couple of NGO’s around the country but I have realised that less attention is paid to under privileged widows and I am very specific with the term ‘under privilege’ because there are widows that are privileged so apparently their husband left something for them, then I have heard from my friends who are victims of what they have gone through from the hands of the family they got married to as a result of them being widows. They have been thrown out of the house, their kids were sometimes taken from them, and some of them would go with their kids but must drop the last name, which is the name of their husband.
There was just quite a lot of dehumanisation going on, injustice, while they are still at the brink of taking care of the kids, asking questions such as, ‘how do I start my life having lost my husband?’, there are families asking for travelling documents, asking for papers of the land and all that, so I felt I should bring my little quota to this as a self-less act to what they are going through. Also having done this for over four years, I have realised that we have over 600 profile authentic widows and the truth without exaggeration is that about 90 per cent of their kids are out of school. When you talk to them, they keep telling you, ‘madam make I chop first, make my children chop first before we think of school’. So that drives me; even if it is the basic education with the support of people to send them back to school; at least they should get the basic knowledge of primary and then maybe another organisation takes up their secondary education.
Was there any childhood experience that inspired you to do this?
I always start any interview with this narrative, my father is still alive and my husband is still alive so it means I am not a victim of widowhood. I am favoured; it is not by my power or my own doing, it has been God. Like I said earlier on, I have watched closely what happened to this people in our society, I have also listened in and run through research, my friends have been victim of such, I have one friend that the only thing they could not take from their house is the carpet because it was glued to the floor, the family moved in and the mother was at the corner of the house crying and they packed everything in the house.
What are the major tasks of your organisation and who has benefited from your programmes?
The task of CBA Foundation is enormous and very encompassing. As much as we are focused on the unprivileged widows and their children, the multiplier effects of our impact have been far-reaching beyond our target beneficiaries. Interestingly at CBA Foundation, we categorise our beneficiaries into two groups: the direct and indirect; the direct being individuals that are impacted at our event, they are the primary recipient of our impact. The indirect are what we call secondary recipient(s) of our impact. They are those that are impacted by our primary beneficiaries. So from these, you would agree with me that the society at large has benefitted from our outreach programmes.
How is CBA Foundation funded?
The bulk of our funding is through donations from friends, colleagues, members of the society as well as corporate organisations that have over the years partnered with us due to the their belief in us not just our impact but what we stand for. We reach out to this individuals by telling them that this is the email address if you need us to send you receipt we would do. That is our transparency. We allow you to know what your money is being used for. We are grateful to them for their support and implore many more to reach out to us as indeed we cannot do it alone.
In what ways can Nigerians and the world at large contribute to CBA Foundation?
Our website; www.cbafoundation.org provides all information on contributions and partnerships. In addition, by attending our events and following us on the social media. Our Instagram and twitter handles are cbafoundation_ and @cbafoundation respectively.
What do you think the government can do to support NGOs like this and what steps have you taken to attract such support?
Primarily, it is sad that we are in a society that doesn’t recognize the role of women in impacting the nation, especially the economy. In this regard, I would say that is the starting point. Once the gender inequality gap is addressed, identifying with widows won’t be a far cry. There is so much to do, it’s not just about giving money to these women but showing them how to economically use the money.
Also, there is a Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP) which the act itself have the protection for the widows but the government should please do more. One thing is to have the policies and another is to have the act, but when it is not being enforced it lies in vacuums, it lies in isolation, and nobody uses it. So it is just doing more of advocacy letting this people know that there is a law out there that can protect them, they should push it the more and support, and that is all we are asking for.
What measures do you employ to ascertain that the beneficiaries are genuinely those in need of such intervention?
We have a team that carry-out intense background checks on these women. In addition, our partnership with the traditional rulers – Kings/Baales, Churches and Mosque leaders who already have them in their database provides relief on our identification.
We profile the widows to know about what they do, to even ascertain if they are truly under privilege widows not that you just come around and take food, clothing and not letting it go round for those who have nothing. We go further to research, we visit where they live. We listen to business idea from these widows and set up the business for them in the location that is suitable for them, we don’t want to do more of cash because there are needs you can just spend it on immediately.
Most importantly for us, we like them to go through check-ups, their health is key before running a business, we educate them on the fact that they need to live so this could only happen if they go through the series of check-ups and use their medication. The sustained part of this is that we go back to that community to enrich them. When we started this initially, they thought we are from a political party coming to solicit for vote.
What are the challenges of running an organisation like CBA Foundation?
Inadequate volunteers at meeting projected impact levels. Societal factors, as it relates to gender inequality. Being a foundation, we aren’t profit based which sheds more light on the limitations we experience on funds generation. But in all, with the passion we have for this course, we pay very little attention to the challenges that might arise.
How can government reduce poverty level in the country knowing that such will make the task of your organisation easier?
That is by frowning at gender inequality. With the employment of more women, poverty would largely be a thing of the past and I agree with you that such would ease our task a great deal.
However, on a holistic scale, the government must ensure that the opportunities to stimulate employment generation are readily available. Opportunities like regular and effective power generation, good road network.
Also, the government needs to step up its attention on the education sector. It is indeed a shame that Nigeria is far from meeting United Nation’s 26% limit of National budget that should be used for education. In 2017, it was reported that 7% of the national budget was allocated to education.
Skill acquisition is one other way. The unskilled segment of the society is enormous, largely due to the education gap. So I see this as a very strategic way of bridging the poverty gap.
Does the current state of the nation, especially as it relates to insecurity have any direct impact on your activities as an NGO?
Yes, it does have an impact. Security issues limit our free movement, security issues make us reconsider our spread to certain locations across the nation and if we do have to go there – the IDPs in the North East for example, it would mean spending much more on logistics.
So the security hitches I would say is venom that needs to be contained and treated with the greatest attention.
Do you have any words of encouragement to the widows and those in need of help and support?
I encourage everyone not to lose hope nor give up. As a believer, the grace of God is sufficient as indeed when there is life there is hope.
Pastor Enoch Adeboye, general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), has appealed to Nigerians not to retaliate against South Africans living in the country.
Speaking on Friday at the monthly Holy Ghost service of the church at the Redemption camp in Ogun state, he urged the people to protect the South Africans living around them and let the government handle the situation.
Foreign businesses and properties have come under attack in the country, which has deepened diplomatic row between Nigeria and South Africa in the past few days.
On Friday, the South African police announced that they had arrested 497 suspects who have been looting shops owned by foreigners.
The police said the looting still continues till date.
“You don’t know what it means to be in another man’s land, not knowing what will happen. Be careful,” he warned.
“Don’t retaliate against South Africa because of the Nigerians who are still in South Africa.
“The average South African is a decent person, I know that. Those who are causing the trouble are not many. If you have a South African living near you, show them love, protect them from any harm.
“If the government was to repatriate all Nigerians from South Africa, they will be back in the next two months. Do we have enough jobs for those who stayed back in Nigeria, in the first place, not to talk of repatriating people back?
“For the sake of your kit and kin, don’t retaliate against South Africa, let us leave this issue for government to handle, while we pray for God to give them wisdom and understanding to handle the situation.”
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki’s second term bid might see the light of day if the rumours making the rounds in Benin City about his alleged plan defection to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are anything to go by.
Recent romance with big PDP chieftains in the state will further attest to the fact that the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), top members of the APC ruling party in Edo, are not willing to make peace with Obaseki, hence the governor, who is popularly known as ‘wake and see’ is considering the PDP option.
Fillers reaching us revealed that Obaseki and the PDP state Chairman, Chief Dan. Orbih, are currently in the US, allegedly holding meetings over his defection. It will also be recalled that the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, recently held a closed door meeting with Obaseki shortly before the governor travelled to the US. A PDP source, who is privy to this, said:
“As I speak with you now from New York in the US, I want to say that I’m very happy with the current romance between Obaseki and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Edo State.
“Edo State does not belong to a particular group of persons or politicians, we are all stakeholders in the state, and we will support a governor that mean well for the poor masses. I would advise governor Obaseki to be focused because I can see that people who do not want good life for the poor masses of Edo people are bent on ensuring that Obaseki does not return to the government house in 2020.
“As a concerned citizen of Edo State, I want to say that we are ready to back Obaseki if he gets a ticket from another political platform.
“Greedy Edo politicians are not happy with him simply because it is no longer business as usual where they pack the people’s money to foreign banks abroad, thereby impoverishing the people and making life miserable for them. With the current move by Obaseki, I’m very sure that Edo electorate, who voted massively for him in 2016, will come out in their thousands to vote for him again.”
However, efforts to get Obaseki’s media aide, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, comment on this new development proved abortive as at the time of filling this report.
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), says his group will continue to hold Nigerian politicians accountable.
Speaking in an interview aired on BEN TV London, Kanu said very soon, all Nigerian governors who have refused to pay workers’ salaries but “travelling aimlessly across the world” would be stopped from doing so.
He also described the assault on Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy senate president, as a “family matter”.
Last month, some IPOB members attacked Ekweremadu who was attending the annual New Yam festival in Nuremberg, Germany.
The action of the group had sparked reactions but in the interview, the IPOB leader said it would be resolved.
“Very soon, any governor who has not paid salaries will not come abroad anymore. If you are owing salaries you’re not allowed to go abroad anymore,” he said.
“You bank teachers’ salaries, you bank the salaries of pensioners, you cannot come abroad anymore. So this is just the beginning. We’ll not attack them; we’ll just ask them questions. It is called picketing. It’s allowed within the ambit of democratic rules.
“If we see you, we’ll ask you what you’ve been doing with teachers’ salaries, nurses’ salaries and why you’ve not been paying people and what are you doing here? Any governor owing workers once we catch you abroad you’ll tell us what you’ve being doing with the salaries you’re supposed to pay.
“It doesn’t matter the state you come from, but once we catch you, you must explain why you’ve not paid for four months, six months and nine months.”
Kanu also defended the style of the group, saying the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo did not win people over easily.
“There’s no time on this earth that any process of agitation will be palatable for everyone or easy for everyone to buy into,” he said.
“When Nnamdi Azikiwe was campaigning for Nigeria to be free from colonial rule, he was sent to prison. Many people felt he was a radical and declined to associate themselves with him. But in the end he succeeded in freeing Nigeria not knowing that we are jumping from frying pan to fire.
“Awolowo was the same thing. He was a fire brand. Many people didn’t like his approach from the beginning, but on reflection and review of what he did and how he managed to accomplish them, people have come to understand that he meant well for his people.
“So, now that these things are happening, most people would not appreciate it, but I’m sure that in many years to come, historians will look back to what’s happening today.”
He added that: “Everybody is in line with what we are doing except the criminals. Everyone is in line with what we are doing.”
It is an international card secured by Chip and PIN technology with a lifespan of 3 years, and it has additional protection for web-based transactions with “Verified by Visa” (VbV). In fact, it is a one card that enables access to funds throughout the world, providing maximum protection for all card users.
It has a daily withdrawal limit of N150,000 and $1,000 for local and International transactions on the ATM channel, and N1,000,000 and $6,250 for local and international on Web. While on POS, Current account cardholders have a withdrawal limit of N2,500,000 and Savings account cardholders N500,000 distinctively for local, but $2,500 parallel for International transactions.
In the words of Mr. Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Product, “FirstBank takes pride in pioneering the Visa Multi Currency Card in the country, as we remain committed to providing products and services that are designed to ensure the banking convenience of our customers regardless of their location.”
“This card is designed to make traveling fun for our customers and ensure they have a seamless transaction experience during their vacation, tourism and other business-related trips around the globe,” he added.
True and true, FirstBank has shown itself to be a digital innovating bank since the craze of technological transformation in the financial sector, with various Awards, achievements, and recognitions.
This Nigeria’s Bank of first choice was named the first financial institution in the country to achieve sustained alternative channels transaction volumes of 100 million transactions in December 2015 and May 2016.
In 2015, FirstBank won two awards in the eBusiness category: MasterCard Cardless Champion award for International acceptance across all POS channels; and MasterCard Cardless Champion award for Mobile POS (MPOS) merchant acquisition.
In 2016, it won three awards also in the eBusiness category, viz: Asian Banker award for Best Mobile Payment Product for West Africa; Asian Banker award for Credit Card of the Year for West Africa; and Global Finance Award for ‘Digital Bank of Distinction – Emerging Markets, Africa Category’.
For two consecutive years, 2016 and 2017, the bank was honoured with the Digital Bank of Distinction, Nigeria award in the Global Finance Best Digital Banks Awards.
While still counting, in 2017, FirstBank won the Cashless Champion Award of MasterCard International on POS International transactions acquiring, and same year won Interswitch awards on Fastest Mobile Penetration in Africa; Highest Card Transacting Bank in Nigeria; and Highest Verve Issuing Bank.
For FirstBank to sustain its relevance and be part of the banks of the future, it must continue to be proactive to customers’ goals, their ‘next big thing’, and invest heavily, rediscover and reassert its core role in society, while securing ongoing support of policymakers.
By EHIME ALEX